Effective vs Efficiency

Effective vs. Efficient

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Is the process or activity effective? Efficiencies are typically at the heart of planning and tracking business.  Ways to ensure efficiency may include:  tools, training, tracking systems, supervision, etc.  We have lots of ways to highlight and ensure efficiencies.  The question that is rarely asked: is the process or activity effective?  There is an important distinction. A highway may be ...
Culture of Improvement

A Culture of Improvement

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Gaining Insight It used to drive me crazy when I took a look at the codes we’d accumulated for tracking labor.   Yet, what I knew, was the more detail we had, the more insights into what was necessary, billable and ultimately effective, the greater influence and insights we had over what to change, whether to add, improve or discontinue.   ...
Realizing Opportunity

Realizing Opportunity

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

In my last smartPRENEUR Blog, I spoke to the low contribution to profit of trade labor in construction.   Additional Billable Time Now let’s take another tack.  Let’s look at what happens if opportunity can be found to add additional billable time.  If we find 5%, a mere 1.25 minutes per hour, it equates to 42 additional billed hours per year!  ...
Anatomy of an Hour

The Anatomy of an Hour

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

The Importance of Numbers Years ago, when I was running my CE (Custom Electronics) business, I had a meeting with a builder in my community.   We started to talk about the importance of numbers in our respective firms.   The builder was a leader in his Industry having operated successful and meaningful construction businesses.    We discussed my somewhat ...

Origins, Expertise, and Labor: How did we get here?

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

What's the Plan? Over the next series of articles, we are going to explore many aspects of labor management for system integration firms.  The topics we’ll cover include cost of labor, efficiencies vs effectiveness, billable, retention and culture, along with other connected subjects. In the industry’s early years, margins on products were the primary focus.   They were healthy, especially ...

The Heart of The Sale

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Profitable Companies learn how to charge for their services and how to pitch their value.   Value is dependent on internal systems as well as commitment and discipline to support and iterate these systems.   This guides employees through proven processes to achieve predictable and quality results.  By tracking all aspects, especially labor, firms know both their true costs for …

Opportunities hang out in the wrinkles!

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

If you don’t track it, you lose it I recently had a meeting with a builder in my community.   We started to talk about the importance of numbers and metrics when running a profitable enterprise.   He is a leader in his Industry having operated successful and meaningful construction businesses. We discussed my somewhat clumsy and crude business software, …

Achilles Heel

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Only 35% of Time Gets Billed Years ago, when I was running my Custom Installation A/V Business, CEDIA published some statistics that shocked me.   They had done an indepth member survey and determined that on average only 35% of the time we paid our trades was being billed.   I’m a pretty good numbers person, but realized this wasn’t a …

The True Cost of Labor

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

How Much Are Your Billable Employees Costing? The Situation Experience teaches that customers inevitably value hard assets over labor. Even though we depend heavily on labor to design, manage, fabricate and install systems, the consumer is thinking only of the ‘gear’ they’ve procured and the benefit they anticipate. Often too, consumers push back on post-installation service, believing that for the …

Meet the Faculty: Marilyn Sanford

Marilyn Sanford smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Marilyn Sanford, CEO, Ideator, Co-Founder LincEdge Marilyn is a Professional Accountant. She spent 23 years running trade based businesses, offering Low Voltage Custom Integration solutions to demanding and discriminating customers for high end residences and businesses. She has served on boards, taught in her Industry and is a Fellow of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA). Marilyn Co—founded ...