Sign & Digital Graphics

November '18

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30 • November 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S RUNNING THE BUSINESS I like what Mom has done with her appendices to the age-old money adage. "We wouldn't cut so many down," to me, means don't create paperwork just to cover your corporate butt. If the "required" paperwork in your company doesn't obviously con- tribute to customer convenience, satisfy a government mandate, or serve as a reminder to your employees of the best way to do something, get rid of it. When you can, reduce three pieces of paper to one by rede- signing forms and eliminating duplicate information. A great example of this are the forms a doctor or dentist makes a new patient complete, which typically take longer than the length of time the doctor actually spends with them. As far as taking care of our trees, I compare a tree to a busi- ness. When a sapling is first planted, it needs good, nutritious soil (a healthy marketplace), fertilizer (seed money), and is usu- ally tied to a pole (a business/marketing plan) to ensure it grows up straight and tall during its formative years. The numerous components of a tree represent all of the various people and things that help a business thrive and grow: • the trunk is the core competency of the company—the one distinguishing characteristic that separates this tree from all the others; • the branches are customers—the larger ones closest to the trunk are key clients of which there aren't many but are critically important, and often sprout other customers via word-of-mouth referrals; • the flowers (the features of your goods and services) are transformed into fruit (value delivered to your customers) and are then harvested to the benefit of many; • the leaves are your sales and market- ing professionals that shield the blossom- ing fruit from the scorching rays of the sun and the whipping winds of rainstorms (external challenges such as a struggling economy or competitive pressure); and • the odd fruit that falls are the offshoot business ventures that occasionally take root and produce their own saplings. A Parting Observation I suppose you could call the birds and the bugs that live in the tree the cadre of vendors and suppliers that depend on the tree but also bring value to it. And the squirrels? They're definitely indus- try consultants. They never stay in one place for very long. They scurry noisily up and down the trunk, in and out from the branches and the leaves, then off to another tree to shake it up for a while. Most consultants I know—including this author—are pretty squirrelly, if you ask me. Still, what would the forest be without the friendly squirrel? (Ok, forget I asked that.) So, I guess money does grow on trees. If this analogy makes sense, take special care of the components of your tree. Nurture it and your business will stand tall for many years. Thanks Mom... and good luck! SDG Make it Your Business CONTINUED Sit still, shut your mouth and eat! Work like you will never die... and think you'll die tomorrow. Before you can ever help someone else you have to help yourself. Money doesn't grow on trees… but if it did, we wouldn't cut so many down and we'd take better care of them.

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