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Jun. 15, 2009 – Turn these insights into a management practice

June 15, 2009
Filed under Columns

Wanted to throw a different concept at you, in hopes it may bring some fresh perspective to your management meetings.

A past colleague of mine introduced me to a practice long ago that was relatively simple and straightforward: The moment before you walk out of your office and head for home, take a minute and write down your top five priorities for the next day.

As was explained to me, the goal here isn’t necessarily to do a better job of identifying what needs to get done, but actually improving your chances of getting said things completed the following workday. Something about writing down your objectives usually results in getting more of those accomplished.

Simple and straightforward, right?

But let’s take that approach one step farther so you’re not only accomplishing more, but expanding your business at the same time. And expanding what you do and how you do it can be especially difficult without some fresh perspective.

And that’s where this concept of mine fits in.

Powersports Business has some of the most business-focused folks in the industry sharing their thoughts on a routine basis on our “Industry Insiders” blog. There is no cost to accessing this blog, since it can be viewed through PowersportsBusiness.com.

Use these insights to develop a game plan for your business. More specifically, add a step to the end-of-the-day process by not only noting what needs to get done the next day but direct your staff to read a specific blog then ask them two questions: What’s the point of the blog? And how could we use that to improve our business?

Let me help you get started.

Below are parts of blogs that already have been posted to the “Industry Insiders” Web site. With each example, I’ll provide four items: the blog, or a sentence or two from it that essentially captures the essence of it; the point of the blog, explaining its main idea in as few words as possible; what I would do, an example of what I would ask staff to do to accomplish the idea stated in the blog; and finally, what you would do. I’ll leave this last area blank so you and your staff can fill this out on your own time and then get together to figure out what makes the most sense for your business.

BEYOND THE SPEC SHEEET

The blog: Fran O’Hagan, president of Pied Piper Management Co., which conducts a retail shopping best practices survey used by Ducati, Honda and others, recently wrote this in his “Industry Insiders” blog: “Encourage your salespeople to gather interesting and helpful facts and anecdotes about the various products your dealership sells. Facts and anecdotes that go beyond what’s listed in a brochure or Web site.”
What’s the point?: Connect the consumer with a vehicle with a unique perspective or tidbit of information that isn’t widely known.
What I would do: Require sales staff to find such unique perspectives for at least two vehicles per week. Share those in a weekly staff meeting.
What you’re going to do:

FRESH PERSPECTIVE

The blog: Brian Etter, CEO of Motorsport Aftermarket Group, one of the largest aftermarket companies in the industry, recently wrote this in his blog: “Trimming the fat and eliminating unnecessary costs is critical to survive a recession, but the past suggests it is also important to invest and try new things. In visiting dealers I have seen many creative and low-cost ways to refresh and transform a business … It will be interesting to watch the businesses and brands that have taken risk in this market vs. those that have not.”
What’s the point?: Don’t let the recession kill the creative process. Better yet, turn the negative into a positive and make creativity a higher priority.
What I would do: Provide $100 to the employee who can come up with the most creative, low-cost approach at improving business. Provide some criteria. Require some proof the program would work, not to mention specifics. Ideas aren’t enough. Make sure the staff does some homework to see if their idea can actually pay off in the long term.
What you’re going to do:

HOLIDAY PREPARATION

The blog: Karin Gelschus, Powersports Business’ associate editor, wrote this in one of her recent blogs: “According to this year’s National Retail Federation graduation survey, conducted by BIGresearch, about 59 percent of people plan to give graduates cash. The extra cash can help students purchase scooters and low-displacement motorcycles.”
What’s the point?: Identifying whether a business is prepared to take advantage of upcoming holidays.
What I would do: Work with the management group in identifying the next two holidays and what marketing attempts were done to take advantage of these last year. What worked? What did not? What should be done differently this year?
What you’re going to do:
Make sure these “what you’re going to do” areas are filled out and then distributed to all parties before the management meeting so the critical meeting time is used to identify what will be done and by whom.
We all know time is precious, especially as chances are you’re doing just as much work, if not more, with less staff. That, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of these “Industry Insiders” insights to help create a more efficient and profitable business. psb

Neil Pascale is editor-in-chief of Powersports Business. He can be reached at npascale@affinitygroup.com.

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