Recently I returned from my annual waterfowl hunting trip to Canada. This trip is very important to me in many ways as it allows me to reconnect with great friends, gives me the opportunity to clear my head and allows me time to slow down enough to think about life in a way that can be difficult while in the states. The value of getting away is something I will write on in the future!
Amid my time hunting, overeating and cutting it up with the guys I was reminded of a basic business principle. Working hard is good, working smart is better and doing both together is best! I am sure you are wondering how this applies to hunting and what does hunting have to do with business? Well, let me explain.
When hunting waterfowl, it is often necessary to deploy hundreds of decoys in the field or body of water in which you are hunting. In our case, we used 45 dozen various waterfowl decoys, an electronic game caller (which included a deep cycle car battery and 4 speakers with over 200 foot of wire) and 4 blinds that had to be brushed with the appropriate camouflage each morning. At the start of the trip we were using a new enclosed trailer to haul our gear and decoys. All decoys were in bags that held about 3 dozen each and the other items were placed in the trailer. The first day it took about 2 hours to set up the entire decoy spread, but by the time we finished the trip we could set up in about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
How were we able to complete the same amount of work in half the time? The answer is simple: SYSTEMS.
Here are some principles we applied that can and should be applied to your business:
1. Delegate Tasks – Each guy on the trip quickly took responsibility for different tasks associated with the process. Each person was working independently yet together to accomplish the same goal. This is also known as Synergy.
2. Be Willing to Change – After realizing that some of our old ways of doing things were not working effectively, we decided to implement new methods of accomplishing these tasks. For example, we realized that placing all of the decoys in bags was taking up a lot of extra time, so we eliminated the bagging system and created a bin within the trailer, which was a more efficient system.
3. Spend Money to Make Money – We invested money into creating shelving, bins and areas to hold totes in the trailer allowing us to eliminate extra time and make our system much more efficient. Although, in our case making money was not involved, when you consider the notion that time is money you can see how this example applies.
4. Take Advantage of Technology – We used technology such as GPS, Google Earth maps and 4 wheel drive vehicles to eliminate manual labor, saving us time and energy.
5. Use these Tools to Build a System – Using the items above we were able to create a new system, and by working hard and smart we were able to get the same work done in half the time with the same results.
I realize that these are some very basic concepts, but when was the last time you really analyzed your current systems? Do you have employees or partners doing the same task resulting in doing double the work? Has a resistance to change been costing you or your business time and money? Do you have items in your office that need to be upgraded for better efficiency? Are you embracing technology to its fullest and thus eliminating labor?
I am going to take the time to analyze the systems in my business and do my best to fine tune how we are doing things. Many times analyzing the basics of business such as SYSTEMS and making small changes can increase your profitability far more than you can imagine.
What are some of the changes that you have made to your systems or new technologies that you have implemented that have brought your business or personal life to the next level?