Forward Thinking, the Forward Gear Blog

Help Wanted (to reduce costs. But what about increasing sales?)

So - I visited the paint store the other day and among the small talk while picking out a color, the conversation inevitably moved onto the current economy. The manager (who I've known for several years) mentioned that "corporate" had asked everyone to contribute ideas about how to reduce costs.

I thought, "Why do companies always look to employees when it's time to cut heads or lower costs some other way, but they never seem to ask employees to submit their ideas about how to increase sales or improve the product?"|

I think there are several factors at work, not the least of which is ego.

Consider that an increase in sales or an improvement to the product is a very positive thing - something that you would want to have on your record. "Thanks to the creativity of my executive team, 3rd quarter results are beating estimates by 23%..."

Contrast that to a loss of personnel -  a "drastic measure to control costs" if you will. Now that's something you'd rather be able to qualify. Something like, "Well, we did everything we could to prevent cutting jobs. We even asked the employees what they would do. Unfortunately, we just couldn't come up with anything else."

In my opinion, the current economy gives everyone a reason (if not an excuse) to put aside office politics and recognize every resource for what it is. If your employees are valuable sources of ways to cut costs, they're also likely valuable sources of hidden profitability and product insight. Convince them to offer their insight - reward them - and you might find your business moving forward when others are moving backward.

Now that's forward thinking...