Using a Break Even Plan For a School Bus Company

Break Even Plan

 Break Even Plan For a School Bus Company

This week I’m writing about using a Break-Even Plan. A Break-Even Plan will stop the bleeding of your cash by temporarily cutting all non-critical expenses while driving sales above break-even by selling existing inventory. I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we are able to achieve significant results from our work together. We have 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business that when we improve your performance, your business will run better.

The Situation in Charlie’s Bus Company

Our business hero this week is Charlie, owner of a bus sales and service company. I began working with Charlie and his parents when their sales were stagnant. At that point, their business had been losing an average of $40,000 per year for several years.

Coaching Modules for Charlie’s Bus Company

We implemented several of our Coaching Modules. These included a Strategic Plan, Team Meeting Rhythm, Sales Management System, Key Performance Indicators and most importantly in the near term, a Break-Even Plan.

A Break-Even Plan for Charlie’s Bus Company

After reviewing their financials, we determined that we needed to reduce their fixed costs and grow their revenues. Their billable hours compared to their shop employee hours was too low. So, we reduced the number of shop employees. We also eliminated some extra outsourced services such as vehicle detailing. We set a goal of selling one bus a week. Billable hours and bus sales per week became two of our Key Performance Indicators. We began meeting weekly to review performance and remove obstacles.

Charlie’s Bus Company Results

The sales and profit growth were dramatic with our Break-Even Plan. Here’s what Charlie said:

testimonial2

“You have really taken the blinders off our eyes to see the potential of our business and now you are taking us there. We are thrilled that you achieved growth from $651,000 to $1,100,000 and a profit increase in excess of $181,000 since we started working with you in January.”

Congratulations Charlie on your impressive growth of your sales and profits using a break-even plan. You are a true business hero and an inspiration to us! You can view another case study about using an Employee Acquisition Plan in an auto repair business here.

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Developing The Right Team Meeting Rhythm

Team meeting rhythm

When you have a small business, you know that communication is important. But does everyone communicate properly inside your business? This blog is about developing the right team meeting rhythm. The goal of your meetings is the deployment of your strategic objectives.

When you first started your business, your communication was more caught than taught. It was easy for people to understand your goals because they were with you all day. However, as your business grows your team becomes more spread out. You must become intentional and proactive with the way you communicate.

Effective Communication or Gossip?

One common misconception is that just because your office is open and everyone can sit near to each other, teams communicate. However, proper communication within a small business isn’t the same thing as simply chatting about the weather. Left unchecked, communication will degrade into gossip and other unproductive topics. Your communication needs to be directed to a specific purpose and strategic. So, to ensure that this happens within your business, you need a team meeting rhythm.

When your team isn’t proactively communicating or in a consistent rhythm, it will be harder for everyone to do their jobs. In addition, it will also be more difficult to establish priorities.

Developing The Right Team Meeting Rhythm

While you may already know that a lot of communication occurs in unproductive meetings, some reports that show that “employees spend 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings”.

Team Meeting Infographic

So, how can you put a stop to unproductive meetings that everyone hates and start using the right team meeting rhythm?

Topics and Activities for Your Meetings

Ultimately, the main goal of the team meeting rhythm is to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This means that there should be some scheduled team meetings which objective is to set goals, reporting, and accountability. These meetings should be regularly scheduled and the information that is gathered on each one of the meetings should then cascade through the organization in a quick and efficient manner.

Within your small business, you should make sure that you have scheduled 5 different meetings:

#1: Daily Meeting (or Team Huddle)

The daily meeting should only take a couple of minutes depending on how many members your team has. Ultimately, the daily meeting has two main goals:

  • Keep your team up to speed and aware of what each one has to do.
  • Create extra pressure from the peers for people who aren’t making the effort they need to make.

This meeting should gather everyone, even if some members are out of the office for some reason. In this case, set up a conference call. You can also use video and screen share tools such as www.zoom.us .

As we already mentioned, the daily meeting should be short. After all, no one wants to get to the office and sit in a conference room for 3 hours. So, during the daily meeting, you need to ensure that every team member has the time to speak and each one speech should cover three different aspects:

  • What they did yesterday
  • What they will be working on today
  • What are the bottlenecks?

Remember that the goal of this meeting is not finding solutions. It is only for everyone to be aware of what they have done yesterday, of what they will do today and the bottlenecks that may have appeared in their way.

#2: Weekly Meeting:

The main goal of the weekly meeting is to have everyone involved with strategic decision making. Unlike the daily meeting, in the weekly meeting, there will be decisions made. After all, with all team members participating, it will be easier to decide on what each one needs to do to ensure that the small business reaches its goals. As the facilitator, you want to make one or more decisions on actions that result from this meeting.

The weekly meeting should last between 1 and 2 hours and it should include the following topics:

  • Review of the KPI of the week
  • Defining the KPI’s for the next week
  • Determining the strategic goals for the next week.

#3: Monthly Meeting:

The main goal of a monthly meeting is to make decisions about key issues for the small business and it should include mid-level and senior leadership teams.

Since the main goal is to make decisions, monthly meetings need to be longer. They usually last between 1 and 2 hours and they should take place in the morning when everyone is fresh.

This is the meeting where the managers from each department make an update about the key decisions and results of the past month as well as it is also the time to brainstorm solutions to any problems or concerns that may have arisen. During this meeting, it may also be necessary to review any potential opportunities for training or education.

Ultimately, a monthly meeting will improve the communication skills of the middle management team, the delegation, the management, and leadership.

Summing it all up, the monthly meeting is the time to:

  • Review the past month KPI’s as well as defining the KPI’s for the next month
  • Review the monthly goals that were set in the previous month and defining new goals for the next month
  • Determining the need for learning and training.
  • Updating your action plan.

#4: Quarterly Meeting:

The quarterly meeting usually takes a bit longer than the monthly meeting. So, one of the things that many small businesses do is that they make the meeting out of the office.

With this meeting, the main goal is to evaluate how the last quarter of the business was in terms of performance. In addition, it is also the time to brainstorm priorities and targets for the next quarter.

In terms of the people attending this meeting, some businesses prefer to only have the executive team while others like to include all team members. We believe that the second one is a better approach.

During the quarterly meeting, there are some topics that should be discussed:

  • Review of the quarterly KPI’s and defining the new KPI’s for the new quarter.
  • Review of the quarterly goals and setting up new goals for the next quarter.

#5: Annual Planning Meeting:

During the annual meeting, you should think about your business performance over the previous year. Usually, the leadership team determines the annual priorities and targets for the upcoming year as well as reviews employee perceptions and long-term goals. This is the time to review your strategic plan: your vision, value and mission, your KPI’s, your goals and your actions. You are setting goals for the upcoming year, creating a budget and taking your team through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) exercise to determine priorities for the upcoming year.

Conclusion

A right team meeting rhythm done right will move your business forward by empowering your employees through a shared vision and teamwork. Creating a strategic plan is a good beginning, but team meetings ensure that you are deploying your plan. Here’s an article about strategic-plan-for-your-small-business/”>creating a strategic plan for your business.

 

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Using a Team Meeting System for an Electrical Distributor

Team Meeting System

This week I will be writing about using a Team Meeting System. This is a disciplined rhythm of recurring team meetings focused on goal-setting, alignment, reporting, and accountability that occur on an annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily basis.

I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we are achieving significant results. We have 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business under the categories of growth, profits and freedom. So, when we improve your performance, your business will run better.

Randy’s Electrical Distribution Company

Randy is our business hero of the week. He was referred to me by another client. When he got in touch, he had experienced a theft in his business that cost him more than $100,000. Randy is near retirement and we are working to prepare his business for new leadership.

Coaching Modules For Randy’s Electrical Distribution Company

As we began working on his business, we recognized the need for several of our Coaching Modules. These included a Strategic Plan, Key Performance Indicators, a Break-Even Plan, a Comprehensive Exit Strategy and a Team Meeting System. We focused on the need to improve Randy’s gross margin which was below industry norms.

There are two ways to increase your gross margins: 1. Increase your profit on your products or services and/or 2. Decrease the cost of your products and services.

The Implementation Of The Team Meeting Rhythm

In Randy’s business, there were some employees who had great ideas about how to buy inventory low and sell it for a higher profit. So, we wanted to increase teamwork and information share within the team. After developing Randy’s Strategic Plan we met with the team to share the direction of the business and to get team buy-in. Then we decided to put in place a Team Meeting Rhythm with his team.

Results For Randy’s Electrical Distribution Company

As Randy met with his team they began to brainstorm on ways to improve profits. This new focus improved morale and they were able to celebrate a number of successes. The result was almost immediate; his margins began to increase month over month. At this point, their gross profits have increased more than $100,000 per year.

“Alan Melton as helped me see and discuss things that I wouldn’t see otherwise. We have set goals to improve profitability and productivity. Alan helped us with our team concept including communications and regular meetings. The areas that you have helped us implement have improved our Gross Margins by more than 2.5%.”

Congratulations Randy for implementing a Team Meeting System and for seeing your business and employees prosper! You are a true business hero and an inspiration to us. You can view a bus company using a break-even plan here.

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