Enhance Your Profit with this 12-Step Plan

Chances are, you have some great ideas on ways to increase profits at your company. But it takes more than ideas to make progress. It takes specific goals and a plan that will put feet under your ideas.

Set up a profit enhancement road map within the next year at your company by following these 12 steps:

1. Select critical profit projects you want to work on and determine the target results for each project. For example, you may want to increase sales by 10 percent or reduce order-processing time by one day.

2. Assign a "Profit Champion" on your staff for each project. This person will be responsible for heading up and monitoring the effort.

3. List the benefits of each project. These might involve the company, manager, staff or customers.

4. Predict outside roadblocks. Identify obstacles and determine how you will deal with them. These might involve other departments, management, customers or suppliers.

5. Anticipate why your Profit Champions might go off track. When employees have to start doing things differently, they may veer off course. For example, let's say the sales people have to meet one night a week to get the extra training needed.

6. Determine how results will be measured and establish employee rewards. Creating long-and-short-term rewards will help keep employees on board and motivated to reach your profit goals.

7. List resources required to accomplish the project. Resources might include information, field experts, time with executive management, and even intangibles such as support dealing with other employees. Make sure your Profit Champions have access to the resources and are empowered to use them.

8. Break the profit project down into subtasks. List the activities your Profit Champions need to perform to accomplish the goal.

9. Assign due dates for each subtask. Keep deadlines reasonable.

10. Make a "to-do" list for each subtask. Start with the earliest due date.

11. Keep in contact with your Profit Champions. Hold employees to deadlines and reporting requirements. In meetings, ask them if they have any additional thoughts for profit ideas seeded by the work they've been doing.

12. Empower your staff members to make real and lasting change. Coach your Profit Champions to overcome obstacles, experiment with new ideas and succeed.

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