Idea Box: How to Use Leverage to Improve Your Business & Maybe Your Quality of Life
Can You Use Leverage to Improve Your Business?
Date Posted: 4/2/2018
Leverage is a verb that means to use something to maximum advantage. The idea of leverage in business has been around for a while. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins emphasizes leverage as a principle you should consciously employ in order to become successful and happy.
As the owner or key employee at a pallet or lumber business, it will serve you well to become aware of this concept and actively look for ways to use it in your business life.
Your pallet or lumber business places a lot on your plate each day; there are a variety of different tasks you must get done in order for the business to run smoothly and to achieve your business goals. Using leverage means you find ways to get those tasks done more efficiently. The idea is to free up time so that you can do the activities that will generate the most value for your business or to simply give you a better quality of life.
So how do you start using leverage? One way to get started is to get out pen and paper and make two lists. First, list the things that are taking up your time right now and assess which of these items provides the least value and takes up the most time. Then you should also make a list of higher value things you may want to do, but just never seem to get around to.
After you’ve made both lists, look at the first list of those items that take up a lot of your time and give them a rating as to how much value they really generate for your pallet or lumber business. The item or items that take up the most time, but don’t generate as much value, are candidates for applying leverage.
For example, you might spend a lot of time on bookkeeping, invoicing or some kind of administrative task. If that’s the case, you can easily find a bookkeeping service, accountant, or virtual assistant that can either take these items off your plate entirely or reduce the time spent on them.
You can then look at the second list of items that you should be doing to generate more value for your business. Review the list and assess whether you can free up enough time through leverage to budget more time to work on generating strategic value.
Let’s say you put “sales and marketing” on your list. If you had more time, could you generate more sales or do more to work on your marketing? For this situation, you may be able to find cost-effective services that you could leverage to improve your sales and marketing. This may simply mean doing more than you have in the past. If you do very little marketing each year, maybe go to a trade show or place a few ads. Or applying leverage could be finding affordable resources to do other types of marketing you don’t know how to do yourself.
The Gig Economy: Virtual Assistants & Leverage
One of the ways to achieve leverage that has emerged in the past few years is the so called “gig economy.” The most well-known example is probably Uber or Lyft where people become part-time drivers to earn extra money. Well, for your pallet or lumber business you should know there are other marketplaces such as Upwork.com and Fiverr.com where you can go and affordably buy services for everything from simple bookkeeping to highly sophisticated digital design and programing services. In these gig economy marketplaces, it’s easy to start small to test the waters because you can just pay for what you need piecemeal.
For example, let’s say you want a new logo for your website or you want a press release to announce an event. You simply find an artist or writer on these sites, send your requirements, place your order, and get your finished product. Gradually, you can leverage these virtual resources more heavily as you gain more experience using them and become more comfortable and adept using them.
There are also companies online specializing in providing virtual assistants who can be U.S.-based or located overseas. A virtual assistant or VA can take a plethora of tasks off your plate and help you do things ranging from reports, email marketing, creating presentations, scheduling and much more. Because of the wide range of service levels and types of people who can be your virtual assistants, it is again easy to start out with a small budget to test whether a VA is right for you and will really give you the leverage you need to accomplish more for your business.
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