About Workforce Echoes

Monday, January 25, 2010


In our last blog we told a story about a gourmet bakery that turned into a pizza shop.  Today we take a look at what went wrong.

To begin with, if your one and only goal is to make money however it can be made, then perhaps turning your dream bakery into a pizza shop is no big deal.  “Go with the flow” may be your philosophy.  There is nothing wrong with that if it works for you; but in the previous story, the owner ended up shutting down.  He had not intended to become a pizza shop!  It happened slowly with seemingly small daily decisions.  He was focused on solving the problem of the day rather than looking into the future. 

So what went wrong for this new business owner?  First, the owner noticed his sales from the bakery items dropping.  Instead of doing some research, talking to customers, and brainstorming with employees, he got busy making pizza.  He was so busy that he never found time to look beyond what had to be done today.

Secondly, the owner did not make his decisions based upon his vision or long range goals.  Instead, he made a decision based on what would help him out immediately.   This decision making method may relieve some stress for the day, but tends to create problems in the future.   His concern that sales were dropping made him jump at the first opportunity that arose.  It solved an immediate need, but destroyed future opportunity.   More importantly, the most successful business owners like what they do.  They have a vision for their lives and their work and they work towards this every day.  When an opportunity comes along that does not fit their vision, it doesn’t bother them to say “no.”  They are willing to be creative and adapt, but always with an eye towards their vision. 

What do you like to do and what is the vision for your company or department?  This vision or purpose is what will keep you motivated.  Consider whether today’s decision will keep you on course towards your vision or take you on a completely unchartered path you did not intend.

Just starting a business?  I highly recommend reading The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Surviving or Thriving?

Surviving or Thriving?
Frank left his high power executive’s position to open a bakery.  It had always been his dream and finally he was prepared to make the leap.  After six months of hard work, his new bakery opened.  Breakfast pastries, desserts, and wedding cakes were his specialties.  Business was great for the first three months but then fell off significantly.  Frank quickly grew very concerned about his small and declining profit margin.  What was going wrong?
His bakery had been open for five months when a man came into his shop and asked if Frank made pizza.  Frank answered “no, we are a bakery.” 
The man replied “Yes I do love your pastries.  However I need someone to make 125 pizzas for me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  It’s for large groups of teens we regularly host for training programs.  Our training center is right across the street and I was just hoping you could help us out.  We may need orders on occasional Saturday’s as well.”

Well, Frank’s eyes lit up as he calculated the profit he could make on a regular basis.  He hated pizza, had no interest in making it, but after some discussion, he agreed.  At least it would bring in some profit while he figured out how to make his bakery work.
The pizzas were a big hit.  The teens loved them so much that they frequented Frank’s bakery asking for pizza!  Frank had to add them to his menu.  Pretty soon, 70% of his revenues were from pizza.  He and his staff were so busy making pizza that little time was left to focus on the bakery items.  Customers that did come in for bakery items were disappointed at the slim selection.  Frank was so busy keeping up with the pizza business that no time was left for the planning, creative problem solving, and marketing needed to get his bakery back on track. 
Six months later, Frank shut down his bakery turned pizza shop.  He hated making pizzas.  It was not his dream.  
What went wrong?  Actually Frank never took the time to determine what went wrong when his bakery sales dropped. 
Is your business a gourmet bakery turned pizza shop?   Is your business focused on surviving rather than thriving?  Our next blog postings will focus on what went wrong and how to avoid this all too common problem.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Workforce Echoes Changing

This posting marks the official beginning to a totally new format and purpose for our blog. We’ll save the informative articles for our newsletter. As of today, this blog will focus on the challenges of opening and managing a business. Our blog will offer real experiences, practical advice, ideas, and stories of successes and failures. We’ll also provide links to great articles, recommendations for books, and links to resources that may be helpful for entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, or those of you who simply get bored easily and like to hear new ideas.

We will also keep you up-to-date on an important company goal. As a business, we value creativity and NOT doing something simply because it’s the way we’ve always done it. The world is changing too fast for that mindset. Plus, we get bored easily! We also value continual learning and our motto is “keep moving forward.” So, for Workforce Echoes we’ve challenged ourselves, as a business, to do at least 12 completely new things this calendar year. We’re looking at our annual goals, at new learning opportunities, new technology, new services, new certifications, new blog formats (!!) and all sorts of other potential NEW things to try. Some might be good, some might not work out as planned. We’ll live and learn and describe the experiences. Do you have any ideas for something new? Send them our way or let us know your own experiences.

Stay tuned!