It was  graph that changed my life

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    A graph sketched on a whiteboard completely changed my perspective on what and where I do. I was a participant in a seminar and, as is often the case, we were asked to do a brief presentation on what we do.

    I work in the bricks and mortar world helping small businesses improve their profitability. Small business owners are often people who start their business because they are good at what they do. They have spent years developing their skills as a tradesman, IT tech or whatever and decide start their own business.

    And for a while they succeed, because they are undoubtedly good at their trade. But the time they have spent acquiring their trade has not necessarily equipped them with financial management or marketing skills. A line I often use is
    you working long hours but seeing little reward? Wondering why your bottom line
    is so small when you've getting the sales? Do you feel like you're writing checks and paying seemingly endless
    bills...? Do you feel you're running on
    the spot, going nowhere when you really need to get ahead?"+

    To get pack to the point, at the workshop I illustrated what I wad doing by showing a graph a client had done for an iternal report. The graph showed their bank balance and their sales over a two year period. In 2004 their bank balance was continually in the red, whereas in the second year, it was in the black. However the sales lines for the two years were virtually identical, overlapping each other. The difference was of course that in the second year the sales were profitable, whilst many were not in the first year.

    I was asked to explain what had changed, and explained the process of problem identification and change I took the company through.

    "Aha", said the workshop facilitator, "you find and fix profit leaks!" So a new concpet was born, a concpet I could take on line.

    PS - I'm down in Australia