301 Great Management Ideas: From America's Most Innovative Small Companies

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9781880394212: 301 Great Management Ideas: From America's Most Innovative Small Companies
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Scores of new ideas freshly selected from today's most innovative growing companies.

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Idea #66 Write on the Money
You want visibility in your industry, but a full-page, four-color ad in a trade magazine can run into thousands of dollars. Ron Harper, chairman of Harper Companies International, a spending a lot of money. Harper offered a $500 bonus to any employee who could write a technical article and get it published in a trade magazine. The first 10 people who met the challenge cost the company "the articles have a lot more credibility than an ad." To boost editorial productivity, the company line up a local freelance writer whom the employees could work with for a share of their $500. That took away some of the hesitation of people who wanted to try but were shy about their writing skills.

Idea # 217:Plot Out Cash Flow

The biggest challenge for any young company is "making sure that you have enough capital to begin with and that it will last long enough to determine whether or not the business is viable," says Norm Brodsky, CEO of CitiPostal, in Brooklyn, N.Y. The best way to get your business to the point where it can survive without outside capital is to write a business plan, which Brodsky terms "essentially your best guess as to how you're going to get there. Basic is better. "I don't mean anything elaborate," says Brodsky. "What I'm talking about is a modified, down-and-dirty income statement and cash-flow statement, real simple. A reasonable expectation of sales by month for a year." Writing a detailed month-by-month plan, he says, makes you figure out exactly what you're expecting to sell per day. When Brodsky helped advise a pair of entrepreneurial novices on their first venture, he said to them, "Let's take July. What can you do in July?" The couple planned to sell $20,000 worth of product, and Brodsky pointed out that with 20 working days in a month, "that's $1,000 per day. An average order is $40, so you're talking about 25 orders a day, three orders an hour, an order every 20 minutes. for a whole month. Can you do it?" The goal of the exercise, Brodsky emphasizes, is not to dampen enthusiasm. For that couple, he says, the answer was "maybe yes, maybe no. The point was to make sure they were dealing with reality."

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