DALLAS — Business owners in the drycleaning industry pride themselves on their work ethic.
Go to any drycleaning and laundry convention and you’ll hear amazing stories of hard-working drycleaning entrepreneurs who stayed up until midnight pressing shirts or came in at 3 a.m. to make sure that orders were ready the next day. Dry cleaners who aren’t willing to get up early, stay late or work the press are considered lazy and doomed to fail.
While it’s tempting to believe that the desire to avoid the hard work of drycleaning production is “lazy,” I would argue that it is absolutely critical to your long-term success as an owner.
In fact, thinking lazy is the only way that you will be able to realize your business’ full potential. You’re asking yourself: What does he mean?
To think lazy, it is absolutely critical that you shut down the computer, turn off the phone, take a day outside of the office, and think about your goals from both a personal and professional level.
What goal do you want your business to achieve?
Do you want your drycleaning operation to produce a set amount of income per year?
Do you want your drycleaning business to provide opportunities for your family members?
Do you want your drycleaning store to sell for a certain price?
Do you want your drycleaning operation to go public?
The next step you take in thinking lazy will be heavily determined based on your answers to those questions.
A drycleaning owner who wants to go public will have very different answers to thinking lazy than someone who wants to make $100,000 per year in income, so it is critical to define those goals before moving forward.
To keep it simple, let’s assume that your goal is to make $100,000 per year in income. That’s a great goal and definitely achievable in our industry.
However, it’s one thing to be making $100,00 per year as an owner who presses shirts, works the counter and gets up at 3 a.m. to fix the boiler. It’s another to do it while playing golf four days a week.
Which leads to the next question you have to ask yourself: “How do I achieve my goal with the least amount of effort?”
FOUR LAZY QUESTIONS
Now that you know your goal, it’s critical to perform an audit of all the work you do in a day.
Do you spend most of your time in production? Are you dealing with customer issues? Whatever it is, make a full list of the work you do in a week and how much time you spend on it.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a simple Excel log will do the trick. The next step is to go through each of these tasks one by one asking four simple questions: Can this work be prevented? Can this work be outsourced? Can this work be automated? Can this work be trained?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then thinking lazy requires that you shouldn’t be doing it.
To illustrate, let’s take the example of dealing with customer service issues. Many drycleaning owners spend a fair amount of time fielding calls, dealing with claims and other customer service issues.
However, if we apply the four questions to this customer service example, it becomes clear how easily this work could be eliminated from the drycleaning owner’s plate:
1. Can this work be prevented?
Some of it can, absolutely. If we minimize damaged and lost garments in production, we will eliminate claims calls. If we provide information more clearly on the website, the customer won’t need to call in the first place.
2. Can this work be outsourced?
Yes. There are a number of outsourced call centers now that can be found online and will field the majority of questions.
3. Can this work be automated?
Yes. There are phone services you can get that will provide answers to the most common questions, such as store hours, locations, turnaround time, and more.
4. Can this work be trained?
Yes. You can teach any friendly staff member to deal with customer service issues.
By applying the thinking lazy approach and asking these four questions regarding the major tasks you do on a daily basis, you can make your business run more efficiently and free up your life.
There’s an old saying: “Great managers makes themselves obsolete.” The same idea holds true for great business owners. By thinking lazy, you’ll be on your way!
To read Part 1, go HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].