"Why oh why do they believe someone else?"

I was with Bob, a business owner the other day and he asked:

"Paul, Why is it that when I suggest and idea to my staff, they don't act on it – then you or someone else tells them the same thing and they act as though it's the first time they've heard it?"

"Bob" I said. "Have you ever heard the saying that a prophet isn't recognised in their own land" Well; it's true!
1. When the boss tells his or her people that a certain way of achieving more is brilliant – some of the people think that the boss has a hidden agenda.
2. When someone from outside the business explains the same ideas they usually come at the problem from a different perspective.
3. The person from outside the business may be (or should be) skilled at presentations.
4. People believe authority figures.

You see; part of the problem lies within the inaccuracy of the old expression which glibly states: You have to be heard to be believed

When the reality is: You have to be believed to be heard

So can you be more effective in communicating new ideas to your staff?

1. If the idea came from a book – give everyone a copy of it. That's what I did with a book I was so taken with about business organisation. It was called "The E-Myth Revisited" the author is Michael E. Gerber. And, I so loved the ideas that I bought all the members of my team a copy and we used some Gerber's ideas to help re-organise , and improve the efficiency of our business.
2. If the idea came from a TV or radio programme – play the programme at a team meeting.
3. If you have yearly meetings – get a professional speaker to present their (and your) ideas at that meeting.
4. Get recommendations from others who've used the ideas.

Two of the key factors in persuasion are authority and social proof. If you can use those, perhaps you can get your people to believe.
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Does your business have the right workflow model?

Does your business have the right workflow model?

Over the past five years, I have visited most of the centres in the network. One of the most common characteristics that I find is that centres tend to have an evolved workflow. The centres workflow may have been thought out several years ago, but custom and practice will have changed the workflow pattern over time. The result of this is often less than ideal.

Not many design and print businesses would survive today by using the same business model that was used ten years ago, so using a ten year old workflow could be costing you money. This is an ideal time to look critically at your centres workflow and modernise it if necessary.

Centres that have both litho and digital production usually run parallel workflows. This article is mainly concerned with the digital workflow. Is your digital workflow as automated as it could be? Why automate? There are several reasons to automate some aspects of your digital workflow.
  • Handle more jobs automatically.
  • Operators often have less focus on repetitive jobs. This leads to more errors - and more reprints, so automation can lead to fewer errors.
  • You probably already have the technology, so little or no additional investment.
  • Greater productivity.
  • Less waste

Every error is lost time, lost profit, and a potential lost customer.

So how can you reduce errors by automating more of the process without making a large investment in new equipment?

Any print MIS system should have the facility to create job templates. PrintSmith, for example, will save any estimate or invoice as an invoice template, or any job as a job template. Using job templates in PrintSmith will enable you to incorporate all the required charges and job notes into the template whilst leaving you the freedom to edit any aspect of the job. This will help to drive consistency through the workflow, thereby reducing mistakes and omissions. Older versions of PrintSmith required you to manually copy any template created to all the other workstations. The current version (8.1.x) is able to save any template to the shared templates folder on the PS master. I have noticed that very few centres use templates effectively, but those that do, derive significant benefit from them.

Using PrintSmith site is a way of channeling your customers orders directly onto your workflow. The latest version is much more user friendly than previous versions. A small investment is required, to but it remains competitively priced compared to other on-line ordering systems, and it is the only one that integrates directly into PrintSmith.

If you have a digital colour production machine, you may already be using an EFI Fiery controller that will accept JDF digital job tickets from PrintSmith. I’ll be writing more about this in the new year.

Whatever MIS system you are using, It’s only as good as the information it contains. The quiet week at the start of January is the perfect time to ensure that your stock prices, press, copier and charge definitions are correct and up to date. Because none of the innovations mentioned in this article will will be of any use if they are not.
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Its all about the money!

Happy, as I am, to help anyone with management, training, or sales & marketing issues, I’ve always sought assistance for myself where finance is concerned. I have been fortunate to benefit from the advice of a number of financial experts over the years. One of the most useful and practical of my advisers has been Phil Wilson. Phil’s advice and guidance helped to ensure the success, not to mention the survival of my previous business through two recessions.
Phil now heads up a consultancy called Franchise Insight
http://franchiseinsight.co.uk. The services that he offers are not only limited to franchising and would be of great benefit to any small business.
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