If we don’t control our business, someone will.  Maybe they will do a better job than we can, maybe they won’t, but my goal is to be able to control my business and still empower my employees to contribute in a meaningful way.  This goal has driven me to evaluate many ways to monitor areas of my business while allowing others to do the day to day control.  Monitoring is the first step to being able to evaluate and control our businesses.

I spent many years without the proper information to properly manage my businesses.  Partly because I did not understand the value of the information, and partly because I really didn’t know how to gather it.  I know we have alluded to these functions before, but we still see it on a daily basis.  People who want control of portions of their business, but have no idea how to get it, or people with areas of their business that are out of control, that have no real idea of the actual impact to profitability and competitiveness.  I don’t think that any business is exempt from these issues, and even if you just evaluated it, chances are that there is room for great improvement.

We continually find that two areas that are uncontrolled in many of our clients.  Print costs and IT costs. Both printed material and IT support are necessary for all of us to continue in business, but we often see that they approached in a manner that does not monitor effectiveness, value, or overhead requirements.  Both are fairly easy to monitor, but you have to be willing to not only monitor them, but evaluate and consider if they are actually propelling your business or holding it back.

Are you over or under achieving when it comes to IT implementation and print cost?  Do you know how much you have spent in the last year?  What does it actually cost to print a page in your organization?  When do you need to call the geek?  Do you have some plans for how these costs are managed, or are they viewed as necessary evils?

You monitor and evaluate insurance costs, travel expenses, gas consumption, payroll, and a host of other expenses.  You evaluate whether or not the return on investment is adequate to keep investing at the current levels or if change is due.  Taking a look at these two cost areas could add a sizable chunk to your bottom line.