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2.28.24 – SSIPaul Boucherle

The difference between projecting and results (profit) is budget variances. Projected costs minus actual costs equals cost variance.

Managing your financials — and increasing your profit — can be challenging on a good day. On a bad day, I hope you like surprises!

The difference between projecting (prophet) and realizing actual results (profit) is budget variances. The simple formula is projected costs minus actual costs equals cost variance. Positive number good. Applied to revenue, projected revenue minus actual revenue equals revenue variance. Negative number good.

You can see with my detailed analysis that I was challenged with cost accounting courses in college! You get the picture. Let’s get negative about your revenue to be more successful. Weird, huh?

Profitability as a commercial system integrator is more challenging than ever these days. It is a complex issue to get so many factors right for success. It involves excellence in marketing, selling, operational execution, and customer service.

Done right, they are the foundation of a profitable enterprise. They add competitive advantage in the form of differentiation of your business value to   prospects and build loyalty with existing customers. What are the roadblocks to your success?

Competition comes to mind. How do your competitors win more proposals when you compete for opportunities? Do they steal your long-term customers? Are they bigger than you? Do they undercut your most competitive pricing?

Do they offer better technological solutions than you do? Are you too slow to adopt new product solutions? Do they innovate, communicate, respond faster, and know their customers’ business better than you do, with a more cohesive team and game plan?

I would suggest the last one is the one you can improve upon to be more profitable in your business. It is also the one element you can control with the right mindset, training and execution that will, without a doubt, build your business. Why?

Taking Steps Toward Increased Profit

I have walked in your shoes as a system integrator where profit and cash flow determine winners and losers. This experience enhanced my experience as a security business consultant advising others. What are steps you should consider? An analogy may help.

Think of sports teams that on paper, based on talent, history, and tough conferences have exceeded expectations in amazing ways. OK, I am a Browns fan. What made them punch and play above their weight class against overwhelming odds?

Could it have been leadership skills of excellent coaching, a common goal, cohesion as a team, motivation, and teamwork? They never let a team member’s failure define the outcome of a game. They had each other’s back, win, or lose. Does this describe your team today?

If it does, it’s because they are bonded together, they communicate support, and move past short-term failures to improve and win games, period. This starts with the leadership of the head coach and the culture they instill with their vision and commitment for team success.

Here are some suggestions I will share in this series that can help business owners and management teams achieve these goals in “practical and tactical” ways. Let’s get started with the first element of our process for success. These are not “fairy dust” solutions, but ones that are field proven, if you are willing to commit to success.

1) Set a clear vision of your desired success. This is the long-term vision that is not overthought, overly complex, but rather focuses on clarity and simplicity. “We will be the #1 or #2 preferred system integrator with (health, financial, manufacturer) in our region in 18 months…”

This vision is not formulated in a vacuum. It requires input from your team before you finalize the vision. They must “see” that vision clearly and “hear” it in their unique communication style. What will this take to work?

2) Know your team, their communication styles, and cast a wide net to gain vision feedback. Be willing to actively listen, without judgement, then objectively evaluate the feedback. This can be difficult for founders/owners who built the business. Parking your ego and tongue is the first order in this process.

We suggest a simple and cost-effective first step. Assess your team with a DiSC (dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness) profile and gain knowledge of how the team will “hear” you. We provide this service, as do others. Once you understand how your team will “hear” your message, you can leverage their input more effectively to reach your vision.

I will share three other key elements in the next installment of this column, so stay tuned…if I got your attention!

Go win more consistently as a team!