Working ON The Business Vs. Working IN The Business

You’re like me, right? 

You own your own business; maybe even two or three. So you get up early to check on what happened last night? What was the business like? What problems or issues came up? Who called in sick? Did the money get to the bank?
Eventually you get so caught up IN the business that you have NO time to work ON the business.  Oh you still have time to BS, complain and maybe even moan and groan…and rush to sure up a program because its fallen off a bit.  Feel like a guy with too few thumbs and too many holes in your dike?
Sure you do.
That’s why I have decided that one Sunday a month; usually the second one cause I can get to look back on the previous month (as well as make sure that some external data I need is available) , I take a two or three hour time out.  (If you go to church on Sunday, then do this on Saturday.) 
During This Time Out I Review Five Key Areas:
1.   Sales
2.  Competition
3.  External Forces
4.  Test New Ideas
5.  Process
Can I spot any trends in my sales by program, by day, by time, by shift?  Has there been a change in food or beverage product sales? 
What’s different over the last month compared to last year same month, previous one or two months and by cycle?
Now the one piece of data you MUST have, to do this analysis is you must know the number of games bowled.  Too, too many of you do not track games.  You cannot, absolutely cannot understand your business today if you do not have that number. It is the “hub of all analysis. If you don’t have that number how can you measure your per line rate for open play, league play, food, beverage, shoes.
With this information you now have a global perspective of my sales as well as a macro view because you have drilled down pretty far to find out what is working and what isn’t working.
If you just have the dollars and you raised your price over last year, then your price increase could be hiding a lineage drop.  How would you know?

I like to get sales data for my metro area (city, town, etc) on entertainment and leisure dollars spent in the previous month.
You can Google this information or you can get it from the local chamber of commerce.  I like to see if more dollars were spent that month or less and if restaurants, movies etc reported more dollars or less dollars spent than the previous month or compared to the same month last year.
It may take you a little time to find this, but wouldn’t you like to know why your “entertainment business is off while other entertainment businesses are up?
I also like to visit other bowling centers. (I usually do this after my mid-morning bagel and coffee run).
I check what new things they are doing? What does their website look like; what new social media things have they done on Facebook, You Tube, Pinterest etc.
Is there anything they are doing that I can learn from?  Then I check out some of my proprietor friends who I know are good operators in other states and see what they are doing. 
More information yields more analysis which equals more new ideas or improvement on existing ideas.
TEST 1-2-3
Now I have  lots of new information; maybe when I look at my website home page I can use this information to test some new ideas; maybe put something new on my home page; get a new landing page; and test some new offers. 

I try to pick one process that will hopefully move the sales needle; maybe its customer service.  I write down what I think are the 4 or 5 most frequently asked questions we get on a phone call and then draft a response for everyone to use when those types of calls come in. 
Frequent questions might be things like:
·         Do you have any specials?
·         Are there available lanes?
·         Can you give me information about birthday parties?
·         When does your cosmic bowling start?
·         Can you tell me about accompany party/group outing or family reunion program?
After writing down the answers I remind myself to meet with the staff and see if they have other questions that are more frequent than the ones I wrote down. We then go over the answers and agree that we will answer the questions according to the “script”.  I then tell the staff that I will have friends test the program by calling the center, not to catch them doing something bad, but to give them feedback on how to improve on future calls.
By the time I’m finished its football time and I can settle back in my recliner knowing that I have spent 3 or 4 solid hours working ON my business and not IN it.
It’s a great feeling.
All of these things are so important for your business to grow…so set aside a Sunday or Saturday once a month and “get ‘er done.”

About Fred Kaplowitz
Marketing is in my DNA. I love to solve problems and meet challenges head on and I have successfully produced results for hundreds of clients. I love what I do and love helping to make my clients more successful and happier. I am a husband and father, consultant, a coach, a teacher, a motivator, a copy- writer, and a speaker. I look forward to working with anyone searching for a proven methodology out of mediocrity. May I assist you in taking your business to the next level. Please call me now @ 516 359 4874 to review your business goals and strategies.

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