Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tighter and Tigher: More than Layoffs and What You Can Do About It

Quickly frankly, the only response to this scary scenario is to lead the charge in your organization to cut costs. It doesn’t matter if you are not a manager or do not have any authority over anyone. No boss is going to be upset that someone on the team took some initiative to save the company money.

Start acting like it is your business and come up with ideas to save money…then elicit the help of your co-workers. Lead by example by starting with the little, easy things. Turn off computers and monitors and the office lights every night. Remind your co-workers constantly. Be a pest. Post signs over all light switches that read, “Turn off the lights when you leave.”

Switch all the printers to double-sided printing and ink-saving draft mode. Better yet….have a goal not to print anything unless it is for a client. Encourage your co-workers not to print anything either.

There must be hundred of little things around the office that you don’t even think about…that are costing thousands and thousands of dollars.

Do you really need to buy a book (and expense it) to learn how to program in excel so you can finish the report for your boss, or can you get a book from the library or read some free articles on the internet?

Once you get the ball rolling on the little things, why not start going after bigger ideas. Organize a team of volunteers throughout your company and call yourselves the “The Company Cost-Cutters (CCC).” Meet weekly to discuss what you saved last week and what more could you save next week. Ask your boss to open up the budget and expense reports to show how much you are saving. Celebrate when ever expenses fall because of an idea you implemented.

Be out in the lead on this one…and suggest to your boss even bigger ideas like temporarily suspending the 401K match or eliminating bonuses, raises and promotions for a while. Think of all the things people do that waste time. All those things you talk about in the office when you, “I can’t believe we do it this way.” Time wasting processes are a huge drain on expenses. Come up with ideas for eliminating those wasting steps. Come up with a “Stop Doing List.*

This type of initiative says you feel it too and want to help sustain the organization for the long-term.

Be out in the lead on this one. In other words, do it to yourself before someone does it to you.

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