Archive for November, 2009

Blazing a New Path in Tough Economic Times

It strikes me that far too many people have gotten caught up in the never ending wave of negativity coming across the airwaves.   We are bombarded 24/7 with stories about layoffs, unemployment and foreclosures.   The truth is that things aren’t as bad as they seem, especially if you focusing on achieving your goals the old fashioned way by relying on yourself.  This is a foreign concept to many, yet it was self reliance that is the cornerstone of the very foundation upon which our nation was built.  

In my newly released book, Kicked to the Curb: 20 Essential Rules For Coming Out On Top When Your World Has Been Turned Upside Down, there is a great deal of discussion surrounding some very basic and fundamental steps that can be taken to achieve success in a sluggish economy.    Little things like networking and developing plans can play a big role in stepping beyond the challenges of today and creating the opportunities of tomorrow. 

The truth is that there is a silver lining in this economic downturn.   Amidst all the doom and gloom, there is a new generation of innovators who have been kicked to the curb.  They have succumbed to mergers, consolidations, bankruptcies, downsizing or any other of the myriad of reasons people are losing their jobs.  They also recognize that the job market in America will never again be the same and they are seizing this opportunity to blaze their own path to success.  

Just casually watching the news, you will realize that we are seeing a dramatic increase in the role of government in our lives.  From stimulus packages to healthcare for all, government is seeking to be the solution without any admission of complicity in causing, and more importantly, prolonging this recession.   Be this good or bad, the economic uncertainty that is being created has pushed big business back on their heels.  They are, and will continue to be, hamstrung by a new onslaught of mandates, regulations and taxes.   Simply put, businesses are not hiring full time employees which means that the end of the recession is nowhere in sight. 

Many economists predict that reported unemployment will be in the 10% range for the foreseeable future.  Actually unemployment, which includes the millions of Americans who have given up, will be closer to 18%.   So what is the solution?  Use this opportunity to forge your own path and find your own millions. 

Now is the time to capitalize on the realization that government mandates are going to continue to push companies away from traditional hiring practices.  Companies can, and will, trim their staff substantially by outsourcing nearly every type of job function.   Over the past two decades, they have realized that outsourcing such areas as call centers can provide a big benefit to their bottom line.   The next wave of outsourcing is set to begin as they eliminate headcount to circumvent more government mandates.  Prime candidates for bottom line optimization now include areas such as sales, human resources, payroll and accounts receivable.  

The key to individual success, is to jump into this cottage industry and leverage your expertise to develop the very business partners of which I speak.   When I speak of finding millions, that is precisely what I do in the face of the great recession.  By assisting my client’s, I can find opportunities in their workflow to minimize costs and maximize profits.  

Whether you are a business looking for opportunities or an individual who has been kicked to the curb, we have developed a tried and true method to find money that is currently being left on the table.   Best of all, no new money is ever required from our client’s. 

Chris Tidball is the Vice President of Business Development at Sequoia Financial Services of Glendale, California.   He former executive with multiple top 10 insurance carriers who developed a proprietary analytic for finding money that was being left on the table.  He is also the author of Kicked to the Curb:Twenty Rules for Coming Out On Top When Your World Has Been Turned Upside Down.   For more information, please call (904) 742-9031 or visit www.christidball.com

 

November 30, 2009 at 9:16 pm Leave a comment

Improving Your Bottom Line In Today’s Tough Economic Times

One of the greatest challenges facing all types of industries in today’s tough economy is how to turn a profit.   The main driver of any bottom line is related to people, processes and technology and surprisingly success can be derived from all three, even today.   By effectively leveraging these, companies can either make a profit by cutting costs or gaining market share, or ideally achieving their ultimate success through a combination of both. 

In a typical private sector business, headcount takes as much as 60% of the annual operating budget.   Trimming headcount to 55%, or even 50%, can have a dramatic savings on the bottom line.   However, companies have to be wary of such undertakings if they aren’t properly structured for the additional burden that will be placed on the remaining workforce.  

When embarking on such a restructuring endeavor it is imperative that a carefully thought out plan has been devised, using both internal resources as well as implementing B2B relationships with reliable business partners.   In addition, looking carefully at, and mapping out, the end to end workflow of your existing business model for organizational gaps can provide keen insight into where these cuts should occur. 

By examining existing processes, many companies can harness their strengths by looking back at the core competencies that made them great.    For instance, an insurer may have gained large chunks of market share due to outstanding customer service or an unparalleled competency in their core claims or underwriting  processes, but are they giving up additional benefits with internal processes that aren’t realizing their true potential?

As is the case with many industries, at some point in time, companies often bite off more than they can could chew.   It became almost assumed that if they could do one thing right, then they could do all things right.  In the end, not only did the overall processes contribute to the demise of the bottom line, but the core competency that made the company great was sacrificed as well. 

This vicious cycle is ubiquitous throughout businesses in America, with no sector being left untouched.   It is a predictable outcome that comes when a paradigm becomes one of invincibility.   The good news is that this can be fixed with relatively minor organizational adjustments.

As the bottom line suffers, management often looks to the people to provide instant relief.  By cutting a certain percent of staff, there is an instant perceived benefit; but is there?  Possibly, depending upon the caliber of the terminated employees and the implementation of new processes and systems designed to improve efficiencies.  

Many companies make the mistake of using specific criteria when determining which employees will be part of a reduction in force, with one of the main considerations often being tenure.   While tenure can be a consideration, don’t minimize the reality that with tenure can come complacency and retention based solely upon this criteria can do more harm than good, offsetting an gains made on paper.  Rather, the focus should be on quality.   Keep the most qualified employees; those with the highest productivity who achieve the greatest results.  

Next, focus on parts of the process that have been bolted on over years.  These are likely outside of the core competency and provide the greatest opportunity for savings.   Bolt ons may include call centers, receivables or revenue cycle management.    During my tenure working for large corporations, I saw substantial bottom line benefits when business partners with expertise in collections, subrogation, salvage, SIU and legal services were utilized.  As each of these processes takes a certain level of specialization, yet they often fall out of the scope of a company’s expertise, which limits the ability to excel solely with internal resources.  

Over the years, many companies have incorporated these processes in house under the premise that they are saving money.  This may be a true statement, but with these savings comes a sacrifice on quality, results and ultimately the bottom line resulting in millions of dollars in money being left on the table annually. 

Consider on paper that your cost to do a function internally may cost 15%, while outsourcing may cost 25%.    While this has the appearance of a bottom line savings, what is the true net back?   If 15% nets you a million dollars while 25% nets you two million, the answer becomes abundantly clear.  This is exactly how businesses, in particular insurance carriers and hospitals, should be examining which processes to outsource. 

By focusing on the bottom line and looking for organizational gaps, companies can inevitably find ways to increase their bottom line.  By partnering with competent experts, companies can have a truly profound impact that will stun board members and shareholders alike.   The focus on quality must never be forsaken in the chase for organizational excellence, the pinnacle of what defines truly great companies. 

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 Chris Tidball provides consulting services and workflow optimization to the financial and insurance industries.   He is a former subrogation and claims executive for a large, multinational insurer and is certified in Six Sigma methodology.   He is the author of the newly released book Kicked to the Curb: 20 Essential Rules for Coming Out On Top When Your World Has Been Turned Upside Down and is a frequent speaker at industry events and trade shows who can be reached at chris@christidball.com or www.christidball.com.   Don’t let the economic downturn leave you in a lurch, contact us today to learn how we can provide new streams of revenue with NO NEW MONEY required!

November 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment


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Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at chris@christidball.com

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