We overestimate what we can achieve in 1 year and underestimate what we can achieve in 5 years.

Have you set backwards-looking goals for profitability that inevitably have you settling for a single-digit increase this year?

There’s a tool I use with clients to help them finally realize that single digit profit increases underestimate their potential.  However, many businesses fail to reach even a single-digit goal because they take a conventional approach to increasing revenues and cutting costs.  Although that looks like the right strategy on the surface, it often fails to deliver meaningful impact.  Why? Well, look at any “Top100” list based on revenue, and you’ll inevitably find that about 40% of the companies that INCREASE their revenues actually DECREASE their profits.  Not all business is good business, but we’ve all been trained to fall into the Revenue Trap – assuming that top-line growth turns into bottom-line growth.

Counterintuitively, often companies who decrease their revenues increase their profits ($, not %) by eliminating revenue that’s costing more than it’s worth.  Which would you rather have?  More profit, or more revenue?  When was the last time you thought outside the box at what it might mean to your business not to simply chase more revenue until you determine what good revenue looks like?

Let’s take a quick look at the conventional cost-cutting approach to profitability.  Typically, we cut training, travel, perks, and put new investments and hiring on hold.  Hmmm… those actually aren’t COSTS, those are investments in the future success of our business.  Not only does that approach fail to achieve any significant cost savings, but whatever savings are achieved are not sustainable.  With the best of intentions, we hold our business back instead of moving it forward.  What if you could actually cut costs that simply shouldn’t be there in the first place?

Over time, sludge costs creep into the system, particularly in the area of customer service.  Busy customer service lines is a key indicator that you’ve got sludge in your business that’s driving unnecessary costs to serve.  Once again, counterintuitively, when you eliminate the sludge, you’ll actually improve the service levels experienced by your customers.

Profit in Plain Sight became an overnight #1 Bestseller in 2014, and lays out a 5-step roadmap that addresses the issues of top- and bottom-line growth, eliminating unnecessary costs to serve, and more.  If you want the shortcut to implementing everything in the book, check out the online university I’ve developed to support my readers in achieving results far beyond what they ever could.

#1 Bestselling Author, International Speaker, and Accelerator Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more – in less than one year, in less time per week than they’re spending on email per day. Her #1 Best Selling book Profit in Plain Sight includes the 5-step proactive P.R.O.F.I+T Plan to do it.  Connect with Anne on LinkedIn.