s 2EDUCE SHIPPING EXPENSES Seriously
Fueling evaluate your shipping procedures and
packing materials. Consolidate shipments, reduce waste, find lightweight
s 5SE THE PHONE If you want to keep the
personal touch, pick up the phone
business instead of driving to see someone in
person. Before you ever leave for an
appointment, call to make certain your
HOW DO YOU RESPOND to the cost of gas? meeting is still on.
If you’re like me, every time you fill s 0ARK AND WALK Park in a central location
up, you’re still shocked by the total on the to your meetings or errands and walk
pump. While high gas prices are hard on between them. Don’t keep looking for
everyone, they’re particularly tough on the perfect
small-business owners because they can’t parking place.
necessarily raise their prices, but every- Instead, park
thing they order or ship costs more. and walk the
What can you do to keep your gas extra block or
costs down, whether or not you’re a two. It’s good
business owner? for your
s #LUSTER APPOINTMENTS Eliminate trips health, too.
by scheduling back-to-back meetings s -OVE CLOSER TO WORK Are you relocat-and errands. Create a driving plan. Of ing? Look for a location where you and
course, if a hot prospect agrees to meet your employees can easily avoid driving
you—but only on Wednesday at 2 p.m.— to work. Even if rent is a bit higher, it
is president of
Shop, a publisher
of books for
take that appointment! But schedule, or
rearrange, other nearby appointments
and errands before or after that meeting.
s 'O DIGITAL What can you do digitally
rather than by physically sending paper,
products or people? Can you hold Web
conferences instead of in-person
meetings? Send invoices, bills, proposals
electronically instead of by mail?
will pay off in lower costs and higher
s #HANGE YOUR WORKING HOURS Sitting in
rush-hour traffic uses up extra fuel. If you
or your employees commute, or have
appointments across town, try to avoid
prime-time traffic if possible.
s (AVE LUNCH IN YOUR OFFICE Get a microwave, refrigerator, some tables and
chairs. Make it easy for you and your
employees to have lunch without getting
in a car. You’ll save gas and money.
s %NCOURAGE BIKE RIDING PUBLIC TRANSIT
WALKING Reimburse employees for using
public transit instead of driving. Set an
example by walking or biking to work
yourself and using public transit.
s ,IGHTEN YOUR LOAD The heavier the load
in your car or truck, the more gas you
use. Can you remove some of the tools,
samples or excess materials you’re
s "UY A HYBRID VEHICLE If you’re in the
market for a new car, van or truck—or
will be soon—check out hybrid vehicles.
s +EEP YOUR CAR IN SHAPE Inflate your
tires to the recommended pressure and
check your spark plugs. Even small
improvements make a difference.
s 3LOW DOWN I’ve saved this for last,
because I like driving fast. But speeding—along with rapid acceleration and
braking—lowers gas mileage. And I
have to admit, it’s safer too. C
Copyright Rhonda Abrams, 2008
Laughing on the job
KEEPING EMPLOYEES HAPPY leads brainstorm. “Eureka” is rarely shouted by
to productivity and success. As the old clock watchers, and innovation is not an
song goes, “Make ’em laugh.” on-demand deliverable.
That’s the advice of Costco member Yes: “Yes” creates opportunities to
Jeff Rogers, a comedian who got his start create, imagine and share. “No” stops all of
at The Second City theater in Chicago those things and creates a devalued sense
working with some of the biggest names of worth within the team.
in comedy. As The Corporate Jester Meet better: Meetings should be more
www.thecorporatejester.com), Rogers brings fun. There is a time for crisis mode and a
laughter to the corporate world and offers time for efficiency. But there should also be
advice in the form of an acronym: time set aside for fun and release. Start meet-
P.L.A. Y.M.O.R.E. ings with an agenda and then read a trivia
Passion: Enable employees to question. It completely changes the tone of
invest passion into their work and work the meeting and the energy of your group.
becomes play. Customers take notice. Office games: Set up a time to build
Listen: Listening is a full-body team dynamics, have fun and let loose. You
exercise. The greatest communicators probably spend more time with your office
are also the greatest listeners. mates than with your family. Get your team
Add something: Build in time to excited about spending time together.
away from the office.
Give people time off.
Recreation means re-create: to build again.
Recharge the batteries.
place reflects a company’s
culture. If that culture is
truly open to innovation,
active listening and
then the environment
must be conducive to
that type of