Recently, I found myself thinking about the opportunities I’ve had, to live and work in a free country, and about the miracle of PRINTING—the “wonderful world of COLOR”—that has enlightened so many lives since Johann Gutenberg’s day.
Have you ever considered how often we as people express ourselves by using COLORS to describe events, situations, even the passions of our lives?
The following are my COLORFUL examples—maybe you can think of others:
BLACK. In a climate conducive to free enterprise, it’s important for a business to be “in the black,” to thrive and survive. As my friend Dave Ramsey says, “It brings Financial Peace.”
I can tell you, it eliminates ulcers and encourages an owner to continue to risk all, in order to build a successful company. It allows a company good credit in the marketplace; the wherewithal to hire and promote industrious people, and to retool as needed. The right systems help a business stay “in the BLACK,” giving the owner assurance in emergencies, and profitability for growth. Sustainability!
RED. Many small businesses find themselves “in the Red”" these days, painting a not-so-pretty picture of debt and worry. There is, however, a RED remover. The power of well-planned systems can eliminate the waste and chaos that causes many companies to fall into the RED. It took me years to discover that systemization is what allows sustainable order in a business; bringing about a cleaner, more peaceful (rosy?) environment for your employees.
BLUE. This is a good description of the emotional state of many small business owners in today’s ultra-challenging economy. Uncertainty and pressure causes many to feel “BLUE” and often stops forward momentum.
As I wrote in my book, System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business, when there's a shortage of encouraging news on the economic front, from staff, friends or even family, you can choose to give up—OR, you can do what King David of old did: ENCOURAGE YOURSELF! Read positive books, articles and other materials on productive thinking and doing. For many years, writer Zig Ziglar has encouraged thousands of business people and others to steer clear of [BLUE]—“Stinking Thinking.”
AMBER. You and I know that CAUTION is what many business owners feel in these times—leery of hiring or investing (if we have anything left) in an uncertain economy. I believe there are many ways to move forward in this economy, and with little capital. Again, one way is to systemize your business. When business slows down, I suggest you throw CAUTION to the wind and take the opportunity to work on improving your business processes. It pays great dividends!
GREEN [that works (PDF)]. 1) Build business systems/processes that reduce consumption of resources—i.e. chemicals, paper, and other consumables used to produce printed products; 2) Provide tools to help sustain low levels of waste, reducing the impact on the ecosystem; 3) As much as possible, eliminate all forms of waste, which saves energy, thereby reducing your carbon footprint and your utility bills.
For those who demonize the printing industry for using trees to make products, they might remember that TREES ARE A RENEWABLE RESOURCE, just like wheat that is cut down to make bread. If, as some say, the earth is millions of years old, it's amazing that we never run out of trees—they just keep growing and growing! Good system!
(You may want to read a letter the president of Printing Industries of America wrote to the president of our United States, regarding his comments about our industry)
GREY. Overcoming in these times requires commitment and willingness to move ahead, whatever it takes. It’s the GREY areas that hold many companies and owners in limbo. However, it isn’t rocket science and doesn’t take a lot of capital to implement quality control and other cost savings systems.
Systemizing your company can be the key to huge savings, which can add to your bottom line—the difference between RED and BLACK.
Great Systems Work—yes, even some GREEN ones!