Ever cut grass? Chances are, it’s not your favorite chore. Those chances increase exponentially if you have a push mower. Yeah, the extra exercise is nice, but on a hot, sticky summer day you’re much better off cutting the grass on a riding mower with a cold beer in the cupholder.

The better tool for the job

You see, with a riding mower you can effortlessly whiz through the yard, barely break a sweat and somehow manage to make your yard look like a professional cut the grass. With a push mower, there’s no cup holder for beer, lots of sweat and unless you have a certain finesse, your yard looks no better than the chipping green of your local par 3.

Get the picture? Using a riding mower is far more productive than a push model. You use less energy, less time and the finished product is far better (that last one somewhat depends on your tractor-driving abilities). The only problem is, a riding mower costs several times what a push model does. The upfront investment might be worth it, but how can you know for sure?

Bottom line: whether you’ve ever mowed a lawn or not, we’ve all had to use a less-than-ideal tool, or do without a tool altogether, in the name of saving money. But when it comes to your business, is saving money worth reduced efficiency? Or would the upfront cost be worth the increased output? Is the investment worth the payoff? A strategist can help you find out.

Insight, understanding and solutions

I was recently helping a client’s human resources department with a project. They really needed new software to complete the project efficiently. But there was no budgeted money to pay for it. They tried a few things to cut costs and come up with some funds for this new software tool, but nothing worked.

Now, this company hired me to provide insight, understanding and solutions for their business challenges. The cost of the software was a challenge, and I was committed to helping them overcome the problem. But sometimes, sound business strategy doesn’t require some crazy, out-of-the-box solution. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as pointing out what they aren’t seeing.   

Strategists see what you can’t

In this case, the HR team never considered simply asking for the money to pay for the new software. So I suggested creating a report for the executive committee to detail the costs and benefits of the new software. They needed to present concrete evidence to persuade the executive committee the cost of the software was worth its efficiencies.

Yes, creating the report required an investment of time and effort. But if they were granted permission to buy the new software, the time would be well spent.

Fortunately for the HR team, the executive committee agreed to their proposal. Their work paid off, and they were given the tool they needed to efficiently (and successfully) complete their project.

Sometimes the solution is simple

There are a few important takeaways from this story:

  1. Strategists are always in your corner! They can take an unemotional look at your resources and processes to help you determine if a tool is worth the investment. In this case, it was.
  2. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones. In business, it’s all too tempting to over-complicate things. Resist the urge by hiring a strategist to cut through the nonsense!
  3. Ask and you shall receive. Again, in our exceedingly complicated world people overlook simply asking when they need something. Start by asking before hatching your next ingenious plan. You might save yourself a lot of time.

Do you need to make investment and upgrades in your company, but aren’t sure if the investment is worth the payoff? Contact me today to find out!

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