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Business Solutions for Maximizing Your Profits

November 2010    

The Cost of Delay

Last month we took a look at how most small businesses tend to put off decisions and actions until "just the right time".  This month, we'll discuss why we all do this, and a few tricks to help us all get things done.

For most people, procrastination is caused by a phenomenon called Present Bias which can be described as an inability to recognize that what we want will change over time.  We always think we'll do the "right" thing in the future even though we seldom do.

A simple test of this concept has been demonstrated by researchers over and over again.  People are asked if they want to receive fruit or a piece of cake a week from now.  Most people choose the fruit because they know it's what's best for them.  When the week goes by and they are then given the choice to have fruit or cake right now, most will choose the cake.  This change in choice can be rationalized by thinking that the individual will eat fruit next time to make up for the cake choice today.

The high tech example of this behavior is demonstrated by Netflix users.  Most people have a long list of movies in their cache that includes light weight comedy and adventure movies and heavier dramas and other  "good" films.  The light weight fare that is fun to watch and requires no real effort almost invariably gets watched first.  The movies that require effort to understand and enjoy remain unwatched in the list for months or years.  Even in entertainment choices, most people choose the easy, instant gratification option over what they know is the "better" choice.

So, putting off some things that we really need to do is built-in to most of us.  When we're talking about movie choices, this behavior makes little difference.  The problem is that procrastination affects how we deal with the important things in our lives and our businesses.  So, how can we ever get anything that requires thought and effort done in a timely manner?

First, you have to understand that what you think you will do in the future is not what you will want to do when the future gets here.  You must structure the important aspects of your business so that you will have no choice in the future, but to get it done on time.  You need to identify those things that you want to accomplish, and make it difficult to avoid the decision or work involved.

It is difficult for most of us to even consider canceling an appointment with a customer because we want to do something that requires less effort.  Why is this?  Because the cost of canceling is too high.  We might lose the job; we might lose the customer; we might lose other customers through word of mouth. Because the potential loss is so high, we force ourselves to keep our appointments.

Click to see  larger imageThis is the technique that successful businesses use to accomplish their goals on time even when it involves work they might not want to do or decisions they don't want to make.  They create a situation for themselves that places a monetary or social cost on failure.  They commit to buying that new truck by putting down a non-refundable deposit.  They announce to their employees that they will be switching to flat rate by a certain date.  They commit to a future ad campaign for their new product line.

If the goal is not accomplished by the set date, the cost is not just a delay in reaching the goal.  The cost includes loss of money that was invested in the new truck.  Loss of respect from their employees as the change to Flat Rate is delayed.  Loss of reputation when they cannot begin selling the new product line.  The key to making progress with your business often involves putting yourself in a position where you cannot afford to delay. 

So stop checking your email.  Stop looking at YouTube videos.  Don't get up for that third cup of coffee.  Get it done now. 

For most of us, the best time to get anything done is right now.  Waiting until tomorrow means that it will never get done.  Waiting until you have more information means that you'll never know enough to do it.  Your competition will always be ahead of you if you don't start now. The key to success is to start with a plan that makes the cost of delay too high.  Whatever you need to get done for your business, do your homework, and then get started.  Make a commitment to get it done by a certain date, and make it painful to miss your commitment.  Don't make it easy to delay.

Sell the new product line, buy the truck or that new tool, start that training program, hire that tech, or get that flat rate system.  Make your own decision and get started today.  Don't be the one who is forced to say, "I wish we had done this years ago."

Nexstar Super Meeting

   Outbound Calling Generates Inbound Revenue

        Make the calls - book the calls - and believe.

Nexstar Master Member Trainer, Dave Boduch of A.J.  Danboise Son in Farmington Hill, MI says outbound calling can save jobs. "One job can be saved by booking three extra calls a day." At Nexstar's recent Super Meeting in Austin, Texas, Boduch lead a standing room only session for their members within which he highlighted these operational keys to success with outbound calling:

 Keys to Success with Outbound Calling

  • Get the service call - if they're not coming in, go out and get them!

  • Convert the call to a sale

  • Maximize the call opportunity

Boduch says there are several types of outbound calls, including clean and check, duct cleaning, new product or service, crossover marketing opportunities, and energy survey and consultation. First and foremost, business owners and managers have to believe that every call is equally important. Secondly, your call center and your techs have to believe that outbound calling is worthwhile. Techs should also make a practice of thanking CSRs for generating calls.

Implement and drive a process designed to create opportunity.
Here are some tips:

  • Create a call board and hang it in a prominent area - design it with a three-day minimum

  • Check the callboard everyday, first thing in the morning

  • Track results

  • Empower CSRs to get the calls and get a timeline from the customer. Does it have to be today or is tomorrow okay?

  • Charge dispatchers with the task of finding out how to get the jobs done

"Call scripts can be beneficial," says Boduch because of ease, consistency, clarity, and assurance of a certain level of service. It's important to listen closely to the customer and make sure we can meet the call schedule.

 And, by the way, if customers are on the Federal Do Not Call list and you haven't spoken with them in five years, don't call them!

For more information on the Nexstar Network go to www.nexstarnetwork.com.


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The Economy

The Economic Cycle Research Institute predicts that there will not be a double dip recession this business cycle.  However, they project that there will be slowing growth through the early part of 2011.

Unemployment claims for the week of October 23 fell to their lowest level since July.  The Commerce Department announced that the economy grew at a 2% annual rate in the quarter ending in September.  This was up from 1.7% in the previous quarter. 

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