In helping a mid-size unbranded newsagency business recently I put together an educational flyer outlining where each dollar goes that they receive from customers. I created this to show that each dollar does not belong to the newsagent, that the wad of cash counted at the end of a shift is not their money.
This business had recently experienced an employee theft situation which had cost tens of thousands of dollars. The person committing the crime told the police that the newsagent could afford it they make loads. While I’ve heard this ignorant excuse many times when investigating theft in newsagencies, the newsagent affected was shocked.
The goal of the educational flyer is to show employees where the money in this business goes and to illustrate the point that the owner ends up with less than three cents in the dollar out of which they take payment for their time and service their loans.
I firmly believe that the more information we share about our businesses the greater the opportunity for our employees to make better business decisions with and for us.
Anyone questioning the percentages in the flyer can be shown invoices from the landlord or supplier invoices. Being prepared to prove the percentages claimed is important. To those who would say it’s none of their business I’d say it is their business. If you get them thinking more about the business, more connected with the numbers of the business they are more likely to support the business.
Jack Stack many years ago lead a turnaround of a reengineering business in the United States. His story is told in his book The Great Game of Business. It outlines the principles of open book management. The core principle driving their turnaround success was sharing business data and educating all who wanted so they could understand the data. What Jack led has become a movement – The Great Game of Business. The principles apply to businesses of all sizes including newsagencies. I’m fortunate to have met Jack a couple of times including for several days last year at a small conference for small business owners.
I mention this to show that the idea of sharing business information with employees is not new and that it is backed by research as to how it can positively impact a business. My flyer idea is a small start in this direction. It goes nowhere near as far as Jack Stack would suggest but it shares way more than many newsagents do today. It’s a start, a necessary start in taking your employees by the hand and showing what happens to each dollar they put in your cash drawers.
I’d be happy to share the original file with anyone who would like to customise it to their situation. Please email me at: email@example.com. It is vitally important that the percentages you present are yours.