How do you eat an elephant?

Yes, I know it's an old joke.

And the answer is of course "one bite at a time".  But seriously, there's a reason for the lead.  It is the same situation when you see a long flight of stairs ahead of you, and you have to go through the doorway at the top.  That is where the money is.

You not going to get to the landing at the top in a single bound (unless you're Superman of course).  If you tried you'd probably fail.  Which is why so many attempts at solving problems in business fail.  People rush at them, try and fix them "in a single bound", find it's too hard, and give up.  Like eating the elephant, you're going to take those steps a step at a time, and find getting to the top is no problem at all.

So you've found the profit leak and you want to fix it.  It may well be fixable in "a single bound' but it may be, like the elephant, more than a meal in itself.  And I know I'm mixing metaphors, but you get the message. 

To plug the leak may take time.  Time is often something we don't have.  There are enough distractions in the day without adding to them.

So whether it's the size of the problem, or chaos during the day, if you just take a step at a time you will plug the leak.  You'll overcome the problem without hitting a brick wall.

In ‘consultspeak' this is called "incremental improvement" and graphically it's usually shown as a flight of stairs.

Say you have identified a product or service that is just not giving you the returns it should.  By working on it a step at a time, you may be able to improve profitability by, for example, 2% a week.  At the end of the month that is 8%, and at the end of 2 months that is 16%, plus the cumulative improvement as well.  So if your Gross Profit was 20% to start with, now it's 36%.  That is starting to make a real difference.

So that's it - incremental improvement.  Take your profit leak a step at a time, and you'll plug it it.

Adam GordonAdamG

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