ShredMetrics Blog

Time to Sharpen the Axe

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“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

Maybe Honest Abe said that and maybe he didn’t – but the point is equally valid either way.  If a process is inefficient (or your axe is too dull), you are going to work harder than you need to and get lesser results.  And right now, being efficient is more important than ever.

We talk to a lot of Shredding Companies, so I can tell you that everyone’s business has taken a hard hit because of Covid-19 and the shelter-in-place orders.  We have customers in some parts of the country whose business is only down a third and we have others in harder hit zones who are down three quarters.  Personally, I find it hard to believe I just said “down a third” as the good example!

One thing is clear – things are nowhere near what they were.  And if we can all agree on that, maybe we can also agree that Shredders shouldn’t be running their businesses the way they did before.  If there is any inefficiency, now is the time to find and eliminate it.  You may be forced to have a smaller office staff, so right now is when to look for redundant manual work that doesn’t add value.  The time of your valuable thinking employees will be precious, so are there redundant tasks we can help you automate or eliminate?

From a very practical perspective, cash flow has always been critical to a small business, and now for many it will be literally the difference between surviving this crisis and not.  If your current billing processes force you to only be billing at the end of the month, I can’t stress enough how important it is to switch to invoicing daily as the work is performed, whenever you can.  That’s the default mode for Q-Shred, and we strongly recommend it.  There’s no reason for a job done early in the month to sit unbilled for weeks!

Towards the beginning of this crisis we heard from a number of Shredders about an unexpected brief uptick in purges.  With nothing else to do, their customers were taking time to organize and clean up to be ready when things reopen.  That’s a good example to follow – if you have the downtime now, step back, take a deep breath, and start sharpening your axe!


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Abe Lincoln

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