Gleaning in Business (The Easy Income)

Too Much Money?: Have you ever heard a person or business say “We generate too much income and need to cut back on sales”? Heck no! Every business spends significant time and emotional capital working to grow sales and profits. Owners/managers often expect solutions can only come from long hours, great intellect and superhuman effort. Fortunately for us mere mortals that is not how it really works.

I have yet to meet a business that is not leaving money on the table with their existing customers in one way or another. In fact, I have done exactly that on more than one occasion. When that happens, you can’t help but think “Why did I not do that sooner?” The truth is, it is very easy to get tunnel vision and focus so much on the day to day that you overlook easy ways to grow sales.

Gleaning in Business: Throughout history, every culture built around farming had people who literally lived off of what what was left behind after the harvest. The process of gathering leftover produce after a harvest is known as gleaning. Regardless of what the crop is, even the most efficient harvests always leave produce behind. As a result, those willing to put in the work literally produce their own harvest from what is left behind. Business is no different.

That leads to the question, “What does my business need to do in order to reap a full harvest?” The answer is certainly different for every person and business. There is no single answer that fits every person, business and industry. However, there are some fairly universal ways to go about answering that for your business and your situation. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Consultant, Coach or Mentor - Finding opportunity in your business can be as easy as getting an outside perspective, whether from a paid consultant or even just an astute friend or associate.
  2. Work On, Not In, Your Business - Sometimes all you need to do is to offload enough of the repetitive work that occupies your time and focus in order to gain perspective for yourself.
  3. Industry Best Practices - It’s easy to get tunnel vision in your own business, which often makes it easier to find opportunity by studying what your competition is doing. What technology are they using, what products and price points are they advertising, etc?
  4. Ask - Don’t be afraid to ask your customers. What can we do better? Are there other products or services that you’d be interested in? What influences your buying decisions?

Whether it’s freeing up your time, getting outside help, studying your competition or something else entirely, what is certain is that there are always opportunities for improvement.

A Word of Caution: While there is always more that can be done with your customers it is possible to overwhelm them. Be sure to find that balance and get customer feedback in the process. It goes without saying that a temporary boost in income, followed by the loss of repeat customers is counter-productive.

Let me know: What ways have you found to increase sales in your business?

Written by Mike Williams

I am a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business experience. My goal with this blog is to pass on some of what I have learned in order to help you achieve success in business.

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