ICS Magazine

Love Those Dry Erase Boards

January 4, 2012


Twelve years ago, I was cleaning a commercial carpet and I was intrigued by all the dry erase boards all over the office. In every room there was an 8’x4’ dry erase board, along with various pictures of space craft and oil rigs. I was hoping that the owner would arrive before I was done so I could ask him about what he had on his walls.

Just before I was going to leave he arrived, and I got the opportunity to talk to him for over an hour – isn’t it fascinating all the neat people we get to meet in our industry? You are in people’s homes for hours, gaining their trust, seeing what books they have, pictures, etc. and if you are a student of life, and I hope you are, you can learn so much by asking questions and being friendly.

I asked this gentleman what he did and he said that he developed specialized digital photography (remember, this was 12 years ago.) The reason he needed his carpets cleaned was that Kodak was coming the next day to offer him $100 million for his patent.

That is not a typo.

I asked him about the space ships and the oil platforms, and he said that his digital photography could measure the rate of deterioration of pipes and other minute calculations.

When I asked him about the dry erase boards, he pointed to the one in the room we were in and explained it to me. That board had the sales numbers concerning his salesman in Phoenix, Ariz., and he said, “This doesn’t look good, I will have to call him immediately.” Thus, an idea was born in my brain, which I feel has been a large part of our company’s success.

 I have always been a goals guy, but after meeting this fellow, I realized that it would be a great idea to place all kinds of important numbers on the walls at my office for myself and others to see. At the present time I have six 8’ x 4’ dry erase boards at my office which contain valuable information that I can readily see at a glance. Also, of course, all of my employees see them, too, and it helps us all keep accountable.

Accountability is one of the most important factors in running an efficient, profitable organization and these boards play a major role. The more accountability, probably the more money you will make. Let’s face it, most owners are hardly held accountable for anything. Why not use this simple, inexpensive method to increase your bottom line and keep important numbers in front of you.

“Great Dave, I am glad they work, so tell us what you put on these boards.” OK, I will and before I forget, I’ll tell you where to purchase them inexpensively. My digital photography friend gave me that great secret. Go to the big box hardware stores and ask for 8’ x 4’ shower walls. They cost about $12 and are the exact same material that you pay $35 for a 2’ x 4’ board at the office stores. Now, here’s what I put on them.

Technician Up-sells

One board has all the technician up-sells for the previous month. It makes it very easy for me to see and, better yet, for all the techs and employees to see. If one is doing a great job, everyone knows it. Conversely, if someone is slacking off, all will see, and my operations manager and I will deal with that situation.

Weekly Sales Going Back Three Years

In my office, I have the sales for every week going back three years. This is important because we can see if we are improving or going backwards and, since weeks are seasonal somewhat, we can compare apples to apples as we look at previous weeks and years.

Additionally, we have our weekly sales goal in huge bold writing, to remind us what we want to do in sales every week. This is the board that gets us fired up because we want to be anywhere from 10% to 40 % ahead of the year before.

One other great thing this board has done for us: three years ago we noticed that every outstanding week was a week that we did a water damage job. Due to us noticing that obvious fact, we decided to go big time into water damage, and the rest is history. Our water damage business has taken off, and that dry erase board played a major role in it.

Marketing Director's Goals and Projects

Right behind her desk she lists all her projects and goals for the next four months. I can look at them, review them with her and applaud her when things come to fruition. For the last two months she had a goal of bringing in $80,000 in new business and her total turned out to be $102,000. Everyone can see what a great job she is doing and the dry erase board is like a big announcement to all of her fabulous success.

Office Assistant's Duties

Our office assistant has many day to day, weekly and monthly tasks and the vast majority of them are listed on her board. I need only to look at the board to see if she is doing her job or not. Naturally, there are other systems in place to check her work and the accuracy of it, but the board is another valuable weapon in that battle.

Office Manager's Duties

Like the office assistant, the office manager has many similar duties that can be reported on the dry erase board. We have regular meetings where those tasks are looked at and summarized on the board. It is easy, it’s efficient and it’s simple.

Owner's and Operation Manager's Tasks

The other board I have in my office is the list of projects, with completion dates, of projects for myself and my operations manager. This board keeps us on track and gives us “Top of Mind Awareness.”

The boards are an easy way to track many important parts of your business. The things I have on my boards may be different from what you would put on yours but there just seems to be no downside to their use. Over the last five years of coaching businesses, I have had many clients tell me how happen they have been because they began to use these boards.

Accountability is everything, so why not use this easy method to track your business, get your employees involved and take your business to another level.