Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa

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Who Wants to Add a Quarter Million Dollar$ to Your Bottom Line?

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Would you close your offices for one day if you could increase your association's bottom line by a few hundred thousand dollars? While many associations turn to the outside consultant for help, many solutions can be found within. Senior executives may be the architect of your association's vision, yet those responsible for the day to day operations of implementing the strategies have the greatest potential to make the cash register ring, make your members happy, and increase job satisfaction.

An association can make thousands while saving thousands simply by outsoursing for that unique consultant to facilitate or "pry" the solutions, ideas, and strategies from your total staff from the executive director to the mail room person.

Solutions to problems as well as new revenue generating opportunities can be found in unusual places. For example, an association's receptionist usually fields more phone calls and talks to more people daily than any other employee. The webmaster who screens emails has a feel for members' concerns. The customer service reps are often your best market researchers.

"So where's our quarter of a million bucks?" you ask. Start with the assumption that each employee has at least one $25,000 to $50,000 idea floating around in his head. The next step is to schedule a full day of professional development for staff - everyone! Ask yourself when was the last time you and your total staff participated in a non technical event. The goal is to identify new programs and strategies to increase revenues and cut costs through the processes of creative problem solving and creative marketing.

Bring in a creativity and marketing expert to work with your staff to develop several new marketing strategies and to get the group's creative marketing juices flowing. Job one is to break down the staff's major barrier's to creativity: the "We've never done that before" and "We don't do that around here" mentality. Job two is to convert any of the staff's "same old-same old" mentality to a more contemporary way of thinking.

Those familiar with the Pareto Principle know that only 20% of your staff is aware of what the other 80% of the staff is working on. Translated to the Jaffa Principle of Association Management: 80% of your staff has no idea what 80% of the staff is currently doing for your association. Not good!

The most creative ideas often come from those farthest from a project. Employees share their top 2-3 projects and its challenges. The group brainstorms its ideas for fiscal improvement. Your marketing expert is the one who - with everyone's participation - translates and fine tunes these ideas into specific marketing strategies and techniques.

Five things to include in the day's agenda:

  1. Current events. Senior management shares the big picture from present to year's end. With the help of your expert, ask the group how many of them were aware of this vision. Note how many of your staff were out of the loop.
  2. Show and tell. Each department shares what it's currently working on. The group's challenge is to refine it, shake it up, and make it even better.
  3. What can we do significantly better? Here's where your expert performs brain surgery to get each employee's $25,000 idea out of his or her head and into your cash register.
  4. What value can we create for our members, partners, exhibitors and sponsors? Once the barriers to creative ideas are broken down, the floodgates to more fresh $25,000 ideas now burst open.
  5. Keeping score. Develop a scoreboard for the lunchroom or some other central location for the whole staff to monitor. Staff now takes an active ownership and responsibility to monitor and audit your association's revenue generation progress. Everyone sees how various departments are progressing and are closing in on that quarter of a million dollars.



Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa
(703) 931-0040
ejaffa@mindspring.com