#Immediacy on speech making

In such a labour-intensive setting, it might seem that the only way ...

In such a labour-intensive setting, it might seem that the only way to increase capacity is to increase staff.

This is often true but not entirely so. There are ways of increasing the effectiveness of existing staff. In some businesses for example insurance, travel agents the assistant spends time finding out what a potential customer wants, explaining what is offered and trying to make a match.

'Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he fails. Obviously the real measure of the capacity of that assistant is not the number of potential customers he talks to in a day, but the amount of business he signs up. If you can help the assistant to increase the conversion from potential to actual customer, you have increased his capacity. You can give him / her training, not just in background information, but in selling.

You can provide attractive brochures and visual aids to appeal to the customer. You can provide Prestel, computers and other equipment to find out instantly if what the customer wants is available, and at what price, to help clinch the deal. In other fields you can give the service engineer training and equipment so that he can work more accurately and more quickly. This saving in man-hours allows you to cope with more business without extra staff.

When so much of the success of the enterprise depends on how assistants behave to customers, it is obviously important that assistants are well motivated. This is part of selection and training of course, but to maintain the right attitudes in the long term many firms find it worthwhile to provide some on-going incentives, such as holiday trips, cash bonuses, or profit-sharing.

One of the most effective motivators in small service business is just to ring the staff together frequently and tell them how the business is going. Finding the time In many small businesses, particularly those dependent upon the personality or artistic skill of the proprietor, the time of the latter can be a serious bottle-neck. In fact, staff may be underemployed at times because the owner hasn't got time to tell them what to do, or he may be so engaged running today's business that he hasn't got time to think about tomorrow. One of the most effective ways of saving time is to avoid work.

You might well respond that only a fool does work which needn't be done.

We make no comment just look again at your experimental time-record. Can you say, hand on heart, that every job was absolutely necessary? Ask yourself why each job had to be done? Why that way? Why then? How many jobs were done because you had got into a habit or enjoyed doing them? Can you honestly say there is no scope for skilful pruning? The next best thing to avoiding a job is to pass it on to an assistant whose timer is presumably less valuable than yours in short to delegate.

This is very popular management theory, but if you look around you note that many people don't do it in practice. Why not? Delegation exposes the boss to risk. The assistant may not assess the situation correctly, may not decide on the correct thing to do, and might not carry enough weight to get co-operation from others.

Another obstacle is fear. The assistant may become so good at the ...

Another obstacle is fear.

The assistant may become so good at the job that he gets a better job with your competitor or even starts his own

If the task recurs, this method soon becomes habitual, because it is ...

If the task recurs, this method soon becomes habitual, because it is easier to copy how you did it last time than work out the best way. From time to time, you sho... read more

Consequently it is difficult to say exactly what the maximum capacity of ...

Consequently it is difficult to say exactly what the maximum capacity of a specific sales location is This uncertainty does not of course apply to a high street retailer with a fixed pattern of