Uncle George knew how to keep his employees from twiddling their thumbs|
The most profitable way to run your business is to keep production steady at a high percentage of capacity. Unfortunately, that is not how life works. Work comes in to a business in cycles kind of like a rollercoaster.
Sometimes business comes in so fast that employees can't keep up. Sometimes there is little to do.
For example: at noon, a restaurant may be in total chaos with customers lined up out of the door. At 3:15, the place may be empty. Some businesses are seasonal. In the summer, you may be goiing full tilt. That fall, you may wonder if anyone remembers that you are in business.
What to do?
Perhaps, you need a Rat Box.
In the book, IN BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF by Bruce Williams, who has been dispensing business and financial advice on his nationally syndicated radio show for nearly 25 years. Bruce tells the story of working during the summer for his Uncle George, who owned a lumber yard.
Uncle George bought his lumber yard for a bargain price during bad times of the Depression. Like most businesses, the lumber business has its peaks and valleys, but Uncle George figured out how to handle them.
Uncle George had a deal with a pharmaceutical company that used a lot of experimental animals. He supplied animal boxes made of the lumber yard's wood scraps. Anytime an employee, including office workers, ran out of work, they were sent down to the shed (much to their consternation) to make "rat boxes". There were always "rat boxes" to be made as he tried to keep six months ahead.
When Uncle George retired, profits dropped. His partner was a good talker, but Uncle George knew how to get maximum productivity from the business. He was talked into coming back to work and soon the business was flourishing again.
After Uncle George retired for good when he was in his eighties, the lumber yard soon went broke.
Having a "rat box"-something for employees to do when times are slow even if it is marginally profitable, can sometimes make the difference between a business profit and a loss. Plus, you avoid the risk of losing good workers because you had to lay them off or cut hours during slow spells.
Find your "rat box".