Never Sacrifice Quality in the Name of Efficiency

There are no magic beans or secret sauce that you can use to suddenly make your life better. It’s actually about little tweaks; it’s a bunch of little things that will change your life. 

In my workshop, Create Some Value, I talked a lot about the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen.  There are a lot of definitions, but basically, at least to me, it means little tweaks, little improvements that make a big difference. Little things add up and over time, not in a short amount of time but over a long period of time. Nothing happens overnight, it’s a long game.

The goal is doing more with the same or higher quality. Never sacrifice quality in the name of efficiency.  You won’t save any time or improve your business in any way by constantly cutting corners.

Actually, you can improve more than just your business with this advice, you can make tweaks in many other areas that will make your life better all around. For example, I wear the same outfit every day.  Usually this is a dark blue shirt and jeans. Long ago I discovered that I don’t want to take time every morning to pick out my clothes.  Even if it only took 30 seconds, that is time I could have been doing something else.

Let’s be honest though, if you’re here, being an appraiser is probably a big part of your life that you can’t really separate out from your other roles as parent, spouse, or whatever other important roles you have. You do certain things as an appraiser, but you’re always everything else at the same time.

While this is no way an exhaustive or extensive list of ideas, and I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, I wanted to share a few more examples with you of some of the little changes that I’ve made.  Every one of these things have made my life better. Mostly these are business tweaks but there’s going to be a few life tweaks in there too.

This whole topic came to mind when I was working on an appraisal as I was sitting in the passenger seat as I was being driven on my way to an appraisal. Earlier in the day I’d done the inspection, my staff had put everything together, and I was now able to work on the report on my laptop as I traveled to the next job.

Working on the go is kind of a lot of tweaks in one.  I have a bag that I carry with me all the time so I can, when necessary, work for just about anywhere I need to.  As I’m being driven to another site, as I’m grabbing a bite to eat, or as I’m waiting though a flight delay. I can get so much more done by having my laptop at hand wherever I go.

Having a driver, one that I can utilize on a moment’s notice, is another handy tweak. I used to use a driver all the time, but now I only use it once a week or so. Having someone else to do the driving lets me utilize drive time to get work done.  Why not pay a young person $12 an hour to drive while I spend that hour finishing out a report? 

Cross train your employees. If John happens to be out taking care of his sick kid, it’s great that June can answer the phones that day while doing some data entry. Get your employees cross trained and make sure that you help them to do that on a regular basis. Before you hire a single employee, write up a procedure manual.

Technology can certainly make a lot of things easier. Make sure to get enough memory on your phone so you don’t have to constantly download your pictures. Use cloud storage like Google Photos. Get a server where you can keep everything in one place and have backups in case something goes wrong. 

Save the trees, go paperless. I know, it’s hard, but it is so much easier once you get there.  The transition might include a learning curve but it’s worth it. While you’re at it, get a laser measure too. A smartphone is another excellent purchase. Whether you choose an Iphone or an Android, there are sure to be useful apps that will make your life easier in some way. The list of apps that might make your life easier is endless. Dropbox, Zoom, Evernote, and the list goes on. Find a voice over IP system, especially if you are working with a virtual assistant that is overseas. Having a VA, from anywhere in the world, will make your life so much easier.

Regarding your computer, at the very least, get dual monitors. Personally, I have triple monitors, but I know many that have quadruple monitors. I have also duplicated my entire office.  I have the exact same setup in my home office as I do in my brick and mortar office.  They are nearly identical with the same desk, the same computer, etc.  By the way, consider a standing desk while you’re looking at office furniture.

Any one of these tweaks could make just a small difference in your life and in your business.  While the ones I’ve described might not all work for you, I just wanted to share a few ideas. For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 476

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