THE GOLDEN RULE: Are you leaving money on the table?

SHARE   |   Sunday, 01 February 2015   |   By Nelson Letshwene

A shark kills and eats just about everything in the ocean except the little pilot fish. The reason it does not eat a pilot fish is not because the pilot fish is poisonous or more agile, but it’s simply because they are in a relationship. After a big meal, a shark has a lot of meat stuck between its teeth. The pilot fish acts as the shark’s toothpick. The shark will open its mouth and let the pilot fish in to clean its teeth. The pilot fish gets free lunch and protection from other predators of the ocean, the shark gets clean teeth. That is the nature of their relationship. It’s mutually beneficial to both.
 Every business would like to make more profits than it is currently making. If business people could form mutually beneficial relationships like those that exist in nature, business might reduce the cut-throat competitive spirit that cause lots of businesses to fold. The concept of “leaving money on the table” is when a business does not take advantage of all possible ways it could make money.
The first test for a business to see if they are leaving money on the table is how they respond to customer requests of items they don’t sell. An observant business person will take note of how many times customers request for an item or a service that the business does not provide. The fact that customers ask you about that service or item means that to the customer, you should be selling that. The customer is prepared to buy that from you. If you don’t supply that, it means you are leaving money on the table.
If you notice in most Asian shops, especially Chinese or Indian shops, if they don’t have an item that a customer enquired about, they will get it from the one who has it and sell it. They will never let the money walk out of the shop.
There are many ways that businesses are leaving money on the table. Sometimes in the name of specialisation, they don’t sell related services or items that customers think they should. Sometimes out of market segmentation, they might claim they only sell to big business or government, and not to individual customers.
Lack of collaboration between complementary business leads to leaving money on the table. Even competitors could collaborate especially competitors of different sizes. The one who sells only to big business could support those who sell to individuals by referral for a fee, and vice-versa. Those who sell complementary products could formalise the relationships by making sure that they refer clients to each other.
Just like the shark and the pilot fish, big business could deliberately incubate smaller businesses and interchange services. If we increased the idea of collaboration, we could see a whole lot more entrepreneurs entering the market and being successful, than being pushed out of business by the survival of the fittest philosophy. Everyone asks what’s in it for me; but if we looked hard enough, we will find that there actually is something in it for everyone. To your success. Follow the blog on or follow me on twitter @101silverline.

Related news