Using Your Assets Like Game Pieces

Empty office

Empty office © 2016 Tony Bodoh

Lately, my youngest daughter has been fascinated by a card game she received for her birthday called Machi Koro.  Essentially you start with a wheat field and a bakery and you have to be the first to build your village’s infrastructure—represented by the cards—into a thriving city.  The game is not too complex, but it offers a great lesson on leveraging resources.

The last several times we played the game, my daughter lost and she was disappointed by how well I won. Say what you will, I don’t believe in letting her win just for the sake of a smile. Instead, I offered to teach her my strategy for winning.  I warned her, “You will have to give up doing some of the things you love because those are not going to win you the game.” I could tell she was a bit disappointed but she agreed to play along.

Last night, we played Machi Koro again.  This time, I provided strategic or tactical guidance with my explanations for the first few rounds. Then, as the game proceeded, I switched to asking her what she was going to do and why.

She DOMINATED.

Literally, she completely took control of the game from early on. She bought only the resources that I recommended—those that would pay her no matter who was rolling the dice.  This meant she had to give up her strategy of play for big payoffs if she alone happened to roll the right numbers.  It was painful. But she won in a big way.

Business leaders are often required to learn new strategies and tactics so that they can win too. Sometimes they have to give up their old, preferred ways of doing things so they can do something that is more effective. Domination of your local market, your industry or on a global scale all require that you leverage the assets you have and that you make money no matter who is “rolling the dice.”

While consulting with over 1,000 businesses, we’ve seen some pretty unique ways companies find to leverage the smallest of assets to generate more value for their companies in the short and long-term.  Here are four ideas that relate to your tangible assets. (You can learn more about intangible assets HERE.)

  1. Space that sits empty.

Office buildings and warehouses often have several areas that are just sitting empty. After all, you may have found a great deal on the lease and you ended up with a few hundred or thousand square feet more than you required.

You can sublet that space to another company for an office, storage or any number of uses. We learned this from a client and then used it.  When we launched LeaderBridge several years ago the office we were in was cheaper than a smaller spaces that were the right size for us so we decided to lease the larger space and sublet a section out to another company for a year. As we grew, we took the space back. It helped pay the rent. That resulted in us paying a significantly lower amount out of our own pockets than we would’ve paid for the ‘right-sized’ office.

  1. Unsold Inventory

If you have inventory, you probably know this challenge. The buyers overestimate the market demand and you have either raw materials or finished product filling your warehouses.

One client we worked with decided to offer their product as partial payment to us. It was a good fit and we said yes. They also found ways to give their products to their employees. The result?  The employees became raving fans and their families and friends bought into the brand and became loyal customers.

As a side note, if you are in the hotel or restaurant industry, you can give your employees a free meal or a free night so that they truly understand what the experience is and then can better communicate the emotion of the experience when they are selling. A hotel company that tried this found their upsells for premium rooms jumped 400%.

  1. Unused Vehicles

How many businesses are closed on the weekends or at least on Sunday? Maybe your vehicles could be used for another purpose. Or, maybe you can find a company that would let you use them for your purposes.

Consider what Amazon did with the U.S. Postal Service.  Amazon now offers Sunday delivery in some locations through the USPS. In the past, the USPS was closed and did not use its delivery vehicles on Sundays.

I know of a small business owner who had a plumbing business. He had large trucks—like the moving vans. So, when business was slow, he would bid on moving contracts. He moved my satellite office for one of my companies from San Antonio, TX to Nashville, TN a few years ago when we closed down that location. I got a great deal and he made money when there were no plumbing contracts available.

  1. Old Files

Most people would throw out old files because they are taking up space. This is a fine option if you have a better use of the space or you plan to rent it out as we suggested above.  However, there is one additional thing you can consider.

Scan all of these files to digitize them and then load them to a cloud storage. This is likely a lot less costly than other options. Then, depending on the types of files you have, you can load the data to one of many programs that will allow you to simply keyword search (even handwriting) or to actually mine the documents for intelligence.

We learned from clients to use a few different software packages over the years like Basecamp, DropBox or even Evernote.  Each tool has pros and cons, and each has a unique purpose, but they’ve been useful.  A few months ago, when I needed inspiration for an article, I typed in a keyword to Evernote.  The second document that was found was something I’d written three years ago but did not publish. Now I am using that to create a new training program in a business.

A client that was collecting hand-written surveys decided to invest in the technology to digitize and then analyze the comments on the surveys. This led them to dozens of product and service innovation and improvement opportunities because they could now see how often the same issues came up for customers. Before, they just read the same comments but had no good way of searching and tabulating themes.

Like teaching my daughter how to maximize the return on her investments in the game, you can use the following questions to determine how you can leverage and thus maximize the value of your own assets (or those of others):

  1. How can I use the assets, relocate them, sell them or otherwise benefit from them?
  2. If not me, who else would these assets be valuable to?
  3. If I can’t get cash, what do I require from others that I can barter these assets for?
  4. What do others have that would help me earn even more from the assets I have or give me a competitive advantage?

Thinking about achieving your goals as a game can often make the mundane tasks more fun. And, fun can lead to creativity and a new perspective of the value your assets can generate. Like my daughter, you may have to give up an asset you have an emotional attachment to in order to win the game. In the end, this will be more rewarding and you’ll enjoy the additional freedom it provides.

Tony Bodoh is the CEO of LeaderBridge. He is also a Fortune 150 consultant, the founder of Tony Bodoh International and the best-selling author of “The Complete Experience: Unlocking the Secrets of Online Reviews That Drive Customer Loyalty“.  Tony is also a popular speaker at business and customer experience conferences.  Vinny Ribas is the President of LeaderBridge. He is the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, the CEO of Indie Connect, a consultant to 1000+ small businesses and the author of “CEO Secrets: What They Know About Business That Every Entrepreneur Should“. Vinny is also a popular speaker at business and music industry conferences. Together they wrote the #1 Best-Selling book, ‘LEVERAGE:  Achieve a Lot with the Little You’ve Got‘ (with Connie Ribas) and teach an in-depth 4-week course based on it.