Hunting the P&L

As a great man once said: ”Shh! I’m hunt­ing wab­bits ‘cause it’s wab­bit season.”

Granted we are all not great men like Elmer J. Fudd, Mil­lion­aire. But it is the start of a hunt­ing sea­son of sorts; P&L sea­son. It’s time to start hunt­ing for that elu­sive ani­mal that lives in all your accounts and prospects. The P&L. And more specif­i­cally, its owner.

Why now? Because school is start­ing back up. And that sig­ni­fies the end of sum­mer and that, my friend is when peo­ple start to get seri­ous again. When they get seri­ous, they start look­ing at fore­casts and pro­jec­tions and all that other busi­ness type stuff. In about 2 weeks, many of your cus­tomers and prospects will real­ize they are totally screwed. No way they’re going to make their num­bers, bud­gets and other year end busi­ness goals.

But lets get back to track­ing the elu­sive P&L and it’s respec­tive owner.

What is the P&L? It stands for profit and loss; and refers to a sub seg­ment of a company’s bal­ance sheet. It might reflect the indi­vid­ual prof­itabil­ity of a depart­ment, busi­ness unit or a the com­pany as a whole. And attached to every P&L is the owner. THE per­son respon­si­ble for the profit (or lack there of) of the busi­ness unit.

And guess what?

The P&L owner has a Man­age­ment by Objec­tive (MBO) goal to make, and this year many of them  just ain’t gonna make it. So that means no  bonuses (or worse) at the end of the year. So lit­tle Johnny won’t get that Xbox for Christ­mas or Daddy just got whacked.

This is where you come in. Go find that poor bas­tard who isn’t going to make his or her goals by the end of the year. And show them where your prod­uct or ser­vice may not save the bacon this year but can put them on path to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen next year.

(By the way if you do have a prod­uct or ser­vice that can turn around a P&L in less than 4 months … are you hiring?)

How do we track this P&L owner crea­ture? In a smaller orga­ni­za­tion they most likely have a C in their title. As in CEO or CFO. Or in a larger orga­ni­za­tion they would have a VP in their title. As in VP of this depart­ment or that sec­tion. I find the best way is to ask. Who owns the respon­si­bly of prof­itabil­ity of the depart­ment? Or who sets the bud­gets? Or who approves all the expenditures?

Then the approach goes some­thing like this: “My prod­uct (or ser­vice) has con­tributed to grow­ing rev­enue / reduc­ing costs in x amount of my clients, Do don’t hap­pen to know any­one who could use my help, do you?”

This is a nice approach in a com­pany that has mul­ti­ple P&L own­ers. The per­son you’re call­ing might not be in a panic but one her col­leagues may. An open-ended approach is the ticket to a refer­ral. The job recruiters use this approach all the time.

As the proverb says … sort of… teach a man to hunt wab­bits and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to hunt the P&L and he just might make quota.

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One Response to “ Hunting the P&L ”

  1. Jeff says:

    Excel­lent arti­cle, as most busi­nesses end their fis­cal year on 12/31, so this is right on target.

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