The definition of leverage is “to use borrowed capital for an investment, expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable”. Or in layman’s terms, it means “to use something to maximum advantage.” As businesspeople, when we talk of leverage, we are often referring to taking on more debt to maximize the use of cash. However, leverage comes in many different forms. One of the biggest forms of leverage for a small business owner is Time. Training is a great example. Videotaping and presenting training segments to new employees save the trainer, often you the owner, time. This enables the trainer to answer trainees’ specific questions. Marketing is another great example of where you can leverage your assets. By producing a marketing campaign that can be used over and over, you leverage your resources and hopefully, your return will be greater than your cost.
Software companies have become very innovative in how they train customers on their products. I was involved in a major operating system conversion a few years ago. Since this was not my first time around the block, I expected our company would be spending thousands of dollars for on-site visits from the software vendor’s training staff. However, I was both surprised and grateful to find that 90% of our staff’s needed training was on a series of You-Tube videos. The software vendor’s staff was available through online chat for any questions during business hours. In addition, the software company had an online university for employees who wanted to become certified as “power users.” This is a great example of how both a vendor and a customer can leverage the time of their key employees.