Should you hold a ‘Fat Tuesday’ for Your Business?


New Orleans King Cake pic by smoorenburg via Flickr

New Orleans King Cake pic by smoorenburg via Flickr

As with most traditional holidays, Mardi Gras has religious roots that date back over a thousand years, long before north America was even on a map.    It marks the start of Christian Lenten season in preparation of Easter Sunday.   In America, most historians trace the first Mardi Gras back to a couple French explorers, Iberville and Bienville shortly after they landed at what is now Louisiana on March 3rd, 1699.

The definition of Mardi Gras is “carnival” and it has evolved into an event that stretches over a number of days with the climax of Mardi Gras being Fat Tuesday.   For the devoted Mardi Gras partygoers, Fat Tuesday is the day to go overboard on everything, (just in case you hadn’t already!).   It’s all about parades, parties, costumes, music, food, beverages and 10,000 calorie King Cakes.  You eat and drink more than you normally would, knowing you are not doing anything to help yourself or your body, but in the moment you’re having a great time.

“Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, and of course, this being America, it will be followed by Even Fatter Wednesday, Obese Thursday and Fat-A$$ Friday.” – Jay Leno

Thank you Jay, for providing the segue of how Fat Tuesday is going to help a business be more successful; I couldn’t pass on the dollar signs!

On to business…..

For Christians, after Fat Tuesday, Lent begins and the excessiveness is supposed to stop.  Most use it as a time to give up something or do something extra as they prepare for Easter.  With that in mind, if your business had a “Fat Tuesday” what would that event look like?

Where in your business are you going overboard on things that aren’t good for you?  Can you identify the areas where you routinely spend too much time or money for the return it gives to you.  On business Fat Tuesday you would do it even more! Imagine all of the time wasters, efficiency drainers – sucking the profits out of your company.    If you’re having trouble thinking of some here are few common culprits we find in business:

  • Poor email management or time management
  • Poor communications – the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing…
  • Cyberloafing
  • Over analyzing insignificant decisions
  • Wasting time on redundant tasks
  • Lack of systems

Time sucks and productivity indulgences…all of them.  Taken to the extreme they can kill your business (just like one of those King Cakes everyday would put you under).

However Fat Tuesday ends and you need to get better – the excessive waste has to stop.  You want your business to be successful and you know continuing to waste time on all of the items you listed is costing you.  It isn’t helping your employees be the best that they can be and you are making it easier for your competitors to take market share from you because you aren’t staying on top of your game.  Your prices may not be competitive and your services or products lack that uniqueness that once commanded higher margins.

A Fat Tuesday for your business may be just what is needed to get you and your employees to see where you need to make some changes.   Take the list of all the activities you did on Fat Tuesday and decide which ones are costing you the most in terms of lost revenue or missed opportunities.  Starting Wednesday give the top candidates up completely or at least set some clear boundaries on how you are going to reduce the negative impact they are having on your business.  In keeping with the Lenten Season and to make it easy to measure, stick with the changes until Easter Sunday.  You may be surprised by the results this could have on your bottom line.

But first you need to enjoy Fat Tuesday, so live it up!

As always we welcome any and all comments.   Any activities you have curbed that were fun but time wasters?  Have you had success making a policy change overnight?  Want to share any great Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras memories?

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach