Ask and ye shall save time, money and the environment.

Last week was Financial Report Week here at DTE (it’s kind of like ‘Shark Week’ on the Discovery Channel, but the role of the sharks are played by accountants and the scuba divers are played by us . . . but with no cages).

Here’s what happens:

During FRW, we lock up another 4-Week Cycle in Quickbooks and the sharks/accountants audit the e-books.  A couple of weeks later a big fat manila envelope filled with five-page certified accounting statements arrives on my desk.

There are enough reports in that envelope for all my investors (and on some shows, that can be a lot), and a few for our files as well.

Each report gets dropped in another manila envelope, gets a personal letter from myself and gets sent out via the USPS to all of the investors for their files.

It’s a time consuming process that costs the shows cash, and kills some trees.

During the process last week one of my Assistants spoke up as she was sealing an envelope . . . “Hey Ken, why don’t we email PDFs of these to all the investors instead of mailing them?”

“Because . . . ummmm . . . because . . . ”

And then my office proceeded to get into a 15 minute debate about why.  Maybe it was a legal requirement that accounting statements be mailed.  Maybe the investors needed “originals”.  Maybe . . . maybe . . .

And then Ryan Lympus, my super-smart Altar Boyz Company Manager, said, “Maybe we should stop wondering and just ask the question.”

He zipped off an email to my accountants, and 4 minutes later had an answer.

That answer?

There was no reason to mail them. It was just the way people had done it, so they were continuing to do it.  Our accountant then said that he would happily send all of our future statements via PDF and we could email them to all of our clients, and I’d attach a personalized email from me.

And in that 15 minutes, with those 2 questions, my Assistant and Company Manager hit a savings trifecta: time, dollars, and trees.

How?  They asked a question.  A simple one.  And one that needed to be asked, but that no one had.

That made me think . . .

Why is it so hard for all of us to ask a question, when the answer can make things so much easier?

If you’re on a show, have your financial reports emailed.  There’s just no reason not to.

And if you’ve got any question, just ask. Don’t even bother raising your hand.

I promise a shark won’t bite your head off if you do.

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