Eating Leftovers: Using What You Already Have to Propel Your Business

The inside of my refrigerator is sprinkled with half-eaten meals, or the remains of part of a meal. The leftovers – as we Americans have named whatever is uneaten from a meal and saved – aren’t trash, and can be consumed at any time.

But leftovers often become trash: left too long in the refrigerator until they spoil. There they sit, perfectly edible in the beginning, but last week’s meals eventually become well-preserved, cold waste.

Businesses have plenty of leftovers that could feed them but are treated as waste. A business has current and past clients. Each client is a potential opportunity to provide more help, deepen the relationship, and expand the services delivered. Clients are also a fantastic source of new business through referrals. Likewise, leads generated often sit unattended, looking like last week’s leftovers. There too is an opportunity to revisit with people who once needed help to see if they need help now. There are often strategic partnerships that go unattended, but represent hidden opportunity.

Why focus so tirelessly on “new,” rather than seeing the huge opportunity in what’s already there? What we have now isn’t leftovers so much as it is unrealized value.

Instead of cooking a new meal three times a day, leftovers are a perfectly good source of sustenance, so long as they don’t sit too long.