On the Road to Success, Where are You Going?

IT DOESN’T MATTER!

At a crossroads, Alice asked the Cheshire cat which path she should take. The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?” When Alice replied, “I don’t know,” the cat said, “Then IT DOESN’T MATTER!”

Too many times we get all caught up on the journey, the day to day activities; we don’t ask ourselves where are we going? What is it we really want to achieve?  You must have a clear, definite and compelling reason for your actions or you will not have the motivation and drive to give it your best to succeed.

In business we can be so focused on cutting costs, being more efficient or developing a better lead generation system that we don’t ask why are we doing all of this and what are the results that we really want. If you do not have a great reason, a compelling reason, your employees won’t have a good reason to give you their best either.

Right now is a great time to stop for just a moment, take a break and catch your breath. While you are there take a moment to re-orient yourself to make sure that you are on the right path for you at this time in your life.

Start with being honest with yourself. Don’t think about what anyone else will say or think, or who might be disappointed in your answer. Forget what has happened in the past or attempts that have failed. Just ask yourself, “What do I really want in life?” What do you really want to achieve? Be as clear and specific as possible, but if you can’t be specific then be vague, but answer the question the best that you can.

Are you heading in the right direction? If you want to go to the North Carolina Mountains, you don’t want to head toward the Outer Banks.

Where do you want to go? IT DOES MATTER!!

Advertisements

Time to get organized?

What if you had the time to do all that you needed to do? What would you do? We have all heard the statement that time is money and the even more important “time is life”. But the question is what will you do with your time?

Many that I talk to complain about not being organized, not having the time, not having the information they need when they need it, missing deadlines, and feeling like they are just being run ragged. Most people do not realize that being organized is not a gift that a few people have, but is actually a skill set which can be learned and developed over time. The question is, are you working on developing that skill? It is something that I also struggle with and work on.

IMG_0009

Being organized is not about being neat, or making your office look pretty. But it is about being more effective in your actions and operations. It takes effort to be organized,  but the return on your investment will be much greater because of our increased effectiveness.

Being organized means that you have the information you need when you need it, about prioritizing and making choices to do what is best, like being on time for meetings with the proper resources. Being organized is first about doing the right things and then doing them right.

Think of the professional mechanic who can’t find the right tool and spends just five minutes looking for it. That mechanic is not organized. There should be a place for everything and everything in its place. Okay, that might be perfection, but for the mechanic it is money. You already set up systems for daily routines, where you place your keys, where the salt and pepper shakers are, etc. Prioritize and decide is the key and a skill that is not easy to learn. Keep working on it!

So what are you going to do to become more organized? There are a number of good books out that can help you develop this skill set. Go to a library or bookstore and look for books on organizing. This must be a conscientious decision and an investment of time and energy. Learn this skill and it will pay back many times in the future. Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of being organized, get help and start small, but start.

Stan Broesder, MBA is owner of Crossroads Consultants and a Business Consultant specializing in helping business professionals to be more efficient, effective by developing skills, strategies, and systems that increase profits and business growth. For more information on how you can be better organized, email Stan at:  Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.

When Business Isn’t Fun Anymore!

Business owners go into business for many different reasons and circumstances. But one goal that is pretty common to those in business is the idea of control and freedom to choose, on a daily basis, what you are going to do and the pride of seeing positive results based on your decisions and your hard work.

But what do you do as a business owner or professional when you have made serious investment into your business, are doing “well,” (making too much money to just walk away), but you are no longer looking forward to another day, week, month or year like the last one? What do you do when you think to yourself, “there has got to be a better way?” Your goals are not as clear anymore and even your challenges or problems aren’t either. You’re stuck!

It has been my experience in working with business professionals for over two decades is that you and your business (or career for that matter) are growing and evolving at different rates and possibly in different directions. Many wonder if they should just pack it in. But often the problem is just a matter of cleaning a dirty window to the view of your business. I know that sounds elementary, but getting things back in perspective with a clear view of your business and the future can make all the difference in the world.

Yes, getting a clearer view will also expose the problems and challenges even more, but with the right support you can now address these issues, begin to focus and start to see some real progress. Once you can get some focus and perspective on your business you can then develop better control of your business. At the point of a better perspective and control of your business, your options increase and whatever you decide will have a greater chance of taking you to where you really want to go in the future.

Businesses do shut down for reasons other than the lack of profit. Controlling your future is more about making clear level headed decisions, than being forced to decide because of the circumstances you are in. Put yourself in a position that you have multiple options and choose the one that fits you and your future best.

The key here is regaining a clear perspective and focus of your business so you can establish the right controls. Don’t make quick decisions when your business is not in clear focus and you don’t have a clear perspective of your situations.

Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants and a business consultant that specializes in improving business profits and growth by developing business strategies and systems. A structured process is used to create strategies and action plans to solve problems that many business owners and professionals face.  You can reach Stan by email at:  Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.

Business Lesson from March’s Madness

Sitting in a waiting area recently I noticed a UConn basketball game going on. I did not see the end of the game but from what I saw, I won’t share which team they were playing against (embarrassing) and from what I hear that’s pretty normal.

As of today, the Tar Heels are in the final four, but full disclosure, I am not a typical sports or basketball fan. I do believe that there are a lot of lessons for business in the sports arena. But many business owners don’t always connect the two.

Having one of the best shooters alone won’t win you the game. Running fast down the court won’t win the game. Every team practices the basic skills of shooting, passing, or whatever. Every business owner does some advertising, makes sales, makes things or delivers a product or service and knows their business. And like different sports require a lot more team effort than others.

But every team that is successful has a coach. Why is that? What does a basketball coach do that the players can’t? What can the players do that the coach can’t? The coach doesn’t shoot as well, or run as well, but what a coach has is perspective. They are able to see things that the players can’t.

But EVERYONE in the place has a different perspective than the players. Too many times business professionals talk to people just because they have a different perspective. A banker knows the banking business, but may have never owned or run a business. A coach understands the game at a different level than the players.

The players master the tactics and work to score. The coach understands the players and the opponents to a degree that he puts those players into strategic positions and various plays with the goal to win the game. The coach masters the strategy.

Almost any high school kid can shoot a basket, but only those with the commitment to put together the right combination of skills and resources can win the game and tournament. Are you as committed to winning in your business as the champions are about winning the tournament?

There are many lessons but the one lesson today from all of this madness is to not just play to make the sale, play to reach your goal, make a profit. I have been told that when it comes to business, I tend to see things a little differently. Why is that?

A Key Step to Growth – Learning how to shift gears

One of the key steps to growth as an individual or as a business is the ability to shift gears.

1. Accomplish more with the same resources

Essentially this is a skill that requires a person to accomplish more with the same resources they currently have. Just like in a car. If you want to go faster eventually the transmission must shift gears. There is no more of the vehicle and no more of any resource, it is just using the resources that you have more effectively. The use of leverage is the key to growth.

2. “I’m giving it all she’s got!” — Scotty

Many individuals see themselves as being stuck in life and business. Most are running hard, have very little extra to put into growth, let alone being able to sustain a more complex or higher level of production. Whenever someone suggests trying something new they reply, “When am I going to have time to do that” or “How can I afford it?”  So ultimately, nothing changes until there is a breakdown, which is usually quite painful.

3. Are you insane?

As long as you see yourself as stuck with no real options, you will keep doing what you are doing now until some other force changes the status quo. Your health, a new competitor or the loss of a big client, are just a few of the many possible outside forces that can bring unexpected and painful change.

4. “Change is life. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” — William Summerset Maugham

There is hope for anyone who wants to grow and see positive change take place in their lives or their business. Even when there are few extra resources. The systems in place may have worked for you for a while now. You might be thinking, “We don’t want to rock the boat”. But while you are trying to not fail, others are going to adapt and succeed at your expense.

5. Growth requires change.

The question is will you take action and be in control of the change and growth of you and your business, or will it happen to you in which you will be in the reaction mode just trying to hang on and survive?

It is great having a vision for where you want to go with a plan that enables you to use the resources you have right now in a leveraged way and watching those dreams come true on a day to day basis. Choose wisely!

Action step:  In order to really grow you must find space to think and act. This may take some planning, reassessing priorities, or delegating. One of the first things that I do in working with my clients is to find ways to help them find some space. Today we are running so hard we don’t have time to stop and ask for directions, or even to orient ourselves by looking at the map. If you have ever watched “Amazing Race” you know that it can really cost you if you don’t.



Crossroads Consultants… can enable you to predict, plan and prepare for the future and the changes that are coming your way. With the proper tools and information you can begin to make the changes necessary to increase you production and provide you with a better lifestyle at the same time. Stan Broesder has the education, skills, and experience to make your growth smoother and easier.

Who Needs a Business Coach?

Not everyone needs a business coach to be an effective and efficient business person. There are five questions that if you can answer yes to all of them with complete honesty and accuracy, then you probably don’t need a coach.

1.      Do you know where you are?

“Wow! That is easy, sure I do!” Okay, but what about your business? Do you know if you are profitable or not? Having money in your bank is not the same thing? Do you know what your cash flow needs are? Do you have a cash flow statement? Do you know your competitive advantage is? Do you have a value proposition? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?

Most business owners think they know where there business is but when specific questions are presented, reality has a way of showing itself. Knowing which products and customers are not profitable is critical to your success? Many guess wrong when it comes to strengths and competitive advantages, as well as least profitable products and customers.

2.      Do you know where you want to go?

Many business owners are just on cruise control. Hopefully, we can just keep humming along. The old joke, “I don’t know where we are going, but we are making good time” comes to mind. What position are you trying to put yourself and your business in? Is it really that important? Ask your spouse if it is important what your position is when you unexpectedly exit from the business. What is your exit strategy?  Everyone exits their business. Do you have real goals that are written down and solid? Do others know what you are trying to accomplish or is it “same stuff, different day” attitude? Where are you going?

3.      Do you know how are you going to get there?

In New Orleans, once you get on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway going north to Mandeville, you don’t really need to be watching for signs or worry about missing your turn. You have a 23 mile straight shot across the lake. Now if life were as simple as “no options” then this wouldn’t be an issue. But when Hurricane Katrina went through and no one could cross using that bridge it became a different story. Now you needed a map, and a lot of turns to get to your destination.

So, if you know where you are and where you want to go, do you know the way to get there? Usually what you did today won’t get you to where you want to be tomorrow. Unless you want the same result, which is stagnation, you are going to have to change something. Growth can be tricky because there are a lot of things that are changing all at the same time. Understanding the cause and effect of those changes will help to determine how you adapt and change to the situation. Are you really in control of the changes taking place in your business?

4.      Are you sure there won’t be any changes or detours to reaching your goal?

It is more than knowing how to get there; it is a matter of knowing how to navigate your business when the path is disrupted and plan “A” and plan “B” are no longer options. Knowing how to create opportunities and plans in the storms of change is critical. Some people are very good at it, most business owners are not. Usually they are too close to the situation to have a full and accurate perspective.

5.      Does your business allow you to be flexible, see opportunities and enjoy life?

Do you own your business, or does it own you? Many business owners have invested their lives to build a business but don’t seem to enjoy life. Some call it life-work balance. Others just call it learning to love life. It isn’t a question of working 40 hours, or making sure you stop and smell the roses. It is a question of knowing how to see the opportunities of life and business along the way and being able to take advantage of them. It is the idea that you sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. You are so busy working in your business you never take the time to work on your business or your life.

Remember the saying, “No one lies on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at the office.” This is not about saying no, or not answering your cell phone while at the beach. It is about seeing and learning how to take advantage of the opportunities of life and business. If you can’t confidently say you know where your business is right now, where you really are going, know that you have an action plan that is working, able to handle unexpected change and allows you the freedom to grow, then maybe you do need a business coach. Otherwise maybe not!

Stan Broesder, is a Business Coach and Management Consultant and is living in Lincolnton, NC. He has worked with small businesses for almost 20 years. He has a Master is Business Administration degree and specializes in helping business owners to develop skills, systems and strategies to improve their business management productivity and control. His clients enjoy an increase in productivity and greater profitability. You can find out more about Stan on his website:  www.MYCrossroadsConsultants.com  or email him at:  Stan@MYCrossroadsConsultants.com