When Children Plan Like Their Parents

How many parents do you know that would tell their high school age, son or daughter, that they didn’t need to plan for college or not to worry about what they are going to do after high school?

How many people wish they had started their retirement planning sooner or their children’s college fund sooner? You might say, “Well we were younger back then and didn’t realize how important it was.” And yet, are you really making actionable plans today for your future?

What if our children planned their futures like we plan our businesses? Do you have specific goals for next month, quarter or even next year? Do you have any idea of what you need to be doing now in preparation for reaching whatever goals you have? Are you organized, and prepared? Do you have a plan, a real plan, a plan with dates and calculated resources attached so that you can effectively and realistically implement the plan?

We believe in planning when it comes to other people. We have told others, you need to plan what you want to do, the career you want to reach, while all along your own goals and plans are not clear, not specific, not realistic because there is no way to know if you are reaching or achieving what you say you want to do.

We have a perpetual “Someday I’ll!” Someday, I’ll have this or that, go here or there, buy, become, do… blah, blah, blah! But someday never seems to arrive. It just keeps moving ahead of us with the empty promise.

This year, take the advice that you give or gave to others, to your teenage children. Set some real goals not just add-ons of some percentage and steady as she goes, don’t rock the boat. Evaluate your potential and seek out excellence no matter what your age or circumstance. Determine that this year will be different.  And that difference…

Start NOW! Don’t play and don’t delay! If you need help find someone who can help you and work with them, listen to them and then do it!

Stan Broesder, MBA — Crossroads Consultants — “Because All Business is Personal!”

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Super Busy Costs you, here is a Solution

From so many commitments that you can’t seem to breathe, to working so hard on everyday problems and issues you never seem to see beyond today. ‘Super busy’ can look different for different people.

Define “Busy”
You need to be able to define what it means when you say that you are “busy.” Everybody is doing something every single hour of every day. What does your busy look like? Are you working more hours than is healthy, are you inefficient because you cannot solve a time management issue, or do you have a problem saying no and are now overcommitted in a number of areas and cannot seem to juggle it all?

A very common scenario is growing in a business until you are maxed out, then hiring someone to help in the front office. This person handles all the phone calls, customer complaints, invoicing, bill payment preparation, errands, occasional social media posting, and whatever else you can dump on them. But it is never enough. So, who is the next person that you can add to take some load off of you? You can’t afford someone who doesn’t produce income.

The Hard Part
More importantly, why is your “busy” a problem? You need to determine what really going on that is causing you to be too busy. What are the implications of you being so busy? What is the price?  Is it causing stress, sleepless nights? Maybe it is impacting relationships in your life, but you just grunt on and keep going, not knowing when or how it will stop!

The Solution
Find time. Take time. You might need an hour, so take it in 10-minute increments. Whatever it takes, but do it. You must find some time to breathe.  Once you take some time, we invest that time to find a little more time, and then we take that extra time to make more money to buy you your freedom. Here is where you start.

First, list ALL of your roles and responsibilities, from selling to the prospect to cleaning the toilets. Whatever you do in the company as a part of owning your business, WRITE IT DOWN!

Second, prioritize every listed item from the most critical and money producing activity to the least.

Third, look for ways to delegate or contract out the less income producing and impactful activities to someone else. If you are worried about quality control, as many are, that is a problem of systems and management skills (and Crossroads Consultants can help you with that).

Fourth, make a plan. Once you have freed up some time, use it to plan out your future and solve problems of delegation, control and bringing in more income. It takes time to make a good plan but that is what you need to have the freedom you need to reach your goals. Being Super Busy can be great for the ego, but the cost can be devastating.

Stan Broesder is the owner of Crossroads Consultants a business management and growth consulting company. If your business is going to grow the owners and management team must grow with it, or it won’t work. Marketing today is beyond the expertise of most owners and manager. In order to effectively market your business and grow you need someone who can plan and manage your marketing. Crossroads Consultants will provide you with a lower cost provisional marketing management solution. Contact Stan at 980-241-0189 or Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

Why Your Business May Have Stalled

If you are a small business or micro-businesses (under 10 employees) you may find it nearly impossible to get your business to the next level. It is very common and usually avoidable. After 25 years of helping small business owners and professionals, there is one factor that seems hidden and is often a major reason why business growth stalls.

When there is no more to give

My clients often tell me that they are tired and run hard trying to build their business but real business growth and the potential of their business eludes them. They want to grow but they are also afraid that it may kill them in the process. They are already maxed out.

One problem is they believe that if they don’t do it, it won’t get done, or it won’t get done correctly. How effectively they are able to delegate shows itself in how many employees they have. That is why there are so many businesses that have less than ten employees.

Delegating is not enough

Balancing growth and profitability is extremely hard and being an expert in a technical or specific industry skill set is not enough. You have to learn the skills of management if you are going to grow. Your ability to manage employees starts to max out at eight to ten employees.

If you have hired an employee you understand the need to delegate work. The question is how well do you understand their abilities? Can you effectively communicate your needs and train that person to be able to meet those needs to achieve your goals? Add to that your ability to control and hold others accountable for results. A “dozen” employees can become much more difficult to manage.

So what is the solution? The most critical and precious resource is your time. Learn how to get more done in less time. You must balance the risk of someone else not doing a job quite as well as you can, with the increase in overall production by others. Think of a competitor that is five times bigger than you are, how do they manage it all with the same 24 hours a day that you have?

Management skills are critical

Start with managing yourself. If you are the kind of person who is always running late to meetings, making late payments with late fees, always short on cash, never enough prospects or customers while struggling to put out a good quality product or service, re-evaluate your management skills. Without applying good management skills to yourself, you will have a challenge managing others.

When other people are depending on you for their financial future, you have to take management seriously. You must learn and have the discipline to organize, prioritize and plan what is most important to the business. You have to be able to help others to get the results you need without doing it yourself.

Letting go to grow

Second, develop your people to take over some of the tasks that you are doing. You are NOT an expert in all facets of your business. That is why we hire accountants, marketing specialists, etc. Developing or finding competent people is one key to growth.

However, you must be able to effectively manage those that you hire. This ability to hold others accountable and get results is critical. The better you are at managing, the more people you can manage.  At some point you will need to hire a person to supervise others. A supervisor should be able to direct others and get the production you need without you.

Are you willing to change and grow first?

You must develop your management skills so that you can delegate activities that you are currently doing. You will never grow and reach your potential beyond where you are if you don’t. Business growth depends on effectively managing others who can do for you, what you do, so that you can invest your time doing more important things.

Developing your management skills is not easy. Business professionals often don’t see management as a skill set. Learning to organize, plan, control and execute effectively and efficiently are all a part of management. You actually may be the reason for your own stalled growth.

Develop your skills and confidence in the area of management and then you can take your business to the next level.

Crossroads Consultants specializes in developing skills in management and business planning. My clients seek to grow their business profits and their freedom. With the proper planning and management systems we can make that happen. I help my client so see what they don’t know, to know what they can’t see, and therefore act differently and more effectively. By improving your skills in organizing, planning, executing and controlling you can go places you haven’t even dreamed of.

Two Natural Laws That Will Make or Break Your Business and Life

Do you want to solve some tough problems or make some serious changes but don’t know how? Consider how you relate to these two laws of nature.

There are natural laws that if you violate them the consequences can be deadly. But, you can overcome some natural laws, by applying other laws, such as the aerodynamics of an airplane or a parachute that allows you to land safely on the ground countering the effects of deadly gravity.

But what about business and life, what natural laws can you apply or overcome that will enable you to be successful?  Last week I did a Tele-seminar Preview on ten “Principles of Achievement” and applying those principles with the “Plan Your MAP” program. You can listen to the Tele-seminar here.

There are two laws that go hand in hand and you can use them to give you tremendous leverage on reaching your goals. If you neglect these two laws, you will find that life will be much more challenging. The better you are at utilizing these two laws, the more successful you will be.

First is the law of “Focus of Control.” Think of this like a continuum where you have complete 100% control on the right end of the line and absolutely no control is on the left end of the line. Now think with me about what you definitely can NOT control in your life or business. Usually such things like the weather and time are mentioned. While on the other end is what you can 100% control? Think about it, the only thing that you can really control is yourself, your decisions and actions.

In between these two points is the area of influence. Some things we will have more influence over than other things. While we cannot control people, we have more influence over our own children than we do over a stranger in public.

How this affects you and your business is that you need to continually and effectively evaluate how much control do you have in any given situation, project, client account, or goal. With that knowledge you then have to think about how you can influence those things that you cannot control.

The problem comes in life and business is when we try to control or strongly influence things beyond what is realistic and we get frustrated and upset. Or, we look at the situation and say “there is nothing that I can do…” and fail to try to overcome the particular situation, when in fact there are things we can do.

Many times we allow our attitudes and beliefs about what we can and cannot do to affect our efforts. That is why the saying “Whether you believe that you can or you can’t, you’re right,” comes from.

The second natural law is “The Law of Cause and Effect.” Quite simply this is the law reflected in the saying, “you reap what you sow.” If you plant corn, don’t expect wheat, and it is as simple as that.

What is the result or “effect” that you want? The Effect in this case is a dependent. It is the result of something, namely the cause. So first think about what affect that you want, and then think about what could cause that effect to take place.

This is a great way to think about planning. Decide where you want to go and then what will cause you to get there. Almost everyone that I talk to agrees with the concept, at least IN PRINCIPLE, but not in practice. If you really believe in cause and effect, and they want more sales, than what is the cause that drives more sales?

When you flip this around to solving a problem, it can be more challenging. You have an effect that you don’t want now you need to find out what is the cause of the problem (the result or effect of a cause). A systemic problem is one of the hardest to solve because the cause is many times separated by time and space.

Understanding the cause, whether it is for what you want or don’t want is the biggest challenge. But we make it worse when we attack the symptom (which is the effect, like a fever) that appears to be the problem. Unfortunately when we do this the real problem is not resolved and we are constantly working to change the effect of the problem.

So now put these two laws together and you get a life of taking control of those areas that you can control with a cause and effect mindset. Or you get a person who doesn’t accept that they have control or at the least strong influence in many areas of life and decides that the cause and effect law doesn’t work and therefore they literally will take their chances. They live by chance, luck and if anything good happens, it often appears by accident.

So, if you believe in Focus of Control, and the Law of Cause and Effect…. What does your planning look like? Does it look like you believe in controlling your destiny or are winging it and hoping for the best? Do you have solid goals, and a strategic plan or goals in your head and a hope-so-strategy for life and business?



Crossroads Consultants specializes in helping business professionals and owners to create the life that they want through developing skills in management (including planning, organizing, executing and controlling) applied to the core elements like strategy and systems development. I support my clients on their journey and not on an event. I walk along with my clients because like everyone else I too am on the journey and so excited to be able to share my knowledge, experiences and skills that I have, and enjoy learning from each client and project along the way.

Problems Don’t Live in Isolation

Most businesses seem to constantly battle against four basic challenges. These challenges are:

  1. Money – the lack of sufficient capital, or cash flow
  2. Marketing – the lack of enough prospects or clients
  3. People – the lack of engaged workers with initiative
  4. Performance — the lack of quality production or capacity

Only one of these actually deals with what the business owner is the expert in, performance. The others can be handled by bankers or accountants, marketing specialists, or HR specialists. These providers, who are experts in their specific field, do not usually see through the lens of the other specialties.

A serious issue with many “providers” is that they see situations or challenges within their own sphere or discipline and not how their challenge is related to or affected by the other challenges. If a money problem exists it could be because of poor quality production or performance from disgruntled employees. Cash flow may seem to be the problem, but it may only be a symptom of a much deeper problem.

So if you believe you are suffering from one challenge, you need to consider how the other challenges may be making the problem worse. Taking a holistic approach is better than just targeting one part of the whole problem. Without addressing the supporting problems to the ONE problem you increase the chance that your solution will not really solve the problem in the future.

Systems’ thinking allows you to look at these four challenges holistically. You must always ask yourself what is the cause and effect of decisions and actions made over time and space. An action or decision that was made six months ago may be having an effect on your outcomes today. It is also possible that a decision or action that was taken at a different location from the current problem may be causing or contributing to the effect that you are now seeing.

There is a process for determining the cause of current problems or challenges that is perfect for small businesses. Essentially it keeps asking the “Why?” question. Start with the current problem and start asking why this is occurring. Always brainstorm as many answers each time as possible. Then with each answer, ask “why is this happening?” Facilitating this process does take some skill, but definitely patience.  Seek to find causes and don’t just look at symptoms.

Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants and specializes in helping business professionals to improve the skills, strategies and systems needed to increase profitability, reduce stress and grow a business. For information on creating a smooth running, high performance, profitable and growing business email Stan directly at: Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

 

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.

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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.

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.