How Do You Grow Your Business When You Are Already Maxed Out?

Many business owners would like to see some change take place in their business. The problem is that they are so busy, tired, and overworked; they just don’t see how they can add anything else to their plate.

This situation can cause a business to stagnate and lose profitability. Business owners become discouraged and say, “Someday I’ll …” You need to move forward but don’t feel that you have the energy and resources necessary to make a move, you’re stuck.

PHASE 1 — Finding Space

Breathe

The first step to finding space is for you to “Breathe.” You must find some time so that you can step back and clearly think about your situation. This is NOT a vacation or two days off. Just an hour or two will be some of the hardest work that you have ever done. But finding the time to step back can be a challenge.

Everyone can improve how they utilize their time. What tasks can you delegate to someone else or become more efficient in doing so that you have some time?  Even if all you are doing is freeing up an hour or two, it’s a start.

Step Back 

The second step during this time to find space is to step back, reevaluate your priorities. What is really important to you and your business? This is not some mountaintop daydreaming experience; this is reaching down and make some hard decisions.

You are going to need more than an hour to change your business? What low ‘return on effort’ tasks and activities can get off of your plate? You can decide to eliminate them, delegate them, delay them or hire someone else to do them.

Think

This is only the beginning of the planning process. But it is critical if things are going to change and not by accident, you need some time to think, plan, prepare and then act.

Start your growth process by finding space, some time to think, but don’t waste your time on current work stuff. Think about the challenge that you must solve? Start by giving yourself a little time to think and plan your future. Find the Space.

Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants. We help hardworking, successful business owners who are at a ‘crossroads’ between where they are and the businesses they have built, and the potential future they have always dreamed about. For a no-obligation initial consultation email Stan at  Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.

 

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Are you using the DIY Marketing Method?

Most people learn how to do marketing by throwing money at a tactic and seeing if it works. Keep trying and then, keep what works, throw out the rest. It is the DIY Marketing method. But that method will only get you so far.

With a specific plan in mind for your marketing dollars, you will have much better results. Here is a real simple three step plan that will improve your marketing results. Try it!

1.  Who is your Ideal Client?

Create a profile of who this person is. Can you write out a description of your ideal client so that someone else who reads that description can identify a specific person?

2.  What is your message?

Assuming that your ideal client is going to read your message, what do you want them to know? A better question would be to ask, what do THEY want to know? Make sure your message is relevant to them.

3.  What is the best media?

You know who you want to talk to and what you want to say, the question is what media or method will most likely capture your ideal client’s attention. If you want to reach a golfer maybe you should put an ad in a golf magazine, or sponsor a hole for a local charity fundraiser. Make a list of all the possible media opportunities and then determine the best avenue for your marketing goal.

Coordinate various tactics so that you have synergy, and are building on other tactics. This is a smart approach to marketing. Don’t just make decisions based on available funds, make choices on maximizing the return on money already spent as well as current and future funding.

If you have some thoughts, leave a comment.

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Crossroads Consultants is a business growth strategy company. Growing income or profits takes planning and excellent execution. The keys are quality planning, being organized, directing your people, and controlling your business.

You can reach Stan Broesder, MBA with Crossroads Consultants at 980-241-0189 or email: 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.

Construction in 2015 and Beyond

There is always the desire to look into the future and to see what is going to happen. If you knew stocks were going to plunge next Tuesday, you would sell on Monday. The farther out the “prediction”, the slower the return, if it comes at all and therefore the greater the risk.

So, when we look at 2015 and beyond many people think that it is too far off and you can’t have reliable predictions anyway. While that sounds good, there are many who predict and invest a lot farther out than that. Companies like Exxon/Mobile and Georgia Pacific both have 100+ year plans. That is what I call planning and predicting into the future?

But what about right here, can we accurately predict the future for construction? Dale Atkins with The Marketing Edge who has spoken several times at our Home Builder’s Association membership meeting has said that there is a correlation between collectable rent and home construction.

When rent goes up there is a greater interest to buy or build a new home. Prices of homes tend to go up because of the increase in demand. There will always be fluctuations, but there are also trends. And when you start looking for trends based on facts your ability to predict will greatly increase.

The hard part is not so much predicting the trend, as understanding what does that trend mean for me and my business. How do I use this information to position my business for growth and greater profitability when it comes? What threats will there be to my business that I need to mitigate before the storm hits?

About two years ago it was said at one of our meetings that the average age for a licensed plumber and electrician in our county was in the low 60’s. Although I haven’t been able to verify it, it is worth thinking about. So, what will be the net effect in the not too distant future? If you need an electrician or plumber it just might cost you a whole lot more than it does now. When finding a good plumber becomes difficult, it may have an impact on your schedule and the amount of work you can do.

According to the National Association of Home Builders in a recent article they are already seeing some difficulty throughout the country in finding roofers, framing carpenters and general carpenters. If the country sees an increase in the demand for construction, these trends will affect your business, the question is how? And is there anything you can do in preparation for this trend?

If you see a trend, that is great, but think about the impact. What if you and your competitor see a trend, how will that affect your business? What if they see a trend and you don’t?

As I am writing this I got an email from David Crowe of the NAHB Education department, talk about timing. They are promoting a “NAHB Fall Construction Forecasting Webinar” with special guest, Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, is on October 30th. You might want to check it out.

Taking some time to look at the future horizons, to set better goals and to make better plans is always a good investment of your time. So realize that you can predict the future or at least see the horizon better. The important thing is to see the how trends will impact your business and find ways to take advantage of the opportunities and minimize the threats.

When you properly plan into the future, you gain better control of your present.

Crossroads Consultants can help you to plan into the future while gaining better control for today.

Solve your number one problem — Start today!

Solving this one problem makes solving all of the other problems easier. In his book, “Six Disciplines Execution Revolution” Gary Harpst explains that there are really only two things that you have to master to have the life and business that you want.

Have you ever struggled and wished for some help in getting everything done? Have you wanted to have more control in your life? Are you searching for the secret to success, or just how to get through the end of the month?

There are two things to Master. Once you have mastered these two things you can accomplish just about anything. It isn’t real complicated but it does take some motivation. Once you master these things, you will realize that there is almost always someone, or now somewhere to get the knowledge you want or need to succeed. You will also realize there is almost always someone who has the skills that you need to succeed.

So what are these two things? Before that, ask yourself if you want to live a life of chance or intention. Do you believe that luck; chance or fate is the way to live your life or is choice, intention and determination a better way to go? Now don’t just casually give a flippant answer, think about it. Decide right now which way do you believe to be the best for your future? Of course no one wants to put their future in the hands of chance, luck or fate, but what is the alternative?

The first thing that you must master is being able to pull together all the relevant information and to create a blueprint or plan to specifically map out or layout what your future is going to look like and how exactly you are going to get there. It is that simple, just not that easy.

I recognize that real architects didn’t just pick up a pencil and start designing a home and overnight create the world’s best residence. But most of them started somewhere back when Crayons were being used, and not today’s computers. It may take a little work creating a plan and then making it better, and learning, and then making it even better. But if you don’t start planning by doing, you will never create the plan that you want. No one else is going to create the plan for you that you want. Jack Welch is credited with saying, and a book is titled: “Control your own destiny or someone else will”

Let’s revisit your decision to put your future in the hands of fate, luck or chance or to put your future in the hands of decision, choice, and intention. If you are not planning you’re taking a chance. I wish you luck, because that is all you have to go on. Or you can plan to succeed; ultimately it is your choice.

Assuming that you have created a plan, “any” plan, what is the second ingredient? Well as difficult as creating a life changing plan is, this second part can be much more difficult. But if your plan is a good one, then this second element is taken into account. Besides having a good plan, The second ingredient that you need is to be able to execute that plan efficiently. That’s right; the world’s best plans will not build a house or accomplish anything for that matter. Someone has to do the work of implementing or executing the plan to see accomplishments.

If the plan is a good one it will take into account the skills and abilities of the person who must execute it. It may include that you take a course in learning a skill or figuring out the best way to hire someone else to do some of the work in the plan. But the work must get done.

So the next time you have a problem ask yourself, “do I have a plan that I can execute to solve this problem?” If not, remember that you are taking a chance. Start with the information that you know. Think about what information you need to know to make the best decisions, and then plan out a way to learn what you need to know. It may only be a step to solving a problem but it is a step in the right direction.

The purpose of this article is to get you to really think and be hones to yourself about planning. Do you think about things or do you really plan? Make it a practice and you will continue to get better at it. We will continue this discussion, you can plan on it, I know I am.

Stan Broesder is a Business Consultant with Crossroads Consultants. He can be reached at 980-241-0189, or you can visit his website: www.MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

Assumptions in Business Can Make or Break You!

If what you are doing is not working then you have to change. But what do you do? How? One of the most frustrating parts of business is when a great idea only produces so-so results, especially when you still think it is a great idea. So what do you do?  You don’t want to just give up or change for change sake. It could be the proverbial “out of the frying pan, and into the fire.”

  1. Write down your assumptions. 

Start with writing down your assumptions (don’t keep them in your head). Why did you really believe “If I build it they will come”?  That is why they called it a field of “DREAMS” not a field of plans. Why is it such a great idea, or service, or product?

  1. Put yourself in another person’s shoes

Think about it, if you were someone else, different job and life, would you buy into your idea (or business)? Would you really spend the money? Why, why not?  Your assumptions may have sent you down a no profit or low profit road. But you can use assumptions to get you back on track.IMG_0085_crop

  1. Reconfirm your assumptions.

Once you have listed all of your assumptions start to confirm or correct each one. Figure out by asking unbiased people. How many people told you that it was a great idea but when it came time to buy your service, they didn’t buy – ask them! This happens all the time with start-ups. Their reasons (or excuses) are possibly the same for others.

  1. Move forward

Only after you have confirmed or corrected each assumption can you move forward. But you might not need to wait until you have solved all of them. If you come across a major “ah-ha” moment, that may be the key log in the log jam. But don’t stop there, because wrong assumptions, even the small ones, can be very costly.

Fourth Quarter — Are you going to make it?

How close are you to reaching your year-end goals? Are you 75% of the way there?

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Whether you are trying to hit a sales target, or revenue target how are you doing? Maybe you are trying to lose weight or reduce personal expenses. Do you know where you stand?

Making assumptions

This line of questioning assumes quite a few things that are generally not true in our world today.

First, there is the assumption that you really do have a specific goal that you are trying to attain. It is amazing to me how many people do not set real goals. Goals in your head are mushy and iffy at best. It is like the guy who told his wife he was going to 25 pound in January and then in December claims that he said it was 5 pounds. We wouldn’t dare write it down; because we know our wives will find it and show it to us in December.

Second, there is the assumption that you know where you are right now in relationship to that goal. One of the first things to go in the demise of our goals is keeping track of where we are. Instead, we go with the gut. Yeah, I’m doing all right! I haven’t balanced my bank accounts or my accounting software lately but I have some money in the bank and some people owe me money so I am doing… okay! I haven’t stepped on the scale but I haven’t changed dress sizes so I must be doing okay. But do you know where you are compared to your goal?

Third, there is the assumption that having set the goal, knowing where you are, that you put together some type of plan and are following that plan to achieve the goal. Many people have the plan of “just work harder”, “put in some extra time”, “just keep going it has to turn around sometime”! Hope is not a strategy and winging it is not a plan. You need a real plan!!

Finally, there is the assumption that if you are not going to reach your goal at the current projections, that you know how to change your action plan to still reach the goal. But of course if you knew how to produce more than you are currently doing, you would already be doing it right? We sometimes forget that the plan that was designed nine months ago may not be sufficient and with new data and opportunities that arise in those months you might be able to increase productivity.

So now what?

What do we do here at the start of the fourth quarter? There are several things that you have to do if you are going to turn around a plan that is falling short.

First, make the first three assumptions real. Clarify and rewrite your goals. Figure out exactly where you are today. Do the work to balance the books, step on the scale, etc. Review your plan to see if you are following it or not. An honest look at the plan and the reality of your life may be just enough to show you that you can still make it.

Second, take a hard look at what are the obstacles that you are facing to reach your goal. This is very important and most people skip by this one and it can cost them. Take the time to clearly outline all of the obstacles that are preventing you from achieving your goal. The better that you are able to describe your obstacles, the more likely you will be able to overcome them. Don’t say, I don’t have enough time. Be specific, what else is demanding your time and preventing you from achieving your goal?

Now, here is the hardest part. Finally, you must change what you have been doing, if what you have been doing is not getting it done. The hard part here is the mental game. The argument is “if it were possible I would have thought of it already”. Or, “I can’t work any harder.” But if anyone is able to produce more with less time and effort, then you can. All it takes is learning how to shift gears and then stepping on it.

Look at your greatest achievements for the last 9 months or longer. What was it about that sale, new customer, loss of weight, or whatever that gave you a higher return on your investment of energy, time and money than other activities? Can those mini-successes be duplicated again? Are there small changes that you can make that would make them happen again? What are your greatest strengths profit-wise? What activities produce the most profit? How can you concentrate on those and maximize your time and energy?

Now is not the time to give up!

Now is the time to focus and renew your commitment to your renewed and clarified goals by working smarter, figure out where you are, list your obstacles, decide what you are going to do to overcome them and then track how you are progressing. If you have set worthwhile goals than it will be worth you investing some time to make sure that you reach them. Of course, it starts with setting a real worthwhile goal.

Stan Broesder, is a Management Consultant and Business Coach who lives in Lincolnton, NC. He has worked with small businesses for over 20 years. He has a Masters in Business Administration degree and specializes in helping business owners to improve their productivity, profitability and control of their business and life. His clients enjoy less stress, greater sense of purpose, an increase in productivity and greater profitability. You can find out more about Stan on his website:  www.MYCrossroadsConsultants.com,  call him at 980-241-0189, or email him at:  Stan@MYCrossroadsConsultants.com