How is A Good Business Consultant Like Your Top Sales Person? — They make you more money than they cost.

A good business consultant is like your top sales person in that they don’t cost you any money, they make you money.

Sales people bring in more money than you pay them or you wouldn’t do it. But your best or top sales person tends to bring more than just income to the company. They also bring repeat business, they develop relationships and they give you feedback on products, quality and what is going on in the marketplace.

What follows isn’t blatant marketing, it is just good advice, and I can prove it.

If your business doesn’t need improvement than the task or opportunities for a Business Consultant are short lived, like a summer camp room inspection when it is done right, it is quick. When a consultant really doesn’t have much to do, as you may think, the cost is low and you get the reassurance that you were right.

A good business consultant will provide you with direction and how to grow your business. They will help you to work ON your business while you work IN your business. They will help you to discover, define and solve problems and not just symptoms.

A good business consultant will help you to build a higher performing work force. By looking at and improve your communications and accountability systems. Improving motivation as well as efficiencies can go a long way to helping morale and performance. And a good business consultant helps you to have a higher performing workforce that will reduce your stress and give you more freedom to choose how to use your time and money.

A good business consultant can help you to better understand the customer experience and how to help your customers to come back time after time. In the process, your customers may also buy more from you and buy more often. Relationships with your customers should be built beyond just with the sales person. A good business consultant can help you to see the world through your customers’ eyes better as a third party.

When a good business consultant who works in any area of marketing or sales will have a definite impact on your sales income. A good business consultant improves your position in the marketplace which brings in better and repeat business.

A good business consultant is not trying to sell you some product like a website or software or training programs. A good business consultant is an independent third party who allows you to see your business differently. Will challenge you to raise the bar just a little more and to achieve more than you thought you could have done before. A good business consultant will help to develop you as a manager/leader as well as your business.

The one thing that a good business consultant does that most sales personnel don’t is to save you money. That is what they do, they look for better efficiencies and effective use of resources so that every dollar they save goes straight to the bottom line.

Think about that management position that you really want to but haven’t filled yet, but wish you could. Maybe someone is doing the job, kind of. You can’t afford to pay an $80,000.00 salary but you really need someone to relieve the pressure from you. Outsource what you need to be done to a good business consultant. Pay them a fraction of what you would normally pay. You get their expertise and help in managing your business. It is like skimming the cream off of the top. You get the best information and support, without paying the high dollar.

So a good business consultant like top sales professionals won’t cost you money, they make you money. Give me a chance to prove it to you! I don’t want to waste your time or mine. Before I take on any client I must be confident and the client must be confident that I can make them or save them money or solve a value problem for them.

If you want and need to see some change take place in your business, call me at Crossroads Consultants 980-241-0189 / Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

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Why Planning Won’t Work!

Planning is one part of the management puzzle but it requires another piece of the puzzle. You can have the perfect plan or blueprint, but if you can’t organize the resources to accomplish the plan, it will cost you dearly.

No one plans like you, thinks like you or works like you! Be yourself, but strive to be better! Your personality and individuality are very important to your planning, how you organize and how effective or efficient you will be.

The second piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have your ‘ducks in a row’– that you are organized. Being organized is not the same thing as being neat. It doesn’t mean that you have to live your life like a drill Sargent. Being organized means that you know your priorities and where the information and resources are to meet those priorities when needed.

Find a way that works for you. Don’t kid yourself and say that you are organized when you spend 20 minutes looking for the phone number you wrote down, or a copy of that proposal you sent two weeks ago. Constantly work on creating better plans, better systems and being better organized. Strive to be a better you!

You must create systems or have someone help you to create systems that work for you. Then your plans will have a better chance of being accomplished and the changes that you want to see happen.

Take five minutes to make a list of what are the top five priority goals in your life and the critical information and resources that you need to reach those priorities. Then ask yourself, “how organized am I really in these critical areas?”

As a person who has worked with business professionals for over 25 years, I have helped to create the systems and strategies that fit your individual needs and to bring about the changes that you want in your life or business. When will you take the time to start getting organized?

Make your planning work for you!

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

How Does Crossroads Consultants Help Business Owners Solve Business Problems?

This is a quick look at how a business consultant may help a client.

Consulting involves changes. If nothing changes there is no need for a consultant. Even if we only provide information that you didn’t have before that would change the basis of which you might make a decision.

What you may want is to prevent something that is detrimental to you or your business either at present or sometime in the future. This could include new competition, regulation, the loss of a vendor, poor employee morale and engagement, dropping sales, lowering profits, etc.

The other thing would be to reach or progress toward a goal or potential in your business. This could include improved sales or profits, taking advantage of new products and services, hiring the right people, improving performance and productivity, investing in new equipment or facilities, or expansion of some kind. All of these would help you to improve your business in the future. You need to make sure that the risks are calculated and the proper processes are put in place.

I make sure that I get the right perspective on the situation. That means that we want to make sure we don’t get just a little bit of information and make a quick diagnosis of the problem with an even quicker prescription of a solution. Without asking enough questions and getting the proper perspective this would be considered “malpractice” and is not acceptable.

Once I have some perspective on a situation then I start to focus in on potential details that may be causing or influencing the issue. Here is where any consultant should be worth their weight in gold. Many times it is not the obvious cause that is the problem; it is the hidden elements that are the real threat to success. A good consultant will not move too quickly and just go with the basic obvious cause. Looking for other influences can really prevent an expensive disaster.

A good business consultant will also know when they need to bring in additional help with specialties in other disciplines. As an example one client was having some real troubles with some billing and cash flow issues. An accountant was brought in to take a look and was able to see some of the problems fairly quickly. In this case the accountant saw that the problem was the poor use of the accounting software, but upon further review the business consultant was able to determine some additional issues of employee morale and management practices that were also influencing the issue. So while the accountant had solved the problem for a little while, it would have returned in the near future without other adjustments.

No matter what your problem, challenge or goal is, if it is more than a simple vendor problem call Crossroads Consultants and get a complimentary conference call. I have connections with specialists that can help you in areas outside of business management consulting. My goals is to help business professionals to improve their business results and performance, if a simple introduction to someone else that is better suited to meet your needs is all that it takes, than I am glad that I can help you and know that I will gain your respect and hopefully trust for when an issue that is more specific to my expertise comes along.

Stan Broesder is the founder and owner of Crossroads Consultants, a business management consulting company that develops management skills and organizational efficiencies for business professionals. Using Strategic Planning, management systems and employee engagement, Stan helps businesses to improve their performance and ultimately their profits while becoming better at planning and executing plans.

Most of Stan’s clients are in Western North Carolina, specifically in Lincolnton, Hickory, Lincoln and Catawba and surrounding counties. He can be reached at 980-241-0189, by email at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com or through his website. I can help most business professionals to reach their goals, be more profitable and develop higher performance for themselves and their business.

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

Does Success Breed Failure?

Success in and of itself can create a climate for failure. The saying, “What got you here, won’t get you there” (book title, Marshall Goldsmith) is appropriate for this thought. As difficult as it is to get to a certain level in business it maybe even more difficult to stay there.

Success, however you define it, puts you in a position of new opportunities and threats. Many stumble because they are not ready for the new policies, systems and habits that are demanded of them to be at that level and default back to old habits and safer waters. This is where some talk about the fear of success comes in. It may not be a fear of success (the outcome), but the change that it requires. Although the environmental change that comes with success can be disruptive, there are also internal changes that have to be considered as well.

When you are very busy you can create a routine or rhythm to your work that is very productive, but it can be very susceptible to change. If you push just a little too hard on your production you can make a mistake and send production into a tailspin. Or as the pressure for production decreases, you can become inefficient. You can lose focus on the new and most important tasks at hand believing you will have time to get to them later. But before you know it you are busy again and the important things didn’t get done.

Your ability to adjust to the pressures and demands on your time, energy and other assets is critical to continuing the progress of success that one experiences within their life. Without that ability to be flexible and focus on the important things, little errors creep in without detection and can become a major disaster without warning.

So how do you develop the ability to make the constant adjustment between super busy and bust? What does it take to smooth those ups and downs at least so they don’t cause serious crashes? There are two things you have to have.

You have to be able to keep perspective while still focusing on what is priority. You need to be ability to look at the big picture while also keeping a focus on key and critical details. In order to have perspective you need to be able to step back and grasp the big picture of your business. You need to be able to make accurate choices about what is important and what is not. Then you need to be able to focus your resources on getting the most critical, the key objectives accomplished.

In success your perspective is constantly changing because the world is changing by the minute or faster. Being able to focus energy and resources in the midst of change, on the most critical objectives is vital. So the reality is that you need to balance two totally different mindsets, big picture and laser focus. The right tools can help you to accomplish that juggling act. [that will have to be a different post]