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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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

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.

How to Prevent Crisis Management, Gain Control of Your Life and Reach Your Goals!

Do you ever feel like all you do is run from one emergency to the next, constantly putting out fire after fire? And when you finally get a chance to breathe, the mountain of tasks and items to do seem overwhelming and getting bigger? So how does someone get a handle on being in control of their life, and become highly productive?

While there are a number of tactical things you can do to improve your productivity, keeping your life in control requires some special skills. One very important skill that business professionals must learn and become proficient at is planning. Think about those who are responsible for major projects like weddings, construction or even travel arrangements. It is their ability to see the big picture and handle the details, at the same time that enables them to be as effective as they are.

Be honest with yourself what is your internal voice saying to you right now about this whole subject? Are you resisting the topic or are you open-minded to developing this one skill set? This may be the solution to many of your problems that cause you major headaches and stress. But just the idea of learning to plan out your business and your life is resisted and out right rejected by a large number of people. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience trying to plan before. Maybe you get frustrated because of all the changes that are continually taking place in a planning process. That doesn’t mean that the skill of planning isn’t effective for controlling your life. It may mean you need to develop the skill a little better.

Remember the old adage, “failure to plan, is planning to fail”? I want you to make an honest assessment of your abilities to plan, and determine to improve that skill in your life. If you want a life that is in control, and is not fighting one emergency, one fire, one crisis after another then you need to improve your planning skills. The decision to work on developing this skill is the first step.

Here are a few basic components of good planning that if you work on them will enable you to develop this skill. Ask yourself these questions before and during your planning process.

1. What is your desired outcome for this event, project or task?
This question will help you to understand the nature of what you are trying to accomplish as well as the general scope. The clearer you can describe the goal or outcome the better that you will be able to plan the quality and quantity of the project. Knowing your desired outcome gives you guidance and helps you from starting off in the wrong direction. This will also help in the areas of motivation, value, expected return on investment, and knowing when you have completed the task. So start by crystallizing your outcomes before you get started. Or if you have already started, do it now!

2. What are the obvious constraints or obstacles that you expect to face and have to resolve in order to achieve the goal?
By identifying the things that are going to prevent you or hinder you from accomplishing your goal as early in the process as possible, will allow you to prepare to address those issues when they arise. When you don’t take into account obstacles or hindrances in a project, this is the perfect point where emergencies can surprise you. So identify them by writing them down, bringing them out into the open, discussing them with your team and find ways to resolve them before they become a crisis.

3. What resources do you have at your disposal that will help you to achieve your goal or project faster, better, and cheaper?
Many people make the mistake of believing that they “know” all their resources they have. What they often forget are those fringe resources such as the talents and assets of others, misplaced assets, and the assets they’re not even aware that are available to them. Getting a clear understanding of your resources, which you can apply to this project, can make a major difference in its outcome. Sometimes knowing what resources you need now, and may need to acquire in the future will help you to prevent a crisis. Make an assessment of resources you have and may need.

4. Where are you currently in relationship to accomplishing this goal?
In our day-to-day activities of trying to accomplish a goal we many times lose track of where we are. We tend to believe were making effective progress because we are doing something. Every once in a while you have to stop and reassess the situation. When you reorient yourself, you take stock of the amount of work that has to get done and the timeframe left to do it in. This enables you to prevent a crisis of falling short of your deadline by being able to apply additional resources, if necessary, to meet that deadline.

5. What specific tasks have to be done and in what order so that you can reach your goal by your deadline?
This question assumes you have asked and answered the previous four questions. This skill set recognizes that your brain should not have to carry the weight of all of the details that are necessary to accomplish a goal, but those details are written out to provide clarity and accuracy as the project progresses. Write down your plan as you continue to develop your planning skills.

This is just the start of being able to develop the skills that you need to have a life that is in control and is not plagued by one crisis after another. Make a conscious effort to observe those individuals that you know who seem to live in a crisis mode all the time and ask yourself if they have a real handle on understanding these five questions. You will see that they cannot answer these five questions and by having them at your fingertips, walking through them continually, you will find that your life, and your business is more productive and you are have a greater sense of control.