Four Steps to Save Time When There is No Time

My client told me, “I would really like to sit down with you and discuss performance, but I just don’t have any time right now!” I replied, “But Bill, the primary reason that we need to talk is to help you save some time and free up some time so that you can get back to managing your business instead of your business managing you!”

When there is no time to save time, you’re in trouble. You will make poor decisions, run your health into the ground, irritate employees, upset customers, and frustrated friends and family.  You can put your business and future in serious jeopardy and not even realize the dangers of your actions.

Step One. Acknowledge that you are too busy.

Burning the candle at both ends, and in the long-run, it cannot be healthy or wise. Busy doesn’t always mean that you are productive and productive doesn’t mean that you are being efficient or effective. Are you doing the most important things that you should be doing?

Step two. Find the root cause of your time crunch.

As long as you just tweak the symptoms of this problem it will never be resolved. In fact, my experience tells me that is exactly what you have been doing up to this point or you wouldn’t be “too busy.”

Step Three. Create a new plan of action or inaction.

You need to create a plan that also determines which tasks you shouldn’t be doing. Regardless, you need a different plan than the one you are using.

Step Four. Get the help and support that you need.

If you could solve this by yourself, you would have done it by now. As a business owner, you need a business specialist to help you create and execute better plans and to manage yourself and your business more effectively and efficiently.

Stan Broesder is a Small Business Managment Specialist with Crossroads Consultants. If you want to see change take place in your life or business, especially performance management contact Stan. He can be reached Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com or 980-241-0189 and leave a message.

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Unlimited Possibilities Limited Resources Require Hard Choices

It isn’t that you are not working hard. It isn’t that you are not smart in your business. But one of the biggest problems in running a business, and I see many in working with business professionals, is that there is a tendency to not focus the limited resources on a select number of opportunities to maximize their potential.

Whether it is time, energy, knowledge, money, technology or any other resource that you have, you must focus those resources effectively to achieve efficiency. Most business professions don’t focus their resources and wonder why they are not getting the results that they expected.

One example of this is marketing. Most business owners “try” some marketing tactic to see if it works. Without focusing that particular tactic with the rest of your marketing AND sales strategies, it will NOT produce the results that are possible. Even if it is considered a success, it will not reach its potential without a proper planned and prepared implementation.

How are you focusing your resources to produce the maximum results possible?


Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants helping business professionals to become the best at what they do by providing practical solutions to overcoming hidden challenges and reaching solid profitable results and developing management and organizational skills.

Three Big Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make!

Small businesses complain that their marketing is just not working the way that they feel it should. Here are three big marketing mistakes that small businesses often make trying to grow their business.

 1. Having all tactics, and no strategy

You keep trying things and you keep what works and throw out the rest. But what if you could leverage one tactic off of another? This would boost the effectiveness of each tactic. In order to do that you need to start with a strategy. Focus your efforts and resources to accomplish the most important goals first. This will provide the best results.

2. Not measuring results

Many will say that you really can’t measure the results of marketing, but that is not totally true. Part of the problem is that you have not designed your marketing to be measurable. With a little adjustment many marketing tactics can be measured. Once you see the numbers accurately, then you can make the most effective changes to get the best results.

 3. Not aligning your sales with marketing.

When you treat sales and marketing as two different functions then you lose some of the efficiency that is possible. Marketing and sales must be seen from the customer’s perspective and need to reinforce each other with the same or complimentary message. When both of these are in alignment you will see dramatic improvements in results.

Correcting these three mistakes can really have an impact on your marketing results, which should translate into more income. But some really struggle with making these corrections and getting a different perspective can often make the difference.

Call me (980-241-0189) to discuss growing your business and correcting these three big mistakes in marketing. Or email me at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com and ask about a Marketing Strategy evaluation for your business. Then get ready to grow!

Crossroads Consultants is a Business Management Consulting company that services small and mid-sized businesses and professionals with profitable growth strategies. Your customers don’t care about your growth. Ultimately, it is an inside job. We can help!



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]

What do you do when your business is out of control?

It is real tough when you come in on Monday morning and a few key people are out sick, you get a call from a major customer who wants to postpone that big order that they gave you last week and your vendor tells you that the big order that you gave them last week will arrive earlier than expected, in fact it will be here this morning, the #4 machine needs to be shut down  and will need a swing arm replaced which will take at least ten days to fix if we can find the part and have it shipped overnight.  You already have meetings scheduled and emails to go out, phone calls to make and now this.

You can sometimes quickly feel out of control. This can happen when you feel like all you do is fight fires all day long and can’t seem to get to your own “To Do” list. Your plans can fall apart even before you’ve had any chance to get them started.  But you still have all those “To Do’s” to do.

So how do you move forward? There are three things to remember:

First, there is only so much time every day and there is no more. And time is constant, it doesn’t slow down or speed up even though it might seem that way. You can only do what you can do. Don’t allow the size and number of fires you “have” zap your energy.

Second, there are techniques for making your life more efficient. If you have a “To Do” list that is one of them. There are many more and you can read about them or just by really thinking about your life you can create your own. Sometimes getting ideas from other books, magazines or people can help. Efficiency is not enough, and it will not prevent the problems and challenges.

Third, a great efficient system is not enough. An economy car may be advertised as efficient, but it has very little use for a soccer mom with lots of kids, or hauling some lumber for that project you are working on. Efficiency at the expense of effectiveness is a waste of energy and ultimately is not efficient. You have to be effective in what you do as well as being efficient in the doing of it.

To gain control there are three basic things that you need:

  1. Information. Having timely and accurate information is critical if you are going to be making decisions that will affect the energy, resources and your future.
  2. Priorities. Deciding a head of time what are your priorities is critical to being able to gain control. It is better to work on this before the fires in your life come along. Most people are quick to understand that family and the lives of others would be priority in say a house fire. Pictures and even the pets come in a distant second.
  3. Resources. You must know the capabilities of your resources. What realistically can you, your personnel, and your business do to resolve the problem without creating a worse problem. Knowing what you can accomplish with what you have will help you to delegate (if possible) and tackle the most appropriate fires first.

Information, priorities and resources are key ingredients to being able to get back in control. For more information on how to get control of your business go to http://www.MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

 

What if every day was as productive as the day before vacation?

You have been planning on this vacation for months. But there is always so much to do before you go. You have been working hard trying to prepare for being out of the office for an extended period of time. As the last day before your vacation approaches you are forced to make choices on what gets done and what can be put off to after you return.

Then the last day or two before you leave you have even harder choices because of the normal interruptions and as everyday new fires, issues and demands enter your life. Now what can you delegate to get things done while you’re gone? What can you do while you’re driving home after work? Any necessary meetings are kept unusually short. Lunch is on the fly if at all. You double check your list to make sure you got the important things done. You stop on your way home for those last minute things that you told your spouse you would pick up.

Now, when you are able to exhale, you think about all that you did in the last hours, day, days and even the week before your vacation. Wow! If only you could get that much accomplished every day or week. What changed? The business is still the same. Everyone else is the same. What changed? You! The sense of urgency caused you to focus and utilize your skills to the highest level. Only you changed. You became more effective and efficient because of focus.