How Do I Grow My Business When I Am Maxed Out? — Phase III

Phase III – Challenges and hindrances in reaching your destination

There are two main categories of challenges to reaching your goals. There is the external issues category, which has many issues, and there is the internal issues category, which is usually hidden. It is the hidden internal issues that plague your business and you might not even know it.

Internal (hidden) Issues

Let’s say that in order for you to grow your business you need to hire an additional employee. You struggle to find a good employee that you can re depend on. You struggle with training someone in your methods and systems of operation. You have to constantly monitor what they are doing.

The hidden challenge, in this case, is that you dread hiring someone only to find that they don’t work out and you’re back to square one. Now you find the next person that you have to train, observe and hold accountable. You have done it, you can do it, but you don’t like it! Therefore, your own attitude about hiring and managing another new person on your team weighs on you and occupies more time and energy MENTALLY than it really should.

Attitudes and Emotions

Our attitudes and emotions drain our time and energy. We will have a difficult time moving forward on growing our business if we don’t recognize these issues. One reason we struggle to grow our business is that these internal challenges drain our personal resources.

 People tell me that they DO NOT have a problem with procrastination. Yet there are a number of areas in which they procrastinate. They put off doing employee reviews (they hate them). They put off meeting with the clients from… well, let’s just say, difficult clients. They don’t make the call to a prospect. They are late on bills, proposals, meetings, etc., procrastination?

You need to buy or replace some equipment and struggle with the details because money is tight. Should you expand, buy, invest, hire… and the list goes on and on all of them requiring your resources that you have so little of.

But nothing will change if you just keep doing the same thing. No one is going to come rescue you. The economy turning around is not going to be the answer because your competitors are determined to not let it.

“We’re doing fine!”

What makes the internal challenge so hard is that most business professionals will not acknowledge their internal struggles such as fear, complacency, closed-mindedness, unwilling to change, procrastination, regret, and resentment.

Too often your history and current mindset are hindering your performance, profitability, and accountability. How often have I heard a client tell me that “we have tried that” or “we have tried to fix that and that’s just the way it is,” only for me to then find a solution.

Why are you maxed out?

You can achieve your goals, but you must be willing to walk the journey internally to understand what may be hindering your progress. Why are you “Maxed out?” What is going on in your mind and business that requires you to overtax your personal resources?

You must look at the real challenges and hindrances in your business. Be willing to look inside first. What other hindrances and challenges are there that you may not know about? Our next post we’ll look at some other challenges.

Stan Broesder, MBA has helped business owners to solve problems related to growth, profitability, and sales for 25 years. He also helps clients to develop management skills and can be reached at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com or at 980-241-0189.

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How Do I Grow My Business When I am Maxed out? — Phase II

Phase II – Deciding your destination

Phase I, was all about “Finding Space.” Now you decide where do you want to go?

You know the story of Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat. Basically, she asks the Cheshire cat which path she should take. He replies, where do you want to go? When she says that she doesn’t know, he then responds ‘then it doesn’t matter which path you take!’

When you are at a crossroads it is the place where decisions are made. If you don’t have any concept of a destination, then you can’t effectively determine the direction to take. Your future is in the hands of luck or fate. This can be a scary place to be.

In the classic bestseller, “Good to Great,” Jim Collins introduced us to the idea of BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Those are goals that are SUPER BIG and way out into the future. That sounds great, but what we need right now are goals that we can get a handle on right now and only require us to stretch our belief without trying to accomplish the impossible.

Don’t get bogged down in “the paralysis of analysis.” There are many techniques to help you determine what is a good goal for you to pursue, but for now talk to someone you trust, write out some thoughts during your “Space” time.

The hardest part is that you must be honest with yourself. There are many different influences on your thinking of where you should go. Your spouse or children, friends, and colleagues, but in the end, you have to be true to yourself.

Maybe you are one of the very, very few who can say, “I know where I want to go, but I just don’t know how to get there!” I would say to you that if that is really the case; take some of your “Space” time to really describe your destination. When you have arrived, what will it look like, feel like, or even smell like? Who will be there? What will be happening around you? What will you do? Be as specific as possible.

Write out where you REALLY want to go in life. Projecting out as you can see right now. Soon we will look at some of the real reasons that you are not there yet.

On the Road to Success, Where are You Going?

IT DOESN’T MATTER!

At a crossroads, Alice asked the Cheshire cat which path she should take. The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?” When Alice replied, “I don’t know,” the cat said, “Then IT DOESN’T MATTER!”

Too many times we get all caught up on the journey, the day to day activities; we don’t ask ourselves where are we going? What is it we really want to achieve?  You must have a clear, definite and compelling reason for your actions or you will not have the motivation and drive to give it your best to succeed.

In business we can be so focused on cutting costs, being more efficient or developing a better lead generation system that we don’t ask why are we doing all of this and what are the results that we really want. If you do not have a great reason, a compelling reason, your employees won’t have a good reason to give you their best either.

Right now is a great time to stop for just a moment, take a break and catch your breath. While you are there take a moment to re-orient yourself to make sure that you are on the right path for you at this time in your life.

Start with being honest with yourself. Don’t think about what anyone else will say or think, or who might be disappointed in your answer. Forget what has happened in the past or attempts that have failed. Just ask yourself, “What do I really want in life?” What do you really want to achieve? Be as clear and specific as possible, but if you can’t be specific then be vague, but answer the question the best that you can.

Are you heading in the right direction? If you want to go to the North Carolina Mountains, you don’t want to head toward the Outer Banks.

Where do you want to go? IT DOES MATTER!!

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!”

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.

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!