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!!

Advertisements

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!”

Three Big Marketing Mistakes that Business Owners Make and How to Fix Them Before You Lose More Money

Starting with tactics and not prospects

If your prospects do not use Facebook then investing in Facebook is a waste of time and money. In order to get the best return on your marketing dollars, you need to know your target market so well that you know which marketing tactics will work best to reach them. So many business owners who are making strategic marketing decisions do not have a clear profile of who their ideal client is and how to best connect with them.

Selecting a tactic without a plan

Just because you have a great ideal client profile and have selected a marketing tactic to reach those prospects doesn’t mean your “campaign” will work without a well thought out plan. You need to think broader and deeper beyond the tactic if you want your marketing to provide you with the best return on your resources. Marketing providers don’t really help you beyond the tactic they sell.

Staying with a tactic without numbers

This is a real problem with most business owners. They have several tactics that they are using and they are getting enough business to keep them busy. The problem is that they really don’t know what is working and what is costing them money. Even if you ask your marketing provider to provide you some results, often the numbers that they provide do not translate into meaningful numbers that relate to your business.

Steps to fix these three mistakes

  1. Create an Ideal Client Profile

Clearly, define who your target market is and then further clarify who is your ideal client. This is not a simple process and has taken even professions some time to figure out.

  1. Create a plan that goes beyond tactics

A real plan for your marketing takes into account how you will build the relationship, how you actually close a sale and how you service your clients. Then you can return to the tactical side of marketing.

  1. Select the right marketing provider

When you have an “Ideal Client Profile” it should tell you how would be some of the best ways for you to connect with them. This will direct you to check out various tactics closely associated with your ideal client. Then you can start to narrow your actual tactical marketing providers.

  1. Determine your numbers

Before you finalize your choice of marketing tactics providers, make sure your provider can provide you with results information that works for you. Are the results you’re getting fit your plans and what you want to accomplish?  If it isn’t then you need to reassess your plan, tactics and marketing provider.

If you would like any help in planning or managing your marketing or to grow your business please call me at Crossroads Consultants, 980-241-0189 or email me, Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.

Don’t Blame the Sales Team for Poor Marketing

There is a big difference between marketing and sales. If you confuse these two areas in your business you can be creating problems that you don’t want and might not even know you have.

Marketing involves everything that brings attention to your business, public relations, advertising, promotions, pricing, store layout, and location, etc., up to the point of personal contact.  The sales area is personal. Anytime a prospect or customer has a personal interaction with another person in your business, they have stepped into the sales department. In a broad sense, your installers, technicians, receptionist and customer service personnel all work in the sales department.

I know that Amazon doesn’t have salespeople per se and they still make sales, I get it. But they don’t have a very big sales department. Most of their sales come through their marketing. So an email from the company is marketing. If a personal email comes from a person in the company then we have crossed over into sales, because now you are starting to develop a personal relationship with the prospect and a person in the company.

When the marketing department and the sales department do not work together like a hand and glove you will be inefficient, less effective and it will cost you money. The key is to work together as a team. Sales need to utilize marketing to their advantage and marketing needs to communicate with the sales team what they are trying to do. Any conflict needs to be resolved so that everyone can benefit.

Make sure both departments are accountable for their own goals as well as working together. Be very careful when one department starts to point fingers at the other. Marketing and branding help to build the impression of a company, but the sales team helps to build the relationships and personal customer relationships.

If you want to know more about how to build a sales and marketing team while setting the accountability standards, I would love to have that conversation. Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

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

How to Maximize Your Marketing Results

Most business owners are very knowledgeable and even specialize in a particular product or service, but marketing. Marketing is usually decided when vendors convince you that their product is the right one for you.

Are you wasting your money?

When you have multiple tactics that are not strategically aligned you may think that your investment is working when actually only one is working well and the rest are a total waste of money.

In today’s fast changing and an ever evolving digital world, you need to rely on some marketing principles to plan your business growth. One of those principles is making sure your marketing tactics actually work together.

Check your marketing efficiency and effectiveness:

  1. Are you using a list of tactics or do you have a sound strategic marketing plan to direct limited resources?
  2. Do you have clear goals for what you are trying to accomplish and can you measure real dollar results?
  3. Do your marketing and sales departments work together strategically and tactically?

Crossroads Consultants is not a marketing provider and therefore is an independent third party when it comes to evaluating and developing strategic marketing, planning and management systems. Developing a group of aligned tactics will work much more effectively and efficiently.

Crossroads Consultants has worked with a number of clients where we saved them money very quickly by decreasing or eliminating low return marketing tactics. We were able to reallocation those resources for tactics that better fit the company’s goals and overall strategies for growth.

Get an independent review

A Marketing Performance Profile is an analysis and recommendation report. Crossroads Consultants provides this report to give you the foundational elements you need for future marketing decisions. With this report you will be able to speed up product and service launches, select better and additional marketing tactics and know when to decrease or eliminate others as well.

A Marketing Performance Profile report determines what you are trying to accomplish and then evaluates each tactic to those goals. It provides a better foundation for a marketing strategy and planning. It looks at each tactic individually and collectively to save you money and see better results.

Contact Crossroads Consultants for a Marketing Performance Profile and to plan a marketing strategy to grow your business.

In order to maximize your marketing results start with a Marketing Performance Profile.

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.