Super Busy Costs you, here is a Solution

From so many commitments that you can’t seem to breathe, to working so hard on everyday problems and issues you never seem to see beyond today. ‘Super busy’ can look different for different people.

Define “Busy”
You need to be able to define what it means when you say that you are “busy.” Everybody is doing something every single hour of every day. What does your busy look like? Are you working more hours than is healthy, are you inefficient because you cannot solve a time management issue, or do you have a problem saying no and are now overcommitted in a number of areas and cannot seem to juggle it all?

A very common scenario is growing in a business until you are maxed out, then hiring someone to help in the front office. This person handles all the phone calls, customer complaints, invoicing, bill payment preparation, errands, occasional social media posting, and whatever else you can dump on them. But it is never enough. So, who is the next person that you can add to take some load off of you? You can’t afford someone who doesn’t produce income.

The Hard Part
More importantly, why is your “busy” a problem? You need to determine what really going on that is causing you to be too busy. What are the implications of you being so busy? What is the price?  Is it causing stress, sleepless nights? Maybe it is impacting relationships in your life, but you just grunt on and keep going, not knowing when or how it will stop!

The Solution
Find time. Take time. You might need an hour, so take it in 10-minute increments. Whatever it takes, but do it. You must find some time to breathe.  Once you take some time, we invest that time to find a little more time, and then we take that extra time to make more money to buy you your freedom. Here is where you start.

First, list ALL of your roles and responsibilities, from selling to the prospect to cleaning the toilets. Whatever you do in the company as a part of owning your business, WRITE IT DOWN!

Second, prioritize every listed item from the most critical and money producing activity to the least.

Third, look for ways to delegate or contract out the less income producing and impactful activities to someone else. If you are worried about quality control, as many are, that is a problem of systems and management skills (and Crossroads Consultants can help you with that).

Fourth, make a plan. Once you have freed up some time, use it to plan out your future and solve problems of delegation, control and bringing in more income. It takes time to make a good plan but that is what you need to have the freedom you need to reach your goals. Being Super Busy can be great for the ego, but the cost can be devastating.

Stan Broesder is the owner of Crossroads Consultants a business management and growth consulting company. If your business is going to grow the owners and management team must grow with it, or it won’t work. Marketing today is beyond the expertise of most owners and manager. In order to effectively market your business and grow you need someone who can plan and manage your marketing. Crossroads Consultants will provide you with a lower cost provisional marketing management solution. Contact Stan at 980-241-0189 or Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

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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.

Do You Want More Customers? — Who are they and where do you find them?

As they say, if you want to catch fish, you need to go where the fish are. If you want more customers you have to go where they are as well. The first question is, what does your customer look like? How would you identify your ideal client? This will prevent you from wasting your time talking to the wrong prospect.

Your ideal client is the person that, if you were able to sit down with them and make your presentation, they would buy from you 100% of the time. Now that is ideal, and yes we agree, that it is very unlikely to identify that perfect prospect, but the closer you can come to it the better.

Identifying your ideal client will allow you to target your marketing and minimize your qualification process. While someone with a 50% match may also buy they are much less likely to purchase than the prospect who is a 90% match.

Once you have identified your ideal client, then you start to think about those who fit the profile with similar characteristics. This will help to reveal the best places to locate those prospects and the best methods to reach them.

What are their commonalities? Is it geographic or their hobbies and interests? Maybe they read similar books and magazines or they are at a particular stage in life. Once you can identify these similar characteristics it will give you some ideas on how to market to them with the best return on your investment.

Many business owners make the mistake of saying, “well we have always done well by doing this or that.” The problem is that market is always changing and marketing techniques are also changing. So you may be missing out on a potential customer group or your target group has changed how they want to be marketed to. I recommend you go through this exercise at least every two years and once a year would be better.

This exercise will enable you to improve your lead generation, improve the quality of your leads, improve your conversion rate and make you more money. It can be challenging once you decide to seriously give it a try and that is why most people don’t do it. This means if you do the exercise and your competitors don’t, you will have another advantage over them. If you have questions or would like some help in working through the process, let me know.

Stan Broesder, MBA, the “General Contractor” for Marketing and Business Development with My Marketing Crossroads. You can reach me at Stan@MyMarketingCrossroads.com

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

Which way to go? Too many choices!

On Friday morning you see a pile of tasks on your schedule that kept falling over from each day during the week. Two items on Monday dropped into an already full Tuesday, which then dropped 5 items onto Wednesday. Now on Friday it is way more than you can do and you hope you can push it out over next week and so you dump it on to Monday.

Too many opportunities
In business today there are so many opportunities and choices and things to do. All of them are urgent and important, at least it seems that way. So how do you handle phone calls, complaints, emergencies, emails, proposals, bills, critical undelivered materials that you need to get your project completed, and on, and on, and on?

The Big Rocks Story
There is a great story that is often told in seminars that deal with planning and time management, but most people miss the point. It is generally called “The Big Rocks” you can read the story <here:> or go to: http://www.successfulacademic.com/ezines/apr252005.htm

There will always be more to do than you can possibly get done, more opportunities, no matter if you see them all or not. The key is developing your skill of prioritizing. It is a matter of being able to look at all of the tasks, opportunities and urgencies and determining which are the most important to do at this time. Okay, I would agree it is a little more difficult than that. But if you look at a few key principles of setting priorities you will at least improve your skills and start making great strides in the right direction.

Not values again!
Deciding what is most important is where you start the process. And in order to do that you have to decide what your values are. “You have got to be kidding, really?!” It is like the old joke when a robber meets a couple out for a walk. The robber jumps out from the bushes and says “your money or your life!” So the man grabs his wife and shoves her toward the robber who is stunned and says, “What are you doing?” Too which the man replies, “I thought you said my money or my wife”. Yes values are important. You wake up in the middle of the night because you thought you heard something. When you get halfway through the house you realize there is a fire at the far end of the house, what do you do? 1. Grab your most recent Sports Illustrated, 2. Rescue the fish 3. Get the marshmallows or 4. Oh, yeah, wake up your family.

Life isn’t that easy, but it helps to understand ahead of time what your values are and even which are more important than others. Loyalty is a very important value, but is it more important than integrity? You get two big project opportunities, but you cannot handle both. You must decide which has priority, money or an opportunity to expand into a great developing area of your industry. Again the choices won’t be that easy. In fact, the problem is that the choices are subtle, and NOW. The choices that are the most difficult are the ones that demand your decision right now and the consequences are sometimes obscured.

Watch your emotions
Too many times our emotions play a role in our prioritizing skills. When we don’t have our values down clearly it is an opportunity for our emotions to create conflict and frustration. Having a clear understanding about our goals and our values is critical to being able to prioritize our lives.

Learn to see end results
In developing our ability to prioritize our opportunities and tasks we need to develop our ability to see the value of the outcomes of our efforts. To be able to think through the effects of our work and the value of those results is critical and is missed by a lot of people. We’ve all known someone who could buy things at garage sales or from the classified ads and could turn them around and make money on them. They would see a motorcycle or boat along the road with a for sale sign on it and the next thing you know they bought it and then sold it within a week for a nice profit. How do they do that? It isn’t luck. They know the value of certain items and they know a deal when they see it. What happens is some of us try that and lose our shirt and scratch our heads. You have to know the value of the outcome.

Clearly understanding your goals and your values and understanding the consequences of our choices, while keeping your emotions in check, are important to being able to prioritize your life. Creating the discipline to follow through on what you know is best, and to do the most important thing now is the key to success.

Why is Planning so Hard?

Few actually plan

Studies have shown only 3% of the population, actually do any serious planning. However, almost everyone agrees that there is great benefit to planning and would also agree that the more important an event or complicated a task is the more important it is to plan for it.

How to plan is easy.

There are so many books written on the subject of planning it is very likely you have more than one in your own personal library. So it can’t be that we don’t know that we should do it. And it can’t be that we don’t know how to do it. The “how” is easily found for anyone who wants to know. But the reality is that planning is just hard. It is not fun or exciting, and usually not a very pleasant experience. It is like your taxes, you feel good when you are done not because of the great pleasure in the task, but the fact that it is over.

So why is planning so hard?

You can see that it isn’t hard physically, and it really isn’t all that hard mentally. The problem is that planning is extremely hard emotionally. I know we might not like that answer, but just think about doing some financial or other type of planning. Eventually you will feel it, that “in the pit of your gut” feeling.

Embarrassing questions

Proper planning asks a lot of questions. When we don’t have answers to these questions, we’re embarrassed, we don’t feel so good. Our security, confidence and self-esteem slip a little. When we don’t have answers to our questions then our future becomes a little more in jeopardy. We feel like we are being judged. “What do you mean you don’t know which is more important to you? If you don’t know, who does?”

Everyone has plans.

We plan to retire, go to the islands, learn how to paint, write a book, etc. But the reality is that we don’t really plan. It’s more like having a dream about things. Now according to recent statistics 18% of Americans over 60 years old are very confident in their future and retirement. However, a full 37% have less than $1,000.00 set aside for retirement. Are they planning to retire?

Beginning to see reality?

When you start to really plan, you begin to see reality and it often isn’t as pretty as we had dreamed that it is. Proper planning forces us to see reality and not just our dreams. Proper planning shows us where the real obstacles are in our dreams. We have to face them in order to fix them and that is really hard. I am beginning to feel a little sick myself just thinking about it. Are you with me?

Planning scares me!

I am afraid of the truth. I am afraid to face my own inadequacies, weaknesses, and blind spots. Proper planning makes me feel vulnerable. It forces me to remove the mask and look in the mirror of reality. When that happens I am afraid others will see me, the same way. One of the biggest reasons that businesses guard their strategic plans is because it can show their weaknesses.

I feel ignorant.

Proper planning also reveals my ignorance. There are holes in my road map to the future, gaps within my GPS and the unknowns are risks that I don’t know how to handle. When you can’t answer a question in your planning it becomes a potential threat. What will you do if…? How do you prevent your competition from…? What do your customers think about…? It’s what you don’t know that can hurt you, and that can be a little scary!

Secure your future.

The good news is that when you have identified your weaknesses, the holes in your map, the potential risks, threats, etc., you can now begin to solve them and eliminate them. When your future becomes clearer and the road you are on, more secure, your life will dramatically improve. I know this is a backward way of thinking about it, but if nothing else, planning will prevent things from getting worse. You may not feel better, but the truth will, shall we say, set you in the right direction.

There is an emotional struggle

The sooner that you are willing to admit that there is an emotional struggle to really putting the effort into proper planning, the sooner you will have a plan and be prepared for the potholes and detours of life. Start simple if you have to, even a short “To Do” list is better than nothing. But push on, and move to the more emotionally risky questions and address all the aspects of proper planning. When you are done you will feel better because, one, it is over (at least for today). And second, because you will have the confidence you need and also the energy to move in the right direction. You will sleep better, play harder, and work smarter. Your competition will be less of a threat. Your customers will be more satisfied. And your business will have a much brighter future.

Quick Plan

Here are four simple steps to start (plus one):

  1. Write out your goals.
  2. Be honest in your assessment for where you are now.
  3. Try to understand the obstacles and inventory your resources.
  4. Create a path of tasks, responsibilities and benchmarks.

Plus one: Get some help if you need it!

 A man (or woman) with a plan is far more confident and focused than a man with just a dream.

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Do You Have Enough Diamonds in the Rough?

Will you find yourself at a disadvantage in your industry? Will your competitors be more agile and respond quicker to the changes in the market place giving them a competitive edge?

According to some “experts” as this economy turns around there will be many management and executive baby boomers who will exit the full time job market because their retirement portfolios will have recovered and they can afford to leave. That could cause a management and leadership vacuum in business. While this may seem contrary to the employment numbers that we are used to hearing about, the issue is skilled and experienced managers and executives.

According to David Delong in a HBR blog, only 20% believe that this will not be a problem.  What if the demand is such that your senior managers are hired for executive positions in your competition’s C-suite, or even other companies. If you have good people and I am sure you do, they are valuable to others as well.

Another thought is that it doesn’t really matter what the economy is doing in this regards. General Electric has produced more C-suite executives including presidents and CEO’s than any other company in the country. Why, because they are constantly developing leaders and those leaders are valuable. The alternative is to have a workforce and management team that is so, “not-so” valuable, that no one wants them. When there is upward mobility available within a company, those with the most potential will be interested in getting on board.

This issue works for small businesses as well. If you are even thinking of retiring in the next 15 years from your business, you need someone with the right skills to run it or your legacy and retirement may be in jeopardy. And in the mean-time having quality management enables you to be a business owner of a company instead of a business owner with a job. So what does a company do to reduce this risk of a leadership shortage regardless of how serious it might be?

One solution to this problem is giving current managers whatever they are looking for in a future career path. If it is more responsibility or money, you can try to accommodate them. But there is only one person in each seat in the C-suite and sometimes they are not willing to wait for someone else to retire.

Even if you have to create a culture that enables entry level executives or senior management to move on, there is value for your business in doing so. With proper planning you can minimize your competition from getting your well groomed talent and you get a reputation for a place that provides opportunities for valuable management candidates (within and outside your company).

The second solution revolves around a common issue in business. Develop the leadership and management skills in your employees so that there is always a source of high quality prospective management talent. A lot of companies resist this type of investment because they are afraid that the employee will leave. There are many aspects to this idea of investing in your employees for management. Hiring right to begin with is important. Make sure you look at knowledge and experience that you get, in exchange for training the skill set.

One example of how to accomplish this is to develop an excellent mentoring program. While the prospective management employee is being groomed through mentoring, have them mentoring others to move up into supervisor type positions. A good mentoring program benefits the whole organization, not just the management team.

If for some reason you are not where you want to be and wish your company had more opportunities, there are still things you can do to boost your potential. Take it upon yourself to learn about management skill sets and practice them wherever you are. You might not have the organizational formal authority, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop an informal leadership influence within the company.

Start thinking about how you can reduce the risk of having a shortage of quality management talent within your company. We have all seen what the lack of good management and leadership skills can do to a company and other organizations. Start looking for and polish those diamonds in the rough.