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!!

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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.

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.

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.

Is Your Business Losing Money And You Don’t Even Know It?

Just like people who are sick with a terminal disease and don’t even know it, so also business can be running backwards and not know it. Usually this scenario is blamed on the market, new competition, and poor capitalization of the business and a whole host of other reasons. But the reality is someone is not paying attention to some very important details.

Three losses that you may not even realize your business is experiencing:

  1. If your business is not adjusting the price for different circumstances, you could be losing money. Too many times a sale is discounted when it doesn’t need to be in order to make a sale, it’s just easier for the sales person. Also when an order is expedited, or special orders are agreed to without considering the cost of those changes. The sale itself can cause a business to lose money because those who are agreeing to the sale don’t know or care about the real costs.

 

  1. Some companies are losing money on future sales because of poor quality products or service. As an example, how many restaurants have served you poor quality food or delivered terrible service and you have not been back. This cost doesn’t really show up on the spreadsheets but the cost is real. Instead, many businesses blame the economy or something else.

 

  1. Every business has the same problem of limited resources. It is the nature of business and life. The difference between successful businesses and unsuccessful businesses is how they allocate those resources. The better decisions you make the better the return on that investment. When you pay more for capital than you should, or hire people who are not engaged in your business, or go for a cheaper vendor and therefore quality suffers, you could be making some very costly choices.

 

The point is that there are many ways to lose money and eventually the business that don’t fit on a nice profit and loss statement. You must be looking beyond what is visible to be able to make better decisions. At times getting different perspectives on your business from outside sources is like using a second mirror to see the back of your head like at a barber shop.

Don’t allow an ailing business go very long without a serious check up from a specialist in business, not just someone who specializes in finance, marketing, accounting or one of the other disciplines of business. There are not many who are truly business specialists. Just because someone ran one business well, doesn’t mean they understand the principles of business that are impacting your business.

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

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