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.

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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

Don’t Be Afraid To Do Research with your Employees!

No matter if you are a 100 employee accounting company or just a 5 employee plumbing company, every once in a while do some research with your employees.

Many business owners and managers believe that they have a great relationship with their employees and many of them do. However, when you start asking them about what their employees think or feel concerning just about anything, their confidence may be over stated. The problem is you can’t always just ask an employee, “Hey, are you happy working here?” You’re the boss or manager, what do you expect them to say? Besides the answer is basically an “all in” or “all out” question. And they may not tell you their opinions about the industry, customers, etc.

Give them a question that makes them think a little and gives more accurate information that you want to learn. How about asking, “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) how would you rate your satisfaction with the tasks that you are given on a daily basis? That may still not be the best question but it provides an example of diverse information such as the scale and satisfaction level, instead of just being happy, and regarding tasks given instead of the work they have done.

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Hey, where did you go?

Questionnaires can be very important for getting a quick pulse on the some part of your business. It doesn’t have to be personally job related, it may be an opinion about the industry, or customers, etc. Some say you shouldn’t use a suggestion box but encourage employees to face issues with other employees or management. Using a survey can still provide information that is different than a personal issue. Using surveys or questionnaires have a lot of potential to surprise you from what you thought you knew.

Don’t be afraid of doing rounds of questions either. If you put out a survey and you find a real trend that is concerning or of value, you could change the questions so that additional information is received. You can also provide some of the responses from the first survey, so that it may open up some people to share once they know others have made comments in a particular area. Communication is important, but don’t get locked into any one type of communication, such as face to face, or paper clipped to a time card or stuck into a paycheck envelop.

Be creative and have some fun learning what your employees (or vendors even) think.

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.

When Business Isn’t Fun Anymore!

Business owners go into business for many different reasons and circumstances. But one goal that is pretty common to those in business is the idea of control and freedom to choose, on a daily basis, what you are going to do and the pride of seeing positive results based on your decisions and your hard work.

But what do you do as a business owner or professional when you have made serious investment into your business, are doing “well,” (making too much money to just walk away), but you are no longer looking forward to another day, week, month or year like the last one? What do you do when you think to yourself, “there has got to be a better way?” Your goals are not as clear anymore and even your challenges or problems aren’t either. You’re stuck!

It has been my experience in working with business professionals for over two decades is that you and your business (or career for that matter) are growing and evolving at different rates and possibly in different directions. Many wonder if they should just pack it in. But often the problem is just a matter of cleaning a dirty window to the view of your business. I know that sounds elementary, but getting things back in perspective with a clear view of your business and the future can make all the difference in the world.

Yes, getting a clearer view will also expose the problems and challenges even more, but with the right support you can now address these issues, begin to focus and start to see some real progress. Once you can get some focus and perspective on your business you can then develop better control of your business. At the point of a better perspective and control of your business, your options increase and whatever you decide will have a greater chance of taking you to where you really want to go in the future.

Businesses do shut down for reasons other than the lack of profit. Controlling your future is more about making clear level headed decisions, than being forced to decide because of the circumstances you are in. Put yourself in a position that you have multiple options and choose the one that fits you and your future best.

The key here is regaining a clear perspective and focus of your business so you can establish the right controls. Don’t make quick decisions when your business is not in clear focus and you don’t have a clear perspective of your situations.

Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants and a business consultant that specializes in improving business profits and growth by developing business strategies and systems. A structured process is used to create strategies and action plans to solve problems that many business owners and professionals face.  You can reach Stan by email 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!

How Does Crossroads Consultants Help Business Owners Solve Business Problems?

This is a quick look at how a business consultant may help a client.

Consulting involves changes. If nothing changes there is no need for a consultant. Even if we only provide information that you didn’t have before that would change the basis of which you might make a decision.

What you may want is to prevent something that is detrimental to you or your business either at present or sometime in the future. This could include new competition, regulation, the loss of a vendor, poor employee morale and engagement, dropping sales, lowering profits, etc.

The other thing would be to reach or progress toward a goal or potential in your business. This could include improved sales or profits, taking advantage of new products and services, hiring the right people, improving performance and productivity, investing in new equipment or facilities, or expansion of some kind. All of these would help you to improve your business in the future. You need to make sure that the risks are calculated and the proper processes are put in place.

I make sure that I get the right perspective on the situation. That means that we want to make sure we don’t get just a little bit of information and make a quick diagnosis of the problem with an even quicker prescription of a solution. Without asking enough questions and getting the proper perspective this would be considered “malpractice” and is not acceptable.

Once I have some perspective on a situation then I start to focus in on potential details that may be causing or influencing the issue. Here is where any consultant should be worth their weight in gold. Many times it is not the obvious cause that is the problem; it is the hidden elements that are the real threat to success. A good consultant will not move too quickly and just go with the basic obvious cause. Looking for other influences can really prevent an expensive disaster.

A good business consultant will also know when they need to bring in additional help with specialties in other disciplines. As an example one client was having some real troubles with some billing and cash flow issues. An accountant was brought in to take a look and was able to see some of the problems fairly quickly. In this case the accountant saw that the problem was the poor use of the accounting software, but upon further review the business consultant was able to determine some additional issues of employee morale and management practices that were also influencing the issue. So while the accountant had solved the problem for a little while, it would have returned in the near future without other adjustments.

No matter what your problem, challenge or goal is, if it is more than a simple vendor problem call Crossroads Consultants and get a complimentary conference call. I have connections with specialists that can help you in areas outside of business management consulting. My goals is to help business professionals to improve their business results and performance, if a simple introduction to someone else that is better suited to meet your needs is all that it takes, than I am glad that I can help you and know that I will gain your respect and hopefully trust for when an issue that is more specific to my expertise comes along.

Stan Broesder is the founder and owner of Crossroads Consultants, a business management consulting company that develops management skills and organizational efficiencies for business professionals. Using Strategic Planning, management systems and employee engagement, Stan helps businesses to improve their performance and ultimately their profits while becoming better at planning and executing plans.

Most of Stan’s clients are in Western North Carolina, specifically in Lincolnton, Hickory, Lincoln and Catawba and surrounding counties. He can be reached at 980-241-0189, by email at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com or through his website. I can help most business professionals to reach their goals, be more profitable and develop higher performance for themselves and their business.