Four Steps to Save Time When There is No Time

My client told me, “I would really like to sit down with you and discuss performance, but I just don’t have any time right now!” I replied, “But Bill, the primary reason that we need to talk is to help you save some time and free up some time so that you can get back to managing your business instead of your business managing you!”

When there is no time to save time, you’re in trouble. You will make poor decisions, run your health into the ground, irritate employees, upset customers, and frustrated friends and family.  You can put your business and future in serious jeopardy and not even realize the dangers of your actions.

Step One. Acknowledge that you are too busy.

Burning the candle at both ends, and in the long-run, it cannot be healthy or wise. Busy doesn’t always mean that you are productive and productive doesn’t mean that you are being efficient or effective. Are you doing the most important things that you should be doing?

Step two. Find the root cause of your time crunch.

As long as you just tweak the symptoms of this problem it will never be resolved. In fact, my experience tells me that is exactly what you have been doing up to this point or you wouldn’t be “too busy.”

Step Three. Create a new plan of action or inaction.

You need to create a plan that also determines which tasks you shouldn’t be doing. Regardless, you need a different plan than the one you are using.

Step Four. Get the help and support that you need.

If you could solve this by yourself, you would have done it by now. As a business owner, you need a business specialist to help you create and execute better plans and to manage yourself and your business more effectively and efficiently.

Stan Broesder is a Small Business Managment Specialist with Crossroads Consultants. If you want to see change take place in your life or business, especially performance management contact Stan. He can be reached Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com or 980-241-0189 and leave a message.

Advertisements

Five Reasons Why We Need To Set Goals

You hear about setting goals all of the time. Yet according to one study, only about 6% of Americans actually have a written goals program that they use.

“I know I’m supposed to write out my goals, but who has time? Besides, it doesn’t really help me anyway!”  Sound familiar? Well here are five very important and logical reasons why you should set goals and use them in your everyday life and business.

  1. Clarity

Most people say they have goals, but the reality all they have are ideas and wishes. The “Someday I’ll” claim is just a dream like that island vacation that you’ve talked about for years, but never make a goal.

Often we talk about doing something but it is in such vague terms that your brain doesn’t really know how to process it. To say you want to lose weight or be a better husband is so general that it cannot translate into actions that can become habits. To say I’m cutting out soda or I’m going to bring my wife some flowers is at least clearer than “less sugar” or be “better.”

  1. Emotions

Too often our emotions get in the way of what we really want to accomplish. Anything from fear, anxiety or even love and passion can steer us away from achieving our goals at a moment’s notice. Using a goals program or even just a goals list for the day will help keep you on track.

Think about grocery shopping. A young couple on a very tight budget will do well to write down only what they need until they get paid again. But when chocolate is tempting they can blow the budget (financial goal). A shopping list and budget will help them to reach their goals.

  1. Distractions

We allow so many distractions to come into our lives that we can lose focus on the important things. The terms “squirrel” or “rabbit trail” picture the idea of something that takes away from our current thinking.

Unfortunately, distractions can happen and we don’t even realize it. We often set ourselves up for distractions. We have cluttered desks, email notifications… “oh look it’s a puppy on Facebook, how cute, I have to send this to…” I’m sorry I got distracted.

When we develop a habit of looking at our goals we are reminded of what we are supposed to be doing and how important it is in the scheme of our lives. Some people use different systems to help keep the squirrels away and stay more focused. But it starts with having a clear goal.

  1. Manipulation by others

This is a hard one for many people. When you have set clear goals you are better at making decisions that relate to or affect other people. When you have a very important and tight deadline, like a report due to your boss in 15 minutes and you really need 30, you won’t allow the guy from down the hall to stop in and ask you if you saw the game last night.

When your goals are communicated to everyone on your team that needs to know, it helps to reduce the manipulation of others who waste your time. Again, systems can help to handle specific manipulations by others.

  1. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot!” – Memory

Without a grocery list, you have a really good chance of bringing home things you really probably shouldn’t (remember the “no soda” goal?). And then there is the irritation when you realize you FORGOT something you needed for dinner tonight, oops!

Our brains are great for processing data and thinking but it isn’t as good at storing data and information. So give your brain a hand and write out your goals so that it doesn’t have to remember the groceries or that you have a meeting, when, where, what it is about, and who should attend.

There is ONE more reason:

You set a good example for your team. Think about it, if everyone you knew really took goal setting seriously, and used it appropriately, meetings would start on time; everyone would be there on time and ready to go.

By setting goals your performance will improve and you will help others to improve their performance or at least you won’t be hindering it. So set a goal to set and use goals. Find someone who can help to keep you accountable for setting and using your goals.

If you would like more information on personal and professional management and performance contact Stan at Crossroads Consultants. Goals are just the beginning.

Stan Broesder with Crossroads Consultants is a Business Consultant-coach specializing in improving professional and business performance. Contact Stan @ 980-241-0189. Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com OR http://www.Facebook.com/CrossroadsConsultants

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.

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.

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.

IMG_0085_crop

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.

IMG_0009

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.