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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Who Needs a Business Coach?

Not everyone needs a business coach to be an effective and efficient business person. There are five questions that if you can answer yes to all of them with complete honesty and accuracy, then you probably don’t need a coach.

1.      Do you know where you are?

“Wow! That is easy, sure I do!” Okay, but what about your business? Do you know if you are profitable or not? Having money in your bank is not the same thing? Do you know what your cash flow needs are? Do you have a cash flow statement? Do you know your competitive advantage is? Do you have a value proposition? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?

Most business owners think they know where there business is but when specific questions are presented, reality has a way of showing itself. Knowing which products and customers are not profitable is critical to your success? Many guess wrong when it comes to strengths and competitive advantages, as well as least profitable products and customers.

2.      Do you know where you want to go?

Many business owners are just on cruise control. Hopefully, we can just keep humming along. The old joke, “I don’t know where we are going, but we are making good time” comes to mind. What position are you trying to put yourself and your business in? Is it really that important? Ask your spouse if it is important what your position is when you unexpectedly exit from the business. What is your exit strategy?  Everyone exits their business. Do you have real goals that are written down and solid? Do others know what you are trying to accomplish or is it “same stuff, different day” attitude? Where are you going?

3.      Do you know how are you going to get there?

In New Orleans, once you get on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway going north to Mandeville, you don’t really need to be watching for signs or worry about missing your turn. You have a 23 mile straight shot across the lake. Now if life were as simple as “no options” then this wouldn’t be an issue. But when Hurricane Katrina went through and no one could cross using that bridge it became a different story. Now you needed a map, and a lot of turns to get to your destination.

So, if you know where you are and where you want to go, do you know the way to get there? Usually what you did today won’t get you to where you want to be tomorrow. Unless you want the same result, which is stagnation, you are going to have to change something. Growth can be tricky because there are a lot of things that are changing all at the same time. Understanding the cause and effect of those changes will help to determine how you adapt and change to the situation. Are you really in control of the changes taking place in your business?

4.      Are you sure there won’t be any changes or detours to reaching your goal?

It is more than knowing how to get there; it is a matter of knowing how to navigate your business when the path is disrupted and plan “A” and plan “B” are no longer options. Knowing how to create opportunities and plans in the storms of change is critical. Some people are very good at it, most business owners are not. Usually they are too close to the situation to have a full and accurate perspective.

5.      Does your business allow you to be flexible, see opportunities and enjoy life?

Do you own your business, or does it own you? Many business owners have invested their lives to build a business but don’t seem to enjoy life. Some call it life-work balance. Others just call it learning to love life. It isn’t a question of working 40 hours, or making sure you stop and smell the roses. It is a question of knowing how to see the opportunities of life and business along the way and being able to take advantage of them. It is the idea that you sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. You are so busy working in your business you never take the time to work on your business or your life.

Remember the saying, “No one lies on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at the office.” This is not about saying no, or not answering your cell phone while at the beach. It is about seeing and learning how to take advantage of the opportunities of life and business. If you can’t confidently say you know where your business is right now, where you really are going, know that you have an action plan that is working, able to handle unexpected change and allows you the freedom to grow, then maybe you do need a business coach. Otherwise maybe not!

Stan Broesder, is a Business Coach and Management Consultant and is living in Lincolnton, NC. He has worked with small businesses for almost 20 years. He has a Master is Business Administration degree and specializes in helping business owners to develop skills, systems and strategies to improve their business management productivity and control. His clients enjoy an increase in productivity and greater profitability. You can find out more about Stan on his website:  www.MYCrossroadsConsultants.com  or email him at:  Stan@MYCrossroadsConsultants.com

How Can I think About My Future When I Am So Busy Now?

Right now I am so busy that I don’t have time to really think about my future. I work long hard hours now and I don’t see how I can do anything different.

Maybe you are finding yourself with this attitude about your business or career. There are so many things to do now, how do you add more to it? Brian Tracey once said, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
Here are five things that can change your future.

1. Decide. What it is that you want? Call it a purpose, objective or goal, but write down what you really want to accomplish either in your business or life.
2. Take Stock. Figure out where you are right now. Describe your life and business. This includes your resources, the environment that you are in, the friends and contacts that you have. Everything that has value or might have value is important to recognize.
3. Anticipate. What are the obstacles that are currently standing in your way for reaching your purpose or goals? What is very likely to stand in your way in the future? Keep the future obstacles in mind as well so that you can prepare for them and not allow them to sabotage your plans.
4. Plan. Put together a plan that is flexible and yet realistic in being able to achieve the goals or purpose that you have set out to accomplish. Most people stumble right here. They think that a list of goals is a plan. But there is more to it than that. You must include time frames, costs (financial, energy, skills, etc.) support from others, etc. if you are going to put a realistic plan together.
5. Execute. Flight plans and road trip plans don’t do any good if you don’t get the car started or go to the airport. You must ACT if you are going to reach your goals. If you procrastinate in any area, understand that it is an obstacle that you must find a way to overcome or you will be stuck right where you are. Action focused on the plan is the key. Change plans carefully and if necessary. But keep moving forward.

You can achieve so much more than you ever thought possible when you put a plan together and develop the skills and systems to effectively utilize the resources that you have and will have in the future.

Who has time to get it all done?

When we are working at 100% now, who has the time to expand a business or increase marketing, sales, etc. We have plans for growing our business but who has the time to implement the ideas?

This is much more common than people realize. We have cut back expenses to the bare minimums, which means we as the business owner are going to carry as much of the load as possible and wonder when will we be able to invest just a little bit more time and money to help grow the business.

If we do invest a little bit to grow the business will it be enough to move forward and create the needed cash flow to keep that investment going? And can we sustain the pressure and weight of adding more to our plate on a daily basis. Even if we hire someone on a part-time or contract basis, we will need to manage that person and project.

So how do we get ahead? How do we get to the point that we can reduce the stress, increase the cash reserves, and free up just a little bit of time?

There are several profitable initiatives that can be implemented in almost every business to capture some elusive cash flow and profit. The question is do you know what they are and can you implement the initiative yourself or will you need help?

Your concern should be to find the quickest return on your investment so that you can continue to invest and find additional and bigger cash flow and profit gains.

A. Low or no profit Products and services

One place to start would be to search for low or no profit products and services and to eliminate them or make them more profitable. Anywhere from 20 to 40% of all products and services fall into this category. Often it is subsidized by other products and services and we don’t even know it.

 B. No or low profit customers

Another possibility would be to find the low or no profit customer and show them why the cost for keeping them as your customer is higher than others and then renegotiate your price with them. While this may not be possible every time, many times a customer will accept a change in what they are being charged if they understand that it needs to be a win-win for everyone.

 These are just two initiatives that a business owner can use. There are many more to consider. Once you can squeeze a some extra from your business you can continue to develop plans to really grow your profits. 

If you have any questions about how you can implement these cash flow and profit initiatives call Crossroads Consultants at: 980-241-0189.