Many business owners would like to see some change take place in their business. The problem is that they are so busy, tired, and overworked; they just don’t see how they can add anything else to their plate.
This situation can cause a business to stagnate and lose profitability. Business owners become discouraged and say, “Someday I’ll …” You need to move forward but don’t feel that you have the energy and resources necessary to make a move, you’re stuck.
PHASE 1 — Finding Space
The first step to finding space is for you to “Breathe.” You must find some time so that you can step back and clearly think about your situation. This is NOT a vacation or two days off. Just an hour or two will be some of the hardest work that you have ever done. But finding the time to step back can be a challenge.
Everyone can improve how they utilize their time. What tasks can you delegate to someone else or become more efficient in doing so that you have some time? Even if all you are doing is freeing up an hour or two, it’s a start.
The second step during this time to find space is to step back, reevaluate your priorities. What is really important to you and your business? This is not some mountaintop daydreaming experience; this is reaching down and make some hard decisions.
You are going to need more than an hour to change your business? What low ‘return on effort’ tasks and activities can get off of your plate? You can decide to eliminate them, delegate them, delay them or hire someone else to do them.
This is only the beginning of the planning process. But it is critical if things are going to change and not by accident, you need some time to think, plan, prepare and then act.
Start your growth process by finding space, some time to think, but don’t waste your time on current work stuff. Think about the challenge that you must solve? Start by giving yourself a little time to think and plan your future. Find the Space.
Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants. We help hardworking, successful business owners who are at a ‘crossroads’ between where they are and the businesses they have built, and the potential future they have always dreamed about. For a no-obligation initial consultation email Stan at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.
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.
You have been planning on this vacation for months. But there is always so much to do before you go. You have been working hard trying to prepare for being out of the office for an extended period of time. As the last day before your vacation approaches you are forced to make choices on what gets done and what can be put off to after you return.
Then the last day or two before you leave you have even harder choices because of the normal interruptions and as everyday new fires, issues and demands enter your life. Now what can you delegate to get things done while you’re gone? What can you do while you’re driving home after work? Any necessary meetings are kept unusually short. Lunch is on the fly if at all. You double check your list to make sure you got the important things done. You stop on your way home for those last minute things that you told your spouse you would pick up.
Now, when you are able to exhale, you think about all that you did in the last hours, day, days and even the week before your vacation. Wow! If only you could get that much accomplished every day or week. What changed? The business is still the same. Everyone else is the same. What changed? You! The sense of urgency caused you to focus and utilize your skills to the highest level. Only you changed. You became more effective and efficient because of focus.
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.
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 of my clients and business professionals 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.
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 and it may not be an efficient task, but the return on our investment will be much greater because of our effectiveness. Being organized means that you have the information you need when you need it, about being on time for meetings with the proper resources. Being organized is first about doing the right things and then doing them right.
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. Right now there is a little “Mini Edition” out called, “Organizing for Dummies”. For $1.00 at Staples, it might be one of the best investments you can make.