Category Archives: Prioritizing

Time with Others: Networking in Peer Groups

Time with Others: Networking in Peer Groups

By Talmar Anderson

Time with others IS important to help your business grow but once again we have to know what each group is doing for you, your company or your sanity! For your prospects, today’s world offers the internet which is saturated with choices. Each of your prospects is trying to choose between a sea of words that are supposed to motivate trust, help them like your business brand and make sure they know you offer a credible solution to the problem. This overwhelm is why relationships and the in person piece is so important to build a successful business.

As leaders with limited time, we need to be honest about the value we receive from each group and check in to ensure it is meeting those goals. Being in the right place and consistently allocating some of your precious time can reap great rewards. Here are 3 ways Networking in Peer Groups can offer benefits.

  1. Straight up networking to get your meet on! Joining a consistently meeting group that is about sharing contacts and giving you new opportunities to meet new contacts can be very helpful. Phone calls and sharing a knowing look with other members during the events can build a bond that can be reignited and re-shared each time you see each other again in the future! This culminating effect means you don’t have to start over every time you have an opportunity to talk about your business. These people are learning more about you and can find ways to work with or refer to you each time they get to interact with you. Because you will need to be consistent for this to work, make sure you are networking only with groups that have prospects or strong referral sources specific to your business.  These groups are about BUILDING your business so be ruthless with choosing the groups to share your time.

 

  1. Peer groups for learning can really help business owners and professionals “fill in gaps in their education or experience” as I like to say in my company. Often time these groups can give you a quick and direct step up in areas that you feel less confident or unsure.  These meetings are conducive to people that feel they want to learn surrounded by others with the same experiences and needs.  This bond can give you the opportunity to find motivated and focused individuals on a similar path. These groups can help alleviate that feeling of not knowing where to find answers.

 

  1. Then there are the peer groups that can ease stress, create true laugh therapy opportunities and build a community that can give you space to vent or celebrate.  These groups can be mastermind meetings or wine gatherings but allow for a consistent opportunity to build a supportive and important space with people that you have common interests.  While there may not be an obvious tie into your business model, you need this space just as much.

 

Peer groups and networking aren’t new.  This concept of meeting together with like-minded people has been around for centuries for a reason! Because you could do it alone doesn’t mean you should.  Surround yourself with people that can help you and your business get “there” through inspiration, information and old fashioned “been there done that” stories. If you do not have a place and people that can allow you to talk through or completely distract yourself, you will get overwhelmed and stressed out.  Your business is ALWAYS better served if you can be present, happy and focused with your work days.

 

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Can’t Commit to Yourself? How will You Commit to Us?

By Talmar Anderson

Let’s get serious for a minute. Why, oh why do you set yourself up for failure?  Do you know by not managing your own schedule realistically and committing to accurately plan for the time to prepare for, arrive at, conduct and return from a meeting you are not just stressing yourself out but telling others you have confused priorities and lack self-discipline?

Clients EXPECT that a valuable and worthy business will have obligations outside of their own immediate need.  It is Ok to say no to meetings, volunteer time or lunches that do not align with your priorities. Loving on Marissa Levin and her quoting “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.’  This isn’t just about taking on others amplified or self-made urgencies.  I also read this as sacrificing your needs to facilitate a client / family/ significant other’s priorities.

Let’s stop the self sabotage and accept that we will not get more time out of our day. The best thing we can do for ourselves, for our clients/ family/ significant other is be clear on our priorities, truthful with the time it takes you to fulfill each task/ event/ product that is requested time on your calendar and decide if it can fit it on our calendar in the near future, or in your life at all.

I get that you WANT to do it all.  I know that you WANT to make everyone happy. I understand that you WISH there were more hours in the day. Tough luck!  You can’t do everything. Now, don’t take it personally.  No one can get more hours in their day.  Everybody, YES, even Oprah or Richard Branson wish they had more time in their day.  They don’t.  Time is the great equalizer.

So do what happy and successful people do…be ruthless! Only say yes to a few items.  Those items need to be what you really want your life to be about.  Do you want to spend more time with your family?…Put that Star Wars movie appointment on the calendar!  Is growing your business a priority?…Put strategy and operations on the calendar.  Is each meeting on your calendar important? Then ALSO put the time for driving there, arriving on time, follow up conversation and driving back to the office ON YOUR calendar.

As an example, realize that you CANNOT get through a 45 minute yoga class even in the 60 minute chunk you put on your calendar so stop sabotaging yourself! You must change clothes, drive there, warm up, take the class, say hello to others, shower, change, get to your car and drive to the next meeting. You are being unrealistic and creating your own stress. More importantly you are being rude and unreliable to the person expecting you at the 60 minute mark.

Just because others can be there before you, does not mean that you are not needed the first 15 minutes of the meeting. And more importantly if you are not needed for that meeting WHY did you say yes to attending?

Maybe it’s because you under value your worth and believe your contribution is unnecessary. Then don’t say yes.  Maybe it is because you believe that you only need to be present for the last half hour to get what you need. Then don’t attend.  Arrange to schedule a half hour with the answer person and save everyone time and effort. Because breezing in and out on YOUR overwhelmed, mismanaged schedule shows that YOU do not value your own time correctly.  That certainly puts the question into the minds of other people that you work with on whether they may be over valuing your contribution too.  Ouch…..

Prioritize what supports the results you want. Say No to the rest.  Be real and ruthless with setting your own schedule. You cannot do everything but you can be happy and successful. Honor the commitment you are making to yourself every time you use your calendar.

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Monday got you down? Let loose your inner Control Freak!

Monday got you down? Let loose your inner Control Freak!
By Talmar Anderson

Are you a business owner with the Monday blues?  Mr. Founder “SLASH” CEO, do you hit snooze over and over again every morning? Ms. Entrepreneur, do you flinch every time the phone rings for fear it is a complaining client?….Ummm, how do I say this nicely? It’s your own damn fault!  You started this business to build a company delivering goods or services that you believe in and feel sure you can deliver the best possible way.  You wanted to be your own boss and set your own schedule.  So why have you built this role within your own business that stresses you out, makes you want to swear (I hear some people do this under stress not just as a regular part of conversation) or hide under the covers?

Think about it. You have complete control.  You CAN do this. If you have not realized that being a business owner is the ultimate in control freak heaven, then I would ask you to revisit WHY you started your business in the first place.  I mean, surely there is someone out there offering services, if not the same then very similar to your company.  You could just go get a job with them.  I am sure they would love inspired ideas to help their companies grow.  What’s that? Oooohhhh, they don’t understand the RIGHT way to do it?  You don’t want to bend to someone else’s schedule?  Or wait…maybe it is that you wanted to be able to decide who you want to work with (and who you DON’T!). We are back to what you want.  What do you want your business day to look like?

If you are too busy reacting to your company’s needs instead of proactively scheduling time on your calendar, you ARE more likely to be frustrated, overwhelmed and run the risk of losing the passion behind your decision to go out on your own. Though this certainly occurs from time to time, it should not become “full time”. Only you can determine what your business needs.  These items still need to be performed but as the CEO you have the control to decide how to allocate resources – including staff time and budget– to have someone else handle those bits.

The truth is that there is someone out there that LOVES to do what you do not love. In fact…the very thing that makes you want to curl up and cry likely gives someone else a sense of accomplishment. And thank GOODNESS! So to love your Monday morning alarm clock again, try this.

  • Take a moment and write down a list of all the pieces you handle for your company that you would love to never (or mostly never) do again.
  • Look at the cost associated with hiring or outsourcing that piece.
  • Measure against the benefit of your freed hours and completely engaged passion
  • Delegate

Now if the Monday blues are about leaving your fabulous family, friends and weekend fun then you can do the following.

  • Take a moment and write down a list of all the pieces you handle for your company that you love and feed the joy of owning this business.
  • Look at your calendar and allocate Monday morning for performing these specific tasks
  • Delegate any items that you were regularly handling in those scheduled times

No one but you can effect change on how your business is run or how you prioritize your own day.  This is the “control” part.

One last piece that is a part of Talmar’s Truths, if making decisions and strategic planning are on your delegate list – you have two choices to start loving Mondays again.  Close your business to start looking for a job in someone else’s company or decide to call me. You know strategic plans are what Talmar It Up is all about!

To Represent or Not to Represent

To Represent or Not to Represent.
By Talmar Anderson

When is your time well used by attending an unplanned conference, speaking engagement or workshop and sponsoring a table? Let’s take out of the equation the well planned out annual conference that is a budgeted item and 100% your target market.   It was “Practically free” is a term I have heard people say in defense of a poor response to sponsoring an event. Really?  Free?? Having a Vendor Table “Go bag” (an easy to grab bag with items you would use at any and all events…business cards, note pads, bowls for card collection,  pre-printed promotional items) is always a good start for these “opportunities” that spring up.  However we need to really be sure it is a good use of our time. ALL of the time, energy, and expense we will use for the event.

So let’s pump the brakes…this “practically free” event is your target market, right?  And you can be assured I will give you a hard time if you tell me there “might be” a few in attendance. You must be able to gain insight and numbers from the host of the event on the attendees.  Remember to apply your own business’ conversion performance to make sure it will be worthwhile for you to be present.  If your conversion is at 50% and there will “probably” be 3 people in the audience of 100 that are your market, will it be worth 2 sales (I’ll let you round up because I am sure you will be on fire that day) to spend your time and money there? Of course, this assumes you will actually have focused access to the correct 3 during the event sometime.

So let’s talk preparation. Do you have a way to gather prospect information?  Do you have a piece for them to take away to remember your company.  How much time did you put into personalizing a sales page or the marketing flyers that were created?  How much expense went into the giveaways and the printing costs?  Don’t forget the candy!  This will always be a way to bring people to your table to give you a possible opening. Now add up the cost of your hours, the designer hours, the printing and the candy expense.  Is this still less than the 2 possible sales? Good. Let’s add in the final piece.

Consider the “day of” expense.  This should include driving time, gas and tolls, time and energy to drag in your marketing materials, the time required to be set up BEFORE the event starts, and then you will have to decide what is more valuable to your business – missing part of the talk or missing people at the table?  How we are doing? Is the expense still outweighed by the potential income?

Here is the real killer rule I give to ALL of my clients.  Did you schedule follow up time the next day?  I mean truly do you or your staff have calendared time set aside to follow up and make sure your company is remembered from within that sea of information your prospect just waded through?  I am sure you had dedicated time to make a significant impression and they are never gonna forget your story about the stubbed toe that was bleeding through your shoe…but let’s make a plan for follow up just in case!

Going to these events, spending time and the money required to be professionally stocked and ready is likely for not if you are just going to play the wait and see game.  I know you don’t want to seem salesy.  I know you don’t want to be pushy.  But educating a prospect that showed interest in your services or products by stopping by your table  (even if it was the candy…they DID drop their card.) is the whole point of doing this!

Add that in…how might you do at this “free” event?

When the audience is your specific market, you have decent access to them and have something to sell now and intrigue for later, THAT is a definite YES for sponsoring. Sponsoring does contribute to your marketing strategies but “practically free” usually is sooo costly in the end!

Visit www.TalmarItUp.com to learn more about Talmar and how she works with business owners!

Time Flying? Let’s Discuss “Who” IS the Boss of You.

Time flying by? Let’s Discuss “Who IS” the Boss of You.
By Talmar Anderson

When I ask clients and contacts how their companies are growing, I hear a familiar response.  “Phew…it’s been busy”. Yeah, I get it. Are you getting what you want done?   I can relate to wanting more hours in the day but today I am calling you out on your busy day. In fact, I call B**S**T. Yep.  I’m looking at you. Today we are talking about something that I consistently review with clients and yet it always elicits an “I know, I know.…”

No. It’s not about numbers but it will make your eyes roll.  Look, I get that your days are busy.  I even recognize that what you are spending your time on is valuable and purposeful. However, I will challenge that most of you are not being consistent. And that this lack of consistency is actually keeping your business stuck right where you are today.  Are you are talking about and obsessing over “getting ahead”, getting “further down the line”, or up to the “next level”? What are YOU DOING about it?  There is one thing that will actually ensure you get it done.

The best part is that it is easy to do. This act itself does not even take any real time from your day. It is also easily the most frequently seen self-limiting behavior across the boards for business owners trying to grow. You MUST put anything you value or truly intend to do ON YOUR CALENDAR!

Now, if you are putting these on your calendar but keeping pushing, moving or cancelling, well then you have found the hard part. Stop flat out lying to yourself.  You are not valuing the commitment to your company to effect change that likely can ONLY come from you. And this is no one else’s fault.

  • Not the 10 new clients.
  • Not the sick kid.
  • Not the assistant that quit.
  • Not the vendor that will only deliver on Monday.

You are in control.  You can move an appointment once but I challenge you to MOVE it, not cancel.  You must take time from somewhere else.  YOU are the decider. And while a week can go wonky, having this time calendared out for a full 12 months can get you back on schedule.

Last rule, you may not move these for client needs. If you are careful and considerate you will strategically pick operational and planning days and times that are less demanding.  That means that client work can be scheduled into an available calendar time. Whether customer service issues, invoicing and accounting or missed opportunities, your clients will work on the timeframes you teach them to expect.  In the end, your clients will likely suffer if you do not take care of what your business needs first and foremost.

Giving yourself set time on the calendar will allow you to feel truly in control of your company.  Remember; put your own oxygen mask on before you help others.  It is the only way to survive and thrive.

I’d love to know what tricks you use to keep your commitments to your own company.  Please share them in the comments or you can reach out to me at TAnderson@TalmarItUp.com.

Be Brilliant at One Thing!

Be Brilliant at One thing!
By Talmar Anderson

In this time of new goals and exciting product development, how are we doing at our core services?  Successful companies may diversify but ALL growing companies are really great at one specific service or product.

With new projects and exciting ideas flowing through all that strategic planning you have been focusing on for your company, we must remember to always be working on building our pipelines and delivering on the promise of our core offering. At best, new products or services can enhance our revenue from our regular services.  But there is a worst case to consider. Our new products and services may not be accepted by our market and existing clients. Consider that anytime something new is being introduced you run the risk of losing momentum in an established deliverable.

I have been talking a lot lately about how to simplify your packaging and prices so that we can make it easier for our prospects to buy from us.  This also supports my general theory for growth within a company.  To have truly sustainable growth we must be brilliant at one thing!

Yes. Yes, you do LOTS of different tasks for your clients but, really, isn’t the core of your business one thing?  Hair salons may sell products, offer eyebrow waxing and read your tarot cards BUT they must be brilliant at their One Thing…hair services.

Maybe you are a financial solutions company. You offer forecasting, budgets, valuations and CFO services BUT you MUST be brilliant at your accounting services. One Thing = accounting. This allows growth of your already excellent reputation and the opportunity to expand services with each client.

Like the suggestions in Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing, focusing on a single core offering can lead to success thus making business easier.  People are attracted to this concept because it allows for focus when so much of what we deal with as a business owner gets overwhelming.  Taking this practice and coming back to focus on supporting your core offering let’s a company continue to improve and grow to be brilliant at that offering.

You will know you are ready for the shiny new ideas when it is EASY to understand how to fit the development and launch onto your plate.  Ok…maybe not always EASY.  Schedule the time to allow for dedicated development, research and implementation OUTSIDE of the needed support for the core offering.  If we have our processes and personnel able to offer AND deliver upon our brilliant one thing, then it may be time to look to our new and exciting shiny ideas.

New programs and products can help diversify companies.  This can be good to allow for a larger investment per client, lower your risk of low cash flow cycles, growing market shares and creating profit margin growth. However, their development and energy can take your eye off the ball. Making sure that your One Thing is covered and successful before starting the next inventive project IS taking care of business!

I always appreciate comments. Of course, feel free to share if you feel you know someone that may enjoy my content!

Didn’t Close the Sale Yet? Did you ASK for the Business?

By Talmar AndersonDoes this sound familiar?  Prep work for a meeting with or talking to prospects takes a lot of focus and intent. You must take time to consider the benefits and values of your business.  Then you make sure to see and be seen in the right place for your target market.  You will plan to follow up and set the phone call/ proposal/ meeting.  After presenting all the carefully crafted marketing items and answering all of the prospect’s questions did you walk away thinking, “They are going to call for sure…or at least, I think they will call to hire me.”

Did you even ask them to hire you?  Did you ask them to commit to the engagement agreement?  Did you ask them for a date your company could start the project?  Did you confirm the agreed upon pricing structure and how the payment could be handled?

I know it is crazy to be focusing on the sales side of business going in to the business year end season, but I found myself in need of a reminder.  (Ask me the silly story the next time you see me.) Then as I went through with some of my clients, I found they were in need of a reminder too!  Which leads us here today…with you.   Plan for a hugely successful next year but we must still always be closing!

Remember, waiting for your prospect to run out of questions IS NOT a commitment of a sale. You have to actually say words and ASK the question…Are you ready to move forward? Can I sign you up? Should I ring this up? Do I have the sale?  Do you have a need for which you will allow my company to provide the solution?

You can do the assumptive approach. ”Can we start the project this Monday?”  “Do you want to pay by credit card or check?” “Can I have my team member swing by your office for the signed documents and deposit this afternoon?”

But whatever you do, you must do it in THIS moment.  The one right here.  This moment- where you have proved your expertise and built credibility.  This moment- when you have answered the questions that may have been used as objections.  THIS MOMENT- where you are sharing a smile and conversation.  It is possible that you will not get the close in this momentbut not asking GUARANTEES you leave without a new client.

Part of your prep work for any and all prospect work must include when and how you will be asking for their business.

P.S.  If this sounds like something you would like to work more on for your business growth, let’s work together. I’d love it if you were a client.

 Check out How you can start working with Talmar NOW!