Category Archives: time management

Feel the Power! It is in the Choice.

It is easy to feel like we have no control. No control over our time, No control over our clients. No control over our dogs chewing your brand new slippers! This feeling builds into overwhelm. Overwhelm builds into stress, bad health, low quality of life and satisfaction. “Thanks Talmar for bringing me down…” I really don’t want to bring you down but it is important to remind you that ONLY your choices can bring a different result.

Change is a result of action. Action is a result of decision. Decisions come from acknowledging that there are choices that you can make to start the change. Yep…You have all the power even in those moments of overwhelm and stress. You can effect change by making a choice.

Feeling stuck, like you don’t see a choice other than a glass of bourbon or sleep less? Not sure where to turn or which direction to drive your business? One of my superpowers is helping clients clarify their decision points and focus on an actionable decision so let me offer you the starter 3 choices that can help in any situation. I want to help you because I hope that we can move bourbon back into your “reward” column instead of the “medicine” column, poor mis-used bourbon! Start with a pause. Take a breath. Now consider…

  • Choose what to prioritize. Set a priority list of actions based on the most immediate need (profitability, cash flow, staff, time). Let your full focus be on one item at a time.
  • Choose to let go. Items that continually need to be moved down your “priority” list probably do not really need to be a priority. Give your self a break and let it go! (Ya. I’m humming it too. Damn song gets in my head EVERYtime!)
  • Choose to ASK FOR HELP!!! This is the one that is really self flagellation. Hire more staff. Outsource to vendors. Hire an expert to move you along faster. Your business is NOT growing by you insisting to do it all yourself. Stop it! NOW!

It happens to everyone. That feeling of drowning in “to do” lists. Looking at your calendar trying to imagine what it must be like to have time to sit still or be spontaneous with your company’s time.

It can happen but it takes a choice to prioritize your business’ needs, a choice to let go of doing business the same as you always have and the choice to surround you and your business with experts, influencers and staff that will get you to your ideal role within your company. Chief Change Agent and Master of Choice. Most people call the position CEO.

Choose wisely. Buy your next bottle of bourbon and write the most immediate goal you want to celebrate on it. I can hear the clinking of the glasses as you toast with your reward. You got this!

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Never Ending Cycle…but it’s Never Dull Either!

Never ending cycle…but it’s never dull either!
By Talmar Anderson

Being a business owner feels like one long to do list sometimes.  You must keep on top of vendors.  Make sure your staff feel heard and appreciated.  Check the numbers regularly to protect profit margins. Be accessible to clients and continually improve on customer service. Develop communications. Develop new opportunities.  Reject mis-matched possibilities….and so on. And so on. But it is fun too! At least it can be if you let it. Here are some of the ways YOU could make space. As the business owner, give yourself permission to be human.

Calendar it or be spontaneous but consider giving yourself space. Make space to celebrate the completed and accomplished. Space to think about and research an entirely new service or product.  Space to decide which position to hire next.  Space to meet a fellow professional and have a drink and LAUGH out loud.

Maybe not even talk about business at all. Start small if you are not already doing this. Maybe you would enjoy…

  • Calendaring a day to play…mid-week. (Imagine…You and a loved one going to the movies. There is something particularly decadent about being in a mostly empty movie theater when everyone else is at school/work).
  • Sleeping in when you are extra tired or feel “something” coming on.
  • Turning off the computer 2 hours earlier than usual to go grocery shopping for your home.
  • Refusing first appointments twice a week to workout.
  • Refusing to book anything on Tuesday evenings to cuddle with your family and go to bed early.
  • Meeting your spouse for early happy hour to connect 1 on 1 before the family launches into the evening circus.
  • Go sit, alone. Not talking to anyone. Watching the people, birds, boats go by.

I recommend that you do this regularly!  That is the whole point of being a business owner, right? Or at least a major reason.  Doing what YOU want. Supporting your personal needs as well as business growth needs.   ONLY you can set realistic expectations with staff and clients on your availability.  STOP over promising. Tell them you are busy or don’t. Just say “No”.

If you can’t get it on your day to day calendar, then schedule time to get away.  1 day or 2 weeks can give your business a whole new perspective.  (Be clear on whether you are going to focus on business or take space away from business during your trip. As always, have a purpose to your action!) Make it about you some of the time.

Knowing you have personal time to take care of your needs can alleviate a lot of that “I have to” stress. Clients, kids, friends…they willing let you prioritize their needs because they ARE looking out for themselves. I give you permission to look out for you too!

Don’t feel guilty. Don’t think about the phone calls going to voice mail. Unless you are a heart surgeon (and most of you reading this are NOT!) life will go on without you for a little while. But you will not be able to go on if you do not prioritize your own personal space. Who knows…you might have some fun too!

Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Or reach out to chat with Talmar for structure and process to grow your business HERE

Deeper or Wider? Your Networking needs both!

Deeper or Wider?
Your business needs you to network BOTH ways!

by Talmar Anderson

I love words. What about you?  Network…net – work. It is both a noun and a verb. Which way do you network in your professional sphere? The noun Network is a group of people with which we associate because of a common interest. I would challenge that most of us actually consider our noun Network associations when we are booking our business development actions. Certainly some school chums and wine connoisseur friends may send you business if they can keep up with your newest offerings over the sports announcer’s chatter or the oakiness of the tastings. But let’s look at the verb network.  You KNOW I love action!

“Network (v.): To cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally through employment or moving to a higher position”. Do you have a group that is actually looking out for your professional advancement? The good news is that there are more of these than ever before usually through professional associations, membership communities and continued education accelerators. [Talmar It Up Truth: Make sure they are working for you as much as they are working your wallet (always with the metrics…can’t help myself!).]

When networking for business, we tell ourselves that we are going to meet prospects so that they will buy from us and therefore help us advance our business success. This wide casting of your “net” can work if we are targeted about who will be in attendance wherever you chose to spend those networking hours.  How much access will you get to each attendee? Will the topic be conducive to what your business does? Will people there be interested in talking more about your business or will they be fighting to make sure they get the last appetizer before the food gets cleared? This is where some networking events can get a bad reputation.  If you go EXPECTING to be able to spend time and actually talk with someone to grow your business and network, you need to do a little homework before you commit.

It is time to go deeper with your network. It is up to you to understand what type of people attend these events and how the agenda will be a driven. If you sell to Human Resource Directors of companies with 5,000 – 50,000 employees, a BNI structured event is probably not going to be your best use of time with its brief intros and focus on one member. If you sell direct sales of skin care, the Bar (law firms) Association’s Committee on Economic Development may not be a great use of your networking hours. Long committee reporting and socio-economic considerations may not allow the entry point for what is happening in your business right now.

Look for groups that will cultivate the kind of conversations and / or people that will help you advance your business.  A group that can share common interests you have in your position within the company or industry. Then you plan for the time to allow consistent, uninterrupted and engaging conversation around your business topics! Crazy talk. I know!  Imagine that there could be a better place for a baker to spend their time than a panel on “How Service Industries will be Repositioned in the Government Sector” just because he belongs to a group that may have a prospect attending. Go deeper.

Yes, we need to meet new people. Yes, we need to be open to possibilities. But, if you surround yourself with successful people looking for and creating topical discussions you are far more likely to form a DEEP network that gets you, your business goals and can EASILY refer you qualified prospects. That is makings the best use of your networking time and opportunities! Now GO! Grow!

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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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Follow UP! Yes. You Need to Plan for This Too!

By Talmar Anderson

Does this happen to you all the time?  You are at networking event.  You meet a new person.  While talking briefly they ask what you do.

You: I am a website developer.

Them: OH! Do you do redesign?

You: Of course.  Our clients are usually well established and looking to communicate through easy to use and engaging websites so we love those projects.

Them: Great.  Let me grab my checkbook.  Who do I write this out to?

Ohhhhh…this ISN’T how you find your clients? Of course not.  You find them through consistent follow up! Business converts new contacts by being in front of them and making it easy to hire your company. Business owners need to use opportunities to further understand prospects needs and ensure they have the education to know how your company can help resolve or fill a need. You need to be easily accessible and easy to engage.

In honor of making it easy for your prospects, I will make it easy today….3 pieces that need to be a regular part of your sales follow up process. You know networking is one of the tippy top points of sales…right? We network to meet new contacts and grow qualified leads. Not to CLOSE clients but to meet new people that can start down the path of your sales funnel.

3 Sales Follow Up Steps that WILL give you more clients

  1. Calendar follow up time directly after EVERY networking event! – This simple step is the distinguisher for successful sales within a company. Every time you accept and place a seminar, conference, speaking engagement onto your calendar you MUST also place on the calendar follow up time. If not your calendar, your assistant’s or your business development teams. Make sure your first follow up is personal, timely AND asks for permission to add the new contact to your mailing list.
  2. ADD them as a contact NOW – this should be part of the scheduled follow up time. Don’t start an always growing shoe box of contacts to be added in when you “have some time”. New clients are what it is about my friend! Get them correctly categorized and all their details up to date in your contact management system. Regularly using your automated and specific marketing efforts is an easy way to be continually educating your prospects and front of mind when that new contact has a need.
  3. Follow up ….again. – As a regular part of your process you need to keep working through contacting your prospects. Reach out by telephone to say hello. Or you could choose a topical discussion relevant to your industry to share.  This does not have to be a long call.  You will be shocked at how often you will hear “I have been meaning to call you…” which launches the opportunity to land that client.

BONUS Tip!  While on the phone do one more thing for me….ASK for what you want!  “Is there any way I can help your business right now?” “Do you know anyone that may enjoy my products?” …find something that you can ask.  People do need to hear the words!

Too often, my clients will hear feedback that they do not tell prospects enough of the “obvious” details to convert a client. Tell them how to start the process. Tell them how to get a hold of you if they want to start working with you.  Tell them why a prospect should work with YOUR company. Tell them different stories about successes you have had for other clients. Tell them you want their business.

If you have any questions on sales or other operational & management topics, email me at TAnderson@TalmarItUp.com. I would love to work with you and your business! (see what I did there???….teehee)

Now GO! Grow!

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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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!