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  • December 27, 2023 8:38 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Thirty - How To Grow Your Business Without Jeopardizing Your Sanity, Health or Family Life - Judy Whalen

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Work Life Harmony
    #Values Leadership

    How To Grow Your Business Without Jeopardizing Your Sanity, Health or Family Life


    Center for Strategic Change
    Strategy, Market Research, and Communications

    CenterForStrategicChange.com Judy@CenterForStrategicChange.com

    Do you want to grow your business or non-profit?

    What thought raced through your mind as you read that question? Was it something like, “Of course.” Or was it a strong, ear-splitting, “Yes, Yes, YES, YES, YESSS!!!!” Or was it more of a cautious “Yes, maybe, but can I manage more? I’m already so busy.”  Or just “Hmmm. If I do grow, what about my family? Will I have time to spend with them?”

         Leaders I work with tell me they want to grow. They perceive growth as a measure of success or sometimes a means to an end. While most do grow their organization, I’ve observed other parts of their life either put on hold or disintegrate. I’ve seen stress go unmanaged, energy be depleted, health issues develop, or relationships ignored.

          We hear and see a lot in the media about work life balance. Balance implies that everything is equal. Think about two children sitting on a teeter totter. They are in balance if they are similar in weight. But if one child is heavier, the lighter child is higher while the heavier child is closer to the ground. They are out of balance. That image kept cropping into my mind as I juggled building my business, raising a family, and caring for my aging parents. And it continues being a vivid image to this day.

          It finally occurred to me life is not about balance. Life is about HARMONY. All you need is a sick child or family member to derail your plans for your entire day. Or a client who calls and needs immediate assistance. Or an unexpected rush deadline that has to be met.

          Creating harmony in your life, your family, and your work reduces stress. To achieve harmony requires a bit of strategic thinking about what guides your decisions and actions.

          Here’s a tip I wish I had known when I was juggling a family, aging parents, and my business. I wish I had known I could grow my business without jeopardizing my family life, sanity or health.

    Get crystal clear about your personal core values and build those values into the foundation for your business’s core values.

          Your core values are those fundamental beliefs that guide your decisions, actions and behavior. They manifest in choices you make, in the manner in which you treat people…and yourself.

          Your personal core values are typically influenced by your family, your faith community, your experiences.

          Your personal core values provide the ethical framework for your decisions and action, determine the norms and standards for acceptable behavior, are enduring and slow to change, and shape your life, your family life, and your work life.

          To get clear on your core values, write your core values in a list. Describe how each value manifests in your life. Let’s use “integrity” as an example. You may say, “I live my life with integrity.” What does that mean to you? Honesty? Treating people respectfully? Trustworthy? Then review your list. Continue refining your list of how they manifest in your life until you are comfortable with it.

          Use your personal core values as the foundation for your business or nonprofit core values. Make sure the two are aligned.

         Your business’s core values guide decisions about which services to offer; who to seek as clients or customers; what behavior you expect from employees; how you will treat customers, vendors, and employees; which opportunities to pursue; who you collaborate with, and more.

          Your business’s core values form the culture of your organization. Getting the framework for your organization’s culture right from the beginning is important.  Changing a culture after it is ingrained requires a huge amount of energy, effort and focus. It can derail productivity, profits and purpose.

          Aligning your personal and business core values can significantly reduce conflict, anxiety and stress. It creates harmony. Alignment allows your energy to flow and your mind to be unencumbered allowing you to grow your business without jeopardizing your sanity, health or family life!


    Judy is a strategic growth expert. Business and nonprofit leaders hire Judy because they want to grow their organization and need a strategic growth plan to provide the clarity about their marketplace so they can make smart decisions.

    The Center for Strategic Change, launched in 1992, specializes in strategy development, market research, and communicating clients’ strategic initiatives to their key stakeholders.

    Judy and her team design and facilitate strategic thinking sessions, complex strategic planning projects, market research studies, and provide board of directors’ governance training.

    The Center for Strategic Change also offers online courses: Accelerate Your Business Growth Using Strategic Planning, Strengthen the Harmony Between Your Life, Family, and Work, and the three-part video series on governance for nonprofit boards of directors, Building the Effective Leadership Team.

    Judy’s clients span the globe – from local entities to international organizations. She collaborates with clients in person and virtually.

  • December 18, 2023 8:57 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    The Walter Jankowski Making a Difference Award

    Established by the MABC Board of Directors in 2022, the award honors the legacy of former member Walter Jankowski who passed away suddenly in 2021. While he specialized in process improvement, metrics, and change management, Walter will be remembered for the gracious way he volunteered his time. And for the unforgettable joy he exhibited when sharing his knowledge and mentoring others.

    Award recipients are MABC members, recognized by their peers, for joyfully volunteering their time, talents or resources to make an appreciable contribution to the organization.

  • December 11, 2023 8:27 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Twenty Nine - Fiddle With What To Say Before Where To Play - Mike Schuster

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Public Relations

    Fiddle With What To Say Before Where To Play

    Mike Schuster

    FiddleSmart Marketing, LLC
    Creator. Explorer. Optimist.
    FiddleSmartMarketing.com / info@fiddlesmart.com

         There’s no shortage of marketing tactics consultants and entrepreneurs can use to build awareness, get new customers and grow a business. Social media. Email. E-books. Video. Direct mail. Paid search. Digital marketing. Webinars. Trade shows. Website content. The list goes on.

           And yet, after spending countless hours (and sometimes dollars) on marketing, business owners feel deflated when they get lackluster results. Convinced, by themselves or an agency, the tactic they tried was the wrong one for their business, they move onto the next … only to get a similar result.

          Is marketing wrong for their business? Perhaps. But most often business owners get caught in the trap of chasing tactics. They get so focused on the channels (where to play), they forget to spend time on marketing’s strategic side and the most important part of their marketing … the message (what to say).

          The market’s crowded. It’s now estimated people are barraged by 6,000 to 10,000 marketing messages a day. And competitors are only a click away. Some studies suggest you have no more than four seconds to capture a person’s attention and establish relevance before they move on. 

          To cut through the clutter, businesses try to be creative. But, in the pursuit of creativity, they sacrifice clarity. Without clarity, people get confused. And, when people get confused, they don’t act.

          So, what can you do? Choose clarity over creativity. And remember, what you say and how you say it will always be more important than how creatively or where you say it.

    To create a marketing message that works

    Answer the following questions:

    • Who is the person you are you talking to?
    • What problem or challenge are they facing that you help them solve?
    • What product or service do you offer?
    • What’s in it for them if they take the next step?
    • What’s the next step? What do you want them to do? Don’t assume people know.
    • Avoid alphabet soup and industry jargon. Using acronyms and jargon can be dangerous. The longer you’ve done something, the more you assume people know and understand what you do. They don’t. Abbreviations don’t always mean the same thing to every person. If you find people asking you what something means, you’re not speaking their language.
    • Banish buzzwords and meaningless phrases. What does it look like to own an integrated solution or improve your omnichannel marketing strategies? Messages are stronger when people can visualize the product or service you want them to buy.
    • Be conversational. Look at your ad or website. Ask yourself, would someone struggling with this problem or using your service talk about it the same way to their friends or neighbors? If not, what words would they use? How would they say it? (Hint: If you have testimonials from customers or clients, read through them to get ideas.)
    • Keep it short. Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Less than 25 words per sentence. Three sentences per paragraph. Not every sentence needs to be a grammatically correct, full sentence.


    Most business owners spend countless hours marketing their business only to feel deflated when they get lackluster results. As a strategist, coach and consultant, Mike works side-by-side with them to create marketing that actually works so they can reach, keep and serve more customers.

    An accredited small business consultant, Mike believes we make better decisions and create stronger marketing when focused on the customer. His broad experience includes working in specialty, niche-focused markets including crafts, collectibles, specialty retail, gifts, the performing arts, professional speakers and consultants. 

    Before founding FiddleSmart Marketing, he spent 25 years on the client-side, leading teams and innovating marketing programs for family-owned businesses. In these roles, he learned strategies, goals and decisions focused on the customer most often led to the best results.

    He earned his MBA in marketing from Villanova University and holds a degree in public relations from Western Michigan University. When you get a chance, ask him about his Ducktorate Degree from Disney University. After all, how cool is it to have a degree signed by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?

  • December 04, 2023 8:29 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Twenty Eight - Putting Strategy Into Action - Melanie Schmidt

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Strategic Planning
    #Time Management

    Putting Strategy Into Action

    Timpano Group
    Strategy Consultant and Thought Partner
    timpanogroup.com / mschmidt@timpanogroup.com

    Opportunities abound for organizations that employ strategic thinking to inform practical planning and simple systems to maintain their momentum. I’d experienced too many unfortunate processes and seen too many strategic plans go unused. My passion for aligning strategy, systems, processes and people led to a better way.

    Applied strategy makes for purposeful progress.

          No more strategic planning relegated to a retreat or check-the-box activity. Dynamic strategic planning aligns people in their direction and thinking. It creates tools that can be used across all levels to focus work and help people find their ways, particularly through challenging times.

          No more documents hefty enough to be used as door stops or uninspiring so they waste the energy that went into their creation. A plan coupled with a quick reference roadmap makes it easier for people to understand context and navigate changing conditions.

    Put your strategy to work for you in finding your way forward.

          In chaotic times, don’t set aside your strategic framework. Pull it out. Use it as a guide, remembering what was essential when it was created. Start with your ideology:

    • Wondering how to move forward? Look to your organizational values.
    • Wondering what really matters right now? Go back to your mission.
    • Wondering why you’re doing what you’re doing? Reread your vision.

          If you find they aren’t providing you with the guidance you needed, it’s time for a refresh.

          Use the plan to focus on what needs to be done and be proud of the way in which it happened.

    Build momentum by using strategy to focus efforts.

    • Keep the thinking alive by keeping the strategic plan in front of you. Post the roadmap version on the wall. Have a file you can scan quickly.
    • Reference it. Use the language as the basis for communicating about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Check decisions against what you planned. Cite the strategy for decisions made.
    • Break it down into an annual operating plan with critical initiatives. Empower staff to put it into action – and expect progress by connecting to performance expectations and routine conversations about what people are doing.
    • Set monthly success targets. Schedule a look back/look ahead discussion on the first workday of every month to review what was accomplished the month before, what will be considered success in the month ahead, and what might get in the way.
    • Periodically catalogue what has been accomplished. Create the record of progress to be celebrated – and share it with everyone who would benefit from knowing. No less than twice per year.
    •  Get serious about saying “no” or “not now,” checking new ideas against the strategy and plotting ideas based upon their impact and difficulty. Be bold in eliminating ideas that are hard to do and aren’t likely to have a high impact. Focus on progress.

    Kickstart a habit of thinking and a practice of planning.

    • Make time for strategic thinking.
    • Create space for practical planning.
    • Focus priorities and action.
    • Celebrate progress.

    Move beyond business as usual!


    Melanie Schmidt opened Timpano Group in 2003 to link disciplines of management consulting, executive coaching, organizational development and strategic communications. The creative consultancy builds upon Melanie’s experiences executing turnarounds within publicly traded entities, private companies and nonprofit organizations; handling executive transitions across sectors; and crafting compelling communications for diverse audiences.

    Timpano Group leverages various techniques to facilitate progress and:

    ·       help leaders think strategically or get “unstuck”

    ·       unpack complex issues and help articulate solutions

    ·       infuse energy and direction on mission-critical initiatives

    ·       leverage communication as a strategic business tool

    Melanie is known for getting to the core of issues and framing actions necessary to align intentions, actions and impressions. Her professional background includes leadership positions running an award-winning advertising and marketing firm, advancing public affairs for state government agencies, handling external and executive communications for an international utility, managing fuel and operational planning for a regional energy company, and directing institutional affairs within higher education. She's also had the unique opportunity to lead the State of Wisconsin's COVID‑19 operational response during the height of the pandemic.

    Melanie is equally comfortable providing direct service to clients and working as part of a consultant team or as an in-house partner to address broader needs.

  • November 27, 2023 9:35 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Twenty Seven - The More, The Merrier, The Multiplier - Brooke Saucier

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Client Prospecting

    The More, The Merrier, The Multiplier


    Curator of Opportunitiesknektar.com / brooke@knektar.com

    While I’ve been called many things—a few unprintable—I would say that “Curator of Opportunities” is one of my favorites. I’m a connector, and my company, Knektar, started simply as an email address. No website, no logo, just an innate sense of putting people, companies, ideas and opportunities together, making a puzzle out of previously mismatched pieces.

          Now, with a little more structure and success around serving as a glorified referrals agent, I’ve learned how to focus my efforts. When I engage with a new client, I do not serve as their cold caller, though I may send them warm leads from my network. I seek out channel partners who share the same appetite for that same ilk of client by suggesting meetings with potential strategic partners.

          Five years ago, I started working with a startup company in the wine sector. (No, I’m not compensated in product, but I can get you a deal.) They were looking for investors and clients. I found direct instances of both, but also introduced them to investor groups, distributors, influencers and restaurant associations. We had a goal in every meeting to create a fan who would become a de facto salesperson, pushing the idea on to their own network.

          Take time to seek out referral partners who would mutually benefit from network sharing with you. Warm introductions definitely have a value, and trading in this commodity can result in dividends for your business. 

          Knektar can help expand your network and shrink the time it will take for your business to expand potential sources of clients.

    Eight Ways to Fast Track Your Knektions

    1.               Stretch.  Slot 15 minutes a week to actively grow your network. Do that for a couple of weeks, then add another slot. Treat it like exercise. You wouldn’t just go outside and run a marathon. Work up to it.

    2.               Specify.  Know what kind of introduction you want. Don’t start the ask with “anyone.” We all know a lot of anyones. Make the listener think of two or three people and make them know they are perfect potential connections.

    3.               Expand.  Discover your multiplier. What introductions will get you to multiple leads? Bees remember where flower beds thrive.

    4.               Nudge.  Honor the introducer by following up a second time. And a third. Forward your prior asks to save typing.

    5.               Ask.  Reach out to friends. Call clients. Tell them you’re looking for introductions. You’d be surprised how many versions of “well, I’m so glad you asked me” you’ll get.

    6.               Gather.  One-on-one coffees are great, but a lunch with a few people can really turn up some great connections. Tell everyone at the outset—we’re not talking about the weather, or kids/grandkids, or the Badgers/Packers: We’re here to generate introductions.

    7.              Reward.Remember who led you to your new client. Handwritten notes, gift cards, bottles of delicious liquid and referral fees paid are an excellent way to get more introductions.

    8.               Gather.  Find one or more accountability partners and set times to check in on each other. Bouncing ideas, wins and losses off of someone can ensure you keep the networking rolling.


    Brooke is a serial networker with an innate sense of making strategically successful introductions, constantly striving to connect people, companies and ideas. Since founding Knektar LLC, it has become Brooke’s goal to create avenues for professionals to meet one another for mutually beneficial purposes. A true Curator of Opportunities, Brooke enjoys facilitating various connections–related to business development, strategic partnership or investment opportunities for colleagues, clients and friends.

    A great introduction for Knektar is an early-stage company looking for investment, business development and marketing partners. Learn more at www.knektar.com.

    Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., to Louisiana-native parents, Brooke has slowly inched north over the second half of his life. After finishing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Commercial French Studies, he began a career in international banking. He lived for over 25 years in Evanston, Ill., becoming the unofficial “Mayor of South Evanston.” His post-banking work life was gloriously random – stay-at-home dad, preschool teacher, Chamber of Commerce director, liquor distiller – before settling into a sales/business development consulting track. When his daughter Julia went off to college, Brooke moved to Madison, Wis., with his Wisconsin-born wife, Deanna, their dogs Pépite and Minuit, and his cat Oreo.

  • November 13, 2023 8:18 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    We are excited to announce that Voume 2 of "We Wish We Hade Known: Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business" is available now on Amazon.  Copy and paste the link here to order your copies. https://www.amazon.com/We-Wish-Had-Known-Consultants/dp/B09KDSYTPS/ref=sr_1_2?crid=ZHNTHVKSLAXT&keywords=madison+area+business+consultants.&qid=1699461859&s=books&sprefix=madison+area+business+consultants.+%2Cstripbooks%2C76&sr=1-2

  • November 10, 2023 2:18 PM | Tara Ingalls (Administrator)

    By: Ann Massie Nelson

    When you’re a journalism student, no one tells you that you will spend a good part of your life in the mundane job of proofreading. Yet, few steps are as important in producing quality work as proofreading.

    I won’t regale you with tales of my own experience – and there were some doozies – but I will share some tips I learned to improve my proofreading skills.

    1. Look at the component parts of the text. There’s a natural inclination to start at the beginning and read to the end. Wrong. Check all the headlines, then the subheads. Are they spelled correctly? Are they consistent in style and font? Check the formatting. Are the paragraphs all flush left or indented? Is the same font used throughout? What about the page numbers? Are they in order? Do they match a table of contents, when applicable? Are initial caps used consistently throughout?

    2. Scan the text and photo captions for names and titles. Verify all with a reliable source. Nothing disappoints people more than seeing their name misspelled or their title incorrect.

    3. Check all numbers and dates against the original source. Are dates consistent in their format? (Bonus tip: Use days of the week and dates for extra confidence, e.g., Monday, Dec. 25, 2023.)

    4. Look for what’s missing. Are there photo captions and credits? Does the text refer to a graph or other image? Are hyperlinks working? Do all articles have an end mark, where appropriate?

    5. Read the text last. Not sure about the spelling of a word? Look it up. Spell check won’t catch everything. Is the grammar correct? Is punctuation use consistent throughout? I use the Associated Press Stylebook, used by most newspapers, to guide me. (Don’t get me started on the Oxford comma.) What about homophones, words that sound the same but are spelled differently? How often have you seen your instead of you’re? It’s in place of its?

    6. Reread from the beginning to the end. Once you’re sure the components are correct, you can read for comprehension. I often let a document “rest” for a few hours or overnight before making a second or third pass with fresh eyes.

    7. Ask someone else to proofread your work. Set up a reciprocity agreement with someone you trust will approach proofreading with the same attention to detail.

    8. Use a grammar checker, such as Grammarly. A blog about grammar checkers appears here. Like spell check, a grammar checker is a tool, not a replacement for sharp eyes.

    9. Create a proofreading checklist. I developed my own checklist, which has evolved over the years. Your checklist will differ depending on the types of communications you’re proofreading. If you want a copy of my checklist, please email me at ann@lifemessagesmedia.com.

    - - - - - - - 

    Ann Massie Nelson is a writer, editor, interviewer, video producer and occasional proofreader. She is a co-founder of Life Messages Media, LLC, www.lifemessagesmedia.com.

  • November 06, 2023 10:19 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Twenty Six - Sales Prospecting for New Business - John Russell

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"  

    # Sales
    #Client Prospecting

    Sales Prospecting for New Business


    The Business Source LLC
    President and Owner

    thebusinesssourcellc.com / john@thebusinesssourcellc.com

    Prospecting for new business doesn’t have to be difficult.

     The best salespeople have a system they follow, refine and repeat. The goal of good prospecting is to get the first face-to-face meeting to begin the process of discovery. It’s harder for a buyer to say “no” in person.

          Buyers want solutions without risk. Their careers depend on it.  Consider prospecting as the process of building new relationships with business owners or consumers that could become friends for life.

          Prospecting is a multi-step, repeatable process. Try it, refine it, apply it and do it. Set your sight on the companies that will be able to benefit from your solution. Write down 10-20 businesses that fit your perfect client profile. Prequalify them for interest, time and money. Research them. Research their company and specific industry. Research their competitors and understand that market.

          Once you understand the market, determine who the decision-makers are, including the gatekeeper to the decision-maker and the economic buyer that approves the budget for your contract. 

          Start your relationship-building process. Start with the gatekeeper. Once you’ve confirmed your first point of contact, send a letter of introduction and make a promise to call on a specific date and time and do it. Confirm who the decision-makers are. Explain why you want to meet with them. “To exchange information to see if there might be a fit between our two companies. Best case scenario is we’ll discover that there’s a positive opportunity for our companies to do business together. Least case scenario is that we get to know each other better and I’ll be able to refer and recommend your business going forward.” Suggest that you only want to meet for 15 minutes. “I’ll be respectful of your time.” 

          This is the first step towards building trust. Then start your follow-up sequence. Make the first phone call and introduce yourself. Or stop at the business in person if possible. Ask if they received your letter. Refer to the letter and why you sent it.  Explain why you’re calling. Restate the importance of your interest in your prospect’s company and helping them solve a problem.

          When you connect via phone, be ready to introduce yourself again and explain the purpose of the call. “This is John and I’m following up on the letter I sent you a few days ago. I’m checking to see if you had a chance to look at it.” Share your interest and what you can do for them. Identify and share your competitive advantage. Be prepared to tell “your story.”

          By following these steps you’ll see your number of face-to-face calls increasing with new prospects.

          If you find that you are getting stuck, blocked or unable to break through to first meetings with prospects, email me and we’ll brainstorm additional strategies to help you get that first meeting.



    The idea to provide single source sales solutions for small business owners began two decades ago, when John realized the work he was doing as an advertising consultant for small business was only one dimensional. John now provides a full complement of marketing services clients need. He discovered this just wasn’t possible when only representing one company. It was at that moment that The Business Source LLC began.

    Today John leads a team of marketing professionals each hand picked for their capabilities as the best in their respective fields. They work together as a single company focused entirely on creating successful solutions for clients. They provide low-cost, high-quality solutions that small businesses can afford. The team has pioneered the virtual office business model for marketing firms in Wisconsin. The expense and overhead of a traditional brick-and- mortar company is gone. The Business Source’s ability to stay engaged, pull together quickly and deliver excellent customer service is the goal. John’s team delivers on their client’s needs that are smarter, better and faster than a traditional marketing firm. That is unique, that is The Business Source LLC.

  • October 30, 2023 7:55 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Twenty Five - Hire For Your Weaknesses: You Can't Do It All - Jenny Revels

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants To Grow Your Business"

    #Human Resources

    Hire For Your Weaknesses: You Can't Do It All


    Revels Consulting LLC
    HR Consultant and Leadership Coach

    revelsconsulting.com / jrevels@revelsconsulting.com

    As a solopreneur or new business owner, you are great at something that made you go into business. After 25 years in corporate human resource leadership roles, I did the same. Due to my business background and education, I thought I would be capable of learning and doing everything too, such as billing, accounting, collections, marketing, customer service, scheduling, selling, recordkeeping, presenting, materials, technology, website, ordering products, etc.

          Sometimes it’s hard to trust others with those details or confidential matters or you just don’t have the funds. However, once you get busy doing what you love, those other things still have to happen, and they don’t always get your attention or aren’t done well.

          Your website crashes. Billing falls behind and clients aren’t paying on time. You can’t keep up with staffing or employee issues. You have no funnel of business to fill the gap when things get slow because you fell behind on marketing. Marketing is where I struggle the most, especially since the pandemic. I relied on word of mouth and networking to get business. After the pandemic, it was harder. I hired help to create a branding and marketing plan and improve my website. If I would have continued to try and figure it out myself, it would have stolen the joy from my real work. I had to hire for my weaknesses.

          You don’t have to do it all. When you hire others to help, you can focus on your clients and the things you love doing. Revenue will follow. Just be sure to put a good process in place. Use the checklist on the next page as a guide to sort through what tasks to delegate and what to do after you hire help.

    Steps to Hire for Your Weaknesses

    Decide Tasks to Delegate

    •       Evaluate how you spend your time weekly and monthly using these three charts.
    •   Joy vs. Dread Tasks – What motivates you? Where is your passion? What do you avoid?
    •    $$ vs. Dead Time Tasks – What tasks directly impact revenue? What do not? What tasks can be eliminated?
    •    Quick and Easy vs. Time-Consuming Tasks – What tasks can you do efficiently and effectively? What tasks are currently inefficient?
    •       After you’ve evaluated all of these items, looked for patterns, calculated the time and money factors, it should help you determine what work could be best delegated.

    Find Capable Partners and Really Delegate

    •        Remember, you are searching to hire someone to fill your weaknesses. They likely won’t be just like you.
    •       Develop a strong job description that includes specific expectations and outcomes that you want performed and how performance will be measured.
    •        Outsource your search to a specialist to broaden your reach and find a solid match.
    •       Take the time to orientate and train on the front end or you will remain too involved in the tasks.
    •       In the early phases, schedule weekly check-in time for them to ask questions and propose changes.
    •        Stay out of their way! Give them time to succeed!
    •       Celebrate the partnership with praise and reward them when expectations are met. You don’t want to lose a strong partner!


    Jennifer Revels, an HR consultant and leadership coach with 25 years of human resource management and consulting experience, helps leaders and small business owners with all facets of planning, structuring, hiring and managing employees. Typically, a small business owner is strong at whatever their business specialty is, but sometimes hiring the right people, managing them and putting effective employee communication plans in place is not their strong suit. She’s worked for over 20 years in a corporate HR leadership role and five-plus years in private consulting. She is a calm and trusted partner, helping develop your hiring practices, growing your team strategically, creating a positive culture with less conflict, but also having difficult conversations or making difficult staffing changes with legal risk consideration, so that you’re not stressing about those things.

    She left corporate life in 2016 to find more balance in her life, travel more and spend more time with her husband and two sons, but enjoys using her skills to help smaller businesses who don’t always have the funds or resources to hire a full-time manager or human resources expert.

    She enjoys partnering with business owners and leaders who care about their team and want a trusted sounding board when stuck or overwhelmed about hiring, managing or growing their teams.

  • October 23, 2023 8:37 AM | John Russell (Administrator)

    Chapter Twenty Four - Making Your To Do List More Doable - Rachel Rasmussen

    "We Wish We Had Known - Everyday Tips from Consultants to Grow Your Business"

    #Virtual Assistant

    Making Your To Do List More Doable


    Rescue Desk Virtual Assistant Services
    rescuedeskva.com / Rachel@RescueDeskVA.com

    It is both the lifeblood of your business as well as the bane of your existence. It can make you excited or cranky. It either motivates you or defeats you. And we all have one (if not two...or three...or four...)

          A to-do list.

          The trick to making your list more doable is to find a system that strikes the right balance between how you work and what you want to achieve. It requires some discipline and involves some trial and error. But eventually you find a groove that inspires you to get through that list every day.

    Outsource and delegate: We all have fires that need putting out, and tackling some day-to-day operations is unavoidable. But, when more than 50% of your to-do list is operational or supportive or repeatable work, that’s too much. By delegating or outsourcing some of that work, you’ve freed up time and energy to focus on things that only you can do. If you don’t, it’ll start costing you money to do it yourself. (Nobody will ever pay you to keep your own website updated, or balance your books, or create those templates...)

    Segment and categorize: The longer your list, the less likely you’ll get it done. The goal is to be doing things that A) move you closer to your goals, and B) are broken into manageable – and doable – pieces. The key is to categorize and develop a decision-making matrix:

    • ·  Urgent and important: Do this immediately. This is house-is-on-fire kind of stuff.
    • ·  Not urgent, but important: This is the critical, high-level stuff. Give it lots of love on your list.
    • ·  Urgent, but not important: Delegate this to someone else or reschedule it.
    • ·  Not urgent, not important: Why is this even on your list? (I’m looking at you, social media.)

    Build a default calendar: A default calendar can be a powerful addition to your to-do toolbox. If you have tasks you know produce results, literally block off time to do them.

          If you need to update your CRM every week, block off an hour every Friday to tackle it. If calls are part of your sales strategy, mark off three blocks a week to make those calls. If you want more professional development, use Monday morning to listen to podcasts or read.

          View this time as sacred to your business; don’t schedule meetings over this time, don’t answer emails, don’t answer the phone. This can involve an insane amount of discipline, but it will eventually become habit and you’ll see results quickly.

    Find a tool and stick with it: There are a ton of useful, easy-to-use digital tools to help you keep track of what needs doing. The trick is to find a tool that works for you and stick with it. If you spread your task lists between paper, phone apps, web tools and software, not only do things get missed, but it doesn’t take long to feel overwhelmed and overpowered.

          None of us are robots. We all have days that get away from us and nothing gets checked off the list; it can certainly feel discouraging. But with some discipline, an actionable plan, and incorporating the tools you need to get through your to-do list more efficiently, those occasional unproductive days won’t have much of an impact on your goals and long-range plans.


    About Rachel

    Rachel Rasmussen launched Rescue Desk in early 2008, and she and her team have been helping business owners and nonprofits ever since. With a background in marketing and publishing, she thrives on the energy and enthusiasm of Rescue Desk’s clients and works hard to surround herself with creativity every day.

    About Rescue Desk

    Rescue Desk is a full-service virtual assistant firm and is an alternative to hiring onsite support staff. We are high-level executive assistant, project manager and marketing coordinator all rolled into one. The “virtual” in “virtual assistance” is simply logistics; we work from our office instead of yours. We partner with growing businesses and help them achieve their goals by taking the important – but time-consuming – tasks off their to-do lists. We plug ourselves into our clients’ operations and manage administrative and marketing projects, develop and implement processes, teach them how to delegate, and hold them accountable to their time so they can focus on taking their company to the next level.

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