You snooze, you lose“ is a saying that matches the habit of business consultant Markus Buschmann. Shortly past five o`clock in the morning he sends out his „Morning Boosters” via WhatsApp – food for thought and advice created for entrepreneurs and leaders. In his book „Morning Coaching“ he presents his top ‘Boosters’. Markus draws from a wealth of of experience- before he became self-employed as a consultant he held leading positions in the IT sector for decades. For our interview, we meet in his office in Eningen near Reutlingen/Germany.
How did you start into the new year, Markus? Are you a person of New Year Resolutions?
I induce change regardless of a specific time of the year – the time is right when I feel a maximum in momentum and energy for change. I then tackle the issue straight away, the next hour, or the next day. I don`t wait for January the first, but I do it when it makes the most sense.
And how does this momentum, this boost of energy come about? For my part, the atmosphere of the New Year ahead does motivate me…
Usually due to frustration. Then I resume to change something and do it straight away. Or I really feel like doing something.
In 2022, what were the mail issues for entrepreneurs in 2022 – was there a trend?
One big issue is: To start something and not finish it. For example, a company introduces regular staff appraisal but doesn`t stick to it, because other things are more urgent. But you cannot do everything at the same time, and it makes sense to postpone things. That`s part of time management. You can decide on purpose to do an undertaking later and not now. That`s better than to keep on putting something off – and feeling bad about it.
2023 starts with a lot of challenges, for example inflation. Does that make you worry or does it rather push your motivation?
Lucky enough, my clients aren`t feeling any economic slump – there isn`t less work and they don`t face a decline in sales.
Oh, that`s good! When consulting the leaders of large companies, you probably come across some big names. Do you need to reassure yourself sometimes? Do you occasionally have doubts whether your mentoring is going to „work“?
I have got decades of professional experience as a business executive and there`s basically nothing that I haven`t experienced yet. Therefore I`m pretty relaxed. That`s the difference to a coach who has acquired his knowledge by studying books only: I can draw on both what I`ve learned from books and on day-to-day experience.
It`s important to define the scope of a project right in the beginning: What exactly do we want to achieve? This must not be procrastinated. Otherwise one might find out later: We had different expectations all along. The approach ’We just lean back and the consultant will tell us how things will work out’ is not going to work.
Since 2016 you are your own boss as a self-employed business consultant – what qualities were most helpful to you?
Going the extra mile is very important. You can`t do that with an eight-hour workday. You need to be creative and think of new answers to problems all the time. There are things that work and others that don`t. That means you need to try a lot and keep on doing what works. Sounds easy but it isn’t.
Do you have an example of an idea, that you tried and later dropped?
My business partner Gerald and I tried a lot when we started out – postcards for example that we distributed in Reutlingen. If you would carry on doing that for years it may well pay off, but it has to be done consistently. For us, the effort was too big in the long run. But it was an interesting experience. Or we hired someone to call company directors. He probably made a thousand calls, but it didn`t lead to new clients. We learned that the business we are in is in the recommendation sector. Makes sense: When you look for a lawyer, an accountant, or a dentist, you would ask your friends: ‘Do you know someone? Can you recommend somebody?‘
The advantage of the recommendation sector is the momentum it creates..
Yes, but you need to reach that point and it takes a while – three, four years. Many underestimate that. You can accelerate the process by giving speeches and being on stages, but that`s just not my kind of thing. Meanwhile I`ve also found new clients via LinkedIn though, as I post my ‘Morning Booster’ there.
Talking about the ‚Morning Booster‘: You send them out shortly past 5am every morning on WhatsApp. Is getting up early one of your secrets to success?
Yes, I think so! When others start at 8 am, I have already worked for three hours. During that time I can get a lot of routine tasks done – for example ‘Morning Booster’, or being active on LinkedIn. I don`t have time for that during the day – there are calls, emails, and meetings – there`s hardly any quiet time. You need to find quiet hours outside the common office hours.
Is there an advice that has left a lasting impression on you as an entrepreneur?
More Pull instead of Push! Be attractive instead of forcing sales-pitches on people. As a coach you tend to think that everyone needs coaching, but I have noticed that people don`t want coaching until their problem starts to seriously hurt them. Even though it`s my nature to push things and then expect clients to come faster: it`s more effective and more relaxed to just be extremely attractive, so that clients will come to me. That`s one reason why I`m doing the ‘Morning Booster’.
Interesting! Who has given you this advice?
Ii`s experience. I learn a lot from experience and I love to pay close attention on how others do things.
Back to your ‚Morning Booster‘: Over time there are quite a lot of them and I wonder if there`s one advice that you find most important? For my part, I often feel blocked by receiving too many advices and then I can`t put anything into practice at all…
When it becomes too much, it can help to “delete” everything. All ideas, all gone – and then start afresh.
And if you could send only one single Booster, one single advice, to a business: Could you decide on one (regardless of the fact that every business has different challenges)? And what would it be?
Focus and routine: If you want to achieve something you need focus and you need to implement a routine to put it into practice. For example ‚Morning Booster‘: I have a routine and it is called ‚open the file‘. That means, each morning I open a new file and write down a new idea for a ‚Morning Booster‘ – and be it a word only. I do that without questioning or reasoning whether it really makes sense that very day because I might have other things to do. I just do it. This way I stay on it consistently and it becomes a routine, a habit. That`s a secret to success. If you want to achieve something and you work on it consistently every single day, success is almost inevitable.