Career Advice

Get The Fundamentals Right

Get The Fundamentals Right

Get The Fundamentals Right

By: Kevin Sinclair

To succeed in business on the Internet, or in the off-line world, requires an understanding of the fundamentals of business and using them to your advantage. In this article, I will outline what I consider the fundamentals of business success are.

Believe in Your Product or Service
First, you need to believe in your product or service. If you don't believe in it, you will have a great deal of difficulty selling your product or service to other people. You also need to have confidence in your ability to provide and promote your product or service. An old saying sums this up best by stating: "All things are possible to he who believes".

Aptitude for the Business
Secondly, you need to have an aptitude for the business. You will also need the motivation to acquire at the very least basic skills and experience before you start your business. If you were to set yourself up as a web designer but did not have any skills or training in this area, then you will almost certainly fail. However, if you are employed as a bookkeeper and you enjoy the job, then setting up your own bookkeeping service would be a sensible choice with a greater chance of success.

Be Responsible
Thirdly, you need to be responsible to your customers. This is achieved by only making commitments you can keep and by not engaging in misleading or dishonest advertising. If you want to build long-term success in your business, then you need to develop long-term satisfied customers. When their needs are being satisfied, customers are at their happiest.

Aim for High Quality
The next principle is that you need to have a high quality product or service. This will be your best advertisement. Inferior quality products usually generate poor customer satisfaction. A dissatisfied customer can be very dangerous for your business. Usually they tell on average about fourteen other people who will then be disinclined to buy your product or service based on the experience of that one dissatisfied person. Therefore, always aim for a top quality product or service.

Make a Profit
However, it is not enough to have a top quality product or service. You also need to have a product or service that will generate enough income to cover all your business expenses and give you a satisfactory wage. A friend of mine once said that business is only about two things: satisfying customers and making a profit. A simple statement but very true.

Sufficient Start-up Capital
You also need to have access to enough cash to set up and run your business, and enough income to meet your private expenses during the start-up phase. A major problem with many home and small businesses is that they fail to have enough money available to ensure their success. There is nothing more discouraging than having a great idea, getting it started on a shoestring, not being able to expand due to cash shortages and seeing a competitor come along and steal your market.

Start Small
Another fundamental principle of home business success is that you start small. This will enable you to minimize your overheads until you are confident of your success in the marketplace. For many of you, this would mean starting part-time while retaining your full-time income source. When you can, expand your business into a full-time venture. This is a great way of minimizing the risk of failure.

Be Well Organized
Successful businesses are well organized. They have a system for keeping track of expenditure and earnings. This level of organization in your business will help to ensure that you are providing your customers or clients with a top quality product or service. It will also ensure that you have enough information available to maximize your profitability and to satisfy your legal requirements for record keeping.

Be Prepared
Preparation is another key ingredient in your business success. This preparation will include being aware of the regulations and laws affecting small and home business. Armed with this knowledge, you should not have any nasty surprises from unintentional violations of the law.

Have a Business Plan
Finally, successful businesses have developed a comprehensive business plan. This is their road map to success. It tells them where they are going and how they are going to get there. There are a number of good resources about business planning on the Internet. Here are some:
www.bplans.com
www.businesstown.com/planning/creating.asp
www.bizplanit.com/vplan.htm

Conclusion
It has been said that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. The same can be said about business success. Without having the fundamentals in place, a great business idea will usually fail. Set yourself up for success by considering each of the points raised in this article.

 

Author Bio
Article by Kevin Sinclair, CPA, of Personal & Business Success Resources. Visit his website at www.business.ksinclair.com.

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Working the Room and how to do it

Working the Room and how to do it

Working the Room and how to do it

Let's cover an area of working the room with which people often struggle... the actual moving around the room. Disengaging with one group and breaking into groups. Finally I will cover the bridge process and explain the importance of the follow up after we have met new people.
Perhaps you have recently had a chance to meet people at a business networking event or social event, a conference, or seminar and have taken the opportunity to go up to someone standing alone. The problem comes when you wish to extricate yourself from this person but don't know how to go about it. Here let me give you some practical ideas. If you are both fellow guests at a function you don't owe it to this person to spend the rest of the evening with them. Think about it for a moment, the chances are that this person wishes to move on as much as you do but like you they simply don't wish to offend or cause any embarrassment.
You can do one of three of things:

  • After you have finished speaking you can simply say "Well, Jo, it's been great meeting you, enjoy the rest of the evening. Please excuse me as I promised to go and talk to Gerry over there".
  • You could say, "I'm going to get another drink, would you like to come?"
  • The coward's way out is "Please excuse me, I need to go to the loo!" and make sure you move well away from the person.


Whichever you use please do it with respect, integrity and politeness. Good manners is essential when working the room and is good business; bad manners brings no business.

The important aspect here is to move around the room with or without your new found friend. Again can I remind you that if your conversation is dry, they too probably want to be off working the room as well. You are doing them a favour by using your superior business networking techniques

Using the second idea of moving to the bar is an opportunity to park the person with someone else or for them to park you. It's rare both of you will be at an event where you don't know anyone so moving to the bar usually has the desired effect. When you do bump into someone you know even though you are a guest at an event act as a host. Don't just say "Hi Lou this is Jo" and leave it there. You have been chatting to Jo for some time and you obviously know Lou ... so play host. Say something like this, "Lou let me introduce you to Jo who I've just met this evening. He has a fascinating business selling sand to Middle Eastern Companies and, Jo, Lou here and I have been friends for years. He runs a business helping growing exporters raise finance from people who are looking for high-risk high return opportunities". These introductions are designed to get the two of them to talk quickly and with ease and reassurance. Who knows what may happen. You just might have created some potential for both of them? Business networking isn't just about what you can do for yourself, it's about what you can do for others. If you help someone, they will remember you when they hear of someone who needs your services. This of course makes it so much easier for you to move on and meet other people. This exercise is what I call parking. Like your car do it carefully, watch all angles and don't hit anything!

So now you have a parked Jo with Lou you have freshened up your drink. You look around the room and you see clusters of people or groups chatting to each other.

"Help... What do I do next?"

It's easy. Work the room! Look for a group of three people and move over to the edge of the circle. As you are moving towards the group, look at the faces of the people and decide who seems to be the most welcoming. Stand opposite that person at the edge of the group and smile. I can assure you the following will happen. The person you have smiled at will smile back and one or both of the other people will turn towards you and both will take one step to the side making a space for you. When you first do this, it's not easy. I'm not pretending it is but it always works. Ask in a gentle voice "Good evening please may I join you"? Again I have to tell you, you will not be rejected. The chances are someone will put their hand out and introduce themselves. I often play a game at the start of a business networking seminar or prior to a sit down meal by asking my newfound friend if they would allow me to use them as a Guinea Pig. I get them to go up to people they don't know, try out what I have just said and it always works. I do this simply to ensure that whenever I write about the matter or speak about it at the presentations and seminars I deliver that I feel confident in the advice I give.

Once you have successfully joined a group, don't change the subject matter and wait for them to start asking you questions. Bear in mind again, the chances are these people are from the same business or have known each other for a long time but haven't got the self-confidence to break away and meet new people... So you are a big relief for them!

When you are in a group, you will know the time to move on, instinct will tell you. I don't need to. So go to the top of this article and remember the tips about working the room.

Author Bio
I qualified as a chartered accountant in 1971, aged 23 and stayed in practice for the next 30 years.
I ended my accountancy career as the senior partner on merger with a national firm on May 31 2000. The next day I set up Kintish to show people in the professional, financial and service-based communities how to attract more business and clients.

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Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research

Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research

Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research

By: Celeste Bishop

Frequently I am asked "how do you get information about the competition?" Most people are surprised when I tell them that getting useful competitive intelligence is actually the easiest part of managing successful business competition. One of the best methods to gain valuable competitive intelligence is so simple, straightforward, and productive that I have put it on my list of Business Competition Best Practices: Win Loss Research.

The benefits that Win Loss Research routinely delivers include:

  • Increasing your rate of successful wins in competitive sales situations
  • Enhancing your product management and development initiatives
  • Reducing the level of uncertainty involved in sales forecasting
  • Strengthening top and bottom line results for your business
  • Improving the efficiency of your sales cycle process
  • Setting the stage for future business growth

Win Loss Research is a succinct, guided discussion with decision makers and influencers who have been involved in your recent win and loss sales decisions. The goal is to learn what key distinctions they saw between you and your competitors, the importance of those distinctions and the value they assigned to each competitor. While the focus of this research is on gaining insight into how your competitors operate and how you fare in comparison, it is inevitable that you also gain valuable customer information in the process.

Win Loss Research drills down beyond standard pricing issues and gets into territories such as: decision process, sales team approach and professionalism, company reputation, product attributes, service issues, and handling of proposals. Although pricing information is involved, it should not be the centerpiece of the research unless it becomes apparent that it really was the key issue that drove the decision. The goal of Win Loss Research is to provide you with competitive insight you can act upon - actionable competitive intelligence - for sales process improvement and better results.

Typically this research is conducted either over the telephone or in a face-to-face interview. The latter is more common in places and cultures where that is the preferred communication modality. Getting the results that you want out of Win Loss Research is a combination of art and science; art being the skill of the researcher in eliciting the intelligence that you need; science being the development of a research guide that facilitates the discovery of actionable competitive intelligence.

As with almost anything worth doing, focusing on Critical Success Factors (CSFs) increases the likelihood that you will get what you need. For Win Loss Research, focusing on the following CSFs will greatly increase your likelihood of obtaining productive competitor intelligence:

1) Use professional competitive researchers who are skilled in drawing out actionable competitive intelligence. They will also be perceived as unbiased, thereby ensuring candor.

2) Selecting the optimal mix of win and loss opportunities to research is a reasonably complex task which must be done correctly to ensure that you are gaining insight from the target markets that matter most.

3) Development of a stimulating research survey that operates as a guide rather than a questionnaire is the backbone to outstanding results.

Surprisingly, the tone and quality of the initial research request can make or break your ability to get robust participation.

A common pitfall among companies that report doing Win Loss Research is that they have their employees, typically the sales representatives, perform the research. You do need to have your sales people find out what happened. This should precede Win Loss Research which goes beyond the limited conversation from your sales reps' debriefing. Also, it defies human behavior to think that the customer will feel comfortable being candid with a sales rep who has not met their expectations or that the sales rep will be candid in passing along information that may be construed as unfavorable to them.

An extraordinary thing about Win Loss Research is that any size or category of company should be able to implement this as an ongoing business practice and see steady gains in their customer acquisition and sales. This form of research is not particularly costly or difficult to do, yet it does take a certain willingness to expose yourself to news that may make you uncomfortable at times.

One of the most frequent comments our researchers hear is a compliment to our clients for taking the time to learn and improve from their experience. Once you establish a practice of doing Win Loss Research routinely and take action on the results, your company will realize the benefits of implementing this business competition best practice.

 

Author Bio
Celeste Bishop is President of Bishop Market Resources a Competitive Services Agency that provides a breadth of traditional and online competitive intelligence services, including business research and sales process improvement research. For more learning resources check Brain Food at: www.bishopmarketresources.com/competitive-intelligence-brain.html

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Achieving Competitive Advantage through Collaboration with Key Customers and Suppliers

Achieving Competitive Advantage through Collaboration with Key Customers and Suppliers

Achieving Competitive Advantage through Collaboration with Key Customers and Suppliers

By: Don Johnston

An Evolving Operational Focus
In the past when companies pondered corporate strategy, operations had been peripheral to the discussion. Operations were considered a technical matter with one way of doing things and therefore not, strategic. Strategy is about products, markets, and competitive advantage with divergent possibilities.

Operations were seen as a series of puzzles with single best solutions. The realization that optimization of parts did not optimize the whole led to new focus - operational management went up a level from looking at individual tasks to looking at whole processes. During the 1960s, Japanese manufactures obtained competitive advantage by optimizing operational efficiency, which meant lower prices, flexible production capabilities and a reduction in lead times. Operational considerations became a key theme in strategic discussions.

During the 1990s, companies like Dell took this further. The computer market was changing faster than any other market had done in history. Dell began managing operations by synchronizing functional activity into a single corporate heartbeat. An order instantly drove procurement, which drove production and then distribution. The result was a further drop in lead times, inventory requirements, and operating costs along with flexibility. Operational efficiency was Dell's sole source of competitive advantage and it reaped enormous market share gains.

Collaboration - The Next Step
The historical trend is clear. The impact that one activity has on the next means they cannot be optimized in isolation. The result is that operations have become the key corporate strategic consideration. Yet the nature of competitive advantage is to elapse as competitors replicate it, which places a continual onus on companies to find new differentials. This begs the question - what next?

The answer lies in another step up in the way we view corporate operation. We need to look beyond the borders of the firm in our search for operational efficiency. Optimized company operations can only be achieved through alignment and coordination with the agents up and down stream. Collaboration with suppliers and customers is the essential vehicle of the 21st century for achieving competitive advantage from operations.

The benefits of Collaboration
1. Sharing demand signals
The first step to collaboration comes through information sharing. Across nearly all industries, companies play a guessing game (called forecasting) to estimate the products and quantities that their customers will demand across different markets. Even if a company gets it just right it still needs large inventory buffers to cope with demand variability, thus dramatically reducing its capital efficiency. It is imperative to compress lead times to meet demand rapidly and lessen these negative effects - this can negate the production-cost benefits of today's off-shoring vogue in China. The butterfly's wing effect on forecasting and ordering means the end demand signal gets wildly distorted as it echoes up the supply chain being reinterpreted and exaggerated at each turn. Inaccuracies are amplified at each stage, leaving suppliers facing high-stake production gambles.

The answer is simple - relaying end user demand signals and likely future order quantities to suppliers up the chain. This is the single biggest benefit of collaboration and it comes at virtually no cost reducing much of the variability from the forecasting calculation. A supplier's response will be a much closer fit to market demand if information about likely order quantities is shared. Typically, inventory levels can be reduced by two thirds, service levels sky-rocket while lost revenues evaporate, and supply costs are cut by a quarter when demand information sharing is implemented correctly.

2. Efficiency through alignment
The next step is operational coordination. Working capital naturally collects at the borders of the firm. Finished Goods nearly always account for much more inventory than Work in Process, mainly because of the typical inadequacy in coordination between supply chain entities. Accounts receivable tend to be swelled by disputes and billing problems, which would be ironed out instantly if they were internal issues. Most companies currently allow working capital to accumulate at the point where their processes meet those of their customers and suppliers, which provides a great opportunity for freed cash flow and increased capital efficiency.

Costs can also be reduced dramatically through simple operational coordination between suppliers and customers. Systems, processes, and organizations can be joined up much more effectively to eliminate unnecessary duplication and increase the through-put and flexibility of both supplier and customer organizations.

The interfaces of goods delivery/goods-receipt, invoicing/invoice-processing and collection/payment all exhibit the same misalignment and duplication. The painstaking effort spent on internal efficiency is negated by a clumsy operational weld between suppliers and customers. Functions get managed to performance metrics, which encourage activity that runs, counter to the efficiency of the organization, let alone the total supply mechanism. Firms should optimise their impact on their key customers' total cost of supply. Configuring and managing the organization to better align with key customers and suppliers facilitates a more fluid transfer of goods, cash and information up and down the supply chain. This provides a win/win of capital and cost reduction at the same time as enhanced revenue levers for all organizations involved.

3. Joint exploration of strategic options
The final step is a strategic coordination-unlocking new market development and product development possibilities based on co-exploring avenues to competitive advantage. This is only attainable once trust has been built through information share and some steps in operational integration. With the foundation of operational collaboration set, customers and suppliers can combine in entering new markets, coordinated off-shoring and shared selected R&D to explore exciting product development opportunities and condense launch times.

Overcoming the Zero Sum Mindset
The greatest barrier to successful collaboration is the conventional mindset of a combative relationship with suppliers. Negotiations are perceived as a zero-sum margin tug-of-war, with the relative power balance determining the result. This precludes a focus on win-win value driving activity. Suppliers and customers end up perpetually wasting and reworking because they see opening a constructive dialogue as weakness or even as surrender. Many executives fear a loss of flexibility through higher switching costs from greater collaboration. The truth is that most firms' key supplier base has not changed dramatically over the last 2 years, so collaborative activity would have been massively beneficial as the payback period can be. Still, this does not irreversibly affix firms together - competitive pressures still work to drive down prices and provide the incentive to offer the best value.

Another fear is that companies would give away their competitive advantage to customers or suppliers if they collaborate. The reality is that core competencies do not vanish through sharing demand information, or through bridging operational rifts. The reason that there are few truly vertically integrated industries is testament to this - core competencies dilute and effective organization is impossible over too lengthy a chain. Such anxiety may be unfounded, but the fear is real and debilitating. This is why companies should commit progressively and in parallel, reaching a point acceptable to both parties; from information share, to operational alignment, through to symbiotic strategic planning. As a further development, (depending on the concentration of the end user markets for a product), a company can then extend its collaborative relationships further up and down the supply chain to suppliers' suppliers, customers' customers and beyond.

As with preceding operational evolutions, collaboration will doubtless be pioneered by some companies and shunned by others. Far from the micro/technical operational thinking of the past, collaboration offers a strategic perspective, divergent options and colossal profit, and capital efficiency benefits. Until it becomes universally adopted, collaboration is the most promising source of competitive advantage from operations available today.

 

Author Bio
Don Johnston is a consultant with the REL Consultancy Group www.relconsult.com - REL's financial consulting services are all about generating improvements in cashflow. As experts in working capital management REL has been associated with some of the world's most successful companies for over 30 years, focusing on all of the three key areas of payables, receivables, and inventory.

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Business Plans are for Wimps!

Business Plans are for Wimps!

Business Plans are for Wimps!

By: Dan Nichols

Business Planning is for Wimps!

After 20 years of self employment and the last 4 as a small business consultant and coach helping people to start or grow their businesses, I can say with no shame I used to feel that business plans were only for wimps. That was until I did one.

It is easy to knock something you've never tried. After many years of not only starting businesses but actually succeeding in them it would have been easy to think that business plans aren't necessary. Part of that lies in the fact most entrepreneurs are actually working a job not growing a business. That is certainly where my maturity as a self employed person was until I hit my mid 30's. Sure I had earned an income and eeked out a life in a business of my own but I really didn't see the business of the business. What I saw was that I got what I wanted which was to not have to work for someone else. Woo hoo... I was my own boss. Truth be told it was my lack of planning out the business that hindered my growth and financial prosperity. Thankfully I figured it out and now, my newest business is going places I never dreamt possible when I lacked a plan. Doing a plan, the very act of doing it, almost in its very nature is enough to take you to the next level as an entrepreneur.

You see, put simply, when you plan a business you begin to understand it as a business. When you don't plan a business but still go into business for yourself, you more than likely created a job. For example with lawn maintenance we think of the cutting of the lawn, not the structure of the organization, the future growth and direction of the business, the various marketing strategies etc.. There is a critical difference between having a business and the business of business and that requires another article of its own. So, if you ever want to get out of the grind and truly grow a business you need to plan to grow it. Plan every little bit of it and then re-visit this plan often and make changes as things evolve. We've all heard it before - "when you fail to plan you plan to fail". Only when we sit down to do a business plan do we see it is so much more than that. Not planning a business causes us to fulfill the role we "thought of" when we thought of that business and not see the things planning would have taught us.

Yes, most business planning is boring with a capital B and a really long "O" but that is because most planning mechanisms and information on the topic is intellectually based and they have you planning at a level of logic - business, marketing, operational procedure, organizational structure, customer service, accounting - when we plan these things we are mostly adult minded and leave the excitement, the passion out of it. So when it is done the traditional way, you're left with a stack of paper, a business plan that bores you and leaves you uninspired. That to me is a waste of time. Be sure to put the fun into planning a business. Have it appeal to you on an emotional level because that is what drives results and stop worrying what type of business planning procedures the academic world is trying to push. Fewer than 10% of businesses in the Fortune 500 ever borrowed start-up money from a formal institution. They got it from friends and family. So most likely a banker won't see your plan anyhow. Make the business plan appeal to you first and foremost. Happy planning.

 

Author Bio
Dan Nichols - America's Small Business Advocate is a business coach and consultant headquartered in Royal Oak, MI. He is the author of Lemonade Stand Simple - The only business plan system you'll ever need. He loves to help entrepreneurs - it's his passion. His website is at www.businesssensei.com

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Runaway Meetings Are The Top Time Waster At Work

Meetings Are Top Time Waster At Work

Runaway Meetings Are The Top Time Waster At Work

By: Barbara Bartlein

A new nationwide survey finds that "runaway" meetings are the biggest time waster in the workplace. More than 27 percent of workers polled said meetings are the largest culprit for inefficiency and lack of productivity.

The survey was developed by Office Team, a staffing service specializing in skilled administrative professionals. With responses from 613 men and women, all 18 years or older, the findings are part of the "Office Team Career Challenge," a project to help administrative professionals advance their careers.

With today's lean staffing levels, there is increasing pressure for employees to manage their time effectively. Yet, many employers actually sabotage time management with runaway meetings and interruptions. Industry Week calls meetings "the Great White Collar Crime" estimating they waste 37 billion dollars a year.

Some 'red flags' that can indicate a mismanaged meeting:

  • No one in charge. If the leadership of the meeting isn't clear, there is a tendency for attendees to waste time, pontificate their points and not draw any conclusions.

     

  • Not starting on time. This practice 'trains' employees to come late and expect additional time for socializing.

     

  • Lack of objectives or agenda. With no clear purpose or agenda to follow, it is easy for the meeting to get off track. Participants may not be clear as to what needs to be discussed or for how long.

     

  • Lengthy guest list. As a general rule, the more people at a meeting, the less work accomplished. When the list of attendees is extensive, it is often because there is a focus on not excluding anyone, not because each member's participation is necessary.

     

  • Just part of the routine. Regularly scheduled meetings can lose value as circumstances and staff change. All routine meetings should be periodically evaluated to determine whether they should be held at all.

     

To learn how to make meetings more productive, I contacted Chris Clarke-Epstein, CSP, who wrote the book, I Can't Take Your Call Right Now, I'm In a Meeting. The former president of the National Speaker's Association, she works with clients to help employees learn faster and work better. She offers concrete ideas to make your meetings more effective.

  • Idea #1: Not every meeting should take place. The right times to schedule a meeting are when conflicts need to be resolved, groups of people need to start working together or information needs to be shared at the same time. Meetings are a group activity so they can be effective when a group needs to reach consensus or rally around an idea or plan.

     

  • Idea#2: The person who calls the meeting has more to do than reserve the room. They need to also consider other logistical issues, including; time, equipment needed, and food/beverage. They need to take ownership of the content including preparation of an agenda and distribution of review materials. It is important to have a system to follow up on assignments and monitor the results of the meeting.

     

  • Idea #3: Meetings are no better than the people attending them. According to the Warton Center for Applied Research, the primary cause of unproductive meetings is not having the right people in attendance. The most effective participants at any meeting are: people who have the information you need, people who can make decisions, and people who will implement the decisions.

     

  • Idea #4: What gets recorded at a meeting has a chance of getting done. All meetings need some form of collective, agreed-upon memory. Without documentation, consensus can quickly evaporate. Meeting notes need to summarize the decisions made, itemize the actions agreed upon, fix accountability and document the deadlines for all actions.

     

  • Idea #5: Meetings that end without assignments are doomed to be repeated. Groups are often very good at decision making and unbelievably poor at implementation. There needs to be an identified person to implement each decision within a specific timeframe. Watch to make certain that everyone is getting some of the responsibilities.

     

  • Idea #6: Teams that evaluate their meetings have better meetings. Take two or three minutes at the end of each meeting to evaluate the process. Use index cards and answer the following questions: Were the meeting's objectives met? Was the meeting's format effective? Was the meeting of value?

     

The true value of any meeting is what actually happens after the meeting takes place. Make sure that individuals are held accountable for meeting results. And remember, if you don't measure it, it won't happen.

For more ideas on effective meetings and building productive teams, please visit: www.chrisclarke-epstein.com

 

Author Bio
FREE E-MAIL NEWSLETTER. Sign up at www.ThePeoplePro.com. Barbara Bartlein, CSP, is the People Pro. She offers keynotes, training and products that help you build your business and balance your life. She can be reached at 888-747-9953, by e-mail at barb@ThePeoplePro.com. Visit her website at www.ThePeoplePro.com.

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Take proper control of your company web site

Take proper control of your company web site

Take proper control of your company web site

By: John Philip

I recently carried out a web-site review for a solid and successful company. It had followed most of the 'rules' for getting high traffic, but had somehow missed the mark. I suspect that a large number of visitors found the site unconvincing, uninspiring and unmemorable. The site certainly did little to enhance the company's otherwise very high reputation. I quickly spotted the problem, but it took me a while to figure out the underlying cause.

The problem itself was really very simple. Each page was fine on its own, but the site as a whole was not coherent. Some pages had long paragraphs while others were written in bullet points. Sentences varied hugely in length and complexity. Key staff were profiled by some departments, but not by others. Even key branding language varied, including, believe it or not, the name of the company!

The root of the problem was somewhere in the overall co-ordination of the site. The obvious conclusion was that whoever was in charge was not sufficiently skilled as an editor. But that was not enough. Why were senior executives not dealing with it?

The company's paper publications were excellent, with attention to detail and a common style across the range from annual reports and press releases to marketing materials and recruitment leaflets. Each department's copy passed through the hands of a small editorial team who corrected and improved the language and transformed it into a coherent company style. Beyond this, a director ensured consistency and co-ordinated the output of different departments in accordance with the board's strategic demands.

The web site was a totally different ball game.

The company leaders regarded the web site as a techie issue. The different departments were giving well-written copy, but there was no-one with proper editing experience to pull it together. Executives were satisfied with the web pages that were relevant to their own departmental responsibilities and were happy to leave the site management in the hands of someone who understood the technical issues involved. This was the equivalent of leaving paper publications in the hands of printers and graphic designers.

The lessons are clear. First, ensure proper executive oversight of your website. If it isn't already, your site will soon be the most frequently viewed representation of your company. Second, make full use of professional editors for your site's text. It depends upon your company's circumstances whether you are better off doing this in house or outsourcing.

 

Author Bio
John Philip has been a writer, editor and educator for over 30 years. He now mainly provides consultancy to businesses, professions and public services and continues to work for befirstgroup.com, which offers writing and editorial services.

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A Cosmopolitan Job Search

A Cosmopolitan Job Search

A Cosmopolitan Job Search

With increased globalization and cosmopolitan approaches to life, the job hunting process is also undergoing changes. People are increasingly looking for jobs outside the borders or their countries, in various fields regardless of their education, and in a more competitive world then ever. While the companies from developed countries are struggling to hire the most qualified work force, it is becoming more likely that this work force will be coming from countries in transition or developing states. As an example, Eastern Europe was able to supply the EU labor market with increased numbers of highly educated professionals who were willing to work for less.

When you are looking for a job, and you care less about the country this job will take you to, but you are more concerned about you role in the job, it is important to take the following into consideration:

Particularities of job search approaches
When looking for jobs outside any state borders, we cannot assume that the job search process is the same worldwide. While the overall process may be the same, there are certain things that are done differently. In some countries it is important that you call the employer to discuss the job before applying, while in others you are discouraged from contacting the employer. These are details you should be aware of so that you can have a successful application process. It might be best for you to:
- Contact people who work in the country of application (even if it is on a forum and you don't personally know the people you are addressing) and talk to them about the recruitment process they went through;
- Take a look at a few resumes of people who work in the country of destination and check if your resume follows a similar pattern (at the same time don't try too hard to make yourself blend, differences can be positive in bringing your resume forward in front of an employer);
- Learn more about the culture of the country you seek employment in and incorporate this knowledge in your job search strategy and decision making.

Cultural differences
Being cosmopolitan in your job search does not mean you have to be ignorant of culture and life outside the borders of your country, or assume that everything is the same everywhere. The world is very diverse, and you are cosmopolitan when you learn to embrace the differences and respect various cultures. Before you apply for a job in another country - take a few hours time to learn more about the country, the people, and the culture of that place. Knowledge of the culture will help you prepare a resume and a job search strategy that will generate results. This process will also help you decide if you would really be happy in that country. When you want to have a life outside the office, this becomes even more important. As an example, I know a job seeker from the US who decided to move to a company in the UK, and without making any research assumed that London would be the same as Los Angeles. It does not quite work this way.

Honesty and integrity
Applying for a job thousands of miles away does not mean that the employer or recruiter will never check your background. Make sure that in your application you provide only verifiable information, and that you can support the provided data with more details during the interview. Also, make sure you can undertake legal employment in that country, and do not forge any documents that will help you get that job. It is not only dishonest - it is also not worth it.

The world is a very small yet diverse place, and every culture has a certain impact on the overall life and job-hunting process of its people. If you are looking to apply for a job outside the boundaries of your country, make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into. This will help your put together a successful job search strategy. I understand that this is complicated when you are looking at 10 or more countries at the same time, but who said life of a cosmopolitan careerist is easy.

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Author Bio
Rachel Gordon is a recruitment consultant at www.MasterEmployment.com. She can be contacted by e-mail at info-at-masteremployment.com. You are welcome to re-post this article as long as you keep the information about the author intact, including the links. Contact MasterEmployment.com for more details.

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Personal Pluses That Ace A Job Interview

Personal Pluses That Ace A Job Interview

Personal Pluses That Ace A Job Interview

By: Joel Vance

As the business world has become more competitive for the shrinking markets available to them, companies have shifted their focus from hiring the most educated or experienced graduate, to hiring those employees with personal pluses as well as the job skills.

Right now, you may be in an entry-level job, gaining experience and hoping to work your way up. This is also the time (if you haven't learned them while growing up), to develop your people skills as well. Because these tend to be the "soft" sell features that make candidates stand out at an interview.

Promptness is one attribute that employers appreciate. It doesn't come naturally, but it doesn't take a great deal of work to acquire either. A little planning, or putting thought into your daily routines and habits, mean you are not only on time for work, but for outside activities as well.

Personality also goes a long way, when an employer is considering equally qualified candidates. Do you enjoy your work? Have you had good experiences with previous employers? If not, don't make those incidents a focus during your interview. Instead, highlight the positive aspects of past jobs, and how they have helped to make you suited for the position related to the interview. And don't ooze friendliness. Leave that to your puppy at home. Interviewers can spot a phony as soon as they show their orthodontist's handiwork. Be your natural, sincere self. Your real personality will show through, and sometimes will count for more than the degree on your graduation certificate.

People skills are now being considered one of the most valuable assets that any employee can have, no matter what their role. It's not just the customer service part of the job that counts, but how well you function as part of a team, and part of what may be a small, and highly motivated company where there can be periods of intense and concentrated work that tests both your professional skills and your temper. Having an even "keel", and knowing how to deal with those who don't, is a talent that will follow you from job to job, in written recommendations, and in how you present yourself at an interview.

With the number of people seeking work, either as new graduates or recently laid off employees, you need to put not only your best foot forward, but your best "self". A company can go to any institute and hire a person trained to a particular skill. What they are really looking for when they grant interviews, is someone with the technical skills and personality pluses.

Author Bio
Joel Vance is an Human Resources expert who has been in HR for 17 years and interviewed 3,159 people. He has also taught at 4 major universities around the country and currently has a best selling book on interviewing entitled The Perfect Interview at www.theperfectinterview.com

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So You Are Working for a Difficult Boss, Huh?

Working for a Difficult Boss

So You Are Working for a Difficult Boss, Huh?

By: Mahalakshmi Prabhakaran

Well. A bad boss is a universal phenomenon. All of us at some point of time or other have faced the monster from hell that just loves twisting you round his tiny li'l finger and takes pleasure in trashing your hard day's work right into the bin without any compunction! Phew... it's a tough little world we all live in. Here are a few practical pointers that will help you not only in dealing with that tough taskmaster of a boss, but also maybe help you win him over!

Don't judge him/her in haste.
Call it the human tendency to gripe, but experience shows that people crib about their bosses just two days into their job! So if you are just into your job and are having problems coping with the Big B for inexplicable reasons, take a breather. Instead of rushing into conclusions, take time off to understand your boss and his/her working style. Giving yourself some time gives you some breathing space to settle into your job, get accustomed to the work environment and hit off a working relationship with your colleagues and more importantly, your boss. According to experts, 3 months is a good enough time. In an ideal world, by the end of the period you will end up realizing that your boss is not a bad soul after all!

Understand his/her psyche.
Yes. Apart from discharging your duties, being on a job also entails taking on the role of a psychologist. It pays to observe people, not the least your boss. Silently noticing your Boss and colleagues gives you a peek into their character. Pay more attention to your Boss's conversations, his mannerisms, how he interacts with the rest of the team. Observing him will help you discover his likes and dislikes, pet interests and even weaknesses. If you are smart, you will know how to leverage this knowledge and develop good camaraderie between the two of you. You might gladly end up discovering that you share similar interests. So, the next time you feel like wringing your hair out in frustration, stop cribbing and starting observing!

Speak Up.
Ok so you have grinned and borne your boss. Observed him to get to know him, have tried every thing to get him to like you, yet he continues with his boorish behavior. Then it is time to have some frank speak with him/ her. Put your concerns out in the open. Tell them frankly what it is about their behavior that is discouraging you. If your boss is considerate, he might take efforts to change his behavior. But if he refuses to back off and regret his misgivings, go on and talk to the HR and other higher ups in your company to come out with a solution. According to industry experts, talking out sometimes helps clear the air and gives your boss an opportunity to correct himself. Standing up to him will show you in a new light, as someone who is confident and fearless. It may, with the right boss earn you some brownie points a la good commendation and better prospects for promotions.

Vent your woes to willing ears!
Can't handle the stress anymore? Then go ahead and vent your woes about your unfortunate situation with your colleagues, friends, and family - well practically anyone who is willing to lend you a patient ear. As any amateur psychologist would say, bottling up your feelings will only end up stressing you out. While talking out will relieve you of tension and give you solace that you are not the only one afflicted with a bad sore-of a boss.

Cautionary advice:
Have these sessions outside office and very far from your boss!! Don't over do it. You may end up driving people away with your whining.

Nothing works? Get out! If you think you have given your best shot to live with that bully of a boss and he still ends up making your life a living hell? Then its time for you to pack your bags and scout for another job!

Author Bio
Mahalakshmi is a Marketing Writer for CAMO Technologies. CAMO Technologies is an IT Outsourcing solutions provider offering Global IT Staffing services, Application Development services, Software Testing services and Web Services

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