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There are probably dozens of ways to save money in your business. Here a few you may not have thought of.

How To Save Money In Your Business

How To Save Money In Your BusinessWhy look at ways to save money in your business? Business isn't about how much you make, but about what you keep - the net profit. Cut an expense, and the savings usually goes straight to that bottom line. Learn a simple way to spend $25 less on electricity each month, for example, and you'll have $3,000 more profit over the next ten years. Here, then, are a few random but useful ideas for cutting those costs.Ask Vendors How You Can Save MoneyOften, just asking can save you a lot. Ask a supplier if there is a way to cut the cost, for example. Maybe you and he would be better off if he delivered more of something, but less often, for example. You won't know until you ask.Join An AssociationThere are professional associations in most industries and service professions. See what benefits you get by joining one. Some can help you get reduced insurance rates and discounts on legal costs and other services.Educate The CustomerI would love to be educated by many of the online services I use. Good simple explanation of how to use their products would keep me from having to call and e-mail them so frequently. It would also save them the cost of handling those calls and e-mails. If your customers are coming back with questions too many times, you probably aren't educating them well enough at the point of sale.Piggyback Your AdvertisingSave money mailing out advertising by including it with other mailings, like your invoices. Put coupons in with your products to encourage repeat business.Trade AdvertisingIf you are mailing advertising to a few thousand people, maybe you know of a complementary but non-competing business that does the same. Agree to put his ads in your mailings and have yours in his. You can mail out as many ads for half the postage and envelope costs this way.Save Money On LaborWhile working at a restaurant I tracked the customer count in relation to the employee scheduling. I found that there were many times when we didn't have enough employees on duty, and many more when we had too many. Changing the scheduling meant better customer service and savings of about $15,000 per year on labor.Reduce Your Lawyers HoursIf you need to hire an attorney, ask if there are things you can do to prepare which will cut the time you are billed for. There is no point in having your lawyer make $100 phone calls that you can make in five minutes. Wait to discuss several issues at one time with your lawyer - he will be charging a minimum for each time you call him.One last tip: at least once a year, look back on every expense you had, and see if there is a way to "save money" on any of them this year.

Slow Cars To Superstars

Slow Cars To Superstars

Successful hiring, in any company, is one of the most difficult tasks in which to achieve repeatable success. From unexpected outbursts to terminal tardiness to woeful incompetence, every company has a hiring horror story regarding employees who interviewed strong but performed poorly. Perhaps a subtle, but more dangerous occurrence is the all-too-common hire who performs their job in the gray twilight of mediocrity. They never rise to the occasion and they never catastrophically fail. They interviewed well but now simply perform their role in a nondescript manner within the company. Amass too many of these employees and your company will be overwhelmed with mediocrity...or worse. How do you identify candidates who have unseen natural capacities that will elevate them to incredible achievements? The answer is aptitudes. Aptitude is defined as a natural ability, talent or aptness. Every salesperson has a different level of natural ability. Matching the right abilities to the requirements of the job provides the best opportunity for superior performance. An example: Imagine two cars asked to go 90mph down the freeway. One car is straight off the NASCAR track and the other is a 1972 Ford Pinto. Both cars can reach 90mph and, assuming they are not ticketed, can maintain that speed for some duration. However, the Pinto is redlining and over time cannot maintain that pace. In a short time, the Pintos engine will break down from the stress. Meanwhile, the NASCAR stock car is effortlessly gliding down the road and can easily maintain that speed for a long duration. The same analogy applies to employees. The employee with the right aptitudes for the position will be able to perform at a high level without red-lining their abilities. So how do you measure aptitudes and, more importantly, find the right aptitudes for the position? The first step is to identify the key performance indicators for the position. Key performance indicators are the critical goals and major business successes the job is accountable for producing. These key performance indicators become the reference point to which all future candidates are measured. After this activity, every step in your hiring process will become increasingly more refined and focused. The second step is to use the key performance indicators as the reference for establishing a benchmark of the job. The simplest of questions to begin with is; why does this job exist? What aptitudes are non-negotiable, mission-critical abilities that lead to success? Conversely, what aptitudes are not needed? In fact, some well developed aptitudes may actually be detrimental to success in the role. Using the key performance indicators to define the job leads to the last step. Finally, objectively assess all screened candidates against the newly formed benchmark. An unbiased, fully validated aptitude assessment will reveal the candidate's natural abilities. These abilities are difficult to detect through phone screens and interviews. Using objective assessments will provide a detailed analysis of the candidate's "fit" to the position. The greatest payoff for matching aptitudes to the job occurs after the newly hired employee quickly hits their stride in the role. These employees are the ones that bring a smile to their manager's face. They have an innate ability to make the right decisions, leverage the best approach and achieve the most success. Over time, ongoing training, relevant experience and consistent management allow this employee to further develop these aptitudes into highly effective skills for their role. They will become superstars.

Chairing A Meeting The Most effective Way

Chairing A Meeting The Most effective Way

How many times have you attended a meeting where the only thing that gets decided is the date of the next meeting? Or where one person dominates the meeting? Or the meeting is swamped with trivia or unrelated information?It is a commonly held assumption that chairing a meeting is simply a matter of reading out the agenda that is assuming there is an agenda and that the addenda actually covers the topics which are most pertinent to the matter in hand.Chairing an effective meeting is a skill. One that is learnable. Outlined below are some simple principles; which if followed can result in focussed efficient meetings where everyone feels their opinion is valued and the job gets done.Rule number 1 there is no place for ego. As the Chair Person you are the facilitator, the most effective are those who listen, who use open ended questions to tease out reasoning and to involve others.Rule 2 . Be very clear about what is the purpose of the meeting? Do you want lots of ideas to brainstorm possibilities, identify the implications of things already identified, broad-brush strokes or determining detail.Rule 3 Be prepared, create the agenda, have any supporting papers prepared and circulated in plenty of time so that others have time to read in advanceRule 4 At the beginning of the meeting ensure that all parties are introduced, keep it snappy. Set out clearly what sort of introduction is required: name and role, or background information. Give the time scale e.g. Please introduce yourself give a brief outline of your experience, no more than a minute.Rule 5 Set explicit parameters for the meeting from the outset: By the end of the meeting we need to have achieved . We are going to concentrate on principles today so save the specific detail for the momentRule 6 Have high expectations. If the meeting is due to start at 10.00am start on the dot who ever is there, they will get the message. Start late to accommodate late- comers and they will assume it is ok to come late. Be clear about end times too. If you have asked colleagues to read materials before the meeting dont read them out. The next time you ask them to read beforehand they will assume it is not worth the effort. Have high expectations and stick to them. Rule 7 -What ever decisions are agreed at the meeting MUST STAND. If you are unsure about their validity set up as a pilot with an end time agreed. Dont put the decision up for grabs if you are not happy to run with the outcome. You can give a structure for decisions which make it absolutely clear what is open to negotiation and what is up not.Rule 8 Involve all parties. Ask questions to specific people if they are not taking an active part in the proceedings, What do you think about Fred If others are dominating value their contribution but involve others Thank you Bertha thats very helpful, what do the rest of you think about what Bertha has offered?Rule 9 Keep the meeting on track, identify how things will be recorded, summarise the discussion, identify points for action, who will do what, the time scale for action, how things will be monitored and by whom and whenRule 10 model good meeting behaviour and accept nothing less from colleagues. Taking a positive part in the activity, being generous with ideas, listening to others, no aggression, bullying. A healthy professional discussion where diversity of ideas and approaches are constructively used to create the best solution and not as personal attacks is the ideal.If colleagues are going to give of their best they need to know that all contributions are valued, that they will get credit for their ideas and that the whole organisations is strengthened by the collective success rather than scoring points off one another. As Chair Person it is you who will set the tone and manage the process.

Are Uniforms Available Online?

Are Uniforms Available Online?

People who work for and who belong to institutions have one thing in common: they all wear uniforms. Uniforms are dress codes, usually distinct in style, clothing and even color that can make the wearer easily identifiable not only to his peers but also to other people.Take for example the military personnel who are all clad in fatigues, except for some who have their own distinctive brand of clothing like those in the navy or other branches of the military. But no matter what, most of them can be identified through the use of fatigue or what they call seven colors.Then there are those who belong to the medical profession who generally wear white not only for their laboratory coats but for their daily hospital wear. Doctors and nurses all wear white but nurses are given more freedom in wearing other colors.Even students of particular schools are required to wear uniforms to make them identifiable as students of a certain school. So why do people generally wear uniforms?People are required to wear uniforms because it is a sign of conformity or being one within a certain group. Conformity means the person who wears the uniform is a bona fide member of such group and he abides by the rules and regulations of the group.Wearing uniforms have psychological effects among the wearers and the people around them. Civilians who see military personnel in their uniforms are most often awed by the authority projected by the uniform. Doctors earn respect when people see them wearing their white laboratory coats because such uniform is identified with saving lives.Uniforms have become widely used that people do not have to go far to search for specific uniforms. There are various suppliers that have established their presence in the web and they have made all kinds of uniforms available online. Uniform for nurses have become a common thing that nurses can easily order their uniforms from the web.People who need other kinds of uniforms can choose from the online catalogs that are available in the websites of different companies. Some of these companies provide orders for all kinds of uniforms that they no longer send individual uniform lists or photos to their clients. All the clients need to do is to browse the website for the uniform they are looking for and they can order them online or through telephone.There are companies that can deliver orders in a span of a week or two. However bulk orders should be ordered ahead of time to make sure that they are delivered at the time the client needs them. They can also order uniforms in different sizes.Ordering uniforms online can be very fast and efficient because transactions are completed at the click of the mouse and payments are generally made through major credit cards.Clients should also specify the exact address where they want their orders to be shipped. Some companies provide free shipping for bulk orders of uniforms. However, other companies require the clients to pay for the shipping of their orders.

Corporate Event Managers - Why You Need One

Corporate events are a showcase for your products and services. You will expect thousands of current as well as prospective customers and clients to show up. For a corporate event to be a success, you need a well planned, well organized, and a well-executed event. For this, you need the services of a professional Corporate Event Managers. Whether the "corporate event" is a business or a social one, a large or a small one, a formal or an informal one; regardless of the objective, it requires to be planned well with the help of professional and experienced corporate event managers. With your company hosting the corporate event, you would have decided whether to plan the event yourself or to hire the services of professional Corporate Event Managers. Of course, you may feel that most of you have planned some event or the other; a meeting with your business associates, a get-together with friends and family, and so organizing a corporate event would be the same. A corporate event is not similar to organizing get-togethers and meetings. The role of corporate is not small and any mistake on this front could cost you dearly. There are many advantages in hiring Corporate Event Managers. They bring in a number of assets, skills, services, and economical advantages that only with the experience and expertise of professional Corporate Event Managers. Corporate Event Managers- Adding Value to Corporate EventsWhatever the objective of your corporate event, they require some value additions that are dependent on Corporate Event Managers:Corporate Event Managers are adept in visualizing what type of event will suit your objective. They have extensive experience in presenting creative suggestions and various alternatives, as well as having a vision of what the event should look like. A professional event manager also has the ability to execute, successfully, the vision of the client, and alternatively present a vision that will meet the desires of the client. Implementation of the vision involves coordination of goods and services. Corporate Event Managers have the experience and knowledge of all the goods and services that will be required to implement the vision, including location, registration, food and beverage, food service, entertainment, interactive games, audio/visual support, speakers, decoration, complementary gifts, security, insurance, ushers, transportation, parking arrangements, - the list is endless. Corporate Event Managers are very adept in planning and coordination of the efforts of a large number of people who are involved in organizing your corporate event. Corporate event managers make sure that you fully enjoy the event without bothering about the implementation side of the corporate events!

How To Get Things Done: A Guide To Strategic Planning

A step-by-step program for creating a strategic plan and tactical plan guaranteed to help you get more of what you want done.You are pursuing a strategy en route to your vision. Whether it is revolutionary or evolutionary, it does not matter. You are on the road, committedly driving your business in a direction of your own choosing. The important thing is that you have, in fact, chosen this course.And, once you have made this choice, how are you going to realize this strategy? The answer is just like the answer to "How do you climb Mount Everest?" One step at a time. The way you realize your strategy is one step at a time - the trick, of course, is to know what steps to take, and in what order to take them. This article details an approach to developing a strategic and tactical plan.Completing the pastThe first step in creating a strategic plan is to review and complete the previous past period. For the balance of this article, we will refer to that period as a year, although your planning horizon may be either longer or shorter. You complete the past for two reasons - to learn everything possible from your previous actions, results, and mistakes, and as importantly, so that what ever is left over, whatever issues are hanging over your head, are no longer a burden.Answer the following questions:What were your intentions, what were your goals?What did you set out to accomplish?What intentions did you really take action on and which ones did you merely talk about?Specifically, what did you actually accomplish?How effective were you? What percentage of your goals were realized? For instance, if your goal was $14 million in sales and you reached $12 million, you were 85% effective. And so on.What did you accomplish that you didn't intend?What were the unintended side effects?In your opinion, what did you do "wrong"?What did you simply skip?One useful practice is to write a detailed, objective history of the past year. Document the year's events and results in journal form. Your records will be a big help - use your date book and your sales ledgers to reconstruct this narrative.Gather up whatever you learned. Three questions will assist you in this phase. What did you do that worked? In other words, what actions produced the results they were intended to produce? What didn't work - what actions (or lack of actions) produced something other than the desired result? And finally, what was missing - in terms of missing resources, skills, knowledge, attitudes, relationships, etc. - which if you had them would have enabled you to be more successful?At this point you should be ready to move forward without dragging the past with you.Set prioritiesUsing your values, beliefs, vision and strategy as a guide - establish priority issues for the coming year. Presuming your resources are limited, you may not be able to impact all areas of the business at once. Take a look at the following list - in which of these areas do you most want to make a difference?product developmentmarket penetrationrevenue and profitcustomer satisfactiontechnology and product qualityintellectual capitalproductivitystrategic relationshipsnew customer growthgeographic expansionemployee retentioncommunity and global impactAdd other areas which are relevant to your business. Then choose which you will focus your attention on. Some prioritizing questions to ask are: What particular area is important? By important I mean that which will move you forward in the direction of your vision, goals, etc. Why is that area important? What will a shift in a particular area provide to the business (or specific categories of stakeholders)? What will not causing that shift cost the business?Once you have decided in which areas you will focus your efforts on (and also which will not receive much attention), you then establish goals, or measures for success. Here is where things can get tricky. The standard approach to establishing measures for success is to "look around" and try to figure out what is practical. "We did X last year, now we'll do X plus 10%." Then you think about what you know how to do. "Well, we know how to do an extra 10%. Good - that's what we'll shoot for."The catch is, this approach will get you some pretty practical, incremental, and average results. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with average results, my guess is, that is not why you are reading this article. To get extraordinary, breakthrough results, you have to step outside your normal confines and dream a little. Set your goals by considering what will move you rapidly towards realizing your vision, what will quickly implement your strategy, and go from there. Set goals - establish success measures which will inspire you! Do not think about how you will achieve the measures or goals before you set them. That will only limit your thinking.Establish Measures and GoalsEstablish a clear set of measures for each area of focus. In Product Development you could add two new products for your target niche, or a new product which will enable you to penetrate a targeted customer segment. In Customer Satisfaction and Quality you could reduce open customer incident time by three days, raise your customer satisfaction metrics from a 7.3 to a 9.0, or eliminate defects in your final product release. You could Geographically Expand into Canada, Mexico or the Northwest.Employee retention and Intellectual Capital would be impacted by reducing turnover from 14% to 5%, providing 50% more training days for employees and targeting an increase in patents held from 2 to 5. You could increase Market Penetration, Revenues and Profits by adding 25% to the customer base, increasing service revenues 100%, and raising your net profit margin to 23%.Place a time frame on each measure and turn it into a goal. Total customers increased 25% by September 30th is a clear-cut goal. It fits nicely on the end of a timeline.InitiativesYou have measures, you have goals - now develop a plan to reach them.For each measure within an area, invent one or more initiatives which help you reach your goal. Sometimes the initiatives are relatively simple, such as hire a salesman for the new Northwest territory. There may be alternate options such as contracting with a distributor in lieu of a local sales force. In that case you have to evaluate suitability, costs, resource drain, and the likelihood of success for the various options before committing to one path.Sometimes achieving the goal will require a series of initiatives, or parallel initiatives. Increasing the customer base 25% may involve direct mail, print and web advertising, two new sales reps, a phone campaign, and working the dead customer file. Alternatively, it could involve acquiring a competitor, or maybe the competing product line. Each of these initiatives then requires its own measures for success. And each one must be evaluated in terms of suitability, costs, and likelihood of success.Action steps, milestones, and timelinesWhen you have chosen the suite of initiatives you will pursue, break each into action steps and intermediate results, and place the whole thing on a timeline. Include acquisition of missing resources and skills on the timeline. Set regular milestones to keep the whole effort on track, and have a way to blow the whistle when things get off course.Develop a tracking system, and update it regularly and often. A big white board or flip chart paper taped to the wall can display your timeline, including measures, milestones, and commitments made by various team members defining what will be accomplished each tracking period. Project management software is useful for complex initiatives - it helps you visualize and account for "dependencies." If you use it, email reports to all participants.The Merlin MethodFor some of your areas and measures of success you are clueless - you simply have no idea how to achieve the results. In this case, you can use the Merlin Method. Merlin, you may remember, was a magician and prophet who served as counselor to King Arthur. What you may not know is that Merlin did not really predict the future. Legend says Merlin was born as an old man and lived his life growing younger. He was simply relating events which for him had already happened.The Merlin Method is based on this same principle. Imagine you are standing at the end of a long timeline - you have already achieved your specific goal. Imagine or visualize, how did you do it? What actions did you take? What resources did you secure? Who's help did you enlist?Ask these questions in a stepwise fashion starting from the end. What was the last significant thing you had to do just before reaching the goal. Put that on your timeline. And just before that, what did you have to do? And just before that? And so on, moving closer and closer in time, right up until the present.If you were taking a family trip, imagine yourself at your destination. What did you do just before you got there? You exited US 10 at exit 54. And before that? You exited US 15 at Riverside, having driven 67 miles. And before that, you bundled the kids into the car. Before that you put the luggage in the trunk. Before that you packed. Before that you went online and got directions. And so on. Working backwards from the realization of the goal, you have developed a timeline, complete with milestones - working from your collected knowledge and wisdom, but not necessarily from your conscious mind. The Merlin Method can be a very powerful way to generate set of tactical actions to realize your business strategy.For a reality check, think it through forward. If you add the necessary resources, skills, and knowledge, take each action in turn, and reach each milestone, is that likely to produce the results you intend to produce?You can even use the Merlin Method to generate alternative plans to evaluate against your other approaches.Using one or more of these methods, you have developed a strategic and tactical plan - a complete set of strategic priorities, measures, goals, and initiatives, along with action plans, milestones, resources requirements, and timelines - built upon your strategy and designed to realize your vision.

Summary

There are probably dozens of ways to save money in your business. Here a few you may not have thought of.