Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grow Your Practice With Employee Retention

Patient retention and loyalty is a vital component for building a chiropractic practice. Your marketing efforts are reduced if your patients vote with there feet and discontinue care.... no shows and a faster growing list of inactive patient charts compared to new patients.

If overhead, patient loyalty and patient satisfaction are important, then look closer at your staff.

Here's the point: if you are unconcerned with employee turnover and talent, by extension, you could care less about patient loyalty, patient satisfaction and the cost to keep your practice open.

Let me put this more bluntly, if you could care less about the skills, talent and turnover of your staff, you are comfortable with your current new patient production and patient visit average stats.

If this isn't true, in your case, then you must own employee turnover and talent, as the leader of your practice.

High turnover cost money and time for you and the rest of your staff. But, turnover has a much more far-reaching impact than just money and time.


Turnover and talent boils down to the culture of the practice and how important is it to recruit, hire and retain employees, not only because it is the right strategy, but because it will raise the bar for your brand of chiropractic in terms of being the best in patient-care and financial results.

If you view your staff as an asset, then you are on the right path. But, how valuable that asset is determined by a number of factors including compensation, continuous education and training, promotional opportunities, and even the work environment.

Consistency is king. Variation is the enemy. This is no less important with your patients. They prefer to develop relationship not only with the doctor, but with the rest of the staff. Their loyalty and satisfaction is enhanced when they interact with a well-trained, talented and familiar face.

Exit Interview

When an employee does leave.... by choice or force, you should conduct an exit interview to determine the primary reasons for the departure. The responses can be helpful for making changes in your practice, however, many will not give you the most important reason: the boss.

Some turnover is out of your control... the spouse is transferred our of the area. But, the far greater impact on turnover is often under your control.

You have control on your recruiting, screening, hiring and training protocols. In addition, your leadership skills are a major contributor to turnover and lack of skills on the part of your staff.

As the leader of your practice, it is your responsibility to field the best talent in your marketplace and retain them. You must stay abreast of changing conditions in healthcare, compensation and understanding what motivates people to excel. Continuous improvement is required.

Low turnover Danger

Maybe you have determined that this article doesn't apply to your office. You have virtually no turnover. In fact, you proudly state that some of your employees have been with you from day one!

Often long-term loyal employees can be having a negative impact on your practice. Very often they have one year's experience repeated twenty years. They never seem to grow professionally or personally. They do there job, but, the practice is not growing.

Your patient visit average hovers at the same point or even declines during the past several months or years. Your referral rate is minimal.... less than three per year from each patient. Your no-show stat is hitting 60% or lower.

If you are stagnant or declining, low performers should not be allowed to hang-around.

No one likes to fire an employee. But, if you have surrounded you and your patients with those who are not performing everyone loses including the loyal low-performing employee.

Certainly implement a new and improved plan to grow the practice and seek a passionate embrace from your current staff. But, hold them accountable and then after a reasonable time to correct their performance, replace them with new and improved!

In the end, if you are not hitting your targets, it is your fault, not your employees. It is up to you to inspire, lead and field the best talent in order to achieve your desired outcome.

Peak your practice with talent and less turnover.

By : Lawton_Howell

Back Injury Prevention in the Workplace and at Home

Over 2 million back injuries occur in the workplace annually costing employers over 30 billion dollars. Many of these injuries are exacerbated by poor lifting techniques, bad posture and carrying too much body weight.

The natural aging process contributes to weakening of the back but there are a number of techniques and guidelines that can help workers avoid injury.

Since a deteriorated back caused by aging and other factors is more susceptible to injury it's crucial that workers do whatever they can to keep the back young and healthy. Sitting or standing for long periods of time, lifting heavy objects improperly and taking breaks with exercise are all vitally important. Moving around and stretching periodically is also vital.

Having good posture throughout the day is critical. Sitting up straight and standing tall distributes the weight of your body evenly and reduces unnecessary stress. Neutral positions are of utmost importance.

Right angles with your arms and legs while sitting at your desk reduces stress as well. Try to keep your forearms at 90 degree angles on your desk by keeping your chair high enough. Your feet should be flat and your thighs also at a 90 degree angle. A foot rest will work if your feet don't hit the floor.

When working with tools or at your desk keep everything you will reach for within 14 to 18 inches so that you do not overstretch your back. When you are standing make sure that your work is not too low so that you are not hunched over.

Standing itself can be hard on the back so try to rest one foot on a stool or platform to keep your lumbar region in the natural "S" position. Whether you are sitting or standing, don't get stuck in one position - move around.

Lifting heavy objects is another way to hurt your back. Make sure you are not having back pain and are feeling well before you even attempt a heavy lift. Also, stretch your muscles and loosen up. There is no proven back device that prevents injury so the best way to lift is with proper form.

Avoid reaching with your arms above your shoulders - this puts heavy stress on your neck and lower back. However the most dangerous things are below the belt. Bend your knees and keep objects as close to your body as possible.

Keep your body in an athletic position that keeps the natural "S" intact and try not to stretch or bend awkwardly. Lifting with your legs rather than your arms is a good thought to have in your head. When putting the load down bend your knees slowly and keep you back straight.

Driving can also be a strain on your back. Make sure you keep a good sitting posture here as well. Make sure your seat is positioned so you don't have to stretch to reach the pedals and your rear view mirror is positioned so you don't have to strain. Both hands should be on the steering wheel and you should avoid slouching or hunching over.

Don't forget about back safety at home. Exercising with low impact aerobic activities like walking, swimming or biking are great for keeping the back healthy. Sleeping on a mattress that is not too soft or too hard can be critical as well. Be careful when lifting your children too. Young children cause e a lot of back strain for parents.

When your back does get injured applying ice packs will help reduce swelling and a hot pad will help relieve stiffness. But, most importantly healing a back requires rest. Don't just sleep or lie on the couch.

Rest involves low impact movements to generate blood flow. Over-the-counter medications will help with pain and swelling but if a back injury persists a doctor or physical therapist should be contacted.

Back problems will hit most of us eventually but we can do a lot to avoid and lessen their impact on our lives. Simple lifting procedures combined with proper posture while sitting or standing will go a long way to better health - both at work and at home.

By : RJ_Sullivan

Friday, March 26, 2010

Business Masterminds - Should Members Be From the Same, Similar Or Different Industry?

Congratulations. You've chosen to start a mastermind group to get support and share ideas for marketing your business; or to brainstorm new product ideas; or you are ready for the next step in your business growth.

Would it be best to form a group with members from the same, or very similar, industry? Or should you put together a group of members from different industries? There are pros and cons to both scenarios.

Same Industry

In choosing members in the exact same industry, the challenge can be in getting people to see and try things in a new way. They share a lot of the same problems and the same solutions and it could easily dissolve into gripe sessions. Also, the members might not be as open to sharing their ideas freely if they are worried about them being stolen by perceived competition.

However, this type of group could work very well in a long-distance group situation. For example, a mastermind group of massage therapists might form a group for the purpose of brainstorming ideas to add passive income streams into their businesses rather than trading all their time for dollars.

A massage therapist in Seattle can form a group with members from Tucson, Boston, Miami and Denver without worrying about someone creating more competition in her local market. This also opens the door for possible joint business ventures or product creation.

Similar or Compatible Industries

If members are in similar or compatible industries, look for different skill sets, levels of experience, and a range of ages or niches within the target market when you invite people to join you.

In this way there is a familiarity and shared language and yet the possibility of great diversity in perspectives exists. When you toss out an idea that is important to you and ask for brainstorming, you are best served if you get many and varied ideas to consider.

An example of this type of group could be members who share the wedding industry as their target market but offer different services. The purpose of this mastermind group is to help each other grow their businesses.

The group might include a wedding invitation designer, a musician, a caterer, a wedding shop owner and a party planner. In this group there is plenty of opportunity not for only brainstorming but also for sharing resources and referrals.

Different Industries

In groups composed of members from different industries,you essentially eliminate any threat of competition in the group. You may form a master-mind group because you are all entrepreneurs working alone and have no one to talk to about the challenges of running a fast-growing company.

You might learn about tactics and strategies used in other industries that have not been tried in your own that could put you well ahead of your competition. This type of group can greatly broaden your perspective and allow for some creative marketing ideas.

All three scenarios have something to offer. It is important to choose the one that is the most comfortable fit for you.

By : Susan_Henderson

The Best Way to Get Hot Sales Referrals

As a business owner, I deal with outside salespeople on a regular basis. Most naturally ask for referrals at some point after the sale, or in many cases, several times after the sale.

Some never stop.

Here's the problem: The sales reps who get referrals from me don't need to ask. They've earned them in advance, and I offer them up without having to be asked.

Let's take it a step further: When I'm so happy and pleased with a product, or a service, or the quality of customer support I've received, I can't wait to tell others about it! And that's where most of my referrals come from.

Requests for referrals run from the timid, "Do you have anyone you think I can call?" to the pushy, "I've done a good job for you so you'd better give me some referrals," to everything in between.

As I've already mentioned, the people who get referrals from me never have to ask. They've earned them in advance, and I'm happy to provide them.

In my books I talk about the concept of doing such a good job for your customers that they stop thinking of you as a salesperson. They consider you a trusted advisor instead. Once you reach this level of customer satisfaction, you'll likely never have to do any sales prospecting again, because people will be begging to meet with you.

What most salespeople don't understand is that people want to buy your products!* Yes, they really do want to buy! In spite of all the confidence-destroying "how to handle objections" lesson that every corporate sales program teaches (a lesson that causes salespeople to expect objections and therefore get objections), lots of people want what you have. Probably more than you think.

And guess who has access to those people? Yes, your existing customer base! It only makes sense that they have access to similar people. Business owners hang out with other business owners. Doctors hang out with other doctors. And so on. Make a customer very happy, and that customer is going to talk about you whether you ask for a referral or not.

I recently relocated and had to find a new dealer to service my car. There are two in town. One is ten minutes from my house, and the other is over thirty minutes away. I chose the latter and drive that far because a trusted friend referred them to me.

More importantly, I was told to stay away from the other dealer because their service is terrible!

Your customers will give you hot referrals too, if you perform for them. If you don't meet their expectations, they'll tell people to stay away.

There is one situation that you really can't do much about: If you work for a company that has lousy service, you're in a tough spot. I've been there too - I worked in the telecommunications industry for several years, which is notorious for horrible customer service.

If you're in that position, find a new job. If you need to find a new industry then do it. It isn't that difficult - sales skills are the same no matter what you're selling. Human nature never changes, and it isn't that difficult to learn a new product line.

Remember, if you deserve referrals, you'll never need to ask for them. Do right by your customers and they'll do right by you!

*NOTE: There's a catch - you do need to be selling a product that people actually need and want. For example, I got out of the telecom industry when it denigrated into, "We can save you $50 on your monthly phone bill."

Few small business owners can be bothered taking time out of their day to save such a small amount of money. And most know that cheap services are bad services. If you're representing an obsolete product or a dying industry, it's your responsibility to re-educate yourself and find new employment before you find yourself unemployed.

By : Frank_Rumbauskas

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Three Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Work Gloves

Hand protection is the savior to many a hand in the workplace as well as at home. Our hands are subject to all varieties of hazard, they are constantly in the line of fire when we are doing anything remotely hazardous.

It is no wonder that many companies in the industrial field dedicate large budgets toward hand safety campaigns for employees.

Whether you are on the slope and need a pair of thinsulate gloves or on the job and need a pair of elbow high welding gloves there is a choice for you.

The only problem is that many people use hand protection but then remove gloves to gain a better grip or let their hands dry out only to sustain an injury while the protection is off. So the question becomes how can you use gloves more effectively?

The first thing to consider is what the hand protection will be used for. If you simply need a pair of gardening mitts a pair of goretex waterproof gloves would probably be overkill. But if you are using a cutting torch a pair of cut resistant kevlar gloves would probably not be adequate.

Using hand protection that is overmatched for a job can be just as dangerous as using gloves that are under matched for a job and create a whole set of potential hazards.

Make sure the gloves fit. This does not seem like rocket science but many people use gloves that severely limit dexterity because the gloves are oversized and the protrude far beyond the end of the actual fingers. This too can lead to potential hazards.

Using a table saw with oversized gloves can lead to a very dangerous and deadly situation. Try gloves on for size, don't feel like less of a man if you need a size medium or small. Test the gloves by making a fist, this should be comfortable and not overly restrictive. Realize that gloves will stretch out some.

Keep your gloves available. Don't set them down somewhere and forget about them. If you take them off get in the habit of keeping them accessible.

Put them in a pocket or get a glove clip that attaches to your belt. Keeping them available will increase your chances of using them when you need them and not taking short cuts. Keep it simple.

By : Nathan_Bills

Team Building Tips - Give Up "Only I Can

At no time is team more important than when our businesses are in crisis. Crisis can result from not having enough work and resources to actually having too much. So if having a strong and capable team is key to surviving, and even thriving, a crisis, why do so many of us retreat into the feeling of "Only I can do it" when times get rough?

The feeling of "Only I can do it" is a natural reaction when our livelihood is at stake. We believe that if we tighten the reins and not only keep a watchful eye on everything, but actually do everything our selves - our way - then we will have greater control over the end result! While we may gain some measure of control, we have to wonder at what cost?

Operating at break-neck speed with the belief that "Only I can do it" - without a team's common goals and combined efforts supporting you - is a recipe for disaster. Without a team:

Ultimately you will suffer! You can only go-go-go and work-work-work so much. You have to rest some time, and if you are the only person doing all that has to be done to sustain your business, when do you have time to rest, let alone be a husband/wife, mother/father, son/daughter, sister/brother, friend, or community activist?

Your business will suffer! If you fail to build an unstoppable team that supports you and your business, your company can only be as successful as you have time, creativity, vision, and ENERGY to give. In other words, without a team, you are the limit to that which can be achieved!

Your team will suffer too! When the people around you are treated as nothing more than androids doing a job, eventually the creativity, passion, energy, and talents they bring to the table get brushed aside, and if they are being under-utilized or feel unappreciated for what they do, your team members will find someone who does appreciate them and the work they do!

Defining Team

Being without an unstoppable team during tough times clearly puts you at a disadvantage and with this realization you may be thinking, "I can't afford to add anyone else to my team!" However, building your team is not necessarily about adding staff.

Building your team is about building a powerful, energetic relationship with those you already have around you. From your employees and co-workers to trade contractors, suppliers, and even your past customers and family, your team is already standing by to support you in not just surviving, but thriving whatever business challenges you face.

All you have to do is to give up "Only I can do it" and take on a visionary mindset that fosters learning, growing, and teaching within the team you have. From there the lattice from which a powerful, unstoppable team will grow is formed!

Team Building Tips

Tip #1: Give up "Only I can do it!"

None of us can exist - at least long term - as an island, and for good reason. We all have our special talents, and when we pool our strengths we emerge much stronger, and can accomplish much greater things, as a team than any one individual can accomplish by themselves. Remember: If you could get to where you are going by yourself, you would be there already!

Tip #2: Teach what you know.

When you teach what you know, your team learns and will become capable of taking more and more on in your behalf, which ultimately teaches your team not only how to think through processes on their own, but how to become powerful teachers and leaders too.

Meaning not only are you building your team by duplicating yourself in others, but you are growing leaders and teachers around you. Think of it as a way of exponentially increasing your own energy and effort, freeing you up to be the visionary you are meant to be and providing you with time to actually have the life you deserve!

Tip #3: Be open to learning what you don't know!

We have already established that we all bring to the table our own talents, experiences, and resources. Why not tap these resources? Give up the "my way or the highway" mindset. Instead, be open to learning and growing from those around you.

Tip #4: Be an energetic leader!

In order for energetic, committed, and happy people to want to be a part of your team, you have to be an energetic, committed, and happy leader. If you are a walking talking complaint, tired, and feeling sorry for yourself, who is going to want to follow you?

So, take care of yourself! Get to the gym, ask for help, set boundaries between the work you do and the life you live. You will find that you are more energized and passionate about the job you do and the direction you are headed and your team will be too!

Tip #5: Have a Written Plan!

Without a written plan you are basically assuming that your team can read your mind, and that simply is not possible! Therefore, it is imperative that you have a written plan that you share with your team; a plan that your team understands, that your team is willing to participate in, a plan that all participants are willing to be held accountable for and that is kept visible. You need a plan that you can teach from, a plan your team can learn from, and a plan from which all of you can grow!

Often times we are the greatest obstacle to our own success. The need to control, the feeling that we are the only ones who can get the job done right, and the fear of "What will they think of me?" if we ask for help, are the very things that will inhibit success. So give up "Only I can do it" and ask yourself:

* What team do I need to create so that I don't have to be here to answer all of the questions?
* What team do I need to have in order to have more time with my family and to have my business thrive despite any challenges?
* What team do I need in order to begin having fun again?

The only thing standing in your way of having an outrageous business and life is you. Get out of your own way! Learn-Grow-Teach every chance you get. Be the team builder and visionary you are paid to be and allow your team to manage the rest.

By : Clay_Nelson

Monday, March 22, 2010

Top 7 Reasons You Should Incorporate Your Business

Sole Proprietors, Partners, people considering starting a business have long discussed the values of incorporating. There are some very valid reasons to incorporate your business. Some may seem minor. Other reasons offer a comforting feeling that make incorporation a very important decision.

Do you want to protect your assets?

Imagine a customer or client decides to sue your business. If you are a sole proprietor (self-employed) then the client can come after all of your possessions, including your vehicles and home. This thought leaves most business owners queasy. As a corporation the client would go after the business and assets, and your personal property would not be under risk.

Are there tax benefits?

A corporation has lower tax liabilities. It can write off certain expenses that sole-proprietors can not. Corporations are typically audited less often than people who are self-employed. The corporations have additional benefits that your tax professional can explain.

Is my Incorporated business more credible?

Many businesses will only deal with businesses that are incorporated. Even some individuals feel more secure with a corporation than an individual. By going through the process of incorporating your business, people feel like you are determined to make it succeed over the long term.

Does Incorporation have a limited life?

In a partnership if one partner dies, the partnership is suddenly put on hold. With a sole proprietorship, if the owner dies the business is over. A business that has been incorporated can continue to exist and run as if nothing happened. The business can even be passed down generation to generation.

What if ownership changes?

Not only can an incorporated business be passed down generation to generation, owners can can change. If someone wants out of the business his shares of stock can be sold to other officers, to an officer coming in, to shareholders or combinations. Someone can diminish their role slowly or step out quickly and entirely. The whole business can be sold in similar fashion.

Can I keep my privacy?

Many people want to incorporate in order to maintain privacy. The rules on what kind of privacy are issued to officers depends on the state used for incorporation. Shareholders are safe in almost every case.

What about credit for a corporation?

Rather than worry about your own credit score or the score of the other officers, an incorporated business can have a credit score on its own. The shares can be sold to raise capital. Investors also like that the personal risk they might face with a sole proprietorship is virtually eliminated.

Are there more reasons to incorporate my business?

There are several more reasons to incorporate your business. Each state has different rules and each individual situation provides different answers. Most businesses will benefit and they will find there are even more advantages to incorporation. Corporations have certain rules and regulations but most work in favor of the business making it a very wise choice.

By : MJ_Schrader

Sunday, March 21, 2010

USP - Top 7 Reasons Why Your Unique Selling Proposition is Hurting Your Business

If you have tried creating a unique selling proposition for your small business, but have not put a lot of thought in it, your USP may be doing more harm than good. Keep reading to find out the top 7 reasons why your unique selling proposition is hurting your business.

1. Your USP does not provide the biggest promise that you can make for your customers.
Here you need to show your customer what you are going to do for them better than anyone else in your industry.

2. Your statement does not permeate every aspect of your business.
If your unique selling proposition does not impact every single touch point of your marketing campaign, your customer may never get your message. You need to show them what you stand for every time they contact your business.

3. Your USP is not any different than the average stuff that is coming out of your industry.
This will make your company look like an "also-ran," where it will appear that you are just following along with everyone else. You have to be different to the eyes of the customer.

4. You talk to much about your business and too little about the customer.
Again, show them how you will help them. Customers don't care how long you have been in business if it has no bearing on the promise that you will make to them.

5. You do not show the customer why they should buy from you instead of going somewhere else.
Having a USP that says "quality is our number one priority" doesn't mean anything. Everyone expects quality no matter where they go. What else are you going to do for the customer?

6. Your USP is so bland that your customer has no idea what your business even does.
There are some software companies out there that use statements like "solutions for a changing world." That doesn't say anything. You need to go way beyond a statement that might look goon on a t-shirt, but won't say anything to your customer.

7. Your unique selling proposition does not match what your market is looking for.
If you have a creative USP that solves a problem that no one is worrying about, then it will do you no good at all. You need to find a solution to a burning problem that keeps your customer awake at night. This is where your statement will benefit you the most.

By : Joshua_Black

What to Consider When Buying Welding Tools For Your Small Business

The process of welding was introduced in the first millennium AD when people decided to convert iron into useful items that could aid in making life easier. The Arabs introduced the first welded blades and ever since, it has improved immensely.

The process usually involves use of heat and there are special equipments and tools that are used to achieve this. Buying welding tools can be a tricky issue especially if considerations are not taken into account about exactly what is needed and how they are going to be used.

One of the most important tools for welding is a welder and there are a couple of issues that should come into play before deciding on the type of welder to buy. An example is the space where the welding is going to take place.

Since most welders come with varying sizes, it is important to take into consideration the space of the workshop because no one wants to buy a big welder that will not be put to use nor does anyone want to buy the same item twice just because they did not put this into consideration.

The second thing that should be considered when buying a welder is the budget. Welders come in different models and each has its own costing varying with the features it has.

This consideration puts things into perspective because when going out to shop, the mind is already set on the model to be bought and the costing is clear.

Something else that should be considered when buying a welder is the items that are going to be welded. Various materials would respond differently with different welders and it is therefore important to identify the thickness of what will be welded.

For instance, there are thick and exotic materials then there is aluminum. Usually, when welding aluminum materials, it is advisable to use a big welder that will be able to penetrate better into the thickness of the material.

If this is not the case, then it means that more time and electricity will be used before the welding process is achieved.

Among any welding equipment there are two essential things is should never be left out when buying this equipment. These are; a welding helmet and some welding goggles.

These two things can offer protection to the welder because as is the case, when welding, there is bound to be some heat sparks flying around.

To ensure that one is getting a good deal when buying a helmet, it is important to check if it has a magnifying lens on the front cover. This is important because it helps in getting a clear view of the point been welded and especially if the item been welded is small for instance, jewelry.

Opting for welding goggles is not a bad thing either because it specifically protects the eyes. Buying welding tools should be an eye-opening venture where one gets to shop with a clear picture of what exactly they need.

By : Tyler_James_Ellison

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Networking Champion

The word "champion" signifies someone who is able to win first place, excel over others, is superior and has characteristics of a winner. There are champions in the world of sports, politics, business etc. Champions are relentless in their approach for victory and success.

They are extremely goal oriented and motivated through obstacles. Their successes are just as extraordinary as their gifts and talents. Believe it or not, Networkers can be that type of "champion" in their business or career. They have the ability to triumph over challenges and accomplish in their agendas.

Listed below are ways in which professionals, students and entrepreneurs can skillfully advance in the world of networking.

Talent vs. Skill

Whether you have a natural gift for networking or not, every person can find ways to improve on their networking methods. Networkers are encouraged to join professional groups, in order to feel comfortable in business environments.

This is a grand opportunity to learn the most common protocol and connect with your surroundings. Keep in mind, there is no winning athlete that does not practice for a game or play with other players. Prepare, sharpen your skills and focus for each event or opportunity.

Wishful Thinking

Champions of sports, politics and business know the importance of having a positive mindset. A positive attitude is just as valuable as talent or skill. It is a guiding light for success in the world of networking.

The way in which you think, shapes your character and relationships towards other individuals. It has been said time and time again, "You are what you think." Networkers should focus on their thoughts and make them parallel to their objectives and goals.

Risk Takers

In order to make a goal, score a point or win a game, risk is always involved. Networkers should be willing to take risks and be confident in themselves. Risk can measure your commitment and perseverance in your networking endeavors.

How much are you willing to risk? What steps are you willing to take to achieve your goals? How are you stepping out of the box? Are you willing to go out of the four walls? Remember, the bigger the risk, the bigger the win.

By : Chi_Chi_Okezie

The Growth Secret of Proctor and Gamble

If you wanted any example of the challenges of scaling an innovation program to make decent financial return, they do not come much better than Proctor and Gamble, the global consumer products giant.

P&G have, as a company, adopted a Play-2-Win innovation strategy. Stated differently, their approach recognises the fact that most of their future success is dependent on how well they manage their innovation effort, as it has been throughout the long history of the company.

The company competes in fast moving consumer goods across five major categories, and spends most of its effort to find unique, innovative propositions that will build huge global brands.

Most large organisation, in order to satisfy shareholders, need to generate between 4 and 6 percent annual growth of their organisations. For Proctor and Gamble, that is equivalent to innovation worth almost $4 billion a year.

By 2000, Proctor and Gamble were realising that traditional innovation efforts, comprised of very capital intensive internal research and development, was never going to be able to keep up with this demand for growth.

It realised, in fact, that the investment needed to generate those kinds of returns was increasing faster than the investments were capable of returning. For example, P&G had 7500 researchers, and they found that adding more scientists was resulting in incrementally less productivity each time.

It is extremely typical that central innovation teams face this challenge. When the team is responsible for everything, scale issues almost always occur. You put more resources into the program in an attempt to get more results, but this strategy failed at P&G. They were unable, even with sustained investment, to outpace shareholders demands for growth.

How did P&G respond? They gave up their traditional and capital intensive R&D process, in favour of making it possible for anyone to innovate.

Customers, partners and employees (scientists or not) were allowed to make new things for the company. With this decision they decided on an ambitious additional goal: to make sure that from then on, 50% of all new products would be sourced from outside the company.

By : James_A_Gardner

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Organizational Development Training

Organizational development training is one of the most important aspects of an organization. Without proper training, nothing can be achieved be it success or the goals of an organization.

This helps the organization achieve its desired goals individually or as a team. All types of training are customized according to the organization's needs.

Organizational development training is mainly classified into four different types of trainings and is as follows: Productive meetings, Project management, Stress management, and Time management.

What if there were no more meetings but only trainings. Replace the traditional style of meetings with modern style of success sessions.

When you hear about meetings, what comes to your mind very first? The answer is most dominant thoughts and no more practical achievements. Endless meetings can be taxing for employees and even for managers.

So it is recommended to stop talking and start doing something. Any type of organizational development training increases effectiveness and productivity in the workplace.

It will make you understand the concept practically and hence increases success rate. It can also enhance the skills and talents of the people within the organization and upgrade the overall productivity of the organization.

In today's organization, project management skills are also important. A good project manager will always be in demand to train the HR Department's project teams and employees. A good program makes you focus on the accomplishment and effectiveness of the organization.

This can also be classified into positive and negative types. It all depends on what the employees receive at the end of the session. Positive and negative things lie in the way we accept and deal with them.

Stress management helps every individual to de-stress and reduces harmful consequences. This provides practical presentation on how to handle the stress during critical conditions.

Well planned organizational development training helps organizations to achieve their goals. The purpose of this is not to create and sell a plan but to implement and execute it practically.

Organizational development training provides its participants with guidelines, tips and time proven methods to establish a plan for improvement. Time management is essential for anybody to better their time.

The corporate setting has become highly competitive. So it is important to continuously improve the capabilities and capacity of the people working in the organization.

Have you been involved in any organizational development training? What were your reactions? How did the leaders of the organization handle it? Were there significant improvements in your productivity as a result?

By : M_Rasing

Inspire Your Team, and Everybody Wins

What does your team mean to your business? If your business is running optimally, your team is likely RUNNING your business! Having a team has allowed your business to expand, offer a wide variety of services, take on more clients, and bring in more income.

Having a team has allowed YOU to do your job as business owner - spend your time on marketing, networking, selling and growing your business, while your team handles the day-to-day tasks.

Your team has allowed you to have more time to spend away from the office and instead devote that time to your family, your interests, your SELF.

Your team means EVERYTHING to your business. Take the time to inspire, thank, and invest in them. Here are a few ways to do just that.

Inspiration is contagious. Pass it on. When YOU are inspired, and your business mission and goals are clearly defined, your passion will inspire others. Take time to restate your mission and discuss it with your team.

Draw up a short list of goals that you have for the business, and your personal goals. Define how each team member is important to this mission, and ask each team member to draw up his or her own short list of personal goals as they pertain to the mission.

Share Results. Give your team progress reports on a regular basis so they can measure their success and see the tangible results of their efforts.

Stay positive, even if goals have not been met one month - offer to help remove obstacles to success and cheer your team on toward meeting, and exceeding, the next month's goals.

A little thanks goes a long way. Take the time to express to individual team members - in person or in a hand-written note - just what their talents mean to you and your business. Recall one or two specific incidents in which they really went above and beyond for you, and thank them.

Throughout the year, make it a point to thank them for a job well done. Put team events on your calendar, like a team building day outside the office, an appreciation dinner, a holiday party, and a company outing. Calendar and acknowledge team member birthdays and other special days.

Help them bloom. Encourage your team members to expand on their talents. Invest in your team at whatever level you are able.

Offer to send them to conferences or workshops to help them learn the latest technologies, or help subsidize continuing education or certificate programs that would help them bring your business to the next level.

Take time today to appreciate your team by expressing an inspiring and encouraging outlook for your business and mission, by offering thanks, and creating a plan for investing in their growth. Your team members will appreciate your investment in them, and their new skills will pay you back in dividends.

By : Donna_Toothaker

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Office Cleaning - Start a Side Business

Office cleaning in the evenings is a great way to pick up extra cash! It is a relatively easy job that can be done in the off hours when no one is in the office. There are plenty of smaller offices that would welcome the idea of having someone come in and clean their office for them at a decent rate.

Most large cleaning companies focus on big commercial buildings and don't really want to be bothered with smaller offices. This is where the smart entrepreneur can step in and make some much needed extra cash. Office cleaning is a pretty simplistic process.

It really only takes a couple of hours at most to clean smaller offices and the expectation is usually that you will clean the floors, empty the trash and wipe down some desks. It really is that simple.

Where to Find These Types Of Jobs

If you are in it for yourself, than place an ad in a local newspaper announcing your great new service. You can call around to other cleaning services to see what the going rate is for that type of service although it is probably prudent not to mention that you are thinking about starting your own cleaning service it may not be well received when you ask about rates.

Once you have your rates set you can do a couple of different things besides running an ad. You can put up flyers announcing your intentions or you can even hand deliver them to offices in your area.

Drop in on some of the small local offices introduce yourself to the office manager and see if they are interested in your service. You can offer a discount to the first ten that sign up with you.

Some Tips

You should only take on the office cleaning jobs that you know you can schedule you do not want to take on too much work at first. You want to make sure that you can meet the demand, so schedule on the conservative side until you get to the point where you can potentially find someone to help you if you get to the point where you start to grow.

Be daring step out from the crowd do not be afraid to approach people and talk about your plan, one of the best ways to be successful is to network amongst people. You'd be surprised who you might wind up getting work from.

Make sure you do as you say you will. If you promise something - then be sure to follow through. Word of mouth is the small business person's best friend.

By : Jeffrey_Rayton

Should I Start a Strategic Alliance Or Joint Venture?

You are looking to gain that competitive edge over your competition. Many smart business leaders look to collaboration for expedient advantages. Might a mutually-beneficial relationship with another organization be in your future?

If you answered in the affirmative, your next question will be, "Should I start a strategic alliance or a joint venture? This is a question that I'm frequently asked and the answer could be complicated?

More than Just Words
Actually, there is a huge difference between a strategic alliances and joint ventures; culturally, operationally, strategically, and legally. A little bit of strategy and pre-planning can, and will, make a dramatic difference for your organization as your new collaboration is developed and implemented. Let's get it right from the beginning.

Strategic Alliance
Your reason for developing a strategic alliance relationship with one or more other companies is to take strategic advantage of their core strengths; proprietary processes, intellectual capital, research, market penetration, manufacturing and/or distribution capabilities, and a number of other reasons.

You will share your core strengths with them too. You will have an open door relationship with another entity. You will mostly retain control. The length of agreement could have a sunset date or could be open-ended with regular performance reviews. However, you simply want to work with the other organizations on a contractual basis, and not as a legal partnership.

Joint Venture (JV)
Your reason for creating a joint venture is to take advantage of a fitting or convenient connection or overlap. A JV is a legal partnership between two or more entities. With a JV you will have something more than simple governance; you'll have a completely new entity with a board, officers, and an executive team.

Effectively a JV is a completely new organization, but owned by the founding participants. The board of directors generally is constructed with representatives of the founding organizations. This new company will "do business" with the founding entities-usually as suppliers.

Important Differences

1. Your strategic alliance is a contractual or handshake agreement while the JV is a legal partnership, LLC, or corporation.

2. Your strategic alliance summons the core strengths and differences of another organization to deliver value to your organization while the JV becomes a blending of cultures and creates a new organizational culture and path.

3. Your strategic alliance requires continued relationship maintenance while the joint venture has its own leadership team.

4. Your strategic alliance allows you to remain in control of your own company but the JV chooses its own direction; with the guidance of its board.

5. You can retain control of your proprietary creations while involved in a strategic alliance but in a JV, these creations are the property of the joint venture. If the joint venture fails, dividing the spoils can be a challenge.

Which Is Right for You?
There are numerous reasons, benefits, and pitfalls available to you whichever path you select. The key is to have an understanding of both your and your partner's long-term desires. You can jump into and out of a strategic alliance quickly but the joint venture takes much more time to start and could be difficult to end.

The joint venture takes less necessary attention form stakeholders once launched because of its own leadership team. If you are not willing to devote your time and resources to the health and maintenance of your strategic alliance, perhaps the joint venture is the better path for you? If control is important to you, the strategic alliance would be the better course of action.

Ed Rigsbee, CSP, for over two decades, has been helping business individuals and organizations of all sizes to grow their market through smart alliance relationships--while at the same time helping individuals to develop what he calls Relationship Glue for their personal lives.

In addition to serving as an adjunct professor for two California universities, he is also the author of Developing Strategic Alliances, PartnerShift-How to Profit from the Partnering Trend, and The Art of Partnering. Rigsbee has over 1,500 hard-copy published articles to his credit and is a regular keynote speaker at corporate and trade association conferences teaching North America how to access their Collaborative Advantage through Relationship Glue, incorporating the steps he shares in his writing and lectures.

By : Ed_Rigsbee

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Power of Networking - How Effective Are You?

Let's face it, you are not necessarily going to find your next job via a headhunter or in the newspaper (though I am not saying that it never happens this way, it is just more difficult to do so). The best jobs are often not advertised.

Most likely, you are going to find your next opportunity via a network you have created - a network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances - who have access to companies and know about opportunities that you couldn't find out about any other way.

Or, if you did find out about an opportunity through a newspaper want ad - you likely have a better chance of getting noticed among the many resumes received when you are introduced through a network connection.

However, networks can help in ways other than helping you find a new job. Your network can be a sounding board to help you solve a particularly difficult problem. They can help you further develop an idea or concept you have and can assist you in understanding market trends and help keep you updated on current business topics.

(Social) Networking Tools and Groups

There are some great tools available for social networking. One popular tool is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with individuals you have worked with before or know from college.

It is also a valuable method for sharing your expertise and knowledge in discussion groups and/or responding to questions from others on LinkedIn ("Answers").

LinkedIn enables you to expand your network and meet others by asking for introductions from your current connections to others to which they are connected.

Twitter is another tool for networking. Through Twitter you can share information with others and learn from them. With Twitter you don't need to have a prior relationship or know someone in order to follow them.

This enables you to reach individuals you may not otherwise ever have the opportunity to reach. Specific topics of interest on Twitter, such as #projectmanager or #leadership, enable you to connect globally with others who share your specific interests.

There are other groups you can likely find to participate in with like-minded people. For example, I belong to the Employee Engagement Network. This is a global group of individuals who are interested in and involved in employee engagement.

Another group I belong to is Business Exchange. BusinessWeek's Business Exchange allows users to create business-focused topics and share information with other business-focused users who are interested in the same topics.

I'm sure you know of other networking tools and/or groups that you have found of value - please share in the Comments field below.

Networking Events and Conferences

Attending networking events is another way to meet others. You can find professional networking events in nearly every city.

These events are sometimes focused on a specific topic or group such as for marketing specialists or individuals who are unemployed and job searching. In addition, conferences offer the opportunity for building your network also.

For example, PMI® Global Congress is a great conference to attend to network with other project managers and increase your skills and knowledge around project management-focused topics. Most conferences provide networking sessions during lunch or in the evenings - another great way to meet others, make connections and share information!

Networking isn't Easy! It's Work!

Networking does not come easy to many people - you have to work at it. You can't just expect someone who you met once to recommend you for an opportunity or to share information with you unless you work on maintaining and building the relationship with that person.

The ability to nurture relationships is a key component of building and maintaining an effective network. Also key is remembering that networking is bi-directional.

Your network is just not a group of people who are there to help you find your next opportunity or introduce you to someone who may have a job for you. Basically, they are not there only for when you need them.

These are individuals you need to be actively interested in and involved with - people you want to keep in touch with and share information with. You need to devote time to your network on a regular basis.

Bottom line - don't just contact your network when you are in desperate need for help. Keep in touch with them regularly and be interested in what they have going on themselves - not just what they can do for you.

For example, let's assume that someone in your network is interested in coaching others. Maybe you just came across an article on the benefits of hiring coaches. Why not share this article with that individual?

Include a short note that the individual may find the attached article of interest. Ask them how they are doing in finding coaching opportunities. Maybe someone else in your network is already a coach - connect these two individuals.

They have a lot in common! Or maybe someone in your network just moved to a new position in their company or took a new job - send them a note to congratulate them on their new opportunity. I regularly share white papers, articles, and interesting books I have read with my network.

Broaden your network. Don't just network with others in your specific industry. Networking outside your specific job function or your specific industry is a more creative approach and helps you to gain a broader perspective on the opportunities available and on business in general. What you learn from others in your network can help you grow professionally and personally.

Ask for help in building your network. Your network members can introduce you to others. For example, if you are interested in understanding more about the manufacturing industry, ask individuals in your current network if they have any connections in that specific industry.

Ask them to make an introduction for you. Similarly, if someone in your network mentions that they are interested in a specific industry or company, and you have a contact in that area - offer to make an introduction. By sharing your resources, you become a valuable partner in the network and help you broaden your network.

By : Gina_Abudi

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Advantages of Teamwork at the Office

An office environment can be intense. It might be pressure from workload, tension with office relationships, stressful problems that are difficult to solve or the ever-increasing demands from Management.

Good teamwork at the office will put all these negatives into a completely different light. They move from the present, to the past. The advantage of Teamwork is that they become issues we have addressed, challenges we have responded well to, and shared achievements we have celebrated together.

Defining Teamwork
Teamwork is not about getting on well together, though that is part of working as a Team. There is a lovely quotation adapted from Henry Ford that really pinpoints teamwork -

Coming together is a beginning.
Working together is progress.
Achieving together is success.

Teamwork is about working together to achieve shared goals, and getting that lovely feeling of shared achievement that comes from success. It is about HOW we work together as a Team. Good teamwork involves having good systems and processes to work effectively together as a Team.

For example, there are often times in an office where the workload does not seem to be equally shared. One person feels they are getting too much, or all feel that another person is not pulling their weight. Without teamwork this quickly leads to stresses and bad feeling within the office.

With good teamwork, this issue can be addressed in a way that will lead to a positive solution. The team will have a forum, a type of problem solving teamwork meeting where they address issues and remove blocks.

In this way, the team can avoid discussing what individuals have, or have not done, by addressing the ISSUE rather than the people. How can we ensure that workload is divided fairly? How can we support people who are under severe stress? The Team will brainstorm and come up with an appropriate solution.

They may decide something like having a stand up team huddle every day, where the team spend five minutes sorting the workload for the day. They identify those under pressure, and those that would have an hour to spare. This way, everyone is involved in ensuring the work is done, and the workload is shared.

The Advantages of Teamwork
Stress comes from feelings of isolation, inability to cope and even from boredom. An overwhelming factor is the feeling that nothing is going to change and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Good teamwork is about working together as a team make changes, to achieve, to overcome obstacles, solve problems and to implement improvements. There is always light and always a way forward, even if that way forward is planning how we will work around a block that can't be removed!

Teamwork gives that feeling of belonging, of fighting the good fight together, in good times and in tough times. There is the feeling that there are always people who want you to do well, and who want to help you.

Two heads are better than one, but only if the two heads are very different! This is another huge advantage of a well-developed team. Individual differences are identified and valued. You know who can help with each issue, and you feel comfortable in making the approach for assistance.

Everyone likes being on a winning team! The great benefit of good teamwork is that this team will definitely achieve more than they would if the teamwork was absent.

Equally, they all feel involved in the team's successes; the whole office feels the pride in the achievement of one individual team member. This, in turn, draws down recognition from outside the office - with management, clients etc.

Good teamwork is well worth working for in any office!

By : Kate_Tammemagi

An Overview of Indoor Team Building Exercises

Team building efforts in organizations has been studied, researched, developed, and improved upon since the early 1920s'. Originally coined as part of the theory of group dynamics, Sigmund Freud used the work environment and team building exercises as part of his holistic psycho-treatment of patients.

The more structured form of indoor team building exercises have been developed as new analysts have expanded on the first theories and added new techniques and methods to achieve results.

Another individual who performed a study that would have an indelible effect on the dynamics of team building was Professor Elton Mayo.

His study, conducted in a workplace environment, studied the relationship between productivity and work conditions and the physical and environmental influences of the workplace on cohesive teamwork.

The psychological aspects of the work environment was also included in the study including group pressure, working hours, managerial leadership, etc.

The results of this study found that workplace productivity was significantly increased when there was appropriate psychological stimulus shown to workers such as individual attention, being made to feel important to the company, project or job, and individual attention.

It was also found that the relationships between supervisors and employees had a significant affect on productivity and that the workgroup norms affected productivity as well.

The full results of this study, coupled with the research of previous years laid the ground-work for the multiple programs found today that strive to provide the exercises that will create the unified and positive work environment needed to reach an optimum level of productivity for an organization.

One of the main drivers of productivity in an organization is the workplace culture that has been developed over the years that the business has been in operation. The culture is established in part by the business owners when they start the business and developed in stages as more employees are added to the organization. Each employee that comes into an established workplace culture must learn the norms, language and nuances of the organization.

In order to maintain the positive work environment that is needed to sustain growth, there must be strategies in place to introduce new employees to the culture as well as provide opportunities for the culture to develop and grow to meet the increasing demands of the business.

Identifying the workplace culture that has established itself in your organization will often provide the starting point for effective indoor team building exercises. The strengths and weaknesses of the organization are often reflected in the basic cultural norms that have been established.

Through the implementation of team building exercises to expand and examine the culture of the organization it is much easier to introduce new employees to the workplace culture and eliminate those parts of the culture that are creating stumbling blocks to growth for the organization.

Talking to a professional company who has experience and expertise in the different types of indoor team building exercises available and the benefits of specific exercises to your organization, will be very helpful.

This individual will be able to provide you with detailed information about the most effective strategy for changing the culture if needed, or enhancing the positive aspects of the culture that you have in place.

By : James_Carruthers

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So How Come We Don't Invest the Time to Really Measure Training Programs?

We know it is important to measure the effectiveness of a training programs, yet we don't always take the time to do it right. Why is that? Are we too busy and just don't have the time to do so? Maybe we don't think it is all that important after all.

If the participant in the class believes they learned new skills and tell us they increased their knowledge - maybe it's sufficient? I don't think that is what we believe.

Maybe we just don't know where to start! We want to start slowly for sure - let's not jump into doing a business impact and ROI study just yet! (We do want to get there at some point though.)

Based on the last poll (which is certainly not statistically accurate but interesting nonetheless) it seems that much of the time we gauge the effectiveness of training through a survey.

If some of the respondents to the poll are similar to many clients I work with, they are thinking of a simple survey that asks questions such as:

* How was the training?
* Did you learn new skills in this class?
* Are you pleased overall with the training you received?

Or, as it is frequently called, "the smile sheet." Not much good, really usable information coming out of these surveys.

I can understand the issue of not having enough time to measure the effectiveness of a training program; especially if you have quite a few programs to oversee or running training programs is just a small part of everything you do (we all wear so many hats!).

However, you can do better than just the standard smile sheet without increasing your workload significantly and getting some better information to share with others in the organization. And, moving yourself closer to your goal of effective measurement of your training programs.

Some additional questions on the survey will provide you better data on the effectiveness of the training program. For example, add the following questions to your survey:

* What percent of your total work time will require the knowledge and skills presented in this training?

* On a scale of 1 to 10, how critical is applying the content of this program to your success on the job?

* What potential barriers could prevent you from applying the knowledge and skills learned in the course?

* What specific actions will you take to implement your new skills and knowledge on the job?

* What are the benefits the company will realize based on you applying your new skills and knowledge on the job? (Be as specific as possible.)

* What would happen with respect to costs and/or productivity if you were not able to apply your new skills and knowledge to your job? (Be as specific as possible.)

See link at the bottom for a sample completed Action Plan.

As you can see, just adding some additional questions to your current survey will help you gather more significant data to determine the effectiveness of the training program. Not much more time commitment on your part, but the data you gather will enable you to better determine what improvements need to be made in your training programs.

You may also learn what needs to be done in the organization to better support the training. For example, the question, "What potential barriers could prevent you from applying the knowledge and skills learned in the course," will provide insight as to why skills may not be applied back on the job.

You may need to address some organizational issues or management barriers that are prohibiting the participant from applying his/her new skills.


A follow-up survey, 2 - 4 months after the training program ends (or when the individual will have the opportunity to apply the skills), will enable you to find out how successful the individuals have been in applying their skills back on the job.

The follow-up survey should focus on questions such as:

* What is enabling you to provide your skills back on the job?
* What barriers have you faced on applying your skills?
* How have you applied your skills? (Be specific.)
* What impact have you had on the business because you have applied your new skills and knowledge? (Be specific - explain how you calculated/determined that impact.)

How About a Manager Survey?

Can I push you just a bit more? How about at the same time you send out the follow-up survey you also include a brief survey to the manager of the participant? This survey is to gather data from the manager on how they are seeing the application of the skills by the participant. For example, questions you ask the manager might include:

* What improvement in skills have you seen based on the training program the participant attended?
* What business impact have you seen because of the application of these skills?
* What percentage of the new skills and knowledge is directly applicable to the participant's job?
* Has the participant been assigned any new projects or responsibility due to this training program? Please explain.

How easily might you incorporate just a few extra questions into your survey to improve the data on the effectiveness of your training? How easily can you launch a follow-up survey at your organization?

For a sample partially completed Action Plan template provided for your reference. Click Here

By : Gina_Abudi

Strategies For Reaching Global Markets - Contract Manufacturing and Joint Ventures

With many companies scrambling today to become more competitive on a global level and meet consumer demands for lower prices, many of the methods for reaching global markets and joint ventures with foreign firms are looking more and more attractive.

One of the options available to product manufacturers is contract manufacturing with foreign producers. Much like licensing, contract manufacturing involves a foreign company that produces goods for another company.

However, where licensing involves the manufacturer using the company's trademark or brand name under license and the sale of consulting services on the part of the licensor, contract manufacturing involves a company that already produces a private-label product and another company attaching their brand name or trademark.

In contract manufacturing, the manufacturer has no rights to the trademark. Contract manufacturing is often a form of offshore outsourcing where a company produces a product for a specific brand.

Examples of this can be seen in a number of large US corporations. Singapore contract manufacturers often produce cell phones and other electronics for a number of US brands, and China is a leading contract manufacturer for US computers and laptops like Dell.

The benefits of contract manufacturing for startup companies or smaller businesses can be great, as contract manufacturing often allows these companies to experiment with different product variations in different markets without having hefty production costs associated with a local manufacturing facility.

In addition, for established companies, production of successful products can easily be expanded to meet new demands without incurring additional costs and overhead.

Aside from contract manufacturing, forming international joint ventures and strategic alliances are also great ways to expand into the global market. However, these type of joint ventures have traditionally been used more by larger corporations.

A joint venture is a type of arrangement where two companies join together for a particular project. Examples of this are often seen in the motor industry where American car companies enter into a joint venture with Asian car manufacturers in order to produce vehicles for all markets.

The two companies, which are often from two separate countries, share technology and risks associated with the project, along with marketing and management skills.

The advantage of these kinds of ventures is that many companies who would not otherwise be able to enter some markets are able to work together with local companies that have access to those markets.

A strategic alliance is much of the same thing, tying together two or more companies with a common goal. However, in a strategic alliance, companies typically do not share costs, management, or profits.

While these kinds of arrangements can be beneficial at reaching other markets, the disadvantages are much like in a licensing agreement, where one company can take the other companies technology and expertise, leave the arrangement, and use the ideas to promote their own company or profits.

By : Dave_Vower

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Procurement Strategy - 10 Reasons Why You Should Use Category Management

Category Management is an approach to Procurement that is gaining ground in both the public and private sectors. In Category Management products or services that have similar characteristics and are bought from similar supply markets are grouped together and treated as a discrete group or category.

These categories are then more manageable from a procurement perspective because the items in a category require the same supplier market intelligence, the same sourcing strategies and similar supplier relationship management programmes.

Although these activities are not new their application may require a change to current organisation structures and roles and responsibilities. Like any successful change, the benefits need to be sold to the rest of the organisation. Here are 10 reasons you can use to do this.

1. It links customer requirements with supply market capabilities.
Once you know what core supplier capabilities deliver your customer requirements you can identify and work with those suppliers that are "best of breed" in that capability.

2. It enables the business requirements definition or specification to be developed so that it delivers best value.
Defining your business requirements is a team game in that it identifies both the user requirements and commercial expectations. A balance between the two is what delivers best value.

3. It ensures that the right skills and experience are applied to the right activity within the category management process.
Category management creates the critical mass needed to have experts for each of the activities in this process rather than generalists having to do a wide range of them.

4. It ensures that all relevant spend is included in the category so that your leverage is maximised.
Without category management there is a danger that the purchase of individual items are spread across your organisation in quantities that are too small to get volume related benefits.

5. It allows you to anticipate and plan for changes in technology.
By knowing how customer requirements might change (and what that means for technology) and what your major suppliers are planning, you can identify any gaps that might occur in the future between the technology needed and what is available.

Do this soon enough and you can stimulate your suppliers to do something about it. Identify supplier innovations early enough and you can help shape the offering made to your customers.

6. It reduces risk.
Creating categories and putting them under the proper management of experts enables you to spot any trends or developments that might create a commercial risk and do something to prevent or mitigate it.

7. It develops the right supply capability both for today and tomorrow.
This is similar to the technology reason. If you can get an understanding of what capabilities are going to change over the next few years and what suppliers plan, you can influence both.

8. It helps to build good communications across the entire value chain.
We should not forget that value chains are made up of people. Category management gives you the visibility and opportunity to communicate the right message in the right way to the right people to get the result you want.

9. It builds trust and co-working across all of the value chain.
Trust comes from delivering your promises and not being unfair. Understanding your categories means that you can set goals for everyone in the value chain that meet their needs as well as yours and is within their capability.

10. It ensures that many supply options are considered rather than just the obvious one.
When someone is responsible for developing a commercial sourcing solution for a user need but they do not have the right experience, it can be too easy to jump to the first solution that springs to mind. The category management process ensures that options are considered.

By : Stephen_C_Carter

Monday, March 1, 2010

Start a Cleaning Business - Acquiring & Servicing Customers is Key

If you want to start a cleaning business, you will not only need to acquire new customers but also retain them. Did you know that it costs ten times less to sell to an existing customer than a new customer?

This may seem obvious, however, studies confirm that less than half of companies or people in business really care about customer service. Therefore, here is some advice.

• Listen to the customer. Listen to their needs, their desires, their fears, their frustrations. When was the last survey done among your customers?

• The customer is always right. Really? Of course not! The customer is always right in the sense that if he decides to spend his money elsewhere, you lose the business, so...

• Three words to avoid. The three worst words to say to a client are: "This is not our job!"; "We've always done it like that!"; "Sorry, it's our policy!". Never forget that a dissatisfied customer speaks, on average, to eleven other people about his experience with suppliers of service or hard goods.

• Manage complaints. Remember that for one customer who complains, 28 other clients have had the same thoughts but chose to say nothing.

• Say thank you. It is important not to take customers for granted. Create a sense of loyalty among existing customers. Put in place a recognition program to thank your best customers, at least once a year.

When you start a cleaning business, the most important principle to adopt is to offer a service of exceptional quality so that after a certain time, through word-of-mouth, it is no longer necessary to invest time and money to promote your services.

You need to spend a lot of energy and money to better know your customers, from day one of their acquisition. In the cleaning industry, service and customer relationship are paramount.

The other important element to start a cleaning business and quickly generate significant revenues is the ability to acquire new customers. To a great extent, your success is a function of the level of demand in a given market.

At your fingertips is the opportunity to take advantage of a virtually unknown industry that very few people in the cleaning industry even know exist. This is a super opportunity to generate significant revenues within an industry that is not saturated, namely real estate foreclosures.

Every day, mortgage companies require that foreclosed properties be secured via lock changes, that minor repairs be performed and that the property be cleaned up for the future new owner.

In the month of June 2009 alone, 32% more default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were reported on properties compared to 2008. This increase meant that 360,149 U.S. properties, only in that month, potentially needed cleaning and maintenance work.

Financial institutions have a desperate need for reliable independent cleaning contractors in states and local communities to perform foreclosure cleanouts. The demand in this market is huge and it is virtually untapped.

This makes the process of new customer acquisition to start a cleaning business so much easier and faster when the level of competition is low.

By : Marc_Fields