Monday, November 29, 2010

The Need for Product Innovation

Developing new products and launching them in the marketplace can be a difficult, costly and even dangerous business. So why do it? Why not leave well alone and be content with profit from existing products, concentrating effort on expanding sales of these products and finding new markets for them?

One reason is that seizing new opportunities as they emerge is a way to increase profits. (To be first in the field with a successful new product gives one the chance of creaming off large profits before effective competition develops.)

But the main reason is that it is dangerous to assume that profits from existing products will continue at present levels for ever. The product life-cycle concept tells us that they will certainly not continue for ever.

At different rates, over varying time-scales, all products eventually achieve market saturation and then start to decline. Even while sales volume holds up, profits may well not; and retaining sales volume and profits may call for regular updating of existing products.

For most companies, therefore, a programme of product review and development is essential; and, for all companies, to ignore this area of activity is highly dangerous. A McGraw-Hill study in the United States showed that in 1963 the percentage of sales accounted for by products introduced since 1959 was 28 per cent for transportation, 18 per cent for electrical machinery, and so on, through a whole list of categories.

In the consumer goods fields successful new products introduced more recently -include a wide range of increasingly sophisticated computer games, the 'superglues' and a whole host of pre-prepared meals for cooking by microwave.

In consumer durables we have seen the successful introduction of video cameras and answering machines, with mobile telephones and fax machines for home use not far behind. Innovative services (intangible products) include direct purchase of insurance by telephone and 'home banking'.

The most 'safe' and inexpensive way to launch a 'new' product is modifying an existing product.

New Products from Old

We first need to be clear what is a new product. There are basically three clear kinds of new products:

1. Innovative products which are unique products for which there is a real need, not being met satisfactorily by an existing product. Penicillin when first introduced fell into this category, as did the telephone, the internal combustion engine, and chloroform. We can also describe as innovative those products which, while replacing existing goods that have been satisfying existing markets quite well, offer totally different solutions. Examples would be television partially replacing the cinema and the radio, the zip fastener and later Velcro instead of strings or buttons, and solar power for other energy sources;

2. Adaptive products which offer significantly different variations on existing products: they include such items as instant coffee, freeze-dried foods, self-adhesive wallpaper, and typewriters with a memory. Another kind of variation is represented by package changes, styling modifications, new designs and colours.

3. Imitative products are already being sold by someone else but further sales opportunities exist for an additional brand, with or without minor modifications. The divisions between these categories are obviously very fuzzy. Indeed, some authors have distinguished as many as a dozen different ways in which a product can be 'new'.

The truly innovative product is rare. Adaptive new products can sometimes necessitate a great deal of new technology and extensive research and development, though a 'new' product can often be produced by changes to an existing one. These may range from relatively minor changes, which effectively extend the life-cycle of a product, to much more extensive improvements.

An example quoted by Peter Drucker that covers both is nylon, which was introduced in the U.S.A. by Du Pont and fairly rapidly became the dominant fiber in women's hosiery. However, once this market was saturated, the growth curve flattened. Du Pont had anticipated this and had developed strategies for providing further increases in sales of nylon stockings by such tactics as the following:

1. Introducing a wider range of colors, leading to an increase in the number of stockings bought by each user and a tendency to wear different colors with different outer garments.

2. Developing new uses, such as stretch stockings and socks. In addition, they moved into other fields such as tyre cord and carpets. In this way nylon sales showed an overlapping series of life-cycle curves, giving a continuing upward trend.

The nylon success story depended both upon changing the product for existing users and making it suitable for whole new markets. Changing products for existing markets can be done in a number of ways, in particular by improvements in quality, features, and/or style.

By : Martin_Hahn

Understanding Business Growth and Innovation

Most successful companies start with a creative idea from a visionary businessman. Being creative equals to innovation and innovation brings growth. Most companies have not grown the last decade and gave gone from strong growth to low or no growth.

One of the reasons for not growing is focusing all the strategies on a single or group of products or services. Today most markets are saturated with little or no differentiation. Stagnation brings lack of innovation and consequently lack of growth.

It is important for companies to apply new strategies to be able to survive and grow. Times are challenging and ways of thinking have to change. The following points should be a guideline of what successful companies are doing in these tough times:

* Look for and deliver real value to customers. Solve their issues, develop ways to identify their problems and meet their expectations.

* Products and services have to be customer oriented. Leverage your strengths and develop new and creative products and services that meet your customer's expectations.

* Analyze who and what your company is, look at the advantages over other businesses and transmit those findings to your clients.

* Innovation does not mean only creating new products or services. Innovation is also finding new ways to streamline processes, to lower costs. Companies should involve and reward personnel for their ideas and their commitment.

* Innovation is a process not a magical stick. As all processes it has to be managed and understood. It is better to generate lots of creative ideas than just to focus or one big project.

* The more ideas leaders and team members generate the better. The best ideas come from the employees that work directly with the customer. Manager and leaders have to support customer service employees.

* Consultants can also generate innovative products and services, engage them as they come from the outside with new and clear options.

* Create focus groups incorporating team members and clients. Incorporate into the products and services the findings to be able to deliver value to the customer and generate new and more sales.

Innovation is challenging. It is a group process not an individual task. Employees and staff members have to be on board, they have to be motivated and integrated in a proper environment. The more people involved in the process the better chance there is to come up with creative ideas and differentiated product or service.

Innovation involves several steps:

* Defining the opportunity
* Team collaboration and participation
* Management believe and investor participation
* Investment of resources (time, dedication and commitment)
* The use of new and appropriate techniques
* Execution

Innovation leads to growth, it is not only a tool to take a business from one level to the other it also helps motivate teams and organization. A well motivated team will innovate and the company will grow, it is a cycle that companies have to believe in.

By : Joaquin_Duenas

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Write Headlines - 7 Tips for Writing Effective Marketing Headlines

Learning how to write headlines is crucial for marketing success. Whether you're writing a headline for your brochure, a title for your white paper or a subject line for your e-mail marketing campaign, you need those first words your prospect reads to be catchy and intriguing.

These seven strategies will get you thinking about the creative headline options you can use next time you need an attention-grabbing headline. The examples (for a dog food called Healthy Paws) following each tip will help you understand exactly how to apply each strategy to your writing.

1. Appeal to your prospect's emotions. A little tug on the heartstrings is sure to get your potential customer's attention. Example: Is your dog's food harming his health?

2. Tailor your message to specific customer segments. Every customer wants to be unique. By appealing to each customer group's interests and affinities, you'll connect on a deeper level. Example (targeted to fitness-buff women): You care about your health - what about hers?

3. Be the teacher. People are always on the lookout for useful, relevant information. Offer to provide the information they're searching for. Example: Seven ways to help your dog live longer.

4. Ask a question. Open up a conversation with the reader by asking them a question they'll want the answer to. Example: Why does Healthy Paws have dog tails wagging?

5. Make an offer they can't refuse. When you have a great offer to deliver, don't beat around the bush. Tell them upfront what the offer is with a direct, to-the-point message. Example: Get your free sample of Healthy Paws - today!

6. Share the news. Prospects are drawn to things that are fresh and new. If you have a new product, or if there is recent news relating to your product, try incorporating it into your headline. Example: New study shows Healthy Paws dogs live longer.

7. Make it personal. People love to hear about what you can do for them. Include the word "you" or "yourself" in the headline to make sure they get this message. Example: Help your dog live longer - here's how.

By : Megan_Tsai

10 Things Every Business Owner Must Know

The world of business is constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn. But no matter how much innovation takes place there are certain business basics that remain. Do you know what makes up the foundation of a successful company? This article describes 10 important principles that every business owner must know.

1. Plan to succeed. Develop a business plan to move the company forward. Outline key goals, objectives and the strategies to achieve them. Review plans regularly to measure results and make needed adjustments along the way.

2. Manage well. Set the direction for how to run the business. To manage well it is important to implement systems and have written policies and business procedures. This sets the tone and ensures that standards for performance are maintained.

3. Build a sustainable business. In the early stages of business it is common for owners to be the company's number one source of funds. Over time it is important to create a business that can stand on its own. Identify financial options so that you can position the company to take advantage of them.

4. Market strategically. Marketing, advertising, and sales are important keys to increasing revenue. Identify proven strategies for branding, attracting clients and building relationships to grow your company.

5. Tighten up administration. There are various types of administrative tasks that are important in every business. Be sure to implement efficient systems to manage paperwork, stay on top of deadlines, and process financial transactions.

6. Financial Reporting. Regular, timely, and relevant financial reporting can give companies an advantage in the market. Two keys to good financial management are maintaining accurate records and using financials to grow the business.

7. Follow the rules. There are rules that govern the legal and financial activities of business. No company is above the law. So take time to get familiar with industry and business regulations. Understand the type of business documents and tax returns you are required to file and stay on task with submitting them on time.

8. Create your dream with a team. No man is an island which means you don't have to run your company alone. Fill in the gaps in your business by hiring part-time staff, using temporary assignments, outsourcing, or teaming up with companies for special projects.

9. Invest in yourself. Increase knowledge and stay abreast of business trends in new technology, industry practices, and customer wants and needs. Use training to increase efficiency and profitability in your business.

10. Reinvent when necessary. If your business model is no longer profitable don't be afraid to take a new direction. As noted by success coach, Ken Brown, "Those who are unwilling to change will either expire or become extinct." Be willing to rebrand, reposition, or release an idea if the market you serve doesn't need or want it any longer.

By : Benita_Tyler

Friday, November 26, 2010

Using Indicators For Planning

With the intensification of sales planning and sales control, diverse sales indicators are becoming increasingly important as planning instruments of management. Effective planning is a core subject on all good management courses. The results of a survey of 316 European sales managers testify to this.

Economic data considered when planning sales include:

Industrial indicators 41%
Purchasing power indicators 39%
Retail trade indicators 30%
Number of inhabitants 28%
Wholesale trade indicators 26%
Manual worker indicators 20%
Property market indicators 19%
Health indicators 10%
Transport indicators 6%
Agricultural indicators 3%
Tourism indicators 2%

The basic premise is - the bigger a company's sales force, the more economic data is used to support sales planning.

1. Industrial indicators

The following data serves as a basis for planning: number of companies (79%), turnover (51%), number of employees (34%), investments (21%). Any planning which is done on the basis of industrial indicators depends greatly on the size of the company. Investment indicators are more likely to be used by companies with 51 or more sales people, for example, far more than small or medium-sized companies (40% compared with 21%).

2. Purchasing power indicators

Purchasing power indicators based on the net income of the population in the sales area, are primarily used by companies dealing in consumer goods.

3. Trade indicators

70% of the sales managers interviewed direct their planning in accordance with the number of retail and wholesale companies; 60% base their planning on the regional distribution of turnover and 25% on the number of company employees.

4. Population indicators

If population statistics are considered in sales planning, 93% of the sales managers consider the regional cross-section of the whole population, 14% distinguish between age categories and 9% distinguish between the size of community. Larger consumer goods companies also use the size of individual households and the number of married couples and babies as criteria for sales planning.

5. Property market indicators

The sales managers mainly consult four indicators: property investment (67%), planning and building permission (65%), condition of property (30%), completion of property (28%). When it comes to property investment, larger companies in particular distinguish between the renovation of old buildings and new buildings.

6. Agricultural indicators

Here is a list of the main agricultural indicators: the number of agricultural companies (73%), the condition of farming equipment (64%), arable land (27%). Other criteria include timber, livestock, special crops.

7. Health indicators

These are the main indicators for manufacturers of medication and medically-related machinery: the number of hospitals (50%) and the regional distribution of doctors (63%). Other statistics used in sales planning include the number of hospital beds (44%), the number of pharmacies and chemists (34%) and pharmacy turnover (19%).

8. Transport indicators

When making sales estimates, indicators such as the number of lorries (74%) and cars (60%) are taken into consideration. The registration of new vehicles (cars 53%, lorries 47%) plays a secondary role.

9. Tourism indicators

The number of tourist industries is an important planning criterion (71%). Others aspects which are considered include the number of beds/rooms (43%), and the number of bed and breakfasts (29%).

Indicators are not laid down for all eternity. In practice, it is a question of being flexible - When asked, 74% of the sales managers said that they take into consideration developments both within and outside the company and adapt their sales planning accordingly.

As covered on management courses any changes in the following external criteria would force a modification in sales planning:

Activities of competitors
Developments in clients' turnover
Price trends
Developments in branch specific investments
Technological developments
Developments in customer orders
Legal plans
Developments in environmental protection
Developments in customers' stock
Developments in consumer spending

Surprisingly enough, economically relevant statistics such as the development of interest rates, the exchange rate, unemployment or public debt are given little or no consideration.

Finally, here are some in-house reasons for transforming sales planning:

Introduction of new products Sales promotion measures Change of conditions Advertising measures Extension of capacity

Effective planning has many benefits especially with increasingly focus on maximising the return from the sales side of an operation. You can develop your planning skills on good sales management courses.

By : Richard_A_Stone

Developing New Products

Businessmen and manufacturers are manufacturing products according to their taste and perceptions and forgetting the major and most important thing about selling more and earning great profits that is to design products according to the consumer taste, wants, needs and desires.

This is the most common mistake that nearly every manufacturer and businessmen make that is making such product that they themselves like and perceive that customers are going to like it. This is nothing but a very simple kind of gamble.

If you win it that means it was your luck and if you lose that it's your fault because you did not start well and so you ended badly. Good ending means good starting and good planning. Its not a gamble.

It is something that you have to confirm that is growing sales and increasing your margins of profit. That is possible if you are designing the product as simple as according to the customer need and want. They are not going to buy something they don't want or buy.

Like if you think that you love yellow color, people are not going to prefer it because they like other colors.

So it is never possible that the things you like will be liked by others. The products should be rather must be designed according to the customer taste. That is only possible if you know it, and if you don't then you need to go and ask them. You must go for a survey first and after an analysis of what they like in majority declare it and manufacture that.

Only then sales can improve and you can earn great profits.

The following should be taken care of in developing new products:

1. Ask the customers about their perception of a product based on

a. Taste

b. Color

c. Design

d. Flavors

e. Packaging

f. Ingredients

g. Weight

h. Price

2. After confirming all these test the market from certain areas and find the response

3. That can be done by

a. free sampling

b. Buy one get one free

c. Introductory prices

d. Any other promotional campaign

4. If majority likes, approve it and then commercialize and start heavy manufacturing of the product/s.

Following these ways can guarantee success of your products sales and can earn you great and abnormal profits. Just simply think like a customer and make it like a manufacturer. This will work very well for your company and business.

By : Aasim_Gill

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Myopia in Leadership Development

Typically, our view of leadership development encompasses the escalation of current high performers into an environment where they can develop a broader set of competencies and capabilities.

In many organizations, the senior leaders aim to manage the perception of the issues, form coalitions, and use relationships to influence change in the organization. Without "relationships and influence," they are without arrows in their managerial quiver.

In our experience, however, we have found that many leadership development programs fail to include the quantifiable and strategic value of business relationships - not only as another bucket or segment of the curriculum, but also as a part of the encompassing framework in the development of the next generation of corporate leaders.

In other words, you could be the most astute financial leader, operations leader, manufacturing executive or complex project owner, but if you lack the ability to proactively and systematically identify, build, and nurture personal, functional, and strategic relationships to influence others, I am not convinced of our fully realized long-term success in any organization.

The increasing diversity of today's workforce makes it that much more critical that our future leaders can effectively engage those who don't look, sound, or think like us and lead them toward a common set of strategic goals and objectives. In addition to providing cultural diversity, key individuals with unique perspectives and insights can accelerate any leader's ability to achieve results. We call these people Pivotal Contacts.

In researching dozens of Fortune 500 leadership development programs, we found many to be myopic in their perspective and focused purely on safe topics such as strategy, financial engineering, and global expansion. Many try to elevate your thinking, executing from the purely tactical (what we are doing) to the more strategic (why we are doing this).

Then there is the holistic approach that questions not just the ability, but the social responsibility aspects as well. Although extremely beneficial to current high performers and those perceived to be high potentials, these questions don't include a systematic, disciplined approach to functional and strategic relationships.

Strategic relationships are seldom part of any personal evaluations we have reviewed to date. Nor are they part of any compensation model we have seen, at least no compensation plan that actually moves one's needle (a 5 percent variable is not really an incentive).

They are not part of a human resource organization's competency maps, nor formal mentoring programs aimed at raising the bar on key functional leaders today.

Unless the appropriate metrics and rewards are in place to accurately align the organization's goals and objectives with that of the individual in a highly relationship-centric environment, how will we overcome this fundamental and often myopic perspective of world-class leadership development programs?

By : David_M._Nour

Your Team of Advisors - An Important Part of Business Planning

There are many different aspects of business planning that every owners will at some point need to address. Most are familiar with marketing and financials but when it comes to drafting the management piece one area that tends to be underdeveloped is that of the advisory team.

Do you know how a team of advisors bring value to your team? Let's take a look at this important part of business planning to see how these professionals strengthens companies.


First, there is a proverb that says "Wisdom is found in a multitude of counsel." This suggests that it makes good sense to seek the advice of others who can maturely guide you in getting the results that you want to achieve. Advisors possess wisdom that comes from having insight into a particular area which will help you plan and implement successful business strategies.


Next, when it comes to advice whose is the first that you normally trust? It's probably your own, right? After all, if you cannot trust your own instincts, then who can you trust? But listening solely to your own opinions at all times produces biased results.

Humans are creatures of habit and tend to do things within their comfort zone which is not the way to build a sustainable business. Instead, aim to create a team of advisors that will help you push past the limits, come up with new ideas, and hold you accountable for reaching them.


Finally, advisory teams are there to support your success by providing their expertise. Build a team from diverse industries so that you receive a holistic view of business The areas that you want to cover are law, accounting, banking, insurance, finance, marketing, and management.

Look for someone with experience in each of the following professions and you will have a solid foundation to create a business that thrives.

If you are unsure where to find the ideal people to fill advisory vacancies start by contacting other business owners that you trust. If you regularly network in small business forums pay attention to what's being said and by whom.

Many times you can glean great information just by listening to the wisdom that's right at your finger tips. And if none of these sources produce any leads remember to try out your local Chamber of Commerce where a host of industry specific professionals meet and network.

By : Benita_Tyler

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Event Planning - 10 Tips to Planning A Better Event

Whether you are a planning a wedding, a birthday party, or even a convention there are some simple things to consider and implement that can drastically improve the quality of the event. Using the knowledge I have gained over the years I've put together a list of 10 tips that have helped in my pursuit for terrific events.

1. Always have a little bit more food than needed

2. If you don't hire an event planner at least have someone act as one. That person would be in charge of making sure the vendors are set up properly and can help keep everything running smoothly. Whether it's a friend or family member the organization will be appreciated.

3. If you hire a DJ be wary of the distance between his/her setup and your guests. The last thing you want is a blaring speaker deafening a guest.

4. Try to find a suitable venue and make sure it suits your particular needs. Consider things like the number of guests, whether or not it needs to be wheel chair accessible.

5. Consider trying to find package deals which some venues might offer.

6. Be wary of weather alerts before and the morning of the event. Nothing is worse than having an event washed out or worse.

7. Lists!, lists!, lists! I can't stress this enough. If you keep an up to date list the chances of anything being forgotten or going wrong are greatly reduced. Anytime I have an event or even just trying to accomplish a goal I create a to do list. If something doesn't get accomplished I roll it over to the next day. When planning an event it helps to not forget things like carded place holders for tables or napkins.

8. Maintain contact with people your vendors. When planning an event make sure to maintain contact with your DJ, caterer, limousine driver. Sometimes in the chaos of preparing for an event services or people you require to get the job done can get left behind.

9. Develop and stick to your event budget. The quality of an event does not depend on the dollar investment, rather it depends on effective event planning. There are easy ways to save money shop around a little and check event directories planning directories which will sometimes allow you to find inexpensive event related businesses.

10. And last but not least keep calm, cool, and collected. Event planning is a lot of work and it's easy to be overcome with stress. If your stress or exhausted you can't put together a great event and remember stress shows.

By : Hassaan_Simpson

Corporate Manipulation - The Game Of The Big

Corporate Manipulation is the game of the big companies striving to control more shares of their relevant market. Big industries like the tobacco, pharmaceutical or the mining industries use different manipulative techniques in order to make more profits than their rivals.

The impact of such manipulative strategies has been sometimes so big that they have attracted the attention of law regulators and have provoked the passage of important anti-monopolistic laws.

There could be two types of corporate manipulation - manipulation intended for consumers and manipulation addressed for other rival companies. Big industries usually have little trouble manipulating their clients - oftentimes the companies are large enough to have control over a big share of the market and to have an important impact on people's lives.

Once consumers are dependent on the company, they find themselves following the business rules of this industry and it's hard for them to break up with the company.

Corporate manipulation directed to other companies seems more difficult, because the companies usually have the same resources and the same access to information. Which makes manipulation less easy, but not impossible.

One striking example was the case with Intel. Intel is a company that produces chips for personal computers. In the mid 90s, Intel had monopolistic control over its market but it was starting to get outdone by its main rival - AMD.

Both of these companies were fighting for the attention of Dell - the most important computer manufacturer at that time. In order to secure itself deals with Dell, Intel paid $1 billion to Dell and became its main provider of computer chips even though the chips of AMD were better and cheaper.

The company manipulated the choice of its partner and this later became a usual tactic for Intel - in the next years the company made such deals with many other manufacturers.

Corporate manipulation is the way of big companies to continue making millions of dollars when they see that their rivals are starting to gain more and more influence. With time, many such strategies for controlling the market have become illegal as legislators perceived the threat of them to the rules of free economy and free market competition.

Most of the time, these processes have stayed unnoticed by the general audience as the press didn't cover them, but the little media attention is a whole another topic about manipulation techniques.

By : Manny_Hawkins

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time Management - A Vital Business Development Strategy

Proper time management is absolutely vital for a company's success and is a critical part of effective business development. Many companies rightly stress on its importance in order to make its employees more efficient and productive.

Today's article will focus on why time management is so important for businesses development and how profound of an effect it can have on the company's overall performance. Consulting services are available to teach employees about how to make the best use of their time in order to maximize their efficiency. Therefore, companies struggling with time management would find this article of great use.

· Ability to Meet Deadlines

There is hardly a project today that is not deadline oriented. Clients want to see results and therefore divide their projects into multiple segments setting deadlines for each segment completion. These deadlines are extremely important for companies that provide service to the clients to adhere to. Failing to do so could result in hefty penalties. Time management ensures that the project gets finished ahead of time.

· Improving Performance at Work

Time management makes a good employee even better. It improves performance and gives a boost to their confidence. Typical day to day work tasks comprise of many things and sufficient amount of time should be given to each task if one is to keep things moving along at a smooth pace. Educating employees about how to manage time properly ensures that the company is working at optimal levels.

· Prioritizing Work load

A very common business development strategy is to prioritize and undertake tasks based on its size, relevance and importance. Tougher and more important tasks should be tacked first and the easier, lower priority ones should follow afterwards.

No two tasks will require the same amount of time. Depending on its nature and the amount of work involved, certain tasks should be given and may require more time than others. Proper business development through time management will teach employees how to do so just that.

· Money Saving and Revenue Increasing Feature

Time management is highly productive and lucrative business development practice. Not only does it shields a company from paying hefty penalties by completing projects on time, it also increases revenues by creating a good impression of the company in the market and portraying them as an establishment devoted to their clients.

The above mentioned tips are just a few benefits of managing time effectively. All companies should strive to implement this business development skill at all levels including managerial and executive.

Today's competitive market is moving at an extremely fast pace and it is ever so important to maximize work output every day. Companies having difficulty meeting deadlines should seriously consider hiring consultants to rectify this problem. They will provide sound advice as to how to proceed forward.

By : Milton_J_Paris

Action-Oriented Approach to Performance Management

Performance management aims to ensure that goals are consistently being met in an effective and efficient manner. Performance management can focus on performance of individuals, groups, processes and organizations. Its main objective is to deliver results and optimize performance of human and capital assets.

Although the term 'performance management' is a relatively new idea in the field of management, managers and supervisors have conducted performance appraisals with their staff and departments for years. Employees have been trained for centuries, and people have worked long, hard hours for many years.

Processes such as planning, budgeting, sales and billings have also been carried out for many years in organizations. But all too often, these activities are done for the sake of doing them, not for contributing directly to the desired results of the organization.

Being busy is not the same as producing results and adding value to the business. Participating in training, or exhibiting strong commitment and working for long hours do not necessarily lead to results. Performance management focuses on attaining results and adding value; for example, realizing a profit target, securing new deals, delivering new products and services to customers, or retaining customers. Performance management channels human capital towards effectiveness.

In recent years, businesses have faced significant challenges, including increased competition from businesses across the world, scarcity of talents, and environmental challenges. These challenges have meant that businesses must be much more careful about the choice of strategies they take to remain competitive. Everyone and every resource within the organization must be aligned to the business objectives.

This places more focus on ensuring that systems and processes in an organization are properly applied to achieve desired results in the most effective way. Management must ensure that all results across the organization continue to be aligned to the overall organizational objectives. This enables long-term survival and sustained profitability.

Performance in organizations is not limited to the effectiveness of employees; performance management can also be applied to departments, processes, programmes, products or services, and teams or groups. It is right to assume that performance management of every aspect of the business is heavily dependent on the human capital responsible for them.

For optimum performance management, managers and employees must keep the end results in mind, and such results must be in total alignment with business objectives. This is easier say than done, due to the absence of practical and effective tools.

A daily goal-orientated tool that offers employees and management a platform to communicate company strategies and objectives on a daily basis would be greatly welcome by the business community, where employees and managers set their targets for the year and break them down into monthly objectives. Users can then set daily and weekly incremental actions that are required to deliver results.

Such a tool makes it easy to focus on the end results and execute actions that add value to the target goals, whilst discarding non-relevant, time-wasting activities. Such a tool also enables the user to reflect on his/her performance on daily basis and keep track of what works and what does not. With the adoption of such a tool, employees will be able to overcome procrastination and develop new habits of progress and achievement, which are proved to be the best motivator for employees.

Such a goal-achieving tool enables management to keep track of their employees' performance, help them appreciate the challenges employees are facing and identify the required support they need to accomplish target goals. The diary itself serves as a logbook for employee performance and can be instrumental for performance review appraisals.

Performance management is a critical constituent of business management, and for optimum performance the focus should be placed on utilizing the human and capital assets deployed by a business, with the focus on the end results.

The need for a practical tool to enable compliance can not therefore be overemphasized. A daily success organizer or a planner can be a practical tool that enables communication of company goals and strategies, alignment of employee actions with business priorities, and eliminates wastage.

By : Yahya_S.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How To Make Freelancing Worth It

Many people think freelancing is a glamorous job -- working at home, in your pajamas, in full control of your time. Sure. But you MUST plan your freelancing career as carefully as you'd plan a new business, or else it's going to be a nightmare! Here's how to make freelancing worth the move.

First, Choose Your Projects Wisely.

Freelancing becomes fun when you're doing something you love. So look for projects you KNOW you want to work on. Don't be tempted to accept a project simply because "it's there" or "the money is too good to turn down" -- you'll pay for it in stress. Trust me.

Second, Work With Clients Who Think Like You.

Try to avoid clients who pay too low for your tastes, or those who demand unreasonable deadlines. These clients tend to NOT treat freelancers well, so only look for clients who are willing to do things on YOUR terms.

Otherwise, you might find yourself keeping Skype logged off simply because you don't want to catch a toxic client online!

Third, Decide Your Preferred Income.

Let's face it -- freelancing isn't easy. And to make it worth it, you'll have to receive a good enough income to keep you happy. Check how much your corporate-hired counterparts get paid, and start there. No sense freelancing when you could get a better pay with a job!

And Lastly, Plan Your Lifestyle.

Want to keep your weekends clear? Want to have breakfasts at your favorite cafe? Want to take quarterly vacations with your family?

Decide! The "lifestyle" part of freelancing is precisely what makes freelancing worth it. Remember, the most successful of today's freelancers left their jobs for greener pastures. And it's up to you how "green" you want your freelancing career to be.

So plan your lifestyle -- your freelancing career depends on it!

By : Mike_Madrazo

Guidelines to Hire an Expert Witness

Dave McDonald from the National Expert Witness Network (NEWN) has developed and released an excellent (and free) instructional program to explain the best methodologies for finding, assessing the credentials of, and hiring an expert witness.

Although created with an obvious tilt toward the interests of attorneys looking for the right one, many of the training slides are equally valuable for experts seeking to appreciate the process. In fact, many slides appear to emphasize IP cases primarily, but the reality of the legal arena is such that the material on these slides applies equally well to many different types of cases, and to the decisions made by lawyers in these matters as well.

Mr. McDonald covers everything from the definition (Rule 702) of a witness to the differing roles played by them as either a defendant or plaintiff expert. His program spans such fundamentals as finding the expert, fees for experts, and the necessary skills of an effective witness. He discusses retention agreements, payment responsibilities, and, from the business perspective, considerations related to managing witnesses during a case.

In the later stages of retaining an expert, he also explains elements of confidentiality as well as parameters for reports, and even some admissibility considerations. He also includes suggested rules for responses during depositions, such as his 5-second rule for pausing to answer questions, and his 30-second rule for limiting the time used for elaborate answers.

Finally, he discusses the Supreme Court's Daubert case and the risks of expert disqualification that should be understood by both experts and attorneys before any case is actually offered to or accepted by an expert.

Since many experts have never actually testified at trial, Mr. McDonald includes some valuable slides on advice and preparations of an expert witness for trial proceedings. He further includes some suggestions for both the expert and his attorney regarding opinions and objectivity.

For the larger cases, such as many intellectual property matters become, this training program also provides information for effective management of the eventual work product and of a possible team of multiple experts.

Mr. McDonald's course is available at the National Expert Witness Network's website, in the About main menu choice, and in the 'Training' submenu choice.

By : Judd_Robbins

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sure Fire Steps to Profitability

"Any successful relationship, whether personal or business, is unique to every pair of individuals and evolves over time. It starts out tentative, fragile, full of unfulfilled possibilities and expectations. It grows stronger with experience and familiarity. It matures into trust and commitment.

As it deepens, it evolves through three phases: visibility, credibility, and profitability" states Dr. Ivan Misner along with David Alexander & Brian Hilliard in the New York Times Best Selling book, Networking Like a Pro Turning Contacts into Connections.

In my recent interview on my Navigating Change Radio Show, Dr. Misner explains a process of creating relationships in networking. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, growing relationships are essential to building a sustainable business. Many business owners make the mistake of meeting someone and immediately trying to get a sale before they've nurtured the relationship.

There are two really important steps before you jump to profitability suggests Dr. Misner. It's a process called VCP:


Visibility is about awareness. That is, you're visible to each other or a potential customer becomes aware of the nature of your business. You two begin to communicate and establish links. The greater your visibility, the:

• More widely known you become.
• More information you obtain about others.
• More opportunities you will be exposed to.
• Better your chances of being recognized as someone to whom others can or should refer business.

In this step, it's important that you obtain information about the other person with whom you are establishing visibility. Many entrepreneurs want to do what I call the verbal vomit, that is, they want to share all about their business with others and the other person doesn't get in a word. In this step, it is important to find out about the other person first. As the relationships deepen, you'll have your turn.


The next step in this process is Credibility. Only when you and a new acquaintance begin to form expectations and those expectations are fulfilled, your relationships enter this stage. Credibility is gained through reliability. In this stage you want to keep appointments, promises and do what you say you're going to do. This can also be gained through third parties. Here's where others you've done business with can create credibility, like through testimonials or even references.


When you've mastered visibility and demonstrated credibility, it is then you move into profitability. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of confusing direct selling and networking. In networking it is necessary to cultivate the relationships (as outlined in visibility and credibility.) It's when you've created a solid foundation in those two steps you move on. In profitability, the relationship is mutually rewarding and both partners are gaining satisfaction. The relationship probably won't endure if it doesn't profit both partners, states Dr. Misner.

With every process or formula there is an important element: time. It can happen quickly or take a year even three years. If you want a real life inspiration to the practicality of this process, listen to learn how Dr. Misner through one relationship went on to meet Chicken Soup for the Soul Author, Jack Canfield and music mogul, world adventurer and owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sir Richard Branson.

One change in the way you network today yields giant leaps later.

By : Lisa_Mininni

Experts Can Still Have Their Testimony Rejected by Courts Even If Their Work Is Proper

Do you know if standards and accreditations exist in your field? Do you meet the standards in your field as an expert? Did you obtain available accreditations in your specialty? Did you earn the license required in your specialty?

Did you obtain expected and available certifications in your specialty? Consider additional work to prepare yourself. Lawyers and the courts they serve want expert witnesses to look good on paper, sound good in court, and legitimately have the qualifications to be there.

You will hear the term 'admissibility.' A judge determines whether to 'accept' you, your credentials, and your work into the court. The judge has the 'gatekeeper' role and decides whether to allow you to present your work and your opinions in the courtroom. The opposing attorney may successfully present legal reasons why the judge should not admit your work into evidence.

Inadmissibility may not indicate that your work was poor, but it does declare that your work did not meet legal standards. This can be a damaging loss to your side and a great victory for the other side, and will successfully keep your work from ever being considered by the jurors.

Your retaining attorney has to deal with legal considerations regarding admissibility. However, you can help provide your opinion with a strong foundation by performing your work carefully, preparing it to meet standards, and presenting it well.

You cannot scrimp on care, and your work must meet the norms and standards of your industry. If you express an opinion that seems straightforward to you, it still may sound ridiculous in court if you based it on incomplete, poorly documented, or otherwise shoddy procedures.

A combination of regulatory agency, academic, and industry expertise will strongly support you in your role as an expert witness. Academic expertise alone, without hands-on work, can seem only theoretical and may lead to rigorous cross examination. Attorneys may capitalize on this weakness by presenting hypothetical questions that can be unpleasant during testimony because of your lack of real-world background.

Lack of industry background can come across as 'ivory tower syndrome,' a weakness found frequently in academic expert witnesses. Jurors may find you less believable and your opinions less acceptable.

Extensive industry qualifications will help you most when making a transition from just an industry expert to a litigation consultant. Jurors will easily recognize your expertise if they find out that you have worked as an industry expert for years. Attorneys will then find it unpleasant to discredit your credentials.

If you have worked for a law enforcement agency or governmental commission, at the state or federal level, you may have a built-in acceptability to jurors. While some jurors may have a bias against you because you worked for the government, government employ does bring a notable credential to the table on your behalf.

By : Judd_Robbins