Posts belonging to Category Time Management – Small Business



DESTRUCTIVENESS OF FEAR IN GROUPS

An attack is launched!  Fear breaks out!     

In the workplace – at a meeting of volunteers – in a group of some sort –  after millions of years of existence, we still don’t seem to know how to deal with them.  That one person – the bully – who has been allowed all their lives to bully!

In the workplace, these bullies destroy productivity because everyone is on guard all the time about everything that is said and done.  No one knows when the bully will target any particular individual and “nail that person” with something in order to agrandise the bully’s own ego.  Bullies claw and scratch people’s eyes out, figuratively.  Quite often these bullies become the boss because of their talent for turning on the charm to get what they want.  But look out – they’ll turn on you the minute they don’t need you any more!

The incidious  set up is this:  it is made to look like  a problem between two people – the bully and their target.  The bully seems credible in the accusations citing ‘authorities” to back up the arguments against the other person if necessary.   But, since no one else at that particular moment is the target, no one else gets involved and the boss often doesn’t intervene as the boss should. 

If you have had experience with them, you know the signs.  They pick on minor mistakes and they focus, usually, on one or two people at a time – usually one – after all, it must look like a feud between two people.  Why?  Because these bullies are usually cowards and will back down if they are confronted by a group of people.  Nobody ever said these bullies were stupid – they know the strategy.  The bully knows that if you get everyone angry with you the game is lost. 

Everyone fears them – that’s the way they set it up because one after another, they get rid of their target.  People get the message.  These bullies usually surround themselves with people just like themselves so often they run as a “pack” both internally and externally. 

It doesn’t take much to provoke bullies – just standing up for what you believe in will be enough to set them off!   The bully watches every single action and analyzes every single word intently and, when a mistake happens, they pounce with great force – they know how to twist the rules to their “side of the story”.  They sound so convincing too – they get people fired at worse, and at best, there are a lot of miserable people.

In organizations, especially volunteer organizations, they get themselves ingrained into the fabric as the “authority” of the organization.  And, again, they bring destruction to these groups too.  Again, no one stands up to them for a completely different set of reasons.

Bullies care about nothing.  They care about no one.  They are totally void of empathy, compassion and consideration for others.  They are always all consumed with what they want and getting it.  If you’re the person standing in their way or standing up against them, you’ll be targeted to be removed one way or another.

The time bullies waste – their own and everyone else’s – is gigantic! 

Once in a while, some person in a group is smart enough to spot the bullies early in the game.  They’ve seen it before or been the victim of such an attack.  They don’t fear.  They know how the game is played.  And this person knows what to do and quickly too – there is no time to waste to get rid of these bulllies!   If they are the boss, the bully is fired.  If not, then the person turns the table on the bully or uses their influence with the group to get rid of the bully.   The bully is ousted!  And everyone cheers!   

The terror is not over, however.  The bully moves on to other groups to orchestrate the reign of terror all over again – because it’s about ego – it’s not about anything else – they know few will stand up to them.   

If people learned, as a group, to stand up to these bullies early before the trail of destruction happens, we would all save a tremendous amount of time and stress!

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? OPERATIONS – WHO CARES?

ist1_5705386_gold_dubloonsWhat’s the big deal someone asked me.  This person felt that sales are everything.  It doesn’t matter if operations run amok as long as sales are high. 

The logic here is:  “If I’m making a lot of money, it doesn’t matter if my kid buys a Ferrari every month and wrecks it.  The money is there!?  

No one in their right mind would say such a thing but when people say that “sales is everything and nothing else counts” then it’s tantamount to saying the same thing.  (yes, I know, it’s called marketing today)

Take Government for instance –   spend, spend, spend – there’s more where that came from – and our taxes go higher and higher and higher – and then the ingenious bureaucrats come up with all kinds of new ways to tax us so that we don’t notice like new sales taxes or new transit fees or taxes on gasoline.  Inch by inch our income is taxed in one way or another while government continues wasting money as is readily apparent to taxpayers.  Do you even hear of anyone revamping government and cutting out waste?  They cut out jobs – it’s not the same thing!  In fact, it’s worse!  Now we have a government taxing us more than ever, reducing services by having fewer people in places where the public is being served – on the front lines –  increasing senior bureaucrats’ salaries and politicians’ as well as adding more and more expensive  perks for certain people while maintaining wasteful practices – doesn’t make sense, does it?

In your business or enterprise  or non-profit, you tax your clients too in a way.  If your expenses go up, then you increase your prices to secure the profit you are looking to achieve.  However, unlike government taxes where there are no limits, there is a limit what a client will pay for your services or products.  Do you first look at increasing sales or increasing efficiencies?

Here’s an example.  A company had a massive amount of material had to be shipped for events.  Operations were in chaos.

box - open with stuff sticking out

Just on the shipments alone, and there were many, at least half of the cost could have been saved  if operational efficiencies had been the norm to prevent the need for last-minute shipments.  Imagine that – at least 1/2 the cost saved!  That translated to thousands and thousands of dollars needlessly spent each and every month!  But hey, sales were everything and the millions kept rolling in – who cares about a few thousand dollars here and there?

A lot of people protest – but my workplace is not like that.  Really?  Did you ever try to call your place of business anonymously and ask typical questions which clients or would-be clients would ask?  Did you ever follow an order from beginning to end?  Did you talk to past customers who didn’t return?  Many people are surprised at what they find. 

Ah, and sometimes, the “boss” sees there’s a problem, blames everyone in the company and fires  all managers and executives.  Get some new blood in there –  what a stupid idea!

At a cost of around $40,000 or more to hire a new employee nowadays, is that truly cost efficient?  No.  Why?  Because it doesn’t solve the problem.  The problem is the “boss” – the lack of cohesiveness within the company which this person should be bringing to the operations is not happening.  If the boss can’t or won’t do it, then someone should.

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What will good operations provide?  It’ll save money.  It’ll make time consumption more effective. It’ll make your customers happier.  It’ll make your employees happier.  The company will grow logically and someone will be in control of hiring only the people absolutely necessary to enhance the operations.  The sales people will be happier because they won’t have to deal with unhappy customers.  And, the “boss” will be happier because the profits will be higher for less effort.

So, if this is so fantastic, then why don’t people make sure their operations are sound, efficient and effective?  Why indeed!

   

NOTHING COSTS YOU MORE TIME AND ENERGY THAN TECHNOLOGY!

Technology – a help or a hindrance – Technology was suppose to save us time!  And that is true for many processes we encounter every day – crunching numbers, finding directory information, researching, word processing, taking pictures and sharing them, etc., technology has made life much easier.

But . . . . go outside the main stream services and products just a little and . . . . BANG!  . . . . your time disappears into a black hole of technological marvels all telling you what each widget can do.  Great! 

Programmers – Lots of great programmers coming up with lots of new tools.  What they don’t tell you, are the glitches with applying each one.  You have to go here and you have to go there and you have to ask this person and that other support person and then you have to ask more questions (because they know their stuff but you don’t know what they know) – the time consumption is horrendous!  And, of course, you find out in articles that if you happen to pick the wrong basic thing and combine it with another wrong basic thing, you’ll have to start all over again!!! 

Segmentation & Specialization – The industry is so segmented and each component is so specialized, there’s no one out there thinking through the business aspects and linking everything.  – oh – correction – there could be – but another chunk of hours trying to find them because you’re likely not using the right terminology! . . . .I could be asking for an orange but I was suppose to ask for a navel orange . . . !!!!

Yes, it’s okay to have specializations – it’s necessary – the same as a mall – you have a clothing store, a shoe store, a drug store, a grocery store but they are all linked into one common thread – shopping and there’s a path from store to store.  Stores display their wares – warts and all – and store people help you figure out if something is right or wrong for you.

For instance, someone told me to start a blog on WordPress so I did and I have found it to be a very interesting process.  Because I’m learning, I have been doing a lot of research and am now starting to understand how I turn blogging into an on-line business. 

So, I think up an idea, I want to try it only to find out that I cannot do that on .com but I need to go now to .org of the same name company – huh????  For non-techie’s, this simply doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.  Why not just simply include it in upgrades and make it seamless for the consumer.

Now I have to figure out the difference between the two, find a web host, download .org software, and I’m on my own for all kinds of things like controlling spam.   Makes no sense at all to me.

If I were the company, I’d make it possible to add on some widgets on the sidebar the same as Blogger does – I don’t have to go to Blogger.org to do it – and I still get all the same coverage as just the regular old Blogger – simple – easy! 

Some can explain and their services are easier to integrate – I have spent hours now talking to AWebber who are so terrific in explaning technology easily and making their services so user friendly, it’s incredible!  If all online services studied AWebber about how to explain their to services to clients and how to make their product easy to use as well as how to use their product with other products, then all of this process would be simple.  AWebber know their stuff and are willing to help – they know they are the technology experts and the people using their services are often not nor do clients have the time to “figure it all out”.

Chewing Time to the Nth degree – So, the moral of the story – technology can chew up time like there is no tomorrow.  If you are entering into a new part of the technology world, expect to spend a huge amount of time sorting what’s what and practically becoming a techie yourself. 

It’s like this – getting into new technology is like buying a car in parts – you have to research and pick your own body, engine, drive shaft, transmission, ignition, etc  and understand what each part does, figure out if they are compatible and then you have to put it together yourself, do the mechanical repairs yourself and monitor your car with all kinds of gadgets to make sure it’s all working properly!  Oh, yes, and you’d have to know little tricks too like adding the transmission fluid – if you didn’t know these tiny little facts that likely no parts person would tell you, your transmission won’t work!  If anyone had to buy a car this way, there would be few people buying cars – in fact, the car industry would likely never sold a one!

Those who can help – yet another story – They say, well, there are techies who can help you.  Ah . . . . but . . . . that’s a whole other story altogether – which one?  for what purpose?  Unlike a car, there is no car mechanic who knows all the systems, how they are all work together and how to fix problems.  No, in technology, even for a small thing like a small website, you need a designer, a graphic designer, a SEO expert,  and the list goes on for just a simple website.

 Yes, you say, well get one already made.  Really?  Then, you have to figure out if the the company which is offering these “ready mades” will stay in business, are they reputable, do they offer large enough bandwidth, the amount of downtime they experience or not and the list goes on and on and on and on.  And, when you do arrive at the be all and end all of prefab websites, then you have to figure out all the plugins, shopping cards, merchant accounts, entering new products, creating new descriptions, uploading pictures (& hosting picture), and, there again, the list goes on and on and on.  See a Yahoo store – so popular today and some of the best prefabs you can get  – but it takes 1Choice 4 You – a whole company – to help you put it together properly so it all works as well as possible!  Great looking stores – prefab – but, again, it chews up time like mad!  Yes, it’s true – you can go to forums and blogs and get help – guess what???  More time is chewed up finding the good forums/blogs/etc. . . . .

And that time doesn’t include all the other things you need to do in order to give it yourbest shot at creating a viable business – business plans, product sourcing, capitalization, newsletters, customer service, etc. etc. etc. 

The difference – You say, well, if you had a brick and mortar store, you’d have to do leasehold improvements too – maybe – and once done, it was done – not so with websites – you continually have to work on them and keep them fresh.  Then you have to be connected to Twitter, Facebook, LindedIn – then you have webcasts, podcasts, webinars, etc.  And you have to intergrate all the old fashioned stuff too into your business plan – and both kinds – traditional paper and untraditional online advertising and promotion!

We are so connected to the internet now and the industry is still so “unconnected”, the challenges for the average person are overwhelming not to mention trying to understand lingo and instructions that don’t work because they missed a few steps that “you, the customer, should have known”. 

The industry needs work – Lots of great people in the industry – great online help in some cases – but if they only could sit where I sit and so many other people are sitting, they would be amazed at the maze created by the internet and technology.  It’s no wonder that many people just sparingly use the internet for find a phone number or get an answer to a question but to actually use the internet in any other way for most people is very, very difficult and time consuming.

For instance, if my blogging software company just made a “mall” type service as its business, it could be making a lot of money.  A person shouldn’t have to know from the beginning that there are 2 different categories of  – .com and .org and that each allow the user to do different things.  Make it one company – one thing – then offer people options as people who choose to grow with the software can take advantage of. 

Support only goes so far – Yes, the Support  has been terrific in answering questions but after 3 days I still have no idea what the transfer will take in order to do what I want to do.  It should be seamless – what I want to do is so simple, it should be seamless and should really take no more than a few clicks to accomplish – it’s just a matter of adding an opt in box onto my blog – simple.  Over 3 days of trying to get that done and I’m still nowhere!  All I wanted was to put an opt in box on my blog from AWebber!  That’s all – and all of this for just that!  The amount of material one has to read to do the simplest task is extraordinary!

So . . . small business people . . . be prepared for a long haul or throw money at it – and, then, again, you’ll have to make sure the money goes to the right people to do right things for what you want – in addition to just regular ‘getting into business’ processes.  Prepare for one heck of a journey!

It's raining today – and it's wonderful!

Today, we had rain – lots of it – with tiny glimpses of sun – and it was wonderful!  Weather is so fascinating – so interesting – and if you watch weather, it’s a lot like business – there are periods of sun, wind, storms, rain, sleet, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes, twisters, cloud, and combinations thereof.

If you think of your business this way, then it’s not surprising that, at times, you’ll feel what you feel as the circumstances of surrounding your business change.  Accept it.  Work with it.  Weather the storms no matter how great or turbulent or devasting – know they’re coming and so is the sunshine – good times, profitable times in your business.  That’s why it’s good to plan and work with your plan constantly to make the necessary adjustments for the business climate at any given moment.  What you can foresee, you can adjust for – if you don’t know the weather report, you’ll not bring your umbrella!

Time spent reviewing and adjusting your plan is time well spent – every single week – make it a habit that every Friday you review your plan and make the changes – better to make tiny incremental changes than to face a hurricane!

 

VAGUENESS – A HUGE TIME WASTER

To be vague – is to be lost as a result of not  understanding what you are either trying to do or think or say.

A professor mine in stats taught me a great lesson and certainly it has served me my whole life. 

He used to give us all the questions ahead of the exam which was quite unusual all in itself.  Here is how is system worked:

–  students were to practice answering each of the questions ahead of the exam.  Why?

–  because, at exam time, you were required to answer the questions in 60 words or less otherwise you were docked marks for every single word over 60!!!  Quite a concept, huh?

Well, it worked.  I can tell you it worked like a charm!  If you did the work ahead of exam time, you really, truly understood the concepts taught in the course.  The confidence it gave you was tremendous.  Why?  Because, in your mind, the concepts were very, very clear and understood so you could write them down often in less than 60 words. 

So when you see long, long writing about a topic and it seems to go around in circles which happens very frequently in today’s world, you know the person has no understanding of the topic so they try to bamboozle people with a lot of unnecessary words.  We say we have very little time and yet we tolerate this kind of communication.

Try it in your life – whenever you are vague about something – try writing the idea or concept in 60 words.  I guarantee one thing – if you can express it in 60 words or less, you’ll understand it.  It takes work, thinking and reworking the words until you reach the heart of the matter.

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