Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How to Get Your People Moving

It’s true. We’re all different. What inspires one person will leave another cold. That’s why you need to tailor your motivational strategies for each of your employees.

Cynthia Berryman-Fink and Charles B Fink’s book, The Manager’s Desk Reference, offers some useful tips to help you on your way.

Some people are driven by the need to prove themselves and do an effective job on their assignments. These are among the easiest people to motivate because they are self-motivated. Just delegate the right projects and if they’re challenging enough they will consistently produce.

Others are driven by power. They derive satisfaction from driving others. If you give them the power to lead people and direct projects they shouldn’t disappoint.

For those whose mantra is there’s no “I” in team, respond by ensuring they collaborate with other people on projects providing plenty of opportunities for the human interaction they crave.

Some people work best independently. If you give them the power to make their own decisions and set their own schedule it will help liberate them to be more productive.

Positive reinforcement drives some employees to strive higher. For these staff members, give them the praise they crave and provide plenty of feedback whenever appropriate.

Still other people need to feel safe and protected to function to the highest expectations. Do them a favor and make them feel rewarded. By ensuring they have a steady income, a safe work environment and predictable work, a decent salary and benefits they will reward you with hard work and loyalty.

Equality is important to everyone but some are more sensitive about it than others. The perception of equality is more important to them so try to respect their sensitivities.

By understanding what makes your employees tick you’ll play to their strengths and to your own which will help you build a stronger business.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Web Tools to Help Build Your Business

Here's an example of someone who made a false start with e-marketing, reported in "Help With Your Business, Often Free, on the Web" in The New York Times. Jennifer Gordon, a Chicago based handbag designer, attempted to promote her products through an e-mailed newsletter. However, she found that incorrect e-mail lists and outdated addresses led to undeliverable e-mail. Additionally, once a newsletter was sent out, she had no means of knowing if the document was ever opened.

But there are tools that can help you avoid the same pitfalls. Google Apps for Your Domain is a free group of web-based services. Small business owners can access tools to manage their website, as well as tools such as e-mail and instant messaging.

Numerous sites can also assist you with blogging. Ramon Ray, the publisher of, suggests that small business owners create blogs to increase Web rankings. Tools on (owned by Google) and provide free assistance. Also, provides advanced blog features for $5/month. Another useful web tool allows numerous individuals to share and edit a document, kept on a company's server ( and

Build a stronger business by using powerful tools readily available on the web.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Making Connections through Visual Art

Photo Periodic Table Posters is a really interesting example of how through pursuing a vision an entrepreneur can produce a unique product in a crowded category.

Theodore Gray has produced:
The Most Beautiful Periodic Table Poster in the World!

Take a look at the detailed views and gain inspriation that you can apply to your own product line.

When you want to build a stronger business, standing out through superior products is a great way to go.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Who Done It for Business Decision Makers

It’s what separates the management from the staff, but decision-making responsibilities can stress you out or make you lose sleep and make you vulnerable to making the wrong decisions.

Author Hari Singh’s book, “Framed! Solve an Intriguing Mystery and Master How to Make Smart Choices”, wraps his solutions for managers in a mystery novel.

Singh teaches a course on decision-making to his MBA students at the Seldman College of Business at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. One reason that decision-making is so hard for some is that the decisions they make affect them too.

Singh presents an overview of three models for decision-making highlighted in his book.

• A woman is deciding whether to move her business to a new shopping mall because the downtown location is losing its luster. The owner lists the two options and gives favorable factors for each. Add the value of the factors up to decide which one is the best choice.

• Suppose there are other factors to consider with this same business. Perhaps the woman wants to sell the store or move to a suburban location. List the options horizontally and list the attributes vertically; give each attribute a numerical score. Multiply the score by the significance rating and tally the results below.

• Say the store owner has made a decision about the location, e.g.: the shopping mall. The challenge is to then identify: the objective, the main players (the landlord, work force, customers); the driving forces (growth of the area around the mall, the influence she can have such as community involvement and advertising) and project likely outcomes (will it work?).

• When you have an important decision take the necessary time to not only think about what you need to do, but to gain perspective. So many business decisions are made on the spur of the moment.

• If you ask the right questions you’re more likely to reach the right conclusions. Seek out viewpoints that you disagree with, get external options and develop ideas to adequately look at all possible options.

• Get new information.

If you take the time to review your options in a measured and considered way, you’ll make the right decisions and build a stronger business.

Financial Advisors Become Life Advisors

It’s important to articulate your deep-seated interests when you sit down with a financial advisor so they can advise you the best way to plan sensibly while meeting your life goals, says Jonathan Clements in “Touchy-Feely Finances: How to Find Out What You Really Want from Your Money,” in The Wall Street Journal.

But just try asking someone such a simple, direct question and watch how long it takes these desires to bubble to the surface.

Compounding this is the need for financial advisors to be objective and not seen to be exerting undue influence over them.

Values-Based Financial Planning author Bill Bachrach advises people to have a considered chat with their partner to at least initiate a soul searching process to flesh-out their spending priorities in life.

Bachrach recommends asking basic questions such as “What’s important about money for you,” and using that as a leaping off point for free association, getting more and more specific with each question.

Another exercise to formulate spending interests is drawing a wheel hub with nine spokes representing work, finances, interests, relationships, physical and emotional health and obligations and rate each aspect of your life on a scale of one to 10 according to your level of satisfaction with each one. Put “10” on the rim of the wheel and a “zero” at the hub. Connect the dots to determine how well-rounded your life is.

If you can develop a spending strategy that is sensible while meeting your leisure interests you’ll improve your quality of life and build a stronger business.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Complaint is the Mother of Blog Invention

Business travel bloggers do not have the numbers to make a substantial difference because their Business travelers can be a demanding bunch because their travel experience informs them what makes for a good hotel stay and what leads to a poor one. Steve Broback thought he negotiated a good deal on a hotel room in New York City until he found that Internet connection was not included in his bill, even though he had been assured it would be.

So he got out his computer and created a blog called starting with how annoyed he was at his experience. The hotel saw it and offered to refund the difference. VoilĂ ! A blog is born.

One blogger blanched at Northwest Airline’s proposal to slap a $15 charge on certain popular economy class seats a fee that would also be applied to its elite-level. Travelers. Mark Ashley, who writes Upgrade: Travel Better , as well as other bloggers, criticized the move. The outcry led to an about face by the airline which hastily dropped the policy.

Marriott Hotels takes bloggers so seriously it offered to include them on press trips before extending the invite to print media. A member of its communication department was assigned to monitor blogs and find out what they were saying. It also started pitching exclusive news items to bloggers, ensuring Marriott’s information would get on the Internet faster. One of those bloggers on the receiving end of Marriott’s campaign is Gary Leff, a blogger who publishes View from The Wing .

Some bloggers have not let the euphoria of success go to their heads, though. Edward Jasbrouck is quick to point out that even though he wrote a “horror story” about the Transportation Security Administration, on his blog, The Practical Nomad the comments received no response.

Time is limited as they are, well traveling frequently for business, reckons JD Lasica of Shel Holtz, author of the blog Road Weary is a seasoned business traveler who believes that the business travel community isn’t blogging to its full potential. However, she is convinced this will change in a few years.

It will likely take a momentous story for business travel blogging to make its influence felt, says Alex Halavais, a “blogging expert” and assistant professor at Quinnipiac University.

Like most things, blogging does not become a compelling argument for change unless many people take the time to participate. By calling on people to share their experiences online, an argument for change can be effectively made. Companies like yours will benefit and you’ll build a stronger business.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Giving Spam Attention Perpetuates It

The platinum rule when it comes to reducing spam is:

"Spam only exists because it works."

If it didn't work, it would die out quickly because no one would pay the spammers to propagate messages to the multitudes.

Why does spam work? Easy -- because it targets base human motives including vanity, lust, and greed. Those are the big 3, and they're not going away anytime soon.

However in a NYT business article Stocks Tips from Spam aren't Just Silly. They're Costly, Mark Hulbert provides an analysis of how spam works to inflate a stock's price in certain circumstances. The stock price of a targeted Pink Sheet company goes up during the peak of the spam initiative, then drops back down within a few days.

Look at this chart and guess when the spam sponsors bought and sold their shares. The perpetrators buy how and sell high basedon a predictable pattern; their "suckers" pay for the price lift up and take the loss when the stock price deflates.

Saturday, September 02, 2006