Thursday, November 23, 2006

Stingy by Nature

According to a journal article in Science, when it comes to money, sharing isn't our natural impulse. Benedict Carey reports on this claim in "Just Thinking About Money Can Turn the Mind Stingy," in The Wall Street Journal. In an experiment involving 52 undergraduates, individuals who were primed to think about money worked on a difficult problem longer and were less likely ask for help or offer help. These "money thinking" students also placed themselves physically father from other people in a room (16 inches farther apart). The researchers in this experiment suggest that the effect of money on people's interactions can be seen in everyday life, as those with financial resources often hire people instead of asking acquaintances for help. George Lowenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, says "'this study shows its pernicious side, how the pursuit of money can be isolating.'"

Build a stronger business by emphasizing aspects of business other than money.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pick Well When You’ll be in Tight Quarters

Extreme work environments call for a rigorous vetting system. No matter how much enthusiasm people might have for, say, working on a submarine, they may not be suited for it. But after the submarine has left port and after it descends several thousand leagues below the surface, it’s too late to make those conclusions; pre-testing is a must.

When the United States Navy fills the ranks of its submarine crews, it depends on detailed psychological screening for its officers and enlisted men to determine who is the most vulnerable and place them in a position better suited to their abilities.

An intimidating 250-question evaluation is administered and from this, 27 aspects of mental fitness are evaluated and compared with previously tested students. The screening is designed to weed out the obvious – people with claustrophobia, as well as those vulnerable to depression, isolation, anxiety, depression, aggression and suicidal thoughts.

If you take the time to properly screen your employees, you can filter out ones who don’t match your expectations or work environment and you’ll build a stronger business.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mind Over Money Goes Further

Money. Sure it provides you with merchandise, keeps a roof over your head, puts food on your table and keeps the tax man away. But the real incentives are things we reward ourselves with for good work. Travel or a piece of furniture has a trophy value in a way that cash on its own does not possess.

A reward in the form of a vacation to a tropical paradise can offer mind share – a psychological boost and improved attitude.

Staci Fleecer, a marketing team group leader with ITA Group, says timing is an important consideration to generate mind share from your initiatives. If the goal is to educate, gain mind share or change attitudes, motivation or behavior, it can be more effective to reinforce those efforts over a long period of time such as between six to 12 months.

Often a psychological pay-off can be more effective than money when you are working to build a stronger business.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Survey Reveals that Ethical Aspirations Do Not Always Jibe with Reality

The majority of people would prefer to deal with ethical companies even if they charge higher prices, but given Americans’ passion for bargains is that really true in practice?

Hubert B. Herring’s article in The New York Times, “A Company’s Ethics Do Concern Shoppers (Or So They Say)” looks at a survey of 2,000 adults in December 2005 by Opinion Research for LRN a consulting firm for business ethics and governance. It revealed that 74% of participants said they would prefer to buy products from a company with ethical business practices and higher prices. About 18% said they would opt for products with cheaper prices from a company with questionable business practices.

Herring muses that the results reveal a basic tenet of human nature — that people would like to believe they are principled enough to avoid the lure of a cheap price tag.

If you appeal to people’s better nature and understand the market realities that drive consumer purchases, you will build a stronger business.

Dig Up Some Good Prospects

The Internet is a veritable goldmine of leads, prospects and networking with other prospectors. Here are some useful urls to get you started.
The website encourages business owners and salespeople to meet up and trade leads. Weekly 75-minute meetings provide a forum in which members make a brief presentation and exchange leads collected the previous week.
Contact: 1-800-783-3761
For getting mailing listings this is the place to go. Go to DMA Service Locator Database to track down 1800 supplier listings and service providers. Contact: 212-768-7277
Provides access to 360,000 U.S. manufacturers and their decision makers. Users can hyperlink to relevant companies and download leads to contact management software such as GoldMine or SalesLogix
Contact: 1-800-888-5900
Dun and Bradstreet’s website offers a customized approach for users; a cross sell model evaluates whether the customer is a good prospect. Another feature identifies common characteristics of a user’s most successful customers.
Contact: 1-800-440-3867

By equipping yourself with the best prospect leads and networking websites you can add to your resources and it will help you build a stronger business.