Friday, November 9, 2012

Create a Culture for Success

What is a culture for success? How do we ensure that we get the best results from the people we work with or for? Many people think of success in organizations as belonging solely to the marketing dept - "we've brought in $10million in sales" or finance - "our stock price has doubled in the last six months." But each of us is responsible for the success of our organizations.
No matter what department we work in.
Creating a culture for success requires that we look at everything we do and see how it fits into the whole. Then, we look to the processes that could be changed or improved in order for the organization to be successful.
These 4 steps can add up to winning big.
Communicate optimism.
Begin by looking at yourself. Do you radiate success? When you come to work do you hum "take this job and shove it" or do you energetically belt out "don't rain on my parade"? Are you optimistic about how the day will go and do you communicate that optimism to everyone you come in contact with? It doesn't take much to communicate optimism. A smile - an encouraging word - a zest for the work at hand - they all help to convey positive demeanor.
Don't blame the competition.
So you've got really tough competitors out there? Sneaky, underhanded, unethical- making up rumors about you- they're just looking for any opportunity to steal your clients away from you. I don't think so. Competition will always be with us. And not everyone will do business the way you want to. did they get it in the first place? What was missing in your product or service? Look at your weakness and confront it. Then do something about it. Your competition can't steal business from you. You don't own those revenues, the clients do. It's up to them to make sure they're getting the best product or service or value for the dollars being spent.
Identify simple improvements.
You don't have to concentrate on just the big jobs that need to be done. Sometimes the best improvements are the simple ones. A rain drop doesn't end a drought but many rain drops will.
Never say "can't".
This is a personal favorite. I've sat in many meetings listening to people say "can't" to the solutions that would create successful products or promotions. For example, you don't know if the marketing campaign you are working on is bringing in the specific type of accounts you wanted because you can't mine the database properly. Well, figure out how you can. Even if a solution is an up-front cost- figure how much will it cost you not to implement. Don't be afraid to use simple solutions. Can't automate a process right now? Figure out how it can be done by hand. There is always a work around solution to a problem.
Creating a culture for success isn't really that difficult. It doesn't always require in-depth market research or focus groups. It does require that each person in an organization take personal responsibility to be as successful as possible. Whether it's a business, social, religious, or fraternal organization, creating a culture for success starts with you.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Psychology of Urgency

"I'll think it over and get back to you." "Sure, we'll do that someday." "I need to check with my colleagues." "Give me a call next month, then we can set a date."
Tired of excuses? Looking for a more successful way to get others to take immediate action?
For the last century, psychologists have been studying simple persuasion tactics that will allow you to motivate people and get the results you desire. This article focuses on using the psychology of persuasion to create a sense of urgency in your customers.
The Psychology of Limited Resources
The first strategy for getting people to take immediate action is to present yourself or your product as "limited," "scarce," or "in demand."
Why? People want what they can't have. Repeatedly, psychologists have shown that human beings find more value in things that they have a hard time obtaining.
If you tell people that they can't have something, they end up wanting it more! You may have experienced this in your own life. Have you ever found yourself interested in a home or a car and then discovered that someone else may try to buy it first? If you're anything like me, the item becomes even more valuable to you. You are more motivated to get it.
Do You Want It? You Can't Have It!
This is an important point for sales and marketing purposes. Car salespeople are quick to let us know that, "This is the last model of its kind available on the entire lot--after it goes, that's it." Newspaper and television ads constantly remind us that the "sale ends soon," that "supplies are limited" and that "time is running out."
Some retail stores create motivation by putting "sold" tags on merchandise that they have a hard time selling. When customers see the "sold" tag, they become more interested in buying the item.
Infomercials place a ticking clock at the end of the advertisements. They say, "Order before the clock runs out and you will also receive a free set of knives."
Getting Immediate Results
When I first started speaking and consulting, it was hard for me to get business. I made the error of telling potential customers that I would be available whenever they were ready to hire me. Big mistake.
It wasn't until I became so busy that I had to start turning customers away that I was able to charge what I am worth. When they felt as if they couldn't have me, they wanted me more. When I was inaccessible, they became anxious and assigned more value to my service. This sense of urgency has had a huge impact on my business.
Here are three steps that you can use to create a sense of urgency in others:
1. Set a deadline. People are natural procrastinators. Without a deadline--and the potential risk of losing something--people will wait until they collect more information, talk it over with their spouses, or save more money. By setting a deadline, you create an inner drive helps them take action.
2. Remind them that your offer is "limited." Always present your opportunity as being limited with regards to time or quantity. If someone asks you whether you have a certain product in stock, don't say, "Oh, yeah, we have tons of them." The better approach is to say, "Yeah, we have some, but they go fast."
3. Play hard to get. Remember, people want what they can't have. By sounding too available, you're diminishing your value. By sounding somewhat unavailable, you're greatly increasing your value. Never say, "Oh, yes, I'm available any day next week." Instead, use the more powerful and persuasive approach by saying, "Hmmm, I'm very busy next week, but I might be able to squeeze you in."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Product Idea to Product Success

Michelangelo once said that his statue of David was embedded in the block of marble and he merely chipped away the edges to reveal it. Is your product idea inside your mind just waiting to come alive? Or, is your product already formed and you need only to smooth out the edges?
Using my Market-Step process your idea will come to life as we progress in the following steps from idea to launch.
1. Market Evaluation
2. Concept Evaluation
3. Prototype Creation and Evaluation
4. Patent Decision
5. Planning
6. Development
7. Product Launch
1. Market Evaluation
2. Concept Evaluation
3. Prototype Creation and Evaluation
4. Patent Filing
5. Product Proposal
6. Company Search
7. Negotiate Deal
* Protect Your Idea
When you have an idea, you need to protect it. The first line of defense is to set the date of conception. Start by documenting your idea in an inventor's notebook, but don't file a patent until you evaluate its marketability.
* STEP 1: Market Evaluation
Start the Market-Step process by evaluating the marketability of your invention. With a quick evaluation of the market, you screen out bad ideas before wasting time and money. Your invention is marketable when it solves a problem, meets a need or want, overcomes competition (products and patents), and generates a profit.
* STEP 2: Concept Evaluation
The second step of the Market-Step process is to determine if people like your invention concept. A concept evaluation is an easy-to-use survey method you can create yourself. The results provide you with valuable feedback so you have a better feel whether to proceed with your invention. In addition, a concept evaluation allows people an opportunity to provide helpful suggestions and advice.
* STEP 3: Prototype Evaluation
The third step is to create a prototype and have an evaluation. A prototype can be a physical model, detailed drawing, or animation. With a prototype, you obtain opinions to make sure you're on the right track. In addition, a prototype evaluation helps you uncover any necessary feature changes before moving onto the next stage.
Marketable? After each of the first three steps, you need to review the evaluation results to determine if your invention is marketable. If results are encouraging, advance to the next step. If results are mixed, you might need to go back and revise your idea and re-test. If results are discouraging, revise the invention or cancel the project entirely to save yourself time and money and move on to your next idea.
Now that you have an overview of the steps, my book Product Idea to Product Success takes you through the details of the Market-Step process, one step at a time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Ways to Turn Small Projects into Professional Success

I know that there have been people with the title of Project Manager for many years, and there has been a growing body of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques in the area of project management for a long time. Yes, there have always been projects. But never before has it been so important for every person to be able to lead, manage or participate in projects of all sizes.
The Quality movement of the 80's and 90's taught people everywhere that work is a process - that we can look at our work in this way to make improvements, large and small. The improvement came in part because it got people to think about their work in new ways.
Work is still a process, but many jobs have less of a process focus than they once did. Technology has driven some of this change - many steps that used to be manual and labor intensive are now handled by computers and their related tools. But expectations and needs have changed too. With technology and ever streamlined processes, organizations have looked to people at all levels in the organization to do more than manage or work in a process, they expect people to do project work too.
Once you recognize that your job expectations, regardless of your job title, include initiating, leading and completing projects your focus changes. Now you have to develop or use some different skills and behaviors than were required in the daily ritual. Now you have to think differently and act differently, because the world has changed.
While my advice applies to the big company-wide initiatives - there are many resources to help you with that in-depth knowledge. My focus is on the small improvement project; planning the next company meeting, the redistribution of Customers among salespeople, and a thousand more - the smaller pieces of work that are projects, even if we haven't thought of them in that way.
Here are five things you can do starting today to excel with these small team or personal projects.
1. The assignment is just the start. Projects may come to you dressed as tasks or assignments. Stop. Don't just take the assignment. If you want to make a difference you have to listen to the assignment, and then start creating the project. Ask questions to further understand the situation. Investigate the big picture. Find out what the root cause of the request really is. Often leaders (and all of us) have a problem, come up with a solution then get someone to implement the task we identified - and too often that solution is only a band-aid, or won't solve the problem at all. The first way to excel in project work is to refine and redefine the project until it is something that really matters and can have real impact.
2. Fall in love (with your project). As you are re-crafting and re-tooling your project you should be creating something that you can be passionate about. This won't be hard if you have truly turned it into something that matters.
3. Sell your new project. Once you have done #1, you've changed the project forever. This isn't about getting people to "buy-in" to your new scope and vision of the project, though you certainly need that. This is about getting people to get it - to see how this project can have real value. To help them see that the annual meeting can be more than the same old event, with a tweaked agenda, but that it can be a catalyst for organizational change. In short, your task here is to get people to love the project the way you do. (Hint, if you haven't done #2, this is going to be hard!) This will not only get you the official resources you need but will lead to all sorts of other help coming your way. People want to work on juicy stuff - and your project will have the juice.
4. Chunk the plan. I said chunk, not chuck! You need a plan for your project. But too often the plan is too big and too rigid. Take your plan and turn it into smaller tasks. Use the plan like a road map. When I open my atlas it has views of the whole country, an individual state and of some cities. Your plan should expand and contract like that too. Don't forget to build the city maps - because in your projects that is where the real work gets done - one well designed task at a time.
5. Finish strong. Too many projects don't quite finish. They had a good plan. They got most of the way there, but the bow never got put on the present. You have a project that you love, so you will always finish strong, right? You will have sold the project and its possibilities so people will be anxious to move you on to the next big thing. Resist this temptation until you finish strong. Make sure the project delivers on as much of your initial vision as it possibly can. Then celebrate your success!
6. Put in the effort. Any project that you love is going to require a lot of effort. If you love it, it might not always feel like work - but it will still take lots of energy, focus, and sweat. If you want the project to make a difference, be willing to invest in it.
Applying the lessons in these five areas (plus the all-important #6) and continuing to strengthen these skills are one of the best ways to develop your value both to your current organization and in the marketplace. Organizations need people who can get their hands around work and turn it into great results. Starting today, that is you.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Feng Shui Office

Things to take into account at the time to look for feng shui office harmony.
At the time to look for feng shui office harmony, there are many important things to consider and to use in order to achieve your search for harmony goal. Through this article we will provide you with some of the most important feng shui office evaluation techniques.
The main thing to have into account, according not only to feng shui office tips but to feng shui in general, is the energy flow within the place. This energy, called chi, should be able to flow freely through your office in order to allow you think without disturbances.
A next important aspect to consider in your feng shui office evaluation is the position your desk is placed. Your desk should allow you to sit facing the door and with your back pointing at a wall. You should be able to easily see if someone enters the office as well as have a wall as a protection.
Although your desk should allow you to easily see the door, it should not be placed directly across to it. Feng shui office knowledge points that a desk placed directly across the door allows all the energy flow go directly to you. And another important thing to have into account about your desk position is that it should not be facing a wall since the wall would act as an obstacle.
Feng shui office indications also teach that the area that is right directly in front of where you sit at your desk should be clear and without objects disturbing you. This space should allow your energy to flow freely without obstacles, in order for you to easily achieve your projects and goals.
Another important feng shui office tip is that office machines and other objects should never be at the center of the room. Objects in general and specially machines are an obstacle for the flow of energy which ideally should be able to travel freely within the room.
According to feng shui office indications, your office shape is also important and it should be square or rectangle shaped. It should also have a window which allows the entrance of natural light in the room. These aspects would help you feeling relaxed and comfortable in your office.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Strategy for Attracting Higher Paying Client

Some people have little difficulty attracting and
maintaining higher paying clients. Others can't get to
first base. Higher paying clients consume less time,
exchange energy instead of zapping yours, have higher
regards for your relationship, give more referrals, pay on
time, and this in turn allows you to make higher profits.
When asked how I recommend raising client's fees, I answer
honestly, "It's very difficult." Why? Let me share this
story, one I'm sure you can relate to. You go to the store
to buy more of something you like but you don't have to
have. Before you paid $10 and now its $15. You play with
the package and stand there rethinking your need, it's value
and also wondering if can find it cheaper elsewhere. You
leave empty-handed or buy something else. If your price is
higher, their reaction gets magnified.
Another angle is to increase their deal, add something to
the pot, something of perceived value. It can work if
handled correctly. A value added item could be a client-
only monthly teleclass or access to a membership-only
website. An infopreneur can add client-only informational
To collect higher fees, you will most likely need to change
demographics, your mindset, internal and external language,
marketing strategy and materials.
Here is a list of ten barriers that might be interfering
with attracting higher paying clients:
1. Equal stature. People take the time to listen to people
who are as or more important than they are. Are you at
their listening level? Do you dress and act the way they
do? Phone interactions require mirroring their language and
thinking. Can you speak their language? Or do you need to
learn. Talk as equals. Learn their mindset and shift
yours. If your values are too different, then find another
market. If stature doesn't match, they will smell it like
cabbage cooking in a kitchen. Show a similar state of
authority, confidence, and posture. Walk, talk, and sit the
way they do. If their mannerisms are too assertive for you,
either raise yours up or find another market.
2. Thoroughly know each of their challenges and what
solutions you provide that answer each challenge. What
problems are they experiencing? How can you make their life
or business easier? People take the path of least
resistance. Be that path. Higher paying people are proud
of their world and their decisions. They feel they deserve
it, they took the risk that the average person doesn't take,
and you need to give them that respect but also have your
3. Be friendly with them but don't allow them to manipulate
your time or energy. Normally, higher paying professionals
know how to delegate and leverage and they will use this
technique to test you. Be friendly with their
administrative assistants, receptionist, or other
gatekeepers but don't bribe them with flowers or something
to get in the door. That worked years ago but the trend now
is tacky. And, yes, they will always report your language
and behavior back to their paycheck controller.
4. The higher their status, the more likely they will be
visionary people. Learn how visionary people think, their
viewpoints, and language. Visionaries surround themselves
with people who believe in their visions. Listen to their
visions and respect them. They have the wherefore to make
them happen. Support their visions in any way you can.
Provide something that answers a step to their vision, even
if it something outside the scope of your service or
product. Do they need a referral or can't find something,
do the research for them.
5. The higher you go, the more they expect from your
service. They expect special care and outstanding service.
They know their money can buy it and they demand it. Don't
deliver anything less. They know what you provide and what
your competitors provide; you must know this as well.
6. Integrity is usually one of their top five values.
Always keep your promises and they will keep the
relationship. Even if they break theirs, you will need to
keep yours. The higher you go, the less you ever want to
break a promise. You probably will not get a second chance.
It's like sitting in Donald Trump's boardroom and he says,
"You're fired."
7. Don't brown nose. It's a cabbage thing. If they smell
it, they will either quick answering your calls or play you
for entertainment and then toss you away. If you get this
label, just move on.
8. People that earn more money substitute the word "mistake"
for "learning lesson." If you don't share this philosophy,
change it. It's a good one to change any way. They
experience life and don't worry about the valleys. The
mistake belief holds an underlying fear. Fear is energy and
has a smell, and they sense it, easily.
9. Their first response to your proposal will always be "how
can they do it with their own resources." Expect this to be
their first immediate thought. Prepare to be able to
demonstrate what you offer is what they can't find within
their own resources -- they can't match it without more
effort or a different focus. This will earn you brownie
points towards a sale.
10. The higher the stature, the higher leveraging skills
they learned. Leveraging also includes negotiating. The
number one skill I recommend people getting in business is
to learn how and when to negotiate and how people think when
they are in negotiation mode. The game changes with
decisions need to be made and the cards are on the table.
Higher paying clients don't connect business and pleasure.
You will want to learn how to do the same. They may win in
business and have drink with your afterwards. Learn to let
go quickly.
11. The first "no" is always a test. Don't take it
personally or as the final answer but make sure you have the
right match. Listen if they say no and give three reasons
why not. This is a firmer no and they are telling you what
they need (the reasons). It's your turn to tell them if you
can answer those reasons. If not, you loose, negotiation
12. When you are looking for higher paying clients, look for
people who see your product or service as not only valuable,
but also essential to their goals or objectives.
13. Know what your service or product is worth and stand by
that value. Discount isn't in your vocabulary or theres.
Don't make it yours and speak of it first or even second.
Only speak of it if they are willing to show you the money
now and it leads to a higher value for something.
14. Remove the "under earner" mindset behind. If you have
more money then they do because of what you do, don't talk
down to them, or make them feel inferior in any way.
15. Make it easy for them to work with you. Remove any
hoops or extra steps that take up their time. They are very
time sensitive. If it takes chasing you down by phone, they
will not bother. If you don't answer their emails within a
comfortable time for them, they will move on and accomplish
whatever was on their agenda without you. When they do
contact you, rest assured, it's important. They don't waste
their time.
16. Decide in advance, how you are going to hand any
rejections or protests. What, when, where and how will you
follow-up? What back doors can you come in from -- with
integrity, of course?
17. High presentation quality required. If they feel
comfortable seeing a slide presentation, don't use a hand-
drawn flip chart. If you don't know, ask a few of their
current suppliers and a staff member.
18. Set up a sophisticated referral-marketing program. It
really is who you know in their circle. Find their circle
and consistently show up. Not to market but to build
relationships and make connections. When they like you,
you're in.
19. Be confident about your attraction. Feel the energy of
the universe, sense it's attraction, remove any doubt and
believe in it 100%. Know that it will occur and allow
attraction to enter and be a total part of your life and
Are you ready for this step up? Attracting higher paying
clients when you previously didn't, takes commitment,
planning, and changing. Jump in without the all the
answers, and tweak. It's guaranteed to work, that's the way
the Law of Attraction works.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Business Bureau Name To Commit Scams

The Better Business Bureau recently issued a national alert to warn consumers and businesses about two questionable operations that are falsely using the BBB name to scam victims.
One business is perpetrating an advance fee loan scam that targets consumers and businesses with poor credit records. It has provided as a reference fictitious BBB phone numbers that are answered by representatives who falsely claim to be with the Better Business Bureau and provide a positive report on the business in question.
The other entity, which appears to be a telemarketer, is contacting local businesses, falsely stating to be from the BBB and calling about a complaint or to update BBB files. The telemarketer proceeds to ask questions that have nothing to do with BBB business and leaves as a contact number 1.800.CALL.BBB.
"Bureaus across the country are reporting calls from victims. These scammers are falsely using the Better Business Bureau name to try to gain credibility with potential victims," said Ken Hunter, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. "We urge people to double-check with their local BBB whenever they receive a dubious phone call or see the BBB name tied to a questionable promotion. We're easy to find in the telephone directory.
A company called Kirkland Russell and Thomson (KRT), supposedly located in Houston, advertises loans to individuals and businesses. KRT representatives claim that the business is a member of the BBB and suggest that interested customers call fictitious phone numbers for the "Southwestern Division of the BBB in Oklahoma City" and the BBB of Metropolitan Houston to request the company's BBB report.
"The company is using the BBB name as a shill for its business. These are not the phone numbers of the BBB's in Oklahoma City and Houston. And, neither Bureau has issued a satisfactory report on KRT. The company has produced and is distributing a fake, glowing BBB reliability report," Hunter warns.
According to complaints to the BBB, KRT tells customers that they have been approved for a loan and must send a fee for "insurance." KRT asks that the fee, often about $2,000, be wired to various addresses in Canada and New York. Consumers are required to submit personal information, such as Social Security number, bank account number and pay stubs.
"People have not received their loan, nor have they had their money refunded," the BBB in Houston states. Consumers in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and other states have been targeted.
BBB staff members have confirmed that there is no business by the name of Kirkland Russell and Thomas at the company-provided address in Houston. The Council of Better Business Bureaus sent a letter to KRT Financial Group regarding BBB trademark infringement and false advertising; it has not received a response.
The BBB warns individuals and businesses not to pay in advance for a loan and to never send personal financial information to unknown businesses.
BBB members in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington have reported that they were contacted by an individual posing as a BBB employee.
The callers generally claim to be phoning about a BBB complaint or to "update" BBB files. They attempt to solicit information that is not normally required in order to conduct business with or be a member of the BBB. The callers ask for names of various managers (the head of finance or information technology) and the number of work stations at that business location. Businesses have reported that the callers became rude and used threatening language when questioned about the BBB's need for such information or the nature of the complaint.
The callers leave a 1.800.CALL.BBB (225-5222) as their contact phone number. That phone number, which is NOT owned by the BBB, is constantly busy. Some businesses report that the caller gave the name "Dave Sebastian". Other names that have been used are Claude Ashley and Frank. One caller spoke with a foreign accent.
"Businesses need to be aware that any representatives from the BBB would clearly identify themselves and leave a working phone number. We seek the voluntary cooperation of businesses to resolve disputes and would not hesitate to provide details concerning a complaint," Hunter said. "If you receive a call from anyone representing the BBB and are unsure as to their authenticity, we urge you not to disclose any information and to contact your local BBB immediately."

Friday, August 31, 2012

Language Interpreters

English has rapidly become the major language of international politics, trade and commerce. However, this does not mean it is the world language. It still competes with other major languages such as Spanish, French and Arabic.
In the business world, using interpreters to overcome the language barrier is a necessity. Even if there are common languages between business people, interpreters are still preferred for a number of reasons.
Interpreters offer the following advantages:
oInterpreters are trained professionals in specific languages, meaning they can ensure communication between sides is as clear as possible.
oHaving an interpreter allows you to speak in your native language, ensuring you express yourself succinctly.
oUsing an interpreter helps minimise possible costly misunderstandings.
oFor tactical reasons in negotiations an interpreter can help you bide time to formulate responses.
oIf properly briefed, an astute interpreter can help you with presentations and negotiations by working with you to achieve goals.
oInterpreters assist in overcoming cross cultural differences and can act as guides in cross cultural matters.
If you are planning to use an interpreter, the following guidelines should be considered prior to any business taking place:
oFully brief your interpreter - inform them of who you will be meeting, the issues that will be discussed, any technical language that will be used and any potential uncomfortable situations that may arise.
oDiscuss your aims and objectives for any meeting or negotiations with the interpreter and your strategy.
oIf you are using an interpreter for a meeting then provide them with an agenda and talk them through it.
oIf you are giving a speech, provide a copy of the speech and ensure they understand any complicated language.
oSpeak slowly and clearly as this gives the interpreter time to digest your words.
oTake breaks in your speech regularly, for example at the end of each sentence or statement.
oAvoid long and complex sentences.
oIf you plan on making a joke, check it is culturally transferable with the interpreter.
oAvoid slang, metaphors and colloquial expressions.
oTry to let the interpreter finish before commencing the next point.
oMaintain eye contact with the audience or group and not the interpreter. However, periodically check your interpreter is keeping up and is comfortable.
Interpreters should not be viewed solely as language assistants. In addition to helping you overcome the language barrier they can also assist in many other areas such as organisation, formulating strategies and advising on cross cultural differences. It is critical to see interpreters as not working for you but with you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Using a Translation Service

In a market full of translators, translation agencies and translation directories one is forgiven for feeling confused as to where to go and who to use. Finding a good translation service or translator is a key business decision that should not be taken lightly.
The need for reputable translation agencies and translators to take out professional indemnity insurance is in itself an indication that things can and do go wrong, sometimes with heavy financial consequences.
Financial losses may occur through using a poor translation service or translator in a number of ways. For example, a badly translated business document, such as a contract or proposal, can have a devastating effect if a business decision has been based on faulty information. A brochure or advertising campaign that has not taken into consideration local cultures can lead to a huge dent in an advertising budget with only negative PR as the result. The possibilities for something to go wrong are endless.
A good translation service or translator will be able to provide you with a solid background in translation, a good network of translators to provide proof-reading in addition to the straight forward translation and an understanding of the cultural impact of language and translation.
'Cultural Assessment' or 'Linguistic Screening' is a process whereby the translation service will examine your text, brochure or advertisement and ensure that none of the words, images, photos or even brand name translate badly into the target audience.
The following translations are all examples of what happens when a good translation service is not used....
Clairol did not test market in Germany the name of its "Mist-Stick"-- a mist-producing hair curling iron. Mist translates in German as "excrement" and a "manure-stick" did not draw much interest.
A new facial cream with the name "Joni" was proposed to be marketed in India. They changed the name since the word translated in Hindi meant "female genitals."
In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into "Schweppes Toilet Water."
Scandanavian Vacuum manufacturer Electrolux translated the following in an American ad campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called 'Cue', the name of a notorious porno magazine.
Coors had it's slogan, "Turn it loose," translated into Spanish, where it became "Suffer from diarrhoea."
....or when you take the D.I.Y. approach to translation:
In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push the button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.
In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
Although comical, the above examples perfectly demonstrate how easy it is for your translation to cause you problems. It is crucial one understands fully what their needs and requirements are when it comes to translating a piece of work.
Ask yourself the following before commissioning any translation service with a piece of work:
1)What is the nature of the document or text? Why does it need to be translated? Who will use it or read it?
2)Does it really need translating? Can it be summarised for gist instead?
3)Can diagrams, pictures or maps be used to replace text which may be too descriptive or complex?
4)Will it be used abroad or by people from differing cultures? Even if a piece of work is going to be used by American, Australian and British personnel ensure that a Cultural Applicability test is performed.
These basic measures can help avoid translation blunders and ensure your translation service provider understands fully the nature of the piece of work.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Managing an Elevator Cash Flow

Jannice K., a past Virginia resident, now California
resident, worked in Burger King for ten years. Back when I
was a junk food addict, she passed me the bag and drink
through the drive through window. Occasionally, I would go
inside to eat. We became friends and soon had regular times
together early afternoons during her break. It wasn't long
before I discovered Jannice's real buried passion was
grooming dogs. She sparkled whenever the topic came up.
Later Jannice and I worked together to write articles and
other materials on her passion. Now, Jannice lives in
California, owns three grooming parlors, and is quite, quite
well off. During a recent phone conversation she shared how
no matter how far she's come in just the few years, she says
she's never gotten used to living with a fluctuating cash
This is an experience shared by many self-employed
After living on predictable cash flow, having a variable
cash flow can be nerve racking. Even over time, as you grow
maturely philosophical about money, knowing that it can be
here today and gone tomorrow requires being on your toes.
And, in order to transition from toes to flat foot you must
learn to integrate a prosperity consciousness in order to
survive emotionally. A prosperity transfer means shifting
from the perception of scarcity, to being in abundance.
The secret to handling this elevator ride is to get to the
point of contentment with who you are and what you are
doing, and not have an emotional response to money. This
platform, of course, takes discipline and experience. Over
time, as you learn and become comfortable with a new way of
thinking, you also learn to stay focused, know what "really"
matters, stop wasting time, and relax into a set of
processes and systems that become the rhythm for your
business. This calm approach always accelerates prosperity
and, in turn, allows the cash flow elevator to slow down and
stop on various floors.
During the fast elevator days, tips always help to remind us
to punch the button in order to stop at the next floor.
Here are a few tips to help you push the right buttons:
1. Where you focus is what you will attract. If you focus
on your surplus, the surplus will grow. If you focus on
lack, the lack will grow. Hence, it's common sense to focus
on surplus, wouldn't you say. Learn to see abundance in all
that you do, say, and feel. This doesn't mean giving away
your services if you are business owner. It means in being
in balance with it. Be abundant with your gestures, open
the door for a person, it doesn't matter on gender.
When someone takes you to lunch, see that as surplus, the
money didn't come out of your pocket. It's abundance from
their life to yours. Yes, the good ole, attitude of
gratitude, philosophy is what I'm talking about. It
actually is a secret weapon of the wealthy. Again, of
course, in balance. This same attitude is available to
everyone, including you and I. If it takes fewer muscles to
smile, then of course, it takes less energy to be nice.
2. Know what you're worth and be consistent about it. If
you take a long lunchtime or spend time browsing the book
aisles or Net, associate your hourly rate to this. When you
associate time to money consistently in your thinking
process, cash flow will follow. With a focus on what
"really" matters and you follow that up with massive action,
it all begins to sink in. This internal awareness will, of
course, again, be attractive.
3. Some is better than none. Partial payments are better
than no payments if you can't meet your obligations. Even
the telephone and utility companies can cope with partial
payments. Send what you can with an explanatory note.
We both know that bill collectors aren't the most
compassionate souls. If you deal with them, try not to be
defensive nor try to ignore them. Silence isn't golden in
this instance. However, you can't let them intimate you or
make you feel guilty either -- and they surely will try too.
Bring no emotional attachment to their call, conversation,
or even after you hang up. This will affect your energy and
zap your progress.
Just imagine having one of these a day, and if you do, it's
a-no-wonder why you're feeling drained, unattractive, and
not making any money. This spiral emotional ride puts you
on the fast elevator ride to the basement.
4. Maintain a list of emergency money generators. These
are items that you can use that require little or no
planning, either because you have it done or it just doesn't
need it, that deliver short-term cash. This is an insurance
cash flow list for your business. Everyone needs this
whether running a business or not, even if it means
unloading boxes at your brother-in-laws warehouse.
If you list a temporary agency, who are they, have you gone
over there already and established a relationship. Set up
the groundwork so that it's easy to jump into when "you"
need it. Being mindful of all your options, and not
mindless, adds to your confidence and ability to manage your
cash flow during shortage.
5. Separate emotions from money and separate thoughts of
debt that is an investment and debt that is due to
irresponsibility. If you are going to operate a business,
be accountable, especially if you have employees. People
say to me that one of their number goals is to be debt free.
If you have a habit of creating irresponsible debt then even
when you become debt free it will not last because the
mindset and habits didn't change.
Change your attitude and remove the emotions. Separate
investment debt from the other. Why wait to be happy, live
your life with a debt free mentality now. Most children
grow up without understanding money and base their knowledge
on emotional expressions they hear from others. Then as
adults they are thrust into the world and told, "You're
suppose to know better."
Take a class on money management, stop reading the books if
they aren't helping. If you already taken a class, hire a
money coach. Keep debt manageable and be an responsible
adult and business owner. There aren't any excuses for poor
money management.
6. Don't spend yourself poor with feast or famine. Don't
be tempted to pay off all your old bills and leave yourself
impoverished all over again. Your mental health will be
stronger if you set aside some money and watch it
accumulate. Just knowing you have even the smallest of
funds stashed away will lighten your walk and smooth your
7. Get smart about your money. I mean, SMART. Get
Specific, Measure it, be Accountable, make them achievable,
Realistic and the Time is now. Our beliefs today have no
resemblance to the beliefs of money our parents have, nor
will the next generation have with yours. Challenge all the
early assumptions you have about money. Challenge them
every day until. Do it until you learn to manage it. Do it
until it works for you.
Get off the elevator cash flow ride, have less paper, scotch
tape, and paper clips around, and put some money away for
that rainy day. I don't think either of our grandmothers
where wrong on that philosophy.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Costing At No Cost

Cost estimation is always a crucial topic in many industries. For converters, it may be one of the keys to success... or to failure.
The estimation comes into play for several reasons: to prepare production budgets, for cost management and to define the prices and to make offers to customers.
Here we want to concentrate our attention on the problem of cost estimation in the cutting business.
We must make distinct considerations according to the material type to be cut.
Materials can be divided into two big categories, man-made and natural. It would be possible to make further classifications but these two are enough for our purposes.
The problem with man-made materials
As a first case, we deal with man-made materials, for which apparently the cost estimate of cutting is easy: the material is usually defect-free and comes in regular shapes, typically sheets or rolls of a standard size.
It may be simple to make a rough estimate of the quantity (and therefore the cost) of material needed to fulfil an order but it is important to consider a couple of factors:
  • The final products (the cut parts) are hardly differentiated, so, for a given material, the distinguishing points of an offer for a cutting job can only be price and delivery time. Delivery time can be managed, since each company has a known average throughput and on the market there are many software products that can manage the production schedule to provide in time the parts to be shipped to the customers.
  • Price is a much harder question since it is often the point on which the customer's decisions are based. For this reason it is extremely important to have a sound basis to make a price, knowing exactly which is the cost of the material needed.
The problem with natural materials
Natural materials, such as leather or wood, are a completely different story. They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and can have defects and holes. Moreover, the parts to be cut often have placing constraints (orientation, quality and so on) that make much harder to figure out how they can fit on the available piece of material.
There is no way to make a reliable estimate of the quantities to be used on natural materials.
All the available methods are based on mid- and long-term statistics, that can be helpful only as far as the main features of the material are similar across different batches and the parts to be cut are similar across different articles.
But in a real production environment these conditions are rarely respected and the estimates are always prone to errors and, of course, the offers based on these estimates are wrong.
The only way to obtain a perfect estimate is to place the parts on the actual material to be cut and then calculate the actual consumption.
The ultimate question
How to make an accurate and reliable estimate, quickly and at a reasonable cost?
We propose the ultimate answer to this question: do not estimate the material consumption: get the actual cost before cutting!
And the only way to get the data of the actual placements of parts is to perform the nesting for the whole order on the actual material batch to be cut.
This was almost impossible in the recent past, because it was a time-consuming process and required the availability of a high-performance computer with a (expensive) nesting software. In a few words, the automatic nesting for costing purposes was too expensive to be an option.
This is no more true for those companies who use the innovative technology of CUTWEB.
CUTWEB is a web-based application that allows the management and sharing of all the data related to nesting and cutting and provides the access to an on-line nesting service that uses high-performance nesting strategies, fine-tuned for different scenarios.
A web-based application like Cutweb can be used from any (cheap) internet-connected PC and a nesting server deals with all the calculations, getting rid of the need of a in-house dedicated workstation and of the need to buy a software license for each PC that access to nesting and cutting data.
Costing with CUTWEB becomes a breeze:
  1. upload the parts and the material data
  2. upload the order
  3. start the nesting.
  4. See the actual material cost
All this can be done quickly and at a negligible cost, just a few eurocents for each test so it becomes possible to run as many tests as you need.
In a few minutes the layouts will be calculated, and you will see exactly how and where the parts will be eventually cut and get a detailed (and of course customisable) report about the nesting.
You can keep the nesting on CUTWEB as long as you wish, and when the order is confirmed by the customer, then (and only then) you download it and cut at once, since the CUTWEB setup ensures that the downloaded data are compatible with your cutting machine.
The nesting cost is just a few Eurocents, you actually pay the nesting service when you download the data needed for the cutting.
There are many benefits that you can achieve organising the work on this way can be summarised in some key points:
  • you pay for the nesting service only when the order is confirmed and you download the data for actual cutting
  • there is no risk to waste your money on nestings that you will not use in production
  • you can prepare precise offers based upon actual material cost not estimations
  • you will spend less time and money in the costing and offering process
  • higher chance to gain orders owing to the more accurate offerings
  • improved overall production efficiency and throughput
The advantages for the control over the material cost
The cost of material plays a capital role in the cutting business and it is crucial to keep it under strict control.
This is especially difficult when dealing with natural and irregular materials, because even the basic operations such as the measurement of the area are subject to errors.
The use of an automatic nesting service requires a tool to digitise the materials. These tools are usually a table with one or more digital cameras placed upon it. A specialised software application automatically recognises the contour points and the holes in the material and calculates the actual area and uses the data collected to feed the automatic nesting system.
The advantages of this technology are several:
  • It is possible to check if the material billed by the supplier matches the supplied one
  • The data of placement yield are accurate
  • It is possible to keep under control the material used to cut the orders.
  • The advantages for a company with cutting subcontractors.
A company that delegates the cutting to subcontractors can greatly benefit from the CUTWEB technology for many reasons:
  • It is possible to have a single interface to manage the communication and data transmission
  • The control over the material quantities to be used for cutting is accurate and therefore it is possible to supply to the subcontractors with exactly the materials needed for the parts they must cut and there is no need to rely (or bet) on the efficiency that they can achieve: everything is clear and precise.
I work for a small and dynamic Italian software house whose mission is to provide innovative and efficient solutions for the nesting and cutting business leveraging the power of the Internet.