There are great benefits to owning a franchise. You often can sell goods and services that have instant name recognition and can obtain training and ongoing support to help you succeed. But be cautious before you sign on the dotted line. 1. Know How Much You Can Invest - A franchisor may tell you how much you can afford to invest or that you can't afford to pass up this opportunity. Before beginning to explore investment options, consider the amount you feel comfortable investing and the maximum amount you can afford. 2. Know What Type of Business is Right for You - A franchisor may attempt to convince you that an opportunity is perfect for you. Only you can make that determination. Consider the industry that interests you before selecting a specific franchise system. Ask yourself the following questions: Have I considered working in that industry before? Can I see myself engaged in that line of work for the next twenty years? 3. Realistically Evaluate Your Own Background and Skills - If the industry does not appeal to you or you are not suited to work in that industry, do not allow a franchisor to convince you otherwise. Spend your time focusing on those industries that offer a more realistic opportunity. 4. Take the Time to Comparison Shop — Talk to or visit several franchisors engaged in the type of industry that appeals to you. Get answers to the following questions: • How long has the franchisor been in business? • How many franchised outlets currently exist? • Where are they located? • How much is the initial franchise fee and any additional start-up costs? • Are there any continuing royalty payments? • How much? • What management, technical, and ongoing assistance does the franchisor offer? • What controls does the franchisor impose? 5. Get Substantiation for Any Earnings Representations — Some franchisors may tell you how much you can earn if you invest in their franchise system or how current franchisees in their system are performing. Be careful. The FTC requires that franchisors who make such claims provide you with written substantiation. Make sure you ask for and obtain written substantiation for any income projections, or income or profit claims. If the franchisor does not have the required substantiation, or refuses to provide it to you, consider its claims to be suspect. 6. Avoid High Pressure Sales Tactics — You may be told that the franchisor's offering is limited, that there is only one territory left, or that this is a one-time reduced franchise sales price. Do not feel pressured to make any commitment. Legitimate franchisors expect you to comparison shop and to investigate their offering. A good deal today should be available tomorrow. 7. Study the Franchisor's Offering — Do not sign any contract or make any payment until you have the opportunity to investigate the franchisor's offering thoroughly. The FTC's Franchise Rule requires the franchisor to provide you with a disclosure document containing important information about the franchise system. Study the disclosure document. Take time to speak with current and former franchisees about their experiences. Because investing in a franchise can entail a significant investment, you should have an attorney review the disclosure document and franchise contract and have an accountant review the company's financial disclosures.
It’s that time of year again and your organization is getting ready for its next big conference, and it feels slightly overwhelming. You may even feel in your heart everything that could go wrong. Perhaps, its time to take the guessing out of planning and begin to take care of what you can control when planning your next conference. Streamline First step always is to streamline your tasks; make sure to create a plan before you begin the event coordination. It is imperative to make sure you know the direction you are going before you start. Make a list prioritizing from beginning to end; from finding the right speakers to developing the right promotional plan that meets your organizations vision. Know your Target Audience Second, evaluate your organization and the people you are trying to reach for your conference. Prepare the right topics with the right speakers, to ensure you are connecting with the right audience. A communication’s plan is essential for everyone involved so you can put the focus of the conference back to the direction of its people. Promote Early Third, get the word out early, and give people something to talk an about, if you start late than don’t expect large numbers. The more hype you build through word of mouth the better direction you have to bring in large numbers. Booking the Right Conference Center Fourth, the right conference center is imperative in ensuring your events success, and everything from the layout of the room to the location of the bathroom should be checked before entering into a contractual agreement. It is vital that you meet the needs of the organization and the people attending, if they are uncomfortable throughout the day than it creates a negative impact on your conference’s perspective and outcome. Location Fourth, if you are bringing in out of Towner’s then location is key for everyone, make sure it’s in happening spot, at the right time of year. Ensuring this will meet the needs of everyone involved and draw more attraction the big day. Plan B Fifth, be prepared for the inevitable as you sometimes never know what will happen. A speaker may drop out last minute or perhaps there maybe a mix up with the catering. It’s not a problem if you have back up speakers in mind, and remember not everything is in your control. Relax and Enjoy Yourself Getting ready for the conference can be a huge stressful task but if you do it right; it can be a lot of fun. Remember, to enjoy yourself, while planning, and promoting the more excited the coordinator is the more apt people will come. Do it with a smile on your face to let everyone know this will be the best event, yet! Get a head start, get organized, and get ready to host the best conference in your area. If you can follow these six simple steps than you are ready for instant success. Event coordination can sometimes be overwhelming but if you plan early it will be an instant success
: As a young employee I was transferred to work in an office tower in downtown San Francisco. I wasn’t the only person to arrive in this new office space – the group had changed significantly due to reorganization and many of us were working together for the first time. My boss, the Marketing Manager, asked me to help him with some unusual projects. First, I organized an ugly tie contest. Next, we created a puzzle where everyone told me their fantasy identity (who they would be if they could be anyone) and I created a quiz. People had several days to try to figure out who was who. This culminated in a party and the revealing of all the secret identities (and prizes for those who had done the best guessing). Along with many other events, we eventually instituted the first casual Friday in this company (hey, this was 1987). At the time I knew what was happening and why it was important to the development of the culture in this organization. But I didn’t understand it the way I do now. . . For a whole variety of reasons, organizational culture is important to the health or viability of any organization. It is one thing to know something is important. It is another thing entirely to know what to do about it. This article will give you some specific things you can do to act on the importance of your organizational culture. Get help. Wherever you sit in the organizational structure or hierarchy you can impact organizational culture in a positive (or negative – but why would you want to do that?) way. Admittedly, if you are in a position of leadership, it might be easier, but we can all have an impact. But we can’t do it alone. Form a team of like minded, interested and enthusiastic people, and get them on board with developing and enhancing your culture. Get a vision. Get your team to discuss the current culture.
Define the parts of the culture that are already great and need to be supported. And honestly determine where the culture could use some polishing. Then create a vision of the culture you want to create, taking into account the entire current picture – the warts and the beauty marks. Get strategic. Your team will recognize that this is important – you’ve picked people who already understand that and you have developed a deeper understanding as you created a vision of a desired future culture. Help everyone understand - the team and organizational leadership – that this isn’t a band-aid, quick fix; but an ongoing, strategic intention to build a more attractive culture that fits the needs of the organization.
Get people excited. Chances are your culture team will be excited. If not, get them excited! Help the team recognize that not everyone else in the organization is going to think that these efforts are worthwhile immediately. Remember that enthusiasm is contagious. Do what you can to keep the enthusiasm of your team high.
If their excitement falters, remind them of the vision they created to re-invigorate them. Get a champion. That person may be you, or it may be someone else on the team. In my case, I took on an alter ego of the “phun phantom.” While a moniker might not be necessary, a point person, whether anonymous or not, is important. Culture change is like any other change – it requires champions.
The champion needs to be someone who is passionate about creating the new culture. As in my case, this might be a perfect role for a young energetic person, but don’t assign the role. The best champions will rise up and “select” themselves. Get started. Yes, I have listed the first five suggestions in a chronological order.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t so something today, as soon as you finish reading this article or right now. You already know some things that need to change in your culture, so role model one of them starting immediately. Maybe your first step is to invite a couple people to lunch that you think might want to be on your team. Whatever your first step is – do it. Get momentum on your side. Any change will have a greater chance of success with momentum. Don’t form your team today if you don’t think you’ll be able to get them going quickly.
Don’t think of this something that can be done in a couple of weeks. A single event that you hope will permanently change the culture - won’t. In fact, it might have the opposite effect entirely. Get started but be committed to building momentum and staying with it. It will be one of the most rewarding efforts you and your team will ever engage in. I haven’t given you specific cultural events to try. Why? Because I don’t know what kind of changes you want to create. In my case we were trying to create higher levels of camaraderie and more fun in the workplace. You may have that and may want to enhance your culture in completely different ways. You and your team will figure out what to do. This list is meant to help you figure those things out for yourselves. These seven things are by no means a complete list – but they are a great place to start. And getting started is the most important next step of all.
When it comes to shipping large quantities worldwide, there is no better option than shipping freightliner. You can ship in a full container or half container, depending on your needs. There is, however, some important information you need to know about shipping in containers. When deciding whether you need a 20’ container or a 40’ container to meet your shipping needs you simply need to evaluate the quantity and size of items you need shipped. For instance, a 20’ container is generally used to ship a vehicle and some small household appliances and other goods or a two bedroom household without a vehicle. A 40’ container can generally hold a vehicle and a two bedroom household or a house with three or more bedrooms. These are generalizations, but if you have a small amount of things to ship the smaller container will probably work for you. However, if you need to ship a lot of furniture and even your vehicle then you will definitely need the larger container. When packing your items to be shipped you should keep in mind there are a list of items that should not be packed for the container. These items include alcohol, any jewelry, food items or fruit, plants or seeds, open bottles of liquids or anything flammable, spray cans, and any important papers or documents that include birth certificates, passports, banking records, or any other important personal document. Make sure all of these items are either not transported to your new location or else you carry them on your person. Once you decide that it is time to ship your belongings you should contact the shipping company with your name and address in the United States as well as the address where you will be living overseas. You will also be asked to provide your social security number for verification purposes and will need to provide a date when the shipment should be delivered to your overseas address. Your belongings will not be approved for shipping until you have this information, so if you are in a hurry you should get this information immediately to your shipping carrier. Also, most shipping companies need at least a week to a week in a half advance notice before you ship your container. So, if you are working with a schedule keep this in mind. When it comes to paying for your container shipping you will be required to pay a deposit and then pay the balance when your container is packed and ready to be shipped. Most shipping companies accept a wide variety of payment options from personal or cashier check to credit cards, so more than likely you will be able to pay for the shipping with what is most convenient for you.
Some years ago, purchasing articles from the United States of America and other western countries without being present there was like a dream for people, as people were not daring enough to indulge them in the trauma attached with cross-border parcel services. The shipping costs were high and there was no guarantee of package delivery. Even if you were lucky enough to receive the consignment, it would remain useless. But that scenario has changed now. A company such as oneUSAaddress has streamlined the whole process of purchasing and delivery of products from the USA. You can purchase online from your favorite USA retailers and provide your USA shopping address for the delivery of your package. You can get this real and unique address by registering with oneUSAaddress which contains detailed information about its services, features, rates and plans. As soon as your registration process is complete, you will be assigned a shopping address. The retailers here will accept it as your shipping destination. The company will then make arrangements for the collection of materials at your shopping address. You will be constantly informed about every bit of progress your package makes. It also examines the package to ensure that the product is as per your order and repacks it beautifully. The company furnishes detailed information like package volume, package description and package condition on its website and posts an image of the package for the satisfaction of the customer. The customer can instantly review, consolidate, accept or reject a package through its website. If you have bulks of packages, the company will also provide storing facility. The customers worldwide will feel like at home by having a shopping address in the USA. This shopping address not only helps in the procurement of packages but also in the delivery of packages at the client’s home country. You can avail the benefits of the address for a specified period depending upon your registration plan. The safety of the merchandise is of prime concern for the company. It provides the best transportation facilities and you will receive your package within a week’s time. The shape and condition of the package will remain intact as it was earlier. The reason for the popularity of this service is its affordable costs and easy to understand plans. A shopping address in the USA helps to eliminate boundaries between countries. As oneUSAaddress covers more than 220 countries, people from far flung areas can also avail its benefits. People are never far away from their dream products. The only thing they need to do is to sign up with the company. One time user can opt for Free Plan which has no monthly fees. You have to pay one time setup charges only. The company believes in improving the online shopping experience by utilizing new ideas, providing a better service and designing better web applications.
The following is based on an essay by Denny Howe at the University of Pennsylvania. Our core values give us personal focus, strength, resilience, and meaning when the outside world doesn't always give us what we think we need or want. One of the challenges in maintaining behavior consistent with our core values is the perception of significance. How significant something becomes is directly proportional to the amount of emotional energy we give it. When you feel balanced and secure, more aligned with your core values, you naturally respond in a more balanced and appropriate way. But, when you are operating at a mental or emotional deficit, your actions and reactions to people and events can easily become magnified, distorted and misguided. This can cause you to continue to replay events, second guess your decisions, and work yourself into greater emotional turmoil. This is emotionally exhausting and it's unproductive. All because of the extra significance you've given it, not necessarily founded on the reality of the event or situation. The issue at hand may indeed be important, but stop and sincerely ask yourself is the emotional energy investment worth the drain? From a balanced, heart-driven perspective we can choose more easily how much/little of our own energy to give to each daily event. Consider two things: 1. If you over-invest in something or make a big deal out of it, you expend costly amounts of your precious energy and leave yourself drained and victimized by your own emotion. It is no coincidence that people who do well long-term, and can handle pressure effectively, are often more even keeled, and are efficient in assigning significance to a thing, person, or event. They don't make everything momentous. We can all learn to take the significance out of things that don't need it so we save our emotional energy for the things that really do require it. Taking significance out of situations is a major force for building sustainable energy reserves. 2. There is a fine line between an attitude of irresponsibility or simply brushing things off as opposed to intelligently constraining the significance of life's tricky events. This kind of discrimination is intuitive intelligence in action; to know how much of your emotional energy to give or not to give to something. As you go forward, especially in situations where you feel your energies being drained or challenged, take the time to apply the tools of emotional intelligence and ask your heart for a balanced look and evaluate how significant the situation/event really is. When you can keep unnecessary importance to a minimum, you don't get drained and you have the energy reserves to adapt, flex, and innovate.
Toby Miller is your picture of an all round good guy. He doesn't even consider himself to be much of a star but he does enjoy going to work and he enjoys mixing with his co-workers, making sure that they all smile at least once a day. Of course he does what's necessary to get results but, under normal circumstances, he usually slips under the recognition awards radar that sweeps through the department once a month. Many reward and recognition systems have incorporated a "wooden spoon" award in the past. The purpose of this was to highlight poor performance in the mistaken belief that it would, somehow, act as a deterrent to people. They were supposed to look upon the wooden spoon as a shameful emblem that they would want to avoid at any cost. Unfortunately this overlooks the deep psychological reasoning for poor performance in the workplace. Some people live troubled lives. They find it difficult to excel at anything they do. This does not prevent them from wishing that the limelight would fall on them occasionally. They discover that they can get the attention that they crave by underperforming. Many management hours around the world are spent chastising people for poor performance and attempting to get them to raise their game. The "wooden spoon" actually acts as a spotlight for these people. It is a mechanism that they can manipulate by doing their job badly. In one company they would award "pig of the week" to the messiest and most disorganized worker in the team. The award was a small stuffed pig that people would place in a prominent position on their desk. The result of the "pig of the week" award was that an informal competition began in the office. Rather than an embarrassment, "pig of the week" became a cult award that everyone wanted to win and so, rather than raise the level of tidiness and organization in the office; it actually increased the chaos in which people worked. A much more constructive award is the "Silver Spoon Award". It is designed to encourage people who may not yet be the best role-models in the company and whose performance may actually be well below what is considered excellent but who nevertheless deserve some sort of recognition for the work they have put in, for their attitude to the job, for their ability to motivate their colleagues or just for their ability to make people laugh and enjoy being at work. In a way the "Silver Spoon Award" is designed to capture the "Most Improved" and the "Best Fun" categories. The award itself can be imaginary or virtual but, equally, a simple silver teaspoon mounted on a hardwood block which is passed from person to person at the beginning of each award period adds a touch of tangibility to winning. Under the new award system, Toby Miller's sense of humor can be recognized without denying others the accolade for best salesman, most creative designer, most efficient assembler.
Stress and an occasional sense of overwhelm is a normal by-product of a successful business. Yes, we are lucky to have all the opportunities that the business world presents to us. And yes, at times, it is impossible to make wise use of our time and resources. So, the result is inevitably: Stress! We differentiate between primary, situational, short-lived stress and long-term, accumulated levels of stress. The purpose of this article is then to help you instantly with the first type of stress. To give you tools you already possess but we all don’t utilize enough. In addition, my High-Impact Business Coaching Formula allows you to grow thriving businesses while creating rich, balanced lives and with that eliminate the second type of long-standing, highly damaging stress. Yet, this is not an overnight process as any transformation takes time, effort and commitment. So then, this article is about allowing you to find instant relief. To find ways to bust your sense of “too-much-to-do” immediately, within seconds. I am going to start you off with a somewhat strange statement: “Believe it and you’ll see it”. This seemingly bizarre concept is now part of a highly success stress-reduction program at the Stanford University School of Medicine. For further education I recommend “Stress Free For Good” – 10 scientifically proven life skills for health and happiness” by Dr. Fred Luskin and Dr. Kenneth Pelletier. One interesting fact about the mind is that the brain has absolutely no actual connection to reality. It relies on chemical signals from other organs to decide what's happening out in the real world. The fact that the brain is ignorant of reality is precisely what makes it so susceptible to suggestion. Harvard's Professor Jonathan B. Cohen showed that imagining performing an activity, and even just seeing someone perform it, fires the same neurotransmitters and the same pathways as actually performing the activity! In sports, visualization has been considered an essential tool for decades. In a 1984 survey of the 235 Canadian Olympic athletes preparing for the Games, 99 percent of them were using imagery. "There's no one who doesn't use imagery," says Rebecca Smith, a clinical research assistant in sports psychology at the U. S. Olympic Training center in Colorado. No professional athlete has ever won first place by visualizing coming in last and yet we do this so often in our business world. Since the principle is called: “Seeing the good in others”, what comes to mind for you? The saying is old but listen to it again: “Seeing the good in others”, is about seeing it in your mind’s eye, isn’t it? How often do we prefer to blame others for our stress? How often do we love talking behind somebody’s back more than finding the good in others? So, then how does that affect our leadership abilities? Since this concept of “Seeing the good in others” coincides with chapter five in my book: The Art of Succeeding by Design” which deals with leadership, it should come as no surprise that our ability to see the good in others is a highly effective trait as the leader of your small business. Why? Well, think about it. If we could regularly let go of our judgmental tendencies and make a 100% commitment to taking responsibility for our lives (which means NO blaming, ever), combined with an ability to see the best qualities in our team members, what would that allow us to do? Yes, you would see different results. Why, because as our attitude changes, our thoughts change, our body language changes. Those working for you will feel safe and when feeling safe, there is no limit to creativity and productivity. Do you notice the disabling effects of stress on YOUR performance? It is not any different for your staff. They also get stressed and even more stressed when feeling criticized and judged. It impedes their ability to work in their highest performance zone, for you. I guess, you are figuring out what I am proposing here. Yes, a win-win situation! Seeing the good in others allows your stress level to go down since you consistently trust that things will get done and that everybody does their best, your positive actions based on this great attitude influences your brain, and as a crucial consequence your employees or support staff can keep working in a stress-free environment giving their best in turn. Secret number 1: Practice your compassion. Put yourself in their shoes just for a second. Do you really know what’s going on their lives? Do you know if they are deadly scared of losing their job? Do you know if they feel empowered and equipped to do their job right? What do you know about their battle scares of life? This does not mean being permissive and lowering your standard of performance. No, quite the opposite. By you setting the stage for an environment where fear and stress is not the driving force, you invest your time very wisely. Having a staff that lives with stress and fear is a waste of your money. Nothing gets accomplished, no new ideas come up, no responsibility is taken when fear and stress is present. If you want to create a team that is loyal, productive, innovative and equipped to take your business to success in a climate where an A+ team will be harder and harder to find, your efforts to practice compassion is essential for sustainable business success. Ok, with that out of the way, I want to give you another 10-second secret: It’s smiling. Yes, you heard me right, smiling. So smile right now, hold it for 10 seconds. Really smile, laugh! Do you feel better? I do. If it makes you feel better, how do you think the recipient of this smile feels? How do you feel when you encounter someone who just for the fun, throws you a smile? Yes, I thought so… pretty good. Ok, practicing compassion and smiling more often, more randomly, more just for the fun of it, is then good for business, good for employee retention and good for your stress-management. The funny part is that you already knew all this, right? We do and still, at times, we forget. Why? Because we are stressed. Yes, that’s why. One of my clients reported that she has attracted a much “nicer” clientele since her attitude changed and another client reported that “seeing the good in people” has significantly lowered his anxiety. Remember, as far back as Napoleon Hill, the famous author of “Think and Grow Rich” said: “Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.” Like they say: War is not the way to peace, peace is. Don’t let your thoughts take you to a war zone driven by fear and doubt. Let your attitude guide you to thoughts that make you feel connected and you will reduce your stress level and make others feel safe and cared for. There is no possible negative outcome and lots of potent positive outcomes. Do we need scientific proof for that? No, just give it a try tonight in the check-out line at the store or smile to someone at a red light, especially when you feel tired, burned out, foggy in your head. I can promise you that even a quick smile back will help your attitude at home with your family or your friends. Don’t waste a minute, practice all of the above or maybe just one but do it and do it often. Stress-busting is guaranteed.
Although the Six Sigma methodology originally started out as a way to improve processes and products in a manufacturing environment, today it has grown to encompass a broad range of industries. As companies begin to realize the benefits a total quality improvement cycle can have upon the organization they are adopting Six Sigma and its practices into their own fold. Organizations not only receive the quality benefit of Six Sigma in their products and processes, but also significant cash savings can be realized as part of adapting such a process. In one example, GE realized a savings of close to $300 million dollars in the first year of implementation of Six Sigma. Health care organizations can see benefits that not only affect the bottom line of the company, but also affect the quality of care and overall recovery rate for patients. In one example a hospital used Six Sigma practices to significantly reduce the amount of time it took to get heart attack patients from ER to the cardiac care unit by close to 41 minutes. As a result the fatality rate of heart attack patients dropped significantly and the quality of care for those patients improved over 300%. Financial institutions are using Six Sigma as a way to manage both their customer satisfaction expectations as well as risk management initiatives. By using the methodologies and improvement cycles of Six Sigma Bank of America realized close to $2 billion dollars in benefits as well as a 25% increase in customer satisfaction. The construction industry can sometimes be paralleled to the manufacturing industry. Instead of producing the end-product in a factory the construction industry produces the product at various job sites. As such many of the same improvements the manufacturing industry has seen have also been adapted to the construction industry. Savings of man hours and costs across various projects have not only resulted in lower costs but also in higher quality buildings and infrastructure. The Insurance industry is one of the most paper-intensive industries in the world. Claims processing, underwriting and adjustments all take significant amounts of time to collect data and process it in order to make decisions and assist customers. By utilizing the Six Sigma approach major players in the industry including CIGNA and American Family have seen claim processing times be reduced by up to 50% as well as more analytic assignment of risk factors based on underwriting data. So how can Six Sigma benefit your particular organization? Start by looking at what your organization produces – be it a service or a physical product. Then look at areas that are known to have defects or are in need of improvement. By realizing that any product or service is a continuous cycle of improvements you begin to understand the Six Sigma approach. Instead of drastic changes all at once, Six Sigma provides a process by which small changes are constantly adapted to projects and then measured against past data to judge the quality of the improvement.
Six Sigma is not just for large multinational corporations. While there are difficulties inherent in implementing Six Sigma in a small company rather than a large business they can be overcome. Six Sigma can work in any size business because the nature of Six Sigma is dependent upon characteristics inherent in any business, not on the size of a business. Smaller organizations frequently are short on resources and expertise in change initiatives. However, they also have more flexible process flows, a shorter decision-making chain, and higher visibility of senior management. Smaller organizations can actually effectively establish Six Sigma faster than large businesses if deployment scope is correctly managed. Scope of Deployment Six Sigma is designed for all-inclusive deployment across an organization. However, s maller organizations do have constraints that limit their ability to initiate a large scale Six Sigma implementation. If your organization does not have the resources to create an infrastructure for organization-wide Six Sigma deployment then start with a pilot program. One of the beauties of Six Sigma is that its central methodology is scalable. Six Sigma, emphasizes intensive training and extensive analysis—qualitative characteristics that work regardless of the size of the organization. Likewise, Six Sigma DMAIC (design, measure, analyze, improve, and control) discipline s work no matter the size of the organization or even the size of the Six Sigma project. Even a small Six Sigma project can yield significant results. Breakthrough improvements in processes and bottom-line profitability come not from quantity of resources, but the quality and the intelligence with which they are employed. Small and medium-sized organizations may not have the resources of larger companies; however, in most cases, smaller organizations can be more nimble, flexible, and focused on results. Approaching initial implementation of Six Sigma through a pilot program will yield tangible results without overwhelming your resources from a small “quick-hit” project. These results can then be replicated throughout the organization, in many cases even faster than in a large organization. Issues Critical to Smaller Organizations When deploying a pilot Six Sigma project there are several important issues to consider inherent to smaller organizations. First, the choice of a project is critical. The pilot project will set the tone for Six Sigma deployment, so it should be a good one that can show significant and visible results in a reasonably short period of time. The project must clearly address one or more business goals thereby contributing to one or more core enterprise measures. Each project must also be completable within three to four months, so careful upfront scoping is essential. Projects must be continually tracked and updated for line management during existing business reviews. Another issue is training. In smaller organizations, training budgets and especially time available to devote personnel for training is limited. Thus, it is not always practical for personnel to be absent from their day-to-day duties to attend months of training. Fortunately, there are some Six Sigma consultants who can deliver required Six Sigma training in an accelerated format and even onsite. Thus, smaller organizations can give their people the needed training with less disruption to their normal business, improving internal synergy while providing greater organizational flexibility. Six Sigma implementation teams can encounter critical resource restrictions, often due to a personnel limitation where people are available for project functions only on a part-time basis. It is essential at project inception that the right people are involved, doing the right things. A small but committed force of the right people with proper training, given the proper authority will go far in getting things started. Good and fluid communication is also critical. Upon successful completion of the Six Sigma pilot, the scale of the deployment is then expanded to other areas of the organization, incorporating the lessons learned from the pilot project. Just as it is much harder for a large ship to turn than a small ship, smaller organizations can change and adapt more quickly than large organizations. That does not mean that small organizations will automatically be successful when deploying Six Sigma, but making change take place and getting buy in to the changes are easier.
Statistics are at the heart of Six Sigma’s powerful methodology for quality improvement. It pays to get to know some of the most important of the Six Sigma statistical tools. Control Charts The control chart is the fundamental tool of statistical process control; a proven technique for improving productivity. It monitors the variation of key characteristics and indicates the range of variability that is built into a system. Control charts provide diagnostic information about process capability that can be used to analyze variation in process data to demonstrate whether a process is operating consistently. The bounds of the control chart are marked by upper and lower control limits that are calculated by applying statistical formulas to data from the process. Data points that fall outside these bounds represent variations due to irregular causes, which can then be identified and eliminated. Control charts are effective in defect prevention and will help ensure that your process performs consistently. From them, you can, in a precise manner, monitor, control, and improve on process performance over time. This will allow you to be able to predict fluctuations, lower costs and ensure the process has a higher effective capacity. Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) FMEA is a powerful structured approach that helps you to identify and counter weak points in the early conception phase of products and processes. Using FMEA allows you to analyze any system or subsystem in manufacturing or service industries in the early stages of the process. This systematic methodology identifies potential failure modes in a system caused by either design or process deficiencies. It also identifies critical or significant design or process characteristics that require special controls to prevent or detect failure modes. FMEA improves the quality of products and services and processes by preventing problems from occurring. It documents and tracks action taken to reduce risk while it integrates with the DMAIC methodology. Histogram A histogram is used to graphically summarize the distribution of a data set. A histogram is constructed by dividing the range of data into equally sized segments. This data tool enables you to quickly and easily answer several important questions: what distribution does the data have? What is the most common system response? Is the data symmetric or does it contain outliers? Pareto Chart A pareto chart is used to graphically summarize the relative importance of the differences between groups of data. A pareto chart is constructed by dividing the range of data into groups. The vertical axis of the pareto chart is the cumulative percentage, and the horizontal axis of the pareto chart is the groups of response variables. Unlike the histogram, the pareto chart is ordered in descending frequency magnitude. The Pareto Chart allows you to focus your efforts to achieve the greatest improvements by identifying the largest issues facing the process. It identifies the 20% of sources that are causing 80% of the problems.
Successful hiring, in any company, is one of the most difficult tasks in which to achieve repeatable success. From unexpected outbursts to terminal tardiness to woeful incompetence, every company has a hiring horror story regarding employees who interviewed strong but performed poorly. Perhaps a subtle, but more dangerous occurrence is the all-too-common hire who performs their job in the gray twilight of mediocrity. They never rise to the occasion and they never catastrophically fail. They interviewed well but now simply perform their role in a nondescript manner within the company. Amass too many of these employees and your company will be overwhelmed with mediocrity...or worse. How do you identify candidates who have unseen natural capacities that will elevate them to incredible achievements? The answer is aptitudes. Aptitude is defined as a natural ability, talent or aptness. Every salesperson has a different level of natural ability. Matching the right abilities to the requirements of the job provides the best opportunity for superior performance. An example: Imagine two cars asked to go 90mph down the freeway. One car is straight off the NASCAR track and the other is a 1972 Ford Pinto. Both cars can reach 90mph and, assuming they are not ticketed, can maintain that speed for some duration. However, the Pinto is redlining and over time cannot maintain that pace. In a short time, the Pinto’s engine will break down from the stress. Meanwhile, the NASCAR stock car is effortlessly gliding down the road and can easily maintain that speed for a long duration. The same analogy applies to employees. The employee with the right aptitudes for the position will be able to perform at a high level without red-lining their abilities. So how do you measure aptitudes and, more importantly, find the right aptitudes for the position? The first step is to identify the key performance indicators for the position. Key performance indicators are the critical goals and major business successes the job is accountable for producing. These key performance indicators become the reference point to which all future candidates are measured. After this activity, every step in your hiring process will become increasingly more refined and focused. The second step is to use the key performance indicators as the reference for establishing a benchmark of the job. The simplest of questions to begin with is; why does this job exist? What aptitudes are non-negotiable, mission-critical abilities that lead to success? Conversely, what aptitudes are not needed? In fact, some well developed aptitudes may actually be detrimental to success in the role. Using the key performance indicators to define the job leads to the last step. Finally, objectively assess all screened candidates against the newly formed benchmark. An unbiased, fully validated aptitude assessment will reveal the candidate's natural abilities. These abilities are difficult to detect through phone screens and interviews. Using objective assessments will provide a detailed analysis of the candidate's "fit" to the position. The greatest payoff for matching aptitudes to the job occurs after the newly hired employee quickly hits their stride in the role. These employees are the ones that bring a smile to their manager's face. They have an innate ability to make the right decisions, leverage the best approach and achieve the most success. Over time, ongoing training, relevant experience and consistent management allow this employee to further develop these aptitudes into highly effective skills for their role. They will become superstars.
While word of mouth attracted new users, it was not until it won Best Family Web site in last year's WebAward competition that things took off for the Family Cookbook Project. With its Web site, Family Cookbook Project, the small business helps families and groups create and print personalized cookbooks to share and treasure. The simple-to-use site automates the process of gathering and formatting recipes into a family heirloom. "We were very excited to win a WebAward from the Web Marketing Association, but we had no idea the visibility it would create for our site," said publisher Richard Lowell. "All of a sudden we went from being a good, useful Web site that people talked about to their friends to having the credibility of being an award-winning Web site." The international WebAward competition sets the standard of excellence in 96 industry categories by evaluating Web sites and defining benchmarks based on the seven essential criteria of successful Web site development. The factors the Web Marketing Association says are critical to a site's success are: design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting and ease of use. The goal of the Web Marketing Association is to provide a forum to recognize the people and organizations responsible for developing some of the most effective Web sites on the Internet today. Entrants benefit from a Web site assessment by a professional judging panel and the marketing opportunities that go along with an award-winning Web site. "As a small-business owner, I need to leverage every marketing dollar I have," Lowell said. "Participating in an award program like the WebAwards not only created a wonderful marketing opportunity, but we received valuable feedback that will help us make our Web site even better."
It would be appropriate to assume that the management challenges faced by both the smalleer and medium-sized companies (SME's ) would differ from those faced by larger organisations. It is therefore necessary for 'Interims@ to understand the obvious subtle differences. Managing what you own is a very different experience from managing something essentially owned by someone else. This is referring to businesses in which 'ownership' is controlled by Management. In the SME's the 'Interim Business Executives' face very diffferent pressures and conflicts from those in larger publicly owned orginsations. Key decision-makers in SME's are likely to have to 'don many hats' finding themselves in the roles of employee, owner and director - probably incorporating family roles aswell! Each of these roles will obviously carry with them different agendas and indeed those agendas will conflict. Furthermore the nature of equity participation in smaller businesses differs from that in the bigger business. The Equity itself will be more preciously guarded. Owner-Managers often don't mind sharing the management - but often draw the line at shared ownership. The larger the business the more options they can shed, as they are not weighed down with emotional baggage, like thos in the smaller sector. It is therefore essential that the 'Managing Executive Interim@ is sensitive to o these conflicts. It might be necessary, before commencement and an 'Interim Executive@ is sensitive to these conflicts. It might be necessary, before commencement that an 'Interim Executive' seeks a proper mandate from the shareholders and that the management understands that mandate - easy enough with one shareholder, but when several are involved it might mean raising and addressing the conflict before commencing the work. Alternatively, because the 'Managing Interim Executive' will not have equity in the business, he is often uniquely well-placed to jhelp that business. He/she would be less susceptible to conflicts of interest, thus an'Interim Manager' can bring more objectivity not available to most permanent executives. They are able, too, to offer precious experience to a situatioon, transferring their skills from running a bigger business to those of a smaller one. Indeed a decent 'Interim Manager' is likely to be more frank and challenging and not afraids of 'rocking the boat' if that what his or her's experince advocates. Smaller businesses are often more volatile than larger ones as their futures can be far more uncertain and they are very much affected by the personalities involved. the larger the organisation, the less likely they are affected by an individual's personality The success can rapidly turn to failure in a small concern and it would, therefore, be necessary on the 'Interim Manager to react quickly; something they would well able to do not having to carry any historical baggage! Resources within a small organisatioon can be tight, even a highly successful one can have trouble with cash; fast growing businesses can lurch from one cash crisis to another, even though they may boast healthy profits. This, initially may pose a problem for th'Interim Managers' as utilising an 'Interim Management' facility can initially appear to be expensive. However the Owner/Manager of the business should be aware that 'Interim Managers' are rarely interested in Equity. In this sense an 'Interim Manager can be inexpensive because Equity long term is very costly. Their skills, knowledge and expertise should be rewarded with cash - by definition the 'Interim' isn't interested in the sort of commitment, apprpriately rewarded by Equity. Thus the problems 'Executive Interim Managers' should be asked to address should be the most important for the future success of the business. Utilising an 'Interim Manager' on the face of it, may appear expensive, but if it's a resource that ensures the business survives, then it is money well spent and of course prove to be very 'cost effective' in the long run.
Retail Performance Methodology is based on key principles adopted and tailored by retailers to gain competitive advantage and improve sales performance. The basic principles of a successful Retail Performance Management Model will: 1. Instill a customer focused, sales oriented culture throughout the organization 2. Introduce a methodology for setting standards, tracking, measuring and reporting results, identifying under performance and coaching for success 3. Bridge the gap between common sense and common practice Create a World Class Retail environment where it easier for your people to succeed than to fail 4. Drive compliance with World Class Retail standards and practices. Retailers' performance solutions include a dynamic blend of different consulting styles, training philosophies, coaching and mentoring. They provide customers with a proven methodology for driving retail success and the skills, knowledge and understanding to make it work, creating significant and sustainable increases in sales. Knowledge Driven Success Key to retail performance is the ability to measure actual versus planned individual sales and coach on undersupplied statistics. Retailers must be able to define Key Performance Indicators or KPIs, set targets, and measure the performance of individuals, stores and areas within the business. The Retail Performance System should provide relevant reports at all levels of the company, highlighting areas of poor performance, recommending the specific actions required to improve sales and reduce wages. With the correct information, managers are able to take quick and decisive action that results in a more responsive business and improved results. Retail Coaching KPI Measurement Methodology Retail performance measurements must be broken down into two main categories to be effective at identifying specific areas of poor performance: Wages and Sales. These are the only two areas of expense and income within a Store Manager's control. Expenses such as stocking, rent, electricity, marketing etc, are managed by Middle and Senior Management not by Store Managers or Salespeople. Thus the solution to improving sales performance will focus on identifying only those critical factors that can be influenced by people working in the store. Controlling Retail Staff Wages A Staff Roster System must be employed to empower your front-line Store Managers to do weekly Staff Rosters within the framework of the company's strict wage budgets. Rostering within budgets is an opportunity to reduce operational expenditure – an expense within the control of the Store Manager. Using spreadsheets to manage time is useful. But being able to see how much money you actually have left to spend on wages as you add people to the Roster is much better. It helps Store Managers assign hours when they are needed so they can Roster within payroll budgets. Retail Sales Performance KPI Reporting and Coaching The Retail Sales Management Reporting component of any system should make “all individual Salespeople accountable for their time”, by setting them individual sales targets by shift within an overall weekly sales target framework and measuring and analysing their performance according to five (5) key KPIs. With this information, Managers can target individual Salesperson's weaknesses as their system will guide them as to which KPI to focus on first. Because being able to identify and then focus on the most undersupplied KPI yields the greatest and quickest increase in each Salesperson's performance. Retail Performance System Adoption Ideals Keep the following ideals in mind when implementing a Retail Performance Model. You must be able to: ROSTER within set company wage budget parameters. Managers must be able to see how much is left to spend as they add Salespeople to the Roster. GENERATE SALES TARGETS by individual by day & by store by week. Managers must be able to show each Salesperson how much they expect them to make in sales for the day(s) they work – this enables Salespeople the ‘play the game' while Store Manager's keep score. Would playing sport be as interesting if no one was keeping score? MEASURE individual sales performance compared to everyone on the shift. Managers must be able to track #Sales; #Transactions; #Items/Sale - versus Time Worked for each person compared to the Store Average. INSTANTLY IDENTIFY the most undersupplied or deficient individual selling skills and trends for each Salesperson. Managers must be able to view individual KPIs compared to the shift & store that identify individual coaching needs. Knowing what is wrong means knowing what to fix. TARGETED COACHING on the selling skill delivering the greatest value. Managers should be able to view integrated, on-demand, coaching tips and advice about improving deficient selling skills and individual sales performance. Know exactly what to show a Salesperson yields the best results. Which KPIs are Tracked in the Ideal Retail Performance Management System? An ideal Retail Performance Management System must track five (5) Store and Individual Staff KPIs: 1. Sales per Hour - the fiscal value of the individual's and stores hourly sales. 2. Items Per Sale - the number of items sold by individual compared to the store average. 3. Average Sale – the average fiscal value of each individual sale compared to the store average. 4. Conversion Rate - the number of walk-ins that can be converted to sales. 5. Sales per Wages Spent – the fiscal contribution each salesperson makes, or how much is spent on wages compared to how much they sold. Tracking KPIs at a store level alone without being able to compare them on an individual level is futile. Unless each Salesperson can be shown how well they performed in relation to everyone else it is impossible to know their own area of weakness or strength. Summary An ideal Retail Performance Sales Performance Management System must: 1. Focus on the two areas within the Store Managers control: Wages and Individual Sales Performance. 2. Offer a Rostering Solution for controlling wages and identifying your best Salespeople. 3. Give feedback via a Reports Dashboard about the Individual Sales Performance of each staff member compared to the Store Average so as to identify the most deficient selling skills of each person. 4. Integrate coaching behavior tips and advice so that Managers can instantly be enlightened as to what to coach each individual Salesperson.