What Is An Online Business Manager, and Is It Time for You to Hire One?

Are you a successful woman entrepreneur whose multiple 6-figure business feels out of control?Are you stuck? Overwhelmed? Frustrated?Ever thought seriously about walking away because you’re so bogged down with business operations that you can’t follow your passion?If this sounds like you, it’s time to find an online business manager.What’s an Online Business Manager? According to Tina Forsyth, the author of Becoming an Online Business Manager, the official definition of an Online Business Manager (OBM) is:A virtually based support professional who manages online based businesses, including the day-to-day management of projects, operations, team members, and metrics.An OBM isn’t a virtual assistant who performs tasks. He or she is a professional business manager who runs the company’s daily operations to give the owner energy and time to focus on strategic growth. The OBM gives the owner permission to be the Visionary and serve her clients, plan the company’s growth and future, and use her gifts to their fullest potential.The OBM keeps all the balls in the air as the Integrator of the business. Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters first defined the Integrator role in their book, Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination that Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business. The Integrator harmoniously combines the major functions of the business (sales, marketing, operations, and finance), runs the organization, and manages day-to-day issues. This role is literally the glue that holds the people, processes, systems, and strategy of the company together.The Integrator creates space so the business owner, the Visionary, can fully step into the CEO role and do what she’s called to do-change the world.Finding an Integrator for your business would take a big load off your mind and off your plate, wouldn’t it?I help women business owners who need that time and space. For the past eight years, as an Integrator in my clients’ businesses, I’ve had the great honor of making someone else’s vision happen.You can’t do it all, and you don’t want to.When you started your business, you had to wear all the hats. You had to be the visionary and the manager. You knew it wasn’t your best fit, but you could do it until the business grew a little and you could hire help.Soon you hired someone to take care of the tedious work, but you couldn’t let go of much more. You still needed to lead and manage alone. You told your family (and yourself) that wearing both hats wouldn’t last much longer and you could handle it.Now, your business keeps growing and you spend way too much time managing and not enough time leading and serving. You don’t have enough time to decide where the business is going because you’re trying to keep up with managerial tasks you never wanted.You started your business to change the world and to have the freedom to enjoy life. At this point, you can’t do either because you can’t get out of that manager role long enough to catch your breath!Hitting the ceiling is inevitable. Every successful woman entrepreneur I’ve seen comes to the point where she’s exhausted and can go no farther – she can’t continue to manage and grow the business by herself. She needs online business management services so she can move into the CEO position and Visionary role to grow her company.Transform your business with an OBMYour business needs a Visionary and an Integrator to be successful, and you can’t be both for long and sustainable growth. As the Visionary, you need an Integrator to implement and drive your vision, and your Integrator needs you to lead the company’s direction and strategize its future.My specialty is working with multiple 6-figure clients who have hit that growth ceiling. They know they can’t continue being in charge of everything. I’m an Online Business Consultant, Certified Online Business Manager, and most importantly, a diehard Integrator in every sense of the term.My clients are high-achieving women entrepreneurs who want to change the world, and their visions are huge. They have proven business models that generate multiple 6-figure+ revenues. Their desire to build an empire is inspirational, and they’re ready to turn over the reins of management to a trusted professional who will move the business forward.Are you ready for your Integrator?Have you hit the ceiling in creating new growth? Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with all the “DOING” in your business?

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Gain a New Edge in Telecommunications

If you had always been looking for a good telecommunications company that which you’re willing to become involved. You have made the right choice. Telecommunications companies are no longer about just communications, but also handles the sales of prepaid calling cards and prepaid wireless cards for mobile carriers such as: Alltel or Tracfone.Imagine having the source of such goods in your pocket ready to sell and ready to be purchased. The telecommunications industry is a billion dollar industry that isn’t expected to die down any time soon! If you’re looking to become involved in the telecommunications industry then becoming involved with a telecommunications company as an affiliate or an IBO is the right move to make. Here’s what you need to know about the telecommunications industry. There are many broad fields of telecommunications that must be narrowed in order to focus on any one concentration. Areas like broadcasting, communications regulation and policy, satellite, equipment, consumer and commercial services, equipment manufacturing, and the wireless area of telecommunications.Some telecommunications companies (telecom) do resell products. While others develop their own telephone cards, and brands. Since they are no mediators, telecoms can offer you top quality and the best price especially as an affiliate or IBO. When a telecommunications company incorporates the most efficient and advanced technologies regarding long distance calls and mobile phones. This allows telecoms to offer low rates and a connection that’s excellent in quality worldwide. Providing a wide range of products such as Prepaid Calling Cards, Pinless and Rechargeable Cards, PC to Phone Service and Prepaid Wireless Cards these days is not only a must for telecoms, but also for advertising sales agents such as affiliated independent business owners (AIBO).Telecommunications has always displayed its resilience in the marketplace even in the worst of times. To a point, it appears that telecoms seem to strive and out-perform other businesses during recessions or when the country is at war. Imagine the volume of usage that telecoms receive during periods of emergencies. Therefore, only proving that even in the worst of times telecoms will survive and provide non-stop innovation and service.

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Personal Finance Goals

Although for some personal finance may come natural, for many the idea of balancing their monthly income against their financial responsibilities can be a daunting task. Some find it hard to set money aside that is needed for electrical bills, water bills, insurance and end up unable to pay some of their necessities when they come due.However, balancing your personal finance sheet does not have to be this hard. Many financial experts suggest one should create a list of all of his or her responsibilities that must be met each month. After making this list, one should take their net monthly income and see how it stacks up against all the bills that he or she has decided are must pays.After doing this, your personal finances news become relatively simple. The hardest part is sticking with the list and making sure everything that is considered a necessity is met. After one has an understanding of their monthly needs versus their monthly income, he or she should also add an amount of savings to the list that contains the must pay bills.It is recommended by practically every economist that one needs to have some sort of monthly savings plan. You can never tell when the alternator may fail on your car or when the wind blows your screen door from its hinges during a bad storm. By having some sort of savings account, one will be able to make any needed repairs to his or her personal property. After all, for most people a car is necessary to get them to work so this savings account would almost be like an emergency account as well.Also, there are many ways in which one can cut his or her monthly costs. The ability to cook at home instead of dining out can be a great way to save money. Making sure your car is properly tuned can greatly increase one’s gas mileage, which is another way to cut your monthly costs. When creating a list of one’s monthly priorities, be sure to factor in expenses such as gas, dining out, and other things you may spend money on. It’s not just your power bill and mortgage that takes away from your bottom line. Anywhere there is money being spent regularly is open game to adding to your list.

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The Fundamentals of Direct Response Radio Advertising

Direct response radio advertising, at its core, works in the same way regardless of what type of business you are in. Whether you own a direct-to-consumer model business, a retail business, a web business, or some combination thereof, direct response radio advertising can help you grow. And grow profitably. The fundamentals of direct response radio, then, must start with a discussion of how radio advertising works within the context of a basic business model. The purpose of this article is to convey the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising that apply across businesses.First, Two Important ConceptsThrow out all you think you know about advertising, radio advertising, and especially direct response advertising. It’s best to begin with a clean slate, a blank whiteboard so-to-speak. There are two important concepts I want to introduce before moving forward.Concept One: Radio as A Highway From Your Business to Your Potential CustomersThink of radio advertising as a 5,000 lane highway from your business to groups (station audiences) of your potential customers. The many lanes on this highway are the many different radio stations and radio networks that are available for you air your radio advertisement. It is on these “lanes” that you send your message to your customers.The lanes are clustered in such a way that they reach groups collections of customers who have similar tastes and demographic profiles. Therefore, some of these lanes lead to groups that have a high concentration of people who match your target customer profile. As a result, advertising on those lanes (stations) is more profitable than others with a lower concentration of your target customer profile. These groupings are the radio formats, which are used in radio advertising to enhance the efficiency of, or return on, advertising efforts. For more about radio formats, see our summary at http://www.strategicmediainc.com/radio-advertising.php.Concept Two: Radio Advertising is a Profit-Driver, Not a Cost CenterAt this juncture, the one thing many business people can’t seem to put out of their mind is the one of “how much does it cost” to advertise on radio. We’ve written extensively about this question because it is one of the most common that we get. The problem is that embedded in this question is the presupposition that radio advertising is a cost. The concept that one needs to fully grasp is that radio advertising is not a cost center. That is, it does not stand alone without any relation to revenue or profit. It is detrimental to think of direct response radio advertising as a cost because that leads to managing as though it’s a cost, which means minimizing or eliminating it. Contrast this with managing it like it’s an investment, and maximizing the return you realize on it.Direct response radio advertising – by its very definition – is a profit-driver. If it’s not driving a profit, it would not exist – or at the very least it would not be called direct response radio advertising but instead “brand” or “awareness” advertising. Profitability is a fundamental aspect of direct response radio advertising.On To the FundamentalsNow that we’ve cleared our minds and allowed for two basic concepts about how to think about radio advertising, let’s move on to the meat of the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising.The Basic FormulaWe’ll begin with the basic formula involved in all direct response advertising:You buy placement in radio media to air your radio ad, which gets your message broadcast to a certain number of people. This results in a cost per person reached with your message. In advertising this is known as CPM, or cost per thousand impressions of your ad.Some percentage of those people will respond (call, visit your web site, visit your store), giving you a response rate. Of those who respond (otherwise known as leads), a percentage will be converted into customers (orders), and by that conversion rate generate profit and revenue.From this formula, you will derive your media “CPO”, or “cost per order”, which is found by dividing media spend by the number of orders achieved with that spend (media spend in the numerator/number of orders in the denominator). This is the amount it costs you in radio advertising to acquire one new customer, which is why it is also called “cost per acquisition” (“CPA”).The important question at this point is this: Is the lifetime value (“LTV”) of each of your customers, on average, greater than this CPO? This fundamental question applies whether your business is a direct response advertising business (which includes radio advertising, print advertising, DRTV, catalog, or internet) or a traditional retailer. Every business pays to acquire a customer, and every business has a certain propensity to retain that customer over a period of time in a relationship consisting of subsequent purchases and therefore profit streams. Regardless of whether your business uses direct response radio to acquire new customers, or it uses one of the other approaches to customer acquisition, your success will be fundamentally based on whether your business model facilitates a strongly positive lifetime value. If it does not, there is little that radio advertising, or any other form of advertising, can do to change this.If your LTV is not greater that your CPO, your business isn’t profitable and you’ll want to stop advertising so you can make the changes to both the advertising and the business model that will result in profitability. Even if LTV is greater than CPO, you will want to increase that amount to maximize your profitability. To do this, you’ll need to increase LTV and/or decrease CPO. This process is called business (or campaign) profitability optimization, and it is absolutely essential to the long term success of any direct responses radio advertising effort.Improving Lifetime Value
There are a number of ways to increase the LTV of each customer. Let’s look at three of the main ways:1. Increase price without increasing cost. One way to do this is by increasing the percentage of orders that include high-margin upsells. Retailers do this all the time. They put super high margin items right at the checkout. Direct response advertisers can learn a lot from this. Identify widely appealing, complementary items and ensure they are offered as part of the sales process.2. Increase repeat purchase. You have paid to acquire that customer, now develop a relationship and continue to meet their needs to drive repeat purchase. If they only buy once from you, you don’t have a very viable business unless that first purchase is incredibly high margin.3. Reduce your cost structure. Take advantage of your increased volume to negotiate better product costs, shipping costs, etc.Improving Cost Per OrderJust as there are a number of ways to increase LTV, there are also many ways to decrease the CPO.1. Reduce the media cost per person reached. Also known as CPM, this is a standard metric used in advertising. It reflects the cost to reach 1000 people. (remember that CPM stands for “cost per thousand” impressions of your message). This is a constant focus of any good direct response radio agency, and the element in direct response radio advertising that has received the most attention. This is why every dollar of media in direct response radio is remnant advertising. But that’s not all that should be considered when looking to reduce CPM. Leveraging database technology and using scientific testing methodology, it is possible to identify the optimum schedule to use in placing the media. Thus optimizing the media schedule can meaningfully reduce CPM.2. Increase response rate. Again, media scheduling will play a role here. In addition, use of radio formats to effectively target the right customers is vital to optimizing response rate. But perhaps the greatest impact on response rate in direct response radio advertising is the messaging in the radio ad itself. Great direct response radio ads significantly enhance the responsiveness of the media dollars spent. Your radio agency’s ability to create radio ads that elicit response from your potential customers is a crucial element in direct response radio advertising success.3. Increase conversion rates. Increasing the percentage of inquiries that become customers can have an enormous impact on campaign profitability. The factors that will most impact conversion rate are your sales scripting, web copy, product offers, pricing, and your guarantee or return policy. As much as any other variable, these factors need to be tested and continuously refined.Implications and ConclusionsNow that you understand the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising, let’s look at the implications and conclusions that these fundamentals illuminate:1. The role of database technology and analysis
By now it is clear that optimizing both lifetime value and cost per order maximizes your business profitability. But doing these things also requires capturing and analyzing an enormous quantity of data. To do this in a way that allows for distilling insights requires a robust database specifically tuned for direct response radio, along with well-refined analysis approaches. Fortunately, database technology and robust analysis are a part of the services your radio agency will provide for you.2. The importance of ongoing testing
Any discussion of the fundamentals of direct response radio advertising (or any type of direct response advertising) would be incomplete without addressing the topic of testing. When you look at the above approaches to maximizing campaign profitability, you see the key metrics that must be impacted. But how do you actually impact them? How do you know whether offer A is better than offer B? or C? How do you know whether copy D drives a better response rate than the control? How do you know whether the sales scripting or the pricing structure could be improved by certain changes? The only way to know these things is to test. As a result, testing is a never-ending element in direct response radio advertising efforts. If you are not testing, you are slowly going out of business.3. Success in direct response radio advertising is about more than costs
As we’ve mentioned, one of the biggest questions we get is “how much does it cost to advertise on the radio?”. Done correctly, direct response radio advertising is not a cost center, it’s a profit center. It’s a very efficient way to acquire new customers at a low CPO. To learn more on the topic of radio advertising costs and how to budget for radio advertising, see our article at http://www.strategicmediainc.com/radio-advertising-articles/.4. Nearly any business can grow profitably with direct response radio advertising
It is difficult for me to think of businesses that cannot benefit from the kind of radio advertising that we are involved in. Direct response radio advertising is different from other forms of advertising because it is accountable for results, and the only way it can be accountable is to leverage a set of technological and human systems and processes to accurately capture, analyze and interpret results of the advertising. Once you have that in place, you have established a continuous improvement loop. Therefore, provided you have a profitable business model and a good product that delivers on a unique and relevant promise, your business can profitably acquire new customers with direct response radio advertising. That’s the ultimate promise of direct response radio: the ability to grow your business profitably at the rate you want to grow it. Once you establish profitability, you need only increase your media spend to drive higher revenues and profits.The Fundamentals in PerspectiveDirect response radio advertising does not stand alone in creating a business. It works in combination with your business model to acquire new customers at a low, and therefore profitable, CPO. What makes direct response radio advertising so attractive is its efficiency and flexibility, which results in comparatively low CPO’s relative to other mediums.This article explains the fundamental elements involved in how nearly any business can use direct response radio advertising to acquire new customers and grow both profitably and rapidly. Once you understand the fundamentals of radio advertising, you’re ready to embark on the process of building a direct response radio advertising campaign. That process involves developing a radio advertising strategy, creating radio ads that drive response, and implementing a radio media plan that delivers your message to the right people for the right cost.

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Small Business Loans With A Poor Credit Score

Many small business owners struggle with obtaining business finance, and there is absolutely nothing unusual about this. Getting a business loan for small businesses, such as retailers, restaurants, garages and so on, is not as simple as one would think from the bank.This is not to say however, that getting a business loan is not possible. It all depends on where one goes looking for the loan. Typically, there are two primary options that business owners have, approaching their local banks and going to a private funder or lender.Banks and small business loansBanks look at applications for small business loans from their perspective and their perspective is determined by their criteria. When we speak of criteria, there are numerous criteria and these are all non-flexible as well as stringent.Typically, banks require high credit scores, which should be around about 700 or over. If a business applying for a loan with the bank lacks excellent credit, their application will be rejected simply based on that one criteria. In conclusion to banks and credit scores, business funding with bad credit with a bank is not a possibility.This is not to say that there are not a number of other criteria, which banks follow carefully and take equally seriously as well. The criteria of banks have been established over the decades based on shared experience, and these criteria are across the board.As is generally acknowledged, banks are not very keen on funding small business loans. The reasons for this are many and one of the primary reasons is that, small businesses are considered to be high risk investments from the banks perspective and experience.Private funders and small business loansWith a private lender the situation is completely different from what a business owner will experience with a bank. Private lenders have a completely different list of criteria to provide cash advance for business owners.As private lenders primarily offer MCA (Merchant Cash Advances), the criteria for these is simple. An MCA loan is an unsecured loan, and does not require high credit scores either. As a result it’s easy to qualify for this kind of funding.However, many a small business owners don’t look upon MCAs from a friendly perspective, and they do have their reasons. The interest rates are higher than traditional bank loans, and most business owners want low interest rates.The point with MCAs is however not to compete with bank financing, as they are both in quite different arenas. Apart from the fact that they are both financing for businesses, the entire process, requirements, features and all other details related to the funding are completely different.With an MCA loan the question how to qualify for small business loans does not really apply. Only in very few cases are small businesses turned away by private lenders. Generally, most businesses receive the funding they require for their business.MCA loans V/S bank loansMerchant cash advances or MCA in short are generally accompanied with high interest rates. Far higher than what the bank provides, and the reason for this is these are unsecured short term loans.There are many businesses who would never qualify for a traditional bank loan, regardless of how badly they need it or want it. If their credit scores are low, or if they are unable to provide the collateral the banks require their applications will be rejected. This is not to say that there are not a lot of other grounds on which small business loan applications are not declined by banks. Also, banks are under not obligation to provide funding to those they choose not to. This leaves many small business with no other option.For an MCA loan a business requires nothing much in the way of credit scores and collateral. The basic criteria for an MCA loan is mentioned here, as follows. The business should be at least 12 months old and a running business. The owner of the business should not be in active bankruptcy at the time of the loan application. Finally, the gross income of the business needs to be at least $10 thousand a month.The easy criteria makes it simple to obtain an MCA, and the drawbacks are definitely the interest rates and the duration for some business owners. However, those who capitalize on such business funding are those business who either have no choice, or those who require quick business loans. Some of the advantages are the processing time frames, which can be as little as a couple of days.

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You Don’t Need Technical Skills to Start an Online Business

A few weeks back I was giving a coaching session and was baffled to hear that the individual I was talking to had joined a web programming online course so he would have the technical skills to begin an online business.I ended up the call very frustrated.Technical skills are not vital for starting an online business. The main mistake many people do when beginning online is to believe that they need first to know how to code.Somebody is thinking of beginning an online business and… join a programming or web engineer online course.Do you see any logic here?!I now understand why web-programming courses have been flourishing the last few years on the Internet!With individuals intrigued by the opportunity that lies in having an online business, they mistakenly believe that by gaining the technical knowledge they will be able to start an online business.You can be the best online software engineer in the world and still struggle in being a successful digital entrepreneur.I get it – without a site, you can’t go far on the web.The uplifting news is that whether you want to blog or sell products online, you can have a website without having to type a single line of code.I am thinking obviously at WordPress, my favourite website builder platform.But Wix is also another great alternative for any individual who needs an online presence.Don’t let a lack of technical skills alarm you The Internet is always changing, which implies that it offers opportunities for any individual who has something valuable to offer.If you’ve ever considered starting a business, I strongly recommend going online.The Internet offers you the possibility to create a fully automated online business that will give you a passive income and flexibility in your life. You will be able to work anywhere in the world as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection.I like to call it ‘living a digital lifestyle’.Give value to your customers first The Internet tracker, Internet Live Stats, estimates the number of websites live to near one billion.With thousands of websites created everyday, it is fundamental to know how to advertise your business effectively.95% of your work in growing an online business should to be centered on how to give value – and not on learning technical skills.When an online business goes down, it is not a result of technical issues but rather the fact that the owner didn’t bring genuine value to its audience.Many people start online on their own and give up from frustration. Don’t be this one.You might have tried before and have realized that promoting a business online is no easy task.Perhaps you have focused too much on the technical side and lost track on growing the business instead. Or you didn’t know how to bring value to your customers.For sure it requires significant investment to figure out how to give genuine value to the people you want to target, but once you found the right formula, you will see your online business flourish without having you to work harder for it!

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What Is An Online Business?

When we mention the phrase “Online Business” – we are actually referring to the term utilized for any sort of business deal that comprises the sharing of information or data across the World Wide Web. This is also referred to as e-business.In this current age, research has proven that more and more businesses are being introduced online on daily basis. This is because it offers loads of benefits and leverage for new businesses and existing ones.The benefits of utilizing online marketing over that of offline (brick-and-mortar) marketing is primarily that of extensive reach, robust customer communication, target audience engagement, among others. Below are basic advantages of online business and marketing and why it is important for you to consider having your business launched on the internet.Online Business & Marketing Offers Widespread Audience PotentialIf you are just starting out a new business or have been in business for long; once you decide to expand and launch out online, you will have more opportunities to reach out to more customers. Launching your business online will offer you access to millions of prospective consumers online, locally and globally. Online marketing helps you reach these customers much easier and even at lesser fee than you would through offline business marketing. As an online marketer, you will be able to target more people by simply placing ads in diverse search engines, including those of Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc. With SEO applied, and using specific vital related business keywords, the business can gain first-page search engine ranking which is great for attracting loads of organic traffic and, as a result, more exposure to potential customers all around the world.It Provides Available InformationWith online business and marketing product details are more widely and readily available to large audience of people who might be interested in such products/services. It allows you to post service or product images, descriptions and prices on the internet via your website. Having an online business lets you reveal key advantages of your services or products over other competitors.It Offers Better TrackingWith dedicated software – online businesses can easily and better track business activities online. With this, businesses can apportion more advertising dollars to the right search engines to produce greater volume of website traffic.Online Business Provides Better Customer Engagement and ContactOnline business and marketing offers better customer engagement and contact. This is because the internet offers businesses the platform and capacity to deliver clear communication to their target audience and customers. With the potentials to generate email leads from website visitors, effective communication becomes easier and more direct, with much better benefit to enjoy higher returns on investment. This is also quite cheaper to attain than it is with offline business and marketing.

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Technology Transfer Case Study – Pathfinders for Independent Living, Inc.

Pathfinders for Independent Living, Inc., a nonprofit organization, was founded after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) Pathfinders provides information and assistance to elderly and disabled individuals and their caregivers on how to live as independently as possible. Its core value is to Promote Self-Reliance. The culture within Pathfinders is one of friendly support. Pathfinders’ IT leadership proposed a project to design and build a network infrastructure that would provide security for sensitive data, data storage, Internet access, email access, updated applications and hardware, and user training. Changing the environment would affect the organizational structure and culture of Pathfinders. This paper discusses the organizational changes that occurred due a change in technology.Technology TransferTechnology transfer describes activities that have the aim of establishing measurable process improvement through the adoption of new practices. Assistive technology reduces the gap experienced by disabled and elderly individuals in accomplishing daily activities. Some of these technologies are text telephones, Braille computer monitors, infrared pointing devices, artificial limbs, and assistive software. Introducing and encouraging the use of these technologies and many others to Pathfinders’ consumers, is a responsibility of the independent living specialists.The independent living specialists assist the consumers in identifying the assistive technologies needed, applying for funding to purchase the technologies, and educating the public on the various technologies available. However to provide its services to its consumers, Pathfinders had to adapt to current information technologies.A Strategy for Technology TransferRecognizing the relationship between technology transfer and process improvement is fundamental to Pathfinders’ approach to change. Technology cannot be changed without some impact on the process or personnel that use the technology, be it an increase in productivity, a reduction in cost, or a fundamental change in method. A number of key issues had to be addressed for the technology to be successfully transferred. These are divided into several categories; technology issues, process changes, and changes in culture.Technology IssuesPathfinders would join the Information Age by installing, new computers, file servers, network printers, a local area network (LAN), and Internet access. The installation process required preparing the PCs before delivering them to Pathfinders, then a visit to the office site to build the network and deploy the equipment. The PCs were standardized on Microsoft applications. Following the installation of the network, etc., training on the use of the software was provided. With the installation of the infrastructure complete, each independent living specialist and the executive director had a personal computer, email, and Internet access.Designing and building a training center provided the opportunity for anyone to come in and learn more about computers and office application software. Pathfinders provided some basic training courses. Additionally, computer books were available for use with the computers to learn how to use the programs. Access to the Internet was provided. Funding was allocated through federal funds to support the changes in technology.Process ChangesBefore the technology changes, there were only two stand-alone PCs available for use by the staff, these PCs were very old, running DOS applications. Employees were forced to share the PCs or use typewriters to complete correspondence. Data was maintained on floppy disks and hardcopy. Access to the Internet for research was accomplished by going to the local library, which consumed valuable resources of time and personnel. Deploying the new infrastructure significantly changed the way the employees worked. The changes in infrastructure gave real-time access to the Internet, consumer data, and improved data security.Changes in CulturePrior to the deployment of technology, the employees were equal in their knowledge of using the available tools at Pathfinders. With the delivery of their network, a fundamental change occurred within the employee dynamics. An atmosphere of resentment developed due to an imbalance of knowledge and workload. Some of the employees went out of their way to grasp the advancement in technology thereby, improving themselves and their work processes. They pursued the educational opportunities offered to them by Pathfinders and enhanced their knowledge of computer applications. Productivity for these individuals increased, causing an increase in satisfaction by Pathfinders’ consumers.Conversely, there was a minority of employees, who took a stance in not excepting these changes. These individuals spent much of their time complaining that they could not do the work using the tools provided, or repeatedly requested help from the employees that understood the technology. Defense mechanisms were employed to justify their reactions to the new technology. These employees viewed the technology change as a threat and wanted nothing to do with improving their computing skills or their work environment. However, as training and practice in using the improvements to the technology progressed, acceptance began to increase and resistance began to decrease. Change is difficult in all organizations but to stay in business Pathfinders was forced to change with the times.Pathfinders operations depend heavily on federal grant money. Each year Pathfinders must forecast how that money will be spent and report that the goals of the previous year have been met. The Federal reporting system began as a hardcopy report that evolved to an online reporting system. Without the changes in technology, Pathfinders would find it difficult to apply for Federal grant money or report its disbursement.ConclusionCareful consideration was employed to determine if a change in IT infrastructure was warranted within the Pathfinders organization. Potential obstacles were identified and anticipated. One of those obstacles was the affect that a change in technology would have on the organizational culture of Pathfinders verses the improvement in customer service. Pathfinders identified that resistance to change and fear played a role in the effectiveness of the change. Additionally, Pathfinders identified that as the staff moved along the learning curve, acceptance of the technology increased and fear of the technology decreased.

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Understanding the Communication Process – The Key to Organisational Success

The process by which one person or a group of persons receive an increment of information which has some value for either sender or receiver either by way of knowledge addition or entertainment or acquisition of energy to act or persuasion to buy or act as required by the sender is the process of communication.The Process of CommunicationThe critical part of communication is the information, which is being transferred. Information may be in any form- ranging from hand signals to public speech, from email to detailed contract, from one word greeting to a lengthy letter, from a message on a notice board of a school to a full page advertisement on a daily, from a hint with raised eyebrows to five-minute hug, from a memo from a superior or subordinate to a HR manual and so on. For the transfer of the information or the message, certain vehicle or medium is employed, which loads itself with it and passes it on to the intended receivers. Paper, phone, one-to-one meeting, public meeting, conversation, hoarding, newspaper, words written or spoken, body gestures, smile, books etc are the vehicles or media. The way the vehicles take and transport the information in such a way that the receiver understands it as it should be is the communication process. The medium or the sender or the receiver characteristically distorts the information, which in one way or other contributes fully or partly to the failure of the communication in accomplishing the purpose intended.Two important stages of communication are a) encoding and b) decoding. The process involved in these two stages is a potential source of communication failure. Encoding is translation or conversion of the idea or intention or message into words or signals so that receiver would reconvert the same as intended by the sender. Decoding is what the receiver does to reconvert the received words or signals into the idea or intention or message as originally intended by the sender. The problems associated with encoding or decoding are due to the fact that words or signals have multiple meanings and thus there is a possibility of either use of wrong words or wrong signals or understanding them in a way different from what is originally intended.Understanding of the process of communication would facilitate transactions. Else, the there would be no action at all or delayed action if at all there is some action or wrong action or relationships turning bad and so on. For instance, a boss tells his secretary that a meeting with contractors is urgent. But he finds to his surprise that a meeting has been convened quickly the next day morning, but it clashed with another program, which the secretary is not aware. The boss, in this case, while being busy with office routine overlooked the process involved in passing messages and the attendant chances of communication going wrong in many of the stages. He failed to specify the time. But the secretary understood it as next day morning. This illustrates how the process involved in encoding and decoding goes wrong and thus it springs surprises.All the elements involved in communication which constitute the communication process are a) sender b) receiver c) message c) encoding d) decoding e) channel f) noise g) feedback.The following brief discussion explains the process of communication.Sender: The point from where the message originated, here the boss, is the sender. The action intended to happen out of this message is convening of a meeting urgently, but definitely not the next day morning.Message: Message is the essential content of communication or information intended to be passed. The request for convening of meeting is the message.Receiver: The person who has to take delivery of message is the receiver. Here the secretary is the receiver whose job is to understand exactly and act on it as intended by the sender.Encoding: The idea of convening a meeting, in this instance, has been converted into words, probably with facial expressions signaling the urgency of meeting. Such process of converting an idea is words or expressions is encoding.Channel: The encoded message needs a vehicle or a medium to be transported from sender to receiver. The vehicle may be a paper or a telephone or Internet or meeting or conversation. In the present example, oral communication made by the boss to secretary is the channel.Decoding: The process of understanding by receiver of the message given by the sender. In this example, the secretary while decoding understood the message given by the sender.Noise: Noise is the causative factor for the message being miscommunicated or misunderstood due to the problem either in the medium chosen or encoding or decoding or in some stages of the process. In this instance, the message was not properly constructed and hence the secretary did not understand it as intended by the sender. The noise in communication is analogous to the external noise generated by cable or transmission equipment of land line telecommunication while the subscribers talk on land line phones and hence they don’t listen or understand the words exchanged.Feedback: The sender would be communicating back to the sender his or her evaluation or how he or she understood about each part of the message or word before the sender goes further in acting on the message. Here in the present example the secretary did not give her feedback about what she understood and thus the intended message failed.While what was described in the preceding paragraphs is a general understanding of the concept of communication process, a brief study of various theories propounded till date would facilitate a fairly in-depth understanding of the communication process. The same has been attempted in the following paragraphs.Aristotle Theory of One Way Communication: Aristotle proposed that communication has three components- sender, receiver and message. It is a simple and basic model, which, nevertheless, laid base for the rest of the theories to come up. Aristotle, at such an early period of evolution of social science, posited that communication is a one way process. It connotes that sender is responsible for good persuasive communication to happen. Neither the concept of noise nor the necessity of feedback in communication crossed his mind.Lasswell Model of Communication: Lasswell extended the communication theory of Aristotle to include another element, channel. Three important elements or components in this theory are a) Sender b) Message c) Channel. His theory posits that it is the responsibility of the sender to see that receiver understands the message, by choosing a proper channel. It is also a one-way direction of communication as that of Aristotle.Shannon-Weaver Model: CE Shannon and W Weaver, the engineers’ duo, proposed this theory in 1949. This theory was based on a mechanistic view of communication. This is the first theory, which recognizes that the message received is not the same as the message sent. This distortion is due to the noise present in the system.They introduced feedback as a corrective measure for noise. But, they did not integrate the feedback into the model. They proposed that feedback would start another cycle of communication process. The theory essentially posits that real communication takes place only when the message received and message sent are one and the same without any difference, which may be true for an engineering model. But the communication that takes place between individuals, which mostly happens without any machines, cannot be as perfect as assumed in the theory, since the filters in the individuals operate while both listening and sending. Filters are the attitudes, perceptions, experiences and evaluations that operate much before the actual communication starts. The action that takes place as intended is the proof of success of communication.The elements in this model are a) Information source b) Encoding c) Channel d) Decoding e) Destination f) Noise g) Feedback.Schramm Model of Communication: Wilburn Schramm proposed this model in 1955, which was considered to be the best of all the theories since it is evolved and comprehensive. It was proposed in three stages with some improvement in each successive stage over the previous one. These stages are also referred to as three distinct models.In the first stage, it emphasized on encoding process and source like that of Aristotle without any recognition for noise. It too was a one-way direction of communication flow.In the second stage, the emphasis shifted to the shared domain of experience of sender and receiver. The sender has to take into consideration, according to this theory, the needs and abilities of the receiver, which he must be aware of due to shared experience, and thus the selects the right channel and at the same time encodes the message in the way that can be understood by the receiver. Here the communication process is understood to be a two-way flow.In the third stage, the feedback was thought to be an essential element of communication system. In this stage of Schramm’s theory, the communication process encompasses sender, receiver, good channel, proper encoding, proper decoding, and feedback. The flow which ends with feedback starts immediately again to make a circular process.The Inferential Model of Communication: Prof.Mathukutty Monippally proposes a new theory called ‘Inferential Model of Communication’ emphasizing on symbols displayed and the construction of meaning inadequately from such symbols. The model assumes that there is no adequate and proper way to send a message, and nevertheless we send message through some chosen symbols, which again are not properly understood.Prof. Mathukutty (2001) explains, ” The inferential model assumes that we cannot communicate, that we cannot communicate, that we cannot share our message with anyone, that we cannot it in the minds of and hearts of others. And yet we want to communicate. There is no code that can capture our message faithfully and then be cracked clean by others. So we resort to displaying symbols….This procedure is generally satisfactory. Of course, we can go wrong; and occasionally we go terribly wrong. But this is the only means available.” ( Mathukutty M Monippally, Business Communication Strategies,2001, New Delhi, Tata Mcgrawhill Publishing Company Limited, pp 6-9)An Overview of Some More Models of CommunicationAnother model of Katz -Lazarfeld is the one related to mass communication, which states that the sender has to encode the message and transmit the same through mass media to an opinion leader. The opinion leader in turn transmits the same to the target audience, the public. This is also constructed as a one-way direction of information flow.Another model, which has taken a different path, is that of Westley – Maclean. It emphasizes on interpersonal communication. In this, the carefully encoded message is sent to the receiver who in turn sends it to either the sender or other individual with some changes. The model lays stress on sender, receiver and feedback, which make this model a circular one.One more one- way model is that of Berlo, which recognizes perception as an important element of communication. According to this model, any discrepancy in the reception of message due to influence of perceptions of intermediaries would lead to miscommunication. The important building blocks of this model are the source, the receiver, the meaning intended and the process of sending and receiving the message.Watlaw- Beavin-Jackobson, proposed a model of two-way communication with emphasis on the behavior of participants and the relationships existing among them to achieve communication success.Rogers-Kincaid proposed that for the communication to be successful, the individuals should be connected through social networks and sharing of information.ConclusionUnderstanding communication process is very critical to the managers of the organization. They should understand that communication is rarely understood as it should be. The distortion of the message can happen at any of the stages in communication process-sender, receiver, encoding, decoding, channel, message and feedback.

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A Simple Way to Manage Investments

One investment criterion important to many people, and perhaps to you, is: How easy are my investments to supervise? For example, does the investment require constant care, supervision, or expense, such as the complete or partial ownership of real estate property with its rental, repair, maintenance, taxation, and other management problems?Or does the investment require none of your time, such as your contributions to a pension fund? Some people feel confident and enjoy the time and effort that may go into managing their investments. Others have neither the skill, time, nor patience to bother with their investments. There are investments that satisfy both groups, depending on personal objectives.The best method to manage all investments is the Investment Portfolio Evaluation Grid. It is a great chart to help organize your present portfolio, even if your investments right now are some money in a savings account, or an IRA or pension plan.Start by creating 7 columns and input the following: Date, Cost, Present Market Value, % Total Portfolio Market, Annual Return, Yield, and % Return on Market.Next, input all your investments on the left in rows: Savings Accounts, U.S. Savings Bonds, Treasury Securities, Certificate of Deposit, Bonds-Tax-Free, Common Shares-Dividends, Preferred Shares, Blue-Chip Shares, Real Estate, Second Mortgages & Trust Deeds, IRA & Keogh Accounts, Pension Plans, Insurance Annuities, Growth Stocks, Undeveloped Real Estate, Precious Metals, Stock Options, Commodity Contracts, Commercial Paper, Other, and Total Portfolio.Determine the percentage of the market value of your portfolio as a whole. Divide the present market value of the individual investment by the total present market value of your portfolio. Determine the percentage of what it costs you to make an investment. This is easy to figure with interest bearing investments. A $1,000 10% bond you paid $1,000 for has a 10% yield. On stocks or real estate, estimate yield by dividing the amount of increase in value and/or dividend by the amount you paid. For example, if you paid $100 for a stock and received a $5 cash dividend, the yield would be 5%. Determine the percentage of the return on your portfolio as a whole. Divide the annual dollar return on all investments by the total present market value of your portfolio.For each investment you now have, fill in all the information you can in the columns to the right. The last three columns (Annual Return, Yield, and % Return on Market), tell how your investments have performed for you, as well as their relative value within your portfolio. If you do not have exact numbers for everything, do not worry. At this point you are just seeking an overview of what you have. A big picture will start to form that indicates how your money is allocated. You can also see what types of investment vehicles serve your objectives.If you are like many people who are just starting to invest, your grid is heavily weighted toward protection of principle. You may not even be aware of some of the listed investments. Before you get into the characteristics of different investments, you will benefit greatly from having a reference point with which to evaluate the various investment opportunities. Consider all the personal factors in your financial picture, including the other people affected by the decisions you will make.Forecast as much as possible, where your current and potential income sources will take you 5-20 years from now. What standard of living is important to you now and in the future? Will you need to provide for children? Do you wish to retire early? Where do you want to allocate investment and other disposable income? To a house in the hills? In world travel? To building a business?These and dozens of other personal questions should get some serious thought at this point. Do not be rigid. Expect your priorities and goals to change. But better a mutable plan for the future than none at all. Allow yourself to dream and get excited about the possibilities. Though it is difficult, even dangerous, to generalize about what investment objectives are most important to different groups, the following information will give you broad guidelines to consider, if you are:a) Single, with low to average working income, with a savings-oriented temperament, seek investments that produce income but that also provides some long-term capital growth.b) Single, with an average to high working income, and/or an aggressive temperament, seek investments with strong total return (the sum of the current yield and the capital-gain yield), concentrating on long-term, and high-growth vehicles.c) Married, with no dependents earning an average to high income growth-oriented but aggressive, look at safe income-producing investments, such as bonds and money-market mutual funds.d) Married, with dependents, a low to average income and a conservative temperament, seek secure investments with long-term growth in both capital and income, perhaps blue-chip stocks.e) An older person, with income from Social Security and some savings, and a goal of more income while preserving current capital, seek a conservative income fund that pays dividends and has appreciation value, or a money-market fund with a satisfactory yield.Take a look at your new chart and you will see Percentage of Portfolio typically allocated to investments goals. You can use this as a guideline when considering how to allocate your investment money. However, at a younger age, safety and capital gain has greater weight. In later years the need for income and safety of principle tends to increase.

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