Is Excel Running Your Business? A Transition to Project Management Software is Worth the Investment.
Businesses small and large have been using MS Excel for years to run processes and manage projects. For small, simple projects Excel is a useful organizational tool. However, projects have a tendency to grow in complexity at a rate that Excel can not keep up with. Imagine that a business needs to track projects or processes and does not have the time or budget to put a sophisticated tracking system in place. An IT department does not exist or is busy handling other affairs. Excel often seems to be the obvious, quickest and easiest resource to get things started.Skip ahead a few months or a year later and those same Excel spreadsheets have now become a burden to the company. Many different versions are being passed around. No one knows who has the most up-to-date files saved on their computer. The project has evolved, making the spreadsheets so complex that only one person understands how to update them or even interpret them, in some cases. It is now nearly impossible to generate reports from the spreadsheets or track progress and historical data. The data is also not searchable since Excel does not function as a database. The list goes on and on with all the limitations.It is very understandable why business professionals turn to Excel to run critical processes: most already own a license on their desktop and are familiar with enough to quickly get the project started. They can even bypass IT altogether and maintain the Excel files themselves. The problem is Excel was never intended to be used as project management tool. It is no surprise that collaborating via spreadsheets becomes unbearable rather quickly as projects and processes grow in complexity.Project Management software solutions such as Interneer Intellect provide business professionals with the same benefits they seek with Excel - ease of use, quick setup, ease of maintenance without IT - all with the full benefits and robustness of a database system, that is collaborative, web-based, multi-user and enterprise level. These systems even incorporated many other features that make it easier for the business users to manage documents, projects and process workflows.Excel is best for what it was designed to do - accounting and financial calculations. Stop running your businesses on a thread and read white papers and view demos of project management software system. Web-based systems like Interneer Intellect allow for real-time collaboration between team members anywhere. The time saved using project "management software" will provide ROI.
Non-cash incentive programs and fringe benefits can have a powerful influence on attitudes, that should in turn improve results. You can give employees the greatest incentive program, however, by impairing a sense of ownership in the organization. Ultimately, loyal and happy employees tend to work harder, leading to increased overall productivity.1. Share OwnershipUse share schemes as an incentive program to reward people for contributing to team success. An employee who sees his or her efforts rewarded in company shares will, in theory, identify with the company, be committed to its success, and perform more effectively. A company with shares in the company will see that, quite literally, their sucess is the company's sucess, and vice versa. The harder they work, the better chance their shares have of increasing in value. In reality, it may be hard to tell whether the companys success is due to employees owning shares, or whether the success itself has the led the company to issue shares. It is also difficult to know whether employees would have performed less effectively if no shares had changed hands. Nevertheless, by giving people a stake in the company as an incentive program, you are making a highly positive statement about them, that encourages them to feel positive in return.2. Gifts Aren't Just For ChristmasSurprise people with gifts they do not expect. Expected remuneration has less impact than the unexpected. Even generous pay rises are taken for granted after a while, as salary increases accordingly. Incentive programs are like a far smaller payment, in the form of a gift, and are priceless in the eyes of the recipient. An employee could use a cash award to buy a gift, perhaps a weekend vacation, but that would provide less satisfaction than an incentive program in kind from the management as a reward for work well done.Consider which incentive program is better: A company called for a special meeting for all of the employees that had achieved the sales quota for the month. In the meeting, the company announced that the incentive is a gift certificate. They went to the Accounting Department, as instructed, signed their name, and off they go. Or: The company gave them a specialized mug embossed with the word Congratulations, plus a special card with a special message personally written by the manager. Between the two incentive programs, the latter is more appreciative. Gift certificates could be a good incentive program but it is sometimes taxable, so they get only a fraction of what was written on it. Plus, the first incentive program lacks personalization. On the other hand, the second incentive program is far more favourable. A more specialized and personalized gift ideas as incentive program can be more appreciated. It makes your employee feel that they are individually valued especially if it comes with a thank you note. Best of all, presents are also a better incentive program and a cost-effective method of motivating staff when cash is short or when competition does not allow an increase in pay.3. Optimize BenefitsFringe benefits have become much less effective incentive programs financially in many countries because of tax changes, as mentioned earlier. Good pension schemes, however, have become more attractive as incentive programs wherever state-funded provision have fallen. The same applies to medical insurance. The knowledge that the company cares for its people in sickness, health, and old age is a basic yet a powerful factor.Other benefits- Company cars- Paternity leave- Vacations- Help with childrens education- Medical care- Mobile phones- Computers- Spas4. Bequeath StatusThe modern company, with its flat structure, horizontal management, and open style, avoids status symbols that are divisive and counter-productive. Reserve parking places and separate dining rooms are rightly avoided. Important-sounding job titles are easy and economical forms of incentive that provide recognition and psychological satisfaction. Giving people incentive programs of any kind sends a very positive signal. As they say, its the thought that counts.
Copyright 2006 Train In A DayUnderstanding the business benefits of an employee training programme can sometimes be more of an art than a science.How do you measure success?How can you convince your colleagues to make the investment?As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to convince management teams of the need for forma people investment.Like any business case, we need to persuade others through demonstrating the benefits or, as salespeople would say, Whats in it for them?This article highlights five major benefits of "employee training" :Lets take a look:1. Impact on bottom lineSuccessful employee training delivers improvements in employee performance which, in turn, creates a better performing business and an improved bottom line.Research conducted has suggested that, where training programmes are effective, employee productivity can increase by 230 per cent.You may wish to highlight job roles within your organization where employee performance has improved using measurable variables that will demonstrate your business case for further investment.By focusing your business case on the objectives of the business you will not only be preparing a persuasive proposal for the rest of your management team but will also be steering your training plans towards the areas of greatest benefit. Hence, ensuring the greatest return on investment for the project.2. Staff retentionWant to spend more training recruiting staff?Thought not.Training increases staff retention which will save you money.Instead of paying recruitment fees, re-investing in training, loss of management time why not treat your people as your number one asset?Invest in their development and they will receive a return your investment many times over.In some companies, training programs have reduced staff turnover by 70 per cent and led to a return on investment of 7,000 per cent.Incredible, eh?3. Improved quality and productivityTraining that meets both staff and employer needs can increase the quality and flexibility of a businesss services by fostering: accuracy and efficiency good work safety practices great customer service.You know the benefits of quality assurance programmes. Now buy in to the benefits of employee training programmes!Can you put a value onto a lost customer?How about a health and safety issue?If you wish to gain a simple but meaningful measure of employee training programmes take a look at the consequences of NOT investing in your people.Often, we only make investment decisions when we can visualize the effects of not taking action.If youre not yet convinced by the benefits of training, take a look at where your company has suffered from a lack of improved skills and try calculating the TRUE cost of those incidents.4. The flow-on effectThe benefits of training in one area can flow through to all levels of an organization.Over time, training will boost the bottom line and reduce costs by decreasing: wasted time and materials maintenance costs of machinery and equipment workplace accidents, leading to lower insurance premiums recruitment costs through the internal promotion of skilled staff absenteeism.If you take a closer look at those companies which sit within the Top 100 Companies to work for you will notice something which runs through each of them.You cant measure it but successful companies have a culture which runs throughout them.The benefit of this culture is a happy, innovative and successful workforce.A positive culture only comes through a respect for and an investment in your people.Start cultivating a progressive culture within your business today through employee training programmes and other forms of people investment.5. Remaining competitiveBusinesses must continually change their work practices and infrastructure to stay competitive in a global market.Technology, previously the main driver of competitive advantage, is progressively taking a back seat to people.As economies become progressively service orientated, it is the development of people that is providing successful businesses with long-term sustainable success.Training staff to manage the implementation of business strategies, improvements to procedures and customer service policies can also act as a benchmark for future recruitment and quality assurance practices.As well as impacting on business profit margins, training can improve: staff morale and satisfaction 'soft skills' such as inter-staff communication and leadership time management customer satisfaction.So there we are. Start thinking now about how investing in the skills of your people can benefit your business to make more money, save money or save time.
Lead capture pages or "squeeze" pages are the best tools to use in a traffic exchange. That way, you can collect names and email addresses for your "list" of potential customers. You know the saying--"The Money Is In the List."But, do you know how to build a squeeze page? A please sign up, and a fill-in form wont get you many (if any) sign-ups. Here are some hints:First, you need to intrigue viewers to get their information. If youre offering a free newsletter, the best thing to do is to give readers a sample of what they might find inside. For my newsletter, OVMarketing One-Tip News, I offer a tidbit of advice, such as using your picture to brand your business or another teaser about what people might find once they subscribe.If you dont have a newsletter to offer, you may be offering a short marketing course or a course on pet care. It really doesnt matter what you offer, as long as youre offering something of quality. You can even buy autoresponder messages now.You can also find tons of stuff out there to give away. Various programs provide a clearinghouse of sorts, where product owners allow their products to be downloaded in exchange for coveted names and email addresses.Of course, before you give an ebook or product away be sure you have permission from the author to do that. Youll find that information within the ebook or product or in a separate file that accompanies your download. Using something without permission is plagiarism and could result in legal problems for you.Once you have something of value to offer and permission to distribute, then youll need a good autoresponder. These services offer a system that will not only store your list of names, email addresses, and other information. They send a confirmation message to the person who signs up, which the enlistee must verify. This provides you with whats known as a double opt-in. (The first opt-in is signing up, and the verification is the second.) Having this verification assures that you can never be accused of spamming, which is a truly obnoxious practice that can get you booted from your ISP. Just dont do it. In the United States, its now against the law.Your autoresponder will also provide the code you need to make the sign-up form. You give it some basic information, such as what fields you want to acquire and then, an HTML code will be provided, which you have to add to your splash page. Usually youll want to do this at the bottom of the page.But directly before the code, youll need to type in a disclaimer. It will be your privacy statement and you can make it as simple as you like: Your information will not be sold, rented, or given to anyone for any reason. And then, live by it. This is very important. Your privacy statement could encourage potential clients to sign up by giving them a bit of added security.So, you have the autoresponder, your client has double opted-in, and now you want to welcome them. You need to set up your autoresponders first message. In it, thank your potential customer and welcome them to the newsletter or thank them and give them a link through which they can download your book, software, etc. For a newsletter or e-course, youll need to set up subsequent messages, too, and let the autoresponder know at what interval youd like the messages sent. Youre set! Now, you can forget about it and just continue to build your list in the exchanges and anywhere else you advertise.Dont expect your list to grow overnight. If youre getting 25 names a week to add to it, youre doing well. Just keep showing the page, brand it with your image or logo, and folks will get used to seeing your page. The more folks that see your page, the better they come to trust you and the quicker they will sign up.But once you have a list, dont abuse it. If you do, you wont have that list for long. Dont spam members everyday with the newest, best product youve ever seen, or even every week. I tend to feel used when people do that, and you probably do, too. If you are offering a newsletter, perhaps you can put the item youre pushing into your signature file or even better, a P.S. (Folks usually read those.) But never betray peoples trust by shoving stuff into your newsletter that doesnt belong. If the service or product is not relevant to what youre writing about, dont even think about using it. Be kind to your list and your list will be kind to you.
Training is essential to any employee and provides not only a benefit to them but also to the company in increased productivity and employee job satisfaction. The high costs of travel combined with increasing strained budgets have meant that training can sometimes be the first thing to be cut when focusing on the bottom line. Companies are turning to a more cost-effective solution through online education and e-learning.Training an employee is essential for any business, whether it be a fast food establishment or a multi-million dollar software company. One of the most effective ways to train employees is to let them get education at their own pace through e-learning training programs. Not only does this eliminate costly travel expenses but it also allows the employee to take the training on their own schedule as they are available. If an employee cannot finish the "online education" is one sitting they can easily come back to where they left off next time. Furthermore, if there is a question or a concept the employee does not understand the e-learning system lets them review and go over materials as often as they desire.One of the foremost designers of e-learning software is Gary Blum Designs. They have developed online education systems for a number of major companies including Charles Schwab, Cygent and Sybase. If your company does not have an internal training department then hiring an outside contractor such as Gary Blum Designs can be the best solution for getting quality e-learning materials delivered right to your employees.Most online education includes quiz and performance evaluation software at the end of the course. This information can be stored for use by management to see training weak-spots in the company or judge individual performance. Many times employees can re-take missed quizzes or evaluations and never be asked the same question twice thanks to the technology behind the e-learning application.