Archives for August 2015
Is your business’s network management staying on pace with those changes or falling behind?
The antiquated main IT focus on hardware setup and troubleshooting has morphed to include tasks related to cloud services and more.
Since sound network management is directly linked to effective internal communications and business success, here’s how to ensure yours is staged for success now and in the future:
Consider Information Security
Your top concern regarding the rapidly changing technological landscape must be the security of your company’s information.
Hackers are a dime-a-dozen and information can be compromised on many fronts.
Work with your network management team to pinpoint holes in information security and take rapid action on any concerns that are voiced by the team.
Assess Company Technology Policies
Whether on a work computer, a personal smartphone or another device, employees can now access thousands of apps and software programs with ease.
This shift in available technology has softened the edges of once-strict company technology policies.
Workers who once feared the wrath of their IT department after downloading software without permission now don’t see the problem of installing an app for the transfer of company photography or of using an online spreadsheet program for the input of company data.
Before the use of such software at your company gets out of hand and possibly compromises the business’s security, take a hard look at your technology policy.
Assess whether the policy addresses the latest evolution in smartphone apps and other technologies and work with your network management team to revise the policy as needed.
Look to the Future Workspace
Employees who sit at desks in the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day are quickly becoming the exception rather than the norm.
Flex and telecommuting policies are changing the way people work.
This workspace revolution is also changing the standards tasks that are associated with network management.
Just a few of the issues to consider regarding your company’s future workspace include how to deal with employees working from their private computers, how cloud services will change the way you do business and more.
Rather than ignoring these impending changes, face them head on to keep your network management one step ahead of the game.
If you are asking the question as the article, “Are you ready for the next generation of network management?” looks at, take an overview of your current workforce and consider the answer to that question.
If your company has an in-house IT department, consider the best professionals to hire into the department who can help lead your network into the next generation.
If your network management is outsourced, take a close look at how it’s being managed and if changes are needed.
By placing your network management into the hands of innovators, you can rest easier knowing it will stay in step with the future of business technologies.
Is your business ready for the next generation of network management?
Answer that question with confidence by considering the security of your company’s sensitive information, by assessing the business’s technology policies and more.
By taking action on the network’s weak spots now, you can keep pace with future changes in the technological landscape.
Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com
About the Author: Shayla Ebsen is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience both in the corporate and freelance settings.
Your business is not your home.
Your home, with all its aesthetics and function, is largely to serve you and those you live with. If you like a piece of art, you buy it and hang it in your house and enjoy it. If you want a newer refrigerator in your kitchen, you buy one to replace your old one.
But your business is not your home. It’s primary purpose is not to serve you. Your business exists to serve others. That’s not to say that you can’t spend money in your business on things you like, you can – but that shouldn’t be your priority. Your priority should be to serve customers and employees with your business spending.
Serving others with your business spending isn’t only the right and most fulfilling thing to do, it’s also the wisest. Spending your business funds only on what you want, and not on what serves others best, is foolish.
Case in point:
Last year, Reader’s Digest published a short article on the National Guard’s sponsorship of Nascar. The article explained how the National Guard spent $136 million over 5 years on the sponsorship, but only yielded 20 potential recruits, with none joining. Missouri senator Claire McCaskill was cited as saying that the issue was due to marketing to the wrong demographic as most race-car fans are from 35 to 54 years old, but the National Guard seeks 18-to-24-year-olds.
It’s hard to understand why the National Guard initially decided to sponsor Nascar, since the demographics were so dissonant. But it’s clear from that case that we can’t make marketing spending decisions based solely on what we want or what we think would be cool.
In order to get the highest ROI for our marketing funds, we need to spend on what best serves our customers. We know this. But we also know how tempting it is to spend on putting our business names on something shiny, even if it doesn’t best serve our customers.
To run great businesses, we must sacrifice our desires to better serve others. We all have limited resources. The businesses that use every last resource to sustainably serve others well will be the businesses that succeed.
So let’s not worry about spending our marketing dollars on what we like. Let’s examine the best ways to reach out to and serve our customers with those funds. After all, we’re not in business to serve ourselves. We can use our homes for that. We’re in business to serve others.
Image info: Original, royalty-free photo from Kaboompics.
About the Author: Lindsey Tolino comes alongside artisans, craftsman and people monetizing their passions to help them create healthy businesses. She shares her heart at ToBusinessOwners.com. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTolino or connect with her on Google+.
A Glass of Wine Conversation
One night last week, Liz and I were having a text conversation about GeniusShared. It’s something we often do — talk via text instead of by voice. Over the last few years, we have come to work very well this way. Given that I’m in Vancouver and Liz is in Chicago, it’s a convenient way for us to connect with ease and frequency. It also allows us to talk even on days that Liz’s voice isn’t as strong as we might wish.
You could say it was a glass of wine sort of conversation. I was reminded of a conversation Liz once described in her post What Is Trust? We were were discussing business plans for the GeniusShared community and the shifts we see unfolding in the social and entrepreneurial spaces.
Picture two introverts not concerned with sharing thoughts aloud … a no-filter conversation. — Liz Strauss
Only this conversation was over text — instead of face to face.
Co-Authoring by Text?
The next morning Liz messaged me wondering if maybe there was more to all of our text conversations than basic business planning. Perhaps, she speculated, we were actually co-authoring blog posts without realizing it.
“Wow — what a concept!” — I thought as I read her text. And then I thought — “Only Liz would see this!”
That’s because seeing things is exactly what Liz does best. She sees things that others totally miss — in people, in moments and even in the clouds. It’s her greatest secret power. And she’s exceptional at it. Liz applies this skill in ways that even I can’t quite figure out. (Believe me — I’ve tried!) It’s simply a Liz thing. She has used it to help a great many people and businesses over the years.
And after all of that — I finally thought — “This makes so much sense.”
You see — we both want Liz to start sharing her voice once again in the online space. She still has a lot to say about personal growth and business growth — despite her virtual silence in the online world over the last two years. What’s more — when we exchange our thoughts on the many topics related to personal and business growth — together we come up with solutions, approaches and ideas. It makes sense that we share these things with Successful-blog readers and the GeniusShared community.
Moving forward — we are going to be co-authoring a new “Sharing Genius” series here on Successful-blog — using our text conversations as the very foundation for those posts. We think it’s fitting that two entrepreneurs who have lived online more than 10,000 hours would choose text messages to write collaboratively about how personal growth fuels business. We will also share news about upcoming products, gatherings and other plans for GeniusShared. Most importantly though, we will be exploring ways to spotlight readers. After all, we believe that every viewpoint carries it’s own bit of genius.
Join the GeniusShared movement. Share your experience and genius with us.
By Sarah Williams
By now, you’ve probably been to a couple of ‘networking events’, often held after work, and intended for those people who want to broaden their professional connections. What might sound like an enjoyable evening of rubbing shoulders with the right people is, for many of us, intensely anxious and challenging; some would rather do almost anything than attend something so terrifying.
Well, the good news is that, if you feel this way, you’re not alone. There are easy methods for changing how you think about networking, and for making it a useful experience for your professional growth. Who knows, it might even be fun.
1. Reassess Your Attitudes to Networking
You might see networking as an irritating chore, but in reality, it’s a fantastic, low-cost way to bring in new business. Although it’s less direct than a cold-calling campaign, its indirectness is its virtue; at networking events, we get to treat each other like people, and not just as a set of walking business opportunities. Face-to-face gatherings, though scary for many of us, are inherently human, with all of us in the same boat, dealing with the same anxieties and trying to achieve the same thing. Once you view networking in this way, with yourself as one of the many who just want to get the best out of the event, then it might not seem so daunting.
2. Let Go Of Your Fears
Psychologists often quote from a list of ‘Cognitive Distortions’. A common example is the assumption that we’re not nearly as smart or capable as others assume we are, and that we’ve been pulling the wool over their eyes all these years: “I’m just a fraud, and I don’t deserve to be here”. This is merely an emotional and unbalanced form of reasoning; you’re letting your irrational fear dictate how you feel, and therefore how you act.
If you think that way about yourself, it’s time to let that distortion go, and see if for what it really is: an unreal, artificial superimposition of needless and crushing self-doubt. You’re exactly as capable as anyone else, and at networking events, you’ll see this in action. The secret is that everyone else feels the same way, to a greater or lesser extent.
The other classic worries, all of them equally groundless, are:
– I’ll be alone, I won’t know anyone, and they’ll all ignore me.
– I’m an outsider, and I won’t conform to their expectations. I’ll remain an outcast.
– I’ll be silently staring at my wine glass, unable to think of anything interesting to say.
– If I do say something, I’ll get nervous, start rambling, and just embarrass myself.
These fears might seem reasonable, but take a closer look: they’re predictions, based only on a glass-half-empty view of how things will be. Besides, in general, people aren’t knowingly vindictive or hurtful; they actually want each other to succeed. Humans aren’t nearly as competitive and ruthless as we see in the movies. Being new, for example, is a type of advantage, as you’ll be a novelty and the others will be curious about you.
3. Do Your Homework
Prepare for the event by finding out who’s coming, and then make a list of perhaps four of five people you’d like to talk to. Bring business cards and aim to actually hand them out. Practice the necessary skills by speaking and meeting with strangers whenever you can in your private life. This doesn’t need to be a long conversation; just toss in an ice-breaker about the weather or sports, or think of a question to ask about what they’re wearing, driving or shopping for.
Consider recording yourself speaking, however weird this may feel, to judge your speed and clarity. Write down some introductory sentences, such as:
– Hi, I’m Marlene from Integrated Systems. I really enjoyed your presentation on…
– I’d just like to introduce myself. I’m Carl from OrbComm, and I wonder if I could ask your advice on…
– Congratulations on the award from the Better Business Bureau. I’m Sanjay from MicroTech. I wonder if you have a moment to talk about…
Read the local, national and international news so that you’ll be up-to-date on current events. Keep rotating around the room, and resist the temptation to spend time with people you already know; it’s comfortable, but it’s not why you’re there. Don’t fold your arms, but keep good eye contact. Be thinking about what you might ask next, in contrast to most of the others, who will be pondering what they might say; this sets you apart as a thoughtful and genuine person who isn’t driven purely by self-interest.
Above all, have something ready to say when the classic question arrives: So, what are you doing at the moment?
4. Follow Up and Stay In Touch
On the back of each business card, note down how you met the person, and what they’re working on, then follow up with an email or phone call within the next few days. Building contacts relies on this kind of careful administration of data; eventually, you’ll have a large set of contacts who are prepared to help you drum up business, make introductions, or provide advice.
Networking need not be the gut-wrenching challenge it once was. You’re an accomplished person with plenty to say, and absolutely no need to be shy of those you think are more capable than yourself; everyone starts at the bottom, and we’re all the same on the inside. Relax, breathe, meditate every day if you can, and remember that we’re all working in the same direction, fighting the same battles, and quietly wishing each other success.
Sarah Williams is an entrepreneur and avid lifestyle blogger, passionate about self-development. You can check out her blog and get access to her life and dating resources at Wingman Magazine.
Woody Allen’s Olympia portable SM-3 typewriter has been used to type everything he’s written since he was 16 years old.
Stephen King sets up a specific tableau to get his juices flowing:
“There are certain things I do if I sit down to write,” he said. “I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.
“It’s not any different than a bedtime routine,” he continued. “Do you go to bed a different way every night? Is there a certain side you sleep on? I mean I brush my teeth, I wash my hands. Why would anybody wash their hands before they go to bed? I don’t know. And the pillows are supposed to be pointed a certain way. The open side of the pillowcase is supposed to be pointed in toward the other side of the bed. I don’t know why.” Lisa Rogak, Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King (Thanks to St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books and http://dailyroutines.typepad.com/daily_routines/2009/01/stephen-king.html)
As for me?
Mornings are best, after two cups of coffee, on my laptop, before I head in to the office. I usually marinate on my chosen topic for a few days without writing anything down. Then when I sit down with the intention to write, I am already mentally organized.
Problogger published a great list of bloggers’ daily routines. Do any of those sound familiar to you?
Discover Your Own Writing Ritual
You may already have a routine, but you haven’t noticed it yet.
Here’s a method for uncovering and fostering your own ritual:
Step 1: Document your writing habit for a month. In a notebook, jot down time of day, location, and general mood you were in, each time you write a blog post or article.
Step 2: Review the notebook data. Is there a pattern? Can you correlate your best posts of the month to specific locations, times of day, or other environmental surroundings? Think about the last time you felt “in flow.”
What was your environment?
Was there music, or silence?
Did you outline first, or just start writing?
Step 3: Create “flow” on purpose. If you’ve determined that you feel “flow” most often in the evening with a glass of wine and soft music playing, try replicating that environment for the next few weeks. Experiment with various factors to find the ideal “tableau” that supports your best writing. Do you work best on an empty stomach, or after a full meal? Do you need to be alone, or in a busy Starbucks?
The key is to be mindful, and notice your ideal writing conditions, so that you can create “flow” at will.
Featured image via Flickr CC: Heather