Saturday, 18 February 2012

Improve Your Writing by Avoiding These Twenty Common Grammar Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

When should you use "who" or "whom"? "Which" or "that"? You don't need to be a grammar geek or a professional writer to want to know. This list of common grammar mistakes can help you strengthen your writing for work and in your personal correspondence.
Jon Gingerich compiled this list of grammar villains on Lit Reactor. You're probably familiar with many of them already, such as the difference between using "fewer" (for things you can count or quantify) or "less" (hypothetical quantities). Grammar sticklers will be happy if people read this and stop saying "impactful" (because it's not a word) and confusing irony with coincidence.
While no one's advocating you become a grammar nazi, the shortlist is a great review if you want to tighten up your writing, since because most of us, myself and Gingerich included, are guilty of having made these mistakes numerous times. 

six 6 Characteristics From six 6 Great Leaders

s it their general attitude when faced with adversity? Is it their ability to take risks? Or is it their utmost sense of purpose?
Here are 6 characteristics of great leaders coming from 6 of the Philippines’ emerging thought leaders and innovators:
Great leaders have vision. When Mark Ruiz looked at the sari-sari store, he saw a lot more than just the traditional mom and pop. He saw the potential of these micro-businesses to realize new revenue streams and evolve into a community of stores that serve as hubs for goods and services.
Today, Mark is the co-founder of Hapinoy, a micro financing program that reinvents and ensures the success of the humble sari-sari store.
Great leaders have courage. Fe Perez Agudo faced giants when she accepted her role as President & CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.
When the opportunity came in 2001 to start up the official distributorship of Hyundai Motor Co. in the Philippines, she did not hesitate. Even though her main task was to overcome the common perception of Hyundai as a cheap, poor-quality, unreliable brand from Korea with low resale value.
Fe was out to prove that a Korean brand can enter and eventually steal market share from the Japanese motoring giants. She also bravely took on the challenge of competing as a woman winning in a male-dominated industry.
Great leaders have imagination. The year was 2001 and there were many Filipinos who still did not have internet access although most of them had mobile phones. Internet penetration was a measly 1%.
It took Dennis Mendiola, a Filipino with great imagination, to find convergence between the cellphone and internet. Dennis, along with other imaginative Filipinos, founded Chikka. Chikka enabled Filipinos to become part of an instant messaging community even without internet access.
Great leaders have significance. Noel Lorenzana is the CEO of Nutri-Asia Philippines, manufacturer of leading brands such as UFC and DatuPuti. He sees his brand as more than just a business. He believes that it is also important for business leaders to find meaning or cause in what they do. This is what he says:
“Apart from getting a chance to be part of the team that shapes the future of a true Filipino company, it is gratifying to know that what we make plays a significant role in the lives of people: whether it is building family ties, creating new friendships, bridging broken relationships, remembering home, or simply rewarding oneself after a hard and honest day’s work.”
Great leaders have compassion. While in Zamboanga City, Jay Jaboneta heard about a nearby village where young children had to swim 2 kilometers and walk another 5 kilometers to get to school.
During his flight home, Jay thought about how he could help. “I had so much admiration for these children,” he says. “I felt they deserved to be rewarded and helped for all their efforts.” Jay posted a story about the children’s plight on his Facebook page.
The response was overwhelming and he was able to start the Yellowboat Project and Philippine Funds for Little Kids to help kids of Zamboanga and Masbate to go to school and help their nearby communities. Jay is the embodiment of a leader that has heart.
Great leaders have influence. You don’t get to 34,232 followers on Facebook and counting without influence.  Francis Kong is the president of Success Option Publishing Company, director of Inspire Leadership Consultancy and a columnist, bestselling author, as well as an international speaker, trainer and consultant.
But Francis is much much more than all those words put together. Through his years of experience in business and speaking, he has touched many people’s lives and he constantly builds value in others. He is an influential leader because he is more focused on enriching others than enriching himself.
These are the 6 characteristics that set these 6 emerging leaders and innovators apart. On December 7, 2011, Inspire Leadership Consultancy will bring together this powerhouse group for the Voices of Leadership Event.

What To Look When You’re Looking For A Good Company To Work?

If you are seeking for a job, what are the characteristics of a company that you want to work with and spend many years of your life, possibly up to retirement?

If you are presently employed, how would you know if the company you are working for is a good one?
In “A Great Place To Work: What Makes Some Employers Do Good (And Most So Bad)” Robert Levering gives five hints or indicators about a good company to work with, or the five things make for a good company. These are as follows:
1. A friendly place. Few of the companies had separate executive dining rooms, executive parking spaces and other perks that set ranks apart in a social hierarchy. People enjoyed each other company.
2. A minimum of politics. Management did not encourage politics by such acts as demoting or dismissing for what employees may perceive as personality conflicts rather than performance deficiencies.
3. You get a fair shake. Employees are treated fairly and not taken advantage of. Complaints are heard impartially and fully.
4. More than a job. Employees believe their work has meaning, and that they have responsibility and control over it. They feel free to criticize the actions of others without fear of retribution.
5. Like family. A caring, nurturing environment in which one’s personal concerns are important to others in the organization, engenders a lifelong career commitment by employees. Exuding a “We’re all in it together” spirit, god workplaces are often more productive and profitable than their competitors.
Does your company have the foregoing characteristics? Why or why not?

Losing Old Customers, Customer Retention, Customer Service

“How can I keep my customers?  I have 30 new customers a day coming to my store, but my old customers are not coming back. So, what’s the secret of keeping my customers”?

These were the questions of Marcy to me yesterday. Marcy is a start-up owner of a fast-food restaurant in a good location. She was telling me her restaurant attracts new customers everyday,  yet many customers were not coming back in a month.
Marcy’s dilemma is common. I also heard bank managers talking about signing up many new accounts in a month, yet, also losing just as many old depositors during the same month.
Why is this so? I think this is a problem of customer retention. It seems that many businesses and companies have no policy on customer retention, on how to make customers satisfied and happy and thus, making them patronize the business, again and again.
But if you look at it, customers are the heart of any business – whether a restaurant, a bank, a hardware, a hospital, etc. Without customers, there is no business.
In the face of competition, where many companies sell the same products and offer similar services, one best way to differentiate your business from that of the competitors is through customer service.
Thus, making new customers is just as important as keeping the existing ones. Existing customers, those who patronize the business, not only buy more goods and services, but also refer new business.
Customers also affect not only sales revenue and profit, but also employee morale and their performance. If the customers are satisfied and happy, the business will be stable, and the employees are more likely to stay.
This results to reducing employees’ turnover, cost of hiring new employees, training expenses and customer service mistakes by new but inexperienced employees.
It all boils down to having customer retention policy, which is also part and parcel of customer service.

Steve Jobs His Business Advice and Words of Wisdom - HiFi

Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American computer entrepreneur and innovator.

He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc., the largest technology company in the world by revenue and profit, with more than 49,000 employees and US $ 65 billion annual sales, as of 2010.
At the time of his death on October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs was widely described as a visionary, an industry pioneer, and an icon of the global consumer electronics.
Steve Jobs was also famous for his quotes on business, technology and life. I have compiled some of his most well-known business advice and words of wisdom, as follows:
Business Model
 “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
Focus and Simplicity
“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Stealing Great Ideas
“Picasso had a saying: ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, artists, zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”
Doing Something Wonderful
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
On Loving Your Work
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
 Don’t Sit Still
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
On the Value of Time
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma -which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
On Death and Choices in Life
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Friday, 17 February 2012

Top Rated, 5 Steps in Handling Customer Complaints

Every business exists for their customers.
Because it is the customers who create the demand for a business’ service or product, they are considered to be the most valuable asset of a company. However, all companies will always be subject to the Complaining Customer, who is mostly the cause of a faulty service or low quality product.

Most of the time, if these encounters are not handled appropriately, loss of customers could result. This is bad. Fewer customers would logically lead to less income. You could say that this is not a desirable situation for every existing company.
Handling customer complaints is an essential aspect of running a business. Business owners should realize that positive outcome of complaints. They should realize that these complaints should give the business a renewed idea on how to serve their customers better.
Customer complaints are valuable because through it you can gather the feedback of your customers. This article will feature 5 steps in handling complaining customers. Learning these steps will increase the chances of retaining or even having a better relationship with complaining customers.
5 steps to handle customer complaints:
1. Hear to what they have to say
Complaining customers want to be heard. They want to express their frustration, so allow them. Listen first to what they have to say and let them say it. Always give room for them to burst, just listen. Their sentiments are valuable; this is where you’ll get the feedback about your services or products.
2. Apologize and Empathize
Frustrated customers want to hear your apology. Especially, if it’s the fault of your personnel or a flaw to company’s procedures, they deserve your sorry. So, say it, apologize and try to put your feet in their shoes. Empathize, tell them that you understand what they feel and you’re deeply sorry about it.
3. Offer a solution
Customers who experienced bad service or received a lemon product deserve to be well compensated. Offer a solution for the problem. It should be attainable and feasible. Promise only what you can deliver. You can also give him/her possible options of your proposed solution. Lastly, be fair always.

4. Implement the solution
Make sure the promised solution to the customer is met. You don’t want to frustrate a customer the 2nd time, so be sure to deliver what you say you will deliver. You can also monitor the status of the solution and update your customer about it from time to time. This will make your customer feel that they are valued and they will appreciate it. Always deliver the solution with a smile, be merry.

5. Befriend your customer
Don’t stop communicating. Create a customers’ profile where you can send them emails, text messages or newsletters for your current promotions. Updating them with your new products and services will help you build a brand for your company. Communicate with them fervently. Maintain a relationship with you customer by greeting them on their birthdays, on holidays and other important dates.
Complaining customers, even if most of the time they are irate, are assets to businesses. Handling them appropriately with a smile and a toned down voice will prevent you from losing them and even turn them from frustrated to loyal customers.
Through them, you get feedback as to what they are experiencing with regards to your products or services. Knowing these will help you improve the quality of the products you deliver or the services that you offer. Always remember that your business’ existence is reliant to your customers, without them there is no business.

Why Do Many Businesses Fail? Five Marketing Strategies For Business Growth And Profit Top Rated.

Sharina, a reader asks: “What shall I do to make my business grow? Can you give me some tips on how to make my business earn more profit?” “If my business does not earn enough, will I still continue it, hoping for good times, or will I close shop?”

Sharina told me, by e-mail, that she is a Singaporean who lives in Hong Kong, and owns a store selling cell phones and cell phone accessories in Hongkong.
Indeed, as a management consultant, I am well aware that many businesses could not earn enough, while a great number go bankrupt. There are many studies that every year about 80% of new businesses die. Even existing enterprises collapse.
What are the reasons why businesses collapse and fail?
Well, the main reason is still the same year in and year out: lack of marketing strategies.
Sure, the market is there. People are buying products and services everyday to meet their needs and wants.
However, it is the lack of strategies or the inability of the owners of these failed businesses to sell to their target market, to their niche, that is the main cause of business failure.
I’m always saying that marketing is the most important function of business, because without a market there is no business. Thus, to make your business survive, you need marketing strategies.
To make your business grow, you need marketing strategies. To make your business profitable, you need marketing strategies.
The following are the five tested marketing strategies to help you grow your business and make it profitable.
1. What is your business? What is your business mission?  Why does your company exist? What is its reason for existence? These are the basic questions. Like in any human situation, you cannot handle any business unless you know what it is for.
Therefore, you must know why you have put up your business in the first place. This is the first step in designing marketing strategies.
2. Who are your customers? Your business is to serve your customers to generate revenue and profit.  It is important to have a niche in the market, that segment, class or groups of customers  who need your products and services, and serve them well.
In the face of competition, having a market niche is a key to business success.
3. What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? It is necessary to know your strengths, for example, quality products and services, friendly customer service, good customer relations, competitive pricing, good location. It is also important to know your weaknesses, for example, lack of funds, limited marketing knowhow, poor promotion, etc.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you a lot in devising marketing strategies that work.
4. What are your Opportunities and Threats? Opportunities are those favorable factors outside of your business that can help you achieve your objectives, like increasing demand for your products and services due to increasing population, availability of funds for expansion.
Threats are those unfavorable factors outside your business that can hinder you from achieving your objectives, like intense competition, sluggish demand, economic downtown.
Knowing your opportunities and threats can help you devise marketing strategies that will maximize your opportunities and minimize your threats.
5. What will you do now? Having designed your marketing strategies, the best thing is to implement them. Take action. Your strategies are useless if you cannot implement them.
With the foregoing five basic marketing strategies as a guide, the rest is up to you on how to grow your business and make it profitable.