~ A Hidden Gold Mine in Every Business


 نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪A Hidden Gold Mine in Every Business‬‏
In many companies, most of the company seems to operate by a completely different set of rules and communicate in a different language than those the IT or computer services sector of the business.  This division is somewhat artificial and partially maintained by the IT people themselves because of a certain culture technical people have about their specialized knowledge and application areas.  But at heart, those strange people down in IT have the same goals as every other business person which is to succeed both personally and corporately in shared projects.



But those of us on the business side of the corporate landscape depend on the computer folks to let us know how things are going with that highly valuable asset that we have in our IT systems, hardware and software.  Most medium to large businesses run very high capacity computers or multitudes of computers connected through a network and those systems must perform at top capacity each day to accomplish the goals of the business.



The upgrade and maintenance budgets for the computers that run your business no doubt represents a fairly sizable percentage of the corporate budget each year.  But because those systems are what make you competitive in the marketplace, that investment is worth the money to assure that the mission critical jobs those powerful systems do get done on time each week and month.



When a computer begins to show signs of straining under the load of work, we are giving it, that can be a cause of significant concern for a business.  If your business paradigm dictates that the load of traffic or system resources could be pushed to beyond what the computers can do with their existing computing power, that weakness in the IT infrastructure represents a significant risk to the company should the system become overloaded when there is a large body of work to be done by these machines.



What not every business person knows is that there may be a hidden goldmine of computing capacity already resident in your IT resources that simply is not being tapped to its fullest.  You know that it isn’t uncommon for your IT professionals to report that your systems are at 80-90% capacity and must be upgraded to handle the next big increase in business.



That hidden goldmine is a discipline that has actually been around for quite sometime but is infrequently tapped in the modern business world.  That discipline is called “capacity planning”.  By implementing a capacity planning office and monitoring function, you can put the tools and the talent in place to precisely measure scientifically if your computer systems are at capacity of if there is just a need for system tuning or realignment of computing schedules to get more out of the systems you already own.



Recently a large oil company in the Midwest noted that many of its mission critical functions were being delayed in processing, seemingly because the computer systems were overloaded and in dire need of an expensive and time consuming upgrade.  Capacity planning measurements were taken and the system was diagnosed to determine what the real problem was and it was found that job priorities of new functions were not tuned to the load of the system at critical time frames.  The adjustments were made by talented systems administrators and the IT infrastructure continued to perform at top-notch capacity and the delays were eliminated with no additional hardware or upgrades needed.



By utilizing capacity planning software tools and enabling your IT team to take advantage of this highly scientific computer measurement and prediction method, the business can get the most out of its computer resources and use its corporate resources to further the business objectives of the company.  And that benefits everyone.



Business goes to Cyberspace

It is a well known axiom of doing business in any industry that those who do not stay in step with the times will be those companies that eventually die out.  There is no place where that truism is more evident than in the way that companies in virtually every business sector are finding to integrate an internet marketing strategy with their traditional communications and to provide the public with an internet “presence” to supplement their public profiles in other venues.

Of course, the value of the internet for sales and promotions has been well known in the industries that service the youth markets and for the companies dealing with entertainment and the arts.  Because the internet is in virtually every home and even now on hand held devices of every description, the access it gives to reach a target market are phenomenal.

This explosion of an entirely new marketing model has introduced the world of business to entirely new paradigms of marketing and new ways to achieve greater market penetration and sales.  And so any business who has had to get out on cyberspace to keep up with the competition has already had to learn a whole new vocabulary that has grown up around the internet marketing phenomenon.  Now terms like “Search Engine Optimization”, “Auto responders” and “Viral Marketing” become important and powerful tools to any business that wants to tap the power of the internet to increase sales.

The second wave of businesses that, perhaps reluctantly, ventured out into cyberspace were traditional retail business that you would not associate with cyberspace at all.  This includes sport teams, restaurants and even retail giants such as Wal-Mart and Border’s Book Stores.  In fact, the wave of change in how products and services are sold has been so rapid that entire market niches have been virtually revolutionalized by internet sales techniques.  Book and music outlets have been virtually hard hit as a large percentage of their customers have abandoned the “brick and mortar” sales outlets entirely to use the more convenient tools of internet shopping. 

This has made it tough on some retailers to keep up.  For the “mom and pop” business, the change has been particularly devastating.  Already small, home grown businesses were struggling to compete with the giant mega-stores like Wal-Mart to keep their loyal clientele coming back.  Add to that the migration of customers to the internet and the need for change just to stay in business became even more urgent.

But even businesses who do not depend on marketing at all have seen the need to build and maintain a well functioning business web site so they will have a “face” in cyberspace.  In the modern marketplace, the consumer will go to the internet first to find out about a company and it’s goods and services.  This has turned traditional ways of connecting with existing and new customers upside down entirely. 

The good news is that these rapid changes in how modern markets work have made the business world more diverse, more able to adjust to changing business dynamics and more open to the creative and innovative minds that have always been the real life blood of the business world.  And, ironically, it is often the small business that is most capable of making rapid changes to its online presence and ways to doing things. 

In that the internet is a phenomenally dynamic place, new ways of reaching our customers change almost annually.  Where one year a simple web page may have been sufficient, soon we had to have chat rooms, MySpace pages and YouTube compatibility.  Any business that sees these changes as chances to do something new and exciting with their business will be the companies that thrive in this modern world.  And, as always, those who do not thrive with change will be destined to be made obsolete by it.




Businesses Learn to Make SEO Work for Them

One of the most important talents any management team of a business can have is to be able to detect changes in the marketplace and adjust how the business operates to function in that new market.  Some call it “thinking outside the box” and others refer to this talent as “working with a new paradigm”.  Whatever the term of the day is, without the flexibility to change as the market changes, a business is destined to fade away.

Of the many business and market trends that have changed the paradigm by which business is done in the new century, internet marketing ranks near the top of the most drastic and sweeping change that virtually every business has had to adapt to in order to survive and thrive in the new business world.

At first, most in the business world considered the internet to be a toy and perhaps a good communication tool.  But in the last decade, the power of internet marketing and the need to compete in that marketplace has never been more evident.  And just as business learns new marketing and communication methods when they enter a new market such as learning to do business overseas, the internet has brought with it entirely new tools and weapons that the modern business must learn to use skillfully to succeed in a cyberspace business environment.

Of the many new acronyms that have been added to the business vocabulary, “SEO” is one that is central to success in the internet marketing world.  SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and it is an entire discipline unto itself.  By learning to utilize well developed SEO methods, a business can learn to dominate their particular market niche even in a cyberspace business world.

Just as in the conventional business world, to be successful with a particular market, you have to go where they are and learn to get noticed and get your message to the consumer even as your competition is doing the same thing.  In the world outside of cyberspace that may mean various methods of advertising, promotional campaigns, good customer service and a long term promotional strategy that will grow the businesses market presence over time.

All of these business objectives remain the same in the world of internet marketing, but the “places” customers can be found are profoundly different.  As such, it becomes critical that a business builds a modern and up to date web site that appeals to the customers perceptions of what they will expect when they come to shop with you and that stays up to date continuously s the internet continues to change and evolve. 

But it isn’t enough to just have a state of the art business web site up for modern internet business web site to succeed.  Just as to be successful in the physical world, customers must come to you or you must go to them.  And the primary method of letting customers know who you are and drawing them to your well designed web site is to connect to them through a search engine such as Yahoo, Google or MSN. 

Search Engine Optimization methods are powerful techniques that can be used to assure that when your customer looks for a business such as yours, they will notice you first and your competition second, or not at all.  That means when the customer “searches” for your product or service on Google or another search engine, your business comes up on the first page of selections that the search engine finds. 

SEO takes time, investment of funds and talent and skill to work with the search engines so your business gets that kind of attention.  But it is worth the investment because the outcome can be an internet business presence that bring the kind of success every business wants.



Courting Public Favor

At first glance, it is a bit surprising when you see how much some powerful and prominent businesses in every community bend every effort to court public favor.  Almost any community of significant size in the country has a business section in the paper.  And subscribers to the local news see their ability to stay in touch with what the strongest and up and coming businesses in town are doing as an important part of their business awareness.

Sometimes it’s good to read the business news in your local paper both for information and with an eye on the question – “Did the business being discussed work to get this article printed about them in the paper?”  In some cases, it is blatantly clear that the business went to great lengths to get noticed.  Many businesses actually employ public relations and advertising professionals to tailor how they will be viewed in the press and to court public favor by romancing the right kind of press coverage for the business.

There are some solid business reasons behind such aggressive work being done by the business community to have good press coverage.  On the surface, it might seem like the intent of managing public approval for a business is just a desire to be a good citizen and so that public opinion is favorable and everybody thinks of that business as a bunch of “good guys”.  But the motivations for courting public favor for a business are far more complex and entrepreneurial than that. 

*      A good reputation means better sales.  Public opinion is a funny thing.  If a retail company gets a bad reputation in a community, it will have a tremendous impact on their bottom line.  But the business that is well regarded at the neighborhood level will be one that sees strong customer loyalty.

*      A strong reputation makes for better business dealings.  Running a business means entering into dozens of business relationships, making deals and drafting contracts with other businesses in town.  If your business is well regarded in the public eye, that will reflect favorably when you need a deal to fall your way at the negotiating table.

*      Investors like to see a good public image in a business.  Investors like to know that the business they are interested in partnering with will be able to complete its business goals and endure year in and year out.  Part of that stability means that the business can live up to its mission statement and its statement of values.  When the business the investor is interested in has a strong public image, that reflects that this is a business that conducts itself with integrity, is interested in the public good as well as private profit and is looking for the long-term gain as well as the short-term profitability.  These values translate directly into dollars in an investor situation.

*      A strong relationship with city and state government is important to long-term business health.  Many businesses seek concessions or to enter into a relationship with local government so they can have a clear path to get building permits or conduct other business that impacts the public good.  A local or state government can be a businesses best friend or stop your projects in their tracks and keep them stopped.  But the thing that pleases the political world is public opinion and the public good.  So if your business has a good public profile, that translates to votes for the politically minded people at city hall.  And that means influence which can help a business go a long way toward completing its long-range plans.

*      A good public image impacts recruitment.  When you put an advertisement in the local paper to recruit talent, how you are viewed by those looking for jobs will directly influence if they will respond to your recruitment efforts.  Many a business got a bad reputation locally and saw dismal responses to recruitment efforts which can mean a less talented staff and poor performance of the business in general.

These are solid reasons for a business to put some energy and capital into courting a good reputation in town.  Whether that means a strong representation on United Way weekend or holding blood drives once a month, the business that has a reputation for reaching out to the community will be a business that prospers.




Courting the Millenials

Recruitment of top notch young talent who can enter your work force and provide that kind of long term growth potential and can only come from a smart and productive staff is always a challenge.  One of the big reasons any business works to keep its public image high and to project the concept that they are an employer of choice is to recruit the best and the brightest from the youth ranks. 

Young employees bring a lot to a business that can compliment an older work force and make the business much more vital.  Younger employees are savvy to the wants and needs of their peers.  So instead of trying to guess how to market to the current generation of 18-28 year olds who are the age segment with disposable income, by keeping such employees on staff, you have the inside track to the priorities of the current generation.  Further youthful employees are often optimistic and out to change the world.  Their sense of mission and belief in the system as a means to make the world a better place results not only in a better morale internally but in business philosophy that shares those values.

The tendency to name the upcoming generations can be a bit trite but it helps in knowing who the target group for recruitment are.  And that group of youthful future employees that will be hitting the job market in the next few years has been dubbed “the millennials”.  And despite the traumatizing events of world terrorism, war and the decay of the environment, the millennials come to you with that youthful enthusiasm and desire to make a big difference in the world that sets them apart from previous generations.

To lure the brightest minds coming from the nation’s colleges, some rethinking of what we put in front of these young people is in order.  They are not leaving academia strictly with the objective of making a lot of money.  So to turn the head of youth workers who can make a change for the better in your business…

§  Don’t just make the potential job about money or your recognizable business name.  The reputation of the company can be as much a negative as it can be a positive.  The millennial recruitee will look past the sign on the building at what the company is really all about.

§  The millennial is more internet savvy and wants to use modern technology to accomplish business goals.  It’s in our best interest to facilitate that goal because it will keep us in touch with the marketplace.

§  Corporate culture is an important factor for both recruiting and retaining good employees from this generation.  Millenials are looking for a business climate that is creative, able to change when new things become available, highly accessible upper management and responsive.  

§  Corporate values mean a lot to the millennial crowd.   That means that those high minded values printed on posters and plastered all over the Human Resource department have to actually mean something.  By demonstrating that the business lives up to its ethics and values, that will appeal the idealistic side of youthful workers.

§  The values that the business supports must reflect a modern attitude toward diversity and “going green”.  If you walk a millennial around the office during his or her interview, they will notice the recycling bins scattered about.  They will notice the diversity of culture and race in the employee mix. 

§  Be prepared to recruit from various disciplines.  Even if you are recruiting for a financial services function or some other specialization, keep your mind open to recruiting students with a focus on liberal arts or teaching.  These millennials can be trained to the specific job and they bring a fresh approach to the job description that comes from their college area of focus.

These are things that might take time to change if the corporate culture is behind the times.  But it’s worth the effort to start now to attract the kinds of workers that mean long term growth for the company.  By doing some serious analysis on how up to the date the business is, you can begin to affect change now so by this time next year, you will be in better shape to court the millennials.



Creating Traffic

Perhaps you have followed the trend in business to create an internet web site for your business that can be used to supplement your marketing efforts.  If so, you have joined the momentum to create a corresponding “place” in cyberspace that can be used to reach customers online.  The need for such an internet presence is entirely market driven.  Internet sales have soared, particularly in certain market segments and more and more, the first place people go to in order to learn about your business is the internet.  If they find a well designed web site that is full of features, that works fast and draws them in, that can be a tremendous tool for promoting your business.

When you set up a marketing tool outside of cyberspace, the first concern is how will that new marketing effort get noticed.  So we are drawn to places where there is already an active traffic of people who would qualify as our customers.  That may mean putting up a billboard where it will be seen by people going to work.  That target audience may be the best population to respond to your message.  Or if your business appeals to youth, advertising on MTV or on popular radio stations is a natural place to put your marketing money because the traffic is already there. 

We have to approach the internet differently.   Yes, the traffic is already there but we have to enter the world of cyberspace marketing with a different kind of strategy so we can reach the customers who are traveling certain “internet roads” and make sure those roads lead to our web site.

There is whole a cottage industry that has sprung up around the need for knowledgeable internet marketing gurus.  And, yes, it’s a good idea to use their talents to make sure the search engines put your web site in front of the right kind of client or customer.  These talented internet geeks can put your business web site into the flow of web surfers so you get your fair share of that traffic.

That said, you don’t have to wait for the internet marketing experts to make your web site more successful.   If the business has made the effort to put that web site up, you want to see it start to pay off right away.  That is why you should consider some creative ways to drive people to your web site from your traditional markets thus educating your current customers, clients and partners about the site.  Ways to do that include…

§  Promote the web site at the retail level.  Some creative signage at your retail locations can create some momentum and interest in customers to go see your exciting new web site.

§  Put the link on all correspondence.  If you have flyers, a magazine or other current means of communications, your URL should always be listed there.  Add your URL to your email signature and on business cards and all other forms of communication so your community of clients, customers and partners get used to associating that web site with you as much as they do your business name.

§  Create excitement.  It is easy to operate a business contest from your retail sites that drives people to the web site for clues or to claim their winnings.  That kind of momentum can create huge surges of traffic through your web site with the corresponding surge of sales and leads.

The modern customer or client is used to seeing the promotion of a web site included with other forms of promotion and advertising.  You are not “assaulting” your customer base with this information. If anything, when your audience sees that the business has burst into the cyberspace world in a big way, they will be thrilled and as likely to respond with, “It’s about time.”.  

You know how much you depend on the internet to keep you informed about areas of interest and about businesses you like to patronize.  So you can see that not only putting up a good web site but letting people know that it is there and that there are big things there for them to enjoy is doing them a favor as much as it is creating new marketing opportunities for your business.



Cyberspace on Aisle Five



It doesn’t take a lot of research to find out that in this day and age, virtually every business of any real size has developed some form of internet presence.  Now, for many businesses, that may mean little more than an online business card that can be used to get the phone number and store location of the business into the mind of the prospective customer.  But in this new century, the idea of having a business without a corresponding web page to support it is pretty much out of the question.



But if you look at the two business worlds, the internet business environment and that outside of cyberspace, there are some pretty big differences.  While many companies like bookstores or concert ticket promoters have learned to build what might be viewed as parallel universes in which their business operations are just as sophisticated online as outside of cyberspace, other businesses have just not found that balance.



But as the legitimacy of the internet as a valid marketplace and business tool becomes more understood, more and more businesses are learning that cyberspace can become another valuable part of an overall marketing plan that drives business to the store shelves directly from their internet web presence. 



So just as that billboard or newspaper coupon program are just as much part of the businesses corporate plan, that online effort out there in on the corporate web site can become a vital part of the stores operation so much so that the store manager will come to depend on the sales driven by the internet.  To that store manager they will look for cyberspace on aisle five as a vital part of their plan for business success.



There is a systematic process that businesses go through to use the internet as a way of capturing web traffic and turning it into store traffic.  Make no mistake, there is one principle that should seem evident but is the key to turning cyber visitors to in store shoppers and that is that – Internet Shoppers are People Too!



When a businessperson looks at those strange internet traffic reports that show that they web site has X number of “hits” and that Z number of web browsers went to Y number of web pages, all of that cyberspace mumbo jumbo just means that X number of PEOPLE were on your web site and looked at Y number of products or web page advertisements or services.  And those PEOPLE are the same living and breathing humans who will walk in the front door of your store and buy products and services from you.



All we need to do is devise methods to drive those internet shoppers off of their computers and into the businesses retail operations.  And more and more you are seeing a businesses trend of internet promotions that are geared to put the customers feet down in the retail space.  Some great methods for doing that are…



*      Online coupons that can be redeemed only in the retail store.

*      Online sales that can be picked up in the store.  Many online shoppers might prefer to have the product shipped to them.  So you will have to “sweeten the pot” by making shipping charges out of the question or by adding a promotion if the customer picks up his or her purchase in person.

*      Contests.  Need we say more?

*      By promoting special events that will occur in the store.  You can stage a major cyberspace promotional campaign for a book signing of an author or celebrity that will occur live at the store itself.  The costs of the promotion and having the in store event will be offset by the increased sales.



If your web site routinely uses promotions that result in positive incentives to the customer to come to the store, before long a customer base of loyal consumers will get used to first going online to see what this week’s big deal is and then going to the store to cash in.  That kind of ongoing momentum is what makes such a synergy such a success and what makes even customers come to your retail outlet and look for “cyberspace on aisle five.”

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