Niche Marketing – Find your way.

Lots of information has been published about niche marketing, and with all the help freely available, it should be possible to quickly and easily identify yours. The problem is, in niche marketing, how do you find your way through tough competition?

20th century history is full of the most amazing examples of niche builders and how they made them work. For example, in the 1920s, Walt Disney founded the beginnings of a huge empire on the unknown art of child-like sketches – later known as cartoons. This was to find it’s way through the toughest competition: the Wall Street Crash, Great Depression and World War 2. Who would have thought a business as silly as cartoons would have the ability to survive some of the worst crises of recent history?

Finding your way through tough competition in your niche market involves taking a few simple steps:

1) Identify unique needs. Are you offering a product or service that is new or exactly the right thing for now? Have you narrowed the market down to a potential niche that you can tailor make your product to – something that is relevant to the 2010 market? An idea to re-market the Biro pen, for example, is not going to have the same appeal to today’s generation of button-pushing computer geeks!

2) Test the market. Check out the competition to see what you are up against. What are their ads, websites and brochures like? If you are heading for a popular niche, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should not go ahead with your launch. It just means you need to fine tune it a bit more. Be careful if you don’t actually find any competition – tough or otherwise. It may just mean there is a high failure rate for your particular niche. Testing will enable you to try and work out why.

3) Use Personal Branding. In today’s internet, finding your way through tough competition will involve getting up close and personal with your target audience. You will have to ‘own’ your product in a completely different way to the sterile atmosphere of yesteryear. For example, you may need to learn how to set up a blog and use social networking to give your product and name higher visibility. That may even entail learning a new (techno) language!

Although there is a lot of information freely available on the internet, it is highly likely you will need expert help in learning how to successfully harness the power of the world wide web. Knowing the bare bones will not always be sufficient to crack the code of niche marketing enough to know how to find your way through tough competition and make it successfully work for you. Many an entrepreneur has boldly gone before and the wealth of information they have can really help get you right where you need to be.

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How Important is Business Process Reengineering?

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is known as the secret to a successful business. It plays an important role in today’s business world but what exactly can BPR do for you?

BPR means understanding the processes which are involved in your company. BPR is a management approach aimed at improving your business by means of elevating efficiency and effectiveness of the processes that exist within and across organizations. The key to BPR is for organisations to look at their business processes from a clean slate perspective and determine how they can best construct these processes to improve how they conduct business.

BPR can also be known as Business Process Redesign and Business Process Change Management. BPR has become a viable way of implementing lean structures.

BPR is important to businesses for a number of reasons such as it is the organisational process, which is required to align people, processes and technology with strategies in order to achieve business integration. BPR can also be thought of as taking a business in its current state and forming an organisational and operational blueprint in order to redirect skills policies, information or data, cultural values, organisational skills and processing as well as incentives towards making targeted improvements to the business.

Below are some quotes from the best and most experienced people surrounding BPR:

Hammer and Champy (1993) define Business Process Reengineering as

o “… the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed.”

Thomas H. Davenport (1993) is another example of how well-known Business Process Reengineering theorist uses the term process innovation, which he says:

o “encompasses the envisioning of new work strategies, the actual process design activity, and the implementation of the change in all its complex technological, human, and organizational dimensions”.

Additionally, Davenport (ibid.) points out the major difference between Business Process Reengineering and other approaches to organization development (OD), especially the continuous improvement or TQM movement, when he states:

o “Today firms must seek not fractional, but multiplicative levels of improvement – 10x rather than 10%.”

BPR, if implemented properly, can give huge returns. BPR has helped giants like Procter and Gamble Corporation and General Motors Corporation succeed after financial drawbacks due to competition. It has also helped American Airlines to get back on track from the bad debt that was hanging over their company practice. BPR is about the proper method of implementation within a company.

So where is the best place to approach in order to gain full benefits from Business Process Reengineering? I recommend that you talk to a finance business, such as an entrepreneur and investor business who will be able to help you with your BPR.

The Perfect Office Layout

When designing your business office layout you want to make sure you give the right image to your clients.

Finding an interior designer that can understand your business needs and has experience in this sector is of huge advantage and can actually save you money in the future.

There are many things you need to consider when creating your office space including thinking about future growth, is this layout going to suit our office and can it incorporate our future business needs. If you have to add furniture and other additions to the office in the future the current layout can restrict or not allow for changes to the office environment.

Other things that need to be taken into account are how staff and visitors can work within this office layout, can they work efficiently, has the office been laid out to take the reception desk, conference rooms, kitchens and fire exits into consideration. A good interior designer will take all these factors into account.

Noise. Yes noise can cause interruptions in the workplace, think about how sound travels around the office between departments, if you have a sales team what effect is that going to have on the other members of staff.

Finally, the price versus quality. Although you’ll have a budget to work towards, taking the cheapest option may not be taking into consideration the best use of the office space and future proofing the office layout and by spending a little more at the outset can save on operating costs too.

10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid

These days, we tend to communicate via the keyboard as much as we do verbally. Often, we’re in a hurry, quickly dashing off e-mails with typos, grammatical shortcuts (I’m being kind here), and that breezy, e.e. cummings, no-caps look. It’s expected. It’s no big deal. But other times, we try to invest a little care, avoiding mistakes so that there’s no confusion about what we’re saying and so that we look professional and reasonably bright.
In general, we can slip up in a verbal conversation and get away with it. A colleague may be thinking, Did she just say “irregardless”?, but the words flow on, and our worst transgressions are carried away and with luck, forgotten.
That’s not the case with written communications. When we commit a grammatical crime in e-mails, discussion posts, reports, memos, and other professional documents, there’s no going back. We’ve just officially gone on record as being careless or clueless. And here’s the worst thing. It’s not necessary to be an editor or a language whiz or a spelling bee triathlete to spot such mistakes. They have a way of doing a little wiggle dance on the screen and then reaching out to grab the reader by the throat.
So here we are in the era of Word’s red-underline “wrong spelling, dumb ass” feature and Outlook’s Always Check Spelling Before Sending option, and still the mistakes proliferate. Catching typos is easy (although not everyone does it). It’s the other stuff—correctly spelled but incorrectly wielded—that sneaks through and makes us look stupid. Here’s a quick review of some of the big ones.

Loose for lose
No: I always loose the product key.
Yes: I always lose the product key.
It’s for its (or god forbid, its’)
No: Download the HTA, along with it’s readme file.
Yes: Download the HTA, along with its readme file.
No: The laptop is overheating and its making that funny noise again.
Yes: The laptop is overheating and it’s making that funny noise again.
They’re for their for there
No: The managers are in they’re weekly planning meeting.
Yes: The managers are in their weekly planning meeting.
No: The techs have to check there cell phones at the door, and their not happy about it.
Yes: The techs have to check their cell phones at the door, and they’re not happy about it.
i.e. for e.g.
No: Use an anti-spyware program (i.e., Ad-Aware).
Yes: Use an anti-spyware program (e.g., Ad-Aware).
Note: The term i.e. means “that is”; e.g. means “for example.” And a comma follows both of them.
Effect for affect
No: The outage shouldn’t effect any users during work hours.
Yes: The outage shouldn’t affect any users during work hours.
Yes: The outage shouldn’t have any effect on users.
Yes: We will effect several changes during the downtime.
Note: Impact is not a verb. Purists, at least, beg you to use affect instead:
No: The outage shouldn’t impact any users during work hours.
Yes: The outage shouldn’t affect any users during work hours.
Yes: The outage should have no impact on users during work hours.
You’re for your
No: Remember to defrag you’re machine on a regular basis.
Yes: Remember to defrag your machine on a regular basis.
No: Your right about the changes.
Yes: You’re right about the changes.
Different than for different from
No: This setup is different than the one at the main office.
Yes: This setup is different from the one at the main office.
Yes: This setup is better than the one at the main office.
Lay for lie
No: I got dizzy and had to lay down.
Yes: I got dizzy and had to lie down.
Yes: Just lay those books over there.
Then for than
No: The accounting department had more problems then we did.
Yes: The accounting department had more problems than we did.
Note: Here’s a sub-peeve. When a sentence construction begins with If, you don’t need a then. Then is implicit, so it’s superfluous and wordy:
No: If you can’t get Windows to boot, then you’ll need to call Ted.
Yes: If you can’t get Windows to boot, you’ll need to call Ted.
Could of, would of for could have, would have
No: I could of installed that app by mistake.
Yes: I could have installed that app by mistake.
No: I would of sent you a meeting notice, but you were out of town.
Yes: I would have sent you a meeting notice, but you were out of town.

I’ll just throw one more thing out here: My current burning pet peeve. At some point, who knows when, it became common practice to say that something is “hit and miss.” Nuh-UH. It can’t be both, right? It either hits or it misses… “Hit OR miss.” Granted, it’s a small thing, a Boolean-obsessive sort of thing. But it’s nonetheless vexing because it’s so illogical. Okay, that’s mine. If you’ve got a peeve of your own, share it in the discussion (or post a comment and tell me to get over it).

Are you Stressed for Time?

Are you stressed for time? Do you feel like twenty-four hours in one day simply isn’t enough for all your activities? Well, here are several practical ways that you can do to save time without making sacrifices: 



1. Planning meals for the entire week. When you’ve listed down all the ingredients for the meals that you will prepare, it means that the grocery trip would only be done once. Racing to the store is avoided. When you’ve planned your meal, it also means that you’re not as tempted to go to the restaurant. You save both time and money as a result. If you need help with planning you can search online for recipes.


2. Sticking to your schedule for the day. There’s a lot to be said for being organized and strictly following your itinerary. When you have it mapped out, you focus on the current task instead of worrying about keeping them all in a balance. It’s a good idea to know all your family members’ plans too. That way family members can support each other and nothing is set aside.


3. Keeping lists. Honestly, it feels so good when you cross off the items on your list. Keeping a list helps keep you on track and lets you avoid making mistakes or worse, forgetting about a task altogether. It lessens your worrying too.


4. Being organized. This saves you the most time. When you know where things are and how each aspect fits into the picture, you’ll get rid of the stress associated with your responsibilities. Remaining organized is the key however, since it’s very easy to get your things all in a clutter.


5. Getting errands done in a single trip. To accomplish errands the most efficient way, get them all done at one time if possible. You can’t imagine the amount of time is wasted with no constructive activity. When you interlace jobs with errands, you’re exposing yourself to the risk of getting distracted.


6. Delegating if you can. There can’t be a way for you to accomplish all the tasks yourself. Thankfully, we have family members and co-workers who can assist us.


7. Eliminating distractions. Don’t do too much multi-tasking. You will find that when you’re working on the computer, turning off the social networking sites will actually mean that you’ll have more time for them later on. Doing so also has the desirable effect of maintaining the quality of your tasks.


8. Knowing when to say no. Sometimes, you will be required to accomplish more than one person could possibly do. I suggest that you decline properly and either delegate or reschedule the task.


9. Using idle time wisely. When you’re commuting or waiting for a meeting to begin, there are many productive things you can do. You can respond to text messages and emails, plan your report, or make the shopping list.


10. Grouping similar tasks. If there are tasks that you can do simultaneously, then you better schedule them to be accomplished together. While talking on the phone, there are chores that you can do. Or you can rearrange and clean at the same time.


Saving time means that you can have more time for things that are most valuable to you. When you manage your time it means you can keep your lifestyle. Apply these ideas and you’ll soon find that you have a lot of time for yourself.

Communicating your Children

Communication is a complicated process, with your child receiving a lot of ‘information’ from you. These include:
  • The words you speak
  • Your tone of voice – loud, soft, harsh or whispered
  • Gestures
  • How you stand
  • Your facial expression

Your child has to watch, listen and react to an enormous amount of information and, in order to have a conversation with you, also judge when and how to take their turn.

Body language


The words you speak often carry less weight than the non-verbal parts of your communication. It’s worth considering the impression you give through your facial expressions and body language.
  • Take a moment to look at your face in a mirror. How do you appear? Are you frowning, smiling, strained? When you approach your child with a soft, smiling face they’ll be more receptive to your message.
  • Think about your posture. Do you stand over your child or get down to their level when you speak together?

Paying attention

Your child may know you care about them through your loving attention, but it takes extra effort to keep giving that message once they’re away from you all day at school. The sort of attention you give will change in subtle ways as your child matures and their needs change.
At age five your child will still be keen on cuddles, tickles and hugs. They’ll probably light up with pleasure if you wink, pat them on the shoulder, ruffle their hair or give them a thumbs-up sign. The rituals of saying goodbye at school can be important – a wave as they go in or through the classroom window shows you have them in mind.
Your child will tell you when they want your attention with the ubiquitous cry of “Daddy, Mummy look at me!” or with more subtle approaches to show you their artwork or books.
This isn’t showing off. Your child has asked because they need your approval and their self-esteem is often reflected in the attention you pay to them. Take these opportunities to stop what you’re doing and show your interest.

Get your message across

  • Get up close. This means stopping what you’re doing and going to within arm’s length. If you call out from a distance or from another room, they may not hear your whole message above the chatter and noise around them. They’ll also miss out on other information, such as the look on your face that shows whether you’re serious or joking, and the gestures you use.
  • Use your child’s name first. This will get their attention – people are tuned to hear their own name above most other words – so they know the message is for them. If their name comes last they won’t be sure who you’re talking to and may miss the message. “Joe, come for your bath please,” will work rather better than “Come for your bath please, Joe”.
  • Keep your instructions positive. For example, your child will respond better if you tell them what you want them to do, rather than what you want them to stop doing. Try “Emma, please hang up your coat,” rather than “Emma, don’t drop your coat”.
  • Give your child a chance to respond. Young brains take a few seconds to process what you’ve said and turn it into an action.
  • Keep it simple. Your child can remember only about three subjects in any one sentence. For example, “Tom, please take off your coat, hang it up and then come here,” will usually get a good response. “Tom, take off your coat, get your homework, find the pens, then come here,” will probably be too much.
  • Be clear. It’s good to give choices – this will build your child’s independence. For example, “Sam, would you like beans or spaghetti for dinner?” But don’t ask a question if you’re really giving an instruction. Asking “Could you go to bed now?” invites your child to say no!

Focus on your strengths

Do you remember when you were about six years old and Uncle Abdullah used to ask you, “What do YOU want to be when you grow up?” The answers back then were so easy! A Doctor…. A Pilot… or RAMBO! But sooner or later, the question got more serious … and the answers didn’t come as quickly! It seems that whether you’re just starting high school or about to finish college, the question on everyone’s mind (including yours!) is, “What do you want to do with your life?”

Unless you’ve already signed an BIG TELEVISION CHANNEL contract or are the next big pop singing sensation, making decisions about your future can be pretty overwhelming! But figuring out who you are and what you want to do can actually be a lot of fun. Here are a few tips to get you on track…
Focus on Your Strengths

RITO — lets play it. Take out a pencil and write down three things that you’re good at. Don’t be modest … and no, sleeping doesn’t count! Are you the one who always provides a shoulder to cry on? Do you make a mean chili? Can you easily ace an essay exam? Chances are your strengths are also things that you enjoy doing. And, the most successful people in the world would probably agree … it’s important to love what you do!

Now, next to each item, write down some jobs that use those strengths. For example, if you’re great in the kitchen, you could pursue a job as a chef, a caterer, or even a nutritionist. Or, if you have a knack for writing, consider journalism, teaching English, or even writing the next great novel!
Livin’ the Life

Once you have some ideas about what kind of career would be a good fit, you need to figure out what kind of lifestyle is important to you. Do you think that making money is the most important aspect of a career? Or, do you think that if you’re doing something that makes you happy, nothing else matters? For many people, “giving back” to society by choosing a career that helps others is important. So, try making a list of the values that are most important to you and then compare it to your list of jobs to see where there may be overlap. Once an elder said to me “ KIA HOSAKTA HAY is not important, BALKAY TUM KIA KAR SAKTAY HO YE SOCHO.

You also need to prioritize what you are willing to do in order to get your dream job. So, if you dream of being a surgeon, you need to be OK with eight years of medical school! And remember, most musicians perform for peanuts for years before being discovered and hitting it big!
Find a Mentor.. THE GURU

One of the best ways to find out if you’re on the right career track is to spend time with a mentor. A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be in the exact job that you want, but find someone who does something in the field that interests you. Here are some questions that you might ask your mentor:

  • What kind of training and/or education does this job require?
  • What are the best things about this job? What are the bad parts?
  • What would you have done differently in your career path?
  • What advice do you have for people who are just starting out?
and a single question you have to ask yourself :
  • MUJH MAIN HIMMAT HAY?
A good mentor can steer you in the right direction and even help you when it’s ultimately time to look for a job.

According to Seema, a 19-year-old childcare provider, “You want to be able to pick your job … you don’t want it to pick you!” Take your time figuring out what will be a satisfying career, and don’t be afraid to take some chances. Many people go through several careers before sticking with one that fits, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what suits you!

Fresh graduates and young professionals have a higher chance of being unemployed today. Recession has forced companies to close down or cut their operations which, either way, forced job losses by hundreds or even thousands.
A few months ago, job loss is thought to be only on companies who offer luxury items or services.  Essential products and services are also being affected today as they announce massive job cuts. This situation is not only felt in Pakistan as the whole world is bracing for recession which could greatly affect the lives of millions or even billions worldwide. You are listening NOKRI KAHAN HAY YAR ! type of phrases these days frequently.
The young professionals will have a hard time getting a job during recession. But that doesn’t mean they would have financial trouble ahead. There are still ways on how to thrive in this looming economy for fresh graduates. As a young professional, they have the ability to adapt, improve and even unlearn some things just to make sure they would fit to a new career.

Self Employment Approach

 

Versatility to thrive in recession for young graduates is not only based in careers. They also have the ability to make some changes and improvements in what they know to establish a good business. (APNA KAAM)
Some would refute the idea of starting a business because of the current recession. Even small businesses are feeling the bug of recession. This should be taken into consideration when starting a business but this only happens in a wider environment.
You need to examine the local economic conditions. Although the general feeling about the hardship in recession is there, not everyone is having a hard time dealing with it. There is still a chance that your community is striving well.
But even if the local community is not doing well, there are still services based on recession that a fresh graduate could consider. Discovering these businesses only require creativity and a little research. There will always be something that you can offer to your community that might have some profit during recession.

Overhead Way

 

The rising unemployment, if you take a look at it carefully, is only based on the fact that large companies are opting to close down. Although there are blue collared jobs lost, the number is a lot less compared to white collared jobs.
In short, the jobs that are lost today are mostly jobs that offer great pay with great benefits. These types of jobs offer a great career and a great chance to live a good life. But because of recession, these types of jobs are now gone and if there are a few left; the chances of fresh graduates getting them are very small.
For that reason, pushing yourself to that type of job is not really viable. They could just get you frustrated as competition to these jobs is very fierce.  In the meantime, consider having a job that could be considered as a “bridge” or a temporary job that could pay your basic needs. These are simple jobs that will be used until the economy is back on its feet.
“ Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. “