Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Retail Job

The 6 Most Powerful Words in Networking

Hey, did you hear Mark Zuckerberg announced an update to Facebook's privacy settings?
In May.
Because people have complained for a long time the settings are too confusing. So the company made a change.
Now, new users of the site will have privacy settings default to "Friends," instead of "Public," which had been the case for many years.
You ask a lot of questions, don't you?
"Ha, yeah. I guess I do."
Want to be a great networker? Learn to love WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW.
The six words demonstrate maturity, selflessness, and a natural curiosity. They prove you can set yourself aside and be genuinely interested in another person's life. You know, authenticity. And perhaps through all your questions, you'll find new ways to connect or advance your career.
"Curiosity is more important than knowledge." ― Albert Einstein
WHO should I talk to like this?
Anyone. A stranger at happy hour, someone you ask to meet for coffee, or a person you sit next to on a plane. Everyone else knows something you don't. Why spend the entire time talking? What will you learn? 
Sample question: Who are some of your clients?
WHAT do I talk about?
You talk about what the other person wants to talk about. Let that person guide the conversation. If that person says, "I like my job, but it can be tough at times," then you come right back with, "What makes it tough?"
Sample question: What kind of projects are you working on?
WHEN is the most appropriate time?
Anytime. People love to talk about themselves. In fact, they'll probably give you as much info as you can handle. They think: "You're curious about what I do for a living? Of course I'll blab about it!"
Sample question: When did you decide to focus on that aspect of your career?
WHERE are the best places?
Anywhere, but specifically situations where you could aid your career. Networking events, work conferences, and job interviews are great places to give these words a whirl.
Sample question: Where do you go most often for work? Do you travel?
WHY is it such an effective strategy?
With each questionyou take the conversation deeper and build trust. Plus, if you two find a way to network further, the person is more likely to help because that person likes you — and all you did was let that person ramble on about themselves!
Sample question: Why did you decide to pursue a master's degree?
HOW do I keep up all the questions?
You listen intently. You stay in the moment, absorb what the person has to say, and come back with a thoughtful response.
Sample question: How did you start your own business? What was the process?
In conversation, our instinct is to dive right in and say, "Well, I ... "
But you … you're smarter than that. You understand the power of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW.
Those six words allow you to forge relationships, broaden your knowledge, and create new career opportunities.
When you focus on others, the world starts to shift in your favor.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Six mistakes young managers make

The great thing about being in my twenties was that I looked young, felt indestructible and was ready to take on the world. However it was this blind enthusiasm that would pitch me one of my earliest, and curliest, career curveballs.

Influencing for many is a complex and ambiguous art. For some, the skill is developed slowly through multiple experiences, whereas for others, it is a totally instinctive process. This latter group, in their early years at least, are at great personal risk, because their influencing capacity is far more developed than their personal maturity. This was me. I was blind to the implications of the mysterious trajectory my career was about to take.

As a young employee, I worked in an organisation that was habitual in its behaviours and intensely hierarchical in its structure. Consequently, the workplace culture was stifling and aggressive towards anything or anyone who was different. Communication at the best of times was inadequate and, when present, long-winded.

Within these confines, I did what I do naturally: I spoke with people, built relationships and attended most events that the organisation held. In a short time, the relationships I developed spanned the entire organisation and, before I knew it, I was appointed to the business’ most senior committee where I candidly shared my views about the organisation, and how it might improve, with its most senior executives. And they listened. Suddenly I wielded an influence that exceeded my rank.

This is something I should look back on with pleasure, right? Well, there is an element of pleasure, but it comes from the lessons I would eventually learn from the curveball my influence on the committee triggered.

Here is the play-by-play of how I misread it, and what to do to ensure your curveball does not end in a career strike out:

Play 1: I overlooked my managers
On the committee, I was now amongst the senior influencers. I had a value proposition – I knew the business on the ground level and I was honest with my thoughts. I was playing the big game – it was intoxicating. The implication on middle management, who weren’t ‘senior’ enough to be invited to the table, was lost on me (sometimes youth is wasted on the young!). In essence, I was privy to high-level information and conversations that my bosses were not.

Play 2: I got distracted
I found it harder to concentrate on the role I was employed and paid to do. I had tasted the flavour of influencing and because I was now privy to conversations about the whole business and its future, my role in context seemed so inconsequential. My focus was split.

Play 3: I provoked a negative backlash
My appointment to the senior committee incited a reaction in middle management that really began to take voice. They clearly struggled with my rapid trajectory so their reaction was, in hindsight, predictable. They added additional responsibilities to my role, required more regular reporting, and changed the way they treated me.

Play 4: I went to war
I reacted to these behaviours by doing what comes naturally to me. I sought alliances with colleagues, used my influence to push back on the additional requests and, effectively, drew the battlelines. What began as an inherently organic and curious journey spiraled into a contest that was impossible to win. I was still too immature to realise it – I was sure I was indestructible.

Play 5: I overestimated the strength of my influence
I became isolated. This was my battle. Realistically, neither level of management was going to support me. My colleagues did not want to get involved. All of a sudden, the well-meaning influencer found himself alone.

Play 6: I learnt some big lessons
Then the moment of truth arrived. My manager called me in and gave me two options: to come off the committee, go back to my job and toe the line, or, option two, as he put it, “shake hands and leave like a gentleman.” To this day I am proud of how I responded to this. I told him I had made some errors of judgement, which I had learnt from. I noted that I had learnt about people – the good and the not so good things about them. So I thought it best to leave and absorb the lessons, turn them into positives and start again somewhere new.

Now, as a chief executive, I recognise young people who like me possess that raw ability to influence. So I spend time with them, nurture and encourage them while providing a context of realism to the mix. During my experience, I did not have a mentor, no one to step forward and alert me to the consequences of my behaviours. This would have been a great help at the time as my actions were not driven by malice; I was simply oblivious to the circus they would create.

So now I am a battle-wary leader. I have earned my stripes the hard way and feel an obligation to help those who I believe need it.

Raw instinct is in some ways a gift, but when it comes to influencing, I would swap it for a more staged development based on exposure to the trials and tribulations of the workplace. Learning how to influence effectively, without inciting a riot, is one of the most important aspects of the leadership journey. Whenever I see my colleagues mobilising to a vision we share, I am quietly grateful for the pain of my curveball because it taught me so much. Once you have the skills to pick the curveball, you can hit it out of the park, so if you are currently in a state of professional pain, focus on what you are learning and how this will make you better.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Niche Marketing and Internet Marketing

User targeting strategies

Niche marketing is perhaps one of the most fundamental things that you should do in marketing, may it be as a product vendor or as an affiliate. Many people are looking to find products that are worth spending their money on investing to Adwords and outsourcing services, especially on advertising solutions that will involve a lot of manual work. Although you can always promote products without spending too much on it, it’s always wiser to treat Internet Marketing like a real business.

Before you start promoting something, you actually need to start validating your idea. Although many people sell what interests them, not all of your interests may become worth promoting. You need to look at how interested the people in your market are in buying your product, see if it’s worth its price and value, then check if you will have a fair competition in that niche. If you’re looking to gain sales online through organic search results, the last factor should be seriously taken into consideration.

Most of the time, huge businesses and blogs use niche marketing. Even businesses who are trying to market offline use this strategy. A computer company may advertise an all-in-one printer with scanner and photocopying features while at the same time looking for ways to sell a similar product which will complement the main product as an accessory. This doesn’t have to be totally manufactured by them the same way with their main product, but because they know that they have a hot market who are really interested in buying their accessories, they have made a valuable step in their marketing.

The most important thing that makes niche marketing valuable to sellers is that advertising budgets will soon get a good return of investment. It will cost less to promote products in a very targeted niche, especially because you know that they are interested in your product and they somehow have the will to purchase what you’re promoting.

Niche marketing methods are designed to meet targeted needs and interests of targeted audience. You don’t want to sell your product to a huge audience, because some people are not interested in buying them, making you lose tons of money on non-targeted advertising. You must completely tailor-fit your product to the needs and interest of your target market. If you are a writer who wants to teach people how to do blog marketing online then you should only target those who are either interested in marketing, Blogs or Blog marketing. Spending tons of money doing otherwise may just be a waste of both time and money.

The most successful Internet Marketers always start with successful niche marketing methods. Always try to look at both competition and demand of product and if you see that the price of the product is worth paying for its value, then you’ve got a jackpot. A good niche marketing method will gain you more leads, more e-mail options, more likes in your social networking sites and probably more sales in the future.