Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carlos Dominguez Cisco Telecommuting Survey:60% of workers prefer a Home Office. Over 2600 IT workers surveyed worldwide.

When I read the headline Carlos put on his FB page... I thought -- "and is anyone surprised?". Working at home is part of my DNA. My mother was a Builder and Real Estate Developer. She had home office in 1960. I grew up figuring typewriters, mimeographs (OK, so I'm dating myself), filing cabinets, files, label makers, calligraphy -- was part of everyone's decor. I learned to file - when I was 8 years old, or sort mail, or sharpen pencils. I learned to read blueprints and architectural drawings before I could form a coherent sentence. For me, being able to do my job - in a home environment - contributes to my professional well-being.

So I commented on his post, "Timeplex accommodated that before it was fashionable. They definitely got more hours out of me, than if I had been restricted to going into the office (even though it was only 8 miles away). I put in at least 4 hours of work before I went into Woodcliff Lake, even when I was in administration before breaking into management. My job was never a 40 hour work week... or only M-F... so having a functional home office made me more productive -- and Timeplex recognized that."

I know that some people do goof off - even I did - but I gave it back 150%. What Timeplex did, for me, was provide latitude. I may not have been making "big bucks" by standards -- but they gave me fabulous latitude that was priceless.

I remember one conversation I had with one of my favorite VP's (I was his EA) when he asked me what did I want to achieve - for myself - in my position as his EA. I answered "To have you weep at the thought of my going on vacation..." I wanted to establish value. I did - and consequently was rewarded. Hard work paid off - and I had fabulous mentors and established professional friendships that have lasted for over 25 years.

Maybe that is why I stayed with Timeplex for 13 years. The company was good to me and treated me respectfully ALWAYS. Since a huge portion of colleagues have gone on to incredibly successful careers in corporate and as entrepreneurs,I can only conclude that Timeplex encouraged, and nurtured, young visionaries who have gone on to be major players. In my own way, I walked with giants.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Woman-Owned Small Businesses Put the Customer First - Part I

Forbes Insights Study key findings:

• The majority of women business owners have a customer service strategy: 55% do it on a case-by-case basis, and 18% have a formal strategy. 27% do not have a dedicated customer service strategy at all.

• The recession proved challenging for many woman-owned small businesses, but it has made them increasingly determined to build long-lasting relationships. Customer service and customer retention are top priorities for companies right now and in the next 12 months.

• While a number of woman-owned small businesses are using the Web and social media for customer service, many are still not taking full advantage of these channels; 25% of respondents do not have a company website and 24% do not use any social media tactics for their business.

• Traditional methods for customer service interaction still rule the day—such as sending handwritten notes and interacting with customers via the phone.

As a result of the economic implosion the U.S. has experienced, woman-owned businesses are taking a customer-centric approach - making customer service a top strategic priority, though a large portion do not have a formal strategy and prefer to deal with customers on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, a large portion do not take advantage of exploring the types of innovative customer service "channels" that might set their businesses apart from the competition.

I will explore the findings in this study, and share the facts and figures that may help you in designing your strategy for the future. Ironically, Marketing is near the bottom of the priority list - but the fact is - marketing campaigns should contain all of the "top of the list" priorities, such as:

Customer Retention
Customer Service
Cost Containment
Maximizing Profitability/cash flow
Increasing productivity/efficiency

Unfortunately, many small business compartmentalize these objectives instead of integrating them into an overall strategy supported by the marketing that gets the word out there.

... more to come.

Cracking the C-Suite: Finding the Right Exec to Close the Sale

"Now, more than ever, it's essential to engage decision-makers with compelling reasons to purchase your product or service. One of the first steps in doing this is to discover who in the prospect organization holds the "real" buying power and when they are most likely to become involved in the purchase." Chief Marketer has another great article - and one that I personally think is quite valuable. I have already provided material on the C-Suite and this newest article adds to the list. Read the entire article here:

Friday, October 15, 2010

How to craft the perfect IT Resume - CIO Magazine

"Things to consider for this box are what you do best, your strongest IT strengths that set you apart from your peers, your IT skills that outshine those of others, the most notable IT resources you bring to a company. This part of the résumé is your best shot at being noticed and chosen for an interview, so in this area make yourself look unquestionably the best possible candidate. There is no room for modesty here."

Long-Term Unemployment and Your Job Search: 10 Ways to Compete

CIO Magazine - once again provides useful insights and suggestions to keep the "job search" on track and in alignment. Checks and balances - probative questions to identify whether you are presenting the right information to get that job. One thing is clear - the competition is fierce, and your information has to be job-specific - even if they are looking for a generalist.

"For executives, a year is not an usually long time to be out of work. In fact, the average length of unemployment for executives is nine months to a year, even in a good economy, according to Howard Seidel, a partner with Essex Partners, which provides career coaching services to executives." Now for some that may be daunting, but for others it may give them a sense of "oh, OK... it's not just me."