Monthly Archives: July 2014

Bathe and meditate before making business decisions

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Do you make business decisions at the office? Sure, most of us go to an office to work everyday, but offices are actually not the best place to work, or to make decisions. Hmm! Offices are good places to have meetings and to watch less experienced workers. If we all knew what we were doing and were trustworthy, we could all work at home, couldn’t we! So, when and where do we make our big decisions?

What are meetings good for?
Meetings are good for exchanging ideas, brainstorming, and meeting new people. The ideas bounce between different people and can develop as they go around the table. Some experts say that you shouldn’t have more than seven people at a meeting otherwise it undermines the efficiency of the meeting. Other experts say that meetings are usually an inefficient use of time and should be kept to a minimum. I can’t advise on that, but there are many blog articles on the topic! Meetings are good for what they are good for. After you have attained the benefit of the meeting, adjourn it and go back to work!

Sleep on it
But, for the actual decision, sometimes it is good to sleep on it. For complicated decisions, we need to be in a more spiritually pure frame of mind. Taking a bath and meditating before attempting to tackle a hard decision is a good idea. Late at night when it is hopefully quiet and there are few if any distractions might be the time to make that decision.

Thinking while walking & talking?
But, there’s more! I have made the best decisions of my life while talking on the phone during my daily walk. The best artists, musicians and philosophers often are reclusive people who take long walks — at least historically this is a true fact. I often talk to my psychic while I’m walking. He can sometimes give great answers to my questions. But, sometimes, I answer my own questions just by talking to him. Perhaps I’m subconsciously absorbing his thinking abilities, or perhaps, by talking about the issues even to my cat, the answer would come to me because I’m stimulating my own mind!

A final thought!
This might sound bizarre, and it is. I was in line for some pasta in my neighborhood. There is a place that has been in business since 1963 believe it or not. They are very inexpensive and often have a very long line for their pasta, vegetables, chicken, shrimp, and other specialties. I was upset that I was going to waste so much time in line. But, then I whipped out my i-phone and started writing notes in the notes section. I came up with thirteen really interesting blog ideas in only twenty minutes. Maybe I should have pasta more often!

Should your company have a pre-hiring training program?

Categories: Hiring & Firing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

You can’t really hire someone based on an interview. Some people are good talkers, but bad workers or vice versa. Talk is cheap, and I really don’t want to hear how well someone talks unless they are going to do call center work. You can test prospective employees out on various projects — that is a good idea. But, what about a training program?

Most people are below standard in what you want to hire them to do. Selecting the best of a pool of below standard people might not be an ideal solution for your company’s hiring needs. It might make sense to put them through some training, and then evaluate them.

Additionally, having a training program allows you to see if people stick with you when you are being demanding on them. It also lets you see if they are capable of taking instruction or learning. Third, you can see if they have a bad attitude before you hire them. Ability is only one metric in hiring people, these other metrics are equally important.

Large companies often spend tremendous amounts of money on analysts to assess the value of their employees. You need to know how good someone is, so you know exactly how much salary to offer them. You can’t really tell that if you just hire them on some basic preliminary tests. Knowing how they learn and if they stick around gives you more data to assess their value to your company.

10 ways to get more clients for your call center

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We have written many blog entries on how to get clients for your call center. This entry will just summarize some of the better ways that work.

(1) Web Site
Have an attractive web site with pages that load fast. Make sure your specialties, contact information, testimonials, and hopefully a blog with some meaningful articles about your work are included.

(2) Linked In
Linked In is the best social media network around to reach professionals. They have the highest rate of decision makers of any social media site (by far.) Network with decision makers that you find in Linked In business or outsourcing groups — there are many!

(3) Lead Generation
Lead Generation outfits can help you find prospects for your business. Sure it costs, but they specialize in marketing, and you don’t. So get someone good to help you who can get you leads. Getting an agent is another way to handle getting leads!

(4) Craigslist.
America has a site called where you can post jobs, or post that you are willing to do jobs. This is a great way to find a wide variety of services including real estate.

(5) Have a phone number in the United States.
People in America feel more comfortable calling a domestic number that they can call during business hours. You can forward the line to wherever you are, or have a representative in the United States, Australia or England do the sales for you.

(6) Answering the phone
Most call centers don’t answer their phone. They specialize in phone related work, yet they don’t answer their phone. How ironic. Then, when they answer, they don’t answer professionally, or you get someone who is poorly trained. Have intelligent people answer your phone if you want to get intelligent clients who will pay you.

(7) Training and monitoring
The call centers who monitor and train their workers regularly get ahead. Many have contests regularly to keep the mood up. They also constantly assess the work of their callers. Call centers who don’t do this might get a few temporary jobs from being cheap, but they will never get ahead.

(8) Contracts
Don’t have rigid contracts unless you have too much business and want to narrow it down to the big guys. Contracts scare people away. If you do have contracts, have less restrictive contacts that don’t bind your customer into a huge commitment. Remember, you are in business to help others, not to trap them into a situation that could turn into a law suit or a disaster.

(9) Professional emails
If you write very professional looking emails to your prospects and clients, you gain credibility. If you make lots of spelling mistakes or communicate poorly, or just don’t respond at all, that counts against you. Don’t use personal emails for business if you can help it. People want an email address with a suffix that is your website. not

(10) Be flexible
You need money saved up, and a labor pool at your disposal. If you suddenly get a new client, you need to get labor in a snap. If you already know who the callers are and have them already trained, assessed and whatever you need to do to get them shipshape, then you are shipshape. If you have to scramble and hire strangers in a pinch who might not be that good, your client might not be too happy. It might make sense to let your client do the picking.

Okay, I fulfilled my promise. There are ten ways to get more call center clients. Happy calling!

Outsourcing 101 Course Outline

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For a long time, I wanted to create a course for outsourcing companies. Rather than try to sell them something that they won’t want to buy, why not offer something for free. Then, if they get a passing score on my free test, they can go to the next level. I haven’t written the course yet, but will be doing so hopefully over the next several months.

The contents of this course will be:

(1) Communication
Answering the phone
Interacting with prospects
Getting back to people

(2) Double checking your work
Hiring people who can double check work
Training employees to double check their own work

(3) Meeting deadlines
Planning for deadlines: allocating labor resources
Managing deadlines and changing the course of scheduling

(4) Hiring
Selecting, assessing and training new workers

(5) Management structures
Having the right middle management to be able to handle interacting with your clients, and managing the workers to ensure seamless work.

(6) Having a good website
Good artwork, clear navigation, and substantial information are what is necessary.

(7) Marketing
Understanding the multiple channels in which you can promote yourself.
Social Media
Lead Generation Specialists

(8) Foreign offices and phone numbers
Is it better to have a sales staff in the country where the client is?
Or is it better to have an American number that rings wherever you are?
Either way you need to answer your phone during American business hours.

(9) Small talk
Prospecting clients is a real skill. Mastering the art of small talk is a huge topic that Indians understand in their social life, but typically avoid in business.

Create stories in your blog about the experience of your clients

Categories: Marketing, Popular on Google+, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

But, I don’t have a blog? Get one!

Most people just focus on acquiring clients. Their mentality is not far from a rickshaw driver’s who only wants to know, “Where are you going? Do you need a ride?” Prospective clients often want to get to know you first and don’t just want to start off talking about the work. Don’t hustle your clients, engage them instead!

Engage your prospects!
If a client talks to ten different companies, and one of those companies pleasantly engages them without any pressure, two months later when they make their decision who to hire, which one will they remember the most favorably? That’s a no-brainer! They will remember the one who engaged them, who told them charming stories about their clients, and about life in Dehra Dun, Mumbai, or wherever you might be.

Storytelling 101
Being a good businessman is more about understanding margins, numbers, hiring, firing, buying and selling. It is about engaging, and engaging with stories. Obviously, you need to be able to explain to others what is unique about your company and why they might consider hiring you. It’s good to keep in touch regularly just to remind them you are still there if you didn’t hear from them. But, tell them a story about something your client did and how they became successful using your service, or perhaps some other unrelated service. Tell them the story about how last week you had to go hungry because an elephant at a parade in Nashik grabbed your banana right out of your hand and ate it! Ask them if they have ever been to India and engage them in a conversation where they might tell you their stories too! If you want to get clients, get close to people. People will trust you more if you are nice, entertaining, and if they get to know you a little!

But, what about blogging?
You can’t tell someone a story if you haven’t met them yet, but you can blog a story to them! People find me on my blog every day. They like the crazy stories I tell on my notary blog. They like the tips and the nit-picky technical points I make. They sort of get to know me before they have ever talked to me. Blogging allows you to be personal, interact, and get people to know you, before you ever talk to them. Then, by the time they talk to you, they already sort of know you — or at least know a lot about you. So, think up some stories. Hire a writer to help you. Put your stories in your blog. Tell them how you had one client who came to you and he became a millionaire partly because of the help you gave him. Then, tell them about the time you had a head on collision with a cow while in a rick-shaw. Share, entertain — blog!

And remember, don’t sell by selling — sell by telling stories. It’s more fun and works better!

How many retweets do you need to get a new follower on Twitter?

Categories: Analytics, Popular on Twitter, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

On my notary twitter, we have accumulated more than 8000 followers. They seem to be very passive. We get some clicks on our links, but not that many. We get a handful of retweets per day, but nothing amazing. I figured if the number of followers kept growing, that our retweets might grow too. It sort of works that way, but not exactly.

Passive growth is anyone’s dream in social media. Imagine creating a Twitter or Linked In account that just grows on its own? Our Notary Linked In actually does just grow on its own and the discussions on it are fantastic too! What I learned from my new travel Twitter account, is that retweets only help you if you get a lot of them.

Our Notary Twitter gets one to eight retweets per day. We can’t measure how that helps us since we are doing PPC advertising and a lot of interaction. But, on my travel Twitter account which is new, we are not interacting with existing members. We are just getting new members, and there is no PPC. We follow others, interact, and retweet. There is a lot of activity on the account, but since there is no PPC, it is easier to guestimate the realities of the retweets.

On my travel Twitter we get retweeted generally 20 to 40 times per day. That is a lot of retweets. Our growth rate is 10-20 people per day. The growth comes partly from the retweets, but more from the following, retweeting, and interacting. I would estimate that we might get about four new followers per day from the thirty average retweets per day. But, it is more complicated than that. The size of the accounts that retweet you matters too. If you get retweeted by someone with ten followers, it really doesn’t help. But, if someone with half a million followers retweets you, then you are in business.

I actually did get a comment retweeted by a guy with 400,000 followers. I was curious to see if that would help. We got a generous amount of new followers during the following twenty-four hours, but not higher than we usually get in a way that I would measure.

My official guess, based on experience, is that — if you get retweeted in a way that reaches 15,000 Twitter accounts, you might get a single new follower. If what I call a “weak interaction” gets retweeted, you might need 50,000 people to get it in order to get a single follower. The quality of the tweet, and the relevance of the followers factor into the equation. Basically, to sum it up, if you want your Twitter account to grow from retweets, you had better get a ton of them daily.

I make it a practice to follow only those who either follow me, have top notch content, or those who retweet others regularly. If they retweet others, they are likely to retweet me, and that is exactly what is happening!

Good good, analytics are confusing!

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Indians are used to noise, but do they like it?

Categories: India | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cultural differences are sometimes hard to define. People resort to very basic statements like, “Easterners are more family oriented,” or “Americans are more independent.” Yes, we know that Indians eat masalas and chutneys while Americans eat more potatoes, meat, and salads. But, what about other environmental issues such as noise?

During my several trips to India I noticed that everywhere I went it was very noisy. Even when I went to places that were famous for being quiet, there were drunk people yelling at 3am! Indian cities are famous for honking sounds, loud vendors, and other unbearable noise pollution.

When I ask the locals what they think about the noise, the standard response is, “Oh, I don’t even notice it.” Even at night in India, security guards rap their sticks against metal objects making a ticking rhythm and once I heard a security guard blowing a whistle at midnight to scare off the bad guys.

When I asked Indians if they prefer quiet and order, most of them said they would, although they are not really bothered by chaos and noise. I, on the other hand am very bothered by noise, disorder, and being pushed by rude people at train (railway) stations!

I noticed that in my apartment complex, there are some noisy children. I did an experiment to see how far noise traveled. I walked away from a volleyball game where everyone was screaming. After I got 100 wide paces which is 300 feet, the noise died down to being almost not detectable, and after 400 feet I couldn’t hear it at all. Interesting.

(1) Cultural differences are hard to define: Masala vs. Hamburgers is one. But, what about noise tolerance?
(2) Noise from children playing travels 300 feet and then becomes virtually undetectable to the human ear.
(3) Although Indians are accustomed to noise and chaos, most claim that they prefer peace & quiet!

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Why terror doesn’t scare anyone in India

Categories: India | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Israel has been bombarded with attacks on civilians for decades. Their solution is to build a wall. Maybe if they had been a little nicer to the oppressed folks in the occupied territories there would be a nicer way to solve the problem. But, what about India? India never oppressed people from Pakistan. India doesn’t oppress, they just let problems happen to you and ignore you when you complain!

I feared for my life when I boarded a local train in Mumbai. My friend’s father came within an inch of his life on the very same line a year before during a blast that killed dozens. He jumped out of the train while it was moving and suffered only a sprained ankle. The others all died. “It was surreal,” he said. It looked like flowers expanding and slowly going to all parts of the train car, killing people. He felt it was safe to jump and jumped out of the train just in time. God was watching him. It wasn’t his time to die yet.

But, if you ask the average guy on the street what they think you get these answers that indicate they are not afraid.

(1) When it is my time to go, it is my time to go. What can you do?
(2) My life is not that great anyway, so why should I be afraid of dying?
(3) If I die, then I won’t have to deal with my nagging wife anymore.
(4) India has always had blasts. It is just a part of life over here.
(5) We’ll just wait until they run out of bullets, then we’ll have ten babies per family and repopulate however many they kill. We’ll show them in the end!

My commentary for answer #3 is, “I bet you are a member of the henpecked husband association in Mumbai.” His response would be, “Are you kidding, I’m not only a member, I founded that association a few decades ago!”

The reality is that Pakistani extremists think they can scare Indians with terrorism, but Indians are simply not afraid. Their plan didn’t “work” so to speak. But, I’m afraid. So they scared someone! But, honestly, I’m much more afraid of Indian cab drivers than of Pakistani extremists. Indian cab drivers have put my life on the edge hundreds of times already — they are more likely to end my life than anyone else.

Perks to hiring part time workers

Categories: Hiring & Firing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It is a well known fact that part time workers are the first to quit, and are often less qualified. You are thinking negatively! Let’s think of what is good about hiring part timers!

(1) It is easier to find really interesting part timers
If someone spends their entire life at a horrible grunt job, they are likely to be a very disgruntled grunt, or a very boring person. However, there are many aspiring artists, musicians, and people seeing bigger things in life who will not work for you full-time, but might do a part time job for you. If it fits their schedule, they might even stick around for the long haul. If you like interesting people, or just like the personality attributes of an individual, you could hire them part time! But, give them a schedule that works for them if you want to see them stick around. Part timers often quit, because they need more money. Those who already have another gig will quit, if your job gets in the way of the “more money” that they are already making. Think about them first before your own needs.

(2) You can try people out without a commitment
Most of the people I hire don’t work out. They are not thinking about what I need. They are not thinking about what is good for them in the long term either. There is no commitment. How can I commit to 40 hours a week, if I have no idea if the other person’s skills are up to par, or if they are committed? For me, I prefer to hire people part time. I want to see how they do. If they do well, I can gradually give them more and more tasks and see if they can handle it.

(3) You can try several people out at once
If you get a full time person, if you fire them, then you are left high and dry. With part timers, you can hire several. If they don’t work out, then replace them. You could hire five part timers for one full-time job. Then fire the ones that don’t quit and keep the two best ones. If another drops out, you either higher more part timers or promote the remaining one (if they are good) to be full-time!

(4) Burnout is less frequent with part time work
We live in a world where so many people are burned out. If your job is grueling or hard, doing it full-time can do a lot of wear and tear on the person’s psychological state. It is often better to do several hours a day of grunt work, and then spend the rest of the day doing something else like being a yoga instructor, massage therapist, or singing!

If you hire part-timers, you might be able to get some really interesting people. If you treat them right, they might stick around. Additionally, they will not burn out so much, since they balance your drudgery with something else that they find is meaningful.Part-timing might not be right for everyone, but for some types of jobs, companies, or temperaments, it could be perfect.

(1) If you hire part-time workers, you might get artists, musicians, and other very cool types!
(2) People burnout doing full-time drudgery, but they might last longer as part-timers!
(3) If you hire part time workers, you can hire a handful and then keep the ones that work out!

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