Monthly Archives: January 2015

9 insane things stress can do to our business

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You would be amazed at learning what stress can do to you. It can affect your health, your behavior, your work, and your business. So, why are we all so stressed out? Because there is too much to do and too little time to do it! I have decided to have less to do every day and to decrease my stress level. The costs of being stressed out and overworked are just too high. Here are some problems I have seen that result from stress.

(1) Stress can cause you to be impatient with people
I have too much to do, and when I do phone calls, I tend to be in a hurry. If the person who is supposed to help me can’t make it, I tend to get the work done myself. But, I am not so nice to people when I do the work myself because I am stressed out from over working. If people talk back to me, I sometimes even yell at them. I am much nicer when I have a chance to do some serious relaxing.

(2) Stress can cause your mental functioning to be impaired
I remember going to Whole Foods once. I was working much too much. I forgot one thing, and left my bag with a lady in the front. When I came back, the lady had no idea who I was. I started losing my head and panicking. I started raising my voice. Then another lady looked at my receipt and told me that the lady two aisles over was the one who had helped me. The two ladies were both Hispanic, and of a similar age. Under normal circumstances I am not sure if I would have confused them, but I was very embarrassed.

(3) Stress causes you to make bad decisions
When you have to make a decision at the last minute, it won’t be a good one. You need to reflect slowly on decisions to make a good one. That is why I recommend relaxing and bathing before you make any critical choices for your business. It makes sense to put off decision making until you are in a good state of mind even if the delay causes a temporary loss.

(4) Stress causes spelling mistakes
I make lots of spelling and writing mistakes when under stress. It is okay to do a first draft of writing work under stress. But, proofread and fine tune your work when you are feeling relaxed, preferably after a long trip to the beach at night which is the most relaxing place a person can go!

(5) Stress impairs your ability to prioritize
A good business person does tasks in order of priority. When you are under stress, it is difficult to be able to figure out what is a priority. You just want to crank work out fast. To me, it makes sense to do busy-work while stressed, and thinking work on a different day while relaxed, or during my breaks where I can daydream.

(6) Stress causes the urge to drink; Drinking reduces stress
So, is drinking good or bad? I’m not sure. Drinking red wine in small amounts is good for you. Eating healthy foods reduces stress.

(7) According to Kabbalah, stress is good.
One Kabbalist once told our group that stress is good. If you are under stress that means you are accomplishing a lot of tasks in a short amount of time. Being under pressure means you are doing lots of things at once or in a limited amount of time which indicates efficiency. On the other hand Warren Buffet chooses to work two hours a day and be selective to where he devotes his time. He spends his time only thinking about the highest priorities and leaves the rest to others!

(8) Stress causes action
When you are under stress, you tend to take action more quickly than when you are relaxed. Another reason why stress is good.

(9) Stress causes temporary insanity
If the stress really gets out of hand, you won’t be able to think at all and go into a sort of mental paralysis. When this happens, it is time to take some time off!

The Pen is mightier than the Sword; But, is Flogging mightier than Blogging?

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Flogging for Blogging
In Saudi Arabia, a man is to be flogged as a punishment for criticizing Islam in his blog. Due to health reasons, his flogging is to be delayed based on what I read on 1-22-2015. The world seems to be polarized these days. There are 1.5 billion Muslims who are often not treated with respect from the rest of the world. Muslims are often not tolerant of any disrespect. Part of this reaction could be based on the amount of disrespect that has accumulated over the last several centuries towards them, particularly for those who live in primarily Christian countries.

It’s Muslims vs. Christians; Secular vs. Religious
With the Charlie Hebdo incident it is very clear that there are many Christians that will go to any lengths to offend Muslims, and will stop at nothing. The extremists who retaliated against Hebdo’s offensive cartoons will also stop at nothing in their war against offenses to Islam. Even the Islamic world is polarized. We see countries like Egypt divided between secular Muslims & Christians vs. the more religious types. Turkey has a similar division although the secular people in Turkey are more numerous than the religious ones. It seems that whenever you put Muslims and Christians in the same country, or even Muslims and Muslims in the same country, a serious conflict will result. So, what is the solution?

Punishment & Spirituality
The government of Saudi Arabia has the right to carry out justice as they see fit. It is their land, their government. My point is more of a spiritual point. If you abuse someone’s body, you are not only damaging their life, but you are also damaging your soul. For those of us who are believers (in God, but not necessarily in a particular brand of religion) we acknowledge that we have a soul, and that the condition of our soul is based on our actions and thoughts. If we behave well, we might have a chance at going to heaven, or at least be reborn well. We believe that we reap what we sow. I believe that the punishment of flogging is an extreme way to preserve a religious way of life in a country that endorses only one religion. But, the amount of damage done by the flogging extends far beyond the victim. The flogger will also reap a karmic penalty for his act of violence, his supervisor, and the society as a whole will gain a bad vibration as a result of this unmerciful act.

If Allah is merciful, then as followers, we should adopt his attributes.
Allah has 99 names according to Muslims, and 72 names according to Jews. They are only disagreeing by 27% which is not bad considering who we are dealing with! The Islamic names of God are very spiritual in nature. I only know a few of these names, but they include Merciful, Compassionate, Peace, Struggle, among others. If God is compassionate, why should we be any less as spiritual followers? You can pray to God as many times a day as you like, but if you lack spiritual values such as a love of peace, compassion and mercy, what good does the prayer do you? Prayer and religious life are meaningless unless paired with good values and character development. This means that we must exercise kindness and charity in our lives, even if we are not perfect at it.

I am also offended
I am not a Muslim, but I respect all monotheistic faiths. I take offense when someone defames the Islamic faith, especially if it is done in an insulting, unfair, or hateful way. Rather than calling people names for being offensive, I often explain how their false statement against Islam is wrong, why it is wrong, and what the truth is. I know very little about Islam, but I am able to explain some of the basics to rude “infidels” who insult this holy religion. My way is a peaceful way. I am not sure if much good is done by my way. However, my way produces no harm, and could do at least a little good. Flogging someone will do irreparable harm to everyone involved. It is an extreme measure. Rather than speaking against flogging, I’ll politely ask those in favor of it to consider a gentler way to deal with individuals whose blogging is damaging to society — whomever they might be.

I support separation
I live in America which insists on integration. Segregation is a dirty word here, and if you are for it, then you are a dirty racist pig! However, putting people together who don’t like each other and who don’t get along can be much worse than segregation and can lead to murder, flogging, and worse. Religious Muslims do not integrate well with secular Muslims or people from other faiths. Secular people tend to offend Muslims, and Muslims tend to shun secular people. Even when integrated, the two separate like oil and water. Lebanon was plagued by an horrible civil war which left many dead and many more emotionally shattered. In my opinion, the Christians in Lebanon should have their own country. The Druze should also have their own land, and the Muslims should have a country to themselves too. This way they don’t have to fight with each other over control. Egypt is teetering on the verge of civil war because secrular Muslims, Christians, and religious Muslims don’t see eye to eye. Perhaps it would be better if Egypt became two or three countries. I don’t know having separate countries for each type of people in the Middle East is best, but in the short run, it seems like it would solve a lot of problems.

Talaka, Talaka, Talaka!
The same holds true for Iran and Saudi Arabia which do not grant freedom to break Islamic law. There are many residents in both of these countries who are very Western in their thinking and cannot be happy following Shariah law. For those folks, it might be easier if a chunk of Iran or Arabia is reserved for them to set up their own communities where they can live by whatever laws they like. If you don’t get along, why fight it? Get a divorce! Talaka, Talaka, Talaka! Islam allows a couple to get a divorce, so why not allow a community of secular minded people to do the same. Everyone will be happier in the end — perhaps…

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7 rules for women entrepreneurs to live by

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It is interesting to see how women function in the workplace. Women who do jobs requiring force like being in law enforcement tend to validate the expression that “a woman can do anything a man can do just as well, or better!” Unfortunately, in law enforcement, women tend to do the hostility part just as well or better than men can do it. Women often feel insecure in particular roles which society may feel do not suit their nature. Women in law offices feel they have to prove themselves, and then reprove themselves and are in an endless cycle of having to continuously prove themselves as others don’t always take them seriously. So, what is the solution?

First of all, women do much better in business than as Attorneys or in Law Enforcement simply because the prejudices against them don’t exist as strongly in the business world. Second, women are better than men at particular types of tasks and situations such as being non-threatening, and maintaining relationships. So, let’s see how a woman can optimize her chances in the business world.

(1) Let the men handle the conflicts while you concentrate on other things!
Women are seen as non-threatening. Is this good or bad? In my opinion, if you are trying to smooth over a situation, you need someone non-threatening. But, if you have to assert your authority, a non-assertive man gets more respect in the real world for being an authority than an assertive woman. It makes no sense, but this is a proven fact. So, if you are a woman and you need to lay down the law, you can always hire a man to do the job. He can lay down the law in a neutral tone of voice and people will listen.

(2) Forget about seeking validation
People’s prejudices get in the way. How they see a woman entrepreneur may never be evenhanded. So, forget about trying to gain people’s approval. Focus on building your business the right way and not on what people think.

(3) Focus on relationships
When men are younger, they have an easier time being friendly and maintaining relationships. I remember in school that I always had a huge social circle. But, as an adult my social circle fell apart and I had no way to grow it. My housemate is a woman, and I found that I made more friends through her than on my own. Many men find that they make friends either at work, at church, or through their wife. I don’t have a wife, but my spiritual group and housemate filled the void for a while. The point I’m trying to make here is that women do a better job at creating and nurturing relationships than men do as adults over twenty-five. So, instead of worrying about what people think of you as a woman entrepreneur, focus on what you are genetically superior at — building relationships. As a business owner, your success depends on creating and maintaining nurturing relationships. Yes, they need to be profitable, but even a non-profitable positive relationship can turn into a seed for endless referrals and good will. So, recognize your assets and milk them! Let the men handle authoritarian roles while you build relationships.

(4) The 30 something and 50 something female breakdown syndrome.
Femanists have conditioned society to think that women are identical to men in almost all ways. But, this is not at all true. Women do well in the workplace at certain stages of their life. But, in their mid thirties, many women I know have experienced a mid-life crisis. They lose their urge to succeed and work hard. Many want a family, but failed to build a relationship with a steady man and hence don’t have a marriage. Other women have children by this time and need to tend to their children. Then, twenty years after this breakdown there is menopause which is another serious female issue that leads to emotional instability. As a woman, you need to plan for children, emotional instability and breakdowns. But, how? Realize that in your 20’s you are full of energy. Realize that you need to create your business in such a way that you can take more time off in your thirties. Additionally, try to have other people who are reliable take over your customer service role when you reach menopause because you will lose a lot of your best business relationships if you get nasty with them! I’m just being realistic.

(5) Controlling your destiny is good
In a male dominated world, women may not have as much opportunity to move up. Men often prefer to hire men as middle and higher level managers. As a man who works alone, I don’t know how easy or hard it is for a woman, but I can imagine that in many circumstances there could be artificial roadblocks to your success. Having your own business eliminates these roadblocks. You start at the top, and build your clientele and network below you. By being an entrepreneur, you create your own blocks (or unblocks) to success rather than letting some male chauvanist do it for you! Interestingly enough, many Palestinian guys choose entrepreneurship for the same reason. They see working for a boss as constrictive and oppresive and they want to control their own destiny and give themselves a chance to get rich. Many work 80 hours a week, save up, and buy small markets or gas stations and build their empire brick by brick.

(6) Get more nitty gritty
Women can often be tempted to want to live the dream, rather than getting involved with smaller aspects of the business. There is a lot of analytics and nitty gritty tasks in business. You will not do well in business unless you learn to embrace more technical aspects like calculating profit margins, accounting, calculating opportunity costs, assessing the value of doing particular tasks, and more. Women tend to be more people oriented then number oriented. But, to do well in business, you need to be good at both even if you are always better at the people side of the business (without even trying.) As a warning, I would suggest against relying on outsourced staff that you hire for analytical work. They can easily pull the wool over your eyes and deceive you if you are not completely in control every step of the way and if you don’t understand the equations they are working with.

(7) Being in control
As mothers, women understand they need to be in control of their toddler. The minute you take your eye off them is the same minute they try to swallow something poisonous or jump off the porch only to await a ten foot fall into the bushes. Business is similar to babysitting. Most people you hire are not going to be smart or reliable. The minute you stop watching them or lose absolute control over them, you are finished. As a business person, you need to always be in control. I will not say that women are better or worse than men at being in control, but Chinese women excel at watching every move their assistants make which is why women are more powerful in China than in many other countries. If you are not in absolute control and able to simultaneously watch everyone who is working for you — you are through. So, think of it as glorified babysitting.

The BBB — a reliable organization or a farse?

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The BBB has been around for a long time and is in business to find “bad” businesses who do bad thing to their customers and expose the evil things that these bad businesses do. However, what happens in reality, the BBB helps angry customers slander legitimate companies who simply didn’t give the customer what they had wanted regardless of what the terms of the agreement were. The BBB doesn’t care about what is right or wrong, nor do they consider published company policies in handling claims. The BBB only considers how the customer feels no matter how logical or illogical.

We have many complaints because we don’t give people their money back if they purchased something from us and then changed their mind. My policies page clearly states that we do NOT give money back unless you purchased in error and got back to us within 24 hours. Once you have made a purchase from us, after 24 hours, the project is yours. If you don’t like it, perhaps you should write a complaint about yourself. I am not willing to entertain this type of nonsense unless I rewrite my policies. I also don’t want customers walking all over us buying, returning, buying and returning at great cost to our limited labor resources and patience.

BBB doesn’t care at all about what is fair. They are a one-sided organization that only cares about the customer, how they feel, what they want, and that’s about it. A legitimate Better Business Bureau would have a two-sided view as to whether business is being conducted fairly. They should look to see if one side is unfair to the other. If the customer is unfair to the business, the BBB backs the customer in its crusade to undermine the reputation of respectable and helpful businesses that do a lot for the public. It just doesn’t seem fair, and it is very clear that their only purpose in existence is to gang up on people without any respect to legitimacy of reason.

Getting Social Media advice from a cat

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We all know how intelligent cats are. They would show us their intelligence more often if they weren’t so busy with their busy napping schedule. But, did you know that cats are good at marketing? It makes sense. Marketing is like a tiger chasing gazelles in the plains of Africa. All of the same skills apply. You have to be good at watching, timing, strategy, and pouncing. You can learn a lot from watching a cat.

Identifying your target audience
Cats identify their target audience by using their powers of observation. They sit and study the market behind a camouphlage of tall grass. This is exactly what you should do as a marketer. Just go to a place with some tall grass, and bring it into your office next to the computer to get you in the mood. For social media marketing, some people choose followers, and others choose sources of followers. If you choose your followers one by one, you will spend all day on a few. As a marketer, you need to follow tens of thousands of people on social media. So, find particular sources of followers that will give you the highest quality of follower. In cat terms, find the best large field(s) or expanse(s) where your lunch likes to graze. If one large field is not good on a particular day, you have researched other ones, so you have a constant supply of social media gazelles to prey upon.

Licking Your Paws
It is important to take a nap after some hunting. Reflect on the activities of the day, and give your other cat friends a kiss. Down time is very important when you are a cat!

Sitting & Watching
Identifying your target audience requires a lot of sitting and watching. My rule is that if you retweet from a particular account and those tweets are popular on your account, their followers will be compatible with your account too. You might have to experiment with a few dozen accounts to find the right accounts to feed off of. But, knowing which accounts to feed off of at a particular time is another skill you need to learn from your cat friends. Basically, you want to find the account with the slowest running gazelles if that makes sense. Easy pickings. You want to start finding members that comment on your favorite account or share posts. They will be the most active if you bring them over to your account. Active accounts have the juiciest meat too as you will soon find out. Once you have eaten all of the accounts that are active and the most relevant to you, go to some semi-relevant accounts and get some active people there. Even an active member from a completely general category might be more valuable to you than a dead-beat in your exact industry.

Sharing Your Catch
Remember, cats are very sharing, especially with their baby kitties. Sharing also takes lots of watching as well which is a skill that cats excel at. Some people just browse around and share stuff. This is not a good approach. You need to first decide what category of post you want to share . If you want to post ten shares or posts per day, you should decide how many of each category you should post. I like to post one or two industry specific posts per day. Then, I like to do semi-relevant posts. Finally, I do many posts of common interest to try to expand my fan base. If I decide to post a photo of a cat (which works very well) I’ll look at 40 cat photos, and pick the best one. I don’t like to be too choosy, otherwise there won’t be any choices for next time. But, I don’t like to pick the first cat I see either. I pick the best of 40, and I generally get 20-100 likes if I post it on a large group. The other guys who just pick the second or third cat they see average only a pawfull of clicks.

After a busy day doing cat-style marketing, it’s time for a nap. Nighty night!

Do you work more productively from 1am to 5am?

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I have a friend who wakes up every day at 2am and works feverishly. He claims he gets his best work done in the wee hours of the night. I do exactly what my friend does except those early morning hours are before I go to bed. In the old days I used to meditate in those hours. I hate my sleep schedule because I wake up late in the day after more than half of the day is over. It makes it hard to do phone calls. But, on the other hand, I do my best work after midnight when the atmosphere is calm and there are no disturbances.

Keep in mind that disturbances include more than phone calls, emails, knocks on your door and noise from outdoors. The atmosphere has other types of interferences that are more meta-physical. When people are awake they create small particles with their thoughts which I call thought-trons. These particles are not formed so much as people sleep. It is more peaceful then because nobody is using their cell phones, lights, or thinking except in their dreams.

So, maybe it is time for a lifestle change. Maybe it is time to stay up later or get up early and do your focused work when others are sleeping. Want to be #1? You have to be different and excel where others fail, be awake while others are sleeping, and be alert while others are checking their text messages!

Why is it so hard to buy a good business?

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Personally, I prefer to create my own businesses. But, I operate on a micro scale. That way I understand the business from top to bottom, have experimented and grown with the business. Investors on the other hand don’t want to build anything. They analyze and buy, but most of all, they say, “No!”

Very few businesses make good profits. Discretionary cash flow is another serious issue which involves earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Some fudge their numbers here which is why you need to be very seasoned to survive as an investor — seasoned in catching frauds!

Intangible assets are something that sellers don’t always understand fully. Trademarks, patents, secrets and just plain having people who trust you & vice versa can be a company’s most vital assets. On the other hand, it might be hard to define a value that an investor would respect for such un-assessable assets.

The commitment and passion of the owner is another factor that investor’s can’t ignore. My business is successful because I micromanage everything just to the right point. I know all of the processes and I’m an expert at all of them except for programming which I outsource to people who normally do not meet deadlines… ever… How would an investor survive in a small business that’s survival rests in the hands of its loving owners?

Personally, I feel that you should not invest in any business you don’t completely understand. Warren Buffet agrees with me on this. He goes to the extreme of not being willing to buy much stock in a company he doesn’t completely understand. This world we live in of buying selling, not being committed to anything is just crazy. In my opinion, buy a car and keep it until it dies. Create your own business and keep it until you retire or die.

On another note, if you want to create a BPO with the intention of selling it five years later and getting rich, it might be hard to find a buyer. Few people know how to handle a BPO. Your only real options might be large companies in the same industry that you are in. But, why would they want to buy your operation when you are not operating on the same standards that they are? Think about it from the buyers perspective and then you’ll see the brilliance of my create and hold for life strategy.

Good judgement comes from experience; Experience comes from bad judgement

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Hmmm. Yet another quote that uses circular logic which is the only type of logic that I enjoy. I guess the only reason the elderly have good judgment is that they have been burned so many times that they learned. Sure you can teach children right from wrong, but until they have a few really bad experience and suffer some really real consequences that they feel, they might never learn.

I remember the old days when I wanted to make money fast. I worked hard on my paper route and lawn mowing business. I saved up money and purchased a penny stock. It went out of business a few years later and I lost everything. It was after that experience I decided to be a lot more cautious about investing. Now, I have a very stable portfolio of stocks that are mostly the same that Warren Buffet owns. Sure, none of them are fast growth stocks, but they are stable, and I made a little money from them too.

In my business, I have learned a lot too. When I started many years ago, I thought that you just set up certain functions and they maintain themselves. I put a bunch of people on a directory and thought that I had a directory. I didn’t realize that I would have to continue giving 3000 free listings every year for the rest of my life which is very time consuming. What I did was to add 4000 all at once, and then do nothing for two years until the total head count on the directory got really low. Now, I have a monthly system of putting new people on the directory in the beginning of each month. My behavior now demonstrates my realistic and good judgement which arose from being an idiot in the past and learning from my mistakes.

But, what about your business? Do you learn from your mistakes or are you oblivious and keep making the same mistakes over and over without realizing? Try to learn from your bad judgment and refine your decision making skills as that is what defines a good business person. If you have made twenty wrong turns in the past, and now know the right place to turn, you are a business person. If your correct turn changes over time and you adapt swiftly to the change, then you are a real business person who understands that change is constant.

Just remember — the difference between a successful business person and a very successful business person is that the very successful one compares a much larger number of options and says “no” a higher percentage of the time!

How do female CEO’s rise to the top?

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Ambitious girls who hope to get ahead in business are often advised to take a particular path: Get a degree from the most prestigious college possible, and then get an MBA from a selective business school Finally, get a job from a higher level consulting firm or investment bank. From there it will be easier to be into the more prestigious positions and gain more influence and responsibility.

In real life, there is a very limited supply of big jobs. There are not that many large corporations out there and not that many three million per year CEO jobs out there either. Sure, it’s great if you can get one, but you will be competing against millions of others with exactly the same goal which puts you in a compromising position.

Surprisingly, most of the ladies running Fortune 500 companies did not hopt on the fast track right away. Many took modest jobs from the companies that they currently run — they simply worked their way up the ladder. Starting out in the mail room or as a customer support representative or intern might be the best way to get ahead. That way your skills and work ethic will be known to others in higher positions which is something a college degree just can’t convey.

Another interesting fact is that many of the women who are now CEOs have been working for the same company for decades. They did not job hop. As someone who runs a small business, I see how most people who work for me either slack off, quit, or argue a lot. It is virtually impossible for someone working for me to rise to a higher position in my micro-company unless they learn the ropes over the years and gain my good graces. If there were just one person who would just be steady and hard working for me, they would earn $100,000 per year, and that is without a college degree. They don’t even need to be that talented. I trust people who stick around and deliver consistent results, not some flashy newcomer with a fancy resume. I personally am a CEO of my micro-company. I only have a handful of people working for me. However, I average $150,000 per year just because I stick with it and try to master all of the skills that I need to. My education is nothing impressive as I have only a college degree in Chinese language and literature and no formal business training. Yes, the weekend classes in feng-shui helped me too — but, in mystical ways. It is no surprise to me that the women who got ahead stayed with the same company for years — like a marriage. Steady is definitely the way to get ahead in my book. But, try explaining that to millenials.

It takes longer for a woman to rise to the top in corporate America. For what reason I can’t say. But, the vast majority of them were promoted as long-term insiders while less than half of the men got to the top the same way.

Ambition is a fundamental difference between men and women. Women in their 20’s tend to be more patient with the idea of being at the bottom and working hard for an unappreciative boss while men are in a breakneck race to get ahead. I remember when I was in my 20’s. My male impatience hurt me more than anything else. I made rash decisions which were unwise as I look back into time. But, when women enter their mid-thirties, they often go through a midlife crisis. They lose their drive while men are just getting going. And then when women hit their mid-fifties menopause hits in and they lose even more focus and drive. I have seen this happen to so many women. As a youngster, I bought into all of the feminist ideology — I had no choice as I grew up in liberal Massachusetts. But, as an adult, I see how male biology and psychology is significantly different from women and that they are not our equals. They are no lesser than us, just designed for a different purpose — one that feminists will never accept in their quest to erase their femininity and become imitation men. Feminists are sexists as they don’t accept or respect the role that God game them as women — but, don’t tell them that I said that otherwise they’ll get upset and come after me!

Lastly, the women at the top rarely graduated from prestigious schools. They simply proved themselves in an evolving career path that led to the top. It doesn’t surprise me as my own personal career path as a man was not benefitted at all by anything I learned in school. Everything that I know that is valuable I learned from hard work, experience, and learning new things on the job over extended periods of time. Mastery doesn’t come overnight, and neither does being a CEO unless you start your own company and can be CEO on day 1 (which is what I did.)

How good are your analytics for your BPO company?

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Many companies specialize in analytics while others don’t know what that means. But, how good are your analytics for running your own business?

Call centers have many metrics and analytics to keep track of how long people wait on hold, how long calls take, if disputes can be resolved in one call, and more.

Large companies have analytics for inventory, systems integration, testing, and more. The result is more streamlined manufacturing at lower costs which translates into increased productivity.

But, what can your company do to use analytics? There are many things to keep track of at a BPO. Here are some that I thought of.

1. How long did you know a client before they became a client?
2. How many times did you interact with someone before they became a client?
3. How many people you interact with by email, phone or otherwise become clients?
4. How many clients who stopped using your service did so because service was slow or mistakes were made?
5. What are the fluctuations in labor use at your company week by week over a period of time?
That will help you determine how much extra labor you need.

6. What is your typical employee turnover rate.
7. How much training do you need to give an employee to get them to a particular level of competency?
8. What “special” requests do clients have? (or do you ignore this like most other BPO’s?)
9. Which of your employees have repeat clients and which lose you clients repeatedly?
10. What do the employees who stay say about your company vs. the ones who quit?

That’s all for now. Perhaps you can think of some other analytics.

Hiring difficult personality types

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There are many personality types out there. But, dealing with them in the business world is just not easy. If you have a small company, you might not have easy access to the cream of the crop as they prefer to work for Google or other big companies with stellar reputations. So, how do you survive? You need to decide if you want to hire difficult people or not.

But, there are different types of difficult people. You might be able to handle some of them, but not others.

The mediocre type
Some people don’t argue much. They just do their work in a mediocre way. They don’t care if they made a mistake, and if they have to take the day off at a critical time, that is your problem, not theirs. They will be uncooperative about returning phone calls or about doing anything that you are not forcing them to do. In a sense, the mediocre type are sort of like adults with the psychology of American 13 year olds. Personally, I don’t like the mediocre type, because their performance is too pathetic to justify a normal paycheck in my opinion. Also, they dull my enthusiasm for work which is another factor which you should consider. If you work with underachievers, they will lower your standards without saying a word.

The complainer
Every company has one of these. They complain about everything. If you are nice to them on Monday, they will complain that you weren’t nice on Tuesday. If they didn’t get a bonus they complain. If they get a bad customer they complain. If someone does good work, I will tolerate a lot of complaining. But, complaining can bring you down. See if you can master the art of handling a complainer. Try to get them to see the good side of their job. Compare their situation to someone’s that is much worse. The Dalai Lama uses this technique to teach happiness by the way (not that I read Dalai Lama’s literature.)

The egomaniac
Some people are just into themselves. I had a friend who was like this. Some people say that egotists are not good team players, but that is not necessarily the case. Egotists in the long run care about coming out on top themselves, and not about your operation even if they seem to be cooperating. On the other hand, nobody cares about the success of an entrepreneur except the entrepreneur him/herself! Other egotists put everyone else down. It can be a pain to listen to this. But, on the other hand, they might make useful and legitimate statements about faults in others that you overlooked. So, don’t fear the egomaniac. Just try to understand their psychology and learn how to deal with them.

The backstabber
Unfortunately, the backstabbling type don’t usually wear a sign on themselves announcing to the world who they are. Backstabbers are a problem. Some of them only threaten you but don’t actually do anything. Others tell horrible things about you to your clients. Some try to steal a position from someone else who works from you. There are many things a backstabber will try to do including telling you things that will raise your blood pressure on a regular basis. In my personal opinion, backstabbers are not ideal people to work with. Try finding someone who just does their work without all the drama!

The secretive type
Some people are not bad workers, but don’t get back to you, don’t follow through and keep you in the dark. The problem is that if they didn’t actually do critical work on time, you will not know about it. The secretive type needs to know how important their work is in the bigger picture and that following through and communicating are required. Penalize them with small penalties and offer bonuses if you can adapt their behavior. Otherwise, I would not put a secretive person in any position where their bad habits can damage your business’ performance.

The follower
From a boss’ point of view, the follower looks like the perfect employee. However, they have some very deceptive flaws that you might be completely unaware of. Particularly if you are an Indian boss who hates being questioned! The follower just goes along with what you say, doesn’t question you, doesn’t rock the boat, and doesn’t come up with much that is innovative either. The problem with these types is that if they see a huge problem, they might not warn you or try to find problems to solve the problem. If there is a way to get the company far ahead, they will be more interested in just keeping the show moving along than trying to innovate to capitalize on a new opportunity. I have a good friend who is the following type. He maintains order, but nothing around him ever improves in his business or personal life. Sometimes you need an employee who lets you know when something happens that is noteworthy that could be an opportunity or crisis. On a brighter note, the other types of employees on my list will probably not inform you of serious issues either — except for the backstabber since they want to scare you!

In real life it is often not possible to find perfect employees. So, if you decide to work with problem types, find a way to calculate how expensive their flaws are in terms of lost productivity. Without that analytic you could go out of business! Never pay a problem worker more than they are worth. But, on a brighter note, if you find a good employee, perhaps consider paying them handsomely as they are a rare commodity in any of the companies that I have associated with!

Choosing company names that create an impression or tell a story

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When we start our first business, we are in a huge hurry to choose our business name. What we don’t realize is that our business name in a sense defines us. We also don’t know where that name will be in thirty years. For all we know there could be one thousand people working for us by that time in an international company.

Many companies choose their names based on the founders. Levi-Strauss was founded by some German Jews who headed out west to make their fortune. They didn’t make it panning for gold, but by selling denim jeans to those who did. Law firms are often named after the founders such as Silverman & Beckman. But, then there other companies that name themselves based on geographic information such as Pune BPO Ltd. for example (I just made that one up.) Then, there are other names that use strange terms like Yahoo and Google who turned out to be amazingly successful.

Amazon did well with their business. Their business name conjures up images of dense forests, piranhas, and adventures! And then there are car names that name themselves after words in foreign languages like Toyota Corolla. You could name your company after Ethiopian royalty with the name Sheba (which is also a cat name — meao!) You could name a company after a Native American Tribe like Zuni. Or just come up with something weird.

The point is that a well thought out company name gives you an extra edge in your business. It can give you image, intruigue, recognition and more. It is critical to compare thousands of well researched names before you pick your final name. The problem is that most business creators just pick a handful of names, ask their friends and family, and then ultimately choose one. Then, later on their change their mind. Take naming your business seriously as the rewards for doing a good job are fantastic!