Breaking bread with coworkers

Does the path to company performance run through your local bakery? We’ve had some disruption at work lately, and since I was scheduled to come into the office I wanted to hear what my coworkers had to say. When change happens, it’s important to get people talking and their thoughts and feelings out in the open, but how do you do that? From what I’ve seen over the years, people can clam up when they’re stressed. There’s one pretty reliable way to get them talking, though. I…Continue Reading “Sometimes, You Need to Bring the Donuts”

You Have a Client, Now What? Lots of start-up service businesses fail to think about how they will charge their customers until they actually have one. Then the awkward conversation starts: “so how much is this going to cost me?” your clients asks. And you aren’t quite sure. You want to charge enough to make a decent profit but not so much that your customer runs away from the deal. It’s hard to figure this out, especially on the fly. Don’t say something you will…Continue Reading “Should You Bill by the Project or by the Hour?”

If you have a business that sells services by the hour, or you’re thinking about starting one, you need to think about how many hours you will realistically be able to bill in a year. Without knowing that, it will be impossible to accurately set your hourly service rates. So how can you come up with a decent estimate for billable hours in a year? Here’s how to start: First, look at the number of hours in a year – simple! 52 Weeks x 40…Continue Reading “How to Estimate Your Maximum Yearly Billing Hours”

View image | Setting pricing for your business is REALLY important. Nowhere is it more vital than when you’re trying to figure out what to charge for services in your solo start-up or partnership. If you don’t get it right, you’ll tank your business even as you grow and sell more – or just tread water forever and die of exhaustion. So how do you do it? What’s the secret to setting prices your customers will pay but won’t send you to the poor house?…Continue Reading “Three Ways to Price Your Services Based Business”

Attention to detail sometimes makes all the difference, whether you are designing the next great mobile phone or laptop, or putting together a new email and landing page for an online marketing campaign. Regardless, one must pay attention to all facets including presentation, ease of use and the overall customer experience. Let’s look at some illustrative examples: Consider the design of the laptop power adapter above. A generic PC experience that is familiar and comfortable – everyone has seen and knows how to use one…Continue Reading “Elegance Counts – in Marketing As Well As Product Design”

Use of Internet Explorer 8 has been falling in most quarters pretty quickly quarter over quarter as users decide to move on to more modern and robust browsers (or update their OS and no longer have IE 8 available). Unfortunately, one group of users are laggards as might be expected – those on corporate PCs. Enterprise users, especially those in organizations that employ custom developed software or are subject to security or other standards that make the upgrade process slower, are going to be stuck…Continue Reading “Declining Support for Internet Explorer 8 Spells Trouble for Enterprise Users”

  This short presentation from my MBA program illustrates why two-way communication is important when companies are undergoing a transition. Caribou Coffee illustrates how alienating and ignoring your brand’s devoted fans during a time when they need to hear from you is a terrible idea. If the company had handled the situation differently, or decides to take an about face soon, they could actually reap the benefits of being open and transparent instead of what they are getting now. Need outside assistant with marketing planning…Continue Reading “Caribou Coffee Social Media Needs a Course Correction”

In a recent Psychology Today article, Ray Williams puts forth the idea that we may be idolizing the wrong kind of leadership for what our modern working environments require. Specifically, we need more introverted leaders instead of the extroverted leaders that our culture appear to so highly value. Why would we make a dramatic turn and embrace introverted leaders? Because their personality traits, generally, are better suited to managing and mentoring the employees of today, who are pushed to operate ever more independently. The article…Continue Reading “Do We Need More Introverted Leaders?”

CBR has some additional coverage of the ongoing flap over potential employers requesting Facebook passwords, including feedback from Facebook’s chief privacy officer. Facebook asserts that this violates the expectation of user security and warns that those contacting the site for such information may be exposing themselves to “unanticipated legal liability.” This is similar to the point I was trying to make in my earlier thoughts on the subject. Asking for this kind of information must be so tempting to HR personnel who are under incredible…Continue Reading “Facebook Not Happy About Employers Asking for Passwords”