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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Innovating New Ideas

Successful companies have a huge respect for the products and services through which they earn their living. They recognise that although their purpose is to make profit they can only achieve this by trading their products and services with customers willing to buy.

They also recognise that trading products and services for profit is increasingly difficult because in a modern global economy:

  • Competition is much stronger.
  • Customers are more demanding.
  • The pace and magnitude of change are greater.

Innovating new ideas and getting them successfully to market has never been a more important or demanding challenge.

Successful companies focus on two main aspects of innovation:

  • Developing an innovation culture within the organisation to ensure that ideas are generated, captured, and worked on.
  • Establishing appropriate processes and controls to:
  • Develop and evaluate new product and process concepts.
  • Take concepts efficiently and effectively to market implementation.

CREATING AN INNOVATION CULTURE

Important lessons learned include:

  • Linking innovation directly to the business strategy.
  • Appointing a senior manager to have single point overall responsibility for the processes and outputs, and to give weight to projects.
  • Creating an effective internal market for new ideas – so that they are recognised and appreciated.
  • Encouraging creativity – e.g. by
  • Regularly allocating time at meetings to harvest and sift new ideas as well as just working on old ones.
  • Involving suppliers and customers in the creativity process.
  • Taking staff away from the day to day to experience a different environment in which to explore and test boundaries.
  • Valuing and appreciating ideas just as ideas, and long before they are evaluated.
  • Enjoying panning for gold, where success is a potentially ore bearing nugget – not a finely crafted

piece of gold jewellery.

  • Appreciating innovators and not criticising them because they think and behave differently
  • Appointing ‘change champions’ to:
  • Oversee the process of taking an idea to implementation.
  • Overcome organisational barriers – the ‘system’ and the ‘function silos’.
  • Succeed by force of personality and usurped authority.
  • Enjoy the risk and the uncertainty.
  • Working in cross functional, cross divisional, cross cultural teams – and genuinely valuing the different

inputs and perspectives.

  • Training staff in the appropriate skills and processes.
  • Giving publicity and recognition to successes and those involved.
  • Developing processes which exercise control without unnecessary constraint.

DEVELOPING AND EVALUATING CONCEPTS

Some ideas will be relatively straight forward and it will be easy to decide their value and to implement them. Most significant innovations however will need to be developed into workable concepts before they are implemented. This can be a costly process and needs to be carefully managed.

The key problem is to select those projects which justify further and ongoing support. This is difficult because so much is unknown and normal financial measures are probably unusable.

At its simplest the task is to determine for each project:

  • Is it needed?
  • Is it practical?
  • Is it commercial?

Successful companies employ variations on the following stages to help answer these apparently simple questions.

STRATEGIC DIRECTION

Successful innovation is linked to a clear strategy, because this gives direction and purpose. It is important to select projects that will contribute to overall company objectives.

‘If you don’t know where you are going every road is a good one’

CLASSIFICATION

When there are a large number of possible projects it can be useful to group them into meaningful classifications, linked to the business strategy. Categories might include:

  • Expansion of existing products – e.g.into new markets.
  • Improvements to existing products – to create a new market or extend the product life cycle.
  • New product – to complete an existing product range or take advantage of a technical development to create a new market.
  • New service – to improve the value added offering to the customer.

It is also useful to categorise innovations in terms of their internal impact – e.g.

  • Increased turnover.
  • Impact on profitability.
  • Utilisation of existing production capacity.
  • Reduction in costs.

STRATEGIC EVALUATION

In this stage projects are ranked against the strategic objectives and other selection criteria deemed significant. This is normally best done by a cross functional team, involving people from eg marketing, sales, technical, finance, etc.

The simplest process is as follows:

  • Select the appropriate decision-making criteria.
  • Assign numerical values to each project against each criterion – say a score out of 5 or 10.
  • Weight each of the criteria in terms of importance to the company.
  • Multiply the project score by the weighting for each criterion.
  • Total the scores for each project.

This process will not give an objective answer because each of the constituent elements are in themselves subjective, but it will add some structure to the decision about the level of strategic importance of each project.

CONCEPT TESTING

For some major projects it may be sensible at this stage to test the concept in the market.

The ideas have so far been generated internally and although cross functional teams have ideally been involved as a cross check it can still be possible for an inappropriate head of steam to be developed. It is important to focus on the business need and not be carried away by the projects inherent ‘goodness’ or excitement.

Using external agencies and direct market research can help to confirm support or give early warning of unforeseen risks.

RISK ASSESSMENT

The project evaluation process will help to determine the potential value of the project to the company in strategic terms, but it is also important to understand the level of risk involved. This might be determined in terms of:

  • The level of funding required.
  • The length of time to implementation.
  • The fundamental likelihood of success.
  • The level of financial and human resources needed.

It is difficult to obtain an accurate assessment of risk in any quantifiable way at this stage but a simple ranking of projects in terms of their risk will be informative and useful. Projects can then be positioned on the following Risk/Potential Matrix:-

It is important to recognise that this whole process is subjective and surrounded in uncertainty. The objective is to use critical judgement as best you can.

Successful innovation programmes are likely to have a mixed portfolio of projects.

The process must be seen as iterative, with decisions being revisited as the project progresses and more information becomes available.

This process is also important for project reviews.

Costs rise quickly and it is tempting to continue with a project because significant amounts of time and money have already been invested. It is essential that as more information becomes available it is fed into the above processes on an iterative basis so that ongoing decisions are based on technical feasibility and market potential – ie on a FUTURE risk/potential analysis.

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

Innovation projects are characterised by UNCERTAINTY and COMPLEXITY.

  • Uncertainty is best countered by the continuous use of cross functional teams to provide checks and counter checks from different business perspectives.
  • Complexity demands the use of appropriate planning and control processes.

PLANNING AND CONTROL PROCESSES

Key points to remember are:

  • Planning processes should be kept as simple as possible and should reflect the complexity of the project. Gantt charts are almost always useful.
  • Complex or lengthy projects should always produce a simple project overview plan for use both by the project team and the reviewing managers – to serve the same purpose as an executive summary.
  • All projects plans should clearly identify the critical stages or milestone points as the project unfolds.
  • Project teams should be provided with a clear project brief – including the following, where possible and appropriate, for the size of the project:
  • Clear specification of the task.
  • Relevant background details about why the project is important.
  • Research so far completed and any information which is available.
  • The outputs required – how complete the task should be.
  • Standards and quality procedures to be adhered to.
  • Constraints imposed – time, money, environmental standards, authority levels and review procedures.

Review points should be agreed and adhered to. They should cover:

  • Progress to date.
  • Costs v budget.
  • Timescales.
  • Agreed actions to correct any slippage.

SUMMARY

Innovating new ideas for growth doesn’t just happen. There is little point in talking about it as an organisation if there is no agreed approach to making it a reality. However, like most things that require rigour and resourcing, there must be sufficient corporate ‘pain’, or the need for substantial gain, for

the topic to be taken seriously. Even then there has to be an acceptance that ‘in the doing the way will appear’ – and the future direction of the organisation may be very different from its past!

About Business Website

When you stop and consider the greater part of the organizations that are out there right now you most likely understand that they all have sites. This is on the grounds that these people are utilizing a standout amongst the most significant resources that they have accessible to them with a specific end goal to profit and to help their business develop. On the off chance that you have pondered doing likewise then you will need to stop and consider the absolute most imperative advantages of utilizing the web to grow their business and profit.

For one thing, when you stop and consider it you are not going to be required to exchange the profitable time that you with you have with your family to profit any longer. There will never be an explanation behind you to attempt to choose in the event that you ought to work or on the off chance that you need to invest energy with your family. It will never be a battle between quality time and cash to pay the bills. You will have the chance to do both when you have your own business and you are utilizing the web to help you showcase your business.

How many times have you missed something really important related to your children or your family because you had to work? How many times have you worked late and even on the weekends? It probably seems like you are working every minute of your life. This can be very stressful and it can also be heartbreaking to your family. So, you should consider that when you are trying to determine if you would like to use the internet as an effective way to make money.

When you are running your own business you are going to be able to set your own goals and your own schedule. That means that there will never be a reason for you to rush around in order to meet deadlines for your job anymore. You will be the boss and you will be one that is in control. You set the dates for important meetings around your life so no one will be telling you what you should and should not be doing with your time and your life. This is a wonderful prospect.

Just think about how many connections you will be able to make when you use the internet to help spread the word about your business or you products. You are going to be very limited with what you are able to do if you have not taken the time to create a website. You will only be able to rely on word of mouth in your immediate area when it comes to your product. This is not a very good affect and you can have a much large effect when it comes to outreach if you just create a site. This makes your business available to the entire world. That is amazing and it can be a great deal of money for you if you are willing to give it a shot.

 

Freelancing And Your Wallet

Freelancing has turned out to be amazingly prevalent lately, the same number of individuals look for extra approaches to supplement their wage, and work in a more adaptable setting.

For some however, Freelancing and telecommuting is a profession, and their primary pay source. It is surely feasible for freelancing to acquire a lot of wage. In the early stages nonetheless, particularly now, amid this financial emergency, salary from freelancing  can be temperamental and is dependably exclusively reliant on your capacity to search out and finish ventures for paying customers. For individuals transitioning into freelancing from a standard employment, the alteration from an enduring compensation to freelancing pay can be a battle. The temperamental way of freelancing pay makes it fantastically imperative for a specialist to know how to spending plan their cash, so that, in times when work is hailing, he or she won’t be strapped for money. In case you’re a consultant, or considering transitioning into full-time freelancing , you’ll have to relearn how to both profit.

Here are a few tips:

Find jobs! You won’t need to worry about budgeting, if you are not getting paid. Unlike many other salaried jobs, freelancing relies totally on you. You need to be proactive about seeking out jobs and conscientious about pleasing your clients, in order to maintain a steady flow of income. Use freelancing forums to help you find jobs. Many of these forums also offer grievance services for hourly rate jobs, in case your client is late with a payment, or refuses to pay.

Set aside savings and fall-back money immediately. Waiting until the end of the month or week to see what is left for your savings, is never a good idea. It is important to set aside a specific sum or percentage immediately, if you do all of your spending first, saving won’t seem like a priority. This is a huge error in judgment for freelancers. Remember, you are not guaranteed a paycheck, next week or next month. Protect yourself by creating a rainy-day nest egg.

Adjust your spending. You need to rethink how you spend your money, according to how you get paid. You may need to change the dates on which you pay your bills. You may also need to reduce your spending on things like restaurants and shopping, until your income has stabilized.

Ensure your client makes timely payments. Freelancers that rely solely on their freelancing income can have a hard time if a client makes a late payment. It may mean that you can’t pay your rent or pay a bill in time. Your client’s faithfulness is therefore linked closely to your faithfulness to your own debts and expenses. Make sure you invoice clients promptly, at the end of your contract or project. You should also send your client a follow-up email or phone-call about payment. It is almost always a good idea as well to require partial payment, or payment according to milestones in your project.

Use a budgeting or expense tracking website. These are incredibly helpful, because they use graphics and visual displays to show you where exactly you are spending your money, and when and how much money you are receiving. You can then adjust your spending to suit. Some of these even offer recommendations on ways you can save money with lower-rate credit cards and no-fee checking accounts.

All in all, freelancing is a difficult career, but you can control how it goes. Key to keeping your income steady is to simply, find paying jobs and faithful clients, save in case of emergencies, and budget your money wisely.