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30 posts from July 2006

July 30, 2006

links for 2006-07-30

July 25, 2006

Get Your Lawyers to Use Technology

Here’s an interesting tip to spur firm-wide adoption of  new technology:  Cut Off Non-Adopter’s E-Mail

July 24, 2006

Marketing to Small Businesses

If you want to understand the mindset of entrepreneurs, you should read this post from Scott Berkun (thanks, LifeHacker) on two kinds of people …

… people that make things complex and people that simplify.

Complexifiers are averse to reduction. Their instincts are to turn simple assignments into quagmires, and to reject simple ideas until they’re buried (or asphyxiated) in layers of abstraction. These are the people who write 25 page specifications when a picture will do and send long e-mails to the entire team when one phone call would suffice. When they see x=y, they want to play with it and show their talents, taking pleasure in creating the unneccesary (23x*z = 23y*z). They take pride in consuming more bandwith, time, and paitence than needed, and expect rewards for it.

Simplifiers thrive on concision. They look for the 6x=6y in the world, and happily turn it into x=y. They never let their ego get in the way of the short path. When you give them seemingly complicated tasks they simplify, consolidate and re-interpret on instinct, naturally seeking the simplest way to achieve what needs to be done. They find ways to communicate complex ideas in simple terms without losing the idea’s essense or power.

Entrepreneurs and business people want their lawyers to be Simplifiers.  What do you do to simplify things for your clients?  Do they know it?

UPDATE:  I posted this without reading all the comments.  There are some great nuggets in there.  One is Scott’s response to a comment asking for a way to figure out which camp a prospective hire/consultant/etc. is in.  Here is one of  Scott’s ideas:

2) I’d give them a complex, but solvable problem. After they’ve solved it (even with help) I’d ask them to find a simpler solution to the same problem. If they’re a simplifier they’ll be into this - even if they don’t suceed they’ll be self motivated about seeking out a simpler way. If they’re complexifiers, they’ll balk at the suggestion that a simpler way exists and that it’s even worth their time to find it.

July 21, 2006

Party Tip: Get Your Guests Out of Their Comfort Zones

I had a party over the 4th of July and decided to mix it up a bit.  I provided the food, but told all my guests to bring a six pack of beer that they’d never tried before.  It was fun, and we all got to try something new.

links for 2006-07-21

July 20, 2006

Is This the New 80/20 Rule?

Is this the new 80/20 rule?

It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will "interact" with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.

links for 2006-07-20

July 19, 2006

links for 2006-07-19

July 18, 2006

Make Someone Else's 'Employee of the Month' Yours

Gerry Riskin and Michelle Golden have been talking about the importance of having a great receptionist.  Having had two amazing secretary/receptionists (Janelle and Sandy, thank you!) in my last two jobs, I second (third?) this sentiment. 

Now, how do you find that perfect receptionist?  Here are some tips on recruiting great retail employees, from a blog I’ve just moved from “probation” to my regular reads called Just Looking, that may give you some ideas:

Find the Employee of the Month wall in the retailer.   Normally this is back near the offices in a hallway that is accessible by the public.   Write down the names of the last 6 people who won, and then go find them in the store.   Walk up and congratulate them on winning and ask why they got the award.  You might have a great conversation that could end with "Here is my card, if your interested in examining other opportunities give me a call"

Look at stores that are not in your industry.   Too often, sales managers will only recruit from of retailers like themselves.  I found great luck recruiting in retailers outside of my industry.   Blockbuster Video was a great place to recruit entry level sales and customer service reps.     Anyone who walked out from around the counter to ask me if they could help me find something, got my attention and my card.    

Always Be Recruiting.   Don't ever stop, because you never know when you might run across someone that would be a great member of your team.   I can remember two instances of this happening.  One was when I was out to dinner with some friends.   The waitress was amazing and during our chatter I found out she was looking for a part time job.   I ended up hiring her for for the holiday season and we both were very satisfied with her 4 month stay.  The other instance was when I answered the phone and a telemarketer began his pitch on the other end.    It was one of those telemarketers that didn't give up at the first no, but kept the tone very light hearted.   He came in and interviewed for a full time position.

Recruit for the right traits not just sales skills.     There is no way you will ever be able to evaluate a potential recruits selling skills effectively but you can get a good feel for their passion and enthusiasm.    My goal when recruiting is to find someone who is outgoing, passionate and enthusiastic about what they are selling.     I can't teach passion but I can teach someone with passion how to channel it into selling better.

Set a Recruiting Goal when you go out.     If you head out to go recruiting without a goal, all you will get is 2 to 4 hours of walking around.    Set a goal of coming back with 4 to 5 names to call and at least 2 business card drops.   A business card drop is when you introduce yourself and give them your card with a suggestion they call you.     The list of names are of people who you will call later that day and invite them to come in for an interview.

Keep a People Pool.   Don't toss out information from old interviews.  Make a file and keep it around for later job opportunities.   You never know when a position will open that might be perfect for someone you didn't consider before.

Network with other Sales Managers.   Find sales manager in other stores that do not compete with you directly.    They might be interviewing a candidate that needs more hours or income then they can afford, that might be perfect for your job.    A lunch, once a month with a few of these other sales managers could help you locate the people you need.  Who knows, maybe they might have a current employee who is looking for a change that is the perfect recruit.

Turn Off Your E-Mail

Here’s an interesting productivity tip, via LifeHacker:

Get one thing done first - THEN check your email: 

Author of Never Check Email in the Morning Julie Morgenstern suggests spending the first hour of your workday email-free. Choose one task - even a small one - and tackle it first thing. Accomplishing something out of the gate sets the tone for the rest of your day and guarantees that no matter how many fires you're tasked with putting out the minute you open your email client, you still can say that you got something done. Once you're "open for business" and paying attention to incoming requests, it's too easy to get swept away into the craziness. So get your day started off on the right foot, with just one thing done.