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A few small steps can mean big business when it comes to growing your company.

Four Tips To Help You Grow A Business

Four Tips To Help You Grow A BusinessA few small steps can mean big business when it comes to growing your company.To create a solid framework for growth, you must research target markets, establish a budget, implement a strong business plan and build a client base.Small- to medium-sized businesses represent 97 percent of all U.S. employers and generally employ less than 1,000 people.Here are four ways to help your business grow from "Open for Business: One Woman's Story of Successfully Building a Company," from the Women in Business Teleclass Series produced by the Principal Financial Group:1. Use employee benefits to attract and retain employees. • To succeed against big business, owners of growing companies can compete by using employee benefits to their advantage. In recruiting and retaining employees, business owners should know how their benefits package (health, dental, disability, retirement) stacks up against others in their area and their industry. • Provide a comfortable and flexible work atmosphere. For example, offer flex days instead of sick days.2. Hire the best.• Admit that one person cannot do it all.• Hire self-motivated employees versus individuals who require lessons in motivation.• Assemble a pool of talent by raising your company's exposure at local universities by offering internships. Interview regularly.• Hire slowly, fire quickly. Learn to say "no" to employees. In a growing company, one employee not pulling his or her weight can have a domino effect and negatively impact productivity and employee morale.• Identify employee strengths and put them in positions where they will naturally excel.3. Listen to employees.• Listen to all your employees, because you never know where the next big idea will come from.• To stimulate honest and innovative feedback from employees, create a comfortable work environment by encouraging employee feedback and contributions through company brainstorming and by rewarding winning ideas.4. Create multiple avenues of support.• Cultivate relationships with clients and mentors during periods of growth to help your company flourish.• In order to expand your company's expertise and services, bring on talent that excels in the areas where you are weak.

Handling Statistical Variation In Six Sigma

Handling Statistical Variation In Six Sigma

Six-Sigma provides a methodical, disciplined, quantitative approach to continuous process improvement. Through applying statistical thinking, Six Sigma uncovers the nature of business variation and its affect on waste, operating cost, cycle time, profitability, and customer satisfaction.The term six sigma is defined as a statistical measure of quality, specifically, a level of 3.4 defects per million or 99.99966% high-quality. To put into practice the Six Sigma management philosophy and achieve this high level of quality, an organization implements the Six Sigma methodology. The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects. Projects are selected that support the company's overall quality improvement goals.A Six Sigma project begins with the proper metrics. Six Sigma produces a flood of data about your process. These measurements are critical to your success. If you don't measure it, you can't manage it. Through those measurements and all of that data, you begin to understand your process and develop methodologies to identify and implement the right solutions to improve your process. Six Sigmas clear strength is a data-driven analysis and decision-making processnot someone's opinion or gut feeling.Metrics lie at the heart of Six Sigma. Critical measures that are necessary to evaluate the success of the project are identified and determined. The initial capability and stability of the project is determined in order to establish a statistical baseline. Valid and reliable metrics monitor the progress of the project. Six Sigma discipline begins by clarifying what measures are key to gauging business performance, then it applies data and analysis to build an understanding of key variables and optimize results. Fact driven decisions and solutions are driven by two essential questions: What data/information do I really need? How do we use that data/information to maximize benefit?Six Sigma metrics are more than a collection of statistics. The intent is to make targeted measurements of performance in an existing process, compare it with statistically valid ideals, and learn how to eliminate any variation. Improving and maintaining product quality requires an understanding of the relationships between critical variables. Better understanding of the underlying relationships in a process often leads to improved performance.To achieve a consistent understanding of the process, potential key characteristics are identified; the use of control charts may be incorporated to monitor these input variables. Statistical evaluation of the data identifies key areas to focus process improvement efforts on, which can have an adverse effect on product quality if not controlled. Advanced statistical software such as Minitab or Statgraphics, are very useful if not essential for gathering, categorizing, evaluating, and analyzing the data collected throughout a Six Sigma project. Special cause variation can also be documented and analyzed. When examining quality problems, it is useful to determine which of the many types of defects occur most frequently in order to concentrate one's efforts where potential for improvement is the greatest. A classic method for determining the "vital few" is through a Pareto chart.Many statistical procedures assume that the data being analyzed come from a bell-shaped normal distribution. When the data to be analyzed does not fit into a normal bell-shaped distribution, the results can be misleading and difficult to discern. When such data distribution is encountered, other statistical techniques can be used to assess whether an observed process can reasonably be modeled by a normal data distribution. In such cases, either a different type of distribution must be selected or the data must be transformed to a metric in which it is normally distributed. In many cases, the data sample can be transformed so that it is approximately normal. For example, square roots, logarithms, and reciprocals often take a positively skewed distribution and convert it to something close to a bell-shaped curve. This process will uncover significant statistical variation, separating the important data from meaningless data noise.Once the data is crunched and a problems root causes are determined, the project team works together to find creative new improvement solutions. The data is used and relied uponit is the measurements of the realities you face! Yet it is smart measurement and smart analysis of the dataand above all the smart creation of new improvement solutions and their implementationthat create real change. The Six Sigma statistical tools are only the means to an end and should not be construed as the end itself. Using tools properly is critical to getting the desired result. Through a successful use of statistics in uncovering significant data, Six Sigma will drive an organization toward achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction and reducing operational costs.

Ways To Improve Your Selling

Ways To Improve Your Selling

It has long been known that until something is sold, nothing else happens. The selling profession is therefore one of the most challenging and most profitable career paths one can choose. And for those with an innate ability to sell, it can be gratifying and profitable from day one. Others, who may want the income and freedom that comes from sales but who are not as naturally gifted, will benefit from a few specific tips on their way to improving sales. First, acknowledge what type of sales you're best at. Door to door business to consumer, telemarketing, corporate business to business, and online are all different ways of selling. And while most salespeople must focus intensely on prospecting and business development, many in the corporate business to business sales world are responsible for closing million dollar deals in partnership with others at their company who generate the lead. Once you've narrowed down the type of sales you're best at, which may take years as you progress through your sales career, there are some additional resources that could help you.Sales coaching is a new form of improving your sales. You partner weekly with a veteran salesperson outside of your company who works with you on specific techniques, motivations, scripts, behavioral training, or attacks the call reluctance or lack of confidence you may feel in your role. The sales coach is your advocate, someone who has experience working with many types of salespeople and can assist you with a perspective that only an unbiased third party can provide.Another resource is lead generation. Specifically, find, hire, or create a method of generating more leads. Sales ultimately is a numbers game - the more leads you have in your pipeline, the greater your chances of closing more deals. If you can pay someone to generate more leads or create a direct marketing method of generating interest, much of your hard work will be done for you. This would free you up to focus on closing deals and generating income.The final resource to consider is one not many people think of, but can be tremendously valuable. This idea was first proposed by Ben Franklin and popularized by BLANK in Think and Grow Rich. Create a mastermind of salespeople. This requires some work up front but could pay great dividends, especially if you don't compete directly and mutually respect each other. A group like this could have various forms - you could be local to each other and meet weekly, or connect online or by phone on a regular basis, you could all be part of the same industry but sell in non-competitive territories, or you could hire a coach among you to assist each of you in getting the most out of this process. It's been proven time and again that a mastermind group of similarly driven and focused salespeople could be one of the most beneficial things you do.Regardless, if you're committed to sales success, you must continually improve yourself using either motivational techniques, lead generation and prospecting resources, or outside support from coaches or mastermind teams.

Statistical Software With Six Sigma

Statistical Software With Six Sigma

Six Sigma is about numbers. Six Sigma produces a flood of data about your process that are critical to your success. If you don't measure it and understand what you are measuring, you can't manage it. Six Sigma's clear strength is a data-driven analysis and decision-making process not someone's opinion or gut feeling. The value of statistical analysis cannot be underestimated. Through an analysis of all of that data, you begin to understand your process and develop methodologies to identify and implement the right solutions to improve your process. Statistical evaluation of the data identifies key areas which can have an adverse effect on product quality if not controlled. Once you have identified these key areas you can focus your process improvement efforts Given the importance of intelligently handling all of this data, you need to find an efficient and powerful method of crunching the numbers. Naturally, you want to avoid the drudgery of manual calculations and save a whole lot of time by using a statistical software application. You may be tempted to use Excel or another spreadsheet application as a calculator and database to store your statistical process control data. However, you will quickly find out that a basic spreadsheet is too cumbersome to handle the volume and sophistication of the data keeping and analysis you need to perform in a Six Sigma project. Advanced statistical software such as Minitab (http://www.minitab.com/) or Statgraphics (http://statgraphics.com), are very useful if not essential for gathering, categorizing, evaluating, and analyzing the data collected throughout a Six Sigma project. Both Minitab and Statgraphics are powerful full standalone statistical process control software applications for performing statistical analysis. Both are highly recommended for Six Sigma use as they are tools that can help you utilize one of Six Sigma's biggest advantages: the ability to make better decisions based upon data. They will work with the DMAIC Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control methodology and Lean Six Sigma. Both Minitab and Statgraphics are designed to support the Six Sigma philosophy offering a range of tools for graphical analyses, collecting powerful statistics, quality analyses with potential for a range of custom designed uses. Statistical Process Control Charts Analysis of Variance and Regression Analysis Design of Experiments Factorial and Matrix Plots Relationships between variables Life Data Analysis and Reliability Process Capability Analysis Hypothesis Testing Correlation and regression Time Series Analysis and Forecasting Measurement Systems Analysis Regression Analysis Multi-variation analysis ANOVA tools and techniques Six Sigma Quality Assessment Both applications provide you with nearly real time statistical data, enabling you to respond quickly to prevent further defects. Statistical evaluation of the data identifies key areas to focus process improvement efforts on, which can have an adverse effect on product quality if not controlled. However, while it is easy to purchase a statistical software application, it is harder to use it effectively. It is smart analysis of the data that create real change. All too often, Six Sigma/DMAIC teams collect and load data into Minitab or Statgraphics only to find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of where to start and how to use their new tool to successfully analyze their data that comes up with, not just any answers, but meaningful and useful answers. As a result, Six Sigma/DMAIC projects often fall far short of the productivity expectations associated with statistical software. Training in use of Minitab is often offered integrated with Six Sigma training. Minitab training will focus on solving practical problems with Minitab. This includes learning the practical aspects of major statistical tools like Control Charts, Capability Analysis, Regression Analysis, and ANOVA. There is a strong emphasis on learning how to get data into Minitab, learning how to manipulate data once in Minitab and learning how to display graphically major findings from the data. Proper training will teach you how to drive Minitab like a pro and thus bring greater statistical power to your Six Sigma projects.

Funding For New Commercial Developments

Theres no slow-down in the number of commercial developments, both out-of-town and in city centres. Most commercial development consists of units that are refurbished or newly built and then sub-let to companies. It is this sub-letting that is often the key to obtaining good levels of development finance.Commercial developments include: Office space Production areas Warehousing Leisure facilities Retail outletsAnything that houses a business of any type is categorised as a commercial development, and getting funding for these developments can be difficult. Choosing a specialist finance company can help, but they expect to see detailed plans that show how the development will progress and the type of returns the developer is expecting: Use the finance provider will want to know what uses you are planning for the development as this will have an impact on the chargeable rents. Pre-let it helps if some or all of your development is pre-let as this gives your lender some comfort as to returns and also helps to calculate what those returns will be. Sales if you are planning to sell the whole development to an institutional or long-term investor, you should make this clear to your finance provider. This type of guarantee can encourage providers to lend you a greater percentage of the total cost. Project management finance companies expect commercial developments of any scale to be properly and professionally managed. They will want to see evidence of past successes in this field, or something that suggests that the project team will be able to complete the development on time and on budget. Funding levels the lender will obviously need to know how much money you want to borrow and see evidence of your plan to repay the loan. For this reason it is vital that you have prepared a detailed budget and that you show a forecast return on yours and their investment.Buying and developing commercial property is not without its hazards, but with the right financial backing, a clear plan and experienced people on the project, a successful commercial development is achievable.

Developing the Secretarial Role - Managers

Secretarial and administrative staff can only develop and add value to the business for the future, if their peers, the organization's culture and their immediate managers create the right opportunities for them to do so. So here are the top ten tips for Managers:1. Talk to them! By involving, including, empowering and trusting your secretary, she will become more proactive and motivated.2. Share your expertise and knowledge. This way she will have a greater understanding of your work, your pressures and your objectives, and so be able to contribute more to the team. 3. Ask for her thoughts on the working practices that just aren't working efficiently: her experience and knowledge will probably save you hours of your valuable time.4. Introduce her to your clients and colleagues. The more they are known and seen to be part of your team, the fewer routine requests and tasks you will have to handle. 6. Don't ask people to contact "your secretary" in correspondence. Use their full name! This will build relationships and trust - with your clients and with your secretary.5. Consider your work objectives: what could they help you with? 9. Find out which areas of your own role your secretary would like to become more involved with. Work with her on these, and aim to delegate at least two new tasks a year.7. Ask your peers how they work with their secretaries: you might be surprised at the range of responsibilities of other people's secretaries.8. Buy her a subscription to one of the professional secretarial magazines as an "anniversary" present or simply as a thank you.10. If you can't work efficiently with your secretary consider your options: do nothing, or develop them. Doing nothing is the easy option. Developing your secretary needs your commitment, your time and your energy: the rewards are well worth the investment.

Summary

A few small steps can mean big business when it comes to growing your company.