Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is your Web Presence iPad Friendly?

If you, like me, love to adopt new technology, then you likely have an iPad or android tablet.

So have you noticed that many web pages and sites are not iPad friendly? I have and it annoys me increasingly. My iPad is fast becoming my business tool of choice and when I come across "clumsy" sites I tend to move on. And funnily enough it is some of the big players who are the biggest culprits.

So if you want to carry on your web business then I suggest an iPad friendly makeover. The consequences of not doing this will increase month by month.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Project Management - Be Bold and drop the contingency

I have spent today reviewing a portfolio of projects and was concerned to see that so many of them were bloated with contingent costs. I reminded my clients that such practices can sink a business. Because project work is risky in many cases, especially in my field of healthcare I T, a certain amount of time is added to the estimates to cover unknown events. Typically this is set at around 15% of the effort required.

The use of contingency is a prudent way to mitigate risk but it depends how and where you apply it. My preference is to add contingency over a program of work, containing many projects, rather than at a project or sub project level. However what often happens, and this can kill your business, is that at every line of the project plan people are building in contingent costs.

An example will illustrate the impact of this practice at the sub project, project and program level.

Let's take a 10 step project, which is one of ten similar projects comprising a program.

Costing contingency at step level where each step takes 10 days = 1.5 days contingency per step = 15 days contingency. Then apply 15% overall contingency = 15 days gives a total contingency of 30 days which actually equals 30% of the project days.

Costing contingency at a project level for a 100 day project = 15 days

Costing contingency at a program level for 10 projects of 100 days each using a conservative estimate that 50% of the projects will need to use the contingency and you get = 1000*15%*50%= 75 days. When this is cut back to project level this equals a contingency of 7.5 days.

When putting in a bid for business the difference between a 30 day contingency and a 7.5 day one is material. Say you cost time at $1000 per day then the quotes for the same work will differ by $22,500. This will often be the difference between getting a piece of work or losing it.

I advise my clients who are costing up projects to press staff to give estimates without contingency. Many people are cautious and will say 3 days rather than 2 days for some work, just in case. Reassure such staff that a contingency will be added but that you want a realistic estimation from them, the contingent liability is not their problem, but yours.

You may want to revisit some of your projects to look for unnecessary contingency. Your business may depend upon it.

Safelists for Sales

Safelists are marketing tools that allow you to send messages out to people who have opted in to receive them. Typically you read the mailings and get credits for doing so. You then use these credits to post your own mailings. Sounds simple and it is. But the interesting thing is that this technique works. I have been tracking my results for some time and I consistently get round a 3% response rate.

The secret is to keep posting in a consistent manner. Two big market players have just launched new Safelists. The Timtech guys have launched List Nerd and Matthew Graves, 100% profit mailer. Check them out on my website at http:// by clicking on the respective banners. Good Luck.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Capitalize on the Laziness of Others

Today's take action tip is related to the use of traffic exchanges. Most traffic exchanges have what is called a Downline builder where you enter your referrals for other programs and exchanges. There are two facts about downline builders that you should know:

1. The vast majority of people don't fill in their information.

2. The people who do fill them in tend to join most of the programs on offer.

So what you may say?

Well here is how you can capitalize on these two facts by understanding a third fact:

3. Downline builders pass on referrals up the tree to the first person in the downline tree who has entered their details.

Action Point

Go to the programs you belong to, find the downline builder and enter your referral URLs and join the programs that you don't belong to then enter those referral URL's as well.


You will start getting random referrals as the 5% in any downline who are active join the programs in the downline builder. The deeper the downline the more benefit you get.

My advice is to put all of your referral URLs into a spreadsheet as this makes it easier to fill out downline builders. When you join up any new traffic exchange fill in these details on Day 1.

I took sometime to follow my advice yesterday and got a referral at I Love Hits and Thumbvu for my efforts.

So the moral of the story is be active and you benefit from the laziness of others.


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Friday, February 15, 2013

Family Business

My daughter is setting up her own business as a photographer and an associated social networking site. I have been invited to be a site admin but I am forbidden from posting anything lol.

Will give more details later.

I am a great believer in setting up your own company. You do the work and you get the profits, not some employer or shareholder.

My oldest daughter already has 2 successful and profitable businesses.

I will post more details later.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Leverage on your Skills

Do you have a good idea of your personal skill inventory?

Many people see themselves as being say a plumber, doctor etc instead as a holder of a set of skills.

One boss I had said two things to me that have stuck.

1. Consider yourself as your own corporation, Me Inc. Don't rely on a company or corporation to set your destiny.

2. Always look for new skills or tools to put in your toolbox. Each skill you have makes you more valuable. Top craftsman have a lot of tools to use.

Think about how your skills fit together to make a compelling package. Break out of the occupation mould.

My own career journey has been rich and along the way I filled my own toolbox with very valuable tools such as facilitation, change management, transformational leadership and benefits realisation management. What I am doing now is far removed but still sharing skills with what I started doing. Using the same set of skills you can build a lot of different combinations, think Lego here.

You can do it!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Project Management - Delusional Optimism

"we over-emphasize projects' potential benefits and underestimate likely costs, spinning success scenarios while ignoring the possibility of mistakes."

Kahneman & Lewis

Those of us who work in the project management field know the struggle of getting accurate business cases and project plans approved. To get projects initiated the tempation is to overestimate benefits and underestimate costs. Project plans are written that reflect a world where the sky is blue, there is no rain and the birds are singing. Unfortunately in the real world such conditions rarely last long enough to see the project through and we are left with rising costs and declining benefits.

From long experience I know that projects over run for a number of legitimate reasons and these are not usually apparent at the initiation stage of the project. Given you are spending your own or someone elses money you need to be diligent to presnt a realistic cost-benefit situation. This may not be popular at the approval stage but when you do the post-implementation review you will be able to show that you completed (usually :)) within your project contingency.


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Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Fool with a Tool is still a Fool

Tools without training and business savvy can be of no value. Skilled craftspeople know their craft and the tools of the trade. Shiny new widgets or programs are usually not what is required. That is why I strongly recommend Click Track Profit. It is a free, video training that starts you right at the beginning, tells you about the fundamentals of online business and slowly adds the tools as you progress and are ready to apply them.

Check it out from my homepage