How Business Cards Can Help In Advertising/Marketing

The modern business environment is increasingly challenging. Companies are now forced to become more innovative to stay afloat in a highly competitive landscape. With a globalized marketplace, competition is stiffer and this comes against a backdrop of increased cost of operations. As an entrepreneur, you have to think outside the box when building your advertising strategy.

Which techniques do you use to be more effective? While digital marketing tools are all the rage, recent studies have shown that business cards still remain a versatile advertising strategy even in the contemporary world of commerce. This is a tool that helps connect easily with new prospects. If you have been wondering whether this tool still retains any importance in your advertising strategy, keep reading.

Advantages of Using a Business Card

Some of the reasons to invest in this old school advertising technique include:

  1. It is a personal method of swapping contacts and hence it is more effective than digital techniques. Through eye contact and actual engagement, you have a better chance of creating a new relationship.
  2. This is an effective direct marketing tool: Compared to other methods such as email and paid ads, a well-designed business card is part of direct marketing strategy. An in-person meeting and exchange of information leads to success.
  3. Continued marketing: Even after parting with a prospective lead, your information will be easy to share and will continue promoting your brand. It can be exchanged or stored for future reference.
  4. First impressions: If you want to make a good impression with your leads, then talk to an established printing products company in your city.

Getting the Most Out of a Business Card

There is only so much you can achieve by sharing your company’s information on a printed format. Therefore, to get the most out of this promotional tool, consider the following:

  • Add a logo and tagline for more effectiveness and easier identification.
  • Name and job title for credibility.
  • Make sure there is direct contact information for easier communication.
  • Add your website and send them to a relevant page.
  • Add social media profiles for faster connection.
  • Avoid cluttering a lot of information and instead use white space so that important information is read easily.
  • Leverage creativity such that your presentation stands out and catches the eye instantly.

Of course you must have received many business cards, many of which ended up in the waste basket. To avoid the same fate for your printed promotional materials, make sure you give it a purpose. You can also use a QR code to track its effectiveness. By supporting a worthy cause in your community and showing it on a printed product, you will easily captivate the attention of prospective leads.

When handing it out, ensure that the occasion is memorable. The recipient will remember it later and pull it out to read further. Go on and contact a reputable printer in your city to start leveraging this important advertising technique.

Telecommunication Industry Tricks

How many of you out there are unhappy with your current phone company? Do you feel like you are being ripped off and taken advantage of. Well I'm going to share with you how to get better customer service and better products as well as guard against telecommunication industry tricks I will also share with you some of the common problems with telecommunication industry services today.

Some companies in the telecommunication industry will do anything to get your business as the telecommunication industry is so competitive they even use really dirty tricks to do this, Below are just a couple of the tricks telecommunications industry companies use which you should be aware of.

1. Picking. This is a very sneaky way of getting your business and laws have done a great job of putting an end to it, but it still happens from time to time. 'Picking' is when a communications carrier gets your business by your 'something' unaware authorization. You fill out some form to win a prize or answer a survey and the next thing you know, you've been switched without knowing it and suddenly your outrageous bill is your only indication that something is horribly wrong.

2. Slamming – This is just what it sounds like, you go to bed using one service and wake up using another and you'll never know it until you've gotten that outrageous bill.

A lot of telecommunication companies out there in the telecommunication industry use all kinds of creative ways to get your business, none of which is really based around approaching your business.

The best advice I can give you to avoid these problems is to have a personal telecommunication industry specialist who is assigned to make sure all of your telecommunications needs are being met. The assigned telecommunications specialist will make sure all your services are being provided at not only the best rate, but also with the best in customer service. I'm not talking about hiring someone for this, but finding a company that allows its reps to provide that 'direct link' to the company.

Project Management 2.0 – The Ultimate Benefits Of The New Approach To Project Management

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESSES BROUGHT BY ENTERPRISE 2.0

The social network phenomenon has already transformed the consumer Web into so-called “Web 2.0.” Now Web 2.0 is affecting business processes in thousands of organizations by offering incredible communication and collaboration opportunities known as “Enterprise 2.0.” “All these things that are thought to be consumer services are coming into the enterprise,” says former Oracle Corp. President Ray Lane, now a general partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Major corporations all over the world, such as IBM, Procter & Gamble, and Walt Disney, have embraced Enterprise 2.0 technologies. We are witnessing the transformation of traditional ways of doing business, and this transformation is caused by the new-generation applications.

The term Enterprise 2.0 was coined by Andrew McAfee, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, in spring 2006. Professor McAfee introduced this term to describe the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their peers (partners or customers).

Through the adoption of wikis, blogs, collaboration planning tools, social networks, and other “weapons of mass collaboration,” as Don Trapscott calls them in his book Wikinomics, collaboration patterns are changing in today’s organizations. Enterprise 2.0 software and business practices provide managers with access to the right information at the right time through a system of interconnected applications and services. Examples of thousands of small companies as well as giants like Microsoft, Toyota, and many others show that Web-based Enterprise 2.0 applications let businesses obtain a huge competitive advantage in the form of enforced innovation, productivity, and agility through access to the collective intelligence of many professionals.

Efficient gathering and sharing of information, facilitated social connections within enterprises, and improved customer interactions are not the only benefits that Enterprise 2.0 software delivers to small companies and huge corporations. Let’s see how these tools can help to manage projects.

THE NEW APPROACH TO MANAGING PROJECTS

The Enterprise 2.0 movement is naturally affecting and captivating project management in organizations. Blogs, wikis, and other second-generation tools offer better opportunities for communication and collaboration. Thus they provide a great potential for improving existing project management practices.

Traditionally, a project manager is the major link in all project-related communications. This directly influences the efficiency of the team, as well as the manager’s own productivity. Nowadays, many companies still utilize Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or traditional project management applications, like Microsoft Project, for tracking their projects. E-mailing text documents and spreadsheets is still very popular, despite its many shortcomings.

E-mail is a closed communication medium, and many companies confirm that it does a poor job of capturing and sharing knowledge. For example, if you e-mail a document to two people, you then have three copies of this document to manage, merge, and differentiate. It is hard to work on this document simultaneously. This is not the only problem. Knowledge is buried in e-mails, as it is available only to the sender and the recipients, so all the other team members cannot benefit from it. For example, if an employee e-mails a status update to his manager, the change will only be visible to other people after the manager manually updates the schedule. This produces unnecessary work and delays the exchange of information. There is little visibility and control over the project if all information is buried in thousands of e-mails residing in employees’ mailboxes. The list of disadvantages could go on.

Traditional project management tools are not focused on collaboration, either. They were mostly designed with the top-down approach in mind and are not meant for open collaboration. These tools are focused on a project manager and make him the core element of the project communications. He first has to pull facts out of employees through meetings and e-mails, then put them into a file and communicate the project plan to upper management and clients. The process is then repeated every time something changes. The project manager also needs to play the role of an alarm clock, reminding employees of their deadlines and overdue tasks. The whole process turns out to be time-consuming and effortful, and it results in a heavy burden for a project manager. The amount of routine work sometimes does not leave the manager time for leadership.

Enterprise 2.0 technologies catalyze innovations in project management. These innovations can be called Project Management 2.0. The term highlights a new approach to project management, characterized by a dramatic shift toward having collaboration as the heart of managing projects. The new-generation tools take care of the routine part of a project manager’s work: reminding team members about deadlines, merging status updates into a single plan, and communicating changes. New tools also let people collaborate and share information easily. The role of the project manager is changing; he is becoming a project visionary, instead of a taskmaster. New-generation tools give him more space for being a project leader.

What makes the new technologies so effective? I will list the five key benefits below.

Making It Simple to Collaborate

One of the major constraints associated with traditional project management software was its complexity. Traditional tools have hundreds of features, which take months to master. Adoption of traditional project management software is often connected with spending a lot of the employees’ time and the company’s money on training. In contrast, the second-generation project management tools are lightweight and easy to use. They provide an opportunity to start collaborating immediately, without any delays for extensive learning and initial set-up.

New project management tools can be easily utilized even by unskilled computer users, making it possible to involve more people in project collaboration. A well-known example is blogging. It is very simple to share ideas in a blog and get feedback in comments. Simplicity drives adoption. When people like the software, they use it more often.

New software tools provide a much better user experience, which helps to solve one of the biggest challenges of traditional software packages. One of the major problems with traditional tools was the users’ unwillingness to update data regularly. Plans often got outdated and became useless because of that. New tools are much more convenient to use. For example, they let you create tasks in the system by sending e-mails from their Blackberry devices. This level of simplicity and convenience engages users and thus helps to keep information up-to-date. This is a critical component for successful project management software implementation. The power of new tools comes to the surface when they turn simple actions of individual users into a great product of collective work. In Enterprise 2.0 terms, it is called collective intelligence and emergent structures.

Collective intelligence is the capacity of human communities to evolve to higher order complexity and harmony, through differentiation, integration, competition and collaboration. In other words, it is a form of intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. This notion is closely connected with the term “emergent structures.”

Emergence is a way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. In plain terms it is a form of collective behaviour, when parts of a system do together that they would not do by themselves. Therefore, emergent structures are the structures that appear as a result of multiple, relatively simple interactions of a number of individuals. The interactions are uncontrolled, but are purposeful.

Together these two powerful principles make project management 2.0 tools powerful instruments for improving teams’ productivity.

Taking Advantage of the Wisdom of the Whole Team

The new-generation, Web-based tools give team members an easy way to contribute to the common repository of tasks and plans. These tools unleash the power of collective intelligence and change the pattern of project management.

In his book The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki states that “groups are remarkably intelligent and are often smarter than the smartest people in them. Groups do not need to be dominated by exceptionally intelligent people in order to be smart.” He also stresses that “decentralization’s greatest strength is that it encourages independence and specialization on the one hand while still allowing people to coordinate their activities and solve difficult problems.”

With the new technologies, people get a more efficient working environment where they can gather and share knowledge from different fields that each project team member is an expert in. The project manager guides the team’s work and chooses the right direction, based on the information received from the individual employees. The tools even help the manager to merge this information, turning an e-mail mess into well-organized timelines.

At the same time the new-generation tools let project managers control changes and the progress of the project work. Reporting is highly automated on all levels, including corporate executives, who get their view of the project automatically.

The reports are pulled on the fly from real data, so they are up-to-date. All these factors boost the team’s productivity and help the company make the right decisions at the right time.

Collective intelligence goes hand-in-hand with emergent structures, another practice that has a great impact on contemporary project management.

Many-to-Many Structure Benefits

Microsoft Project and many other traditional management tools allow you to have only a strict, one-to-many work breakdown structure of tasks (and other similar items). This creates several negative consequences. First, there can be only one view of the project, while in real life there might be a need to have many different views of the same project. Project marketers, business analyst, engineers, and testers might want to slice the project in different ways. Often, the same person needs different slices – for example, by release and by feature. This inconvenience makes the software less usable and thus people become hesitant to check plans and update them regularly. On one hand, these factors lead to obsolete and useless project plans. On the other hand, the necessity to select one work breakdown structure greatly increases the cost of mistake for the project manager.

The whole process becomes very tricky and requires a lot of up-front thinking, predictions, and responsibility for the project manager.

Project management 2.0 tools have fewer restrictions. They let structures emerge, without strong central control. These structures are born from lots of little interactions that are designed to solve specific problems. For example, collaboration planning tools, like Wrike allow work-breakdown structures to emerge from the bottom up. What employees design as the best work-breakdown structure for their tasks becomes a part of a bigger picture seen by the manager.

In these tools hierarchies are many-to-many, in contrast to the one-to-many hierarchy in Microsoft Project. This effectively means that you can pick any reasonable sub-set of tasks, create a view and share it with someone who needs this view. It is not like all-or-nothing sharing of a file. At the end of the day more people can collaborate. As the new tools allow team members to make changes to the initial structure simultaneously, more people can organize and reorganize their views, and more structures emerge. The resulting structures fit project participants much better than one stiff work-breakdown structure.

This agility helps to bring iterative and incremental practices into project management without giving away the control.The project manager’s job becomes more about coordination and guidance than routine manual updates, and the whole team can react to changes much faster.

Project management 2.0 tools allow you to start with one task, add twenty more, organize them, add more tasks, reorganize them, and repeat the process on a daily basis by many or your employees and managers. When seven employees share their daily to-do lists with a team leader, the team leader gets a bigger picture. When five team leaders share their teams’ plans with project managers, a picture gets bigger. When it goes through directors and the vice president to the CEO, the whole structure evolves from what was one task into a big ecosystem that perfectly suits the organization. All with a help of very simple tools and very powerful principles that stay behind those tools – collective intelligence and emergent structures.

Empowered by emergent structures and collective intelligence, project managers can combine field knowledge coming bottom-up with the guidance coming top-down. There is also a significant benefit for executives: emergent structures emergent allow you to get complete visibility that bridges the gap between strategic corporate plans and daily to-do lists of employees. Getting the Bigger Picture

Full insight into what is going on in the organization is vital for aligning internal business resources with the requirements of the changing environment. For example, if we speak of software development, the bug fixing schedule may affect the next release schedule. The next release schedule in its turn may affect the marketing campaign, which may affect sales plans. Sales plans will naturally have an impact on financial plans. Having the whole picture helps corporate executives to make a better choice for allocating internal resources when there is a need to react properly to the changes in the business environment. Project management 2.0 tools empowered by emergent structures and many-to-many hierarchies are naturally able to provide this big picture view. Emergent structures help to turn separated strategic plans, quarterly plans, project plans and daily to-do lists of team members into one business development master plan. Many-to-many hierarchies let corporate executives see each project and their whole organization from different points of view. These two powerful principles allow managers to drill down to each team member’s tasks and follow the work of the whole enterprise at the same time.

When project managers can easily view every detail of their project development, and corporate executives are able to use their business resources most rationally, projects bring value faster.

Productivity Boost

With new tools, project managers save hours on routine operations related to aggregating the information from e-mails and meetings and keeping it up to date. Reporting is simplified on all levels, as part of it can be easily achieved by sharing the related part of the collaborative workspace. Second-generation project management software gives every team member an opportunity to be aware of the changes in the project without unnecessary meetings, e-mails, and phone calls. The collaboration becomes much faster and much more productive. It results in faster project delivery and faster return on investment.

To start innovation and improvements in your organization is easy. As was already mentioned above, new tools are very user-friendly and easy to adopt. You just have to pick the right ones.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT 2.0 TOOLS: A NEW COLLABORATIVE SPACE

Perhaps the most popular of the new-generation applications that companies can benefit from are blogs, wikis, and collaboration planning tools.

Blogs

Both internal and external use of blogs can be advantageous for a project. The major benefit of internal blogging is that it gives the opportunity to facilitate direct communication between various layers of an organization. Blogs allow team members who otherwise would not have been aware of or invited to participate in a discussion to contribute their expertise. Thousands of companies now use blogging tools like Blogger, LiveJournal, Typepad, Movable Type, WordPress or Radio UserLand. For example, British Library and University College London collaborate on a project called the LIFE (Lifecycle Information for E-Literature) through a blog. A blog is a way for these two organizations to work together more efficiently and keep all the project information in one place.

External blogging helps to encourage the strongest community goodwill, and this goodwill, in turn, promotes significant marketing and sales gains. Thousands of companies are already reaping the rewards of their investment in external project blogging. For, example, companies like Microsoft, IBM, Google, Sun Microsystems, and SAP write project blogs on a regular basis. The number of non-technology organizations that have their own project blogs is rapidly growing, too. One of the most prominent examples is the From Edison’s Desk blog – a blog for the GE Global Research project. It offers an opportunity for technology enthusiasts around the globe to discuss the future of technology with top researchers from one of the world’s largest and most diverse industrial research labs.

Wikis

A wiki is another technology that can be successfully applied to managing projects. Its basic advantage is that it lets users to create, edit, and link Web pages easily. Wikis usually have very few restrictions, thus they tend to accumulate a shared knowledge that was traditionally kept out of stiff corporate enterprise software and intranets – the knowledge that was usually buried in e-mails. A good example of wiki usage would be Dresdner Kleinwort, the investment banking division of Dresdner Bank AG that gained an e-mail traffic volume reduction by 75%. They also slashed meeting time in half. Another example is a Linux-based operating system called Fedora, which uses a project wiki to bring the end user’s point of view into the product development. There are a lot of wiki solutions that are be successfully used by many companies. The most well-known is an open source wiki called MediaWiki, the one that is used by Wikipedia.

Wikis and blogs are good generic tools that can help to share knowledge much more effectively than e-mails. To gain visibility and control over operations, companies also need to empower their managers and employees with a collaborative planning solution.

Collaboration Planning Tools

New collaboration applications and platforms combine the level of control associated with traditional project management software with the benefits of Web 2.0 applications to give a productivity boost to companies and bring better visibility. The best tools in this field are integrated with e-mail and easy and inexpensive to adopt. They democratize project management software. Can you provide some examples

Collaboration planning tools bridge the gaps between employees’ to-do lists, project plans, and strategic goals. With the help of these tools, a project manager gains complete visibility of all the projects he is responsible for. The upper management knows what is going on inside of every project and has the whole picture. The software takes a lot of routine operations on its shoulders – turning e-mail mess into a nice-looking timeline, reminding people about overdue tasks and building reports. These tools help to collect information and make it accessible to any team member anywhere. This expedites information sharing and accelerates decision making.

Governmental, educational, commercial, and non-profit organizations all over the world are embracing project management 2.0 tools to improve their project management. Corporations like McDonalds, Walt Disney, Apple, Toyota and Capgemini utilize second-generation project management applications within their departments.

CONCLUSION

The use of innovative project management technologies promises to have a profound and far-reaching effect on how projects are managed today. These technologies let companies acquire the key ingredient to success in any business – they help companies make better decisions faster. Project management 2.0 gives a great productivity boost to project managers and their teams.

Today, the project management landscape is changing, opening new competitive advantages for companies. While some companies are struggling with the pains of traditional project management tools and e-mail, others are becoming more efficient and innovative by leveraging the benefits of the new technologies. I hope this article will help you adopt some of the Project Management 2.0 tools and practices.

Weight Control And Your Longevity (1)

Weight control holds the key to longevity. You do not find overweight centenarians, do you? So, to live long, you need to lose weight, at least control it.

This week marked a milestone in the pharmaceutical industry: the launching of the first FDA-approved over-the-counter weight-loss drug – ALLI. It has already created a sensation in the media: a multi-million advertising campaign for a multi-billion drug for millions of consumers craving for a miracle drug that would stave off their craving for food.

This sensation created by ALLI goes to show how desperate consumers are in their search for the holy grail of a weight-loss drug. With the blessing from the FDA, many consumers seem to have the illusion that they can now continue their binge without adding weight – something akin to "no pain and no gain."

ALLI is no magic bullet. "This is not a pill, it's a plan," says Pat Barid, a registered dietitian and consultant for the drug manufacturer. Similarly, the drug is efficient in guiding and preparing you to lose weight gradually by eating smaller portions, following a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, and becoming more physically active. If that is the scenario, then why do you need to take the drug? A drug is still a drug, which is a chemical – you do not take it unless you absolutely have to.

Ah, but you want to lose weight – and you want to eat to your heart content too !. In other words, you want to eat your cake and have it too. You can do that at the expense of gaining unwanted weight. It is not only a dilemma but also a frustration.

Focusing on losing weight is like running after a red herring – it is frustrating and futile.

Why?

The bathroom scale just indicates your body weight, and that that is all. It does not tell you how much fat or muscle you may have lost during a given diet. It may not even tell if you are healthy or not, unless you are grossly overweight. Therefore, do not become obsessed with your weight. After all, your body weight always fluctuates – which is a fact, and which is very normal.

When you go on any diet, your body's metabolism immediately starts to react and to slow down, and that accounts for the initial weight loss in any diet program – so do not be overjoyed and jump to the conclusion that it works. It is only a self-delusion: initially your body loses only water, not your body fat.

Given that lean muscle mass requires calories at times of rest, the amount of muscle you maintain directly affects your metabolism in a positive way. You burn calories while you sleep. In other words, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism rate is, and the more calories you will burn. The converse is also true: as you lose your muscle mass, your metabolism rate decreases, and so does your weight-loss rate. That explains why you would stop losing weight after have been on any weight-loss program. On the other hand, fat, being inert, has little or no effect whatever on your body's rate of metabolism. These are the fundamentals for better understanding of how weight loss occurs.

The maximum amount of weight (fat or muscle) you can actually lose in one day is about one half pound. Since your body is about 60 percent water and one gallon of water weighs approximately eight pounds, any additional weight loss greater than one half pound may only be water, and not your body fat. Therefore, when your body replaces the water lost, weight gain will re-occur, and you are right back to where you started at an unhealthy weight. Does that sound familiar to you?

Consider this: 3,500 calories equal one pound of your body weight.

Do your math: To lose 10 pounds, you have to expend 35,000 more calories than you consume; and to lose 10 pounds in two weeks, you need to burn 2,500 more calories a day. You know very well that it is not a piece of cake! That explains why you forever can not lose your weight, not to mention controlling it. So forget about weight loss!

Losing weight is forever "impossible" to many individuals because they have become obsessed with numbers. They are forever playing the losing game of numbers. They have to count their calories, their carbohydrates, and their proteins, among others. Profit-making diet plans allure them with numbers, both "hard" and "soft" data, to the land of myths and fallacies, where they end up only in frustration and disappointment.

Remember this simple factor: Weight loss occurs only when the calories you consume are less than the calories you use up. This is the most important factor in weight loss, also one most difficult to achieve. Trying to circumvent it with state of the art is nothing short of impossibility. That is why most weight-loss plans are always about counting calories: giving you a calorie chart, calculating your daily total calorie need, and then instructing you to eat less than that, hoping against hope that your weight will drop dramatically.

So how to lose weight without drugs? Read Part Two of this article.