Sunday, January 27, 2008

Enough Phone Lines?

Does your business have the correct number of talk paths?

I realized I have veered away from the telecommunications sector and want to discuss some topics in this ever-changing field. We're starting off with the VERY basics here:

Do your clients ever complain of busy signals? (Which results in lost sales) Has your call volume increased and you have not really adapted your business communications? This entry is aimed at helping a business owner always have the most efficient number of phone lines at his disposable. After reading this, one should be able to discover if have the correct quantity, do not have enough, or even, he may have too many.

First off, we need to have this data on hand: 1) How many employees make phone calls, not the total number of employees. If we have 10 employees in the office and 10 out in the field, we do not need 20 total lines. 2) What is the typical number simultaneous phone conversations taking place at once? We'll say 7. 3) How many fax / DSL lines? We'll say 2. 4) What other ways are phone lines utilized? (conferencing etc) (2)

Every employee does not require their own phone line, unless of course, every employee will be on the phone at the exact same time. This is where the simultaneous phone conversations take place. If you believe only 7 of the 10 employees will ever be on the phone at once, you only need 7 phone lines. Then, we add the fax lines (2). The DSL runs in already on one of the voice lines, so it does not need its own line. Finally, if you require conference calls (2), or connect calls to different departments, you will need more lines. So, a total of 11 lines.

If the business requires over 15 lines / simultaneous talk paths, a dedicated circuit is more cost-effective and we will discuss that at a later date.

Overall, be pro-active with your telecommunications. TALK and work very closely with your telecommunications consultant/rep. If you do not know yours or always snub them off, you are only hurting yourself. Most of the time, they know the newest trends and solutions for your business. I love working along my clients every step of the way. They speak with me about what they are trying to do, and I bring forth complete solutions. Business communications are an investment, work with someone who strives to make them the best possible.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Shout Out To Small Business

As I was reading one of the business publications I subscribe to, I read a simple, most likely, glanced over sentence. It basically read, "...a seven employee, $3 million company.."

And, I thought to myself, I love this. Now, for some businesses this is a grain of sand in a sand-box, but let's really reflect on this: 7 individuals are generating that much revenue and that is spectacular. The idea probably started in some sleep-deprived guy's musty garage. In the same vicinity, some businesses have even fewer employees and can generate those kinds of numbers. It proves that size does not matter. If you can strike a chord with a market segment, you will reap the benefits.

This is one of the reasons I love small business. This is one of the reasons my passion for entrepreneurs / small business is limitless. This is one of the reasons you can-never-ever give up your will to succeed. This is one of the reasons the ability to harness your passion to make something happen and make a difference is so stupendous because let's be honest, not everyone has the passion to drive forward no-matter-what.

The financial prosperity is great, but money is not the be-all. Knowing you gave chase to "what-could-be" and made it happen is what the American dream is all about.

All I want to say is, thank-you small business owners. We are the driving force in our world. It takes risk to do what we do. Let's continue to progress forward.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Start Counting Your Bits?

Time Warner: Every Bit Matters..
(even on their advanced fiber network)

In the eye's of Time Warner, the idea of a flat rate for internet usage maybe going into the recycling bin. Here is one experiment that should have us all miffed.

Now, reckon, this is for the residential sector, but who knows when this could move to the business side. Nevertheless, even residential applications are starting to require more bandwidth. World of Warcraft? HELLO?? Spending hours playing in a virtual world. Or, as internet music downloading continues to increase? Or, the "mischievous taboos" of the cyber-space.

Then there is this: How do we decide on bandwidth? Some people pay for 1.5Mbps, 56kbps, or higher. Obviously, you are going to have to pay for the speed capabilities and in addition pay for the data transferred? Yikes, talk about double "taxation"

Company spokesman Alex Dudley said the trial was aimed at improving the
network performance by making it more costly for heavy users of large downloads.
Dudley said that a small group of super-heavy users of downloads, around 5
percent of the customer base, can account for up to 50 percent of network

Alex Dudley and the rest of his Road Runner clan may be entering into a battle they are unprepared for. Bandwidth needs are only increasing for EVERYONE. And besides!! What's happened to Time Warner's "Advanced Fiber Network"??? I see your god-awful commercials every day bragging about this...

I recall a commercial about Time Warner making fun of the "phone companies" for nickel & diming people to death, well, their about to do the same thing.

Imagine if this went into the Business neighborhoods? Yikes, I hope you do not use ERP!
*beep* *beep*

Le Link


Monday, January 14, 2008

"Before 7" Crowd Challenges the "After 5" Crowd

The "New" Staying Late

A look into my morning routine:
-Wake up at 6am sharp. What is a snooze button?
-Stretch for 5 minutes
-Prepare cereal or oatmeal
-Shower and suit up for work
-I'm sitting in my office by 7am, at the latest.

The next 45-60 minutes are all mine and it is my personal sanctuary / ivory tower. Cue up the cd (oops, IPOD now) player and pop in a little Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, or some other jazz artist and I'm in the zone.

Personal reflection or "getting your life organized" for the day is something I do every day. I do not even turn the overhead lights on, just the desk lamp. I prepare proposals, research my clients, perfect paperwork from the day before, and sometimes *gasp* clean my desk / relegate old papers!

7:50am rolls around and everyone else comes bumbling in, then proceeds to socialize for 15-30-45 minutes (My co-workers may give me some flack for that remark). Then, when it is time to "start" work, no one is prepared and meanwhile, I am ready to go and head-down. I am a very driven and focused person. I know what is expected from me and I know what I need to accomplish. It's how I was raised.

How does your morning grind go?

I want to make clear, in no way am I saying those that come in later are not great workers or successful. I am simply saying, I usually see two things: 1) Out the door right at 5pm and content with where they are, or 2) Staying way past 5pm.

(Are you one of the people above? Counting down to 5pm?)

I do not like staying past 5pm. No one does. It destroys family time, social time, and non-work relaxation (ie hobbies). I am one of the biggest advocates of family time (and I'm single) and not sacrificing my life for just work. Nor do I count down to 5pm.

I am a die-hard cyclist. I train. I race. I push myself to new horizons. There are mornings when I'm up at 4am to train, but, usually, I like to ride right after work where I can put in 2-4 hours. It is my outlet from work, not to mention a little swing dancing once a week.

Between the hours of 7am and 5pm, I'm heads down. Sometimes, I do not even take a lunch. Just sit at my desk and eat. It is all about efficiency and productivity. Just so you all do not think I am a strict hour gnome, when the job demands staying past 5pm, I do it. I have done my fair share of 12 hour work days. But, on a whole, I do not need to because I do not waste (excuse me, I "maximize") time during the work hours. You may think being connected with your Blackberry or home-access improves your ability to work, but we'll open up this can of worms at a later date. (Hate to break it to you, but it does not)

To address the "social circle" crowd. If you need those social hours, get together outside of work. Go grab a beer or get-together for some event after work. I love speaking with my co-workers as well, but there is a time and a place. When co-workers respect your routine, it makes life easier as well. My clients expect me to be working for them between 7am-5pm, that is what I do and I'm damn good at it. When individuals try to hinder my ability to properly serve my clients and my name is on the line, you better watch out.

So, to wrap this up, mix your schedule up for a week or two. Come into work earlier than usual. Reflect on the upcoming day's hustle and bustle. Avoid the prolonged social time. Keep your head-down for the duration of the day and see what time you get out on average for the week(s). You'll see a metamorphous in your life. In addition, I bet your hours will not be stretched too long past 5pm.

Let's fight for our after-5pm lives.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Let Me See My Network!

Empower the Biz. Owner to see his networks and monitor it himself.

The all-too-common scenario: You're at home with your family or innocently relaxing. Then, your Blackberry begins to chime. You pick up your little handheld and learn... your network is down or experiencing "technical difficulties." And, this is the night all the file transfers and data back-ups have been schedule, and on top of that, you were submitting your proposal to a huge potential client.
A patch of sweat wets your brow, your heart rate went from resting to around 190bpm, and your kids might have just learned a new four letter word. What is your next step?

You do not know where the trouble is in your network. Is it even my network or is my service provider experiencing problems? All the routers, cables, hubs, etc are a vast maze. You passed on paying out the yin yang for the third party network management who, whenever you spoke with them, sounded like jibberish.

Now, what is your service provider doing? Do they pro-actively monitor your network? So, they already know there is a problem? How about SLAs (service license agreements)? All this information is critical. Most likely if it is some basement bargain priced providers you are in a "predicament." Remember, most of the time and what I am a firm believer in, "you get what you pay for." What are your answers to these questions? If you have a blank mind, better get on this...

However, if you are one of the enlightened ones, you realize telecommunications is an investment for your business. No communications = Business/Customers can't contact you. So, providers that pro-actively monitor networks to the T are where you need to be with your business. For example, the company I work for proactively monitors all its networks. If there are problems you see our trucks EVERYWHERE. Also, most of the networks supplied to you come with network management tools. The user can pull up all the network's statistics. You can pin-point where the problem is. Meanwhile, Mr. Bargain Basement is sleeping, most likely not even aware of the problem with your network. Do you ever even see their technicians?

C'mon, telecommunications are only becoming more critical with our globalizing world.

So, let's be honest here. Being able to see your network at any time is greatly beneficial. You can ping your network. Pin-point when you're peaking with bandwidth or trying to zero-in on problems, you can have more answers than question marks. The smarter and more-respected service providers are providing these services to their clients. Is your provider?

Web states are you friend. Take advantage of them.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Unveiling...

I truly hope this website gives you all another outlet and perspective on your businesses. My video simply re-enforces my overall goals/mindsets. Never hesitate to ask me questions.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"To Be Or Not To Be..."

A New Year's Reality Check

Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully your head-ache induced from last night is fading off, and now we can begin to bring your business to full force into 2008.

Oh wait.... ah yea... you may wish you were still in the blissful New Year's Eve proviso after you answer these questions that maybe puzzling or impeding business plans.

Roy Williams, a columnist from Entrepreneur Magazine enjoins some phrases you may have uttered and I had the itch to piggy back on them due to their potency... no one wants to see their baby (ie. Biz.) die.

1."Our only problem is traffic."
2."That's not our customer."
3."Our advertising is reaching the wrong people."
4."I don't worry about what the competition is doing; I only worry about what we're doing."
5."There's enough business out there for all of us."
6."We can't compete with the internet."
7."Our secret is our people. No one provides as warm a customer experience as we do."
First off, there have been times when I have been guilty of verbalizing these phrases, (I'm human after all), but where some biz. owners falter is that they are not quick to begin making changes. It comes down to denial. Anyways, let's look at the positives here: the fact you have the mindset to possibly admit to these phrases tells you you want to be successful and now we can ambush the problems and develop remedies to see the greater gains. Don't know how yet? No worries. If the subject is still a little sensitive, keep your confessions in your noggin, but I strongly advise you to begin to act on them ASAP. I bet you competitors aren't pausing...

I've kept this short for a reason. If you have emitted this phrases, give them some great thought about why, then let's see how we can redress and emend the state of affairs.

I would read Mr. William's article for a little more detail.
"Famous Last Words"