Category Archives: Management

Instinct, when you know there is something wrong

I can remember a time in my life when I was working for a company that appeared to have all the right rules and do all the right things. Every employee would have to spend 4 days per a year  helping the community. A lot of their products ware eco friendly etc. To the outside world it looked like a great company. I left.

It turns out years later that the MD was convicted of  false accounting from the company amongst whole list of crimes. None of the other directors saw it, nobody saw it, or they decided not to do anything about it.

Can of worms.

Sometimes you know something is wrong it is like a slight vibration on skin.

Instinct is a good thing, trust it…

How To Survive The Credit Crunch

There is a great post over at Link4business About how to deal with the payment of invoices on time. As the excerpt below explains:

Credit Control – “no sales transaction is complete until you have been paid for the goods or services you have supplied. If your customers are not paying you within the agreed timescale, be that monthly or whatever, then it’s time to call in these outstanding payments. Make sure you remind customers a few days before payment is due. Whilst a letter or email could do I personally favour a quick telephone call along the lines of “Payment for our invoice 123456 is due next week, can you confirm that you have no queries and that we can expect payment on time?”

If you don’t receive the payment then wait a day or two to allow for genuine postal delays – these do happen – and follow up with another call. Be polite but firm and don’t be fobbed off with excuses. Remember, other suppliers will also be chasing payment and if your client is short of cash they will get paid first.”

Of course a very simple point to remember in all this. If somebody has got no money, it does not matter what you do, it is not possible to get it back. Hence why a online/off-line reputation is so important and paying on time if you want to keep your credit.

New Year, New Stuff

It is easy with hindsight to look back and say if only. If only the Labour government had properly regulated the financial institutions in London we might not be in this sorry state.

Hindsight is a wonderfully thing.

Of course that does not preclude any government from properly planning and preparing resources.

One must ask themselves why is it that the UK may well with in the next ten years start to suffer black outs due to inadequate planning in electricity supply. What is more surprising is that we do not even have the skills to build a modern power station. We are totally reliant on the French EDF controlled company to do it for us. If a smaller percentage of the 400 billion pounds that we spent on bailing out our high street banks at a debt of 10,000 pounds for every single person living in the UK, was to be spent on upgrading our transport infrastructure. We might than have a few more engineers that could be used for our own energy related business. Not forgetting of course that we would have a coherent and reasonable transport network like the one that our European neighbours experience.

Long term planning

Suggest long term planning to politicians here is like talking about SDP winning the next election. It is a reasonable choice, but you know it is not going to happen. May be politicians could be more accountable if they were given a free vote on all legislation in parliament. Instead of the old line of using government whips to insure the party line is met. Than people can decide for them selves way we can not regulate a bank to lend money reasonable.

It is interesting to note that Obama has chosen to keep the current defence secretary from George Bush. The question now is who is he more accountable to Obama, the Republicans or the American public. A shrewd move indeed.

Eight Point Plan to Channel Internet Information

Carry on from this post:

How do you ensure that your time on the internet is used optimally, when time is short and there are so many fun things to do? You may want to insure your time behind the PC is kept to minum. This is how to do it.


1. First define what is it that your are interested in. So let’s say it is one of the following: Horse riding, work Management, and being healthy. It could really be anything but we’ll use these for examples for now.


2. Search for the information sources on Google, like this one:


3. Pick a result if you like the information after reading it, you need to simply look for the RSS. By selecting this you can save it to one of the many readers available here. Why use a reader? Because it does what it says. It helps you to organise and prepare your information for reading. Think of it as a little bit like a Magazine with only articles you want to read.


4. Email is cheap an easy form of communication. During the last years some of us got very excited about spam and online privacy. I am probably signed up to 150 different internet products, newsletters, companies, etc. Not once in that period have I ever had problem. If I get bored or tired of a particular service I just cancel my subscription. In my experience all the internet companies that I deal with adhere to my wishes.  Using push email to receive blog postings, new products and offers is great way forward. Just remember you can as easily unsubscribe as you can subscribe.


5. Sign up for one of the many online messenger systems, From Skype through to Twitter. These provide instant contact online with associates and save time with writing long emails. It’s where you can just ask the question directly.


6. A little bit every day goes a long way. If you are receiving your information in byte seize packets it is much easier to digest than suddenly trying to research everything on the Internet. Manage information is as much as about the sources as about the amount.


7. Verify sources – one of the greatest downfalls of the internet is the source of the information. It also is its greatest advantage. Can you believe  what you read on the internet? It is always a good question to ask. You could ask the same question from certain tabloids. So how do you verify your information? Here are some tips and pointers:


Does the website have a policy page?

Examine credentials in author bios and “about us” pages.

Examine grammar and spelling.

Examine links to and from other Web sites.

Look for references of the author or publisher.

Independently verify credentials.

Professional associations–check professional directory



8. Customization. Why drive a standard  car when you can make you own.  The great thing about the internet is that you can make it your own, bigger text, video or no video, display adverts or not- The possibilities are endless and can be all done out of your browser option panel. Fire Fox tends to allow more customization than internet explorer but you can still have your way.


It is not all that difficult channelling the information. I imagined when I started this how it could go on for ever. This point to point step plan is really all your need to get the most out of the internet. It is about making it manageable and do – able. Feel free to add your own experience below.




Research, Research, Research.

I remember years ago seeing a business seminar with Mike Southon, who said  he had no idea why some ideas worked and others did not. He also mentioned that if it does not work you better move on quickly. Sound advice indeed, research is not a guarantee that a product is going to be successful in the marketplace, I have seen some of the most amazing research done to insure investment in different products here and in the UK only to fail.

So why research? One reason is to insure that basic due diligence in done on the idea. Secondly it is to secure investment whether time or monetary. It is great that you can verbalize your idea, but most people will want some proof of the idea and to take that idea/research away and think about it before making an investment.

So how do you do it? First you need to draw up a list of questions that  if answered would achieve your research goal/business idea. For example these questions might provide clarity that there is a need in the market for your product. 


Who is going to buy your product?

Why are they going to buy it?

How much would they be willing to pay for it?

Do you have any competitors?

What are the risks?


Then you need to go and find your answers, It is a good idea to get as a wide as possible review of your idea by as many people as possible. Be blunt and upfront, it is better now you get any possibly doubts people may have out of the way than when you have invested your time and money. When you have collected all this information it than time for analysis.

How one chooses to analysis the information is up to you. You could choose to do a swot analysis or my favourite a 360 review.

360 Review reveals crucial usability issues and offers actionable recommendations for improvement – before you invest in design. This review can include two complementary evaluation techniques in tandem: an Expert Review that focuses on what your design brings to users, and Usability Testing to examine what users bring to the design. More than a usability “to-do” list, 360 analysis identifies opportunities for cost savings and/or added revenue in your business model.




Stakeholder interviews to elicit business goals of the site/application.

A comprehensive usability analysis – before you begin a redesign.

Analysis of navigation, task flow, content and visual design – benchmarked against research-based usability principles – with concrete recommendations.

Keep your design efforts focused on the most important problems.

A usability test that targets your most important user task flows and interactions to uncover problem areas (performed remotely).

Reliable recommendations backed by solid data are easier to “sell” internally.

Prioritized set of tactical recommendations based on proven usability principles and validated through direct user testing.

Get timely, cost-effective feedback in just 3-4 weeks.

When the analysis has been carried out and presuming that idea has survived and is still viable. It is time to look at competition:

Competition is exactly what it means, you are competing in a local and more and more in a global market. What is it that your organisation can do better then your competitors? You will need to get hold this idea and grow it as it is your biggest selling point against the competition.


As always please feel free to add you own ideas to this.



Charles Has a Point on Leadership

They say you should never underestimate the stupidly of large groups, it was one of the new age trendy poster that hangs in modern companies. By God they are right.

This week in Britain Charles Clark wrote and spoke out about the current inertia in the Labour party. To be honest you would have to be coming from Mars not to recognizes the deep dissatisfaction at the current state of affairs. I do believe that a large percentage of the people in Britain do recognise the need to tighten their belts in a financial down turn. You have good years and you have not so good years. What I believe is that people feel most betrayed by, is the lack of leadership as a whole.
To be frank in economy matters no government can really control them. They might tinker here or there, but the economy controls itself. What the people want in difficult times is emotional and spiritual leadership. They want someone who they can admire, who is honest with them and tells it like it is and the rolls up his sleeves, put the kettle on and gets on with the job.

Gordon Brown central policy seem to be to fight change. Nobody in history has ever succeeded at that and there is good reason why, it is not possible. Charles Clarke summed it up elegantly this week. Either Gordon starts communicating his message or leaves with honour.

The current state of affairs is bad for moral. The British people can withstand much as shown as shown in two world wars, the Falkland’s and the war in Iraq, but dithering idiot just makes you want to jump ship.

Channel The Information – The Question

This is part of a series called – Channel Internet Information.

It was predicted and it did deliver. The information highway (the internet) has more information than many of us had every imagined. At the press of a button we’ll find documents relating to family history or how to bake tart or pay our bills. Ten years ago you used the yellow pages and now you Google it. What does all this information mean to you and me? And more importantly, how are you going to make the best of it?

The internet in all its diversity can be overwhelming. A lot of intelligent and not so intelligent people just switch off to it because they can not to decipher all the information. What are your thoughts about using the internet?

The next post  is posted here – Eight Point Plan to Channel Internet Information