Making Real Business Connections

I’m guilty of abusing new connections. But worse, I’m guilty of magic thinking when it comes to connections.

Making a business connection is a first step in a process that requires a lot of work. In the past, I’ve made connections and then launched into sales pitches. This happens to me a lot – and I see a lot of you reading this nodding your heads in agreement. But I’ve also been guilty of perhaps a worse practice, and that’s assuming/hoping/wishing/believing that once I make a connection, that other person will reach out and not only beg me to sell them my services, but also put in one hundred percent of the work to build a relationship.

Beginnings
It can be scary, and it can certainly be a pain, but you have to be willing and able to take that first step once a connection is made. You have to reach out and do – not just 100% of the work, but – 110% of the work to build and grow your new connection into some kind of relationship. Your first step is asking about them, getting to know what motivates them and makes them get out of bed every morning. The next step is offering of yourself, asking “What can I do for you?” The third step, which many people ignore, is actually coming through with whatever you promised in step two!

1 – Ask About Them
Your connection with someone doesn’t even warrant a number – that’s how basic it is. Step #1 is asking about your new connection, and actually listening to, and absorbing, the answer. And I’m not talking about asking, “So, what line of business are you in?” or, “What do you sell?” Ask new new connection an open-ended question about themselves.

“Tell me – what makes Susie Jones rise and shine each morning?”

None of us are ready for this question. Are you? No, we all want to mumble our memorized elevator pitch which is all about what we want to sell them. Here’s the hard part – don’t accept that lame answer. Dig. Re-frame the question, and let them know you’re looking for personal information. Don’t be afraid to tell them explicitly what you want to know.

“C’mon Susie. That’s your canned answer for what you do for a living. I’m asking about your life! What makes your life worth living? What makes you smile every day? What are the top five things in your life that give it meaning?”

Now, listen to that answer, and internalize what they tell you.

2 – Offer A Hand
Listen to the answer to the above question, and start thinking. What can you, personally, offer this person? What other relationships have you developed where you can connect with another person and get your new connection what they need or want? One of my top concerns [Are you paying attention?] is a cat rescue organization called Kitty Corner. Not only are they a client, they’re also where I’ve adopted four of my pets over the years. I’ve yet to have a connection offer to make a donation, or to find me a larger donor for them.

I’m not saying you should offer to move their piano this weekend, but find something you can offer to make their life a little brighter. I use copies of my first book as a business card. But if they mention their kids or grand-kids, I have a selection of signed books by some children’s authors I know. If that’s the only interest I can match, I offer them a copy.

“Your face lights up when you talk about your daughter, Susie. I have a signed copy of a children’s book by a friend of mine. How about I send it to you, and you can spend some quality time reading it together?”

Or maybe your new connection needs life insurance, or is looking for reclaimed barn boards for their new den. If you can help them, offer to do so. And if you can’t help them immediately, offer to keep an eye out for them, maybe offer their services to some of your other connections.

“I don’t have any connections looking for magazine ad space right now, Susie. But I tell you what – if you give me a dozen of your cards, I’ll send them to my local connections along with my personal recommendation that they contact your first. Would that be all right?”

3 – Follow Through
Whatever you’ve promised in step #2, do it! You know how many people who make promises drop the ball. Don’t be one of those folks. Especially if what you’ve offered seems simple or even inconsequential. Most people ignore those promises, whether they make them or have them made. Doing small things can have an amazing impact, both for the do-er and the recipient. You’ll get a sense of accomplishment if nothing else, and they’ll probably be amazed you remembered.

Plus there’s the psychological law of reciprocity, where they feel like they should do something for you now, but that should be totally beside the point.

4 Ways to Better Networking

Let’s say, you have joined a formal networking group or decided to network in your company and meet new people. What are the next steps? How can you build viable networks and grow professionally and socially? How can you cultivate great relationships? How can you stay consistent in your networking endeavors?

Listed below are a few methods for achieving momentum and long term stability in your networking pursuits.

See the End Goal

Many times we create goals but do not consider the length of time, resources and energy required to carry out these goals. Being focused, having a plan and staying devoted to tasks are critical in building networks. How do you want your network to look in 6-months? 1yr? or 2yrs? Who are you willing to reach out to and build quality relations? What obstacles could cause for challenges? Take time to forecast and think ahead about how you plan for success.

See the Opportunities

Once you have met someone at a meeting, event or through an introduction, quickly follow up. Show a sincerity in wanting to connect and build relationships. Agree to follow up and keep the momentum going. Take time to brainstorm ways of working together, building each others networks and offering support. Do not drop the ball. Create calendar reminders to check in and reconnect.

See the Obstacles

As mentioned in the article, define obstacles that could hinder your progress. Obstacles include but are not limited to: demands at work, shift in career or professional goals, inability to attend networking events on a regular basis, limited activity with online networking, responsibilities with school, family, etc. Create ways to overcome these obstacles and reach out to friends and colleagues for support, advice and guidance.

See the Benefits

Similar to opportunities, you should list the benefits of having a great network. Benefits include but are not limited to: better communication skills, access to more opportunities, professional or business development, achievement in leadership, more community involvement, etc. Outlining these benefits can be a motivation to stay on course in your endeavors.

Use these practical and helpful tips to improve and sharpen your networking skills and approach. Remember to value relationships and keep the momentum going in your endeavors.

The 3 Steps to a Highly Productive Elevator Speech

Whether we expect it or not, sometimes when we attend a networking event we will have to give our 30 second “elevator speech,” describing our business-in hopes we will attract potential customers.

Sure, some professional people welcome those occasions. They have described their services briefly to many audiences, so they feel comfortable with the situation–and know what they are going to say.

Many others, though, dread the experience. If you are among those who don’t know how to capsule your services that briefly in a compelling way, then you will benefit from this simple three-step formula.

ONE: MENTION YOUR CREDENTIALS

Probably this is the easiest of the three steps, because you have done this in a variety of settings, both formal and informal.

Example: “After graduating from the Duke University School of Law, I have been in practice here for twenty-one years.”

Yes, that’s enough. No need to mention big cases you have won or awards that have come your way. You have established your credibility with that one statement.

TWO: TELL WHAT PROBLEMS YOU SOLVE

Once more, remembering how quickly a thirty-second span ends, keep it simple:

“I help you reduce your car insurance premiums by as much as twenty per cent.”

“My company makes sure your heating and air conditioning units keep you comfortable.”

“The retirement plan my firm designs with you will protect your financial assets and give you peace of mind.”

Naturally, you will strengthen your case if you mention a client you helped recently or are consulting with currently: “The hotel we are meeting in now heard complaints from guests who saw rats and mice running through the hallways. Our pest control company got rid of them within twenty-four hours, and there have been no sightings since our servicing four weeks ago.”

Your audience will respond enthusiastically to presenters who can solve their problems-just as you want to hire problem solvers.

THREE: GIVE A CALL TO ACTION

Surprisingly, many talented professionals don’t include an invitation in their half-minute presentation. Yet you miss a grand opportunity if you generate attention without calling for response that goes beyond polite applause. Some options:

“I’ll stick around afterward, and will be glad to chat with any of you who have questions.”

“Give me your business card after the meeting, so we can set a time for coffee and conversation.”

“I’ll welcome you to my mailing list, so I can send you more information on this topic. So please give me your e-mail address before you leave.”

Keep this formula in mind: credentials, problem solving, call to action. Your next 30 seconds in front of an audience will flow smoothly, and you will welcome the positive benefits.

Considering A Career In Computer Game Design

Every hard core gaming fan dreams of having a career in computer game design. What could be more fun and exciting for a computer game fanatic than being paid for designing your own computer games?

Since I am a certified computer games addict, I am also guilty of occasionally fantasizing about having a career in the computer game design industry.

The computer game design industry is huge so there are plenty of opportunities for those who want a job in this field. The downside is landing a job in this industry is extremely difficult and requires a comprehensive knowledge of programming languages.

Earning a degree in computer science is a good first step, but is in itself no easy task. I have seven childhood friends who took up computer science in college, and only one of them made it through. It is a grueling major filled with tedious programming exercises and advanced mathematics classes.

If you enjoy programming and can tolerate the tediousness that comes with it, then computer game design may be something that you can do. Having a genuine love for computer games can also motivate you as well.

My childhood friend who finished his computer science degree is currently employed in a computer game design company, and is absolutely in love with his job. However, he shared with me that it did not match his expectations.

Modern computer games are enormous programs that can take a few years to complete. In its early years, the computer game design industry only needed a few people to design computer games. These days, computer gaming companies have several production teams consisting of up to a hundred people working simultaneously on different aspects of a particular game.

If you manage to become a capable programmer, you can find countless opportunities in the computer gaming industry. Experienced programmers who have worked on several popular computer games can demand a large salary and have a big influence over the direction of a game.

If you are not fond of programming, you can still find other jobs in the computer game design industry. While programmers have an advantage, employers are also looking for good writers and artist. Writers and graphic designers are also needed to complete a good computer game but they can’t expect to earn as much as a seasoned programmer.

The Consumer Electronics Industry

The consumer electronics industry is a global business. In recent years, the consumer electronics industry is in the midst of a new wave of change, witnessing a phenomenal growth. It is ushering in a dawn of convergence, of technologies, products and markets. Consumer electronics appliances such as digital televisions, portable media players and educational toys are in a state of constant flux. The convergence of digital-based audio, video and information technology is a major reason. These changes began nearly two decades ago and have resulted in an avalanche of state of the art electronic devices in the market. The demand for a multitude of portable, in-home or in-car consumer electronic items with multiple functions has increased tremendously.

Digitalization, miniaturization and mobility are the key elements for modern consumer electronic products. Digitalization transformed the consumer electronics sector, delivering new and exciting entertainment products that have changed the way we live. It paved the way for digital devices such as camcorders, DVD player/recorder, still camera, computer monitor and LCD TV. The computer industry has also benefited, making its way into the family living room. Miniaturization also accelerates the growth of the consumer electronics industry.

Fundamentally, the changes in the consumer electronics industry are not being driven by product evolution, but by fluctuations in the industry’s business models. Companies that are capable of change and those that develop branding will be most successful.

Consumer electronics companies producing computers, televisions, DVD players and other household electronics face the same challenges as other consumer goods companies. The lifecycle of consumer electronics products is shrinking along with severe price deflation, a factor that makes demand, pricing and promotions management even more challenging. Innovation, differentiation and flexibility are critical to a company?s survival in the consumer electronics market. The rapidly falling prices and improved functionality provided by convergence are influential forces behind the growing consumer demand for electronic items.

10 Benefits of a Computer Enclosure Over an Industrial Computer

Demands are high for computing in industry. Industrial machines have to cope with many hostile elements whilst also providing reliable computing. Traditionally industrial computers have been specific, bespoke machines. These industrial computers tend to run old hardware and versions of software. Whilst this has the advantage of making the machines stable and reliable, the out-dated technology may mean the processes controlled by the machine are not done as efficiently.

These machines are also very expensive, not just to buy but also the maintenance. Industrial computers have to be maintained by service engineer, often forcing shutdown of production lines they also have to be replaced periodically as the hardware and software will eventually become obsolete. All computers eventually fail but an industrial computer enclosure means that over three generations of computers can use the same enclosure.

Industrial PC enclosures are a more efficient, affordable and reliable alternative to these expensive machines. The main benefits of an industrial computer enclosure are:

1. Withstand the same environments as an industrial computer, whether that is dust (including explosive atmospheres), dirt, grime, oil, grease and water (even completely doused). Enclosures are rated using European IP ratings that give a clear indication to the types of environments the enclosure can operate in, for example IP 65 totally protects dust whilst protecting against strong jets of water, (the first digit, 6, represents the dust protection the second digit, 5, the water) while IP 66 offers the same dust protection but the enclosure can be completely immersed in water.

2. Enclosures can also withstand the same shocks, vibrations and tampering as the enclosure can be built from robust materials and the enclosed PC can be fitted snugly and secured with shock absorbing bolts. Enclosures can also be securely locked and bolted to floors or walls to protect against theft.

3. For computing in extreme temperatures, computer enclosures can in fact work to a better standard than industrial machines as the extra cooling and heating units can be replaced if they are not working as efficiently as they should (a sealed industrial computer that is running too hot or cold would need to be replaced or returned for an upgrade).

4. Computer enclosures can enable a PC to run equally as reliable as an industrial computer as the desktop PC housed in the enclosure can be any conventional machine, from a trusted office workhorse to the latest all singing, all dancing off-the shelf PC.

5. A computer housed in an enclosure is also far cheaper than an industrial computer. Apart from the initial outlay for the expensive bespoke industrial computer, enclosures can out live an industrial machine by over a decade as an industrial computer will eventually have an internal failure (as all computers do) or become completely obsolete and will need replacing. However, an enclosure can be reused to house another machine and will in general house three generations of machines.

6. A computer enclosure can house monitors, printers, touch-screens and all manner of computing equipment (including the peripherals such as mouse and keyboard ) or they can be combined with water/dust proof sealed keyboards and mouse.

7. As an enclosure houses a conventional PC, any repairs or upgrades can be carried out in-house in minutes rather than have to wait for an engineer and have to shutdown the production.

8. Enclosures can be manufactured from a range of material including food grade stainless steel.

9. Enclosures can be lockable and secured to walls or floors to prevent theft or tampering.

10. Enclosures allow you to choose which software or hardware to run inside the enclosure rather than suffer out-dated technology.

With the demands of industrial computing so variable and extreme, industrial PC enclosures offer a flexibility that even conventional industrial computers fail to match whilst also offering the same protection and reliability for a fraction of the cost. PC enclosures are ideal for even the most hostile industrial environment and while specialist PCs will always be required for certain tasks the majority of uses for an industrial computer can be achieved using a conventional PC housed in an industrial PC enclosure.

Global Computer Hardware Industry – Growth of Different Segments

The impact of global recession on the computer hardware companies is left behind and they are back on the progress track. It seems that the forecasts that were made before recession are going to turn true. Different segments of the computer hardware industry are growing with improvement in their design and functionality and rise in their demand.

Not only the big hardware manufacturers, but the small and medium sized enterprises too are making big contributions towards the industry growth at a global level. Below you can find few sections that analyze the growth of computer hardware industry segments in different countries.

Before that, here is a list of the main segments of the computer hardware industry:

• Finished goods like computers and laptops.
• Networking hardware consisting of routers, modems, network cards, network adapters, hubs and switches and other components.
• Storage hardware ranging from the hard disks to the USB storage devices.
• Input and output peripherals like keyboard, mouse, scanners, video cards, speakers, headphones, game controllers and so on.
• System hardware consisting of motherboards, UPS, monitors and other components.

Personal Computer Market
In 2008, the global PC market generated the revenue of $203.7 billion that represented the compound annual growth rate of 8 percent from 2004 to 2008. The PC market in China had total worth of $21.8 billion in 2008 representing the total compound annual growth rate of over 14 percent. The United States PC market generated $50.6 billion in 2008 showing 3.8 percent compound annual growth rate.

An impressive growth of 42 percent was shown by the PC sales between October and December 2009 in the Indian market. The 52 percent of the desktops sold were contributed by the multinational computer companies and 13 percent by the Indian hardware manufacturers. The remaining 35 percent consisted of assembled desktops.

Growth of Other Segments
From October to December 2009, the Indian hardware market witnessed the 70 percent growth of laser printers. The dot matrix printers grew by 13 percent while the inkjet printers grew by 17 percent over the same period in India. The UPS market too recorded the growth rate of 28 percent during the period.

In Chin, the total revenue generated from the networking hardware was $4.8 billion in 2008. For the same year, the network hardware growth in the United States was $23 billion. The total revenue for the global network hardware market in 2008 was $112.8 billion. Also, the global storage hardware and peripheral market recorded the revenue of $160.3 billion in 2008.

The Future Trends
Going by the latest growth rate, the global hardware market is expected to attain the worth of $537.3 billion by 2012. The computer hardware manufacturers have started following the concept of green computer hardware manufacturing and this is further going to add to the profits of the computer hardware companies.

The small and medium sized hardware manufacturers from the developing countries like India have a great future in the computer hardware components. They along with the major players are going to take the computer hardware industry to a new level in the nearby future.

Computer Use in the Food Manufacturing Industry

Food manufacturing and processing is one of the success stories of the global economy. Food production is now not just a local industry as food products are now transported across the globe allowing a huge variety of products to be available on our supermarket shelves.

One of the reasons for food productions success has been the embracing of modern technology that has allowed many processes in the food production industry to be automated.

The food industry does pose unique challenges when it comes to automation and computerisation such as the prevalence of water in food production areas. Various laws and good working practices mean that food production areas are regularly washed or hosed-down. This can cause obvious problems to computer or touchscreen if they are used nearby as water will have catastrophic effects on any computer system.

Many food production of manufacturing areas turn to waterproof computer enclosures to protect their computer systems from wash down. Industrial computer enclosures are designed to international guidelines to ensure they can operate safely in washdown environments with the waterproof PC enclosure even allowing the systems to be hosed down themselves.

The European IP 65 or International NEMA 4 rating system are often used to describe the waterproofing of a computer enclosure. Many wash down areas contain IP 65 computer enclosures as they can also be manufactured out of food grade stainless steel ensuring they don’t corrode and can continually be kept clean.

Usability QA With Smart Home Devices

Smart Home devices are still a relatively new form of tech, but the market is now being flooded as the demand for Smart Home products is increasing at an exponential rate. While many such products are innovative and of high quality, many are lagging behind their competitors. While the actual “smart” device may be well designed and manufactured, the accompanying web or mobile apps are often severely lacking in several key areas. This negatively impacts the end-user experience and can be the deciding factor between a product’s success or failure.

Smart Home devices range from light switches, thermostats, security systems and even fully functioning robots. Smart technology is being implemented pretty much everywhere in the home right now, and this trend shows no sign of slowing. While the diversity of Smart Home products varies quite considerably, a key factor in its overall success must be “usability”. In a highly-competitive market place, any product that is not intuitive to use, the customer will simply switch to a competitor’s product… fact!

Traditional usability testing will be isolated to a specific web app or mobile app. However, with smart home devices, usability testing must encompass the entire product, i.e. the device itself and its accompanying apps. For smart home devices that have been usability tested to a high level, this will result in the user having a positive experience while using the product.

A good QA company will evaluate a smart home device and its associated web or mobile apps along with any supporting documentation. From there, appropriate test approaches and methodologies can be defined and documented into a formal test plan. An optional suite of test cases will then often be designed. Many usability issues are often seen during the on boarding process. As this is the area that is used to typically set-up a new smart home device, it is of paramount importance that the user has a positive experience here.

By methodically working through not only the on-boarding, but all end-user workflows, user scenarios, supporting help/documentation etc. the testing can discover all usability issues which can be clearly documented for all product stakeholders to evaluate. The development team can then work with the usability defect reports to resolve the issues. Usability testing should ideally be performed before the product is launched, however as most smart home devices and their associated apps can be upgraded with new firmware/software updates, usability testing can also be highly effective after the product’s initial launch.

Information About Photocopier Rental Services

The photocopiers are the electronic device that has been designed in such a way that it could produce multiple copies and the images almost instantly and in less possible time. The photocopiers are the gadgets which has got the specialty to enlarge the images over the transparencies which are used for the display arrangements for the overhead projectors.

The photocopiers have been specifically used to collate or arranging the pages of a book in a correct manner for binding.

The economic feasibility of the photocopiers

The economic feasibility of the photocopiers has been a major debate since they generally come with an expensive price tag. Most of the rental companies have been offering the advanced photocopier series at affordable prices which well suits to their interim budgets.

Several types of photocopiers for the varied purposes such as:

The digital photocopier
The network photocopier
The multifunctional and laser photocopiers

Choosing a right kind of photocopier becomes a challenge in itself

Choosing a right kind of photocopier has always been a million dollar question for some of the organization.
One should know the assessment of the growing business needs and trying to figure out the best possibilities of the photocopier for the mundane jobs in hand.
In the recent trend, the high-end photocopier model have been able to bring about certain attributes such as the hole punching and stapling. These two attributes saves a good amount of time and further can bring about a professional touch to project documentation.

Choosing the photocopiers on the basis of being a standalone or the networked

In the past days, the stand alone photocopiers were the only option to make multiple copies of the documents, but the users had to resort to physically reaching out to these photocopiers and accomplishing the computational task.
The networked photocopiers have come as a blessings in disguise for most of the corporate setup’s which enables multiple users over the network to reach out to their photocopiers and become a part of the document management systems with much less time.

Here are a few of the other benefits you can expect to receive from this rapidly evolving business technology.

Quality in the photocopiers: The most important component for an organization when it comes to the photocopiers is the quality, the copy quality is the determining factor for the photocopiers for their optimal working.

Multi-functionalities in photocopiers: Most of the small and medium sized companies often look forward for and rely on the digital copiers as they serve various purposes such as the printing, faxing, scanning and the document center while connected in the organizational network.

Enhanced scanning systems for better document management systems: In today’s work places, the document management systems have played a key role in executing the work efficiency of the employees. The scanning component of the photocopiers has been quite instrumental as the scanned document can be stored, sorted and easily retrieved. Above all, the digital photocopier rental have evolved in such a way that these gadgets have been predominantly working on the networked environment and become a core component of the document management system.

Scanned documents being sent to the user through email: The photocopiers have evolved in the technology ecosystem and have been linked up to the email servers. The users who attempt for a scanned document can request for the scanning to be carried out by the photocopier and sent them to the user after the scanning.