Eight Tips For Small Business Hiring Decisions

job interviewThis article is contributed by Adrian Matthews.

For all the horrors of the current economic climate, there is one good thing to come out of the recession; there’s never been a better time to look for new staff. Jobs are scarce and as a result, there’s never been more talented people without one. Continue reading

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Fleet Cards Optimise Fuel Costs

fuel for the vehicle

This article is contributed by Mathew Clan.

Thanks to the rising and highly fluctuating gas prices, fleet managers find themselves in an unenviable situation. One of their major roles is to closely monitor the fuel expenses to control them. They may not succeed in controlling the fuel costs of their fleet unless they have the right information at the right time. Continue reading

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_ First

surprisedYou could be forgiven if you found the title of this post perplexing.  However it summarizes an important and powerful method of providing focus in what you’re doing.  Depending on the method you used to get here, you may even have not seen the true title of this post. Continue reading

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Major Trends in the Global Market

This article is contributed by Lauren Bailey.

Technology has eliminated many of the boundaries that once stood between companies and the possibility of foreign marketing campaigns. As technology continues to evolve, so will the global market opportunities. In the coming years, it will be imperative for international marketers to embrace the Internet as a marketing platform as Internet access spreads across the globe. Continue reading

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How to hire and manage a freelancer for your project

This article is contributed by Barry Huddleston.

Where to look for a freelancer

Finding a good freelancer can be harder than managing the project itself. Some times it’s hard to tell if the freelancer is telling the truth about the experience he or she has. Unless you have a team of programmers and website developers that you know well  or even play golf with then you will need to find one online. Continue reading

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Inbound Marketing and Marketing Outside In

Marketing like many other branches of business often introduces jargon that may confuse readers.  The latest of these is the term inbound marketing. In demystifying this term, we will show you a concept that is even more useful.  That is marketing from the outside in

Continue reading

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The Marshmallow Challenge

marshmallow challenge las vegas

A Marshmallow Challenge might seem to be an unlikely topic for this blog, but it is a topic on today’s Ted Blog that is amusing and stimulating.  It is a talk by Tom Wujec and it is all about collaboration, innovation and creativity.  He is a Fellow at Autodesk and is the creator of the marshmallow challenge.

He describes it as one of the fastest and most powerful techniques for teams to improve their capacity to generate fresh ideas, build rapport, and master the skill of prototyping – all of which lie at the heart of team innovation.

The challenge is disarmingly simple.  The teams get 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of masking tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow.  The rules are straightforward:

  1. Build the Tallest Freestanding Structure: The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier.
  2. The Marshmallow Must be on Top: The entire marshmallow needs to be on the top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team.
  3. Use as Much or as Little of the Kit: The team can use as many or as few of the 20 spaghetti sticks, as much or as little of the string or tape. The team cannot use the paper bag as part of their structure.
  4. Break up the Spaghetti, String or Tape: Teams are free to break the spaghetti, cut up the tape and string to create new structures.
  5. The Challenge Lasts 18 minutes: Teams must not be holding on to the structure when the time runs out. Teams holding the structure will be disqualified.

Freelance writing

I hope you enjoyed this article, which is seen by many appreciative visitors. Part of that comes from its visibility in Google keyword searches.

If you would like to have quality articles like this on your website, then my services as a freelance writer are available to you. Click here for more details.

Barry Welford

If you explore the website, you will see some of the creative solutions that teams have used around the world.

The Marshmallow Challenge has produced no less than 390,000 items and the TED blog post today will encourage many more.  It will be interesting to see, given that competition, how high this blog post can rise for a Google search for ‘Marshmallow Challenge’.  We will keep you posted.

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Business Performance Management During Crises And Recessions

A global recession such as we are all suffering is not easy for anyone.  Some companies will not survive since sloppy business practices only work in good times.  The half-full glass can thus be seen as a time of opportunity for the survivors who apply high performance practices.  On the other side of the recession, the survivors will be in good shape and will have less competition.

That message is to be found in a Business Interview in The Hindu: Hard-edged diagnostic of business is critical in a downturn. The Four Laws in the book, ‘Breakthrough Imperative – How the Best Managers achieve outstanding results’, are fundamental.

  • Costs and prices always decline.
  • Competitive position determines options.
  • Customers and profit pools don’t stand still.
  • Simplicity gets results.

Mr Mark A. Gottfredson, a co-author of the book, and a Partner in Bain & Company, Inc., US, affirms that the Four Laws are timeless concepts that work in economic boom times and in times of downturns. A performance improvement diagnostic using the four laws will identify the key imperatives for surviving the downturn and for gaining advantage as the market turns back up.

The Four Laws in a way reflect a view on what is happening around and outside the company.  The Balanced Scorecard approach (bsc) suggests that the organization should consider its strategy with respect to four key dimensions, rather than only the Financial dimension.  These dimensions are:

  • Financial
  • Customer
  • Learning and growth and
  • Internal processes

A do­wn­t­ur­n­ bsc  forces a­ mo­re h­o­listic view­ o­f­ p­erf­o­rma­n­ce as o­rga­n­iz­a­tio­n­s develo­p­ a­n­d review­ their stra­tegic o­bj­ectives, rather than just adopting a shedding-assets and cutting costs approach.  Taking the right corrective actions in line with your recession scorecard  means that the organization will be in the best possible shape once the recession passes. 

Weaker competitors who do not adopt this downturn scorecard approach will either not survive or will have fallen back in their competitivity.  The Chinese curse says, ‘May you live in interesting times’.  Provided you take the right steps that curse can signal an opportunity.

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Ultimate Simplicity For Firefox 3 Full Screen

Firefox 3.0 Looks Much Better Full Screen. That was written by Geoff Fox of PC Magazine and I think he has got it exactly right.

If you are a Firefox user and have upgraded to Firefox 3.0, then just hit that F11 key to see what he means. If you are working with a 1024 x 768 screen, then the effect is particularly good. The whole screen is taken up with the window content of the webpage you were visiting. If the page is particularly long, then you may have a scrollbar down the right-hand side. The rest is exactly what that website owner was hoping you would see. There are no toolbars along the top or a status bar along the bottom. It is all just visual content.

If you do wish to see which tabs are open, then just move your mouse to the top of the screen and the tab bar will appear. If you were working with the Navigation toolbar visible, then this toolbar will also appear at the top above the tab bar. All the other toolbars you may have had visible still remain hidden in this Full Screen view.

If you are hooked on having these bars permanently visible along the top, then Percy Cabello has some advice for you on how to Tweak Firefox 3 full screen mode. That will make the tabs and navigation toolbar a permanent visible item in your Firefox 3 Full Screen mode.

I very much prefer keeping that clean simple look. Indeed by an approach that I am about to describe, I will suggest to you how you can stay in Full Screen mode probably 95 percent of the time. I work fairly extensively on the Internet. However if I analyze my behavior on any given day, I am probably working within a very restricted list of web pages or URLs. The problem is that from a Full Screen mode webpage, I cannot access my Bookmarks Toolbar.

I raised this problem with my colleagues on the Cre8Asite Forums, in a topic which was titled Maximizing The View Window. There was a suggestion that the Bookmarks or Favorites could be put on a web page. This in turn raised the possibility that such a HTML file could be held on my local computer, which gives the most rapid and reliable access. The following image shows some of the final product. It’s a Demo version of my new computer-resident Home Page.

Home Page Favorite Links

With what is there, I can work most of the time in the Full Screen version and rarely need to put all those toolbars back. You can download it, if you wish to check the code or modify it to create your own, from this link: Home Page Links Demo.

Some of the features you will note are the clock at the top right, a Google search field and a Quote Of The Day. Below that arranged in a table are some of the links I use for much of the day. When working for a specific client, I often add a few links that are specific to that client.

For those who are novices with HTML, it is a very simple matter to modify the code to remove or add a link. You just open the homepagelinksdemo.htm file in Notepad or something equivalent that can handle text files. The HTML code for a table entry looks like the following:
<td><a href="http://www.mysite.com/">My Site</a></td>
To change the link, put the new URL between the ” ” and add the appropriate name between the > and <.

When using such a Home Page, it really becomes very handy if you arrange that opening a new tab shows that Home Page. This can be achieved by using the New Tab Homepage 0.4 Firefox Add-on.

If you wish to select a link on this Home Page, <control>T opens up a new tab with the Home Page showing. Clicking on a link on that Home Page opens the URL in the same tab. Throughout you are working Full Screen. If you no longer want that web page, <control>W will close that tab.

I’m finding this increases my effectiveness and viewing pleasure significantly. Try your own local Home Page and perhaps you will be equally impressed. Unfortunately a similar set-up does not work so smoothly for Internet Explorer. The security features blocking ActiveX controls prevents single click opening of new web pages. Often two clicks are required to remove the blocking feature. The only sensible suggestion for Internet Explorer users is to switch to Firefox.

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