Inspiring Motivational Videos Launches

brian and tinashe vengeInspiring Motivational Videos was launched last week after several months in the pipeline. This innovative daily personalized video service allows members to receive emails, directly to their Mailbox, that deliver a massively inspiring video on a daily basis.

These beautifully crafted videos, deliver a key motivational message that anyone can act upon, inspiring you to live your life to the fullest. Imagine if in each and every day of the next 12 months, you had a spark of inspiration to motivate you into taking action, nudging you to make a difference to your life, whether it be business, relationships, career, faith or wisdom and suggesting ways that will help you succeed and holding yourself accountable for taking action. This is what Inspiring Motivational Videos is set out to do.

“We know what one can do when one feels motivated. Coming up with the Inspiring Motivational Videos website and service is our own proof that daily inspiration indeed goes a long way” said Brian Venge, one of the co-founders of the service. The other co-founder is  Tinashe Venge, his son, a Journalism and Communications student.

Brian is a naturally gifted video producer, freelancing on odesk whilst Tinashe, also an odesk freelancer,  is a prolific writer and editor. So when you bring these complimentary skills and talents together you create an unstoppable force that became the inspiration behind this product.

Brian went on to say ” We saw a great opportunity in the market to introduce this innovation to people like ourselves, business and family oriented individuals with ambitions, dreams and beliefs.  Although motivational and inspiring words and quotes have been shared for thousands of years, packaging them into a captivating video to deliver this message is truly revolutionary.  If words can move a person, and a if a picture says a thousand words, just imagine what video can do. ”

“We not only wanted people to enjoy our videos, but importantly, to do something about them , every single day. this why we close off each video with a specific Call to Action , for the viewer to take immediate action as a result of the motivation for the day”  added Tinashe.

“The Smallbizkaizen blog reader is someone I always  had in mind when developing this product because I’ve been there when the chips are down, when the going gets tough, so rather than throw in the towel, all one needs is a spark of motivation to ignite inspiration” went on Brian.

Immigration Solicitors based in London also agreed with this idea and so do Zaidi Solicitors who are immigration solicitors from cambridge uk

Watch the Brian and Tinashe Venge video for more inspiring reasons behind the creation of this product and Sign Up a free 7 day Trial and see for yourself how these videos will change the way you look at the day ahead.

 

 

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What Are Your Competitors up To ?

Always stay close and keep a watch on what your competitors are up to. Innovative new products and services could just be the very thing that differentiates your business from your competitors.Remember this works both ways because your competition is not sleeping either.

Be your Competitor’s Customer

This may sound counter intuitive but it’s far from it. This is the best form of Competitive Analysis for use where your business is in direct competition and/or produces similar goods to your competition. It’s one of the simplest yet most informative methods to analyse your competition’s unique selling point. With the information you gather here, you’ll be able to judge how your business compares as well as the magnitude of the gap.

In the event that your business has no competition or is in a very small niche, why not flip this around and start exploring areas or businesses you may want to expand into.

Let’s delve into the type of information you should be after. Remember to always align and customise the following checklist to suit your particular business.

The Purchasing Experience

  • How much did you pay including any discounts / offers?
  • What options were available to purchase via (sales channels)?
  • Speed of delivery (if applicable)
  • What is the returns policy / money back guarantee?
  • If purchased in person, how friendly were the personnel?

The Goods

  • How many variations (if any) were offered?
  • How was the presentation/packaging? (if applicable)
  • What technology was used/ does it use? (if applicable)
  • What are the features and benefits?
  • What was your experience in using / consuming the goods?

The Quality

  • What materials make up the goods? (reverse engineering where applicable)
  • Are the goods fit for the intended purpose ?

Back Up Service

  • How accessible are the Customer Services?
  • How long does it take to get an issue resolved? (make up a small problem with the goods received)
  • Is there a FAQ or Trouble shooting guide?

At the end of this exercise, list all the  attributes and variables where your current offering/performance is below your competition. These become your opportunities for improvement .

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Why should your Business Care about KPI’s?

KPI or Key Performance Indicator is an indicator, gauge or metric used to measure the performance of a business.

However, not just any indicator will make this elite group of business measures. To belong to this club, a business metric must firstly be considered as “key” or important in showing the direction a business is heading. This is not to say other metrics and indicators are not important, they could be, but are just not as important as others. (Unfortunately not all indicators are created equal).

What Makes an Indicator Key?

Imagine the dashboard of your car at the halfway point of a 287 mile journey. At this moment, you probably have access at a glance to see 10, 12 or more “indicators” giving you all sorts of information and data about your trip, the car and the environment in and around the car.

Of these indicators, there’s probably only a handful that provide you data or information needed for you to arrive alive and keep you on the right road without breaking the law. We call these the non-negotiable indicators (or more appropriately – “ignore them at your own peril” indicators).

Examples of such indicators could be the speed you’re travelling at, turn by turn GPS map instructions, fuel level (or distance to empty tank), traffic announcement information (to avoid traffic jams) and so on.

At the same time you also have indicators such as the Track Number of the CD you’re listening to (a Bob Marley Legend track if its my car), the outside temperature, the oil temperature and of course today’s date.

It’s blatantly obvious which of the two sets of indicators constitute a KPI for your objective of reaching your destination in one piece and without infringing on the traffic laws.

The same is true in your business. KPI’s are parameters and indicators in your business, considered critical to chart the direction for your business and confirm whether you’re still on course to reach your destination (business objectives).

If we take the analogy of the car a little further, there are additional indicators such as when service is due, or brake fluid level which, although critical to reach our destination, do not require us to regularly check them on this 287 mile journey.

KPI’s therefore fall into three generic buckets related to validity periods. Hence, in a business, you’ll always get a combination of the 3 types of KPI’s:

short term (e.g. speed of car)

medium term (fuel gauge)

long term (next service due in xxx miles)

Take a moment to identify the Real McCoy indicators in your business considered absolutely “mission critical”.  Next, classify whether the KPI’s are short, medium or long term.

Why should Your Business care about KPI’s?

It’s easy to see why KPI’s are Business Improvement’s best friend or is it vice versa?  KPI’s in Business Improvement programs confirm the impact all efforts and initiatives taking place within the business at large. KPI’s are like a high court judge whose final ruling should be respected and always stands.

The relationship between effective Improvement efforts and a movement in KPI needs to be linear. Having said this, you should however be wary of the fact that KPI’s can be moved by a number of factors. KPI Movement (sounds like a political party) can also be down to other factors such as seasonality, new product launches, your competition folding up (nice for you!) etc.

Its good practice to look at a few KPI’s in groups at a time whilst attempting to correlate their movements (e.g. a new product launch confirms sales going up whilst at the same time, the number of new customer complaints is shooting through the roof – I wonder why, hmmm?).

KPI’s provide us the trigger moments, the happy moments and the decisive moments where we need to take bold action akin to staying on course the road trip whilst avoiding speeding ticket and accidents.

What 3 KPI’s do you consider “Mission Critical” in your business ?

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Free Management Help Blog

Small Biz Kaizen has just been appointed the resident expert blogger on “Quality Management”, on the hugely popular Free Management Library site.

This online library provides one of the world’s largest collections of well-organized, free resources about personal, professional and organizational development and receives in excess of 1 million visitors per day !

My first post is already online and is titled: Customer Satisfaction is no Longer a Unique Selling Point

We’re very delighted about this excellent development and hope you’ll support us by reading and contributing to the many articles to come.
Its nice to have a BIG brother.

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Why Six Sigma DMAIC Problem Solving Always Works

basic_dmaic_problem _solving stepsSix Sigma DMAIC is one my most successful Problem Solving Methods that I use in a business or project context . Basic DMAIC is a problem solving process involving 5 steps summarised as: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control.

Though there are hundreds of other methods available,  DMAIC is one I highly recommend because it remains true to the fundamental principles of Continuous Improvement. It is Simple in Approach,  follows 5 Logical steps  and ensures the decisions you make are based on hard core measured data which helps you deduce the root cause , implement solutions to eliminate the root cause then track to see what results you get. There’s no rocket science here, just  pure common business sense.

DMAIC is ideally suited in situations where your business is constantly faced with reoccurring/repetitive problems that prevent you from forging ahead. Problems that don’t seem to have a known root cause and therefore cannot be solved, typically lend themselves to DMAIC. Let’s explore what each stage is about.

DEFINE:

Problem definition is the first stage of any problem solving. Not only are you recognising your business has a problem, but defining the problem will give you the real purpose and scope of the problem. Always write it down.

The define phase also involves the making up of the wider “Project Team”, people you believe ought to be involved in solving this problem. Together, you all establish and agree to a detailed project plan with key milestones, deliverables and responsibilities.

MEASURE:

In the Measure step, the Project Team goes about collecting data on the problem and start to analyse, root cause style, what could be the potential causes.

ANALYSE:

Analysis phase of the project is typified by maximum participation of everyone in the team to brainstorming the possible causes and confirm the root causes using several different techniques.

The whole DMAIC approach is fact based and therefore no room at all for assumptions. All decisions need to be supported with measured data or indicators, the hard core evidence.

IMPROVE:

Improve stage is all about finding a solution that will nullify or at least significantly reduce the root cause of the problem. Hard core evidence is required to confirm the impact of the solution has had on the problem identified. Success criteria should be clearly measurable.

Depending on the outcome, further actions, responsibilities, timing and a revised plan may need to be agreed by the Project Team to verify the effectiveness of implemented solution.

CONTROL:

Control is there to ensure, the business, process, systems or people do not slip back to old habits. The newly established solution(s) should be embedded and Standardised as a new way of working.

This could involve issuing out new work policies, procedures or instructions or defining training needs as a result of the new way of working. Finally, Control has to do with the sharing and celebrating of successes.

That’s Six Sigma DMAIC Problem Solving – in a nutshell

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Pareto’s Magnificent Seven Rules of Business

Pareto’s Principle is a fundamental business principle that holds true, irrespective of the nature of your business. Also known as the 80:20 rule, it is a simple, yet powerful approach to look at your business and more importantly focus on the issues that really matter.

So which one of these statements ring true for your business?

1.            80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers

2.            20% of your product or service range contributes 80% of your profit

3.            80% of customer complaints originate from 20% of the causes.

4.            20% of your individual effort and time achieves 80% of the desired results

5.            80% of your business productivity losses results from 20% of the causes

6.            20% of your staff is responsible for 80% of the business outputs and results.

7.            80% of the value in the business is generated by 20% of the processes

Look at your business long and hard and identify those vital few elements which are all that matter, everything else is hot air.

Image: healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Jerk Chicken vs. Hats is a Carnival No Contest

The Notting Hill Carnival was the setting for our Business Lesson of the day. The West London spectacle, the biggest street carnival in Europe, lived up to its reputation of being a festive celebration of colours, music and of course food.  I was there on a glorious Bank Holiday Monday and in part, out on a fun mission to spot something worth sharing with the SmallBizKaizen community. I didn’t have to search far as you’ll see from this video.

This lesson holds true at the Carnival, then surely the same is true in your business. We urge all upcoming or newly established entrepreneurs to take heed of this simple lesson by getting into business for the right reasons, to solve a problem for your customers rather than create one for yourself !

brian venge and levi roots at the nottinghill carnival On another business note, I also met up with Levi Roots of the Dragons Den fame at his “Rasta’Rant”, a true dragon slayer who is still putting music into your food today. His business story is simply phenomenal. We hope to bring you an exclusive interview with Levi in the future, so watch this space.  To be absolutely sure you don’t miss out, simply subscribe to the RSS feed.

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The A-Z of Kaizen Continuous Improvement.

A is for Action Plan, without this, everything you say in those meetings is just hot air.

B is for Best Practice, a technique, process or activity in your business known to bring the most effective solution or outcome than any other applied in a similar situation.

C is for Coaching, being a mentor to someone and taking them on a personal journey in self-fulfilment and discovery

D is for DMAIC a well-documented problem solving technique based on six-sigma principles and 5 specific: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and control.

E is for Efficiency is a doing things in the most economical way, and if those things are the right things to be done then this becomes a measure of effectiveness.

F is for FMEA, Failure Mode & Effects Analysis, a fancy term for a tool, typically used in new product development, to identify potential failure modes based on past experience with similar products or processes.

G is for Gantt Chart, the project scheduling tool of choice for managing improvement projects, milestones and responsibilities.

H is for Histogram, also known as skyscraper diagram, or bar chart. It’s a series of data plotted on a bar chart representing frequency or quantity against different intervals.

I is for the Inspiration to Improve – the heart and soul of Continuous Improvement

J is for the Japanese pioneers in Continuous Improvement, Sakichi Toyoda and Ishikawa amongst them, who at the heart of the Japanese industrial revolution were instrumental in embracing the principles of continuous improvement.

K is for Kaizen, the Japanese word that simply means “Change for the Better”. So now you know where we get our name SmallBizKaizen from!

L is for Learning, a continuous need to “sharpen the saw” to ensure your knowledge thirst is never quenched.

M is for Motivation necessary to support improvement efforts. Top Management plays a vital role in motivating everyone in Kaizen.

N is for Novel Ideas, typically the birth of most Continuous Improvement successes.

O is for Opportunity, any gap between a customer expectation and what your business currently delivers. This is the very source of Continuous Improvement

P is for Problem Solving, a discipline and approach to remove obstacles and barriers preventing your organisation from fulfilling customer obligations and expectations.

Q is for Quality as defined in the eyes of the customers. Are your products and services fit for purpose?

R is for Reward and Recognition an essential part of the CI loop. Recognise the stars and the players in your team and always celebrate successes.

S is for Sustainability – The art of ensuring your hard earned improvements don’t slip back to old habits.

T is for Tracking the impact of Actions to check whether the CI has been delivered.

U is for Upper Control Limit, the upper most control limit set in a Statistical Process Control chart to trigger corrective and preventive action.

V is for Value Addition – Efforts put into any product and/or service to improve attributes and is appreciated by your customers is deemed to have added value.

W is for Waste Elimination, basically any non-value adding activities along the value chain are considered to be Waste and ought to be eliminated.

X is a difficult letter to find a word beginning with it so we’ll settle for eXcellence in eXecution wich is the art of ruthless and flawless delivery of agreed objectives.

Y is for Yoke, part of Poka Yoke the Japanese word meaning “fool proofing”, designing a product in such a way it’s virtually impossible to make a mistake using the product.

Z is for Zero Defect, the quest for perfection in everything you and your organisation does.

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Sack the Agency – Be your Own Web Designer

Article first published as Sack the Agency and Be Your Own Web Designer on Technorati.

girl pretending to fly like a mocking birdPlanning a website design for your business can be one of the most strategic tasks in bringing your business online yet if you don’t know where to start, this can be a daunting, costly and time consuming  exercise. Fortunately, there are now available a number of free online website design tools to help put your website project ideas onto a framework that you can share with your colleagues or web designers. Website mock ups now make the task of designing a simple website user interface quick, creative and fun.  As an online web design tool, we recommend you try out a free version of Mockingbird, an online tool that makes it easy for you to create, link together, preview, and share mockups of your website or application.

Being an online tool, one needs to create a user account that allows you to save your projects and access them from any PC using an internet connection. This also makes it possible to share your designs easily. Designs can also be exported as pdf files for sending via email or for printing.

This website mock-up tool features commonly used user interface elements such as text area, drop downs, tables, buttons , images , breadcrumbs , videos maps and so on, which are added to your design by simply dragging and dropping onto the workspace. You can then move, resize and add links to the various functions, preview and share designs by a simple click of a button.

For any small business going online with a website, we highly recommend “gomockingbird” as the ideal tool to save you loads of time, money and resources. You can sign up for a free account that will allow you 1 project with a limit of 10 pages free for working with up to 1 design – ideal for the smallbizkaizen entrepreneur.

We’ve put together a website Wireframe Tutorial Video you help you get started.  Go on, be your own web designer.

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Top Free iPhone Apps to Revolutionise your Business, seriously.

Time is Cashflow

As an entrepreneur myself I understand the value of your time.  To help you make the most of your time and increase your productivity and efficiency you need to consider mobile smart phone technology as an essential part of your business arsenal. The decision to use a Smart phone for business is really a no brainer and at the pinnacle of smart phones, in my opinion is the iPhone. In this article we look at 5 iPhone Apps that will revolutionise the way you operate today and free up your time like never before, because at smallbizkaizen, we understand that time is cash.

Dragon Dictation  : Voice to Text transcriptions.

dragon dictation iphone app logoIf you’ve ever written an email on an iPhone you’ll admit, it’s not the easiest task this fantastic gadget can do. It can be a bit challenging but hey, you can’t exactly have it all on an iPhone right? – Wrong ! Dragon Dictation is a really cool App that overcomes this problem with ease. You open the app, press the record button, speak clearly into the microphone and when you stop recording, your dictation is magically transformed into text that you can then copy and paste to send as an email, sms, twitter or Facebook message, saving you loads of time.

Dragon Dictation is brought to you by Nuance Communications

iTalk Recorder – On the Go Recording

iTalk Recorder iPhone App logoRecording audio memos and voice reminders on the go is made extremely simple when you use the iTalk Recorder App from Griffin Technology. The ability to name each audio file gives this app the edge over most similar apps making file management & retrieval easy. Use this app to record meetings, presentations, interviews, random thoughts – in fact just about any sound media can be recorded for future playback in excellent quality. This app ideal for entrepreneurs on the go. Syncing the recorded audio files with your computer is made  possible via a free download available on http://www.italksync.com/download

iTalk Recorder is brought to you by Griffin Technology

Evernote : Remember Everything

evernote iphone app logoIt’s been described as an extension of your brain and true to their motto “Remember Everything”, Evernote allows you to do just that. This App allows you to take notes of virtually anything you want to remember for your business. With Evernote, you can create text, photo and video notes that you then auto synchronize to your Mac PC and Web – how cool is that? By tagging your notes, you create a fully searchable notes database so no excuses for forgetting stuff. The cool feature included with this app is the geo-location feature which allows for mapping and searching possibilities.

Evernote is brought to you by Evernote

WordPress : Mobile Blogging

wordpress mobile iphone app logoMany business owners today are also bloggers and use the WordPress platform to easily publish , edit post and comments. WordPress mobile works with both wordpress.com and wordpress.org self-hosted blogs. As a mobile blogging application users can add text and photos straight from the iPhone camera.  You can carry out pretty much the same tasks as you normally would on your PC or Mac including posting new articles, editing existing posts and comments.

WordPress is brought to you by WordPress

HootSuite Lite for Twitter : Mobile Tweeter

hootsuite lite iphone app logoThis App allows you to keep in touch with the twitter-sphere and join the conversation from anywhere . Desribed as simple, elegant and powerful, HootSuite allows you to send and schedule Twitter and Facebook updates, track click stats, and set up tracking columns to monitor keywords, #hashtags and lists. What more do you need when you are on the go?

Hootsuite is brought to you by Hootsuite Media

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