Is your business prepared for a disaster?

A couple of years ago the world watched as New Orleans almost became the ‘Lost City of Atlantis’. Hurricane Katrina almost completely destroyed this historic city on the Mississippi. Homes, lives, and businesses were lost in the matter of just a few days. Many of those businesses had enough warning to enable them to move vital information to secure spots. Unfortunately, many more chose to ‘stick it out’ in hopes that the storm and surge would pass by them. Most people who live along coastal waterways know there is the possibility that they will be subject to some kind of

Business Costs

When starting a new business, many have problems deciding how much money they need. They may have a figure in mind, but if they have never owned their own venture before, they may have no idea about hidden business costs. These can be small, or they can be very large and troublesome. Most figure out what they know, but far too many fail to do proper research before they take out a loan to start their own company or service. This usually means they will fail because they run out of money. Business costs can be something like Monopoly money.

Innovation in the Family Business

A danger in any business is stagnation. As our business becomes more successful, we become more comfortable with our surroundings and less motivated to change from existing practices. Family businesses are no exception: Starting out on an entrepreneurial high, family businesses are widely recognized as a major source of technological innovation and economic progress. But somewhere in the process we lose the drive, the desire to continually bring innovative practices and products to our organization. Owners may become more concerned about the risk of losing their business, than the prospect of growing it into a larger and more successful entity.

What Really Makes My Business Tick? 8 Questions Every CEO Should Ask

The US Army’s motto of “Be all you can be” served them well for years. But it applies equally well to any businesses, organizations, and even families for that matter. Many organizations see themselves as somewhat contented with the way things are, but of course it’s hard to think of anything else when there are real issues to be discussed. Still, for our businesses, we aspire for something deeper and more meaningful. In our businesses, we all have issues and challenges to overcome. But that should not keep us from striving to become not only all that we can be,

The 80 – 20 Rule – Don’t Abandon the 80

The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as “Pareto’s Principle” is going through a revival. Marketers, business analysts, and academics are all calling for an increased focus on this seemingly, set in gold, business and life ‘standard’. In simple terms, what the 80/20 rule says is that 80 percent of the work done, or sales made, or service given (depending on your industry or point of view) is performed by 20 percent of employees, customers, or clients. In other words, from a business perspective, the vast majority of your revenue, and hence profit, should be coming from a mere 20% of your

Is an Online Education Right For You? Choosing an Online Education, Part 1

Whether you know it or not, you have spent your whole life learning. You just may not have a fancy printed certificate hanging on your wall to show for it. Is now the time to make that step to get your degree? Taking that step in the past was a scary, and for many, impossible, feat. You don’t have the time to attend classes at night, you cannot afford the tuition and travel expenses, or maybe you are uncomfortable in a classroom setting. With the advent of the internet, learning online may be the key to achieving your goals and

Will rising fuel costs spur an increase in telecommuting?

The dream of working from home in your pajamas has probably been on the back of almost every ‘white collar’ worker at some point in their career. Not having to hassle with spending an hour or more in the car every day just to get to and from the office has always sounded pretty good. But that dream has never turned into a reality for most people. Even as recently as 2006 some suggested that there was more myth than reality to the idea of telecommuting and flexible work schedules (Gragg, 2006). However, as gas prices have risen past the

What is Management Consulting?

The world of management consulting at times appears to be clouded with uncertainty and confusion; it can require the patience of Job and the Wisdom of Solomon, the serenity of Gandhi and the confidence of Churchill, all at the same time. It can also be the most rewarding experience outside of family that a person can have. Seeing the impact a successful project implementation can have on an organization, even beyond the monetary rewards, makes the headaches and frustrations all worth it. The experience of being part of something that not only impacts your own life but the lives of

If it ain’t broke you may need to fix it

Normally, the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a well heeded thought. Unfortunately that is not always the case when it comes to technology. Recently a client brought to us a computer that was extremely old. This computer had been working for many years and was used to control equipment used in a manufacturing environment. There had been no need to monitor how this equipment was functioning, or the software it was running, because it ‘simply worked’. The problem that now surfaced was that this particular computer was failing. Simple enough to solve; or at least

10 Things You Should Know Before You Bid On a Business Product from an Online Auction

Recently I spoke with someone who had purchased a car through an online auction house. Unfortunately they found out too late that the car was not what it was supposed to be. They attempted to cancel the check, they wrote, before it was actually sent from the bank, but it was too late. Buying something on an auction site can be a thrilling adventure. You may have the opportunity to buy something at a price far below the normal cost of that item. You may also find items that are not available through normal stores and retailers. You also need

Is an Online Education Right For You? Choosing an Online Education, Part 1

Whether you know it or not, you have spent your whole life learning. You just may not have a fancy printed certificate hanging on your wall to show for it. Is now the time to make that step to get your degree? Taking that step in the past was a scary, and for many, impossible, feat. You don’t have the time to attend classes at night, you cannot afford the tuition and travel expenses, or maybe you are uncomfortable in a classroom setting. With the advent of the internet, learning online may be the key to achieving your goals and overcoming those challenges.

For many adults, continuing, or even finishing, their education seems like an impossible task. The reasons will be as varied as the individuals. Some may include:

  • There is just not enough time in the day to deal with the challenges at home and work, and then attend classes at night, or on weekends.
  • For many it may be a fear associated with failing in the classroom. I think we can all dig bad memories out of the abyss of our mind about classroom experiences that may still give us nightmares.
  • For some it may just be impossible to physically to get to a school. You may live in the backwoods of Alaska, or on some remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where there is not a school available.
  • The list could go on for ever…

This does not have to be the case anymore.

With the advent of the internet, a new realm of possibility has been opened for adult education. You can now sit in the comfort of your home and continue that education that was interrupted when the trials of life got in the way. Proximity to a college is no longer a barrier to obtaining a college education. Time and distance should no longer be issues in the never ending quest to improve ourselves.

However, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to decide if this really is the right thing for you to do. Answers to the following five questions will help you make that decision that could propel you into the world of the electronic university:

  • What do you hope to accomplish?
    • You must have a specific goal in mind. It does not necessarily have to be to achieve a degree however. You may be doing it simply for the joy of learning something new. But the idea is to have a specific purpose. e.g. “I want to learn to program in Java?”, “I want to learn about the industrial revolution”, “I want to learn about_____ (you fill in the blanks)”.
  • Are you a self starter?
    • Making the commitment to an online learning program is a major step in your life. If your usual way of doing things is to wait until someone gives you a specific assignment and then fulfilling it to the satisfaction of the person who gave it to you, then an online learning environment may not be the thing for you. You will need to allocate time and push yourself beyond what you may be used to.
  • Are you organized?
    • This may seem like an odd requirement, but being organized is a necessity. You cannot be continually be searching for where you placed that assignment you just printed out last week, or where that article is that your instructor requested you to read, etc… You must develop a system for organizing your time, assignments, and reading material.
  • Are you committed to achieving your goals?
    • If this is just a whim, forget it. If you are not committed to achieving your goals you will not succeed. You must develop a firm commitment to seeing this through to the end. Life may unexpectedly throw you some curves that will delay your completion; but you must keep your ultimate goal in sight.
  • Do you have the support of those closest to you?
    • Many people think that ‘attending’ an online class is easier than a traditional classroom environment. This is not the case. You may be able to sit at home in your pajamas and ‘go’ to class, but you will also have with it the attendant interruptions and distractions. If you are in a relationship, or have children at home, they must know when it is time to leave you alone and when you need their support. There will be many times when you have to make choices between attending events involving family members, or sitting down at the computer and doing the research for the paper you have due next weekend. Not only do you need to be committed to the goals you have set, but so do those closest to you.

On online education may or may not be the right thing for you, only you can decide that. The questions listed above will hopefully help you in making that decision.

In the next installment of this series we will look at the factors you need to consider once you have made your decision.

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