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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Set Aside Brand-Preferences to Increase Productivity

During a recent talk I gave at a conference in Canada to a group of business owners, I asked them to "set aside brand preferences."  I could almost hear the groans from the audience before I made this statement.  Since you most likely were not at this talk; let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.  Keep in mind the audience was primarily comprised of "small business" owners.

Picture this:  I asked the entire audience to stand.  I then asked those that were not using any form of sugar sync.png "file-sharing" utility to sit.  Several participants sat down.  I then asked those to sit down if they were using Dropbox.  About 80% of the audience sat down!  Wow!  Can you say "well-known brand?"  I then asked those that used SkyDrive to sit down.  Several more attendees sat.  With few standing, I asked if anyone was using SugarSync?  Only two were and the last few were using something else.   I wanted to know "why" so many business owners were using Dropbox when there were some major advantages I think many overlooked by not using Microsoft's SkyDrive or SugarSync.  

When I asked this question; you can imagine the "brand-preferences" I heard.  Many dislike Microsoft skydrive logo.png so they would never use a Microsoft product; even if they offered the most amount of free storage, just to name one of several benefits.  Others were/are Google fans and wouldn't think of using anything besides their products.

dropbox_logo_home.pngWhen I compared and contrasted the "benefits" of each file-sharing utility, I believe several walked out of the room pledging tosugar sync logo.png give another solution a try.  In fact, the Board of Directors of the organization I spoke to stopped using Dropbox and switched to SugarSync after my talk; and said that was one of the best ideas the Board gleaned and implemented from the presentation.  

I am not compensated to promoted any of these brands or file-sharing utilities.  Instead, it is my job as a Productivity Consultant, with a specialty in the area of technology, to do my research for any client I work with and make recommendations based on what will suit their business goals best.  I also take into consideration a variety of other factors when making recommendations.  I am often slow to instantly make a recommendation about any technology until I have done the all-important needs assessment to ensure that whatever recommendation I make that it will serve the needs of the business and the employees for some time to come.  

I could've chosen a variety of examples to prove where "brand preferences" get in the way. For example, when selecting a computer, software or even a smartphone.  Let's look at another example; choosing a smartphone.  Your friend/colleague has the latest (you fill in the blank).  You like the "big screen display" and the picture quality.  But, is a great camera or a big screen a "must have?"  Maybe not.  And if that is the main benefit of that device; it may not be the best tool for you.

Your mobile phone's operating system will dictate the types of applications you can use as well as how you synchronize data to your device.  The main players are Android, iOS and Windows; market share I believe to be in that order.  

Here's a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing a smartphone
1.  What "non-negotiable" functions do you need your device to perform?  If it can't fill one of the primary purposes for purchasing it, you need to continue your search.

2.  Do you know "how" you want to use the smartphone and what you want out of it?

3.  What available mobile applications will benefit you most?

4.  Do you know how other systems in your office will integrate with the device you are considering?  This is really crucial.

5.  What is your annual mobile budget vs. your expected ROI in time savings and money savings?

Here's what I've seen happen time and time again.  A client goes to the store, not prepared to answer the above questions.  The "salesperson" who knows nothing about your business, or what systems in your office need to integrate with the smartphone, sells you a phone you later discover doesn't integrate with existing technology you use.  These "sales people" are not paid to understand your business - they are there to sell you a phone.  Over the years I've done the research for clients on the best mobile device for their "needs."  I explain to them that when they go to the store to purchase the phone that they will most likely be talked into a different device.  I remind them that they've paid me for this "needs analysis" and research because I understand how they need to use this device; whereas the salesperson does not.  Time and time again; client's report back to me that the sales person attempted to "sell" them something that ultimately would've done a dis-service.
I've also had clients pay me for my advice and then not take it; only to discover later that they should've made the purchase based on my recommendation and now they are spending the money twice.  Don't let this happen to you!  

During my presentation, I also asked attendees to stop asking for help on Facebook for what smartphone, laptop, PC, tablet, (fill in the blank) they should buy.  Why?  Because most people on Facebook that make these recommendations will make one based on their "brand-preference" or what they use - rather than what is best for YOUR business.  And what is that information worth?  In one-attendees words "exactly what you paid for it."

Bottom line, do your research, conduct a needs analysis and ask questions of those with this expertise. The results will be worth it.

Wishing You Increased Productivity - so you have "More Time For Life®"


If you want to hear part of my talk I gave in Canada where I talked about these challenges; click here.
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Microsoft Outlook 2010 Class - Offered Next week in Seattle 

Increase Productivity Using Microsoft Outlook 2010

Date:  Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Time:  8:45 am - 10:30 am
Place:  Norton Building | 801 2nd Avenue - 2nd Floor Conference Room, Seattle
Investment:  $74Sponsor:  Puget Sound Business Journal
Learn More and Register:  Here

If you don't live in the Greater-Seattle area, let me know.  I also provide one-on-one and group training remotely as well as on-site classes at your company or at conferences.  I can be reached at 425.670.2551 or 877.342.8592 - or email me @ .

I offer classes on Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013.
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Are You and Your Employees Productive?

For many companies, if budgets are not used by year-end; they are lost.  Why not invest in your employees or yourself in one or more of the following areas:

  • Time Management
  • Task Management and Prioritization
  • E-mail Management and how to use Microsoft Outlook to be as efficient as possible
  • Organizational Skills
The small amount of money you invest in a Productivity Assessment for your employees or yourself includes:
  • 2-3 hour in person or phone consultation
  • Written report that will list an Executive Summary, detailed recommendations for implementation, prioritized list of action items for the employee and specific areas that Eliminate Chaos can be a resource for hands-on work.

If you'd like to discuss how a Productivity Assessment can help increase productivity and profitability, give me a call at 425.670.2551 or 877.342.8592 - or email me @ .

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Customer Service:  425.670.2551 or 877.342.8592
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You may reprint this article in its entirety with the following credit:  ©2013 Eliminate Chaos.  Reprinted with permission from Laura Leist, CPO of Eliminate Chaos.

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