Sunday, September 30, 2012

Use Online Event Management Solutions to Enhance Attendee Engagement

Keeping attendees engrossed in an event and making them take real interest in each and every activity throughout the duration of the program through proper interactions is very essential to make an event truly successful. Unless and until an organizer ensures real-time attendee engagement, the event does not pick up its actual momentum and falls flat at the end of the day. By using the cutting-edge online event management solution, an organizer can keep its attendees actively engaged and make the event a gala success.

Introduction of the Cloud-based SaaS solutions have revolutionized the way an event was managed up until a few years ago. Today it is way faster and easier to plan, promote, track, and analyze events within an integrated platform. One can avail of all the facilities that are needed to manage an event on a magnanimous scale in a true collaborative environment. As a result, every individual associated with their respective tasks, right from planners, exhibitors, attendees, business sponsors to C-level executives, can reap the benefits utilizing the best of technologies and automated tools integrated in these software solutions. The prospects of realizing true business value have improved at every level to a great extent.

Nevertheless, there are still certain areas left that need to be worked upon further to guarantee an all-round success of the event. One such area is attendee engagement. With the constant year-round bombardment of events related information and notifications via emails, mobile device texting, and social media updates; it has now become all the more relevant to ensure real-time attendee participation than just formally meeting prospective customers and key business professionals through the event platform. It brings in more competitive value by enabling the organizer to derive an insightful inference about the event's performance, and not just numbers and statistics. This further helps to generate potential business leads that focus on quality.

How to ensure maximum attendee engagement?

To rise above the noise is the ultimate tactic that most organizers have learnt to adopt these days; and to do that, they have resorted to the latest mobile apps and social media offerings. These are by far the best ways to keep attendees completely engaged throughout the event and even post the completion of the same. Following are the ways how an online event management solution can be used to keep participants attentive and connected throughout an event:

· Innovative mobile apps can keep an event right on the palm top of an attendee. Online event management software can be used to create participant polls, interesting questions about the ongoing program, session ratings, and mobile quizzes with the selection of giving out token rewards at the end of the event. This will help organizers to derive on-the-spot analysis of the event's performance.

· If there is a sudden no-show-up by a paid registrant, and the organizer is requested to give real-time updates of a certain event, online event management software can be used to provide the facility of remote participation. This way the life of an event gets extended and an existing customer relationship strengthened, which acts as a great value-addition in the long run.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Why Do Banks Need a Business Plan?

If you have been running a business successfully for quite some time now and you want to apply for a loan to fund your expansions, you're most like to get a loan without hiccups. But if you have a start up venture, then getting a loan sanctioned will not be easy. Private lending institutions will willingly lend you a loan but charge steep rates of interest.

Banks are the most likely source where most start ups and small business firms apply for loans. Banks will ask for a business plan in the first place. You can talk to a business plan service for with preparing a sound business plan.

Your financial plans should be practical and realistic

Apart from preparing a good business plan, you'll need to have financial goals that are realistic and you think you can achieve eventually. Banks are particularly averse to lending loans to small firms and start ups. This is so because the depositors don't want banks to invest their money in risky business ventures that do not guarantee assured returns.

So, banks would ask for collaterals that the bank will hold as mortgage. They would sell these off to realise their dues in case you're not able to payback the loan amount. Collaterals would be your personal assets like home, and savings. But having a sound business plan with achievable financial objectives will make your task of seeking a bank loan smoother.

Think from the lender's perspective

Put yourself in the shoes of the lender. Your prospective lender, a bank in this case, will want to doubly reassure itself that you'll be able to payback the entire loan complete with the interests in the stipulated time period.

They will want to know your business plans. How do you intend to get the best returns on your investments? Is your product or service saleable? Will you be earning enough to reimburse the loaned amount? What personal assets can you provide as collaterals? Do you have guarantors to back you?

Banks prefer lending to someone who has the requisite and extensive experience in the business. You'll need to back up your claims with relevant documents. You chances of getting a loan will go up if you can provide documentary proof of an extra income source like your spouse's salary. You can get in touch with business plan services if you need tips on how to draw up a good business plan.

You will need to fulfil official obligations

If you're seeking an SBA (small business administration) loan, you'll need to provide for 30% of the amount, apart from an effective business project. Banks will provide the rest 70% of the loan amount, in case your loan gets sanctioned.

How to Provide High Value in Competitive Markets

Providing superior value through a formal strategic planning process to determine what your targeted customers want is a key to success. Good strategic planning not only identifies the targeted customer wants, but also permits a company to select their targeted customers (their niche) from the spectrum of customers in the total market. Some companies get this concept and become ongoing winners. Examples of this include Apple and Singapore Airlines. Apple has been analyzed in depth, so let's look at Singapore Air.

In a recent survey Singapore Airlines was named World's Best Airline by Conde' Nast. The remarkable thing about this is that Singapore has won this award 21 of the 22 times it has been awarded. How has Singapore been able to consistently provide such excellent service and maintain a good level of profitability for so many years? How have they developed the capability to provide excellent value for so long?

Singapore Airlines operates one of the youngest fleets in the world. Newer airplanes have a number of benefits for both operators and for customers. Because the planes are newer, they are usually more reliable, having fewer breakdowns than older planes. Because the planes are newer, they will likely be more efficient to operate than older ones. And because the planes are newer, customers will have up-to-date amenities and comforts, thus having a more enhanced travel experience.

Singapore also invests heavily in training its staff in all aspects of operating the airline. The people of Singapore Air are trained to deliver excellent service in the cabin, on the ground and in the terminal. Singapore actually has one of the lowest costs of operations of any airline, with a cost below 7.5 cents per seat mile, which is actually below many of the so-called budget airlines. What is interesting is that Singapore actually staffs each flight with more than competing airlines. They provide superior service on every flight. Among frequent fliers, the reputation of Singapore Air is outstanding!

One more factor: Singapore runs the entire operation with a very small corporate staff. Their administration costs are among the very lowest in the industry. This helps the profitability of the airline as well.

What is the point we are making here? Simply put, in order to compete and compete well in an extremely competitive marketplace, a company must provide service and value at an appropriate price. People will pay for results which reach their expectations. This is true at every level of service and value. For poor or minimal service, people expect to pay only a modest amount, so the perceived value is commensurate with the price paid. For more exceptional service, with the perceived higher value, a company may realize a higher price and/or become the supplier of choice. On occasion, one will encounter a company like Singapore Airlines that provides exceptional service and exceptional value, all at a competitive price.

How is this to be accomplished? By focusing its efforts on those parts of the business which add value, and minimizing or eliminating those parts of the operation which do not add value or for which customers won't pay, a company can be seen as exceptional. This may be done across the spectrum of price and features, in commodity markets and specialty markets. Excellence and attention to what really matters to the people who purchase your service or products are some of the keystones of a successful strategy. As you develop your strategic plan be sure that you identify what differentiates you in the market in your customers' eyes.

If you need assistance in developing your strategic plan to deliver high value to your targeted customers, please contact CSSP, Inc.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Management Training Should Be Provided for Employees

There have been a lot of news stories about industries that are lacking qualified workers. Despite high unemployment rates, these organizations are unable to fill open positions because applicants lack the skills that are required for the job. However, executives have recently complained about another critical shortage: the lack of capable leaders. In a survey on top human resource problems facing an organization, 31% of executives cited a lack of high-potential leaders within the organization. Another 19% said that the top problem is a high rate of defection of top talent to other organizations. Organizations can no longer count on job postings as a way to locate and retain competent leaders. Instead, companies must combat this problem by investing in management training for lower-level employees or leadership development for current leaders.

Leadership development is an activity meant to increase the quality of leadership within an organization. Some companies accomplish this task by identifying internal talent with the potential to be organizational leaders, then paying for employees to obtain a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or by investing in management training for employees. Management training will focus on developing characteristics that are shared by quality leaders. These characteristics might include:
  • Experiential Learning: Requiring the individual to go through the four stages of experiential learning (concrete experience, observation and reflection, forming abstract concepts, and testing in new situations)
  • Self Efficacy: The individual's belief in his or her own abilities
  • Visioning: The ability to form the desired vision of the future of the company
Once these skills are learned in management training, individuals will be more prepared to step into a leadership role for the company. Businesses benefit from this investment not only because they fill a vital human resource need but also because these leaders are less likely to leave the company for another job. These individuals are more loyal because they recognize the investment the company has made in them, and then become more engaged. These engaged workers are less likely to leave their job because they want to work for a company that wants them to be successful.

Businesses will also see a number of benefits from providing leadership development for current organizational leaders. The major benefit of this type of development is that it keeps leaders up-to-date on current trends. This is important because leaders are always expected to understand current trends so that they can make decisions related to a long-term strategy. The skills that an individual will learn during leadership development will also allow the individual to reach his or her full potential, which inspires respect from co-workers. One other thing to consider is that many leaders have the ability to think critically and make decisions, but might lack communication skills. Leadership development can help individuals sharpen communications skills so that they do a better job of communicating ideas and responsibilities to other employees.