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Here’s the link to an article on entrepreneurship, which I find quite interesting.

http://www.boston.com/jobs/news/articles/2006/09/17/so_you_think_you_want_to_be_an_entrepreneur/

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Entrepreneurship, as defined by The Free Dictionary is the activity of organizing, managing, and assuming the risks of a business enterprise. Sounds complicated? Well, it is. Being an entrepreneur is never easy. You need to go through a lot of hurdles in order to survive, not to say successful.

If you want to be successful (everyone does, right?), then there are more things that you need to look at. The uniqueness of your offerings (be it products or services), the usefulness (values for your customers), your competitors, etc. There are so many things that you need to think of and so many plans you need to lay out (and execute) if you are seriously into making your business a success.

However, there are things that would help you in your quest to be a successful entrepreneur.

One of them is the policy(or policies) set by the government of your country. In my country, Malaysia, most entrepreneurs obtain fundings from the venture capitalist or the government itself. That’s good. But you provide people with funds.. and maybe training (to train them how to use the fund etc) and maybe even to teach them how to market their stuff. Are all these sufficient? They could be.

But why don’t my country (and many other countries for that matter) consider one simple policy like what the South Korea government did (entrepreneurs from South Korea and Japan have achieved much greater heights than those from Malaysia)? The policy is simple – to give extra incentives or “bonuses” to the companies using the products/services of the entrepreneurs in that particular country. The “bonuses” could be tax reduction, free facitilies, etc. Imagine if the government of your country has such policy, it would definitely boost the condition of the entrepreneurship in your country.

By doing that also, the entrepreneurs do not need to worry much about selling their products/services locally. Most of the entrepreneurs these days (including from my country) would need to look outside their country in order to sell. The local market, most of the time, would not be interested in their products. How unsupportive.

That is why, in my humble opinion, a country should at least provide some policies to help boost the local market for these entrepreneurs before asking people to venture into this risk-taking and dangerous world of entrepreneurship.

Remember, why rely on people outside your country when you have ample of potential clients locally? 

Many people praise about the great achievements of our so-called heroes of our society. Articles, posters, stories, novels, songs or even movies have been made based on these so-called achievements. But there is something that most of us neglect everyday – the simple things.

Why must we always look at the big things (either good or bad) when there are other smaller things that we should be paying attention to? For example, your team recently managed to close a deal with a client and all the staff approach your team to congratulate you all. It’s definitely a good feeling to feel appreciated by so many people after you’ve worked so hard for the deal. However, what if the deal did not materialize? Nobody would come and congratulate you since what they notice is normally the so-called “achievements“. Nobody would remember the small little things that your team has done – the hard work, the efforts, etc. If everything goes well and the deal got clinched…..fine. What if it doesn’t?

To me, we really need to realize that the “big thing” is important but what matters most are the small little things that create the “big thing“. A guy courting a lady he loves a lot. Do you think he could win the lady’s heart if he gives her a car (this scenario doesn’t apply if the lady is someone materialistic)? Or do you think he could win the lady’s heart by showering her with love & care, remembering special occasions, always appreciate what she does and be grateful? Believe it or not, it is the little things, the little “Thank you”, the little gifts, etc. which will ultimately win the lady’s heart.

Take another real life example. Just recently, my friend went to have a meeting with his Japanese clients. The representative from the client side was a middle-aged Japanese lady (marketing manager). During the 3 hours meeting, the Japanese lady pointed out what my friend’s company failed to provide them, what they should be providing, etc ….typical work-related stuff. After the meeting, everyone in the board room left…..except for my friend who was tidying up his files and the Japanese lady who, unselfishly, helped the cleaners to clean the tables and took the cups/plates back to the kitchen. My friend was surprised. A simple thing which won’t take much of her time…..yet, it left a deep impression to my friend.

The point that I am planning to bring out here is that most of the time, we are too absorbed into the “big achievements” or “success stories” or “major contributions” that we always neglected the smaller things. Don’t cloud yourselves that way. Open up your eyes and pay attention not to the “big things“…but to the smaller things that are equally, if not more important.

Remember, a simple “Thank you” can sometimes brighten up a person’s life……….or even give hope to someone who has lost faith in this world. 😉

Hope it helps…and hope you all can understand what I’m trying to bring out here.

Been away for a while now. Apologize for that. I’m currently rushing for something. Finishing soon. Will be back to regular blogging once after 31st May 2007. 🙂

I find this article pretty useful especially for those in the consulting line, or for those who need to face clients quite often.

Here’s the link

http://www.entrepreneur.com/sales/customerservice/article77404.html

Recently, a friend of mine told me about his story in his company which provides technical support (IT) to the clients (mostly big companies). He was feeling quite frustrated and displeased with his fellow co-workers. In case you don’t know, the IT support industry works like this – a client which you are supporting is complaining about a bug or performance issue with one of the module in the payroll application. So, a representative from the client will launch a “ticket” to helpdesk and the helpdesk will be the one handling the “ticket“. For every ticket, there’s a deadline. The more serious/severe the issue is, the shorter the deadline will be. The deadline thingy will then lead to something called SLA or Service Level Agreement which is the agreed upon level of service (must deliver so and so within so and so time) between the client and the company during the support agreement sign off.

I might be wrong, but that’s what I could understand from my previous experience as a technical support guy.

What happens here is, for every ticket accepted by someone, there will be a chargeable time (the amount of time allocated for you to work on it). As usual, it is human being who assigns these “chargeable time” allocations. There is a possibility that a ticket which needs 10 minutes to finish can get a chargeable time of 3 days whereas a ticket which is so difficult that it needs 7 man days to finish, is allocated only 3 days. You see the problem? Nope, this is not the problem.

The problem happens when you have some selfish individuals in your team. My friend’s scenario is like this – 2 tickets come in. 1 ticket is a simple routine job which has a chargeable time of 2 man days whereas the other is a new issue which has a slightly longer chargeable time of 3 man days. Fact is, nobody has done ticket B before… So my friend was so lucky to get ticket B and ticket A has been assigned to another person. Ticket A, as expected, finished within the 2 days period (can actually finish in 1 day…but the person somehow dragged to 2 days). Ticket B, however, took more than 7 days to finish because nobody knows how to fix it. My friend became nervous due to the SLA, and informed the team leader. The team leader reassigned the ticket to another person who immediately responded by saying “This is a SHIT ticket, why give it to me?

Now, you see the problem. Who cares whether it is a SHIT ticket or not? It is a ticket no matter what and it is the team’s responsibility to fix it. It’s true that my friend failed to deliver the ticket, and he should be penalized for it but it is a completely new issue and nobody even cares to help. So-called teamwork huh?

What about the attitude when the person has been assigned the “Shit” ticket? His reaction is pure irresponsible. SLA will affect the team, and perhaps the entire company’s reputation. No matter how “shit” is the ticket, someone has to do it or the SLA will not be achieved. When that doesn’t happen, the team can bid farewell to their “bonus“.

I feel that sometimes, people just don’t see the big picture. True, we need to protect ourselves. We need to know what we want to learn and where we should be heading in our career path. However, if you are working in a team where the performance reflects the attitude and commitment of every single team member………then perhaps, you should really work as a team and not blaming people for assigning you with something you don’t like to do.

I’m just venting my frustration here. I somehow pity my friend who worked very long hours just to get the ticket fixed. He has no more chargeable time left…so why should he commit so much of his time? One word – Responsibility.

Hope it helps.

In case you’re wondering, NO, I’m not referring to multi-personalities syndrome. No Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde here. I’m referring to the multiple roles each of us play everyday in our life.

Just recently, a radio DJ (again) talked about this topic on multiple roles/responsibilities and why we should make sure we know how to differentiate them. I find this topic rather interesting, and decided to write this post.

Each and everyone of us do have at least 1 role to play in this world. Most of us, though, have multiple roles to play. Take myself for example. While at work, I’m a IT Developer in my company. But that’s just my position in the company. My role here is as an employee who delivers based on the timeline given. That’s my role in the office (besides trying to help my colleagues or cheer them up when they’re down or give them moral support, etc… see? I’m a nice guy). At home, my role is as a son to my parents and a brother to my elder sister. I need to look after them, love them, care for them, pay for the housing loan, etc. That’s part of my responsibilities at home. But to my friends, I am, well, a friend. Someone to hang out with, someone to seek advice or help from whenever necessary.

You see….some of us already know what are the correct roles we should play at specific time and place. However, the problem lies with how many of us actually can practice what we know? Not many.

Let me ask you this question – how many of you actually bring your work back to your house? I must admit I do that (and I love doing that). But I also must admit I am an expert in multi-tasking. When you bring your office work back to your home, it is never a good thing since you’ll most likely neglect your family. You are bringing the role of an employee from your office, back to your home. Thus, replacing your role as your parents’ son, or your wife’s husband, etc.  It’s okay if you do this once in a blue moon….but if you always do this (and you can’t multi-task at all), then it is very unhealthy. Even if you can multi-task, I must admit it is better to separate work from family.

On the other hand, some people who don’t bring their work back to home, will instead bring their mindset back. No matter which industry you’re working in, you can never escape from work-related stress. But, do you think it is appropriate to bring whatever stress you have accumulated in the office and release everything when you are back at home? Many of us know it’s WRONG but how many of us actually can say the sentence “I have never done that before“. 10% maybe. My advice is, no matter how stressed up you are at work….you should leave it as it is once you stepped into your home. You won’t want to end up shouting at your innocent 3 year old boy who is just trying to help his worried-looking dad.

What if you are the president of some large corporations who recently joined a non-profit organization to contribute? Should you bring your “status” as a president into this non-profit group? Again, know your role. You should never assume yourself as the president of the company anywhere else other than in your company. Not in this non-profit organization who shares a completely different ideology, not in your family, and not even in a shopping complex. Know to play the appropriate role based on the situation, the timing, and the location you are in. You won’t want to end up bossing people around during a charity dinner when your main objective is to contribute to those in needs.

I know it’s never easy to do whatever I said above. Human beings are very “dynamic” creatures. We can change roles as we like…. but sometimes, we just won’t realize we are playing the wrong roles until it’s too late. The ability to be “dynamic” is a double-edged sword.

In the end, I believe it is up to the person himself to control this and balance up his life. Play the appropriate role at the right time, right place….. and never make the roles overlapping each other.

Hope it helps.

If you are one of the employees who think that way, I strongly encourage you to think again carefully.

People come and go within a corporation/company. The bigger the company is, the higher the turnover rate will be. And no matter how good the company is, it will never be perfect. Everything has its pros and cons. And believe it or not, no matter where you are working, you will surely meet up with someone who is very unhappy with his/her company.

These kind of people feel they have been “bullied” by their employers. They have been asked to work extra hour for a pay which is way below the market price or whatever they (as the employees) are worth. Or worse, they have been made a scapegoat for something they didn’t do.

These things do happen to people, whether you like it or not. In this world, there will always be some idiots out there pulling the strings of all these evil master plans to irritate you. Either the idiots are you yourselves (sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy), or some other people…. in the end, it’s still the same answer – you feel disappointed and you seriously feel you want to “repay this kindness” …maybe in two folds, 3 or 4…

I’ve experienced this myself….and I know how useless this could be. Some people will take their revenge by screwing up the jobs or their responsibilities. If this is what YOU are thinking….well, do take some time to think about the possibility of getting a testimonial from this same employer you are trying to get your revenge on. Some companies have certain recruitment policies where you need to get some positive testimonials from your previous employers in order to pass their “final screening“. If you managed to screw up your previous job, I am pretty sure your ex-boss will be quite unhappy with you. So…there goes your hope of getting a testimonial, and maybe a new job.

There are also some people who prefer to keep quiet. They will not say a single word even if they have been forced to a corner (again, either by themselves or by other people). They will control…and control…and control… until one day when they couldn’t stand anymore, they will resign. And well, these people will normally think that the company cannot do without them…and the company will be in deep sh*t if they left… “They will never find someone as good as me“, “They will surely have to pay 2 times what they are paying me now to get a replacement“, “They will regret this“. Well, the problem here is…….a company should and will never be relying on one single person. If it does, then the company’s management sux. A company’s management should know that one person does not equal to the whole company. Always be prepared to replace the person with someone else….to the company, everyone within the company can be replaced. This is the way it should be run. So if you think your resignation will make your current company suffer…….well, think again. 🙂 In the end, you will be the one who suffers.

My point here is that, nobody should ever think of getting their revenge against their company or bosses. It will never work out for the better. Always remember to keep a good image of yourselves no matter how bad they are. Leave your company with a good reputation. 

If you really want a revenge, you can choose to buy over the company. 🙂 But again, if your company is so bad that you wanted to take revenge on it, then… no point buying over it right since it will perish sooner or later (provided the company is the one having the problem, not you).

Again, hope it helps.

I must say that Apple IPhone looks cool, trendy and definitely attractive ever since Mr. Steve announced Apple’s plan to release this “revolutionary” phone. However, if you are a developer (IT) who loves to develop your own custom mobile applications (to be used in the so-called smart phones), you might want to read this article before getting one IPhone for yourself.

http://weblog.infoworld.com/enterprisemac/archives/2007/05/developers_cant.html

Ah well, human beings ARE greedy. Even if we are paid “this much“, we will never be satisfied. Thus, we’ll end up pursuing more and more $$$ to fulfill our greed for money. This will result us in possessing more than enough money that we need. What should we do?

If you are someone who prefer short term gain, you’ll most probably end up like the old me – buying something of no value (or the value will depreciate, and never the other way round) or buying something related to our interest(s) or hobbies. For myself, I must admit that everytime I have some extra $$ in my pocket, I’ll look at technology gadgets or gaming equipments such as the latest Nintendo WII (which really caught my eye). I can easily spend all my “extra income” on this so-called “short term gain“. The resell value of this WII? Close to zero I’m afraid. I’ll most probably have to lose more than 50% of the price that I paid if I were to resell it. That is why…until now….few months later, I’ve yet to buy this WII. 😛

To me, short term gain will always remain as short term gain. It is better to use our money elsewhere. If you haven’t get an insurance, go get it. It’s the first thing that you really should invest in for the sake of yourself and your beloved ones. We will never know what might happen tomorrow. 🙂 It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you have any outstanding loans – car loans, housing loans or even study loans (yea, I have all of them), use part of the money to pay them off. You’ll surely be charged some extra interests from the banks or financial institutions……but you will also take off some burden off your shoulder. Trust me, having a number of “big money loans” on your shoulder is NOT an easy thing to cope with.

After you’ve settled insurance and loans, maybe you can start looking at other type of investments –  mutual funds, fixed deposits, stock market (highest amount of profit but it also has the highest risk. Make sure you know what you are doing before you get into this), etc. Remember, investments are very important because it helps you to “grow” the money that you have. It is the place where you plant your “money tree. Just make sure you seek advice from professionals before you commit to any investments….and beware of scams. 🙂

I hope that these tips (which I’ve read from a local magazine) will give some basic insights on how to manage your money and where are the right places to put your hard-earned $$$.

If you still cannot figure out where to put them, just let me know, I have a brand new (still empty) savings account looking for donations. 😛 Just kidding. Have a nice day.