10 tips for getting the best out of your supplier…………………..#pmot

blameGetting the most out of your supplier is a key deliverable as a project manager.

  • Build personal relationships by getting to know your suppliers key people – this must be done face to face.
  • Hold regular reviews and distribute minutes, some of these reviews should be at the suppliers site.
  • If you have a problem pick up the phone & call your prime contact.
  • Avoid pithy emails which embarass or cause unnecessary distress.
  • Spell out Requirements in an approriate document signed by purchasing & supplying organisations.
  • Ensure the supplier follows a standard Quotation process.
  • Document key responsibilities in a legally reviewed contract.
  • Ensure the supplier receives timely orders & payment within terms.
  • Give them regular forecasts of requirements.
  • Be open, honest & direct.

Follow the above tips & you won’t go far wrong with Suppliers.

 chris@amberhill.biz

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Start your own Consultancy from scratch – practical tips

So you really want to start your own Consultancy business from scratch !?

ppt1Here are some tips I hope will help:-

  • Identify your key skills – if you want to sell yourself as a Consultant the first thing you need to identify is the skills you possess which people will be willing to pay for. If you can’t do this don’t give up your day job.
  • Develop a Business Plan – don’t put it off because you can’t be bothered or don’t think it’s necessary. If you want people to take you seriously as a Business you need to start thinking like a Business.
  • Identify your target market – who are you going to sell your skills to ? – your current or former employer perhaps ? Former customers or suppliers, ex colleagues, business partners etc etc
  • Network – Develop your contacts, LinkedIn is great for this but don’t forget about your address book & business card collection.
  • Have a look at the Professional Contractors Group website www.pcg.org.uk – it has a fantastic free downloadable guide for freelancers/consultants.
  • If you still want to take the plunge this is perhaps the hardest step of all – You will need a MINIMUM of 6 months income in the bank before you start. Do not plan to earn anything from your Consultancy business for the first six months. If you really want to succeed with your own Consultancy business you will find this money. If you see this as too big a hurdle then sorry but Consultancy is not for you.

Look out for my new book “Start your own Consultancy – Now!”

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

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Why not start your own consultancy ?

As Chairman Mao famously said “we live in interesting times”.

Office6Millions of people live in daily dread of redundancy, working longer & longer hours to appease the boss in an effort to avoid the dreaded 90 days notice interview and ultimate dismissal. I know, I’ve been there once or twice myself and it sucks!

However, there is an alternative, and that redundancy payment can provide a great springboard to a new successful and rewarding career.

Any professional person with a skill to sell can start their own consultancy business but it does need a set of personal attributes which not everyone has:-

  • Persistence – you will need this in abundance to generate leads and pursue opportunities.
  • Flexibility – are you willing to travel or work away from home.
  • Pick up things quickly – can you hit the ground running & “add value” from the start of any assignment.
  • Positive Outlook – do you let things grind you down or do you react by seeking solutions to problems.
  • Uncertainty – can you live with not knowing what you will be doing in 3 months ?
  • Outgoing personality – if you can get on with people from different backgrounds & talk to the cleaner as well as the CEO you will do well, if you are a shrinking violet who prefers staring at a computer screen all day you will fail.
  • Embrace Change – if you love ding different things in different places you will thrive. If you prefer the routine then consultancy is not for you.

For more practical advice on starting your own consultancy look out for my next post.

Extracts from my future book ” Start your own Consultancy….now!”

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Who needs a #business plan ?

Every Business needs a Business Plan.

It is commonly recognized that 4 out of 5 new start ups fail in the first 12 months and a key reason for this is a lack of a proper Business Plan. Your Business Plan is not just used to gain financial support (although this is obviously a key reason) but to act as a “roadmap” for the Business by which progress can be measured and tracked.

If you are starting a new business a comprehensive Business Plan is essential. If you want help with your Business Planning get in touch for a free consultation.
chris@projectsguru.co.uk

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Cameron’s Indian Takeaway………….#business

David Cameron has been visiting India again in an effort to drum up bilateral trade. Very laudable indeed. As we can see from Tata’s  investment in Jaguar Land Rover the company has come on leaps and bounds since the Indian Conglomerate took over the ailing British company in 2008 with billions of pounds investment.

There are also many areas where UK companies can help India, particularly in developing infrastructure which is one of the main bottlenecks to growth in the country & in improving telecommunications.

India is a vast country both geographically and economically. With a GDP of nearly 2 trillion GBP it is on target to become 4th largest in the world around 2020 at current growth rates.

Of course, India is not without it’s problems:-

  • Infant Mortality – 63/1000
  • 320,000 deaths from diarrhea per annum
  • Sanitation coverage 31 %
  • Only 15% of rural population has access to a toilet.
  • 29.8% below poverty line, most living on less than $2 per day.

India has come a long way in the last 20 years but it also has a very long way to go in eradicating poverty & disease within it’s own boundaries. Hopefully David Cameron can persuade his hosts to address these issues as well as selling them a few helicopters.

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Kingdom for a horse………………………………..#business

As the horse-burger scandal sweeps the country people are turning away from mass produced convenience foods & the supermarket giants who sell them in droves.

Like the banks before them the manufacturers & distributors of this garbage will learn they neglect their ethics at their peril.

Trust is a fundamental part of business. Most people only allow themselves to be “ripped off” once and it is in the interest of all parties in a business arrangement to ensure that all participants get a piece of the cake.

In our daily business transactions we need to maintain an open & honest communication with all parts of our supply chain to ensure future business success.

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Buy British because it’s British ? #business

There has been some debate in the Media recently about buying British products as a way of reducing the impact of the recession & preserving British jobs; so is this a good idea ?

We live in a Capitalist society (whether we like that or not) based on competition. The consumer has a free choice of which products to buy or not to buy & we tend to seek good value for money, regardless of origin. As a consequence we are pretty good at identifying products which deliver most “bang for the buck”.

In the 1970’s most of our Electronic products originated in Japan. Some people complained this wasn’t fair to British manufacturers but consumers continued to buy Japanese products because they were better quality and hence better value for money.

Now most of our electronic products are manufactured in China or Korea & people buy them because they are cheaper & better quality than their Japanese counterparts.

Jaguar Land Rover has been in the News recently because sales are up over 30% compared to last year, is this because these products are manufactured in Britain or because they are of exceptional quality and, though expensive, represent good value for money.

Over time products evolve and the companies which make them either grow – & their shareholders get richer or, if their products deteriorate the company shrinks, the shareholders lose money & eventually the company is bust.

So, in the long run, is the best way to preserve British jobs to buy inferior goods just because they are British or to buy the best value products whatever their origin & ensure quality increases & the fittest survive ?

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Diamond geezer #business

The news today that Barclays CEO Bob Diamond has resigned has been greeted in many areas with unbridled euphoria. Those who blame “greedy bankers” for the current crisis are rubbing their hands in glee.

They may, however, be missing the point. All the talk about a culture of greed and lax morals is no more than politicians & moralist’s hot air.

If you put the kids in charge of the sweet shop then pull the blinds down and let them get on with it it’s not much of a surprise when you return much later all the sweets are gone & the shop is in disarray.

The current legislative framework is a result of persistent deregulation since the early 1980’s presided over by Labour & Tory and is the root cause of the Banking Crisis.

The system is broken & needs to be fixed.

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Jaguar Land Rover has a taste for Chinese #automotive

A new sales record of over 314k cars and profits of 1.5 billion GBP illustrate the success of British car maker Jaguar Land Rover and it’s innovative new products including the Range Rover Evoque which is selling like “hot cakes” at the moment particularly in China. In fact Jaguar Land Rover is opening a new dealership in China every week. China sales now represent almost 20% of the companies sales.

There is, however, another less publicised side to this story.

Since 2007 the British Pound  has devalued against the Chinese Yuan (or RMB)  by a whopping 56% as a direct result of the U.K Governments policy of Quantitative Easing. In March 2009 75 billion pounds was created electronically followed by another 200 billion pounds later that year. Further episodes of Q.E pumped a total of 325 billion pounds into the U.K economy, devaluing the pound & increasing exports.

It also goes a long way to explaining why foreign ownership of London property has increased 20% since 2009 & conversely why imported foodstuffs & other goods now seem outrageously expensive.

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Dealing with difficult customers……..

angry customer

angry customer

Do you have to deal with some really “difficult customers” ?

The first question you should ask is “why is this customer being difficult ?”

Most customers are “difficult” because they are not getting what they want

in terms of product quality or delivery.

So here are some tips for Managing those customers:-

1) Understand what the customer wants – EXACTLY. Get them to spell it out in detail in a product spec.

2) Ensure that your product matches the customer spec.

3) If you hit problems which affect customer delivery or quality you need to be pro-active by:-

a) Keeping the customer informed – don’t take the ostrich approach & bury your head in the sand – arrange a regular conference call on a regular basis until any issues are resolved.

b) What is the contingency ? – is there any alternative you can offer the

customer until you resolve the issue.

c) Give them a timing plan detailing all activities associated with fixing

the problem – and keep it up to date.

d) Don’t bullshit the customer – maintain integrity by being open & honest,even if it feels painful doing so.

Taking a pro-active approach to managing customer expectations will pay off

in the long run as they realise that everyone has problems & the above approach demonstrates you are going the extra mile to solve their issues.

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