#Freelancers earn loads of wonga………..#HFD2012

It’s Freelancer day today so lets debunk some of our favorite myths about freelancing:-

Freelancers earn loads of wonga –  Freelancer pay is very much dependent upon industry, location, length of contract etc. In Engineering a typical freelancer may earn 25% more than a “permie” but that’s like comparing apples & pears as the freelancer gets no paid holiday’s, sick pay, pension, bonus etc etc so a direct comparison needs to take into account the monetary value of these “permie” benefits.

Freelancers pay less tax – There is some truth in this. By owning a Limited Company a Freelancer may structure his pay to take home more income (perfectly legal) but the biggest benefit is being able to deduct legitimate business expenses like car mileage from taxable income. It should be stressed that legitimate Freelancers pay their full contribution according to UK tax law.
Freelancing is insecure – This is largely down to career management. In a lot of respects it can be more secure because the contractor has more active control. Rather than being at the whim of an employer the Contractor tends to be secure for the length of his contract & needs to be active in seeking another towards the end. If her Network is  well developed this is perfectly manageable.
Freelancers can’t get a proper job – some people move easily between Contracting & “Permanent” roles. The majority, however, prefer freelancing. Most Freelancer’s wouldn’t take a permie job given the choice.
Freelancers are ruthless opportunists – no more so than the companies who employ them on short notice contracts. Freelancers are certainly not naive & are perfectly capable of exploiting an opportunity should it arise.
 Freelancers are essential – Of course I would argue this but who else is going to step in & cover for 12 months maternity leave or provide invaluable support through a period of rapid growth. If it wasn’t for Freelancers the corporate world would be like a Swiss cheese.
Freelancers are competent Professionals – undoubtedly true. To survive without the fluffy blanket of corporate support, to learn on the job, hit the ground running, contribute immediately & be effective are all signs of competent professionalism. If you want an easy life don’t go into freelancing.
So why would anyone want to go into Freelancing ———that’s for the next post.
Happy Freelance Day!

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Are you listening to the Voice Of the Customer?….#business, #innovation

One of the most difficult choices in New Product Development is in deciding what products to develop !

Lot’s of us watch “Dragons Den” on TV and it’s pretty obvious some of the budding entrepreneurs believe they have a great idea but have never even considered asking their customers or potential customers what they think.

To avoid wasting millions of dollars on products no one wants it is essential to listen to the Voice Of the Customer. (VOC)

Companies involved in New Product Development & Innovation need to establish effective methods to capture VOC.

This can take many different forms such as surveys, telephone conversations, face to face interviews, feedback forms, Social Media strategies etc etc etc

Whichever mix is used the information then has to be filtered and sorted to identify priorities for New Product Development. To do this effectively it is essential to have a multi-functional team involved to get a number of perspectives.

If you are involved in Innovation you need to capture the VOC.

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Digital Switchover – a great project management success #pmot

This week has seen the completion of the Digital TV switchover in the UK.  Over a 5 year period the team has managed the successful transfer from Analogue to Digital in all regions of the UK. This has involved:-

  • Re-engineering over 1100 transmitters from Analogue to Digital.
  • Maintaining coverage at around 98.5% of UK residents.
  • Making 95% of the population aware of the programme.
  • Ensuring those who need help get it fast.
  • Freeing up the Analogue bandwidth for other uses.

The Team achieved all this and more completing the changeover on time and within budget. It was also an excellent example of collaboration between public sector broadcasters, independent broadcasters, Ofcom, Government and other parties.

Particularly impressive were the adverts targeted at the public which were clear, concise and informative.

Congratulations to the Digital Switchover team for a job well done.
chris@projectsguru.co.uk

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Your #business cannot compete on cost alone…

According to new research published today by Allianz Insurance, some 83% of UK managers rank Innovation as the key to their organization performing strongly.

However, despite the fact most leaders are fully aware of the benefits of innovation, the ongoing challenging economic environment has caused many to opt out of such projects in recent months.

For instance, 23% of the 500 respondents noted that the economic slump has pushed innovation further down their list of business priorities, with issues such as a lack of funding and a focus on profits being the main reasons behind this fact.

This approach is not only wrong it is patently short sighted. Innovating value added products or services is the only way to ensure long term survival never-mind success. Long-term it is not possible for organizations to compete purely on cost. Globalization ensures that whenever you compete purely on cost, someone, somewhere will be able to undermine your cost base and do it cheaper. The only way to compete successfully, particularly in the West, is to produce differentiated products with high added value, which cannot be easily reproduced elsewhere where labor costs are significantly cheaper.

This requires investment in R & D, training and advanced manufacturing techniques.

Innovation is essential to long term survival.
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Invasion of the Robot cars….#auto #innovation

Last week saw a little reported milestone in Automotive history when Californian Governor Jerry Brown signed through legislation to allow fully automated vehicles  on California’s roads.

This took place at Google’s ‘Mountainview’ headquarters where the team have been working on a car which utilizes Google’s ‘Street View’ mapping technology, a number of sensors & some clever software to enable the car to navigate without human intervention. The company has already done over 300,000 miles testing with zero collisions so far.

So why is all of this so important ??   As Highways get increasingly congested it has long been a dream to enable convoys of vehicles to travel nose to tail in close proximity in separate lanes, breaking off as necessary, to reach local destinations.

Robot cars may smack of Sci-Fi but this development could herald a massive social change and a glimpse of the future.

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Is Intellectual Property killing #innovation

You only have to follow the News to find out who’s suing who in the Intellectual Property wars, Apple,  Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia – they’re all at it – but is the whole intellectual property industry an anachronism of the past ?

Most technical innovation takes place at such a rapid pace, & product life-cycles are so short,  by the time the dispute get’s to Court the product is obsolete.

Geography also plays its part with some countries immune to International legislation.

There is also a strong argument that resources currently deployed pursuing & defending IPR could be better & more effectively deployed in innovation itself.

What do you think ?

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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.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

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Helping you to juggle sand #pmot

Sometimes Project Management can be like “juggling sand”, tasks to complete, schedules to meet, requests to be met etc etc

If your job seems like are constantly juggling sand here are some simple tips to help you cope:-

  • Keep a notebook – it doesn’t matter how good your memory is you will NEVER remember everything.
  • Make a TO-DO list and prioritize it.
  • Say NO – if you can’t do something by a certain time don’t pretend you can.
  • Offer an alternative, if you can’t do A could you do B instead ?
  • Delegate – if you have a team delegate tasks effectively.
  • Communicate – if Management asks you to do something keep them up to date with progress.
  • Be PROACTIVE, rather than reactive.
  • ANTICIPATE problems before they present themselves.
  • Manage your time – if its simpler to phone rather than visit someone then do that.
  • Follow up verbal requests with an email so you have a traceable record.
  • Be Assertive, don’t swallow more than you can chew.

If you have any more suggestions please share them by commenting below.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

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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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Management by walking around…

Are you a Manager ? Do you spend all day glued to your screen ? Are you stuck in your “Ivory Tower” ? Are you far too busy to leave your office to walk around ? Think again….. In the book “In Search of Excellence” by Thomas J. Peters, Robert H. Waterman, Management By Walking Around or MBWA is described as “Getting management out of the office”. At United Airlines, Ed Carlson labeled it Visible Management or management by walking about. The Hewlett-Packard (HP) version of management by walking around” describes this technique as “marked by personal involvement, good listening skills and the recognition that everyone in an organization wants to do a good job.” Simply walking around is one of the most significant Management techniques you can employ, people feel valued that a Senior Manager has taken the time to get out and listen to her staff. “If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place.” – W. Edwards Deming Tomorrow get off your butt and have a walk around, you won’t regret it! chris@projectsguru.co.uk www.projectsguru.co.uk Follow projectsguru on Twitter View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

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