Seventhman Blog

  1. Presidential Debate 2012: Small Business Concerns Over Tea and Politics

    "presidential debate 2012"I’d like to take a time off from the usual business blog I share here to write my thoughts on the recent Obama-Romney face off last 16th.  I’ve been following my favorite #custserv chat on Twitter when the convo was cancelled to give way to the presidential debate.  While the spar of wits and words has entertained everyone who watched, if you ask me, I was hoping to get real answers on how these candidates plan to handle the economy and change the way things are run.. for the better.  Like many small business owners out there, we’re hoping for a permanent fix, that whoever will win the presidential race will truly understand our needs – of helping us get customers and grow our businesses.

    Leadership Lessons from the Obama-Romney Debate

    While there have been many debates over the issue of job creation, it’s still too early to say who really won until all the votes are cast out.  I guess, the more appropriate term is a ‘stalemate’.  All of these talks aim to gain trust and respect – which you can’t win overnight.  You can’t command it or demand it either.  But to be a leader, you have to earn respect and this can mean going back to the basics, of being consistent with your message because people REALLY do pay attention.  You don’t have to be right all the time, but you must still have that positive mindset to respond to the challenge, to forgive others as well as yourself.  Enough with the jabs, I’d say, for leaders walk the walk.  All these talks are hollow if you can’t make an impact, a difference in the lives of people you lead.

    Getting Jobs Back

    It’s not as simple as everyone thinks.  One hot topic in last week’s face off has been the issue of outsourcing jobs overseas.  The manufacturing industry has been hit badly when it comes to finding cheaper labor cost elsewhere.  Do our candidates hope to bring back Apple’s manufacturing jobs?  While President Barack Obama acknowledge that these ‘low-wage, low-skill jobs’ won’t be coming back, Romney is pointing out on being tough on China’s currency manipulation.  Quite contradictory as that would mean making hiring labor there… cheaper?  I’ve mentioned before about having hybrid sourcing models to remedy this issue.  Besides, this is the era of globalization and I’m optimistic that we can find something that will work for everyone.

    Small Business and Globalization

    The idea of business expansion is always an exciting venture for any entrepreneur.  There are small businesses who are looking for new markets beyond the U.S. borders, like a modern hunt for El Dorado.  There will be challenges, no doubt, and it will transcend foreign currency, language and culture differences.  There will be legal matters to settle too, like trademark requests, privacy laws and so on – as this will differ from one country to another.  Most of them have stiff requirements too than what you’ll expect if you’re doing business here in the U.S.  While the subject of helping small businesses benefit more from international trade feels like music to my ears, we’ll just have to wait and see for this bit of encouragement to become a reality.

    On the other hand, who do you think has won the debate on this topic?

  2. What Social Media Marketers Won’t Tell You ( But You Need to Know )

    "marketing trap"I’m one of the many small business owners out there who have jumped into the social media bandwagon hoping to have that ultimate fix to cure my sales and marketing ills.  Guess what?  I was wrong.  There’s simply no shortcuts to creating trust online and you can’t improve your revenue by 30% overnight.  The bad news is that many are still falling for this trap set by so-called social media experts who love to gamble with your money that you start to wonder just how far can you stretch your resources.  Sure, we’ve fallen for bad advice more than once as we grow our online presence from becoming a nobody to a somebody.  Is social media marketing worth every penny then?

    The Truth About Social Media that No One Wants to Tell You

    And I’m not the only one blogging about it; we’re only a few brave soul who do.  Last time, I have shared with you my perceptions on social media and why you should try social enterprise for your business.  This time, I’m taking you back to reality lane so you can avoid costly mistakes before it happens.  After all these years of building my social capital, I’ve learned that:

    1. Getting Social is NOT Being Social

    Marketers, please don’t hate me.  You may be great at connecting and starting a conversation, but not that awesome in marketing activities like lead generation to increase sales and improving customer loyalty through social media funnels.

    2.  Engagement is a Vague Word

    We all get it!  Engagement is the key to growing your online presence.  The next time you will give us this advice, please make sure that we are engaged with our customers offline first.. before we bring the whole experience online.

    3.  You CANNOT be Omnipresent

    Don’t we all love to be with the trendy crowd?  Before you even consider being on every social network that you can name, please consider where your target market is most likely to hang out.  Besides, being everywhere has its major drawback: Social Media Saturation.  There’s doing ‘less is more’ when it comes to getting better results.

    4.  Being Efficient Doesn’t Mean Being Effective

    I’m totally impressed with all the numbers, the reports based on advance analytics tools you may be using.  But, there’s a big difference between influence and reach.  While having lots of fans or followers can give me instant gratification, I’d love to see more of them converting into buying customers.  Measuring what really matters count.. a lot!

    5.  The Same Basic Strategies Still Apply

    I do appreciate all those unique marketing ideas to help me create a buzz for my brand, but at the end of the day, I have to develop my business first so I can identify new opportunities to grow my brand online or in real-time.  Please remind me to put research on top of my priority list.. or help me do so – because it will aid me in building a realistic expectation about social media marketing, the nth time around.

    And if there’s one thing I agree with internet marketers, it’s the art of creating Authenticity.  I’m with you in this concept, that having a unique voice will help me stand out from the crowd, to start with the Why of things.  The more you focus on this, the more people will trust you for them to hit that ‘buy’ button.

    Would you agree with the lessons I have learned so far?  I rest my case.

     

    ** Do you agree with Jeff on this social media pitfall?

  3. Keeping Agile in the World of Offshore Outsourcing

    "agile outsourcing"Gone were the days of labor arbitrage as we enter a new era where finding qualified talent for your team is as quick as a mouse click.  While it is true that many businesses are looking offshore to cut down on cost, there is much more benefit to be had than meets the eye.  Those who were first to take a bite have now harbored mature offshore outsourcing relationships that resulted to an overall increase in service quality, as well as maximum flexibility when it comes to the organization’s enterprise strategy process.  Many of those who have been practicing offshore outsourcing see more improvement in their organizational agility as an effect of sending work over to global sourcing hubs.  But, innovation in this area is not without a multitude of challenges.

    The Immigrant-Driven Economy

    As I’ve been following the hot debate between Obama and Romney when it comes to immigration, I can’t help but wonder just how have these people born outside the U.S. helped in growing the economy.  In this infographic from Entrepreneur online mag, it will surprise you that more foreign-born workers and entrepreneurs are driving economic growth.. and the number is rising.  What’s more amazing is that they dominate service-based industries, regardless of the language and culture barriers.  There must be a stigma right now on local businesses taking jobs abroad, but I’m hoping that whoever wins the presidential race will not forget about the efforts of these migrants who are helping reshape the economy in such uncertain times.

    How Do You Play the Sourcing Game?

    While there’s news of GM bringing back 10,000 IT jobs on-shore, many other early adopters of offshore outsourcing may just follow suit.  Manufacturing is one of those areas where we’ll surely hear more news where sourcing is concerned.  But in this age of globalization where the fast beats the big, to survive the game, you have to multi-source… or simply, take the best of both worlds, of what insourcing and outsourcing can bring to your business so you can maximize productivity and increase your ROI.  As the adage goes, fortune favors the brave.  Many may still be reluctant to go local because they may not be able to scale their operations like what they currently do now overseas, like in India.  Investing in domestic resources may just not be a viable option for some.  Are you willing to take the risk?

    Offshore Outsourcing and Agility

    Some say that you can’t outsource agile for the simple fact that distance works against close collaboration among your team.  Can you really adopt an agile work process when it comes to outsourcing?  Though it comes with challenges, especially in the matter of managing people and technology, the good news is that it is manageable.  The core value of organizational agility comes with the right preparation, of taking baby steps, starting things slowly but surely, investing in on-site training, choosing the right partner, and having project managers who lead by example.  It’s all about taking advantage of the best available resources, onshore and offshore, that works for many successful teams.  In this case, we’re more likely to see hybrid sourcing models bloom just to make ends meet, as they call it.

    The decision is yours to make.  Experiment and Learn.