The Secret of Successful Negotiation

Your best work is done before you get to the negotiation table.

The area of negotiation that most affects the outcome is the part you have most control over – the preparation. Research has shown that the best prepared negotiator is the one most likely to get the best outcome.

Preparation that gives you a head start on your opponent can be achieved by anyone willing to spend the time. Here’s nine factors you should prepare.

1. Know the ‘pie’ – fixed or variable

‘Fixed pie’ negotiations are those where the only way I can get a better outcome is to get you to accept a lesser outcome. These never result in a win-win outcome. ‘Growing the pie’ negotiations include variables that creative negotiators use to create high perceived value for the other side at little cost to them. Thinking creatively can even allow you to turn a fixed pie into a variable one. Perhaps the asset (a motor vehicle) is fixed, but you could add variables like payment terms, advanced servicing. The salary might be fixed, but flexibility of hours could add significant value for some candidates.

2. Know the impact

Will the outcome of this negotiation impact on any other current or possible future negotiations with the other party? You don’t want to compromise any negotiations going on now or set precedents that might disadvantage you at some time in the future.

3. Know which side is under the most time pressure

The side under the most time pressure has the greatest incentive to be flexible and may be prepared to give more as the deadline gets closer. If the other side is under the most pressure, your advantage grows daily. If the time pressure is on you, be aware this is a weakness and that if the other side becomes aware of it they will use it.

4. Know the relationship

Is this a one-off negotiation or are there likely to be future dealings? Is the relationship important to you? If the answer is yes, is it important enough for you to be more generous with your offer(s)? If the answer is no, will this change your approach and tactics?

5. Know the other side

Is their negotiation style primarily competitive or cooperative? How likely are they to try to bluff? If you haven’t negotiated with them before, is there someone else you know who has that you can talk to? Is there anything you can find out about them that they might not expect you to know? Anything you can do to compromise their confidence in their preparation is a useful tactical tool.

6. Know what they know

Research yourself. Find out what they know about you. Don’t let them spring any surprises on you.

7. Know some accepted authorities

Facts and figures are so often misrepresented in negotiations, nobody takes the other side’s word. Try to find some authorities that you will both accept as reference points.

8. Know your ‘negotiable’

Build a list of all the negotiating issues you are prepared to bring to the table. Priorities them. Try to build a similar prioritized list for the other side. Issues which appear lower on your list but higher on theirs are the ones that you will get most value for when bargaining. Determine what will be your starting point and your bottom limit. Be as precise as you can.

If you cannot priorities a list for the other side in your preparation, try to determine their priorities in your preamble discussion with them before you start putting offers on the table. If appropriate, try to have a pre-negotiation discussion with them where no one would be making any commitments; you would just be getting to understand each other better to help you create the highest-value offers.

9. Know your alternatives

The side who is most able to walk away from a negotiation will negotiate strongest. You can only do this if you have an equivalent alternative to negotiate with. If you don’t, and this party is your best or only option, then do you have a Plan B to offer them if all else fails?

All the latest studies have shown that preparation and planning are the keys to success in negotiation. Sides that prepare and know precisely their goals in a negation always do better than those who go in ‘hoping for the best’. Those who set specific timelines do better than those who are more flexible. Many things happen in a negotiation that you don’t have control over; but your preparation is not one of them. Everyone is busy; but using that as an excuse is a mistake. Walk in best prepared – and walk out most satisfied.

Package Forwarding Service

As far as international shipping is concerned, you have many options. But one of the best options is hiring a good package forwarding service. Let’s take an example Suppose you reside in Australia or UK, and you want to buy an item from eBay or Amazon. In this case, you have to use a package forwarding service. This service will help you save a lot of money, as you won’t need to pay high shipping charges. it’s not difficult to use such service. Read on to know more.

Registration

First of all, you need to choose a package forwarding site. Once you have a good and reliable provider, your next step is to sign up to get an account. By signing up, you will receive a forwarding address. You will use this address to meet your shipping and shopping needs from time to time.

Make sure you check everything carefully before signing up. The shipping cost shouldn’t be too high. Aside from this, you need to find out about other services offered by the provider, such as package consolidation, repackaging and fees, just to name a few. it’s very important that you take all these things into consideration or you will regret your decision later on.

Address details

As far as entering your address is concerned, you can use the same address you saved at the time of signing up for the first time. Once you have chosen the address, you can go ahead and place your order. This way you won’t have to type your address each time you place a new order. Next, you should wait for the delivery of the package from the seller to your address.

Package handling

Now, you need to make arrangements for your parcel handling like repacking. Another option that you can consider is package consolidation. When you place orders with many retailers, you can try out this option. You can save a lot of money with package consolidation. However, you need to keep in mind that choosing this option may add to the custom duty for some countries. In this case, what you need to do is get the package sent separately instead of paying high custom duty.

Shipping fee

Keep in mind that you will have to pay the international shipping fee if you want to get the package at your doorstep. Once you have paid the shipping, the package will be yours.

Important things to consider

You may want to prefer a forwarder that charges no membership fee
Remember: lower shipping fee can’t be translated to reduced total amount
For package delivery in tax-free states, you can save more.
Consider the membership fees
Make sure there are no hidden fees, such as storage fees
Don’t place your order for prohibited items as they won’t be forwarded

Long story short, if you are going to choose a package forwarding service in the near future, we suggest that you consider the advice given in this article. This will save you a lot of headache down the road.

Office Design for Improving Productivity

Sometimes, adding chalkboards and whiteboards can seem handy, but there is more than you can do to improve your office space. Here are just a few office design tips to help improve your overall productivity.

1. Idea Storage

One of the worst things that can happen for creative people is that they have a great idea but do not have anywhere to write it down, and they lose it. There is also the chance that you will end up doing a huge amount of research on a topic that you are not going to use. Whiteboards and notebooks are a great option for writing your ideas down, so you can continue to work on your main task for the day.

2. Remove the Clutter

It is important that you are regularly cleaning your office. Clutter comes from your creative mind working, but it can make focusing and getting your work done difficult. You should make sure that you have enough storage for all your items and that you have access to your most used objects.

3. Bring in Some Nature

We are biological creatures, so we should be spending some amount of time outside every single day. However, being inside all the time has a huge effect on our work. While it would be nice to spend a lot of time outside, for most jobs, this is not really possible. If you cannot take your work outside, why not bring nature to you? Try opening the shades and letting fresh air. This could help you feel more energized and help you get more done. Plants can also be a great option to add to your office, you just have to remember to water it.

4. Table and Chairs

We have all experienced having to sit at a table and having to consistently having to readjust to be comfortable, so we could focus on our work. This is why you should take the time to find a desk and chair that both fits your body and the way that you sit. This can take some adjusting to if you are working on an office where you do not have control over when items are ordered. If you are working at home, try to sit in chairs that you are thinking about buying for around 30 minutes to find out if they are comfortable for you.

Human Resource Practices

What we have in the prevailing marketplace in today’s economy is the effort that has been made by some well-recognized companies, among them, the Fortune 500 companies based in the United States, who have come to take note of the contribution of their human resource department towards the success of their organizations, SHRM. This has led to the creation of human resource practices by HR department, that motivate its members to continuously being proactive in looking at the business organization, as it engages its employees to determine how they can be supported in strengthening the company’s strategic policies.

A business organization’s human resource practices coupled with its policies are very important in the creation and maintenance of a work culture that is meant to reward, support and then create the expectation for the employees to be consistent in the performance of their work and provision of services. The ultimate goal is the achievement of an optimum customer satisfaction, which at the end leads to a satisfactory financial outcome that create a tremendous success for the company involved, SHRM.

Human resource professionals have been traditionally aligned with administration and finance, tasked with paperwork and far removed from where decisions are made in C-suite level leaders. It has been acknowledged in today’s organizations the value of employees as a key resource, therefore are embracing HR as a key strategic partner with organizational leaders. The new role being given to HR is behind the drive to have companies invest more in advanced technologies that will enable them to manage the workforce, in order to allow HR to spend more time in making valuable contributions.

It has been found based on an audit of Fortune 500 companies that having an HR executive officer among the company’s executive leaderships lead to high performance. In the audit, it was made clear the impact of having Chief HR Officer in the C-suite, which is that the companies with CHRO are averaging 105 percent more profit than their industry peers that do not have one.

Having a chief human resource officer at the C-suite conference table means that the person with the title is able to bring to the table issues affecting the HR department that could not have been possible were the person not there. So the CHRO presence is able to make the argument of the impact of having human resource on the company’s bottom line, the value it brings to the company’s strategic decision making process, and also the need for the company to create HR that is high performance and is involve in the learning and development of its employees, and also the need for an effective technological solutions.

According to some of the Fortune 500 companies audited, the CHRO in those companies embraced the use of customer analysis, proactive talent management as human resource practices. Some of the human resource practices policies enacted that directly lead to high performance in those companies include the exposure of HR risks, like the need to retain key talent in the company’s annual reports and instituting the continuous review of goals and performance throughout the year, particularly:

When the company involve identify risks in their annual reports, the company performs better when compare with peers that do not identify risk in their key financial and market metrics like return on assets (55%), operating profit (by 95%) and earning per share (by 54%).

The organizations that review its employees performance throughout the year are likely to continuously meet its quarterly financial expectation, and show a better average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) when they are compared to their peers that only review performance on an annual basis.

Organizations that have a higher part of its goals aligned and completed does better than its industry peers in key financial metrics, such as quarterly financial estimates, operating profit, earning per share, and price-earnings ratio.

Having a CHRO has proven to have a link to a company’s bottom line, demonstrating the vital correlation between effective talent management and business performance. There are many companies that are very successful in today’s marketplace because they have been able to institutionalized human resource practices platform that put forward an advanced, connected HCM solutions that manage an entire employee life cycle; starting from recruitment to retirement- taking the role from being transnational to strategic, also predictive.

The Ultimate Strategy For International Air Freight Shipping

Gone are the days when physical boundaries and geographical locations created barriers. It’s the age of innovative transportation where businesses have the opportunity to reach out to potential consumers. Whether it’s a bulky electronics item or documents, you can opt for air-freight shipping solutions and get them delivered to exact locations. If you are running a business, all you need to do is develop a unique strategy for such transportation. That will help you send all the products to their desired addresses.

Identifying your needs

Do you know what are the prime requisites involved in International Air Freight Shipping? If you don’t, it is the high time to develop crystal clear ideas of the process. While looking for these services, make sure you know your needs and understand your requirements. It’s highly imperative to comprehend the technicalities as that is the key to executing critical operations.

Things to note

Before devising the strategies and implementing them, make sure you take note of the crucial factors involved in these projects. What’s your requirement in an overseas transportation project? Here are some of the factors that matter a lot when you plan to associate with the best International Air Freight Shipping service providers:

Services and solutions

Does your chosen partner offer 24*7 support assistance? Overseas shipping and deliveries require profound attention, care, and professional handling. You must take a look at the services offered by the top companies before finalizing the associations!

Cargo deliveries

Your cargo should reach on time as that will prove your service excellence. Timely cargo deliveries are of paramount significance for a company and it instills trust and reliability to a great extent. When it boils down to executing cargo transportations, make sure your chosen partners have the right resources in place.

Cost factors

Choosing the top companies can be affordable too. Most of the people think that partnering with a reputed freight shipping firm can be expensive, but that’s not the truth. It’s imperative to check the service costs and their solutions. That will give you a complete idea of their services.

Finding the leaders

Always look for the top service providers, as they always come up with a host of solutions for clients. Check their experience, market reputation, and several other factors that make them the true leaders. The best companies will have services for one and all. That’s what makes them the pioneers.

Factors to consider

If you are planning to get in touch with leaders, here are some of the factors to care about:

Experience: Always get in touch with experienced companies as they have in-depth knowledge of the market.

Expertise: Professional expertise is of huge importance and you shouldn’t compromise in this regard. Check whether your chosen partners are aware of the technicalities.

Services: When the international shipping, you should opt for the perfect solutions. Know about the services offered by the chosen companies and then take the final decision.

Parting thoughts

Once you analyze these aspects, you will surely get in touch with the top shipping and transportation partners.

Best Expense Management Solution By Thinking Outside The Box

This is how not to handle expense management in your business. Whilst a substantial part of managing expenses can be compartmentalized into how people make claims, and how those claims are processed, there are times when you’d benefit from thinking outside the box.

To illustrate the point, I’m going to look at telephones, the way your business uses them, and the way changing that can be part of an expense management strategy. Many years ago, in another life, I asked a senior manager how much he spent on line rental and calls for the fax machines in his business. He didn’t know, and asked his secretary to being in the relevant invoices.

She appeared carrying two large ring binders. Looking at them, he asked her for just the fax machine invoices. She pointed at the binders. “Those are the fax machine invoices,” she said.

He had no idea at the scale of the costs involved, and we immediately set about reducing them. And there’s the lesson: Show me any cost you’re not controlling, and I’ll show you an unnecessary expense.

Of course, fax machines are consigned to history with quill pens and carbon paper, but let’s stick with telephones; we still use those. Here are some areas in which you might be spending too much for mobiles, (and here’s the important part) without being aware of it.

1. Data roaming: Set up a company policy that it should be turned off except for short periods to allow emails to be delivered or sent, rather than being on 24/7. Data roaming charges can be high, and can mount significantly if you have a large number of employees travelling

2. Use one company: Don’t have a series of providers. Restricting services to just one allows you to negotiate better deals for new handsets and connectivity

3. Go for VOIP: For office phones there are lots of ways to use the internet to make calls, giving the traditional desktop phone a new lease of life. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and means there’s no need to have a traditional phone contract, so long as you have good broadband connectivity. Providers of phone systems like this will usually deal with you on a rolling monthly contract, and their systems are extremely, so you can add or subtract handsets almost at will.

4. Be careful with perks. If employees are able to use company phones for personal use (and we’re back to mobiles here), then that permission should be restricted. OK, make short personal calls, but talking for hours to an aunt in Australia, or streaming a box set to a hotel room in Berlin could soon set you back a considerable – and unwelcome – amount.

5. Don’t leave legacies. When an employee leaves the company, make sure to cancel or transfer their part of the phone number, and don’t toss the handset into the back of a drawer. Re-use it, or send it for recycling _ once you’ve cleared any company data from it.

More than just number reduction

Consider the benefits that come alongside mobile phone use, and blurring the distinction between company and private life. When you’ve automated your expenses by implementing a solution based on business expense management software using an app, everyone’s going to need a phone so they can use your system.

Allowing an employee to make personal calls, to that agreed cost limit, might have a payback in loyalty. It might mean they’re more amenable to taking a work-related call out of hours, as part of a bit of give and take – but make sure that you track the benefit so that all the necessary tax is paid. There’s no future in saving money by cheating the taxman.

Applying this kind of thinking to all aspects of your business can make a significant difference to your bottom line, and be a useful ally to your business expense management software.

Underfloor Air Distribution

In our houses, we have vents in the floors and ceilings that shoot out cool or warm air depending on what season it is and whether we have the furnace or the air conditioner on. Because the vents are in a set position on the floor, it makes furniture rearrangement that much more tricky and doesn’t allow for you to re purpose rooms as easily as you may imagine, but it gets hot and cold outside and we want our homes to be cooled or heated at will and this is how it is done.

More and more buildings on a bigger scale however have underfloor air distribution built right in as they are constructed making floor plans more flexible and without the need for static vents in strange places.

This technique is used in areas like data centers that produce a lot of heat from computers and equipment that is constantly used. In this application, isolated air conditioner zones are associated with raised flooring. Perforated tiles are placed under the computer systems to direct air to them, cooling them down in the process. The computing equipment is designed to draw the cool air from below and get rid of the warm air into the room. The air conditioner unit will them draw air from the room, cools it and forces it again through the raised flooring for the cycle to be complete.

Of course, raised flooring and underfloor air distribution go hand in hand and it is all part of the HVAC system in a building. This system makes for improved comfort for individuals in the building, better ventilation for equipment, machinery and of course, staff and improved energy efficiency for the building itself. It also results in reduced life cycle costs and is used in places like museums, schools, churches, offices and airports, all places where lots of people gather and lots of equipment is continually used.

One of the best parts about underfloor air distribution is the fact that reconfiguration of the space is a lot easier, it is also great for computer rooms as they are constantly cooled, reducing the effect of over heating on their operating systems. The only place this newer technology isn’t effective is for wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms, pool areas, gymnasiums and dining areas but it is widely used in common buildings around the country like the New York Times Building and the Bank of America Tower to name just two.

Customer Service Can Makes a Company Great

What makes a company great, makes it stand out head and shoulders above the rest; has not only loyal but repeat customers who go back time and time again?

Is it the size of the company – bigger is always better?

Is it the amount of profits they make – well they must be good if they are making all that money – right?

Is it maybe they are the only business which has a particular item – hardly.

Or is their marketing excelling, taking full advantage of ALL media including online, social, TV and broadsheets as well as radio and tabloids.

What is their secret?

The truth is there is no secret, it all boils down to one thing – no matter size, profits, products, services or marketing plan, if you don’t have this one thing you may as well shut up shop and go home – and that one thing is Customer Service.

Don’t get me wrong the other things do help in some small way but Customer Service is King.

It should be natural and not forced. How annoying did “Have a nice day” become? It was novel at first but…

So how do you achieve great Customer Service?

Try following these dos and don’ts as guidelines:-

Do smile when talking – seems strange I know but it works, try it and see the difference.

Do listen and hear what your Customer is saying but don’t sit in silence use audible nods and empathise then repeat to show you have been listening using expressions like “If I have heard you correctly… ,” or “If I may repeat to make sure I have understood you… ” Goes a long way and also informs customer that you have been listening.

Never use the expressions “You need to… ,” or “You have to… ” They neither have to nor need to do anything.

Do ask permission “Is it OK if I take some details?” “May I have your name?” “Can I take a message?” “Are you happy to give me…?”

Don’t swear, be rude or argue back, tempting as it maybe, wait till your are of the call/ customer has gone/can’t see you, if you must vent/rant.

Don’t take it home, and never carry it over to the next customer.

Do treat each customer individually and although you may think that they are Bat Crap Crazy/stupid or what they are contacting you about is trivial, always remember to them it is important.

Don’t take it personally, they are just wanting to rant at somebody and don’t know you, all they want is for someone to take responsibility, not pass them from pillar to post and to listen.

And finally always end on a positive note, even if it’s a simple thanks for your call.

Follow these guidelines and you will notice a difference, not just in your customers but also in your staff who will be happier in their work and less stressed and if they are less stressed then they are willing to go that extra mile.

Expand Your Brand Using Other People’s Money by Using Franchisor Strategies

Back many years ago, I met a fellow franchisor, he’d built a nice company with 250 franchisees which operated Kiosks in shopping malls – you know those carts in malls that sell various wares. What he did was make each Kiosk its own business, at first as “independent contractors” but later as Franchisees due to the Franchise Law rules. Each franchisee had to sign a two-year franchise agreement with non-automatic renewal, where the Franchisor could merely take over the business, location, as he already had the lease-space agreement with the malls, including the corporations that owned many malls around the country.

After two years, he stopped renewing franchise agreements, took control of all those little businesses, and then sold the whole thing and retired a very wealthy man. Unfortunately, many of the independent contractors, turned into Franchisees were forced out after building up their businesses and providing a substantial amount of goodwill. The franchisor’s concept was built by the blood, sweat and tears of all those individuals, who did make decent money in the meantime, but were then basically terminated when their franchise agreement term ended.

Recently, there is an interesting company in the “Handy Man” sector which has a franchise agreement that states it may unilaterally buy back the franchisee’s business at any time after 2-years of operating. In the Franchisor’s option to purchase there is a mathematical formula for valuation of the Franchisee’s business that negate the value of any “goodwill” and allows the Franchisee to choose if he will see at “Fair Market Value” of assets (used equipment, office furniture) or twice the earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization (EBITA).

Why would a Franchise Buyer buy a franchise like that? I suppose there might be a few situations where it makes sense for instance, the Franchisee just needs a couple of years of income and believes they can build up a good “book” of business, and if it starts to go South, the Franchisor may buy him/her out and they can move on, less risk? But what if the Franchisor chooses not to buy and the business fails? What if the business succeeds wildly and the Franchisee is forced to sell-out a thriving and growing business?

If you think about it, it is a brilliant strategy for a Franchisor, have others build your business, take all the risks, and if they succeed, you terminate their franchise agreement instead of renewal, and if they fail, you simply let them fail, then sell that territory to a new franchisee, until one succeeds and then you just keep winning and building on the backs of others. As a franchisee buyer it may be wise to recognize such strategies and be weary of them, unless it serves your temporary purpose of a short term business and solid temporary cash flow based on your abilities and the Franchisor’s model. Think on this.

Designing Small Outdoor Spaces in Your Hospitality Business

Every outdoor area, no matter how small it is, deserves to be treated with attention. This need amplifies when it comes to restaurants, hotels, cafes and resorts. So hospitality businesses should be extra careful when designing a small outdoor space like a balcony or even a limited terrace.

In order to turn a narrow area into an attractive place to hang out, two steps must be applied: choosing the right outdoor furniture and installing them effectively.

How to choose the furniture?

Selecting small furniture

When you have a narrow area, you can still furnish it with small items that fits. For example, instead of cramming the balcony with a single sofa, use a couple of chairs and a round coffee table so guests can enjoy a relaxing morning. Don’t forget to take measurements, here a few centimeters can make a difference.

Using multi-functional outdoor furniture

A small area limits the use of several furniture to suit all needs. Therefore, an effective solution would be to use multi functional patio furniture for your restaurant, hotel, resort or cafe. A modular outdoor setting allows you to have a minimum of items with the most uses possible. For example, if a daybed and living set don’t fit together next to the pool, replace them with an outdoor furniture piece that gives you both. In that case, Skyline Design’s Bishan can be an appropriate way to combine the two, as it can be used as a daybed or a sofa set.

Going vertical with decorations

One of the latest garden design trends is the adoption of the vertical space in the outdoors. In other terms, exploiting placing decoration accessories or even plants on the walls surrounding the outdoor living area. In addition, due to this new “wave”, brands are now creating items for vertical use. For example, the famous French brand, Maiori, produced chic planters that can be placed on top of each other, in order to save horizontal space.

How to design the small space to make it look wider?

Designating a focal point

Installing outdoor furniture in a small area can be messy. A bit of organization will turn a chaotic setting into a comfortable and relaxing spot. One of the first steps to take is to focus all the outdoor chairs and sofas to one direction. A focal point can either be external like the sea, the garden or a specific landscape, as well as internal like an outdoor lounge or a hanging chair. You can add accessories according to your needs, but make sure that you still have only one focal point.

Paving the path and the living area

Another way to embellish a small outdoor space is to pave the path and the living area. However, this is a delicate task that can either break it or make it. How? Applying geometrical designs in the pavement can make the outdoor area look smaller. And most probably, that’s not what restaurants and resorts are looking to accomplish, on the contrary.

Keeping it simple with only the needed furniture

One of the main issues in small areas is the lack of space for people to move around. This is mostly due to decoration items that can be dropped out. Therefore, removing all unneeded elements, like decorations and plants, will make the small area more spacious, allowing people to be more comfortable.

Designing a small outdoor space is definitely a challenge for any interior designer or hospitality furniture company. However, choosing the right outdoor furniture, and efficiently designing the area will transform your small outdoor space into an endless paradise. So don’t miss out on this opportunity.