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Posts Tagged ‘management’

Can Anyone Anywhere build the next Google?!

November 22nd, 2013 No comments

Vivek Wadhwa recently posted a column on LinkedIn with the provocative headline, Anyone, anywhere can start the next Google. Wadhwa is a “fellow” at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.  Let's review some of his thoughts before commenting.

"A common excuse that entrepreneurs make for not being able to innovate is the lack of venture capital in their region. They argue that because investors are not ready to take a risk, they can’t succeed. Policy makers all over the world make the same excuse. So did legendary Indian entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in a Linkedin post about “why India can’t produce a single Apple or a Google”."

"Access to venture capital may have been a problem as recently as a decade ago, but is no longer an inhibitor. The cost of developing world-changing startups has dropped dramatically. With the exponential advances in technologies such as computing, storage, and sensors, entrepreneurs can do what only governments and big research labs could do before: solve big problems."

"When Google was founded in 1998, for example, the DEC AlphaServer 8400, a minicomputer with the same processing power the iPad enjoys today, cost close to $1 million. Storage necessitated installing a server farm and rack upon rack of hard disks. It cost millions of dollars to start a technology company. Today, anyone can buy computing power and storage for practically nothing from companies such as Amazon and Google. The iPhone 5S is more powerful than the Cray supercomputers of yesteryear—which the U.S. placed tight export restrictions on. Today we carry supercomputers in our pockets and use them to check e-mail and make phone calls every now and then."

"It cost more than a billion dollars to sequence a full human genome a decade ago. It costs less than three thousand dollars to do now. Soon it will cost less than a cup of coffee. Genome data are available from millions of people already; soon this will be in the billions. Anyone anywhere can now write computer code that compares one person’s DNA with another; learn what diseases people with similar genes have had; and analyze the correspondences between genomes and the effectiveness with which different medications or other interventions have treated a given disease."

"The same advances are happening with sensor-based devices. Sensors such as those in our iPhones cost tens of thousands of dollars a few years ago but now cost practically nothing. They are allowing us to build devices to monitor our health—so that we can prevent disease and dramatically reduce health-care costs. Entrepreneurs are building iPhone apps that act like medical assistants and detect disease; smart pills that we swallow in order to monitor our internals; and body sensors that monitor heart, brain, and body activity. Sensors are also being used to monitor soil humidity, pressure in oil pipelines, and traffic patterns. These are available to Indian entrepreneurs as readily as to scientists in U.S. research labs."

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"One device that I recently tested is by Alivecor. The prototype that Alivecor gave me worked with India’s $40 Aakash tablet. It provides the same information as expensive EKG machines do, and the data can be uploaded to the cloud and analyzed by software."

"An entrepreneur I know in Chile also built a water sanitization system that can help reduce the incidence of disease caused by waterborne viruses in the developing world as well as in the developed world. Alfredo Zolezzi’s $500 Plasma Water Sanitation System does what even the most expensive water sanitization systems don’t—kills 100% of the bacteria and viruses in water. This device can help save the millions of lives that are lost because of unsanitary water. It could also earn billions in revenue. Zolezzi built this with a small team in Chile—with no venture capital."

Wadhwa narrative of modern successes goes on, but you get the point.  

Millions of professionals in all industries and careers – including tens of thousands in MH – are limiting themselves through their thoughts, words and actions.

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This is what Zig Ziglar famously and insightfully called 'cooked in a squat.' 

Do you know someone doing the same things the same as they did 10 years ago?  Chances are good, they are limiting themselves when they do so! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for November and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Sparks Wrap up the Discussion of the Future of the Land Lease Business Model, National Communities Council 2013 Fall Leadership Forum

October 20th, 2013 No comments

Each of the panels and presenters at the 2013 National Communities Council (NCC) inaugural 2013 Fall Leadership Forum offered multiple take-aways which properly applied could have been worth more than the price of admission.

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Randy Rowe (l), Gary McDaniel, Joe Stegmayer, Stephen Braun (r)

For this column, we will focus on a very focused segment of the final panel discussion – The Future of the Land Lease Business Model – which featured Randy Rowe, Green Courte Partners (GCP), Gary McDaniel of Yes! Communities, Joe Stegmayer, Cavco Industries and Stephen Braun of Hometown America.

Don Westphal commented during the discussion that manufactured housing is “….the only industry that succeeded in spite of itself.”

Joe Stegmayer commented on the importance of sales training and product knowledge.

Since marketing, image and branding where among the topics at the NCC Fall Forum, certainly Don's and Joe's comments could have easily been applied to what is often the lack of a proper implementation of marketing and sales training in our industry. Does this cost our industry and land lease communities business?

A number of Industry Voices guest blog posts last month answered that question with a strong “yes.”

The subject of national MH Industry image campaign came up near the end of the panel discussion. Cavco Chairman and CEO Joe Stegmayer stated that “We would be willing to support” such a campaign.

Randy Rowe is a long time proponent of an image building and other professionalism enhancing efforts, as is showcased in this exclusive interview, linked here.

Green Courte's Chairman underscored that ½ of a percent or somewhat more of industry new home shipment revenues could fund a campaign that would rival the size of the highly successful GoRVing campaign, which is about $18 million a year.

Gary McDaniel said he disagreed.

Such a campaign, he argued, “Won't do much for us.”

McDaniel's offered up a common argument made by those who oppose such an effort, by saying that local, community level marketing and good business practices would do more for our industry than an image building effort would do.

Yes! Communities McDaniel's went on to say that if someone wants to call our homes a “mobile home,” then “God bless them.”

“A clean, affordable and safe place to live,” said McDaniel, “rather than respectability,” is what our industry's traditional home buyers seek.

To this comment Randy Rowe dove in with the comment, that while respecting McDaniel's, “I strongly disagree.”

Rowe pointed out that just getting around the “trailer moniker is huge.” “These are great homes,” Rowe said, built in a “temperature controlled environment.”

GCP's Chairman Rowe clearly expressed his conviction that we as an industry would attract more customers including those who are financially more affluent customers by improving our industry's image.

Beyond the NCC Fall Forum thinking

MHProNews has long supported the need for enhanced professionalism, including image building. This includes sales training which GMHA's Jay Hamilton said in this guest column was crucial, combined with image building.

Drew Chairman Leigh Abrams took a position very much akin to that of Randy Rowe in his interview, linked on his name above.

While we would whole heatedly agree with Randy Rowe's position – that a full fledged image campaign has strong merit and value to build the future of land lease communities and the industry at large – the nuance noted above has an echo in Gary McDaniel's call for sound professional performance at the local level.

We'd also take the editorial view that manufactured housing doesn't have to invest 10 million or more to get some benefit from image building. Image can be improved subtly but surely and at a low cost via online efforts, which other presenters at the NCC forum pointed out.

It is precisely with that thought which motivated the launch last summer of ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com. We are already generating leads for pros via that platform that attract customers who may not have considered the manufactured housing option otherwise.

The Industry In Focus Report on the study by NAR and Google on Why You Should Target Home Shoppers Online clearly underscores the value of doing such online image building efforts.

Sam Landy of UMH Properties fame stated in his interview linked on his name that he sees how the industry could rise to 300,000 to 400,000 shipments again. Image building is part of the key!

UMH and CU Factory Built Lending are among those early supporters for this online image building effort.

Until the industry is willing to invest millions, a small fraction of that and the 3 easy steps found on the download linked at the end of the article here would turn ManufacturedHomeLivingNews into a significant force fueling more sales, could improve our political clout and improve the image for communities and our industry at large.

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Those interested in “lighting candles” are encouraged to sound off or contact us at the number or email below. We are better off when we advance our image and professionalism together. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for October and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

“Hi-Tech Business Cards”

August 18th, 2013 No comments

What's in a name? Plenty! What you label or 'name' an item can often make or break a product or service. Or as a friend of mine bounces back and forth with me, 'the truth well told is powerful.'

Let me share a specific example.

As one of several tests for 'spreading the word' about the new ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com website with the public and industry, we printed up two new cards. These we named or labeled “hi-tech business cards” as they were handed out to someone.

The one below with 3 QR Codes on it is designed to be given to Industry professionals. The one that says “Improved LifeStyles!” is for the public at large.

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Both are standard business card size. As I hand them out, and say words like “You might find this hi-tech business card of interest,” a wide array of replies comes, but so far, all of them positive.

Wow, this looks cool.”

This is my first hi-tech business card.”

Or…

The person who said, “I like it,” and promptly pulled out his smart phone and used his QR ap scanner to read the card.

Want to do something different? Consider your own hi-tech business card. Combine it with a sharp looking website, and voila! You can make an instant impression that can lead you to more business. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red HotFeatured Articles for August and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 815-270-0500 |

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Handling Detractors

March 13th, 2013 No comments

Detractors, nay-sayers, back-stabbers and others who'd love to toss you under the bus. First, we all have them! It may be the former employee or colleague, who now wants to make you and/or your business look bad. It might be a competitor. It could be the customer no one could possibly please. It may be the 'ex' whomever, who is an 'ex' for a reason, and now they want to make it look like the only reason is you. In this column, we will do a look at some ways how you can handle the detractor.

Let's begin with this premise, that the kind of detractors we are going to talk about are of the unjust variety. If someone is complaining, first stop and consider the complaint objectively. Is there truth to it? If so, make the personal/professional adjustment needed to turn the complaint into a reason to improve.

Next, look at the types of unjustified complaints. Especially in an Internet, tweet, email age when someone can blast away at you to thousands of people, what can you do?

The options are indeed many, and some companies, attorneys and consultants exist who specialize in 'reputation management.' You and your organization's reputation is important! A good rep will help you profit. A bad rap can cost you a fortune, or even put you out of business. Some types of detraction (examples: libel, slander) may require legal assistance. Let's focus today on those that don't require an attorney.

Modern "Social" Testimonials

Testimonials and social media are key tools needed to contradict the nay sayer! While letters of reference, awards and 'good news' articles or interviews are all helpful, perhaps the key today is to successfully engage in social media.

Let me stress that it is always my goal to practice what is preached, and hopefully to do so with a measure of success about what is being shared. Real life examples help us all. I used to think good ideas were soooo important. They are, but later I learned that Ideas truly are a dime a dozen. Successful implementation and proof is what turns what would have been a day dream into an idea of specific, concrete value!

Having teed that up, let me share some personal experiences.

About two years ago, I listened to a professional friend's advice. He told me to build out my LinkedIn profile and invite people to “connect” with me on LinkedIn. This friend is a LinkedIn Lion, and has done very well due in part to his use of LinkedIn and Twitter. So I listened to what he had to say, and took his advice. Hint, hint. I hope you will listen and do too.

At first it was slow going. But today, my LinkedIn connections number among the largest in factory built housing. Over 900 connections and growing. I'm glad I took my friend's advice!

As important as the number of connections are endorsements and recommendations.

At first, I asked for recommendations. Later, they simply came my way. Exactly when LinkedIn began the endorsement function, I can't say without researching it. But the endorsements started coming in (without my asking) a few months ago and have not stopped!

As the screen capture from my LinkedIn profile page above shows, I have something like 175 endorsements at the time I'm writing this column. Besides those shown in this screen capture, are some pretty finely targeted skills and topics that have also been endorsed, not shown in the graphic above.

We also get other testimonials via email or letters beyond LinkedIn that we may post, here are some testimonial examples. Make sure you showcase testimonials whenever possible. For example, notice how we sprinkled them onto the pages of our MHC-MD.com website. That does make a difference!

Now none of those LinkedIn connections, endorsements or recommendations puts a nickel in my pocket directly. But 7 to as high as 70 people a week check out my LinkedIn profile. Some of those who look my profile turn into clients. Coincidence?

No.

What is really interesting is that some of those clients have been told negative stuff by that handful of souls who seem to make it their mission in life to attempt to toss me under the biggest, baddest bus they can dream up. So having those referrals and testimonials can be crucial to neutralizing the naysayers. That also happens to be the theme of this article!

Weights, Measures and Comparisons

I tell sales pros in my training sessions that most prospective clients (retail or B2B) weigh, measure and compare products and services before acting.

Today, that may mean that before you go to a new restaurant, you read online comments posted by others. Let's say you read a half a dozen comments. 5 are good. 1 is terrible. You read them all with a dash of the skeptical, because you know that people can pat themselves on the back, or the opposite… Does the comment(s) read like it may be legit?

Once you did your quick evaluation, you make a decision. You go eat there. The food, service and atmosphere are as good as most reviewers said. You say to yourself, 'The one who trashed the place may have been a disgruntled ex employee, or someone that is hyper critical, happened to catch someone on a bad day, etc..'

That principle will apply to others who are evaluating you, IF you start, have and improve your professional social networking and testimonial gathering efforts.

More Positives than Negatives

The point is that the way you deal with detractors today is to line up testimonials that showcase your good work! Make it easy for people online to see how well thought of you or your company's product(s) or service(s) may be.

In the case of written testimonials in an article or letter, showcase one or two on your website and then let people know they can ask for and receive others.

While the more the merrier, even a few good words from good people can make the difference as people consider doing business with you.

Let's sum up:

  • Ask for letters or recommendation. If you are working B2B (business to business), the recommendation should be on that company's letterhead.
  • Use social media. Facebook tends to be better for B2C (business to consumer), LinkedIn tends to be better for B2B. Get endorsements and recommendations.
  • Showcase those online, so that prospective customers doing a quick web search can find them easily.

Not just Talking, Doing

Walk the talk. Don't over-promise. Don't under-deliver. Do what you say you will do. If something goes wrong and you are responsible, then do what you can to make it right.

Nothing – short of death – can stop the determined detractor. But you can neutralize their voice(s) by applying the suggestions you see in this column. Be pro-active and build up your positive, online presence. When the detractor comes along, you will be ready for them.

Open minded people who see that you have far more supporters than detractors will be able to see that the detractor's comments as the exception, not the rule. Do you recall the Hollywood maxim, there is no bad publicity. While I don't entirely agree, you can in fact turn a negative into a positive. You may close new business because of the detractor, so long as you have built up the resources noted in this article.

Finally, take the first step. It takes time to do what is described above. Don't let that stop you from starting. Getting the letters, Facebook like's, LinkedIn connections,

endorsements and recommendations, etc. are worth the effort. Once you have the testimonial process started, it picks up speed ever more easily.

Until next time, All the Best! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for March and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Memorable Destination and Launching Pad

February 23rd, 2013 1 comment

What if your business became a desired destination? Or what if your location was viewed as 'a launching pad' for fun and adventure? Have you ever heard about selling the sizzle, instead of the steak?

As an example, in my recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the option of flying out of Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) or Milwaukee's MKE airport. I chose MKE – Mitchell – for a variety of reasons.

Airports are a destination as well as a via point to elsewhere. They have often become mini-malls and restaurant rows. MKE has added some elements of a museum, artwork and other interesting and fun features to make coming to their airport more desirable.

It started with Long Term Parking

Airport parking at MKE offers four primary options, my choice was the long term 'super saver' parking (a good 50% less than ORD). The shuttle driver appeared as if on cue. Robert, the driver in the photo, proceeded to entertain us all (7 or so on that ride) with riddles, directions, suggestions, humor and good service.

We learned Robert had a 96 out of of 100 on his last job evaluation. He was good, so I believe it! Robert enjoys what he does, and it showed.

When I got inside the terminal, I spotted a table tennis (ping pong, anyone?) table! Two college-age looking guys (Tate, left; Mark, right) were playing. It has been YEARS since I played.

But what the heck? If I lost, they'd never see me again! If I won…hmm…

…I asked to play the winner, who turned out to be Tate, who had won by 10 over his buddy Mark.

Since Tate was smoking me with even gentle serves and returns during the warm up, which lasted about 120 seconds, he showed the zeal of youth. "Are you warmed up enough?"

Sure, was my reply.

What did I have to lose?

My pin-holder grip, learned during my own college days from a South Korean student, has the occasional advantage of laying on some spin. The pin-holder is also pretty potent when a ball floated into smash position!

When I first walked up, it was only Tate, Mark and myself. But as the middle age guy – that was moi! – started to mount up the score, a small crowd gathered as we played…

By the end of the game, the once empty wall across from the PGA shop was lined with spectators. Tate was periodically muttering to himself about letting himself get 'shaken,' 'surprised' and such.

The final was 21 to 12, with the short guy in the hat (Tate, left; Tony, right) prevailing.

I asked one of those spectators to take the photo shown. Tate was a good sport, we shook hands and I yielded the table, not wanting to tempt fate (after all, Tate was closing the gap in the second half).

None of this would have happened at O'Hare!

So what is the point?

The point is this. I'm doing in this column what millions do daily on Facebook, Twitter, via email, text or verbally. Sharing the day's experience! Someone will read this someday, and will select flights out of MKE vs. ORD as a result of my story and photos.

The lesson? Make the experience with your company memorable!

If you retail manufactured or modular homes, make the experience of coming to your community, development or retail center a good one. No matter what they decide, let them have a good time while you strive to show them why your offer is the place they should call home.

Our businesses and homes are destinations. They can become the launching pad for fun for people! Make the experience memorable, and more people will beat a path to your door. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford