Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

on LinkedIn

It must be around twenty years ago that my boss asked me if I had heard of LinkedIn. I told him that I had, but had not yet explored it and we agreed that we ought to give it a try. I was in Sales & Marketing back then and, having opened my LinkedIn account, it was quite easy to add contacts from people that I already knew.

To begin with fifty contacts seemed a good target, but that went by quickly and I was soon past the ton. Then I joined the 500 Club and was quite bemused to find that I was once removed from POTUS; yes, Mr Obama was connected to someone on my circle.

But collecting contacts was not the point; quantity was no match for quality and the ability to connect with interesting people from around the world became even more important to me once I had gone freelance in 2008.

I have not used LinkedIn as a direct marketing tool because my business model works on different lines, but I have used it to gain exposure and certainly some of the assignments that have come my way have landed with me after people found me on LinkedIn.

As I write this my three score years and ten approach and I have given up the global problem solver role along with most of my other business interests. I have resigned from the last of the three professional memberships that I had acquired and perhaps the time has come to give up LinkedIn too. After all, recently all I get from it are job offers that are really inappropriate for me and a barrage of cold call messages offering services or products that a few moments of research would have shown that I am not likely to want.

The benefit of keeping my account open is probably so that anyone looking for me can find me and so I will retain my presence there, but will largely be inactive. LinkedIn has been useful, but I have better things to do with the rest of my days on the planet. 


on social media

I have been active within various social media platforms for a long time and, at times, have been an enthusiastic user of them for both business and personal purposes, but times are changing.

Perhaps it is the steady progress towards death: This year I will be 70 and the end is getting closer. I have no idea how long I have, but there is a growing desire to enjoy every minute as best as I can, so do I need all the clutter of other people’s lives intruding on what is left of mine? Yesterday I had a look at Twitter for the first time this year and quite frankly I don’t.

Twitter seems, to me, to have gone downhill fast. I used to enjoy scrolling through posts from those that I follow, but now my feed seems cluttered with all sorts of crap that they think I might like and it is hard for me to see the stuff that I want to look at. I have been fiddling with the settings and have got nowhere and so I have just deleted the app off my ‘phone and tablet. There is just so much nonsense on there that I can’t be bothered to wade through it anymore. Whether I retain the accounts or not (Have about four) remains to be seen but, for now, I am down and gone.

That was what started me off and within the hour I have also deleted the LinkedIn apps as well. Within all of the algorithms that they use surely they have one that detects your date of birth, so why do the keep bombarding a sixty-nine year old with job offers? Or offering someone with my CV jobs best suited to someone in their early twenties just starting out on a career? And then there all of the other members offering me services where none of them have really done any research on me or what I do. As with Twitter I will keep the account open for now, but my days of being active are over and I will probably shut the account down very soon.

Facebook still has some merits for me, albeit at one time I thought that it was pretty dreadful. At the moment I can live with it, but why does it keep bothering me with demands to add things? I don’t want to link things to Instagram or WhatsApp. Whilst I have both I have not come to grips with the former and only have the latter because my little sister and another relative use it. As far as I can see I have no need for either platform beyond that.

There was a time when I was trying to use social media for business purposes, but these days I am at a point where I don’t need to anymore. It is like advertising; I don’t. I get a couple of calls a week for people on behalf of 118 and other advertising media and, if I am bored, I might take the conversation past the point where they say who they are and I say goodbye, but I do understand that the caller is some poor sod trying to earn a crust and is being fed from a mailing list. I try to let them down politely so that they can move on to their next potential customer.

The bottom line is that I don’t need social media for business anymore, so why waste any time on it? I have answered that question by the way, so please don’t feel that you need to answer it.

Last year I rationalised my web site portfolio and the cull of Twitter and linkedIn is just and extension of that process. Next up will be my blogging because I have too many of those as well. There was a time when I wanted to keep personal and business issues separate, but even that dividing line is beginning to blur and so I want to look at how I use blogs and see if a better focus is possible.

So if you follow any of my other platforms you might find that I have gone AWOL. It is nothing personal if I disappear off your list of followers, it will just be because I am no longer there. One day I will no longer be here either, which is, more or less, where I came in.

How well thought out are your processes?

January 30, 2012 2 comments

Having a process is pretty fundamental for any business transaction. Even at a very basic level, say you’ve cleared out your garage and set up stall at a car boot sale, you have to have some sort of process for taking money and giving change. It made seem obvious, but members of my family have managed to forget to take the cash or not put the money away safely. That may not be a big issue for the family holiday fund, but it’s no way to run a business, and so you should have processes in place: You’ll have to have some to meet your statutory obligations anyway.

So having processes is a given, but one of the biggest dangers to your business is not competition, recession or rising prices; it is in your processes.

How do you design your processes? Do you just record what seems like the best way of doing something? Do you think about the steps you need to get to a desired outcome? Do you come up with a series of actions and then eliminate all of the waste? You’re probably doing some of these or a variation of them, but have you actually thought about what the desired outcome is in any detail, because where things can often go wrong is that what you’re doing isn’t delivering what you need and you’re missing out on opportunities to be better.

Recently I was asked to help an on-line retailer with customer complaints. They had a well documented process for their helpdesk operators and good scripts for them to follow, but their complaints were growing at the same rate as their business. There were two problems; the first was that the process was well designed to meet the stated aim; to deal with the customer. The second problem was that the process didn’t do anything else.

Because they had a complaints process, they could tell how much they refunded and how many complaints that they had, but they didn’t know anything else and so it was hard for them to know where to start in eradicating the problems causing the complaints. The solution was to look at the overall problem; instead of stopping when the refund was issued, to add in all of the rest of the activity through the item coming back into the warehouse, being inspected and then disposed of in whatever fashion was appropriate.

All of the activity was being captured on computer, but because the objective hadn’t been fully thought through several aspects were not joined up. With the addition of half a dozen complaint category tick boxes on the helpdesk screen and a slight revision to the script it was possible to analyse the nature of the complaints with a weekly report. By analysing the items concerned against the newly added categories it was easy to see where the main problems were. The system could already tell them where the items had been bought in from, and so a complaints by supplier by item analysis enabled the buyer to  tackle the suppliers concerned armed with realistic data. The last step was that it was possible to show how much the returned products had been sold off for so that figure could be deducted from the refund to show a truer loss picture. Apart from about an extra 5 seconds added to the helpdesk task all of the rest of the benefit came with no additional work.

Having a process can be a trap. It will only be a benefit if you have thought it all the way through

what goes where

I started this blog with no clear idea of what I was doing. Social networking was new to me and I just wanted to get started.

Today I’ve put into place the thoughts that have been coming together thanks to the input of others around cyberspace that have helped me.

This blog will now become my area for blogging thoughts on leadership and team building together with sharing my own experiences so that others can, I hope, benefit from my failures and successes.

John J Bowen’s blog will take the more random thoughts that I sometimes come up with and be a bit more of a personal blog.

Gulfhaven News will blog updates from my primary business identity.

Links to the other blogs are over on the right of this blog page and, when I’ve worked through the mill later today all three blogs will have links to each other and my various web sites.

You’ll also find links here on this page to some of the other business sites and blogs that I find useful.

Thanks for dropping by, or following me, and I’ll try and keep it interesting and relevant. Let me know what you think.