Figuring out what to charge


The hardest part of developing a fee schedule is figuring out what to charge. The professional fees in all fields are rather idiosyncratic. Rarely can a freelance professional set an across the board price for services. Most professionals have sliding fees. Some old, favored clients are always charged less than newer, more affluent clients. Some clients are charged overtime and for rush jobs, while others never are. And in almost every field professionals charge different rates for corporate or commercial work as opposed to creative or literary work.

Then, too, there are various ways to structure a professional fee. In the course of one year a professional is likely to take on jobs that pay by the hour, the day, and by flat fee.

What does it all mean to someone starting out in freelancing who is unsure what to charge or even how to figure out a fee schedule? Basically, a freelancer should not get too caught up in working for one preset fee—for one hourly rate. Sometimes a client will pay you less per hour, but you can pad the bill so you end up earning as much as you would if you charged a higher hourly rate. Sometimes you take a consulting job that is not particularly interesting or challenging but which pays well, so you can later take on creative work that does not pay so well. The trick is to charge enough overall so that you earn what you need to earn. But even a sliding scale or a willingness to negotiate does not mean that you will not require a well-planned rate schedule. If you ever go into a meeting to settle a fee and are unsure what to charge or what you would like to earn, then you will probably walk away a loser. You must always be prepared to negotiate, and you should expect to earn what you are worth 90 percent of the time. To do this, you need to figure out in advance what the general fee ranges will be for your services. The only danger is in setting an hourly fee and measuring all your work by that one standard.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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Focusing Operations


At the heart of every organization are the operations that actually make goods and provide services. To put it simply, the operations describe what the organization does. When you talk about an organization’s performance, you are describing how well it does its operations. To improve performance, you have to improve the operations. This seems obvious, but managers often ignore this simple truth and try to find quick fixes that don’t involve any effort.

You can do great deals with the finances, spend a fortune on marketing, have the best working conditions, use the latest technology, but if your operations are no good you might as well shut the door and go home. The only real way of improving the performance of your organization is by doing the operations better.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Synergizing Training Strategy with Corporate Strategy


The primary objective of synergy is that employees acquire all the skills and knowledge they need, but only what they need. What do they really need? Whatever is essential to formulate and fulfill a successful corporate strategy? Certain skills and knowledge are needed to determine what products and services the company should produce, and what kinds of technology should be used to produce them; other skills and knowledge are needed in order to apply new technologies most profitably.

Those who determine corporate strategy must calculate whether the organization is capable of acquiring strategically necessary skills and knowledge on schedule. In learning companies, therefore, a senior officer in charge of training takes part in formulating strategy. That individual can also advise whether a more ambitious strategy would be feasible from the standpoint of training, and can help subsequently to communicate the strategy to all parts of the organization.

Communication of the strategy is vital. Trainees and their supervisors take training seriously only when they believe it will further the company’s prosperity and their own. If they do not understand the skill and learning requirements of the corporate strategy, they cannot make valid decisions on how to achieve strategic goals.

Ultimately, it is the chief executive’s responsibility to see that the training requirements of corporate strategy are met. The key points to be monitored are program priorities, program objectives, and program outcomes.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Up next is Era of Knowledge Workers


Individuals whose jobs are designed around the acquisition and application of information are called knowledge workers. Knowledge workers are at the cutting edge in the era around corner. Their jobs are designed around the acquisition and application of information. Organizations need people who can fill those jobs—the demand of them is great. And because the supply of information technologies is low, those in the field are paid a premium for their services. In West the number of blue-collar jobs has shrunk dramatically. Unfortunately, some of the blue-collar workers don’t have the education and flexibility necessary to exploit the new job opportunities in the information revolution. They don’t have the specific skills to move easily into high paying technologies’ jobs. The transition from the farm to factory floor required little additional skill—often just a strong back and a willingness to learn, follow reactions, and work hard.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

The primacy of Internal Marketing


Internal marketing is the conceptual process by which managers actively encourage, stimulate, and support employee commitment to the company, the company’s goods and services, and the company’s customers. Emphasis should be placed on continual. Managers, who consistently pitch into help when needed, constantly provide encouragement and words of praise to employees, strive to help employees understand the benefits of performing their jobs well, and emphasize the importance of employee actions on both company and employee results are practitioners of internal marketing. In service marketing, successful internal marketing efforts, leading to employee commitment to service quality, are key to success.

Properly performed customer satisfaction research can yield a wealth of strategic information about customers, the sponsoring company, and competitors. However, service quality goes beyond the relationship between a customer and a company. Rather, it is personal relationship between a customer and the particular employee that the customer happens to be dealing with at the time of the service encounter that ultimately determines service quality. The importance of having customer-oriented, frontline people cannot be overstated. If frontline service personnel are unfriendly, unhelpful, uncooperative, or uninterested in the customer, the customer will tend to project that same attitude to the company as a whole. The character and personality of an organization reflects the character and personality of its top management. Management must develop programs that will stimulate employee commitment to customer service. These programs must contain five critical components:

1) A careful selection process in hiring frontline employees. To do this, management has to clearly define the skills the service person must bring to the job.

2) A clear, concrete message that conveys particular service strategy that frontline people can bring to act on. People delivering service need to know how their work fits in the broader scheme of business operations. They need to have a cause because servicing others is just too demanding and frustrating to be done well each day without one.

3) Significant modeling by managers, that is, managers demonstrating the behavior that they intend to reward employees for performing.

4) An energetic follow-through process, in which managers provide the training, support, and incentives necessary to give the employees the capability and willingness to provide quality service.

5) An emphasis on teaching employees to have good attitudes. This type of training usually focuses on specific social techniques, such as, eye contact, smiling, tone of voice, and standards of dress.

However, organizing and implementing such programs will only lead to temporary results unless managers practice a strategy of internal marketing.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Levers of Change


While there are very few general rules in organizational change, some general principles hold true for all organizations. A good place to start for most organizations in competitive, dynamic environments is to look at the four levers of change. These are technology, quality, costs and marketing—four areas that can be targeted for change.

 

Technology does not refer only to tools, equipment and machinery. It also includes information, knowledge, and activities that are involved in the physical transformation of inputs into outputs. The outputs may be products or services. Any physical transformation task has a choice of technologies associated with it. In a business environment characterized by increased global competition, management of technology has become a major area of concern for organizations.

 

Quality is all about meeting or exceeding customer expectations. It is a critical element in any change effort because customers are the ultimate judge of the success of the change effort. If the change does not result in products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations, it has obviously not achieved its purpose.

 

Costs or productivity constitutes the third lever of change. In today’s business environment, customers are very cost-conscious and are unwilling to pay for products or services that do not meet their expectations. With increased competition, they have more choices. Consequently, they are no longer dependent on a single supplier or a few suppliers for products and services. Widening the choice has resulted in customers demanding more value for their money. A challenge for most organizations is to enhance quality while reducing costs. This requires carefully planned processes, systems and work habits.

 

Marketing refers to the mechanisms for delivering products and services to the customer. It includes: attracting new customers to your organization’s offerings; retaining existing and new customers; and examining your distribution channels, marketing structures and procedures.

 

Each of these levers is supported by a set of structures, processes and procedures such as human resource practices. Any changes in the levers will also require corresponding changes in these structures, processes and procedures. In the first phase of appreciation, it is not necessary to work out these details but you need to be aware of the linkages that need to be strengthened at the implementation stage.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Building knowledge base in advertisements


On what knowledge base should advertisements be built? To answer this question, consider the function that advertisement might be expected to perform. In commercial matters, business operators can be seen as essentially self-appointed employees of consumers. They strive to provide products and services that will meet specific needs or wants of consumers and thus contribute to the maximization of consumer satisfaction. The key to success is the ability to sense or determine what consumers need and want and then to effectively inform and persuade consumers concerning the merits of such products and services. Business failure results when consumers dismiss or fire those self-appointed employees by refusing to buy products or services that do not meet needs or wants.

Often business firms are prone to think in terms of the physical characteristics of products rather than focusing attention on how the product will bring satisfaction to potential buyers. Consumers may not understand the language of the producer any more than the latter may not sense the forces that motivate consumers to seek products.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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