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The Official Blog of Daniel Rajkumar

Rules for engagement – top tips when dating an entrepreneur

March3

Entrepreneurs are not the easiest of people to be with. When the’re not taking risks they are quite often over-committed to the latest project/person/possibility.

I’ve been lucky to be supported by my partner, but it hurts me to see friends with partners who do not share the enthusiasm, hope & journey.  I put this down to the sacrifice and disappointment caused by moving goals.

This post isn’t a quick fix, but should help save a few arguments.

 

Tips for the partner:

1) Don’t ask if I’m free – Just book it in & tell me about it

I work from a shared calendar & give you read/write access to it. You don’t need to ask if I’m free, if I’ve not booked the time out then you can claim it. Just add the event to my calendar (or your own and invite me to join). That way you’re not waiting for me to get back to you about which weekend I’m free etc.

 

2) Everything has a place & time

When you call me at work, ask if its convenient to talk. If I can take the call I will, but if I’m pressed for time or with someone then I’ll need the communication style to be more direct than when I’m free. This helps to avoid me sounding short & gives you an opportunity to gauge my mood.

 

3) Respect & use my team

I don’t have an assistant, but some things (like receipts / expenses / credit card statements)  can go direct to finance without needing my input.

 

4) I need downtime

Whether I’m going to my proverbial man-cave or enjoying a few games, let me escape the stresses of work occasionally. I’m better company afterwards. Make time to catch up with the girls & talk about 50 shades or do whatever it is you girls do.

 

5) I make 156 decisions a day… the least you can do is decide what to eat

Throughout each day I’m forever making decisions & living by my choices; over what to prioritise, who to get back to etc. Whether big, considered, calculated, small, inconsequential or life-changing every decision takes energy. So the least you can do is choose where, when & what you would like to eat. It’s not something I afford the luxury of deliberation.

 

Tips for the entrepreneur:

1) Show your appreciation EVERY DAY

I make a point of telling my partner how grateful I am for having her. Every day. On days where I’m not sure if I have or not, I’ll ask “Have I told you how much I love you today?…” Never wears thin, always brings a smile.

2) Pick your battles & equip your army

At work it can be necessary to ‘nip it in the bud’ or ‘tackle things head on’ this is a necessary skill to hone.  Over the years I’ve gotten increasing skilled at knowing why & with what I get frustrated. Articulating your anger professionally, clearly & concisely to give your sales manager a proverbial KITA is necessary on a weekly basis.  The emotional strength required by the job means they are ready for and expect it. Dealing with a similar emotion (frustration) in a personal context requires tact.  If it bothers me & its important to me, I’ll raise it tomorrow & frame it in a “Tell me, what would you do if…” scenario. Think of the film Notting Hill, when the wife confronts the husband about finding the necklace bought for someone else. A perfect example of skillful confrontation.

If you’re really find it hard not to tell your partner what’s on your tits, then use the 4 strikes ideology so that you confront them once you spot four things (however minor) that have bothered you. Then you can make the case that none of these things individually bothered you, but that by the time the 4 thing happened you though it best to let them know.

 

3) Deal with it. – You can’t selectively numb your feelings so don’t

You deal with a lot. Many of us will numb our frustration / negative feelings but don’t. You can internalise it or deal with it in thousands of different ways, but don’t hold onto it, deal with it.

If you get skillful at numbing your feelings you’ll start numbing the wrong ones, like love, enthusiasm, excitement, passion because you can’t pick & choose the emotions you want.

 

4) Your business should serve your life, not vice-versa

Let your partner realise and enjoy the profits from your business & connect the successes with your work. Make a point that XYZ customer paid for the latest holiday, it just helps to psychologically attribute the appreciation of effort that goes it to the hard work you do.

You’ll never cut at the hours you work if your personal life isn’t what it can be, so work on improving it. You’ll find that with combined effort your standard of living will improve.

 

5) If it isn’t working get out

If you’ve given something a few years, planed your journey to a better place and not been able to get there despite your effort then there is probably something fundamentally wrong. Whether its the business or the partner, cut your ties, look for something better.  Starting afresh is easier than you might think, you’ll always have more support thank you expect.

Protected: Grass may look greener, it still needs mowing

January1

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Customer support engagement and modearation

November28

There are many benefits of a distributed (freelance) team of workers that are trained to know, support and promote companies. The job of moderation (of forums & SM profiles) is akin to the work done in customer service and complementary to the work of social media engagement.

In an economy where wages and education are relatively high(er than low cost economies) there is a strong argument for a tripartite job role. Don’t get me wrong, I was a keen believer in Taylorism, specialisation and scientific management, however in a world of increasing communication channels, where companies are asking ‘what do we do with our crowd / followers / community?’ I believe that there 3 jobs that can be linked. Essentially these are:
• Customer Support (working with e-ticketing & VoIP systems)
• Social Media Engagement (having persuasive conversations online)
• Forum & comment moderation (dealing with spam / inappropriate content)

These jobs go hand in hand for a number of reasons:
• Good customer support is a hygiene factor, there is little point motivating new customer who end up complaining. You can only sell rubbish once.
• Customer support needs vary. Sometimes, in the event of PR disasters more help is needed to manage inbound enquiries, or if a particular promotion campaign is highly successful. Having trained people to hand is very valuable.
• It’s relatively easy to recruit, train & manage these roles which can be done by tele-workers.

A team of trained agents allow your company to have the resources for either a defensive or offensive CS strategy.

What do I mean by a defensive strategy:
- when things go bad it’s important to have a team at hand to communicate & interact with customers. When Goddady’s DNS server failed they were hot onto customer support

What do I mean by n offensive strategy:
- agents can look for public conversation to contribute to, in order to raise awareness, win fans & traffic

 

A good training strategy is to train the freelancers on forum postings, this helps the development & shaping of user knowledge.

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Speculative Jobs

October28

This idea is like a compare the market for speculative / commission only jobs.
Companies would have a profile & list their commission only-jobs.
Users would be able to leave feedback on the company.
Companies would pay to be listed – ongoing job ad site.
Companies could buy consultancy to create a good structure
Companies could outsource the management of these teams & commission payment administration.

Talent Management – A paradigm for ‘selling’ staff

September2

I always wondered how & why transfer fees only applied to footballers…

Looking at it closer, I understand that the fee paid is compensation to the club for a player not completing on their contract. However when a footballer wants to leave a club it’s pretty important for a manager to address it, as is the case in any business.

Since companies have a ‘talent spotter’ (recruiter), why can’t they also have an ‘opportunity finder’ for current employees, knowing that the company would get compensated for selling staff member that is still in-contract, and having an influence on where they go (directing them away from competitor).

With a successful model, the implications for building staff (asset) value are substantial,  particularly in the professional services sector where advances in human capital have major implications. The unexpected departure of staff can be disrupting to any small business, however the ‘selling’ of staff could happen simultaneously to the recruitment of new staff.

It is said that many people spend more time panning their holiday than their career. So why not let an expert do it? In this system, every company with a HR Manager (or Talent Manager as I prefer to label it) has the capacity to act as a recruitment firm and earn fees for finding, training and selling staff assets.

As I see it if there is the staff willingness (perhaps they take a cut in the compensation fee), suitable contracts, and the Talent Manager is a good salesperson (companies are willing to buy-in talent) then believe it to be a win-win-win.

Am I missing something glaringly obvious or hitting on new management theory?

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My first book – Web & Mobile as a function of buisness

May14

Thanks to some encouraging feeback I’m going to be writing a book about the web as a function of business & why it deserves to be considered as important a function as marketing, HR, or IT, and not part of Marketing / IT as it is so often regarded. The book will be a management book aimed at CEOs and business leaders arount the world. However it serves as a good management guide, indicating key job roles, pay, pay, skills & goals. Even at an operational level, if you want to have a strong career brining the Web as a function into businesses, this book will help provide a guide & framework for your career progression.

Many management books write about the functions of business without much consideration of their interaction with the web. The book encapsulates my 10 years experience in running various web companies and includes practical advice about ideal applications to solve common business problems. Many of the examples cited are from direct personal experience, or through interviews with key influencers.

Each chapter will explain the relationship of the Web with a seprate function of business. By embracing the changes brought about by the Web, businesses can protect themselves from disruptive innovators that make ‘using the web’ their main USP, such as with budget service / product providers. We’ve seen businesses successfully reinvent themselves using cost-cutting measures enabled by the web, but few businesses really know how to use the web to add genuine value. My book enables the understanding of a complex, fast evolving threat and opportunity that business leaders must observe.

I cover subjects like:
* crowd sourcing for innovation
* deep specialisation
* computer aided collaborative working
* tele-recruitment
* distributed customer support, moderation & SM influence
* strategy, KPIs, transparency and propriety
* Roles within the Web & Mobile function

The book will appeal to small medium and large businesses by describing tiers of depth to which an organisation should provide the necessary resources to deliver successful performance.

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Help us to recruit with an NI IncentiveHelp us to recruit with an NI IncentiveHelp us to recruit with an NI Incentive

April5

The government is asking growing businesses to recruit & retrain those from the public sector… I’m asking the government to share the risk of recruitment.

After a failed recruitment attempt, it’s natural for a small business to contract, or to return to their comfort zone, as they were when the size of the team was more manageable.

The truth is that you can do detailed Job adverts, screen CVs to strict guidelines, hold demanding interviews, use any number of psychometric & aptitude tests; (all of which help) but you still don’t know what its like working with someone until you actually do so.

Large companies can mitigate the risk involved with recruitment by taking on more people than they need and expecting an attrition of staff. Alas small companies are force to ‘serve time’ by saving up & recovering the lost investment, before the next recruitment effort.

Were there to be an incentive to encourage growing businesses to rerecruit after a failed attempt, I believe we would see unemployment fall & business growth accelerate.

Here is what I propose:

If an employer decides not to keep someone beyond their probationary 3 months, the the employer would qualify for a rebate to the 12% NI they have paid if:

> They readvertise and fill the position within 60 days of the last person leaving, and
> they can only do this once a year for every 4 employees they have had in employment for over a year.

These 2 criteria are easy to understand & can be verified by HMRC.

The incentive benefits growing businesses & would encourage me & other like me to create more jobs.The government is asking growing businesses to recruit & retrain those from the public sector… I’m asking the government to share the risk of recruitment.

After a failed recruitment attempt, it’s natural for a small business to contract, or to return to their comfort zone, as they were when the size of the team was more manageable.

The truth is that you can do detailed Job adverts, screen CVs to strict guidelines, hold demanding interviews, use any number of psychometric & aptitude tests; (all of which help) but you still don’t know what its like working with someone until you actually do so.

Large companies can mitigate the risk involved with recruitment by taking on more people than they need and expecting an attrition of staff. Alas small companies are force to ‘serve time’ by saving up & recovering the lost investment, before the next recruitment effort.

Were there to be an incentive to encourage growing businesses to rerecruit after a failed attempt, I believe we would see unemployment fall & business growth accelerate.

Here is what I propose:

If an employer decides not to keep someone beyond their probationary 3 months, the the employer would qualify for a rebate to the 12% NI they have paid if:

> They readvertise and fill the position within 60 days of the last person leaving, and
> they can only do this once a year for every 4 employees they have had in employment for over a year.

These 2 criteria are easy to understand & can be verified by HMRC.

The incentive benefits growing businesses & would encourage me & other like me to create more jobs.The government is asking growing businesses to recruit & retrain those from the public sector… I’m asking the government to share the risk of recruitment.

After a failed recruitment attempt, it’s natural for a small business to contract, or to return to their comfort zone, as they were when the size of the team was more manageable.

The truth is that you can do detailed Job adverts, screen CVs to strict guidelines, hold demanding interviews, use any number of psychometric & aptitude tests; (all of which help) but you still don’t know what its like working with someone until you actually do so.

Large companies can mitigate the risk involved with recruitment by taking on more people than they need and expecting an attrition of staff. Alas small companies are force to ‘serve time’ by saving up & recovering the lost investment, before the next recruitment effort.

Were there to be an incentive to encourage growing businesses to rerecruit after a failed attempt, I believe we would see unemployment fall & business growth accelerate.

Here is what I propose:

If an employer decides not to keep someone beyond their probationary 3 months, the the employer would qualify for a rebate to the 12% NI they have paid if:

> They readvertise and fill the position within 60 days of the last person leaving, and
> they can only do this once a year for every 4 employees they have had in employment for over a year.

These 2 criteria are easy to understand & can be verified by HMRC.

The incentive benefits growing businesses & would encourage me & other like me to create more jobs.

The people I most admire 2011

April5

In a training session I was recently asked who are the people you most admire…

Here is the list…

  • Ben Dyson
  • Carl Nunn
  • Neil Warnock
  • Julian Assange