For the first time in human history, a person can move into a community, build a house out of outsourced material, heat it with outsourced energy, hook up to water from an unknown source, send waste out a pipe somewhere else, and eat food from an unknown source. In other words, in modern America we can live without any regard to the ecological life raft the undergirds us. Perhaps that is why many of us have become indifferent to nature’s cry.
—  Joel Salatin - Food Inc.
Strengths vs. Weaknesses

In modern education, why are we always taught to work on our weaknesses? The focus is to ignore the strengths because they “don’t” need work and improve the weaknesses. In other words, part of our being that we feel the most shy, scared, or ashamed of… we should focus on?

No discredit to a well-rounded person. Balance is essential to almost everything in life and certain short-comings should be addressed to some degree. But why make it a focus? People want to feel good about themselves and feel great about what they do. Who likes doing things they suck at? Perfecting the things we’re already good at seems more effective and a helluva lot more fun.

Here’s some examples of people who have focused on strengths to propel them through  the weaknesses.

  • Shaquille O'Neal was a horrendous free-throw shooter (I say was because he’s now retired, but I’m sure it hasn’t gotten any better). Although he did work on his shooting, he used his strengths as one of the best power players the NBA has ever seen to create more opportunities than the next guy. 
  • Kim Kardashian can’t dance… or at least play along with Prince on command. Although most hot celebrities have some kind of acting, singing, or dancing talent… Kim has none. But who cares, the girl knows how to build a brand and create value in the marketplace.
  • The best accountants don’t work on marketing all day… and it’s ok
  • The best lawyers aren’t design geniuses… and it’s ok

Get damn good and what you’re already good at… build a brand in yourself in whatever you do and outsource the rest. Not only will this make your more successful in any endeavor… it will make you HAPPIER. That’s what we’re after right?

Watch out, watch out, there's a Starlet about

Welcome to the all new Star blog, in which we hope to inform and educate you about our telephone answering service and our unique, if somewhat crazy, Starlets.

Having been selected for the enviable position of blogmaster (It was a closed ballot), I will endeavour to bring you news and gossip from our virtual world here in the quaint village of  Ringstead. As I slowly peel back the layers of epidermis I will reveal that, below the surface, we Starlets are a rare breed indeed. Hopefully you, the reader, will be entertained enough to come back time after time.

Before I expose all there is to know about our team; a synopsis of our wonderful village may be interesting, especially to all the townies out there.

The name Ringstead is thought to have evolved from the Anglo-Saxon ‘hring’ meaning circular place and dates back in records to 1124. Our church, St Mary’s, is the oldest building in the village and one of the oldest churches in the county. There are two pubs and one working men’s club (very handy we find) as well as a General Store and two take-aways. Though the village was once part of Northamptonshire’s great shoemaking industry, it is perhaps better known now for Dodson @ Horrell Ltd who specialise in animal feeds. They have a wonderful shop directly opposite our office, which is well worth a visit should you be in the area.

There are many farms within and around the village, so tractors and loose animals are a regular sight along our roads. As you never know what may appear before you, any knowledge of husbandry is very handy indeed. We would advise visitors, on entering the village, to bring with them a large stick. This will be ideal for herding cattle should the need arise.

Thank you for reading and look out for our next blog.


Outsourcing, offshoring: Not all it's cracked up to be

CFOs feel it’s too risky while local authorities are warned to think twice before taking the plunge…


Caution is the watchword for finance bosses and local government looking at outsourcing and offshoring ITPhoto: Shutterstock

Despite the growth of outsourcing, the associated risks are putting off many finance professionals and local government organisations.

CFOs see the offshoring of finance and accounting functions to low-cost locations as a riskier strategy than using cloud computing, according to research by analyst house Ovum.

Of the CFOs and senior financial executives quizzed by Ovum, 38.5 per cent said they view offshoring to India as unacceptable risk, while 44.2 per cent said the same about South and Central America. Just 29 per cent said the same about cloud computing.

Another major factor in businesses not wanting to pursue the “high-risk strategy” of offshoring is loyalty to staff, with 44 per cent saying this issue is holding them back.

Ovum lead analyst Peter Ryan said loyalty to staff is unlikely to be the only motivation because the desire to keep people with relevant skills will also be a factor.

Other major concerns about offshoring cited by the businesses surveyed are a loss of control over processes and the practice not delivering sufficient savings to be worthwhile. Many companies not already outsourcing said they wouldn’t be persuaded to do so even by cost reductions of up to 20 per cent.

Ovum’s Ryan said one of the major challenges for outsourcing companies is to show they “can deliver efficiencies beyond arbitrage through use of low-cost labour locations”.

Meanwhile, local government IT body Socitm has warned that outsourcing IT - especially a whole service - remains risky for local government organisations due to financial risks and a reduced ability to respond to change.

Discussing the pitfalls of outsourcing in more detail, Socitm’s research arm, Socitm Insight, said figures over the past decade suggest processes actually become more expensive if they are outsourced.

Socitm also warns against outsourcing information assets along with technology because this practice can make organisations less able to exploit data effectively to generate further efficiency savings.

In addition, if organisations outsource business IT because they are unable to manage it themselves, it suggests they’ll be equally unable to manage a contract. According to Socitm Insight, they may also be handing over economies of scale and savings that they ought to be able to make themselves.

Another area of risk is that local government organisations could lose valuable inhouse expertise by outsourcing processes, making them less able to challenge supplier recommendations.

In terms of ability to cope with change, outsourcing arrangements are often long-term and fail to address future requirements.

Author of the Socitm Insight report Martin Greenwood said outsourcing “should not be considered an inevitable response to austerity”.

He added that even smaller authorities - that could potentially benefit from outsourcing through economies of scale and extra capacity to react to rapid developments in IT - should first look at collaborating with other local authorities and services rather than automatically going down the outsourcing route.

Recession or Depression?

It is now almost given that we are going to have economic downturn. Except the Fed and Obama Administration, everyone is pretty much sure that we are going to get a double dip. For people on the main st. we never left recession in 2008 in the 1st place.

You Can Increase Sales With SEO

It’s very possible to increase the number of sales you make online. You’ll just need to increase the amount of traffic you have. That can be done fairly rapidly with SEO. If no one knows where to find your website, how are you going to make any sales? Optimizing the website will make sure you appear higher in the results and that will help you make more money.

It’s always a good idea to do what you can to gain publicity for your business and when that publicity is free, it would be ridiculous not to take advantage of it. The thing about search engine optimization is that it continues to work for your business to keep it higher in the search results. While some ongoing maintenance is required, such as link building and blogging, the basics only need to be set up once and your site will rise in the rankings.

It’s hard to learn to do your own optimization and it’s rarely a good idea if you are looking at only optimizing one website. Why learn more than you need to? It’s quick and easy to outsource and you’ll save time and frustration. Many business owners go this way so they can actually work on other areas of their business that more urgently demand their time.

SEO companies offer many services. They will redo your website, offer copywriting and change everything to reflect your keywords. If you don’t have great keywords yet, then they will make sure to find some for you.

While having an optimized website is perfect to start with, you’ll want to keep up the momentum. That means regular blogging or building links back to the website. The more links you have, the more important the search engines will consider your site. The more links out there to the site, the more traffic through those links, as well, not just the search engines.

Often, a business blog is the best way to go. You can rapidly build links back to various pages of your website and there will be a number of search engines that will give you a boost for this reason. Keywords should be used in the blog posts. You can even outsource this if you prefer not to write yourself, as it can take up a lot of time.

SEO is an important part of running a business online. Even if you are only establishing a basic presence online, you’ll need to be able to optimize everything to get more visitors. Make sure people can find you easily and you will see more sales.

Recommended Links: Onketing

5 Rules You Must Know Before Outsourcing

via openforum.com

More and more businesses are discovering the benefits of outsourcing. This includes cutting project costs and increasing productivity, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. When you outsource, you save a large amount of both time and financial resources that typically go into managing employees and dealing with the legal and tax issues involved. Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week has raised awareness of this practice even at the solo-entrepreneur level. However, before you jump in and give your website login codes to someone in the Philippines, here are some good rules to follow.