Practice Tips: Building your practice one satisfied client at a time May 1, 2002 Practice Tips Practice Tips:Building your practice one satisfied client at a time Bruce A. Blitman Clients are the lifeblood of every law firm and in order to remain in business, all entrepreneurs need a steady stream of consumers to purchase their products and services. What can lawyers do to develop an endless stream of referrals that will secure their continued survival in an increasingly competitive marketplace? This article offers several suggestions to help you build your practice.Clients must perceive that you are providing them with exceptional services for the money they are paying. If they do not believe you are providing them with excellent value or their “money’s worth,” they will not return, and they will not refer their trusted friends, colleagues, and loved ones to you.You must demonstrate patience, persistence, passion, compassion, and concern in your dealings with clients and customers. If your clients believe that you have truly done your best for them, you will earn their respect and loyalty. A distinguished law professor once gave me some sage advice: “Do your best, angels can do no more.” Exceed Expectations In an competitive marketplace, you must meet — and exceed — the expectations of increasingly demanding clients. Find out what they want from you before your engagement. If their expectations are unrealistic, be honest and prepare them for the harshness of reality. If you know you will not be able to meet their demands, thank them for their time and wish them well. Such clients are destined to be disappointed. You can be sure that they will blame you for their disappointment — and share that information with the world. Should you accept an appointment, however, you must do everything within your power to satisfy your client’s expectations and provide your clients with exceptional value.What makes you special and unique? Why are your services different (and better) than those of your competitors? What reasons can you give to your prospective clients to choose you? The more reasons you can provide, the better.In a world of increasing specialization, it is impossible to be all things to all people. What is your “niche” in the marketplace? Who are the clients you are most interested in? Who are the clients who will benefit from your services? Who are you trying to reach and impress with your message? When he was asked why he robbed banks, famed bank robber Willie Sutton logically replied: “That’s where the money is.” You must engage in a similar (although more lawful) analysis. Once you answer these questions, you will be able to accurately direct your promotional efforts and target those whom you would like to serve as clients.What are your personal and professional goals? Like Don Quixote, all entrepreneurs should have a quest they aspire to attain.Learn as much as you possibly can about what you choose to do. Self-improvement is essential. Read everything you can about your fields of interest. Attend seminars. Subscribe to (and actually read) professional journals and publications. Increase your knowledge base, and you will be perceived as an expert in your field by both your professional colleagues and your prospective clients.Although surveys routinely show that most people are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of dying (although personally I have “died” on several occasions while speaking in public), there are few ways to better establish your credibility and expertise. For those of you who are too shy to lead a group in silent prayer, try to get as much practice as possible in nonthreatening situations. When you are feeling more confident, you can volunteer to speak to groups that are most likely to benefit from your knowledge. Many groups and organizations are looking for people willing to speak at their membership meetings.Write. This is another inexpensive way for you to develop a reputation for excellence and gain credibility with your colleagues and your existing and prospective clients. You can write more scholarly articles for professional journals and more practical, “nuts and bolts” columns for newspapers, magazines, and journals that are likely to be read by your clientele. Send courtesy copies of your articles to your clients and former clients. It’s a great way to keep in touch and impress them with your expertise and thoughtfulness. Mingle Mingling may be more enjoyable for some than others. However, this is another important and useful way for you to let your prospective clients know you are alive and well, and available to provide them with quality services. Here are some basic ground rules to “maximize your mingling”: (1) Be prepared. Bring plenty of business cards to hand out; (2) Be professional. Do not eat or drink too much. You do not necessarily want to remembered as the person who broke the association’s record for eating the most shrimp cocktail at the buffet; (3) Be mobile. While it is often safer and easier to spend the evening chatting with a familiar buddy, your goal should be to meet several new potential contacts. Don’t just stand in a corner with a drink in your hand. Move around the room throughout the evening; (4) Initiate conversation. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. Say hello and offer a handshake; (5) Listen carefully. Ask people questions about themselves and their businesses, and then carefully listen to their answers. Make good eye contact and if you listen much more than you speak, people will consider you to be an outstanding conversationalist; (6) Be realistic. It is not necessary to be everyone’s best friend and the “life of the party.” If you come to the party with a realistic goal of meeting a few new people each time, you will gradually expand your comfort zone for socializing; and (7) Be organized. Do not throw out the business cards you collect or dump them in your junk drawer. Briefly jot down some information about people you met on their business cards for future reference. Follow-ups To really differentiate yourself from the multitudes, send a short, personal handwritten note to the people with whom you exchange business cards at seminars, professional meetings, and parties. In this age of e-mail and cyberspace, a personal note is unusual and memorable.Don’t forget about your existing clients. Show your appreciation for their business. When a case, transaction, or contract is finished, send a handwritten note thanking them for their confidence in selecting you. This small gesture of appreciation will be remembered by your clients for a long time.Demonstrate your ongoing concern and compassion for your clients and their families. Keep track of their careers and family lives by reading professional journals, trade magazines, and local newspapers. When a client is promoted or starts a new business, a telephone call or handwritten note of congratulations will be appreciated and remembered. You can also acknowledge other important events in your customers’ lives, like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and the arrival of new babies with personal notes and cards. Similarly, when you learn of deaths or serious illnesses in your customers’ families, your expressions of sympathy and condolence will be appreciated.These small gestures of caring and concern are thoughtful ways to keep in touch with your clients. Newsletters and Web Sites These are other tools you can develop to share your knowledge and expertise with your clients and customers, and regularly communicate with them.These can be as elaborate as your imagination and operating budget will allow. You can mail your newsletters or send them electronically. They are another way of demonstrating to your former and current clients how much you know, and how much you care.You also can never communicate too much with your clients. A brief telephone call updating them on the status of their case will be greatly appreciated. If you are unable to make the call personally, have someone from your staff do it for you. Send courtesy copies of all correspondence, pleadings, and papers you send or receive to your clients and customers. This is an excellent way to show them how much work you have devoted to their situation.Return all telephone calls promptly. This is the pet peeve of many disgruntled clients and customers, and the most frequently cited reason clients file Bar grievances against their attorneys. With car phones, cellular phones, and e-mail, it is hard to come up with a legitimate excuse for not promptly responding to the messages of clients. Be a professional. Demonstrate your courtesy, respect, and appreciation for your clients by returning all calls. Establish an office policy for doing this. If you are unable to return a call yourself, designate someone else in the office who will do it for you. If you cannot return a message before the end of the day, call and leave a message on the client’s answering machine that evening. Most clients will respect and appreciate the effort you made to respond. Arrive on Time This is another frequently voiced complaint of clients. It is important to value and respect everyone’s time. Please be on time for your scheduled appointments. Don’t make your clients wait. While they may tolerate it once or twice, they will resent it if it becomes an established pattern.Everyone’s time is valuable. To avoid confusion and any misunderstandings, call and confirm the time, place, and location of any and all of your appointments with your clients, customers, and anyone else who will be participating in your meetings, several days in advance, and again the day before the meetings are to be held.If you have the opportunity to do so, share your knowledge with others. It is an honor to be invited to speak before your colleagues at professional seminars. It is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your reputation among your peers. Should they be unable to handle a particular matter themselves, they will be more likely to recommend you to others if they are confident in your abilities. Similarly, make some time to get involved in your community. Speak to parents, teachers, and/or students at a PTA meeting. Be a mentor. Coach, or sponsor, your child’s athletic team (if you can, do both). Talk at a nearby church, synagogue, or bookstore.There is no guarantee that any of these activities will generate new clients and customers for your business, but they can’t hurt. These endeavors are fun, emotionally rewarding, and will help you live a more fulfilling, satisfying life. You never know who might be profoundly influenced by your words or deeds. People are more likely to do business with people they like and trust. You never know.No one said that building your business would be easy. You will meet with successes and setbacks along the way. You will need to be patient, persistent, passionate, and optimistic. Bruce A. Blitman is an attorney/mediator with a solo practice in Ft. Lauderdale and is certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a county, circuit, family, and federal mediator. Blitman also is a diplomate member of the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators, Inc., and the academy’s immediate past president. He can be reached at (954) 437-3446, e-mail [email protected] .
Published on September 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm Comments As Jason Taylor recalled — with his 14-year NFL-eyes widening, shocked — ‘they’ never came to Akron before. For Taylor, a former Akron standout now with the New York Jets, ‘they’ refers to a BCS conference team. Any BCS conference team. During his time as a Zip from 1993-96, Taylor said he and his Akron teammates always had to travel to ‘them.’ That’s just the way it was. Standing on the SUNY Cortland practice field at Jets training camp on Aug. 14, Taylor could only think of one response when he found out that, no, he wouldn’t have the outside opportunity to trek up to Syracuse to watch his alma mater play. Rather, ‘they’ would be traveling to Akron to open the season. Perplexed, he had to question the validity. ‘It’s at Akron?’ Taylor asked. ‘Syracuse, going to Akron? Damn, times have changed. We used to go everywhere for the paycheck. It’s a big change. I know that. They never came to us before.’ On Saturday, ‘they’ — Syracuse — will open its season on the road at InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio (6 p.m., ESPN3). It is just the third time in the last 20 years SU will open the season on the road against a mid-major team, and the first time since losing to Brigham Young in 2002.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text The Orange defeated Toledo and East Carolina in 1999 and 1992, respectively. In the series history, the Orange and Zips have split 1-1, with Akron defeating SU 42-28 in 2008 and Syracuse getting the best of the Zips last year 28-14. Those games were both in the Carrier Dome. But Akron is the worst team with which the Orange has been scheduled to open the season on the road of any mid-major in the last 20 years. The Zips were picked to finish last in the MAC’s Eastern Division and are in their first year under head coach Rob Ianello. And for a program that prides itself on Taylor, the Zips ranked 118 of 120 FBS teams in sacks in 2009, with 11 in 12 games. Compared to the rest of the Big East, SU is one of three conference teams to open the season on the road against a mid-major. Pittsburgh will travel to national power Utah for one of this weekend’s most high-profile games, and Cincinnati will face the WAC’s Fresno State, a team it only beat by eight points last year in Cincinnati. ‘I would love to open up for our fans (at home),’ SU head coach Doug Marrone said, ‘but, hopefully, we’ll be able to do that down the road. I’m really just excited about playing. …The greatest thing I was ever told was it doesn’t matter where you play.’ The former All-Pro Taylor’s bewilderment at Akron’s hosting of Syracuse is merely an example of a question many have been asking of the scheduled game. Just like Taylor, many have pondered: Why is Syracuse going to Akron? Why is the Big East going to the MAC? Is it a testament to Akron’s growth? Is it a statement speaking to SU’s decline since Taylor graduated as Akron’s career sacks leader in 1997? Is it an example of the drop off of the Big East conference as a whole? Or is it just another case of the evolution of college football where it is now normal, and perhaps even expected, for a Big East team to travel to a bottom-feeder? Marrone doesn’t prescribe to any of the notions at all. He sees it as just another football game. He doesn’t see any problem with his BCS team opening against a rebuilding mid-major. A game is a game. Competitiveness is competitiveness. ‘I don’t even think about it, to be honest,’ Marrone said ‘… I don’t look at BCS, home, away or anything like that. I just feel fortunate to have an opportunity to play.’ Having an opportunity to play this weekend will be SU sophomore strong safety Shamarko Thomas. After tweaking his hamstring in summer camp, Thomas is second on the depth chart behind Max Suter at strong safety, and he said he will play this weekend at ’95 percent.’ But on Wednesday, when informed of Taylor’s interest in Saturday’s game in SU’s football cafeteria, Thomas’ eyes lit up, much like a grade-school kid at lunch hour to the mention of an NFL star. Eyes widening just like Taylor’s had, cracking a smile from ear to ear, Thomas said it was ‘like an honor’ to know Taylor expressed interest in coming to the game. But he did have a message for Taylor and Akron as well. In a summer of conference realignment in which the Big East conference has been slighted throughout, Thomas wanted to let it be known that he and Syracuse will be bringing the Big East to the MAC on Saturday. Thomas said he wants Taylor to know that like Akron is a new team, SU is a new team as well. He doesn’t care about the comparisons or where the game will be played. Thomas is bringing the Big East hurt. ‘Akron is not a BCS team,’ Thomas said, ‘but you see in the newspaper that sometimes people say we are not a BCS team. It’s just a mentality to go hard every game.’ Added Thomas: ‘(Taylor’s) a Pro Bowl-player, so I am going to be professional. But I would tell him we are going to go to Akron and show him how the Big East plays. Syracuse has got a new team around now.’ It’s a new team in Akron since Taylor’s departure as a third-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1997. They no longer play at the Rubber Bowl. The Zips have attained success in the time since Taylor went just 12-32 over the course of his four years as a Zip. He never once played Syracuse. But, s Taylor recalled in Cortland in August, he and the Zips did host a big-time team once. A real big-time team, which has been a prick in SU’s side in the past. In 1996, Taylor and Akron hosted No. 15 Virginia Tech a year after the Zips were clobbered 77-27 in Blacksburg, Va. In a year in which Taylor propelled himself on the strength of 10 sacks to a spot with the Dolphins, he led the team in a valiant effort, eventually losing by just three. But come Saturday, the bad news for the Zips is they don’t have a Jason Taylor. He is long departed from Ohio. And on Sept. 6, 2008, he was, once again, far removed from his alma mater. That night, as a member of the Redskins traveling back from New York with a 16-7 season-opening loss to the Giants, Taylor had a similar quizzical reaction to that day’s news of his former football team. When looking down at his phone, he thought the score was wrong when he saw it: 42-28, Akron over Syracuse. Really? His question was soon answered. On Saturday, the overarching inquiry into just what Syracuse will get out of a trip to the mid-major will begin to be answered as well. And like Marrone, Taylor believes the game is not a step back for ‘them.’ He will take pride in whatever occurs. He is proud of Akron. ‘I’m not going to slight Akron,’ Taylor said. ‘It speaks more for the progress that Akron has made than any type of a regression for Syracuse. I didn’t watch the game (in 2008). … I have to admit, I thought the score was wrong when I first saw it. ‘It’s bigger strides. It’s great.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+
Dear Editor,Driving along what appears to be the new route for Mashramani 2019, I have encountered the roadways defaced with some crude, oversized, dreadful numbers slovenly painted in a hodgepodge manner on the road surface.Initially thinking this was the act of some unhinged and deranged person, I was horrified to learn that it was the work of the Georgetown municipality. I had to ask myself, does the Council really expect so many vendors? Why waste so much paint and so many man hours? Why do the numbers have to be so big and obnoxious? Surely, they could have used a road marking stencil kit with pre-spaced numerals constructed from sturdy reusable Polypropylene boards with 200 mm font sized numerals.Must the Georgetown municipality be allowed to continue to behave in such a vulgar, unprofessional and unprincipled manner until the end of time? Can’t the new Council raise the bar on city management?My question is – can we ever truly have a developed capital city when our City Council has a third world mentality?Sincerely,Sean Moniz
Piracy attack… Top Cop says remark was “insulting, reckless”A Berbice Magistrate on Wednesday called investigators attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) a “bunch of jokers”, something which did not go down well with acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine.Magistrate Rabindranauth Singh while presiding over the case of the recent piracy attack criticised the Police, saying they are “behaving like bunch of jokers” as it relates to confusion whether to withdraw or put forward charges for the accused.The Magistrate told the court that it has to be balanced and therefore cannot take sides.His comments came as he presided over the murder case emanating from the piracy attack, which left four dead and 11 unaccounted for.On Wednesday, Premnauth Persaud, called “Sanbad” or “Boy”, 43, of Cromarty Village; and Nakool Manohar, called “Fyah”, 39, of Number 43 Village reappeared at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court where they were jointly charged with two counts of murder.They were not required to plea to the indictable charge which stated that between April 27 and May 3 at sea, they murdered Tillacknauth Mohabir, called “Caiman”; and Mahesh Sarjoo, called “Koba” during the course of a robbery.Last month, Manohar appeared before the same Magistrate, charged with the murder and was remanded. However, on Wednesday, the Police withdrew that charge and imposed the joint double murder charge on the duo. It was in relation to this that the Magistrate made the aforementioned remarks.“Insulting, reckless”However, the Magistrate later came under fire from Police Commissioner (ag) David Ramnarine, who in a brief statement on Wednesday night called the remarks “derogatory”.“I wish to indicate that those statements or remarks made by the supposedly learned Magistrate are insulting and reckless and certainly should never have been uttered.”According to the Top Cop, the Force’s Criminal Investigation Department conducted the probe into this matter with the due diligence required.“[The investigators] worked well over and above the normal call of duty, in oftentimes difficult circumstances, finally resulting in the preferment of the charges, which received legal advice. It seems quite clear that the Magistrate probably has an axe to grind against the team of investigators and maybe other Police Officers,” Ramnarine noted.He added that this can be reasonably deduced from the fact that Magistrate Singh was previously removed from presiding over a very high-profile murder case in which the very investigators were involved.“I can only conclude that his unfortunate and reckless utterances intended to malign these hardworking Police Officers and our legal advisors are as a result of his youthfulness, inexperience and being unschooled,” the Top Cop posited.Nevertheless, during the court proceedings earlier in the day, Nakool was represented by Attorney Joel Edmond who asked the court about the readiness of the file, saying the Police seemed to be confused. He noted that the Police were not sure whether to charge the duo along with Alexander Denhearte jointly.He also noted that the Police had moved the date of the alleged offence from April 27 to April 26. He also asked that charges against Manohar for 2015 and 2016 be discharged.Manohar was last month remanded on the two previous charges of robbery on the high seas committed in 2015 and 2016 respectively.Police Prosecutor Inspector Orin Joseph asked the court for 14 days to return for report and fixture. Meanwhile, Persaud who was unrepresented, told the Magistrate he was beaten and starved whilst in custody.They will all have to return to court on June 26. The body of Mahesh Sarjoo was laid to rest last Saturday in Suriname. (Andrew Carmichael)
It has been a week of high emotions and excitement as students across Donegal received their Leaving Cert results.But it’s not just secondary school teens who are celebrating achievements in education this week. A number of adult learners had also taken the exams this summer to gain the skills to boost their education and job prospects. We spoke to two members of the Leaving Certificate for adults class of 2019 with Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service to find out about their education journey:June was a busy time for Donna Smyth when she sat her Leaving Cert exams, while her son did his Junior Cert at the same time!The Letterkenny woman left school at 15 years of age and was a stay-at-home mum until she returned to education two years ago.“I found it hard to get work without my Leaving Cert. My son is 15 and I’m 37 this year and I thought – ‘I want to do something now for me’,” she said. Donna SmythDonna and her son helped each other out with their studies as she did the Leaving Cert for adults with Donegal ETB in Letterkenny.Signing up for the course was a big step, she said.“I didn’t really know what the ETB was until I applied. Now you see it everywhere. The application interviews were so relaxed and they were so helpful that I knew I was doing the right thing. Going back to education is a huge step to take on, especially with a child and a house to run.”Donna enjoyed the new style of learning at Donegal ETB, where all learners study English, Maths, History, Geography, Biology and Business.“It is classroom based learning but it’s not like school. It’s more relaxed and everyone talks and bounces ideas off each other. I would have stayed in school longer if it was like that!” she said. While Donna originally intended to do the Leaving Cert for adults to improve her job prospects, the learning has helped her discover her potential for more self-development.“It has opened my mind up to do other things. I thought if I get through this I can do more. Over the summer I will apply for courses. Before this I thought college wasn’t for me, but I want to look at the bigger picture now,” she said.When asked if she would recommend the Leaving Cert for adults to others, she said: “100%, especially for mothers who were at home with children. It gets you back out there again, you are having adult conversations, your mind is working at a different level and it does make you think of new goals.”Similar to Donna, the adult learning experience has inspired Colin Chambers to broaden his horizons. Colin (40) is about to begin a Bioscience degree in LYIT after sitting the Leaving Cert in June.Colin ChambersThe Ballybofey native left education after primary school, so he had a lot of ground to cover when he began studying with Donegal ETB.Colin, who had previously worked as a computer engineer, was motivated to gain the qualification after meeting a major job hurdle.“I was applying for an apprenticeship programme when the first box that came up was that you had to have your Leaving Cert. That propelled me to go back to be prepared for anything like that that came up again,” he said.Going back to learning does come with a certain amount of anxiety, Colin said, but the ETB tutors made it easy: “The teachers are so good at what they do. Most of them have 20 years of experience so they know exactly how to teach people who have been away from school. There’s nothing to be scared of.”Studying six subjects for the Leaving Cert, as many will know, requires hard work and focus. As a dad of three, Colin found that he had to balance family life and learning. “It is difficult, but it’s not impossible and it’s all very beneficial in the end. After leaving school in sixth class, I’m proud to have got this far.“Another benefit of this is that I’ll be able to help the kids with their homework when they come to that age, particularly with maths.”Colin’s studies led him to discover that he had a flair for Biology, and so he is switching career paths from computing to Bioscience this new semester.He is keen to recommend the Leaving Cert for adults to other people considering third level education. “This course doesn’t just prepare you for exams. It prepares you for bigger things,” he said.Donegal ETB’s Adult Education Officer Charles Gorney said learners can gain much more than a Leaving Cert qualification from the programme.“Learners often gain a confidence they felt they didn’t have before. Doing the Leaving Cert as an adult is a big step but we have an excellent pass rate and many learners go onto higher education programmes afterwards.” said Charles.“For anyone thinking about going back to do the Leaving Cert this September 2019, don’t be afraid to call us. That is the first step. Call our guidance staff on 0749178088 and they can discuss the course with you and answer any questions you may have. You can apply online too if you prefer to apply that way.”Visit www.donegaletb.ie to find more information about the Leaving Certificate for Adults with Donegal ETB starting in September 2019 at the Letterkenny FET centre or email [email protected] with course inquiries.Leaving Cert leads to bigger and better things for Donna and Colin was last modified: August 13th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:colin chambersDonegal ETBDonna SmythFurther Education and Trainingleaving cert for adultsLeaving Certificate
Lying in the east of South Africa, Mpumalanga is known for its stunning natural beauty, great mountain peaks and deep valleys, and game reserves stocked with Africa’s Big Five – elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo.A female lion shows her teeth at the upmarket Nkomazi Game Reserve, a 150 000-hectare game farm on the banks of the Komati River. (Ryan Kilpatrick, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)Compiled by Mary AlexanderIt’s September. It’s spring in South Africa – and Tourism Month, celebrated this year with the theme “Tourism for All”. To inspire your next road trip we bring you nine galleries, one for each province, showcasing our country’s remarkable beauty and diversity.A thriving tourism industry means South Africa is closer to achieving its National Development Plan goals of skills development and creating decent employment through inclusive economic growth.Mpumalanga means “the place where the sun rises” in Nguni languages. It’s a landlocked province far from the sea, but ribbed with some of South Africa’s great rivers, such as the Sabie, Blyde and Olifants. Over millions of years these have carved out a dramatic landscape that includes the world’s largest green canyon. The lush subtropical Blyde River Canyon runs for 25 kilometres and plunges to depths of over a kilometre.It’s the place to spot wildlife, get the adrenaline going on treetop tours and white water rapids, and explore the past in quaint old mining towns such as Pilgrim’s Rest.The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga is one of the great natural wonders of Africa. It is the third-largest canyon on earth, after the Grand Canyon in the US and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. But its subtropical vegetation, teeming with abundant birdlife and wildlife, makes it the largest green canyon on the planet. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A Ndebele woman in traditional dress stands in a homestead decorated with the vibrant geometric designs of the Ndebele people, in a cultural village tourism development in Mpumalanga. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Formed by thousands of years of turbulent water flowing into the confluence of the Treur and Blyde rivers, Bourke’s Luck Potholes are gorgeous sandstone formations – also known as “giant’s kettles” – that seem more art than nature. (Image: Rudi von Staden, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr)God’s Window, one of the most spectacular viewpoints on earth, where the escarpment of the Mpumalanga highveld meets the lowveld. (Image: Aquila, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr)A herd of white rhino crowd the road in the southern Kruger National Park. South Africa’s flagship reserve runs across two of the country’s provinces: Mpumlanaga in the south and Limpopo in the north. (Image: Michael Janse, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)The sun rises over the bushveld in the Kruger National Park. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Craftwork jewellery for sale at a Ndebele cultural village – a showcase of Ndebele culture for tourists – in Mpumalanga. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Tubing on the Blyde River. Adventure tourism is one of Mpumalanga’s most popular attractions. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A bull elephant near Satara rest camp in the Kruger National Park. (Image: Eric Gropp, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)The old post office in Pilgrim’s Rest, a historic mining village established during the gold rush of the 1800s. Today the entire village is a national monument, and a major tourist attraction alone Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)The Mbombela Stadium outside Nelspruit – Mpumalanga’s capital city – was built to host games for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Its support struts were designed to evoke giraffes silhouetted against the sky. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)On the road to the Kruger National Park, the sun breaks through the clouds to illuminate a dramatic Mpumalanga bushveld landscape. (Image: André van Rooyen, CC BY-NC-SA, via Flickr)Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport outside Nelspruit allows global travellers to fly directly to the Kruger National Park. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A leopard climbs a tree to escape an angry herd of buffalo, in the Kruger National Park. Wildlife Tourists can spot The Big Five species in the park, including leopard, buffalo, elephant, lion and rhino. (Image: Chris Eason, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)The 70-metre Lone Creek Falls are another breathtaking natural attraction on Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route. Set in pristine indigenous forest, the falls have been declared a national monument. (Image: Pedro Alberquerque, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A woman sells crafts to tourists in the town of Graskop, a stop-off point on Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route near God’s Window and the Pinnacle Rock. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A view above the clouds at God’s Window. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
Our take is that Document Management deployed as SaaS is very viable. But interestingly, a McKinsey report from earlier this year says not so. Last Friday’s Formtek blog was about ECM deployed as SaaS. Since then I came across an interesting report by McKinsey/IDC that appeared in April at Software 2006 and follow-up blog discussions about McKinsey’s predictions about the future of SaaS.In particular, this chart from the report has generated a lot of comment:In the chart, there are nine areas of Application types that are predicted to have little SaaS adoption between now and 2008. Of interest here is that Documents and Records Management is one of those application areas. We think that McKinsey doesn’t seem to have gotten it right here, but it may be a question of timing. The potential for Document Management deployed as SaaS is huge, especially in the SME space. But the number of players in the Document Management SaaS space is still very small and the available functionality via the services available today is still rudimentary. The segment seems poised to grow. Technology no longer is a limiting factor. One trend where Document Management SaaS growth is emerging is as an add-on module within already established SaaS applications. For example, SugarCRM and Saleforce.com both offer Document Management add-ons to their base CRM products. Pure-play Document Management and Records Management SaaS are likely to follow.
Here’s a quick tip that will keep your After Effects graphic project looking sharp! Force After Effects to use whole pixels for smooth interpolation.If you’ve noticed that your graphics and text aren’t looking super sharp in After Effects, it’s likely they are not be positioned on whole pixels. AE is set to interpolate elements in your project at a subpixel level. While this is useful for pinpointing precise location and scale, it can result in soft or distorted edges on graphic elements in your project. This is especially true when the graphic has keyframed motion.Graphic artist and programmer Chris Silich describes this:“When things are tweened, even in the tiny actual size comp, they often moved at sub-pixel speeds…and when that happens, AE anti-aliases the whole thing, giving our cool block pixel art weird soft edges.”Here’s an example of the type of edge distortion that he’s describing (notice the blurred edges on the top box):So, how do you get that clean interpolation that we see in the second box? Chris uses an After Effects expression called Math Round, that will force AE to interpolate at whole pixels only. The code for the Math Round expression is at Chris’ post here.Further expanding on Chris’ expression, Motionworks.com.au’s John Dickinson has created a simple AE preset of the Math Round expression. Just apply the preset to get smooth edges in After Effects. Download the preset here.If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out how to get smooth edges in After Effects this is the trick!
Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now There is a difference between proactively creating new opportunities and reactively letting opportunities come to you. The first is more salesmanship, the second more order-taking. Both are important, and you want all of the opportunities available to you, but only one allows you to take your results into your own hands.You proactively create opportunities by nurturing relationships, prospecting, and making a strong case for change. The nurturing gets you known, and proves that you are a value creator. The prospecting gains you an appointment to explore change, and to share ideas. The case for change is what compels action, in this case, and opportunity for your client to produce better outcomes and a deal for you.This is the work salespeople do, even though we spend more time talking about opportunity capture, something that is only necessary because someone created the opportunity in the first place.There are, however, other ways for you to acquire opportunities. You can wait passively for you dream clients to decide they need something, create an RFP, and invite you to participate, even if only as column fodder. You can also be the kind of customer-service focused person with a sales title that acquires new opportunities just by hanging around and waiting. These opportunities are no less valuable, and they may still have something to do with you being known, liked, and trusted, while also possessing the ability to create value.The difference here is that proactive opportunity creation is intentional, and it allows for greater control of your overall results, while reactively waiting for opportunities is passive, leaving your results dependent upon the luck that never produces equal results to doing the work.Selling is equal parts opportunity creation and opportunity capture. Because this is true, success in sales requires that you treat opportunity creation as if it is equal to winning deal. Over time, your ability to create opportunities will end up with you winning more than your fair share of those opportunities.