We make our living as guerillas not the bad kind, but more of a freedom fighter. By using the term guerilla I mean EMJ (now a division of SYNNEX) fights for business against big gorillas (other distributors) in the field. Our competitors are almost 100 times our size; EMJ is a Canadian-based, $165 million per year distributor. We have made an operating profit for the past 80 consecutive quarters. So even though we are up against the big gorillas as a distributor, we must be doing something right.If you are in a business where some of the competitors are much larger, you may be able to benefit from using guerilla tactics. The principles of running a guerrilla organization differ from running a gorilla organization. As a guerrilla, we hide from our competitor; we do not try to crush them. I even go so far as to examine what they do well and let them do it. At the same time, I look for under-serviced markets and get to these markets fast.A gorilla takes all competitors head on, trying to crush the competition. Sometimes this takes the form of a price war. Sometimes it takes major prolonged, drawn-out investment. This works as long as you are the same size, or larger than the competition. Even then, such a long battle can sap power and ultimately profits. Companies that die often believe they were gorillas. It is certain death for a business to fight gorillas unless they can withstand the siege. Any time we hire someone with a gorilla-company background, we watch and coach that person to make sure they are indoctrinated with the appropriate tactics. We have to make sure they understand out business model.My 8 favourite guerilla tactics are:1 Act fast. I use my companys size for my advantage. I can act lightning fast. In the computer business, this is a huge asset. Things change so rapidly that moving fast and being first to market is a huge advantage. Larger companies do not react quickly. Develop a reputation for being first it gets the attention of customers. 2 Welcome smaller opportunities. Gorillas tend to say no to manufacturers who dont think they can do significant volume with. But a small opportunity rejected by a gorilla can be a very profitable opportunity for a guerilla. For EMJ, a million dollar per product line is an opportunity big enough to get the attention of my first string. In your business, look for the right-sized opportunity for you. Frequently, it is the smaller opportunity that has the best promise. The gorillas will leave you alone. There is always a right-sized opportunity for a company of any size. Knowing your rightful place in the market can help you to thrive.3 Get focussed. Higher focus means we know more, stock more, and sell more product of fewer manufacturers. The smaller our product listing, the more powerful we become. We know a lot about a little. That means we know the products we sell better than a gorilla, and we become a sales tool for the reseller, not just an order-taker. Could you become more focused and specialized in a business area by giving up on a part of your business?4 Be more flexible. We can adapt more easily to our customers and suppliers. We try not to be ruled by policy. The bigger a company gets, the more likely they are to have policy and some of it is required. As a small distributor, we can be more flexible. Are there areas that your competition is ignoring that by being more entrepreneurial, you can capitalize on?5 Be smarter. This sounds too simple, almost embarrassing to write. Since we are smaller, we can look at the business we do more carefully and make sure it makes good business sense. We dont pick up another manufacturer just to increase the size of our line card. Thats just not good business sense for us. Thats the way we have to think and so should you.6 Lower your overhead. For some reason, most companies seem to choose more expensive offices and furnishings as they grow. This expectation tends to increase costs in all areas of the company that distribution, at current margin levels, can ill afford. At EMJ, we buy quality used furniture. We are on the outskirts of Guelph where the cost of land and taxes is less. Our capital base is even high enough that our cost of capital is less than some of the gorillas. Are there areas that you can be lower overhead than the gorillas in your field? Costs always add up on the bottom line.7 Foster staff loyalty one major advantage guerillas have over gorillas is the ability to attract, motivate, and keep good people. Primarily this is because guerillas can be more flexible, easier to work for and give people more of a sense of accomplishment because what they do contributes more directly the companys bottom line. I have always found there to be great power by being smaller and treating my people with respect and not just as numbers. Gorillas can try to do this but it is tough for them to copy you.8 Just BE a gorilla. We like to enter market areas that we can dominate and specialize in. We may not be the biggest but in certain specific niches, we dominate. As long as we are the biggest in an area, we can act the part. We can under-price and over-service the competition forever. Anyone who enters our markets learns that it is expensive and often impossible to unseat us.9 Be personal. One thing a smaller organization can do is to be more personal. People buy from people. You can foster relationships that will help you sell. Part of the way we are personal is by showing our customers what markets and products ARE profitable. There is nothing that cements a customer relationship better than making them money, because youll be making money for them AND for you!10 Be opportunistic to sum up guerilla strategy is simply to be opportunistic. Take advantage of opportunities that the gorillas cannot do. There are many companies that remain profitable by being opportunistic.In summary, unless you are huge think guerilla. Appropriate guerilla tactics for your size will win any battle.
Are you thinking about approaching a Bank for finance to support your business? If you havent already gone to see the Manager then you may not know that the first thing he will want to see is your Business Plan.Perhaps you are not convinced that all the time and effort needed in preparing a plan is essential; if so then here are the main benefits for both you and your business.1.No matter how good a communicator you are, you will never be able to convey your vision for the business as successfully as a perfectly put together Business Plan. It provides a clear understanding as to what you want to achieve. It allows you to express your ideas in a clearer manner.2.Too many times business owners try to sell their idea verbally and at the end of the interview with the Bank the Manager is none the wiser than he was at the start. I think you can guess the outcome of many of those requests!3.A Business Plan will help convince both you and the Bank of the project's feasibility and viability. There's nothing like having all the facts in front of you to clarify the key issues4.Theres no getting away from the fact that a business owner who plans ahead comes across as being more ambitious and more focused. A well prepared Business Plan demonstrates you have vision and that you know what you want5.With numerous ideas floating around in your mind, the pitfalls or stumbling blocks to success are never that visible. A mind buzzing and full of ideas will rarely achieve clarity. A Business Plan forces you to put your ideas down in writing and in an orderly manner. The result of this could be you going in a completely different direction than you initially thought of, or even abandoning your idea altogether. Not a pleasant thought, but which would you prefer? The loss of your hard capital or the opportunity to re-think your idea?6.It is an ideal tool to monitor progress against the objectives you have set yourself (we will cover objective setting later). By checking progress against your Plan, you will be able to spot if you are moving away from your original vision and so you will know what has to be put right7.Imagine if you didn't have this check in place; an unnoticed change in direction or a slippage in achieving your objectives, if left uncorrected for too long, could be fatal to your business. On the other hand, it may transpire that a shift from your original vision could be a better alternative, but at least recognising this change allows you to adjust your course in a planned, structured and controlled manner8.Every action you take has a consequence, and a Plan helps make these consequences much clearer. Being aware of the possible effect of your chosen direction allows you to plan ahead, leaving you better able to cope with whatever the world of self employment can throw at you. This is one thing that "mental planning" would not achieve9.Putting your thoughts on paper may make you realise that you need to do more research on the demand for your product or service. It could also highlight that more investigation on your competitor's products or services is needed. Additional research could help avoid a potentially costly mistake or even uncover a hidden advantage, which you had not seen before!10.A Plan will guide you as to how much money is needed to make an idea work. In your mind you may have a rough figure of what youll have to commit, but until you do a Cash Flow Forecast you may not realise that an overdraft limit will be required, in addition to a loan for your equipment. If the mention of preparing a Cash Flow Forecast brings you out in a sweat, dont worry as later in the book Ill be showing you exactly how to do one11.A Business Plan will help you get funding. One of the main reasons Banks turn down requests for loans is a lack of information to assist in making an informed decision. If the Manager doesn't have enough knowledge about your idea or business then he won't feel comfortable enough to support you. He has to understand your business before he can say yes. Some time in the future he may have to justify to his superiors why he lent you the money, so he needs as much information as possible to back up his decision. A Business Plan will make him feel much more at ease and so more able to say yes 12.By the time you have finished writing your Business Plan you will have a total understanding of your business; its strengths and weaknesses, the environment it operates in, what could potentially go wrong, and what you can do to ensure your success. Doing your planning on the back of an envelope is not going to achieve this You should realise by now that it's essential to have a Business Plan; it could be the difference between success and that dreaded "f" word - failure! It's all about understanding the importance of planning ahead. Spend time putting your thoughts on paper in a structured and logical manner. It will pay you dividends, both in getting the Bank to take you seriously and securing the future of your business.
I recently left the company I was working for and took a new position with a new employer at a much higher salary. My business is IT, and I left the comfort and stabilty of my old job to work for a startup firm which I think will be a big success. They knew they were going to have to pay for quality personnel so they had no problem meeting my demands in terms of salary, benefits and stock options. What I didn't realize is that while they aren't skimping on compensation, the office environment they provide leaves a lot to be desired.I can put up with the miniscule cubical. I can live with the lack of natural light (although I feel like a cave troll). I can even do without the cafeteria, water cooler, and coffee maker. What I really miss is my old phone. You see, my old phone was indeed, not an "old" phone. It was a multi-line handling, LCD displaying, caller IDing monster that gave me more options than a new car salesman. My "new" phone has none of those amenities. There is no transfer or hold button, no screen to display who is calling, no headset and no electronic directory. In short, the only difference between this phone and a Garfield phone you might buy at Spencer's Gifts is that this phone isn't shaped like a cartoon cat. My job would be so much easier and my days so much more productive if only we had a real office phone system in place. The current system is so poorly automated that only a very small percentage of the calls I get are actually meant for me. Likewise, I get several E-mails a day asking why I haven't returned phone calls in regard to messages I never received.I guess the old addage that "you don't know what you've got until it's gone" really holds true in this case. Since I came here, I have actively lobbied to have the old phone system replaced, but to no avail. I think I may be the only one here who knows what he's missing. Oh well...I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who has experienced this. Maybe you too have lost a beloved phone in a career move. I sympathize with you. I'd leave my number so we could comiserate, but you'd probably never reach me anyway.
Dowel Pins are industrial fasteners that are used in aerospace, military, construction and other industrial industries. Their primary function is for fastening two components but they are frequently used as an alignment or locating pin for components that are disassembled and reassembled. Frequently they are used as a hinge pin between pivoting components or as an axel for a rotating element.Dowel Pins can be made out of any rigid material including wood, steel and plastic. The most common materials for industrial applications are hardened alloy steel and stainless steel. Wood and plastic is most frequently used for fastening wooden objects such as furniture. Dowel Pins are available in a wide range of diameters and lengths in both imperial (inch) and metric (mm) sizes. Dowel Pins are made to commercial diameter tolerances of approximately plus or minus 0.005 inch (0.13mm) or to precision diameter tolerances which are normally plus or minus 0.0001 inch (0.0025mm). Dowel pins are an important component when it comes to fastening. They are widely used and serve the purpose well.Definition of dowel pinsA dowel pin is used to secure two objects together. A hole is bored in one or both of the objects and the dowel is inserted into the hole(s). They are non threaded fasteners. These fasteners can be quickly assembled and removed from components and do not need extra fastening hardware. Dowel pins can be straight, tapered, rolled or grooved and provide perfect alignment, holding parts in absolute relation to one another. They also prevent slippage due to high motion.Types of "dowel pins" :
- Parallel dowel pins The most common of dowel pins and sometimes referred to as straight pins, they have a uniform diameter over the full length of the pin. These pins are especially useful application where the torque and high accuracy is important. They keep motion smooth and guard against any displacement of assembled parts.
- Stepped dowel pins These are parallel dowel pins with two different diameters along their length.
- Pull dowel pins These are also parallel dowel pins which are supplied with a threaded hole in one end so that a screw can be inserted to help remove the pin from a blind hole.
- Commercial dowel pins These are parallel .22 dowel pin that are made to commercial diameter tolerances of approximately plus or minus 0.005 inch (0.13mm).
- Precision ".22 dowel pin" - These are parallel .22 dowel pin that are made to precision diameter tolerances which are normally plus or minus 0.0001 inch (0.0025mm). A precision dowel pin is needed for an interference fit.
- Tapered Dowel pins Tapered .22 dowel pin are most commonly called Taper Pins and are produced with a diameter that reduces in size from one end to the other end. The large end is referred to as the Head. A taper pin is forcefully inserted into a tapered hole to make an extremely strong fastening between two components. The tapered hole can be made by first drilling a small diameter hole and then using a taper pin reamer to exactly shape the tapered hole. Alternatively, a small diameter hole can be drilled deep into the part followed by a larger drill to two thirds of the depth and finally the largest drill diameter to one third of the depth. The most common taper is per foot. If there is access to the pin at the small end, the taper pin can easily be removed with slight force to the pin.
- Roll Pins (Spring Pins) These are parallel pins which are produced by forming strips of flat metal into a partial coil. From an end view they look like the letter C. These coiled pins can be made in a wide range of diameters and lengths. The biggest advantage to a coiled pin is in the fact that when they are forced into a hole that is intentionally undersize, the pins compress and then hold position with a great deal of force. Roll Pins can be used as a hinge pin.
- Spiral Pins - These are similar to roll pins except that they are formed into a complete coil where the outside of the coil overlaps the inside by approximately 1-1/2 to 2 turns. Spiral Pins perform much like the Roll Pins however since they have a protruding edge along their diameter it is not recommended that they be used for hinge pins.
- Grooved Pins Sometimes called a groove pin, is a parallel dowel pin which has a portion of the diameter deformed with grooves that run parallel to the diameter. This functionality allows a portion of the pin to be tightly press fit into one component while another component can freely rotate or be easily removed from the end of the pin that has a smooth diameter.
- Spring Post - a spring post is a parallel dowel pin with a radial groove around the diameter located at one end of the length. One end of the spring post is press fit into a component leaving the radial groove end exposed. The groove is used to attach an expansion spring.
Parking lots seem quite harmless, but they do pose a risk. Besides moving traffic and the occasional fender bender, parking lots pose two major hazards. One being trips and falls and the other is violence.The perfect parking lot would be smooth and flat; no parking lot is perfect. Even a surface with just a half inch difference can pose a trip hazard. Twisted ankles or loss of balance will lead to falls and other painful mishaps.Heavy use by both pedestrians and vehicle traffic both cause a parking surface to deteriorate. Leaks and spills of engine oil or antifreeze, which commonly occur wherever cars are parked cause broken pavement and gratings and can further add to risks of slips and falls.In outdoor "parking lots" , severe weather conditions additionally aggravate even slight damage to the "parking surface" . As a consequence the risk for falls due to slips and trips is relatively high in this environment.Speed bumps and tire stops are usually not necessary in a well-designed parking lot. Besides potentially causing damage to vehicles, they create a yet another hazard for tripping. The layout of the parking area should make it impossible to drive unsafely or fast; speed bumps or "tire stops" might be necessary.Tire stops the end of some parking spaces are serious tripping hazards particularly when parking slots are occupied. When tire stops are present, they should no wider than the width of the vehicle and they should be marked with a contrasting color. Special attention should be paid to their regular maintenance because they deteriorate faster than other elements of the parking area.Falls can be prevented by having good lighting, good housekeeping, good quality walking surface in the parking area, appropriate walking pace, paying attention to where you are going, and having a selection of proper footwear.Keep the lot tidy by cleaning all spills and oily spots immediately, marking oily or icy spots and wet areas, clearing ice or snow as soon as possible, and removing clutter, debris and any obstacles from walkways.Safety is everybody's duty, so workers as much as employers should clean or report spills right away, clear away clutter and debris, if they can, report hazardous conditions to their supervisors, and remain aware that falls can happen anywhere and anytime.The second risk in parking lots is violence. Depending on the parking lots location, design and the time of day, parking lots can present a risk violence. The good news is that there are some basic safety principles that you can use to help keep you safer when traveling to and from your car.When parking your car, park near the building in a highly visible and well-lit area. If there is a parking attendant park near them or near the stairs or a well-lit exit in an underground lot. Use a main building entrance and avoid the rear or secluded doors. If you have been shopping, keep your valuables and recent purchases out of sight or locked in the trunk. Lock the doors and roll up windows once you are in the vehicle.When you park look around the surroundings and make a plan for where you can go for safety and how to call for help. Always try to walk with a friend, co-worker, or a security officer. Give them a ride back to the main entrance so they do not have to walk back alone. If you must walk alone have a co-worker watch you from a window. Wave to them on the way to your vehicle; this will let anyone in the parking lot know someone is watching you. Even if no one is watching from the window, wave anyway; this will give the illusion that someone is watching you. Stay on well-lit streets and in the center of the sidewalk. Stay away from hiding spots such as bushes, doorways, alleys and parked cars. Cross the road if you feel uneasy. Always be alert to your surroundings. Walk with confidence. Keep your head up and look around. Look directly at people but do not stare at them. Trust your instincts when you feel something is not right. Be prepared when you leave your business, or when you leave the car for work. Have your keys ready when you leave the building. Carry a whistle or other personal alarm. Weapons such as pepper spray can be taken away from you and used against you. Your keys can be used as a surprise weapon.As you approach your car, look around and under it. Check the inside for anyone also. If anything looks strange and you have an uneasy feeling, walk away and call someone for help.When in a parking lot, be aware of your surroundings for potential risks from the parking surface to anyone that might harm you. Take these simple precautions and you will be safe.