Think Costco First

Payment Processing the Costco Way: Trust, Value, and Quality.

With more than 500 warehouse locations in the U.S., Costco Wholesale understands the importance of a trusted resource for payment processing. Costco also has deep respect for members who own and operate businesses themselves. That’s why Costco entrusts Elavon to provide members with reliable credit card processing, mobile payment processing, point of sale systems, payment processing products and services tailored to your industry.

Easily get stuff done with Quickbooks.

With the most advanced features and easy to use interface, QuickBooks Online Plus saves time by letting you create recurring invoices, manage your bills, prepare and print 1099s and track inventory. Manage your business on the go by accessing QuickBooks anywhere/anytime via any device. Access 60+ insightful built-in reports to understand the health of your business. Expand your QuickBooks functionality by easily syncing with 350+ apps. Seamlessly collaborate with your accountant to make tax time a snap.

Your Business is Big Business. No matter the size, your business is a big business to us. Intermedia offers a complete package of essential services to make your business more efficient: Microsoft Office 365 with Intermedia’s backup and file sharing service and J.D. Power-certified 24/7 support.

Join over 1 million small businesses and choose the right payroll service for you.

Intuit payroll gives you the ability to create unlimited paychecks instantly and calculate payroll taxes automatically. This program is compatible with Quickbooks and can be accessed directly from your iOS or Android devices. Try it risk free for 30 days.

Harland Clarke offers a variety of personal and business checks and accessories to meet your everyday needs.

Harland Clarke offers a variety of personal and business checks and accessories to meet your everyday needs. With the wide variety available you’ll be able to choose the check designs and formats that will fit your business needs. All checks are quality laser checks that works with accounting software. Also available are Quickbooks and Quicken compatible tax forms to help make tax season run smoother.

If you are looking for more information on the business services call (302) 444-9312 or email w246mkt01@costco.com.

4 Secrets to Creating an Engaged Workforce

Written by Cheryl Beth Kuchler, Ballantree Consulting

With over 285 employees, and almost 400 residents living in resort-style accommodations, running The Hill at Whitemarsh says Judy McGruther, who’s been the CEO since they started up over a dozen years ago, is like being the mayor of a small city.

But it’s more than that. “The Hill” is a Five Star Continuing Care Community in Lafayette Hill, PA, north of Philadelphia. And the Five Stars don’t come without a great deal of commitment, time and attention to detail from Judy and her Leadership Team. No more so than back in 2013 when the team realized that their hiring process wasn’t producing the results that they wanted – or needed – to grow.

Numerous challenges faced them. Finding the right employees in a highly competitive job market – for what’s often a very high stress jobs with tremendous responsibility caring for elderly, sometimes frail, residents.  An interview process that was taking too long resulting in lost candidates. Being in an industry that’s known for its high turnover. With an expansion in the works, Judy’s team had to do something different if they were to meet their growth goals.

How did they double their engagement scores and support their culture of high performance service as well? Read on here to learn more about the four key ingredients to their success!

And come to our upcoming briefing to learn more about how we can help you. For more information or just to register to attend for free and learn more click here.

 

Drone Workforce Solutions Begins Training Local Residents in Drone Technology

Drone Workforce Solutions (DWS) began its inaugural class training aspiring drone pilots on September 30, 2017 with the help of a grant from the Delaware Department of Labor.

Twelve Delaware students have been selected and enrolled in the 70-hour, 10-week drone training course that covers everything from the mechanics of flying, to aviation safety, to the aeronautical information they need to become a certified and FAA licensed commercial drone pilot .

“Our students will receive a top-notch education in drone technology that will help them seize job opportunities in this $100 billion dollar industry,” said Drone Workforce Solutions CEO and General Counsel Theophilus R. Nix Jr.

Earlier this year, the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment & Training awarded its second drone-related grant, ever awarded, to Drone Workforce Solutions to start a pipeline of talented commercial drone operators to expand the state’s technology sector and increase sustainable employment for men and women from diverse backgrounds of today’s working families.

This particular grant paid the tuition for the students taking the Drone Workforce Solutions course. As part of their training, the aspiring drone pilots master the FAA’s regulations for drone operators, learn how to build a drone from scratch, learn business and entrepreneurial skills, and experience hands-on, in-field flight coaching by our highly qualified, experienced and FAA certified drone pilots in the industry.

Upon completion of the program, DWS alumni receive a certificate backed by Drone Workforce Solutions; the only drone training company that is approved by the Delaware Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  DWS was recently selected to be a finalist in the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks video pitch competition.

Graduating students will also become members with one of DWS’s partners, the digital Drone Pilot Ground School, where they will have access to online tools and resources for five years. DWS offers its alumni opportunities for subsequent training, networking, and potential employment through its drone employment company.

From construction companies, to agriculture, law enforcement, media, utilities, infrastructure, entertainment, construction and real estate many industries have smartly identified drones as a key investment to make their operations more efficient and effective. Few have the staff with expertise to implement the technology. According to one study, the expansion of commercial drones could add $82 billion in economic value over the next ten years and by 2025 employ an additional 100,000 Americans.

DWS is currently seeking interested aspiring drone pilots for their next class scheduled for the Spring of 2018. Through its website, www.droneworkforcesolutions.com, candidates should send their full name, email, and phone number to receive upcoming dates to attend DWS’s FREE Open House Informational classes.

About DWS

Drone Workforce Solutions is dedicated to helping small unmanned aircraft(sUAS) pilots and everyday businesses work together to find innovative solutions for a rapidly-changing marketplace. DWS offers customized workshops to all kinds of businesses; from utility companies to real estate companies. Backed by over 25 years of legal, business, and aviation experience Drone Workforce Solutions is not only committed to producing top-quality work, but using its network to transform industries. Drone Workforce Solutions corporate office and drone training school is located on the Wilmington riverfront at 920 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.

What You Need To Know About Security Warnings in Google Chrome

Written by Advertising is Simple

View originial article here.

Are you in charge of your own standalone IC Site or client sites that have forms on web pages that are HTTP (not HTTPS)? If so, you might have received an email from Google Search Console recently reminding you that starting October 17, 2017, these pages will be showing security warnings  in Google Chrome.

Do you manage websites that are HTTP and have pages with forms capturing some sort of customer data (eg. contact us form)?  If yes, this notice is very important for your case and you should definitely care about the difference between http and https. Why?

It might seem so sudden, but the Google’s plan to change labeling HTTP sites as non-secure has been gradually taking place since January 2017, following the change of Chrome 56. In recent statements, Chrome explained this initiative as cracking down on HTTP infractions with credit cards and passwords. “Passwords and credit cards are not the only types of data that should be private. Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the “Not secure” warning when users type data into HTTP sites.” – Chromium Blog

So what’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

Whenever you’re visiting the HTTP site, you sit at your browser and interact with data. However, how the data travels from Point A to Point B, or even if it travels at all, is none of HTTP’s concern.

It’s similar with HTTPS, BUT when security is a must, HTTPS differentiates one sender and receiver from another. The SSL actually encrypts the coming and going data. This means that SSL uses a mathematical algorithm to hide the true meaning of the data. The hope is that this algorithm is so complex it is either impossible or prohibitively difficult to crack, therefore making data submitted through HTTPS web page (contact details, credit card info) more secure.

How to avoid these security warnings in Google Chrome?

  1. Host with a dedicated IP address.
  2. Buy a Certificate.
  3. Activate the Certificate.
  4. Install the Certificate.
  5. Update your site to use HTTPS.

 

If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, Google treats this as a site move with a URL change. This can temporarily affect some of your traffic numbers.

See the site move overview page to learn more. Also, here is more information on Google Search Console recommendations about https.

 

 

Green Grazer Goats wins this year’s Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition.

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center.

Beating out ten other startup companies, and despite tough competition, Green Grazer Goats grazed into the no. 1 position to win the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition—now in its 5th year and with a Grand Prize totaling over $22,000 in cash and services.

Green Grazer Goats is an eco-friendly farming operation that works hard to turn problem areas into manageable property, efficiently clearing areas of noxious weeds and brush without the need for human labor, heavy equipment, dangerous chemicals – and all at about half the cost.  With their clear vision and plan, Kalyn Butt and Kevin Connor convinced the judges that they had a viable business.

For the first time this year, the Emerging Enterprise Center, Delaware’s first small business incubator partnered with New Castle County Government, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer its largest ever prize package which included:

The competition required participants to submit a 3-minute video pitch showcasing their company and describing how their prize package will be used to grow their business.  The three finalists pitched live before a jury composed of judges from the entrepreneurial and business community.  Judging was based on multiple criteria, including clarity of message and vision, value proposition and feasibility of business concept.

The two other finalists:  DEact Medical Solutions and Drone Workforce Solutions, both of which also impressed the judges with their forward thinking innovations.  All three finalists received prize packages. Videos of all the submissions can be seen on Emerging Enterprise Center Website.

Initiating and Engaging in Courageous Conversations Important Elements for Successful Outcomes

Written by James Gulezian, Adjunct Professor, Goldey-Beacom College specializing in  leadership, business management, and human resources.

As leaders we are often faced with extremely challenging, problematic situations stemming from inappropriate behavior or unsatisfactory performance on the part of one or two people who seem to occupy 80% of our time and attention. More often than not, the at-work behavior or performance issue is more deeply rooted in the individual’s personality/temperament that serves to reinforce and self-rationalize their behavior or mode of performance. As such, the leader, and person’s co-workers grow increasingly frustrated, angry, and resentful of the “problem child” and, in effect, suffer from this toxic presence in the work environment. It’s bad enough that this problem person is performing at a sub-par level, he or she has now impeded the performance of the whole team, stemming from delays from work-arounds, others having to constantly follow-up and pay strict attention to everything he or she does, etc.

For various reasons stemming from the employee’s personality, time with the company, time in the job, etc. the leader knows deep down inside that time is running out and the need to effectively address the issue(s) with the person is NOW. By this point, the eyes of the leader’s boss, peers, and staff are on him or her, expecting that this situation is resolved once and for all. The leader also realizes that, notwithstanding the other person’s personality, feelings, and temperament, he or she must come to grip with their own emotional framework; recognizing all the personal obstacles that could impede an effective collaborative problem resolution outcome. While important to identify these derailment influences, it is equally important to identify what the leader will keep in mind and demonstrate to keep the discussion on a productive course.

For leaders who face these high-stakes, high-impact situations, it is critically important to feel confident in knowing what to do and, for that matter, what to avoid when having these extremely challenging discussions. It’s all about the manner in which the discussion is started and navigated to completion that spells the difference between success and disaster.

Come to our workshop (click here to register) where you will be provided a practical hands-on framework for leaders to plan and execute effective interactions with problem employees. Significant attention will be placed on interpersonal dynamics and effective use of important tools such as active listening, emotional intelligence, collaborative problem-solving, preservation of self-esteem, and building greater trust.

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

written by Kristin Drake, LinkedIn Careers Team.
Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices. 

Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

  • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
  • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

  • Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
  • Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
  • Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

 

Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all  the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By using freelancers, you’ll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.

 

Help! I Need a Better Business Plan!

On the face of it, a Business Plan should be relatively straightforward:  an executive summary, a company description, market research and information, marketing and sales data, and financial projections.  So how come so many business plans miss the mark?

Anyone who’s done Business 101 knows the basic elements of a Business Plan, and anyone who has looked into starting their own venture or sought investor funding has tackled the challenge of writing their own plan – yet so often business plans fail to reach their intended goal.

A business starts with an idea – a seed – but that idea only yields fruit if it’s planted in the right soil and given the right growing conditions. In other words, an idea – even a great idea – isn’t enough if it doesn’t have a market, a realistic plan to reach that market, and an effective team to execute that plan.  Most business plans fail not because the idea isn’t great, but because the marketing and financial elements are unrealistic or because the team fails to execute effectively.

Think back to the dot-com bubble – the bursting of the bubble was caused by the huge investments and overvalued stocks in dot-com companies based on little more than a basic idea, the overblown hype surrounding the potential of customer acquisition through the internet, and the success of a few key players (Google, Amazon).  The reality was that most of them never actually had sound enough business models that would actually generate business in real terms – and ultimately yield profits for their investors.

So while to you the most interesting part of your business plan is the idea itself, to your potential investors, the most interesting part is the return on their investment.  Regardless of how novel the product is, the real value to the investor lies in the business plan answering some very key questions:

  • How large is the market and is it a growth market?
  • How do you plan to access the market?
  • Do you have a sound, sustainable business model that can yield a return on my investment?
  • Is there a potential exit strategy for me?

So how do you put together winning data into your Plan?

First of all – make sure your research is thorough and valid! Just as your product should be proven and validated, so should your market and financial data. While some assumptions are acceptable, they should be based in “what is” not on “what should be”.

Industry Background: When you describe your industry make sure you include its current size and projected growth rate, its characteristics, trends, and segments.  Once you have an outline of the industry, zero in on your specific target market or segment.  For example, if you are targeting the aviation industry, is your focus on commercial aviation, business aviation or military aviation? Are you focused on a specific region, aircraft type, service type, or business model?  If your focus is on the consumer side, which variables did you use to segment your market? Geographic segmentation? Demographic?  Psychographic?  Socioeconomic?

More importantly, look at your target market’s needs and how they are currently being met.  What is the size of the segment, who are the major and the secondary players in the industry, and how much share do you think you can gain? How do you plan to gain entry into this market? What is your value proposition and what are your proposed market channels?

Make sure you understand how you fit in the industry big picture, including barriers to entry, regulatory environment and in relation to the competition.  What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and how important is your target market to them? If your target market is their primary source of income, then you can be sure that they will fight to maintain their position within the industry and they will have many advantages.  Do you have a strategy as the new entrant?

Remember that the more defined your target market (or markets) and the better you understand the competition, the clearer you can be in not only defining your market’s individual needs but also in defining your specific value proposition and target share.

Again – realism is the key. If the total market is $100M and there are 3 key players, each of which has 15% share of the market, then be realistic in your expectations: you are unlikely to gain 10% share in your first year of business!!   If you believe that your product is so great that your customer will want to use it on their equipment 8 times a year when the industry standard operating procedure calls for the process to take place 4 times per year, think again! Your sales projections will be severely off the mark unless you have a solid plan to change customer behavior!

Pricing & Profit Margins: Pricing and profit margins can often be a major pitfall when developing a business plan.  Make sure your pricing structure – including discounts – is clearly defined and that all relevant costs are included in your profit calculations. Too often, profit margins are grossly over-estimated as key costs are omitted from this calculation.   Make sure you understand both your fixed and variable costs as you develop your pricing structure and include a breakeven analysis so you truly understand where you need to be to start making a profit.  If your fixed costs are $7,000 a month, you will need considerably more than $7,000 in sales to break even, so make sure you include a realistic estimate of variable costs.

Business Model & Financial Projections:  Literature abounds with information on how much detail should be included in the financial projections.  What is just as important however, is the business model itself and the knowledge and ability of the management team to execute that model.  A good business plan presents the financial projections in multiple scenarios to show how the company would respond and the projections would be impacted if the expected market or environmental conditions were to change unexpectedly.

Think back to 9/11 – a day that not only changed history, but also changed the face of several industries. The aviation industry was changed virtually overnight: airlines and suppliers to the industry went out of business virtually overnight; new entrants came onto the scene; the regulatory environment changed.

While this example is extreme, outside events can – and do – impact a business: regulatory changes, new technologies, new competitors.  So a business plan should reflect a business model that can respond quickly to a changing environment.   William Sahlman, in his excellent article on writing a business plan, states that “a typical professional venture-capital firm receives approximately 2,000 business plans per year. These plans are filled with tantalizing ideas for new products and services that will change the world and reap billions in the process – or so they say. But the fact is, most venture capitalists believe that ideas are a dime a dozen: only execution skills count.”

Sahlman makes an important point: investors are inundated with ideas and business plans. What you need to focus on when putting together your own plan, is ensuring you have a sound business as well as a good idea.

As always, I’ll leave the final word to an expert, Joe Mansueto

“I found an approach to investing that made enormous sense to me: rigorously analyzing a company’s fundamentals, understanding exactly how it makes money, developing a view on the business’s future prospects, and deciding if it’s a good business.

5 Steps to New Product Development

By Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

New product development is often spoken of but seldom practiced. Yet it is a process that is all-encompassing, risk-averse and eloquent in its simplicity. When coupled with outstanding project leadership, it’s a winning formula guaranteed to yield results.

 

Too often, product development in today’s larger organizations is fraught with miscommunication, misdirection, lots of activity with little accomplishment, unclear goals. The end result is wasted time, effort, and sometimes a product that does not deliver on its early promise. An effective development process – my personal favorite is the stage-gate process – that is well executed and well led is critical in eliminating many of these problems, increasing speed to market and ensuring that the product under development continues to meet business goals and market requirements.

The 5 Steps of Development

Step 1: THE IDEA – The source can come from R&D (based on new technology), Marketing (based on market need or gap analysis determination), Sales (based on customer need) or Operations (based on a new process that offers manufacturing alternatives). Each idea should be screened to determine its overall viability before moving on to the next stage. Does it meet the company’s overall strategic goals? Business goals? Market development goals? Product development goals?

It is important to note that new product ideas are based on knowledge: customer and industry knowledge, technological and environmental knowledge. The sharing of knowledge between departments enables the connection of dots that may remain unconnected if left floating alone in a vacuum. R&D or Engineering may be aware of a new technology but unaware of a market application while Marketing may see a market need or application without being aware of the technologies available to meet the application. Manufacturing and operations should be aware of both market needs and trends as well as technological developments so that they, in turn, are well positioned with regard to resources.

Step 2: PRELIMINARY REVIEW – Technological, operational and marketing viability. What is the total market size and potential? What are the R&D cost requirements? What are the operational requirements? What are the ROI estimates? Are there any regulatory implications? Product and time parameters, including product functionality and attributes, estimated cost targets and market goals should be established.

Step 3: DEVELOPMENT – A step in which all departments – not just R&D or Engineering – should be involved with frequent communication and updates to ensure that the product criteria established in Step 2 are being met, and that the needs and timing remain unchanged. If at any point during this stage there is a change in product scope, cost or timing, then a review of the business case may be warranted to determine if further development should continue or expectations should be adjusted.

Step 4: TESTING – A critical part of the process since this will validate the product or determine if additional development time is requirement. If possible, testing should be completed in partnership with a launch customer as this offers external as well as internal validation of product performance. This step will also determine if the product continues to meet the criteria and goals established in Step 2, or if these criteria need to be re-evaluated and/or adjusted.

Step 5: COMMERCIALIZATION and LAUNCH – Production ramp up and marketing plan. Are all the operations pieces – from part numbers to purchasing to production – in place? Are all regulatory pieces (if applicable) in place? Does the sales team have everything they need – from marketing materials to samples to trial protocols to industry context – to sell with confidence? Again, all departments should be involved in the commercialization process to ensure that all elements of the Commercialization and Marketing Plan are orchestrated for a flawless launch.

Effective Project Leadership is a Must

The above notwithstanding, it is not enough just to have a good process in place. The keys to a successful new product development process are project leadership and execution, as well as cross-functional involvement and contribution at all stages of the development process. Effective leadership ensures:

  • Regular communication across all disciplines at every step of the process;
  • That the product continues to meet all criteria established at Step 2 of the process;
  • That the activities engaged in the entire development process add value to the overall innovation strategy;
  • That – once commercialized – momentum is maintained to ensure that the product yields the expected results.

Too often, a process is put in place but is poorly implemented or poorly led, and therefore fails to yield the desired results. Like any process, success depends on keeping the end in sight, and in this case the end does not finish with first piece approval. Frederick W. Smith said it well when said:

“Leadership is simply the ability of an individual to coalesce the efforts of other individuals toward achieving common goals. It boils down to looking after your people and ensuring that, from top to bottom, everyone feels part of the team.”