More on creating your own products and a bit about a powerful management tool

Yesterday, I published one of my own articles in my series on solo entrepreneurs developing their own products. People keep saying I should be writing more specific suggestions for products. Especially those I’ve seen bring success to others.

So I decided to offer a couple of ideas. Ideas the solo entrepreneur with shoestring resources can get started with in food-related products and services. It’s one of the categories of products for which there is constantly a large market. It also covers many niches.

Read “Creating Your Own Products and Services: Food Related Products and Services For The Solo Entrepreneur.”

A couple of days ago, I published a guest article, “O-o-O: The Most Powerful Management Tool,” which is about having regularly scheduled, individual meetings with employees, called “one-on-ones.”

I was glad to see Marnie Green’s article on one-on-one management meetings with employees. This was quite popular advice from about 2001-2005 and since then I haven’t heard so much about it as I have about other newer ideas (or new twists on old ideas.) I suspected it fell out of favor because it was difficult to implement or sustain. Or perhaps people thought it was the same thing as performance coaching, so it rather became “lumped in” to that category. Maybe the difference is insignificant.

All the same, whatever you call the process, making regular appointments with employees for reviewing goals and performance and for sharing information and ideas is rather hard to do. Especially when you supervise more than 10 employees. There are so many demands on a manager’s time. There are so many group meetings. So, it’s understandable if managers are resistant to the idea of meeting monthly or semi-monthly for a half-hour one-on-one with each employee.

Yet, it is an extremely effective technique in developing high performance employees. It’s been compared to the effects on students’ performance when the student-teacher ratio is small and each student gets a lot of attention. Study after study shows that in such cases performance and grades skyrocket. That is a good comparison. Employees who get positive attention and coaching develop faster and constantly improve. They are more likely to believe in the company’s goodwill toward them and reciprocate with goodwill toward the company. That means they will be as interested in achieving the company’s goals as the company has been in helping them achieve their individual goals.

A side benefit is that year-end performance appraisals are a snap. You’ve been doing them monthly, so you just need to do a quick update.