4 great apps for managers

In the midst of your busy life, software on your laptop, or an app on your smartphone or tablet can make your life MUCH easier. Here are four apps I use all the time … have a look at the YouTube videos to get an idea if they’ll become your favorites as well.


Google Keep

google_keepThis is a note-taking app. It’s super-easy and you can type a note, write it with a stylus or your finger on a touch screen, take a photo, or even record a short message, which is then typed on your screen.

I love this app and use it all the time. It’s especially useful because it’s also available on my laptop, saves notes automatically, and syncs between my smartphone and my laptop.

Have a look!

Android app on the Google Play Store here.

Web-based version that runs in your browser here.

Look at the YouTube video below to see how it works:

 


Trello

trelloI use Trello for project management – it’s super easy to use. I can add all the detail I need to, but also get an overview of the state of the project at a glance.

It’s also available as a mobile app for your smartphone and also as a web app. Syncs across devices. You can collaborate with your team using Trello.

Try it and let me know if you like it as much as I do!

Android app on the Google Play Store here.

Web-based version that runs in your browser here.

Look at the YouTube video below to see how it works:


Jing (by Techsmith)

jingLove this little app. Runs on my laptop and I’ve set up a keyboard shortcut to instantly take a screenshot of whatever I want on my screen and save it as a PNG.

The reason why I love it so much, is that you can capture a screenshot, and then annotate it by drawing arrows, boxes and textboxes. It’s the easiest way to “discuss” something on your screen … I grab a screenshot and email or WhatsApp it to a team member.

You can also do short screencasts (videos of what is happening on your screen).

Web-based version that runs in your browser here.

Look at the YouTube video below to see how it works:


Pocket

PocketYou know how you sometimes find a great website and when you go looking for it a month or three later, you just cannot find it? That’s a problem you won’t have if you use Pocket. Pocket is an easy way to save links to anything online, and you can use keywords to sort what you find into categories.

There’s mobile version of it, but also a plugin for your browser, so that you can save directly from your laptop.

Android app on the Google Play Store here.

Web-based version that runs in your browser here.

Look at the YouTube video below to see how it works:

 

 


About the author

Lalien CilliersLalien Cilliers. Project Manager. Content Development Manager. eLearning Developer & ICT Trainer [MIITP]. Website creator and social media pager. Helping others learn tough stuff the easy way. Eternally curious. Author of: 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager: The New Manager series and A Guy’s Guide: New Home: How to Find and Furnish Your Own Place


 

 

 

9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager

Hi there!

  • Are you a ready for management?
  • Ready for that promotion?
  • Maybe new to management?
  • Maybe even new to the business world as a whole?
  • Or just with a few gaps in what you should know before you aim at that promotion?

Then you’ll need a simple, basic guide to show you how to fill the gaps quickly and start on your road to success! And that’s what 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager in the New Manager’s series is all about. 9 things you should know ... if you ever want to become a manager_COVER_Lalien Cilliers

There are many ways to stand out from the crowd, and you’re going to learn a lot of strategies in the course of this book. Some of them you might instinctively follow already – and that’s great! But some could be new – and might even feel a bit strange at first.

So, what are those nine things you should know if you ever wanted to make it as a manager?

  1. Know what you want
  2. Know what matters
  3. Know how to look and act
  4. Know your job
  5. Know your numbers
  6. Know how to pitch
  7. Know your company
  8. Know the competition
  9. Know the market

Scroll down to read an extract from this eBook, or click here to go straight to Amazon to get yourself a copy.


SAMPLE EXTRACT from the eBook

Chapter 9: Know the competition

Two big questions

What are competitors?

Direct competitors

Indirect competitors

Replacement competitors

Potential competitors

Disruption


Chapter 9: Know the competition

It would be simply great if we could just create a product, put it in a shop, and have a sale.

Unfortunately, things are not quite that simple.

In fact, they are getting tougher all the time. Business models are changing all the time – and companies who don’t keep up with the competition won’t survive.

If you want to stand out as potential management material, then being an expert of your company’s competition is it.

Two big questions

If I ask you today who your main competitors are, and what they offer that you don’t (and vice versa) – would you be able to answer me? What if your boss were to ask you?

Or, worse still, what if a customer asks you, “What makes your product better than the product on special at Company X’s website?”

*crickets*

Yes. So maybe a bit of homework won’t be too misplaced, hey?

What are competitors?

But, hey, what are competitors? It’s really nothing new. We all know competitors.

  • At school your competitor might have been the school superstar who always got all the awards and positions you so badly wanted.
  • In love relationships your competitor is the sexy (or funny, or charming) other that might woo your partner and leave you all alone.

In business it’s pretty much the same.

  • It’s that other company who’s always coming up with amazing new products or sought-after services.
  • It’s the company that can charm away your precious customers and leave you all alone.

Because you have to see the cheetah in the grassland before it grabs your mate, it’s important to understand that competitors come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s look at a few kinds of competitors.

Direct competitors

Direct competitors are companies within the same sector competing for the same clients. Although they could offer some unique products or services, overall what they offer to customers are pretty much the same.

For example: in your neighborhood there might be more than one cake shop. What would make you go to the one, rather than the other? There are a number of factors, and usually price and quality are important factors.

But what if both cake shops supply great quality cakes at reasonable prices? You’ll find that branding and relationship become hugely significant.

As a manager you need to be aware that the human factors should never be underestimated – especially when two competitors offer similar products to the same group of customers.

So, learn more about branding in general, and your company’s brand specifically.

And build those relationships with customers, suppliers and possible partners, as soon as you can, and as well as you can.

Use any and all strategies and media, but keep in mind what humans like in a good relationship:

  • Someone they can depend
  • Someone they can trust.
  • Someone who makes their lives simple and rich.
  • Someone who cares about their opinions, likes, and dislikes.
  • Someone real.

Indirect competitors

Indirect competitors are rival companies in the same market space as you. You might share many of the same products, or not.

But they offer indirect competition because customers are moving to them, instead of staying with you – and this happens because they offer something that you don’t have to offer.

For example: Let’s refer to our cake shop again. But this time, let’s suppose that it’s the only cake shop in your neighborhood. So, things are going well with the cake shop – because it’s the only place where customers can get their lovely, fresh cakes.

But one day a bread shop opens up just down the street.

The cake shop owners are not particularly worried – bread and cake are different things, so they won’t lose customers, will they?

Oh. But the bread shop supplies a variety of bread, buns … and milk. And they even have a small selection of freshly baked cakes in the corner of the shop.

Suddenly your customers start trickling away – they go to the bread shop to get bread and milk, but sometimes buy a cake there as well – “because it’s convenient”. Eventually they go buy their cakes there, “because then I can just as well pick up a loaf of bread for the family while I’m there”.

What should a company do when it has an indirect competitor?

There are many strategies, but most importantly is being seen by the customer. The customer should know that your company adds value to their lives.

So, you can create specials or promotions for your present products or services – or you can have a good long think and actually adjust your business plan to provide direct competition (such as the cake shop stocking some unique breads and fresh milk as well).

Replacement competitors

Now this is where things get tricky. A replacement competitor competes with you for the customer’s money, but they’re not in the same industry as your company.

They provide something that a customer could use rather than your products.

…. [CLICK HERE TO BUY THE AMAZON EBOOK AND TO LEARN MORE!]

 


About the author

Lalien CilliersLalien Cilliers. Project Manager. Content Development Manager. eLearning Developer & ICT Trainer [MIITP]. Website creator and social media pager. Helping others learn tough stuff the easy way. Eternally curious. Author of: 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager: The New Manager series and A Guy’s Guide: New Home: How to Find and Furnish Your Own Place


Management Myth # 2: A great worker = a great manager

This is one of the greatest myths – that a great worker should get promoted and – voila! – would become a great manager.

Why is this not true? Because:

  1. You lose a great worker;
  2. You might not gain a great manager.

The math just doesn’t add up.

Because you have two very different skills sets.


A great worker

  • A great worker is committed, dedicated, organised and follows instructions to a T.
  • He loves his job and is proud of doing his best.
  • He is the ‘bum-on-seat’ superhero of the company.
  • Whatever needs to be done, he will do. And do well.
  • True, he does come up with his own ideas, his own plans. He thinks of ways to work more effectively, to make the product or service perform better.
  • He is highly organised and can put his finger on any aspect that his boss might call for at any given moment.

So – why NOT make him a manager?

(Especially since he sometimes asks for the promotion – might even deserve one without having to ask for one.)


Manager

Because a manager is, in essence, not a worker.

  • He delegates. He tells others what to do.
  • He might do a bit of bum-on-seat, but most of that would be related to planning work for others, structuring it, allocating resources – and then he opens the office door, and starts giving instructions to his workers.
  • Although he is as task-focused as the worker, he has to deliver his tasks to people, and much of his time is making sure that the communication is happening easily and correctly.
  • He deals with conflict.
  • He reallocates tasks or resources.

So, what the problem?

And if a good worker

  • is not able to delegate (but would rather do the work himself),
  • is not good with conflict (especially if he is a bit of a people-pleaser),
  • is not willing to take responsibility for success as well as failure that others might bring …

… then he would not be a good manager.


Expert

So what should you do with a good worker who doesn’t have good managerial skills or has no inclination for management?

Make sure that he has the option of being promoted so that he could become an expert in his field.

Not a manager.

 


About the author

Lalien CilliersLalien Cilliers. Project Manager. Content Development Manager. eLearning Developer & ICT Trainer [MIITP]. Website creator and social media pager. Helping others learn tough stuff the easy way. Eternally curious. Author of: 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager: The New Manager series and A Guy’s Guide: New Home: How to Find and Furnish Your Own Place