Factfile: Cost Justification
Leaving yourself unable to communicate with customers or
employees is obviously not a sound business strategy.
But languages take some effort to
learn. The traditional drills and exercises are also inconvenient and usually
removed from the learning situation. An electronic dictionary gives the the
translation on the spot. And because you get that translation in the context of
a situation where it means something to you, you tend to remember it.
This has a
two-fold effect on your ability to cope with, and reduce, language differences.
What if you eliminated 58% of that $1million? That's $580,000--which is a lot
less than you pay for one of these translators. A lot less.
What about travel? Isn't the unit wasted once you are done
with the trip? Well, what about your airline ticket? Your cab fares? Your hotel?
Your meals? Think of your translator as another way of making your trip
worthwhile. Just because your trip doesn't completely consume it doesn't mean
you have wasted it. Besides, you just might need it to sort through incorrect
hotel invoices or other remnants of your trip weeks after you return.
If nothing else, you can donate
it to your local school or library and take the tax deduction--this is true of
individuals and businesses. But, if you made a business trip, you would
certainly want to keep your translator for follow-up correspondence.
Sure, you know you need these tools. The
problem is getting past the bean counters. While our products are certainly
value-priced, they aren't free. And that means you need to get approval for
capital or expense funding.
If you need help with your capital
request, please contact sales @ mindconnection.com. For orders of $3500 or more,
we will provide up to $495 in billable hours at no charge to you.
This professional assistance includes, but is not limited to:
Calculating project cashflows
Calculating such ROI figures as NPV and MRR.
Editing your executive summary.
Editing your problem identification text.
Identifying "kill words" in your request.
Editing your text into simple language that
non-technical people can readily grasp.
Not sure if you need help? Please review
the following 10 tips, then decide:
Talk in terms of company benefits.
This means don't go into detail about how a purchase will saveyou
time and effort. Instead, focus on how it will save the company money.
Certainly, Crystal Reports that are timely and accurate save a lot of
money. You can talk to a few end-users to develop some figures as to how
much money you are saving with one of our products.
Identify, and push, hot buttons.
What is most important to your managers and others who will approve or
reject your request?
Capitalize on trends. Know
what is coming in your company's operations, product offerings, and
other areas that may affect (or be affected by) your proposal. To find
out, just ask the key people in those areas. For example, you may want
to find out if the Widget X is coming out in a new version or if there
is a marketing push planned for Widget Y. If so, then think of the
Crystal Reports the people involved in these things might need and what
the benefits of the proposed purchase mean to them.
Use the right financials. Too
many requests talk about "payback," when the beancounters want
to know about NPV. They want to know this, because NPV helps them
maintain cashflow--the lifeblood of the company. Ask your controller or
accountant for help, if you don't understand how to generate NPV
figures. You can also find a free tutorial on NPV in the Microsoft Excel
Use verifiable numbers.
Capital requests that take guesses at the financial value of the
proposed purchase often come out with compelling math as to the value of
the purchase. Unfortunately, the numbers behind the math don't add up.
And that means the whole proposal--and the person making it--lose credibility.
Use an executive summary. This
is a one-page cover sheet that provides a "thumbnail" of your
proposal. It should tell the purpose, have a paragraph about the
benefits, and give the key financial parameters (IRR and NPV).
Write tight. Look through the
body of your proposal for wordiness, repetition, adjectives, and
fluff--try to eliminate all of these. The tighter your writing, the more
power it has and the more likely folks will read and understand it.
Otherwise, you risk having them run screaming toward the nearest
Eliminate judgment statements.
Present the information objectively, and you imply the reader is
intelligent enough to understand it. Make claims about something is
"essential," "imperative," or "a no brainer,"
and you imply the reader is stupid. Not the best way to get that reader
on your side. Don't use superlatives, and don't "gild the
Use the active voice. This
increases understanding and retention of the information, while avoiding
putting the reader to sleep. It also shows you have confidence in your
proposal and it increases clarity dramatically over the passive voice.
For a free tutorial on this basic writing strategy, see:http://www.mindconnection.com/library/writing/activevoice.htm
Use the recommended format. If
your company doesn't have a standard format, ask your accounting person
who handles these for a copy of a funding request or two that did well,
plus suggestions on format. While you're at it, ask for any other advice
that might be helpful--what you gain from this experience just might
amaze you. Be sure to express your thanks, and to show your team spirit.
Also, do not argue with any "requirements" given during this
exchange. You are asking how to succeed, not how to minimize your
If you follow these 10 tips, you will
stand a very good chance of having your request for funding approved. For
our free assistance, please
comments @ mindconnection.com
(remove the spaces for that to work).
From the November, 2001 issue of Smart Business: "Companies spend an
average of $1 million to replace an employee who bails out of an overseas post,
according to a study done by the Washington, DC-based Employee Relocations
Why such cost? Well, 58% of this is due to the worker's inability
to adjust to the language and culture. That's according to key folks in 162firms.