Category Archives: Strategy

Where are you Headed? Get Clear!

Invitation to PEERSTRAT at High Tea on Saturday May 17, 2014, New Delhi

Business Strategy: Peer-Review workout session for entrepreneurs and business professionals

Click here to book your seat at Meraevents

Invitation to PEERSTRAT: Peer Strategy Review workout at High Tea on Saturday May 17, 2014, New Delhi
Invitation to PEERSTRAT

Dear Business Folks,

We are delighted to extend an invitation to you for a Peer Strategy Review workout (PEERSTRAT) session conducted by Omnizient Labs:

Date: Saturday, 17th May, 2014
Timings: 3:30 to 6:30
Location: Samavar, B-36A, Pamposh Enclave, GK-1, New Delhi – 110048

The PEERSTRAT sessions enable you explore ways to make your business get bigger, grow faster and be the very best in your industry.

All participants are invited to share the challenges and opportunities they are facing in their business as per following Five Step PEERSTRAT Agenda:

#1 Build Unique Business – Eliminate Competition!
#2 Recreate Brand – Tell a Compelling Story!
#3 Maximize Revenues – Penetrate Newer Markets!
#4 Maximize Profits – Transform Business Processes with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)!
#5 Track Success – Identify Critical Success Measures – What Gets Measured Gets Done!

Who will benefit from this event

Independent Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Senior Business Managers, Business Heads, CXOs, Directors @ Companies, Partners of family owned business, Proprietors, Middle Management

Participation

Participation fees are nominal INR 1000 to cover basic cost of the event. Tea and Snacks would be served during the session. Please confirm your participation by marking an email to raj @ bizvidya.com.

Click here to book your seat at Meraevents

Contact Details:
Raju Moza: raj @ Bizvidya.com,  +91-9818-662-001

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Role of Board of Directors: Do you have competence and excellence at the top?

An Effective Board!
An Effective Board!

I was recently invited by one ‘Fitness company’ to advise them on how to cut the losses. One of the ways devised by them was to appoint franchisees so that they can have economies of scale for buying equipments and marketing expenses. Now that the company had decided to expand through franchisee route, the whole focus of the said company was to find people, though acquaintances or any other other means who would be their potential franchisees. I had no problems in this strategy, which perhaps was a good and viable option. However, I was my concern was they were missing an important piece when you are expanding your business. In my assessment, they needed to expand their bandwidth at the top and it was necessary to think about composition and functioning of the board. The kind of milestones the company intended to reach would be near to impossible to achieve without a proper board.

In India, the board is plugged mere for regulatory network, in case of private limited, the number of directors required is two and in public limited, the number should be seven. Most of the time, the board is comprised of friends or families, irrespective of their qualifications. Board doesn’t meet often, and whatever transactions it does, it mere does for regulatory considerations. In India, there is a dire need of sound board, but the importance of board is not at all valued in India, let alone talk of actual functioning of board.

The fundamental problem is that, overwhelming number of business people are ill educated about the need of Board. Management studies are bereft about the emphasis of what board potentially can deliver.

Board Room on a lighter note!
Board Room on a lighter note!

Few years back, most of the traditionally business house did underwent professional makeover but board remained untouched, somehow its importance has picked up.

Another misnomer about board is that people think only listed companies require it, whereas in my view the smaller companies need it more. It can provide direction, accountability and better guidance.

In this direction, I am glad that Omnizent labs is driving this educative as well as actually providing Directors for small companies. It will be a low cost exercise for small and medium companies.

For details about how to become a director or how to avail the services of director and make your board strong you may read this introduction page here and write to us at raj@bizvidya.com.

Author: Raju Moza has 14+ years of experience across various industries and domains like Telecom, Retail, Education, Electronic & Mobile Services, Travel & Hospitality and Manufacturing. He has been a turnaround leader with deep insights in understanding of diverse markets. He is regularly invited to speak at seminars and conferences. Besides the strong business pedigree, he is an ‘active writer’, has written some of the critically acclaimed pieces on diverse subjects namely Kashmir, Afghanistan, Political Islam, International Affairs, Political Economy and Short Stories. He recently shot a documentary as well.  He is an MBA in finance and has recently done a Venture Capital development program from ISB, Hyderabad, India.

Three Ways to Lower Costs and Boost Profits by Going Greener

Every business wants to increase revenue and cut expenses. How about if you do both of those things, and help the planet at the same time?

How? By going greener in your business.

Yes, I know—you’ve heard for years: “I’d love to go green but it’s too expensive and difficult!” Maybe you’ve even said this.

The good news is that’s nonsense. Done the right way, going greener can be easy, cheap, and profitable.

Let me say that differently: sure, there are plenty of expensive, difficult ways to green a business. But there are also lots of ways to go greener that you can do quickly and easily, for little or no cost. Since going green is a process and not an absolute, start with the easy, cheap, and profitable things!

Then you can allocate the money you save into new green initiatives that might not have quite so high an ROI.

1. Cut Your Paper Costs by 60 Percent or More—In Two Easy Steps

As your printers and copiers wear out, replace them with the “duplexing” kind, capable of printing both sides of the paper automatically. Set the defaults to double-sided printing, and train your staff to keep those settings unless they’re doing something that needs to be single-sided—which, usually, is a very tiny percentage of the paper flow. When I did this, I immediately started saving about 40 percent of my paper costs (and I use recycled paper, which usually does cost more).

And even before that, train your employees to bump up the default screen magnification or font size (using the View: Zoom command in Microsoft Word or most web browsers, and the Settings or Preferences command in e-mail programs) so that even though it takes the same space to print, the screen displays bigger type: comfortable enough to read. I used to print documents that were more than five pages or so, but now I’ll read even 50 pages on the screen, because the big print doesn’t make my eyes tired nearly as fast. Now, I sometimes go many days without even turning on my printer.

2. Plug the Energy Holes

How much energy is leaking right out of your building, or sucked away by “energy vampires”? If you’re like most businesses, you’re losing a lot that you can recapture with two quick, inexpensive methods.

Put your hand next to an empty electrical socket on a wall that borders the outside. If on a cold winter evening or a hot summer day, you feel a temperature difference between the inside and outside air, you’re feeling your hard-earned money slipping through the wall. Air that you’ve paid to heat or cool to the optimum temperature is migrating outside, increasing your complicity in global climate change while running up your energy bill.

You can easily stop this air from flowing out. A tiny investment in foam insulators and outlet protectors will pay for itself very quickly. In the US, where I live, many utility companies will give you the foam insulators for free. Even if you have to buy them at the hardware store, they’re very cheap. It takes under two minutes to unscrew the socket or switchplate cover—remember, you only have to do the ones on outside walls—pop in the foam pad, and screw the cover back on.

Now, for any outside-wall socket that doesn’t have a plug in it, pop in an outlet protector: a little piece of plastic designed to keep baby fingers out of trouble. Hardware stores have them in the baby department.

Finally, caulk any windows that leak air around the edges (use removable rope caulk if these windows are designed to open) and install door sweeps if you’re losing air around exterior doors,

Once you’ve blocked all that air from migrating back and forth, get rid of your “energy vampires”: equipment that stays on all the time, in standby mode, even when switched off—anything that turns on instantly without any warmup is probably guilty of sucking out a surprisingly large amount of power over time. The easiest way to deal with this is to buy multi-outlet power strips that have an on-off switch. Get in the habit of turning the power strips off until you need them, and your printers, copiers, computers, coffee machines, microwave ovens and other devices will stop drinking power all night long. If you train your staff to flip those switches, you’ll be amazed at how much you save.

3. Market to the Green Consumer

The green market is growing at better than 29 percent a year, according to Allen Rubin, director of the National Environmental Hall of Fame.

And as soon as you begin to take some steps toward lowering your carbon footprint and conserving resources, you’re entitled to approach this lucrative market. The more you do to go green, of course, the deeper you can go with messages about sustainability to win new business and higher revenues. But even if you’re just starting with the easy steps above, you can make this a marketing opportunity—NOT by “greenwashing” or pretending to be greener than you are, but by using these tentative steps as a jumping off point to engage your customers and prospects. For example, an in-store or social media campaign that says “this is what we’ve done so far. If you were us, what else would you do to go farther down the green path?

More Easy Green Ideas

If you’re excited about saving more energy and resources, here’s a gift for you: a free copy of my e-book, Painless Green: 111 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life-With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle. Just visit http://painlessgreenbook.com/earthday, and enter the code, “earthday” (without the quote marks).

Want to market green products and services to green AND non-green audiences? Marketing consultant, syndicated columnist, and copywriter Shel Horowitz shows you how to “reach green, socially conscious consumers with marketing that has THEM calling YOU.” He specializes in green and ethical marketing strategies and materials for businesses and organizations. The primary author of the category bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your (John Wiley & Sons, 2010), Shel writes the monthly column Green And Profitable. His website is http://greenandprofitable.com.

BizVidya Guide: The Ten Question Tool

Use this TEN QUESTION TOOL to Clarify Goals and Get Laser Sharp Focus in Achieving Timely Results

We had advised earlier to Clarify Your Goals in a previous post here. But then, temporary clarity using a few smart technology tools is not good enough in these “interesting times”.

Especially when you are in a critical business situation and decisions need to be made among a series of contradictions.

Often, we find ourselves overwhelmed with a large number of exciting options, immense possibilities, conflicting opinions, changing priorities, shifting bottlenecks, fluctuating market scenarios and unpredictable customers!

Test your situation with this TEN-QUESTION-TOOL to re-engineer and transform your situation into a workable strategy and a clear-cut plan!

1. What am I exactly doing?

List the tasks and intended results: List immediate desires, intentions and goals.

2. Why am I here?

My need or motivation: What is my intention? More revenues? More profits? More productivity? Better Lifestyle?

3. Where am I coming from?

Recent relevant past: What is my sponsoring thought for this? Am I launching this product because sales are declining? Or, because customers are complaining? Or, I need a higher margin product?

4. Why am I doing this?

Ask multiple nested Whys: Use the Five Why Tool recursively to break down answers to #1 , #2 and #3 above. Launching this product for more revenues or larger customer-base?  For new market segments? More customers in current market segments?

5. Where have I reached now?

What is working and what is not working: What are the good points, workable areas, benefits and strengths of the current situation? What are the threats and weaknesses?

6. Where do I wish to go from here?

Long-Term Results I would really like to create: Where would this ultimately lead too? Bigger Business? Best in the market? Most expensive in the market? Cheapest in the market? What is the long-term Brand Image desired?

7. How can I reach there?

Possible paths: What are the possible routes to success – Should I resort to cannibalizing? Should I explore a Blue Ocean? Should I spend on Research and Development? Should I use the Fail-Fast strategy on a series of products?

8. How would I know I have reached there?

Visualized Goal and Measurable Results: Convert goals into specific numbers and timelines.

9. What are the barriers?

What or Who is stopping me?: Put on the Black Hat and list all possible obstacles, barriers and whatever makes the project look difficult.

10. What is that One Thing that would make a dramatic impact on this area?

Who or What help can make a big difference?: Finally the juiciest part: What is that one big thing that can make this a big success – One Big Customer? Large Capital? Large Customer Base? Large User Base? Many Small Customers?

Decipher that (we are there to help) and Do That One Thing By Doing Which Everything Else Will Get Done!

 

Intellectual Property and its relevance to SMEs

Dr. Ashok M. Adur's Intellectual Property Illustration
Dr. Ashok M. Adur's Intellectual Property Illustration

Most medium and small scale companies in India do not leverage intellectual property as a strategic tool to accelerate their commercial success. For example, when you have an idea for a business that is unique, that has a value proposition, you have some intellectual capital. How do you derive value from it?

Intellectual capital is not just about filing patents. It is the aggregate intellectual material knowledge, information, intellectual property, experience that can be put to use strategically to create wealth in a company.

However, it is rare that an SME owner would have access to in-house IP expertise. One way out is to hire right consultants. This could be critical for your business if you wish to grow over a longer time horizon with a sustained competitive advantage.

What could be the benefits of hiring the right consultant to guide your growth and maximize the value of your intellectual property? We list a few benefits here:

  • Dramatically Enhance Value, Competitiveness and Market Share
  • Assessment and Transfer of  Technology
  • Product Development for Various Specialized Applications in Many Diverse Industries
  • Market Research, Competitive Analysis, Business Development and Worldwide Marketing
  • Material Selection, Formulations and Product Development for Optimization of Performance, Cost and Processibility
  • Accelerating Projects from Conception to Innovation to Patenting to Commercialization and Product Introduction
  • Productivity Improvement, Scale-up, Cost Reduction, Quality Improvement, Quality Control and Quality Assurance
  • Strategic Direction and Planning and P/L Turnaround
  • Patents and Licensing – Legally Getting Around Existing Patents
  • Trouble-Shooting and Technical Service
  • Helping You to “Go Green” by Utilizing Recycled and Bio-derived Materials and Using Recycle Materials for Value-Added Applications
  • Other Business and  Technical Areas in Plastics, Polymers, Composites and Packaging

 In subsequent posts I shall provide more insights on how to do so.

Author: Ashok M. Adur, Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Engineering

  • Innovations Consultant; Product, Business & Strategy Development; Optimization of IP, Cost & Resources.
  • Consulting Experience since 1992.
  • Published 13 papers in professional journals and presented over 45 papers at regional, national and international professional conferences. Also moderated and organized some conferences.
  • Listed in “Who’s Who in Plastics” and “International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs”.
  • Developed several new proprietary inventions, over 66 patents applied, 26 granted so far, resulting in commercializing numerous value-added products to meet specific customer needs and in new annual business of over $1 billion.

Get Clear

How does an entrepreneur GET CLEAR?  Really clear about business, customers, profits and the entire spectrum that makes up an entrepreneur’s life.

How CLEAR are you about your business goals, most profitable market segments, long-term strategy, day-to-day business operations and the integration of all these with your life goals?

You may have an immediate sense of what you think you want. It could be one or more of the following:

  • Better Margins, More Profits, More Revenues
  • More Customers, High Ticket Customers, Customer Retention
  • New Market Segments, Products, Services
  • Get out of day-to-day Firefighting (Crisis Management)
  • Create more time for creating new avenues for your business instead of being stuck in day-to-day crisis handling
  • Find better employees (who own their work and are proactive)
  • Build Better Systems
  • Streamline your operations in such a way that your employees take ‘complete responsibility’ for their roles & solve problems proactively instead of making excuses

Whatever is on your list, it is often difficult to decide where to start.

Seth Godin has a riff titled “The Priority List”. He says, the ability to decide “what to do next” is an underrated skill. For example, he says:

Is it better to email an existing customer, send a brochure to a prospect or improve your product a bit? Should you tweet or post a new blog post? Should you have a meeting to coordinate your team or spend ten minutes returning phone calls instead?

His tip:

Do you have a list? Have you figured out which metric you’re trying to improve? Can you measure the impact of the choices you make all day?

I see this mistake in business development all the time. Assume for a moment that the goal of someone in this department is to maximize profit. Why then would this group spend most of its time tweaking existing deals (looking for a 3% improvement in yield) instead of spending the same time and effort doing new, game-changing deals?

If you already have your LIST along with corresponding MEASURES, and you are still struggling to “Get Clear”, then what could be missing is clarity regarding your goals.

When did you last review your Goals? What are you REALLY up to?

Stephen R. Covey said “Priority is a function of context.”

So, WHY are you doing whatever you are doing?

Is that CLEAR?

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Clarify Your Goals

First thing is to CLARIFY your goal. What do you exactly want out of your business?

Money for comfortable existence? Or, are you on your way to becoming a global tycoon?

Do you wish for a stable business? Or, a growing business? Or, an accelerating business which, perhaps, you can sell soon?

What is the most appropriate growth strategy for your business?

  • Higher Volumes? And/Or, Higher Margins?
  • More (any) Clients? And/Or, More Big Ticket Clients?
  • More Revenues? And/Or, More Profits?

Is organizational culture important to you? What kind of culture do you want?

For example, many small businesses in India find it cost-effective (often, inadvertently) to have low salary low retention employees, who may be damaging the internal culture and/or customer relations and business growth.  Would hiring the ‘Best’ make more sense for your business?

Should you allocate resources to enhance Business Processes & Systems?

Should you invest more in implementing Technology? Which Solutions? Why?

Whatever your questions, you don’t want to run around without CLEARLY articulated goals that are regularly communicated down to the last rung of frontline executives.

No fun in having all your people and resources run around in circles when they can actually deliver dramatic results with laser sharp focus.

Clarifying Your Goals is a recurring exercise because things change – business climate, technology, competitors, customer needs, your needs and so on.

One efficient way to do this is to categorize all your goals along TIME HORIZONS – from Immediate and near-term to long-term life goals.  In his book,  Getting Things Done, David Allen presented “The Six-Level Model for Reviewing Your Own Work”:

  • Runway : Current Actions
  • 10,000+ ft:  Current Projects
  • 20,000+ ft: Areas of Responsibility
  • 30,000+ ft: 1-2 year Goals
  • 40,000+ ft: 3-5 year Vision
  • 50,000+ ft: Life

This is a useful first step to start de-cluttering your life and business. Another complimentary tool is a “Mind Map”.

Mind Maps help in creating a WHOLE business picture which can be drilled down to the “Runaway” level.

Created intelligently, it can be a powerful first step in organizing your business to clarify, track, and monitor business goals and results.

With Open Source around, freemind and xmind are great free tools to create Mind Maps.

You can maximize the power of Mind Maps by sharing Mind Maps with your team and asking them to contribute. Xmind, The “Social Brainstorming and Mind Mapping” Tool, allows users to share Mind Maps for collaboration.

Happy De-cluttering, Organizing and Creating What You Wish To in your business!

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