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 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.
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!
Event: Samsung India (LED and LCD TV) organized a unique workshop on future technology & aesthetics – Technology@Home. Date: Saturday, Jan 09, 2010. Location: Chocó La in Khan Market, New Delhi.
I remember a German colleague being amused on seeing a lubricant being sold with the byline “superior German technology” at a petrol pump in Delhi! Whenever we see a label like “Made in German” or “Made in China” immediately our mind throws up stereotypes! So, what is YOUR image about the Brand “Korea” and more specifically “Samsung”? Any pre-conceived notions? Do send in your comments!
There has been a pereception about Koreans being clutter-oriented and going for overkill in design.
But, my experience has been different. If fact, there is an interesting 500 year old story on how Koreans designed their own alphabet to carve a unique identity (Branding Strategy?) seperate from Chinese (and later with Japanese).
In 1414, Sejong the Great initiated a project to create the unique Korean Script (till then they were using Chinese characters with special symbols). It took about 2 years to design the script, but the resulting system is a LESSON in simplicty. The script, now known as Hangul (or Hangeul or Hankul), has been variously applauded as “remarkable,” “the most perfect phonetic system devised,” and “brilliant, so deliberately does it fit the language like a glove”.
For example, visually, Hangul scripts starts off with ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ- How simpler can you get! There are other interesting elements like shapes of consonants matching shape of the mouth when you make the sound! (A personal tidbit: I enjoyed learning the Korean alphabet when I was associated with QuarkXpress Korean team in India – but, no comments in Korean language please, that was long ago!).
Fast forward to the last decade when Samsung was a low-end consumer electronics company and they decided to accelerate up the “Value-Chain” and give “Samsung TV” a central role in overall Branding strategy. As Businessweek reported:
Most people carry their mobile phones with them everywhere, while their TV is the center of the family room. “We wanted the brand in users’ presence 24/7,” says Peter Weedfald, head of Samsung’s North American marketing and consumer electronics unit.
Jez Frampton shares how the Samsung mamagement transformed their “attitude, behavior, and business strategy” by making brand value a key performance indicator (KPI) for its top executives:
It (KPI) enabled the team to focus on the activities, messages, and business areas (not to mention a focus on design and experience) – all of which we knew would lead to the greatest increase in brand value. This affects budget-setting, allocation and, of course, provides a simple metric for success: “Did we create brand value?”
History reveals that this was a clever move. Samsung witnessed a significant increase in both brand and shareholder value. They soon outgrew Sony, the original challenge that Samsung’s executives had set for themselves before the KPI program was initiated.
Interbrand, the international Brand Consultancy, has played a role in this process as they have helped Samsung raise its brand value to US $16.8 billion. Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2009 lists Samsung at 19th position (up 2 from 21), but a 1% dip in overall Brand value.
So, what are some of the Branding lessons here? Let us list a few:
First, send a clear and consistent message INTERNALLY across all teams
Second, have a long-term branding building strategy – you cannot keep shuffling on short-term trends
Third, sweat the small stuff – if “innovation” is your brand recall message then you need put in more effort in research than anyone else
Coming to Chocó La event, Technology consultant & Open Source Wizard Kishore Bhargava gave a captivating presentation on how one can create a centralized set-up to integrate all your Audio-Visual needs at home – movies, music, images and games.
Next, Interior Designer and columnist Rekha Nambiar gave a fluent talk on the challenges of the Indian Home (“loose wiring”, et al) with some handy tips on lighting & acoustics.
Later, Abhishek Rajan, Senior Product Executive and Prateek Seal, Senior Manager, Marketing, shared interesting facts and stories about LCD & LED technology (including how salesmen of some brands make you feel the “Liquid” in an LCD to indicate better quality!).
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?
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.”
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!
Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is your company’s average collection period.
The smaller this number, the faster you are in collecting money from clients.
[For the mathematically inclined, a more accurate measure of your Collection Department’s performance is the Percentage of Overdue Amount (monies beyond due date) to Total Due Amount (Total uncollected amount including fresh sales) – also, known as Days Delinquent Sales Outstanding (DDSO). See Advantage of using DDSO to measure the effectiveness of the credit department (http://www.encyclopediaofcredit.com/WebHelp/articles/risk_analysis/art730.htm )].
Depending on the nature of your business (for example, number of transactions, customer profiles, and competition), you may choose from a variety of strategies and tactics to reduce your Accounts Receivables Average.
Tip #1: Re-evaluate your Credit Sales Policy
Why are you selling on Credit? Why not Sell ‘Cash’?
Sell ‘Cash’! On Zero Days Credit! Even better, see how you can collect advance before delivering a product or a service.
Yes, you heard it right!
Question your product/service/marketing strategy – why are you selling on credit, at all?
Take a fresh look at your product/service basket and market segments.
Perhaps, you can identify products/geographical regions where customer will willingly/happily pay cash. This could be because your product or service is tightly coupled with (and/or is essential to) the customer’s workflow and you can create an edge over competitors due to stock availability, location, price, etc.
Create a marketing/selling strategy on how you can channel adequate energies and resources on finding and selling in those areas (Location/Features/Price) where customers will easily pay cash.
Tip #2: Create/Modify/Implement a New Credit Policy which helps you plug cash flow leaks
If you do not have a Credit Policy, create it to achieve clarity and consistency in giving credit to your customers.
If you already have a Credit Policy, revamp it to take advantage of changing market conditions.
Once you have an up-to-date Credit Policy, implement it with rigor and discipline. Make someone accountable to track Credit Policy deviations.
Tip #3: Have a New Customer Policy, Customer Retention Policy & Customer Firing Policy
Don’t do business with any and everyone. Do background checks before committing transaction with a new customer. Identify and give higher priority to faster paying customers. Fire your low-value slow paying customers.
Tip #3: Streamline Your Collections Process
Insist on having your collection follow-up process move with clock work precision.
Based on Due Date of Outstanding, schedule the escalation process – Emails, SMS, Calls, Visits and Legal Recourse.
Ensure that the monitoring team regular sends New Customer Verification Reports, Credit Policy Deviation Alerts, and alerts on payment variations and disputes.
Tip #4: Update Your Customer Contact Details
Over a period of time, customers change their contact persons, phone numbers (including landline), email-ids and even physical locations. Having an updated customer contact database facilitates the collections process and this could be critical in following up on delayed payments and/or taking legal recourse.
Tip #5: Train Your Team to Follow up with rigor and discipline
A well trained tele-calling follow-up team knows when to use appropriate tricks of the trade – like calling on odd-hours, when to insist on cheque number, follow-up based on customer’s cash flow cycle, and so on.
Watch this space for more on each (and many more) of the above.