How to build a Successful Business Model or a Business Plan?

Business Models are crucial for the success of an enterprise or even a startup. So what do you need to focus on while building up your business from scratch? A Business model or a Business Plan (B-Plan) helps you to plan this properly.

  • What are the firm’s core capabilities?
  • How does the firm deliver value to its clients? How does the network with its partners/collaborators (value chain) add to its core competencies. How does the value chain model collaborate with the firms current strategies?
  • What is the cost structure in the business vis-a-vis that of the firm?
  • How is the value proposition unique and sustainable in the long run?
  • How does the firm manage its distribution channels and relationships / liasons with the customers?
  • How is the targeted customer contacted, acquired and retained?
  • What are the sources of revenue and the structure of the same?
  • How does the vision/mission statement adhere with what the firm is doing now and what it is planning to do in the future.

EQ/PQ

Most people have a tough time dealing with politics and all sorts of mental pressures at the workplace in addition to personal tensions. This often creates friction with our peers unknowingly. One of the outcomes from the mental turmoils is creation of groups of so called friends and foes. One of the basic purposes of workplace friends is to listen to our sufferings, sympathize and bad mouth our foes. Further, these friends are also the people via whom all our personal and official details get leaked in office. In reality, it has very often turned out that the foes whom we hate so much and are always busy mentally abusing as the possible sources of all our troubles, are actually in same conditions as us, just they don’t get along with us.  Further, if we came across such foes at social places after quitting the organization, mostly they turn out to be much less of a monster than what we thought they were, although our ego prevents us from recognizing the same. Also the friends who seem to be the best of well wishers we can have, fade away from our life slowly and eventually after we quit. Thus, it is very important how we act and display our emotions at the work. What is really important is to maintain a “pleasant” relation with the strategic people . Now pleasant in no-way means being fake. Be earnest, help, share and liven up your collegues, maintain great rapport with the boss but always keep emotions out of it. Its best to disassociate the emotional side from the professional side for avoiding troubles.

How to choose a career

Everybody knows that skills are important for getting and keeping a job. Employers expect you to list relevant skills on your resume. They ask about your skills in interviews. And they expect you to develop skills on the job so that you will remain productive as new technologies and new work situations emerge.

But maybe you haven’t thought about how closely skills are related to job satisfaction. For example, let’s say you have enough communication skills to hold a certain job where these skills are used heavily, but you wouldn’t really enjoy using them. In that case, this job probably would be a bad choice for you. You need to identify a job that will use the skills that you do enjoy using.

There is an interesting tool freely available online to guide you for such a big decision making step: Its called a Job-Match Grid. This mentioned grid makes a match with the skills in you, with the drives in you, to a possible set of career choices. This ensures, even if you are good in a particular domain, but do not have a passion for the same, you don’t end up 10 years down the line as a dead bone, dried up emotionally, because although you have made a lot of progress in doing what you do well, it does not fulfill your emotional needs expected from the job.

To know more about the Job-Match Grid, check out the ebook “100 fastest growing careers” by Michael Farr, or mail me to get a complementary copy of the same.

100 Fastest Growing Careers

All of us want a great career. For someone who is about to take the big leap into the unknown, an intriguing question that torments his mind is what prospects does the future hold for him in the particular career track? What are his growth prospects and is it just a job for him or will it provide truly a career worth pursuing?

A recent research by Michael Farr has attempted to find out the top 100 fastest growing career paths. The figure below lists them out.

Maybe this should help before you think about a career choice, or decide to run the rat race. Do let me know what you feel about this.

Why should you have a Corporate Social Network

Often, there is very little to differentiate between the winners and the “not-winners” in the race for corporate seniority in the industry. What creates that illusive competitive advantage for those who actually succeed. In most cases, it is not capabilities to deliver the goods that count but the winner’s socializing capability. So what benefits does a Corporate Social Network brings to a professional?

  1. Personal Branding: did you know that each member of a social network adds about U$ 80-U $ 100 to the brand value? Your depth of “intimacy” with your contacts in your corporate social network will determine this added value to your personal brand. In short, if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are on your contact list in Linked-In, it helps to increase your personal branding.
  2. Relationships Based Organization: Today, when in a big firm, everything is standardized, we are moving into a relationship based management to deliver that inch extra. Generally, contacts with different types of stakeholders are kept in databases but, they are not organized in groups and segmented in order to build long term relationships. The same is true to all contacts of all employees that there are spread among various social networks.
  3. Knowledge sharing: Corporate social networking is one of the most popular and easiest ways of facilitating knowledge sharing, either by posting articles, wikis or by acting as a simple repository of several files as text editors, spreadsheets, presentations, etc..
  4. New leadership identification: It helps to strengthen group activity, and thus it is paramount to nominate a team of group leaders. This leadership must be naturally stimulated. The company will be able to observe styles and attitudes of each professional and reward them fairly whenever they create real value.
  5. Transparent relationship: By the time the company organizes all its stakeholders, starting by its internal collaborators, clients, suppliers in several specific groups, it opens a very strong and positive relationship channel with all of them creating the possibility that each stakeholder bring their respective relationships to the same business environment.
  6. Active & identified communication: the company starts offering to everyone an environment, in which, the communication can flow both ways actively in an identified and transparent manner. Company will know with whom it is talking to, what is being discussed and what the concrete results are because the platform itself documents all exchanged ideas.
  7. Market test: instead of spending a fortune in market research, how about having your own and qualified sample, make an in-house test and have a more reliable and real time result?
  8. Stakeholders loyalty: It is to be recognizes that there is a challenge to overcome by the time the company is exposing more. However, by facing and solving problems directly and by finding intelligent and creative solutions involving each stakeholder specifically, the company will consolidate its brand before the market and will attract the best opportunities besides making all stakeholders loyal and having them bringing new businesses to the organization. This is only possible if managers have a corporate social network which is not only wide but also deep across organizational hierarchies.
  9. Central, global & local management: Corporate social networking is all set to evolve to a central relationship point among all with several modules like payment gateway, web-conferences, mobile solutions,  CRM, reducing tremendously the operational costs of new business search and allowing the global  reach by having strong presence on the Internet while reinforcing its local presence.
  10. Lock-in effect: Considering that in general, people are fairly resistant to changes and that everyone competes for time and attention of the superiors in an organizational hierarchy, the one, who is better poised to affect their decisions will have conditions to create a a lock-in effect hence nullifying competition from co-workers.

How to Launch a Successful Product

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one”.

Henry Ford never said anything wiser. But essentially what is a good product or a bad product.

Technically a product may be great, but it may not meet the requirements of its target segment. Understanding the gap which no products available in the market is fulfilling is one short yet simple strategy to create a good product, and more importantly, a successful brand.

So how should companies go about it? Consumer focused market research is the only solution. So how to go about the same?

  1. First do an exploratory study to gauge the needs which your target segment may be facing which are yet to be met with.
  2. Then do an internal analysis to match the firm competencies vis-a-vis the gap faced by the target segment, to propose few product types with hypothetical specifications.
  3. Do a in-depth interview to review if the proposed product types meet the needs of the segment, or if at all, they are needed. Many products fail because they do not address any market needs.
  4. Do a conjoint analysis and/or a factor analysis to determine specifically what is required by the target segment.
  5. Go back to verify if the same matches with the internal competencies of the firm, and do a feasibility study for the proposed project.

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business

Henry Ford never said something more meaningful. A business has more implications on the society and environment in which it functions. Its not only the philanthropic activities which matter but activities like “Go Green” paves the way for a sustainable development and a better future for generations to come.

Understanding what an organizations Corporate Social Responsibility may be, may turn out not just an attempt for brand building in the long run, but a survival strategy, in the changing era of government intervention and policing.

CSR policies today, more than ever function as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby organizations would monitor and ensure its support to law, ethical standards and even international norms or expectations. Consequently, today organizations are embracing responsibility for the impact of its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere, just to ensure a humanitarian face towards the ecology within which they thrive. Furthermore, CSR-focused businesses would proactively promote the public interest  by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Essentially, CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honoring of a triple bottom line: people, planet, profit.

Today, CSR is not just a thing that companies may choose to do, but it is gradually turning out to be strategic inclination of major MNCs getting positioned for a better future. Today it has become a key component while evaluating a brand value and its recall value. Considering this take by the MNCs, can even the smaller and medium sized enterprises neglect whatever CSR is possible, in their disposition?

E-Governance Failures – Can it be averted?

E-government, in short, allows the private sector to operate in areas that used to fall strictly within the public domain. The challenge for policy makers is to recognize that what is good for business is consistent with good government. Planners start with grand visions of on-line services but then flounder amid cross-agency squabbling. Or they fail to attract enough users or get sidetracked by expensive high-tech bells and whistles. Research on e-government efforts around the world has helped to identify three critical lessons for their proponents.

First, don’t underestimate the resistance of government employees to change. Washington State overcame this barrier by creating the Digital Information Academy. Mandated by the state’s governor, the academy helps departments map their existing services, encourages them to rethink the design of their services, and tries out new processes on focus groups. By involving government employees, the academy makes them less fearful and gives them a stake in e-government’s success. To ensure cooperation among departments, the governor required all of his chiefs to sign contracts stipulating the services they would put on-line within a specified time frame. When friction arises, the academy mediates.

Second, e-government services don’t justify the investment if citizens and businesses don’t use them. The majority of the people of almost every country don’t have Internet access (Exhibit 3), so e-government initiatives must include efforts to increase Internet penetration and usage. Most countries will have to develop channels other than personal computers in homes. In Dubai, for instance, where PC-based Internet penetration is under 15 percent but mobile-telephone penetration is over 50 percent, e-government will eventually adopt wireless applications. In Hong Kong, where Internet penetration is more than 40 percent, the government is nonetheless building e-government kiosks in shopping malls, supermarkets, and railway stations.

But access isn’t enough: e-government must also give the public financial or other incentives to use the Internet for transactions. In the United States, for example, people who file their tax returns on-line get their refunds deposited into their bank accounts within three weeks—half as long as it takes those who file paper returns to get a check in the mail. More than 30 percent of US tax returns are currently filed on-line.

Finally, e-government can be either a profit engine or a financial black hole, depending on the strategy and mind-set chosen. Its cost ranges from $30 million for department-specific efforts to over $100 million for fully integrated service portals. Unless vendors too invest at the outset, governments must justify these commitments by identifying, up front, the specific ways in which costs will be cut and users will be served more cheaply and conveniently. The National Information Consortium, for example, agreed to provide e-services to the citizens and businesses of the US state of Virginia in return for a cut of every transaction.

The Role of Karma in Organizations

“Karmanye vadhika raste ma phaleshu kadachana, Ma karma phala hetu bhurba te sangostav karmani” — (Chapter 2:47) Bhagwat Gita.

[You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to doing your duty.] Continue reading “The Role of Karma in Organizations”

Growth Strategies of Web Based New Generation Firms

The cyber world has really come alive with the onslaught of WEB 2.0 technologies. Today, many start ups are being formed by students and entrepreneurs across the world. The web based firms with often no brick and mortar presence have been generating enviable returns, considering the low investments made on them. No wonder, students and young entrepreneurs have started viewing these businesses as endless oceans of opportunities. Continue reading “Growth Strategies of Web Based New Generation Firms”

What motivates better performances in organizations

What makes some employees tick?

Employees need various kinds of motivational incentives in organizations. Not always the best paying organization has the highest employee satisfaction score, and thus a higher performance. So what makes employees deliver their best. Check out this wonderful video. Continue reading “What motivates better performances in organizations”

The GE-McKinsey matrix and its Limitations for Business Portfolio analysis

A business portfolio is defined as a collection of Strategic Business Units, commonly called SBUs, that make up a firm or a corporation. The optimal business portfolio (a dream for all organizations) is the combination of multiple SBUs such that it helps to exploit the most attractive industries or markets, keeping in mind the competitive strength and weaknesses of the parent corporation or the firm. A SBU can either be an entire company or a division of a large firm, that formulates its own strategy and has separate objectives from the parent organization. Continue reading “The GE-McKinsey matrix and its Limitations for Business Portfolio analysis”