Transparency Is Possible with Digital Board Document Sharing

Great board portal software is more than just a document receptacle; it’s a platform where directors work, collaborate, and evaluate their plan’s performance. It also helps the administrator keep accurate documentation of decisions and bylaws to meet demanding legal standards placed on directors and governors. It eases scheduling and invitations to meetings, and administrators don’t have to worry about couriering documents to last-minute invitees. Any governing body of a public or private organization that wants to become more efficient, organized, and productive should consider a software tool to help. Continue reading “Transparency Is Possible with Digital Board Document Sharing”

Essential Services Every Business Needs

When reading through any guide to becoming a successful entrepreneur, there are some things that will inevitably come up: you’ll need determination to get your business started, creativity to get you out of difficult situations, and, of course you’ll need to know the ins and outs of the industry you plan to take over. While all of these traits are important, it’s equally important that you realize you won’t be able to run your business by yourself. Continue reading “Essential Services Every Business Needs”

Remaining competitive after the Onshore Legislation

The recruitment industry is competitive at the best of times, but now the Onshore Employment Intermediaries Legislation is in place, this could be an opportunity to stand out against the crowd and show off the best of your business. From carrying out due diligence checks on contractors to completing paperwork on time, here’s a guide to staying ahead of the game and remaining competitive, while still complying with the regulations. Continue reading “Remaining competitive after the Onshore Legislation”

Strategies Helping your Entire Business to Grow

Businesses need a strong infrastructure and thus it is essential to incorporate the successful features helping to accumulate the growing outlook. Implement the optimistic features that enhance the overall trading opportunities. Make sure that the attributes exactly fit your business and meet your entire business specifications. Once, you start employing the feasible features you can see your business reaches the ultimate estimable position that represents the efficiency of your business. Continue reading “Strategies Helping your Entire Business to Grow”

Services marketing strategy

Typically marketing of services is done following the services marketing mix using the 7 Ps framework unlike the marketing of products for which the marketing mix involves the 4 Ps framework. Today, marketing has evolved over time into a discipline of its own. Over time marketing managers have realized the sustainability of pull marketing than the traditional approach of push marketing strategies.

The initial movement in marketing strategies was from a direct marketing scenario to brand marketing. In direct marketing, the marketing managers typically had a role of sales managers and the most important strategic focus was to ensure a incentive structure for the sales force, both internal salesmen and external salesforce (dealers, retailers, distributors) such that the one-to-one marketing could be done at the point of sales. However, it was realized that if a fraction of the sales force deviated or moved to another firm, the entire customer segment was lost to the business. The face of the product or service was essentially the sales force. Now as services gained in importance, it was realized that the differentiation of services was even more difficult based on tangible features like that of a product. This was when brand marketing started getting its due importance, where a pull strategy was implemented so as to “pull” the customer to the product or service based on his perception of the quality of the same.

However, with services gaining prominence over time, it was realized that the very definition of services was evolving as more and more services were being focused on internet or info-tech based services where direct interaction with the customer was lost. While branding definitely ensured that the customers develop a brand association with the service, sometimes the nature of the service is such that the essence of the service is a transactional one. So brand marketing focus gradually started to shift towards customer engagement and the benefits of social networks started getting conceptualized. This paved the way for the next generation of marketing, namely marketing using social media.

Since services cannot be differentiated purely based on features on offer, the major differentiation to create a brand association and thus customer engagement, is through tapping the social networks. In the internet economy, social networks are getting increasingly dominated by social media and thus marketing managers of even larger traditional “brick and sell” firms have started recognizing this fact and focusing their efforts on social media marketing.

The 7 S framework for digital marketing started gaining in prominence for services marketing strategists. While the dynamics of a pure internet marketing strategy is slightly different, the essence of the same has been captured in more comprehensive frameworks on digital marketing, which have been derived purely through the theories based on economic rationality.

Over time, it was realized that social media is perhaps the biggest tool today to lead a brand marketing strategy for many of the services and product categories, since in both cases, the target segment often uses the internet as a source of information (through websites or though the personal social network) while deciding on a service vendor. It is at the point of information search that social media marketing can create the largest impact and thus builds its reputation for having a high impact on “brand recall” at the “point of purchase”.

Do let us know if you have any feedback regarding this article.

Value Creation Strategy – Business Model

To create sustainable, long-term value for all the stakeholders of a firm, it is important to explicitly establish an appropriate stakeholder value target. However what would constitute the “success” condition for all the stakeholders of a firm would vary from the goals of individual stakeholder. For an investor in a firm, value may be seen as through higher market price of his stocks and bonds, where as, for a mid level worker, value may mean better returns in terms of satisfaction from the job, maybe in terms of pay grade improvements or in terms of job satisfaction. Although, what constitutes “value creation” may be dependent on stakeholder perception, for a generic strategic framework, there is a need to conceptualize a generic framework to achieve a target so the value may be created for the firm as a whole, in strict strategic sense.

The key to reach this target and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage is the alignment of business strategy, financial strategy, technology strategy, marketing strategy and investor strategies. One such model developed in strategic management literature is that of Strategy Maps.

In Strategic Maps framework, value is created through 3 main organizational resources, namely Human Capital, Information capital and Organization Capital.

As depicted in this model, value for a firm is essentially created through the interaction of  four processes, namely, “Operations management processes“, “Customer relationship management processes“, “Innovation processes” and “Regulatory and Social processes“. Under each process, there are lots of transaction level processes which create value. Monitoring and strategizing on the value creation of  transaction level processes is the functionality of Mid Level management in the organization which may be termed as “Ploy for Value Creation“. Focus here could be “Ploys” for improving cost structure or improving asset utilization within the firm. The objective at this level is to focus on productivity enhancing strategies.

For the executive senior management, strategy formulation for the purpose of “Value creation” would have a different focus. Their objective could be to expand the revenue opportunities through entering a new marketdecide a growth strategy for a product or market, or focus on Business Diversification strategies. In short, the role of the executives would be to evaluate various growth strategies for the firm, which could lead to huge revenues and thus economic value creation in the near future, upon realization of the plan post implementation of the strategy.

There are many other strategic frameworks for the creation of value for businesses which have their individual merits and limitations.  Another popular framework for value creation is that of Prahlad et al. (2004)

Do let us know if you have any query.

 

Market Entry Strategy for International Business

An international market entry strategy is defined as the planning and implementation of delivering goods or services to a new target international market. It often requires establishing and further managing contracts in a new foreign country. Few firms successfully operate their business in a niche market without ever planning to expand into new markets (mostly due to the localized nature of their Business) but most firms strive to expand through increased sales, brand awareness and business stability by entering a new market. Developing a win-win market entry strategy involves a thorough analysis of  multiple factors, in a planned sequential manner.

For a generic framework for Market Entry Strategies read our article here.

There are 2 basic Strategic Frameworks for Market Entry Strategies which are all dependent on Product type and the Product Lifecycle.

These frameworks have been developed built upon the theories of Innovation Diffusion Models in monopoly and a competitive Game Theory frameworks based on theories of Business Economics.

Market-Entry-Framework

The Waterfall Strategy

In a Waterfall strategy, the business is spread in international markets sequentially. First a firm enters a new market and establishes an identity in the same. Establishing an identity involves estimation of potential market size and revenue patterns, identification of target segment, creation of brand awareness, identification and creation of possible distribution channels and finally formulation and implementation of sales strategy. All these strategies at individual stage is dependent on the product type and the life cycle.

Once the product identity is established in the new market, the learning from the same is utilized to expand into another new market, somewhat with similar structure, sequentially. Learning is an iterative process in such a strategy formulation and it is a less risky process of expansion of business.

Typically, products with a longer product life-cycle or in the maturity phase would follow a Waterfall Strategy, for expansion into new markets.

 

The Sprinkler Strategy

Markets are approached simultaneously in the sprinkler strategy. While this is a more risky strategic framework for entering new markets, typically it is more suitable for products with a shorter life cycle (like Technology products) or are at the Introduction and Growth Stage of the Product Life Cycle. In such a strategic framework, markets are entered simultaneously and often a Skimming Product Pricing strategy is used to generate as much profits as possible from sales. Experiences from market responses are limited to individual markets and the same are not replicated in the other markets.

 

While there is a third Strategic Framework (Namely the Wave Strategy ), it is much less popular for its limitations.

Have you read the article on the Porter’s Five Forces analysis of industry competitiveness? This is a must-read article for anyone planning to get into a new market.

Ansoff Matrix

The Ansoff Growth matrix is a tool that helps firms decide their product and market growth strategy based on objective analysis of industry structure and product type. It is one of the more popular tools for strategic management analysis, in the scenario of deciding the case for a related diversification of businesses and firms, which itself is a highly risky strategic decision. Continue reading “Ansoff Matrix”

Michael Porter’s 5 forces model

Porter’s 5 forces model is one of the most recognized framework for the analysis of business strategy. Porter, the guru of modern day business strategy, used theoretical frameworks derived from Industrial Organization (IO) economics to derive five forces which determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of a market. This theoretical framework, based on 5 forces, describes the attributes of an attractive industry and thus suggests when opportunities will be greater, and threats less, in these of industries.

Attractiveness in this context refers to the overall industry profitability and also reflects upon the profitability of the firm under analysis. An “unattractive” industry is one where the combination of forces acts to drive down overall profitability. A very unattractive industry would be one approaching “pure competition”, from the perspective of pure industrial economics theory. It is important to note that this framework is not for the analysis of individual firms but for the analysis of the industry.

Despite its limitations in the technology enabled business era, Porter’s 5 forces model is still the leading framework for the analysis of industry attractiveness. The limitations of the Porter’s 5 forces model induced the introduction of the 6th Force, namely the Complementors.

This model comprises of an analysis dependent on 4 entities external to the firm and the fifth force: the Industry structure. These forces are defined as follows:

  1. The threat of the entry of new competitors: This encompasses the challenges surrounding if new competitors were to enter the same industry, how would the profitability be affected? This is measured by the indicators which are detailed subsequently and is a proxy measure for the degree of attractiveness of the industry. Factors couls be issues surrounding economies of scale, proprietory product differences, brand identity, switching costs for the customers, capital intensive nature of the industry, access to distribution channels, absolute cost advantages, government policy surrounding new entrants and potential retaliation or fallouts. Higher is the threats of entry of new competitors, lower is the industry attractiveness.
  2. The intensity of competitive rivalry: This is captured by a number of metrics like the growth rate of the industry, the ratio of cost structure to the value added, cost of over-capacity, degree of output differences among competitors, impact of brand and its conversion to sales, switching costs, concentration among the leading players (Herfindal Index), Information flow and complexity, diversity of competing businesses and exit barriers. Higher is the intensity, lower is the industry attractiveness.
  3. The threat of substitute products or services: This is captured to understand to what extent there is a possibility of the industry’s product or services being substituted by some other category of products or services. Factors which predominantly matter in this force are the relative price advantage of the substitutes, relative functional performance advantage of the substitute, switching costs of the customer for moving to the substitute and the customer’s propensity to substitute.
  4. The bargaining power of customers / buyers: This force tries to estimate the degree of bargaining of post-facto relationships that may be empowered due to the dynamics of the relationship. This could be captured through some metrics like the buyer’s concentration as compared to the Industry’s concentration, customer’s volume vs industry output, customer’s switching cost, price sensitivity, degree of product differences, buyer’s profits and decision maker’s incentives. Higher is the bargaining power of the customer, lower is the industry attractiveness.
  5. The bargaining power of suppliers: This force tries to explore the impact of the bargaining power of the industry’s suppliers and how much they can force the industry to share the benefits of value creation through this bargaining power. Factors are covered in terms of differentiation of inputs, switching cost of the suppliers, relationship specific investments required, presence of substitute inputs, supplier’s industry concentration, importance of volume to the suppliers, cost relative to the total purchases in the industry, impact of supplier’s inputs to overall cost structure or differentiation, threats of forward integration, and potential for backward integration. Higher is the bargaining power of the suppliers, lower is the industry attractiveness.

A detailed explanation of what these forces comprise of is provided in the diagrammatic representation of these 5 forces next.

The 5 forces model has been developed as a response to the SWOT analysis of competitiveness of firms, and has continued to remain the most popular framework in business strategy.

The individual dimensions of the 5 forces has been described in details in the diagrammatic representation of the five forces model. The individual scores on theses dimensions may be mapped to a 7 point Likert Scale. Likert scale basically is an ordered, one-dimensional scale from which respondents choose one option that best aligns with their view.The linguistic values for the same would be Very Strongly agree, Strongly agree, Tend to agree, Neither agree nor disagree, Tend to disagree, Strongly disagree and Very strongly disagree.

These responses on the Likert Scale can then mapped quantitatively to -3 to +3 on the extreme points. The mean of the score can be reconverted in the linguistic variables on the Likert Scale and then expressed as whether the particular force is Very Strong, Strong, Slightly strong, Neither strong nor weak,  Slightly weak, Weak, Very Weak.

Although the Porter’s Five forces model is very popular in terms of usage, one must be aware of the limitations of this framework. No framework can be comprehensively understood unless its limitations are understood as well.

By the way do you know what framework you should consider while deciding on a market entry strategy?

How the internet affects Porter’s 5 forces model

In the emerging global economy, e-commerce and e-business have increasingly become a necessary component of business strategy and a strong catalyst for economic development.

Porter, the strategy guru, used concepts developed in Industrial Organization (IO) economics to derive five forces which determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of a market. This model describes the attributes of an attractive industry and thus suggests that opportunities will be greater, and threats less, in these kinds of industries. Attractiveness in this context refers to the overall industry profitability. An “unattractive” industry is one where the combination of forces acts to drive down overall profitability. A very unattractive industry would be one approaching “pure competition”.

Porter’s industrial organization competitive analysis framework (five-forces model) is challenged in resource-based critiques. Resource based views were argued to be more suitable than the 5 forces model as a tool for analysis in the wake of web enablement of businesses. Research has established that the rate of unique visitors, the e-business-specific measure, showed significant correlations with market value, net income growth, and employee growth. This implies that cyberspace-specific indicators, such as page views, stickiness, click-through rate, and conversion rate, may not be unreliable as performance measures. In the study, these were added as indicators of industry specific profitability indicators besides those in the Porter’s framework. Porter’s model is also challenged in view of the static nature of the industry which it analyzes. Web enablement increases the dynamic nature of industry structure.

In the light of technology enablement of business to e-business, the five forces, as depicted by Porter are significantly affected. The bargaining power of both suppliers and customers increase as the information accessibility is increased and the information gap is narrowed. This leads to lower bargaining power for the firm, and may transcend into lower profits. Again as e-business enablement increases customer reach, the bargaining power of the customers are negatively impacted by this change. Also, e-business models will enable easier entry into the industry, as now, companies may only look to perform very few activities in-house, and outsource the rest to other firms in the value chain. This decreases the management complexity among new entrants, and thus the threat of new entrants may go up.

Barriers to Effective Strategic Planning

This is a presentation on strategy facilitation and consulting by a global team of consultants. Understanding the barriers that inhibit successful business strategy planning is crucial for the growth of your business. Check out this video which provides such deep insights on effective strategic planning.

A winning framework for market entry strategies

A market entry strategy is the planned method of delivering goods or services to a new target market and distributing them there. This article talks about the critical issues that needs to be considered while entering a new market and suggests a list of actions that would mitigate the risks involved better, and hence successfully enter the market.

A market entry strategy is the planned method of delivering goods or services to a new target market and distributing them there. When importing or exporting services, it refers to establishing and managing contracts in a foreign country. Few companies successfully operate in a niche market without ever expanding into new markets but most businesses achieve increased sales, brand awareness and business stability by entering a new market. Developing a win-win market entry strategy involves a thorough analysis of  multiple factors, in a planned sequential manner.

When an organization makes a decision to enter an new market, there are  various issues that needs to be thought out. These options vary with cost, risk and the degree of control which can be exercised over them. The simplest form of entry strategy is often exporting, using a direct (agent) or indirect method (counter trade). More complex forms include truly global operations which may involve joint ventures, or export processing zones.

An organization wishing to enter a new market faces 3 major issues:

  1. Marketing – which markets, which segments, how to manage and implement marketing effort, how to enter – with intermediaries or directly, with what information?
  2. Sourcing – whether to obtain products, make or buy?
  3. Investment and control – joint venture, global partner, acquisition?

Firms can follow the mentioned steps in sequence to create that successful blend of strategies while entering a new market.

Planning these few steps in details would ensure that firms face less risk while entering a new market during expansion. Although there is no absolute success mantra to enter a new market, these activities would significantly lower the risk exposure of the firm and create a winning scenario.

Have you read our article on the Porter’s Five Forces analysis of industry competitiveness? This is a must-read article for anyone planning to get into a new market.

Read more about market entry frameworks.