Utilizing personal loans to fund your new business venture

For businesses that need a small to moderate amount of funding for start-up costs, getting a personal loan may be easier than getting a small business loan. Because many small business ventures are prone to failure and the assets of the business often secure the loans, most banks have stricter lending policies for small business loans. For example, if you run into trouble and it looks like your business is failing, the bank may ask you to pay back the loan in full whereas that is not as likely with a personal loan. Here are some suggestions on how to obtain a personal loan from sources other than traditional banks and how to use the money to fund your new business. Continue reading “Utilizing personal loans to fund your new business venture”

Green Shipping: Putting the Pressure On

Maersk. That one word is the name of a company, one which affects your life a great deal considering it’s likely you’ve never heard of it. The giant Danish conglomerate (also known as A.P. Møller – Maersk Group) is involved in a wide variety of different sectors of business. The one we’re going to focus on is its shipping arm, known as Maersk Line. Since 1996, Maersk has been the largest container ship operator on the planet. The multi-billion dollar operation is slowly but surely changing how it works, and these changes could have pretty major effects on the shipping industry as a whole. Continue reading “Green Shipping: Putting the Pressure On”

Diffusion of Electronic Banking Solutions for Financial Inclusion

A major pain point of the banking industry is the challenge of how to penetrate the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), a concept which was popularized by Prahlad [3]. This indeed is a sizeable market, consisting of 2.5 billion people who live on less than US$2.50 per day. Technology is being heralded as a major enabler for the diffusion of banking solutions in this segment, and the same is being brought about by different types of electronic payment systems.

It is interesting to note how in emerging economies, diffusion of these technologies are creating benefits for this segment [4]. No wonder technology vendors and service providers are rallying to get a big pie of this cake and research in this topic has increased significantly [1,2]. However, the risks of fraud and perceived usefulness of these technology are slowing down the diffusion of the same in these economies. Another major barrier is internet penetration, which is significantly low, in developing economies, especially in the rural segments.

However, the development of banking solutions which can be used through Mobile based technologies, can significantly eradicate these problems. The adoption and penetration of mobile phones is significantly larger than internet based technologies. Hence technology giants like IBM and Microsoft are investigating significantly on research, so that mobile payment solutions can be made available to this segment. Some of the major technological advancements which are attempting to address this gap are speech technologies like the spoken web. It would indeed be interesting to see how such technologies can bring about inclusive development in the banking and financial services industry. Indeed the adoption of these technologies can bring about financial inclusion for the general masses by enabling banking solutions for this segment.

References

  1. Kar, A. (2009). eBusiness Enablement: Implications for Business Strategy. Available at SSRN 1432433.
  2. Kar, A. (2009). The Past, Present and Future of Information Systems Research. Available at SSRN 1366962
  3. Prahalad, C. K., & Hart, S. L. (2002). The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Strategy and Business, 54-54.
  4. Simpson, J. (2002). The impact of the Internet in banking: observations and evidence from developed and emerging markets. Telematics and Informatics, 19(4), 315-330.

Top 100 Business Schools of India – 2012 Rankings

Business Today and Nielsen has published the B-School rankings for 2012, in India. One of the interesting things this ranking has attempted to achieve the balance between “perception overlaps” among “chains of B-Schools”… (like IIMs, IMIs, IMTs, IITs, Symbiosis, ICFAI etc).. and estimate the individual B-School’s actual but relative position, somewhat unaffected by the umbrella brands. Indeed a good and novel way to rank institutes. There were two surveys, one to estimate the perceptive performances of institutes, and another to estimate the factual performances of the institutes.

The factual survey was done first, wherein we sent out a detailed questionnaire across multiple parameters to 1,832 B-schools across the country. Subsequently, after the factual data had come in from these schools, the perceptual survey was started. A separate questionnaire was administered to a group of more than 1,200 stakeholders of the B-school ecosystem, including teachers, students, young executives and HR recruiters. Their opinions are taken again on various aspects relating to the five key parameters – Learning Experience, Living Experience, Return On Investment, Future Orientation and Brand Value and finally a sum of products approach was undertaken and scoring of the institutes was achieved.

Check out the rankings below:

 

Making the Right Energy Choices Can Benefit Your Business

Whether you’re looking to benefit your company’s bottom line or your overall image, energy and the choices you make pertaining to its use and generation can make a big impact. There are a lot of things businesses can do to be smart about energy use, especially when you consider that most businesses use a lot of energy in comparison to a single residence.

Everything from embracing green energy solutions to conservation programs can help drive down your expenses each month, and you might get some added PR if you let people know what you’re doing.

Start with a conservative mindset

The easiest way to make an impact on your energy expenses each month is to institute a conservation plan. It can be as simple as leaving lights off in areas of the building that aren’t constantly in use, or as aggressive as keeping the air conditioning system a few degrees warmer in the summer. You don’t want to generate a mutiny from your employees, but a few new policies that are easy to follow won’t create too much of a stir.

This conservation can even spread to other areas of the business. Are you using a lot of paper on a daily basis? Maybe it’s time to switch to an all email system for memos. Are you providing Styrofoam cups in the break room? Encourage your employees to bring in their own ceramic mugs to cut down on waste. No matter how small a conservation project is, it will add up.

Consider pursuing green energy solutions

Is your business in an area with a deregulated energy market? If so, going green is easier than you think. Sites like www.texaselectricityproviders.com make it simple to find energy suppliers that offer green energy options. Even if you aren’t located in a deregulated market, there are ways to embrace green energy solutions.

Thanks in part to how affordable green energy technology is today, there are many businesses across the country that lease green energy infrastructure. Depending on the size of your operation, leasing equipment may be more viable than purchasing your own solar array but either way, having onsite infrastructure is a big step.

Onsite green energy infrastructure means that you’ll be actively reducing your business’ energy bills each month, usually at a rate that will allow your investment in the technology to pay for itself within a few years. In terms of PR, having a solar array visible gives your company a bragging point. It shows that you care about your impact, and you’re smart enough to save yourself money on the energy you know your company is going to use. Just think about it.

Other ways to promote energy conservation

If the majority of your workforce drives each day, consider incentivizing the closest parking spots. Designate the best spots for those who carpool or drive hybrid cars. You could even further encourage carpooling by creating a bulletin board where employees can find rideshare opportunities across the business.

In the end, controlling your business’ energy consumption is one of the easiest ways to make a significant impact on your bottom line, and the public’s perception of your company. Consider implementing some of these suggestions, but know that there are plenty of other ways to achieve the same goal.

Cryptography in the Banking Industry

Business Frontiers, Vol. 1, No. 1.

Title: Cryptography in the Banking Industry.

Publication date: Oct, 2012.

Authored by Arpan K Kar, Supriya K Dey

This paper can be cited as follows: Kar, A.K., Dey, S.K. (2012). Cryptography in the Banking Industry. Business Frontiers, 1(1), 1-7.

Abstract: The development of cryptographic techniques has seen a lot of applications in the banking industry. This whitepaper focuses on the review of the major cryptographic techniques which has been used extensively in the banking industry, for the implementation of data security norms and the fulfillment of compliance requirements. While techniques have not been described in details, the focus has been on exploring the business implications of these developments.

To download the whitepaper, please visit this link: Cryptography in the Banking Industry

Keywords: Cryptography, Banking, Security, Finance industry

Business Frontiers is a premium series of refereed open source white-papers on critical emergent issues and classic topics in business and management including but not limited to marketing management, technology management, e-business, finance, economics, human resources, organizational behavior and general management. Articles published as open source white-papers in Business Frontiers are copyrighted using a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Please visit the publication page for more details on Business Frontiers. For submission of original articles for publication, please read the Guide for Authors and the Call for Papers.

7 Ps of Services Marketing – Framework Limitations

The 7 Ps of services marketing is indeed a popular framework used by marketing professionals to design the critical dimensions of the strategic blueprint while marketing a service. The services marketing mix is dominated by the 7 Ps of marketing namely Product, Price,  Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence. In fact, the 7 P framework is one of the most popular framework for deciding a marketing strategy for services in domains like banking, information technology enabled services or hospitality and tourism, right from strategy formulation to actual implementation. Continue reading “7 Ps of Services Marketing – Framework Limitations”

Comparison of Business Strategy Frameworks

Strategic management literature has established multiple popular frameworks which are used by decision makers to develop a roadmap for business strategy. Some of the popular frameworks for business strategy are Porter’s 5 forces model, BCG / GE McKinsey MatrixPEST analysis and the Ansoff Matrix. However, all these frameworks focus on factors which are external to the firm. In this article, however, we focus on the frameworks which are a mix of the external view of the macro-environment and the internal view of the strengths and weaknesses existing within the firm, namely the Industry Structure view, the Resource based view and the Relational view of the firm.

The Industrial Structure view is somewhat more macro-industry focused. It postulates that firms operate in an environment of competitive forces of rivalry and forces involving barrier of entry (even exit). In general industry structure refers to the distribution of firms in an industry. The existence of a large number of firms in an industry both reduces and increases opportunities for coordination among firms in the industry. Depending on the degree of consolidation or fragmentation in the industry, the macro-economical dynamics affect the firm’s competency in how it deals with the forces of competition.

In contrast, the Resource based view is somewhat more internal focused. It stresses that the competitive advantage of a firm lies primarily in the application of the bundle of valuable resources at the firm’s disposal. To transform a short-run of competitive advantage for a firm to a sustained competitive advantage is like winning both the battle and the war. It requires creation of resources which are heterogeneous in nature and not perfectly mobile across competing firms. This again translates into the fact that the value of these resources arise from the criticality that they are neither perfectly imitable nor substitutable without great effort.

Similarly, the Relational view is a theory for considering networks and dyads of firms interlinked within the daily intercourse of business transactions, as the unit of analysis to study and frame strategies for sustainable competitive advantage. The relational view argues that idiosyncratic inter-organizational linkages are the sources of competitive advantage, whereby relationships play a major role in development and exploitation of competencies in an industry that is traditionally highly competitive.

In the next diagram, a comparative analysis of these important theories has been presented., which present how these theories are not only different, but also complement each other by taking a different lens to view the competitive landscape for a strategic decision maker.

Do let us know, if you have any query regarding more details on this article. We value the feedback from our readers very highly.

Marketing Theory – CCDVTP

CCDVTP stands for “create, communicate, deliver the value to the target market at a profit”, a term that has been popularised by Philip Kotler. It is being considered as an emerging lingo amongst marketing professionals ever since it was coined. This has caught the attention since it connects three ideals that are often existing in silos in marketing organizations. This has been identified as the value chain in marketing, among the other important marketing theories and today, surprisingly has become a buzzword in many interviews for marketing and sales jobs.

Creating value is synchronized with product management, whether the product or service is tangible or intangible. The product is what is the core of value creation, for your customers and also for your firm. Product life cycle management is thus one of the crucial activities in product management. Today, services and products need to be managed so as to deliver quality value consistently. There are many frameworks which enable the product management team create consistencies across delivery of the same. However, creating the best product or service offering will result in no value for the producer, unless the same can be communicated. This is where branding exercises are conducted.

Communicating the value of a product or service is branding and brand management. A highly valued product or service which a producer company may perceive, must also be conceived by the user as having similar value or more. Otherwise the whole exercise of creation of the offering through proper product management strategies, falls flat. Branding enables a firm to rely on the pull strategy rather than on the push strategy, and it has been observed that firms generate higher profitability from the pull strategy than from the push strategy.

Delivering value is synchronous with customer management. Value is generated at the point of consumption of any offering, be it a product or a service. Customer value management is the process by which this value may be tapped successfully to create value for the firm. This is the process by which the results of all the effort taken in creation of value is actually realized by the firm and directly affects the top-line of the firm’s financials. It has been seen that through proper customer management, customer satisfaction increases substantially which in turn reduces churn rate and increases revenue from increasing customer satisfaction.

So what do you think of this new mantra in marketing? We would love to know your thoughts.

Business Process Outsourcing on Cloud

Business Process Outsourcing on Cloud- Reaping High ROI

Cloud brings in a great deal of benefits for different type of businesses, to cut costs and improve efficiency of different business processes. From SaaS to Iaas, there are about countless ways through which business can implement cloud to outsource their critical system and processes.

This article is going to discuss how in-take of cloud based solutions for BPO helps in gathering momentum.

Using Cloud to get The Maxim

You are going to get an ample of examples of where cloud computing has been done, for instance – an organic baby food manufacturer may be using the cloud to streamline its massive logistics, while other firms are thinking to sign up for cloud-based HR services.

This article focuses on the way various BPO companies are picking up clouds from market to test the environment, so that they execute more processes to their clients.

However, there is an interesting caveat to note here, is the suggestion that use of cloud is still in its early steps and 13% of business process outsourcing services is already cloud-based. With cloud call center services are able to cater massive amount of scope to businesses that are able to derive advantage from these benefits.

CLOUD- Driving Benefits for BPO

With cloud computing and business analytics, new life has been injected to BPO sector through reduced upfront costs and better use of data.

IT enabled BPO services has a large role to play, and they can be fine tuned to cut costs, but the best performing BPO deals are using IT to innovate and speculate.

Recent researches affirm that 20% of BPO projects are able to deliver sufficient business value for high performance. The findings from the research confirm the changing role of technology in BPO.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) means businesses can introduce the applications used in BPO agreements without giving large upfront payments. Business magnets are of the opinion that best-of-breed technology is easily available and are easy to apply.

They further added, earlier BPO agreements are usually overloaded with cost-loaded technology. In past a business have to purchase license and then install heavy-duty business applications as a part of BPO deal, but now they can easily sign up for BPO services and easily scale up and down the number of users.

What is the concept of researchers on CLOUD, used in BPOs?

  • 85% of high-performing BPO considers cloud service provider to be a strategic partner, compared with 41% of typical BPO services
  • 75% of high-performance BPO  involve senior leaders from both parties spending time to understand each other’s objectives and strategies
  • 90% of high performers reported that client and provider were able to productively resolve conflicts
  • 77% of high-performing BPO have successfully executed change management plans
  • 85% of high-performing BPO proactively refine their objectives as the relationship matures
  • 67% of BPO include business benefits beyond cost in the business case, compared with 26% of typical engagements;
  • 58% of will consider service options with greater value, even at higher costs
  • 56% of high performers seek competitive advantage through BPO
  • 64% of BPO places more focus on capturing other benefits as they achieve cost reduction
  • 54% have contract performance incentives in place

A new approach to cloud computing is helping enterprises to recognize more of the business transformative aspects, such as improvements to productivity, business agility and business continuity as they present plans and sells concept to management teams.

Author Bio: Emma Johnson is an outreach expert and is closely associated with lead generation and telemarketing services. She is in contact with inbound order taking services that are popular for their prompt answering services to appease both client and customer with quality outsourcing.

Why should you use a Business Credit Card?

Starting a business is a dream for which an owner plans and prepares. Market research is done to ensure there is a market for the product or service and that it is an area of need for potential customers. You check out a location for a storefront or office and plan all the different ways you’ll be able to promote your business.

What is a Business Credit Card?
A business credit card is much like a personal credit card. A business credit card extends the credit available to the business. When financing is tight, the business credit card can be used to pay bills and buy supplies to keep the business afloat.

Costs
Everything seems to be coming together until you start adding up the costs for starting the business and for keeping it going for a year until there is a regular income stream coming in. There may be costs for licenses or other government requirements, costs for space, internet access, equipment, supplies and employees.

Business Planning
A business plan is a must for making sure an owner covers all the bases and doesn’t lose the dream due to poor planning. A business plan includes listing all sources of potential financing. These may include personal savings, taking out a mortgage on a home or other property and loans from the banks, friends or family. These are all fairly fixed amounts, but business expenses ebb and flow.

Not a Personal Credit Card
Business credit cards often offer different terms than a personal credit card. They also have the larger credit limits required to efficiently run a business. Of course, like a personal credit card, anything spent has to be paid back.

Use Judiciously
Credit cards are loans and owners need to take care to use a business credit card account wisely. Paying back any funds spent needs to be part of the overall business plan. Like personal credit cards, there is the temptation to consider the credit free money and overuse the card. This can undermine the solid financial basis of the company. However, there are good reasons to use a business credit card.

Accounting
Accounting can become a nightmare for the small business owner, especially when supplies and products are purchased with different accounts. Keeping receipts together can get frustrating and putting everything together difficult for an owner who already has way too much to do just keeping the business running.

If, however, everything is purchased on a business credit card account, the business will have all expenses listed in one place. The owner can quickly check when something was purchased, where it was purchased and for how much. This proof is invaluable should the government call into question, at tax time, whether something was purchased and whether one or more purchases qualifies as a deductible expense. A business credit card also keeps tabs on the purchases of employees.

Perks
Business credit cards, depending upon the card, offer a variety of perks that assist the business owner from discounts on supplies to free flying miles.

Author’s Bio: The articles of Ethan Grunt have been proving very useful for the customers who look forward to get information on business credit cards. He suggests them to visit Businesscreditcards.com for further information.

Avoid Investing in Facebook – Investment strategies

Avoid falling flat on your Facebook. The fall and fall of Facebook’s stock has been the stuff of investors’ nightmares. Starting with a stock price of $38, by 31st August the stock had lost approximately 52% value with no sign of a bounce. The real issue isn’t just Facebook’s shares so much as a lack of probity in investments these days and many businesses who choose to ‘float’ may find there’s a leak in their boat.

The average duration for a shareholding in the USA currently stands at an almost instantaneous 22 seconds!

Compared with an average holding of 8 years in the 1940’s, the stock market has become the ‘get rich quick’ scheme (substitute ‘dream’ for a more apt description) of the 00’s. Shareholders just aren’t in it for the long game any more and this creates a multitude of problems for businesses great and small.

The demand to create shareholder value overnight keeps many an Executive Suite buzzing into the ridiculous hours of the night; sees downsizing and corporate initiatives bluntly delivered across departments to deliver savings and greater profit margins and dissatisfaction in the stock market quickly translates into a knee jerk reaction kicking the HR department into action, moving from co-production to consultation as the company’s most “valuable assets” become “deadweight” creating drag merely as a result of bottom line cost.

Shareholder value, as a concept, is fine but it’s become very one directional in recent years and creates little benefit for the business, less a short term cash injection and longer term drain on your profits and profitability.

Before you launch your business into the choppy stock market seas, consider a few alternatives:

  • Raise additional funds through other means:

Investment pots and pensions aren’t delivering growth in low interest economies just now.

Money in the bank is more of a tax liability than a cushion.  Get family; friends and acquaintances to consider becoming a minority investor in your venture with the prospect (but no guarantee) of long-term returns;

Ask – “Do I really need to grow?” Many businesses chase growth like a dog chases it’s own tail.  It’s the perpetual motion that creates the illusion of progress when, in reality, you’re just expending energy chasing an elusive, moving and often undesirable target. Growth’s not a bad thing; it’s just not the be all and end all of business.  Sustainability and longevity are much more important.

Grow from within:  Re-invest your profits.  It’s the simplest and most economical way of growing any business; it doesn’t sell off any part of your holding and doesn’t expose it to the jitter of shareholders demanding short-term results.

Or consider selling shares to the employees and give them a stake in their own sweat and toil.

Consider the 3 C’s:

  1. Co-operation
  2. Co-production
  3. Collaboration

You don’t need to do it all on your own.  Find other businesses or individuals that are either doing something similar and work together to increase market share or find complimentary products and services and share the costs of increasing your joint offer to the market.  Cross selling could help you both.

All these options allow you to retain control of your business and keep your long-term goals in focus.

If you decide that you do want shareholders, make sure major shareholders you bring in possess more than just the financial wherewithal to invest.

Get investors that are passionate about what you’re trying to achieve; who have experience and expertise in an area that’s relevant for your business and that can actually add something to the business and the Boardroom (other than banging fists; a scary glare and the demand you make them rich instantly or they’ll withdraw their investment).

That way, when the storm hits the good ship (insert your company’s name) you can call all hands to deck rather than your shareholders racing to the lifeboats as the rest are left to bail out.

Bio:  Colin Millar is an entrepreneur and Founding Director of Cloud Management Systems [Link: CloudManagementSystems (.) co( .)uk ], a consultancy with a difference.  Colin is also the Chairman of a Scottish based charity. Colin blogs on leadership, management; business and enterprise.  In 2011, he won the Chartered Management Institute’s ‘Top Blog” award.