17 Apr, 2009 | by
flowchart_image

 
All the talk about Recession and now DEPRESSION can make anyone nervous. Wall Street “ Pros “ make their  predictions, and in doing so, create more chaos. This sentiment is probably shared by most folks on the main street.  The market is behaving like a Yo-Yo. To get a perspective, let’s look at the rallies we had in the past week. One wonders, is this a sustainable rally or a one off, I want to feel good BEAR market rally. We are seeing markets rally despite of all the negative NEWS. One might argue that the Market is always FORWARD LOOKING. Which begs the question, is it forward looking or just SPECULATING?  Let us just look at some of the headline stories of March 09, to get a perspective. GE downgraded; Germany’s growth collapsing by a record since world war II; UK and France Industrial output at lowest in over four decades; Jobless rate in the US reaching 10% in at least three states; U.S. household net worth plunging by a record $ 5.1 trillion; Japan’s GDP shrinking by over 12% annually; World Bank is now predicting a negative global growth in 2009. In spite of all these very negative news we saw the markets rallied.

Though, we saw the markets back in the RED again on 27th of March 09 after 5-6 days of consecutive rallies one could argue, what was the basis of this rally? Well may be some “INVESTORS” were expecting the worst and they believed these news were not that BAD after all? The launch of TALF and TARP program also probably helped carry the positive sentiments. The consensus view is that these programs would help but the reality is, we have a lot of continue reading »

12 Apr, 2009 | by

finishline

I have officially ended my transition; it lasted just over 230 days.  As I sit and look back at more than seven months of uncertainty, I thought this would be a good time to share some ideas that might help others facing their own journey.  Please keep in mind that I am not an expert.  I have no advanced degree in psychology or training as a career advisor, I am just a guy that made it through to the other side and has a point of view.

Network
The key, and you already know it, to surviving transition is networking.  Groan all you like, but there are plenty of statistics that show how few people land jobs through the online job boards.  Use them to be sure, just don’t count on them.  Recruiters aren’t the sure source they were in times past; companies are cutting corners everywhere, including the usage of staffing firms.  It all comes down to who you know.  And don’t wait until you see an open job to start your calls, it’s just as critical to get in the door for the job open today as well as being there before tomorrow’s job is even posted. continue reading »

3 Apr, 2009 | by
Topics: Sports, Strategy

Soccer

I have been spending many sleepless nights over the years watching the FIFA World Cup on TV and I can’t wait for the latest one coming up in South Africa in 2010. Between the occasional dozing off and celebrating the beautiful goals, I have been inspired to link up the soccer business with entrepreneurship, in particular startup business. I see that there are many important learning points that are useful for startups and small businesses.

The people business
The most important asset that any soccer club has is its people. So who are these people? They are the board of directors, the coach/manager, players and club supporters. Many of the clubs understand this fundamental aspect of their business and that is why they have scouts, agents, brokers, etc. scouring the globe for the best talents.

Now for the startup case, it is similar in the sense that they don’t have many assets in the new company except for its people. That is why it is imperative that the founders spend a large amount of time scouring for talents. I have some experiences putting together new startups and have also received kind advice from folks who tell me that it would be best that I get the people from my social circle, or plainly, people who I know. Despite this, I feel that it would be good actually for me to expand the talent search to outside my circle. This would not only reach out to other great talents but also to diverse views and styles. It is useful to understand that one’s personal circle is never adequate in the search for the talents of the world. The only challenge here is that managing a team of people you haven’t gotten to know very well can be a test of the person’s man-management skill. continue reading »

28 Mar, 2009 | by
Topics: Economy, Global

g20

The markets seem to be questioning the government’s ability to find a workable solution to this current turmoil in other words government’s ability to find a FIX. And this is becoming increasingly evident by the way markets have reacted in the past few weeks. Al though one might say that the market itself is INEFFICIENT by design and DYSFUNCTIONAL in the current environment. And there are also those who would say that the whole MESS was created by the same market participants themselves in the first place. People who thought the party would never end and carried on with their reckless business practice. So going by the norm that the market is always right is a probably flawed perception? Well, whatever one might say, it’s hard to entirely disagree especially when we have a market that is increasingly behaving like a yo-yo. It either gets too optimistic or finds itself in a fluke rally only to shed all its previous gains or it takes an extreme negative view on everything loosing foresight.

Some would disagree with the above observation and some might agree. Whatever side you are on, one can safely say that without government support the market may not have survived.

But even with government support the market is not working as it should. continue reading »

22 Mar, 2009 | by

fearfulturtle

Unconscious fear-based business models propel most firms – and the people within them – head first into self-fulfilling failure. But with just  five easy steps that dreaded scenario can be turned into fantastic success.

During 2008, all of us who are entrepreneurs and business owners faced the most devastating challenges since the Great Depression. But by simply following five proven steps we can all avoid stressful and financially detrimental pitfalls and mistakes in 2009. For years, through my business consulting company Make Your Business Boom, we’ve been showing clients throughout the world an innovative five-step method to identify profit-killing fears disguised as organizational plans and strategies. Companies that have implemented the formula have found that their poor performances of the past are quickly replaced with powerfully profitable positive results.

The fact is that individuals, groups, teams, and entire corporations consciously and unconsciously manifest fear into everything they do. Managing, marketing, branding, selling, and negotiating are all aspects of business that suffer from the fear factor – especially during times of extreme economic recession. To root out that toxic emotion and move the mental and emotional hurdles out your path to success, just follow these five steps: continue reading »

13 Mar, 2009 | by

istock_000007412021xsmall

Better Prospects = Better Transactions

These are chaotic times for business valuation.  The old rules are changing to reflect the dramatic new reality of the markets.  Companies that were hanging on won’t make it much longer, and companies that need to sell will not receive the pricing they would have eighteen months ago.  Equity buyers call it the “catch a falling knife” metaphor.  Business valuation has always been more of a black art than a science.

Corporate buyers with access to cash receive far better returns on their acquisition dollars during recessions. Troubled deals that would be done in good times are being liquidated, mundane companies are finding it hard to get a fair multiple, and cash is at a premium.

All this points to acquisition as a growth strategy.

Those that discipline their acquisition process will improve their return on investment. continue reading »

7 Mar, 2009 | by


magnify_on_files

I just celebrated the six month anniversary of being in transition.  That’s the vogue way of saying unemployed these days.  Like many, I was recently down-sized, or as I was told to say, my position was recently eliminated due to a re-organization.  However you word it, I am out looking for work.

Reflection is inevitable during this type of life change, and I find myself looking back at the “rules” of Corporate America and how they seem to have changed. You know the ones I mean, those unwritten truisms we all know and try to live by, yet never saw in any handbook.  I thought I would offer an updated perspective during these uncertain times, from the other side of the paycheck.

Before I begin, let me say, I am not an expert.  I am not a career coach with formal training or special insights into the job market.  I’m just a guy, like many of you, making some observations based on my journey. continue reading »

26 Feb, 2009 | by
Topics: Marketing, Sales

clients1

 1.     The easiest way to get what you want (i.e. a client’s money) is to give them what they want – or need. Whose money is it anyway?? It’s all about them, their company, their problems, their fears, their needs, their threats and their wants. Research your audience, personalise your pitch by using relevant case studies and only use admissible and appropriate language and jargon. Only talk about yourself and your company, when relating how your qualifications, experience and abilities can help them get what or where they want.

2.     Find out what they want – where they are and where they want to be. Listen aggressively and ask questions. Pay attention to what they say – ask questions to gain more detail or to check that you have really received what they have broadcast, summarise back to them your understanding of their situation, take notes, use their names. Prescription without diagnosis is pants!

3.     Treat people like people – People buy from people they like and trust, especially with the declining trust in that corporate logo on your business card!!! Don’t rush in and knock people over – assess and respect the speed and mood of your audience. Be in the room, employ attentive eye contact, and switch off your Blackberry! Focus on being a human who can help. Long-term loyalty is built up by real long term commitment – relationships count, especially in a credit crunch. (Pitch productivity success rates are great for managers, rubbish for pitch teams – focus on gaining or retaining happy trusting clients one at a time – the numbers and the ratios will look after themselves.) The risk/reward ratios of the client are what you should be focusing on – your impact on them, their career and their organisation is much more than just the project investment or your fee structure. It is where you as a professional could take them, their organisation or their career. ROI and a trusting relationship are a very strong pair. continue reading »

12 Feb, 2009 | by

I am searching for a word, maybe it’s a phrase, but it eludes me.  I don’t say that often, I take pride in my ability to communicate complex ideas creatively and succinctly.  Yet, I can’t find that perfect word to describe a state of being many of us in Process Management live in every day.  How do you describe being the best but also continuously improving, at the same time?

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a leader in Store Operations at a growing retail company.  He had some interesting observations on some things I take for granted.  His point was simple.  In an organization with a young talent pool and longevity measured in months, not years, labeling something as “best” sets a standard to achieve, not exceed.  After all, once you’re the best, don’t you put your feet up and relax?  This got me thinking, is the concept of “best practice” outdated?  Can you implement a “continuous improvement”?

Let’s take a step back and define these terms.  Keep in mind, language is important.  In many organizations, like the one mentioned above, words are taken at face value.    What is a best practice?  It is a method that has been identified as the best approach yielding the best results.  What about continuous improvement?  Again, just like the name implies, it is an approach, or more an organizational culture, to continuously improve. 

continue reading »

5 Feb, 2009 | by

I think most would agree that effective verbal communication is a fundamental skill needed in order to succeed in both business and life. Whether it’s in the board room or a family outing, how you articulate your thoughts ultimately defines who you are in the eyes of others. These instant perceptions could very well dictate your opportunities for career advancement or even opportunities to build personal friendships.

Let me present you with a hypothetical scenario. Frank (nice innocuous name) has just been tasked to research a potential solution to a lingering business issue within his organization. He did the appropriate legwork and put together a solid business case to justify a project idea that will once and for all address that pesky problem. He prepares a sharp Power Point presentation to make his pitch enticing. Afterwards he’s greeted with a lukewarm response from the audience but is still confident that the supporting data is too compelling for his idea to be shot down. Several weeks go by. Frank’s then told by a colleague, in passing, that the project idea was canned. How could that be, he thinks to himself? The solution was sublime. Oh well, I guess there was just no budget for it. I have no control over that. Life goes on. Several months go by when Frank learns that the project finally gets the green light. He feels a deep sense of vindication that the organization finally came to its senses.

 

continue reading »