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Keep the ball moving…

Business Strategy, Entreprenuership

It is not uncommon for companies to lose momentum and even become paralysed for fear of making the wrong turn, or not having analyzed something completely. While it is important to be thorough in one’s assessment of opportunities, it is extremely important to continue to make progress and execute on the not-so-perfect plan.  “Moving the ball” not only helps garner momentum, it also allows for better and at times faster decision making, eventually aligning all parties involved towards the goal. Time is an important dimension, and it is easy to lose sight of it in our zeal to make the perfect plan or create the most comprehensive system.

This is so true in sports as well. Any coach will recommend to keep moving the ball around as that creates opportunities besides keeping everyone on the team on its toes and not flat-footed.

As an entreprenuer, one faces tremendous challenges daily; challenges that can cripple momentum. However, the most important thing is not to lose sight of the goal and continue to march towards that goal.

“We just have to keep the ball moving”, as one of my favorite customer always says…

March 13, 2008   |     Comments(0)   |   Posted by: Imran Aftab

and then the Donkey got smarter…

Business Strategy, Entreprenuership, Uncategorized

donkey evades the carrot 

If you’re a service provider/ seller, how often have you heard from your clients/ prospects about future bigger projects/ deals/ business that they would like to bring to you. But only if you do an unbelievable job on the current project at an extremely competitive price point. Or how often have you received a call from a buddy of yours who never seem to return your phone call, but calls now to offer you an amazing opportunity that is coming down the pike, but of course, only after you do a favor for them. Well, I too have been naive enough to chase these “perpetual” carrots. Even Donkeys catch on after a while, and so have I.

Here’s some advice- anyone who wants to help you, should help you unconditionally.  Once you receive the favor, you definitely should return it, but it should be something unsaid and not demanded by the person doing you the favor.  Do not bend over backwards for clients that promise you the sky afterwards.  It is always good to go the extra mile for your customers, but do not fool yourself into thinking that the customer would really bring you more business once they are done with the current one. That being said, every situation is unique. There may be cases where do you want to act the donkey, if the customer is a name brand customer that will help you improve your portfolio of clients, etc.

This is specially true in the world of BPO/outsourcing/ offshoring.  The whole idea of the Gain-Share or better put, Carrot and Stick model where the vendor gets a reward for meeting/ beating targets and penalized for missing them is the perfect example. Setting aspirational targets, that are not based on any median/mean/ historical calculations, is a recipee for disaster. The vendor will give up trying becoming disillusioned if it feels that the targets are unachievable.

This also applies in the case of direct employees.  If one does not incent employees appropriately, the good employees will move on. 

My advice to people dangling the carrots is to keep it real.  It serves no purpose when one makes false promises.  People are smart enough..

My advice to us donkeys :) is to not be a dumb ”donkey”; take some time to check if the carrot is for real or just a mirage…

March 11, 2008   |     Comments(0)   |   Posted by: Imran Aftab

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN

Entreprenuership

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is a high probability that you will suffer early setbacks and may fail in your initial sales call, investor presentation, or employee recruitment. In fact, a break through may not come for some time, sapping your already spent energy. The easy thing to do is to hang the towel and call it a day. But if you have taken the plunge to be an entrepreneur, the right thing to do is get back on your feet, learn from your errors, and try again. Success may only be a few yards away. It is a commonly known fact that on average it takes approximately 13 interactions before the interaction turns into a transaction. Most salesman quit at interaction number 7, not understanding that most probably the reason why the prospect has not returned their phone call or email is because they are busy at work, and not because they want to play “hard to get”. Building a business from scratch is not easy, as it involves creating value out of nothing, which is surely a back breaking process. It is important to be consistent and not diverge from the path. Remember, you fail only when you quit!

February 20, 2008   |     Comments(0)   |   Posted by: Imran Aftab

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars

Entreprenuership, Uncategorized

crow_illustration2_6722.jpg 

Cassius was a shrewd motivator, and he delivered the perfect line to rile up Brutus with:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

I wonder how I would have reacted if I was in Brutus’ place. Probably would have agreed too, as there is so much truth to this line. Very often we blame our circumstances, past, financial background even our family for our short-comings and failures. It is not easy to go against the flow, but those who endure the journey will forever detest mediocrity. They will realize that it is they themselves who are the biggest inhibitor to reaching their dreams.

Read on…

February 19, 2008   |     Comments(0)   |   Posted by: Imran Aftab

Importance of Small Transactions/ Customers

Entreprenuership

One should never underestimate the importance of smaller transactions/ customer when starting a business. Most entrepreneuers do not ever get off the ground waiting for that one big deal, or the perfect idea in the hopes of hitting one out of the park. Sales is always going to be key component of a start-up’s business plan. The quicker one can land customers and generate sales activity, the better it is for them and their potential investors. More importantly, smaller transactions do help in keeping operational costs in the black, while keeping the operational arm well oiled and engaged, until that big deal is landed. Some of the smaller customers do actually end being longer lasting and more profitable customers, as they expand their business based on their success.

The analogy that is of relevance here is that of baseball or cricket. In cricket, it is recommended to keep the score board ticking through low-key, less risky shots, before launching out to hit the lose bowler for maximum. Similarly, in baseball, it is important to keep moving the base runner and load the bases before sending your pinch hitter to hit one out of the park.

February 17, 2008   |     Comments(0)   |   Posted by: Imran Aftab
 
 
 
     
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