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No excuses for an unprofessional web presence anymore

Business Strategy, Uncategorized, Web Strategy

The web is the most economical channel that a business can have to market and/or sell their services/products. Not only is it available 24/7, it is also accessible by anyone from any place as long as they have internet access. Businesses who do not have a professional web presence are not only missing out on an opportunity to leverage this efficient sales and marketing channel, they are also arguably doing “disservice” to their own company. The Economist in an article a couple of years back stated that a less than professional website is worse than not having a website at all. There is no tolerance for a site that is difficult to load, or is not pleasing to the eyes. In some ways, it reflects the business’ attitude towards quality and service. Read on…

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



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


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


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

What are the future prospects for Pakistan?


please note that this view was expressed back in early 2007. Current situation may be different.

question on linkedin: I’m doing a speech on Global Trends in Karachi next week. As part of my coming up to speed on the country, I’d welcome your thoughts on where Pakistan is headed, what are the long term political, social and economic prospects, what could most help and hinder growth, which are the most exciting companies and sectors, which are the leading businesses today, etc?

Read on…

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

Which works best for a Business Development team: regional or industry verticals? Please include some of the pros and cons of each.

Business Strategy

question on linkedin: Which works best for a Business Development team: regional or industry verticals? Please include some of the pros and cons of each.

my answer: I’ll just caveat that each situation is unique and should be evaluated on its merit. Traditionally regional demarcation has been the structure that companies have chosen, mostly because of logistical issues. Generally, it may be a good idea to have the sales point of contact in the same region (preferably within driving distance) as the client. The sales person may from time to time pool in subject matter experts from around the world. There are other benefits to being regionally oriented as well, such as, being able to network with the prospect and develop regional leads. Also, a given prospect’s first action when evaluating vendors may be to “Google” vendors, and call the one that may be in their city first. There is also the benefit of building a better client relationship. However, we’ve been living in a “flat” world for some time now, where teams have been collaborating across oceans through video, telephone, IM and emails. Geographical delineation may not be the most optimal. How often have we seen companies scramble to put their A team together for say a Telco prospect, flying people from various places around the world with deep experience in Telco to impress the client. Of course, once the deal is won, the practical thing to do is staff the team with regional resources with a few subject matter experts that may be thousands of miles away. Read on…

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

What country is emerging as next outsourcing (tech jobs) hot spot?


question posted on linkedin: Does anyone have a read on status of outsourcing tech jobs overseas? Are jobs flowing back to U.S.? What country is emerging as next outsourcing (tech jobs) hot spot?

my answer: China, Argentina, Eastern Europe are good destinations. It really depends what “kind” of tech job you are talking about, as there is: research and development, software code development, quality assurance and testing, maintenance, etc.

I myself run a company out of Pakistan and have had success. I would not say that the entire world is rushing to that country as there are some perception issues with that geography. However, there is a tremendous potential.

February 16, 2008   |     Comments(0)   |   Posted by: Imran Aftab

where to outsource/offshore vs. what to outsource/offshore


question posted on linkedin: where to outsource/offshore vs. what to outsource/offshore

I notice a fair number of questions relating to “what do you think about outsourcing in country X” or “what do you believe about country Y”. I personally believe that the question “where” has to be raised after the question “what”. Outsourcing can be an efficient tool, it can be a winner. Yet is it really about going to a certain place, or is it more about identifying the business areas to outsource. Afterwards, depending on the technology, depending on what your goal is with this outsourcing/offshoring, the actual place can be determined based on the strengths and weaknesses of the places. And in certain cases you could be winning in outsourcing in a “low cost country”, in other cases you’d better outsource in a “high cost country”. What is your view on this?

my answer: I completely agree with you. The ‘what’ question needs to be answered first. There are many destinations across the world and as you mentioned, they all have their strenghts and weaknesses. I have had personal experiences as an ex-buyer of outsourced services in Philippines, India, Argentina, South Africa, Israel, Canada, Mexico, UAE, Pakistan and US. There are some destinations that are inherently good for voice services, particularly customer service as opposed to sales, and then there are some destinations that are great for higher end analytics work, or manufacturing or F&A outsourcing.

Now, ultimately to become more cost efficient, it may make sense to co-locate various types of services (eg real time voice and non-realtime back office processing work) to get better utilization of physical assets (seats).

It is also practical to distribute any particular work type across different destinations as a risk mitigation strategy.

February 16, 2008   |     Comments(0)   |   Posted by: Imran Aftab
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