Tag Archive: entrepreneurship


Old Business Models

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Every industry is changing

There are no original ideas left. Sure, it’s kind of a cynical thought, but try and brainstorm a completely new concept, whether for a business, an advertising campaign or even a limerick, and you’ll start to think it’s true. It can sometimes be a stretch to come up with anything that hasn’t already been thought of.

It’s the reason someone once famously said there are only three original jokes and all the others have been derived from them. It’s why Hollywood remakes old movies. And the dearth of original ideas is why businesspeople sometimes pay other businesspeople to come up with a new concept for their own products or services.
Fortunately, if you’re an entrepreneur trying to come up with a new business model, you don’t have to be completely unique. For instance, you probably wouldn’t attempt to sell fingernail clippings in a bag, no matter how groundbreaking and unique the idea is. In fact, if you’re starting a business, you probably shouldn’t do something that’s never been done -after all, think of the learning curve your target market will have to tackle. But you would be well advised to take an old idea and make it new. That’s exactly what David Friedberg did. It was around 2001, Friedberg figures, when he was 20 years old and living across the road from a bicycle rental shop.

Every day that it rained, the bike shop was closed. “It became pretty noticeable,” recalls Friedberg, now 26 and already an ex-Google executive and the CEO of his own company, WeatherBill, in San Francisco. After watching the bicycle rental store owner get rained out day after day, Friedberg started noticing how many other companies- think golf courses and car washes- were taking a financial bath whenever it was wet outside.

“You don’t really think about it, but 70 percent of businesses are affected by the weather every year, across regions and industries,”
says Friedman.

“The weather affects so many different types of businesses, whether in negative or in positive ways, like taxi cabs in New York, which are often full in the cold.”
Friedman was a business product manager at Google when he had his “a-ha moment.” It occurred to him that he should start an insurance company- a very old idea- but gear it specifically toward companies that want to protect themselves from losing money on a rainy day -a new idea. It may not sound new. After all, insurance companies generally protect you if you’re hammered by a hurricane, slaughtered by a sandstorm or frozen under the tundra. But we’re talking about the car wash that doesn’t want to lose an entire day of income when there are five inches of rain.
That’s why Friedberg developed, with his “computer science friends,” an elaborate website where anyone can log on and buy a contract to protect themselves from unseasonable weather. The site is completely customizable and automated. A farmer, for instance, could receive money every time the temperature dips below 67 degrees in a particular month. Or if a ski resort has a week and a half of beautiful, balmy weather in January, the owner could automatically receive a check without having to report the weather.

“There is no claims process,”

Friedberg says proudly. Instead his company uses a third-party weather station, EarthStat, that independently confirms data and sends daily reports to WeatherBill, which then processes the checks and sends them out.

Narrowing Your Focus

Despite such success stories, there are risks to developing a new business within an old framework, says Lenann Gardner, an internationally known sales consultant and author of the new book, Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today’s Proven Methods for Selling Services.

“You have to get people to change their behavior to support this new corporate strategy, and that’s a difficult thing to do. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to do, to change human behavior,”
says Gardner.

Narrowing your business’s focus is one way to attract customers to your new take on an old concept.

“Nobody wants to do business with a business that tries to be something for everybody,asserts Gardner.

Granted, tell Wal-Mart that, but she’s right. Stores known for having a little bit of everything thrive because the stakes aren’t too high for customers shopping for soap, cat food or a lawn chair. But as a general rule, the more someone is spending on an item, the more likely they are to seek out a specialized business. Take buying a house, for example. Garry Aloia is an owner and managing partner of My First Home, a business that caters specifically to first-time homebuyers. Aloia, who also co-owns parent company New State Mortgage, came up with the idea when he realized that because agents are driven by commissions,

“human nature takes over. If there’s a bigger commission involved, that customer gets more attention,”
he says.

First-time home buyers-who make up about 40 percent of the home buying market-are often purchasing smaller residences and are likely getting less attention, reasons Aloia. To remedy the situation, Aloia’s My First Home, based in Merrilville, Indiana, near Indianapolis, employs real estate agents who are paid higher salaries-25 percent more than the average agent- but who don’t receive commissions. Aloia doesn’t see his business as a traditional real estate office, but rather as a home-buying educational and assistance center. The office is even set up to look like a home, complete with a fireplace and coffee.
The company offers seminars to first-home buyers, as well as advice and tools to help them figure out what their monthly budget should be after they move in. What Aloia’s business is doing is what all entrepreneurs, whether veteran or novice, ultimately should be doing.

“I try to put my feet in the shoes of the customer,” says Aloia. “I ask myself, ‘How can I make their life better and simpler?’

Modernizing the Wheel
Some business models only need to be slightly tweaked to appeal to the modern consumer. Want to update the traditional dentist office? Put it on wheels. While cleaning teeth is an industry almost as old as, well, teeth, putting an office in a van that can travel anywhere from giant corporate campuses to nursing homes is a much more recent concept. The rise of mobile dentist offices in the last few years shows that catering to people’s busy and complicated lives is a nearly surefire way to improve upon an old concept.
Then there’s the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot in San Diego, which has received a lot of attention for its one-of-a-kind gas station that offers a full range of clean-burning alternative fuels from ethanol to BioWillie, a type of biodiesel made from soybeans and promoted by singer Willie Nelson. Gas stations may be becoming synonymous with global warming, but by offering an alternative, this fueling station has managed to drum up publicity while serving an emerging niche market.
Capitalizing on consumers’ nostalgia is yet another potential approach. In true throwback fashion, State Street Barbers, located in Chicago and Boston, gives modern hair cuts to men in an environment decked out to look like a ritzy salon in the 1920s. Patrons are given a cold beverage when they walk in and can get a hot lather shave with a classic straight razor and hot towels.
In the end, it’s easier to be original and unique in an established industry like home selling or insurance when you have plenty of capital funding behind you; it’s another story if you’re running a fledgling startup in your parents’ basement, and you feel you have to take any client with a pulse and a wallet. But whether you’re a big fish in the ocean or a small one in the pond, the principles are always the same. If you’re going to tweak a formula,

“throw out the way things have been done before,”
advises Friedberg.

Manufacturers wants more to connect with their suppliers, their distributors, and ultimate their customers. In a consumer world there is an app for that, in the government world there is form for that and that is the technology that needs to be closed. Banks knows a lot about the customers and that information is spread to the full wings. The reason why most of the companies are not embracing the future faster, is because they continue to throw their capital to what they worked in the past and that’s what is keeping manufacturers up at night, is how to innovate quickly with agility, and deepen their relationships with their retailers, suppliers and consumers.

Figure out your end goal, and then forget about what all of the other people have done, and come up with a new way.



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The Latest News & Developments in Business Strategy Practise

Corporate trajectory

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The business landscape will look dramatically different in coming decades

 

A culture change dialogs across geography, across business units and also across functions. By embracing people’s differences, we can spark innovation, better understand and serve our customers and gain competitive advantage.

Driving a successful diversity strategy begins with the senior leaders, but to be fully sustainable it needs to be lived by every one of us. If that seems challenging, think about this: many leading researchers and social scientists have proven a link between diversity and productivity. In the United States, management researchers found that when people work directly with someone with at least one diverse trait, it challenges them to prepare more and work harder. By embracing diversity in your business today, you can adopt an intrapreneurial mindset and sustainable skills that will help you succeed. Here’s how you can start:

 

Learn to think like an intrapreneur

Intrapreneurship, or disrupting internal processes or cultural norms, is at its heart about innovation. One group of innovators in particular figured out how to advance their industry through the way they approach challenges – these are open-source software engineers, and they use design thinking. It’s a good example of what intrepreneurship can be: pick a diverse team with a range of experiences and perspectives; make your mistakes early and be open about them.

Without the diverse and constant input, these engineers would be less successful in the way they solve challenges. When faced with a difficult task or situation, seek out advice from new and diverse sources, most likely you will find an improved approach.

 

Discover new places to network

As collaboration with diverse individuals provides new points of view, networking accomplishes this on a larger scale. By going to events for closely related professions, or simply connecting through social media channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn where you can virtually engage in conversations with anyone, you put yourself in a position for growth.

Inside your organization you can join or organize a powerful employee network with a diverse set of peers. While interacting with your network, look for, accept and appreciate differences. Friction leads to heat, and our heat makes the atoms move faster!

 

Focus on the strengths everybody brings to the table

We are brought up in the Western World to focus on what doesn’t work or what is different. Challenge yourself to appreciate the differences of others and see them as potential drivers of change. The more opinions, the more variety, and the more diversity we bring to the table the more we can unchain our creativity, which is hidden in every one of us.

People with different communication abilities, for instance, can be diverse. Autistic people are known for thriving in repetitive tasks, which is an especially valuable skill set in today’s data-driven work environments. These skills help uncover insights into customer behavior and business trends, and can lead to discoveries that alter how a company operates. In the future of work, diversity will not be an option, but an imperative to sustain in our global, fast paced economy, where never just one person owns and knows the truth.

 

Stand up to discrimination

Stand up if you see or experience discrimination.Raise your voice for the unheard opinion. Help others appreciate how every person has a different strength and realize that in that strength there is opportunity to grow and be more productive. For instance, if a colleague comments that a women aren’t as capable of understanding technology, remind them that CEOs Meg Whitman at HP and Marisa Mayer at Yahoo! have both outlasted their male predecessors. By being critical of someone’s weakness you miss the chance to appreciate and benefit from their strengths.

The need for new perspectives becomes especially important when we examine the future workplace. As our world gets smaller, diversity doesn’t only mean differences in gender and race, but age and geography as well. Our world has become ultra-connected – successful companies find that to harmonize these connections relates directly to how fast they innovate. The implications are key for our global workforce because innovation thrives when we are faced with the unfamiliar. Diversity is what makes business more sustainable.



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The Latest Publication On Data Surveys

 

 

 

Digital Year

 

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To a better understanding of a strategic decision and implication, here are some characteristics to exhibit:

Complexity is describing the feature of strategy and is particularly so in organisations with wide geographical horizons, such as multinational firms, or wide ranges of products and services.

For example, Yahoo! faces the complexity both of a fast-moving market environment and poorly organised internal businesses. Uncertainty is inherent in strategy, because nobody can be sure about the future.For Yahoo! the internet environment is one of constant and unforeseeable.

 

Operational decisions are linked to strategy.

For example, any attempt to coordinate Yahoo!’s business units more closely will have knock-on effects on web page design and links, carer development and advertiser relationships. This link between overall strategy and operational aspects of the organisation is important for two other reasons. First if the operational aspects of the organisation are not in line with the strategy, than no matter how well-considered the strategy is, it will not succeed. Second, it is at the operational level that real strategic advantage can be achieved. Indeed, competence in particular operational activities might determine which strategic developments might make most sense.

 

Integration is required for effective strategy.

Mangers have to cross functional and operational boundaries to deal with strategic problems. Yahoo! for example needs an integrated approach to powerful advertisers such as Sony and Vodafone from across all its businesses. Relationships and networks outside the organisation are important in strategy, for example with suppliers, distributors and customers. For Yahoo!, advertisers and users are crucial sets of relationships.

 

Change is typically a crucial component of strategy.

Change is often difficult because of the heritage of resources and because of organisational culture. According to Brad Garlinghouse at least, Yahoo! barriers to change seem to include a top management that is afraid of taking hard decisions and a lack of clear accountability amongst lower-level management.


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News & Economic Trends

 

Financial Goals

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In the new case of the industries you  should be proactive in helping achieving and creating your goals.

When you’re a start-up with few employees and few customers, it’s easy to stay on top of what customers want and what they’re getting. But as you add more customers and employees, you add links to the customer service chain. That creates the potential for growth and the potential for poor service along the way. That’s why creating a customer service policy and adhering to it is so important. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your clients receive excellent service every step of the way.

  1. Put your customer service policy in writing. These principles should come from you, but every employee should know what the rules are and be ready to live up to them. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Something as simple as “the customer is always right” can lay the necessary groundwork, although you may want to get more detailed by saying, for instance, “any employee is empowered to grant a 10 percent discount to any dissatisfied customer at any time.”
  2. Establish support systems that give employees clear instructions for gaining and maintaining service superiority. These systems will help you outservice any competitor by giving more to customers and anticipating problems before they arise.
  3. Develop a measurement of superb customer service. Don’t forget to reward employees who practice it consistently.
  4. Be certain that your passion for customer service runs rampant throughout your company. Employees should see how good service relates to your profits and to their futures with the company.
  5. Be genuinely committed to providing more customer service excellence than anyone else in your industry. This commitment must be so powerful that every one of your customers can sense it.
  6. Share information with people on the front lines.Meet with your employees regularly to talk about improving service. Solicit ideas from employees-they are the ones who are dealing with customers most often.
  7. Act on the knowledge that what customers value most are attention, dependability, promptness and competence. They love being treated as individuals and being referred to by name.

 

It has been about trust and it has been about getting there faster than anybody else,as we are driving innovation and bring ideas from other industries through our success.

 

Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” 

 Howard Stevenson 

 

This is one of the first definitions of entrepreneurism.It perfectly captures the nature of entrepreneurship and highlights some key qualities that successful entrepreneursshare. Entrepreneurs are confident in their abilities and they are able to recognize opportunities where many others don’t see them.




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