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New Happenings

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  • Its all about the survival of the those who can adapt. Its a mass of changes.

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.

 

Phrases That’ll Make Your Customers Happy

Principles of customer service are all very well, but you need to put those principles into action with everything you do and say.

 

There are certain “magic words” customers want to hear from you and your staff. Make sure all your employees understand the importance of these key phrases:

 

  • How can I help?”Customers want the opportunity to explain in detail what they want and need. Too often, business owners feel the desire or the obligation to guess what customers need rather than carefully listening first. By asking how you can help, you begin the dialogue on a positive note (you are “helping,” not “selling”). And by using an open-ended question, you invite discussion.
  • “I can solve that problem.”Most customers, especially business-to-business customers, are looking to buy solutions. They appreciate direct answers in a language they can understand.
  • I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”When confronted with a truly difficult question that requires research on your part, admit that you don’t know the answer. Few things ruin your credibility faster than trying to answer a question when you are unsure of all the facts. Savvy buyers may test you with a question they know you can’t answer and then just sit quietly while you struggle to fake an intelligent reply. An honest answer enhances your integrity.
  • “I will take responsibility.”Tell your customer you realize it’s your responsibility to ensure a satisfactory outcome to the transaction. Assure the customer you know what he or she expects and will deliver the product or service at the agreed-upon price. There will be no unexpected changes or expenses required to solve the problem.
  • “I will keep you updated.”Even if your business is a cash-and-carry operation, it probably requires scheduling and coordinating numerous events. Assure your customers they will be advised of the status of these events. The longer your lead time, the more important this is. The vendors customers trust the most are those that keep them apprised of the situation, whether the news is good or bad.
  • I will deliver on time.”A due date that has been agreed upon is a promise that must be kept. “Close” doesn’t count.
  • Monday means Monday.”The first week in July means the first week in July, even though it contains a national holiday. Your clients are waiting to hear you say “I deliver on time.” The supplier who consistently does so is a rarity and will be remembered.
  • It’ll be just what you ordered.”It will not be “similar to,” and it will not be “better than” what was ordered. It will be exactly what was ordered. Even if you believe a substitute would be in the client’s best interests, that’s a topic for discussion, not something you decide on your own. Your customer may not know (or be at liberty to explain) all the ramifications of the purchase.
  • The job will be complete.”Assure the customer there will be no waiting for a final piece or a last document. Never say you are finished “except for….”
  • “I appreciate your business.“This means more than a simple “Thanks for the order.” Genuine appreciation involves follow-up calls, offering to answer questions, making sure everything is performing satisfactorily, and ascertaining that the original problem has been solved.

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Neglecting any of these steps conveys the impression that you were interested in the person only until the sale was made. This leaves the buyer feeling deceived and used, and creates ill will and negative advertising for your company. Sincerely proving you care about your customers leads to recommendations and repeat sales.

 

Never Let Your Customers Forget You


One important tool for generating repeat business is following up. Effective follow-up begins immediately after the sale when you call the customer to say “thank you” and find out if he or she is pleased with your product or service. Beyond this, there are several effective ways to follow up that ensure your business is always in the customer’s mind.

  • Let customers know what you are doing for them. This can be in the form of a newsletter mailed to existing customers, or it can be more informal, such as a phone call. Whatever method you use, the key is to dramatically point out to customers the excellent service you are giving them. If you never mention all the things you are doing for them, customers may not notice. You aren’t being cocky when you talk to customers about all the work you have done to please them. Just make a phone call and let them know they don’t have to worry because you handled the paperwork, called the attorney or double-checked on the shipment-one less thing they have to do.
  • Write old customers personal, handwritten notes frequently.“I was just sitting at my desk and your name popped into my head. Are you still having a great time flying all over the country? Let me know if you need another set of luggage. I can stop by with our latest models any time.” Or if you run into an old customer at an event, follow up with a note: “It was great seeing you at the CDC Christmas party. I’ll call you early in the New Year to schedule a lunch.”
  • Keep it personal.Voice mail and e-mail make it easy to communicate, but the personal touch is often lost. If you’re having trouble getting through to someone whose problem requires that personal touch, leave a voice-mail message that you want to talk to the person directly or will stop by his or her office at a designated time.
  • Remember special occasions.Send regular customers birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday cards…you name it. Gifts are excellent follow-up tools, too. You don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care; use your creativity to come up with interesting gift ideas that tie into your business, the customer’s business or his or her recent purchase.
  • Pass on information.If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about an organization a customer might be interested in, drop a note or make a quick call to let them know.
  • Consider follow-up calls as business development calls.When you talk to or visit old clients or customers, you’ll often find they have referrals to give you, which can lead to new business.

With all your existing customers can do for you, there’s simply no reason not to stay in regular contact with them. Use your imagination, and you’ll think of plenty of other ideas that can help you develop a lasting relationship.

 

Dealing With Unsatisfied Customers

Studies show that the vast majority of unsatisfied customers will never come right out and tell you they’re unsatisfied. They simply leave quietly, later telling everyone they know not to do business with you. So when a customer complains, don’t think of it as a nuisance-think of it as a golden opportunity to change that customer’s mind and retain his or her business.

Even the best product or service receives complaints now and then. Here’s how to handle them for positive results:

 

  • Let customers vent their feelings. Encourage them to get their frustrations out in the open.
  • Never argue with a customer.
  • Never tell a customer “You do not have a problem.” Those are fighting words.
  • Share your point of view as politely as you can.
  • Take responsibility for the problem. Don’t make excuses. If an employee was sick or a supplier let you down, that’s not the customer’s concern.
  • Immediately take action to remedy the situation. Promising a solution and then delaying it only makes matters worse.
  • Empower your front-line employees to be flexible in resolving complaints. Give employees some leeway in deciding when to bend the rules. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, make sure they have you or another manager handle the situation.

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Uniquely world

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What we are gonna be seeing is more and more organisations that use technology like sales force, cloud base technologies like social mobile, data science, to bring together their employee, their patients and other partners outside the organisation.

A lot of the software that powers companies is decades old, expensive and not intuitive to operate. If you use Salesforce or SAP, you know how convoluted those systems are.”

From long-time employees who still remember green-screen terminals to 20-somethings who think all of this sounds archaic, a 2-year-old company named Sapho is working to make basic tasks easier for everyone. Sapho aims to bypass all of the gobbledygook and behave more like your favorite social networking apps.

After nearly two decades of founding and selling companies, Peter Yared and Fouad EINaggar met in late 2011 when they began executive roles at CBS Interactive. Yared, brought on as CIO/CTO, had a technical background designing internet infrastructure. EINaggar, on the business operations side, had spent seven years as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

In 2014, they founded Sapho, and today, they are announcing the Sapho Micro App Platform. It allows companies to build applications that serve specific functions, such as prompting a business owner to sign a contract or approve a product discount. Sapho taps into behemoth software systems such as Salesforce, SAP, Omniture, Oracle and Workday and acts as a liaison between the information they contain and the employee who needs that information.

Users don’t have to log in to a hard-to-decipher interface and navigate to the data they need. Sapho anticipates users’ needs and pushes notifications to them when they need to fulfill a particular duty, such as approving an employee’s vacation time, according to the company.

Sapho allows clients to pay based on the number of monthly active users of its software ($2 to $10, depending on company size). Clients include Turner, Google and the founders’ former employer, CBS Interactive, among others, and the company just completed a $9.5 million series A funding round.

Yared and EINaggar have faced skepticism from those who have mastered legacy software or are reluctant to add a third party into the mix. But the reality is, most people in a given company have little concept of what enterprise software is for or how to harness it to their advantage.

In an interview with Entrepreneur, the founders explained how they came up with the idea for Sapho and how they approach legacy tech users – by respecting rather than dismissing those who are set in their ways.

What is your approach to modernizing business software?

Fouad EINaggar, Sapho co-founder and CEO: Workflows on enterprise software haven’t changed in 30 years. Salesforce today looks just Siebel did in 1999, Workday today looks just like PeopleSoft in 1998. You’ve got to think about what you want, you’ve got to remember where it is, you’ve got to log in somewhere and then you’ve got to navigate a piece of software that looks like a tax form.

Things like Google Now, Siri and Facebook, they’re telling us that there’s a new way. Systems are figuring out what’s relevant to you in advance and pushing it to you before you even know that you need it.

Sapho offers a simplified mobile interface that prompts employees to complete essential tasks without logging in to and navigating large enterprise software systems.

 

What is a micro app?

EINaggar: A micro app is a small piece of a bigger app. There are 8 million features in an HR system, but one thing that everyone has to do is approve vacation time. I don’t need to log into a system that has 8 million features to go and do this one thing.

There’s a photocopier in your office right now. It’s got a million buttons on the left. Someone in your office knows how to use that thing like a Ferrari. They can print out 30 double-sided color-copies that are pre-stapled. I do not know how to use any of those buttons. I walk up to a copier and I just want to push a green button, make my copy and move on. And that’s what we do. These micro apps are the green button on the copier.

We’re not necessarily replacing things. We’re making things that people have already spent money on more useful.

 

How did your background experience, founding various companies and working at CBS Interactive, pave the way for Sapho?

Peter Yared, Sapho co-founder and CTO:CBS had bought a series of companies, and the technology was a little long in the tooth. Fouad joined just after me to run the business operations there, and we met each other very early. Our offices were next to each other. We brought in modern software, and we really enjoyed working together and partnered well together, and we were like, we should go solve this problem.

EINaggar: We’re both really strong personalities. Peter is a technical genius who hasn’t really had a great business partner on the other side. And I’m, what would you say, Peter, an above-mediocre business person? (Laughs.) I’ve never really had a great technical partner.

At CBS, Peter and I sat down and were like, “Why aren’t people using this software that we’re spending money on?” We spend $300 billion a year on enterprise software and IT infrastructure, and people aren’t using it. We’re not getting increases in productivity. We’re not extracting values from these investments.

That’s what got us really excited. Changing the way people work going forward, making work different, making work better. That is a really exciting way to wake up every morning, at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and be excited about the day, be ready to tapdance to work. You’re solving something real. We’re not another laundry on-demand delivery service.

In Silicon Valley, I think people forget to respect the investments that people have made. It’s so much easier to call somebody a dinosaur than to actually think about why they’re doing things the way they are. And we were the dinosaurs when we were at CBS. When you are the dinosaur, you start realizing there’s a reason that people have to make decisions the way that they do. And our view has been, let’s respect that, let’s be pragmatic, let’s fit into the infrastructure that people have. Because people aren’t going to just rip out a billion dollars of infrastructure investment because they’re called a dinosaur. That’s just not how the world works.

Sapho’s drag-and-drop micro app builder allows companies to customize how and when employees receive data information from databases, internal web servers and other systems of record.

 

Adding a new third-party mediator into the mix requires trust. How do you mitigate those concerns?

EINaggar: I was a VC in Silicon Valley for seven years. Peter’s been in Silicon Valley for three decades. Everyone there is living in the future. We had lots of friends come to CBS being like, “Can you guys deploy my awesome solution?” and then be like, “We’re gonna punch a hole in your firewall,” or “Don’t worry, we’re gonna download all of your ERP data into our public cloud.” And what we learned really quickly was that, at these big companies, that model just does not work when you’re touching mission-critical data. Security is becoming more and more of a concern.

Yared: That’s why we didn’t build this as a cloud system. Their HR and financial data is on their own database that they control. It’s harder to deploy and sell and build software that way, but it also makes the customers much, much more comfortable.

And then, some companies just don’t like to buy from startups, and others do. We have a good pedigree and a good background, and if people are like, “Hey, you’re a little too young for us,” we don’t take offense to it, we’re just like, “Well, let’s keep this conversation going.”

Adopting Sapho will require people who are set in their ways to make a change.

 

How do you address those challenges, and others, in trying to get organizations to implement Sapho and see that it will be helpful to them?

EINaggar: It’s something that we learned the hard way at CBS, where we were modernizing a lot of the infrastructure in the organization.

You know, you have people who are as legacy as the legacy systems. We’ve got one customer that, the CEO of the company is a wizard on that green-screen terminal. I mean, the guy knows how to do everything he wants on it. In fact, he got them to build an emulator on his iPad of the green-screen terminal so he knows how it works!

And so, when we thought about Sapho, we said, OK, how are we going to get around that? Millennials don’t like using Salesforce, because it’s a piece of crap. They don’t like going onto a green-screen terminal. They can’t even comprehend that things like this still exist, but we find them at Fortune 100 companies all the time.

We remember an era when you had to load software onto your machine with a cassette, or with a floppy disc. You have a new generation of employees whose whole concept of loading software is an app store. Where they just go and they download Instagram, it takes one second, and they take a picture and type a sentence and it magically goes out to their social networks. They didn’t need a training session for half a day. They didn’t need a manual that’s 800 pages. It just works.

People at these organizations start using the micro app, and they go, “oh, God, this is so easy.” And that’s how we start expanding in an organization.

That power user, they’re still going to go in, and they’re still going to use their Salesforce. They’re still going to go into their SAP. And more power to them. We don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s about 15 minutes to success. We want to make it very easy for people to drop this in, connect it to their system and start building these micro apps. And that only happens if you respect the infrastructure that people have spent trillions of dollars on.

This interview has been edited.


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Accelerated processes

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Every step of complex inquiring

Achieve to order smarter to proactive customers, partner and distributor engagement, to be both together in global collaboration across experts anywhere.A point to the increase of profitability with faster CPO and higher margin for better solutions.

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.

 

Phrases That’ll Make Your Customers Happy


Principles of customer service are all very well, but you need to put those principles into action with everything you do and say. There are certain “magic words” customers want to hear from you and your staff. Make sure all your employees understand the importance of these key phrases:

  • “How can I help?”Customers want the opportunity to explain in detail what they want and need. Too often, business owners feel the desire or the obligation to guess what customers need rather than carefully listening first. By asking how you can help, you begin the dialogue on a positive note (you are “helping,” not “selling”). And by using an open-ended question, you invite discussion.
  • I can solve that problem.”Most customers, especially business-to-business customers, are looking to buy solutions. They appreciate direct answers in a language they can understand.
  • I don’t know, but I’ll find out.When confronted with a truly difficult question that requires research on your part, admit that you don’t know the answer. Few things ruin your credibility faster than trying to answer a question when you are unsure of all the facts. Savvy buyers may test you with a question they know you can’t answer and then just sit quietly while you struggle to fake an intelligent reply. An honest answer enhances your integrity.
  • I will take responsibility.”Tell your customer you realize it’s your responsibility to ensure a satisfactory outcome to the transaction. Assure the customer you know what he or she expects and will deliver the product or service at the agreed-upon price. There will be no unexpected changes or expenses required to solve the problem.
  • I will keep you updated.”Even if your business is a cash-and-carry operation, it probably requires scheduling and coordinating numerous events. Assure your customers they will be advised of the status of these events. The longer your lead time, the more important this is. The vendors customers trust the most are those that keep them apprised of the situation, whether the news is good or bad.
  • I will deliver on time.”A due date that has been agreed upon is a promise that must be kept. “Close” doesn’t count.
  • Monday means Monday.”The first week in July means the first week in July, even though it contains a national holiday. Your clients are waiting to hear you say “I deliver on time.” The supplier who consistently does so is a rarity and will be remembered.
  • It’ll be just what you ordered.”It will not be “similar to,” and it will not be “better than” what was ordered. It will be exactly what was ordered. Even if you believe a substitute would be in the client’s best interests, that’s a topic for discussion, not something you decide on your own. Your customer may not know (or be at liberty to explain) all the ramifications of the purchase.
  • The job will be complete.”Assure the customer there will be no waiting for a final piece or a last document. Never say you are finished “except for….”
  • “I appreciate your business.”This means more than a simple “Thanks for the order.” Genuine appreciation involves follow-up calls, offering to answer questions, making sure everything is performing satisfactorily, and ascertaining that the original problem has been solved.

Neglecting any of these steps conveys the impression that you were interested in the person only until the sale was made. This leaves the buyer feeling deceived and used, and creates ill will and negative advertising for your company. Sincerely proving you care about your customers leads to recommendations and repeat sales.

 

Never Let Your Customers Forget You


One important tool for generating repeat business is following up. Effective follow-up begins immediately after the sale when you call the customer to say “thank you” and find out if he or she is pleased with your product or service. Beyond this, there are several effective ways to follow up that ensure your business is always in the customer’s mind.

  • Let customers know what you are doing for them.This can be in the form of a newsletter mailed to existing customers, or it can be more informal, such as a phone call. Whatever method you use, the key is to dramatically point out to customers the excellent service you are giving them. If you never mention all the things you are doing for them, customers may not notice. You aren’t being cocky when you talk to customers about all the work you have done to please them. Just make a phone call and let them know they don’t have to worry because you handled the paperwork, called the attorney or double-checked on the shipment-one less thing they have to do.
  • Write old customers personal, handwritten notes frequently.I was just sitting at my desk and your name popped into my head. Are you still having a great time flying all over the country? Let me know if you need another set of luggage. I can stop by with our latest models any time.” Or if you run into an old customer at an event, follow up with a note: “It was great seeing you at the CDC Christmas party. I’ll call you early in the New Year to schedule a lunch.”
  • Keep it personal.Voice mail and e-mail make it easy to communicate, but the personal touch is often lost. If you’re having trouble getting through to someone whose problem requires that personal touch, leave a voice-mail message that you want to talk to the person directly or will stop by his or her office at a designated time.
  • Remember special occasions.Send regular customers birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday cards…you name it. Gifts are excellent follow-up tools, too. You don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care; use your creativity to come up with interesting gift ideas that tie into your business, the customer’s business or his or her recent purchase.
  • Pass on information.If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about an organization a customer might be interested in, drop a note or make a quick call to let them know.
  • Consider follow-up calls as business development calls.When you talk to or visit old clients or customers, you’ll often find they have referrals to give you, which can lead to new business.

With all your existing customers can do for you, there’s simply no reason not to stay in regular contact with them. Use your imagination, and you’ll think of plenty of other ideas that can help you develop a lasting relationship.

 

Dealing With Unsatisfied Customers


Studies show that the vast majority of unsatisfied customers will never come right out and tell you they’re unsatisfied. They simply leave quietly, later telling everyone they know not to do business with you. So when a customer complains, don’t think of it as a nuisance-think of it as a golden opportunity to change that customer’s mind and retain his or her business.

Even the best product or service receives complaints now and then. Here’s how to handle them for positive results:

  • Let customers vent their feelings. Encourage them to get their frustrations out in the open.
  • Never argue with a customer.
  • Never tell a customer “You do not have a problem.” Those are fighting words.
  • Share your point of view as politely as you can.
  • Take responsibility for the problem. Don’t make excuses. If an employee was sick or a supplier let you down, that’s not the customer’s concern.
  • Immediately take action to remedy the situation. Promising a solution and then delaying it only makes matters worse.
  • Empower your front-line employees to be flexible in resolving complaints. Give employees some leeway in deciding when to bend the rules. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, make sure they have you or another manager handle the situation.

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Voice Power

 

It’s the morning of the big call.

You prepared your material and went to bed early- even if you didn’t get much sleep. Now you hover near the phone, waiting for it to ring, thinking about everything that might prevent you from establishing a great rapport. Maybe he’ll sound like Elmer Fudd. Or, worse, maybe you will.

Either way, an important connection is about to be made, sight unseen. And your voice will play a big role. How can you prevent your voice from sabotaging everything from business calls to presentations? Use these tips for working your voice, instead of letting it work you.

 

1. Rise and try to shine

After getting out of bed, head to the bathroom for some warm-ups. Look at yourself in the mirror and take deep breaths. Are your shoulders rising as you inhale? Don’t let them. Stand straight, relax and let your breath come in down low. It should feel like it’s entering your body around your waist, not being pulled down your throat.

 

2. Keep it up

Not only does slouching look like you couldn’t care less, but it also prevents your lungs from filling up. Full lungs keep your voice from cracking, make you sound more powerful and keep you from running out of air. When you realize you’re hunched over while on the phone, sit back and straighten your spine to allow more energy to come across.

 

3. Support can be beautiful

Some people are blessed with resonant voices like James Earl Jones or Lauren Bacall. Most of us aren’t. But rather than throwing in the towel, try wrapping it around your waist. Breathe in low and gently expand your abs and obliques. Relax, let go and pretend the towel is like the waistline of your sweatpants. You can feel it grow a little wider.

Then open up and say “Ah.” Now repeat. This time, use your abs to expand your waist. You’ll also feel the downward push of your lower abs. Say “Ah” once more, and as you expand, you’ll hear the sound get stronger. Use this technique for more volume and a stronger sound.

 

4.Open up

When you get nervous, your voice gets squeaky and high. Not the confident image you want to project. And the more you try and control it by force, the more you start to lose it altogether. The cure: breathing low, gently using your lower abs to push down and relax. And always let your throat be open and free of tension. An open throat protects your voice and produces a richer sound.

 

5. Variety is key

Want to control your whole audience? Speak in a monotone voice, and you can send a group of 2,000 people off to dreamland. Especially when working by phone, that dead air may not be your client pondering. Try listening for snoring. To prevent this, remember the “four P’s” of vocal variety:

  • Pace: Speak too fast and it sounds like you’re nervous or a used car salesman trying to pull a fast one. If the pace is too slow, you’re going to sound like the village idiot.
  • Pitch: Pit your voice too low and nobody will hear you. Speak too high and you sound nervous.
  • Pauses: Build them into your speech–sparingly. If pauses are too short, it’ll sound like you’re scrambling for words. But a few well-timed pauses create a sense of intrigue and curiosity.
  • Passion: This all-important quality will be the biggest selling point you have. Love your topic.

 

6. Get rid of nasality

There’s a problem if your voice sounds disturbingly like Fran Drescher’s. If you’re a whiner, try this: yawn. Feel your mouth open wide. You won’t feel that kind of space if you’re nasal. The soft palate -a flap of skin on the back of the roof of your mouth-lifts and allows air to float up into every chamber of your head, resulting in a full, resonant sound. It’s like a little trap door that can open and close. Conversely, when the soft palate lowers, the air stream is blocked off from the head, and the air can only pass out of the nose.

For a quick fix, say “Ing- Ah.” Elide the “Ing” right into the “Ah,” and don’t break them into two sounds. Feel what’s happening inside your mouth. On “Ing,” the back of your tongue is pressed up against the soft palate and no air can get into your head. It’s nasal. When you say “Ah,” the tongue peels down from the roof and allows the sound to lift.

 

7. Modify your accent

How boring the world would be if we all sounded the same. But if your native tongue gets in the way of communication, you should correct it. The process used to be called accent “elimination,” but “modification” is a more accurate term. Spend a few sessions with a voice coach who can give you the basic sounds of English, help you pronounce its most confusing words and model them for you, face-to-face.

 

8. Tune your tone

Being able to adjust your tone to any situation is paramount to successful business communication. If you do sound monotonous, ineffectual or annoying, you may lose a client. If your tone is lackluster, they think you’re bored. If you sound angry or bullying, that aggressive style can put them off. But if you’re able to suit your tone to any occasion, you’ll win the day. Learn how to sound passionate even if you’d rather be anywhere else.

 

9. Leave it at the beep

Leaving a great voice-mail message is essential. If you sound positive, polished and professional, people will get a wonderful “first vocal impression.” Leave your name clearly. Spell it if you have to. Leave your phone number, twice. Tell them briefly what you can do for them. Let them know when you can be reached, or ask them the best time for you to call back. Be brief, but not vague.

 

10. It is, actually, about you

The most important tip is to be authentic. Take time to find what’s unique about you- your sense of humor, your newfound confidence, your persona.

Stop trying to sound like a phony announcer.

Mastering these tips for voice power will soon become second nature. And if your potential client does sound like Elmer Fudd, well, know that your newfound vocal skills will make an excellent first impression. Weally.

Douglas Anderson is president of Your Voice Coach, a consultancy whose clients range from startups to Fortune 500 companies. His detailed programs and list of services can be found on his website,www.yourvoicecoach.com.

 

How CEOs Manage Time

The scope of an organization’s managerial work is vast, encompassing functional agendas, business unit agendas, multiple organizational levels and myriad external issues. It also involves a wide array of constituencies—shareholders, customers, employees, the board, the media, government, community organizations, and more. Unlike any other executive, the CEO has to engage with them all.

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The epitome of leadership – The CEO in the lexicom of management

While CEOs are the ultimate power in their companies, they face challenges and constraints that few others recognize. Running a large global company is an exceedingly complex job.

The CEO must be the internal and external face of the organization through good times and bad, of course, having a great deal of help and resources at their disposal. However, they, more than anyone else in the organization, confront an acute scarcity of one resource. That resource is time. There is never enough time to do everything that a CEO is responsible for. Despite this, CEOs remain accountable for all the work of their organizations. 

The way CEOs allocate their time and their presence—where they choose to personally participate—is crucial, not only to their own effectiveness but also to the performance of their companies.

 

Where and how CEOs are involved
In determining what gets done and signals priorities for others it can also affect their legitimacy because a CEO who doesn’t spend enough time with colleagues will seem insular and out of touch, whereas one who spends too much time in direct decision making will risk being seen as a micromanager and erode employees’ initiative.

A CEO’s schedule (indeed, any leader’s schedule), then, is a manifestation of how the leader leads and sends powerful messages to the rest of the organization.

A crucial missing link in understanding the time allocation of CEOs—and making it more effective—has been systematic data on what they actually do.

Research on that has tended either to cover a small handful of CEOs, like the 1973 study in which Henry Mintzberg closely observed five chief executives (some of whom led nonprofits) for five days each, or to rely on large surveys that cover short periods (such as our HBS colleague Raffaella Sadun’s 2017 study based on daily phone surveys with 1,114 CEOs from a wide variety of companies in six countries over one week).


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A healthy economy

 How should a sustainable, universally economy look like?



 

“A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow” sais Oxford economist, Kate Raworth.

 

 

 

Europe’s Road to Growth

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Financial Times is looking for 100 European companies, individuals and organisations that are taking advantage of new technologies in groundbreaking ways.

“There are fears that Europe is falling behind in digital transformation, just as the so-called fourth industrial evolution begins to change the business models of traditional industries in noticeable ways”,

Patrick McGee wrote for the Digital Economy section in the Financial Times June edition. The predicted efficiency gains from the adoption of new technology are so great that, at first glance, they appear to be typos. PwC, for instance, forecasts the shift to contribute as much as 14 per cent to global GDP gains by 2030 — or

about $15tn in today’s value”.

However, digitalisation has so far been patchy. According to PwC, two-thirds of the 1,155 global manufacturing companies they surveyed

have just started or have not yet embarked on their digital transformation”.

Europe, in particular, is lagging behind: just 5 per cent of manufacturers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) are

digital champions,”

PwC says, versus 11 per cent in the Americas and 19 per cent in Asia-Pacific. On the other hand, Europe has strong foundations in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptography, says Siraj Khaliq, a partner at Atomico, a technology investment group, which compiles an annual report, The State of European Tech.

Over the past two years, he says, industry has been increasingly tapping into these innovations with small acquisitions happening all the time.

The trajectory is very strong for these areas, especially with government policies of encouraging entrepreneurship with tax breaks and other measures,

Mr Khaliq adds.

More than 30 national and regional initiatives for digitalising industry have been launched across the continent over the past few years. The FT is compiling a list of Europe’s best examples of digital transformation. Find out how to get involved. Please see details for how to nominate a digital transformation champion to be considered for this list.


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This world is moving away from a system of national markets.

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Isolated from one another by trade barriers, distance or culture, advances in technology and mass communication have made it possible, for people in one part of the world to watch happenings in far off places.

Asli Demirguc-Kunt suggested.

Theses are regularly utilized traded but they allude to distinctive forms. The method of integration on a around the world scale of markets and generation, features a single acknowledged definition utilized for it, globalization. For it, national boundaries are not important economicaly, free trade and movement of labour and other resources result in the breakdown of these boundaries and one big european marketplace. The regional trade agreements and regionalism are important in this process, where the EU is an example. The main international organisations concerned with this proces are the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the OECD. A result in the increased exposure to global forces and businesses, operate under the process of globalisation, that is constantly changing. It used to mean the westernisation of the developing world but the newly emerging economies such as Brasil, China and India are redefining processes and institutions.

Businesses require an understanding of the forms within the worldwide setting and even in case they don’t trade directly with other nations, they may well be influenced by household deficiency of talented work or may be subject to advancements on the european money related markets.

All businesses need to be aware of their european context. Despite apparent retreat into nationalism in light of economic conditions in 2008.
Branco Milanovic says:

“In 1980, the share of the developing countries in world trade was 22 per cent, by 2005 it was 32 per cent and the World Bank predicts that their share will be 40 per cent by 2030.”


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An old academic theory links interest rates to inflation and growth, and that connection seemed durable for some time. In past business cycles, periods of high inflation and rapid expansion led investors to demand a high rate of return.

“When the economy grew slowly and prices held stable, interest rates fell as competition for capital declined.”

Since 2000, however, the real yield on the 10-year Treasury—which is often seen as a proxy for the true long-term interest rate—has persistently fallen short of the real rate of economic growth. The theory tells us the 10-year yield should rest between 4 and 5 percent today, far above its current 3 percent.

The link between growth and interest rates still exists, but there are external forces combining to keep yields soft throughout the expansion.

It’s not an inflation surprise over the past decade, investors’ expectations for inflation have aligned closely with the actual behavior of prices, so today’s relatively low real yields cannot be attributed to an unforeseen bout of inflation catching the market off guard.

Bond investors currently anticipate inflation to hold near the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target over the long run, leaving a very low real return. The 10-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities yield is currently less than 1 percent, yet real GDP growth sits near 2 percent with the potential to accelerate to 3 percent in the fall. It seems curious, then, that bond investors are settling for so little.

“Widening spreads treasury yields may be historically low, but they exceed the yield on German bunds by more than 2 percentage points—a historically wide margin.”

For global investors seeking safe returns, US government debt is much more attractive than the bonds issued in Europe or Japan, where quantitative easing programs are intentionally suppressing yields. The Fed may have tapered its own asset-purchasing program, but the US bond market is likely being skewed by the actions of central banks abroad.
This distortion should eventually fade. The European Central Bank plans to gradually wind down its quantitative easing program this year, which will allow yields to rise to their natural equilibrium. But tapering will unfold over a long period, and the US advantage in yields will likely persist for some time.
Trade imbalances developing economies naturally run trade surpluses; to keep their exchange rates stable, foreign governments often park their surplus dollars in US Treasurys. This keeps East Asia’s export-focused manufacturing sectors competitive on the global market, but the influx of foreign capital also tends to drive Treasury yields lower.

“Trade imbalances are the natural consequence of rapid growth in industrializing nations, a trend that shows no sign of slowing.”


Dollarization should begin to ebb as a new consumer class emerges throughout the developing world, but this shift in capital flows is likely to evolve over decades.

“Capital requirements for the Fed is shrinking its balance sheet, but new banking regulations have increased liquid capital holding requirements for large financial institutions.”
This means that as the Fed sells off the excess holdings acquired through quantitative easing, demand from private banks likely will increase.


This means that as the Fed sells off the excess holdings acquired through quantitative easing, demand from private banks likely will increase.
This is one reason for the relative stability of yields as balance sheet normalization begins. The Fed is currently allowing $30 billion in Treasurys and other long-term securities to mature every month, with the pace of the runoff set to accelerate to $50 billion monthly later this year.

Much of the new debt entering the market is being bought up by financial firms, which are required to maintain a large buffer of stable, liquid assets as a backstop against volatility. Since Treasurys are ideal for meeting this requirement, banks will likely continue to buy them even when yields are below their natural equilibrium.
Long-term bond yields—and by extension, interest rates—may be resting well below their natural equilibrium. If inflation holds near the Fed’s 2 percent target and real growth averages between 2 and 3 percent annually, nominal yields should tend to rise toward 4 percent.

“The link between interest rates, growth and inflation has not broken, but the forces skewing the bond market are persistent. Yields are likely to evolve over the course of years or even decades as they seek their natural equilibrium.


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Global Markets Template


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Testing for market efficiency in a set of processes, data and KPIs and a the global team it is gonna work for all businesses around the world.

“Clearly, no stock market anywhere in the word is a perfect market. “

However, companies and investors do not need capital markets to be perfect; rather, they need capital market to be efficient and to offer fair prices so they can make reasoned investment and financial decisions.

In corporate finance an efficient market points out three form test to this matter:

1. Strong form test

Because some people have access to information before other investors and so can make abnormal gains, it can be argued that capital markets are not strong form efficient.

It is not possible to test for strong efficiency directly by investigating market’s use of insider information, since by definition this information is unknown.

Test from strong form efficiency are therefore indirect in approach

They examine how expert users of information is unknown. Test for strong form of efficiency are therefore indirect approach: they examine how expert users of information perform when compared against a yardstick such as the average return on the capital market.

“Fund managers with resources to invest in discovering and analysing information may be in a better position than most to make abnormal gains.”

If their funds achieved above-average performances ona regular basis, this would be the evidence that capital markets are not strong form efficient.

A classic study of 115 mutual fund that the majority did make above-average returns when management costs were taken into account: in fact, their performance was inferior to a passive buy-and-hold strategy as Jensen sustained.

Research continues to show that actively managed funds underperform the market after accounting for management costs, and in many cases before accounting for management costs as well.

It has also been shown that investors could not benefit from the investment advice of financial tipsters(insider information becoming public information) due to the speech with which the market factored new information into share prices.

2. Semi-strong form tests

Tests for semi-strong form efficiency look at the speed and accuracy of share price responses to new information(event studies). In general, event studies support the view that capital markets are semi-strong form efficient.

As examination of the adjustment of share prices to the release of information about share splits found it was not possible to profit from the information because the market seemed to incorporate it efficiently and effectively. Similar findings were reached regarding earnings announcements, and merger announcements in Keon and Pinkerton advice.

While event studies support the semi-strong form of efficient market hypothesis, they also offer evidence of anomalies, such as the observation that share prices continue to rise(or fall) for a substantial period following the release of positive (or negative) information. It has also been found that the more frequently a share is traded, the shorter the time required for its price to return to equilibrium having absorbed new information.

3. Weak form test

If a capital market is weak form efficient, so that share prices reflect completely all past information, it will not be possible for investors to predict future share prices by studying past share price movements. Share prices will change as new information arrives on the market and, since new information arrives at random, share price movements will also appear to be random.

Many empirical studies have supported the proposition that the movement of share prices over time represent a random walk. This random walk hypothesis suggests that, if we know the share price at the end of one time period , we cannot predict accurately the share price at the end of the next period.

Empirical evidence strongly supports the view that the relationship between share prices in different period on well-developed capital markets is random, in which case we can say that research shows that:

Well-developed capital markets are weak form efficiency have used serial correlation tests, run tests and filter tests.”

One of the earlier studies testing for serial correlation looked for any correlation between security price changes at different points in time.

Studies using run tests examine whether any significance can be attached to the direction of price changes by examining the length of the run of successive price changes of the same sign.

The empirical evidence indicated that the direction of prices changes on any one day was independent of the direction of price changes on any other day.

The distribution of direction was found to be based on pure chance, adding further support to the view that capital markets are weak form efficient filter tests try to identify any significant long-term relationships in security price movements by filtering out short terms price chnages.

One early study found that white filter tests could provide abnormal returns compared with a simple buy and hold strategy, gains were cancelled out when transactions costs were taken into account.

More recent studies have found weak evidence that a period of above average returns may follow a long period of below average returns (mean reversion), buy the weak form of the efficient market hypothesis is still broadly supported.

It also have been argued from an insider perspective that trading strategies based on anomalies do not generate abnormal returns.

Recent reasearch has indicated that emerging capital markets may be weak form inefficient with lower levels of liquidity and turn oner associated with such markets suggested as contributory factors.


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Global Goals

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“A solution in the world map for manufacturing is a solution that really focuses on image, enables a distinct way to pull wide information that is needed for a mobilised selective achivement in a perceptive direction to an eco system that creates applications quicklier.”

A great example is Honeywell, that has a structure build on constructiveness and decisiveness into directive portals, attempting an inclusion established with their partners. As a result, the tighten relationship with other colaborative partners have increased the subscriptions on customers and become in this way able in using all informations detained to create a strong and valuable service.


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NEWS & OVERVIEW DISCUSSIONS

Help Ecosystems

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Executive sponsorship

In order to change management to help the entire organisation uses marketing people alignment because timing is everything.

Corporate venture capital is picking up speed in the investment industry, as large companies start setting aside funds for external investment in fledgling companies or startups. Tech giants like Intel, Dell and AMD all have strong track records with their proprietary funds, and more companies like Microsoft and Salesforce are now entering the venture-fund game.

During the past four years more than 475 corporate venture funds have started, bringing the worldwide total to more than 1,100, according to Global Corporate Venturing. With this surge comes a lot of uncertainty.

 

How will corporate venture-capital players influence the funding ecosystem?

Entrepreneurs need to know when choosing between corporate and traditional venture-capital partnership. Large companies can be slow moving and bulky, making it tricky to come up with innovative products or services. That’s especially true for the pharmaceutical, technology and telecommunications industries where internal R&D usually means more hiring, higher capital expenditures and increased fixed operating costs, all without the guarantee of a return.

A corporate venture fund, however, provides an opportunity for innovation without paying high R&D costs or incurring too much risk. Corporate venture capital also lets large companies operate on a smaller scale, which lets them innovate faster, conduct research on disruptive technologies and pre-empt competitors. And it’s an efficient way for companies to explore potential acquisition targets.

Data from Crunchbase shows that about one-third of corporate venture-backed startups have been acquired, versus 10 percent of startups with funding only from private venture capital.

Corporations can use their venture arms to influence their industry’s ecosystem by identifying new markets and building up their existing businesses. According to a recent Volans report,

“Corporate venture capital accounted for 1,068 investment deals worth $19.6 billion last year.”

Since 5,753 venture-capital transactions worth $48.5 billion occurred in 2013, corporate ventures comprised nearly 20 percent of all deals and 40 percent of transaction value worldwide.

A traditional venture-capital firm raises money primarily from institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals, while corporate venture capital uses cash reserves from a parent company to fund new endeavors. This difference is significant because it means more external pressure is typically put on independent venture-capital firms to generate above-average returns.

Since corporate ventures are typically considered R&D alternatives, expenses are already built into the business structure. And separate revenue-generating businesses help offset any corporate venture-capital losses. That’s a safety net that traditional venture-capital firms don’t have. Corporate venture-capital efforts also have the advantage of involvement with startups at the early stages, when they can most benefit from access to a large, established customer base, credibility through brand association and a larger network of partner companies and advisors.

Corporate venture-capital efforts can make good co-investment partners with traditional venture capital firms because each brings different expertise to the table. Venture-capital firms have the drive and know-how to realize financial results while corporate-venture capital groups provide industry knowledge and a talent pool.

 

Given all these advantages, why isn’t a larger proportion of total deals in the venture-capital space taken up by corporate funds?

For one, independent venture-capital firms still hold a competitive advantage over their corporate counterparts due to their flexibility, speed and experience in helping companies succeed financially. Corporate venture-capital firms that benefit from high cash flows might be willing to spread out their investments over a few similar companies and take a back seat in terms of driving their growth, while a venture-capital firm is typically motivated to take a more focused and hands-on approach for its portfolio companies.

Corporations have been actively investing in venture capital since the mid-1960s, when the venture capital industry itself was just emerging. But as more corporations become involved, the emphasis on how to build the next generation of businesses could shift away from high valuations and quick exits to creating a nurturing environment for bigger and better ideas.


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Latest News & Developments in Business Strategy Practice

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The weapons used in maintaining the best practise partnership, work hand in hand with a common vision, to invest in 100 % engagement participation in understanding the business executive roles and what could destroy your business.

Get two entrepreneurs in a room and chances are one, if not both, have been the victim of accounting fraud.“

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners annual report, nearly half of all small businesses experience fraud at some point in their business lifecycle. It will cost these organizations an average of $114,000 per occurrence. Worse, such fraud is usually committed by a “loyal” employee. Four common types of fraud for business owners and ways they can be avoided:

1. Payroll fraud

Last year, on a local construction firm as a new client, their payroll account had never been reconciled to their time-keeping system, so we made that one of our top priorities. According to company records, two workers and their manager were working massive hours and getting paid a ton of overtime that amounted to more than $80,000 in additional annual pay. Their timesheets revealed they were working on construction projects that were more than 50 miles away from one another simultaneously. It took about three seconds to figure that out and fire the employees, but the money was gone. While it is easy for you and me to say that this could never happen to us, the additional salaries given to these three guys amounted to an increase of only four percent of the total payroll cost -a figure that when unchecked could easily slip through the cracks.
Most companies don’t keep clean enough records to notice such an amount, especially when they fund a six-figure weekly payroll.The best way to prevent payroll fraud is to reconcile all balance sheet accounts and payroll records monthly or, at the very least, quarterly. Look for any discrepancies and investigate them until you have a clear answer.

2. “Double check” fraud

I know of a restaurant whose former bookkeeper stole $550,000 over five years. She did this by writing two checks each time she paid a bill, one to the vendor and one to herself. For example, if she had to pay $500 to ACME Insurance Company, she would simultaneously write another check to herself for $100 that she coded in the accounting system as “ACME.”

It is very hard for business owners to catch this type of activity. Even if they are looking at the financial statements frequently and the bills look a little high, they can generally seem reasonable. But this can add up quickly. In this case, more than half a million dollars was stolen by writing 20 to 30 “double checks” per month for nominal amounts spread across multiple expense accounts.
This fraud was only detected when the bookkeeper fell ill and another bookkeeper took her place. Very quickly, the new person noticed that the bank account had not been properly reconciled in months. After doing so, it was clear that there were multiple payments in the same month to the same vendor.
As a business owner, it is difficult to find good accounting help, but it is important to have more than just one person signing checks and reconciling the bank account. Also, it is important to have an outsider come and look at the books and reconciliations at least annually, and at random times.

3. Over-ordering fraud

Another one of our clients had a 12-year part-time office manager who would routinely order and receive all the office supplies. She was paid $10 per hour and given just enough work to get her up to the point (but not over) where she still remained ineligible to receive health benefits. She was a single mother, had a child at home, and became disgruntled.

For at least the last three years of her employment, she began over-ordering office supplies. She would return supplies the company did not need in exchange for a gift card, which she then used to buy something small and take the remainder in cash. It is unclear how much was stolen, but our estimates were that in one year it was over $19,000.
The easiest way for this business to have avoided this type of fraud is to do the right thing from the start. Good employees pay for themselves on average tenfold, and bad employees can ruin companies. In this case, the manager was short-sided in wanting to save $250 per month in health insurance premiums. The result was an unhealthy work environment and a scenario where this lady felt that it was “fair” for her to steal.

4. “Friendship” fraud

A brilliant engineer friend of mine once hired his best friend’s daughter to be his bookkeeper. He had known her as a kid. She was smart, hard-working and, because she was a single mother, she needed a sound income. As it turns out, she also felt mistreated by her father, felt her previous boss was out to get her, had problems at home, and needed this job to get out of debt. My friend is a great guy and a very trusting person. Within a year, the bookkeeper was the only one writing, signing and authorizing checks. She was running payroll and the only contact for the IRS.

In late 2011, he was astonished to learn that all of his bank accounts were frozen and levied by the IRS. Though he had paid and filed all of his personal income taxes on time, his bookkeeper was stealing the money that was supposed to go to payroll taxes. As the only IRS point-of-contact for the business, she strung this out over a three-year period and stole $439,000. Three days later, the company was forced to shut down, 15 employees lost their jobs, and the shareholders (including her father) lost all of their money.
The moral of the story is to never hire anyone solely based upon friendship, family, obligation, or feelings of sympathy. Build a culture of accountability, measure results, and make sure everyone knows that you are looking at their performance. Then, hire based on talent, and pay for that talent to perform at a high level of accountability and integrity.


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Latest News & Developments in Business Strategy Practice

Rules of Success


As Mark Siebert sugested consider the following:

In many countries, U.S. concepts carry a certain cachet simply because they’re from the U.S. The retail and service environments in many countries are simply not as competitive as they are in the U.S. It’s the heart of capitalism and entrepreneurship.”

And in the Darwinian world of business, that type of environment produces the strongest survivors.

Many franchisors initiate their global franchise efforts through serendipity. Perhaps a foreign investor looking for a franchise came across their listing at

Entrepreneur’s FranchiseZone, and that chance encounter leads to an international franchise opportunity.


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