Saturday, August 9, 2008

Personal qualities of an Entreprenuer

Risk taking and opportunity tracking is referred as essential prerequisite personal qualities for the entrepreneur. However , the required number of personal qualities from Entrepreneur doesn't end here . The important personal qualities required in the Entrepreneurial process is deal making capacity with strong negotiation skills. Obviously , some ill habits has to be avoided in order to excel these personal qualities . The most relevant on this is controlling the ill-habit of anger which might create a lot of enmity. The second quality is obviously excessive desire which attracts other kinds of vices automatically. Once these negative habits are restrained there is an automatic growth process which follows both in spiritual and material life.

Aspect of Small Business Economy

There are certain economic fundamentals which effects small business . One of the important element on these economic fundamentals is incremental scalability.Until , the critical mass is reached in the process of the incremental scalability, there are threats on demand side equation of the service and product offerings by the small business, towards the market. Reaching the critical mass is an ecstatic experience for any small business . However , the struggle for existence not necessarily, ends here for the small business. The regularity of serving the critical mass ahead of competition is a big concern . Once it is addressed properly , at least the short term financial goals of a small business is taken care of.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Small business troubles

Small business have often two kinds of trouble - external and internal . Internal trouble is more severe than external trouble. The seriousness of trouble can be estimated on the following chronological order , where latter is less serious than earlier - 1) Entrepreneur 2) Advisers 3) Market 4) Office/HQ 5) Finance 6) Employee 7)Partners. However , if any of this constituent , if improper can led to disturbance of all the constituent , then that is most serious trouble and should be given maximum importance.

Lobbying tips for Small Business

Most of the cases ,small business has to do a lot of Government Relation activities . In case , of big corporates , Government is keen to interact . However, small business has an opposite situation. As they are mostly in the starting point , there exist a high load of regulatory compliances . These days, enviromental compliance and social compliances have become neccesary to eliminate the threat of closure. So the need of maintaining good relation, with relevant regulatory authority . In these cases ,it is also important to know the concerned officials, that the effective dialogue could be intiated with relevant person.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Service to an Entreprenuer

I have worked with number of entrepreneurs around the world in wide variety of Geo-markets. At times ,it could be really hard , to advise an entrepreneur, in issues related to planning and organizational development. In most of the cases the TOR ( terms of reference ) and the scope of the project ,remains less in documentation, and more in their thought process of the entrepreneur . To bring that out in the form of document , can be a daunting task . The baseline data collected to verify the market opportunity can also become sub standard due to lack of survey specification . Most of the cases , the secondary research followed by a desk analysis , given to an entrepreneur , comes with more review request . At certain times the overall scopes get modified and the the entire work has to be redone. Though the emotional and energetic experience is very high , the consultants faces a number of practical issues on TOR and scope while working with entrepreneurs. Obviously it could be solved , and better output from a consultant could be created from the entrepreneur , if the TOR and the elaborated scope becomes more precise.

Calamities of small business

The instability of an entrepreneur is the starting point of calamities of a small business . It can further extend to the wrong knowledge dissemination of small business advisers, wrong office space . However , the most serious calamity of small business is cash . It requires a heavy cash flow to get the business going and once any hurdle comes in that region , the small business can get into off track very soon. Financial instability is the most important calamity for small business which can jeopardize all other aspects of small business.

Small Business Advisors

Advisers are a very important component of small business . Often it is found , that the owner of the small business is very good at one thing , which has led him to start the business . However , he might be very poor on the other factors of the business . That is why it is important for him , to get advisers on all the areas where he is not good at . One of the most important area is the 'Business of small business' . This is where, he should take strategic consultants, who could document the vision of the business owner, in the form of the planning document, which will make easy for the owner to handle issues related to business in the order of strategic importance.

The power of Nuetrality

Certain times , being neutral can be very powerful experience both in business and family . In fact , India, as a country has learned it, very early, after it developed its independent foreign policy . Being a leader of Non-Align movement, it played a neutral role , and by that it, had a powerful experience as a country. Such success has to be replicated in the level of our small business also . Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) are right now the second largest employer after agriculture . It had a bigger role to play in the prosperity of the country .

That could be successfully handled when it plays a neutral role on resolving number of issues affecting the business community by and large , and starts an effective dialogue with stakeholders of civil society on issue related to environment and social development. Such dialogue would make the process of growth smooth for small business and bring the small business owners in a bigger role, of development of economy and simultaneously taking care of social and environmental issues.

Role of exit routes in small business agreement

Most of the deals which happens in small business are based on personal contact . So when terms or agreement are framed, often exit routes of the business deal is ignored . That is where , the business gets locked over a point of time and encounters a barrier of growth . The good agreement for business could be made, and break, at the same time . However , due to presence of personal contact , there is an extensive moral obligation, which plays a pivotal role on defining the agreement . That is why the agreement, could not be break and parties are locked for a infinite amount of time. This is definitely detrimental for both of the parties, and so exit routes should play a key role on all small business agreement.

The structure of a small business

Small business are normally loose in structural component . However , with the rise of structured finance in the early stage companies , reported by NKC study on 'Entrepreneurship in India', things are expected to be different . Most of the time , brininging in external finance is an automatic process on making things structured. As it is commonly perceived, that if you want the things to be organised, make the process digital, is also an timely advice. As the business grows infusing external funds and making some of the core process of organisation digital , is a easier route to make small business more structured.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Business Competition : The Change in Attitude

There is remarkable change in attitude, in Business Competition . Most of the key players in every segments have understood the importance of creating network of collaboration in order to successfully compete in the market . Often, after conquering the competitor through hostile acquisition , corporates re-instate their position in the market . Corporates have understood a great lesson on competition , that to successfully compete in market , you have to successfully collaborate first. It is the time for small business to understand this lessons and practice it in their business operations.

This is important , as while consulting in the small business sector, I have gathered this experience that most small business who are very hostile to their competitor and doesn't collaborate in the market while competing , stand as a looser at the end. There is need for change of attitude in the SMB sector in regards to competition.

The Entreprenuerial Adnormality

In our therapeutic culture, I'm sure some socialist and political leaders, hopes they can find the genetic abnormality that triggers entrepreneurship. They feel with that they can cure the conditions which triggers entrepreneurship.

That's the only guaranteed path to permanent power stability uninterrupted by innovation. Infact it is much easy to stay in power both in society and politics without the constructive intervention of entrepreneurs. It is often seen that they raise the bar for society and politics and move them to become more accountable for the actions towards the nation and the globe.

Recently , I was going through a article from rediff which shows how Vinod khosla takes his decisions on renewable energy ventures.

'Get busy' is the punch word of the smartest venture capitalist in the renewable space, who once dreamed to become an entrepreneur .

If our politicians could take decisions like that , on pressing environmental issues then half of the environmental problems of the world could get solved.

It's good for the world , to an extent, that our politicians and social leaders, does not find cure for the entrepreneurial abnormality in near future . Innovation could then play a role of great leveler between the 'have' and 'have not' in global society.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How to handle a powerful competitor? – Introspective questions for small business?

Handling a powerful competitor is always a challenge for small business. Recently with the retail revolution, many Mom-pop shops that run with the small business structure are facing the pain. Added, to it, is the crude inflation control mechanism by Y.V.Reddy, the RBI Governor. The hike for two times in CRR rate, in the single month of July’08, is going to have desperate effect in small business, as small business is a sector which borrows significant amount from banks to run their business. In this context, having proper competitive plan, for powerful competitors, is important.

Following are the introspective questions of handling powerful competitors

1. Understand the powerful Competitor strategy. Are they ambushing? Are they aggressive? Alternatively, are they playing defensive?
2. What kind of alliances they have? Are they trustworthy to the powerful competitor
3. Can networking efforts be build to these alliances?
4. Could there be any alliances with the powerful competitor itself which can protect both of the parties interest. Recently big retail outlets are arranging space for local Mom-pop shops on the ‘left out’ product categories

This introspection could help to build a basic competitive strategy to handle powerful competitor.

Succession Planning in Small business

Most small business has a little understanding about the concept of business of business. There is a huge passion with the team. However, to see the entire business in an abstract level, there is need of objectivity. The entrepreneur is always in ‘do it yourself’ mode. The lack of objectivity remains as a constant problem in small business. In addition, the business lacks momentum on the situation, when the entrepreneur losses focus or does not feel the passion like earlier. A succession planning is a very important advantage in all these cases. Succession planning helps to create second line of leaders. This is very helpful on that business situation where the entrepreneur is an expert on one particular area of business .Creating second line of leaders makes the business much more organized. This way, succession planning has a dual advantage. One way it strengthens the HR scenario of small business, by enriching the aspiration level of second level of leaders. On the other hand, it also expands the capability of the organization to have diverse competency.