Archive for the 'Entrepreneurship' Category

Digital Marketing Institute – Is it time to start one for the industry

Every single digital industry professional has been talking about starting one to fullfill ever growing need for Digital Marketing Institute for increasing skilled digital marketing professionals pool for industry to hire and hone.

Most of the certification available around concentrates on SEM and google based marketing and doesn’t look at going at fundamentals of marketing and how innovation can be digital medium lead and converted into 360 degree campaign which would help meet brand performance objectives of maximum reach leading to increase in sales or brand recogniztion as desired.

Recently we have seen lot of good Interactive initiatives like of TATA Tea or Sunsilk Gang of Girls social networking site has helped brand establish create recall or loyalty among segement of users which it was fast losing out to likes of Pantene in case of sunsilk etc.Hence there is strong case for us to train creative and media pros to understand the digital medium can be the lead medium for executability.

Such Digital Marketing Institute course program would need to concentrate on following topics

i) Fundamental of Strategic Planning in TV,Print,OOH and Radio

ii) Mapping of performance metrics of other mediums to digital medium metrics

iii) Understanding how to effectively use Internet Measurement Tools like Comscore, Alexa, Nielsen Online, Google ad Planner

iv) How to evaluate brand objectives for execution via digital medium

v) Various digital marketing techniques like SEO,SEM,PPC,CPM,Innovative properties,Mailer  and their impact on brand performance metrics with case studies

vi) How to design creatives,,microsite communication to ensure RoI from digital medium

vii) Media Planning and how to create performance benchmark for various properties

viii) How to demystify audience of media without actual using the property

ix) Effective Media Buying for Results – Negotiating and finding low cost – high performance media

x) Using Omniture, Visual Science, Atlas,DART for effective media optimization

xi) Social Media – How to create brand engagement using tools like blogging, Youtube,Social Networking sites

This is just basic guideline for starting a course and ofcourse can go into more details on what exactly should be covered etc and there will be lot of study put in generating the content and studying its impact for driving result for people taking the program.

In terms of business viability side program can be marketed to Advertising Agencies, Marketing Managers and even B-Schools can be partnered with for delivering the program.

If some one is ready to invest, am ready to execute the same 🙂 though would love some feedback on what all should be covered and individuals who can used as knowledge hub for same.

How to Control Attiriation in IT or Technology driven company

Generally before some one can answer the question “reasons for attrition” ones need to quantify the level of attrition in an organization. As the number of people leaving an organization generally some times help you narrow down on reasons why people are leaving your organization.

Secondly lot of things are dependent on peoples background and qualification vice a versa the industry they are working with. Generally just saying people become dissatisfied with what they are doing is very wrong as even after change their are higher chances they will be working on similar profile again depending on industry and role. But then what kind of change with just changing organization bring.

In an SME kind of setup its the motivation and aggression of the management to grow to work towards higher goals keep the employees downward motivated. as lot is happening lot of new learning lot of new activities so everyone remains involved. Major reasons for leaving is a larger salary jump.

In an larger organization it can be based on kind of projects one has been regularly getting and possibility of just specializing in one kind of work and getting type casted. Or less opportunities being given as compared to other employee wise comparable peer group. Its very important for an HR questionnaire to get information on what peer group set is employee comparing themselves to in the organization or externally as this will let you clearly identify the problem point. As competition in an organization is healthy you need to motivate employee right to find out what kind of personal goals or tragets one carry.

360 degree review or peer review what it was called in older days is a good tool to identify employee problems and potential gaps which need to be filled in before they tend to leave.

If you employee this methodology of finding from an employee who them feel they are competiting with internally and externally in organization. Automatically you will be able to draw out plan to increase their capabilities to superseed other persons targets and have greater job and personal satisifcation.

This formula can work for a small startup to large organization.

ICICI Bank Payseal Payment Gateway – Not Recommended!!!

As part of e-commerce consulting projects we do lot of people are not able to decide which payment gateway service provider to go for.  In early days when their used to be alternative between ICICI and Citibank. ICICI used to be the preferred service provider due to competetive costing and caring nature towards the customer.

But over last 36 months we have seen drastic change in quality level of service provided by ICICI payment gateway. 6 Months back during peak sales season for one of our site using their paymet gateway services since 2001 they withdrew master card service. This lead to immediate loss of 40% of our customers based on previous years record.

What really got us all worked up was not the reason they withdrew Master card service but they did it based on following reasons

i) Account selected by Master card for audit

ii) ICICI bank does not have any say in the process

Worst part was all of these actions were being taken on our account without any notification forget WRITTEN NOTIFICATION. Our  team has been following up with ICICI bank since thevn for a written response on why services had been withdrawn and why they have not been restored. Till date we have not received any response and all effort to get a response from people higher up in management has failed to entice any response.

On the other hand we begin dealing with AXIS BANK (UTI BANK) which have been supportive in finding alternative by trying to get response from master card why we cannot operate as a merchant and what we could possibly do to restore back master card service on our site. They also have a better technology interface and leaves you out the hassle for forcing customer to goto bank server for processing of credit cards. They are offering much more competitive rates but more than that consulting and advise which every first step internet merchant would find useful.

My Recommendation is to stay away  from ICICI Bank payseal payment gateway services if you would like to have trouble free online merchant experience.

How to find Business Idea!!!

When a person is about to venture out on journey of establishing a business of his own. Its very important for to carry the right set of tools and information resources to keep brain going in the right direction. These days some people suggest buying “Art of Start” by Guy Kawasaki and some preffer to suggest new book by Mindtree COO ” High Perfomance Entreprenuer”. Though these books surely help one in deciding how to go about venture planning and how to evaluate your business idea they dont help the biggest bottle neck faced by any wannabe entreprenuer which is identifying pain point or business idea.

Though the best business ideas are generated when you experience a business pain point yourself. Example was thought about when standing in line for visa to US at 6 AM in morning. But for others their are potential ways to atleast get your thinking started.

Read business magazines rather than tech magazines. Business Week, Business Today, Business India are couple of them which i stock every month. Others maybe dataquest which has business angle to information technology. The idea is to help you understand what others are doing in market what are their potential goals and plans. Now once you understand in what direction are the organizations moving you can initate your thought process which include thinking patterns based on your domain expertise to analyze potential bottle necks businesses may face and how they can be removed. Once you identified the pain points do your research further to see if their is something available in market or is their something with potential to scale up to solve the problem.  Try this for 1 month i can guarantee it will surely make your brain tickle and think of some business problem which you thought for which solution always exsisted.

Why Do Companies fail in India

Every week you see advertisement in newspaper from some or other bank auctioning assets of organizations ranging from rolling steel mills to bottling plant. If india is roaring and people are ready to ride the boom why are these small and medium size enterprises not able to sustain and survive. Talking to various people on this aspect especially Mayank Saraf and looking at the industry up for auction closely. It was identified the type of companies which are not succeding are

– Companies started by traders who had capability to sell the items but not able to control the cost of manufacturing them . In the end loosing out due to lack of operational experience.
– Family owned enterprises whose main objective of starting the company was providing employment to all family members. Hence lack of financial planning and irregularities in managing companies funds

– Companies unable to scale up to the demand and due to small size not able to win large orders.

– Firms which are unable to play the credit account recievables cycle right. anywhere in world people will take free ride.

These are some few classifications of companies which tend to fail. Idea of doing this post is to make entreprenuers understand they shouldnt fall in any one of the categories. Though these failing companies in booming economy also provide opportunity to people willing to jump in for the first time to help tide around fortunes of a sinking ship. As no person in distress will refuse call for help. If you are one of those people who still havent found an idea, Go find a failing business in your neighbourhood or community you could help turn around.

Online Bus Ticket Reservation – Is it a sustainable model

In India we have recently seen advent of online bus ticket reservation model .Companies like which is in incubation with TiE-EAP bangalore are being seen as the next big thing to reveloutionize the industry. As bus is the preffered form of transportation for millions of indians every day. In this post we look at the model and its capability for replication and sustainabilty

–  Biggest thing against Online Bus ticket reservation in india is that buses dont run by timetables. Official every bus has an assigned route and timetable to match but unfortunately this is not the case. Hence taking money for a service which cannot be guaranteed is another issue. Now some of you may compare it to flight delays but then again your plane would not skip the airport. Buses some time dont stop at scheduled stops or may stop at unscheduled one by their own wish.

– Lack of organization form of transporters mainly this domain has been dominated by state transport corporation or small operators with upto 5-10 buses. Again private operators are yet to follow rules and routes and in tend to save road/toll taxes take non pre determined routes.

– Long luxury buses have just entered the market in last 2-3 years. With comming in of VOLVO we have seen bus travel sector compete with railways.

– Ticket prices for buses are very less and loading of service fees/transaction charges makes a big difference on non-luxury bus ticket pricing.

Reservation via call centre and via mobile phone payments. Passenger upto 30 minutes prior to journey can login via mobile phone to see which bus suites his requirement, make payment and is provided PNR# which can be checked at time of boarding the bus. This way instant travellers can benefit from such arrangements otherwise people will only use these services as time table checker and for trip planning instead of reservation.

Should Entreprenuer wait for the right IDEA!!!

This is a debate i have had with most venture capitalist that and generally outcome has been VC’s resoluting that entreprenuers should wait for the right idea before they take the plunge…..i still beg to differ…

Recently was having a conversation with recent proffesional turned entreprenuer and his words are still stuck in my head. “Their are 2 ways to do business one you have a great idea and a dream you follow and try to build the other way is you take the plunge now going with the flow…trying to make money from whatever opportunity which comes your way till the time you are able to find again that great idea and dream you would like to go with 300%.”

Well most of the people may like to conclude that VC’s were rite in first place you need to have great idea…but what part of the statement i didnt agree was taking the plunge once you come accross one.

After talking t him yesterday i was going through my “ARCHIVED collection of Business cards”, it started to hit me that 80% of entreprenuers from the technology industry dont do what they started out with. After couple of phone calls another realization came forward 60% are more sucessful in their new choosen line.  The 60% of them are those entreprenuers which have re-invented their business to always stay ahead of the curve. Some of them went from hardware business to selling Internet connections to IT infrastructure management. Some went from running cyber cafe to running an IT training institute to being successful as Search Optimization Firm. Industry has evolved people have evolved this is a sign of encouragement for entreprenuers. They are not the infosys or TCS of the industry but people who are proud to be in proffesion of running enterprises and taking call to challenges in dynamically changing enviornment.

For them wealth creation is not the only objective for being in business but its about sense of ownership and pride in achieving milestones their own way. In india its often said “those people are successful who dont work for money but make money work for them”  same goes for business just jump in the bandwagon with an opportunity use your entreprenuer skills to make it happen take it to the next level where you can jump boats to other new opportunity. Again remember VC wont think its a bad thing for you to have on your resume : stint of 2 wins and 3 loses. As they invest in people not businesses and from every loss you learn to do 2 things better than with 1 win.

So dont wait for the right idea but jump on board with the right opportunity..the right IDEA will follow its way to you!!!

Online Advertising Proposal – How to write for your Website

So you decided to go against using the ad networks for getting advertisement on your website. Not really a good strategy if you are not #1 in your niche to attract advertisers directly.Anyway idea of this post is to help you take the next step which is writting an advertising proposal for your customers. Try to make a generic brochure kind of proposal. This way you need to personally address every letter sent out and can request your network to keep forwarding proposal till the time it reaches a hand which is interested or potential advertiser.

Start your proposal by introducing your site. The lines to follow should clearly outline sites niche,category,popularity and usage. Dont throw too much stats at them.

Second paragraph should be an argument “Why you”. I believe in having it at starting so that advertiser dont get bored and rush to straight away costing section to compare with other offerings. This way your purpose,reason and costing will always be read. This section should clearly help advertiser identify target audience of your site and your sites positioning against the competition.

Third Paragraph should explain advertiser services/product your site offers to your target audience. This is easy as its just listing sites usability and part of your vision.

Average site user Profile: – I like to put this as a seperate section again so that if in all the sales talk this information does not get clearly layed out to advertiser he may overlook the proposal.

Important Segment : Identify your potential site advertisers. Example : Online Travel E-commerce companies – give out points in their favour .So that if your proposal reaches out to someone in network he/she doesnt need to use mind to see who will benefit from advertising at your site. They can just forward it straight away to person from the vertical in their contact.

Once done with that provide a layout with description and value it can derieve for a potential advertiser. In the end put in tabular format the costing and your contact details.

With these ingridents your proposal is ready to hit your address book. Will be more than glad for people to refine it further down.

Startup 101 – Why marketing department is requirement from day 1

You decided not to bring over an experience person to manage marketing infrastructure of your startup. Reasons could be many

– Decided not to loose out on equity for someone you could hire for cash at a later date

– Company doesnt need a big marketing spend at product development stage

their could be many other reasons but its advisable when you start your organization you also setup an marketing department. Advantages

– If marketing people are involved in actual product development it helps them to understand the product better and sell it better.

– During product development they can help with generating important feedback on features from customers which will help you create a product which has a demand rather than a dream speed buggy.

– Help you create a brand strategy which is essential keeping in mind you will need to pull good talent to work at your organization

Once product is ready how to manage a team of inexperienced marketing people is also a task CEO/management team of a business should know

– Goals/KPI targets should be well defined

– Steps on how to make a pitch and convert into sale should be very clearly defined

– Habit of cold calling and how to efficently use alumni contact or industry directories need to defined.

– Make sure your marketing people should either get use to listerning to a firm yes or a firm no. Whenever they get a no the reason should be well defined and turns out to be a feedback for the product.

– Every 6 months people who had said no to services should be contacted if the product can solve the pain point.

These are some basics which i thought should must share keeping in mind quality of marketing staff available to startups have gone down as candidates are not ready to share the risk with employers.

Internet as a big starting point for startups as it helps you jumpstart with information which wasnt available when i first got into it around 1998. The thing is we should learn from people who worked without the availability of a perfect VC ecosystem or other people funds to create businesses.

Being very honest when i first started writing posts which could help startups was all for a contest which was giving away book by Guy Kawasaki “Art of Start” i have read it before but i had lost my copy.  But now whenever i write a post not only it helps me analyze what i am doing wrong but help create a knowledge reference point for self which would help whenever i venture into something new.

Good site for keeping track on indian startup scene. Startup.IN

Contest Ends on 26th Jan’07. Will keep posting under this category weather i win the book or not!!

Contact Details Call Me :+91-9910444460
July 2020