Decisions, decisions, decisions…

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“The people that are most productive, they’re the ones who recognise that making a decision isn’t about a binary success or failure; it’s about conducting an experiment – and they learn to see their choices as experiment. […] failure isn’t actually failure; it’s just a result that helps you make a better decision next time.”

Charles Duhigg 

In a nutshell – we make decisions every day, every hour… probably every minute. Self-reflection, pausing and analysing the events, decisions we have made and the consequences of those will help us see trends, learn from mistakes (failures) and move on.

Keeping a diary is a good tool. Keeping notes is another good habit that would help in mastering decision making.

Now, one more piece of advice – we often see decisions as a dilemma, that is a Y-shape crossroads – binary… one alternative or another. That’s fundamentally wrong. There are more than two possible responses to most life situations. We simply have a bad habit of reducing our options down to two. Now, we are homo salience – we can analyse and make decisions that can change our behaviour… Frequent practice then translates into a new habit. So, from now on force yourselves to practice a simple technique, which will dramatically improve your decisions – ALWAYS uncover and review more than two alternatives. Enrich your decision making and enrich your life!

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Any business starts with Sales. 

Forward Business Planning

 

…or rather with Customer?

I have heard many times: “Develop a killer product – that’s the most important for your business.” It seems to be especially common among wannabe entrepreneurs in technology sector.

I heard it from a startup in quite a traditional segment, too. “Have you tested your idea and concept with a potential customer?” – was my question… “No” – was the answer.

Well, if you can’t sell your great product (have no customers), there is little sense in such business, isn’t it? The business I speak about went bust after having burnt money for about a year.

Unfortunately, this happens to many startups – tech and non-tech alike. The basic laws of business are universal and apply to any sector.

“The purpose of any business is to create a customer.” #PeterDrucker.

Here are 3 simple suggestions that I hope will help you (and your investors) avoid costly mistakes:

1. Talk to your customer early. You are obsessed about your product (even if it is at an idea stage only), you have very good reasons to believe it is great. That means you probably can guess who would share your opinion. Talk to them, put your enthusiasm to a test. And if they “don’t get it” you probably need to change either your concept, or audience (market) – talk to adjacent group (age, occupation, sex, income level, activity, habits, etc.)

2. Gather feedback, never stop. And go beyond asking ‘how can I make this product better?’ Ask ‘how/where do you see such product/service used?‘  You may be amazed by the insights you get. This may lead you to a different market segment or application.

3. Sell it. Yes, even when it’s just a prototype, try selling it. In fact, try selling a similar product before or while developing yours. First, this will show if it is going to fly at all. Second, you can gauge the price/value for your future business. Third, you will learn a whole lot about your customers  – what’s really important to them and what’s not. Finally, if you’re selling, you already have customer base and sales channel – you have a business.

So, in the end, it all does start with sales.

Chasing the change

I remember the days, when being a sales rep I had to pop into the office every morning before taking off to my customers to get my call list for the day, file the visit report form previous day and check the deliveries. All on paper! We did not have mobile phones and did not use email to communicate with customers. Fax machine was the technological edge.

For the last 20-odd years one cannot imagine sales and marketing operation without a Route Optimization software, CRM, Content mass management and delivery systems, etc. The world of these solutions, however, is very different today from what it used to be a couple of decades ago.

Traditional way of building information technologies for sales and marketing – define your business strategy, map out your business process, buy/build a solution that suits your strategy and process. Repeat in 5-10 years. This does not hold water any longer.

The pace of market change has accelerated dramatically. We no longer talk years – in sales and marketing business definitions and processes change continuously. So should the solutions do too. Continue reading “Chasing the change”

12 Tips For Public Speaking

Any leader speaks in front of people – be it his team, opponents, clients… You can call it presentation or you can call it public speaking. Great leaders are usually great at it.

Want some tips on how to master this art? Have a look here – an article in @Forbes  from my classmate.

 

 

Millennials are here. Are you ready?

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I am from Generation X… I still search for the phone number on the ‘Contact Us’ section of a corporate website. Millennials though are the ones, who were born in Dot Com era and grew up with Internet. Judging by my own children, these are the people who chose Snapchat, Twitter and WatsApp over phone. And if you Skype them , you must be their grandpa or granny.

According to PwC report, 48% of population are those born between 1977 and today and by 2020 50% global workforce will be Millennials. What’s more important – those Gen y and Gen Z are increasingly becoming your customers and consumers. Accenture reports that Millennials already spend $600 bln every year in the US alone. Continue reading “Millennials are here. Are you ready?”

Hiring Gen-Z Employees: 8 Things You Need to Know

I rarely stumble upon a useful “5 ways to…” or “10 characteristics of…” type article. This one is an odd exception: Hiring Gen-Z Employees: 8 Things You Need to Know

@Hongkiat

Brexit

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HMRC have been kind to provide me with stats on how the tax I had paid was used in 2015/16 tax year. I have learned that a mere 0.6% of my taxes goes to the EU. Does not seem to be much.

Why do the Leave campaign prominent speakers keep talking about weekly £350M payments to EU? Actually… why does no one ask a simple question – what portion of the national budget does this £350M represent? I suspect it may not be far from 0.6%… Is this something worth the fight? Really?

And why do campaigners focus so much on the economic benefit or detriment? Why not explore the other pros and cons of the European integration?

Having lived behind the Iron Curtain, I will never understand anyone, who wants to stop or restrain free movement of people. So, my view might be biased, I admit. However, ability to go and live in another country is all about understanding the other, or rather each other…. Isn’t it amazing – English, Germans and French living together in Union? The nations that fought each other for centuries. Is 0.6% of your tax or your national budget a big price for this unity? Really?

90 years

The Queen celebrates the 90th birthday today. Everyone talks about it.

It yet again reminded me of one particular English trait that awestruck me even on my first visit to this land… Nothing ever is forgotten, wiped off or destroyed.

Everything is cherished, kept and taken care of – old roads, buildings, railroads, cars, furniture, customs and traditions, even such a rudiment (no offence) as monarchy.

The English (and to be fair probably all Britons) don’t throw the old stuff out. Instead, they take it along, transforming everything to make it relevant… Beautiful, wise, awe-inspiring virtue and tradition. The English monarchy is a good example. Much to learn here.

My favorite photograph of the Queen:

Happy birthday, Your Majesty!