Managerial skill development critical for entrepreneurs and family businesses

In today’s time when businesses are developing and there is increasing competition in both the services as well as the business sector many small to mid size enterprises are struggling for survival. In most cases, the first generation of entrepreneurs spend a large part of their time setting up the business and the next generation has the responsibility to carry the business forward and the aspiration to take it to the next level. The management style in small businesses is generally personalised and has minimum formalisation. There is little differentiation in job content and  final authority is with the manager who in most cases is the owner or family member. However, with changing market conditions, businesses that wish to improve their position vis-a-vis competitors need to introduce formal management practices to run the business in a consistent and viable manner in a growth oriented direction. For businesses that aspire for success, decisions must be taken based on opportunities, expertise and strength rather than on  assumptions and situational misperceptions. From decisions such as the number of work hours per employee per week to pricing of a product or service to considering the financial feasibility of a new business idea, the introduction of management principles can greatly improve the performance of the enterprise.

Formal education and knowledge in some of the areas that can help an entrepreneur run his business better are finance and accounting, marketing, organisation development, human resources management, economics, public speaking, business writing and computer science to name a few. The problems of existence and development can be overcome by inculcating vital managerial skills and management knowledge in successors of the business.

While we all are aware of famous exceptions such as Bill Gates and Subhash Chandra who chose to be fully involved in business from an early age, with changing times having individuals in the business with a formal education and the knowledge of managerial principles can not only increase the market value of the business itself but can also be a stepping stone to making it a world-class organisation for the future.

published in DNA Ahmedabad – June 2015 Untitled

 

 

 

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Musings on Marketing : All round customer engagement key to high recall and brand loyalty

I lay three options before you today as you think about the purchase of your first car. Between the three options of selecting a car based on information from friends only, pre and post purchase support from company, and information along with a virtual demo online plus a test drive and after sale offers, your preferred option would certainly be the third one. It is no surprise that companies today are going beyond the mere sell to buy idea and a one time, one directional association with its customers. No longer are advertising campaigns designed for any particular medium in isolation, rather companies have realized the importance of allocating the marketing communication budget to unique methods across various platforms and for various pre purchase, during purchase and post purchase stages to convert potential customers, to regular buyers/users and finally loyal patrons.

Customers are maturing , options before them are growing and brands want to interact with customers directly in every way possible. It is the need of the hour to create a high recall value in the mind of the consumer, which becomes limited with the traditional marketing mediums of print, radio, television and to some extent outdoor, in isolation.

Some examples of all round customer engagement are free samples being distributed in an open event to the audience or through newspapers to induce trial, roping in celebrities to help consumers experience the brand and its use, thereby enticing future purchase possibilities, creating virtual realities that customers pass through at public places to help create social belongingness through the brand, live chat with customers through radio or television at points of purchase to motivate purchase action, and  lucky draws being offered based on codes available inside product packages that can be sent via SMS.

Use of multiple touch points to connect with consumers is therefore the need of the hour. Consumer engagement with the brand pre purchase, during consumption and post purchase has become critical. Some brands do this successfully and some continue to experiment differently each time.
(c)  Bijal Mehta

06/11/15

From McKinsey: The new consumer decision journey

The new consumer decision journey – http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/the_new_consumer_decision_journey

For years, empowered consumers have held the upper hand when it comes to making purchasing decisions. But companies are fighting back.

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