Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How To Make The Most Of Business Seminars?

All those people who are going to attend a business seminar, I’d like ask a simple question: What is your goal?

There are different benefits & parameters one could focus on while attending a business seminar. Hence, if your goal is not clear, you might perhaps lose the objective you’re attending the business seminar for. Are you there for networking & making connections with the smart people or for learning purpose? Maybe your goal is to simply follow the important speakers during the seminar, until they perhaps notice you!

To help one discover his goal, I have mentioned certain types of specific personas below. They will be extremely helpful for a person to choose what type of category will give him/her optimal benefits from the business seminar. (And if you are attending IAM’s BUSINESS SEMINARS 2014, you will be able to do a self-diagnosis & figure out easily what your goal is thus making the most of the seminar)

So find out which type of persona will suit the business occasion? Check out from below list-

The Networker
Aim = Connect with smart professionals
The networker’s aim is to meet & make lasting associations with other professionals of the industry. Also they may have a goal to meet & connect with the keynote speakers. Chances are, these people have made enough connections via social media & have connected to the attendees through the specific “conference hashtag” way before. You’ll perhaps see this person talking to multiple groups during happy hour & handing out his business cards.

The Sponge
Aim= Learn
He is the person who’s there at the business seminar to get the most information as possible. You will probably see him juggling with this laptop, smartphone or a notebook & diligently taking notes. Sometimes such an attendee’s biggest struggle is to decide which seminar to attend (they are all so great!).

The Groundbraker
Aim = Get inspiration
If you love watching TED Talks regularly & Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson is your favorite book then you might consider yourself as the groundbreaker or “innovator”. These people attend business seminars to get inspiration & spark creativity. Entrepreneurs & thinkers & problem solvers can fall under this category.

The Job Seeker
Aim= Getting a job
Job seekers may have a different set of goals for a business seminar. This also depends on his current stage of job hunt. For instance, if one lies in the awareness stage then he might simply listen & learn about various companies & jobs & therefore try to connect with people for the same. One who lies beyond awareness stage, he might have already made certain connections with the seminar attendees looking at their profile through social media channels like LinkedIn or Twitter. Therefore, business seminars would be the best place to meet those people in personal & make an elevator pitch by presenting one’s resume or portfolio & get a good job!

The Deal Maker
Aim = Create business partnerships
The deal maker attends business seminars & conferences with the aim of creating valuable business partnerships. There can be several reasons like for co-marketing, sponsorships, co-branding or speaking opportunities.

Beware of The Spy!
Aim = Competitive intelligence
Such a person attends business conferences solely to find out what his competitors are up to. What are their strategies? What will be their next steps? How strong is the competitor’s hold on market? (This can be judged by observing the number of audience & their response attending the seminar)
Attending business conferences by spies has been a popular sales enablement tactic. It gives the sales team of the firm, useful insights to close additional deals.

If you attend a business seminar or conference choosing from the above 6 goals in mind, you’ll be able to make the most of business seminars & become more productive.

Do you think you’ll fall into one of the above categories during Indian Academy of Management’s (IAM) seminars of 2014? Know more

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lean Management-The Best Way To Reduce Waste & Enhance Profits

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Any organization prospers on the basis of their results. The results of your company are something which differentiates it from its competitors. And any business is able to achieve desired results when it plans and follows the strategic plan with commitment & eliminating wasteful resources.

 management philosophy which has helped many businesses to achieve desired results, eliminate waste & create value for customers is Lean Management which was pioneered by Toyota. 

Learn how the world top mattress maker greatly benefited from Lean Management-

Sealy is the world's top mattress maker. During 2000 and before, workers at Sealy used to churn out dozens of incomplete mattresses at one time & load them on a conveyor. The process resulted in mattresses to cover large precious floor space. As result many of the products produced were often damaged due to rubbing against each other. Hence, there was lot of wastage happening which was eating into the profit margins of Sealy.

Sealy incorporated Lean Management in its business operations in the year 2004. Seeing amazing results it still uses lean management to overcome wasteful resources & create value for its customers.

How Lean Management helped Sealy & thousands of manufacturers to remain profitable?

Sealy is among those thousands of manufacturers which remained profitable even during recession thanks to lean manufacturing. “It helped us to become more & more cost-efficient,” says an executive of Sealy. “Lean management favors streamlining at every turn of business operations. This entails each production widget to work in an uninterrupted flow thus avoiding unfinished batches. It favors production of only those items which customers order. It helped us to greatly chop off billions of dollars in inventory & increase our productivity & profit margins by 50%.”

"The key beneficial factors are less material handling, less defective products and less movement thus focusing on one task at a time,” says the Vice president of Sealy.

And all this paid off! Sealy’s, net sales during recession fell 14%. However, its earnings rose to around $12.1 million from $10.9 million. Also its gross profit margin surged to 41.8% from 40.5%. All this happened because Sealy incorporated Lean Management.

  • Today each bed at Sealy gets completed within 4 hours, down from 21. This is possible due to less wasted time between the production stages.
  • Also the median delivery times saw a cut to 60 hours and less, down from 72.
  • The plants have been able to reduce raw-material inventory by 50%. This reduced inventory costs greatly.
  • They were able to eliminate thousands of square feet having "work in process". This helped them to eliminate wastage like piles of unfinished beds.
  • Sealy was able to move the workers closer and work together. As a result, they were able to free up enough space to merge two shifts thus slicing costs.
  • Sealy has decreased its workforce by more than 30% in the last 5 years through attrition & temporary staff cuts. Lean management helped this business organization to employ far fewer material handlers & enhance productivity by 50%.

 This is only one example. More than 70% of manufactures and businesses worldwide use lean management to achieve desired results & reduce waste & create value for its customers.

Lean management helps to eliminate waste by achieving one-piece flow. I remind the readers of 7 wastes-

  1. 1.Labour
  2. 2.     Overproduction (this is achieved by demand leveling where production is altered as per current demand)
  3. 3.     Space
  4. 4.     Defects
  5. 5.     Unnecessary human motion which causes fluctuations in the operating system of production
  6. 6.     Inventory
  7. 7.     Transportation

  8. Lean management uses a set of tools to eliminate the above wasteful resources and increase profits and productivity. The tools are-

• Value Stream Mapping
• Five S
• Kanban (pull systems)
• Poka-yoke (error-proofing)
• Total Productive Maintenance
• Elimination of time batching
• Mixed model processing
• Rank Order Clustering
• Single point scheduling
• Redesigning working cells
• Multi-process handling
• Control charts (to keep a check and eliminate further wastage)

Indian Academy of Management invites everyone who wants to learn all the above tool & methods for an expert seminar on “LEAN MANAGEMENT”. It will cover every aspect of lean management required for businesses to enhance its profit margins and reduce wastage & create value for customers.
 Click here to know more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How To Achieve 20% Higher Revenue Growth in Business?


Statistics claim that you can achieve 20% higher revenue growth with a more enhanced sales process, but how?
Let’s understand how to you can achieve this higher revenue growth by employing an enhanced sales process. Further you will learn all the parameters you need to consider to instill an enhanced sales process in your business.

#Align your sales forecasts with clearly defined sales process-

  •   There’s no point to have a sales forecast which no one understands. This is the fundamental characteristic of a sound sales process.
  • It’s critical to align sales forecasts with well defined sales processes to achieve greater bottom lines for any organization.
  •  The Sales Management Association in its recent study found an interesting fact. In its survey of certain companies, it was found that firms with well defined sales processes along with rational sales stages attain 20% higher revenue growth than the firms who don’t.
  •  The key point to grasp from the above point is the phrase “well-defined sales process.” The sales stages must be set rationally and communicated to the employees about all the necessary details. If the stages are murky with the employees having to interpret crucial terms like “qualified opportunity” then it will have negative impact on your firm’s sales and employee productivity. Further it can create confusion regarding your firm’s sales forecast.

The hallmarks of a well-defined sales process are as follows-
  •          The stages & terms of must be explicitly defined. All these determined definitions must be communicated to the firm’s sales team.
  •         Your sales stages should be in the range of 6-10. If it’s less than 6 then you may lack enough process sophistication for accurate management. If it’s more than 10 then you cannot trust what’s going on in each stage. It can become too complex & confusing.
  •         Sales process reflects the buying process. Often, sales leaders focus all their efforts towards sellers, what they’re doing and ignore the buyer (consumer) side of equation. It’s important to correlate the selling & buying processes. This ensures progress on both sides, when sales progresses a stage, the buyers also should progress or grow.
  •          Any firm which wants to adopt a more well-defined for better revenue growth & better pipeline management, it should make the buyer’s process as the starting point. If you’re able to understand the consumer’s side well enough then you will be able to reconfigure the sales process making it further aligned to consumer needs. You can use methods like customer interviews & surveys to aid your research. 

#The bottom line-

A business must have clear and well-defined sales stages which everyone understands. Each person should be able to clearly understand what goes into every stage. Without this, there is no basis for effective sales forecasting.

If you remember the key points mentioned in this article, your firm’s bottom line will reward you with greater revenue growth.

For all the entrepreneurs and executives, Indian Academy of Management (IAM) is organizing an expert seminar on "Professional Selling Skills". You will learn and master the art of effective "prospecting", "customer-centered selling" and "closing techniques" to boost your sales and revenue growth. You can visit IAM's website here and know all the details of the seminar, what it will cover and the bio-data of the expert speaker.Get your seats booked now!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The 4 Business Strategy Models Which Have Become a Corporate Fad!

The corporate arena too has its fads like fashion and entertainment industries. In the old days, manufacturing model dominated the economy. The business models kept on evolving to the present growth of knowledge-based economy model.
During the 1980s & 1990s, GE's famous rank-and-yank, Toyota's lean management & kaizen were the corporate fads along with Google's Top 20% during the last 10 years. Let’s have a look at the management fads of today!
  • Holacracy is the newest buzzword. It’s becoming a growing corporate fad most prevalent in Silicon Valley’s internet-based start-up companies. Some of the biggest firms adapting to this form of business model are consulting firms David Allen Company & Undercurrent.
  •  Holacracy is a business strategy which shuns the various top-down  hierarchies. It also eliminates designations.
  •  This business model believes in management by committees & not managers. It facilitates experimentation.
  •  Holacratic organizations as they are called are structured around specific tasks. A particular group or committee is formed which distributes tasks amongst the members. The members are responsible for the tasks given to them.

  •   Kaizen, a Japanese term for continuous improvement is still prevalent in several corporate sectors.
  • It refers to small but regular inputs to improve productivity, security, & effectiveness in business while reducing waste. Kaizen considers the inputs from the CEOs to the assembly-line workers which is very effective.
  •  It was popularized prior to World War II by the Japanese giants like Toyota and Canon. Later on American firms embraced this business model with gusto along with other countries also entering the bandwagon.
  •  The manufacturing firms globally consider Kaizen as very effective in improving work processes & quality of products. It also helps to reduce defects & accidents. Kaizen is also undertaken by many logistics & supply chain industries along with sectors of psychotherapy, coaching & healthcare.

#Lean management
  •   Some of the most popular business models like just-in-time, lean management & kaizen, all originated in Japan.
  •  Lean management traces its roots from the lobbies of Toyota where the idea was created after World War II. Hence, it’s often called as the Toyota way.
  • Lean management essentially focuses on creating value by eliminating wastage. This business model helped Toyota to reduce its wastes & improve overall customer value. It has played a significant role in the progress of Toyota, from a minor company to the world's biggest automaker! Hence, this management philosophy has garnered attention of many businesses worldwide.
  • Lean management helps to eliminate waste, deliver timely high quality products at least cost to the customers with greater efficiency. It also helps businesses to keep their workplace responsive and alert to current market trends. As a result of so many lucrative ideals, lean management today is has become the core business model of companies across Japan, US & India.

#Bottom of the pyramid (BOP)
  • Bottom of the pyramid (BOP) is a business model targeted at delivering goods & services to the poorest across the world.
  • Interestingly, when BOP originated, it was the time when the idea of BRIC was drafted to focus the world's attention on the emerging economies consisting of millions of poor.
  • BOP’s moral approach gained increasing traction across companies from West to East. Businesses started making low-cost products so that even the poorest people can benefit from their products. Today, BOP has become a buzzword for even some of the blue-blooded MNCs such as GE, Ford, Phillips & Nissan.

So which business model will you prefer for your business?

If you want to learn more deeply about various techniques for management efficiency, kindly have a look at IAM’s expert seminars. Click here to know more.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Formals to Smart Casuals- Corporate India Is Witnessing a Rapid Change

1 comment :
For the B-School grads and other executives who gave up their wardrobe of casual wears, India’s corporate culture is giving way to the smart casual wears!

Pictured below- Nadella who is Microsoft's CEO, often wears a shirt topped with a semi-formal jacket & a pair of denims for important business presentations. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg also rarely bothers about formal attires & always wears his trademark black hoodie. The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs was the one who single-handedly started the trend of wearing black St.Croix turtlenecks & denims for all his presentations thus making formal wears acceptable outfits for corporate world.

The head honchos of the corporate world in casuals!

Cleared the interview in denims!
Smart casual wears like T-shirts, branded denims & chinos are witnessing great demand. A 25-year-old management trainee, after getting a B-school degree in IIM-Lucknow, gave a job interview for Godrej. He wore a Ducati T-shirt & smart denims. And guess what? The person was hired!
Godrej expressed, “We don’t force candidates to come in stiff, formal attires.”

Formal wear prevents out-of-the box thinking?

One employee at Godrej said, "We are allowed wearing smart casuals during office hours. It displays the openness in work culture.”
Adi Godrej says, "Formal wears prevent out-of-the box thinking during certain times. This happens as the attire makes the entire setting seem formal & serious."

Being Casual-Setting a swift corporate trend
The president group HR of Mahindra & Mahindra says" Being casual aids people to be more relaxed. It promotes an environment which is not bureaucratic.”

#Casual wears are said to promote equality in business
Being Casual does not give the feeling that a certain person is more important hierarchically due to his/her style of formal attire. As a result, equality prevails. This breeds greater co-operation & equal opportunities amongst all gender & age groups.

Does this mean that casual wear segment will impact formal wear segment?

Yes, it will. Mr. Ashok Sharma, President of Indian Academy of Management (IAM) says, “Casual wear segment at present contributes to more than 50% of retailer's sales. This is up from 25% in just a few years. Also the casual wear category is growing at double the rate of formal wear category. Hence, it may affect the sales of formal wears. However, the formal wear culture won’t end. The senior management still and almost everywhere suits up for big company occasions. The sectors of banking, finance & consultancy advise wearing conservative office attires even for the young. Having said that I feel that this is unlikely to prevent the spread of casual wears like pricey tees & branded denims across India Inc's offices.”

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Proper Business Etiquette for Handshakes

A good handshake with proper business etiquette is the first attempt to make an indelible professional impact. It plays an important role in influencing an important business decision whether you’re about to strike a big deal or get a new job.

Hence, proper grip & hand position are vital handshake etiquettes along with a proper posture of your body. Read on to get some valuable business etiquette tips to give a proper handshake.

Types of handshakes to avoid during business negotiations-

Dead Fish Handshake

This is considered as a limp handshake and can be detrimental during any kind of business deals or business negotiations. It shows that the person lacks energy and enthusiasm. It gives other person the feeling of holding a dead fish rather than a person's hand. This depicts low-self esteem and no confidence at all.

The Southpaw

The other name for the Southpaw is the Lefty. This type of handshake is a strict no-no unless your right hand has been injured.
Giving a handshake with the left hand is considered uncouth in business situations. It gives an expression of disrespect in many countries.
The Denominator

This type of handshake involves the use of a downward turned palm where the person with an intention or not turns the wrist of the other person downwards. It literally says, "I am more powerful than you."

The problem with this type of handshake is that even if the person has an innocuous intention, the other person can get offended. This can affect your business deal negatively.

Hence, while you offer a handshake make sure you don’t twist the other person’s hand downwards!

Further you can learn the type of handshakes which are suitable for any type of business situations.

The types of handshakes considered perfect in the business world are-

The Appropriate Handshake

  •         Maintain a pleasant eye contact with the other person. Don't look below at the hand while you offer a shake.
  •         Give a pleasant expression-it shouldn't be stiff or show over-eagerness
  •         Close your fingers around other person's hand. Your thumb should rest to the side. Grip with a slight firm giving gentle pumps (usually two) as you raise the hand slightly up & down for a shake.
  •          Release the hand after 3-4 seconds
The Body Posture-
Stand firm and extend the right hand straight out towards the front of your body. Give a slight bent to your elbow with your thumb pointing towards the ceiling. Lean forward slightly if there's space. However, don't lean so much that your faces are uncomfortable close!

This type of handshake is considered perfect across many countries and during any kind of business situation.

The Shug

The Shug is also known as “Half shake-half hug”. This type of handshake is considered incredibly versatile and flexible. It conveys the person's masculinity with an essence of affection and openness. It's a reserved kind of handshake but truly expressive in a comfortable manner.

This type of handshake is generally good when meeting your professional colleagues and clients. However, judge whether the other person is comfortable doing it or not. If you have any slight doubts then it's better to go with the Appropriate Handshake which is convenient in all business situations.

If you want to learn more such effective business etiquette tips then register for our expert seminar on “Effective Business Etiquettes”. You can browse through the details of the seminar on IAM’s website here.