Doing business the Indian way

The Indian industry is slowly realizing that to succeed, a business needs to employ “local” tactics and techniques rather than emulating a Western practice. You have to understand and accept that India is a different market and to do well here you need to think like an Indian and deliver what this market needs.

I had this wonderful experience that set me thinking last weekend when my husband and I set out for Commercial Street, Bangalore. For reasons that all Bangaloreans are intimately familiar with, we decided to take an auto rickshaw from MG Road to Commercial Street. We found one willing to transport us albeit with a caveat.
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Making market research count

Want to validate your new idea in the market and test its viability? Or you already have a product in the market but are not seeing the expected results? Else your product is present in a few markets and you want to expand its reach further? These are questions for which a business needs to find answers to from time to time. And market research offers a reliable way to understand the market and plan your next steps.
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When not to initiate market research

Many words have been written on why a company should initiate a market study exercise. But what is equally important is knowing when not to initiate such an exercise. Here are 3 key considerations –

a. Timelines: If you do not have too much time for a detailed study, the best idea is not to get into it. Many times, we have seen companies get into a market study with very aggressive timelines. There is pressure on the data collection and analysis phases leaving scope for errors, missed opportunities etc. In cases where there is little time, it is best to go with secondary information, insights from people in the field, and talking to industry experts/analysts.
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5 questions you need to ask yourself to be successful in business

The business climate today is tough – no two ways about it. What was taken for granted a few years back is no longer valid and companies have to expend a good amount of effort to retain existing business, grow and remain profitable.

What has triggered this change ? The usual reasons are applicable here too – tighter global market leading to increased pressures on margins and hence budgets. Plus business functions are being expected to demonstrate value to the business at every stage which was not such a common ask earlier. And this is not restricted to only the biggies – we are seeing an increasing number of smaller companies adopting rigorous metrics too. All for the good I guess!

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Market Strategy is not an exercise only for the big boys

It’s that time of the year when many companies are in their planning mode preparing for the next fiscal year. This involves zeroing in on the markets to address, the offerings to take to market and from there arriving at a target to pursue. Once this target is finalized for the different business segments, it is broken down into segmental plans, which leads to marketing plans.

This is an involved and significant exercise in larger companies occupying strategy and marketing teams for a few weeks. Obviously, the targets are huge and a considered approach is needed before fixing them.

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Behold the power of analytics

Connect the dots

Do you get your kicks out of smart or intelligent products or services? I for one find them fascinating and get thrilled when or recommends items that I’m likely to be interested in based on my previous purchases or when my Android phone keeps track of the flight I need to take. I find such information convenient whereas an Amazon ad featuring a book I searched for on their site, popping up on a news portal is downright annoying. The key is to be non-intrusive and give the user the impression that they are in control. An in—your-face approach will not work.

I came across two companies with very smart ideas and the outcomes are value-adding. The companies operate  in different spaces and have used analytics in entirely different ways to grow their business.
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A startup nation – the new kid on the block

Ideas are buzzing and start-ups are abounding – India today has over 4200 startups. Consider this significant statistic – the year 2015 saw $9 billion infused into startups, which is the same as what was invested during the entire period between 2010-2014. Clearly, India is riding high on startup fever and the ball has been set rolling. We will see many dramas, bloodbaths, tragedies, flops and happy endings every year. If you think you have a great idea that you want to take to market, do consider these points before you take the plunge – it can save you some tense moments. As Guy Kawasaki, the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist rightly said, “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.”

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Its never too late to ‘intern’​!

As I watched Robert De Niro spout insight after insight as an ‘intern’ to a stressed-out CEO (played by Anne Hathaway) on HBO recently, two thoughts struck me: one, do all young entrepreneurs go through the same state of mind? Two, it is astonishing what a readily deployable talent pool is available in the form of experienced older men and women!

The focus of this piece is on the vast pool of experienced men and women who have opted out of the employment system for various reasons. My point of view is that many of these would be willing to come back and share their experience with today’s professionals, given the right opportunity.

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