Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Great Ideas For Entrepreneurs

Updated: February 27, 2010 1:56 pm

One hundred one ideas to boost business in simple and creative way have come from the writer who has the blend of Gujarati entrepreneurship with the professional approach coming from his rich experience in some very important undertakings. He has covered eight business-related topics in his one hundred one ideas. The first part deals with the product which is the life line of a business. The journey to commercial success starts with the selection of right product, which he should observe from the customer’s point of view. He should satisfy himself either by using the product himself or by offering and asking the employees, business associates, friends or relatives to use it and give their frank opinion on its utility and quality. He should also ensure whether his present range is enough to cover all types of customers. He should expand his product range with new models, sizes, etc., as it will give him an edge over his competitors. Simultaneously, he should keep adding value to his product or service which will tempt the customers to opt for it against the competitors’ products. The writer advises the producer to develop a product that can be offered at a price best suited to the mass market consumers with concentration on functional use and should encash an upper-end market. He should constantly study the changing market trend, customer demand and the advent of competition, otherwise he may lose out to competitors’ products. Process of adding, removing and

reviving products of a range at regular intervals should always continue and he should also make persistent efforts to find new applications for his product. Touching upon the branding of the product, he suggests that brand name—catchy and simple, easily pronounceable and easy to remember—will be more acceptable to customers. Building a strong brand image for the product or service is equally important. He should strike a balance between the cost and the value of the product. Diversification is another important aspect to be borne in mind in the present growing competitive economy.

After product, customer satisfaction is another important aspect the businessman should look into. He should study the psychology of the consumers of the product and should match its value with either a low price or a better quality or a better service, the customer is looking for. Not only customer satisfaction but customer delight should be his motto. He should respect his customers and value them. To grow in a highly competitive economy, one should always expand his customer’s base and persistent efforts should be made to retain old customers. Loyal customers should be rewarded either in form of some gifts or a public announcement or develop personal relations with them. The writer makes a significant point in this respect stating that the businessman should have the ability and the caliber to elicit his customer’s faith in whatever you say or promise to him. The writer suggests that one should have some prestigious customers in his list as association with these clients speaks a lot about the product, service and dealings. Ensuring customer loyalty is an effective tool to face competition from anonymous cheap rivals. A very pertinent advice comes from the writer reminding that the world is changing very fast and if one does not keep pace with the changing business scenario, he is bound to be doomed.

Competition is another important challenge that a business venture has to ward off. In this age of liberalised economy, it is hazardous to business venture and a blessing to consumer. It is a way of life in business today and is here to stay and the commercial undertakings have to learn to live with it. One should study his competitors minutely and decide on strategy as to how to beat it. The writer advises the new entrants to move towards smaller markets especially rural areas. Competitors should not be treated as enemies but as rivals. Sometimes, one has to extend his hands for mutual cooperation forgetting the rivalry against them. The writer suggests that whenever the businessman is competing with giants, one should look for a novel idea–in product, promotion, distribution, selling, pricing, etc. As an effective step to fight fierce competition amongst manufacturers, the idea of performance guarantee should be looked into. It is a promise made to consumers to re-imburse an amount as pre-agreed if the unit does not perform as claimed by the company.

After dealing with product, consumer and competition, the writer has dealt with the three most important elements of marketing mix, i.e. price, promotion and distribution, as they play a key role in deciding the overall business strategy. The product should be priced judiciously so as to convince the customers that it is worth paying for. It has to be fixed according to market expectations and consumer demand. It should be able to create impression that the product is not as expensive as it sounds. He suggests that in case of competition, over-pricing, instead of lowering the price to attract the customers, something extra be offered in the product to enable the manufacturer to get the competitive edge. The writer cautions against giving blind credit facility without scrutinising the creditworthiness of the party as it may prove suicidal. For promotion, advertising should be treated as an investment and not an expenditure. Along with improving the product image, company’s image should also be enhanced. Companies sponsoring sports, social events, charities for the benefit of the society etc., are all directed towards enhancing the image of the company. The overall business potential can also be improved by promoting the industry as a whole. Along with these two, efficient distribution channels in the form of wholesalers and retailers should also be developed to enable the product to reach the consumer’s doorsteps. A good marketing channel is helpful in expanding the geographical range also.

After dealing with the different elements of marketing mix, in the fifth part, the writer deals with the administrative and management aspect of the business venture concerned. Delegation of Authority along with responsibility is one area which requires serious consideration. It is a necessity in an expanding business to improve its efficiency. The company’s culture defining its basic philosophy underlining its goals and objectives has to be developed. He desires the management to develop performance-based work culture in the staff; a pleasant environment has to be created at the workplace. The organisation should be strengthened, human capital should be developed, its productivity should be improved and the input cost be reduced. The administrative set-up should be restructured to meet the changing demands. Technology should be upgraded and a constant watch be kept on the performance of its employees. The management has to be inventive as well as innovative and should respect its stakeholders and value their contribution.

The next part covers the ideas which help a businessman to expand his business through different options. It opens up one’s vision and helps him look at the horizon for various business opportunities he can grab. In the next part of the book, the writer has put forth some unique ideas which can help build up one’s business. These ideas directly relate to the business owner as they are do’s and dont’s for him.

Finally, the writer concludes with emphasis on action. Planning and strategy are all necessary but ultimately it is the action that brings results. He cautions a businessman to take each step carefully, watch the results and then proceed further. The entrepreneur should take stock of the infrastructure before planning his strategy; develop a business plan and execute it effectively. He should keep a constant vigil on its progress and review the performance periodically and keep updating his goals with every milestone he achieves.

By Prof KD Sharma

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