The Concept of Strategic Management

The public sector in Bangladesh has been flourishing by leaps and bounds until 1980 where Bangladesh has preferred the trail of a market economy for expansion by pursuing its economic detection. Although carrying out successive research, Governments have geared up in such manner so that they would like to incise public expenditure radically, but they have not succeeded. For this reason that the lower middle class and the people below the poverty line are continuing to show support for most services provided by the Government. It may be mentioned here that about 60% of the total population of Bangladesh belong to this group.

Reforms and changes undertaken by the World Bank supported Sectoral Adjustment Programs have raised serious questions about the way the public services are run and how users are treated. Managers and politicians at the central level have had to rethink about the management of public sector institutions in Bangladesh. Most of the reforms and changes have been based on two main ideas: firstly reduction of public spending and secondly, the market mechanism is a good thing, if a market style of relationship is suitable, it should be introduced. In many respects the public sector is different from private sector. In public sector the activities of the Government are rarely based on the need to attract customers. Prices are not normally set to maximize profits or market shares. Investment decisions are not generally based on prospective profit. Motivation may even be different; earnings do not wholly motivate managers and workers. ” What all this means is that the values require to run the public services are different from those required to run a successful business. For example, it is rarely appropriate to withdraw from parts of the ‘market’ because they are no longer profitable. ‘Customers’ who cannot afford to pay still have entitlements, which they would not have if they were receiving service from the business. Those entitlements derive from citizenship and social policy rather than from cash.

It has been further argued by the management specialists that values of equity and justice have to play a vital role in the administration in a way that would be irrelevant to most business. 16% of total GDP is controlled by the public sector in Bangladesh. Any reduction in the size of the public sector would be a painful job for the politicians. In response to the growing demand for public accountability and improved performance, public management scholars and practitioners have been coalescing for quite some time around the theme of which have been identified by Hood as being, ‘New Public Management is the idea of a shift in emphasis from policy making to management skills, from a stress on process to a stress on output, from orderly hierarchies to an extendedly more competitive basis for providing public services, from fixed to variable pay and from a uniform and inclusive public service to variant structure with more emphasis on contract provision’ Hood.

It is argued by strategists like Joyce, Quinn and others that in the organizations of any size and complexity, it is possible to manage for result in the long or short run without a well-developed capacity for strategic management process to provide a coherent approach to establishing, attaining, monitoring and updating an agency’s agenda.

Joyce claims that strategic management can help new public services emerge. It can do this by helping to decide what should be done and how it should be done and by creating the dialogue and consensus need to make the changes. He further argues that in the absence of effective strategic management, the new public management services will still emerge, but in more haphazard way. Strategic management, when practiced well, can help to call for transformation to occur more efficiently and creatively. He further states that this is not to say that strategic management is a magic word, or that it can be continued on to work perfectly every time. It is certainly not a simple method of bringing about fundamental changes. One of the key challenges for public services management in the years ahead is to find out ways in which strategic management may be developed and applied to ensure that both performance and innovation are achieved in the interest of better public services.

Kh. Atiar Rahman is a prolific author as well as a poet who has started writing articles, poems, stories and novel from his school life. He was a brilliant student. His main theme of writing is bedded on Literature, soil, nature, science and history. He was born in the former district of Kushtia. Till now, he has written more than three thousands articles and 1200 poems. He has done his masters in English and Mathematics from National University, Dhaka and Rajshahi University. He has done his LLB degree from Dhaka University. He has obtained post graduate course in Industrial Management from Bangladesh Management Institute. He has completed the course of Cost and Management Accountants from Dhaka and Chittagong Centre respectively. He has large number of publications from National and International Media.

 

Business Planning Tips

Business plans varies with each and every individual. Some prefer technological based business, some prefer learning based business and some with entertainment based business but all together their motive is to get profits from their work.

Business ranges from large to small levels. Now- a- days promoting a business via digital marketing is very simple and its very effective for the purpose of leads generations. As said, business structure (plans, designs) completely varies to each and every business.

The one who has a plan to start a business has to travel a lot of procedural steps. Implementing the business ideas is tougher than generating the ideas. The one who is ready to start his own business must be ready to face all the pros and cons of it. The market standard get varies with each and every business, so all the investors cannot not except the same profit as like all months.

Apart from making money, carrying a business has social responsibilities too. For example, running a company includes proper employees work management, proper revenue generation, proper infrastructure and so on. Here the owner of the company should not focus only on the profits, so apart from this he has to think the about the welfare of his employees and their families. Thinking about the environmental issues is an important step in carrying a business. For example, a person owning the industry has to think of the environmental issues and recommended to use the proper safety measures which does not affect the environment.

If you have a plan to start your own business then consulting a business consultant for financial services are highly recommended. The key aspects of the best business consultancy are:

1. Marketing services

2. Financial services

3. Joint venture services

4. Infrastructure services

5. Set up analysis services

Starting up a business involves risk and difficulty. Before getting into their own business each and every individual has to do research on their business products. No business can be setup without any finance. The financial service plays a major role in setting up a business and in promoting it to an extent. Thus, having a clear vision over their work plan is safe and mandatory. The person who is ready to start their own business should have a rough estimate of how much money is needed to start their business and how much profit they can generate annually.

 

8 Tips to Help Your Business Survive and Thrive

Business survival may differ from ‘personal survival,” (there are no canned rations or underground bunkers involved) yet it is still a critical piece of our longevity. Here are eight important points to remember to help your business “survive and thrive,” even in the toughest of economic times.

Mentors are Invaluable: Connect and consult with those who have traveled the road before you, and use the resources you have available. Hiring a business coach/consultant who knows your industry is a smart idea for any business owner.

Communication is King: Uncertainty can often breed fear; so if times are tough, keep the lines of communication open with clients, team members and those connected to your business. When in doubt, talk it out.

Fire Bad Customers: This tip may seem edgy or counterproductive, but the reality is that customers who are not a good fit for your business will only drain your time, resources and mental energy. Take a hard look at overly needy, overly “frugal” or chronically slow responding customers and replace them with clients who will help your business grow.

Be Innovative: Though “innovate” may seem like an overly-used buzz word, being innovative in your business is the key to continued success. Look for opportunities to expand into new markets or partner with complimenting businesses. “If you don’t like change, you will hate extinction”- Ross Shaffer

Keep Your Chin Up: Attitude is critically important in maintaining and growing your business and brand. A positive attitude and outlook spreads throughout your team and will ultimately be transferred to your customers and clients. A bad attitude or bleak outlook will do exactly the same – but faster.

Keep Tabs on Your Market: Know your market in-and-out, and endeavor to keep tabs on industry changes or updates that could affect your business and your client base.

Manage Consistently: When times get tough in business is not the time to “put the hammer down” and micromanage staff or business expenses. Intimately knowing your monthly expenses, income and even which team members are performing well will avoid surprises and moments of panic.

Avoid Fear: Fear can be as crippling to a business as a downward turn in the economy. Understand your business’ situation at all times by keeping the lines of communication open with suppliers, peers, customers and your team. Separate what you know from what you “think” you know to avoid pushing the panic button unnecessarily.

 

Strategic Planning in the 21st Century

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face‘ – Mike Tyson.

The 21st century playing field is one of markets’ unpredictability, with a more competitive and increasingly global world, new technologies leading to rapid innovation and increased availability of information. As a result, businesses are facing increasingly complex choices about how and where to do business.

For some, this means that business strategy and strategic planning have become obsolete as market dynamics significantly change even before a company achieves its planned results. For others (including yours truly), this means that developing successful strategies has become more complex and that strategic planning today remains as critical as ever to survive and flourish.

In today’s dynamically changing world, the objectives of strategic planning remain the same but a more dynamic and adaptive approach is now needed. Strategy should become a journey made of a continuous and fluid set of activities that constantly instill a sense of realism into its implementation and ensure alignment with changed situations through either shifting a course of action or radically altering direction. This ultimately improves execution and reduces wasting resources in the pursuit of obsolete objectives.

So what should a 21st century strategic development look like?

1. As businesses recognise the unpredictability of today’s dynamically evolving markets, strategy shifts from prediction mode to experimentation mode to allow the business to learn what is ‘righter’. Companies use strategy to set a direction which then becomes the guiding context within which alternatives are evaluated and decisions are made. It is reviewed at set intervals and the direction itself might shift based on what is learnt along the way e.g. Google quarterly reviews.

2. The dissolution of competitive lines into a borderless and constantly changing environment forces companies to take a wider perspective at their business environment. Competitive intelligence becomes all-inclusive and takes a dual short-term / long-term view. Such wider perspective has allowed Corning to evolve from optical fiber, to LCD to clear curve fiber optics, for example.

3. Although predictions become less certain the further away they are made, it is important to draw the longer-term future into formulation strategy. Some elements of a business’ external environment are predictable for some years e.g. demographics, future size and make-up of the population, trends in a country’s economy or mass-market applications for new technologies. 3M’s Markets of the Future process researches megatrends as an input into defining its future markets.

4. Strategy formulation residing with the executive team with little infusion from the rest of the business no longer works. Instead, it should involve larger parts of the organisation to get better strategic insights including from the front lines. This also helps to build buy-in, create ownership and make the business more future-embracing. HCL Technologies’ similarly revamped planning process was credited when a fivefold increase in sales from an important client was achieved within over two years.

5. Build a collaborative relationship between strategy and data analytics at all levels is key to identifying relevant data that is analysed quickly so as to be able to deftly act upon it (e.g. Google and on-line advertising). The analysis is done in line with the company’s strategic goals based on what needs to be measured and defined metrics. Zara’s supply chain excellence is the result of its use of data and analytics for accurate forecasting and decision-making.

6. Sustain innovation via crowd sourced ideas captured almost in real time through advanced social media tools. Online, private communities give companies as P&G or HTC a safe sound board and launch pad where they gather new ideas from customers, test, tweak and pilot new concepts quickly inside an incubation setting.

7. Given the rate of technology convergence and evolution, companies can no longer assume all aspects of development or manufacturing themselves and have to turn to outsiders to help them design or produce their products and build a network of partners e.g. Amazon and Kindle e-book partners or individual talents e.g. Red Hat and its large network of programmers.

Developing a successful strategy in the 21st century might seem overwhelming but if done correctly and wisely, it also presents an opportunity to make smarter decisions.

 

Steps to Building a Successful Business

Building a business requires having a smart and solid strategy of how you will reach specific goals to help ensure that your business is a success. Once you have achieved a certain level of success or if your business is going through a slump, having business or financial advisors can be a boon to your business. Business advisors have usually been in their specific field of business for a number of years building their reputation and establishing successful businesses of their own.

Now strategic planning requires a lot of research and analysis of data to determine how feasible a possible venture is. Things to study and analyse include:

1. The current market atmosphere – How well are your competitors doing? Has there been an upswing or downturn in the overall market?

2. What’s your niche? What service or product are you bringing to the table that is unique or better in its offerings?

3. What ideas have worked in the past that are no longer relevant to today and what can you learn from companies that didn’t stay in touch with what the customers needs or expectations are? Learning past history and mistakes can help to prevent you from making the same mistake in the future.

4. Who is your target audience? What demographic are you trying to reach? – This is very critical as this will determine how you market to that particular audience and where a lot of resources will be spent trying to reach that core audience.

5. How will you market to your target audience? Consider how your target audience communicates and how they travel. Also, how can you make their lives more convenient? What do they care about? What matters most to them?

6. If your business is in a slump it may be time to hire a business advisor. Business advisors can identify weak areas of your business and suggest ways in which to remove those weaknesses. Think of it as trimming the fat and getting rid of areas within your business that no longer hold true to where your business is headed in the future and removing unnecessary expenses that may have been an oversight.

7. In addition to having a business advisor, having a great team around you is equally important. Choose persons that are reliable, trustworthy, and loyal towards seeing your vision come to fruition. Working with family can get complicated and I would stay away from this route. Not to say that a family business can’t survive and thrive as there are thousands that do. They do however, put a strain on family relationships and can cause irreparable damage that can last for generations.

With all my suggestions above, it will ultimately come down to the passion and drive that you have for establishing your business. In today’s society, the mentality is to earn money quickly and easily, however creating and maintaining a successful business requires; time, sacrifice, strategy, having a great team around you, and timing. The cliché saying that anything worth having isn’t easy, also rings true for starting your own business.

 

Managing Business Growth

Growth is essential to any business; if you are not growing you are losing ground to your competitors. Why is growth important to a business? Growth can bring about efficiency to your business, in some instances you will have the ability to better use your labor force. Other benefits provided by growth are the additional profits that can be used towards year over year raise in business cost such as employee wages, utilities, etc. Depending on your line of business, you may be impacted differently than a business in another industry.

There are also downsides to business growth that can make a business less profitable, and even destroy a business altogether. Rapid expansion carries the risk of making your business unmanageable, more costly, and less efficient. Depending on your business, the difference between growing 10%, and growing 25% may require you to double your labor force since you will not be able to use your existing labor force to take on this new rapid growth. In addition, all this rapid growth in your labor force may require larger working quarters, as well as additional administrative staff. Growth can also tie up cash, especially if you have to invest purchasing equipment, or have to move into larger quarters.

Hopefully you are starting to see how such a move can erode your profits. This article is not to discourage you from seeking growth for your business, I am only recommending that you do your due diligence when faced with this possibility. Rapid growth can have a tremendous impact on your business, and on the quality of your service or product. To analyze your growth capacity, consider the following:

  • Determine your idle time rate by dividing your idle time into total hours paid to your employees directly related to generating revenue.
  • Not only will idle time rate help you determine how efficiently you are using your labor force, it will also provide you with insight on how much additional growth the existing labor force can handle.
  • If it is possible for your current labor force to absorb growth, can it still be delivered with the same quality, or will the quality suffer given that your employees are expected to work harder.
  • Your business structure to support this new rapid growth plays a huge role. Determine whether you have the sufficient administrative staff, and required workspace.
  • Determine the additional capital expenditures required in relations to the growth opportunities, rapid expansion will tie-up a great amount of your capital, which can have an impact on the entire business.

Bottom line, business growth is vital, it can make your business a competitive force, efficient and profitable. The level of growth however is entirely dependent on your type of business, your labor force capacity, financial resources, and overall business structure. The slightest miscalculation can get you in trouble very quick, and drive your business to the ground.

 

Guide to Launching New Business Ideas

Have you always wanted to become your own boss? A lot of people nowadays have considered starting their own businesses because it does not only offer the financial independence that they have always wanted-it also gave them the freedom to call the shots in every aspect of the venture. Ironic to the popular notion, having a business is not really that complicated. As long as yours is supported by a sustainable, new business ideas, backed up by a great business model, and you are working at your own pace, your business is in good hands. Here are some of the things that you need to consider when putting up your business:

Should you come up with your own business from scratch, or get a franchise?
There’s always been a debate on which business type is better. Each business type has their own strength, but various researches support the assumption that having a franchise have higher success rates. It actually boils down to how you want to run your business. If you won’t get a franchise, do you already have new business ideas? If so, have you already tested the feasibility of it, and have you tried doing a little market research to test the waters?

How far are you willing to go in terms of investing in education?
The beauty of venturing in a franchise is that there is a clear-cut business plan, and you also get to learn how to go about this plan through a series of training. With the traditional way, on the other hand, you do all the research by yourself, and the studying part will also be up to you. The good thing about this is that you get to choose how much and up to what extent you want to learn.

Who are your consumers? Who are your competitors? Is there room for you?
Whether your are getting a franchise or venturing in a traditional business, it is also important to know your consumers and competitors well. This will help you streamline your business plan. The good thing about recognizing your market and who you are up against is that it lets you evaluate if there is room for you, or how aggressive should your strategy be in order for you to make room for yourself.

Before you finally say yes to launching your new business ideas, it is important that you evaluate and re-assess your skill set. Managing a business should never be about acting impulsively-it is always best if your actions are based on insights and best practices from your predecessors in the industry.

 

3 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid in Sales Conversations

Summer time is a great time for taking a step back and reflecting on life and business. And this summer has been no exception. Over the past few years I have been able to grow my business immensely and although there were a lot of factors that lead to being able to increase my business by more than 200% in 6 months there is one skill I learned that was key to being able to do that.

Do you know what it is? If you said learning to have sales conversations or as I like to call them enrollment conversations then you are right!

The cool thing about being able to have these conversations with prospects and turn them into buyers is that once you know how to do this, once you learn this skill its not something that anyone can take away from you.

I mean really, once you master this skill you will never have to worry about how you are going to buy the things you want to buy, the new car, the new house, that vacation you have been dreaming about. Whatever else it is that you want to have because it doesn’t matter if your entire database was taken away from you overnight or you lost your website, or whatever disaster may happen once you learn the skill of the conversation bringing clients in becomes easy.

Now of course, there is a bit more to this then it may seem on the surface but I wanted to share 3 mistakes that really kill your enrollment calls so you don’t make them anymore.

And don’t worry, I used to make these same mistakes too, and its okay, because making mistakes is the greatest learning tool that we have, but if you can learn from others mistakes you will be ahead a of the game, and that is my purpose of sharing these 3 mistakes with you.

1 -Not positioning yourself as the expert, believe it or not there is a science to positioning yourself at the onset of these calls. If you don’t you risk not earning the prospects trust and usually their business too. Its easy to position yourself as the expert you truly are, and all it stems from asking the right questions.

2 – Focusing solely on you or your product/service. The enrollment conversation is not so much about you and your service as it is about your prospect. The idea of the conversation is to get the prospect talking about his/her problem, this way you can figure out how you can help them solve their problem. Stop worrying about how you are going to pitch your product and start asking engaging questions to uncover the problems they are facing. Then if appropriate offer a solution to the problem.

3 – Not having a proven system or template to follow during the sales/enrollment conversation. Yes, there is a system that you need to follow in order to truly understand what the prospect wants and needs. You want to lead them through the conversation that honors them and you and allows you to uncover any hidden problems and bring them to their attention.

The cool thing is that I have developed a 7 step system that I use to enroll new clients time and time again. This very system has allowed me to generate new business of $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 even $120,000 worth of new business each month.

You can do it too, just check out my simple 7-step system to easily enroll clients in your biz too! Click here to discover the 3 mistakes to avoid in your business.

Kim is masterful at seeing holes and where you’re leaving money on the table in your biz. She’s a storehouse of information and knows what works and doesn’t with more than a decade of experience and brings a unique combination of experience and insight, with systems, marketing skills and a deep understanding of the mechanics of business on and offline.

 

Testing Your Strategy With Your Customers

How can you be certain your strategy was successful?

Why not ask your customers? This may seem to be fairly obvious but in reality we find that it’s among the last things we do. Many of us invest a huge amount of time taking a look at how well we execute our internal processes or how efficiently we control projects to completion. Nearly all our key performance indicators (KPIs) relate to immediate and ongoing expenses of the organization, income, sales, internal budgets and very little effort is put in talking to our clients to see what they think or how they experience us.

Why is this? There are many reasons. In lots of smaller organisations or younger companies, dealing with a customer or end-user of a product might be scary. We are naturally anxious that the client may not like the service or product and we simply do not want to listen to bad news. In large organisation most people employed by the company are one, two or three steps removed from the client and don’t believe it is their job. For people who have been assigned to communicate with customers, they view it as a task to be completed as opposed to a relationship to be created and maintained. In many organizations the only place where a client relationship is built is within sales. Unfortunately, sales tend not to be the place where we develop trusting relationships.

Conversing with customers is not basically about a feedback survey. Nevertheless, this may be a very good place to begin. The error many organisations make is to turn a ‘Customer Satisfaction Survey’ into a large yearly event containing reams of questions focused on themselves as opposed to the client. Typically we might see questions such as “Which from the following services do you consider you may purchase in the next 12 months?”

The answer to this question might prove to be useful if answered, but will the customer really want to focus on this? Surely not, they are a lot more interested in the products or services they have today. A customer satisfaction review is not really about doing market research; it’s about obtaining feedback, checking they are pleased and fixing anything that is causing them to be dissatisfied.

How does this assist with determine if a strategy is doing well? Because happy clients = a great strategy.

If you have happy customers, then you know you’re going in the right direction (clearly you need profitable customers as well, but that is a subject for another time). ‘Going in the right direction’ is more about solutions to general questions of well-being. A great set of customer satisfaction survey questions will be the ones that place you in your customer’s shoes. They should be very simple, not requiring too much thought to answer and relate to their experiences in working with your organisation.

Here are five questions that work well:

1. How easy was it to buy from us?

Generally speaking this works best for consumer retailers, however it is also useful to those organisations that sell in higher quantities. The consumer check-out ought to be quick and easy, many sales are dropped due to the fact customers couldn’t be bothered to wait or the shopping process was difficult.

2. Did your purchase give you what you wanted?

This will immediately tell you when you have met expectations with the sale. You will need to align your sales procedure and marketing to the items/services you’re selling.

3. How well did we understand what you wanted?

This is one of the most important questions you could ask, especially for those organisations that are intimately involved with a purchase and follow-on service. In addition to requesting a rating 1-10, opportunity ought to be provided for the customer to comment.

4. How well did we communicate?

Another hugely important question, especially when combined with the previous one. Customers who believe you recognize their needs and that you communicate effectively will frequently forgive you readily when things don’t go to plan

5. How likely is it that you would recommend us?

This might be the most crucial question of all. It is this kind of easy question for a client to answer and underneath it is wholly aligned with their expectation, experience and needs. Not only does it promote your reputation if the response is favourable, additionally, it builds your customer’s reputation as someone ‘in-the-know’ when they recommend you.

These questions might not provide you with the detail you require to ensure your strategy is on the right track, however they will provide you with a great sense as to whether or not you’re going in the right direction.

Eliciting customer feedback is not a one-off practice; it is something which must be done repeatedly but in a sensitive non-intrusive way. Work on the premise that a few questions have to be asked frequently and that you close the loop by providing responses immediately and you will probably not go far wrong.