The need for Entrepreneurship Education

Posted by on Sep 4, 2011 in Business, EPM World, Marketing, Branding, Self-employment, Start-up business | 0 comments

In my earliest posting I have cited several contributing factors to become a successful entrepreneur.

While starting a business is one side of a coin the other side is running it successfully duly strengthening the confidence of all stakeholders.  The top three problems faced by start-up entrepreneurs are mostly (a) marketing, (b) management and (c) working capital.  However, majority of entrepreneurs point their failure towards deficient financial resources or short working capital.  The creeping fact indeed would be mostly the failure in marketing.  Poor marketing and sales would create a vicious circle where poor sales results in piling stock in the warehouse, which in turn would make a dent on working capital leading to management confusion.

A good percentage of start-ups are initiated by first generation entrepreneurs who lack the knowledge or experience in the business processes or functional priorities in business.  Many don’t follow the business setup processes like:

  • Opportunity/Idea research: If not done it would result in inappropriate, unviable or bad business selection.  This would lead to obvious failure at the end.
  • Feasibility Study: If not done it could result in incorrect product / service selection for the target market, improper sales projections, wrong or deficient strategies to face competition and more.  The end result would obviously be either product failure or market failure.
  • Detailed Project Report / Business Plan: If not done it will not let you know the sequence of processes, actions required in the end-to-end implementation of project and the planning & strategy required to conduct business operations.  Besides, these documents would be highly essential in securing business loans, availing government support with respect to loans, and subsidies.  DPR and Business Plan are the mirror to the business / project and an entrepreneur should invariably get the same done and imbibe the contents for right implementation.  The documents should never be considered as a record alone if a true and transparent success in the project / business is to be achieved.
  • Project Management: This is related to the setting up of business or executing the project in a structured, disciplined, transparent and an accountable manner.  Project Management is important because if you don’t manage project effectively, you will find yourself at the negative end of the road.  The saying goes very clearly that when you don’t plan, you plan to fail.
  • Marketing Strategy: The sin in business is allowing the produce to remain in the warehouse than pushing it into the market.  How is it possible to market a product without right strategy that could tell you the means, resources, methods, and schedules to market your produce?  Hence, marketing strategy is highly essential for the very viability of business.
  • Financial Management: Financial resources i.e. money is every thing in the business.  Inadequate money or improper financial management will result in several failures.  This is especially difficult where the business procures secured or unsecured business loans which will need servicing of loan on time for peaceful running of business.  Many businesses will again misjudge the spending on CAPEX and Working Capital.  Going beyond the budgetary allocation for procurement of capital goods or high spending with poor negotiation power will result in drain of budgetary resources.  The effect would be a strain on working capital.
  • Induction of human resources and expertise: Team is everything.  Induction of quality team depends on right job description and right recruitment processes.  This plays a pivot role especially in the matter of senior management personnel.  This would always need professional consulting services and business should not go for just known resources or cheap resources to save money.
  • Communication management: This could be resolved through professional management processes and should not be ignored.  Right communication and interactions would create brand identity and corporate identity in the organization pervading transparency across the enterprise.
  • Collaborations & Partnership: Identification of partners who can complement the business abilities and requirements, proper negotiation of terms, clean exit plan and assessment of ROI on partnership are most important aspects which could be done only through right understanding of market.
  • Stakeholder Management, CRM: If the aspirations and expectations of stakeholders are not properly analyzed and right customer support system and Customer Relationship Management is not in place, it would result in customer dis-satisfaction and business erosion.
  • Return on Investment: Business should be directly related to the Return On Investment.  Having cash flow for some reasons may at times make you believe that business is doing well.  Professional assessment of return on investment is an important process and business must know the short-term and long-term returns to be received and investment recovery time lines in order to drive the business in right direction.

Several SSI and SME firms have a bad notion that businesses would not need such a strict rules to follow documentation or detailed processes as above.  That is the very cause of business failure.  Process and process quality is inevitable for business success.  There is no thing called ‘small’ or ‘big’ in the matter of ‘success’ or ‘failure’.  Both would have same bearing and would have same background in all likelihood.

The situation calls for professional education for entrepreneurs before they start their business.  Interested individuals can contact us for Start-up education or start-up services at any stage of their business progress.

http://www.blog.epmworld.in

http://www.twitter.com/epmworld_edc

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Startup entrepreneurs – Important considerations

Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in Business, EPM World | 1 comment

It is highly commendable to find people who are exploring and working to achieve self-employment.  In fact, I have commenced this blog primarily to help such people through my experience as an employee and an entrepreneur during the last 25 years .  You may look at a couple of my other postings in this blog where I had spoken  on the approaches, considerations, and requirements an individual should weigh before investing on a first start-up.

An entrepreneur should analyze the following aspects without a bias to his business idea.  In order to achieve success in his venture, an entrepreneur should always think and act like a chef who cook food to match the tastes of his customers and a film director who direct movies to suit the expectations of his audience.

Strengths: Know your strengths, be it professional or personal.  Professional strength could be working experience, business experience as a partner earlier, or relevant subject matter expertise.  Personal strengths could be as discussed in my earlier posting.
Weaknesses:  The most important weakness to overcome in business would be anger and emotional approach.  Could be negative emotions or positive emotions.  Our weaknesses should never underestimate the value of our stakeholders or hurt their genuine feelings.
Failures: Review the various contexts where you feel you have failed in your attempts.   Note down the lessons learned from such incidents.  This should help you to not to repeat the same in future or determine whether to go ahead or not with the present effort.
Achievement: Very obviously, you should review this to understand why and how you have succeeded earlier.  The formula could always be repeated wherever it is relevant in the proposed venture.
Time: You may be every thing to go ahead with your plan.  But if you don’t have time to devote on the proposed business, there is no point of making a start.  Your business demand your time, your team need your time.  You need time to control your business.
Awareness: How much conversant are you with your proposed business? Its relevance, market share, competition, returns, future, and gestation period.  You have many more issues to take into consideration with the help of Consultant(s) before you commence your journey.
Plan: A must for business.  Otherwise, how will you know what do you want to achieve?  When do you like to achieve?  How do you plan to achieve?
Promise: What is your promise to your stakeholders?  This will act as a reminder to you and to your team towards achieving the Vision and Goals.
Stakeholders: Customers, suppliers, vendors, public, team and whoever is related with your business.  Society is one of the important stakeholder in every business.  You can define your business according to the demands, gaps, culture, economic patterns and other relevant aspirations of your stakeholders.  Business survival is always the decision of stakeholders who are the oxygen to it.
Technology: Explore the technology tools, applications and means that can help your business.  Your business may need specific software applications besides the common requirements like web presence, online marketing tools, ERP application, and analytics.
Team: Your success is your team’s effort.  Identify and evaluate the core team who will supplement your efforts.  This is pivotal for the entire business.
Network strength: Business contacts, personal contacts, and professional contacts that could help you in your decision.
Family support: Your time is always your family time too.  For a wholesome success, you need your family’s support.  Understand their preparedness and feelings before you embark on to your venture.
Tolerance: Means patience to achieve results.  Business is never a magic.  You need to support your entire business at times at the cost of your salary even.  Have enough financial backup to support your personal and family needs till you achieve your projected receipts.  You should have very practical and even pessimistic estimates initially which will increase your tolerance level to see the results.

The above are not exclusive.  Business success is not a luck factor always.  We should await our luck while doing our job.

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Essential qualities to be a successful entrepreneur

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Business, EPM World | 0 comments

Are there specific qualities attributed to an entrepreneur?  Yes, to a large extent.  Every individual who is successful in his life can’t make a successful entrepreneur whereas an individual who is yet to create a success mark in his life may achieve big in his business venture.

Following are some of the essential qualities and traits that help an entrepreneur successful in his venture.

At a personal level and as an individual he should be a:

  • Dreamer:  Should dream about the big picture to become an established entrepreneur, creator of employment, if possible creator of a change through his innovation.   Whether he goes walking to achieve it or goes leaping, it is all contextual and situational.  He may approach either way.  But without the dream for a big picture he will not be able to scale-up his activity and end up in smaller returns.  His dreams should always surround on the common benefits to his stakeholders without being self-centered.
  • Committed: This is the foremost trait that makes him achieve things without being defocused or deviated.
  • Leader: Should be able to lead people, understand the means to achieve collective productivity, and achieve collective growth.  Should believe in empowerment and accord individual freedom to the team who are rightly identified and aligned to the cause of the organization.  As a leader it would be his first responsibility to reach to the core issues of his team with clarity and without holding any inhibitions.  I call my team as Human Intellect to denote the value they extend to the venture.  For me, they are not Human Resources or Human Capital.
  • Hardworking: Devoting focused mind and time to the needs of business.  It could be coordination, review, CRM, performance measurement or any day-to-day activities, he should not go procrastinating things.
  • Sincere: His expressions, his admissions, his assurances and his promises to stakeholders should be made with sincere mind followed by the required actions.
  • Honest: This helps him in reaching right message to his team and other stakeholders without leaving higher aspirations or expectations.
  • Integrate:  Integrity is an all-time requirement.  This is the foundation to achieve stakeholders’ acceptance.

To be relevant to his entrepreneurship, he should be:

  • A Visionary: Visionary is the person who is able to see virtually what he is going to do, where he is going to reach in his business.  He could envision to be a change maker to a key player in his chosen business area or so.  He is like a talented movie director who will have the imaginary view of his picture before he make it.
  • Passionate: This will act like an accelerator when he slows down or when things look otherwise.  He should ensure that he keeps his passion and temperament at required levels to run the show smooth.
  • Ethical: Helps him in receiving continuing and compounding acceptance in the market.
  • Innovator:  Not a replicator or imitator.  Innovation could be a for a new product, a new approach, a new strategy, a new presentation of his business.  It is just a new way of attracting customers.  Not that he should always be an Einstein.
  • Planned: This is must as he will not know as to how he could reach his short-term and long-term goals to make his dreams real or achieve envisioned growth and goal.
  • Comprehensive: Without being detailed it is not possible to have a right approach.  It is always dangerous to stride into unknown paths without holding a map and with just knowing one straight route.  Without being detailed he will not be able to comprehend the way out, should he get stuck somewhere in his business plan.
  • Attentive: To his people, stakeholders, operations, performance, goals, growth, profits, and his personal growth.  Comprehensiveness without being attentive later for required review, correction and monitoring will not help him in true sense.
  • Team oriented: This goes without saying that he should view every thing from his teams’ perspective before he reach his other stakeholders.  Not that he listens them without caring his goals.  He should motivate them, empower them, align them, and let them enjoy the fruits of growth.  He should be emotional, empathetic and realistic in managing the team for collective productivity and common goal.
  • Collaborative: The world itself is a collaborative entity. No single entrepreneur will be able to do every thing on his own.  He should never feel about loosing control of his business through collaborations.  Strategic alignment of collaborations will help achieve the growth sooner than envisaged.  Collaboration could be in the areas of technical expertise, marketing, branding, team sharing, research sharing or expansion to new markets and so..
  • Service conscious:  There is no business where there is no effective service delivery.  This is the core thing to sustain and grow.
  • Quality conscious: There is no point of reaching customer where we can’t deliver the quality at first instance.  Quality should be the core of product, service or whatever business we are engaged in.  Quality compromise leads to every other failures in course of time.
  • Sportive: To the feed back, to the feelings of team, stakeholders and to the market dynamics.  Nothing and never is addressed some thing personal to an entrepreneur unless he goes himself unethical in his approach.
  • Resilient: To every thing even to failure.  Why?  Without this you will be left with only an exit path at times.  Temporary setbacks are common in business, market recession, aggressive competition, product failure, team related issues, insufficient cash flows ….. many more things including the personal problems.  Unless an entrepreneur reminds himself his Dream and Vision, he would not be able to address the temporary setbacks.  There is no business that doesn’t suffer setbacks.  This is a very common phenomena.
  • Professional: In every aspect.  In his approach, communication, systems, processes, service delivery, customer support.  Being professional is just meeting the required elements in every context with transparency, speed, commitment, and integrity.
  • Social: Man is a social animal.  Entrepreneur is a socially wild-animal. He should be more visible.  He should be more reachable.  He should be more vigorous in creating his network, maintaining his network and satisfying his stakeholders not as an entrepreneur but like a friendly family member.
  • Flexible to change: Could be any change.  Technology, product portfolio, role, marketing…. Should be decisive in accepting and implementing the change.  Otherwise an important change that occurs late will not bring in envisaged results.
  • Welfare: Ensure proper growth prospects, welfare and well-being of employees.  I personally prefer even to consider or counsel the employees about their post-exit sustenance wherever relevant.
  • Empathetic, Philanthropic: An entrepreneur should integrally indicate his reciprocal approach to the society.  It is a give-and-take policy.  When you sustain on the society’s patronage, extend some thing back to the society out of what you achieve.

It is definitely possible that I have left certain aspects.  Because as per me entrepreneurship is a lifetime effort.  One must not take-up it with the motive ‘just profit-at-any-cost’.  It is just unacceptable to the society.

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Growing entrepreneur spirit

Posted by on Dec 30, 2010 in EPM World, Expressions, Self-employment, Uncategorized | 2 comments

During this year, I have interacted with several people who were keen to embark on to some business.  To talk in numbers may be more than 100.  The common factor I found in the aspirants had been to (a) to start a new business which doesn’t exist at all (b) to start a business which has zerooooooooo risk (c) to invest the least money around INR 50K to sizable investment crossing crores.

Without going in to the investment capacity of individuals, feasibility of any venture even with small investments, and their perceptions indicated above, I find the very thought and spirit to engage oneself in self-employment is very encouraging.  This is where the responsibility of consultants, mentors, government, banks, NGOs or any such entity comes into reckoning.  It is quite possible we can find real sparks in some of the aspirants.  Employment generation as we know is the panacea for all ills in the society.  Keeping this in mind I believe it is highly essential to encourage such individual aspirants to stand on their own and contribute to the Indian economy.

The Government of India has schemes like Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) http://www.pmegp.in, Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises http://www.cgtmse.com.  Under these schemes an aspirant entrepreneur could avail security free credit facility to new ventures from INR 5.00 lakhs to INR 1.00 crore.

My resolution this year is to guide all such individuals to exploit the government support and achieve their pursuits.

I wish every one a very Happy New Year 2011.

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About me

Posted by on Apr 3, 2010 in | 24 comments

Bh V Ramana

Promoter Profile:

It is imperative that the promoter profile of any business consulting firm match the offered service range in order to design, deploy or monitor quality deliverables to its clients.  I come with a working experience of 26 years spanning Private and Public sector enterprises.  I am versatile in several industry sectors like Energy & Utilities, Information Technology, Professional Services, and Manufacturing.  I believe, every project and every business pertaining to any sector could be successfully handled once a right approach is identified through due research.  Thus, today I am comfortable in handling any project from any industry sector supported by supplementary subject matter expertise.

Writing is my hobby.  I like discussing matters of social justice.  I like future thinking without restricting to the short-term survival.  Entrepreneurship Development is my favorite subject.  Because, through entrepreneurship, we can energize the youth, energize the economy, create more wealth and eliminate dependency on government sponsored employment.  Entrepreneurship is the best answer for millions of sparkling ideas virtually incubated by our younger generation in colleges, campuses and in the farm field.

Except for the policy provisions, every posting on this blog is written by me.  I intend to post on every aspect of business management.  The main objective of this blog is to help start-ups in their journey.  This will evolve as a business guide and as a virtual business consultant in course of time.

I would be happy to contribute my knowledge on any of the following aspects for a Seminar, Training, Conference, knowledge sharing, Project guidance, mentoring, authoring or Consulting services.  My areas of expertise:

  • Corporate Strategy, Planning, Vision & Mission realization
  • Approach for excellence in Business operations
  • Stakeholder relationship management
  • Social Media Marketing for business development
  • Corporate Online Content Management
  • Business model development for expansion
  • Strategic collaborations to attain swift growth
  • Understanding effective Service delivery system
  • Policy & process development
  • Resource development
  • Corporate Strategy & Planning
  • Project Finance Appraisal
  • Enterprise Application Infrastructure
  • Learning & Development
  • Online Branding and Reputation Management
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Project Design
  • Entrepreneurship Development
  • Role of spirituality in our sustenance
  • Being a human being

I can be reached at:

ram@epmworld.in

http://www.blog.epmworld.in

http://www.twitter.com/EPMWORLD_HYD

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