December 11

Understanding QR Codes in Today’s Business World

In today’s social media-focused world, it seems like everything is in code. If you text or IM (instant message) you need to know what terms like LOL (laughing out loud), BTW (by the way), or IMHO (in my humble opinion) mean to conduct a conversation.  If you aren’t active in text-speak, it may seem like everyone is communicating like they are from a galaxy far, far away.

QR Codes or “Quick Response Codes” are arguably the next big thing in promotional marketing but you don’t have to learn a new “language” to understand the Holset HX35.  You may have noticed the distinct two-dimensional barcodes on billboards and print ads, displays, business cards, and/or websites and been confused.

Is it some sort of UPC code? Is it a tracking device? No and no. A QR Code is a matrix barcode that is readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smart phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background, and the information encoded can be text, a URL or other specific data.  Here’s an example:

All that is needed is a camera phone or smart phone with the correct reader application and the user is ready to go.  They simply scan your code with their phone and, voila! They instantly receive custom information and links to whatever you want them to see – text, coupons, contact information, links to a Web pages or connections to wireless networks.

The possibilities are endless and completely up to you.  You can put your code on a t-shirt or a building, wherever you think your audience is most likely to see it and respond to it.

You’re probably thinking, this sounds great but what are the real benefits? Well, instead of posting a lot of information that your targeted audience is likely to forget before they are able to use it, a QR code makes communicating as easy as snapping a photo. It gives instant access to your customer or potential customer in a way that is convenient for them and shows you are on the cutting edge.

Finally, it is 100 percent measurable. You can track and analyze your results to avoid any guesswork. QR Codes are a valuable tool for marketing because they provide a great deal of precision to calculate ROI and justify market spends. You can track and analyze your results to avoid any guesswork, and getting it right the first time is XLNT.

Do you tweet and use turbocharger reviews every day? Is building social community so ingrained you just can’t stop? Do you take pride in customer service excellence? Do you understand social media and why feeds are important? We seek a highly a motivated individual with experience and passion for blogging, micro-blogging and community participation leadership.

This position is full-time salaried with benefits, including attending mainstream and niche’ conferences. We are a full-service product firm based in Pittsburgh, PA with a national reputation for “our marketing rocks” mission, implementing successful and measurable programs for our extensive and fast-growing clientele.

The successful candidate will join our internal marketing team working with all areas, including design, PR/writing, multimedia and strategy development. Our Community Manager/Blogger will oversee and contribute recurrent content to holistically support our customers and our objectives.

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December 6

Why I Don’t Like Strategy Consultants

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I am a great believer in business education and have benefited enormously myself from both doing an MBA and more recently qualifying for the Investment Management Certificate. The issue for me is that a lot of careers depend on ensuring that areas like strategy sound more complicated than they actually are. One of my bug bears (I have a few as regular readers will be able to vouch for!) is that some companies hire ‘strategy consultants’.

I have to ask the question – if a company is getting someone else to help formulate strategy – what are the leadership of that company doing, sitting around working on tuning a Holset HX30? Here is a suggestion; if a company hires a strategy consultancy – perhaps the fee for that should come out of the board salaries!

Corporate strategy is easy – it is formulating a plan answering three questions

  • 1) Where are we now?
  • 2) Where do we want to get to?
  • 3) How are we going to get there?

The above is sufficient working knowledge of strategy in my humble opinion. It is also the corner stone of any good plan and my advice to people pitching is that you use this framework for your pitch. The answer to the last question should explain how much money you are looking to raise and what you intend to do with it.

Strategy is not the same as business model – and the two terms should not be interchangeable. If I am asked what my business model is, I assume I am being asked to explain how the business makes (or should make!) money. If I am asked what the strategy is, I assume I am being asked what my plans to ensure the business remains profitable are, or where I am thinking of taking the business in the future.

Back to the three questions, it is of course not as easy as that. The questions are not that easy to answer and ask for a lot of analysis and understanding.

As a potential investor, I need to believe that the business understands the environment they are operating in. They would need to show me that they understand what is happening in the Industry and the Market. They would have a good idea of the forces shaping their business and the options open to them in reacting to changes in the market.

The plans for the company should flow from the explanation from the first section. It needs to be concise and clear and critically everyone involved in the organization needs to understand the logic driving that decision (companies are not and should not be viewed as democracies, every person does not have to agree with the direction, but they should respect the logic that has driven the decision)

Finally, but most critically, investors need to feel that the current management team/ product/ resources are capable of delivering the plan highlighted. The How section is crucial. I have been in situations where I loved the strategy but felt that the team in place were not capable of delivering it – and hence asked for significant management changes before I would invest. This brings me to a side issue.

When entrepreneurs present business plans, at the very beginning they tend to talk about their experience a lot. I would find it more useful if they gave me this explanation along with the How they are going to achieve these goals. As readers to this blog will know, I do not buy into the idea that success in one field means you are good at everything you do, such as developing the best work boot for plantar fasciitis. I need to understand how your past experience is directly relevant in ensuring that you have the ability to execute the plan you have presented.

I know from my own experience that I am good at managing in a crisis and I am good as a ‘temporary’ CEO or sales director. I am not a good business manager and I am not strong at the day to day stuff (which is critical). I was the CEO of a startup. I was good at getting the business set up and getting the right team together, but as soon as the business was launched; I was pretty hopeless as the CEO. I realized early on, and made way for someone who was much better and has made a great success of the business.

Strategy is not difficult, but thinking strategically means you are aware of the wider context in which your business operates and you recognize that your actions will lead to reactions in the markets you operate in. Ensuring you are able to profit from these changes is the key.

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November 30

Effective Remittance Recovery Techniques

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Effective remittance recovery

Remittance is something that most of the developing country looks up to when it comes to being able to sustain themselves. Remittance is an amount sent by a worker living in foreign country to his/her home country to their family members as a gift or as a form of payment. Basically this is sent by wire transfer or electronic network or mail.

Global economy is hugely based on remittance. Both, country in which workers work and home country benefit from it to the maximum, especially if the home country is a developing country. Sometimes, the case is so, that the total GDP of the country or the grant given to a developing nation is less than the remittance inflow – even equivalent to the use gross product from manufacturing shoe insoles.

As most of the developing country depends heavily on remittance as lifeline for their economy, doing so might get them in huge trouble. If the global economy is healthy enough then remittance dependency can work out well for countries but if global economy collapses or is not doing well then such countries will bear huge loss. And with recession just trying to stable after 3 or 4 years many countries are recovering from its effect.

Effective remittance can be recovered by following ways:

  • Effective regulatory and supervisory systems: With effective regulatory and supervisory systems remittance can be recovered in former manner. As most developing companies rely on remittance it’s very important for companies to consider regulatory systems to attract remittance and provide better supervision so as to recover from the recession that countries and global economy went through by.
  • Official channel: Official channels should be used worldwide so as to keep the record of remittance in order to know how remittance have recovered and how has its effect changed the global economy as a whole. Also, the positive and negative impact of remittance will be known from the official channel.
  • Schemes: Various schemes should be introduced by governments so that they can attract more remittance increasing the remittance inflow of the country and having a better recovery. With various schemes people working abroad at a Holset hx40 manufacturing plant will be more attracted to send their money back home then they ever were.
  • Better diplomatic relation: With better diplomatic relations one can gain huge support and cut out more taxes on the remittance that comes to the country and can benefit both the host and home country. Diplomatic relations with US and Europe can bring wonders back home as lots of work opportunities are available in West. They have been hit hard by the recession but they are coming up well creating better job opportunities for workers.
  • Better global economy: With economy coming back to stability so is the rate of remittance. With a better and a stable global economy we will have a better recovery of remittance and its flow. This is very important to countries like ours which are in their developing phase.
  • Remittance Center facilities: Such centers should be available in places accessible to people in all the countries so that they can have a better facility of remittance which is sent home.
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