The Academy

Searching The Academy Repository


Title: Subtitle: Content:

S/N Published Title Subtitle Content View
1 19-Aug-2017 Pricing Secrets You Must Know
Price may not be the basis of your corporate strategy, but you must have a pricing strategy to implement your corporate strategy. Remember that pricing strategies are big-picture decisions that provide guidance to the people within your organization who actually set prices. 
They are your pricing processes and policies. When you ask a marketer "What are some pricing strategies?" You will likely get the answer that there are three pricing strategies:

- Neutral, Penetration and Skimming

A better way to look at this is that these are pricing strategies to define the general level of prices.

Neutral Pricing

Neutral pricing, the most common pricing strategy, means that you price so that your customers are relatively indifferent between your product and your competitor's product after all features and benefits, including price, are taken into account. Of course not all customers will be indifferent. Some will like your offering better, others will like your competitor's better. From this perspective, think of neutral pricing as maintaining the status quo. You aren't trying to gain or lose market share.
Most pricing in relatively stable markets would be considered neutral. As you walk through a grocery store, the prices you see are neutral. Although you may use a combination of neutral, penetration, and skimming prices, you will most often use neutral.

Penetration Pricing

Penetration pricing means pricing more aggressively than neutral. It can be used to gain market share relative to your competition -- but be careful. For instance, Bimbo – the neighbourhood supermarket may price her noodles for N80 while Musa at the kiosk up the road sells his for N70 just to capture market share. 
This can and does start price wars. No company wants to lose market share, and if you lower your price in an effort to gain market share, your competitors are likely to lower their prices just to keep their share. A more appropriate and common use of penetration pricing is to speed up the growth of a newly forming market. 
Low pricing is often justified to quickly grow a new market and to gain the largest share as the market grows. This strategy works best when you are the first entrant, or one of the first entrants, into a market. Penetration pricing in this situation may also deter other companies from competing when they recognize there are not huge profits to be gained.

Forward Pricing

Forward pricing is another term similar to penetration pricing, but with a focus on future costs. If you're building a product and it costs N100 to make, you probably don't want to sell it for less than N100.
However, if you know that once you sell a million units, your costs will go down to N30, you may be willing to sell at a price lower than your current costs knowing that your costs will be lower in the future. The forward part of the name indicates you're looking forward in time to estimate what your costs will be and using that cost as your basis for pricing.

Skimming

Skimming is the opposite of penetration pricing. Companies skim in an effort to segment the market, to get the customers who are willing to pay more to do so. The two common implementations of skimming are at new product launch and at the end of a product's life. When companies skim during new product launch, they are selling to customers with a high willingness to pay. Once this market is depleted (or at least slows down), the company lowers the price to sell to the next tier of customers. Skimming, as a market entry strategy only works when you have a monopolistic position. The other common use of skimming is at a product's end of life. Sometimes firms would like to discontinue a product but have too many customers who have a continuing need for it. In this situation, the company may gradually increase prices over market value to gain more revenue from these customers. The firm is trading off being able to compete for new business for additional revenue on existing business. One big caution is that customers, especially loyal customers like these, don't like to have their prices raised. You must have a good explanation and possibly an alternative offering. It should be apparent that these three strategies follow specific corporate objectives. If a corporate objective is to raise ASP (average selling price), then skimming may be appropriate. If a corporate objective is to win market share, then penetration pricing is needed. If the corporate strategy is to generate and capture value, then neutral pricing would be appropriate.

Value-Based Pricing

Value-based pricing, another pricing strategy, is the most important. The idea seems simple. How much is your customer willing to pay? Set the price at or just below that point. However, the implementation and usage of value-based pricing is much more complex. Throughout business history, firms traditionally used the cost-plus method of determining prices. They determined how much their product cost to make and then added whatever margin they thought they deserved. Hence, the term ‘cost-plus’. Cost-plus pricing has some advantages: It's simple, you do have to understand your customers, and it's easy for you and your competitors to get in sync. However, cost-plus is not optimal pricing. You have to make a strategic pricing decision. Are you going to use cost-plus pricing or value-based pricing (or some other method)? If you want to increase profits, you will commit to using value-based pricing. As you learn more about value-based pricing, you'll learn that it's impossible to implement perfectly. After all, our customers never tell us exactly how much they're willing to pay. However, value-based pricing is accepted by pricing professionals and consultants as the optimal pricing strategy.

Sourced from entrepreneurs.com, slightly modified
2 12-Aug-2017 Understanding Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the process of carefully managing detailed information about individual customers and all customer “touch points” to maximize loyalty. A customer touch point is any occasion on which a customer encounters the brand and product from actual experience to personal or mass communication to casual observation. For a hotel, the touch points include reservations, check-in and checkout, frequent-stay programs, room service, business services, exercise facilities, laundry service, restaurants, and bars. Several five star hotels rely on personal touches such as a staff that always addresses guests by name, high powered employees who understand the needs of sophisticated business travellers, and at least one best-in-region facility, such as a premier restaurant or spa. CRM enables companies to provide excellent real-time customer service through the effective use of individual account information. Based on what they know about each valued customer, companies can customize market offerings, services, programs, messages, and media. CRM is important because a major driver of company profitability is the aggregate value of the company’s customer base.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the modern day business world requires   a business computer system for managing its interactions with its customers. A CRM system is an essential tool for business today that helps you manage your customers, sales and marketing. Instead of juggling spreadsheets and notes, a Customer Relationship Management system lets you keep accurate records of phone calls, emails, meetings, conversations and quotations. You can share this information within teams, with branches, plan ahead effectively and offer clients the right level of contact and support.

The CRM empowers you to manage your new leads from the initial contact through the sales pipeline to closure. You can set follow up tasks for yourself and colleagues, and report on all your activities and sales forecasts. The objective is to have a “360 degree view” of the customer, all information about the customer in one place. Setting up an efficient CRM involves investing time in your current customer base with the aim of retaining their custom and increasing their spend. The CRM system helps automate this by keeping a record of every communication you have with the customer. You can record what they’ve purchased and when, and set tasks to contact them every few weeks or months. This allows you to anticipate when they might want to buy again or if they need anything extra.

Essential Tips on Customer Relationship Management: 
  • It is essential for the sales representatives to understand the needs, interest as well as budget of the customers. Don’t suggest anything which would burn a hole in their pockets.
  • Never tell lies to the customers. Convey them only what your product offers. Don’t cook fake stories or ever try to fool them.
  • Do not keep customers waiting. Sales professionals should reach meetings on or before time. Make sure you are there at the venue before the customer reaches.
  • A sales professional should think from the customer’s perspective. Don’t only think about your own targets and incentives. Suggest only what is right for the customer. Don’t sell an expensive mobile to a customer who earns rupees five thousand per month. He would never come back to you and your organization would lose one of its esteemed customers.
  • Don’t oversell. Being pushy does not work in sales. If a customer needs something; he would definitely purchase the same. Never irritate the customer or make his life hell. Don’t call him more than twice in a single day.
  • An individual needs time to develop trust in you and your product. Give him time to think and decide.
  • Never be rude to customers. Handle the customers with patience and care. One should never ever get agitated with the customers.
  • Attend sales meeting with a cool mind. Greet the customers with a smile and try to solve their queries at the earliest.
  • Keep in touch with the customers even after the deal. Devise customer loyalty programs for them to return to your organization. Give them bonus points or gifts on every second purchase.
  • The sales manager must provide necessary training to the sales team to teach them how to interact with the customers. Remember customers are the assets of every business and it is important to keep them happy and satisfied for successful functioning of organization

3 05-Aug-2017 The Best Way to Run a Startup Might Be the Opposite of What You're Planning
Starting a new business means having to deal with a list of endless decisions such as where you're going to work, your company name, who you will work with, your logo and all the minute details around the product or service that you intend to provide. It can be exhilarating, scary, or both, depending on the founder, and as I always say it's not for everyone. Amid these many decisions come some of the most essential, yet overlooked aspects of running a startup, like just how organized you want the structure of your company to be.

Startup culture sometimes gets a bad rap for being all about fun and too little about work. The media also grasps onto the idea that all startups are fast moving and youth-led, which of course isn't always true. From time to time however, some of these startups collapse because too much time is spent on creating a cool space or culture, instead of the hard work around creating, building and selling a product.

This is where small companies can benefit from a more structured environment. As inspiring as open concept, work from anywhere, Google-inspired models might be, it's helpful to learn about the benefits of a more structured framework to foster growth in a startup. What follows are some examples of this more formal work environment and how it helps.

The Realities You'll Encounter

As an entrepreneur, you might tend to resist too much structure and conventionality. After all, you've built or are building a team that can move in different directions at once. This is one of the reasons why many startups tend to have less formal organizational structure. The idea is that too much structure can render you less agile, less responsive to market changes or customer needs.

I'm advocating that balance is also important here. I've written time and time again about the importance of staying lean, but you shouldn't stay in a position where you must reinvent your model too often just to accommodate customer whims. This can lead to a lack of focus in what you're providing, confusion among those trying to sell your product, and other stumbling blocks to growth. Consider that if you're having to literally change everything about your product or service over and over again, you may not be in the right field.

To this point, a study published in California Management Review discovered that more organizational structure meant a healthier company. The study found that having an organizational structure was the key to a company's success and that the rate of growth was three times faster among companies that adopted this approach in their early years.

Formal Organizational Work Structure Benefits

The benefits of having a formal organizational work structure are plenty. They include:

  1. A Better A Sense of Purpose - Having a structured work environment provides guidance to employees by establishing the official reporting channels that dictate the workflow of the company. What's more, a startup can easily add new positions, as well as provide a flexible means for growth. Conversely, having no structure and taking a more "wild west" approach often means there's less accountability or mechanism to track responsibilities.

  2. Greater Order - If you are running your startup from multiple locations, employees may find it difficult to know whom they ought to report to in various scenarios. With a well defined organizational structure, you're able to provide clarity to employees at all levels of a company. This means that more time and energy is used on productive tasks. Furthermore, you're able to better track and promote entry-level employees.

  3. Better Defined Roles - During the early stages, most startup founders find themselves filling as many roles as possible to save money and time. When the company grows, it's essential to revisit your role and ensure that you outsource much-needed skillsets to others. But, if the parameters of each role aren't set, it leads to confusion at best, duplicity and unattained goals at worst.

  4. Communication Is Easier And More Focused - Being in an organized structural setup doesn't mean that you have to wait for board meetings to convey new information or ask for advice. A corporate structure enforces accountability and communication through the chain of each task. You can accomplish this in a startup by making sure that your communication is frequent and casual. Listen to your advisors and team, but, in the end, you'll have to ensure that the decisions made are in line with your principles and in what you believe.
Founding a startup takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. You have a lot of things to keep an eye on, from documentation development to company roles. While it's common for most startups to embrace fun, unstructured business models, over time, this can cripple a business if you overdo it. Having a solid organizational structure not only helps to define certain roles, it creates room to foster growth. Whatever you do, remember to reevaluate your organizational structure regularly. Ensure the relationships and roles function as effectively as possible and redefine the functions as necessary.

Written by John Boitnott and sourced from inc.com
4 29-Jul-2017 Breaking Up Is Hard…Even In Business – Part 2
...continued from last week

  1. What limitations are there on an owner’s ability to pledge their equity interest as collateral for a loan
  2. Can New Co. employ an equity owner, and if so, what happens if New Co. fires them as an employee
  3. What events would cause an owner to have to involuntarily sell her interest to New Co. or the other members
  4. How an equity interest being sold would be valued and what the terms for payment of the purchase price will be
  5. What percentage of the equity must vote to approve certain significant actions by New Co., such as selling all of the assets, taking out a significant loan, amending the owners’ agreement, or dissolving New Co., and
  6. What percentage of the equity must vote to approve either a distribution of profits to the owners or require the owners to pay additional capital into the company.

For an owner, the owners’ agreement can be a dual-edged sword. In one place, the owners’ agreement supports your position, but elsewhere it allows most owners (which might not include you) to amend the owners’ agreement without your consent. 

An owners’ agreement might provide for New Co. to employ you and other owners, but it might also provide that you may be fired (by majority vote) and your ownership interest bought out, again without your consent. 

By majority vote, the owners could be required to pay additional money into New Co. (a capital call), and if you do not or cannot pay your share, the owners’ agreement says that your ownership interest will be re-allocated to any owner(s) who do(es) make that capital call, effectively forcing the sale of some, or all, of your equity interest, also without your consent. 
These things could be authorized by the owners’ agreement, which you agreed to at a time that you did not think any of it was possible or likely.

Regardless of the nature or source, when equity owners have conflict, if New Co.’s owners’ agreement does not provide good procedures for addressing the situation, then the owners are left with the singular avenue of commencing litigation. Business litigation is expensive, emotionally taxing and can result in the complete dissolution of the company. 

Accordingly, it is important that the owners ask the hard questions when going into the relationship, contemplate what a break-up would look like, understand their rights and duties, and get an owners’ agreement that is tailored to their specific needs, and provides the best structure possible to facilitate the operation of the company and a framework for the resolution of conflict.

Article written by Michael Long and sourced from Forbes
5 22-Jul-2017 Breaking Up Is Hard To Do...Even In Business
In any relationship where people are mutually dependent on one another for their continued survival, the potential for conflict is high. Going into business is certainly no exception. It should be no surprise, therefore, that opportunities for friction and discord among joint business owners abound. Accordingly, parties should go into business with good controls in place to dictate how matters will be handled when the inevitable conflicts arise. With a thoughtful approach by the parties at the outset of the new venture, a well-crafted owners’ agreement can establish an agreed upon and binding process for addressing and resolving key decisions and conflict.

Of course, conflict among business owners can be avoided entirely by not sharing ownership. However, sole ownership of a business is not desirable or feasible for most new business owners. A successful new business requires three ingredients—Talent, Money, and Operations—often in the form of three (or more) joint owners. Talent and Operations lack sufficient cash to launch the venture on their own, so they inevitably bring Money in as an owner. Money has neither talent nor operational skills in the business, so she needs Talent and Operations to make the business work. Talent may be skillful or artistic in the business, but he needs Operations to take care of all the business activities that he cannot (or will not) do himself. At this point, the interests of all the parties--Talent, Operations, and Money--are aligned, and they each recognize the need for and value of what the other owners bring to the table.

Joint business owners typically don’t start off predicting disaster. They go into business with great excitement, enthusiasm, and the expectation that their business plan is going to produce great results and be successful. They have joined forces with people who share their vision and passion and show the same enthusiasm and commitment to the business. Over dinner, drinks, and 1000 text messages and emails, Talent, Operations and Money develop the business plan, come up with the perfect name for the Company, assign roles, and make many other decisions necessary to the start-up. As with many relationships, each member is assuming the best about each of the other owners, and for a host of reasons, they avoid having any difficult discussion which might cast a cloud over this very exciting time or derail the business. As a result, the parties typically decide that they will all be equal owners, they call an accountant, form the company with the requisite state authority by the filing of the minimal organizational documents, set up a bank account, put in their cash, sign a lease, and—voila!--they are in business.

The owners next decide to engage an attorney because “they want to do things right”. That attorney—who represents New Co., and not any one of the parties--is engaged to prepare an owners’ agreement. As such, the attorney chooses a neutral form owners’ agreement—one that treats each of the owners the same--and circulates it to each of the owners for review and comment. The attorney explains to the owners how the provisions of the owners’ agreement generally function, answers the owners’ questions (if any), and, with minimal discussion and almost no revisions, the owners execute New Co.’s owners’ agreement.

As time goes on, conflict among joint owners can arise from many different sources: personality conflicts, differences in the vision for the business, greed accompanied by a power grab, and perceived inequities in the owners’ respective roles and contributions. When conflict arises, the owners start to think about things in a very different way than they did in the sunny days when the company was formed. That change in perspective causes the owners to look at the owners’ agreement in a very different context. For perhaps the first time, individual owners may ask “What can I do if I disagree with my partners?”, “What can she do if she wants to pull out?”, “What can they do if they all vote against me?”, “Will the business survive?”, “Will I lose everything?”

In their review and discussions about the owners’ agreement, joint business owners typically focus on certain provisions: the percentage interest of each owner, the means by which New Co. will be managed (by the members, by a manager, or by a board of managers), each owner's role in the operations of New Co., and whether the cash that each owner contributed will be treated as either as a capital contribution or a loan. Armed with that understanding, the parties get to work and New Co. is in business.

As time goes on, conflict among joint owners can arise from many different sources: personality conflicts, differences in the vision for the business, greed accompanied by a power grab, and perceived inequities in the owners’ respective roles and contributions. When conflict arises, the owners start to think about things in a very different way than they did in the sunny days when the company was formed. That change in perspective causes the owners to look at the owners’ agreement in a very different context. For perhaps the first time, individual owners may ask “What can I do if I disagree with my partners?”, “What can she do if she wants to pull out?”, “What can they do if they all vote against me?”, “Will the business survive?”, “Will I lose everything?”

An owners’ agreement is the place where the owners’ can head off avoidable disputes before they happen and create the framework for resolving unavoidable disputes. Common provisions in owners’ agreements dictate:

  1. What activities of New Co. require a vote by the owners to approve,
  2. What happens if an owner wants to sell their interest in New Co. to a third party,
  3. What happens if an owner dies or becomes disabled.
  4. What happens if an owner’s equity interest in New Co. becomes subject to creditor claims (i.e. filing for personal bankruptcy by an owner),
  5. What limitations are there on an owner’s ability to pledge their equity interest as collateral for a loan,
  6. Can New Co. employ an equity owner, and if so, what happens if New Co. fires them as an employee,
  7. What events would cause an owner to have to involuntarily sell her interest to New Co. or the other members,
  8. How an equity interest being sold be valued and what the terms for payment of the purchase price will be,
  9. What percentage of the equity must vote to approve certain significant actions by New Co., such as selling all of the assets, taking out a significant loan, amending the owners’ agreement, or dissolving New Co., and
  10. What percentage of the equity must vote to approve either a distribution of profits to the owners or require the owners to pay additional capital into the Company.
As an owner, the owners’ agreement can be a dual edged sword. In one place, the owners’ agreement supports your position, but elsewhere it allows most owners (which might not include you) to amend the owners’ agreement without your consent. An owners’ agreement might provide for New Co. to employ you and other owners, but it might also provide that you may be fired (by majority vote) and your ownership interest bought out, again without your consent. By majority vote, the owners could be required to pay additional money into New Co. (a capital call), and if you do not or cannot pay your share, the owners’ agreement says that your ownership interest will be re-allocated to any owner(s) who do make that capital call; effectively forcing the sale of some, or all, of your equity interest, also without your consent. These things could be authorized by the owners’ agreement, which you agreed to at a time that you did not think any of it was possible or likely.

Regardless of the nature or source, when equity owners have conflict, if New Co.’s owners’ agreement does not provide good procedures for addressing the situation, then the owners are left with the singular avenue of commencing litigation. Business litigation is expensive, emotionally taxing and can result in the complete dissolution of the company. Accordingly, it is important that the owners ask the hard questions when going into the relationship, contemplate what a break-up would look like, understand their rights and duties, and get an owners’ agreement that is tailored to their specific needs, and provides the best structure possible to facilitate the operation of the company and a framework for the resolution of conflict.

Article written by Michael Long and sourced from Forbes
6 15-Jul-2017 What Entrepreneurs Should Learn From Uber's Leadership Crisis
How quickly business fortunes can change. The travails of Uber, transformed in recent months from a case study in high-growth entrepreneurialism to a business with a leadership vacuum following the ousting of its founder and chief executive, is a salutary tale that all start-ups should learn from. The moral of the story is that running a successful and sustainable business require mores than the ability to develop and execute a great business model.

This is really an issue about skillsets. It takes a great deal to get a new venture off the ground – to convince investors of the business case, to get the thing actually working and to persuade customers they’d like to pay for your product or service; no-one should underestimate the effort required, or deny founders the credit they deserve. Equally, however, running a business day-to-day will require a very different range of skills – and as the venture scales up, lacking those attributes can very quickly catch you out.

Business founders understandably often feel they are indispensable to their companies – that without their passion, insight and leadership, the venture would fail. In truth, however, if the business is to grow and prosper over the long term, it can’t afford to be dependent on the skills of a single person. It may even be more successful if the founder gives way to another leader, or at least expands the senior leadership team to broaden its expertise and experience.

Who you hire and in what role will depend on your ambitions for the business. Do you need a leader with day-to-day operational expertise or someone with experience of a particular transition, such as a move into overseas market or an IPO, for example? Are you looking for someone who can put the business on a firm governance footing, or institute the sort of financial rigour that companies need as they expand? Maybe you need someone who has done the job at a company that has the scale to which you now aspire.

Businesses such as Facebook, still run by its founder Mark Zuckerberg, are the exception rather than the norm for start-ups that have matured into large enterprises – and even Facebook has recruited a strong management team around its leader. Google did something similar before its founders eventually stepped back from their roles at the helm. LinkedIn’s founder hired two external CEOs in the run-up to its eventual sale.

There are all sorts of ways to bring more expertise into your organisation. The hire of a non-executive chairman, for example, with specialist expertise in your sector, typically gained at a large and established player, can be a very smart move. Working alongside the founder CEO, the chairman adds his or her more conventional skills and experiences to the entrepreneurial skills already in place - and very often arrives with an invaluable contact book.

Working more closely with your investors – who are in any case likely to demand input in return for their funding – is another tried-and-tested formula, particularly in private equity and venture capital. These investors bet on founders’ vision but bring experience, operational skill and contacts to the party, as well as their money.

In many ways, however, taking such steps can be the hardest thing the founder has to do once the business is up-and-running. What we’re really talking about here is letting go – to a greater or lesser extent, founders have to be prepared to share responsibility and give up some control. It’s easier said than done.

Written by David Prosser, a contributor on Forbes
7 09-Jul-2017 Life’s Lessons From Highly Successful Entrepreneurs – Part 2

8. You can't predict the outcome, you can only do your best.

Hugh Howey thought he would write novels that only his family would read. So he wrote ten of them. Then he wrote "Wool," which he self-published and has sold millions of copies, and Ridley Scott is making the movie.

Clayton Anderson applied to be an astronaut for 15 years in a row and was rejected each time until the 16th year.

Coolio wrote lyrics down every day for 17 years before having a hit. 

Noah Kagan was fired from Facebook and Mint without making a dime before starting his own business. 

Wayne Dyer quit his secure job as a tenured professor, put a bunch of his books in car and drove across the country selling them in every bookstore. Now he's sold over 100,000,000 books.

Sometimes when I have conversations with these people they want to jump right to the successful parts but I stop them. I want to know the low points – the points where they had to start doing their best; what got them to that point.

9. The same philosophy of life should work for an emperor and a slave.

Ryan Holiday told me that both Marcus Aurelius, an emperor, and Epictetus, a slave, subscribed to the idea of stoicism. You can't predict pleasure or pain. You can only strive for knowledge and giving and fairness and health each day.

Many people write me: it's easy for so-and-so to say that now that he's rich. Every single person I spoke to started off in a gutter or worse. (Well, most of them.)

Luck is certainly a component, but in chess there's a saying (and this applies to anything) "it's funny how always the best players seem to be lucky."

10. The only correct path is the path correct for you.

Scott Adams tried about 20 different careers before he settled on drawing Dilbert. Now, he's in 2000 papers, has written Dilbert books, Dilbert shows, Dilbert everything. 

Everyone was shocked when Judy Joo gave up a Wall St. career to go back to cooking school. Now she's on the Food Channel as an "iron chef."

Don't let other people choose your careers. Don't get locked in other people's prisons they've set up just for you. Personal freedom starts from the inside but ultimately turns you into a giant, freeing you from the chains the little people spent years tying around you.

11. Many moments of small, positive, personal interactions build an extraordinary career.

Often people think that you have to fight your way to the top. But for everyone I spoke to, it was small kindnesses over a long period of time that built the ladder to success. I think I'm starting to sound like a cliché on this. But it's only a cliché because it's true.

12. Taking care of yourself comes first.

Kamal Ravikant picked himself off a suicidal bottom by constantly repeating "I love you" to himself. Charlie Hoehn cured his anxiety by using every moment he could to play.

I've written before: The average kid laughs 300 times a day. The average adult, five.

Something knifed our ability to smile. Do everything you can to laugh, to create laughter for others, and then what can possibly be bad about today? I think that's why I try to interview so many comedians and comedy writers. They make me laugh. It's totally selfish.

13. The final answer: People do end up loving what they succeed at, or they succeed at what they love.

Mark Cuban said, "My passion was to get rich!" But I don't really believe him. He loved computers, so he created a software company. Then he wanted to watch Ohio basketball in Pittsburgh, so he created Broadcast.com. I worked with Broadcast.com a little bit back in 1997. They were crusaders about bringing video to the Internet.

Sure, he wanted to use that to get rich. Because he knew better than anyone then how to let a good idea lead him to success.
But deep down he was a little kid who wanted to watch his favorite basketball. And now what does he do? He owns a basketball team.

14. Anybody, at any age.

The ages of the people I spoke to ranged from 20 to 75. Each is still participating every day in the worldwide conversation. I asked Dick Yuengling from Yuengling beer why he even bothered to talk to me. He's 75 and runs the biggest American-owned brewery worth about $2 billion. He laughed and said, "Well, you asked me."

I just realized this list can go on for another 100 items.
 
Concluded  
This abridged article was written by life coach James Altucher and published in Business Insider.
8 01-Jul-2017 Life’s Lessons From Highly Successful Entrepreneurs - Part 1
"You interrupt too much," people email me. "Let your guests finish talking." But I can't help it. I get curious. I want to know! Now!

Over the past year I interviewed about 80 guests for my podcast. My only criteria: I was fascinated by some aspect of each person. 

I didn't limit myself by saying "each one had to be an entrepreneur" or "had to be a success."

I just wanted to talk to anyone who made me curious about their lives. I spoke to entrepreneurs, comedians, artists, producers, astronauts, writers, rappers, and even this country's largest beer brewer.

I interviewed Peter Thiel, Coolio, Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington, Amanda Palmer, Tony Robbins, and many more.

Here is some of what they said:

1. A life is measured in decades.

Too many people want happiness, love, money, connections, everything yesterday. Me too. I call it "the disease." I feel often I can paint over a certain emptiness inside if only...if only...I have X. 

But a good life is like the flame of a bonfire. It builds slowly, and because it's slow and warm it caresses the heart instead of destroys it. 

2. A life is measured by what you did TODAY, even this moment.

This is the opposite of "A" but the same. You get success in decades by having success now.

That doesn't mean money now. It means, "Are you doing your best today?"

Everyone worked at physical health, improving their friendships and connections with others, being creative, being grateful. Every day.

For those who didn't, they quickly got sick, depressed, anxious, fearful. They had to change their lives. When they made that change, universally they all said to me, "that's when it all started."

3. Focus is not important, but Push is (reinvention).

Very few people have just one career. And for every career, it's never straight up.

When you have focus, it's like saying, "I'm just going to learn about only one thing forever." But "the push" is the ability to get up every day, open up the shades, and push through all the things that make you want to go back to sleep.

Even if it means changing careers 10 times. Or changing your life completely. Just pushing forward to create a little more life inside yourself. Compound life is much more powerful than compound interest. 

4. Give without thinking of what you will receive.

I don't think I spoke to a single person who believed in setting personal goals. But 100% of the people I spoke to wanted to solve a problem for the many.

It doesn't matter how you give each day. It doesn't even matter how much. But everyone wanted to give and eventually they were given back. 

5. Solving hard problems is more important than overcoming failure.

The outside world is a mirror of what you have on the inside. If Thomas Edison viewed his 999 attempts at creating a lightbulb a failure then he would've given up. His inside was curious. His inside viewed his "attempts" as experiments. Then he did #1000. Now we can see in the dark.

Dan Ariely was burned all over his body and used that experience to research the psychology of pain and ultimately the psychology of behavior and how we can make better decisions.

Tony Robbins lost everything when his marriage ended, but he came back by coaching thousands of people.

It's how you view the life inside you that creates the life outside of you. Every day.

6. Art and success and love is about connecting all the dots.

Here are some dots: The very personal sadness sitting inside of you. The things you learn. The things you read about. The things you love. Connect the dots. Give it to someone. Now you just gave birth to a legacy that will continue beyond you.

7. It's not business, it's personal.

Nobody succeeded with a great idea. Everyone succeeded because they built networks within networks of connections, friends, colleagues all striving towards their own personal goals, all trusting each other, and working together to help each other succeed.

This is what happens only over time. This is why giving creates a bigger world because you can never predict what will happen years later. Biz Markie described to me how he helped a 7-year-old kid named Jay-Z with his lyrics.

Peter Thiel's ex employees created  tens of billions of dollars worth of companies.

Marcus Lemonis saves businesses every week on his show "The Profit." It doesn't come by fixing their accounting. It comes from fixing the relationships with the partners and the customers and the investors. 

The best way to create a great business over time: Every day send one thank you letter to someone from your past. People (me) often say you can't look back at the past. But this is the one way you can. You create the future by thanking the past.

This abridged article was written by life coach, James Altucher and published in Business Insider.
9 25-Jun-2017 Useful Steps to Reinvent Yourself After Hitting Rock Bottom
Entrepreneurship is a thrilling roller coaster ride. There are highs, but there are also lows. What isn’t talked about enough is the struggle that so many entrepreneurs face pursuing success. How do you navigate through the tough times? Where do you turn? What do you do when you hit rock bottom?

Saddiq Abdullahi is an entrepreneur with expertise in social media advertising. But in 2014 at age 30, he nearly became completely irrelevant. It had been a tough year. Things weren’t going according to plan. On Christmas Day that year, Saddiq had zero naira in his bank account. He was only 72 hours away from either coming up with his rent payment or getting kicked out. His car was bad; and the Internet connectivity challenges were compounding his dilemma.

It felt like walls were closing in and his business was crumbling. In this period of confusion, anxiety, self-doubt and worry, Saddiq was a single decision away from committing “career suicide,” and going back to a 9-to-5 day job.

Thankfully for Saddiq, he turned things around. He didn’t go back to being an employee. Instead, he navigated through the tough times and today is the proud owner of a successful and thriving company.

What changed? How did this one entrepreneur break through? How did he get up from his rock bottom? Here are four steps entrepreneurs can use to make it through the tough times, get on track, and rise up in business and life.

1. Ask for Help

Sometimes we hit walls. We struggle. Sometimes we lose. Too often as entrepreneurs, we hide those struggles.

In Saddiq’s period of uncertainty, being vulnerable proved to be a powerful key in his turnaround. Realizing he needed help, Saddiq reached out to his business friends for advice and guidance. Two things happened. First, he discovered that he wasn’t alone -- many other entrepreneurs had gone through similar things. That helped him develop confidence that he could get through it too. Second, they gave him actionable advice to get on the right track.

Had Saddiq stayed “closed up,” he wouldn’t have had the support he needed from others to help him move forward. Sharing the struggle is the bravest thing you can do. Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.

2. Develop a vision and purpose

 Ask yourself, “What do I want to create?” and “Why am I here?”

It’s difficult to know if you’re progressing when you don’t know where you’re going.  Knowing where you want to end up at the beginning of the trip will be your guiding compass. Saddiq developed a vision for the future he wanted to create. He used the advice from his colleagues to help him get super-clear on his vision and direction. That vision and purpose got him out of bed in the morning and motivated his work.

Vision is critical. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

3. Create an action plan

Vision is where you’re going; action is what gets you there. You’ve heard “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While that’s true, there’s an important distinction to be made -- your plan must be based on “action” instead of based on “results.”

Saddiq got clear on where he wanted to go, and then made a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly plan  of action of how he was going to get there. To him, success wasn’t based on the amount of money he made; it was based on the actions he took to make that money. He believed that if he took the right actions, results would come as a byproduct of those actions -- and they did.

Decide what you want, then focus on the thing you can control to get there. Focus on action.

4. Never give up

It’s no surprise that things don’t always go the way we planned. Persistence is a decision to keep moving towards the vision no matter the hiccups along the way. It’s not just doing "what it takes." It’s doing “whatever it takes.” It’s falling down, and getting up again anyway. Life is like a chess game. You create a plan and a strategy, but how you win will not be the exact way you planned. Why? There are many unknown variables. It’s continuing to take the action, and not turning back. Planning is what gets you moving, persistence is what keeps you going.

In the end, Saddiq realized he wasn’t even the same person anymore. He was changing. It was like he was a butterfly now, and the low point was his metamorphosis.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/282404
10 17-Jun-2017 Oil: From Middleman To Major Player – Vital Lessons For Everyone By Gabriel Ogbechie
There are a myriad of reasons why people decide to start a business e.g. financial independence, passion, forced circumstance etc. Whatever the reason, as an entrepreneur, you must always think of the next project/phase. It’s only a matter of time before competition catches up, ”you either grow or you die”.

The story of Rainoil Limited is one of grace, discipline and resilience. My early career started as a Production Engineer in Kano and then as an Auditor with the professional services firm Pricewaterhouse (Lagos) in 1992. I also worked briefly at Ascon Oil Company Limited. Although I incorporated Rainoil Limited in 1994, I left Ascon Oil Company Limited in 1997 to focus on the business. 

That same year, we obtained our first petrol service station on lease, somewhere at Ipetu Ijesha, Osun State. In 1999, we built our first petrol service station in Igbodo, Delta State.

From an early stage I had imbibed the discipline of growing at my pace…gradually. 

Today, Rainoil has evolved into a fully integrated downstream company with a staff strength of over 700 with operations across 15 states. The group’s assets include:
  1. A 50-million-liter capacity petroleum storage facility in Oghara, Delta State
  2. A 50-million-liter capacity petroleum storage facility in Calabar, Cross River State
  3. Over 50 Retail Petrol Service Stations spread across the country.
  4. A fleet of 6 ships with which petroleum products are imported into Nigeria
  5. A fleet of over 90 tank trucks with which petroleum products are distributed across Nigeria

Growing a business to the next level requires basic tested strategies. I will proceed to outline some of the strategies that have aided Rainoil’s growth:

a. Strategic planning and investment

Plan based on the identification of as many future scenarios as possible. Leading companies tailor strategic investments to align with projected customer demands. Looking back, investing in our petroleum product depot in Oghara was one of the most strategic decisions we made. This was a novel initiative at the time, which has significantly propelled the company’s growth. Currently, we are expanding into other sectors within and outside the oil and gas industry.

b. Financial discipline

Keep your earnings in the business. You must have the right mindset about money. Money is primarily for production and expansion. Rainoil is a company that we have grown organically for the most part. We have consistently ploughed back profits into the business.

c. Cash is king

Healthy working capital management determines business agility and survival. We operate a primarily ‘cash and carry’ business, we implement short-term cashflow initiatives e.g. negotiate favourable vendor payment terms, extend creditor payments, minimise credit sales, delay fixed asset ‘non-critical’ replacement/investment.

d. Strategic cost management

Identify and eliminate/redeploy unnecessary costs heads. Identify opportunities for obtaining cheaper (quality) inputs towards reducing overall production costs.

e. Develop trusted relationships with customers

Satisfy and retain your customers. At Rainoil integrity is a core value as we always honour our obligations. Customer trust is not a negotiable commodity.

f. Leverage technology

Technology should function as a change agent in the use and adoption of best-in-class knowledge sharing processes, so companies can improve their use of critical data. At Rainoil, we have implemented an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Application. This has been a necessary tool to drive the rapid expansion across the group.

g. Communicate effectively

Management needs to ensure their employees are aware of issues with implications for them. It is also important that employees are fully aware of the wider context, so that any legitimate change initiatives designed to reduce costs are accepted rather than resisted. It’s important for leaders to be honest, forthright and direct with their employees and communicate with greater frequency.

In closing, my advice to entrepreneurs is to stay focused and disciplined. Staying power keeps you going despite adversity. You don’t put your hands on the plough and look back.

Mr. Ogbechie is the Group Managing Director of Rainoil Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading oil companies. The company, which began as a start-up, marked its 20th year anniversary recently.

Viewing records 1 - 10 of 37 academy articles

Pages