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When is a Startup No Longer a Startup?

When is a Startup No Longer a Startup?
Let’s start the discussion traditionally with a Merriam-Webster definition, a startup means “the act or an instance of setting in operation or motion” or “a fledgling business enterprise.” What does the American Heritage Dictionary suggests is “a business or undertaking that has recently begun operation.” A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. A startup is a business that has the capability to grow very rapidly, ultimately becoming a “real company” with an HR department, divisions, and processes. Steve Blank calls #startups a “temporary organization designed to discover a business model.” Startups, when they begin, have no procedure, no culture, and no recurring business model. All they know is that they have the potential to address a huge market if they can figure their business model out, and then scale quickly enough to stay ahead of the competition. As a founder you set off with a vision of a #product with a set of features and a series of assumptions about all the pieces of the business model. The inevitable questions to be answered are: Who are the customers/users? What’s the distribution channel? How do we price and position the product? How do we create end user demand? Who are our partners or Co-Founders? Where/how do we build the product? How do we finance the company, etc. When you go around and ask people however, startup really means a young company generally building something focused on technology. Every business goes through the same four phases: #Idea Startup Growth Maturity This maps rather well to Steve Blank’s 4 stages described in four steps to the epiphany: Customer discovery Customer validation Customer creation Company creation When is a startup no longer a startup? “A startup is no longer a startup when the product/market fit has absolutely been achieved, profitability or considerable revenue with a path to profitability has been obtained, and if any one person left the company would still survive and not get swayed by the departure.” Being a start-up is mostly about work environment and employee interactions. A start-up graduates to being no longer a start-up when interactions across hierarchies become formalised. For example, if you can no longer walk into the CEOs office to pitch your idea and (s)he does not know you by name, you are no longer working for a start-up. Also, if a company begins to have rules about employee progression (such as you need to spend 2 years before being promoted or moving into a new role etc) then it stops being a start-up. #Companies which have strict rules on which schools to hire from or firm ideas on how many years of experience should be required for which role, are no longer  start-ups. I am not saying that start-ups do not have any criterion for hiring but these criterion, in a start-up, these would be based on things other than simply the pedigree or the number of years of experience. Start-ups hire people if they see passion and willingness to go the extra mile rather than for merely the right pedigree. Source: http://www.quora.com/Faguni-Jain Having made the above points – if a company crosses a certain threshold of revenues and/or profits, it should also declassify itself as a start-up – though it can continue to maintain the ‘start-up environment’ for its employees. Some Startup Mantras for Beginners would be: Be Careful with Cofounders Startups Take Over Your Life It’s an Emotional Roller-coaster It Can Be Fun Persistence Is the Key Think Long-Term Lots of Little Things to be considered It’s much more of a grind than glamorous Start with Something Minimal Engage Users Be Willing to Change Your Idea after User Interaction...
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Top 50 Marketing Quotes

Top 50 Marketing Quotes
  1. “Good branding without a good business plan is like prettying up a duck with no feathers.  It may look good but it ain’t gonna fly.”  Paul Provost, August 2010 2. “For a business not to advertise is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but no one else does.” Stuartt H. Britt, US advertising consultant 3. “The objective of all advertising is to buy new customers at a profit. Learn what your customers cost and what they buy…spend all of your ammunition where it counts.” Claude Hopkins-Scientific Advertising (1923) 4. “Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.”– Bill Bernbach 5. “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”- Howard Luck Gossage 6. “The only people who care about advertising are the people who work in advertising”– George Parker 7. “In advertising, not to be different is virtually suicidal” – Bill Burnbach 8. “Don’t find customers for your product. Find products for your customers” – Seth Godin. 9. “Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising.” – Milton Hershey 10. “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it well enough yourself” – Albert Einsteen 11. “If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle.” – Jim Stengal 12.“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”– Peter Drucker 13. “In our factory, we make lipstick. In our advertising, we sell hope.”-Peter Nivio Zarlenga 14. “I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”– David Ogilvy 15. “Don’t tell me how good you make it; tell me how good it makes me when I use it.” – Leo Burnett 16. “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy 17. “People spend money when and where they feel good” – Walt Disney 18. “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the problem is I do not know which half.” Lord Leverhulme, British founder of Unilever and philanthropist 19. “In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss — and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.” –  John Romero 20. “The philosophy behind much advertising is based on the old observation that every man is really two men — the man he is and the man he wants to be.” – William Feather 21. “In order for you to profit from your mistakes, you have to go out and make some.”-  Unknown 22. “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” –  Woody Allen 23. “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb 24. “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner 25. ”There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.” –  Henri Matisse 26. “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication” –  Leonardo Da Vinci 27. Business has only...
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Accounting and Decision Making

Accounting and Decision Making
ACCOUNTING AND DECISION MAKING – IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM SITUATION Learn accounting and finance basics so you can effectively analyze business data to make key management decisions. Business owners are faced with countless decisions every business day. Managerial accounting information provides data-driven input to these decisions, which can improve decision-making over the long term. Fig 1.1- ACCOUNTING INFORMATION FOR A SINGLE PRODUCT   The above illustration clearly depicts that there has been a loss of Rs.100 in one year’s time for this particular product. The reason can be attributed to the increase in the “cost of goods” whereas other expenses have remained the same in both the years. For a single product manufactured, the problem is identifiable and solvable. But when the organization is producing a range of products, you need to apply some accounting technique by which the product losing money is identified and suitable measures are taken to cut down the escalating cost. Fig 1.2- Accouning Information for a Product Range The above illustration compares and contrasts the relationship of three products a company manufactures. It is seen that products P1 and P2 are doing well. Though the cost of sales has gone up for P1 and P2, the sales volume has also increased thus increasing the gross profit over the period of time. Here the product that has to be dealt with is P3 whose sales volume has drastically gone down, yet with the same cost of sales. When there is an increase in cost of sales, two things have to be considered. Identifying the problem-product Either cut down the production cost or increase the selling-price if the product has a real demand in the market. Uses of Accounting Data: Accounting information helps the management to arrive at make or buy decisions, to outsource production of certain components to cut down or control costs, to expand the production, to increase the sales volume or to downsize their project capacity. Techniques like Break-Even Analysis, Costing and Budgeting aid in going for the right production-mix, marketing-mix and sales target plans for the respective financial years. Aggregate Planning: As we all know planning is the key to the future and financial planning has to be given utmost importance for a production process. Aggregate planning involves translating long-term forecasted demand into specific production rates and the corresponding labor requirements for the intermediate term. It takes into consideration a period of 6 to 18 months, breaking it into work modules weekly or monthly and planning for the specific period in terms of men, material and...
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Critical Factors of HR

Critical Factors of HR
Managing Critical Factors of HR The prerequisite for an organization to excel in all aspects of its business activities is absolute strategic management of its HR functions.Human resource management is an extensive term that covers various aspects of personnel function. This discussion is focused on three main aspects that constitute human resource management. Personnel administration Human resource development Industrial relations Personnel administration: It can be also called as the HR module where policies and programmes are laid down by the HR department for the benefit of the human resource personnel. Employment and compensation are chiefly dealt with in personnel administration. While business firms in the corporate environment are in constant demand of man power, finding the right person for the right job is always a testing task for them. Right from job analysis to HR planning, recruitment, selection, placement, induction and orientation, HR department is held accountable to define and develop these operative functions. Mere acquisition and incorporation of human resource is not adequate, the organizations have to engage themselves in empowering their employees through competent training, motivation and refining their social relations. Job Assessment: Job assessment has to be done for fixing compensation that includes wages and salary administration, incentives, bonus, fringe benefits and social security measures. The shifting business environment and consumer requirements compel the organizations to restructure and re-engineer their organizational functions. These moves can be viewed as strategic responses reflecting from all domains of an organization, namely product, marketing, manufacturing etc., where people are the centre of focus. Human resource development: This is easier said than done. Firms are trying to evolve and employ various methodologies of training to enhance the performance levels to the desired standards. Performance cannot be achieved by coercion or bureaucracy, as the work force is protected by numerous enactment of labor laws enforced by various governments. Training and development is a separate entity by itself and is a continuous process that aims at the development of the organization as a whole and also facilitates employee career planning and development. Industrial relations: The following factors have to be scrutinized by the management to maintain good personal relations with the employees. Motivation Morale Job satisfaction Communication Grievance handling Discipline procedure Quality of work life Employee participation All said and done, the organizational health can be measured by checking the effectiveness of HR management through aspects like HR audit and research that aid the firms to analyze and understand the extent to which they are efficient in utilizing human resource for the benefit of their organization. The experience of a human resource manager comes in handy at situations like these, where he has to don different roles to suit the occasion. Personnel role-advisor for top management, policy maker, counselor to employees, spokesman of the company, change analyst, liaison Welfare role-researcher, catering man, motivator Clerical role-time keeping, wages and salary administration, record maintenance, human engineering Fire fighting legal role-negotiator, trouble shooter, peace maker, problem solver, grievance handling. The management employs scientific, analytical, psychological and social techniques to build the business around human resource, who are the real value additions to the...
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Current Trends in Consumer Marketing

Current Trends in Consumer Marketing
Trends in Consumer Marketing: FMCG’s: You would have often heard about this – Fast moving consumer goods. These are nothing but products that are destined for use by ultimate customers or households that cannot be done with, as their usage is on a day to day basis. It might make some sense if I cite some examples – toothpaste, soaps, shaving creams, talcs, body lotions; these are meant for personal consumption and the demand for such products is direct and needs less of relationship marketing. Brand Focus: The number of customers in the consumer market is relatively large and the product purchase is influenced by even emotional factors. The focus is on the brand name and some people ardently follow a particular brand for ages, and this might be attributed to the effect that has been created by mass media advertising, or it might be due to the fact that they might identify themselves in some or the other with the product. It becomes a personal companion over a period of time. Impulse Buying: The decision making process is informal and often simple. Sometimes, it is influenced by the budget equations and feasibility. Impulse buying is also common in consumer market. At times, the consumers go adventurous and like to try their hands on new products. Branding is an important feature that retains the customer base for business firms and that’s why market analysts are attaching so much of significance to advertisements and sales promotions, to make their product a household name. Distribution Network: The firms must have a pucca distribution network linking different parts of the territories, where they want to expand their market. Say, for instance, a soft drink can be made popular by branding, but if there is no sufficient supply in the market, how do you expect customers to support your product? Equally important is providing the customers with a product size that best suits their budget. Market Segmentation: Market segmentation recognizes the existence of distinct market groups, each with a distinct set of needs. Through segmentation, the firm directs its product and promotional efforts towards those markets that will benefit most from or will get the greatest enjoyment from its merchandise. Over the years, segmentation has become a popular strategic technique as the market is ever flushed with competitors. Influence of Price: A number of sellers are seen in this kind of consumer market and it is only the market that decides the price and not the participants. The marketers have nothing to lose if they sell at the market price, but if they plan to sell at slightly higher price levels than that of the market, it will prove detrimental to their objective. They are only price takers and not price makers. But they have the leverage to freely enter and exit the market. If the consumers foresee a fall in the general price levels of a product, they wait for some more time to take full advantage of the situation and decide to postpone the purchase. If the market shows an increasing price trend, it is the other way round, either they buy in bulk or go for substitutes.Say, if the price levels of coffee is on the rise, people opt for tea. Demand for consumer goods is price elastic. Consumers don’t care for much technical specifications; they only care for the quality backed up by a strong brand name. Post by Free MBA...
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