Monday, January 22, 2007

Business Development Stratergies

The following is a refined list 20 rules of account development from Bill Caskey. I have picked only very practical to do lists.
  1. Know All The Contacts.

But your knowledge of your client base is what gives you value as a company. If you leave the business tomorrow, and you can’t turn over your database to someone else to run your business, then you aren’t doing a good job of knowing your contacts. Software can help you do that, but it won’t think through it with you. What is your system to know all the contacts? Do you have an organizational chart handy of every one of your top accounts? Is it up to date? Don’t leave your database management up to anyone else.

2. Find Out What They Value. Find Their Pain.

People only put value on things that will fix a problem (relieve pain) or help them to a new future (gain). That’s it. If in your sales process, you aren’t finding out what their personal pain or interest is in solving the business problem, then you aren’t dealing with all of the pieces. It’s amazing how few times a sales person will ask the very simple question: “Why are you exploring this option?” or “What is your interest in all of this?” Our ego is too tied up in whether we’re going to get the business to worry about the motives of the very person with the check.

Also, understand that sometimes the pain hops on the table quickly. In other words, it is a conscious pain they have and by you asking a simple question, they will reveal it to you. But more often, their pain lies beneath their awareness. They don’t know what they don’t know. So you may have to enlighten and educate first, and then find out what problems they see, based on that education. It’s better to ask questions first and educate second. But when your product is off the awareness screen, educate first and query second.

I’ll give you a hint: A product focused approach will lead to externalization of the problem. You will end up in the 11th hour dealing with the wrong issues. 90% of the time, we work on the wrong issue, like pricing or GPO problems or others.

Work on the problem. Pain is never price. Don’t do what the amateur does—thinks the prospect’s pain is price. If it’s price, then the prospect wouldn’t buy anything. Figure out how to get to the pain.

Corollary—make your prospect “defend his pain” Never take his first answer as fact. He may feel obliged to share his surface-level challenges. Make him defend one level deeper. You don’t want “obligatory pain.” You want real pain.

3. Ask Permission To Broach Subject.

Always ask permission from a client to begin talking about other products. It may sound wimpy, but it really is a position of strength. If they don’t want to talk about it, or are not even open, you’re wasting your energy. Plus, once they say they are open, you can begin to find out “why” they’re open.

It sounds like this: John, you and I have worked together for a while on ABC products, but we’ve never discussed DEF. Can I ask you a question? At some point, I’d like to share with you what other people are doing in that area. Would that be OK?Or In the event you want to do that, how would you suggest we set that up?

Your attitude should be “I’m not bringing any value if I don’t at least bring to your attention areas that we might be able to solve problems for you. Then if you don’t see it as value, after we’ve gone through the process, I’m fine.”

4. Understand Their Business Issues.

Everyone is short on time. In sales, we vault over the questions we should ask to get to our favorite subject—our product. But what if our product is not your prospect’s favorite topic? His business and his personal life are his favorite topics. So why aren't you asking about those? “Tell me how your role has changed here in the past 5 years.” Or, “How do you see your job changing in the next 5 years?” Or, “What are the most critical issues facing you and your department (or your company) in the next few years?

Be curious. Curiosity is a great characteristic to have. It brings energy to the relationship.

Usually, they can’t wait to tell you their issues, but only if you ask. Buying is emotional. What are the issues they’re grappling with: GPO? Labor? Compliance to other issues? What is your competitive strategy? There is the pain of staying the same and the pain of changing. If you can’t help them discover that the pain of current reality is more than the pain of changing, then change won’t be appetizing.

5. Know The Decision Dynamics.

Every company or organization’s decision making process is different. You can’t possibly apply the same template to each situation. The CFO doesn’t always make the decision. The CEO isn’t always the best person to start with. There are ‘decision dynamics’ within each account. Begin by taking a gut-feel assessment as you work with these people. Chances are it changes on a monthly or weekly basis anyway. Constant flux.

There is one way to look at it: there are some with AUTHORITY and some with INFLUENCE. Who has the authority to write the check or make the decision or sign the PO? On the other hand, who has the influence to persuade the authority figures? There are a lot of people in positions of influence that never make it to AUTHORITY positions. But they can kill your deal. Or, better, they can be your defensive line when the competition comes in to oust you. Are you going high, wide, and deep?

This is the area that goofs up most sellers. They lull themselves asleep thinking they know the decision process—but they don’t. Condition yourself to ask the question: “Sue, can I ask you this? What does the process look like around here when you prepare to make a change like this?

6. Have Big Picture Meetings.

When is the last time you sat down with your clients and assessed the relationship? This could be a group meeting where you and they would talk nothing about product or services. You would talk about no ‘new business.’ It would be a talk about the relationship—from a high altitude view.

Big Picture Meetings are a good time to solidify your value, to understand what the next 12 months look like for them, and is also a chance for them to tell you any problems they see coming, either from you or things you can solve for them. This is a great way to get the lay-of-the-land and help you develop your client strategy (with their help).

Talk about how the relationship will grow. What it will take for that to happen. Also, ask the question: “What do I have to do to lose the business?” That’s a question few have the guts to ask, but try it and watch it work. Never be afraid to ask the question.

7. Stop Selling.

Account development is about solving additional problems—not selling more products. Your world will change when you begin to see that as the focus. Product companies are a dime-a-dozen. Process companies will always outperform them. Stop going in trying to sell someone on you or your services.

Start investigating what problems they have because you aren’t a part of their life.

8. Stay in Touch.

It’s hard to have an honest conversation with someone, or expect them to be open to new ideas if they never hear from you. We live a fast-paced life. Not enough time. Too many accounts. Too many contacts. Too many customer service activities and too few selling activities.

So use technology to do it for you. Have a fax newsletter that you send out monthly. Or have an email newsletter that brings value for your clients. If you’re a sales person, don’t wait on the company to fund it or to do it. You are the architect of your own destiny. There are trillions of bits of information out there. Why don’t you sift through them for your clients and make them the recipients of a monthly document? Remember brand extension. This is part of it. Staying in touch doesn’t mean atomic touch (you there in front of them). It could mean digital touch. It’s not like it used to be. You don’t have to write 50 letters and lick stamps. Be creative. Use technology to advance your success.

9. Understand How They Want to Buy.

Everyone has different methods by which they purchase. In some businesses, your prospect likes it direct. In other industries, they like it through a third party. If your company is set up to be flexible, understand how the buyer wants it. There’s only one way to know how they want it and that is to ask. Ask the simple, unassuming question: “Beverly, I’m not sure we’ll end up doing this, but in the event we do, how do you see yourself procuring this product?

10. Deal With Problems Up Front.

This is huge, yet few want to talk about it. If you’re going to be successful in account development you must learn how to deal with problems before they happen. Here’s an example.

John (seller) has just presented his solution to the Chief of Anesthesia. The Chief loves it and is getting ready to present it to Purchasing. The Chief is enthusiastic and tells John not to worry, everything’s OK. But, John has been in sales for 20 years and knows better. He knows it’s never that easy. It is a contract compliant hospital so he needs to handle this problem upfront. He says to his prospect:

Pete, I understand you love this product and believe it will solve a problem for you. But here’s what I’m afraid of. My experience tells me you’re going to walk into the purchasing office and get shot down so fast you won’t know what happened. They may see more pain in changing than in solving your problem. So we need to have a discussion about contract compliance issues and how you’re going to handle it when you get objections from purchasing.

Then you must know the role your champion will have to take. You may have to help his purchasing department work through that process.

By bringing up the real problem up front, John isn’t hiding behind Pollyanna glasses. He is bringing up exactly what will happen. Now he and the VP can have an intelligent talk about their strategy. Deal with these issues up front…not after the fact.

Perhaps 50% of the time you can get it done at the Dr. Level, but there will be other times when by doing “rehearsing the Dr.” you will get it or at least raise your odds. And the truth is that there may be another 20% of the time it just won’t work.

But either way, it’s better than having the deal fall apart in the 11th hour because someone didn’t have the guts to bring up the topic back up stream.

11.Once They Are A Client, You Can Call On Anybody.

Once someone has purchased from you in a business-to-business setting, you have the unstated-permission to talk to anyone in the organization. Now, you may not want to leap around the person who is your contact, but part of your upfront agreement with your client is that you have access to anyone in the company.

Remember, you are in the business of helping your client discover and solve problems. That is your mission. Not to sell. Sometimes, those problems exist elsewhere in the company. You aren’t bringing much value if you aren’t calling everywhere. Be careful though that you don’t make people NOT OK. It’s all about how you think about your role in your client’s organization.

12.Meticulous In Your Communication.

This goes for both verbal and non-verbal. Be clear in your thoughts. Don’t ramble on and on. Be sensitive to their non-verbal cues. If you’re talking more than 30% of the time in a sales call, you’re out of control. Let them talk. It’s then that they tell you how to sell them and what problem they need solved.

Non-verbal communication is letter writing, emailing, faxing etc. As orchestrator of the deals you work on (especially in complex sales) you must be good at non-verbal. Go to letter writing schools. Learn how to present to groups. Learn how to outline your presentations. Leave room for them to give feedback and to tell you their problems. There’s nothing worse than having the best product but being unable to communicate the value you have. Or nothing worse than putting people to sleep during your presentation.

When you get through with a meeting, confirm it in writing or in email. Copy the appropriate people. Always refer back in those letters to the problem you have uncovered and how you’re trying to solve it. When you aren’t there, there is a meeting that happens that decides part of your fate. If your paperwork is there referencing the ‘pain’ you will fix, you have a chance.

13. Have An Upfront Agreement On New Products.

After you’ve asked your client permission to talk about new categories, do an upfront agreement.

John, if you’re willing to talk about these new products, let’s do this. Why don’t I tell you a little about this product, maybe some of the benefits, and some of the problems it has solved for other companies? Then I’d like to ask you some questions about how this may or may not relate to you. Then if we get that far, we can talk about what the next step is. Is that appropriate?

This does not mean you do that every call. This can also be done by email or letter. You have just oriented your prospect.

By doing the upfront agreement, you will have laid out exactly what’s going to happen in this discussion. This is no different than calling on new accounts. Make it safe for them to open up and tell you some of their challenges in your particular area.

14. Have A 30 Second Commercial For Every Category (Product).

Do you know the problems that each of your categories solve? If you don’t, ask someone—maybe a technical person or someone with experience. The wrong way to do this is, “These new flippits are really cool Ms. Smith. A lot of people are using them and you’d be an idiot if you didn’t buy them.

The right way is, “Ms. Smith, I’m not so sure these are right for you. Let me tell you why people use these and what value they bring, and then you tell me if you want to go further and find out more. They help in areas A, B, and C. Before I go any further, tell me, can you relate to any of those areas?

If they say, “No”, you must re-craft your 30 second commercial to be cleaner and more understandable. Or, they may not be a prospect.

Never assume your prospect knows all of the buzzwords of your industry. Recently, I read an article that told the story of 10 CFO’s in a room. And the question was posed “define ROI (return on investment).” In 10 answers, there were eight different definitions of ROI. You would think that such a simple concept—ROI—would be clear to everyone, especially CFO’s. That’s a good lesson for us all. Never assume that your prospect is as well-schooled as you are.

15. Problem Focused, Then Process Focused.

Always start with the problem that you and your client are trying to identify and fix. Then you can introduce the process you and he might go through to fix it. Then lastly, talk about what your products will do to solve that problem. Sometimes you must educate/enlighten first. But never enlighten from ego, enlighten from a service intent.

16. Never Be Quick To Quote a Current Client.

Just as you wouldn’t be quick to quote a prospect—the same goes for your current account. Many amateur sales people think that when a client calls and wants a quote on something, that we are in service to them by faxing a quote with no process. Wrong. You owe your client the very basics of the sales process. Take them through the process. “I’m happy to quote you. Can you tell me a little about where you are in the process and what you’re looking for?

When someone makes the call to you asking for a quote, just remember they are 75% of the way down their process. That’s dangerous. Don’t get lazy and jump to the quote.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


THE LITTLE REDBOOK of SALES ANSWERS 99.5 Real World Answers That Make Sense,

Make Sales, and Make Money - Jeffrey Gitomer

My first foray into sales is being taught by the world renowned Sales Guru. But Iam not going to answer in these notes. Some things are common sensical but others are very insightful.


Personal Improvement That Leads to Personal Growth

1. What is the meaning of sales?

2. How do I become the successful person I dream about,

and deserve to be?

3. How do I do my best every day?

4. How do I attain, achieve, and maintain a positive attitude?

5. How can I improve my humor?

6. How can I improve my creativity?

7. How can I improve my writing skills?

8. My company won’t buy me a laptop. What should I do?

9. How do I get a mentor, and how do I build a

relationship once I find one?

10. What causes my fear of failure, and how do I get over

dejection caused by rejection?

11. What is the secret of worry-free living?

12. What books should be in my library? What are the best

tapes and CDs to listen to in the car?

13. Should I change jobs?

14. Should I sign a non-compete?


Prospecting for Golden Leads and Making Solid Appointments

15. How do I make a cold call?

16. How can I STOP making cold calls and still make


17. How can I get around a lower-level person?

18. What is the best way to get information to a prospect?

19. What is the best way to get past the gatekeeper?

20. What is the best way to get information on a prospect

before a sales appointment?

21. What is the best way to set an appointment?

22. How do I find out who the real decision maker is?

23. What do I do when the prospect doesn’t show for an


24. What do I do when the prospect lies?

25. What questions am I asking my prospects and customers

that my competition isn’t asking?

26. Why did the last five prospects say no? What am I doing

about it?

27. Why did the last 10 prospects say yes? How am I

building on that?


How to Win the Sales Battle AND the Sales War

28. What is the best way to approach a sale?

29. What are the two most killer questions in sales?

30. What are the three dumbest questions in sales?

31. What is the best way to control a phone conversation?

32. How do I get around the price objection? (Who brought

up price anyway?)

33. What is the difference between a stall and an objection?

34. How can I prevent objections from occurring?

35. How do I recognize buying signals? What is the most

powerful buying signal?

36. What is the best time and way to ask for the sale?

37. How do buyers decide, and what are buyers looking for?

xii Jeffrey Gitomer The Little Red Book of Sales Answers


Sales Skill Building -- One Brick at a Time

38. Why do buyers not return my call? How do I get

my calls returned?

39. What does the voice-mail message I leave say to

my customers?

40. What is the best way to use the Internet to make sales?

41. Should I try to “type” the buyer?

42. What is the best way to prepare for a sales call?

43. Should I honor a “No Soliciting” sign?

44. What is the best way to beat the competition?

45. What is the best way to ensure I get a reorder?

46. What is the best way to follow up?

47. What are the best ways to add value?

48. What is “give value first”?

49. How can I create more valuable questions?

50. What is the “sale after the sale?”

51. Why do customers cancel?

52. What is the best way to get out of a slump?

53. What are the biggest mistakes salespeople make?

54. What are the fatal flaws of selling?

55. What should a business lunch consist of?

56. Should I golf for business? How?

57. What should I say when the customer calls and he’s mad

as hell?

58. How can I prevent the prospect from going with the

lowest price?

59. How can I make my proposal stand out?

60. What is the best way to use testimonials?

61. What do I say to my customer when my competition lies

about me, my product, or my company?

62. How do I beat “Call Reluctance?”

The Little Red Book of Sales Answers Jeffrey Gitomer xiii

63. What kind of thank you note should I write?

64. How excellent are my selling skills?

65. What is the best way to make my quota every month?

66. What is the best way to manage my time?

67. Why do I quit so easy when the customer tells me, “No?”

How long should I have hung in there?

68. What is the best way to double my sales this year?

69. Who is the most important person in the world?

70. How much time should I invest in promoting and

positioning my business?

71. How am I helping my customers build their business?

72. What am I doing to earn my customers loyalty?

73. How vulnerable am I to our competition?

74. What do I need to learn to get ahead?

What do I have to do to get ahead?


Building the Friendship. Building the Relationship. Earning the

Referral. Earning the Testimonial. Earning the Reorder.

75. How easy is it to do business with me?

76. How friendly are the employees at my company?

How friendly is my boss? How friendly am I?

77. How can I establish rapport?

78. What is the best way to begin a relationship?

79. Where should I network?

80. How do I develop a powerful 30-second commercial?

81. How much time should I devote to networking?

82. What are the secrets of networking success?

83. How do I get better leads than anyone else?

84. How do I get testimonials?

85. How powerful is a testimonial in completing a sale?

86. What am I doing to prevent the loss of my best


xiv Jeffrey Gitomer The Little Red Book of Sales Answers

87. Am I available to my customers when they need me?

88. What value am I bringing to my customer beyond my

product and service?

89. Why will some customers leave?

90. How do I get more referrals?

91. What is the best way to approach and work a referral?

92. How many people are spreading my “word” for me?


Building Your Personal Brand

93. How can I differentiate myself from the competition?

94. How often am I in front of my customers?

95. What can I do to my Web site to entice my customers

to buy from me?

96. What am I “known” for?

97. Are you a sales leader or a sales chaser?

98. What am I recognized as being the “THE BEST” at?

99. What do the leaders in my industry say about me?


The Final AHA!

99.5 How much do I love what I do

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Common Stocks and UnCommon Profits- Philip A. Fisher

This blog is a review of this great book and we will go through some salient features.

I had read this book long back and had decided to buy it today. This book is probably one of the most fundamental books on stock Investing.
Warren Buffet had said his investing style is 85% Ben Graham and 15% Phil Fisher. I think it is the reverse. My opinion is most of Warren's suceess has come from following Phil Fisher.

Funny thing is, this book basically stresses common sensical fundamentals required for investing and I bet 90% of the investors overlook these rules.

15 Points to Look for in a Common Stock

  1. Does the company have products or services with sufficient market potential to make possible a sizeable increase in sales for at least several years?

  2. Does the management have a determination to continue to develop products or processes that will still further increase total sales potentials when the growth potentials of currently attractive product lines have largely been exploited?

  3. How effective are the company's research and development efforts in relation to its size?

  4. Does the company have an above-average sales organization?

  5. Does the company have a worthwhile profit margin?

  6. What is the company doing to maintain or improve profit margins?

  7. Does the company have outstanding labor and personnel relations?

  8. Does the company have outstanding executive relations?

  9. Does the company have depth to its management?

  10. How good are the company's cost analysis and accounting controls?

  11. Are there other aspects of the business, somewhat peculiar to the industry involved, which will give the investor important clues as to how outstanding the company will be in relation to its competition?

  12. Does the company have a short-range or long-range outlook in regard to profits?

  13. In the foreseeable future, will the growth of the company require sufficient equity financing so that the larger number of shares then outstanding will largely cancel the existing stockholders' benefit from this anticipated growth?

  14. Does the management talk freely to investors about its affairs when things are going well but "clam up" when troubles or disappointments occur?

  15. Does the company have a management of unquestionable integrity?

When to Sell Stocks?
  1. Mistake was made on your investment selection. Stock does not meet the 15 points required for a good common stock. Eg- After you take position you find that the business has some serious issues.
  2. Deterioration of the management or company and its markets. Basically company has reached its saturation phase and company cannot come out with new innovative products.
  3. When a better oppurtunity exists and growth of the new company is far greater than the old one. Investor should approach this very high caution.
  4. Never sell a stock because some experts predict a bear market. If a stock has a great story and will have newer highs when bull market returns then it is very stupid to sell. Investor will not know when to sell and when to buy it back. Eventually investor will have less shares than his orginal position and he will have to pay capital gains taxes.

Five Don'ts for Investors

  1. Don't buy into promotional companies.

  2. Don't ignore a good stock just because it is traded "over-the-counter."

  3. Don't buy a stock just because you like the "tone" of its annual report. Eg- Annual reports are marketing pieces to sell the stock so dont make a decision just based on that.

  4. Don't assume that the high price at which a stock may be selling in relation to its earnings is necessarily an indication that further growth in those earnings has largely been already discounted in the price.
    Eg-He argues that just because a stock is selling at higher p/e than its peers does not mean it is overvalued. Some great stocks always are sold with higher p/e because they always grow at a faster rate and maintain that advantage all throughout.
  5. Don't quibble over eighths and quarters. Eg- When you are buying a stock and feel it is reasonble, just buy at the market.
Five More Don'ts for Investors

  1. Done overstress diversification
  2. Dont be afraid of buying on a war scare.
  3. Dont forget your Gilbert and Sullivan.
  4. Dont fail to consider time as well as price in buying a true growth stock.
  5. Dont Follow the crowd.

Competitive Strategy - Techniques For Analyzing Industries And Competitors

Competitive Strategy - Techniques For Analyzing Industries And Competitors - Michael E. Porter.

This post is a review of this great book. This is the book for analyzing industries by different personalities. Either you are an stock analyst trying to analyse your industry of specialization or an Individual Investor trying to do your Due Diligence on a individual stock or even a CEO try to diversify your product portfolio.

As you read this book this blog can act as a refresher to all the salient aspects of the analysis. This blog is not a substitute for the book it is more like a keyword technique to instill the concepts.

PART I General Analytical Techniques

Chapter 1 The Structural Analysis of Industries

Structural Determinants of the Intensity of Competition

Forces Driving Industry Competition

  • Threat Of Entry
    • Barriers To Entry
      • Economies Of Scale
      • Product Differentiation
      • Switching Costs
      • Access to Distribution Channels
      • Cost Disadvantages Independent of Scale
      • Government Policy
      • Expected Retaliation
      • Entry Deterring Price
      • Properties Of Entry Barriers
      • Experience and Scale
  • Intensity of rivalry among existing competitors
    • Numerous or Equally Balanced Competitors
    • Slow Industry Growth
    • High Fixed or Storage costs
    • Lack of Differentiation or switching costs
    • Capacity augmented in large increments
    • Diverse Competitors
    • High Stratergic Stakes
    • High Exit Barriers
    • Shifting Rivalry
    • Exit Barriers and Entry Barriers
  • Pressure from substitute products
  • Bargaing power of buyers
    • It is concentrated or purchases large volumes relative to seller sales
    • The product it purchases from industry represents a significant fraction of buyers's cost or purchaes.
    • The product it purchases from the industry are standard or undifferentiated.
    • It faces few switching costs.
    • It earns low profits
    • Buyers pose a credible threat of backward integration
    • Industry product is unimportant to the quality of the buyer's products or services.
    • The buyer has full information of demand, actual market prices and even supplier costs.
  • Bargaining power of suppliers
    • It is dominated by a few companies and is more concentrated than the industry it sells to.
    • It is not obliged to contend with other substitute products for sale to the industry.
    • The industry is not an important customer of the supplier.
    • The suppliers product is an important input to buyer's business.
    • The supplier's groups products are differentiated or it has built up switching costs.
    • The suppliers group pose s credible threat of forward integration.

Structural Analysis and Competitive Strategy

  • Positioning
  • Influencing the balance
  • Exploiting Change
  • Diversification

Structural Analysis and Industry Definition

  • Since a business can be involved in multiple industries the analysis will have to be done on industry basis and not business as a whole.

Chapter 2 Generic Competitive Strategies

Three Generic Strategies (to outperfoming other firms in the industry)

  • Overall Cost Leadership: Cost cutting across the industry.
  • Differentiation: Creating a unique product/service ofering.
  • Focus : Focusing on a particular buyer group, segment of the product line, or geographic market.

Stuck in the Middle

  • This frm lacks the market share, capital investment, and resolve to play the low cost game, the industry wide differentiation necessary to obviate the nees for a low cost position. This firm stuck in the middle is almost guaranteed low profitability.

Risks of the Generic Strategies

  • Risks Overall Cost Leadership:
    • Technological change that nullifies part investments
    • Imitation by others
    • Inability to see required product or marketing change becaus eof attention based on cosr
  • Risks of Differentiation:
    • Difference between specialized products and its low cost companies become less so buyer goes with low cost alternative.
    • Buyers need for differentiation falls.
    • Imitation narrows perceived differentiation.
  • Risks of Focus :
    • Cost differential between broad range competitor and the focused firms widens to eliminate the cost advantages of serving a narrow target.
    • Stratergic product overtime loses its focus.
    • Competitors find sub markets and further focus.

Chapter 3 A Framework for Competitor Analysis

The Components of Competitor Analysis
Putting the Four Components Together -- The Competitor
Response Profile
Competitor Analysis and Industry Forecasting
The Need for a Competitor Intelligence System

Chapter 4 Market Signals

Types of Market Signals
The Use of History in Identifying Signals
Can Attention to Market Signals Be a Distraction?

Chapter 5 Competitive Moves

Industry Instability: The Likelihood of Competitive Warfare
Competitive Moves
Focal Points
A Note on Information and Secrecy

Chapter 6 Strategy Toward Buyers and Suppliers

Buyer Selection
Purchasing Strategy

Chapter 7 Structural Analysis Within Industries

Dimensions of Competitive Strategy
Strategic Groups
Strategic Groups and a Firm's Profitability
Implications for Formulation of Strategy
The Strategic Group Map as an Analytical Tool

Chapter 8 Industry Evolution

Basic Concepts in Industry Evolution
Evolutionary Processes
Key Relationships in Industry Evolution

PART II Generic Industry Environments

Chapter 9 Competitive Strategy in Fragmented Industries

What Makes an Industry Fragmented?
Overcoming Fragmentation
Coping with Fragmentation
Potential Strategic Traps
Formulating Strategy

Chapter 10 Competitive Strategy in Emerging Industries

The Structural Environment
Problems Constraining Industry Development
Early and Late Markets
Strategic Choices
Techniques for Forecasting
Which Emerging Industries to Enter

Chapter 11 The Transition to Industry Maturity

Industry Change during Transition
Some Strategic Implications of Transition
Strategic Pitfalls in Transition
Organizational Implications of Maturity
Industry Transition and the General Manager

Chapter 12 Competitive Strategy in Declining Industries

Structural Determinants of Competition in Decline
Strategic Alternatives in Decline
Choosing a Strategy for Decline
Pitfalls in Decline
Preparing for Decline

Chapter 13 Competition in Global Industries

Sources and Impediments to Global Competition
Evolution to Global Industries
Competition in Global Industries
Strategic Alternatives in Global Industries
Trends Affecting Global Competition

PART III Strategic Decisions

Chapter 14 The Strategic Analysis of Vertical Integration

Strategic Benefits and Costs of Vertical Integration
Particular Strategic Issues in Forward Integration
Particular Strategic Issues in Backward Integration
Long-Term Contracts and the Economics of Information
Illusions in Vertical Integration Decisions

Chapter 15 Capacity Expansion

Elements of the Capacity Expansion Decision
Causes of Overbuilding Capacity
Preemptive Strategies

Chapter 16 Entry into New Businesses

Entry through Internal Development
Entry through Acquisition
Sequenced Entry

Appendix A Portfolio Techniques in Competitor Analysis

Appendix B How to Conduct an Industry Analysis

About the Author

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Practical Laws Of Success In Life

1. Exercise atleast 1 hour everyday. You should break a sweat when you are done.

2. Every action you perform should contribute to your goals and aims in life, without attachment to its results. Student should study to acquire knowledge just not to get good grades.An employee should work because he loves what he is doing and not to make a living.

3. Earnestly cut down on wasteful actions in life. Some examples of wasteful actions are watching TV, browsing about useless topics which contributes nothing to your professional and personal life.

4. Strive for perfection in everything you do. Dont perform any action carelessly and incompletely.

5. Seek Knowledge everyday. When you go to bed make sure at the end of the day have the satisfaction of learning at least one thing new today.

6. Meditate or Pray atleast 30 minutes daily. Be thankful for all your blessings.

7. Eat only when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty, and never otherwise.

8. Stay away from mind altering drugs like alchol, tobacco, coffee and tea. Become a Vegetarian, with plenty of fruits, vegetables and milk in your diet.

9. Practise eveness of mind by treating Pleasure/Pain, Heat/Cold the same by controlling your senses. By products of uncontrolled senses are three evils Lust, Anger and Greed, which would lead to man's ultimate destruction. Eveness brings peace and balance to your life.

10. You have limited time in this earth so enjoy every second of it. Dont wait for tomorrow or dont dwell on yesterday. What you have is today, so go ahead and implement your aims now.

Art Of Project Management - Scott Berkun

Art Of Project Management - Scott Berkun

This book deals with issues of managing software project and this is an elusive subject. For programmers wanting to become Lead Engineers or even Architects there is either too much information or too little information what it takes to write good software. This book clearly defines the art of project management in a practical standpoint.

1. A brief history of project management (and why you should care)

I. Plans

2. The truth about schedules

  • Schedules have three purposes
    • Commitement about when things will be done
    • Encourage everyone to a project to see her effots as part of a whole, and invest in maing her pieces work with others
    • To give the team a tool to track progress and to break work into manageable chunks.
  • Methodologies
    • Common Software development metodolgies are Water Fall Model, Spiral Model, Rapid Applications Development, Extreme Programming and Feature driven Development.
    • Obsessing on process is a warning sign of leadership trouble. Tom Demarco in People ware: The obsession with methodologies in the workplace is another instance of the hightech illusion.
  • What Schedules look like
    • 1/3rd for Design
    • 1/3rd for implementation
    • 1/3rd for testing
    • Applying the rule of thirds: If the project demands uneven distribution then we need good reasons for that.
    • Piecemeal Development: Small projects word is done on a piecemeal basis and Agile methods are recommended. Still rule of thirds do apply.
    • Divide and conquer : Big Schedules= many little scheules, which means break down tasks into smaller items and then provide schedule for those.
  • Why Schedules Fail
    • Shooting blind from very very far away : A shot in the dark schedule with no refinement based on requirements is a recipe for disaster.
    • Schedule is probability: Schedules need not be perfect but have to be good enough for the team and leaders to beleive in.
    • Estimating is difficult : Each work item is identified and distributed across programming team and tallying them the master schedule is created. It is better to involve QA team in the design process because they have insight into cases we overlook.
    • Good Estimates come from good design: Good estimates only come from good designs and requirements.
      • Establish baseline confidence intervals for estimates: A Guess=40%, Good Estimate=70%, Detailed and through analysis=90%.
      • Lead programmers must set the bar for quality estimations by asking good questions and taking wise approaches that team can emulate.
      • Programmers should be trusted.
      • Estimates depend on the programmers understanding of the project goals.
      • Estimates should be based on previous performance.
      • Higher the quality of estimates the higher the quality of specifications.
      • Theere are known techniques for making better estimates like PERT.

3. How to figure out what to do

4. Writing the good vision

5. Where ideas come from

6. What to do with ideas once you have them

II. Skills

7. Writing good specifications

8. How to make good decisions

9. Communication and relationships

10. How not to annoy people: process, email, and meetings

11. What to do when things go wrong

III. Management

12. Why leadership is based on trust

13. How to make things happen

14. Middle-game strategy

15. End-game strategy

16. Power and politics