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Timeless Training

Personal Finance – The Law of Exclusivity

In Marketing a product one must never try to to own a ‘word’ that your competitor owns.

You must find your own ‘word’. You must seek out another attribute.

Too often a company attempts to emulate the leader. “They must know what works,” goes the rationale, “so let’s do something similar.”

Not good thinking.

It’s much better to search for an opposite attribute that will allow you to play off against the leader.

The key word here is opposite—similar won’t do-

Coca-Cola was the original and thus the choice of older people. Pepsi successfully positioned itself as the choice of the younger generation.

Marketing is a battle of ideas. So if you are to succeed, you must have an idea or attribute of your own to focus your efforts around.

Cavity prevention is the most important attribute in toothpaste. It’s the one to own.

But the law of exclusivity points to the simple truth that once an attribute is successfully taken by your competition, it’s gone.

Your job is to seize a different attribute, dramatize the value of your attribute, and thus increase your share.

For many years IBM dominated the world of computers with its attributes of “big” and “powerful.”

Companies that tried to move in on those attributes had little success. RCA, GE, UNI-VAC, Burroughs, Honeywell, NCR, and Control Data lost a lot of money on mainframe com-puters.

Then an upstart from Boston went for the attribute of “small” and the minicomputer was born.

They probably laughed in Armonk because they knew corporate America wanted “big and powerful.”

Today “small” has grown to such proportions that IBM’s vast mainframe empire is in serious

Fixed Deposit today is known for ‘safety’.

For ‘Equity’ investing, while owning risky obviously isn’t an option but owning ‘short term risky’ is certainly worth dramatising.

When we say ‘short term risky’ we are actually saying the following : –

  1. If ‘Equity’ is short term risky it also in a sense means, ‘Equity’ is long term ‘safe’
  2. Perhaps FD is long term risky and short term safe. Let us find out and get ourselves educated
  3. If someone is so straightforward in accepting that they are ‘short term’ risky, it clearly means that they are trustworthy.

‘They’ could be the advisor who propagates the ‘short term’ risky message or it could also be the category if it starts to appropriate this kind positioning through communication and educational campaigns.

Dharmendra Satapathy at NextLevel-Education

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Timeless Training

Margins don’t sustain

In a recent piece I had written about building brand because brand is a scale up tool.

But why do we need a scale up tool?

The reason clearly is to gain volumes.

Businesses usually don’t sustain on high margins.

High margin businesses are associated with temporary customers such as tourists and low volume businesses where status display is a primary proposition.

Margins are high in theme parks, hotels, travel, in special performance shows like the Broadway etc.

But margins get thinner in areas where one hopes to sustain a relationship with the same customer for several years together.

Services such as Public transportation, residential spaces, super markets, water, electricity etc.

Look at the contrasting margin strategies in hotels vs residential spaces, public transportation vs private holidays, TV programs vs Broadway plays, Private cab services vs Uber, Premium stores vs Amazon, Mercedes vs Maruti etc.

The IFA business too is designed to be a long term business relationship with customers.

Hence high margin isn’t tenable in this business.

The right strategy to build this kind of business is to focus on creating volumes.

Hence the need for ‘scale up tools’ like technology and branding are key pillars for the IFA business.

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News Training Uncategorized

‘Make in India’, Entrepreneurial Tips for young women

Make in India’, initiative
Start-Up India, Stand-Up India’, urges PM Narendra Modi,
Entrepreneurial Tips for women in Start ups…Today!

Necessity may be the mother of invention but, adaptation is the father of innovation

  1. Purpose a finite way to profits: In life and in business we often get caught up in daily chores and forget who we are and what we really stand for. This is where; Clarity of purpose is the first step towards building a successful, profitable business. It is about defining your core values, your priorities. It is about understanding your limitations so you can make way for your strengths. The clearer your purpose, the higher the chances of success will be.
  2. It is lonely at the start; not at the top: The excitement of starting up is eating into the first few months, but then reality beckons. It is not easy to be around friends and peers who are more successful and soaring high in the corporate ladder, while as the founder, CEO, you are probably making the rounds of ROC office to get an NOC and permissions to start.
  3. Starting up is both excitement as well as challenging pride: But you can’t stand tall if you are always nervy about this; so entrepreneurs need mighty hearts, dogged determination, and a tough gut to take the initial punches and still be determined to keep up the belief of making the entrepreneurial route.
  4. Gut feeling is good but logic and data matters: To give an e.g. of the founder of Infosys, Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy had said, “Guard against business decisions being driven by the founder’s ego and sometimes delusion. Listen to your gut but back it up with logic and data.”
  5. Carve a niche; create an independent domain: If you are not the pioneer in the market, then create a market to benefit your interest. Businesses boast too much about being better than the competition but perhaps what they should be positioning about is being different. In your difference, you find your position in the market place. That’s empowerment.
  6. An organization must be receptive and responsive: Both are interlinked. As a leader you have to learn to read the clues the marketplace gives, make a logical sense of the clues, and utilise them to formulate your strategy. Necessity may be the mother of invention but, a successful biz guy said, adaptation is the father of innovation.
  7. Your organization must have focus: It should be aligned towards a single strategy and a clear goal. Being out of sync can often lead to failure.
  8. Learn from contemporaries/adversaries: Being observant and understanding their business practises gives you an edge where your business may take you, learn from their mistakes and share ideas. There is an age old concept in ethical practices —Pay It—Back who follow, which is, if you have learnt something, and grew then share it with others. If no one does with you then reach out to them and ask for advise. The successful people love to share their success stories.
  9. Making mistakes is not a sin: It is known that one learns more from his mistakes than his successes and the journey of correcting them or changing the course of the business is what keeps him invigorated as an entrepreneur.
  10. Be everything and Own up: When you start out you may be running the show on your own, so be prepared to fill all roles. e.g. of a young woman entrepreneur, Once she was on a call helping a customer solve a technical problem with new product and once the problem was solved the customer asked this woman to transfer the line to the sales team. She didn’t have a sales team, so she acted smartly and changed her accent and said, here’s the sales team speaking; and ended up making a license sale. Be ready for anything and think on your feet.
  11. Earn and Invest: As starting early in morning is good for health, the same way starting early for work gives more productivity and so a scope to invest early and have continuous financial growth. It is important to earn and first invest and then spend the remaining residual income.