ENT 601 Week 5 Blog Assignment – Getting the Scope of the Business Right

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What is the essential core for sustaining business growth strategies with all the touch points that your customers can find and purchase your products/services? Customers will not buy your product unless it met their needs and affordable. At the same time, the challenges for the company are to what methods in use to fit in with demand, low cost, and time. Which activities required to design, produce, sell, and distribute your product should your company do internally? Will you build the product internally, hire a company to build it or buy a company that already has the basis of the product in place? This requires much more research and time for testing new markets and collecting customers’ feedback.

“Decision about what to in-source and what to procure from suppliers and partners have a powerful impact on a new-growth venture’s chance for success”, said the authors. As in the case of IBM, its’s decision in the early 1980s, to outsource the micro-processor for its PC business to Intel, and its operation system to Microsoft. IBM put into business the two companies that subsequently capture most of the profit in the industry.

A brilliant entrepreneur’s decision that his product fit perfectly the theory of “being in the right place at the right time”. William Levitt, a co-founder of Levitt & Sons, joined forces with his father, Abraham and brother, Alfred to form Levitt & Sons in 1929. Perfected the assembly-line approach to housing construction which followed high demand housing at that time. The Levitt’s purchased 1,000 acres of land on Long Island, 25 miles east of Manhattan and embarked on a bold venture to build 17,000 homes. They broke down the construction process into 27 separated tasks and assigned each task to a group of workers who would go from house to house repeating their specific task at each site. When the process was in high gear, houses were completed at the rate of 36 per day and during the first weekend, they sold more than 300 houses. To keep down lumber costs, the Levitt’s bought their own forests and built a sawmill in Oregon. They purchased appliances directly from the manufactures, cutting out the distributor’s markup. They even made their own nails. The Levitt’s’ methods kept costs so low that in the first few years, their cookie-cutter two-bedroom houses – which features fireplaces, radiant-heated floors, up-to-date kitchen equipment, laundry rooms and televisions – could be sold for just &7,900…a price that still allowed the Levitt’s a profit of about $1000, at that time. In 1949 alone, the Levitt’s built 4,600 houses and sold them for a total of more than $42 million.

Clearly their mass-production technique, cost-and time-cutting method were the keys to the company’s future. “If something fits your core competence, you should do it internally. If it’s not your core competence and another firm can do it netter, the theory goes, you should rely on them to provide it”, said the author.  The Levitt’s beat competitors with speed, responsiveness, and convenience.

Resources:

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – by Christensen, Clayton M. and Michael E. Raynor, 2003

http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y4532e/y4532e07.htm

Radicals & Visionaries  – Entrepreneurs who revolutionized the 20th Century – by Thaddeus Wawro, 2000

 

ENT 601 – “Innovation Leadership” Podcast (MP3 file) Assignment by Mary Schuler

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Overpopulation: is a situation where people in a country are many in relation to the available resources. This situation will force people to compete for the available resources. By numbers of factor that effected humanity in many ways, especially in the past fifty or more years was the baby boomer period in the history. First, let talk about the cause, the negative and the advantage of overpopulation:

  1. The cause of overpopulation:
  • Reduced death rate: Nowadays, with better medical facilities: fertility treatment makes the chance of conception higher and safer, save lives with better medical treatments, by the invention of vaccines that able to cure many illness, the lifespan has improved and overall conditions of living have allowed people to live longer than ever before.
  • Industrial revolution: growing advanced technologies and providing better food supply, quality of water… that give higher lifespan.
  • Increase Income in general: humanity is on its way to endless prosperity; especially the developing countries are on their way to move out of poverty line.
  • The Asia and Africa countries are still struggling with poverty. They need large family to make up for the high infant death rate and need more hand work in the fields. Plus, due to living in poverty and in their own belief (ex: must have a boy to carry the family name), no knowledge about family planning, lacking education.
  • Immigration: in term of seeking better education, medical, security and employment, the people move to developed countries, or from rural to big cities …

 

  1. The negative of overpopulation:
  • The static shows the developed countries and because of economic growth, overuse of natural resources (coal, oil, natural gas) and effecting on environment by increasing the number of vehicles and industries which affected the air quality, rising in amount of CO2 dioxide emissions, leads to global warming.
  • Deforest, pollution in general.
  • Overpopulation makes some places, cities, countries become overcrowded and effects the density of the population.

 

  1. The Advantage effects:
  • Defense: large population makes it possible to defend in time of war and helps with any other major disasters.
  • Economic boost: the alternative sources and resources pricing become competitive, also increase in labor force.
  • Increase innovation: advanced technologies that satisfy increased demands for goods and services will arise. Investors would like to invest in a country with a large population where there are high demands for necessary goods.
  • the key role of policy: increase awareness of humanity’s impact upon resources and the environment. This will lead to better regulation of resource usage and or exploitation, increase enforcement of environment protection laws.

“We live in the world that has relentless changes. Overpopulation is still growing. Should we be worried? Should we be scare?” – questioning the professor Hans Rosling, a statistic-scientist, BBC document – Don’t panic. The truth about population: To help make sense about what is happening now and in the future. There are 7 billion people living in this planet. The good news is the future is not quite that gloomy as many people thought. Let first skim over some facts:

Back in History:

Time

10,000 BC: when the first person became a farmer

1800 when population became 1 billion

2000 population increase to

Population

Approximately 10 million

Fraction of the percent compare with the year 2,000)

7 billion

Look at the Baby population in Bangladesh (one of the poorest countries in Africa)

Year Baby (average per woman) Lifespan (years old)
1972 (First year Independence) 5-7 Under 50
2013 2.2 70

The 1st and biggest population is China

The 2nd is India

The 3rd is Bangladesh: Slogan “2 children per family, 1 even better”. Trying to educate people to deduce the population:

Developed countries: have small family, longer lifespan

Developing countries: have large family, short lifespan (especially in African countries).

  • The number of children per family decreased from 5 (50 years ago) to 2.2 (today) and is still decreasing. That was a big change! Also the income and lifespan are changing, so fast from extreme poverty line to a better life. It is the most important thing happens in human history.
  • Following the survey about “how people know about the world”. The result turned out that “Not many people know”. The problem is not because of lack of knowledge but is the preconized idea. They cannot imagine or even guess that today every developing country now have 2 or less children per family (India, Vietnam, Bangladesh… and even in Africa countries). The reason to continue shape from large to small family: because of Education: not married at young ages, more jobs. And Child survive (one of essential of the transformation is the dramatic improvement in child survive): in Bangladesh, 1 in 5 children died before they reach 5 years of age.

Year:

1800 and before         Avg. 6 children (but 4 died)

1963                              Avg. 5 had a chance to survive (but 1 died)

2010                              Avg. 2 children (0 died)

We are at the end of fast grow population from 2000-2100: will only 2 billion children (from 0-15 years old) in the world. Meanwhile, the population will be 11 billion.

So, where total of 7 billion people lives now and in the future?

Continents now (7 billion) 1114 2050 (9 billion) 2100 (11 billion)  1145
America      1 1 no increase, actually decrease 1 no increase or decrease
Europe        1 1 no increase or decrease 1 no increase or decrease
Africa          1 2 Double = 4
Asia             4 Adding 1 = 5 5

Conclusion:

The world might not be as bad as you might believe! We are human and all of us would be glad to live. Of course it is very human to feel life has immense value and sacred. That’s why with years of research and seeing the improvement of better life and moving out of poverty, the scientists and professor Hans want to give you a Don’t Panic message. We can no longer prevent it but there are ways to control it:

  • Population is still technically growing, but per the United Nation Population Division – the most reliable source of population statistics in the world, that growth is slowing dramatically, population growth will continue to slow down over the next few decades. In fact, if current trends persist, the growth will be around 8 billion by 2045. After that, our numbers will start to fall off, slowly at first, and then faster.
  • Improve the environment: Stop pollution by decrease the internal combustion engines (ex: France and China use more bicycles, electrical highspeed trains, horses…)
  1. Save the planet: grow more trees, recycle
  2. Better education and training: make people aware of family planning.

And to close this podcast, here is the quote regarding overpopulation: “There is enough for human need but not for human greed

Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UbmG8gtBPM

https://overpopulationisamyth.com/content/episode-5-7-billion-people-will-everyone-please-relax

http://selfhelparchive.com/positive-and-negative-effects-of-over-population/

http://www.everythingconnects.org/overpopulation-effects.html

ENT 601 – Week 4 Blog by Mary Schuler

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ENT 601 – Week 4 Blog Assignment by Mary Schuler

Who Are the Best Customers for Your Products?

As we discuss in the previous blog that sustaining innovations to the growth of existing business are critical. A disruptive strategy offers a much higher probability of success in building new-growth business. And instead of targeting the segment market that meets customer’s needs, they rather pursue  along the lines for which data are available.

You need to know which customers base will be the most valuable foundation for the future growth? And how should we reach them? You want customers who have long wanted your products but were not able to get one until you arrive on the scene. You want to be able to easily delight these customers, and you want them to need you. You want your customers to be so attracted to those you work with that everyone in your network is motivated to cooperate in pursuing the opportunity.

“We believed from the start that if we brought the customer quality merchandise at the right price and offered excellent service, we could changer retailing in the United States.” Said Bernie Marcus, Co-founder of The Home Depot. These innovative co-founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank stated that they wanted to make The Home Depot the Sears Roebuck of the home-improvement industry, a lot people laugh at them.

They are not laughing now because Home Depot is a formattable competitor in the market place in the USA.

 

Mary Schuler

Resources:

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – by Christensen, Clayton M. and Michael E. Raynor, 2003

ENT 601 – Week 3 Blog by Mary Schuler

 

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What Products Will Customers Want to Buy? Which Market Segments should We Focus On?

Create and gaining a foothold in the market (please keep in mind, this is just a first battle in the war) and then to grow profitably along the sustaining trajectory into market-dominating products and services. Improvements that stretch to meet the needs of more profitable customers by creating a purpose brand so that customers know what is the product that meets their needs.

The mismatch between the true needs of the right customers and the data (products attributes or the demographic and psycho-graphic profiles of a potential consumers) that “shape most product development efforts leads most companies to aim their innovations at a nonexistent target”, said the authors.

One of the most successful and creative entrepreneur, president and founder of K, T.’s Kitchens, Kathleen Taggares, who has mastered a full spectrum of approaches to market her products – frozen pizza! Making $55 million in the 90s, her company provided products for the low, middle, and high end of the pizza market by creating lines of different private-label products to different low and high markets such as public schools, military, Sam’s Club and Costco…

How Can We Beat Our Most Powerful Competitor?

As mentioned in the previous blog, how to predictably identify and deal with the constant range of issues bidding for more time and money; how to become the disruptor in growing business process. Let say, ok now your business has made it through the toddler years and is now a child and would be an adult. Revenues and customers are there but at the same time with opportunities and issues. Profits are there but competition is surfacing.

To stay ahead of the competition, innovation will need to find a breeding ground, as this together with Sales and Marketing are the only money makers and growth busters in any company no matter size. They are like fire and water and need to be blended through business development which is the missing link to a successful go to market commercial strategy.

So, just give me some tips! You may ask. How to develop a realistic strategy or working model to get my products and or services to the customers? Are there ways and or theories to help me make good decision in different circumstances? etc., “The best way to attack established competitors is to disrupt them”, said the authors, “disruptive strategies greatly increase the odds of competitive success and ultimately kill the well-run, established competitors, based on the circumstances of innovation which are identified by two distinct categories:”

  • Sustaining circumstances: making better products that can be sold for more money to attractive customers à in this case, the established company would always prevail.
  • Disruptive circumstances: more convenient product that sells for less money and appeals to a new or unattractive customer set à in this case, the entrants are more likely to prevail.

What is the disruptive innovation model to help shape the strategies before the company get killed? There are two types of disruption:

  • New-Market Disruptions: New customers who had not owned or used the products or services. Compete against non-consumption to pull customers out of the original value network to the new one à induce incumbents to ignore the attackers.
  • Low-End Disruptions: Attack the least-profitable and most overserved customers at the low end of the original value network. Mostly occurred in retailing. Low cost business models that grew by picking off the least attractive of the established firms’ customers à motivate the incumbents to flee the attack.

As you all know Guy Kawasaki, a marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist, who rejoined Apple Computer after a break to help with their marketing strategy, said “there is no excuse not to know everything about your competitors.” After you fully understand what your competition is doing, figure out where they are vulnerable. “You are looking for chinks in the armor. You are looking for pockets of dissatisfied customers that you can steal from them” said Kawasaki.

Resources:

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – by Christensen, Clayton M. and Michael E. Raynor, 2003

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDFi7BC1qQ0

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Kathleen-Taggares/18642796

 

 

ENT 601 Week 2 Blog: The Growth Imperative

 

 

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Book: The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – by Christensen, Clayton M. and Michael E. Raynor

 

Innovation is a creation. Innovation changes the world. As you can see in business world, especially nowadays with advanced technology. Business needs efficient innovation to grow, supposes to be a positive and successful way. “Financial markets relentlessly pressure executives to grow and keep growing faster and faster”. Only 1 in 10 companies stay in business over time attempting quick growth. Growth is important because companies creates shareholder value through profitable growth. The growth would satisfy the stockholders but it could just temporary. Sometimes the business would be hurt for growing too fast. Following the authors Christensen, Clayton and coauthor Michael Raynor of The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – “Roughly one company in ten is able to sustain the kind of growth that translates into an above-average increase in shareholder returns over more than a few years. Too often the very attempt to grow causes the entire corporation to crash.” Interesting and fascinating, isn’t it? Why is it so hard to sustain success? How could I do it? What are probably predictable reasons to avoid the cause of failure? How to become disruptors of the business instead of disruptees? How to create strategies and to make decision to the changing circumstances of a dynamic world? And questions keep go on.

Either you are in a product or service provider business, start-up company, established entrepreneur, or a venture capital investor. You need to grow new venues with predictable success.  Running test, asking your clients, studying which directions, which products, which services they like best are a big help. Taking time to research what you are doing rather than just go in there “like a bull in the China shop”. If the management cannot think outside of the box, that maybe a problem and you may need to bring in some fresh thinkers to create the right road for company.

There were many real-life case studies of companies which were in the hope of creating shareholder value through growth. AT&T – a primarily long distance telecommunications services provider in the country in the 80s. It is amazing that they are still here and they are strong. They looked for avenues to grow by invested in new businesses. Their first attempt was tried to build its own computer division. Guess what? they have lost over $200 million annually. Rather than retreat from the failure investment, they decided in 1991, acquiring NCR, at the time it was the world’s fifth largest computer maker. They paid $7.4 billion and threw another $2 billion into the pile to make the acquisition work and when it did not work, they sold it for $3.4 billion in 1996. That was about a third of what they had invested in the opportunity. Doing the math, this was not good and did not make the stockholders happy.

In 1994, AT&T bought McCaw Cellular, at that time the largest national wireless carrier in the United States. They bought it for $11.6 billion, spent another $15 billion in total rebuilding and expanding wireless business. Wall Street at that time was unable to properly value the combined higher-growth wireless business within the lower-growth wireline company. AT&T decided to create a separated traded stock for the wireless in year 2000, valued the business at $10.6 billion, about two-third of the investment AT&T had made in the venture.

In 1998, AT&T acquired CTI and MediaOne for a combined price of $112 billion. This made AT&T Broadband the largest cable operator in the United States. In 2000, AT&T sold its cable assets to Comcast for $72 billion. Again, that was a loss. In about over ten years, AT&T wasted about $50 billion and destroyed even more in shareholders’ values.

Why is it so difficult to sustain market leadership and continued growth? “Pursuing grow the wrong way can be worse than no growth at all.” and “by placing too much focus on pleasing their most profitable customers, the firms paved the way to their own demise by ignoring the disruptive technologies that aggressively evolved to display them.”, said the authors.

It is hard to know how to grow. What are the most important decisions and strategies that all managers must make in creating growth?

See you in the next week blog!

Resources:

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – by Christensen, Clayton M. and Michael E. Raynor, 2003

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf2fL0QRuoU

 

ENT 630 Week 8 Blog – Chapter 26: Don’t Burn Bridges


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ENT 630 Week 8 Blog by Mary Schuler

In this world, relationships are everything: at work, home, friends, clients, bosses etc., Maneuvering through life is a matter of managing them all. Obviously, in business sometimes you are in the situation of not being happy with someone and you can’t make everyone happy all the time. One way to identify what kind, with who and how bad the situation is. Figure out how to handle these situations is to imagine how you will describe what happened later.

When mentioning about “burning bridges”, we often think immediately about quit a job or to quit a relationship in general. In an article of Dr. Tina Seelig Ph. D, “It’s a Small World… Don’t burn Bridges!”, she said, “Because we live in such a small world, it is critically important not to burn bridges – no matter how tempted you might be! You aren’t going to like everyone and everyone isn’t going to like you, but there’s no need to make enemies.” At the business standpoint, in ‘It’s a Jungle in There”, Steven Schussler said, “People change. Times change. Conditions change…I’d just be a lot more cautious in dealing with them the second time around.” Looks like “burning bridges” is not an option, ever. Instead, in his story, Steven was mindful and careful with ‘not to burn bridge” but made the decision of choosing which bridge to cross, in this case, dealing business with an entrepreneur Tilman Fertitta.

If you cannot retreat, you will reload and fight hard. The failure is not an option. When the speedbump comes up at any business, you don’t think about quitting but find way how to get away, under, above, through it and get to the finished line.

There are some solutions to avoid burning but strengthening bridges. It may help lead to a greater success and productivity in business relationship:

  • Listen more and take time to hear the other side of the story before reacting.
  • Wait at least 24 hours before responding to a problem and with force: not make decision when still in the emotion, sit on it, dwell on it, work it through your mind and seek third party advice.
  • Come up variety of solutions/options or come to an agreement instead of breakdown. Look for the common ground and negotiate an outcome that is fair and in the interests of all people.

No one wants to be in the “burn bridges” attempting. However, depending on your situation and or circumstance, sometimes you have no choice. The word “never” seems unrealistic, especially in business world, you just never know. Sometimes it makes sense to walk away and chalk it up to learning. Sometime burning a bridge is not just beneficial but necessary to accomplish a goal, at the same time be respectful to all those deserving in business and in life. Taking the risk will give you the strength to burn a bridge should you need to reach your goals, just don’t let it interfere with your best interests or block your path towards success and make sure the outcome has a massive positive impact on achieving your goals. There are some sign or exceptions:

  • If your workplace makes you sick from anxiety and the toxic culture is crushing your mojo. Your boss treats you badly, make sick to your stomach and stress every day…it is healthier for you just take another step forward by just leave and inform your upper management the truth about how you have been treated.
  • When your integrity requires you to bring the truth and for the sake of the company that you love to work with. The consequence might turn out bad because your boss will keep a grudge and retaliation, it will be difficult for you to continue working in the same position and not change environment with a damage relationship.
  • When your trusty gut tells you to, and you know you are taking the risks by take a stand, even if doing so will manage or destroy a relationship possibly forever. Ask yourself: Do I care if there are people walking around on this planet who don’t like me? I hope you don’t care very much about that.
  • You are asking to do something unethical or illegal: someone who wants you to break the law or your conscience is badly bothering you. Who needs to get a knock on the door from the police?
  • You are being abused and or seeing others being abused: to maintain self-respect requires that you resist in the mistreatment of others. The person or company has proven that nothing will. No one deserves to be a human punching bag. Time to give it up!

Before making in any decision, remember this quotation from David Russell (the Scottish guitarist): “The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn.”

Resources:

Schussler, Steven, and Marvin Karlins. It’s a Jungle in There: Inspiring Lessons, Hard-Won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring. New York: Union Square Press, 2010. Print.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/09/13/never-burn-bridges-except-in-these-five-cases/2/#2d16d5244b2a

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creativityrulz/200908/its-small-world-dont-burn-bridges

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-you-never-want-burn-bridges-business-matthew-tukaki

 

 

ENT 630 e-Zine Article – Reasons Why You Need a Professional Real Estate Broker’s Help for Your New Business Location

 

ENT 630 E-Zine Article Assignment – by Mary Schuler

Still pending approval  htttp://EzineArticles.com/9588105

When your business is on the expanding stage, growing out from your garage, spare bedroom, or office. It is important to have a vision for what the business in the future. There are certain things to think about such as where you will go? What location will suit your business? Are you looking for a place to just impress other professionals or are you dealing with a retail public or services? It is well worth your effort to find the right real estate broker to help you locate space to purchase or to lease a property that suits your needs.

If an entrepreneur contacts a realtor seeking real estate advice, the realtor should take time to get to know their client, their business, their hopes, and dreams and most important, their budget. With all this knowledge, the realtor is more aware of the best solution for their client.

Many people think they can save money by doing their own real estate transaction. There are many things nowadays that can go wrong, especially when moving into a commercial space. This is a serious financial commitment. In many cases, rent is the second-highest expense after payroll.

Depending on the nature of your business and the market, a business relocation can take six months or more to execute. It certainly takes your time and energy away from managing your business. Leasing space is a complicated business deal. Due to real estate rules and regulations that might be ever changing, relying on professional help who represents your best interest and who you can trust is smart. It is also important to ask your realtor to recommend to you a good real estate attorney, because a lease is a specialized document.

Have you ever heard a landlord who said “If you’re not dealing with a real estate broker, I will let you move in without paying your first month’s rent?” Or if you are buying a building, the seller says “I will sell it to you for a lesser price because no realtors involved”. It is not going to happen! However, if you ask a realtor “What other properties have sold in the last 12 months?”, you will be surprised that you did not get the great deal you thought you should have. It is a good idea to work with a realtor, in many cases, the owner/seller and landlord pay the realtor’s commission.

If you are on a budget, a realtor can help you find an owner/landlord to “build to suit” for what you need. For example, this is a true story: There was a successful entrepreneur who wanted to open an impressive insurance franchise office, which would have minimum of 15 offices, 2 conference rooms, media room, kitchenette area, employee lounge and a reception front desk combo greeting area with table and couches, and a child play area for the client’s children. This is a big expense on top of franchise fees and startup costs including the phone system and copy machines etc., His realtor found him a location. The owner/landlord said he would “build to suit” with a 10-year lease.

As an entrepreneur, you are going to need to rely on many professionals because you cannot know everything about everything by yourself. It is best to know who you can use for what information that will save you time and money. A good Realtor can connect you with other professionals to help facilitate buying, selling or leasing. To find the best financing and or other related services, it is common for Realtors to have a network of banks, mortgage lenders, appraisers, and tradesmen they can refer you to. A professional realtor always has the back-pocket listings, the tools to find what you need quicker and knowledge to get you in. Oftentimes, a good Realtor is aware of properties not yet listed but may be for sale or lease.

Mary Hongphuc Le, Schuler is a NC licensed Realtor/Broker and a Senior Executive Casino Host at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy NC. Mary is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western North Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article is in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Mary Hongphuc Le, Schuler.