Priority #1 Rethink Sales Model; It Probably Needs a Tune-up, Overhaul, or Rebuild: Resolution for New Year…

Most business ‘sales models’ are probably– outdated, ineffective… and most likely needs an– overhaul, or at least a tune-up. Hence, Priority #1 for New Year Resolution must be to rethink the basic concept of your sales model… In fact, your entire  business selling process probably needs rethinking, and possibly a complete restructure.

According to Kal Pelham; to be successful in modern global business environments, sales organizations must have a deeper plan, different points of view, more ambitious vision… Hence, a basic business strategy must have a sales model that– delivers value;  learns what motivates customers to buy;  discovers better ways to measure and manage sales performance; match sales strategies to the way customers buy; create value mapping strategies to improve market penetration;  empower revenue generation at all points of customer contact…

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By contrast, companies that do little to rethink the sales model are often saddled with a larger, cumbersome… and ineffective sales organization that not only erodes margins, but worse miss sales opportunities with high-value customers… Without a doubt it’s time for business to rethink– why they do, what they do… rather than just to continue to accept the status quo with little question, which may undercut their ability to achieve business objectives…

Business has become addicted to predictable and follow the crowd mediocrity… Figuring out how to design the perfect sales model for a business can be a challenging task, and even more daunting is identifying how to get a sales team to adopt a new methodology is an entirely different conversation… Hence, for the New Year, it’s time for business to stopped using failed or damaged sales models… and give it all a second thought…

In the article Does Your Sales Model Need Overhaul or Tune-up? by Christopher Ryan writes: When designing a new, or optimizing an existing, sales model, you are faced with some tough but extremely important decisions. The lifeblood of your business is not only in creating valued products and services, but also the ability to acquire new customers at a low-cost relative to the average transaction amount… And even if you are convinced you have the best sales model (no overhaul required), it can probably be streamlined (tuned up)…

Hence, it’s better to address the sales model issue now, instead of waiting until you are under pressure to produce better results next quarter or next year… One important factor to keep in mind; unless you are in a rare monopoly situation, customers have the control, not you. In fact, their ‘buying funnel’ may look very different from your ‘selling funnel’…

Hence, when you are overly rigid in your approach to sales, it creates conflict between seller and buyer… The trick is to accept the realities of the customers’ buying habits, know and understand your organizational strengths, and then align business strengths with the way customers want to do business. There are three steps in the alignment process:

  • Survey how your customers buy today and how they want to buy in the future…
  • Align key buying criteria with ability of sales model to fulfill specific criteria…
  • Offer flexibility as customers change/evolve their needs and wants…

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In the article Give Your Sales Strategy Overhaul by Meredith Elliott Powell writes: The economy and customer behavior are changing rapidly, and while the political leaders and economists are busy trying to decide if the economy is up or down, the truth is, it just does not matter… We live in a constantly shifting economy, where customer loyalty is at all-time low, competition is at all-time high and technology has made– more people, more accessible than ever before… And while change has always been part of the business landscape, changes in the next few years pack more punch and have far greater impact on the people you do business with and how you do business, than ever before… and that can create many opportunities for business growth and expanded customer relationships…

Hence, rethink your sales model and rethink your attitude on how you conduct business, e.g.; three changes to make now:

Educate yourself; you need to have the knowledge, information and resources to help your customers make better decisions and navigate the constantly shifting economy…

Proactively advise; many customers are unprepared for modern-day global business, which should motivate you to be more proactive in your engagements…

Expand sales team; today’s customers are no longer listen to you, or what you say about your business, or your products, services… Instead, they are turning to friends, families, social media, reviews… Hence, you must know customers intimately, create an engaging sales model, deliver an amazing experience that generates significant buzz in social media and elsewhere…

In the article Is Complexity Killing Your Sales Model? by Dianne Ledingham, Mark Kovac, Michael Heric and François Montaville write: The sales models for many large companies have become more complex and less efficient.. and a few key factors that account for this reversal, starts with how the shape of customer demand have changed in many industries, e.g.; customer are more sophisticatedcustomers expect providers to help solve their business problems… customers are more experienced with competition… customers are less loyal…

Hence, restructuring a sales model for the new business realities does require substantial effort and time– but it’s no longer optional… Leading sales organizations must figure out exactly which products and solutions they should sell to which core customers, and how to adapt these offerings efficiently for other customer segments…

Sales organizations must also devise a repeatable sales model that can be applied to existing customers with new products, or for selling existing products to new adjacent segments… Hence, the sales model must be able to identify and engage a market’s ‘sweet spots’ by using two basic criteria: segments with the most attractive life-time economics, and segments where a company’s distinctive offerings win consistently…

An effective way to identify sweet spots for target segments is to map the potential choices along a spectrum of solution types, each of which can influence the go-to-market model. The exercise involves defining the nature of the solution, the target decision makers, the sales cycle, and the implementation team required… Another way to glean or refine your ‘sweet spot’ is to listen closely to customer feedback… get the right people and channel in front of the customer at the right time…

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In the article Dismantling the Sales Machine by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Nicholas Toman write: Sales leaders have long fixated on sales process discipline. They created opportunity scorecards, qualification criteria, and activity metrics– all part of a formal sales process designed to help their sales team members replicate the approaches of star performers. This is the world of the ‘sales machine’– built to outsell less focused and less disciplined competitors through brute efficiency, world-class tools and training…

For years, tuning this machine has been the primary means of boosting sales productivity. But recently sales effectiveness has been caught off guard by a dramatic shift in customers’ buying behavior. Even as leadership has tightened compliance with a sales process that have served them well, sales performance has grown increasingly erratic. Companies are reporting longer sales cycle times, lower conversion rates, less reliable forecasts, and compressed margins… In essence, the sales machine is stalling…

In the modern digital world, process-driven sales machine approaches are falling short, because they give a sales person no room to exercise judgment and creativity in dealing with highly knowledgeable customers, and they leave sales people with little to do but compete on price… It’s a new business environment that favors creative and adaptable sellers who challenge customers with disruptive insights into their business– and offer unexpected (and some times unorthodox) solutions…

Delivering the right insight in the right way requires determining, knowing– what the customer has already concluded about its needs and available solutions, who the decision makers are (often not the usual suspects), and what it will take to change their minds… The most effective approach to selling can vary radically from deal-to-deal… as a result, in recent years, sales has seen a dramatic uncoupling of specific sales activities with specific outcomes; the sequential tactics that once led to predictable progress in a sale, in many cases no longer do…

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According to Ann Lambert; it’s the age of the customer and sales models must be aligned with customer behaviors, market dynamics, industry trends… also, digitally empowered buyers expect sales people to have the skills and knowledge to deliver ‘real’ value and solve complex problems— not just pitch product…

According to Forrester Research; developing relevant, competent, and a productive sales model is a far more difficult challenge in this digital age than it was just five or 10 years ago… Hence, to successfully overhaul a sales model and organization to meet needs of– customers, markets, sales and business as whole– Business must understand, acknowledge,   and deliver on the modern global business realities…

Reflecting on Lessons Learned: About Things in Business You– Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda… Done Different…

Lessons learned is simply about reviewing your own actions, or the actions of others relative to dealings in business… Usually, lessons learned are about reviewing negative or undesired outcomes, but that does not need to be; successful endeavors also need to be reviewed just as much as unsuccessful endeavors…

There is an old proverb which states: An ‘individual’ learns from their mistakes… a ‘wise individual’ learns from the mistakes of others… a ‘fool’ never learns… There is no reason why we cannot all become wise and learn from the mistakes of others, and there is no reason to repeat mistakes of others… Business is all about the choices you make… and it’s the hard work, tenacity, and most important learning from both success and failure that ultimately determines success…

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But it’s all about you; about what you are prepared to do in order to be successful… and lessons learned are not merely about just your experience but also about the experience of others… it’s about the outcome of a learning process, which involves reflecting on all experiences… Neither evaluations of facts, findings, studies… by themselves, will yield actionable lessons… Meaningful lessons must be produced (i.e., distilled, extracted) from all sources of experience… its common practice for business executives to just refer to– recommendations, studies… when, in fact, lessons learned from actual experiences are much more valuable…

In the article Business Lessons Learned From Rocky Movies by Alex Atzberger writes: I must confess the lessons learned from the Rocky movies are as relevant now as they were four decades ago– particularly for business leaders… There are the obvious lessons, such as; it ain’t about how hard you hit but about how hard you can get hit… Year-end can be a tense time and we could all use a little kick to get through it– inspiration can come from anywhere, even the movies.

The movie ‘Rocky’ is timeless story that carries many lessons that can pick you up and motivated you to push a little harder: Go a little longer and finish even stronger… But if you dig a little deeper, there are a few more lessons that can inspire you to finish the year strong and put yourself in a position to win next year… Here a few to consider:

  • Identify your real purpose– Lesson: Focus on the true purpose of  your business. Ask; Why does your business really exist? The answer will inspire– you, your customers and attract the best employees much more than just the latest battle slogan…
  • Don’t slack on training– Lesson: Success comes from what you do leading-up to the main event. Don’t cut training short; remember– nothing replaces preparation…
  • Go the distance– Lesson: Don’t set unachievable goals. Address challenges openly, and not doing so is a recipe for failure. Also, most important, know that every person in a company– big or small– makes a difference…
  • Earn it every day– Lesson: There is no room for complacency in business. It’s easy to become comfortable when things are going well and you are on the top… But it takes hard work and smart work, every day, to keep you there…
  • Don’t let others take your dreams away– Lesson: Whatever your dream is for the business or yourself don’t let others– take it away; pursue it with a vengeance…

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In the article Business Lessons Learned From Taylor Swift by Roberta Matuson writes: There aren’t many solo artists who can sell out stadiums across the world, which says that there are many lessons that can be learned by taking a closer look at the Taylor Swift phenomena; here are a few:

  • Speak from your heart: Most businesses do little to connect with their individual buyers. Instead, they seek to connect with the masses… Think about what you can do to personally connect with those you’ve worked so hard to secure as customers…
  • Let your followers speak on your behalf: Are you allowing your followers to speak on your behalf? If not, you should be. Testimonials are a much more powerful way to acquire and retain business than email blasts or advertising…
  • Power of value: What kind of value are you giving your customers? Are they being  constantly surprised on how much more they are getting from the relationship with your business than they expected, or are they leaving feeling ripped off?
  • Anticipation creates excitement: What are you doing to surprise and delight your clients? If the answer is nothing, then take a lesson and do something!
  • Make it easy for your customers to buy from you: Can your customers easily make purchases from you, or do you force them to wait in line? If you don’t know? Try buying something from yourself and see how easy it is, or isn’t to do so…
  • Leave your customers wanting more: Are you delighting and exciting customers so that they cannot wait until you announce your next offering? Think about what offerings will best engage your audience and then make it so…

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In the article Lessons Learned: Don’t Get Trapped in Your Core Business Model by Josh Cable writes: Contrary to popular wisdom, most businesses do know how to read their market correctly, and most businesses do know how to innovate aggressively, and most businesses do know how to make good decisions… but, some how along the road many eventually end-up in failure… And, the easy relational narrative is that a company was just blind to the disruptive changes in its marketplace… but like many easy narratives, this one may be wrong…

Instead, the real issue is that too many businesses get trapped into their own business model… and they become paralyzed with fear of failure and are unable to move far enough or fast enough to align and transform their business correctly… Here are several lessons:

  • Start innovating before you must: The challenge is called; Innovator’s Paradox, and it’s when you have the freedom to change, but you don’t feel the urgency to change. But then once the urgency grows, the degrees of freedom to change usually narrows rapidly… It’s the ‘deer in the headlights effect’… you become so fixated on stopping the bleeding; you forget that the real issue with the business is the core business model…
  • Place multiple small bets, not just one big bet: It’s always hard to know which idea is going to be ‘The One,’ especially in fast-changing industries. Another approach is to develop a portfolio and pipeline of different growth strategies– and start early enough that there is time to– incubate, revise, and grow them…
  • Don’t go it alone: Companies must continue to innovate by seeking out multiple relationships with companies in your industry or companies on the periphery of your business… The lesson is that innovation is hard stuff and even an insightful company can go wrong, when it does not push– hard enough, far enough, fast enough… into uncomfortable territory…

When things go wrong with your business– remember, mistakes are not failures– they are just lessons learned! According to Kim Runyen; some key lessons learned while traveling down the path to business success or failure, include;

Caring counts; business must care about all people (i.e.; customers, employees, suppliers, partners…) with whom it come into contact… and when there is genuine caring about people then there are more people around that are willing to help when things begin to go wrong…

Building relationships; relationship building is a very important business skill; according to the ‘Carnegie Institute of Technology’; research shows 85% of business success comes from relationship-building skills and only 15% of success comes from technical skills…

Know value; you must know the ‘value’ of your business to– customers, employees, stakeholders… you must also know the tangible worth of the business in the marketplace to create an enduring business…

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Further, never assume that your way is the only way, or that you are always ‘right’– you must listen, not just hear, but listen– to other people’s experiences and points-of-view… According to Marissa Russell; most doors are closed in business and if you want them to open for you, then you better have an interesting ‘knock’ on doors from them to open…

According to Lewis Howes; embrace mistakes and find gratification in the lessons learned along the journey… It’s good to learn from your mistakes, but it’s even better if you can learn from other people’s mistakes, success, failures, experiences…

Quote from Confucius; there are three ways you learn lessons:

First, by reflection– it’s the noblest;

Second, by imitation– it’s the easiest;

Third, by experience– it’s the bitterest…

The Great Deception– Christmas Lies, Pagan Roots: Holiday’s Ancient Rituals That Will Exceed $630 Billion in Sales…

The very foundation of Christmas is a lie, and the idea of a deity being born on December 25th is of ‘pagan’ origin… in fact, it’s the birth date of numerous pagan idols… hence, according to some scholars; Christmas is a ‘pagan’ holiday…

Christ was not born on, or near December 25, and none of the things, such as; Christmas trees, Yule logs, Christmas candles, bells, mistletoe, holly, wreaths, pig ham, tinsel, lights, balls, eggs, Santa Claus… have anything to do with Christ’s birth… all these things have a non-scriptural ‘pagan’ origin… rooted in ancient fertility rites, pagan symbols, sun worship from pagan past, and grafted into the Christian church during and after third and fourth centuries…

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According to Dr. Tim Williams; sadly Christmas has morphed into something that is quite a spectacle of binge buying and over indulgence of everything imaginable. How this most hallowed of holidays has become so misinterpreted, and so far removed from the real reason why Christmas is celebrated is to understand that society is more focused on consumerism than spiritual reverenced, e.g.;  according to ‘National Retail Federation’; Christmas consumer sales will top $630.7 billion this year, this is a 3.7% growth from last year’s total of $616.1 billion… Hence, to fully understand how many consumers interrupts this time of year we have to understand where and how Christmas evolved…

In the article Christmas: Origin, History, & Traditions by Fred Myers writes: For most people the word ‘holiday’ is applied to one celebration in particular Christmas! The definition of the word ‘holiday’ reveals a religious element of which many people are unaware. According to Webster’s dictionary; holiday is a religious festival and Christmas is a religious holiday… Despite all the commercial trappings of the modern Christmas, most Christians celebrate it as the birth of Jesus Christ and, at its heart, Christmas is a religious festival…

For Christians it’s a time when Christ is remembered and  honored; It’s a time for prayer, it’s a time for giving of gifts… and, for many it’s about time to put Christ back into Christmas… However according to some scholars, the problem is that Christ was never ‘in’ Christmas to begin with! While Scripture does not supply Christ’s birth date, most scholars agree that He was born in the fall, not December 25th…

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To discover the  actually ‘god’ that was being honored at Christmas, it’s necessary to trace its pagan origins… Many of today’s Christmas traditions can be traced directly from ancient Babylon and pagan RomeThe pagan Romans honored the ‘god’, Saturn, with a week-long festival in December called ‘Saturnalia’… Saturn was the Roman ‘god of time and harvest’, and it was usually depicted holding a scythe… it was the cruelest and most evil of all the pagan gods… in fact, the worship of the god Saturn was prevalent in the ancient world… And various ancient rituals honoring this ‘god’ have come down to modern-day as some of the most celebrated Christmas traditions the world over…

In the article Is Christmas Pagan? by Taylor Marshall writes: Don’t believe it, everything you’ve heard about the supposed ‘pagan’ origin of Christmas is false… Not only is it false, but it’s based on such poor scholarship that it ought to be embarrassing to anyone who embraces it… The idea that the celebration of Christmas originated from pagan origin comes from two 18th century scholars; the first was a German Protestant named, Paul Ernst Jablonski who first put forward the notion that the celebration of December 25th was one of many pagan influences of the Church of Rome (Catholicism) on Christianity. The second was Catholic Benedictine monk named, Dom Jean Hardouin who in response to Jablonski, tried to show that while the Church may have adopted a pagan celebration of December 25th, it did so without compromising the integrity of the gospel…

However both men were wrong: Jablonski erred in his theory that the pagan December 25 pre-dated Christian celebrations, and Hardouin erred in assuming Jablonski’s date assumption was correct in the first place… In addition, over the centuries, in the Western world, other traditions and customs associated with Christmas evolved most, of which,  were Protestant in origin, e.g.; the Christmas tree came from Germany, particularly from Protestant founder Martin Luther… 

Yule logs and mistletoe, likely come from northern European folk customs… and some may have very well been pagan in origin but they have since lost pagan meaning… hence, they have no significance in modern celebration of Christmas… Of course the legends of Santa Claus originated with the Saint Nicholas (St. Nick), who is the patron saint of sailors and children.

The story of his life has been embellished with legends and myths from all over the world, resulting in the modernized version of the Santa Claus, and much of that was commercialized in early 20th century… However, some people are hell-bent on finding paganism in Christmas, regardless if it’s true, or historically accurate…

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In the article What Makes Christmas Important? by David L. Brown writes: What makes Christmas important? Some mistakenly think that December 25th was the day Christ was born. The truth is that no one is exactly sure when Christ was born. The Bible is strangely silent on the issue! It’s curious to note that Eastern Orthodox Churches believe Christ was born on January 6th, and Armenian Churches celebrate Christ’s birth on January 19…

So; How did Christmas Get Started on December 25th? The Roman Emperor, Constantine declared December 25th as Christ’s birthday in the year 336A.D. Some suggest that this decision was based on political pressure from zealous in the Christian church, and other disagree… But, December 25th was a convenient date– it was already being observed as holiday,’Feast of Saturn’– two weeks of pagan festivities, including; feasting, drinking, abstention from work, special musical presentations, exchanging of gifts…

The name ‘Christmas’ come from the Latin ‘Christes Masse’ or Christ’s Mass. This grew out of the Roman Catholic feast day by that name in the years of 100AD’s. The name Christmas is not found in the Bible nor is it a prescribed scriptural holy day…

So; Why is Christmas important? Is it Santa Claus? This ‘Jolly Old Wit’ who never existed; some say it was named after St. Nicholas (St. Nick) who already had a special day, December 6th, which actually coincided with another ancient Roman holiday… at which time, gifts were also given… The belief that Santa Claus enters the house through the chimney evolved from an old Norse legend: The Norse believed that the pagan goddess ‘Hertha’ appeared in the fireplace and brought good luck to the home…

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As it came to past, it was not until relatively recently that the present day Santa Claus really evolved in its current form… In 1822 a minister named Clement C. Moore first described Santa complete with fur-trimmed suit and his reindeer powered sleigh, for his children in a poem called– ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas’… In 1823, at the bidding of friends, Moore published his poem calling it– ‘The Night Before Christmas’…There are many interesting traditions that surround the Christmas, but many people might say that this practice has gotten somewhat out of hand…

Hence one may ask; What makes Christmas special? Once you strip-off all the trappings–the day, the name, the Santa, the reindeer, the tree, the mistletoe, the Yule logs, the gifts… and all commercialization– what do you have left? Some may say; just one big headache!And they may be right, because when it comes right down to it, for many; December 25th, Christmas, is just an excuse to have– a party, get drunk, spend money (they don’t have or need elsewhere), overeat, take time-off from work

However for others, it’s a time of ‘Christmas Neurosis’– loneliness, fear, despondency, emotional stress… But for most, Christmas has become simply a day of tradition… According to Ernest W. Burgess; family is all about traditions, and it’s not just a family’s unique way of celebrating holiday, but it’s a way of creating cohesiveness…

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According to Wikipedia; tradition in family has multiple purposes, e.g.; it’s a tool for parents and elders to carry out the responsibility of raising children and inculcating into them social values and ethos… it’s a way to encourage warmth and closeness of family bonding, it’s a balancing force against entropy… An ‘entropic’ family is one that loses its sense of emotional closeness because members neglect the family’s inner life…

It’s easily arguable that an important function of traditions is making occasions memorable, to distinguish certain days or events so they last for years in the collective memories of participating family members… hence, providing a sense of continuity and belonging and, in the best sense, it’s an anchor for each other…

For some families this comes easily in the form of holidays, such as, Christmas… For others who are perhaps less conformist, this may be lesser-known holidays or even random days… Hence, the reason Christmas is important is that it’s the one special day in the year, when families celebrate together consistently, enthusiastically… The details of how, where it’s done are not as important, as the fact, it’s actually done… Christmas is family tradition– either as a religious belief, or not — but that what makes Christmas special and important…

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Business Makes Strange Bedfellows — Unlikely Coalitions: Reach Beyond Company Boundaries for Strategic Pairings…

Strange bedfellows; it’s often said that ‘politics makes for strange bedfellows’, but the same could be said for business It’s a strange dynamic, but mutual needs are driving business strategy in the age of– social media, cloud, mobile… and forcing companies to rethink traditional ways of doing business… And that is creating– strange bedfellows among organizations that normally would have seemed highly unlikely, if not impossible, just a few years ago…

According to Raj Kosaraju; companies must look at business with fresh eyes, in part by scanning neighboring fields– and in part by pushing their gaze to even more distant places, e.g.; airlines improved turnaround times for jet service by dissecting the work of Indianapolis 500 pit crews… Oil transmission companies discovered better ways to seal cracked pipelines when they observed the self-healing properties of capillaries… whitening toothpaste was invented by studying how laundry detergent cleans clothes…

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According to Chris Rufer; the job of an entrepreneur or innovator is to take ideas from other places and apply them to their own endeavor… Most innovators– use a cut-and-paste mentality– they take pieces of the puzzle where ever they can find them, then rearrange the pieces together in a different way…

According to Peter Drucker; innovation tends to originate outside ones own area… technology increasingly spill-overs from one area to another… however, it’s one thing to recognize that cross-pollination can be effective and still another to make it happen… Also, people in different domains don’t speak the same language and throwing them together in a room can result in more noise than insight…

However, done right, cross-pollination can help people get past default assumptions and open their minds to new ideas and different ways for doing things… According to Christian Madsbjerg; even today with all of the sophisticated efforts in marketing, creative design… companies have a habit of designing products for ‘themselves’, which violates one of Peter Drucker cardinal rules; quality in products or services is not what supplier puts in, but it’s what customers gets out and are willing to pay for…

In the article Business Makes for Strange Bedfellows by Mindy S. Lubber writes: Unlikely coalitions, e.g.; Greenpeace and McDonald’s, are becoming the norm as special-interest groups become part of the business conversation on such key issues as; climate change, water scarcity… Who would have ever thought that Greenpeace and McDonald’s would be collaborating to protect the Amazon rain forest? Or influential environmental groups would be partnering with private equity firms to prevent new coal-fired power plants from coming online? Or that investors and activists would be sitting across the table from ‘Citi’ and other leading banks telling them how to tighten their lending criteria for high carbon-emitting projects?

To quote Bob Dylan; ‘times, they are a-changin’… These coalitions, once unthinkable, are now indispensable as companies navigate the complex environmental and social risks of the 21st century global economy. Companies that heed these new age business perspectives and filter them strategically can propel themselves forward by avoiding unforeseen risks, seizing new opportunities…

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In the article Fashion and Technology–Wearables Making Strange Bedfellows by Marley Kaplan writes: Fashion and technology companies are creating unfamiliar collaborations in the race to make smart clothes and wearable accessories… ‘Seamless’ is not a word often used to describe the relationship between the worlds of fashion and technology. Out of necessity, a new fusion is rapidly forming between the two, as the hype around wearable technologies reaches a fever pitch… The rise of– smart-watches, eyewear… that access the Internet, plus tech-infused garments and accessories is shifting a once-fledgling business opportunity into space race like bonanza…

According Ashley Kindergan; the ability that brands have to develop effective coalitions for bridging function and fashion will determine the ultimate potential of a large– yet abstract– market… reaching upwards of $30-50 billion over the next 3 to 5 years… At the center of many of these reference designs is technology… tiny, energy-sipping wireless devices… According to Deepa Sood; wearables are about fashion and function, and between the two industries of tech and fashion everyone sees the opportunities…

In the article Not-So-Strange Bedfellows by Samuel Greengard writes: More companies are teaming up with other entities, including competitors, to further strategic goals… corporate coalitions have gone mainstream– filtering through virtually every industry and every type of company. In an era of intense global competition, it might seem a bit ironic that companies are cooperating and collaborating like never before. But increasingly, corporate management is beginning to realize that it’s impossible to go it alone…

Today, the question is: How do you– build, buy, borrow… the capabilities you need to advance your strategic intent? More and more companies are doing that through coalitions… The reason for the stampede is simple; firms that use strategic coalitions effectively can realize enormous gains, whether it’s in– marketing, research, sales, supply chain logistics…

According to John R. Harbison; a well-designed coalition can realize a 50% higher return on investment (ROI) than a firm’s base business… It’s an opportunity to pursue business objectives with only an incremental investment… However, determining which coalition to embrace and which to avoid is extremely important and it can be very difficult. Hence, much due diligence and detailed financial analysis are required up front… as well as, continuously monitoring the process to determine whether the coalition is meeting its objectives, goals… or, not…

A coalition requires pooling of money, resources, personnel… across company boundaries. It means crossing a once-forbidden threshold and facing a world where both partners share in gains, losses… however, it’s increasely clear that coalitions of various types are key to business success…

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According to Karen A. Frenkel; technology makes strange bedfellows, e.g.; coalitions sharing technology between long time rivals, or seemingly incompatible industries often embrace technology to create mutually beneficial business solutions… Established companies are forming coalitions in unexpected market sectors or even joining forces with past competitors…

According to Jane Hiscock; company coalitions are connecting market leaders from across industries; where they listen to their business concerns and requirements, where they share new ideas, perspectives, challenges… where they are engaging customers and helping companies uncover unlikely B2B partners in adjacent or seemingly unrelated spaces… These unlikely coalitions drive new business models, innovation… e.g.; IBM and Twitter, Apple and Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, Tesla and Airbnb, CloudFlare and Baidu…

In a rapidly changing business environment, the priority for business, of all sizes, is to be more innovative, creativity… but the million dollar question: How do they actually do that? According to Albert Einstein; you can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking you used when you created them… So where do you find that different kind of thinking? The kind of productive thinking that promotes different perspectives and creates new ideas?

The answer can be found all around you and is readily available; one example is in the ‘arts’… This is not a bizarre idea by any means, there is already a firmly established and well-traveled bridge between– ‘business’ and the ‘arts’… Firms have hired poets to learn better communication skills for their ideas, engaged theater artists to strengthen presentation and improvisational abilities, and studied the inner workings of musical ensembles to improve their teamwork and performance…

Professors at major business schools have partnered with theater directors, magicians, filmmakers… to demonstrate management skills. Behind all this activity is the growing realization that companies need to foster more creative thinking, develop new leadership models, strengthen employee collaborative skills… so as to remain relevant, profitable… in a highly competitive business  environment that is driven by hyper-change,radical unpredictability.

According to Harvey Seifter; surveys consistently identify the most sought-after business skills and abilities, e.g.; imagination, inspiration, inventiveness, improvisation, collaborative, spontaneity, adaptability… but many of these skills are not inherent in business, or taught in  most companies or business schools… but they are natural in many other disciplines…

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Hence through various types of coalitions, companies can acquire the necessary skills and tools that are needed for them to tap into the creativity of their workers and unleash the  innovative potential of their organizations… As a result, a growing number of companies are engaging artists as part of their organizational learning and professional development.

The creative form of the ‘arts’ forces companies to explore beyond defined boundaries… It challenges and reinforces, as daily reminders, the value of creativity… and of keeping an open-mind through the daily dialogue of work… and to see the world differently on any given day…

According to Emily Lutzker; when you want real disruption start talking to artists, where disruption is central to their thinking and their value system… whereas, when you are satisfied with incremental innovation, then any traditional focus group can show how to inch forward…

Hence to stay relevant and competitive in this highly competitive global environment… and add more innovation and creativity to your business… try unlikely coalitions, experiment with the unexpected… enter fascinating realm of cross-industry ideas and experience, of exploration and building, of new best practices and business models, of continuous learning of lessons and skills… beyond your normal company boundaries…

ClimateGate Big Business; Global Warming, Climate Change– $1.5 Trillion Per Year: Manage Risk, Follow the Money Trail…

Global warming is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, responsible for rising seas, raging storms, searing heat, ferocious fires, severe drought, and punishing floods. It threatens– health, communities, economy, national security… so say many global warming experts… and, if unchecked, it’s capable of altering the world’s– climate, geography…

However other scientists and observers, a minority compared to those who believe the warming trend is something ominous, say it’s simply the latest shift in the cyclical patterns of the planet’s life… Most of the scientific community believes that some warming is occurring across the globe, and through some layers of the atmosphere. But why it’s occurring and what does it mean for the future of the planet– is scientifically and politically contentious…

According to Warren Meyer; it’s important to understand the core issue of the global warming (climate change) debate– it’s hypothesis of ‘catastrophic man-made global warming’ theory… We are not just talking about warming but warming that is somehow man-made. And we are not talking about just a little bit of warming, but enough that the effects are catastrophic, and justify immediate and likely expensive government action…

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According to a study by Marshall Burke at Stanford University; our research relies on historical data from countries around the world on how temperature increase has affected productivity. This means the study does not account for economic impact of sea level rise, storms or any of other expected effects of climate change beyond simple warming, e.g.; sea level rise, increased storm intensity… if you think those things are going to worsen the effects of climate change, then our estimates would be an underestimate of the potential impacts, which is sort of terrifying…

This study is far from the first to suggest that climate change will slow economic growth. Big business has been especially keen on highlighting the potential damage. A Citigroup report found that minimizing temperature rises to 2.7ºF (1.5ºC) could minimize global GDP loss by $50 trillion, compared to a rise of 8.1ºF (4.5ºC) in the coming decades; clearly that is catastrophic…

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The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 13 December 2015. The conference negotiated a global agreement on the reduction of climate change (global warming), the text of which represented a consensus of the representatives of the 196 parties attending it… The agreement becomes legally binding only when at least 55 countries sign-up, which together represent at least 55% of global greenhouse emissions (although no enforcement mechanism).

Parties then need to sign the agreement in New York between 22 April 2016 — 21 April 2017… as well as, adopt it within their own country’s legal systems (i.e., through ratification, acceptance, approval)… The conference expectations at the outset was for an agreement that would set a goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C), compared to pre-industrial levels… The actual agreement calls for the pursue of efforts by countries to limit warming increase to 1.5°C… and for zero ‘anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions’ to be reached during second half of 21st century (the 1.5°C goal requires zero emissions some time between 2030 and 2050)…

According to Stephen Eule; the Paris agreement delivered more of the same– lots of promises and lots of issues still left unresolved… critics say that making energy more expensive and less abundant to satisfy a few alarmists should worry the business community, workers, consumers… Whereas, supporters hope the deal will unleash an avalanche of financing and investment from entrepreneurs, companies, international lenders into renewable energy sources, alternative technologies…

At the core of the agreement is a collection of voluntary plans submitted by every country to tackle climate change, each reflecting its own economic, political situation…

Most of the focus is on shifting to renewable energy sources, such as; solar, wind, nuclear power… and away from carbon-heavy fuels such as; coal, oil… However, much of the success of this deal lies in implementation by governments many years from now, which haven’t even been elected… Also, the plans are not legally enforceable– condition the U.S. among other countries insisted upon– although the deal does legally bind countries to a periodic review of their processes with hopes that countries will repeatedly raise their greenhouse-gas-cutting efforts… In addition, developed countries have to help provide at least $100 billion annually after 2020 to help developing countries cut their emissions…

According to Seth Borenstein and Sylvie Corbet; this agreement is highly flawed– there are about 100 places in the agreement that lack specific decisions with multiple options left in brackets, blank spaces… and one major issue unresolved is money: The draft doesn’t settle the question of whether advanced developing countries should join more wealthy nations in helping the poorest and most vulnerable nations deal with climate change…

It doesn’t resolve the question of the long-term goal of the agreement– whether it’s to remove carbon emissions from the economy altogether or just reduce them… Nor does it settle whether governments are aiming to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C (2.7° F) above pre-industrial times or closer to 2°C (3.6° F)…

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In addition, developing nations are demanding more money as they struggle with an increase in extreme weather events such as; hurricanes, heavy rains, floods… The U.S. agreed to double its contribution to help vulnerable nations adapt to the effects of climate change, by increasing grant money to $860 million from $430 million by 2020… The money is part of an existing ‘promise’ by wealthy countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020. It will help fund domestic weather services and tracking systems to better assist poorer nations in forecasting, coping with extreme weather…

According to James Hansen, who is considered the father of climate change; it’s a fraud, a fake… It’s just bullshit for them to say… there is 2°C warming target and they will try to do a little better every five years… it’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned…

In the article Is Climate Change Now Its Own Industry? by Don Jergler writes: Interest in climate change is becoming an increasingly powerful economic driver, so much so that some see it as an industry in itself whose growth is driven in large part by policymaking… A survey of those already in the industry shows that 53.5% of those polled felt that federal or state climate change policy development would be ‘strong positive’ driver of growth in their business. More than one-third felt that policymaking would have a ‘very strong positive’ impact on their business growth…

Much of the growth is expected to come from demand for forward-looking strategic assessments of climate risks, with more companies making risk assessments to look at the impacts of climate change over next 10 – 15 years. Growth in the climate change consulting market continues to shift from greenhouse gas management and mitigation, to climate change risk assessment, adaptation…

Adaptation is increasingly folding into a broader concept of resilience, which lines-up with broader goal of sustainability– it’s a focus on how companies, communities, nations… can grow while enhancing environmental, social values…

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In the article Is It Global Warming Or Just Weather? by The Economist writes: For years, the central debate of climate science has focused on how much global mean surface temperatures would rise by 2100… The increase in the ‘mean’ is the simplest way to measure the long-term impact of climate change. But it has drawbacks; it makes global warming seem like something that will happen in 100 years time.

Most people do not think about global temperatures, but they do think about local ones. And climate change effects ecosystems not just through increases in the ‘mean’, but also through changes in the ‘extremes’, e.g.; more intense droughts… Extremes also have a profound impact on people, e.g.; a heat wave in 2003 caused about 70,000 premature deaths in Europe…

Focusing on links between climate change and the local weather thus makes sense in terms of both science and public understanding… In principle, attributing the weather to climate change might seem straightforward: The two are so closely related that the climate can be defined as the average daily weather over a long period (or, as Edward Lorenz, meteorologist, once put it; climate is what you expect; weather is what you get)…

In practice, though, there are so many influences upon the weather– famously expressed by Lorenz’s idea of a butterfly’s wingbeat in one part of the world causing a hurricane in another– that isolating any individual factor is hard, i.e.; it’s not possible to say categorically that climate change has caused any individual storm, flood, heat-wave…

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But scientific attribution does not require certainty; it deals in probabilities… Hence, stopping, mitigating global warming is a risk management issue… If ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ (IPCC) is right, and we don’t do anything, we risk hugh temperature increases that will lead to loss of the great ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica resulting in a high increase in sea levels, which would take about 100 years if we do nothing– consider all of the major cities located on coasts lines around the global, i.e., Asia, Europe, Africa, North American… and huge costs in life, property, resources. If they are right…

However if ‘IPCC’ is wrong, and we still did everything we could to reduce new emissions of greenhouse gases, then the down-side is– we would reduce annual increase of global GDP by about 0.12%, which is a manageable cost… Hence it’s all about risk management, science has outlined facts about global warming; now it’s up to the global community to manage the risks involved with global warming (climate change)…

Radical Business Models– Rule Breaking, Pushing Boundaries, Transform: Power of Different…

Radical business models are all about– rule breaking, transformation, innovation… It’s about turning a market or industry upside down, changing the business landscape, doing something completely different and unexpected to gain a competitive advantage.

Developing a ‘rule breaking strategy’ for your business means defying the business rules in force, choosing new paths, shaking up old habits… It’s about differentiation and becoming the market leader by changing the rules of the competitive game– ‘play the game’ in a way ‘no-one’ in your market, industry has done before…

In rule breaking you develop new rules that sets you radically apart from the competition… the challenge for business is to be creative enough to invent a business model that is radical enough to gain significant advantage in their market, industry… Hence, don’t just copy what others do; create something different, radical,  innovative, transformative…

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According to Tapio Järvenpää; *Rule Breaking = Same Game Played With New Rules*…  seeing things differently requires a mindset of rebellion, curiosity, perseverance… When a business is asked the question: What is your business model? They really want an answer to a much more basic question: How do you plan to make money? Behind that question is a lineup of other questions: Who’s your target customer? What customer problem or challenge do you solve? What value do you deliver? How will you reach, acquire, and keep customers? How will you define and differentiate your offering? How will you generate revenue? What’s your cost structure? What’s your profit margin?

According to Alexander Osterwalder; companies that put more emphasis on radical business models experienced significantly better operating margin growth (over a five-year period) than their peers… Radical business models are key to unlocking transformational growth, but few executives know how to apply it to their businesses…

In the article Radical Business Model Innovation by Greg Fisher writes: Abandon old thinking and embrace new innovative models of value creation… Once upon a time, all business models were relatively similar and relatively simple. You bought low and sold high. The more you could repeat this simple recipe, the richer you would grow. But the world has become more complex and more competitive…

New technologies have opened up many different ways of doing business and most companies are no longer competing just with the business down the road, they are competing with entities from across the globe. In this environment of increased complexity and heightened competition, a firm’s business model has become a critical source of competitive advantage…

The business that have taken the time to understand what a business model is and how to innovate around their own business model have found new sources of profit, growth… By contrast, those who have failed to adapt a thoughtful business model are languishing and giving way to their more inventive rivals…

In the article Managing the Unmanageable: Radical Innovation by David Küpper, Markus Lorenz, Andreas Maurer, Kim Wagner write: In recent decades, companies have greatly improved the efficiency of new-product development and managers have drawn on a variety of processes, methods, tools to maximize their return on R&D investment… Unfortunately, these advances have had the unintended consequence of discouraging radical innovation, i.e.; technical breakthroughs that render existing products obsolete or create new markets altogether… Unlike incremental innovation, radical innovation involves a great deal of uncertainty– the quality that’s not tolerated by most management techniques…

As a result of this intolerance for uncertainty, companies have been undertaking less and less radical innovation… A recent study found that radical innovation accounted for only 10% of an average company’s innovation portfolio, down from 21% in 1990. As the new productivity measures gained traction, managers naturally gravitated to projects that succeeded under the incremental constraints. Hence, more breakthrough projects with potentially higher failure rates and less predictability lose out when investment priorities are set…

Breakthroughs are an important source of competitive advantage. Although incremental improvements help maximize returns on existing investments, radical innovations are vital to long-term growth, profitability… While challenging to carry-off, they can deliver great value… Radical business models are essential for progress in society at large…

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In this Era of Rampant Change and New Business Models by Vadim Kotelnikov writes: The old principles no longer work in the new economy. Business has reached the old model’s limits with respect to complexity, speed… The real problem is– a ruinously dysfunctional mismatch between today’s business environment and classic business models… Quite simply, the wrong model may transform a business into the vehicle of its own death…

Great shifts– genuine and radical transformation– have been shaping the economy and business environment in recent decades. Technology has radically altered requirements for building and managing a successful business. In this new business climate, although the basic command-and-control business model still survives, it has lost its effectiveness significantly…

Hence for business to grow and prosper they must shift focus to more relevant issues, such as; how to build capabilities for faster growth, how to attract and retain best people, how to develop leaders at all levels in a company, how to manage knowledge effectively, how to become a true learning organization, how to be more effective globally… The new radical business model has much stronger focus on the basics of what ultimately creates value today– people, knowledge, coherence… It fosters creation of value and ensures that each piece of the business contributes to system-wide value. It also goes beyond the workplace and the interface between government and business and looks into building a favorable social climate within and around the business…

In the article Reinventing Business Model by Mark W. Johnson, Clayton M. Christensen, Henning Kagermann write: Most established companies don’t understand their current business model well enough to know if it would suit a new opportunity or hinder it, and they don’t know how to build a new business model when they need it… Successful companies already operate according to a business model that can be broken down into four elements: customer value proposition that fulfills an important job for the customer in a better way than competitors’ offerings do; profit formula that shows how a company makes money delivering the value proposition; key resources and processes needed to deliver that proposition…

Game-changing opportunities deliver radically new customer value propositions: They fulfill a job to be done in a dramatically better way, solve a problem that’s never been solved before, or serve an entirely unaddressed customer base… Capitalizing on such opportunities, however, does not always require a new business model… A new model is often needed, however, to leverage a new technology, or when the opportunity addresses an entirely new group of customers, or when an established company needs to fend off a successful disruptor…

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In the article Rethinking Industry Logic: Cross Industry Business Model Innovation by Norbert Haehnel writes: The phrase– Our industry is unique and should not be compared with other industries! is often used by business executives; but is it true? Strangely enough the most successful companies become prosperous not by excluding but by leveraging other industries success factors and applying them in a new context. Many companies that just innovate within their own industry boundaries and their current industry logic often struggle to stay competitive… When designing/redesigning a business model a business must overcome the current thinking patterns or dominant logic within their industry…

Successful leaders often apply business models from a different industry and combined them with a new approach that breaks the dominant industry logic… Companies should always look beyond their traditional industry borders to learn, e.g.; could you learn from ‘Nespresso’s’ direct sales model? Could you learn from ‘Ikea’ and outsource some core activities to your customers? Could you learn from ‘Gillette’ and their ‘razor and blade’ model? Could you learn from the ‘newspaper industry’ with their subscription model that makes customer pay you in advance before they get the product?

To succeed in the digital age; business must know how to delight customers: What excites them? What moves them? According to John Kay; economic success comes not from doing what others do well, but from doing what others cannot do, or cannot do as well… According to radical; a disruptive business model occurs when a business chooses a commoditization level not conventional to the industry, e.g.; Uber is utility, whereas BMW is exclusive.

A disruption would happen when premium cars of BMW’s nature are available on hire and on demand (more commoditized). That may sound weird, but when one figures out how that could be, they just invented a new business model! Radical business models are about transformation…

According to Robert Glass; it’s useful to think of transformational business change as profound, fundamental, irreversible… It’s a metamorphosis, radical change from one form to another… Transformational change is distinguished by radical breakthroughs in paradigms, beliefs, behavior…

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In transformational change; what are seen as obstacles may morph into opportunities,  irreconcilable opposites seen as creative change that is improbable… Transformational change is all about appreciating interdependence and working in partnership with others– people, organizations, social trends, unseen forces…

According to Patrick Stähler; most people think that radical business models are only about new technology and bringing new things to the market… but radical business models are also about being different in the way you delight customers… Radical is about being different, e.g.; it’s when you see the ‘telephone’ not as a device, but as a gate-way to whole new world…

Posturing for Power– Fake It ‘Til You Make It: How To Bullsh*t Your Way Through Difficult Situations…

‘Fake it ’till you make it’… The power of ‘bull’ in action– action being something you ‘do’ as a result of something you ‘think’… It’s simply mind conditioning and it works… Dress the part, talk the part… most importantly, ‘think’ the part and miraculously you ‘become’ the part… ‘fake it ’till you make it’, or ‘think it until you believe it’, or ‘act as if’ are common catch-phrases…

According to Mark; these are bull-shit slogan and they are contrary to common sense… ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ is simply a stall tactic designed to give extra time to ‘get it’… and ‘getting it’ is simply overlooking certain realities… Faking it puts the onus on the person to rationalize the pretense…

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But there is another view, e.g.; ‘fake it til you make it’ isn’t about putting on an act, it’s about having courage and perseverance to practice new, uncomfortable, yet empowering behaviors with the intention of becoming better person– the person you want to be… ‘Faking it’ takes tremendous determination to stretch beyond the comfort zone of your– thoughts, behaviors… According to Mallie Hart; ‘fake it ’til you make it’ may be the most ridiculous buzz phrase around– it’s a fake fallacy. Any level of fakery is a faux pas best avoided when it comes to doing business… Fess-up, don’t fake it; before you mess-up’…

In the article When You Should Fake it ‘Til You Make It (When You Really Shouldn’t) by Avery Augustine writes: The phrase– fake it ’til you make it– is advice that’s tossed around quite often and on the surface it sounds harmless. It puts a confident façade as you learn your way around– eventually as the premise goes, you won’t have to fake it anymore… But after being put in a number of professional situations in which I had no idea what I was doing, I’ve determined a simple rule for determining when it’s beneficial to fake it– and when it’s best to admit weakness…

In almost every professional role you are in– at least until you have several years of experience under your belt– you are going to be tasked with responsibilities that will push you out of your comfort zone… And while you may very well know how to do these things in theory, you may not feel confident doing them in practice…

These are situations in which you have full permission to ‘fake it ’til you make it’… You have all the knowledge you need, so feigning a little courage won’t do you any harm. Putting on a brave face will not only help you get through it, it will give you genuine confidence for the next time you’re in this situation… On the other hand, there will be situations in which you truly don’t know how to do something, when it comes down to basic knowledge of a task or responsibility, feigning expertise isn’t going to help you. In fact, it will likely hurt…

Simply putting on a confident face while doing an unfamiliar task won’t actually give you the ability to successfully complete that task. More likely, someone will eventually catch onto the fact that you don’t know what you’re doing and call you out on it. Then, you’ll have to waste everyone’s time starting from scratch. In these situations, it’s a much better idea to own up to your weakness and track down the information you need before attempting the task. Once you have that knowledge, go ahead and ‘fake it’ all you want…

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In the article Faking It Til You Make It Actually Works by Austin Considine writes: Fake it till you make it; is not just about convincing other people who you are competent. New science shows that faking it affects the faker, as well. It changes in physiological ways that make you calmer and more confident… According to Amy Cuddy and Dana Carney; they designed a study in which subjects were asked to assume high-power pose (like stand-up straight with hands on hips) or low-power poses (like touch the neck while sitting) and hold them for two minutes… Various tests afterward showed that people who held high-power pose were more likely to take risks and showed a 20% increase in testosterone…

Ms. Cuddy, it turns out, is living proof: When she was 19 she was in a terrible car accident where she was thrown from the car. When she awoke she was in a head trauma unit, and she had to withdraw from school. Her IQ, she was informed, had dropped by two standard deviations. After working her butt off to complete college anyway she went to Princeton, where she was afraid she would be discovered to be a fraud. A professor encouraged her to ‘fake it’, and she did. Now she’s a Harvard professor, her advise: Don’t fake it until you make it– Fake it until you become it…

In the article Don’t Fake It ‘Til You Make It by Deb Calvert writes: In selling, the notion that you should ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ damages credibility… Customers know when you are ‘faking it’ and you won’t fool them for long… The worst stereotypes about selling comes from the notion that you should ‘fake it ‘til you sell it’, e.g.; some sales people grasp at any straw to find even the slightest hint of a connection, often using a tool like LinkedIn to latch onto something, anything, anyone… that can provide some-level of common ground with a customer… or, they may claim they’ve been referred by someone… or, they may pretend they are returning a phone call or following-up when, in fact, it was the very first contact made… some sales people go to any length to fake it…

But, when you ‘fake it ‘til you sell it’, you are not going to sell it… Instead be authentic and start by developing a mindset that is intent on truly creating value for each and every customer… Don’t take an artificial or trumped-up approach to selling… When you bring real value to the customer you will make the sales… but not when you faking it…

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There is a difference between ‘faking it’ and misleading or lying: It’s one thing to stretch the true– how you present yourself, how you interact with others… It’s something else entirely to make people believe you are something you are not, by lying… According to Darrell Vesterfelt; when you are going for that new stretched ‘gig’, do a bit of introspection… your driving force should be more than just raw ambition or fatter paycheck… Those motivations can lead you to make poor decisions… But when you are passionate about what you do, or what you have the potential to do in a new gig, or have a vision for wanting to move up, then you are more likely to ‘fake it’ for the right reasons… 

According to Mike Michalowicz; fake is simply another word for something (or someone) that is inauthentic. Fake is the total opposite of– real, authentic… Fake is fake. Fake cannot be changed. Fake can only be replaced with real. You must have the real thing, to be the real thing… According to Nadia Goodman; everyone has a moment when they feel they must ‘fake’ something, or possibly sell an idea that was thrown together at the last minute. In these moments you may have thoughts that make you feel just a little dishonest, which is understandable.

But knowing how to appear confident in difficult situations is a valuable asset… It’s a skill that allows you to act like you know what you are doing even when you don’t… it’s a skill that you should embrace, refine… without premeditated or intentional desire to harm or deceive– it will help you feel credible even when you are out of comfort zone…

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According to Mark-Anthony Smith; ‘fake it ’til you make it’ is disingenuous The term imply faking– confidence, experience, skill… to appear as something or someone that it’s not but, the majority of business (or for that matter life) doesn’t see it that way… acting confident is rewarded, even if you are ‘faking it’… According to Steve Tobak; some people exaggerate their knowledge, experience, accomplishments… everyone does it. 

Hence, if you are a knowledgeable and experienced professional just trying to boost your confidence to help achieve the next rung on your career ladder, it can be argued that you are not faking anything… However, when you are really ‘faking it’– pumping up your ego with delusions of grandeur when in reality you have little or no talent, capability, or experience to back-up claims, or the way you represent yourself– then that will not end well…

U.S. is Murder Capital– More Killings, More Guns, More Prisons… Economic Costs of Over $229 Billion Per Year…

Its ubiquity in the news– mass killings, multiple murders, terror attacks, extreme violence, e.g.; 14 killed, 17 injured (San Bernardino); 4 killed (Colorado Springs), 12 killed, 70 injured (Aurora); 27 killed (Sandy Hook), 30 killed, 137 injured (Boston Marathon); 13 killed (Columbine); 168 killed, 680 injured (Oklahoma City)…

According to ‘The Atlantic’; in U.S. cities, gun killings are comparable to some of the deadliest places in the world, e.g.; Atlanta has the same gun murder rate as South Africa; Detroit as El Salvador; Phoenix equal to Mexico’s gun homicide rate…

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The U.S. has higher rates of homicides from guns than Pakistan, at 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people; the U.S. rates aren’t much lower than gun homicide rates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5.2 deaths per 100,000 people)… Annually, the U.S. has about two fewer gun homicide deaths per 100,000 people than Iraq, which has 6.5 deaths per 100,000… Here are some other staggering statistics:

    • U.S. cost of interpersonal violence is more than $300 billion per year. The cost to victims was estimated at more than $500 billion per year. Combined, this is the equivalent to nearly 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)…
    • U.S. national violence containment costs are over $1.7 Trillion…
    • U.S. youth homicide rates are more than 10 times that of other leading industrialized nations… on par with the rates in developing countries and those experiencing rapid social and economic changes. The youth homicide rate in the U.S. stood at 11.0 per 100,000 compared to France (0.6 per 100 000), Germany (0.8 per 100 000), UK (0.9 per 100 000), Japan (0.4 per 100 000)…
    • U.S. total cost of violence was conservatively calculated to be over $460 billion for the cost of violence related only to paying for police, justice, corrections and the productivity effect of violent crime, homicide and robbery… while the lost productivity from violence amounted to $318 billion. California has the highest state burden of violence at over $22 billion/year, while Vermont has lowest at $188 million. For each state taxpayer, total economic cost of violence varies greatly, from $7,166 per taxpayer in Washington D.C. to $1,281 for Maine taxpayers…
    • U.S. with less than 5% of the world’s population has nearly 25%, 2.3 million, of its prisoners…
    • U.S. children are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries
    • U.S. annual cost of treating gunshot wounds is estimated at $126 billion. Cutting and stab wounds cost an additional $51 billion…

In the article True Crime Costs by Annie Lowrey writes: Crime does pay and society is paying the bill… According to researchers at Iowa State University; the direct costs of crime, i.e.; damaged property, lost careers, prison upkeep, lawyer fees… in addition, the broader and more intangible societal costs, such as; more frequent police patrols, more complicated alarm systems, and more expensive life-insurance plans… they found that each burglary in U.S., e.g.; car break-in costs $41,288. For armed robberies, the cost increases eightfold to $335,733. Every aggravated assault cost is $145,379. Each rape cost is $448,532… Hence, according to Matt DeLisi; the price tag for murder in U.S. is a whopping $17,252,656… That means that any murder, anywhere in the country, costs society somewhere on the order of $17 million…

Hence, the worst offender in this study who was convicted of nine killings, imposed a $153 million cost on society. The 48 convicted murders of Gary Ridgway, perhaps the most prolific murderer, currently in prison, cost the country $816 million… This study was based on polling results that considered all costs associated with a killing, e.g.; victim costs, criminal justice system costs, lost productivity estimates for both the victim and the criminal… This is an estimate of the public’s willingness to pay to prevent future killings…

According to Mark Cohen; $17 million figure is high because traditionally, willingness to pay is considered a yardstick for determining the cost of murder– an alternative and more comprehensive measure is to calculate-all-the-costs-and-add-them-up method… Hence, Cohen and other researchers generally estimate the price per murder at $10 million to $12 million– this is just the ‘willingness to pay’ number…

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In the article U.S. Annual Economic Cost of Violence by Philip Sherwell writes: The annual economic toll of the U.S. gun violence epidemic is $229 billion, or the equivalent of $700/person in U.S. And, according to the FBI; murder cost the U.S. almost $263 billion… The price tag makes the economic impact of gun killings and injuries more costly than obesity for the U.S. (estimated at $224 billion) and nearly as expensive as the $251 billion for Medicaid… The total dwarfs the sizes of many national economies…

According to a three-year investigation by Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee, James West, Ted Miller; the combined annual cost of– 11,000 murders, 22,000 suicides, and 75,000 injuries that are the result of gunshots is about $8.6 billion in direct costs, such as; the emergency response, health care after a shooting, the price of police investigations, court costs, expense of jailing those found guilty of gun crime… and the bulk of the tally is $49 billion/year in lost wages and spending, and $169 billion for the estimated impact on victims’ quality of life based on jury awards for pain and suffering in cases of wrongful injury and death…

The study notes that while the U.S. assesses the economic toll of– car crashes, air pollution, domestic violence, there is no official data on gun violence…

In the article U.S. Mass-Shooting Capital Is Chicago by Justin Glawe writes: Chicago’s worst neighborhoods where– by one measure– it ‘s more dangerous to live than the world’s most-murderous countries, i.e.; West Garfield Park (Chicago), population 18,000, had 21 murders last year, which makes for a homicide rate of 116 per 100,000 people. The world’s leader in murders, Honduras, has a homicide rate of 90, according to the United Nations…

Following West Garfield Park in lethality was West Englewood (Chicago) and its 73.3 murder rate, more than second-place Venezuela with its 53.7 rate. Chicago’s Chatham (58) beats Belize (44.7); Chicago’s Englewood (52.6) outdoes El Salvador (41.2); South Chicago (48) tops Guatemala (39.9)… The U.S. as a whole has 4.5 murders per 100,000…

Chicago’s 411 homicides doesn’t seem like much compared to the city’s 2.7 million residents, but that’s the misleading part of this grim numbers game: Determining a city’s level of violence by looking at its overall per capita rate doesn’t tell the whole story… The West Garfield Park neighborhood has average annual income of just more than $10,000; 40% of households live below the poverty line.

West Garfield Park ranks near top of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods on the city’s ‘hardship index’, which is calculated by taking into account those living in crowded housing, and unemployment rates among teens and adults, among other factors. The higher the number, the more difficult life will be and according to the statisticians; West Garfield Park and its 96% black residents scores 92 on the hardship index… And for every person killed by gunfire in Chicago, another four are shot and survive…

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In the article Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities by Monica Davey and Mitch Smith write: Cities across the U.S. are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, more than 30 cities have reported increases in violence from a year ago, e.g.; in New Orleans, 120 people had been killed by late August, compared with 98 during the same period a year earlier; in Baltimore, homicides hit 215 up from 138 at the same point in 2014; in Washington, the toll was 105 compared with 73 people a year ago; and in St. Louis, 136 people killed this year, a 60% rise from the 85 murders the city had by the same time last year…

Law enforcement experts say disparate factors are at play in different cities, though no one is claiming to know for sure why murder rates are climbing. Some officials say intense national scrutiny of the use of force by the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals, though many experts dispute that theory… Rivalries among organized street gangs often over drug turf, and the availability of guns are cited as major factors in some cities… But many top police officials are saying  it’s more than guns; they are seeing a growing willingness among disenchanted young men in poor neighborhoods to use violence to settle ordinary disputes…

Researchers continue to debate the key factors behind changing crime rates, which is part of a larger discussion about the predictors of crime… But, the statistics of violence are staggering: According to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) Report; the total U.S. public and private expenditure on containing violence is 10.5% of GDP. ( The total world economic impact of violence last year reached US$14.3 trillion, or 13.4% of global GDP).

In absolute terms, countries with the largest violence containment  expenditure are the United States, China, Russia, India and Brazil. These countries account for 54% of total internal violence containment expenditure while also accounting for 45% of world GDP and 46% of the world’s population…). Violence containment spending is defined as economic activity that is related to the consequences or prevention of violence where the violence is directed against people, property…

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According to Steve Killelea; if the $2.16 trillion of ‘Violence Containment’ spending were represented as a discrete industry, it would be the largest industry in the U.S. economy, larger than construction, real estate, professional services, manufacturing… The study accounts for all expenditure that is related to violence, such as; medical expenses, police, incarceration, military, insurance, homeland security, and the private security industry… Expenditure is also divided by– local ($154 billion), state ($101 billion), and federal ($1,305 billion) governments, and private spending by corporations, households, individuals ($602 billion)…

Hence, a 5% reduction in ‘Violence Containment’ spending for 5 years would provide $326 billion. This would exceed the funding needed to rebuild the nation’s levees systems, update roads, bridge infrastructure, upgrade of nation’s school infrastructure… The study clearly shows that even a small reductions in violence and the spending associated with it would result in a meaningful stimulation of the U.S. economy…

Majority Rule, Tyranny of Markets– When Majority Decides: Good for Some But Not for Others…

Majority Rule and Tyranny of Markets: The prevailing view is that markets allow every consumer to get exactly what they want, regardless of what other consumers want… But in reality, markets do not work as well as people think– consumers only get what they want when a majority of other consumers want the same thing… 

Similarly, a fundamental political principle provides that a majority usually constituted by fifty percent plus one of an organized group will have the power to make decisions binding on the whole…

The essence of democracy is the ‘majority rule’, the making of binding decisions by a vote of more than one-half of all persons who participate in an election. However, constitutional democracy in our time requires majority rule with minority rights…

According to Thomas Jefferson; the ‘will’ of the majority shall prevail, but that ‘will’ to be rightful must be reasonable; the minority must possess their equal rights, which the law must protect… In every genuine democracy today, majority rule is both endorsed and limited by the constitution, which protects the rights of individuals… ‘Tyranny of Minority’ over the majority is barred, but so is ‘Tyranny of Majority’ against minority…

According to Joel Waldfogel; in business the ‘majority rule’ is the ‘tyranny of markets’, and it arises when two conditions hold: 1.) costs to produce product or service is substantial… 2.) product or service preference differ substantially across groups of consumers… Hence, an all-virtuous view of free-markets is often viewed cynically…

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According to Joel Waldfogel; while markets do a good job of providing products that a majority of consumer demands, they can fall short of meeting needs of consumers with less prevalent minority preferences… So while more demand generally helps bring forth more variety and more resulting satisfaction, it only pays off for individuals in the dominant group… The Internet has given individuals a chance to seek out rarer products or services but it has also, in its own way, added to market tyranny by giving business the tools to target ‘majorities’ around the world… Hence, the decision to ‘let the market decide’ may be good for some consumer, but not for others…

In the article Tyranny of the Market: Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want by Joel Waldfogel writes: Economists have long counseled reliance on markets rather than on government to decide a wide range of questions, in part because allocation through voting can give rise to a ‘tyranny of majority’… Markets by contrast, are believed to make products or services available to suit any group of consumers, regardless of what others want… However, reality is markets either; don’t, can’t, won’t… always give consumers what they want… When product or service costs are substantial, markets provide only those desired by large concentrations of consumers. As a result, consumers are better off when more consumers share the same product preferences…

Hence, small groups of consumers with less prevalent tastes, such as; blacks, Hispanics, Asians, people with rare diseases, people living in remote areas… find less desirable selections in markets. In these cases, an actual ‘majority rule’ and ‘tyranny of markets’ occurs such that a single product or service can suit the larger group of consumers, but not the others…

Majority rule is binary decision rule that is used most often in influential decision-making bodies, including; business development, board of directors… Some scholars recommend against use of majority rule, arguing that it might lead to a ‘tyranny of majority’… While other theorists argue that majority rule protects the integrity of the business…

According to Helene E. Landemore; majority rule is not just a fair way to aggregate and adjudicate between diverse preferences, but also and perhaps primarily, a predictive tool tapping the famous ‘wisdom of crowds’… The assumption is that the crowd is wise and not primarily because of its numerous but because of the cognitive diversity, likely correlated with the presence of many people… In this view, the virtue of majority rule is to turn diverse individual judgments into accurate collective wisdom… According to Randall Peterson; majority rule simply does not work because it makes for unhappy minorities… they have nothing invested in success and often have something invested in failure… Majority rule is a bad way of going about business…

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In the article Corporate Imagination and Expeditionary Markets by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad writes: The global competitive battles of 21st century will be won by companies that build and dominate fundamentally new markets, e.g.; speech-activated appliances, artificial bones, micro-robots, driverless cars… disruptive products or services that not only make the inconceivable, conceivable, but also create new and largely uncontested competitive space.

Over the next decade companies must stake out new competitive space in order to survive, grow… Early and consistent investment in core competencies is one prerequisite for creating new markets…  Corporate imagination and expeditionary markets are the keys that unlock new opportunities. A company that under invests in core competencies, or inadvertently surrenders them through alliances, outsourcing– robs its future. Companies must have the imagination to envision markets that do not yet exist, and embrace them ahead of the competition…

Companies must strive to create new competitive spaces by imagining new ‘opportunity horizons’ that stretches far beyond the boundaries of its current business… Horizons that identify, in broad terms, the market territories that the business hopes to embrace over the next decade… these opportunity horizons represents a company’s collective imagination in which key new benefits are harnessed to create new competitive spaces, reshape existing spaces…

But companies must also ask: How does their innovation affect current revenue stream? The concern is valid, but it can stifle business imagination. When new opportunities are seen only through the lens of existing businesses, most will fail… Four elements combine to quicken a company’s business imagination… 1.) escaping the tyranny of served markets … 2.) searching for innovative product or service concepts… 3.) overturning traditional assumptions about price/performance relationships 4.) leading customers rather than simply following them…

Business must think outside their current boundaries; they must fuel their business imagination by exploring the white spaces that lie– within, between, on the edges… of their existing business spaces… and they must ask the tough questions, such as: Why does the product or service have to be this way? They must imagine other functionalities could be– unbundled, re-bundled, re-invented… hence, escaping the orthodoxy of conventional product, service thinking. Companies must challenge existing price/performance trade-offs, and assume that an existing product or service concept is not the only jumping-off point for new product or service efforts…

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Of course it’s important to listen to customers, but to be a market leader business must do more… There are three kinds of companies; 1.) those that simply ask customers what they want and end up as perpetual followers… 2.) those that succeed, for a time, to push customers in directions that customers do not want to go… 3.) those that lead customers where they want to go before customers know it themselves… Companies that succeed in educating customers in what is possible with technology and business imagination are the business leaders of the 21st Century… Customers must be given not merely what they asked for, but what they have not yet dreamed of…

Business commitments to innovation, disruption… must be measured in terms of persistence rather than just investment, which often results in risk being under-managed and expectations over-inflated… Hence, when there is no risk and only a time-adjusted view of business outcomes, new opportunities will wither for lack of attention… When failure is seen only as dollars lost, not as dollars foregone new business opportunities are prematurely abandoned… In many companies, re-igniting the corporate imagination requires profound changes in mind-set… ‘opportunity horizons’ must command as much management’s time as ‘operations’ management…

“Imagine if all of life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza. Every pair of pants, even those in a Brooks Brothers suit, would be stone-washed denim. Celebrity diet and exercise books would be the only thing on the shelves at the library. And, since women are a majority of the population – they’d all be married to the hottest going celebrity.” Quote by P. J. O’Rourke

It’s management’s responsibility to inspire the organization with views of distant shores, and then help the intrepid explorers to set sail… According to one CEO; the trouble is we are running out of executive cycles, we just don’t have the bandwidth to look at new opportunities…

According to another CEO; we know that we have to make plans for the next generation product but we are just too busy right now… Both these companies are overwhelmed by the needs of their existing customers, markets… they are shackled with–

The Tyranny of Markets Served… It’s at this moment that companies must realize that one of two outcomes is inevitable: 1.) Their business is on a slide to irrelevance… 2.) Their business is unsustainable, long-term…

Cash is King– Power of Cash: Guiding Business for Generations– Still True in Technology-Driven Global Economy…

Cash is king– a business with cash can survive and still have a chance to grow… a business without cash has no chance, it sputters then just dies; it’s as simple as that… ‘Cash is king’ is an expression often used in analyzing the overall fiscal health of a business…

According to Alex Spanos; a business could have a large amount of accounts receivables and other non-cash assets on its balance sheet which would increase its equity, but the business could still be short on cash with which to pay its bills,such as; payroll, rent, utilities, insurance… and unless it was able to convert some of its current assets cash (or take on debt) quickly, it could fail and be technically bankrupt despite a positive net worth…

According to Jack Welch; corporation’s priorities in ranked order are; #1. Cash is king. #2. Communication. #3. Buy or bury the competition… Yes ‘profit’ is important and it is the reason business exist but it’s not more important than cash– if you have the cash you can run an unprofitable company for years… in fact, there are many companies still in business that have never earned profit; they are in business because they have cash… and businesses fail because they run out of cash…

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Cash is not a number: Cash is a precious substance not a piece of data. Cash equals survival for a business… The real power of cash is that it creates opportunities. When you have cash you can move more quickly than competition. You can exploit opportunities before anyone else and you can create new opportunities by putting cash to work…

According to Mithun Sridharan; cash is king is an adage that is often used to underline the importance of solid cash management. It also is the culprit and used to explain why so many businesses fail. In uncertain economic times, when companies are experiencing tremendous financial pressure; cash management is more important, more relevant than ever… The most important part of cash management is to create a cash-aware business culture and to put into place procedure that protects cash…

In the article Cash Is King by Barbara Friedberg writes: The phrase ‘cash is king’ refers to the ability of a business to have enough cash on hand to cover short-term operations… More businesses fail for lack of cash than for lack of profit… The phrase ‘cash is king’ is the belief that money (cash) is more valuable than any other form of investment tool… It can also refer to balance sheet or cash flow of a business; a lot of cash on hand is normally a positive sign, while strong cash flow allows a company more flexibility in business decisions, potential investments…

As long as a business does not hold too much of it (but that is a subject for another article), cash gives flexibility, competitive advantage… Modern portfolio theory recommends keeping a certain percent of business assets as liquid assets, such as; cash, cash equivalents… although cash holdings normally give a small interest return, it does provide– stability, flexibility… 

According to some experts; holding cash is very important for a stable business even though it currently has virtually no interest paid, e.g.; when asset prices fall cash can cushion losses… holding cash gives psychological peace of mind… cash gives flexibility… According to Morgan Housel; ‘cash isn’t trash’ but there are downsides for holding cash, e.g.; cash is not going to grow at today’s zero interest rates… cash won’t compound very quickly even though inflation is low… you may lose a small amount of purchasing power to inflation by holding cash…

However, like any strategy more isn’t necessarily better and business should take a moderate approach– always have a prudent level of cash on hand… don’t forget about the benefits of cash…

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In the article Cash Is King for Business by Kalen Smith writes: Many business analysts say that poor cash management is number one reason why businesses go bankrupt… While cash is essential for the survival of any business, the true power of cash is its liquidity, e.g.; stock can quadruple in value but it cannot be used to pay your rent… treasury bonds provides a much higher interest rate but the money is tied up for years… CDs pays higher interest rates but you face penalties if withdrawn too soon… The advantage of cash is that it can be spent, however and whenever you want… Hence, prioritize the importance of cash– its availability is essential for a stable and flexible business…

In the article Cash Is Still King for Running a Business by Robin for Stratton writes: ‘Cash is king’ has been a guiding principle of business for generations, but does it still ring true in today’s technology-driven global economy? According to financial experts; cash not only rules the business world, it’s an essential tool in assessing the strength of a company…

According to Leonard Eppel; closely watching cash provides an early awareness of any significant change that might impact the business… cash provides a consolidated snapshot, indicator of every significant source and use of funds… According to Gary W. Patterson; the key is– does the business have enough cash to operate? Hence, the 13- and 26-week cash projections are important indicators because they provide early warning about the cash level of the business… and whether or not the business is sustainable… or must some action be taken to improve cash…

Ironically, there are companies that fail because their business is too successful, e.g.; business may have millions of dollars in contracts but insufficient cash to execute and, if not prepared, it can seriously damage the business…

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In the article Why Cash is King by Scott L. Girard, Jr. writes: Cash is the most flexible form of asset and the easiest to work with… Cash is the life blood of business– it used to buy assets to run a business, to pay employees, to pay bills, to invest in other assets… Cash is king, because it’s– available immediately… everybody accepts it… trust is not an issue.

In financial crises or major disasters, cash is the leader in financial transactions because there is no need for any ‘trust’ behind it– most businesses want cash (paper currency), certified check, direct transfer… In fact most financial crises of the last century could be credited to people and businesses saying they could afford to pay for things they really couldn’t…

In a world dominated by– leverage, payables, receivables… still the only real guarantee to fiscal stability is cash. If you are growing a business, always ensure that you have sufficient cash resources available…

In the article Cashless Economy Is Myth by Tyler Durden writes: Forget what you think you know about– credit, debit cards, PayPal, bitcoin, Apple Pay, other modern conveniences meant to displace physical currency. The truth is that transactional currency ($1 through $20 bills) in circulation per capita today is essentially where it was, inflation adjusted, in 1994: $661 then and $649 today. In fact, small bills ($1 through $20) have grown faster in the last five years than the 20 year average… This year should be no different, with the Fed ordering $49.9 billion of ‘small bill’ currency, which is largest amount since 2010… Also since the $1 bill wears out fast (physically), the Fed’s 2015 order of 2.5 billion bills is higher than 2014 (2.3 billion) and 2013 (1.8 billion)…

So what’s going? Considering all the rhetoric about the rise of shopping on the Internet, ‘app economy’, virtual currencies, incentive program credit, debit cards, online banking… these were all supposed to make paper currency (cash) obsolete. Yet the economy is using more paper currency, even adjusted for inflation, than ever before… A few possible explanations are, e.g.; the underground cash-based economy is growing faster than reported…

Cash is still more convenient than many other payment options for small amounts… Contrary to popular belief, young people (18-24) prefer to use cash more than any other age group… Low inflation and interest rates make holding cash less costly and rise of low-income households, is increasing the uses cash for many things… The reality is that ‘cash is king’ still ring true in today’s technology-driven global economy… cash not only rules the business world but it’s an essential tool in assessing the strength of a business…

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According to Princeton Survey Research Associates International; cash will be the most popular payment method for shoppers buying holiday gifts, with 39% of Americans saying they plan to use it for most of their holiday purchases… This number was about the same as in 2014, when 38% of holiday shoppers said they planned to use cash… Behind cash, the most popular choices for payment, were debit cards, with 31%, followed by credit cards (22%) and checks (3%)…

According to Bank of American Merrill Lynch; make no mistake, no one is getting rich by putting their cash in the bank or money market funds, the investment world’s equivalent of a penny bank… returns have been anemic since the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates near zero for seven years… However, even in the current global economy; Cash is still king in business because of its: Safety, Liquidity, Flexibility…