Value Creation– Laws of Innovation– Distinguish Between Incremental and Radical: Sustainability Depends On It…

Most forward-thinking organizations don’t just stumble on innovative ideas by chance; they follow certain laws of innovation… they build a framework within the organization that supports consistent creativity and innovation… According to Elizabeth Chung; whether you are a social impact organization or a for-profit company, there are ways you can engrain brilliant thinking into the culture, i.e.; foster a culture that encourages the team to think outside of the box and go beyond day-to-day tasks… create the framework that draws out ingenuity and make creativity an organizational priority…

There are natural laws that promote innovation laws that engage at different levels of an organization and that fit within structure of the organization… According to Phil Mckinney; laws of innovation are critical for innovation success, and when violated the consequences can be disastrous; it means ‘talking-the-talk’ and ‘walking-the-walk’.  It means committing (protecting) resources, e.g.; time, money, people, equipment… for innovation... Innovation requires committed level of resource over extended period of time… validating an organization commitment to innovation…

In the article Innovation: Lessons Learned by Magnus Penker writes: Aligning the elements of– strategy, leadership style, capabilities, competences… is the key to success in building an innovative and sustainable organization in today’s ever changing market context… At the heart of innovation lies the fundamental understanding that it challenges the ‘status quo’ making things– better, different… using resources, capabilities, competences in new ways. Some imperatives for innovation are; stay relevant in existing  markets, stay engaged with ever-changing markets, stay ahead of markets with things that were not possible before…

Innovation can be done in small ‘incremental’ steps or in ‘radical’ leaps… According to Steve Coley; innovation work can be divided into three parallel horizons: First horizon– is about incremental innovation in today’s business, extending the existing S-curve of the company… Second horizon– is about expanding and building new business (the next coming S-curve, a mix of incremental and radical innovation) through innovation… Third horizon– is an exploitative and radical approach to future S-curves…The different horizons require– different– strategies, leadership, capabilities, competences…

In the article Laws of innovation Everyone Should Know by Melvin Kranzberg writes: There are specific laws that explain society’s unease with the power and pervasiveness of innovation. These laws are principles– something like a Hippocratic oath– for all people who build things, e.g.:

  • Innovation is neither good nor bad: The impact of innovation depends on its geographic and cultural context, which means it’s often good and bad, at the same time. There is no absolute good or bad, just how good or bad innovation is in a given context. This points to a problem that organization are too often reluctant to face: Their enormous power means they have an obligation to try to anticipate the potential impact– unintended consequences– of anything they produce…
  • Invention is the mother of necessity: It means that every technical innovation seems to require additional technical advances in order to make it fully effective and functional, e.g.; invention of the smartphone has led to the necessity for countless other innovations– from networks, to apps, to phone accessories…
  • Innovation takes a backseat to non-technical factors: Innovation is often thought of as an abstraction with some sort of intrinsic power… But to be effective it must be motivated by either one or more of– commercial power, political power, social power… More broadly, lawmakers are taking interest in everything from privacy and data transparency, to national security, to antitrust issues… These have more due to with shifts in societal concerns than in innovation…
  • Innovation is a human activity: Innovation is non-deterministic, it’s up to organizations to determine its used. But management must be vigilant, and think about the potential consequences of their innovations… Much of innovation-related problems arise because of the unforeseen consequences…

Innovation is eternal– from the earliest innovation of the ‘wheel’, to iPhone, to beyond… According to Matthew O’Rourke; the laws of innovation have remained constant over time. Some believe that it comes from a single moment of clarity but the best innovations most often are the ‘obvious’, in retrospect… Furthermore, innovation cannot be the goal, e. g,; If you say, I’m really going to make something innovative, it doesn’t work that way and it won’t happen… plus the best innovations are not always good, and what’s good is not always innovative…

Laws of innovation are not about generating novel ideas but about generating the right novel ideas that create value… It has been said that the heart and soul of an organization is innovation… and history is littered with high-performing companies that lost their innovative edge, only to fade into irrelevance… Thankfully, history is also full of innovators that you can learn from and apply lessons to your own organization… According to Arthur C. Clarke; only way to discover the limits of ‘possibilities’ is to venture a little way past them into the impossible… The effective implementation of the laws of innovation are indistinguishable from magic…

Tyranny of Choice– Consumers Perplexed by Too Much Choice: Too Many Options Leads to Decision Paralysis…

Choice is the basis on which markets work, driving competition and generating economic growth; it’s the cornerstone of the free market… But some experts say the notion of choice has gone too far, to the extreme, where it’s become a consumer nightmare– its tyranny of choice… According to Daniel McFadden; many consumers find too many choice as– troubling, confusing, information overload, difficult to decide… Indeed the expectation of indecision can prompt panic and a failure to choose at all…

We live in a time of unprecedented affluence, in the context of an array of advances in technology has resulted in an expansion of choice selection… Companies spend heavily on marketing their brands and exploiting customers’ aversion for choice… The more choice companies can offer, more important their brands becomes… But consumers are paralyzed by bewildering choice, so often they will turn to a brand that is cleverly marketed to appear to be the best choice… According to  Dr Cameron K. Murray; decision paralysis is seen widely in everyday business, and many companies are pruning  their offerings back to avoid confusing shoppers…

In the article Tyranny of Choice by Nirmalya Kumar writes: Studies suggest that despite an expressed preference for greater choice, consumers are less likely to make a purchase when faced with a high number of options… There is the presumption that increasing choice for consumers, from an economics perspective– that more choice leads  better preference matching… Yet there is research that demonstrates that more choice is not always positive… And while consumers may express preference for greater choice, several experiments reveal that when complexity of choice is high, or when decisions must be made under time pressure, too much choice can be paralyzing…

Repeated experiments show that despite an expressed preference for more choice, consumers are less likely to make a choice when faced with a high number of options. And when they do choose, they have less confidence that they have made the right decision. Although when given more options, consumers are also less satisfied with their choice… Some of the reasons that effect consumers’ negativity to excess choices include; information overload, lack of well-developed preferences, struggle with decisiveness…

In the article Tyranny of Choice by Barry Schwartz writes: Although some choice is undoubtedly better than none, more is not always better than less… There are several factors that explain why more choice is not always better than less, one being what economists call ‘opportunity costs’, which is to say that any choice can’t be accessed in isolation from the alternatives… So for example; cost of choosing ‘A’ is the loss of opportunity that would have come if you had chosen ‘B’…

If you assume that opportunity costs reduce the overall desirability of the most preferred choice, then the more alternatives there are, the deeper your sense of loss will be and the less satisfaction you will derive from your ultimate decision… Then there’s the notion of ‘adaptation’, which is simply the human propensity to get accustom to the same things– as a result, most things that customer’s choice don’t turn out to be quite as good as expected. Add to that the effort many consumers ‘invest’ in making these decisions, and you’ve got recipe for unhappiness… It appears Mom was right– too much of anything isn’t good — even choice…

In the article Tyranny of Choice by David Bollier writes: Obviously there is much to be said for consumer choice. But it’s also true that a life marked by boundless choice becomes a life of hyper-calculation in pursuit of a perfection that always seems just a little bit out of reach… No one wants to make the ‘wrong’ choice, so they really bear down and do comparative research– it’s the fantasy takes shape that if you make the right choice, a kind of worldly beatitude will prevail…

Researchers have found that too much choice is ‘de-motivating’, as a result many consumer won’t buy anything… Hence for some items, a limited number of choices is better way to stimulate consumers to buy, than by offering more choices… There is a point where the effort required to obtain enough information to be able to distinguish sensibly between alternatives outweighs benefit to consumers of extra choices… According to Barry Schwartzat some point choice no longer liberates but debilitates. In other words, the fact that some choice is good doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better…

In the article Tyranny of Choice by James Delingpole writes: Choice means competition and competition is good for consumers; Right? Well, maybe! As scientific studies have shown, humankind cannot bear too much variety… Humans are a bit like magpies: They are entranced by a myriad of– bright, new, shiny things… But when the time actually comes to having to choice from all this variety, the brain suffer ‘option paralysis’ and cannot deal with it…

However, many companies continue to press on and offering many choices saying– it’s all about the customer and therefore give them everything they want… But in reality this can make it difficult to identify which products the customer really wants and can create problems for managing business. According to Bain study; reducing choice complexity and narrowing the selection can boost revenues by 5-40%, cut costs by 10-35%…

As a result businesses are beginning to prune their selections to avoid confusing consumers… However, in the end, it doesn’t matter what consumer choose only that they choose… According to one advocate; stick to the choices that matter and eliminate the rest… In other words, simplify the decision-making… but sometimes the answer is not that easy: trouble with simplifying is that it involves too many choices…

Customers are Life-Blood of Business: But Customer Acquisition Cost, Life-Time Value, Retention Cost… Determine Business Fate…

All customers are created equal, customers are customers– they have same value, they create same wealth– WRONG! Some cost more, some delivery more revenue, some are more loyal… But the ‘right’ customers are the life-blood of any business.The key for a ‘right’ customer is very simple ratio– revenues Vs. cost to acquire or cost to retain– and the life-time value of each customer…

Hence by simply; knowing how much it costs to acquire each new customers (customer acquisition cost, CAC), knowing how much it costs to retain each existing customers (customer retention cost, CRC), knowing the life-time value of each customers (customer life-time value, CLV)— is the difference between a business that falters and one that lasts for decades…

In the article Calculate Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) by Edward Gotham writes: The customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the cost that  a business pays to acquire a new customer. In its simplest form, it’s calculated by: dividing total costs associated with customer acquisition by total number of new customers, within a specific time period… The ‘customer acquisition cost’ is one of the ‘most’ important metrics in e-commerce along with ‘customer lifetime value’ (CLV)…

This metric is important because it tells business exactly how much  value they are making from each customers in relation to how much it cost to acquire them. The goal is to find the marketing channels that have the lowest– CAC, CRC, and the highest– CLV. A business will fail when the CAC is higher than CLV, e.g.; when the CLV: CAC ratio is:

  • Less than 1:1– Road to oblivion, and fast…
  • 1:1– Losing money from every acquisition…
  • 3:1– Perfect level; thriving business and solid business model…
  • 4:1– Great news, but under investing and could be growing faster. Start more aggressive campaigns to acquire customers and bring ratio closer to 3:1..

In the article How To (Actually) Calculate CAC by Brian Balfour writes: A common myth: ‘customer acquisition cost’ (CAC) and ‘cost per acquisition’ (CPA) are commonly conflated, but in reality they are very different metrics. CAC measures cost to acquire a new customer, and CPA (cost per acquisition) measures cost to acquire a non-customer, e.g.; registration, download, activated user, trial… The two metrics are related because CPA is usually used to measure the cost of things that are leading indicators to CAC…

A customer is a customer, right? Not necessarily. When it comes to calculating CAC, you need to distinguish between new and returning customers (CRC). In most organizations the primary focus of marketing and sales efforts is to acquire new customers; where as, most often very little attention is focused on retaining existing customers. When In fact, studies show that even a small 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by up to 75%. Hence, a balanced strategy that engages both new customers and retains existing customers is fundamental for business sustainability…

In the article Unsustainable Customer Acquisition Costs by Steve Dennis writes: Businesses are lured (some might say ‘suckered’) into supporting ‘digitally native’ brands because of what they believed to be the lower-cost, easily scaled, nature of e-commerce… Many online brands attract their first customers relatively inexpensively, through word of mouth or other low-cost strategies… Where things start to get ugly is when these brands have to get more aggressive about finding new and somewhat different customers… So it’s easy to see how an online only brand can look good at the outset, only then to have the economic picture deteriorate as it grows…

The marginal cost of customer acquisition starts to creep up and the average life-time value, of the newly acquired customer, starts to go down, often precipitously… Accordingly it’s not uncommon for some of the fastest growing brands to have many customers that are not only unprofitable, but also becoming a drain on the business, overall… Here are three important factors that come into play:

  • Higher Customer Acquisition Cost: For many businesses to grow they typically pay-to-play to multiple social media platforms to engage more new customers… Initially the cost to acquire new customers is relatively low, but as business expands acquisition costs escalate disproportionately to revenues…
  • Higher Promotion and Incentive Cost: More growth often requires more customer incentive, so gross margin on incremental sales usually come at a lower rate… Typically new customers are less profitable than the initial core returning customers…
  • Lower (or Lousy) Life-Time Value: Many new customers have lower incremental life-time value because, on average, they spend less and they are inherently more difficult to retain. It’s increasingly common for fast growing online brands to have large numbers of customers that are projected to have negative life-time value…

Simply put, if a business does not calculate and manage customer costs, both for new and retained, the business is on very shaky ground… Yet many businesses neglect to measure just how much their customer acquisition strategy is costing them…. Failure to evaluate and manage customer acquisition and retention costs will adversely impact business revenues, profitability, sustainability, growth…

It doesn’t matter how many new customers are added if the cost to acquire is greater than revenues added by those customers, then it’s a losing proposition, it’s a negative return on investment… whether a business has– ten or thousands of customers, when the cost to acquire or retain customers is higher than revenues– the ultimate outcome is a failed business…

The Perfection Trap– Trying Too Hard to Be Perfect: It Can Ruin a Business– It Smacks of Desperation…

Perfection is the ideal! Are you ‘trying too hard’ to be perfect? Often you simply assume that achieving perfection is what you should be aiming for and don’t even stop to examine whether attempting to be perfect is actually helping you or not… Perfectionism is the belief that you must be ‘perfect’ at all times and in every way, and you must try hard to attain it… Striving for perfectionism is completely unreasonable and impossible to achieve. According to Atalanta Beaumont; when trying too hard it smacks of desperation– it means that things are never good enough– it may also mean that you perceive yourself as undervalued, unappreciated…

Most people work really hard and probably bought into statements, such as; nothing in business comes easy… or, you have to fight to make it in the world… or, if it was easy everyone would do it… or, push to be the best you can be… But ‘perfection’ is a facade; it’s one dimensional, it’s not the whole story… Instead start to think about who you are; what you want… Follow a different path, a different strategy… and a natural strengths will emerge, which means that you don’t need to try as hard… 

In the article Stop Trying So Hard by Aj Agrawal writes: Many business leaders think that to have the best results, they and their employees must work really hard…  But in reality, much more is accomplished by working really smart… Also the best leaders know that to get the best results they need not overwork employees, or ask them to try harder, e.g.; consider the following:

  • Employees feel uncomfortable: Sometimes management find it hard to see that employees just don’t have the same kind of motivation as them… This leads employees to work when they don’t want to, and can lead to them being unproductive. When in reality, employees that have a balance in work and play it leads to greater productivity…
  • You lose focus on what’s essential: When you try to do everything at once, you lose focus. You start spending time on things that don’t matter… The idea that hours dedicated are synonymous with success starts rotting your brain. And when you don’t see the results from long hours, you get frustrated and begin working harder. The cycle repeats itself, until you finally either give up or change your ways…
  • You lose human element of leadership: When judging employees simply on hours put-in, you lose touch with employees as people… Making employees smile and having them enjoy work is hard to gauge… But to build a great organization, employees that enjoy their work and loyal are crucial for success…

In the article Stop Trying So Hard by Curt Skene. writes: The ‘Law of Reversed Effect’ is very simple, it states– the harder you try to force something the more difficult it becomes to do: Simply put– you can’t force natural progression just because you want to. Some advice; First, get very clear of what you want, why you want it, and lock that vision deep in your subconscious. Second, take a deep breath. Third, step back, examine, rethink your current work strategy…

Stop trying to make the wrong things happen. That doesn’t mean you stop doing the ‘right’ things, it means you stop doing things that are against the natural flow of things… If you are trying to land a new job or big contract… continue to plant seeds but at the same time have the confidence to step back and open-up to other opportunities that you may not have considered yet…

In the article Trying Too Hard Can Hurt Performance by Srini Pillay writes: There is such a thing as– trying too hard or having too much focus… which can actually get in the way of producing your best work… Some common signs that you might not be striking the right balance include:

  • You’re exhausted all the time: Mental exertion takes just as much energy as physical exertion, according to researchers. If you’re feeling drained, it could be that you’ve been focusing too hard, for too long, on the wrong thing…
  • You’re not fully engaged: You can only do best work when you’re fully engaged… The best leaders know to achieve lofty goal they must prioritize…
  • You aren’t making progress: Worrying too much about things can get in the way of achieving goals… it’s important to relax and recharge the circuits in your brain…
  • You’re tensing up: You may feel overwhelmed when engaged in multiple task because your brain is switching constantly from one thing to another, really quickly. Trying too hard when multitasking is counter productive…

‘Trying too hard’ sound like a negative thing because it suggests that there’s some acceptable level of trying… But there’s no such thing as trying too hard… Instead this phrase is often used by well-meaning people to whom a lot of things just come very natural… But just because something requires a lot of effort, or the appearance of trying too hard… doesn’t mean that it’s not worth the effort…

There are many tasks in business that require a lot of hard work to achieve… So you should not give-up on some things that don’t come super ease to you… Often you can be more productive if you try just a little harder, or try a different approach… But as Yoda says; there is no such thing as trying, there is only doing… 

Internet Deceit– Online Manipulation, Distortion, Fabrication: The Reality of Digital Deception…

The Online World is a lie: Virtually every aspect of online presence can be manufactured, and people are none the wiser. According to Tommy Walker; online manipulation is virtually untraceable… there is almost no limit to what can be done to– text, images, photos… So what then, do you do about it? A common answer might very well be: ‘Caveat Emptor’– Let the Buyer Beware… That, however, places a lot of responsibility on the irrational side of the consumer’s mind. That’s where knowledge comes in handy; if you can detect deception then you’re more likely to avoid it…

Technology makes it easier than ever to play fast and loose with the truth, but also easier than ever to get caught… Most people lie with astounding regularity… According to survey; people lie, on average, 1.65 times a day… According to Jeff Hancock; one in 10 text messages involves a lie of some kind… In a Consumer Reports survey; one in four people admitted to falsifying information on social media… According to a study of online daters; a full 81% exaggerated their attributes on their dating profiles…

In the article Online Manipulation by Alex Birkett writes: Digital marketing builds on theory that humans are ‘predictably irrational’… It focuses on the dramatic capabilities of digitization of commerce to increase the ability of businesses to influence consumers at a personal level… According to M. Ryan Calo; emerging technologies and techniques increasingly enable companies to exploit consumers’ irrationality or vulnerability… Essentially, the internet makes it much easier to exploit emotions on a personal level and manipulate their actions…

All of this is to say that companies can manipulate consumers in a variety of ways, and these are often referred to as ‘dark patterns’… Dark patterns are carefully prepared presentations that are crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology… and do not have the consumer’s best interests in mind… The holy grail of dark patterns include; bait and switch, disguised Ads, friend spam, hidden costs, misdirection, price comparison prevention, road block, sneak in the basket…

Online liars tended to avoid the topics about which they lie, e,g,; if they lie about weight, they avoided using food-related words. If a photos lies about appearance, they write more about achievements to deflect attention away from the lie they produced about their looks… Liars tended to use few words in general; the less said, the less likely they are to be caught in a lie…

Liars stay away from expressing negative emotions. They want to exude a positive image and that means leaving out anything that could be interpreted as a downer… The online world has plenty of  traps set by people who do not have your best interests at heart… Learn to let your head rule your heart, and your online experiences can be far more fulfilling. These relatively simple steps can help you learn to decipher people’s online persona:

  • Longer is better: An internet profile rich in self-description is likely to be more truthful. Liars may be afraid of getting caught in their own traps. The more detailed a person’s story, the more likely it contains accurate self-depictions…
  • Look for consistency: Don’t just read an online self-description from top to bottom. Go back and double-check within the profile to make sure it all fits together…
  • Watch out for the ‘we’: Avoid being drawn into the liar’s web of deception that puts you and a stranger on a par. An unusually high number of first-person plural pronouns, like ‘we’, may signify a profile that is intended to make you feel emotionally close to the writer but not one that is particularly honest…

In the article Catch a Liar on the Internet by Megan Garber writes: Then there’s the question of the difference between manipulation and marketing: Most viewers should know visual– images, photos– representation can be easily manipulated, but lesser known is most images can be manipulated on a sub-conscious level without customers actually realizing it. Most can be redesigned, altered, manipulated… So beware; all visuals may not be truthful visuals…

These findings, however, come with caveats, e.g.; it can be difficult to quantify ‘lies’ with precision, given the challenge of coaxing people into honesty about their deceptions… And more significant, ‘lies’ are generally not the fibs of ‘flaming-pants’ variety; the daily allotment of dishonesty instead tends to involve lubricating lies (i.e., I’m doing just fine…), or logistical lies (i.e., I’ll be there soon…), or charitable lies (i.e., Of course that doesn’t make you look fat…)…

A study of online daters found that many stretch the truth in small ways slightly exaggerating or minimizing things such as; age, height, weight… According to Dan Ariely; everybody has the capacity to be dishonest and almost everybody cheats, but– ‘just by a little bit’… But here’s good news; research suggests that opportunities that are created by dishonesty are balanced by increased potential for getting caught... A truism attributed to the most famous of truth-tellers– Abraham Lincoln said; no man has good enough memory to be a successful liar.

In the article Future of Truth and Misinformation Online by Janna Anderson, Lee Rainie write: A panel of 50 experts suggested that the breakdown of trusted information sources is the grand challenge for the 21stcentury’… According to Kevin Kelly; the major challenge in the ‘news’ is ‘new shape of truth’. Apparently truth is no longer dictated by legitimate authorities, but by the network of peers: For every fact there is a counter-fact, and all counter-facts and all facts look-alike online…  According to one dictionary; to deceive means– to cause, to accept as true or valid, what is false or invalid… and implies that it causes– ignorance, false expectations…

Avoiding all online manipulation tactics could turn into a full-time job. The number of ways online businesses or people who are trying to trick you into spending money, or time, or worse… are so big and so discreet that it makes avoiding them almost impossible… However when online, the key is to be vigilant and assume that things may not be as they are represented, and that nothing is really free. Mostly be aware of common online manipulations, fabrications… Keep up your guard all the time, and remember; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is…

Business Crime Forensics– Art of Follow the Money: Untangling Mysteries of Financial Shenanigans, Frauds…

Catch Me if You Can! Exposing business financial crime thru forensics: Business forensics is general term used to describe any kind of business fraud, financial or criminal non-violent offense, e.g.; embezzlement, tax evasion, , money laundering, fraud, cyber intrusion. Business forensics, typically; gather documents, review financial information, interview people… and then draw conclusions… While this approach will detect the simplest of frauds, it won’t detect the complex financial frauds that are increasingly making headline news… In most cases it’s not what you see on the page or document that matters; it’s what is not on the page or document that really matters…  

Business forensics stems from need to mitigate, manage… the rising numbers of business financial crimes… More than ever, companies are operating in a complex global business environment… They are drowning in a sea of digital financial data, adapting to perils of doing business in new markets, struggling to comply with more regulation, trying to avoid costly enforcement actions, litigation… According to amymatt; ‘cooking the books’ is an accounting phrase to describe a rewriting of financial information to justify fraudulent transactions or use of funds. The acts of ‘cooking’ are a disease which ultimately leads to the company’s demise…

In the article Business Forensics by Tom Lutzenberger writes: The processes of business forensics frequently follows the principles of financial auditing to uncover evidence, and it often uses the tried-and-true principle of; follow the money… Auditing traces back the paper trail of transactions to the original starting point to– verify funds, amounts, movement, purpose… However, unlike auditing, business forensics involves much more intensive review, e.g.; business forensic teams examines all documents available rather than just using spot samples on large amounts of data…

Business forensics teams are often an assemblage of financial business experts, including; auditors, accountants, computer experts… and even lawyers… These teams engage in cases ranging from pursuing financing of terrorism, money laundering… and as mundane as; tax evasion, charity scams… All of these fraudulent activities generally have the same type of business crime occurring, e.g., misrepresenting, or misappropriating funds… including; their sources, amounts, locations…

In the article How does Business Forensics Work? by Terry Robinson writes: Financial forensics combines criminal investigation skills with financial auditing skills to identify financial criminal activity coming from within or outside of an organization. It may be used in prevention, detection and recovery activities to investigate terrorism and other criminal activity, provide oversight to private-sector and government organizations, and assess organizations’ vulnerability to fraudulent activities… Business forensics is like forensic accounting, which utilizes accounting, auditing and investigative skills to analyze a company’s financial statements for possible fraud in conjunction with anticipated or ongoing legal action…

Business forensic accountants may also work with government agencies, including; tax authorities, to recover illegally obtained funds or help prosecute money laundering… These accountants can also help companies design financial and auditing systems to manage and reduce risk… Business forensic accountants, also known as forensic auditors or investigative auditors, often have to give expert evidence at an eventual trial… In increasingly complex business landscape where complicated questions always arise; finding the truth quickly is an imperative– gathering business forensic evidence that withstands scrutiny is essential…

In the article How to Protect Your Business Against Fraud by Elizabeth Wasserman writes: Corporate financial scandals have given rise to outcries for improved transparency, accountability, honesty… and a need for better financial reporting, and an untangling of complicated financial maneuvers that obfuscate ‘transparent’ financial reporting. According to Tom Kopchak; business forensics is tedious, detail-work, requiring sifting through huge amounts of data and looking for obscure details… However, ultimately the survival of a business depends on management and employees being honest…

Managing risk of financial fraud and misconduct has never been more challenging… The effects of fraudulent activities through financial manipulations can seriously impact the financial welfare of the business, as well as; investors, employees, suppliers, partners… Companies must make integrity a core imperative, and not only need to adopt risk controls and standards of ethical conduct, but also work at creating a culture of integrity… There must be a mutual trust among employees and management to raise issues and to do the right thing in the right way…

According to Richard H. Girgenti; when there is pressure to perform and weak controls, there is almost always someone who will commit fraud or engage in other misconduct… An organization’s first line of defense is its employees… It’s imperative that employees understand that their affirmative obligation to report wrong doing and believe that management will respond appropriately and protect whistle-blowers from retaliation. The result is a more sustainable organizational culture where doing the right thing is top of mind

Create Rhythm in Your Business, Add a Cadence, Tempo to the Workplace: Bridge the Gap Between Strategy and Execution…

Creating a rhythm in business is fundamental for sustainability, it’s an imperative for business success, it’s the glue that holds the organization together… and every organization must have a kind of harmony, tempo that governs every action… The rhythm of an organization bridges the gap between strategy and execution… According to Lisa Quest; the rhythm of a business determines the effectiveness of governance, and a predictable cadence or tempo is necessary for superior performance…  This methodology need not be complex, in fact, simpler the better– the goal is to ensure everyone on the team knows what to expect and when, and to ensure that each individual is focused on most important activity, and at appropriate times… Rhythm is required to create best possible working coordination and desired outcome…

The Oxford Dictionary definition of rhythm is– a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound… If you apply this to the business world you come-up with the following; the execution and coordination of important activities across, and within, all functions in an organization, producing an effective harmony and predictable tempo of movement and highest level of productivity… According to Angus Patterson; a rhythm occurs not only across an organization but within each individual role– each role and responsibility has its own rhythm. A rhythm is about ensuring that all vital activities are performed in a consistent manner and to a high degree of excellence… The key aim is to drive efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity…

In the article The Right Rhythm in Business by Ron Ashkenas writes: Business is based on natural, recurring rhythms; days, months, years and predictable cycles that allow management to navigate through time… The financial activities differ from sales activities, marketing events around seasons, management focuses resources according to the stage of competitiveness… Without these cadences business would be chaotic… It’s management’s responsibility to provide– tempo, or cadence, or rhythm… such that organization performs with purpose and consistency…

In the article Rhythm for Business Sustainability by Avijit Saha writes: Rhythm in business is an imperative for sustainability, e.g.; ‘rhythm of change’ and ‘rhythm of adaptability’… these and other factors are prevention strategies that are necessary to overcome the destructive influences in a highly competitive world… Every business must have effective rhythms to ensure sustainability, and they might include:

  • Rhythm of operation– perform daily operations efficiently and effectively to be more competitive and improve productivity…
  • Rhythm of survival– perform periodic stress tests… assess the strength and weaknesses of the organization and its potential threats and opportunities…
  • Rhythm of expansion– provide the incentives for innovation throughout the organization… innovation is the engine that drives growth and expansion…
  • Rhythm of change– change is inevitable but change must be managed with a profound appreciation of stability…
  • Rhythm of adaptation– agility and residency are the tools for adapting to change, but change without an effective rhythm will fail…

In the article Does Your Organization Have Rhythm? by Treb Gatte writes: Rhythm in business implies that there is a sense of timing (when something is supposed to happen) and frequency (and how often it supposed to happen ). Rhythm is very important to the effectiveness of an organization, it defines how people interact within the organization, and how people view the organization from the outside… An organization runs on a rough calendar with defined cycles of specific events, activities, responsibilities… Some pundits calls these cyclic events ‘forcing functions’ as they force an organization– to behave, to converge, to check, to update… so as to achieve specific goal and outcomes…

These positive cycles are designed to establish a rhythm that can sustain an organization without continual management oversight. The ‘rhythm of the business’ is the harmony that synchronizes the organization to perform with a predictable cadence, and ensures a compatibility throughout the organization… According to Anthony Iannarino; understanding the rhythm of an organization and working to ensure that there is an effective cadence is critical for the growth and sustainability of the organization… This means that– each day, each week, each month, each year… the team huddles and evaluates the rhythm and adjusts the tempo to better engage their– challenges, opportunities, threats…

Rhythm in business is not a separate process or method: It’s a state that an organization must achieve to ensure– smooth, seamless operational execution… Gone are the days when a company has one operating team– today each team has an individual business process, and each team is treated like it runs its own business, and is measured by the value it contributes to the business as a whole… Creating a unique rhythm that optimizes an organization’s effectiveness, product/process compliance, efficiency of operations… is the critical foundation of any business… Business rhythm amidst other management methods and initiatives is a major requirement for business sustainability regardless of the nature or size of the organization…

Maneuvering Pitfalls of Multi-sided Markets, Yin-Yang of Business Models: Competitive Framework of Tomorrow…

Multi-sided markets (markets that link two or more distinct but inter-dependent groups of customers) have been around for decades, but they’re proliferating rapidly today as modern technology creates more opportunities for organizing complex markets… For example; Google is a multi-sided market, in that it serves information seekers (on one side) and advertisers (on the other.).. Another is eBay; eBay provides space where people who want to sell something and people who want to buy something can interact (through an auction)… Other examples including; Facebook, Match.com, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Airbnb…

Although ‘platforms’ that businesses create to serve multi-sided markets differ widely in technology and organization, most  share a few basic features, e.g.; each platform will serve two or more distinct groups of customers… value of the platform to each group of customers increases along with number of customers in the other inter-dependent groups… platform must provide a superior way for the customer groups to interact…

The distinguishing characteristic of a multi-sided market is that the price structure is not neutral… the structure of pricing will affect the extent of participation and usage in the market… According to Ruhai Wu; these platforms gain success because of a unique feature– positive cross-side network effect; more buyers on a platform attract sellers, and more sellers consequently attract more buyers…

In the article Strategies for Multi-Sided Markets by Thomas Eisenman, Geoffrey Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne write: Multi-side market businesses are the holy grail of online business models… According to Philip Brown; in a multi-sided market, buyers and sellers conduct transactions through a centralized platform. Both sides of the market are self organized and so, platform owner is able to take a transaction  fee…

 These types of businesses are extremely defensible because of the ‘network effects’ of markets and high switching costs of moving to another market– for each new buyer or seller that enters a market, a market as a whole becomes stronger. However, multi-sided markets are incredibly difficult to pull off due to ‘chicken or egg dilemma’, i.e.; without buyers, you won’t attract sellers, and without sellers you won’t attract buyers…

Their failures are rooted in a common mistake: In creating strategies for multi-sided networks, managers typically rely on assumptions and paradigms that apply to products without considering ‘network effects’… As a result, they make decisions that are inappropriate for the economics of a specific market… The key decision here is pricing; providers of platforms for these networks are able to draw revenue from both sides. In most cases, though, it makes sense to subsidize certain users. The crucial strategy question is; Which side should you subsidize, and for how long?

 Probably the most important overall strategy for building a multi-sided market is to start with a market niche. If you try to target a market opportunity that is too big, or take on a competitor head-on that may be a recipe for failure. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will end-up with no one… According to Geoffrey Moore; ultimate goals of creating a multi-sided marketplace is that it’s a business model that scales indefinitely. The real beauty of these markets is the power of the ‘network’ and how each side self organizes around the platform…  Multi-sided market businesses are very attractive because they are defensible and able to scale with a clear repeatable business model…

Although pricing is important, it’s only one element in the design and implementation of this strategy… Experimenting on a small-scale and then expanding can help avoid catastrophic losses… Markets hardly ever cooperate by following simple rules derived from economic theory. In traditional markets, however, economic truisms can at least serve as a benchmark and point to more nuanced analysis… But by contrast, multi-sided platforms especially those in new markets too often require clean-sheet planning from strategists. With multiple inter-dependent customer groups to serve, companies find that direct costs provide little guidance for pricing strategies… Consider also that customer group inter-dependence makes it difficult to anticipate the impact of changes in business environment…

 Many of the great business empires of modern era have prospered precisely because they have excelled at making these platforms work to their advantage… According to Boris Wertz; building out both sides of a market simultaneously can be exponentially harder than a one-sided transaction model. But once you reach scale, things truly start clicking and an established market is hard to unseat due to the strong ‘network effects’ at play… But the key is to give the business a long enough runway to build out both sides…

According to Alex Tabarrok; a difficulty in multi-sided markets is the price charged to one-side of a market influences the demand on the other side, e.g.; the price that a newspaper charges to readers influences number of readers but that in turn influences the price that advertisers, on the other side of the market, are willing to pay to advertise… It often happens that one side of the market is harder to ‘get’ than the other, and so the profit-maximizing prices on the two sides of the market are very different, and one side of the market may even be ‘subsidized’…

The theory is not especially complex, e.g.; the basic idea is there is a platform that can serve two or more groups of customers, and when demand grows from one group it exerts a disproportionate effect on demand from the other, and in the most interesting cases, a virtuous circle of demand forms on both sides… And the key is to incentivize the group that benefits least from the relationship… According to David S. Evans; multi-sided business models require a very different way of thinking and they have very different economics, but apparently they are a quick way to build  billion dollar businesses…

Overcoming Obstacles that Kill Businesses: Embrace and Engage the Challenges But Know When to Let Go…

If you could eliminate one big obstacle in your business: What would it be? But first before you answer; do you truly understand the nature of an obstacle; is it real, or imaginary… or are you the obstacle? Once you clearly identified its true nature than you can begin the process of address the problem and working through the steps to remove it.  Business obstacles are insidious, they may be related to– the market, or lack of capital, or the competition, or management and leadership, or colleagues, or customers… or your own thoughts and actions may be the biggest obstacle of all…

The thing that sets businesses apart, however, is how they deal with obstacles. Some allow obstacles to derail them, others have learned to confront and deal with them… Ironically, majority of obstacles are avoidable. Many are result of unmanaged emotions, ingrained habits and mistakes that people make. These obstacles, if unattended, become emotional thieves that can kill a business; they steal focus, sap mental energy, derail important initiatives…

In the article Obstacles That Kill Businesses by ASG Strategies writes: Every business runs into obstacles, and the list can be endless. The key is not that they will occur, but how management deals with them and the actions they take to overcome them… A few strategies that may help to overcome them successfully:

  • People: Having the wrong people in key position is probably the greatest obstacle in many business… The wrong people drain time and resources, as well as being divisive to the team… Don’t let this be an obstacle to business success… The adage– ‘slow to hire but quick to fire’… can serve the business well…
  • Frugality: Uncontrolled costs and excessive spending robs the business of liquidity… The thrill of the win often replaces common sense… A mentality of frugality and prudent investment can serve a business well…
  • Let it go: Stretching too far, too fast, beyond boundaries that can be managed is failure of many business, learn– when to let it go! Sometimes management develops blinders that prevent them from making prudent decisions. Management must have courage to know when to walk away, and that can serve a business well…
  • Change: Management often cling to models and strategies that are obsolete and, as result, they themselves become an obstacle. Management must know when to throw out the old and bring in the new… they must embrace prudent change, which can serve a business well…

In the article Obstacles and Challenges in Business by edensunshine  writes: Obstacles are an imperative for a successful business. When business is growing, improving, building, changing… making progress towards a goal, or vision, or desired action… and when a business is committed to something– unique, special, different… that is when they encounter– obstacles, challenges, resistance… When business is static, typically, they don’t have much resistance or encounter obstacles, because no one really cares if they live or die…

The more obstacles, the more resistance, the more challenge a business experience..  the more it suggests they are on track to achieve great things… However, what it really comes down to is whether or not management has the guts, determination, and will power to persevere through tough times. When things are tough that’s a good sign– it means you are in right place, doing the right things… A clique to live by– When going gets tough, the tough get going…

In the article Overcoming Obstacles by Karyn Hall Ph.D. writes: Whatever the goal, there will always be obstacles in the way. But the key is; how you react… Some people see obstacles as a puzzle to solve, others see them as an opportunity to grow, still others see them as threats, and still others see them as a sign that they cannot succeed… However, if you see obstacles as– the world being against you, then you are likely to be overwhelmed with painful thoughts and difficult emotions that can block achievements…

Perhaps you have thoughts of– fear or shame when faced with an obstacle. Fear may be telling you to escape the situation because you are in danger… And shame may be urging you to hide… However, when the situation isn’t one in which you need to be afraid or ashamed, these same emotions may still get in the way of achievement… The reality for achieving most goals means overcoming obstacles; it’s a normal part of the process… According to Frank Clark; if you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere…

Sometimes obstacles can be overcome and sometimes they cannot. Sometimes you have to work around them or find alternatives. The key is to not give up. If an obstacle cannot be overcome, or you cannot find an alternative, then your only reward is knowing that you did your very best… An interesting question; Why do obstacles make some people stronger and others weaker? How is it that some people come back from devastating defeats, while others simply give-up?

The key is resilience: Resilience is an individual’s ability to properly adapt to adversity and obstacles… According to Mareo Mc Cracken; an obstacle is something that blocks one’s way, or prevents, or hinders progress… anything that makes it difficult for business to achieve a goal, or desired result… it’s obstruction that must be– removed, surmounted, or circumvented… Businesses that are resilient overcome obstacles and achieve success… According to George Weinberg; the cure for most obstacles is; Be decisive…

Halloween is Season for Pop-Ups: It’s $10 billion Industry and Pop-Up Stores are Seemingly Sprouting Everywhere…

Halloween is a couple of days away, and the shops that are peddling costumes, makeup, fake tombstones and all manner of cobwebs, skulls and life-size plastic ghouls are doing a brisk business… It’s a $10 billion industry without counting the booze, food, parties… It’s scary, the amount of money people spend on Halloween… According to Lydia Dishman; Pop-Up stores are sprouting overnight in temporary locations like empty mall stores, and then slam shut like a coffin right after the holiday… According to Alison Paul; in comparison to what it costs to establish a new store, putting in a Pop-Up is a much smaller investment for a retailer…

A Pop-Up is defined as a temporary lease or rental of a store ranging in duration from one-day to one-year… These seasonal stores serve as staging for potentially permanent tenants interested in the space. In recent years, Pop-Ups have started to add ‘experiential’ displays and decor, making it into an entertaining destination for the whole family… However, due to the temporary nature of pop-ups, consumers are more prone to scams and rip-offs. These stores often don’t allow consumers to return unused merchandise for credit or a refund…

Halloween Industry Stats & Trends! 2017: With more than 179 million people in the U.S. planning to partake in Halloween festivities, up from 171 million last year, spending is slated to reach a record high in survey history. According to The National Retail Federation; total spending is expected to grow to record $9.1 billion in 2017. That figure is up 8.3% from the $8.4 billion spent in 2016… And it doesn’t include all the alcohol consumed at those crazy costume parties… According to Scott Krugman; Halloween is moving away from one night event into a full season, which is increasing sales opportunities for retailers…

In a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey; nearly 60% of the 8,877 people surveyed plan to celebrate Halloween in some way, including; dressing up, going to a party, handing out candy, carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating, decorating… While percentage of those decorating for this day remains the same, the average amount spent per person climbed 14%, to $26.59, over last year. Estimated price tag for all these decorations is $1.4 billion. In terms of decoration purchases, the Halloween season is now second only to Christmas…  When it comes to partying, this day draws the third-highest crowds, behind New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday…

In the article Surprising Success of Halloween Pop-Up Stores by Ernie Smith writes: The Halloween Pop-Up store phenomenon is a very important retail outlet for specialty events. such as; holidays, sports events, religious occasions… and the trend is not fading anytime soon… So; Why does a seasonal Pop-Up store work so well? Here are a few reasons:

  • Buildings are empty: The Pop-up business take advantage of weaknesses in local real estate markets by maintaining strong relationships with commercial real estate owners, who would much rather accept temporary lease or rental rather than stay empty…
  • Pop-Up stores are shape shifters: These specialty stores can make spaces as large as 50,000 square feet and as small as 3,000 square feet work for its needs. The real determinate for success is location, location, location…
  • Inventory can be reused: Unlike technology or fashion, most the items sold in these venues don’t go out of style very quickly, and that means much of the merchandise can be reused repeatedly year-after-year, which keeps production costs low…
  • Pop-Ups allows for planning time: Since there is long lead time between specialty events, Pop-Up businesses are able to spend much of the year plotting for the year’s next big trends. But often there are unexpected windfall, e.g.; hit movies, great characters that become the basis for a new Pop-Up store…
  • Another big seasonal holiday immediately after: Two months after Halloween is Christmas, which works well in a Pop-Up retail context… These Pop-Ups then convert their Halloween locations and jump onto the Christmas trend…

In the article The Halloween Pop-Ups by Haniya Rae writes: They emerge out of nowhere; just a few weeks before Halloween these relatively small and colorful displays are visible on the streets of many U.S. cities– these Pop-Ups just seem to appearance without warning… It’s probably a company you’ve never heard of taking over a vacant space in a long-forgotten strip mall, or in abandon store front… where rents are dirt cheap…Then after holiday is over; these ghosts, goblins… leave just as quickly as they came…

The size of the Halloween market has become an important business opportunity– it’s a true retail bonanza… The Halloween market is growing in two ways that make it very attractive for businesses: First, Halloween has become a universal– world-wide celebration… Second, individual consumers are spending increasing amounts of money for all sorts of stuff in their celebration…

Children’s trick or treating is still a Halloween mainstay, but it’s adults who are spending the money on celebrating, embracing Halloween as a chance to let their inner child get out and party. Large parties with participants wearing elaborate costumes are becoming increasingly popular, which is great news for business opportunities… Halloween is not just a time to buy candy or a chance to party– it’s become much more… which means great business opportunities for savvy business…

Subtle Shifts in Business, Leadership, Management, Organization, Strategy, Innovation– Bring Big Results…

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