Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Can Facebook Help in Generating Business Leads

Facebook with its massive outreach to over 800 million active users globally has become an ultimate promotional tool for businesses and simply cannot be ignored.

Those who label it as timewaster would be astonished by taking a quick browse on reasons for considering Facebook as a promotional tool for any business:

It is the single platform that connects its users speaking 70 languages. According to Facebook stats, over 400 million users visit their newsfeed at least once every day; this connects (on an average) them to eighty community pages, Facebook groups or events posted by their contacts. Users consider this platform as a good tool to upload photos. It has become so popular that on an average over 250 million photos are being uploaded every day!

With an increasing use through mobile devices, this application is now accessed by more than 350 million users via their cell phones or Smartphones. This gives Facebook an extra ordinary outreach to people on the go.
Read complete article Click here

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12 Tips for New Bloggers

I encourage people to write and the best way to publish their writing is through blogs. Usually, people interested in blogging, ask me “how to start putting thoughts together?” A valid question! Like any other learnable things, writing skills can also be learnt gradually.

I was told a long time ago that to be able to write well, one must read a lot. My first suggestion to aspiring bloggers is to make a list of topics that interest them. This could be sports they follow, music, fashion, politics, humor etc. This reading will trigger a flow of thoughts and that is the beginning of the process!

The trend is that the user generated content is read more as compared to news! According to estimates, only in the US, User generated content consumer will touch 130 million in 2012. Lets become part of this massive stream!
READ 12 Tips by clicking here

6 Tips for Time Management

A conversation this morning with a 23 year old young lad inspired me to write this post. The conversation was on “Time Management”. Like many others, this youngster was also finding it tough to accomplish various tasks in a given day. His average sleep time has reduced drastically with about 3-4 hours a day! To be very honest, he was struggling with his daily routine.

I googled three combinations for time management and following is the result:

Pages available on “Time Management” are 219,000,000
Pages available on “Time Management Tips” 41,600,000
Pages available on “Time Management Skills” are 56,800,000

One thing in common, none of these can help you increase even a single minute of a 24 hours cycle! Isn’t that astonishing?
Click to read complete article

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blog Awards Vote for My Blog in Business Blog Category

Please vote for my blog in the Blog Awards Competition. It is placed under Business Blog's Category

Click http://pakistanblogawards.com/2011/11/14/best-business-blog-hammad-siddiqui/

Scroll down a bit and hit STARS for vote.

Thanks a million

Monday, November 14, 2011

5 Things to Consider For Total Quality Management Processes

Is there any doubt in the fact that only those organizations grow fast that remain in the continuous improvement mode? Companies spend millions of dollars in research and development and learning from every stakeholder including staff, customers and competitors.

Buzz of “TQM” or “Total Quality Management” is heard in the management discussions. TQM allows organizations to learn from current practices and improve upon the quality of their of service,
product or procedure. It is rightly considered as an essential element of best management practices.

Size and depth of process improvement programs may vary from company to company, depending on the complexities, nature of business and age of the company. In addition to TQM, these programs may include Business Reengineering, Lean, and Six Sigma.

Startup businesses – Entrepreneur must at Key Factors

Start-up companies face many challenges from cash flow to inventory management, from marketing to retaining quality human resource, from keeping the overheads under control to dealing with legal matters.

Globally, a large number of startups do not succeed because the lack of business acumen and skill set required pushing business from one stage to the next. Entrepreneurs become passionate about their idea to an extent where they ignore the complications in implementing the idea.

Laura Parkin, chief executive of the Bangalore-based National Entrepreneurship Network says that;
“in some cases, what we’re seeing is the lack of ability to innovate besides cutting prices and a get-rich-quick mentality.”

There is no doubt that one of the key success factor for small business is “keeping lean”, however a million dollar question is “for how long this business should remain lean”?
Jared Chung – Founder, Starfish says,

Lean Startup requires that you confront all of the most uncertain parts of your business model up-front, based on the realization that uncertainty is the greatest foe of a startup.”

Click here for complete article

Friday, November 11, 2011

How did Coke created a Top Brand?

Who can deny the fact that Coca Cola has created a brand that is well known and respected around the globe? Recent report on Best Global Brand by Interbrand has put Coca Cola at the top of the list. Commonly known as Coke, has left all other competitors wondering about the unique branding and marketing strategies created and implemented by the company.

Started in 1866, continuous improvement in the packaging and brand positioning resulted in the success of this company. Since its inception the company is closely aligning the product with the dynamics of consumer sophistication and acceptability of innovation.

The company does not miss any opportunity to associate its brand with mega global celebrations and events. For example in 2010, at FIFA World Cup, Coke launched a new version of Somali-Canadian K’Naan’s Waving Flag song. An event which was according to FIFA, the International Association of Football Association, cumulatively watched by 26 billion people (64 matches). That was the largest activation in Coke’s history. The song went viral through social media, TV commercials and was linked by the common thread of celebration.

Click here for complete article

Monday, November 7, 2011

Creativity and Innovation – Massive Challenges for Corporates and Entrepreneurs

I am sure my readers will agree that most corporate, particularly multinational companies try to implement ideas that worked in one culture or environment. I sometime wonder how these corporate can encourage their executives to act creatively in their respective societies and work environment.
Creativity is not a new topic. It has been discussed widely in all major business journals. Researchers have written heaps of stuff on creativity.

Having spoken to several senior executives, I have come to a conclusion that creativity in the developing and under developed countries is less challenging as compared to developed countries. Reason is simple, due to lack to technological advancement, there are more opportunities in the developing or under developed countries for experimenting with creative ideas whereas creative ideas in the developed world face fierce competition!

Following is a statement by Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, is the author of Serious Play and the forthcoming Getting Beyond Ideas. Scharge says:

“This point is vital: genuine creativity isn’t about ideas. It’s about translating ideas into ingenious products, services and solutions. Ideas are the seeds, not the substance, of creativity. Getting them to take root is easier than it’s ever been.”

Click here and read complete article

How can Social Media be used as a Tool for Job Search

If you have been employed and doing well in your career, you might not need career advice!

But most people need to grow faster and progress quickly. I am one of them and I want others to grow fast too! In my opinion, in most cases, growth is due to high level contacts and networking.

For over last three years, I have been monitoring social media trends, believe it or not, more and more jobs are now available on social media. Avoiding social media or using it only for chatting to friending is perhaps something that will push you behind the scene. No one can deny the fact that face-to-face networking is crucial, but ignoring the importance of active social media presence is crime, bluntly speaking, those who are not following the norms, are making a serious mistake!

I am a great fan of social media networking and strongly belief that no other medium can provide the extreme exposure one can get using social media tools. Ali Chambers, vice president at Boston-based executive coaching and outplacement supports my views and said;

“People who have neglected to create and update a social media presence, particularly on LinkedIn, could miss out on being considered for positions.”

Click here to read complete article

What is Toyota's Branding Strategy that Keeps Toyota at the Top

I drive Toyota and love it! The company claims that “80% of all Toyotas sold in the last 20 years are still on the road today.” Agree to disagree; Toyota is a strong car, a tough brand and far ahead in the branding strategy as compared to its Japanese competitors Honda and Nissan.

According to Mike Stefaniak, a marketing communications professional;

Toyota recognizes the difference between just marketing products and actually investing in creating a brand for the company. The company seems to know the value of creating a corporate framework to facilitate customers’ preference for the company’s products. Hence, a strong company reputation is contributing to the product being a safe choice.”

But why Toyota is a great auto brand? Since last thirty years, the company has built its brand around 5 key factors:

Click here to read complete article

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Legends never die; Steve Jobs Who gave us Apple, iPod, iPad and iPhone will live forever!

People are sending RIP for Steve Jobs, inventor of Apple, a legend who survived from cancer at an early age, an inventor who created the best fonts for computers, and a presenter who won the hearts of many around the globe! Steve Jobs had massive following; I followed him for this art of public speaking! He gave us Apple to enjoy the experience of technology! A great man who will live forever …….

READ Full story

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Learning from an SEO Expert Entrepreneur

There are many SEO Experts, but only few might have learnet it with passion!
“I converted my hobby and passion in to a business, this gave me more exposure, learning and rewards” – Zamir Anjum, CEO EzineSEO

“I was bored with the routine and being punctual at work, my passion was to start my own business and be punctual for myself instead!” This thought prompted Zamir Anjum to land into entrepreneurial career. The business started in loose partnership so no documentation was done. By virtue of this experience, Zamir’s business had a successful start. However in 2008 conflicts with partner forced them to dissolve the partnership. At this point Zamir decided to work independently, it was a new beginning!

Read Complete story Click here

Saturday, October 1, 2011

McDonald’s Marketing Strategy of Innovation and Trendsetting

McDonald’s is known for its innovative market positioning. There is no doubt that McDonald’s rapid growth is based on intelligent and smart business ideas based on the dynamics of business environment and societal changes. The restaurant which was started in 1948 with just one outlet now has its footprints across the globe. It’s global sales in 2010 was recorded at $24 billion with net profit rose to $4.95 billion last year, up 5% compared with 2009.
If we list the most known innovative ideas introduced by McDonalds, first thing that comes to our minds is the concept of Happy Meal – a combo meal for children featuring a free toy that made McDonald’s restaurants most demanded place for meals by kids across the globe. The second most interesting concept that the chain introduced in 1975 was Drive-thru, a brand new feel of comfort for “On the Go” customers to beat their hunger with quick purchase of meal. This idea now accounts for more than half of restaurant system-wide sales!

Read whole article CLICK Here

Friday, September 30, 2011

Do you Still Need an Effective Cover Letter?

I have written enough on how job search techniques are changing with the emerging dynamics of recruitment. It is now a known fact that more and more jobs are now available through social media networks as compared to traditional newspaper advertisements.

Not many people know that #jobs can help you job posted on twitter! Those who know this certainly have a clear advantage in the job market. With the emergence of jobsites such as Monster, Workopolis, Rozee, Bayt etc and social media network such as LinkedIn, job hunters are encouraged to register and leave their profiles for recruiters to search from a wide database.

The question however is: If the need for a well crafted cover letter remains or this is an obsolete tool?
In my opinion, the new recruitment process when the process starts on social media or via internet based applications, need for a cover letter is almost eliminated. Applicants need worry about a cover letter only if it is specifically requested by the advertiser.

There are many articles available on various websites, such as Harvard Business Review or Ezinearticles on how to write effective cover letter. In my views, is required, it should be prepared using the following structure:
CLICK for details

Monday, September 19, 2011

What is Success? Theory Redefined!

Only yesterday, I had three instances when entrepreneurs I was talking with told me that they were not successful yet! When I asked them what makes them think that they were not successful? All three of them were unable to satisfy me, and honestly were struggling for words. These three conversations sparked my mind to search for the right definition of entrepreneurial success.

Ron Haynes, Founder of The Wisdom Journal writes in one of this article that:

“most people think that success is a wrapped up in things, but the truth is success is wrapped up in how you see yourself and how you are able to enjoy your life!”

Ron’s views are pretty self-explanatory. But my mind was still struggling to understand the deeper logic of entrepreneurial success! In the evening while I was browsing my facebook, I saw an update from my friend Ashraf Chaudhry.

“Marketing is not an event, but a process . . . It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.” – Jay Conrad Levinson.

Wahoo! And that was the beginning of an interesting thought process. I responded Ashraf with my own quote:

“Marketing is like universe. It has no end, but a new beginning when you reach to the edge!”
Based on this thought, I am able to come-up with an interesting explanation about entrepreneurial success: Click here for complete article

CV is a great marketing tool!

My lastblog published at ExpressTribune received an overwhelming response. Not only
was it widely read,commented, facebook liked, couple of readers emailed me their issues related to preparing good CVs particularly those with little or no working experience.
I fully agree with Mr Raza Abbas, who picked-up the blog from LinkedIn update and posted the following message:

Dear Mr. Hammad,
Thanks for sharing the article. Nicely written however the majority of jobs are found
though networking this is a global and local strategy, I would recommend you
focus to graduates on how to do networking; it is a skill that not many can know.

Thanks once again for sharing.
Take care,
Raza Abbas
Global Career Consultant

No one can deny the importance of networking; it certainly helps in tapping into the hidden job market. But at the same time, for those who are not well networked and are fresh to the job market, a quality

CV improves the changes for ensures an interview call. In my opinion CV is your key marketing tool. A job hunter needs to spend considerable time and energy while preparing a quality CV. If you search google, millions of resources will pop-up, but my blog focuses on few tips focusing the Pakistani job market.

You need to remember the following points while preparing you CV.
1. Be relevant:
2. Use Readable Format:
3. Be Creative:

Last advice for new entrants is to apply as many jobs as they can, this will increase the probability for more interviews. Click here for complete arcitle and best of luck with CV writing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Question is: Salesmen are Born or Developed?

Lately I was in discussion with my friend Ashraf Chaudhry: Are sales people born or developed? Ashraf said that “I have not heard any mother shouting in the labor room that she has given birth to a salesman”! Whereas my view is that sales is a natural skill every human being posses, however only few take the challenge as a professional salesman!

Checkout detailed article:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Key Interview Tips for Job Seekers


I get emails and calls from youngsters waiting to enter the job market. Some of them are known through social media or other meet-ups, and also some who are referred through contacts. Most of them are MBAs – but even with such a degree, finding a job is becoming challenging.

I usually call people to meet in person. My focus has always been to help them learn the basics such as resume writing and exploring the hidden job market and when searching for job. One has to remember that although the economy is not doing great and job market competition is stiff, there are companies hiring new employees.

During the course of several years of voluntary work, I felt that a number of candidates get a job interview, but due to lack of preparation, they are unsuccessful!

Branding Lesson from Lady Gaga


Recently I was following Lady Gaga who has established her brand extremely well. Her creativity is really inspiring. She is identifiable everywhere in the world. Following factors led her to a successful brand building:

1. She told her story over and over in the same consistent way and found millions of loyal fans by identifying herself as a “weirdo” who was completely different from the rest of the “pretty” girls who attended the same catholic school she did; not being the most attractive was not and is not an obstacle to be the most successful.

2. Projected her as “Mother Monster” to her fans who she calls “Little Monsters”, has made her mission to be the unifying factor and the role model for the underdog, the not so good looking, the geeky and the wacky, and they all love her because she is one of them. Even her most recent world tour was called “The Monster Ball” and her previous album is “The Fame Monster”.

Effective Websites – More Business for Small Entrepreneurs


It is trendy to have business website, and trendier to have social media presence. Many small business owners when creating the website or establishing socialmedia presence try to do their best, but often complaint for not getting traffic on to their websites and social media. This blog will help them understand the basics they should watch before building a website or entering into social media. But before we go in that direction, let me talk about the ground realities:

A survey was conducted by SiteKreator explains that only 54% of small businesses update their websites less than 5 times a month. This includes content changes, adding applications, photos, news items, promotions, etc. Visitors often find outdated information on such websites. The survey revealed that small businesses that update website more than five times per month have +300% more website traffic than those who do not.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Key Interview Tips for Job Seekers

I get emails and calls from youngsters waiting to enter the job market. Some of them are known through social media or other meet-ups, and also some who are referred through contacts. Most of them are MBAs – but even with such a degree, finding a job is becoming challenging.

I usually call people to meet in person. My focus has always been to help them learn the basics such as resume writing and exploring the hidden job market and when searching for job. One has to remember that although the economy is not doing great and job market competition is stiff, there are companies hiring new employees.

During the course of several years of voluntary work, I felt that a number of candidates get a job interview, but due to lack of preparation, they are unsuccessful!

Branding Lesson from Lady Gaga

Recently I was following Lady Gaga who has established her brand extremely well. Her creativity is really inspiring. She is identifiable everywhere in the world. Following factors led her to a successful brand building:

1. She told her story over and over in the same consistent way and found millions of loyal fans by identifying herself as a “weirdo” who was completely different from the rest of the “pretty” girls who attended the same catholic school she did; not being the most attractive was not and is not an obstacle to be the most successful.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

The 100th Post - Publishing my 100th Blogpost is a Milestone!

My 100th post! Its a milestone I am publishing my 100th blogpost!

When I started writing my 100thpost, it was like a batsman facing a pacer on a fast track with a new ball on his 99! Those who have been in this situation can only understand the feelings of reaching this milestone of hitting a century!

Only in 2011, I have encouraged and also trained at least six corporate personalities to become bloggers. The recent one is Mr Saad Amanullah, CEO of Gillette Pakistan. In the league were, Dr Afra Sajjad, Head of Education for Middle East North African and South Asia at ACCA, Dr Habib Aslam Gaba, a renowned cardiologist, Emad Sohail and Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain, my colleagues from CIPE and Dr Muhammad Azam Roomi, Principal Lecturer, MBM Program Director at Bedford University at Luton, UK.

But this particular post is about me, how did I start and what did I learn during the course of thisjourney.

READ Further

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From Marketing Manager to an Entrepreneur- Meet Shamim Akhtar

“In 1996, I landed into entrepreneurial career due to my passion to become a successful entrepreneur, it was a decision I will always rejoice! – Shamim Akhtar owner of Care Marketing.

A dynamic women entrepreneur, Shamim Akhtar believes in nature, her business is related to import and marketing of healthcare products made from natural ingredients.

According to Shamim “entrepreneurship is the only way to transform personal abilities in to economic and social development, help our own self and others, by initiating business ventures”.

READ Details:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Effective Business Plan for Small Businesses

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail" isa quote by Benjamin Franklin.

However many small business do not start with proper planning. Most start-up entrepreneurs are categorized in the “accidental entrepreneurship” category where things happen as they happen, where fire-fighting is a norm and future is unpredictable.

Having spoken to many small business owners, I have come to realize that mainly due to the lack of capacity and business management skills, small businesses consider business planning a useless and time consuming exercise. They do not realize that an effective business plan helps businesses understand risks and define a pathway to success.

Simple business plan is a sketch of what the business would look like in due course, often called a blueprint for creating a successful business. For small businesses, there is no need for anything too complex. Their business plan is an equation of resources (financial, human, intellectual), inventory/service, market, marketing and in the end projected profits.

It is your business and you should prepare a plan to make it successful!
Read Details here

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Social Media Presence and Online Marketing – Best Selling Tool for Small Business

Small business owners have one common problem, cash flow! One way to increase cash flow is by improving sales volumes. Online marketing is considered as one of the best tools for increasing sales. Days have gone by when business had to wait for customers to come to them, now is the time to reach out to your customers. The market is out there, social media sites such as facebook, twitter, linkedin etc have changed the way marketing was done. The recent one is Groupon which allows you to open your own online store.

Regardless of the size of business, I guess the most important thing for any business owner is to increase its sales by reducing the cost of sale, which enables him to improve the bottom line of the business.

Of these many options, generally, small business owners prefer to go for free opportunities. Amongst the most popular is the facebook fan page. Creating one is easy, but brining the fans to the page is challenging. I was talking to Abdi Beli, Owner of Saadia’s  Kitchen (a home cooked food delivery service) who said that he operates at “zero promotional cost” by using facebook and twitter to promote his business. Abid said that it requires patience and persistence in building the community. It took Saadia’s Kitchen one year to build a community of 3000. But now fans are brings more fans – it’s the multiplier impact now!

You will be surprised to know that brands such as Coca Cola has over 33 million fans on facebook and 350,000followers on twitter. Similarly Disney has 27 million fans on facebook and over 150,000 followers on twitter. Starbucks Coffee has 24 million facebook fans and 1.5 million twitter followers.

The above phenomenon is mindboggling! These are world top brands and can spend billions on TV spots, magazine and newspaper adverts and sponsorships, but the single reason for them bring present on social media, is their recognition of this medium as the fastest growing and the most engaging platform.

Now for small business, the key is to become active on social media. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any training program that could teach you the effective use of social media, so it will be a bumpy ride, at least in the beginning.

Considering the time social media initiative can eat-up, my suggestion for small businesses is to start small – establish presence on facebook and twitter. These two are easy to use and a number of individual business owners might have been using these already for social purpose. Hence turning these into business opportunity tool will not be too challenging.

Further reading please click

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Total Web Solutions - From Worker to Owner in 5 Minutes – Meet Omair Ali

“Only five minutes were enough to transform me from an employee to an entrepreneur” Omair Ali – Owner of Total Web Solutions.

Omair Ali is a young entrepreneur running his IT company that provides website solutions and software development and maintenance services. Narrating his story Omair told me – “I had interest in software development from my student life. After completing my MIT, I opted software and web development as my career. In July 1999 I got job at a small IT company.

I wanted to learn and that was an excellent learning opportunity. In early times with this company I completed my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Optical Fiber Fusion & Mechanical Splices From RTTS also. Company was lean and there were only 2 development persons. Time was right with Y2K business opportunities and business was flowing in. In the next couple of years, the company expanded so my expertise and responsibilities too.”

Talking about the turning point in his career Omair said that, “The Owner was a young IT professional. 10 years in business, the business expanded and he was unable to manage the market demand and hence quality of our service started depleting. I was the front man facing the music from clients. I was frustrated because the company was not paying me enough and clients were also unhappy. I am a man of words, and here I was compromising my ethical values for my employer! It so happened, while I was seriously thinking about changing my job, a client advised me to start my own IT company – and that was the turning point – within the next five minutes, I was an Owner from a Manager!”

Read further: Click

Friday, August 5, 2011

Home-Based Businesses Ideal for Home Makers

In depressed economy, home-based businesses can provide an excellent alternative source of income for many. Home-based businesses are particularly suitable for mothers that are unable to go out for a 9-5 job and also qualified or technically trained girls suffering from societal restrctions and are not allowed to leave homes. Particularly with the computer and internet technology, a number of businesses that can be successfully run from home.

In my view following are few interesting benefits of working from home:

Freedom: No boss, no specific dressing, no rigid work schedule. Choose a schedule that suites your lifestyle.

Less cost of doing business: No rent, no additional utility cost, no staff management cost, no commuting cost.

Family care: Specifically for those who have responsibility for family care, this is the perfect option.

Reduced Stress: No 9-5 schedule, no traveling hassle or traffic chaos.

For the past few years, I have been engaged in youth entrepreneurship program focusing economically deprived class. My experience proved that the biggest hurdle for starting a home-based business is the lack of a practical idea.

My colleague Muhammad Yasir has compiled a list of practical ideas for starting home-based businesses. These ideas can be downloaded by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Social Media – How business can maximize on Social Media Outreach?

Needless to say that modern marketing is a blend of text book techniques and social media marketing  knowledge.

Push messages are now becoming history, it’s the time to engage your customer and with its phenomenal outreach, social media is the only tool that can help businesses engage with their customers. The challenge for  marketing professionals is to learn the logic of using social media effectively!

For the last couple of weeks I have been advising a friend of mine Zishan Jafri on developing social media presence for his business. I figured out that recently a number of companies have started jumping onto the “social media bandwagon”. Some of them realized the outreach and importance of social media, however a number of them just wanted to be there doing something on their social media.

The fact is that a number of companies do not develop a formal social media strategy. The process of developing their community is usually not the focus; they just want their presence on social media, particularly facebook. There is no doubt that with ever growing number of social media users, businesses no matter small or big need to use this medium to interact with their customers. But the question is how do you effectively use social media?

First thing first – Market Knowledge! It is essential to understand what your competitors are doing for promoting their brands and where do you stand in comparison of other market players. A basic social media audit can help in identifying your marketplace and your customer’s social hangouts, i.e, facebook, twitter, blogs, discussion groups etc. I advise that a social media audit should be part of a company’s market research policy.

A number of businesses also show concern about the extent they could suck into social media. And that is true! In many cases, a number of businesses fail to gain any benefit of having social media presence. It is essential for businesses to understand that social media marketing is a targeted effort; hence a business needs to define its priorities before engaging into social media initiative. Priorities can only be defined based on what milestones a company wishes to achieve i.e., brand development or repositioning, building customer relationship, improving market reputation, engaging potential customers, improving customer satisfaction etc.

But at the end of the day, social media is a science of what messages needs to go to whom and at what time of the day! On social media, feedback is usually prompt; hence the response needs to be carefully drafted in advance to suite the possible feedback or questions. However at times, prepared messages are not appropriate; this makes a call for an expert to consider drafting suitable response.

Blogging, which should be considered as an integral part of any social media campaign is heavily depended on content, and the quality of content attracts readers. Blogs generally focused on sharing information in a relatively detailed manner. I strongly suggest to embed videos, presentations and pictures in blogs to make content interesting. Blogs are good to attract readership on facebook and twitter. There are many social media book marking platforms such as Stumbleupon that could help in creating a viral impact of a social media campaign.

In my experience, social media campaigns can be effective only if businesses are able to integrate their social media properly. This means, having twitter, facebook, linkedin, blog, video content, pictures and presentations, all integrated to represent the same brand image. Integration is effective in creating a good viral impact and to increases customer retention within one space of social media.

Needless to say that a formal social media policy describing the objectives, deliverables and assigning resources both human and financial can only help reap the benefit of social media outreach. Zishan’s business is now social media enabled; the challenge for him to keep-up with the pace and watch his competitors closely!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sales and Customer Service – Eye contact is an essential element

Human eyes have mystical powers. However the ability to use this unique quality is unknown to many. I feel sorry for those sales and customer service professionals who do not make an eye contact with their customers. And if some of them do, their eyes reflect frustration!

Experienced sales and customer service professionals emphasis on three essential elements a nice smile, a perfect eye contact, and use of last name. These three elements are considered important in achieving greater customer satisfaction.

Read complete article: http://bit.ly/oqepEx

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Zealous Technologies and NTelliSec – Meet the owner of these companies who started as part-time computer trader!

“People say it’s in your blood so I accept it this way – My business grows with simple formula, give the best to your clients and in return you will get business. Initially I used different online forums but at the end of the day a word of recommendation from your client to others proves to be best advertising forum.

” – Shahid Lakhani, CEO Zealous Technologies

I have known Shahid for over 15 years and call him a serial entrepreneur. He belongs to a business family, but refused to join the family business as he wanted to create his own identity as an entrepreneur. His initial business was selling computer hardware to friends and relatives. That was as a part time business during his studies.

Read detailed story here: http://bit.ly/qMpARl

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Independence and Sense of Ownership led him to Entrepreneurship – Meet Mathieu MarĂ©chal, CEO, Bewords, France

I’ve realized that an entrepreneur does not have to wait for the perfect moment to start his business, perfect moments barely exist, if you wait for that perfect moment you will probably wait your whole life. The best thing to do is to follow your ideas and work hard for it, always keep in mind that a human way of doing business is the best way to succeed. – Mathieu MarĂ©chal, CEO, Bewords, France

Details are here: http://bit.ly/oUd6sk

Benifits of Trust Building – Have a Trust Account with People you know!

Before you want to withdraw money from a bank, what are two most necessary things you need to have?

You have to have a bank account

You have to have a balance in that account

No matter its business or family life, one most important thing that you need to consider is whether you are maintaining a “Trust Bank Account” with the people you are dealing with or not!

Read details on http://bit.ly/oRbwh1

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

.Life Without Limits – Nick Vujicic – Man with a Mission

We all are stuck in Haves and Have-nots. Life is a continuous struggle for most of us, not matter what, we need to work and work hard to overcome our have-nots issues. Look around, and you will find many frustrated faces, while trying to climb fast on their respective ladders, they often meet with surprises. These surprises pause their growth and advancements.

Clueless at that stage, struggle becomes even more challenging, and life becomes hopeless! But why this disappointment when generally, we have the ability to change our destiny? Stuck in the spiral of our thoughts, we disregard our human capabilities.
Imagine your life without both arms and both legs.

There is one man I met in the US, Nick Vujicic who was actually born as a disabled child! He was limbless, missing both arms at shoulder level, as well as legless. Meeting with a man who was born with such sever disability and seeing how he faced the challenges of his life was a lesson for me. A graduate in double major in Accounting and Financial Planning, Nick Vujicic is a renowned motivational speaker who focuses on “Teen Issues”. He has spoken in over 25 countries, engaging a large number. He plays football and golf, surfs and swims, isn’t that astonishing?

When Nick was born his father was so shocked he left the hospital room to vomit. It was difficult to raise a child with this condition, but both parents did their best to give Nick confidence and courage. His father made him swim when he was only 18 months old. He was constantly bullied at school and remained in hyper depressive conditions. At the age of 8, he tried to commit suicide by drowning himself.

The session I attended, Nick talked about failure and disappointments in life. He recalled those when he felt hopelessness, lonely and broken, when life was pointless, going to school was a pain. He said that the feelings were indescribable. His explanation on keep trying was an amazing. He said:

‘There are times in your life you fall down and you feel like that you can’t get up. Look at me, when I was a toddler, I tried standing stable for several hundred times, I failed every time I tried, but I continued trying, I continued gaining some extra strength every next time. I became aware of my abilities and technique; I soon learnt that I have a very low centre of gravity that helps in balancing my body.’

When a man with no arms and legs can gain strengths with his failures, why can’t a normal human being do this? To me it is a matter of making strong commitment towards your objectives that leads you to success, even in most challenging conditions.
Nick is thankful for what he has, not bitter for what he does not have. He tells people to keep on getting up when they fall and to always love themselves. In his views, “if I can encourage just one person then my job in this life is done.’”

If we all, with honesty, do our self analysis, we will realize the blessings we enjoy!

Inspire someone – share this blog.

Further readings: http://hammadsiddiquiblog.com/

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tools for Making Effective Presentations

Stage Fright is a common disease of our dynamic corporate world. Astonishingly, not many senior executives undergo a formal training in the art of public speaking or in making presentations. And only those senior executives who understand the importance of posture, pauses, blank spaces, facial expressions, flow and quality of words, variation of voice pitch and timings try to learn this art.

I take it as serious business.

After having attended a formal “Effective Speaking” training program in 1996 at the British Foreign Office training center in London, I was quite hopeful to develop my skills as an effective speaker and presenter.

This three day program covered the above techniques in addition to a session on effective writing. I remember our facilitators kept repeating;

“There is only one tool that helps deliver good speeches or presentations – Practice, practice and more practice”.

In the past 15 years, I have delivered uncountable presentations and spoke at numerous public forums, conferences and seminars. And equipped with what I learnt at British Foreign Office Training, I also tried to analyze various fellow presenters.

My observations confirm that particularly case of senior executive that did not go through a purpose-designed program, there always are three common key missing links:

- Control on body movements
- Voice variation
- Expressions

In my opinion, one cannot doubt the knowledge and quality of contents of an expert speaker. However if the above ingredients are missing, it is highly likely that your audience will lose interest. I have also seen that extensive and complicated presentations also cause severe damage to presenter’s ability to engage audience. I have also observed that some presenters keep going in the flow of their thoughts, and in trying to impress their audience forget that a normal human has a short attention time span. In my opinion, if your listeners can not retain 25% of what you have said – “you have failed to deliver your message”.

Let’s discuss the common what can be done to avoid “Presentation Disasters”:

Understand your audience:
Highly important. One must not prepare a presentation without knowing the audience. Try to gauge the level of education, expertise, areas of interest, issues faced, and then only develop your presentation. This is the only way to keep your audience engaged throughout.

Write from your heart:
Often I have seen people delivering presentations or speeches written by others. For trained and experienced presenters, this is okay, however if you have not contributed towards developing the presentation or speech, speaking from your heart will be too challenging, hence creating an impact too will not be possible.

Avoid reading from paper:
I am not a fan of reading from a written paper. Fine to do it only in case of a specific government level speech or expressing point of view, but for any other presentation, if you read from a paper, you are inviting a reputational disaster!

Okay, here is the key – as I mentioned above, for making highly effective presentations, extensive practice is unavoidable. And when I talk about practice, I am not only suggesting “speaking practice” but also reviewing the flow and carefully thinking about expected questions and how to respond to these questions. Surprisingly, very few presenters follow this strict rule.

I have also seen presenters struggling with technical glitches, ask yourself:

- How difficult to have an additional soft copy of your presentation and a printed version?
- How difficult it is to check the microphone volume?
- How difficult it is to control the lights at the stage to avoid blindness?

And the final words:

“Your audience do not know what you would tell them next, so if you have forgotten a point, keep moving on, they won’t notice it”.

If you follow these points, you will be repeatedly performing better.

Happy presenting!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Inspiring Self-made Entrepreneur - Owner of Sadia’s Kitchen – Meet Abid Beli

Real life stories are the best coach. Inspired with this thought, I requested my friend Abid Beli, owner of Sadia’s Kitchen, a small business run by husband and wife to allow me sharing story about his entrepreneurial experience. I am grateful to him for providing me information that some might consider confidential.

Sadia’s Kitchen is a popular brand for home made food. Abid and his wife Sadia started this business in 2009 with 10 customers. The business has grown to over 550 clients in two years.

To me Abid is spiritually an entrepreneur. He says that “I have been taking risks, and this is my key to success”.

Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, Abid kept tackling stiff challenges. He was amongst the first few South Asians who started an online business in 2001 by launching an online website beliscity.com. The website focused at information related to information technology. In 2003 orkut came into being where he made a group by the same name and initiated various business related activities. Business leaped in 2005 with the launch of Facebook. Belicity was now a renowned name. Abid is selling hot stuff at hot prices and making money. The business took a sharp turn when Abid lost every penny he earned over the last eight years in a business deal.

Again his faith on his entrepreneurial spiritually played its part and in 2009, he and Sadia came with this unique concept of providing home cooked lunches to offices and household customers. This is a 100% online business.

Menu is preset. One lunch contains two vegi and one meat item and his delivered in hotpots, and enough to feed two people. Sadia’s Kitchen Facebook page now has over 2,900 fans. Lunch can be ordered via email foods@sadiaskitchen.com or by making a call. Cost only $2.56 (Pak-rupees 220/-). A business that was started with a total investment of $ 140 only!

Considering the size of the market in Karachi, you would think that the growth has been slow. But remember, there is stiff competition with low quality street restaurants that provide sub-standard unhealthy food at a much cheaper price.

Sadia’s Kitchen is an excellent model with hardly any promotional cost and minimal overheads.

Abid says “I take online business seriously. Facebook, twitter and my blog are my marketing tools. I never market or advertise myself or my business on any other form of media. And I never will, reason is simple this is digital age and my USP is my active online presence”.

I asked Abid, how do people find you? He said, “simple – google me, or search tweets #homemade #freshfood #dailyluch #spices and you will find me”

There are four key lessons from this successful small business:

1. Entrepreneurs have courage to take risks at a very difficult situations. Perhaps most people fail to start their entrepreneurial journey because of their fear “FAILURE”.

2. For an entrepreneur, there is no failure; they only know the word “Learning”.

3. Small businesses can compete only on quality of product or service and by keeping their overheads at the minimal level.

4. Online presence is an essential element for small businesses.

Isn’t that inspiring?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Effective Cold Calling Improves Sales Volume

We all receive cold calls. This is considered as one of the most effective technique for improving sales. With outbound call centers established at India, Pakistan, The Philippines, Cyprus etc – cost of sales have significantly gone down.

From insurance companies, to selling broadband connections and training programs to holidays, there is an ever growing number of segments that are being covered by those sales people who have limited knowledge about the prospective customer. Therefore companies using this technique are working on share volume – more calls made, more potential for closing deals.

I consider cold calling an “emotionless challenge”. Funny enough, two strangers talking, one is trying to sell something that the other stranger is not interested – and chances of experiencing some kind of a hostile reaction – caller defending etc.

Cold calling is not salesmanship, asks a highly successful sales person to start cold calling, and he will chicken out. I consider cold calling as a separate profession altogether. Successful cold callers are special people; they can turn cold calls into sales.

The key point to realize is that cold calling is not about making sales. It's definitely not. It's about getting the chance to make the sale. Specifically, the purpose of a cold call is to set an appointment to explain the product features.

Following are four recommendations for Cold Callers:

• First phase is always a gentle warm-up by humble introduction.

• Engagement in conversation is important, if your subject is talking to you, that means he has time – cash it, as not many people spend time talking to strangers.

• Now is the time for need analysis – this is a tricky part. Now the war really warms up. You want to push and the subject becomes defensive. Keep pushing, gently though.

• Now your subject is really listening to you - This is the time to turn around and offer SPECIAL deals just for this individual, failing, take a chance and get appointment for calling in a couple of days.

How did I learn to respect co-workers?

1986 – I was 22 years – Studying

I needed to work to earn some extra income for the family. My first job was at a catering local company as supervisor. Key features of this job were long hours and low pay. But at least I was bringing some extra income to support the needs of my family.

The owner of this company Khurshid Ahmed was a seasoned businessman. He lived in Germany for many years, hence had extensive international exposure. He was my first mentor (although at that time, I did not know the meaning and value this word Mentor carries!)

One evening when I was supervising a major wedding dinner of over 1,000 guests, and was in the middle of usual chaos, I saw a waiter in the pantry, having a chilled cola. My young blood started rushing toward my head – I pulled him aside and shouted “what the hell are you doing here, dinner is being served and you are enjoying your cola?” “go back to your position immediately” I said and snatched the pop from him. He slowly walked towards the dinner lounge.

It was a big reception, my mentor was also present and at the time when I was shouting at the waiter, he sneaked in and heard me.

The party went well, customers were happy and waiters got heavy tip. End of story!

Not exactly – next morning, my mentor called me in his office. He offered me chair and also a cup of hot tea. I thought, I must have done a great job and this is the reward of last evening. I was wrong!

I was told that I was awful and I had almost ruined the whole function – Why, what did I do, naturally, I was surprised! My mentor came close to me and said “the waiter you were shouting at was a nice man, otherwise you, me and my partners would have been serving the guests, because with one call from the aggrieved, whole team of waiters could go on strike immediately”!

I was sweating, “sorry”, I said. “I do not need your sorry, you need to say it to that waiter” I was told. Realizing the sensitivity, I went to the pantry, hugged that waiter and said sorry for misbehaving with him last evening.

Matter resolved – But two lessons for me:

1. Control your anger
2. Never misbehave

Your Team Sucks!

It is too difficult to develop and retain an effective team! True.

The iconic industrialist Henry Ford said:

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

One needs to take a deeper insight the above quote from Henry Ford and try to understand the concept based on an enlightening definition of team I came across was basically an acronym which said ;

T- Together
E- Everyone
A- Achieves
M- More

Perhaps the most important among them all was the importance of people working together in coherence and harmony. In all forms of organizational environment, it is the teamwork which spells the difference between the truly great organizations and those which struggle to survive and remain engaged in “Fire Fighting Process”.

During my 26 year career, I have seen numerous organizations that struggled to build effective teams. And the key reason to me was the “misconceptions in the process of hiring”.

Finding good people is a challenge. If you see most adverts are focused at attitude such but do not target behavior. What I learnt from my experience that behavior is something that can be seen and judged whereas, attitude is hidden and intangible. So if you hire for attitude, I am afraid, your team will suck!

Secondly, most job adverts mention “self-starters” – who can be a self-starter in a new place at a new environment and BOSS? Train and empower – let’s be honest, you are building a TEAM.

Do a bit of hard work while building a team. Move out of typical HR Style and Stay natural.

Talented people are fast learners and fast movers as well. To avoid losing team members, motivation and often a pat on their shoulders is needed. Delete the concept of ‘I’, and induce the concept of working together. This process of inculcating the concept of working together comprises of five simple steps:

• Hiring the right team
• Setting the direction
• Communicating the vision
• Listening and fixing issues
• Motivation and appreciation

Punch line: “Teams are effective only if they pursue the common objectives”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Customer is My King (‘If you do not take care of your customers, someone else will’ – Clark Harley)

How many times did you personally suffer with bad after sales service? If you have, will you go back to the same company, or even recommend your friends that specific product? I guess the answer will be a BIG NO!

I tell my entrepreneur friends and trainees, that your customer is your king! And in most cases your king is neglected once sales are made – After sales people often do not consider themselves as part of sales team and forget that only their services are bringing the customer back and fetching referrals too.

Customers are indeed a pain! They are hard, if not impossible, to please. They endlessly whine about the quality of the company’s service, the price of the product and the complementary features they think they are entitled too. And why should they not? They are burning their hard earned money (or credit card) in buying your product; and every piece sold brings in more revenue in the company.

Technology has done wonders, and one of its wonders is the speed that it can spread the word around with! Twitters, Facebook, Linkedin are making it really difficult for companies to prevent for reputational damages. Customer influence and expectations have never been greater than in today's around the clock web connected world. Comments and opinions, positive and negative spreads at across the Internet and its many channels, communities, blogs, discussion groups and trusted business and social networks with a speed we cannot imagine!

Undoubtedly, today your customers need more attention, quick response and more personalized service – Remember there is competition in the marketplace. And also that most customers do not complaint; they just do not come back! Since a repeat customer reduces the cost of doing business, he is important – companies’ today need to invent new ways to retain customer loyalty lets think how can you keep brining repeat customers? How can you add value to your current customer service?

At times it is as simple as listening to your customer – Yes so simple:

Many companies, brands and campaigns put their reputation at stake only by a lack of listening and prompt responsiveness. Remember, your customer is busy – He would call you only if there is an issues – and your careful listening and reacting can make a significant difference to your brand perception resulting in customer loyalty and retention. Also you can build your brand value by engaging your happy customers through social media network for a viral impact!

There are two quotes I like to share with you:

‘If you do not take care of your customers, someone else will’ – Clark Harley.

“Choose to deliver amazing service to your customers. You'll stand out because they don't get it anywhere else” -Kevin Stirtz

Monday, May 23, 2011

The world is filled with talented poor people - In Business – There is only one way to make money!

Business is good, business is bad – Economy is melting down etc, these are the statements we hear in business conversations, business dinners and in the media.

I have however noticed that vibrant entrepreneurs do not complaint; they follow the simple route of making money – “Increase sales at minimum cost”. Think about it, there are MBA’s who know business tools inside out, but how many work for themselves? Few may be!

People who have created business empires usually have simple education, but great idea – implemented successfully – created massive sales.

I often quote Richard Branson and Anita Roddick who have built businesses from nothing and not only established world class brands, but also proved that doing business is about passion to excel and passion to SELL.

I was reading a comment by Anita in which she explained a “successful entrepreneur”, she says;

“You have to be an outsider, a person who does not go with a mainstream. You have to have a vision, ideas, optimism and a certain degree of craziness”.

Look at Body Shop’s selling technique, “Change what women look like”! Simple isn’t it?

I particularly like Richard Branson’s style. He is informal and adds fun to his initiatives. He has given Virgin this informal style – but if you look closely at his model, its 100% CUSTOMER FOCUSED. He sells what his customer needs. Virgin’s ability to understand customers is remarkable. From selling music to business and first class seats to expensive cruise holidays, there is just one focus – CUSTOMER.

Hence to me as an entrepreneur, your selling skills are more important than creating an excellent product or service.

Think about it:

- How many good writers are not Best Sellers?
- How many scientists are not able to market their excellent innovations?
- Why excellent chefs are not in restaurant business?
- Why many expert beauticians are not running their own beauty salons?
- Why so many business graduates are not in entrepreneurial career?

Your ability to SELL is the only route to making money. But the question is “Are you ready to take a course in effective selling? Remember Selling is an art that needs to be learned – and while basics are usual, dynamics of selling are also changing rapidly.

Page 181 – Rich Dad Poor Dad “The world is filled with talented poor people – Perfecting their skills to build better hamburger rather than the skills of selling and delivering the hamburger”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blogging for Beginners - Why Blog?

Only last week I was asked to share my views on Blogging with a group of 20 students at a local university. It was such a wonderful experience, and at the end of the discussion, I offered them help as well. I said if anyone of you wishes to become a serious blogger, send me your draft posts and I will do tweaking for improvements.

I thought few posts on the subject would interest readers. So expect several small posts here on this subject. And these will be purely based on my experience of blogging.

Question is, why blog?

Key reasons for me were “Recognition” and “Expression”. In addition to these two, I think for a young blogger, there are three more convincing points; blogging

- Improves creativity
- Improves writing skills and styles
- Interaction with wide community around the globe.

I was reading a report by KPMG, UK that suggests;

• People are watching more television, reading more news, playing more video games, spending more time updating their social networking profiles and using more video on demand services than they were six months ago, according to a new survey published today, but their actual spending has plunged as increasingly consumers expect free access.

• Spending on 'traditional' media such as newspapers and magazines has dropped almost 20% in the last six months, while spending on digital media has almost halved.

• Online, social networking and blogging remains the most popular pastime with half of all respondents doing it compared with 47% six months ago. The big jump in usage most recently has been among 45 to 54 year olds, increasing from 37% to 45%.

When more and more people are searching for reading material online, with over 2.9 million searches every minute, opportunities are infinite!

My next post on this subject will cover:

1. Challenges Before you Start
2. Finding your Niche

So watch out -

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lessons from RED BULL – Awful Taste – Massive Market Share

“Red Bull is not just a drink. Instead, it is a "philosophy"—one seemingly derived from his own outlook on life—and a "functional product," used to improve strength and performance and to revitalize the body and mind.” Dietrich Mateschitz –Owner of Red Bull

Starting from Fuschl, an Austrian village, RED BULL has developed its niche in 161 countries. Only last year it sold 4.2 billion cans of its drink, including more than a billion in the U.S. alone. In 2004, the company had 2,605 employees; in 2010, 7,758 -

Undoubtedly, Dietrich Mateschitz now 67, is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of this century, a man who with his unique selling abilities, challenged the most established brands in the beverage industry..

His vision that created a new beverage category “The Energy Drink” also famous as “speed in a can". This unique positioning made RED Bull as number 1 product in this category!

Question is: Red Bull does not taste very good, so what are the reasons for this huge success?. Mateschitz says “It's not just another flavored sugar water differentiated by color or taste or flavor. It's an efficiency product. I'm talking about improving endurance, concentration, reaction time and speed”.

To me the answer is: A Well defined USP – Implemented in a Unique way

The company works closely with sports that require energy and present state of mind. Focus of Red Bull's marketing campaign has always been its claim that “it can improve athletic performance”. It l has over brand 500 brand ambassadors - athletes from 97 various sports. The company also owns four soccer teams: New York's Red Bulls (and their stadium), Red Bull Salzburg, Red Bull Brasil, and RB Leipzig and a Nascar team and two Formula 1 racing teams.

Mateschitz is Austria's richest man, and Red Bull is the biggest thing to come out of this small country in Europe. This success has close ties with “Vision” “Positioning” “Strategy’ and “Implementation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Surprise – Excellent Waiting Lounge at Dhaka

On my way back to Pakistan from Dhaka, I got the opportunity to wait for my flight at Business Class Lounge managed by Ruposhi Bangla Hotel. This lounge was earlier managed by Sheraton Dhaka. Since Sheraton has now stopped operating its chain in the city, the lounge is now managed by this local hotel.

In my pervious visit, I used Biman Airline lounge, and I was shocked at the poor quality of that lounge.

So my expectations were low this time around too!

However, when I entered Ruposhi Lounge, I was happily surprised! It was a well managed and neat place with hi speed wifi, nice choice of snacks and beverages. Staff was very friendly. I particularly like to mention that Chief Captain Sarwar Hosain and his waiter Prince were actively taking care of their guests.

Mr Hosain told me that this lounge serves about 250-300 customers on a daily basis and they prepare fresh food and keep it properly replenished. It is operated around the clock.

This lounge is supervised by Mr Harun Ur Rashid Mollah, who is the Operation Manager for this lounge.

I recommend spending time at this lounge at your next flight from Dhaka

Dealing with Workplace Conflicts

“I am upset”, how frequently do you hear this phrase? Off course uncountable times, at home or at work. Reason is simple – people are generally frustrated!

The above phrase is the beginning of “anger”, symptoms can affect the individual badly and spread like an epidemic, causing damage to the organization.

In my recent discussions with senior executives, one key feature which registered to me very strongly was, all workplace related anger issues initiate with “ego”! Hurt by a remark or attitude of a colleague, reaction starts. Perhaps uncontrolled emotional reaction is human nature, but certainly workplaces aggressions mostly caused by some underwater currents within the organizations.

Generally speaking, the key reason for workplace anger is to do with attitudes about themselves and predisposed judgments about others, which influence them to display disrespecting behavior towards others. People acknowledge that exhibiting aggression isn’t a sign of rightfulness or being energetic. There is no doubt that those who engage in angry behavior, lack maturity and insight about influencing behavior of a fellow human. Whether you are the one who is an aggressor or are the one on the receiving end of these emotional outbursts, the key to manage workplace anger is to make conscious choices for one’s actions. One must pause and reflect whether the behavior is going to contribute towards resolution of exacerbation of the problem. This one choice is likely to spell the difference.

Having said above, managers often find themselves in a challenging situation while dealing with such issues. Please realize that “Anger is mostly caused by conflicts” – period.

Now if this realization soaks in, managers need to understand the reasons for conflict and deal with it accordingly. My extensive discussions with HR guys reveal that there are three major reasons for workplace conflicts:

• Communication barriers
• Lack of recognition
• Ethical issues

And often dealing with workplace conflicts become easier managers are focused on the three points given above.

While dealing with an angry staff members, first thing is to listen and take notes, ask simple questions, repeat if answers are not satisfactory, get your facts right.

Caution: Do not react even if a direct comment is passed; remember angry person is “out of his mind”

Slowly you will see fire dying, this is the time to start your move towards discussing the solutions – Be prepared, as angry guy can’t give you one – You are now in lead. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Simple Experiments can Improve Sales

Effective Product display is a technique used by large stores and branded product outlets. However, small businesses often neglect the importance of this important tool.

In the year 2000, I was working as a part time cashier at Dairy Queen outlet in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Owners were two Italian friends who had other businesses as well. This outlet was managed by a Senior Staff member. His name was Mark. He was a great guy. He trained me in the art of ice cream making (I am still good at it!).

We used to make ice cream cakes and other products from raw ice cream. I am sure not many of you have heard RAW ICE CREAM. This means ice cream coming direct from the freezer. The process is simple, plastic container full of homogenized and pasteurized milk is attached with the freezer via pipes. Freezer sucks milk and rotates it at a certain speed, raw ice cream is ready to use in 30 minutes.

We had cold displays cabinets in which ice cream cakes and other packaged products were displayed. I observed that specific products were staked in a specific cabinets, and customers pick the first available container only, and the rest of the containers remained unsold. It was our duty to replenish these cabinets.

I had an idea, without asking Mark. I changed the display setting, which allowed customers to see every flavor available in the cabinet. Two benefits, customers were selecting from a wider variety, and sales increased the same day this change was made. Mark asked me how I got this idea, I said simple – I placed myself as a customer and quickly learnt what needed to be fixed.

You know what, I got a 1$ raise in my hourly pay – I was making $5 extra everyday!

Simple things can bring major changes; one does not need to know ROCKET SCINECE. Message is “keep experimenting!”

Where to stay in Dhaka – I recommend Neat, Friendly, Modern Lakeshore Hotel , Dhaka

Although Dhaka receives a large number of visitors from all over the world that come here mostly to do garments business, there are only four world class hotels in the city, The Westin, The Radisson, Pan Pacific and Sheraton (Sheraton is now run under local management and name has been changed too). Last two are in the heavily crowded and congested location, whereas Radisson is near the airport and Westin is too expensive!

During my last visit to Dhaka, I stayed at Radisson. It is a grand property, but just too far away from the city, so once you are in the hotel, going out for a walk is challenging.

This time around, I was recommended to stay at Lakeshore Hotel located about 7km from the airport in the heart of Gulshan area. I took a chance, and believe me, I enjoyed every moment of my time here. I booked my pick-up which was provided in a superb car at only $10! Right from check-in the professionalism and hospitality has been of highest level.

This encouraged me to express my feelings in this blogspot.

Located next to Lake Banani, this hotel is owned by Mr Kazi Tariq Shams who started this property as a guest house and turned it into a hotel about 5 years ago. The hotel has 60 excellent rooms fitted with all necessary stuff. Bathrooms are spacious and toiletries are of good standard (disposable razor was of inferior quality though, but I use my own so didn’t bother me at all). And FREE WiFi also --

Breakfast is fantastic and ranges from fresh juices, fruits to hot dishes of wide variety. I however did not find decaffeinated coffee and stuck to local Ispahani Tea. For the last three days I was served by MD Baehchu, who is a trainee waiter, but he showed excellent hospitality and care.

Another young man Soumen was there from room service who served me dinners. Food was of high quality and wide variety to chose from. I quite liked the Vegetable Thali and cream of mushroom soup.

While leaving Pakistan, a friend who was born in East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh) told me to eat Shagur Kala (banana). Its excellent. Must eat when you are here next!

Most exciting thing was an excellent pool at the rooftop! I would recommend this hotel to anyone traveling to Dhaka and wants to stay close to shopping area of Gulshan.

Entrepreneurship is about turning crazy ideas into Profits

1/3rd Idea, 1/3rd Hard work and 1/3rd Luck – I heard this from a seasoned entrepreneur and mentor only last week! In my opinion, entrepreneurship is an addiction without cure. Once into entrepreneurship career, failures become learning, time becomes money, ideas become cash cows and success becomes the ultimate objective.

• Turning ideas into opportunities

• Securing cheap finance

• Implementation and

• Continuity

Scott Gerber who is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Sizzle It!, a New York based sizzle reel production company specializing in promotional videos for PR and marketing professionals, and the Young Entrepreneur Council says:

“I am proud to have learned such a great deal from my failures, and the fact that I get to share them—and, more important, the hard-knocks lessons learned—with a worldwide audience is a real thrill. After all, what’s the point of ending up in frivolous litigation, nearly losing your shirt, pitching VCs for tens of millions of dollars with no revenue model, or being forced to move back in with your parents if you can’t have a few laughs as a result, right?”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group is unique. He says "I don't go into ventures to make a fortune. I do it because I'm not satisfied with the way others are doing business." This shows that some entrepreneurs are just different; they want to do things in a different and in more creative manner.

Richard started his entrepreneurial career in 1967 when he quit school at the age of 16 to start a magazine. He hoped his magazine, titled “Student”, would become a voice for young activists. When in 1968 the first issue came out, the headmaster of his school wrote him a note that said: "Congratulations, Branson. I predict you will either go to prison or become a millionaire." Richard’s passion made him a billionaire with a net worth (in 2010) nearly $8 billion!

I believe that one needs to be crazy and consistent to achieve the rewards of Entrepreneurship!

I wrote this blog as guest writer for Ashraf Chaudhry's blog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

You too - Arnold Schwarzenegger!

The picture shows Maria Shriver giving kiss to her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger on winning the elections as Governor of California.

"This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives. I will have no further comment."

The above statement was made by Maria Shriver after separating from a 25 years of married life with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who admitted that he fathered a child with of their household staff members and hid the secret for 10 years. The staff member worked with the family for 20 years, left the job only in January this year.

63 years old former governor and said that, "I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry."

He told media: "While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not ".

Lets see how media treats this news and for how long this remains focus of media attention in the US and internationally.

Old Dhaka – A city within the City

A city of massive traffic congestions and history! Over 20 million people it is the most thickly populated city in South Asia.

This is my second trip to Dhaka, capital city of Bangladesh. During my last stay, I did not find time to explore the city. But this time I was determined to do a bit of traveling in the old part of Dhaka.

After a busy day with board members and senior staff at Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BWCCI), the primer business association on South Asia serving over 2500 women entrepreneurs across Bangladesh, where I was working with them in developing a Strategic Plan, I hit the road on an auto-rickshaw (called CNG here because it uses compressed natural gas as fuel). My guide was Mehdi Hasan, Training and Capacity building Officer from BWCCI. Mehdi’s seven month old son was sick today, and he came to work a little late, but he happily took me on this trip to old Dhaka, where he lived during his childhood. He is after all a South Asian, you know, we are full of hospitality and respect.

CNG took us to the closest intersection to the old part, but due to a procession that was celebrating Hasina Wajid’s return to Bangladesh (it is an annual event), we got down and crossed the road to take a bicycle rickshaw. It was my first time in this environment friendly vehicle pulled by a skinny man, I asked him if he is a local resident. No, they come to Dhaka only to make some money, with an average income of about 300-400 Taka, of which 80 Taka goes to the owner of rickshaw; they hardly make enough to survive! But this is the most effective way of traveling short distances in the city.

So Old Dhaka – almost all residents of old Dhaka were Pakistanies, means non Bengalies. After separation from Pakistan in 1971, they opted to stay in Bangladesh and are still called Pakistani. This is not strange for me, because those Bengali families, which stayed back in Pakistan, are still called Bengali.

Crocked and narrow streets of old Dhaka reminded me of old Lahore, red brick tall buildings were quite similar to inner Lahore. One could smell Kacha Biryani from a distance (meat biryani, very similar to Palo Rice). Small shops were making puri and kachoori. Our rickshaw puller knew I am a foreigner, in expectation of reasonable reward; he gave us a big round of the area. We passed through wholesale markets selling auto parts, bicycles, food grains etc. I saw many small food vendors selling noodles and peeled cucumber, which were fully poised with dust and other pollutants!

It indeed was an experience. Old Dhaka is a different city within the city.

Most interestingly I was told to keep only little cash in the pocket, CNG rickshaw have doors that one needs to keep locked (fear of snatching!) and Mehdi said “You look different”!

It was a trip, I can never forget. My thanks to Mehdi for taking time out for this unforgettable experience.