Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Sell Ideas?

Spiritual Journey into the Entrepreneurship begins with smart ideas.
In my view, entrepreneurs are the most spiritually connected people who can turn some craziest ideas into profits.
So are you an entrepreneur or not, there are several examples and explanations. In my view, keeping explanation simple is important, hence the following description:
  • Businessman thinks for today – An entrepreneur has a long term vision
  • For Businessman incremental growth is good – An entrepreneur focuses on exponential growth
  • Businessman is cheeky – An entrepreneurs is customer focused
  • Businessman considers promotion as liability – An entrepreneur thinks it as an investment
As an entrepreneur your biggest challenge is to lit up the passion fire at a level that could drive your entrepreneurial spirituality into exponential success. Business environment is challenging, there is competition out there, and only the best with the extreme passion will succeed!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Drive Your Own Career

Drive Your Own Career. Spare only 20 minutes and listen to this online!

Drive Your Own Career

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This is a simple Social Media Policy for Companies

Growth in Social Media activities is simply unimaginable! Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc are just sweeping the branding market. 
I have been asked several times to write about social media strategy for organizations that are interested in starting social media activities. I recommend that instead of a strategy, it would be nice to have a social media manual. Following is a simple outline of points that need focusing in a social media manual. There are two parts, one is the policy and the other one is the strategy.
Check this out!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Is it important to discuss Social Media - A debate at #Socialmediabaithak

Social Media is spreading like a virus and Pakistan is no exception!

Youth is predominantly affected, and there is no cure – Once you are in, you are isolated from what we otherwise call human interaction. Your eyes will be on your Smartphone and two thumbs on dial pad. Couple of years ago, in Pakistan using social media was considered as a sinful thing. But now even seniors are sort of okay with using facebook and Skyping with their family abroad.

Though late, but PR companies have also realized the importance of social media. There is now demand from their clients as they want to experiment with it. Xenith PR which is run by Zainab Ansari (who I know from her time at CMC and my job at British Deputy High Commission) has started a digital media division called XenithDigital. Looking at the importance of social media, XenithDigital thought of organizing a three days symposium focusing the subject. I came to know about this event through a facebook update by Saher Mangi who used to work at Xenith and now moved to Arif Habib Group. Invitation was also extended by Uroosa who manages XenithDigital.

Me and Mateen Hamza who writes excellent English humor decided to attend the second day.

Discussion was a bit all over, and I do not blame panelists, it was about social media so focusing was an issue J - I guess moderator was a bit young to deal with these tall order and some extremely loud panelists who at times were debating among themselves. Can’t blame them, Pakistanies generally have distracted focus anyway.

To me the most interesting bit was Jehanzaib Haque who is Express Tribune’s Online Editor. He was quite buoyant about change that social media is bringing in Pakistani society. He was of the view that ET has been able to create awareness inamongst various communities and also in international media. He said that ET has over 70 journalists who use social media and were trained to do so. Soon ET will also produce a 50 page manual for online journalism, which will be available for download.

Faisal Qureshi was of the view that Social Media is an extension of our real life.( I agree, we cannot live without it!)  In his views social media is yet to create meaningful impact in Pakistan. (Yes, he might be right here, but what do we mean by meaningful impact? Perhaps social media community needs more time to build its muscles, or perhaps initiatives such as #SocialmediaBaithak should continue beyond gatherings of those using social media?)

Sarfaraz A Reham was smiling a lot, that’s what he does anyway. But his smiles carry a million messages. He was very straight. Told us that Engro is now using social media extensively and now there is no need for physical meetings (or perhaps lesser requirement), a lot of consultative work is done using social media. Sarfaraz sahib uses Social Media for accessing information.

Mohsin Sayeed was very vocal in expressing the way people get into personal attacks and silly discussions.  
I was unable to get anything from Norbalm ( I did not get his name – Sorry!) Sabeen was also quite vocal about civil society’s inability to use social media effectively.

In my view, just engaging those in such events who know social media won’t help much. Somehow social media community needs to inspire those who do not use social media - that is the only way to build critical mass for creating an impact in our society.

Yes social media is for fun, but let us not undermine the importance of outreach it provides. #SociammediaBaithak generated 463 tweets and had 583,128 impressions, reaching out to an audience of 94,831 followers, a strength that is almost impossible on any other media!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Startup Weekend - An Initiative by Marc Nager

Startup Weekend is entrepreneurship’s democratizer. Regardless of who’s who, a group of unrelated individuals meet up for a weekend to share ideas.  Competence and knowledge are the currency that is traded.”
Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend
This entrepreneurial story is about turning around. How businesses could change shape and spread from one place to another, from one country to around the globe.   The initiative is powered by Kaufmann Foundation.
With his excellent vision and entrepreneurial qualities, Marc Nagerturned a for-profit organization into one of the most successful not-for-profit global organization working towards cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit in many countries. Startup Weekend was formed in 2007 with the idea to promote week long entrepreneurial marathons where people from various different business and IT background come together to pitch, select and work on promising ideas for start ups. Marc Nager and his co founders bought the venture because of its global potential and turned it into a not-for-profit and spread it over the globe.

Coolest Twitter Tips for Everyone

Twitter is the coolest social media tool. Those who do not use it are perhaps living in the Stone Age! It started as a SMS service (Short Message Service), and now grown viral to become one of the most used communication platform for all walks of life. This 140-character micro-blogging platform was formed in 2006, now has over 500 million users. Its popularity can also be judged by that fact that despite a banned in China, Twitter users have grown to over 35 million earlier this year. Three large markets for Twitter are now China, India with over 33 million users and the US with around 30 million users.
These are three largest markets – Can anyone ignore this fact that large numbers of social communities are now using Twitter as a tool to share, communicate and market? Most influential politicians, journalists, opinion formers and celebrities tweet and engage communities in discussions.
Having said this, for new users Twitter is still quite vanilla flavored. They generally struggle in understanding how to use it and what to expect from this tool. Following are 10 Cool Twitter Tips for non active and new users;

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A million Dollar Business Idea!

How do you find your next big idea? Lack of response to this one of the key question that keeps potential entrepreneurs away from entering into entrepreneurial career – They need mentors!
Follow Mixergy, initiated and managed by Andrew Warner who interviews successful entrepreneurs, ask insightful questions about success factors as well as failures, challenges they faced and advice for the new generation of aspiring entrepreneurs
Mixergy is an interesting online resources for anyone who wants to learn from the professionals themselves; Andrew Warner also conducts live events with the same theme and offers online courses taught by experienced experts for the premium members of his website.  These courses cover a wide variety of topics dealing with the planning, technical and social aspects of running a business.
Read complete article - Click here

Social Era is Here to Lead!

This undoubtedly is the #SocialEra – ever increasing number of social media platforms are catering to unpredictable demands from social media users. With so many options to connect and communicate with communities and self-taught nature of social media, both social media users and companies that own social media platforms face numerous challenges.
I have been following Nilofar Merchant who is a regular contributor at Harvard Business Review Blogs. She is currently a corporate director at NASDAQ traded firm and a lecturer at Stanford. Nilofar has recently written a fantastic book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era.
In her interview with Forbes she talks about large number of people still following traditional way of doing business. Coming to work every day, sending emails etc. She argues that in the modern SocialEra, people should be thinking more creatively and working more innovatively.
READ complete article- Click Here

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Social Media for Corporate Leaders

Key role of today’s corporate leaders is to build communities and engage them in building successful organizations.
Social Media Logos
Social Media Logos
Digital technology and Social media has completely changed the dynamics of societies we live in. Technological advancements have made it easier for leaders to build stronger communities.  In the past couple of years, instead of considering social media as a threat, leaders are discovering its very real opportunities.However, rapid change in technology and tools is creating an unusual challenge for corporate leaders. They not only need to keep up with the developments in the corporate world, but also required learning and practicing these constantly emerging social media tools. Acquiring knowledge and use it effectively not only requires time and energy, but a lot of commitment as well. Times have gone by when leaders could afford to let their secretaries check emails and draft responses. Promptness and direct communication is the norm now.

What to do When Social Media Bites - Check what McDonald's Did

In this era of Social Media, large brands are generally more enthusiastic and try to engage people in discussions around their brand. This could however backfire too – In case of McDonald’s which is one of the top global brands in fast food restaurant business, it really was extremely damaging! Company spends millions of Dollars in branding strategies and social media is one of the key components ofMcDonald’s Branding Strategy.
Despite all this careful psychological validation, earlier this year McDonalds got amassive reputational hit when it ran its Twitter Campaign. It was a simple effort to engage people in sharing their experiences at McDonald’s restaurants around the world. Hashtag for the campaign was #McStories.
For McDonald’s Social Media Team, this could be a simple campaign, but they never realized that #McStories is an excellent opportunity for promoting stories that are not in favor of the restaurant. The hashtag went viral soon with people sharing their worst experiences. Initially there were few negative tweets, but soon everyone started following the Twitter Trend and phenomenal tweets started pouring in from every corner, retrieval was impossible!

Customers Make McDonald's Brand Stronger

McDonald’s commitment to enhancing the customer experience from our menu and operations to our value and convenience – continues to move us closer to becoming our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.” – CEO McDonald’s Restaurants.
McDonald’s is one of the greatest brands in the world. Kids love it, elders love it and youngsters love it too. No matter you are in Europe, Asia, US or Far East, big “M” signage attracts you as a choice for quick bite. The restaurant chain operates in 117 countries and employees over 1.7 million people. How many people are indirectly engaged with McDonald’s, information which is too hard to obtain. One can only guess “Millions”!
Despite its massive outreach, the brand has suffered from bad publicity too. ItsTwitter campaign #McStories went bananas. And more recently, at London Olympics 2012 where McDonald’s was one of the lead sponsors, the brand got another hit when brand managers were trying to improve ratings, and in the process, they managed to get Mayor of London speak to reporters saying that criticism of McDonald’s was “all just bourgeois snobbery”. Mayor said that “It’s classic liberal hysteria about very nutritious, delicious, food – extremely good for you I’m told – not that I eat a lot of it myself,” he said. “Apparently this stuff is absolutely bursting with nutrients.”

Monday, September 17, 2012

Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of Pakistan

Corporate Social Responsibility is the corporate sector buzz word these days. Since my engagement in the development of “Responsible Business Guide, A CSR Tool Kit”, I interacted with a sizable number of corporate players and tried to learn from their CSR strategy.

In this strive, I learnt two key lessons:
  • For larger companies, CSR is about giving back to the society by improving the quality of their communities. They work with long term vision and try to ensure sustainability of their projects.
  • For smaller companies, this is a luxury. These companies generally do not have a clear CSR vision, hence their CSR activities fall in the category of charity, which is absolutely unsustainable in the long run.

At times, CSR efforts are made in response to an immediate community needs, calamity or natural disaster. Regardless of the type of CSR initiatives, key is to focus and maintain the long-term approach and ensure sustainability.

Recently, I attended a blogger meet-up organized by Engro Corporation to share successes of their CSR initiatives. Engro is Pakistan’s one of the most prestigious private sector organization. The company has manufacturing facilities in economically deprived areas of Sind. Through their reputation and good work towards building strong communities, they have managed to bring partners to support their initiatives. Additionally, Engro Corporation also received funding from USAID that helped augment their program.

Engro Corporation’s key focus areas for CSR initiatives are health, infrastructure, water and sanitation, education and skill development, environment and livelihood enhancement. It was encouraging to learn that in late 2005, daily earning of people living in areas where Engro operates was Rs10/day only. With Engro’s education and skills development program, this increased to Rs 161 per day – Phenomenal increase!

Engro now wishes to take a leap with a new concept of recognizing “unsung heroes” – This initiative will identify and appreciate Pakistanies whose efforts are contributing in improving lives in economically deprived areas of the country. The focus is on initiatives in education, health and livelihoods, and rightly so, because these three are the most neglected community development programs in Pakistan that receive hardly any public money and also suffer from political influence and corruption.  

It is a digital competition which will look at individuals and organizations doing commendable social and humanitarian work and learn about their best practices and innovative ideas.

Engro Corporation has set-up a facebook fan page at - Individuals can send in personal stories/nominations via email which will then be judged by a jury panel - All entries must be submitted to by November 15, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Social Media Strategy for Businesses?

So after the emergence of social media if the world is changing so rapidly why companies are so reluctant in implementing social media strategies and engaging their employees in social media training programs? Perhaps they are still shy in appreciating the reality!

It is true that larger companies particularly in consumer products such as Pepsi, Coke, McDonalds, Samsung, Apple etc were the early entrants in the field of social media marketing and branding. They were sharp enough to foresee the future of communicating with customers and started experimenting with all forms of social media for engaging their customers. However, still a sizable group is only watching, they are not bold enough to start experimenting – They will be the losers!

The fact of the matter is that social media platforms are now smart enough to cater for the needs of local businesses. They know that the ever increasing social media communities are mostly localized. These local communities need local content and will respond to local advertisements and promotions and social media companies have now started offering better focused opportunities to brands and local businesses.
CLICK Here to read the complete

Friday, August 10, 2012

10 Cool Twitter Tips

Social Media revolution is called “Twitter”. Started as a simple SMS service, this short messaging platform has become the largest source of communication, sending millions of tweets or short messages every day.

Social Media Today reported that in August 2011, there were 200 million registered users world-wide, sending about 130 million tweets, in February 2012, the number has grown to 500 million users, with over 350 million tweets per day. This is massive communication!There are tools that can help you tweet longer, but recommended length of a tweet is not 140 characters anymore – It is advised to keep tweets under 125 characters so that people reading your tweets can also add comments, which is great value addition to what you tweeted and also improve chances for going viral.

Check 10 Cool Twitter Tips here

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A List of Positive and Strong Words

It is important to understand that positivity creates more positivity.

If you are writing a job application, advertisement copy or a news, using positive and strong words can really make the difference.

To help readers, I am pleased to provide the following list from Creative Affirmations . Com

Positive Words – The Complete List
Each DayEagerEarnest
FitFlourishFor the Highest Good
HugI affirmI allow
I am willingI am.I Can
I chooseI createI follow
I knowI know, without a doubtI make
I realizeI take actionI trust
In Every WayIn this momentIncrease
LegendaryLet GoLight
Right NowRobustRousing
WholesomeWillingWith Everyone

Saturday, June 23, 2012

BlueGala - The online Dress Store by Josh Weiss

Blue Gala Logo - Online Dress Company
The entrepreneurial spirit is so powerful that forced Josh Weiss to quit a job as a high yield credit research analyst and to become a dresses seller via online retail shop.

Josh Weiss, has an online store- a one stop shop for prom, cocktail, evening and formal dresses. This New York based company with close to 1000 varieties, offers dresses for a wide cross-section. Their range is from the high end designers to small individual vendors.

Read complete story - Click here

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why Start-up Companies Fail?

I came across some fascinating numbers recently in a survey done by The Start-up Genome by analyzing 3200 start-up companies. They identified five core areas where start-up companies need to scale. These are: Customer, product, team, business model and funding.

Following is an interesting infographic by Start-up Genome
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Is Facebook a Prefered Marketing Platform?

Social media and digital marketing sphere has been changing so quickly, it is impossible for businesses and entrepreneurs to keep track of these changing dynamics. Tools, applications and techniques all are being updated, revised and improved on a daily basis.

If we look at the recent past, Facebook advertisement, groups and fan pages were considered effective mediums for promoting brands. Google Ads are also extremely popular for promoting local and international businesses.

Entrepreneurs liked the versatility of these two platforms for one unique reason “Targeted Marketing”. Both Facebook and Google have done a lot of work in indexing their viewership. Their business model provides entrepreneurs and brand managers opportunity to promote their product, services or brands to specific viewership in a targeted country or region.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Samsung Galaxy III - Brand that is Going to Rock at London Olymics 2012

What an exciting branding opportunity for Samsung – Its newly launched Samsung Galaxy SIII has been announced as Olympic Games 2012 Phone.

The company is one of the world’s major manufacturers of cell phones. Timing for the launch of its latest Galaxy SIII were perfect and its partnership with VISA to provide mobile payment solutions to VISA customers using Samsung products will give an excellent boost to its brand equity. Smart enough, company’s strategic alliance with VISA, the most wanted plastic money in the world which is establishing around 3000 contactless payment kiosks in and around London where millions of sports lovers will be provided a unique experience of convenience and secure payments in restaurants and malls is going to help Samsung a lot!

During Beijing Olympics in 2008, Samsung experienced a 100% growth in its market share in the more challenging Chinese market. Company hopes to experience the same in the European market in 2012.

Click here to read the complete story:

Simple and Effective Blogging Techniques

Blogging undoubtedly is an art. It requires sense of humor, creativity, language skills and also bit of technical skills. I have been blogging for over six years now. I learnt the technical bits by the process of hit and trail. My mission is to transfer knowledge about blogging to anyone who is interested in learning the skill! is a Google product which is already optimized to appear in Google Search if proper labeling; key word density and title text is used.

Read complete story - Click here

Linchpin Lessons by Seth Godin

Seth Godin has written 15 books and is considered as the Marketing Guru of this era. He has revolutionized the concept of marketing and personal development. In this book, using his unique style, he stresses on the need to enhance your abilities to become indispensable.

The importance of understanding the need to become indispensable is also very rightly highlighted by the author. He suggests that only indispensable people become integral part of an organization and are rarely replaced or challenged.

Seth’s views on how a Linchpin operates are point to pounder. Their ability to create their own roadmap and engaging others in implementing the creative strategies need a careful review by readers. Key message from Seth is “Linchpins do not require a map, they create one”.

Click here to read complete article:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Louise Hazel, Brand Ambassador for Panasonic at London Olympics

Following is a message from Eleanor Kawamura of Panasonic – The Company is one of the key sponsors of London Olympics 2012.

“Here’s a picture-perfect picture of a postcard from London! ♥
I’d like to announce that we’ll be going into a week-long break until Monday next week (May 7th). It’s called “Golden Week” in Japan with many public holidays in a row, such as Shōwa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day and Children’s Day.

My favorite is Children’s day because we hang up some fish decorations that flutter in the wind. It’s a lot of fun!

We will reply to any questions when we come back. Have a great week everybody! Show a Day, Constitutional Memorial Day, Children Day.

My favorite is Children day because we hang some fish decorations that flutter in the wind and has lots of fun. We will reply to any questions when we come back. Have a great week everybody.”
Panasonic has engaged its followers on company’s Facebook fan page . The company has adapted an interesting strategy; they are uploading attractive pictures from around London and also making very soft comments about these pictures.

Read complete story - Click here

Coca Cola is Using London Olympics 2012 for Promoting its Brand

Coca Cola is one of the key sponsors of London Olympics 2012. Tough for Pepsi, they will gain massive mileage during the 17 days event. As a branding strategy, Coke has always associated its brand with the feeling of togetherness and joy. How could they let go this opportunity that comes after five years! After all Olympics is one of the biggest sports events in the world.

Coca Cola as its branding strategy for London Olympics 2012 have created a commercial Move to the Beat. This commercial was unveiled by on 15 February 2012 (check the video at the bottom of this post). Some of you may remember that in 2010 FIFA World CUP, Coke produced a new version of a Somali- Canadian K’Nana’s Waving Flag Song. Its association with an event that was watched by scores of people, the song became extremely viral on social media networks, giving massive brand equity to the company.

Read the complete story - Click here

McDonald’s Branding Strategy at Olympics 2012

As one of the chief official sponsors of London 2012 Olympics, McDonald’s restaurant is using its marketing and innovation strategy to attract large numbers at the world’s biggest McDonald’s with seating capacity for 1500 people. This restaurant is being built specially to serve large crowd at the games.

It is estimated that over 3 million customers will walk into this gigantic facility which will be operated by over 2000 staff and is equipped to serve over 50,000 Big Macs during the games. This unique facility is build using recyclable materials and is spread over 9,000 square feet.

McDonald’s has been sponsoring Olympic games since 1976 and fully understands the opportunity for creating more loyal customers during Olympics. The London Olympics 2012 will be the 9th games for McDonald’s to act as the event’s official restaurant and the only branded food retailer burgers and French fries to feed hungry customers.

Read the complete story - Click here

Twitter Followers Will Enjoy Olympics in a Unique Way

London Olympics will be tweeted massively. This is the first event of this magnitude for Twitter and users all over the world will follow and engage with tweets about sports they love. To faclitate social media users, in London, a hudge Wi-Fi network has been created which will be 100% free!

British Telecom operator O2 is providing this excellent facility to ensure that millions of visitors that come to the City have the best experience possible and share their experiences on social media networks.

I a press release, Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer for O2 said, “This groundbreaking deal – the first of its kind in the UK – will see us deliver high quality connectivity across London in time for London 2012. Our longer-term aim is to expand our footprint of O2 Wifi, which is open to everyone, and also intelligently enhance our services at street level, where people need the network the most.
“Our £500m annual network investment program is focused on integrating new layers of technology into the existing network to enable a seamless and sustained customer experience. We are driven entirely by our customers’ needs and believe that services should be delivered in the best possible way, across multiple networks and supported by different technologies.”

Read complete post - Click here

Olympics 2012 - An Opportunity for Global Brands

This year’s largest sports extravaganza will be London Olympics 2012, the best opportunity for brands to increase their brand equity and to win hearts of their customers. London Olympics are starting from 27 July and will finish on 12th August.

According to Daily Telegraph, BBC Television is gearing up to broadcast London Olympics to about 42,000,000 people. There will be 24 BBC internet channels providing HD streaming throughout the games. 20,000 media centers will work around the clock to host a similar number of journalists. There will be 1,233 cameras to do coverage of the event. And this is just one channel with many others in the que!

One of the biggest gainer from Olympics 2012 will be the hotel and travel industry in and around London. They are expected to accommodate close to a million visitors during the 17 days of games. Londoners will experience traffic chaos, chocked restaurants and pubs, markets will overflow. But all that is great for the official sponsors!

Read the complete story - Click here

Friday, April 20, 2012

Knowledge Workforce & Web 2.0

Digital era is the era of knowledge workforce. This means that in addition to specializations, the workforce at all levels require multiple skills in social sciences and technology. Accept it or not, technology has been integrated into our daily routine that has altered our DNAs. Smartphones, Blackberries, iPads and Tabs have given us the opportunity to learn faster and engage community around us effectively.

In early 1990, I started my job as a Trade Promotion Assistant at the British Consulate in Karachi. Coming from a commercial organization, I was shocked to learn that the office did not have a fax machine! Couple of months after my joining, as part of process improvement exercise, staff was asked to submit suggestions. Guess what, I recommended a fax machine.
Whereas Management Officer considered that as the best recommendation and allocated a budget for purchase of a fax machine of my choice, my head of department was unsure why we need this equipment.

After two decades, I now understand that perhaps until 90’s, technology penetration in the corporate world was slow, hence the acceptability of new technology. Situation is now different and corporate leaders who fail to adapt new technologies are fast pushing their companies into Coma!
I found an interesting video by Andrew McAfee of the MIT Center for Digital Business in which he explained how Web Enterprise 2.0 and other new collaborative tools let everyone create and organize information.
Checkout entire post
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An Excellent Story of Entrepreneurial Success

Social Media networking sites such as Facebook, Orket, Twitter, Linkedin and many more are building communities and helping people to exchange knowledge and information. These social media networks are also helping in promotion of brands, marketing, fund raising and conducting surveys.

I recently met team of Pakistani social media network “Pring”and inspired by their creativity and decided to publish the following interview I had with the creator of Pring Muhammad Nasarullah.

“We make Pakistan’s largest social network called Pring. We’re connecting Pakistanis on any handset with information and people they care about.”

An excellent story of entrepreneurial success! Click here to read

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Key Tools for Success

Last week a young man how follows me on twitter sent me a request for meeting. I invited him over for a glass of Lassi. His name is Muhammad Saad Khan. He has an interesting twitter profile that says “Writer, Social Media & Search Engine Marketing Philanthropist & Thought Leader, Public speaker/Social Activist to Fight Human Trafficking”.

I found our conversation highly inspiring with lots of excellent learning tips. Sharing with my readers a brief synopsis of what we discussed.

Build your vocabulary of Positive words: I 100% agree with this. Humans are attuned to remember negative happenings around them. You will not find anyone who had never experienced good things in his life. But in most cases, if you ask people to write their negative and positive vocabulary, they will write several negative words and only few positive words. We are attuned to negativity and the only way to undo this is by improving our vocabulary of positive words.

Read details: Click here

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How to become Indispensable

Are you a Linchpin?

A person who is as indispensable as a linchpin in a hand grenade – He is missed if he is gone!
This terminology is invented by Seth Godin, an author with 13 bestselling books on his credit, an entrepreneur who has created successful businesses, a speaker who motivates audience with his mesmerizing style and examples, a visionary marketer. Seth is called “America’s Greatest Marketer”. He writes a blog which is ranked by Technorati as the #1 blog in the world written by a single individual.

Seth Godin’s focus is on the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, how to deal with the changing dynamics of this ever changing world.
I was recently reading a blog 5 Ways to Become Indispensable at Work and this post is a comparison of two distinct views on “How to become indispensable”.

You can become indispensable - Click here to read how

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12 Leadership Lessons by Steve Jobs

What were the 12 Visionary Leadership Lesson Guy Kawasaki learnt from Steve Jobs?
Do you know who Guy Kawasaki is? He worked for Apple as software evangelist and later on as Chief software evangelist. His job was to convince people to write software for Apple.

He worked for Steve Jobs twice, only few are on this league! Guy is highly inspired by Steve Jobs’s vision and leadership qualities. He described the following key lessons that inspired his life:
  1. Experts are clueless: Youngsters have temptations to default to older people but innovation is usually done by younger generation. Experts are generally stuck in older thinking pattern.
  2. Customers can not tell you what they need: They can define things that are within their vocabulary. If you want to win the world, ignore your customers. Use your own vision to create stuff that creates markets never before.
Read complete post CLICK here
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Changing Trend in Marketing with Social Media

A report published at Bloomberg suggests that; “Market for social media management tools grow over 100% to $970 million in 2016, from $389 million this year.”

The trend for marketing is changing through the globe. There are studies that show that fewer people are reading newspaper ads or billboards. According to Mashable “more people get their news from the Internet than from newspapers — and more ad dollars went to online outlets than to newspapers, too.”

This is supported by a surveys conducted by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism that says, “34% of respondents said they read news online within the past 24 hours (as opposed to 31% who favored newspapers); and a full 41% said they get most of their news online, 10% more than those who said they got most of their news from a newspaper.”

Most voters in this survey were from age group 18-to-29, and that is the market today and in the future!

Click here to read the complete article

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Emotions | Power to Succcess

My last blog on this subject titled “What is Success? Concept Re-defined!” talked about how people perceive success.

I continued reading stuff on this topic and found that Anthony Robbins in his book “Awaken the Giant
Within” provided an excellent set of 10 Emotions that could lead to a successful life.

These Emotions are:

Love and Warmth
In my opinion only dead are unable to express love and warmth. There is only one way to prove that you are alive and still have soul in your body – love and warmth. Anthony writes that “love can melt almost any negative emotions, hence generate warmth”.

Click here to read the complete article

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Deliver Effective Presentations

Giving an effective presentation is fun and enriches a sense of personal power; a quality presentation can help you win contacts, contracts and fortune! This is one of the key ingredients that will take your business to the next level.

I generally advise presenters to consider the 5P rule. This rule is explained in the last line of this post.
Presenters are generally required to learn to stand or move with a firm posture and speak with a natural accent. Understanding their audience and the environment is also advisable. Presenters who fail to exert a lot of energy and passion are unable to motivate their audience. It is also essential to learn the art of engaging your participants and stimulating the thought process for effective feedback and learning.

I have compiled a list of dos for those willing to learn the art of effective presentations!
Click here to get the list:

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Techniques to Fight Depression?

One of the biggest causes of failure in achieving high growth in your career is “depression”. This blog post is written for depressed people and there are many. Some will accept it, some will not.

Let’s do a bit of self diagnostic of environment in which we wake-up every morning, drag ourselves until the day is over and ask just one question, how do I classify depression?
  • A state when I feel no energy
  • When I can only think of bad things
  • Do not see light at the end of tunnel
  • Fail to focus on issues (lack of concentration)
  • Unhappy feeling
  • Sleeplessness, fear and craving for food
  • Unwell feeling on getting out of the bed in the morning
If you face any of the above in 24 hours, you might be experiencing depression, and it makes you powerless!
Click here to read complete article

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Why Use Direct Mail as a promotional tool?

Remember those days when we used to wait for postman to deliver our mail? Things have changed; we now receive most of our bills, invoices and notices via email. Marketing and promotional material that used to flood our post box, now being sent to us in our spam box!

I recently conducted a random survey asking people about their preferences on receiving promotional material. Whereas most respondents expressed their preference to receive promotions via email, there was an alarming commonality, “It was easier to delete the email”.

Obviously when marketing and promotion is one of the major costs in any business, such a finding is scary. A major challenge for email marketing companies is to increase the “Open Rate”. There are various estimates and researches. But most experts agree that a 10-15% open rate is good. More important stuff is the action that the reader takes after reading the email. Logically speaking, a reader could delete, forward, respond or take no action.

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I was reading a report done by Constant Contact (one of the top email marketing companies in the US) based on a survey done in Fall 2011 that shows that 81% small business prefer face-to-face contact with the potential customers. Hence the importance of human contact is undeniable, particularly in case of small businesses.

Laughter Therapy Can Change Your Mental and Emotional State

We all are stuck in the whirlpool of happenings around us. Most of us remain in the “struggle mode” throughout our life! Fame, fortune, and family – we all need these three things and these either link us to happiness or depression.

Looking around, we now see people walking like emotionless zombies. Worried and depressed! People have generally stopped laughing. Unhappiness surrounds us on a daily basis. Our physiologies have now attuned to like depression. We like to listen to worrisome news. Discussions with friends and family are often circle around bad news!

Socialization is now done virtually. No more regular meetings with people you know, but interactions with people you are friends with on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Sleepless nights texting or chatting, does that help in keeping us fresh and healthy?

No need to remember seven digit land-line phone numbers anymore. Historically, our minds were intelligent enough to remember telephone numbers such as home, office, in-laws and couple of friends. Not anymore though! I remember telephone companies replacing old printed directories every year. I am sure most of younger generation does not know what a telephone director looked like!

Grow with Assertive Behavior

A lot of people mix-up the meanings of being assertive and being aggressive. These are two distinctive behaviors. In simple words, assertiveness is related to open dialogue, exchange of views and situational analysis to come-up with a win-win conclusion, a truly positive action. Whereas being aggressive is a negative behavior.

Observe communication style of the most successful people around you and make a note of their assertiveness. In most cases you will see that assertive people do not try to impose their thoughts, but are tactfully able to make the other party agree upon certain things.

In today’s highly competitive business and work environment, if you are not assertive enough, you will not grow! Let’s analyze how assertive you are by answering the following questions on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least times, and 10 being the most times):

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Spying Your Business Competitors

Spying on competitors can help businesses align marketing and pricing strategy.
While identifying competition, it is necessary not to keep your vision too narrow. A wider angle and more thorough approach will bring more competitors on your radar. Companies that fail to adapt this wider approach and identify their competitors narrowly are endangered by smooth operators who can easily become strong competitive threats.

This fast paced business environment requires quick and comprehensive information on competitor’s activity and the next potential move or product launch or even sponsorship to an event. In simple words, a successful business always stays at least one step ahead of its competitors.

While identifying competition, one of the key mistakes is to look only for your competitor’s positive points that might pull your customers. Not many businesses consider importance of negative aspects of your competitor’s business model – think about it, if you exactly know the negative elements of your competitor’s branding, marketing or pricing strategy, you can use this as an advantage to your company.

I read an excellent piece by David Aaker who is the vice chairman of Prophet and the author of Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant. He writes the blog on branding. David suggests;
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Mistakes to Avoid in 2012

Today is the first of January 2012, a new year has begun. It will bring joy and happiness for many, some will suffer and some will struggle. That is the reality of life.

2012 will be a challenging year for small businesses across the globe. With deepening economic crisis in Europe, threat of Euro zone and Euro, possibility of Greece and Italy defaulting and push to convince Germany to take the hit by paying for financially strangled nations in Europe, things are not promising!

The US Economy continued in depression since 2007. Although, US economists and the media, including New York Times. Los-Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Herald Tribune have acknowledged US economic growth in 2011, the consumer market still looks dull!

Middle East remained a turbulent region during 2011; it is highly unlikely for this region to perform well in the New Year.

According to Moody’s, Asia Pacific economies are going to see some slowdown mainly reflecting upon the economic crisis in Europe. There are chances of recovery in the second half of 2012, but a lot depends on how well the US and European economies perform!

The situation is alarming and a number of businesses particularly domestic businesses in smaller economies will be required to play safe. To be able to survive, small businesses must focus avoiding four major mistakes during 2012:

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Brand Building with a Perfect Logo

Let me start this post by asking a simple question:

What is the first thing an entrepreneur creates before starting a business?

Answer: A business logo.

The reason is simple. Logo is created to build brand identity and it is also a visual representation of your business that helps in building brand equity and ensuring customer loyalty. Therefore it is essential to consider spending time and energy in creating a perfect logo.
Some people rightly argue that logo is not a brand, according to Dan Pallotta who is an expert in nonprofit sector innovation and a pioneering social entrepreneur;

“A brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand”
This means that everything that goes around creating brand value and brand recognition is important, and my view is that an attractive logo plays a vital role in doing so.
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Micro Management Failures!

The term Micro Management means keeping close control on happenings within an organization. The term has a negative connotation and rightly so. Manager’s role is to facilitate, but a micro manager generally creates roadblocks for other coworkers.

Small business owners tend to micromanage, but once the business grows, the scope of an owner manager’s responsibilities change. It however becomes challenging for him to realize the situation, which ultimately makes life difficult for him and his coworkers. In this post, I would like to focus on why people micromanage and what can be done to improve situation in an organization.

Psychologically, we all are micromanagers; some will consider this a radical statement. But the fact of the matter is that human generally think that “they are correct and others are goofs”. Those who say that they are working for micro managers, most of the time do not realize that they micromanage too
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The Age of Social Media

My recent posts focused on business opportunities available through social media. There is no doubt that social media is an extension of online businesses, but the same also provides business promotion opportunities for non-online business too. This post is about some examples of how businesses in Pakistan are using social media to increase outreach and building brand value.

In the modern age of social media, physical presence of a business is becoming irrelevant. For example a pizza oven at home can be turned into a potential business. I have taken this example from 14th Street Pizza, based in Karachi. Based on a simple business model, marketing is done only via Facebook. They have an active Facebook page with over 130,000 fans. This marketing tool brings them massive sales every day.

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Growing Opportunites for Making Money Online

Power of web 2.0 is still unfolding. Businesses small or large, corporations, political parties, think tanks etc are fast becoming aware of the fact “There is no escape from the might of internet!” Looking back in the history, CEO of CNET Halsey Minor was amongst the first corporate leaders who accepted the power of internet. Started as a cable TV in 1992, CNET soon started beaming via the web.

Amazon has been recognized the first comprehensive ecommerce enabled marketing platform. The growth has been phenomenal for this company, in 1999, Amazon touched the annual revenue US$1.5 billion. In the quarter ending June 2011, the revenue stood at US$ 9.91 billion.

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