Social Interactions


Social interactions establish the role that people play in a society and their authority responsibility pattern. Their roles and patterns are supported by a society’s institutional framework, which includes, for example, education and marriage.

Social roles are established by culture. For example, a woman can be a wife, a mother, a community leader, and/or an employee. What role is preferred in different situations is culture-bound. Most Swiss women consider household work as their primary role. For this reason, they resent modern gadgets and machines. Behavior also emerges from culture in the form of conventions, rituals, and practices on different occasions such as during festivals, marriages, get-togethers, and times of grief or religious celebration.

With reference to marketing, the social interactions influence family decision-making and buying behavior and define the scope of personal influence and opinion. In Latin America and Asia the extended family is considered the most basic and stable unit of social organization. It is the center for all economic, political, social, and religious life. It provides companionship, protection, and a common set of values with specifically prescribed means for fulfilling them. By contrast, in the US the nuclear family (husband, wife, and children) is the focus of social organization. The US wife plays a more autonomous role than the Dutch wife in family decision-making. Thus social roles vary from culture to culture and are likely to affect marketing behavior.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Simultaneous Production and Consumption


Whereas most goods are produced first, then sold and consumed, most services are sold first and then produced and consumed simultaneously. A restaurant services cannot be provided until they have been sold, and the dining experience is essentially produced and consumed at the same time. Frequently this also means that the customer is present while the service is being produced and thus views and may even take part in the production process. This also means that frequently customers will interact with each other during the service production process and thus may affect each others’ experiences. For example, strangers seated next to each other in an airplane may well affect the nature of the service experience for each other. That passengers understand this fact is clearly apparent in the way business travelers will often go to great lengths to be sure they are not seated next to families with small children. Another outcome of simultaneous production and consumption is that service producers find themselves playing a role as part of the product itself and as an essential ingredient in the service experience for the consumer.

Because services often are produced and consumed at the same time, mass production is difficult if not possible. The quality of service and customer satisfaction will be highly dependent on what happens in “real time,” including actions of employees and the interactions between employees and customers. Similarly, it is not usually possible to gain significant economies of scale through centralization. Usually operations need to be relatively decentralized so that the service can be delivered to the consumer in convenient locations. Also because of simultaneous production and consumption, the customer is involved in and observes the production process and thus may affect (positively or negatively) the outcome of the service transaction.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Entrepreneurial Challenge


We have experienced such an explosion of entrepreneurs in last two decades. There are many reasons why people are willing to take the risks of starting business. These reasons generally include the following:

  • Opportunity: Many people do not have necessary skills for working in today’s complex organizations. They do have the initiative and drive to work the long hours demanded by entrepreneurship. They are willing to sacrifice to see that their children have a chance of a good life. The same is true of many corporate managers who leave the security of the corporate life and try running businesses of their own.
  • Profit: Profit is only one reason to become an entrepreneur, but an important one. The profit potential of entrepreneurship is fantastic.
  • Independence: Many entrepreneurs simply do not enjoy working for someone else. They do not like the stress and demands of business.
  • Challenge: Entrepreneurs are excitement junkies who flourish on taking risks. They seek achievement more than power.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

The Employment Market


The employment market comprises all those people who are available for work. The market is affected by national or regional supply of and demand for appropriately  skilled employees. It is constrained by demographic factors such as the number of young people leaving schools and universities and by cultural variables such as expectations  for mothers to stay at home looking after children.

The employment or job market is the ultimate source of all new recruits. Human resource managers need to understand the dynamics of this market in order to deal properly with resourcing, set competitive salaries and obtain people with essential skills. They need to understand the expectations of prospective employees and have an insight into issues such as:

o     Why do people work?

o     What conditions and salaries are they prepared to work for?

o     What expectations do they have of employers?

o     How does the availability of human capital affect employment levels?

o     What effects do the activities of competitors have on employee availability?

o     What patterns of work are replacing traditional nine-to-five jobs?

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Inflation and Disinflation


Fiscal policy is related to inflation, which occurs when the prices of goods and services rise steadily throughout the economy. Although many factors (such as increases in the prices of imported goods) contribute to inflation, government borrowing is major factor. When the government borrows great sums of money to bolster the economy, the total amount of money circulating tends to increase. With more money chasing the same quantity of goods and services, inflation increases too.

Theoretically, the government is supposed to pay back its debt during inflationary times, thereby taking some of the excess money out of the economy and slowing inflation to moderate level. This system worked throughout 1950s and 1960s, but during the 1970s, inflation kept building. By the end of the decade, prices were increasing by almost 14 percent a year.

Inflation of this magnitude brings an unproductive mind-set. People become motivated to buy “before the prices goes up,” even if they have to borrow money to do it. With greater competition for available money, interest rates increase to a level that makes business borrowing riskier and business expansion slower. Businesses and individuals alike begin spending on short-term items instead of investing in things like new factories and children’s education, which are more valuable to the nation’s economy in the long run.

Because of the peculiar psychology that accompanies high inflation, slowing it has always been difficult. In addition, the causes of inflation are complex, and the remedies can be painful. Nevertheless, several factors conspired to bring about a period of disinflation, a moderation in the inflation rate, during the 1980s.

Whether inflation will remain under control is debatable. The country is still vulnerable to outside shock. Bad weather could jack up food prices, and political upheavals could limit the supply and boost the price of vital raw materials. Also, government efforts to stimulate the economy could rekindle inflation. When the economy slumps, the government is inclined to increase the money supply, which tends to drive prices up.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Venture Capital


In starting a business you can use the help of family, friends, and children. You can use the garage and the basement of quarters. You can borrow furniture and equipment. But after all the resources of family and friends have been obtained, there is still the need for some hard cold cash. It takes a little money to pay for things like raw materials, telephone, postage, letterhead stationery, and possibly some salaries and wages. This start-up money is sometimes referred to as seed money. It may be the most venturesome kind of venture capital.

To improve the probability of success in starting a new business, it takes the right kind of person with the right kind of business concept. More than that, the person should be a particular point along the career path and the business concept should be timely in the context of perceived consumer values as well as current technology. Even with the right person at the right time, and the right business concept at the right time, there is still the need for venture capital to give the new business a chance to win in the marketplace competition.

Venture capital is liquid assets invested in an unproven business. Money placed with a proven business enterprise for its prudent use can be thought of as invested capital. Money placed with any other business enterprise is at risk to a greater or lesser degree and can be thought of as venture capital. There are few enough proven business, and it is easier to identify and describe one of them than it is to try and describe one of the many, many unproven businesses.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Consumers of Advertising


It is vital, from the outset, to guard against the normal psychological tendency to impose your advertising “pattern” on a rather complex reality. Consider, for example, that the advertisements you may encounter through television, radio, the campus newspaper, magazines, direct mail, billboards, and the like are only a fraction of all the forms that advertising takes in other places in other times, for different purposes, and among different audiences. Yet, there is a tendency to equate that fragmented reality with the whole. Advertising is bad (good) for children; advertising is good (bad) for the economy; advertising helps us make wise (unwise) purchase decisions; advertising makes goods cost more (less); and so on. Simply, some advertising may be (or do) any of these things. All advertising is however far too complex to permit such over-simplifications.

By way of further example, one of the frequently voiced complaints of advertising critics is that advertising is not informative enough. Now, if we wish to point to some specific advertisements, it would not be difficult to accept such a premise. An advertisement for an expensive car may tell us that the car offers greater “class” than its competitors but nothing of its performance or life expectancy. Or a message for a cereal may feature a talking tiger, telling us of his adventures, but little of nutrition.

But there is other grist for this mill as well. A classified ad for a refrigerator may tell us its make, age, capacity, operating efficiency, and the reasons the seller has put it on the market. A message on drill bits for all rigs inundates its readers with performance data concerning the cost efficiencies to be accrued through the use of this bit compared with those of traditional composition. Do these ads also lack information?

To understand advertising then, you must first develop some knowledge of its more prominent functions. One way of getting a realistic picture of the landscape of advertising is to ask a simple question: Who uses advertising to reach what audiences through what media for what purpose? The pursuit of the answer not, of course, reveals all the nuances of advertising. It may, however, after a reasonable of some of the major species and subspecies and—not incidentally—serve to discourage embracing, “Advertising does …” thinking.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Staying Close to Customers


  • Show them that you think of them. Send or fax helpful newspaper clippings, relevant articles, and greeting and birthday cards. How about sending a card on the anniversary of the day they became your customers?
  • Tell them what’s new. It is a good way to stay in touch and increase sales or get referrals.
  • Offer “valued customer” discounts. These can take the form of coupons, letters, or other sales promotions. This not only garners more orders; it also makes your customers happy to be getting such good deals.
  • Compensate customers for lost time or money if they were caused by problems with your product or service. Use a well thought-out recovery program and stick to it. Better to err on the side of generosity than lose an account out of stinginess!
  • Be personal. Keep notes in your customer files on every little detail you know—everything from spouse and children’s names to hobbies, and especially their behavioral style.
  • Always be honest. Nothing undermines your credibility more severely than dishonesty. Lies have a way of coming back to haunt you.
  • Accept returns unconditionally. The few bucks you might lose in the short run are far less than what you gain from pleasing the customer.
  • Honor your customer’s privacy. If you have been a truly consultative salesperson, you may possess some knowledge that should be kept confidential. Your ethical standards should demand that you keep it that way.
  • Keep your promises. Never, ever promise something that you cannot deliver. This principle applies to little things such as returning phone calls as well as big things like delivery dates. If you must, ‘baby-sit’ deliveries and promised service to see that they are realized. Your reputation is on the line.
  • Give feedback on referrals. This is the right way to show your appreciation for the referral. Tell your customer the outcome. This is also a good way to get more referrals without asking for them directly.
  • Make your customers famous … for 15 minutes. If your enterprise has a newsletter, ask customers for permission to write about their success. Then send a copy to your customer. The same can be done for local newspapers and other publications.
  • Keep lines of communication open. As in any relationship, assure your customers that you are open to all calls about everything and anything – ideas, grievance, advice, praise, questions etc. This is one ay to maintain that all-important rapport.

 Remember that people do business with people they like!

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Eyesight, Mindsight, Winners, Losers, Dreams, and … Success


A great life always begins with a dream—a vision. Each person has two kinds of vision: Eyesight and mindsight. Eyesight tells us what objects are around us. Eyesight forms pictures of trees, people, buildings, mountains, water, stars, and other physical, tangible things. Eyesight is physical.

Mindset is different from eyesight. Mindset is the power to see not what is but what can be when human intelligence is applied. Mindset is the power to dream. Mindset forms pictures of the future – the home we want, the family relationship we desire, the income we will enjoy, vacations we want to take, or our wealth at some point in time.

Eyesight is strictly physical and sees only reality. Mindsight reveals what is not yet real nor tangible. How we choose to use our mindset to dream determines our success (achievement, influence, and satisfaction), our wealth (income, net worth, and physical well-being), and our happiness (respect, joy, and commitment).

People differ little in eyesight. At a very early age, all children using eyesight can clearly distinguish objects, such as people, buildings, stars, and water. But people differ enormously in mindsight or mental images of what is not yet real or tangible. A great majority of people see spending a life in a mediocre, modest-paying job. In the social department, their mindsight sees little joy but lots of boredom and big problems. And in the home department, they see, at best, only an ordinary, dull, problem-plagued existence.

On the other hand, a few success-directed dreamers see the future as filled with challenge. They see work as a road to advancement and prestige, and to large rewards. Creative dreamers see social relationships as encouraging, as stimulating, and as fun. In their home department, they see excitement, adventure, and happiness. They choose to dream of a good and great life.

Whether we spend life winning or losing depends on how we use our mindsight—what we choose to see or to dream. Each of us has the power to make this life a heaven or a hell, depending on how we choose to dream about it. Those who see life as heaven are the winners; those who view life as hell are losers.

Some believe luck or chance determines their destiny. These people think that fortunes, success, and the good life depend on the roll of the dice, on the spin of a wheel, or on a randomly selected number in a gamble.

Wishing is different from dreaming. Wishing is passive and inactive. Wishing is an idle pastime with no brains or effort behind it. But dreaming is backed up with an action plan to produce results. Anyone can wish. But a dreamer takes action on what he or she wants.

You can divide people you know into two categories: The winners and losers. Winners are active dreamers working to convert their dream into positive, tangible accomplishments. Losers are inactive faultfinders who believe the system is against them and luck or fate determines what will happen. Losers are cynical. Losers are pessimists. Losers are selfish—not my job; why should I help; nobody ever did anything for me. Losers want something for nothing.

Winners are people of good will. Winners are generous. Winners know “there’s no free lunch,” “Sacrifice means investing in the future.”

People who dream big think, “Regardless of how good or bad the situation is now, it will get even better. It always does. They bank on a great future.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight