Building Business Pipeline


  1. Every week, select ten companies or organizations that meet your ‘target’ market profile. List these names, addresses and phone numbers. Select these carefully and include referrals.
  2. Make a research cell to each and identify the most appropriate initial contact. You do not need to speak to this person at this stage, talk to the receptionist or assistant instead.
  3. Send a one-page ‘success’ letter and a very brief overview of what benefits you can offer. Mail on a Thursday or Friday. Focus on your capabilities and how you can benefit the prospect.
  4. Telephone each ‘suspect’ that you mailed within 3-5 days. As 50 percent will be unavailable, log callbacks in your diary. Don’t be surprised if they don’t remember your letter, review it on the phone. Dropping names or using benefits by association can be useful.
  5. Have a prepared call sheet, questions and reasons for an appointment (your goal is a short initial meeting). Offer a benefit to your meeting: share ideas, examples, etc.
  6. Set aside time each week for research, mailing and planning – consistency is vital for this to work. You might find it better to aim for one hour a day rather than one whole day each week.
  7. Maintain accurate but brief reports to monitor your progress and to track activity.
  8. After approximately 10-12 weeks of containing new suspects, reduce the new contacts by between 50 percent and 80 percent and instead go back through all those people you contacted previously and re-contact them, i.e., stay in touch with suspects and prospects every three months. Things often change and if you have selected potential prospects well, it may only be a matter of time before you do business.
  9. Make sure that the subsequent 90 day contact contains something new, interesting or different, even if only very slightly. This also makes sure that you don’t appear too pushy.

10.  No matter how busy you get, always make time to keep in touch with new suspects and prospects in this way on a planned and consistent basis.

The rules:

  1. Do not allow any one customer to contribute more than 30 percent of you sales in any given quarter.
  2. Make sure that at least 30 percent of your sales pipelines is from new business, the rest should be from existing customers or referrals. Do not rely on existing customers to the exclusion of new customers.
  3. Always have a third more sales in the pipeline than you need.

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.

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Just About Money


Strictly defined, money is anything generally accepted in exchange for goods and services. To be used as a medium of exchange, money must be acceptable, divisible, portable, stable in value, durable, and difficult to counterfeit.

Acceptability: To be effective, money must be readily acceptable for the purchase of goods and services and for the settlement of debts. Acceptability is probably the most important characteristic of money: If people do not trust the value of money, businesses will not accept it as a payment for goods and services, and consumers will have to find some other means of paying for their purchases.

Divisibility: Given the widespread use of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies in the United States, it is no surprise that the principle of divisibility is an important one. With barter, the lack of divisibility often makes otherwise preferable trades impossible, as would be an attempt to trade a steer for a loaf of bread. For money to serve effectively as a measure of value, all items must be valued in terms of comparable units—dimes, for a piece of bubble gum, quarters for laundry machines, and dollars (or dollars and coins) for everything else.

Portability: Clearly, for money to function as a medium of exchange, it must be easily moved from one location to the next. Large colored rocks could be used as money, but you couldn’t carry them around in your wallet. Paper currency and metal coins, on the other hand, are capable of transferring vast purchasing power into small, easily carried bundles.

Stability: Money must be stable and maintain its declared face value. The principle of stability allows people who wish to postpone purchases and save their money to do so without fear that it will decline in value. Money declines its value during periods of inflation, when economic conditions cause prices to rise. Thus, the same amount of money buys fewer and fewer goods and services.

Durability: Money must be durable. The crisp new dollar bills you trade at the music store for the hottest new CD will make their way all around town for about 18 months before being replaced. Were the value of an old, faded bill to fall to line with the deterioration of its appearance, the principles of stability and universal acceptability would fail. Although metal coins, due to their much longer useful life, would appear to be an ideal form of money, paper currency is far more portable than metal because of its light weight. Today, coins are used primarily to provide divisibility.

Difficulty to Counterfeit: To remain stable and enjoy universal acceptance, it almost goes without saying that money must be very difficult to counterfeit—that is, to duplicate illegally. Every country takes steps to make counterfeiting difficult. Most use multicolored money, and many use specially watermarked papers that are virtually impossible to duplicate.

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.

Law in Business


A person who is involved in business is also involved in the law concerning business. Making contracts and using negotiable instruments—both of which are legal concepts—are the essence of business. Business and law were closely associated even when there were few lawyers and business managers spent relatively little time with them. The growing importance of law in business, however, is shown by the rapid increase in the use of lawyers by people in business. In recent years, the number of corporate counsel, the full-time lawyers who are employed by corporations; has been growing faster than the number in any other category of attorneys. Law firms that serve primarily business people have also been expanding at a great rate. Even the smallest businesses turn to lawyers frequently.

In the past quarter century there has been a qualitative as well as a quantitative change in the concern of business managers with law. In earlier times, business managers generally employed lawyers only in emergencies. A lawyer might be engaged if a summons to appear in court was received, if a businessperson could not collect a debt that was due, or if a supplier’s goods were defective and no settlement could be reached. Lawyers are still sought out when such things happen today. However, more and more, business managers employ lawyers to help them plan to avoid such emergencies and comply with a rapidly growing mass of legal rules imposed on business operations by government bodies. This use of lawyers by business people is called preventive law.

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

Going Beyond Job Description


The projects people take on which are not part of their day-to-day job description, which have not been assigned to them, are those projects for which people get the most credit and recognition.

The jobs most people have existed before they got there and will continue to exist after they’ve left. The job is the constant. What you do by going beyond it is what gets noticed. Most positions in a company are three-quarters functional, meaning the set responsibilities and duties that came with it, and one quarter personal style. The degree by which you can stretch this 25 percent is the degree by which you will stand out in your company.

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

Company Performance Appraisal


Company performance appraisal studies the trends of specific profitability and productivity ratios derived from financial statements for at least past three  periods (year, quarter, month). Its main purpose is to diagnose problem areas through establishing productivity indicators for continuous monitoring and control of the whole enterprise, in order to set up an appropriate productivity improvement programs.

 

In conducting company performance appraisal, two basic comparisons have to be made:

a.       Between current performance and a historical base performance;

b.       Between actual performance and the target.

 

The former indicates whether performance is improving or declining and at what rate. The latter requires that performance or productivity targets be set and matched against actual performance.

 

Using profitability along as the basis for evaluating the overall performance of an organization makes it difficult to identify the cause of profitability changes. Are they due to productivity or price-cost movement? The following demonstrates this relationship:

 

            Output value     =          Quantity sold     X          Unit price

 

 

             Profitability       =          Productivity       X          Price recovery

 

 

             Input value        =          Quantity used    X          Unit cost

 

Considering the relationships over time, profitability is defined as charge in output value compared with change in input value; productivity as the change between quantity of output and/or quantity in unit price, and change in unit cost.

 

In effect, what is computed are performance ratios classified into:

  • Change in profitability;
  • Change in productivity;
  • Change in price recovery.

 These performance ratios are then evaluated in relation to their effect on profits. In general, a drop in profitability, in productivity or in price recovery reduces profits. Lower productivity signals a need for further analysis and for correction action. However, increased productivity does not necessarily lead to profitability on a short-term basis. The effect of increased productivity will be realized only in terms of long-term profitability.

 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

Reinterpreting Products


Product is not what the engineer explicitly says it is, but what the consumer, implicitly demands that it shall be. Thus the consumer consumes not things, but expected benefits—not cosmetics, but the satisfactions of the allurements they promise; not quarter-inch drills, but quarter-inch holes; not stock in companies, but capital gains; not numerically controlled milling machines, but trouble-free and accurately smooth metal parts; not low-cal whipped cream, but self-rewarding indulgence combined with sophisticated convenience.

The product does not exist as a separate entity. The product is what the consumer perceives it to be. Consumer perceptions are strategically important at all stages of product development, from initial conceptualization to concept testing, to positioning, to designing, manufacturing, packaging, pricing, delivering, advertising, selling, financing, and servicing. Product analysis, therefore, embraces systematic research at all stages. The focus of such research is not on the product itself, but on the consumers and how they respond to the various alternatives at each stage.

To simplify the exposition I am drawing examples primarily from the field of consumer products, such as the tangible items found on the shelves of supermarkets, in department stores, appliances shops, and automobile showrooms. In doing so I am not overlooking the importance of the field of services, such as airlines, insurance companies, banks, and travel agents; or the field of industrial goods, such as computers, chemicals, textiles, and lift trucks. While there are some differences in marketing strategies from one category to the next, the underlying principle of delivering customer satisfaction is the same.

Therefore, the producer should analyze actual or potential product or service in terms of its ability to meet a consumer need or want. It is axiomatic that consumers cannot draw the blueprints or provide detailed specifications for producers. It is up to the business person to experiment with new products or services, or modifications of old ones, and test their acceptance in the marketplace. Advertising can then be used to point out their presumed need/want satisfying properties to would-be users.

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