Convenience Stores


Convenience stores are actually mini supermarkets. They carry many of the same food and nonfood items that are sold in supermarkets, but they offer a limited selection of brands. The products are normally packaged in small sizes, to allow shelf space for other items. Convenience stores do not have meat or fresh produce departments. One of the most significant changes in convenience stores has been the addition of gasoline.

Since convenience store prices on non-gasoline items are typically higher than supermarket prices, we should ask why people shop at them. Many shoppers tolerate the higher prices because the total of their convenience store purchases is quite small. They are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of being able to make purchases quickly and easily. Consumers recognize that they are paying a little more for these products than they would at a supermarket. But most people are not willing to invest the extra time and effort to go to the supermarket to save a few cents on one or two items. In effect, the convenience store retailer charges the consumer a premium for this time savings.

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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Market Survey


Stated most simply, the objective of a market survey is to determine a reasonably attainable sales volume in a specific market area for a specific type of business. This means finding out how many potential consumers of the planned merchandise or service there are in this market and how many of them can reasonably be expected to become customers of the firm under consideration.

The thoroughness of a market survey will vary under different conditions. The survey is essential for stores that plan to develop much of their own customer traffic. If sales are to depend on the firm’s merchandising policies, sales promotion efforts, special services, or uniqueness, a particularly thorough market survey should be made in advance. Firms that plan to rely on the established customer flow already generated by other businesses in the area may follow less thorough procedures. The latter types of firms have often been described as “parasite stores,” meaning that their location has been dictated by the existing firms in the area that have attracted a substantial traffic flow and which the new firm will tap for its own sales. Examples of small firms in this category are a restaurant in a skyscraper lobby, a medium-priced dress shop next to a large department store, an office-building tobacco shop, or a drugstore in an airline terminal. In these cases, the amount and nature of the traffic and its sales potential are pretty well established. Such firms may still, however, exert various types of sales promotion activities to increase total income within the traffic.

The chief concern here is with the types of firms that may rely heavily on a market survey to help them build much of their customer traffic.

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.

Training and Community Colleges


The power of images and names deceives us into picturing big companies as big concentrations of people. They rarely are. Most of the work of any major organization goes on at a multiplicity of small to medium-sized shops, offices, or factories, often widely separated from one another as well as from the head office. Each work site may be no longer than an independent small or medium-sized enterprise in its neighborhood.

Since the operations performed at one work site may bear little resemblance to those at another in the same company, work sites may differ in their training needs as widely as they differ in geography. Accordingly, each work site normally administers most of its own training, with the exception of specifically managerial subjects or skills so company-specific, important, and widely needed that it is more cost effective to conduct them at a central location.

By the same token, each work site has finite resources of staff, space, equipment, and money available for training. One point it must therefore decide about any particular need is whether it is more cost-effective to conduct the training in-house or outside. More and more work sites have turned to community and junior colleges to run training programs for them. So community colleges have evolved various arrangements for working with employers. They have thus employed business-industry coordinators, who learn what services the employers need tell them what the colleges can do to help. Some colleges hire and train industry people to execute the colleges’ training assignments.

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.

Sole Proprietorships


Sole proprietorships, businesses owned and operated by one individual, are the most common form of business organization. Sole proprietorships are generally managed by their owners. Because of this simple management structure, the owner/manager can make decisions quickly. This is just one of many advantages of the sole proprietorship form of business.

Ease and Cost of Formation: Forming a sole proprietorship in relatively easy and inexpensive. In some countries, creating a sole proprietorship involves merely announcing the new business in the local newspaper. Other proprietorships, such as barber shops and restaurants, may require state and local licenses and permits because of the nature of the business. No lawyer is needed to create such enterprises, and the owner can usually take care of the required paperwork.

An entrepreneur starting a new sole proprietorship must find a suitable site from which to operate the business. Some sole proprietors look no farther than their garage or a spare bedroom that they can convert into a workshop or office. Computers, personal copiers, fax machines, and other high-tech gadgets have been a boon for home-based businesses, permitting them to interact quickly with customers, suppliers, and others. Many independent salespersons and contractors can perform their work using a notebook computer as they travel. E-mail and cell phones have made it possible for many proprietorships to develop in the service area.

Secrecy: Sole proprietorships make possible the greatest degree of secrecy. The proprietor, unlike the owners of a partnership or corporation, does not have to discuss publicly his or her operating plans, minimizing the possibility that competitors can obtain trade secrets. Financial reports need not be disclosed.

Distribution and Use of Profits: All profits from a sole proprietorship belong exclusively to the owner. He or she does not have to share them with any partners or stockholders. The owner decides how to use the profits.

Flexibility and Control of the Business: The sole proprietor has complete control over the business and can make decisions on the spot without anyone else’s approval. This control allows the owner to respond quickly or competitive business conditions or to changes in the economy.

Government Regulation: Sole proprietorships have the most freedom from government regulation. Most government regulations apply only to businesses that a certain number of employees, and securities laws apply only to corporations that issue stock. Nonetheless, sole proprietors must ensure that they follow all laws that do apply to their business.

Taxation: Profits from the business are considered personal income to the sole proprietor and are taxed at individual tax rates. The owner pays one income tax.

Closing the Business: A sole proprietorship can be dissolved easily. No approval of co-owners or partners is necessary. The only legal condition is that all loans must be paid off.

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.

Private Enterprise


Private or free, enterprise is the economic system. It means that most of the country’s goods and services are provided by privately owned firms that compete with a minimum of government controls. The private enterprise system has six key characteristics:

  1. Private Ownership of Property: most businesses, land, minerals, buildings, machinery, and personal goods are owned by people, not by governments. This ownership is the right of people. It is an incentive to work hard to acquire and care for our own property. This sort of incentive contributes to the economic growth of the country.
  2. Freedom of choice and limited government: Freedom of choice allows businesses to select the products they produce, hire and fire employees, compete for customers and supplies, and make and dispose of profits. Freedom of choice also allows consumers to buy whatever products and services they are willing and able to buy from whichever firms they choose. Freedom of choice implies a limited amount of government intervention in the area of private enterprise. In a free enterprise system, government sets the” economic rules of the game” by establishing basic laws and regulations that ensure society’s welfare. But within the context, individuals and organizations are left largely free to pursue their own interests and inclinations.
  3. Consumer sovereignty: Consumers rule; the more carefully they make their decisions, the more clearly the economy will reflect their needs. The more money you spend in the marketplace, the greater your influence.
  4. Profits: Profits make businesses responsive to consumer wants. Profits are also a good indicator of where to expand and how to compete better. As a shop owner you can also compare the overall profits with past results or with profits of other businesses to gauge how well your shop is doing. Profits are the clearest standard of performance available to a business. But consumers often misinterpret business profits. They also don’t always understand how profits direct a business’ efforts. And consumers usually substantially overstate how high business profits actually are.
  5. Competition: Most business leaders believe their industries are highly competitive. But the term “competitive” has many meanings. Pure, or perfect, competition exists in an industry when 1) there are many firms of about equal size, 2) all firms produce the same product, 3) each firm can enter or leave the industry when it wants, and 4) all firms and customers are well-informed about prices and availability of products. No industry completely satisfies all these conditions, although some come close. Most industries operate under conditions of imperfect competition. This means they satisfy some but not all the conditions of pure competition.
  6. Productivity: Productivity is essential to the economy, whether it means designing faster microcomputers or better-testing toothpaste. Increased productivity helps offset inflation and keep prices down. Productivity is defined as real output (the value of the product independent of price changes) per working hour, and it is usually written as a percentage.

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.

Ideal-Candidate Profile


You don’t have the time or the resources to evaluate every applicant who strolls in. to guide your work, you should develop a profile of your “ideal” candidate. You may never find your ideal, but you will establish a basic framework that outlines the person you are looking for.

Developing an ideal candidate profile is similar to viewing a lineup of suspects after you’ve witnessed a bank robbery. The individual you pick out may not be the actual bank robber, but chances are the real criminal is strongly similar. Often, a lineup helps police establish the silhouette or basic framework of the person being sought. The police is clear even if the details are not. Likewise, your ideal candidate profile will give you a sharper idea of what you are really looking for, so that you can increase your odds of finding him or her.

Use the following outline to develop of profile of your ideal candidate:

  1. Must have, or have done, or be able to do:
    • Experience: type and years
    • Industry: type, or specific companies, and years
    • Skills or talents
    • Education
  1. Should have, or have done, or be able to do:
    • Experience: type and years
    • Industry: type, or specific companies, and years
    • Education
  1. Would be nice to have, or have done, or be able to do:
    • Experience: type and years
    • Industry: type, or specific companies, and years
    • Skills or talents
    • Education

Be specific when you draft your outline. If you want someone with strong follow-up skills, say so. If you want an assertive person who can handle high stress, say so. To create a good match between job and candidate, you need to define the person as closely as you define the job.

Keep your company culture in mind, too. If your company is team-oriented and flexible, you want a candidate who is comfortable with teamwork—and not everyone is. If your department is highly structured, you want someone who works well in a structured situation. Describe the qualities that your company values so that you can find compatible candidates.

Just remember that defining the candidate is a lot like shopping for groceries: the more you toss into your shopping cart, the more you’ll pay. The cost of filling a job is influenced by two factors: how long it takes to find the candidate, and the supply of qualified candidates. The greater the number of must have items on your list, the longer it’s going to take to find that person. The greater the experience, skills, or education requirements, the smaller the supply of candidates and the larger the compensation package required to hire the person.

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.

Play your Cards Right


Business cards may be commonplace, but they are vital too. Wherever you are, you will do better with a formal style of card, without advertising, and with clear information in English on one side and the local language on the other.

Business card etiquette is no mere ritual. In places such as Japan a business card is both mini-resume and a ticket to the game of business; a certain amount of gamesmanship is necessary to make the best use of the ticket. The first rule is never to be without cards, any more than a samurai would be without his sword. Never being without cards in Japan means taking fifty or more cards to every meeting. The second rule is to respect the cards, keeping them in a distinctive holder. Keeping your cards in your pocket or in a cheap plastic envelop is like making a business call with a shopping bag instead of a briefcase.

The third rule is to handle the card with formality. The card is presented, not merely handed. Japanese books of etiquette even point out a variety of ways to hold the card. Fourth, try to hand cards out in descending order of rank. The fifth rule is to receive another’s card gracefully, using both hands and never stuffing the card recklessly into your pocket.

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

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