Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Technical-Oracle:ORA-12547

ORA-12547: TNS:lost contact


Problem:

Oracle 11.2.x was installed by oracle user ora11 in a AIX 6.1.

Sqlplus “/as sysdba” was going through when executed by ora11 user. However the same was not going through when executed through any other user who belongs to a dba group.

RCA:

1. Checked the user rights of both the users using id command.

uid=205(finadm) gid=15(dba) groups=1(staff),

uid=202(ora11) gid=15(dba) groups=1(staff)

OS level user rights are same for both the users

2. Copied and compared the .profile of both users and still the issue was faced by finadm user.

3. Tried to bring up the listener by either users. No issues for listener

4. Resolved that the issue had to be with Oracle Installation and checked the oracle binary.

Resolution:

Oralce binay file under $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle should have sticky bit set so that if any user who runs that executable file assumes the ID of the owner (or group) of the executable file.

chmod +s $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle



Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Stop Stress in 60 Seconds or Less- Five quick ways business owners can avoid overwhelm.

How to Stop Stress in 60 Seconds or Less

Five quick ways business owners can avoid overwhelm.

By Lisa Girard

Running a small business can require managing difficult situations every day. From funding issues to prickly customers, entrepreneurs have to solve problems all day, and the stress of it all can lead to burnout or worse. Instead of sliding into overwhelm, consider these stress-busting tactics to take it down a notch -- all in just 60 seconds or less.

1. Get physical fast. Stress expert KathleenHall suggests hanging a jump rope on the back of your office door and pulling it out for a quick minute of exercise when you need to de-stress. Also, consider jumping jacks or sit-ups, which you can easily pull off in your office. No gym necessary.

"Exercise relaxes tense muscles that become tight and rigid when you experience stress," says Hall, chief executive of The Stress Institute in Atlanta, Ga., an educational and training firm that focuses on the effects of stress and how to relieve it. "Exercise delivers oxygen to the brain, vital organs and muscles immediately and produces endorphins that soothe your mind, body and soul."

2. Stretch the stress out. Simple stretches can also restore a sense of calm, according to Hall. She suggests three yoga stretches you can do while sitting in your office chair --and it's best to hold each stretch for up to five seconds. First, with arms at your side, put your head between your legs, trying to touch the floor with your head. Second, with hands on your thighs, stretch your entire body upward. Then slowly touch your chin to your chest. Third, with your feet firmly planted, grab the arm or side of the chair and turn your head toward the back wall. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.

3. Focus on your breathing. Stress expert Wendy Duncan recommends a breathing exercise she calls "heart coherence," which is achieved in three steps: First, place your left hand over your heart, then imagine your breath flowing through your heart. Take four counts to breathe in, and another four counts to breathe out. Then imagine the feelings of love, joy or compassion radiating out of you like beams of light.

"This method was discovered in the late 1970s during heart transplant research," says Duncan, founder of Wendy Duncan International in Redmond, Ore., which offers stress-relief programs, retreats and workshops."The key finding is that your heart has its own brain and intelligence. Heart activity impacts you dramatically and others around you. Synchronizing your heart and mind has immediate benefits in relieving stress."

4. Visualize a calming image. Start with your eyes closed and in a relaxed position -- either sitting or lying down. Then Duncan suggests imagining a lavender-colored, healing light moving through your body, taking away any stress or pain.

Another visualization technique comes from Cindy Kubica, a Nashville, Tenn.-based stress expert. She suggests putting your hand in front of you, palm up, and closing your eyes. Visualize a crystal sitting in your palm, or actually place one in your hand, if you have a stone. The healing properties of crystals are believed to date back centuries to many ancient cultures, including Egyptian, Chinese, and Native American. Some of the most popular ones are the amethyst (calms the mind), citrine (healing properties) and variscite (eases anxiety).

Visualize the stone glowing and spreading warmth into your palm and then into the center of your body, spreading the light and color throughout your chest, up to your head, down your arms to the fingertips, and then down both of your legs to your toes.

5. Soothe your senses with calming scents. Aromatherapy is another centuries-old form of alternative medicine, but with this technique the natural plant extracts are used to help boost psychological and physical well-being. According to the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, some of the most popular essential oils for stress relief are lavender and rose to relieve anxiety -- and marjoram to promote relaxation.

A good way to use them to relieve stress is to first put a small amount -- a couple drops -- of your preferred essential oil on your first three fingertips, Kubica says. Then, place your hands under your nose in the prayer position, index fingers resting against your lips, and slowly and deeply breathe in the soothing scent. Repeat the breathing three to five times and you'll be well on your way to restoring calm and quashing the stress of the business day.




Monday, July 4, 2011

Nails on the Fence- A short story

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the nextfew weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.

He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, 'You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.

The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.

You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. But it won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.


Let us not leave a 'hole' in any bodies fence.

Thanks to the web for this story.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Top 25 Ways to Win Arguments

1. Don’t focus on winning or losing; focus on achieving objectives.


2. Interrupting to make your point is pointless.

3. Be smart not right. You aren’t finding the right answer; you’re searching for the better alternative.

4. Focus on progress rather than perfect solutions.

5. Trying to solve the past is futile; you can, however, move in better directions.

6. Give ground on peripheral or non-essential points.

7. Keep things simple. Complexity stalls solutions.

8. Never tell someone what they think; ask them.

9. Never let someone tell you what you think.

10. Your “opponent” will use over-statements and unrealistic conclusions to invalidate your goals.

11. Your opponent will make you angry. When they do, you lose.

12. Keep an open posture.

13. Remove barriers and obstacles. Create a clear path across the table or desk. Better yet step away from the desk.

14. Physically align yourself with them. Rather than face-to-face, stand beside.

15. Talk while taking a walk.

16. Be pleasant but not jovial.

17. When they raise their voice, lower yours.

18. Use “and” more than “but” because “but” is an eraser. For example, I agree with you but…, diminish agreements.

19. Show respect; don’t get personal.

20. Identify your opponent’s objectives and agree where possible. Help them win before you win.

21. Explore your opponent’s options.

22. Address your opponent’s fears.

23. Use experts and research.

24. Speak to the heart – if they have one.

25. Stay on point. Distractions are normal.

Bonus: Solve issues before arguments erupt.

Thanks for Leadership Freak for the points

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TAX PLANNING IN INDIA - HUF BENEFITS

A tax professional is the last person you would expect to dish out matrimonial advice, but Delhi-based chartered accountant Mahesh Agarwal often tells his bachelor clients to tie the knot. "If they are paying too much tax and all possible deductions have been availed of, the only way to bring down the tax liability is by starting a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). However, they can do so only after they marry," he says.

Though tax planning must figure in the list of 10 whackiest reasons to say 'I do', there is no doubt about the usefulness of the HUF as a tax planning tool. The taxman treats the HUF as another entity, which is entitled to the same exemptions as any other individual taxpayer and enjoys the same deductions as you and I. This effectively gives the kartaan additional basic tax exemption of 1.8 lakh per year, an additional tax deduction under Sections 80C, 80CCF and 80D, along with the benefit of lower tax slabs.



The enormous tax savings from this arrangement are what led Suresh Bohra to set up an HUF in 1995. It helps this Delhi-based stocks and commodities broker save close to 86,000 a year in taxes. "As the kartaof the HUF, I get a combined basic exemption of 3.6 lakh a year as well as a savings limit of 2.4 lakh a year under Section 80C and 80CCF," he says.
Bohra isn't alone. Lakhs of taxpayers, including salaried professionals, small businessmen, even retirees, use HUFs to save tax. You too can avail of this benefit provided you fulfil the conditions and complete the legal formalities laid down for an HUF.


Who can form HUF?


Any Hindu, Sikh, Jain or Buddhist man can form an HUF, provided he is married. In fact, an HUF is automatically constituted when a couple exchanges wedding vows. Still, there are a few simple formalities to be completed for the HUF to function as a legal entity (see graphic).
The first step is to form a corpus for the HUF. This can be any capital asset (property, gold, jewellery, securities, deposits) or cash. This is not as easy as it may sound. You can't transfer just any asset to your family 'hotchpot'. Any personal funds or property given by an individual to the HUF will lead to clubbing provisions under Section 64 (2) of the Income Tax Act. This means the income from these assets will be treated as that of the individual, thus defeating the very purpose for which the HUF was established.
A husband and wife can form an HUF but a wife can only be a member, not a co-parcener. Therefore, the HUF income will not be assessed separately. A member has equal rights but only a co-parcener can demand the partition of the HUF. "Only the birth of a child will give the unit the status of an HUF for tax purposes," says chartered accountant and legal expert Rakesh Gupta.


The HUF can be formed with money received as gifts from relatives. But there's again a tax implication here. While there is no tax on gifts received by an individual from specified blood relatives, the HUF does not enjoy this exemption. "The HUF is not an individual, so it has no relatives. Any money it gets will be treated as a gift from a stranger. If the value of the assets received as gifts in a year exceeds 50,000, it will be deemed as income of the HUF and taxed accordingly," says Rakesh Gupta.


Even so, an HUF can safely receive gifts of up to 1.8 lakh in a year without incurring any tax liability because of the basic exemption available to it. In fact, if the HUF invests 1.2 lakh in specified tax-saving instruments under Section 80C and 80CCF, it can receive assets worth up to 3 lakh a year without having to pay a paisa as tax. The best way to avoid the tax tangle is to form the HUF corpus with assets received as part of a will.

But here too there are certain conditions to be met. If the property is inherited by the individual, transferring it to the HUF will again lead to clubbing. "A person can give property and other assets to his son's HUF but it should be clearly specified that the asset is for setting up the HUF," says Mukesh Goel, director, Mukesh Raj & Company.
One can also start the HUF with funds received on the dissolution (or full partition) of a larger HUF. If the karta wants to divide the HUF property between the co-parceners, he can transfer the fund to a newly formed HUF. If the ancestral property is sold, the proceeds received can also be transferred to the HUF.

Joining the HUF

There's no need to fill an application form or submit KYC documents for joining an HUF. All lineal descendants of the karta, their spouses and children automatically become members of his family. Wives join the HUF as members, while children join on birth as coparceners. "Even the unborn child of a member or co-parcener has an equal share in the HUF," points out Goel.

Till a few years ago, there was a gender bias in the HUF rules because females did not have an equal share in the ancestral property. A daughter ceased to be a member in the HUF after her marriage. This changed in 2005 when the Hindu Succession Act was amended to give equal rights to daughters even after they were married. "The 2005 amendment was a watershed for female rights," beams chartered accountant Minal Agarwal.

Indeed, the 2005 amendment has changed the equation in favour of women, making them more equal than men. Married women now have rights in two HUFs-their father's as a co-parcener and their husband's as a member. However, they cannot start an HUF on their own. In case, a kartadoes not have male heirs, the HUF property will have to be partitioned among his daughters. Experts say it is best to write a will to this effect to avoid disputes.

Padam Chand Gupta has already willed his HUF property to his two daughters. "Both of them were against me writing the will, but I didn't want to leave anything to chance," says the octogenarian. Gupta's wife Kamlesh Rani is a co-parcener in her father's HUF.

However, while the Mitakshara system, which is followed in most parts of the country, has accepted the change, the Dayabhagaschool, which governs the HUFs in West Bengal and Assam, continues with the bias.

Under the Dayabhagasystem, the father is the sole owner of the joint family property. No other member can enforce the partition of the HUF as long as he is alive. However, the Mitakshara law stipulates that the property belongs to the HUF, not to an individual. It can, therefore, be partitioned even during the lifetime of the karta. Income and tax of HUF

There are five basic heads of income, including salary, capital gains, rent, profit from business, and income from other sources. Except for salary, the HUF can earn from all of these. It can invest the initial corpus as well as the gifts received in subsequent years to earn capital gains. Ancestral property can be let out to earn rental income. It can also start a business and earn profit from it. Interest and royalty incomes are categorised as other sources.

The karta will have to maintain the books of accounts of the HUF and file tax returns on its behalf. The date of filing tax returns and the tax rate are no different from that of individual taxpayers. He also needs to invest to save tax under Section 80C and 80CCF.

Through intelligent planning, an individual can shift some of the taxinefficient investments to the HUF hotchpot so that the tax burden is lowered. Given the intricacies involved, it is best to take the help of a professional. This is also because the taxman looks at HUF tax returns with a degree of scepticism. "The income pattern of an HUF is often questioned by income tax officers," says Bohra. The general belief is that the HUF has been formed to evade tax and that its accounts have been fudged.
However, if your chartered accountant is good, he can help you cross these hurdles without putting you on the wrong side of the law or inviting a notice from the tax department. "One must do a cost-benefit analysis. If by paying a fee of 8,000-10,000 to the chartered accountant you can save 1 lakh in tax, it would be money well spent," says Goel.

Smart strategies

Insure the family's health: The tax savings apart, the HUF arrangement can be used to optimise the benefits on other fronts. Take health insurance. If there are enough people in the HUF (say 20-25), a karta can get a group health insurance cover at a lower price than that of an ordinary plan. Some recent innovations by insurance companies may also prove useful.

The Family First plan from Max Bupa Health Insurance Max Bupa Health Insurance covers not just an individual and his family but even extended families including 13 relationships. This policy is eminently suitable for HUFs because there is no upper limit on the number of people it can cover. In case the proposer (the kartaof the HUF) dies, a new proposer can take his place.

The plan offers a family floater cover of up to 15 lakh and the premium paid for the health insurance is fully deductible under Section 80D. This will help bring down the taxable income of the HUF while offering insurance cover for the entire family.

Pay kartafor services: If the karta does not have a high income, the HUF can pay him a salary for his services. This salary will be taxed as his income and will be fully deductible from the HUF income.

But experts warn that this should be a reasonable amount and should be commensurate with the karta's skills, the time taken for HUF work and the nature of the business it is engaged in. "If the income tax authorities feel that this is being done to gain a tax arbitrage, they might disallow the expense," says Agarwal.

Use HUF income for expenses: The income earned by the HUF can be used for the household expenses of the family. This will not only prevent the HUF kitty from bloating, but also allow individual co-parceners to use their own incomes optimally. For instance, a co-parcener can take a larger home loan to reduce his personal tax liability because the HUF income is enough to take care of his living expenses.

Tax officials can seek an explanation if a taxpayer does not withdraw from his bank account too often. It is an indication that the person has income from other sources as well. However, if he is a co-parcener in the HUF, the taxpayers will be able to explain why the salary flowing into his bank account has not been withdrawn for months.

Distribute income to co-parceners: The karta can gift money to the coparceners from the income earned by the HUF. This income is tax-free in the hands of the co-parceners. In this manner, a person with a high income will be able to get tax-free income.

Give loan for business: The HUF can also give loans to the kartaor coparceners for setting up a business. The HUF can charge interest on the loan. Interest paid on any business loan is fully deductible. Therefore, for the borrower, it will be like taking money from one pocket and putting it in another and getting tax deduction on the interest.The HUF can also give loans to the karta or co-parceners for setting up a business.

A caveat is in order here. If the coparcener borrows money to start the same business in which the HUF is engaged, the tax authorities may raise an objection. It will be seen as an attempt to evade tax. There have been cases where income from businesses started by coparceners after borrowing funds from the HUF have been treated as HUF income.
Should you go for HUF?

The HUF arrangement especially suits taxpayers who also have income from ancestral property and expect to inherit financial assets. Such taxpayers will be able to divert the inheritance to the HUF, thus preventing their personal tax liability from shooting up. It may not be as advantageous for someone whose income is not very high and who does not have any ancestral property.

Similarly, it will be particularly useful for taxpayers with a very high savings rate. There are many taxpayers in the high income bracket, whose Section 80C limit is quickly exhausted by the Provident Fund and children's school fee. They will be able to get tax benefits on other investments, such as insurance premium, equity-linked saving schemes and fixed deposits. However, somebody who is not able to save the 1 lakh under Section 80C will not benefit from the additional deduction available to his HUF.

It is a fallacy that HUF is only meant for small businessmen and traders. BL Gupta (see picture) is the director of finance in a listed company. He started his HUF in 1997 to lower his tax liability from the ancestral property. Bohra, a stock broker, uses the additional deduction to bring down his tax.

Even so, keep in mind that once an HUF is established and assets are transferred to the family hotchpot, the income from these assets would continue to be assessed as HUF income till the HUF is partitioned completely. This would amount to the individual giving up control over the assets.

For the same reason, it is essential that all coparceners of the HUF act in the best interest of the family. Even if one decides to part ways, it will have implications for the entire HUF. "Every co-parcener can demand the partition of the HUF property. Even if one asks for his share, the entire HUF will have to be partitioned," points out Priyambada Sen, senior manager with Deloitte India .

Then again, not all tax benefits enjoyed by an individual are applicable to the HUF. Experts warn that the clubbing provisions should especially be kept in mind when you transfer personal assets to the HUF. It's possible that the income you think can be shifted to the HUF will actually be clubbed with your income and taxed in your hands.




Thanks to ET for the article

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Art of Admitting Failure

THE ART OF ADMITTING FAILURE

When it comes to business, we are incredibly unaccepting and fearful of making mistakes. And forget about admitting to our mistakes, as that may be construed as a sign of weakness.

But business and leadership is all about relationships. And in any relationship, things go wrong, mistakes are made, ups are followed by downs. The strength of a relationship is not how perfect it is, but how resiliently it deals with the inevitable failures.

In a world filled with real-time, tell-all social media, your ability to hide from your failures is, well, non-existent. You are much better off admitting that something is wrong and addressing it in as authentic and transparent a way as possible.

That's what Domino's Pizza CEO Patrick Doyle did in national television ads this past year. Domino's is known for primarily one thing — delivering pizza to your door in 30 minutes. Domino's gutsy move was to acknowledge that its pizza was far from stellar. In the ads, the company flashed quotes from customers like "Domino's pizza crust is like cardboard" and "Microwave pizza is far superior." One customer suggested, "I think Domino's pizza should start over." That's what Domino's did. The company reconfigured its core product, testing combinations of dozens of cheeses, 15 sauces, and nearly 50 crust seasonings to find one that satisfied customers. In the ads, Domino's admitted that its pizzas were terrible, explained that it redesigned them, and asked people to give them a try.

Viewers of these ads described them as "bold" and "refreshing," and gave the company credit for acknowledging what everyone already knew. More important, people tried the pizza and found they liked it. The result: store sales rose and quarterly profits doubled.

Domino's took a failure point — its horrible pizzas — and made it a rallying point. The company saw negative comments as a gift from customers, an opportunity to improve the product, rather than a liability.

How To Fail Successfully

Dealing with failure is part of being a leader. Rather than expend enormous energy to avoid it, you should build an organization that is resilient in the face of inevitable failures. Here are three steps that you can take:

Create a culture of sharing failures as well as success. When then-new Ford CEO Alan Mulally held his first staff meeting, he asked members of his team to give an assessment of their businesses as a "green," "yellow," or "red" light. They all gave their businesses a green light — and Mulally challenged each of them to come back the next week with a more realistic assessment of their businesses. The first executive to stand up and say "I have a red light" received a standing ovation from the CEO. They then sat down to tackle the problem as a team.

Mulally had to create a new culture that could admit when something was going wrong, and do so early enough so that the organization could still have an impact on the outcome. Creating this culture has to come from the top. As a leader, you have to think about how you will set the stage for failures to come forward.

Reward the act of risk-taking. How many times have you heard a leader exhort, "We have to take more risks!" and then walk off the stage? In one organization, the executives decided that words had to be backed by action. They started highlighting when risks were being taken and showcased people who were sticking out their necks. They then came back and celebrated the results — regardless of whether it was a success or a failure. Without this, no one is going to take a risk that is meaningful — people will act only if they think there is a high chance of success.

Define the limits. While the admission by Domino's was refreshing, the company didn't open the door to everything it was doing. To make transparency and risk-taking more palatable to risk-averse executives, create "sandbox covenants." Figure out how what risks and failures are acceptable. Clearly define the walls of this sandbox and communicate the rules of engagement within those walls. Also explain what the consequences are if people step outside of the sandbox, both to them and to the company. By agreeing to these covenants in advance, there is greater confidence and security in knowing that the risks — and the failures — will be accepted.

Thanks to Charlene Li the founder and partner at Altimeter Group, author of Open Leadership, and co-author of Groundswell.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Smarter approach in your pitch for venture capital

Some advice to entrepreneurs on how to work smarter with VCs.

• It’s a numbers game. Expect casualties. Preparing to reach out to VCs, particularly if it’s your first time, is not unlike the preparation one does when preparing for battle (and this comes from a former air force pilot). You should prepare for a process that can take six or nine months or even a year, depending on the market conditions. You need to prepare for people with little knowledge of your technology or market who are comfortable telling you that there is no market for your technology.

With VCs investing in very few companies, a successful entrepreneur has about a 2% chance of securing funding.


This means that if you had a good meeting, the chances have just gone up to 4%. If you had a mediocre meeting, the chances have gone down to zero.

Therefore, my recommendation for a first time entrepreneur is to meet with as many (tens) VCs as possible so that according to the numbers and of course, the quality of your offering, you can potentially get to the term sheet level with two VCs.

This is not to discourage anybody. The rewards are sweet when striking an investment and ultimately, a partnership with a VC who can help you take your company to the next level, but there are many obstacles in this path, and every entrepreneur should understand the difficulty and frustration of this process.

Develop a VC pitching strategy. Because of the challenges in securing VC funding, It is strongly strongly recommend that entrepreneurs develop a strategy which includes casting a very wide net of VCs to contact. You should divide perspective VCs according to key parameters such as investment history, industry focus, relevance of portfolio / connections (to your needs), potential conflict of interests and geographic location. Then rank the VCs according to your key criteria.

Start the VC outreach process with the lower ranked VCs who are also less likely to invest in your company, so that you can get some practice under your belt, and if you make a mistake, it won’t be critical.

You need to play your cards right. The VC community is pretty small and close knit, so it’s likely that most of the VCs with whom you’ll meet will know each other. And like most communities, the VC community has its patterns of action.


Given the inherent risk involved in VC investment, VCs like to know who else is considering investing in your company because they too tend to follow a herd mentality. If you can somehow covey the feeling that you are sought after by many VCs, it could definitely help you.

Also, if you are negotiating with several VCs, they may try to communicate between themselves in order to consider investing together (split the investment between them).


Having two VCs that you’re negotiating with join forces can hurt your negotiating power. It is much better to keep both horses competing against each other in the race for as long as you can (term sheet). Divide and conquer. Once they join forces your valuation goes down.

Therefore, until you’re at the term sheet stage, it’s best not to disclose to other VCs the names of the VCs with whom you’re talking.

Don’t seek funding under pressure. The fundraising process can take a long time, therefore it’s important to begin early, and not when you’re under pressure to raise funding. VCs will sense this pressure, and will use it as leverage in order to extract better deal terms.


How does the VC saying go: “you should raise money when you can and not when you need it”?

VCs can be tremendous partners that enable a business to soar.


But just as more than 50% of marriages end in divorce despite the best intentions, given the risk inherent in venture capital investment coupled with the 10% success rate of investing in start-ups, there are many potential obstacles that await the first (or even) second time entrepreneur reaching out to VCs.


Thanks to Tomer Tzach CEO of DPlace Marketing for the above

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Small Businesses - What should you take care

If you are a Small business ( Most of todays large companies started as a small business only some day) you should always ask questions of your selves.

  • How you can increase your profit margin
  • How you can communicate better with your customers
  • How to find new customers

There are always ways to boost the bottom line and asking questions about your goals, your customers and challenges your company faces is a great place to start.

What challenges are you facing?

With 4 out of 5 new businesses failing within the first 5 years, it is safe to say that we all will face challenges on a day-to-day basis. Major challenges many small businesses face include competing with large corporations, standing out from the competition and remaining profitable in a down economy.

There are also smaller challenges businesses must overcome on a day-to-day basis like staffing the right number of workers, determining the most profitable hours of operation, keeping the right amount of product in stock, reducing overhead and increasing profits.

Truly understanding your customers and their buying behavior can help you with many of these challenges.

By communicating with your customers you can find out what kinds of problems they have

  • What they think of your product
  • What they would like to see from you in the future
  • How often they buy your product and much more.

Listening to your customers and learning from them can help make you one of the 1 in 5 that makes it.

What goals do you have?

Every business should set goals, especially for surviving your early years.

You may want to establish a strong staff who are committed and ready to invest themselves and not moonlighters
You may want to expand into other states or countries.

You may want to increase your product line. You may want to improve your customer rating.

Think beyond just setting a revenue target, but set goals to improve and grow your business that will actually help you achieve that revenue and the value that others specially your customers and employees will perceive in the long run.

How can you stay fresh?

We all want to put more money in the bank. And with more and more products on the market every day, it’s important to stay up to date and fresh.

You may try marketing a completely new product or simply an updated version. Either way it’s important to improve on past models.

You might sell a candy with a nut in it instead of solid chocolate. You may design new computer cases that are more visually appealing. Or sometimes you don’t have to change the product at all. Sometimes simply changing the design, logo or packaging, like Coca-Cola has done over the years is enough to keep your product fresh.

How can you help customers?

The ultimate goal of any product or service is to solve a problem. You want to help your customers and become indispensable to them. Seth Godin, world famous marketer, always touts of how you should become indispensable to customers.

If you are indispensable, you are worth more.

Companies who give less value to customers do not survive economic downturns.

You have to be unique in what you do in some way.

Can you expand?

  • Most small businesses want to expand, but the question is can you afford to. What will it really take?
  • Think in terms of time and money.
  • Will you need more space, more workers, additional stores or warehouses?
  • Are you looking to expand into new regions, new states, new countries or are you looking to offer new products and services?
  • What will you need and how will you accomplish these things?

You need to create leadership in your work force so you can focus on the bottom line.

Many of these questions are obvious ones. What is less obvious is the strategy needed behind them. In order to be successful, make it through the first few years or expand your business, you’ll need a unique marketing plan.

Certain risks are of course involved; you just have to ask yourself, is it worth it in the long run and hopefully you will make it long enough to find out.

I have already clocked eight years and still continuing to learn from the growth of BBSSL.

Thanks to Christian Del Monte for his article which truly represents the experience of me and may startups that have grown to reach a scale
 
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