Thursday, October 28, 2010

Business as Usual

Success, both personal and business, has been the spine of my October blogs. To close out the month, I would like to explore what happens to a successful company that conducts business as usual. Nokia is a great case study.

Read On:
In 2004, three years before Apple introduced the iPhone, Nokia’s series 60 Sybiam development team presented prototypes to their senior management. The Internet-ready, touch screen smartphone prototypes would give Nokia the world’s largest maker of mobile phones at the time a powerful competitive advantage. The software needed to produce the handset would have added an additional cost of $2.05 to each unit. The team also conceived an early design for a Nokia online applications store similar to what Apple launched in 2007. The design team was shot down. As a result, management’s decision opened the door for Apple, Research in Motion of Canada (BlackBerry phones), Samsung and LG of South Korea.

Why did this happen? Nokia’s early success in mobile phones created a top heavy organization that bred a culture of infighting among management teams with competing agendas. The Sybiam series were considered too costly/risky at the time. In addition, Nokia’s top managers came from the network equipment side of business, thus had little knowledge to keep up with the shift in the industry from communications hardware to software-based services. As a result, innovation was killed, Nokia stayed with its playbook too long, complacency set in.

Where does Nokia stand today? According to research firm Strategy Analytics Nokia controls approximately 40.3 percent of the worldwide mobile market. In the U.S., their smartphone share has slipped to 8.1 percent from 9.1 percent from the previous year according to ComScore. However, despite their shortcomings their smartphones will account for 16 percent (approximately 75 million) of the 475 million phones they plan to produce this year. As a point of comparison, Apple reported selling 33 million iPhones through June 26. Nokia also decided to go outside its management ranks and hired its first non-Finnish CEO, Stephen Elop, a Canadian who ran Microsoft’s business software division. His mission will be to address the company’s suffocating bureaucracy and get it back on track.

Will you be conducting business as usual next year?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Enterprise Zimbabwe

Poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “Success is to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or redeemed social condition.” Richard Branson, founder of the
Virgin Group, will leave his mark.

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Zimbabwe is perceived by many to be one of the most arduous countries in Africa to lend a hand. Its GDP has pummeled to $1.8 billion from a peak of $13 billion. Its unemployment rate is 90%. To further compound matters, its long time leader, President Robert Mugabe is notorious for suppression of his political opponents. Bottomline, Zimbabwe is considered a failed state.

Not to billionaire optimist Richard Branson. Once again he quietly challenged conventional wisdom a year ago by establishing Enterprise Zimbabwe. The founder of the Virgin Group, with the help of several other organizations, has attracted money to open hospitals where nurses are getting paid and distributing textbooks to primary schools. Branson made his organization’s official launch back in mid-September at a gathering of the
Clinton Global Initiative to raise more money.

Richard Branson, once again validates his successful optimism.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The First Gretzky

Hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky was asked, what makes you so great? He responded: “I am always skating to where the puck is going to be.” His rebuttal has forever resonated for me. Nestlé is skating to where the puck is going to be, thus becomes SMARTKETING’s first Gretzky award winner.
Read On:Nestlé announced this past month that they were making two major R&D investments, but will not yield a return on investment for years to come.

The first was that they are planning to build a R&D center and two manufacturing facilities in India. Their plan is to primarily use local ingredients and spices, as well as utilize low-cost Indian research, engineering and labor to make products for India and the rest of the world. The R&D center will be their 30th worldwide. As a marketer I am not surprised by Nestlé’s move. Leading Western companies like Kraft thanks to its acquisition of Cadbury, General Motors, DuPont and Bristol-Myers Squibb have all made the move to India. They are targeting emerging markets where fast growing economies in conjunction with younger populations will expand a consumer base that can afford consumer goods. What does impress me is the commitment that Nestlé made public: A.) Their R&D center will cost an estimated $50 million to build and hold 100 employees. They do not plan to outsource any of their R&D work; and B.) Currently India only accounts for 1% or $1.1 billion of their overall worldwide sales of $108 billion. Their goal is to achieve 45 percent of their total sales from emerging markets by 2020.

Nestlé’s second announcement was about their plan to create Nestlé Health Science and expand into the flourishing health and wellness market. This new wholly owned subsidiary will include an R&D unit in which they plan to invest over $500 million in pioneering a new industry between food and pharmaceuticals. Their products will assist and treat disease prevention that are the leading cause of deaths globally – diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

The Swiss food giant is aggressively investing in its future, a great example of planning for long-term results – skating to where the puck is going to be. Nestlé gets the Gretzky.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Long-Term Results

Long-term results are mainly determined by short-term decisions, plus practicing patience and fortitude.

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As a Business Catalyst that strives to make things happen, I get to work with clients on a wide range of projects – new product introductions, strategic alliances, buzz marketing movements, etc. The one area I enjoy the most is strategic planning, especially now that I have been afforded the opportunity to work with companies that are beginning to formulate their plans as it relates to the new world of social media. The part I like the most about strategic planning is not just the overall process, but providing recommendations that each client then reviews and makes appropriate decisions that will impact their business. As I stated above, once these short-term decisions are made, if a company practices patience and fortitude, long-term results will follow.

I do not choose to write a lengthy blog about the strategic planning process to which my company subscribes. I respect that every company has a process that works best for their needs. Instead, I would like to share five rules that I utilize when developing business plans. They are the following:

Rule One – Do not over process. Remember, you still have customers to service.

Rule Two – Be focused during the planning process. Establish realistic measures.

Rule Three – Execute the plan. Otherwise it will end up on the shelf and gather dust.

Rule Four – Be flexible. “Nothing endures but change.” – Heraclitus

Rule Five – Don’t fear failure. Expect it! Learn from it!

It is time to make those key short-term decisions.

Monday, October 4, 2010


What is success?

Read On:
suc●cess \sək-‘ses noun (1537) 1: outcome, result. 2a: degree of succeeding b: favorable or desired outcome; also the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence 3: one that succeeds.

“The only place where success comes before work is in a dictionary.”
- Vidal Sassoon

“It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success.”
- Diane Rankin

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
- John Wooden

“Success is measured by the memories you create.”
- Unknown

“Success is never final."

- Winston Churchill