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Saturday, January 31, 2015

WOMEN SPECIAL ....................What Do Women Need? A Little Bit of Overconfidence

 What Do Women Need? A Little Bit of Overconfidence

I’m just lucky.” “I was in the right place at the right time.” “I’m not ready for that promotion.” According to Good Morning America reporter Claire Shipman and BBC anchor Katty Kay, these are phrases used almost exclusively by women when talking about their careers. In their new book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know, they explore why women lack confidence and what it means for their careers.
Wharton management professor Adam M. Grant recently interviewed Kay about her new book when she visited campus as a guest lecturer in the Authors@Wharton series. In this interview, Kay discusses the research about this confidence gap, the importance of confidence and how it can be addressed.
An edited transcript of the conversation appears below.
Adam Grant :drove you to write this book?
Katty Kay: [W]e wrote a book about six years ago on the value of women in the workforce. For that book, we interviewed a lot of senior women in business, in the military, in politics. We were struck by phrases that they would use, phrases like, “I’m just lucky to have got where I got to”; “I was in the right place at the right time”; or, “You know, I think I’m not quite ready for that promotion yet.” It occurred to us that we never heard men say things like this. 
Grant: How could that be?
Kay: [I]t just struck us that something was happening with women in the professional space that was not happening in their home lives. When you ask them about their kids or their friends, they think they are great. They are totally confident of their ability to make friendships or be great mothers or supportive wives. But get them into the professional space, and we wondered if it was just anecdotal or if there was actually data behind this.
Grant: What led you to the initial idea that it was a confidence gap as opposed to humility, let’s say?
“That’s what the confidence gap is. Women don’t believe they are as good as they are.”
Kay: Because it wasn’t just words. They weren’t saying one thing and doing another. They genuinely believed they weren’t good enough when you start looking into all of the data. Wharton’s done some of it. Columbia Business School has run numbers [to show] men overestimate their abilities by some 30%, [whereas] women routinely underestimate their abilities. We talked to a lot of psychologists who were working in business schools who put men and women in front of scientific reasoning quizzes. The women will routinely think they have done less well than they have done. The men will think they have done better than they have done. In reality, they have done about the same.
It’s that women’s perception of their ability skews below their actual ability. It’s not that they are just saying, “I’m not very good,” but actually thinking they are really good. They don’t believe they are as good as they are. That’s what the confidence gap is. Women don’t believe they are as good as they are.Twitter 
Grant: You point out that it’s not just other women, but that as a BBC journalist, you had actually experienced this yourself.
Kay: Oh, yeah. I’m riddled with this, and have been for the last 30 years of my career. I spent years in America saying that the only reason I’ve been successful in America is because I speak the way I do. I mean, it can’t possibly be my talents, right? Or my ability or my hard work. That’s preposterous. It had to be some external factor. In my case, it was the fact that I speak with a British accent, which makes people think I’m smarter than I am. I actually believed this, Adam. For years I believed this. Claire [Shipman], my co-author, will tell you. She has been banging on about this one for years.
Claire thinks [she] became CNN’s Moscow correspondent because she happened to be in the right place. That is very common for women.
Grant: What did you do when you noticed that there were people with British accents here who weren’t successful? Because that would violate the theory at some level.

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Kay: You always find some reason they must have some problem. 
Grant: OK, so, you identified the gap.
Kay: No one’s ever asked me that before.
Grant: Good. There is a lot of data behind the confidence gap, right? What do we do about it? Where does it come from, and how do we start to solve the problem?
Kay: Well, it led us then on this rather tangential quest to find out what confidence is. We thought that if we were going to try and grow confidence, we were better off if we knew what we were dealing with. So, we interviewed dozens of neurologists and psychologists for the book. We would always start off with this simple question, “Can you define confidence for us?” Inevitably, we would be met by a pause: “Hmm … well, it’s complicated.”
We went into this with a couple of misconceptions. First of all, we thought that confidence was the same as self-esteem — a general feeling that you’re a valuable person. I have high self-esteem. I think I’m a valuable person, the universe is a friendly place. It’s an almost sort of moral emotional quality that is pervasive to who you are as a human being. 
“Richard Petty, who is a psychologist at Ohio State, … said to us that he thought the best definition of confidence was this: ‘Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action.’”
We were wrong. Confidence is not the same as self-esteem. We also thought — and this was wrong, too — that confidence is a manner, a mannerism, it’s a bravado, a sense of swagger. It’s that thing of dominating meetings or speaking loudest and longest. We were wrong [there] as well.  We would ask all these neurologists and psychologists, “What is confidence?” Finally, it was Richard Petty, who is a psychologist at Ohio State, who said to us that he thought the best definition of confidence was this: “Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action,” which is beautifully simple. The great thing about that idea is that not only does it turn thoughts into action — “I want to introduce myself to that interesting-looking person at a party, but I feel nervous about doing so” — confidence gets you across the room to shake somebody’s hand and introduce yourself.
When you do it, when you take the action, you grow your confidence. So, it’s a wonderfully virtuous circle. Confidence is about action. 
Grant: Even when you take the action ineffectively, though? So, you make the introduction. It’s a complete disaster. What happens then?
Kay: Yes. Even if you fail, even if you meet hurdles when you try something new. It’s inevitable, right? You’re always going to meet hurdles. You introduce yourself to that person, they brush you off. Think to yourself: “What’s the worst that’s happened? Did the sky fall on your head? Did the earth open up and swallow you whole because that person brushed you off?” No, you’re still standing. You’re still there. And in a sense, even if you fail, you’ve learned that you can take a risk, try something hard, even if you fail, you’re still there.
Now, if you keep doing that, eventually you’ll succeed. If you introduce yourself to the next person, the chances are pretty slim that they are going to brush you off as well. You’ve learned that you can do something and that your world doesn’t fall apart because you try something that’s outside your comfort zone.
I read the news every night to millions of people around the world. It doesn’t test my confidence. Working at Wharton would terrify me. I’m absolutely convinced I would be useless at doing what you do. The only way I would ever find out would be to try. That’s how you build confidence. You take something that is challenging to you, that seems difficult, that is new and hard and outside your comfort zone — a small thing or a big thing — and you keep going, overcome hurdles and you succeed to some degree. And that’s how you build confidence.
Grant: It’s an interesting counterpoint to the self-esteem movement, which we all know from mountains of evidence did almost no good and a lot of harm. This is different, right? This isn’t about looking in the mirror and saying, “I’m really great.” It’s actually about increasing your ability to, as you said, convert thoughts into action. Do you have any other favorite strategies for boosting confidence?
“You take something that is challenging to you, that seems difficult … and you keep going, overcome hurdles and you succeed to some degree. And that’s how you build confidence.”
Kay: One of the reasons that there’s a confidence gap between men and women is women often find action harder than men because we are more risk-averse, because the fear of failure is enormous for us. It seems to be bigger than it is for men. 

The other thing that women do is we think a lot. We bounce around inside our own heads. “I sent Adam that email. He didn’t get back to me after half an hour. Maybe he’s mad at me…. Maybe all of Wharton is mad at me. Maybe everyone at Penn is mad at me because I didn’t get back to them.” That’s the way women work. We extrapolate — we take one small thing — a small slight, a small criticism, a small thing we’ve done wrong and it holds us back from acting and trying hard things because we’re running around in our own heads.
One of the things we [suggest] in The Confidence Code is you have to think less. You actually have to draw a line under those thoughts. Women dwell on the things they have done wrong. It’s what happens in review processes. It’s what happens in negotiations with our bosses. And what happens when there’s one piece of work we didn’t manage to hand in on time that day, even though we’ve done five other good pieces of work; we’ll remember the one piece of work we didn’t do so well. We need to find a way to draw a red line under that.
Grant: It’s interesting though, because everything you say, to me it sounds like a list of desirable attributes. So, isn’t a possible solution here just to get men down to the level of reasonable confidence?
Kay: [W]e’re asked, “Well, aren’t we at risk of pushing women into overconfidence?” I don’t think we’re at any risk of pushing women into overconfidence. I see no evidence that we’re going to suddenly become Lehman Brothers redux — all of us. I just don’t think that’s going to happen.
Ideally, everyone needs a little bit of overconfidence. It’s interesting that psychologists disagree about most things, but the one thing they actually do agree about is that a little bit of overconfidence is better than a little bit of under-confidence. Men probably have too much. And it might be better for all of us if some of it came down, particularly if you’re thinking of a cultural environment in the office space, right? If you’re thinking of meeting environments or employee/employer relations. That is, to some extent, a mannerism. 
“Get over the fear of failure — that techie buzz phrase ‘fail fast’ is a great one for women. Women hold themselves to a very high standard.”
But I think the priority is to get women over this hump of under-confidence because that’s part of what’s stopping them from taking action and getting to the next level.
Grant: So, you’ve talked a little bit about people stretching outside of their comfort zones. If you were going to create your wish list of a couple of steps that women and also men lacking confidence ought to take, what else would go on that list?
Kay: Be prepared to fail. Get over the fear of failure — that techie buzz phrase “fail fast” is a great one for women. Women hold themselves to a very high standard. We know this. Women are 25% more prone to perfectionism than men are. We’re perfectionists at work. We’re perfectionists as wives. We’re perfectionists as mothers. We’re perfectionists in the yoga studio. You name it, we want to be perfect at it. If you’re going to try and be perfect, you’re never going to get there. It’s an impossible standard, right? No one is ever going to be perfect. 
But the pursuit of perfection is something that holds us back from taking risks because it makes us very scared of failing. One of the first things that people who are under-confident need to do is give up trying to be perfect. It will be the single biggest thing that they can do to help them take risks and be prepared to fail.
Grant: In closing, is there a point that you feel has been misunderstood or oversimplified that you want to set the record straight on?
Kay: Yes. Some people have said to us, “Well, aren’t we just trying to make women like men?” We wrestled with this when we were writing the book. Basically, do you have to be a jerk to be confident? Because I think a lot of women look around them, and they see a very male model of confidence in the professional space that frankly is unappealing and inaccessible to us because it’s downright foreign.
It was Christine Lagarde, the head of the [International Monetary Fund], who was really helpful to us in explaining this. She said it’s essential for women to be authentic. Don’t give up the very qualities that make you valuable — an ability to listen, ability to build consensus, a high EQ that’s good at reading a room, warmth. Warmth is an amazing quality to have. It’s a very powerful quality. Don’t give up all of that in the pursuit of a mannerism — bravado and swagger — which doesn’t really suit you, and when you try it, doesn’t work for you anyway.
You want to be confident in that you want your voice to be heard. You don’t want to apologize. You don’t, as Sheryl Sandberg says, want to lean back. But you want to do it in a way that is authentic to whom you are as a woman. That’s critical. We’re not asking people to become somebody different. We are just asking them to bring their perception of their abilities in line with their abilities. When you’re there, you’re in the sweet spot.

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/the-art-and-science-of-self-assurance/



PERSONAL SPECIAL ...............Incredibly Successful People Who Started Out As Failures (2)

Incredibly Successful People Who Started Out As Failures (2)

Taylor Swift

She may have only been 11 years old at the time, but the young and driven TSwift struggled at first to find a record label in Nashville, Tennessee, that would sign her. During a middle school spring break, she took a demo CD of her singing karaoke covers of country stars Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks and LeAnn Rimes to Music Row and handed copies to as many music label receptionists as she could, but said she wasn't signed because "everyone in that town wanted to do what I wanted to do." She clearly found her niche, though -- this musical princess has since learned how to play quite a few instruments, taken over the country and pop-rock scene, and openly defied one the most popular music streaming companies.


Stephen King

This wildly successful American author of all things horror and suspense almost didn't get his big break -- 30 times! It was with his wife Tabby's help that he was finally able to convince Doubleday to publish Carrie. He has since become the 19th best-selling author of all time.


Harland David Sanders

Our favorite colonel from Kentucky Fried Chicken sure had to fight the good fight to get his secret recipe into the restaurant world. He wasrejected a whopping 1,009 times before he finally got that fried chicken to taste just right. Talk about perseverance.


Charles Schultz

The famous cartoonist who brought the world the "Peanuts" comic strip experienced quite a bit of rejection early in his career. None of the cartoon drawings he designed for his high school yearbook were ever selected to be published, and later Walt Disney turned him down for a job. It looks like it's a good thing he believed that "you can't create humor out of happiness."


Elvis Presley

Before the King of Rock 'n' Roll hit it big, he was told by the Grand Ole Opry manager in Nashville that he would be better off going back to his job as a truck driver than pursuing a career in music. Elvis many have never returned to that venue for another concert, but it's obvious he didn't have to go back to prove Jim Denny wrong.


J.K. Rowling


Before J.K. Rowling hit it big with Harry Potter, she was a broke, divorced single mother struggling to get by on welfare. In a matter of five years, the series took off, leading her to become the first billionaire author

The Huffington Post  |  By Alena Hall.

TECH SPECIAL .................Use Tech to Document YOUR LIFE (1)

Use Tech to Document YOUR LIFE (1)


We tend to move through life so fast that it all fades into a blurry mess.
show you how to use the right combination of apps and gadgets to keep everything digitally backed up and more importantly, in a way that is easily retrievable at a later date

GADGETS

HTC RE
Rs 9,990 You want a wearable camera to be really light and unobtrusive. At the same time, it should capture what you need without much fuss. The wide angle lens and smartphone control on the HTC RE helps you do all that.Plus, its waterproof, looks unique and captures high quality 1080p video and photos with just a couple of taps. If cheap, no-nonsense, high quality audiovideo is what you need, the HTC RE is hard to beat.

Narrative Clip
Rs 9,500 (including shipping) When you start taking photographs of an event, you sort of detach from it. Well, that's what the makers of the Narrative Clip would have you believe. The Clip is a tiny (20 grams, 9mm thick) automatic camera with storage for 4,000 pictures (5MP each) and 2 day battery life. Clip it to any part of your clothing and it'll keep taking photos of everything you see and everything you're part of. The AndroidiOS app will let you view and sort everything later.

Samsung Note Series
Rs 23,900 onwards Thanks to the pressure sensitive stylus, Samsung's Note series of devices are the perfect choice of phonetablet for someone who constantly needs to draw, jot notes or annotate. You can take a photo of anything and start drawing on it, scribble notes, save clips and images to combine later, take a screenshot and start drawing etc.The cheapest in the series is the Note 3 Neo and the newest is the Galaxy Note Edge with a curved amoled screen.

Portronics Portable Scanners
Rs 4,990 onwards If you often see something you need to save (reference books in a library, for instance), you can use a portable scanner. Portronics offers two versions that are truly portable ­ they have built in batteries and record to a micro SD card. Scanny 6 is great for books and almost any flat surface ­ even a poster on a wall ­ you have to manually move it across the surface you want to scan. Scanny 7 is a portable auto sheetfed scanner and it works for leaflets, papers, business cards and so on (up to A4). 

Portronics ElectroPen
Rs 5,500 The ElectroPen converts any regular notepad into a digital one. There are two parts to it: the receiver (8 hour battery life with continuous use) and a digital pen (30 hours continuous use). You simply clip the receiver to a book or notepad and it will digitize everything you write. It can store 100 A4 pages before you need to transfer to a computer. As a bonus, it can also be used as a writing device or mouse with the receiver connected to a PC.

Boogie Board RIP
Rs 5,990 Ever thought of a million dollar idea, only to have lost it in a scribble somewhere? This is a device that lets you save all your scribbles ­ the screen lets you doodle or write anything you want and each page can be saved to the internal memory to be transferred to the computer later as a PDF. Tap one button and the screen will flash, erase and you can start again. The rechargeable battery typically lasts a week or so.

Google Location History:
Many Android users seem to be unaware that Android, by default, records a daily location and timestamp. All this data is accessible to you at any time via a personalized map from your Google account. Head to http:maps.google.comlocationhistory to view your movement details on a personalized map. This is only visible to you (or to anyone else who has your password). If you want to share this info, you can export the travel data to a KML file that can be viewed using Google Maps or Google Earth.


Hitesh Raj Bhagat & Karan Bajaj ET 012815

PERSONAL SPECIAL.... How to Apologize and Get It Right

How to Apologize and Get It Right
With the new year, many people might see it as a time to move forward by improving their relationships, both professional and romantic. It's a good time to hit the reset button and take that step towards resolving past conflict. Crucial to accomplishing this is to make amends and issue an apology for wrongdoings. As a psychotherapist and executive coach, I help clients who get into trouble -- whether with their spouse or the public. There's a right way to issue an apology, and of course, a wrong way. There are certain elements that should be part of an apology, and there are things that should not be said.

Here's how to issue a proper apology, whether you're a partner or spouse, celebrity, or business leader, who made a mistake:
·         Own it. Verbalize what you did wrong and do it in person. This shows some level of culpability and awareness.

·         Don't make excuses. Don't try to explain away why you said or did something wrong. If you cheated, don't say, "I was drunk and that's why it happened." Instead, be direct and say what happened.

·        Keep it simple. Celebrities and public figures so often say too much and end up getting into more trouble. Their rant is usually an attempt to rationalize the behavior and that isn't what the public needs at the moment. Celebrity or not, obfuscating your words will dilute your intended message.

·         Be specific. Clearly identify what it is you are apologizing for. Saying, "I am sorry for making the comment about you being messy" is clear and direct. This goes much further than saying, "I'm sorry that you were upset."

·         Make it heartfelt. Speak from the heart and don't be afraid to show genuine emotion. This is your first step in repentance. This will go a long way in humanizing you and showing sincerity, both of which are critical in winning back trust and respect.

·         Put yourself in the shoes of the person you hurt. What do you think that person experienced and felt emotionally? Was it hurt? Sadness? Anxiety? Fear? Try to understand what the person or group might be going through and identify it. Be empathetic. For example, "I understand how my comments may have hurt you and made you feel anxious and disrespected."

·         What could you have done differently? Express how you could have handled the situation in a healthier way. So for the spouse who yells at his significant other when upset he might say "I should have taken a time out and then when I felt calmer expressed my frustrations."

·         Take actionIndicate what is next. What actions are you taking to try to improve things? For instance, if you have a tendency to blow up at your spouse, then perhaps therapy that addresses anger and communication is in order.

Next time you're in a position to apologize, do it the right way even though it might be difficult. The gain far outweighs any anxiety you may have over saying, "I am sorry."
Jonathan Alpert  
Licensed psychotherapist, executive coach, columnist, and author of "Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days"



ENTREPRENEUR STARTUP SPECIAL........ India's Quirkiest Startups (1)

India's Quirkiest Startups (1)
They've breathed life into offbeat ideas and claim their ventures are unique and face little if no competition. But that's still no guarantee of success

It's ingenious but, er, does it make money? Perhaps all the entrepreneurs who feature in this special package would have been asked this question at some point in their startup journey.
Kalyani Khona, who has started up Wanted Umbrella, which she claims is India's only matrimonial agency for differently-abled people, may have had observers wondering where the money will come from. Her quick answer: “I have married a social cause and business.“
It's ingenious but, er, why on earth would people want it? That's a query Alpana Agarwal, co-founder of Con Affetto, which makes edible bouquets -think cupcakes, cookies, truffle -may be used to by now.
Ask her about who are the potential customers and she just might tell you about the good lady who placed an order in New Delhi for her grandson's first birthday and carried it to Jaipur.
It's ingenious, but will it fly? That's what Mrinal Pai must be asking himself on the odd bad day. His start up is a farsighted concept that offers custom drone products and services. Pai sees a (near) future when drones will be used to transport organs between hospitals, flying over gridlocked roads; and when you could use his service to drop a quick personalised note of endearment to your beloved. Yes, but will regulations -which have yet to be framed -allow his drones to keep flying? These are just three of the 10 offbeat startups we've deep-dived into; just three of the 800-odd startups added every year; and just three of the over 3,000 startups that are trying to make it big in India.
The 10 that we've picked are novel, but being different or a first mover is no guarantee of being the best mover -or moving at all a few years later. After all, success rates in the world of entrepreneurship are notoriously low, as low as 10% in the tech world. And funding is no guarantee of success. CB Insights, a US-based venture capital database, reckons that companies typically die around 20 months after their last round of funding and after having raised $1.3 million.
For the 10 featured over the next couple of blogs, being unique is a good starting point. But as Sanjeev Krishnan, partner and leader (private equity and transaction services) at PricewaterhouseCoopers, explains, the markets for many such differentiated offerings are not large enough. “So unless the market expands exponentially, a shift in focus would be essential to create a new market segment,“ he points out.
There's something else that may work in favour of these newbie risk-takers: the proverbial fire in their bellies. When you hear Nikunj Jain, co-founder of Frankly.me, talking about being “Darwin's children“ and that “we run faster and kill harder“, you will get a sense of the fire burning.

     1.  King of Drones
You could call him `drone-acharya', although Mrinal Pai is a guru in a field a bit different from military arts. The 22-year-old lad from Kerala believes that one day Indians will be able to outsource petty jobs to machines. “And if that happens, moms won't be heard saying: `beta zara doodh leke aana' [son, please buy milk] as drones will get it.“ Pai is the co-founder of Skylark Drones, a Bengaluru-based startup that offers custom drone products and services ranging from aerial views for real estate developers to 3D surface model data for land surveys to wedding shoots and banner advertisements, and keeping a close eye during sports and other events.
Started in July 2014 with a seed capital of `4 lakh, Pai now wants to scale up the use of drones in areas such as organ transportation between hospitals in a city to bypass crowded roads.
Aware that the market for drones is still nascent, Pai believes that first-mover advantage will help his startup. “The biggest challenge for us now is not money or technology. It's regulation,“ he contends. Not even a year old, Skylark, says Pai, has broken even. And he's keen to break through potential barriers to the growth of his firm. “Brick walls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough,“ he says. Pai for sure wants it bad, and wants it now -and he's got his drones to bypass the walls!

  2.  Not Quite Kid Stuff
Deepa Kumar
Last July, when violent protests erupted across Bengaluru over the sexual abuse of a six-year-old student in her school, Deepa Ku mar refused to hit the streets. Reason: she was getting ready to fight back in her own unique way.
“The only way to curb such abuse is by talking about the topic with our kids,“ says Kumar. “We have to get rid of the devil in our heads.“ Kumar did that with HowToTellYourChild, an online startup that offers videos, books and related products that parents and educators can use to teach children about topics like sexual abuse and puberty in a fun and easy manner. Started in November last year, HowTo TellYourChild plans to tie up with schools, hold counselling sessions with parents and make videos in regional languages to expand its reach.
According to a study by the ministry of women and child development in 2007, every second child is a victim of some form of sexual abuse. The problem is enormous but so is the opportunity.
“This is a serious subject and we are the only ones doing it,“ says Kumar who insists that How To Tell Your Child is a perfectly viable business model. As she readies to tell a story to kids, there's another audience that would be keen to listen in too -investors.

 3.  Don't Hold your Breath
Kaushal Sanghavi knew that his business was unusual but little did he realise that customer acquisition can happen in the strangest of cir cumstances. A few months back when a hearing at the Bombay high court got delayed by three hours, it made a couple of women professionals restless. They wanted to use the toilet but it wasn't quite, well, swachh. So, they booked one of Sanghavi's `breathing rooms' to use the loo and, whilst they were there, they also decided to work out of it for a while.
BreathingRoom provides on-demand hourly workplaces to professionals and business travellers for meetings and conferences. The rooms can be booked from a mobile app even 15 minutes prior to a meeting.
The idea is indeed unique -offering unutilised or underutilised commercial spaces in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune at an affordable cost. The startup soon plans to expand into other cities such as Hyderabad and Chennai and is scouting for investors. Sanghavi is also rolling out OpenSpaces -in bars, restaurants and cafes -from which users can work for free when they're less busy.
Started in October last year by two ex-Amazonians, Sanghavi and Jacky Chow, BreathingRoom is now used by a wide range of clients such as startup founders, financial and tax consultants, and marketing and sales professionals to name a few. The rate charged per hour -`400 -is so reasonable that even work-fromhome entrepreneurs are opting for it, claims Sanghavi. The startup makes money by pocketing a 30% commission, the rest going to the property owner.
Whilst co-working hubs are mushrooming, the BreathingRoom model of tying up with owners of under-utilised spaces is still an untapped opportunity.And Sanghavi is not cramped for space -not yet.

  4.  Filling the Bill
When he was a PR executive at Lowe Lintas, Bharat Ahirwar would find it impossible to take a break. A day away from the office would be swallowed up by the time spent on bill payments (electricity, mobile et al), fixing leaky taps, a trip to the municipality office and bank-related chores. That's when it struck Ahirwar that there would be many working professionals like him in a similar predicament. Result? A Eureka moment that culminated in the setting up of errand-running startup GetMyPeon.
Started in July 2012, GetMyPeon is a newage version of a courier and concierge service, offering services ranging from the routine bill payments to the downright bizarre delivery of vada pavs from a specific food stall to a client waiting at the airport; or handing over just a button from a distant suburb that a stylist needed at her studio in South Mumbai.
“Our service is niche. We provide hyperlocal solutions and cater to urgent needs of customers,“ says Ahirwar, who is busy beefing up his team, developing an app to improve user experience and planning to roll into other cities.And, yes, funding is definitely on the cards.
With startups like YourGuy Concierge, Timesaverz and Grofers offering many services that overlap with GetMyPeon, Ahirwar will have to constantly innovate to stand out.“Our stable growth is proof that we will survive and thrive.“

  5.  On the Scent of a Bounty
Why would anybody shun a tall, good looking man who is always nicely dressed in jeans, tees and leather shoes in college? This is what Karan Vij, who got enrolled in California University to study international eco nomics, couldn't fathom.
He got the answer from an Indian friend: “Stupid, it's your shoes. They're so formal and intimidating.“ The learning helped Vij in setting up his business after coming back to India in 2012.From formal, he was keen to leap to the other extreme -he wanted to be funky. So he started Scentra, a scented shoe brand that uses organic cotton to make footwear, designed in California and manufactured in Spain. And, yes, imported to India.
“It's India's first scented shoe brand,“ claims Vij. The scent is not sprayed on the shoe but it's dyed in the sole to make it last long.
And if you thought that only women would rush to buy the prod uct, 43% of Scentra's customers are men, lets on Vij. Having sold over 1,300 pairs over the past five months, he is now targeting to sell 100 pairs every day, at an average of `2,000 a pop.
Possible? “Absolutely as the market is huge and we are the only player,“ he says. There's another reason for his confidence -the insight that he got from girls. “The first thing they look at in a guy is the shoes.“ Now he's got to get more men to believe that.
Rajiv Singh
ET 25JAN15 

Friday, January 30, 2015

BUSINESS SPECIAL.......5 Simple Steps to Scaling Your Business

5 Simple Steps to Scaling Your Business

In order to scale your business to the next level, you may need to rethink your approach.
Once you get your company up and running, you may find that it is difficult to scale your business based on your original product, service or pricing model. In order to break free, you must find ways to support and augment your existing business with other revenue streams and rethink your overall approach to selling.

Step 1- Think About Value You Are Delivering, Not the Hours
A common mistake I see in working with companies that are struggling to grow is that they are not charging enough for what they do.
Instead of determining your prices based on inputs, your pricing should take into account availability and value. As you get better at providing your product or service, you will deliver it faster and with greater accuracy. This efficiency is not a reason to offer a lower price--in fact, it may be a reason to increase your prices.
You only need to look at what lawyers and plumbers charge for their services to understand this model. They build in an opportunity cost for their availability and specialized training. Make sure you allow for margin in what you sell to bring on new staff and train them. If you are only ever covering your costs, you will never have the money you need to grow.

Step 2--Find Ways to Cut Costs
Just as important as making sure you are charging enough is to determine a way to cut the costs of what you are producing. If your company is "renting" any part of what it takes to deliver your product or service, see if it makes sense to own that part or if you can strike a better deal when your volume grows.

Step 3--Create Packages or Levels
Turning your products or services into packages or levels with an easy way to upgrade accomplishes two important goals.
In the explanation of the packages, your customer 1) gets a better idea of all of the work you are providing at their current level which can sometimes be lost over time and 2) they gain an understanding of what is available at other levels. This transparency allows your customer to determine when it might be time to move up to a higher level of service and it reduces the sales cycles necessary to build that awareness.

Step 4--Create Recurring Revenue
If you are constantly worried about how to pay the bills every month because what you produce must be sold each time, you will never be in a good position to move your company ahead. The only way to address this problem is to create recurring revenue.
If you think your business can't accomplish this goal because of what you sell, you only need to look at emerging business models like Dollar Shave Club to think about how a recurring revenue approach might work for your business.
Dollar Shave Club has created a recurring business model by providing men's shaving supplies on a subscription basis. This "supplies on demand" is a growing trend that will dramatically impact how we all shop for and receive products in the future. The approach provides Dollar Shave Club with a predictable revenue stream each month that allows them to concentrate on growing their business.

Step 5--Establish Key Business Partnerships
One of the best ways to grow your business is to establish a set of relationships with other companies that can sell your products or services for you.
Crystal, a provider of network management systems for media and satellite, uses a network of oversea partners to establish and grow their worldwide presence. One of the hardest things to figure out about any growing business is how to create reach. Crystal has addressed this problem by extending their reach to untapped markets without the overhead of new facilities or expensive headcount.
As you move into the new year, think about your business differently in order to find simple ways to create explosive growth.
By Eric Holtzclaw

Company Strategis
http://www.inc.com/eric-holtzclaw/5-simple-steps-to-scaling-your-business.html?cid=em01016week05b

PERSONAL SPECIAL ......... Incredibly Successful People Who Started Out As Failures (1)

Incredibly Successful People Who Started Out As Failures (1)

When it comes to accomplishing your dreams -- and getting credit for doing so -- all we can say is, never underestimate the power of time. Time not only grants you the ability to use your talents, pursue your dreams and leave a lasting imprint on the world, but also gives others room to adjust their perceptions of your achievements. Success and failure are not absolute measures of one's life, but rather the opposite ends of a spectrum that is constantly in flux. Current perceptions are only as valid as you allow them to be.

Thomas Edison
                    
An inventor known for his many failures long before his successes, Thomas Edison was even told that he was "too stupid to learn anything" by one of his teachers early on in life. Yet everyone knows the name of the man responsible for inventing the lightbulb -- even if it took him 1,001 attempts to get it right. His perseverance with this particular invention clearly embodies his positive saying, “I have not failed 10,000 times -- I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work."

Walt Disney

Even the head of the world's largest animation empire hit a rough patch. In 1919 he was fired from the Kansas City Star because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas," according to his editor.

The Beatles

When The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records in 1962, Dick Rowe told their manager Brian Epstein, "Guitar groups are on their way out." Despite that dismissal, the English rock band went on to become one of the most influential groups of all time.

Herman Melville

In the author's lifetime, Moby Dick was not considered a masterpiece. After publishing the novel, Melville struggled financially for the rest of his life. He used much of his savings to publish his subsequent novelPierre, which also was not well-received. At the time of his death in 1891, he was a customs inspector at a ship dock in New York.

Soichiro Honda

When Honda, an engineer for whom the popular car company is named, first failed to get a job with now-competitor Toyota, he took to making scooters in his own garage. Little did the world know that this time of unemployment would lead him to create the billion-dollar business we recognize today.

Vincent van Gogh

His paintings may be worth millions today, but no one really gave them a second thought during van Gogh's lifetime. In fact, he managed to create almost 900 paintings in a span of 10 years, yet he only lived to see a single one sold (which went to a friend at a very low price).

The Huffington Post  |  By Alena Hall