Thursday, January 28, 2016

Focus on the Process - Part 1 of 2

All businesses require processes for the creation of products and services. A process is a collection of activities that consumes resources and adds value to the consumer (in the form of products / services) with some form of benefit paid to the producer. Additionally, all processes have variation – in business we call this risk. As H. Edward Deming, pioneer in the field of quality management, points out – If you can better understand variation in a process, you can plan for it and do things to prevent it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Machines of Loving Grace

Machines of Loving Grace is the title of a book written by John Markoff. Markoff is a science writer for the New York Times who has followed technology for the last 30 years. In the last few years, we have seen an escalation of technologies, ranging from drones and robots to Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. This has prompted some of our best thinkers to challenge what is happening. Stephen Hawking has remarked: “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Bill Gates and Elon Musk have both voiced concerns about the birth of super intelligence or machines that can think.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Why Customer Retention is so Important to Growth

For many businesses, the challenge of growth has become exceedingly difficult. Larger companies seem to grow through acquisition since internal growth above 10% is not possible. One of the keys to good internal growth is through retention. Granted, it’s not easy, but if you can somehow retain your customers and get them to come back, you have created a platform for growth that is much easier to manage then a growth strategy predicated on acquiring other companies. Acquiring and integrating other companies is very challenging and requires expertise that most companies lack, not to mention the very low success rate even if you do have outside help. Therefore, a growth strategy rooted in retention can be more viable and sustainable over the long run.