Tag Archives: management

Avoid These 6 Recipes for Business Disaster

The article was originally posted at The Wall Street Journal (http://cn.wsj.com/gb/20120809/inv073628_ENversion.shtml)

We are all looking for a recipe for business success that is easy to follow. But what if instead there was a recipe for disaster?

Why would anyone want to know the formula for failure? Because you may be blind to the fact you are already following it, at least in part. And if you know the ingredients to avoid, you’ll save your business before it’s too late.

I thought about all of the entrepreneurs I’ve known, worked with and mentored over the years, and all of the businesses I’ve studied, and I came up with six recipes for disaster. Avoid these and your odds of success will increase dramatically.
Read more »

“Think big but start small”

At the height of the dotcom bubble in 2000, almost anyone with a cheque book could put money into a hot new technology company. Few got out without losing their shirts.

But Carmen Busquets, a 46-year-old Venezuelan entrepreneur, managed to make a successful bet on an e-commerce venture, and has gone on to become one of the most important investors for fashion-related internet businesses.

An early backer of Net-A-Porter, she recently made an angel investment in ModaOperandi.com, which allows fashion obsessives to order straight from (and straight after) the runway.

Ms Busquets’ investing style stands apart from more famous venture capital firms, which shower start-ups with tens of millions of dollars, bestowing young companies with colossal valuations. Instead, she doles out small investments as a company needs capital.

“Why give a million dollars to someone if they have not proved that they can make a million dollars?” she asks. “I learnt this from my father, who would never give us more money than we could make. If I maxed out a credit card, he would cut it.” Read more »

Is radical innovation a thing of the past?

It is a rash commentator who calls the end of history. Such declarations, as Francis Fukuyama discovered, tend to be made on the eve of wrenching change. Even so, despite the mass of management thinking forced between hard covers and carpet-bombed weekly on to cowering readers, it is hard to identify radical innovations from the past decade and tempting to think great breakthroughs are no longer possible.

Plenty of thinkers would beg to differ. Ten years after Good to Great was published, Jim Collins is back as co-author of a new book, Great by Choice , touted as “groundbreaking” despite its derivative-sounding title. Michael Porter believes “creating shared value” will mark a turning point in economic history, though critics claim his latest idea is corporate social responsibility under a new guise. Gary Hamel, meanwhile, is promoting the open-access Management Innovation eXchange – “the MIX”, an online clearing house for management ideas – as the vehicle for nothing less than a reinvention of the discipline.

In May, Prof Hamel blogged that “the emerging ‘social technologies’ of Web 2.0 are likely to transform the work of management root and branch”. He laid down an “e-gauntlet” to organisations to share ideas about how they were becoming “more adaptable, innovative, inspiring and accountable”. A few cynics have fallen into the MIX (though the contributor who offered a lapidary contribution headlined “innovation sucks” seems to have disappeared from the site). But the winners of the first phase of the prize mostly defy scepticism – mainly because the improvements they propose seem to be working in practice. Read more »

13 Unusual Ways Made Google Competitive

Tongfei Kou's Website / 寇同飞的个人网站

To post this article from BusinessWeek here is not aiming at letting all the companies to become successful by following 13 unusual ways. Some of those methods may only fit Google (or perhaps other Tech companies) rather than all business activities. However, I personally believe that this article may bring some ideas for business leaders.

From BusinessInsider.com
Original Title: 13 Unusual Ways Sergey Brin And Larry Page Made Google The Company To Beat
Author: Alyson Shontell
Published on May 4, 2011

For more than a decade, Google has been the company to beat.

It’s consistently named one of the world’s best employers, it is the #1 company young professionals want to work for, and its name has become synonymous with search.

How did Sergey Brin and Larry Page create the tech titan? Not all of their strategies are straight forward. Read more »

Unilever bows to Beijing pressure: a new regulatory risk in an inflationary climate


From “Financial Times
Original Title: Unilever bows to Beijing pressure by putting off planned price increases
By Patti Waldmeir in Shanghai, Robin Kwong in Taipei, Alexandra Stevenson in London

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group, has bowed to pressure from Beijing to delay planned price increases, highlighting a new regulatory risk in an inflationary climate.

While Chinese authorities routinely force state-owned enterprises to place the public interest ahead of commercial concerns, Unilever’s confirmation of the government’s request signals that large foreign multinationals are not immune to such pressure.

A Unilever spokeswoman in London said, “I can confirm that Unilever China received a request from the National Development and Reform Commission and has chosen to comply with it, and postpone price adjustments previously scheduled for April 1.”

Chinese consumers, increasingly alarmed at the rising cost of living, cleared supermarket shelves earlier this week of shampoos, soaps and detergents after state media said four consumer goods companies – including Unilever and Guangzhou Liby Enterprise Group – would raise prices by 5 to 15 per cent.

Alarmed by the reaction, Beijing is understood to have contacted companies to urge price restraint. China’s consumer price index rose 4.9 per cent year-on-year in February.

“When you wake up and see photos of old people rushing into supermarkets in a panic, that is a signal to government that this is a serious problem,” said Shaun Rein of China Market Research in Shanghai.

Alongside Unilever, Liby – another leading detergent producer – and Tingyi, which produces half of China’s instant noodles, agreed to delay planned price rises.

Tingyi said it acted “in alignment with the policy of the state for maintaining the stability of commodity prices”. Wei Ing-chou, chairman and chief executive, had spoken of the need to “watch which way the [political] wind blows”, when announcing the rise but, explaining the delay on Friday, the company pointed to signs that raw material prices were stabilising.

Luo Zhiping, analyst with Business Information Research, a Shanghai-based consulting firm with close ties to government, said the goal was to “prevent consumer chaos” after widespread panic-buying of salt, which was viewed as an antidote to potential radiation from Japan’s earthquake-crippled nuclear power station. By firing this shot across the bows of companies whose planned price increases were widely publicised, Beijing should be able to convince a wide range of companies to contain most prices, at least temporarily, he said.

Unilever would not say how long it would postpone the price rise.

Liby said that after being contacted, it had decided “to take the whole situation [of the market and consumer reaction] into account” and delay or even rescind price increases that had already been put in place.

From “Financial Times
Original Title: Unilever bows to Beijing pressure by putting off planned price increases
By Patti Waldmeir in Shanghai, Robin Kwong in Taipei, Alexandra Stevenson in London

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