Posts Tagged ‘Return on Investment’

What’s In The Name

by Robert Driscoll on August 20, 2009

2008-01-28-domain-real-estate-istockphoto572188-400x300Many different areas of business have been covered in the past several weeks on Activegarage.com from the dance of entrepreneurship , creating and protecting your intellectual property, to protecting your company’s data .  Our goal is to help people transform their world by coming up with uncommon offers in the marketplace. 

So, now you’ve come up with the next breakthrough and are ready to take your first step as an entrepreneur.  You’ve come up with a name for your company and have set up a corporation.  You’re excited.  Financial freedom is just around the corner.  You go to register your company’s domain name and you come to find out…someone already owns it.  Don’t give up. 

Here are some simple steps to help you to continue moving forward.

1.     Change Your Domain Suffix

If .com is not available, look to see if any of the other domains are available (.net, .biz, etc…).  Be careful though as you might be in violation of a possible trademark infringement if the other domain in use is a legitimate business.

2.     Change The Name Slightly

Work on finding variations of the name you want until you find one that is available.  Again, be careful with this option as well as you could also be in violation of a possible trademark infringement. 

3.     Buy The Domain Name

Domain names are bought and sold all the time at sites like GoDaddy.com or BuyDomains.com.  Having the right domain name online can help establish your company’s identity.  Determine what the value of building your brand without being able to use the company name and domain you desire and compare that to what it would cost to buy the domain you want.  If the latter is less, simply buy the domain and continue moving forward. 

4.     If You Already Own The Trademark

If you already own the trademark to your company’s name, you have some options.  If you are dealing with a cybersquatter, the first, and less expensive, option is to contact ICANN and file a dispute under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy.  The cost to go this route varies as it depends on the number of domains filed in the dispute and the number of panelist required.  You can also send a cease and desist letter to the party that is “squatting” on your desired domain.  A sample letter can be found here .  While this process might be time consuming and cumbersome, it is considerably less expensive than the final option. 

5.     Seek Legal Advice

When you’ve exhausted all of your options, this might be the only one remaining.  Before going down this path, consider the time and money it might take if you try to resolve this matter with the “help” of an attorney.  If this goes to court and you win, you could have all or part of your legal expenses paid for by the other party, but be careful as you could very easily lose and incur legal expenses and still not have the name you wanted for your business. 

Unfortunately there is no one way to resolve this issue, but it is important to understand that you do have options should you encounter this problem.  It is just as important to determine how much time and money you are willing to invest before you go after the name you want.  Sometimes it’s just easier to come up with a new name.

The Most Respected SOB

by Yakov Soloveychik on August 17, 2009

patton11“Every Successful enterprise requires three men:

a dreamer, a businessman, and a son of a bitch.”

Peter McArthur, Photographer

History has shown that whenever the Presidents’ approval rating drops under 50%, the markets rally and the growth averages 9%. Sounds strange?

Change isn’t always popular and as a young COO running the operations of a $25 Million manufacturing company, I found myself being disappointed if at the end of the week I did not find any graffiti about myself on the notice boards of the plant restroom. I could not understand why I felt disappointed until one day it came to me … I was not active enough and I needed to take more risks that introduced change into the idling system. CHANGE is what causes popularity loss. Not the talk about change, but the actual change/shakeup of someone’s perceived state of “unruffled” comfort.

Note this sequence:

Popularity DOWN when CEO demanded –

    • higher efficiency
    • more overtime
    • more output
    • more sales effort

Popularity UP when CEO increased –

    • increased benefits
    • increased commissions
    • increased paid time off programs

You can continue this list, but you see the trend.

The formula for business is: Profitability = Revenue – Costs.  Simple and obvious yet very complex at the same time. Every CEO must (and CEO performance is based on) driving revenues UP and driving cost DOWN so that they do not grow in the same proportion as the revenue. That will assure growth in Profitability.  Now compare this objective of every CEO with issues related to His/Her Popularity. In most cases, when one strives for Popularity, this will increase the cost of running the business and will stagnate revenue growth.

For example, Steve Jobs, a dreamer, a businessman, and most unpopular CEO (to insiders) of Apple, created an unprecedented business success story for a company that was about to collapse.  While he strived to create a new type of industry and product lines for Apple, there were still stories about people trying to avoid at any cost getting in the same elevator with him. Today the results are outstanding and those who benefited on the share price growth are happy, but most of them still do not like the CEO who introduced the CHANGE, got them all to work hard and sacrifice a lot of personal comfort in the process.

Leadership is tough on popularity and likability. Executives and managers who strive for popularity, friendship, and for “being liked” by their peers and employees will become less effective and as a result, often impede their progress to succeed in the marketplace.

Let’s take it to my favorite examples with our kids. There is always this dreadful moment when your 5 year old suddenly in frustration tells you: “I hate you …”. What just happened? Your popularity rating just dropped to the bottom … but most likely this was after you got him to do what you wanted as most of the time these words come after your insistence on doing something they do not want to do on their own. If you let them have their way and drop your demands … well, you know, you will get a smile and “I love you” and a kiss. It is hard to demand and insist … but it builds character and eventually respect; after recognizing that your demands were reasonable and fair and that after performing as requested, you gave them candy or something they wanted so much.

Lets just substitute the striving for “love and popularity” with striving for respect and you may hit the perfect balance.

So here are two magic life rules for a better balance that will lead to respect and efficiency:

    • Always demand performance, but be reasonable and fair and adjust these demands to the person you are asking to perform these requests.
    • Always acknowledge the effort of the implementation even if the result is not 100% to your expectation, but do not hesitate to ask and insist on another solution if the result is unacceptable.

General Patton was known to demand performance and would not take any excuses, for that many called him “the most respected SOB” in the forces.

Yajov Soloveychik PicYakov Soloveychik is a business advisor, mentor and a personal coach to CEO’s and business owners. Yakov’s professional and entrepreneurial career includes VP,  COO, CEO positions and service on board of directors with a number of technology based companies in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley

Help – it’s just more ROI!

by Guy Ralfe on July 29, 2009

Help maximize the return on investment

Description of Help (v):  to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist:

Help is surely something that you would like to have in abundance in your personal and your business endeavors. Have you reflected on how much help is around us, and what it is to us?

Last week I led a value workshop for, hopefully, a future client. Our sales lady has been in communication with this organization for over a year now and in an effort to offer them help to facilitate moving forward with a deal a one day Value Workshop was suggested to help them identify their solution needs. We used a method called Pain ChainsTM developed by Keith M. Eades. This organizational assessment method enables you to evaluate the impact and value of an organizations pains. The concept is that pains in an organization are felt by individuals within the organization. These pains are often as a consequence of some other interdependent individual’s pain within the organizational process chain.

As an outcome of the value assessment, one of the pain chains the participants estimated, increased the costs at around 7% of payroll and another contributed to the loss of revenue in the order of 8-10% of revenue in a primary division. This accumulated cost, in a single year, far outweighs the solution costs and to think that they have lost a year already in indecision and likely another year between making a decision and realizing the benefits of which ever solution they choose. Ironically this organization helps their clients through their product and services offering in a very similar way.

At the end of the value workshop we asked for feedback and all responded very favorably to the exercise and how it had opened their mind to the impact of their problems and the urgency with which they needed to address the situation. However one particular individual’s feedback really stood out – while very enthusiastic about the outcome of the workshop and what had been revealed to him he concluded that “ …there was nothing in the session that we couldn’t have done ourselves!

That assessment is 100% correct, but what it doesn’t take into consideration is at what cost to you and your organization. Yes anyone can do just about anything given enough time, but time is the one thing we have no control over which makes it scarce and expensive. That is why we need help and that is why when we get help acknowledge it and realize how much it is contributing to your Return On Investment (ROI)!

Just Innov8!

by Robert Driscoll on July 16, 2009

Innovation: a new way of doing something.

Today’s tough market conditions shouldn’t stop your company from innovating. All recessions come to an end and when they do your company needs to be prepared. Companies need to use this time to innovate so that they can accelerate past their competitors.

For example: Sprint, the nation’s #3 wireless provider in the US, while struggling financially and losing customers to both AT&T and Verizon, still continues to innovate and reinvent itself. While both AT&T and Verizon have chosen to go with LTE (Long Term Evolution ) for their next generation of mobile broadband, Sprint has decided to form a joint venture with Clearwire to build a nationwide mobile WiMax network. By 2010, Sprint anticipates their WiMax network to reach 120 million to 140 million possible customers; in comparison Verizon will only have launched their LTE network in to 20-30 markets by mid-2010. Verizon doesn’t anticipate having a “nationwide build-out complete in 2013 to early 2014,” according to Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam. AT&T also is rolling out their LTE next generation wireless network in 2011. In the interim, AT&T will upgrade their existing HSPA network to support speeds of 7.2Mbps, double of the current theoretical limit of 3.6Mbps.

With technology constantly changing, a 2-3 year head start can seem like a lifetime and could be the difference between Sprint not only surviving but creating the standard for wireless broadband. By not redefining themselves, they very easily could become another wireless carrier to succumb and disappear in their fiercely competitive market. As Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, said, “The winning companies are those that innovate during turbulent times.”

This same methodology should be applied to all businesses today as we watch the globally economy contract  at rates not seen since The Great Depression. Now more than ever, in order to survive and win, it’s important to innovate!

How Social Media is changing Marketing

by Deepika Bajaj on July 3, 2009

socialmediawagonIt is important to understand what is going on here. There is a real shift underway. Building your brand through traditional tools and trends need a closer look. Are they making you vulnerable? Are they making you a stronger business?

Speed of change is HIGH. Advertising has been moving online and is becoming less effective. The payouts of online advertisement are declining. It is harder to justify marketing budgets and ROI for online advertising.

Here are some current trends:

Trend #1 Balance of Power
There has been a big power shift and today consumer has unparalleled power.

Trend #2 Emerging Marketing opportunity
More intimate customer relationship marketing is possible.

Trend #3 New Technique to build brand identity
You can shape your brand identity through response to social market. Transperancy and humility are rewarded. Authenticity is identity.

Every marketeer is now struggling with the following questions:

Should we be on FB?
Do we start a blog?
Do we offer everything for free?
Why aren’t we tweeting?

There are a lot of people who know what is social media BUT are not sure how to use it. Social Media is focused on the long tail so it is customized for easy adaptation by consumers. For marketeers to use it effectively, they need to demonstrate leadership in using social media. They need to develop social leadership strategy that delivers desired outcome and meets their business objectives.

All day I read articles, blogs, case studies about brands that tried something — usually — missed the boat, and are now enjoying the not always positive feedback we are all so ready to give. But then again, every once and a while a company comes along and really hits the nail on the head.

The Nature Conservancy leverages Facebook and Digg for cause marketing: How TNC raised nearly $75,000 through Facebook Causes and a partnership with Lil Green Patch, a popular Facebook application. The group has also built significant brand awareness through the social news site Digg! (As reported by Jonathon Colman of TNC, September 29, 2008).

So why bother with social media?

I meet with a lot of companies, and almost always I am asked to “give an example of how a company has increased their bottom-line with social media.” Well, now, in addition to my usual spiel of stats, graphs, etc., I can also hand case studies. What it comes down to is any company can find success with a social media strategy; they just need to have the right goal in place. They need to understand where their audience is hanging out, and get in there with a good story … start passing it around. The rest usually takes care of itself.


DD_headshot Contributed by Deepika Bajaj, President and Founder, Invincibelle, LLC. Invincibelle helps women who live and work in a multicultural world to accelerate their professional growth. You can follow Deepika on Twitter at invincibelle.

Providing ROI

by Himanshu Jhamb on June 10, 2009

roiI just got back from a 3 day conference where I met some of the most accomplished individuals in the business world. Many of them were successful entrepreneurs who had started companies, failed time and again… and then succeeded. Many were leaders in executive roles in their organizations. The conference had a few break out sessions which were led by some of them. I couldn’t help but notice how they moved around and conducted themselves. Here are some of their actions and what they meant to me:

  • They made every effort to be On time – Indicates to me a deep respect for my opportunity cost of meeting with them, (i.e. they cared about the opportunities participants had to forego to attend their session).
  • They came Prepared for the sessions they led – This gave them an opportunity to produce high Returns (increased productivity, learning) On Investment (Time, Money, Energy) for the participants.
  • They opened with a question ‘Why are you here?’ – This gave them an opportunity to generate relevance for the participants.
  • They kept the session interactive – This kept the participants engaged & interested.
  • They closed with an actionable request – This gave the participants an opportunity of putting into practice (in real life) what they learnt.
  • Imagine the increase in productivity in whatever you do, if all the meetings and sessions were run with these fundamental tenets in mind, regardless of if you were a participant or the leader.

    Imagine the ROI!

    …I’ll leave you with that thought to reflect upon!