Do what you LOVE and do it OFTEN

This is YOUR Life. Do what you love and do it OFTEN. If you don't like something, CHANGE IT, If you don't like your job, QUIT. If you don't have enough time, STOP WATCHING TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, STOP. THEY WILL BE WAITING FOR YOU WHEN YOU START DOING THINGS YOU LOVE. STOP OVER ANALYZING. LIFE is SIMPLE. OPEN YOUR MIND, arms and hearts to new things and people. We are united in our differences. TRAVEL OFTEN. Getting lost will help you find yourself. SOME OPPORTUNITIES come only ONCE, Seize them! LIFE IS ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU MEET, AND the things you create with them. SO go out and start creating!. LIFE IS SHORT. LIVE your DREAM and SHARE your PASSION

This is an excerpt from the mission statement of Holstee, a NY based company which sells eco-friendly clothing and accessories. This manifesto went viral last year with more than 50 million hits online. This was Holistee's mission statement. The founders Fabian Pfortmuller, Mike and Dave Radparvar were so surprised with this response that they started selling this for a 25 $ poster on recycled paper. They wrote this mission statement to make sure that if ever Holstee becomes something they cant control; they would remember that the reason for which they got into business in the first place. 

Entrepreneurs take risks for a reason. Why you are chucking your well paying jobs and comfortable lifestyles to become entrepreneurs is a reason close to your heart. Always remember the reason why you are here and you will remain focused. 

The Science of Business Planning- The Start

Most people I know look at business planning as a very time consuming and cumbersome process. However, believe it or not, this entire process has determined viability of many a venture. When you start putting your ideas into words, the process of execution of your business begins to shape up and thus shapes up the aspects of execution of the idea that you might have overlooked while cooking it up.

I would recommend this exercise to whoever wants to execute an idea. It is time very well spent. 
The science of business planning is simple. Take a few hours off your busy schedules and just focus on what you are trying to build. As you focus, these are the basic classifications of thought that you will require to gather Start with the two steps below for today

a. Executive Summary. 
This will be the last section that you will write. It will not be more than 2 pages but once you are done with the rest of the sections; this section will be really easy to traverse. You will be able to explain the fundamentals of your business, what would your products be, who will your customers be, who will own the business and why do you think it has a future.
All you need to be here is enthusiastic, professional, concise and complete.

b. Company Description
This is where you will start your focused writing. 
What is the mission of the business you are trying to build? The reason for its existence and what the business focus would be? Will your business cater to a customer satisfaction goal or will it be a benchmark in industry breakthroughs. Making sure such a statement is incorporated in your business plan is extremely important.
You also will need to be clear on who are your products and services intended for? Who are these people? What are their specific age groups and backgrounds or locations that make your products desirable to them. 
What is your industry? Is it a growth industry? What changes do you foresee in the industry, short term and long term? How will your company be poised to take advantage of them?
What are the core strengths of your company going to be? What could be perceived as challenges and weaknesses?
What background experience, skills, strengths do you bring to the venture? 

c. Legal
This is perhaps a very important function of your set up. What will be the structure of your business? Will you run it alone or will you have partners?

How will your partners contribute to the business? Do you have agreements with them? What kind of a set up are you geared for - a sole proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, LLC?

All these will need to answered before we move to the next phase of business planning which will be to describe the core of your business- Products and services.

Should you have any questions about this part, feel free to write to me, comment or start a discussion. 

Gartner, MENA et al

Despite and Inspite Gartner and IDC  and other analyst predictions ( Ref and Thanks to RWME and Arun Shankar), the world market may move in a certain direction, MENA will continue to live a technology avatar of its own in 2012.

I agree with Gartner that we will see the growth of cloud services, I disagree we will go that far with it. The pre-requisites to such an enablement is all infrastructure, security and virtualization are still in infancy with us. I believe cloud enablement will occur with an increase in focus of many an enterprise in our region to secure, manage and plan their infrastructure.

A lot more of our local data centers will try to enable Cloud services with their facilities. However, they will fail to recognize the core of the reason why cloud is a concept. - ie scalability, control, measurability and agility.
Running a cloud ops is about people and processes, centralized management and automation. Clouds make money through multi- tenency models, chargebacks and pooling of resources. Amazon , facebook and Google did not buy high end equipments to build their cloud infrastructure. Most of their technology and network is low cost and very proprietary. They are able to make money on their infrastructure because of the foundation of their scalable low cost ( non open source) networks. I dont see this happening a lot in the MENA region. Innovation is low. Even the clouds being built right now are being built with brands where ROI requires more than a nominal fee to recover.

The region will continue to grow on virtualization. And the hardware required to virtualize. The integration of virtual and physical environments will be another complexity that we will forsee. So will secuity and storage management of virtualized environments.

Another area of growth because of highly information managed environments will be the DR plans. I think there will be immense growth in DR planning and execution across enterprise.

Mobility will grow further with collaboration, security and content management  being the areas that will propagate the most.
IDC puts Big data to grow to 2.7 zettabytes. ( 48% higher than 2011) and predicts that 90% of this will be unstructured. I see a bigger chunk of unorganized data being created and used in our region and that too in several languages. There are huge prospects in data mining, organization and retrieval in MENA. 

Romania is a Wonderland

Am going to be a little patchy for the next few days. Just landed in Bucharest and on my way to Brasov for my project meetings.

The Mid Market Game

How do you define a Mid Market game? Who is Mid Market? Really, all economies that I have worked in, as a progression of my career so far, have defined mid market differently. Understandably Mid Market is essentially not your neighborhood mom and pop outfit with a 6-7 employees and its definitely not a corporation with over 50 employees and a flashy Management Team and layers beneath them. But then a  a mid market company in aviation may have several thousand employees and one in technology may only have a hundred. 

The middle market start at revenue or valuation levels of $5 million, $10 million, $25 million, $50 million, and $100 million. At the upper end of the middle market neighborhood, I’ve seen those same businesses claim revenue or valuation cut-offs of $100 million, $250 million, $1 billion, and $2 billion.So there goes, your mid market is defined. For where ever you are. :)

Despite the status of the US Economy, fundamentally statistics show that there has been tremendous growth in the mid market economy. Since middle market companies are not easily defined nor studied, their economic impact is also not well understood. But statistically the middle market does serve as a kind of incubator for big business. As per Headwaters, in the last five years, there have been an astonishing 11,783 acquisitions of middle market companies by strategic acquirers—larger companies, in the great majority of cases—with an astonishing $1.13 trillion of total deal value.

Start-ups that succeed (and by definition bloom into middle market companies) have been responsible for nearly all net U.S. job growth since 1980, according to a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation. 

A Deloitte study, published in April 2011, said that as many as eight in 10 executives from the American middle market expect annual revenues to increase in 2011, and 69 percent of the executives plan on hiring new employees in 2012. 

Why is the middle market able to drive job creation and Innovation. Middle-market companies are sometimes considered "super small businesses” — too successful to be truly “small” but still marked by the entrepreneurial spirit. Most remain privately held, and many are family-run.  More than 174,000 businesses report revenue between $5 million and $10 million, according to The Deal. An additional 156,000, or 42 percent of the total, had revenues between $10 million and $50 million.

The line between small businesses and the middle market is not clearly defined, as successful small businesses evolve into middle-market companies pretty rapidly.  These  add an average of 3 million jobs in their first year of existence. The Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly report states that in August, for example, ADP private payroll report indicated that payrolls of less than 500 workers rose 88,000 while employment on payrolls of 500 or more workers rose only 3,000. 

Middle-market companies report higher levels of productivity, lower debt ratios, and stronger balance sheets than before the recession. These companies are looking to expand through active add-on acquisitions and other mergers — targeting either weaker competitors or complimentary product lines and offerings. According to data compiled by Baird and Dealogic, there were approximately 5,300 middle-market M&A deals in 2010 alone, totaling $347 billion.  The number of middle companies itself could be the key to increasing GDP, according to Kauffman. The study finds that if 60 more companies with $1 billion were launched every year, it would achieve a permanent percentage point increase in GDP.
The middle market already represents 40 percent of the national GDP and yet it remains largely unnoticed. While business and political leaders continue to focus on deficit reduction, tax reform, and other measures to stimulate the economy,there seems to be no focus on growing the humongous potential of mid- market. 

An Indian Inventor Disrupts The Period Industry | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation

An Indian Inventor Disrupts The Period Industry | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation: "According to her, rural women are clueless as to how to use them, think twice about spending even the small amount of money to buy a packet, and sadly have a devil-may-care attitude about their health. "When I caution them that they might have to have their uterus removed because of reproductive infections, they just say, 'So what? How long are we going to live anyway?'"

'via Blog this'

Business Plans. The most important decision makers

Good Morning. The real value of creating a business plan is  not in having the finished

uct in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of researching and thinking about 

your business in a systematic way. 

The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, study and research if

you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically. It takes time now,

but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later.

I always ensure that entrepreneurs I consult have thought through and written about
their businesses enough to understand what it entails. 

It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and re‐thinking your ideas and assumptions. But then, that’s the value of the process. So make time to do the job properly. Those who do never regret the effort. And finally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.

I get frustrated messages from entrepreneurs who I lead through this exercise most of the times. Too much valuable time spent in research, too much to write, too many parameters to handle. Too much time to get rolling. 

Businesses are like buildings. The architects and the builders need to plan and draft each level of this building for it to have a strong foundation. That is the value of business planning. 

So, let me lead you through the process of business planning in the next posts. In the meantime,  where ever in the world you are, ensure you have consulted a local business formation department of your local governance to know what legal denomination of a corporation would suit your business requirements the most. Have a good rest of your day!

Here comes 2012

New Beginnings. Are just a state of your mind. Tomorrow will be just as long, short, interesting, uninteresting, busy or lazy as another day. Yet, hope of a new day, faith in a better time and a human persistence for anticipation makes its way into a celebration every 365 days.

If we were to bring the same hope, faith and sense of achievement into each next moment; time and space work their way around your ambition. You don't need a new year's day to resolve to be a better person, work on a better relationship with your friends or family, to stop addictions, to become healthy or to create a list of rules. You just need a decision and you need the will power to stick to your decision. Today. Now and every moment. New Year day or not.

Make each moment rich. Create happiness for yourself and those around you each moment. Not a moment in the future and not dependent on an event. It doesn't matter if its not now. Go to bed every night, satisfied in your conscience, that you did something worthwhile now. In this moment.

There is no end and there is no beginning just because a date changed. Every moment in between the changed dates is a lost opportunity.

There are no new beginnings. For there has been no end. It is just a change of a number.



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