Start The Best Business You Can

I just started teaching a new class of aspiring entrepreneurs. One of them asked at the end of the first meeting, “Are you going to tell me what’s the best business for me to start?”

He was surprised when I said “no” and told him, instead, about places where he could find lots of statistics about profitability and growth for various kinds of businesses as a way to begin narrowing down the possibilities.

Having no experience in starting a business, he didn’t realize that the best business for him to start depends a lot on what his personal goals are, what capabilities he already has, how well he can attract talent and resources, and how effective he is in various kinds of innovation, from developing new offerings to pioneering advantaged business models.

Since we had just met, I had no idea about those personal factors. During the next few sessions, I will show him how to evaluate those fitness dimensions, and to take them into account for selecting a business to start.

Let me mention another misperception: Most new entrepreneurs mistakenly think that new businesses are usually so well-formed that they only require being expanded without change.

Actually, what’s required is usually just the opposite: New businesses are a mess and need improvement before they can be successfully expanded.

One of my favorite comments to new entrepreneurs is: “Your first business idea will be your worst one. Your second business idea will be your second to worst one. Your third business idea will be your third to worst one. And so forth.”

As a result, I encourage those planning to start new businesses to first try lots of their ideas in low-cost, rapid ways.

For many future entrepreneurs it can be especially valuable to work first for a successful organization that is world class in performing whatever it is that the entrepreneurs think they want to do. After having that experience, many of them develop a better idea of what to do and become effective partners, and even competitors, with their former employers.

I was reminded of that lesson recently while attending the opening ceremonies for the Innovation Group’s impressive new rubber compounding line in Rayong, Thailand.

The group was founded just over twenty years earlier by Professor Banja Junhasavasdikul, Ph.D. of Chulalongkorn University, who earned his doctorate in technology management from Rushmore University, following a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Chulalongkorn University, a Master of Arts in organic chemistry from the University of Texas, and an executive MBA from Thammasart University.

Before starting the group, Professor Junhasavasdikul worked for Shell (Thailand) and DuPont for twelve years where he learned a lot about creating and profiting from producing high-performance organic products.

At its inception, Innovation Group had only three employees. They focused on marketing high-performance products produced by American chemical companies, especially DuPont.

Today, Innovation Group has 1,230 employees, operates three trading companies, two rubber compounding factories, one finished-products factory, and two research-and-development centers. The company’s expertise is sought by the world’s leading companies when they want to access the best technology for creating high-performance products using polymers.

As an example of its development and production expertise, Reebok shoes now last longer than they used to, thanks to Innovation Group. Recently, Innovation Group added nanotechnology-based products to its line of offerings.

Few distributors of technical products graduate to become technology-based production companies. Innovation Group was able to do so because its founder saw the firm’s beginning as just one step in the process of Winning with Technology, a process he described in his book by that title in 2011.

In the book, Professor Junhasavasdikul describes some of the lessons the firm’s success demonstrates. One lesson learned while working for others was that the quality of bosses varied a lot. From those experiences in working for others, he wanted to do better: He determined to be a “good, but tough, coach.”

Acting on that lesson paid off seventeen years ago. That’s when Innovation Group was told by its rubber compounding partner, a firm that controlled the technology, manufacturing, and marketing to large Japanese customers, that the partner would be establishing its own factory in competition with Innovation Group.

The partner vowed it would take all of the Japanese customers with it. For a weak enterprise, that would have been a deadly event.

Today, Innovation Group is much larger than its former Japanese partner. That’s because the Thai firm developed its own technology and improved its employees from the “inside-out” so that they could deliver the firm’s strong technology to its customers.

Despite the global slowdown in recent years, Innovation Group has continued to expand at an enviable rate… even after much of Thailand was shut down by floods during 2011.

The firm’s prospects have never appeared to be brighter. In addition to Professor Junhasavasdikul, top management includes his daughter, Ms. Patima Junhasavasdikul, and son, Mr. Panitan Junhasavasdikul, (each holds an MBA degree from an American university) who have performed well in important leadership tasks at the firm.

What are some of the lessons that Professor Junhasavasdikul feels are important for other entrepreneurs?

“I have found that to be successful in growing industrial products in a global market the company must develop its competitive edge over the competitors in eight ways:

1. Build strong core-competency in three areas:

a. Strong technology in the industry that we serve
b. Employees’ abilities, control systems, and culture
c. A strong technical marketing organization

2. Build a strong partnership in the total value chain.

3. Have the ability to ensure congruence between its internal competency and external position.

4. Create and apply great corporate strategies to stay in front of the competition.

5. Develop great marketers.

6. Build a strong corporate image.

7. Establish an effective business network along the value chain.

8. Put in place and improve a strong marketing channel of distribution.

“Innovation never comes by luck. Just generating different ideas cannot create an innovative product. Productive ideas have to come from the industrial demands of customers. An innovative organization brings customers’ needs and industrial future requirements into the development cycle, which requires strong knowledge and technology in that area.

“Innovators are not born as such, but they can be developed. Innovators have unique senses in generating breakthrough business ideas. Innovators have creative intelligence, which differs from other types of intelligence and enables them to make discoveries. The more diverse the experience and knowledge an organization has, the more connections that can developed in creative thinking.

“To be a success, a company must have strong business cultures emphasizing good corporate governance and building employees’ competence. Management must also develop effective systems to control and measure the achievements.

“Customers demand today new products with better quality and better performance, but at a lower price. The way to succeed in business has to change to reflect those demands.

“Modern marketing’s task is to translate what we know about customers’ demands and our technology into the next growth ideas and then to create innovative products that can be provided with competitive prices and good service.”

As you can see from these lessons, building a great business is a moving target. Yesterday’s great business can become tomorrow’s also-ran by stopping its improvements and failing to work on the right things.

Ultimately, the lesson for new entrepreneurs is that they must continually focus on the right vision for what they want their organizations to do and to then organize work to make those capabilities come to life. In so doing, they, too, may well be publishing books in a few years to explain to another generation how they, too, can become successful entrepreneurs.

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What Factors Do the Best Online Universities Have?

The factors used to determine and rate the best online universities are all varied and important relative to the needs of the student. If you are in the market for an online university to get a degree, and you’d like to pick one that suits your career goals and lifestyle, then keeping tabs on these important factors as you search will help you to choose the right one for you. The best online college for you is just around the corner.

Cost

Of course, the most important determining factor in measuring up the best online college is the cost per credit and cost overall of attending. The average student is saddled with about $21,000 in student loan debt, according to The Project on Student Debt. With that in mind, someone who is looking to go back to school to advance their degree should look at an online university that has reasonably low prices that you know you can afford to pay back at a later date.

Course Flexibility

Before signing up for an online degree program, make sure that the courses that you will be required to take can fit into your work and family schedule. The best online college has plenty of options for you to choose from, then you are in a good place.

Availability of E-books

The best online universities will offer students free or inexpensive e-books or e-textbooks for their classes. These books should be in formats that the student can access from any computer, lending to the online university’s portability and ease of study.

Experienced Teachers or Professionals

The advantage of the best online universities is that the professors are usually very experienced in their field. In many cases, they are still actively involved in a business of career-sector while teaching an online class. Many other teachers teach at a respected ground school while teaching an online course. This is a particularly great advantage for students since professors can give an insider’s perspective and tips relevant to current ideas or methods in their fields.

Tutoring

The best online universities offer tutoring services that help the student achieve their best in the online classroom. These services include knowledgeable tutors that you can arrange a time to chat online about the academic problem.

Career Services

Excellent career services are offered at the best online universities to provide guidance for students as they move into the job market, or as they try to attain the management positions that they went to school for. These services include helpful counselors that can give advice and tips on how best to interview, job search help and making you stand out amongst the other applicants. The best online college will have connections to local and national employers.

Partnerships with On-Site Facilities

For students that are in a program that requires a certain number of hands-on training hours and demonstrations, the best online universities will have academic partnerships with places in your area. For example, if you are going to school for a degree in nursing, then you can be sure that you must log hours at some sort of nursing home, hospital or similar facility.

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How to Find the Best Online Universities

Online colleges and universities have become the education of the present. No longer are students forced to choose between education and their jobs or families as before the year 2000 and general computer accessibility. The entire style of education has become student-friendly, to create a manner of education that coincides with your busy lifestyle. Often students take online classes after their day is over, and their kids are in bed. This is one of the huge benefits of attending online education.

Once you discover how the online programs work, how they are user-friendly and provide excellent education, the next step is to check your resources and decide what you are interested in. The only requirement for any online course is that you must have a fully functioning, updated computer and Word capabilities to make it very easy to transfer material and to compose assignments. If you have these basics, you can earn your college degree right from your home or office.

The first thing to decide is what area you want to go into. With the explosion of online universities and other colleges, you can earn a certificate in as little as 10 months, or an Associate, Bachelor and Master’s degree that will educate you in the field of your choice. There are many popular degrees at online colleges and universities. Some of the most popular are Criminal Justice, Business Administration, Business Management, Health Care Administration, Paralegal, Psychology, Visual Communications, Design and Information Technology, Early Childhood Development, Accounting, and the list goes on.

The only difference in the courses between a traditional university and an online college is the way the courses are delivered. A traditional university may have a few classes available to take online, bit typically the student physically goes into a classroom for their education. By going to an online university, you can be anywhere in the world and still be involved in your class. This is a huge convenience for most students, in the fast-paced world of the 21st century.

With the quantity of online programs and degrees that have developed over the past few years, it is necessary to check their credentials if you want to find an accredited college with high marks. In order to find the best online universities there are typically three avenues to check: accreditation by the US Department of Education, reviews and rankings.

Accreditation may be the most important for students. Go to the Department of Education Database where you can enter the college or university that you are contemplating in the search box. When the name of the online university comes up, it should also pull up a physical address. You can check the Council for Higher Education (CHEA) database, too. Either one should pull up a physical address. Also if you go to the college’s website that you have chosen, you can also look for an accrediting agency that is listed and verify by that agency too.

When you have decided on the degree that you are interested in, you will want to take a look at some reviews on the online colleges’ websites. Look for classes schedules that you can compare and see what type of plan they have for you in your area. What is the highest degree that they offer in your subject? You might not be thinking about a Masters degree right now, but it could be a future plan. See if the program you desire is one of the signature programs of the school, or simply one they offer.

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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