“BRICS” to set up “$100B contingency fund”, to tackle financial crises |by: Reuters | VCCircle

” BRICS nations have decided to set up a $100 billion Contingency Reserve Arrangement to tackle financial crises in the emerging economies”…. 

At a summit in South Africa on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin likened the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to Africa’s “Big Five” game beasts of trophy hunting lore – the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros.

The Russian president’s comparison captures the dilemma of these muscular emerging global powers, which together present a formidable potential economic and political counterweight to the developed West, but individually could hardly be more different.

The question is whether the BRICS five can run as a herd or hunt as a pack on the global stage, transforming their diverse but collective strength into real institutions and coordinating structures to project their voice in the world.

At a two-day summit in Durban, South Africa, the leaders of countries that make up more than 40 per cent of the world’s population and a fifth of global GDP seemed to have little concrete to show from their mostly closed-door deliberations.

After mooting plans for a BRICS development bank at a summit in New Delhi a year ago, the leaders in Durban were only able to announce the start of formal talks on the constitution of the bank, a lumbering pace even for a group as diverse as the BRICS.

“We have decided to enter formal negotiations to establish a BRICS-led new development Bank based on our own considerable infrastructure needs, which amount to around $4.5 trillion over the next five years,” the host, South African President Jacob Zuma, told the summit.

He added the bank aimed to cooperate in the future with other emerging markets and developing countries, but revealed little about the structure of a world institution pitched as a potential complement, if not rival, to the IMF and World Bank.

A separate statement from the “FIVE Heads of state” blandly hailed the development bank plan as “feasible and viable”.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov had said on Tuesday that BRICS ministers in Durban seeking to thrash out the technicalities of the bank had not been able to agree yet on details of its funding or its location.

“It cannot be done overnight. We just used one year since the New Delhi summit to complete a feasibility study and now we are at a very different stage where, as always, the devil is in the details,” Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov told Reuters on Wednesday.

Zuma also announced the group’s “resolve” to set up a $100 billion foreign exchange reserves pool, again indicating little real progress on creating another financial coordination tool.

Born in a research paper : 

That the BRICS have come even this far could be seen as surprise. The group began as an idea in a 2001 research note by a Goldman Sachs banker, who coined the term BRIC to refer to fast-growing big countries Brazil, Russia, India and China, on a path to overtaking the world’s rich nations in economic power.

Those four are the only developing countries that number in the world’s top 10 by GDP, and each is a giant in its region, but they have little else directly in common. Yet they share a sense that institutions set up by the West are ignoring their interests, and in 2009 they held a summit in Russia, announcing their goal of joining forces to counterbalance the West.

They have held annual summits since, in 2010 adding South Africa, the largest economy on its continent, although it barely cracks the global top 30 and is a twentieth of China’s size.

“We have firmly established BRICS as a credible and constructive grouping in our quest to forge a new paradigm of global relations and cooperation,” Zuma said on Wednesday.

At the Durban summit, the South African hosts announced the signing of two multilateral agreements, one on “green economy co-financing”, the other on infrastructure co-financing for Africa, but no figures or details were immediately given.

Bark, but no bite? : 

Seasoned BRICS observers said they were not surprised by the lack of concrete institution-creating results from the summit.

“I think there was too much hype around it,” said Martyn Davies, chief executive of the Johannesburg-based Frontier Advisory consultancy that focuses on emerging markets.

“They are still battling to create the economic institutions to back their geopolitical rhetoric … the rhetoric is not supported by the substance,” he told Reuters.

Just as lions, elephants and rhinos are not natural allies, Davies saw the BRICS countries as “very disparate, with no political commonality”.

After only a few hours of plenary talks at a Durban conference centre, the BRICS heads of state retreated to a nature reserve lodge on Durban’s outskirts for a closed-door dialogue with a score of African presidents about “unlocking Africa’s potential” by supporting infrastructure construction.

Led by China, the BRICS are now Africa’s largest trading partners and its biggest new group of investors. BRICS-Africa trade is seen eclipsing $500 billion by 2015, with China accounting for 60 per cent, according to Standard Bank.

African governments and leaders broadly welcome the multi-billion-dollar Chinese-led BRICS trade and investment influx.

“You have to put money into development. The West has not put money in. This is what China does,” Congo Republic’s Transport Minister Rodolphe Adada told Reuters in Durban.

He said Africa could only benefit from the eventual creation of the BRICS development bank: “What we already do individually (with BRICS members), we can multiply if we have this instrument,” Adada said.

Signals to the west : 

Bala Ramasamy, economics professor at Shanghai’s China Europe International Business School, said that despite kindred statements about rebuilding the world’s financial architecture, the BRICS nations have struggled to find a common identity.

“The BRICS as a group does not mean much. They mean something individually. This is not an alliance of equal partners. China is the dominant player here,” Ramasamy said.

“If you think about BRICS as a balancing power to the US and the EU, this is not one entity. So how do you expect them to counterbalance the United States?” he added.

The World Bank has always been led by an American and the IMF by a European since both bodies were founded in 1946. Last year, the BRICS failed to agree on a developing world candidate to be the new World Bank president and could not stop the appointment of another US citizen, Korean-born Jim Yong Kim.

Frontier Advisory’s Davies said he believed the only emerging power which presents a real substantive challenge to the existing world political and financial status quo is China. But he added Beijing seemed unwilling to shoulder this burden alone and sought company in the BRICS group.

In Beijing, the influential Chinese tabloid the Global Times acknowledged the BRICS would face some problems when seeking to deepen their multilateral cooperation.

“But they are at least encouraging each other and increasingly distancing their interests from Western ones. This will further define fairness and justice worldwide.”

In the absence of concrete institutions to consolidate and leverage their clout on the global stage, Davies said the BRICS should consider widening their organization. “What about new members … Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria?” he said.

Ramasamy said the BRICS summits served as “a signal to the developed world that the emerging markets are getting their act together one way or the other”.

“Whether they do it or not is a separate question, that time would speak of “.

The “New Mating-Rituals of Consumer-Goods Companies” & the “Buyers they Want to Attract” |by:Patti Putnicki | Outsourcing Center,WIPRO

There was a time when brand recognition was a consumer product’s best friend. A pretty package and eye-level shelf placement, coupled with some targeted print campaigns or lever TV ads, and you had it made.

Whether you sold fashion or food, golf clubs OR barbecue grills, the right combination of product, price, promotion and in-store placement moved merchandise.

While all of those things are still important, they’re just not enough anymore. The way that people buy products has fundamentally changed. Your product might catch their eyes; your name might ring a bell; but they’re not taking you home until they get to know you a little better.

Love at first sight is less important than the deeper, mental connection.

          

“ Today, customers are buying value—consumer goods that not only give them the most for their money, but make them feel good about their purchase,” explained Vivek Venugopalan, chief technologist, Retail, Consumer Goods, Transportation and Government, Wipro Technologies.

“ The economic downturn made buyers more focused on how to get the most for their dollar, and the rise of mobility has fueled information access. These TWO trends have converged to produce a more informed, more inquisitive consumer.”

In other words, people aren’t buying on just looks alone. They now have a relationship with the brands they buy before they make a commitment.

That need has ushered in some significant trends in the consumer goods market :

  • Searching for “Product Right” 
  • Creating the “Store within a Store”
  • Taking the Relationship to the Next Level
  • Applying Analytics to Gain Customer Insight
  • Going Local with Promotional Campaigns
  • Making a Long-Term Commitment 

Clearly, the way consumers shop and make buying decisions has dramatically changed, forcing a fundamental shift toward digital transformation. To thrive, consumer goods companies are using new technology to both become more valuable to their retailers and connect their customers with their brands in a multitude of ways.

And, from all indications, it’s a match made in heaven…..

“Chasing break-even a mistake”; products should have been early focus |by:Hitesh Oberoi | VCCircle

Industry veterans on ” What makes it difficult to build a successful product business in India”.… and how to overcome it ??

 

Chasing break-even a mistake; products should have been early focus: Info Edge’s Hitesh Oberoi | VCCircle.

Want Your Company to Grow? “Fire Your Managers!!” | by: Ilya Pozin, Founder of Ciplex & Columnist for Inc,Forbes.

” Too many employees work for their boss rather than their company or their clients “….

Businesses these days are filled with multiple layers of management, and employees often find themselves playing politics and focusing on tasks to make their boss happy.

At the end of the day, the company quickly forgets what their goals are and what they are in business to do — and everyone is focusing on the task at hand with little sense of how it fits into the bigger picture.

If you notice this in your workplace, your top-down hierarchy is the culprit.. 

By eliminating this model at my digital marketing agency, Ciplex, we created a company people love working at, and saved money in the process. Our customer satisfaction went up, and the quality of work improved. We have happier employees, satisfied clients, lowered costs, and a better company overall.

HERE’s HOW I DID IT : 

Create a Team Culture –  

I created small three to five person teams and removed any ‘bosses’ those teams or team members had. I also dismantled any “senior” or “VP” titles within the team. Though leaders will naturally emerge within a team, there’s no need to have a strict reporting structure. Your senior employees may initially be taken aback by this idea, but it’s important to remind them that the changes in culture and work habits will lead to increased productivity and motivation. Let your team choose their own titles, without implementing hierarchy, and have teams measure their own performance so they can learn and grow.

Set Goals – 

Employees need to work collectively–not just as task-doers. After creating teams, I gave each team a goal, one that could easily be measured in short intervals–like one or two weeks. This helps employees to see exactly what outcome they’re working for–they now focus on the why and no longer on the how. Given a goal and consistent short time-frames, teams are able to measure their performance and learn from previous mistakes, allowing them to improve during the next time interval. Establish the philosophy of team goals, and employees will no longer feel as if they’re just “doing tasks for the boss.” Employees will appreciate the effort to allow their team (or even individual team members) ownership and responsibility of the goal. If they need help, they have a support layer, but no hierarchy is involved.

Provide Support, Not Escalation – 

In a hierarchical workplace, escalation occurs when a problem arises. Instead of team support, you get individual workers passing problems off to other people. And when a problem is passed, so is its ownership. In my model, managers and bosses are repositioned as team support, working for the teams, helping them in whatever they need. Former high-level executives provide help and support, rather than telling employees what to do or how to do it. Getting rid of company hierarchy means client or customer satisfaction becomes priority and ownership stays with the team. Since no one is able to “pass the buck” when a problem comes up–everyone will tackle problems collectively. No more navigating departments and roles (politics) that once divided them.

Take Money Off the Table – 

By default, salaries are hierarchical. When you flatten your company hierarchy, you don’t have to flatten salaries to make them equal for everyone–but you do have to talk to your employees. Ask what they need to feel comfortable on a monthly basis. We didn’t lower any salaries, but we did give out some raises. Create pay levels that are tied to performance, not job titles and seniority. As soon as your employees aren’t constantly worrying about money, your culture can thrive. Remember, you want your employees to work towards a team goal, not towards their paycheck.

Remove Rules, Give Autonomy – 

No one likes to feel they’re living under authoritarian rule. Autonomy is one of the biggest motivators, so let your employees act like the adults they are. By removing unnecessary rules and offering flexibility, they can determine how much they need to be in the office on a given day, or whether or not they’ll be able to take a vacation next week. Structures like strict work hours, location requirements, limited vacation time, fancy titles, and even employee reviews scream one message: employees are working to satisfy rules–not to meet goals.

Lead, Don’t Manage – 

Dismantling your company hierarchy means your teams will measure their own success, giving you the freedom to lead instead of manage. Don’t correct employees or solve their problems–guide and support them with leadership instead. If there’s a problem, ask key questions to guide them to the solution instead of jumping in to take the reins and own the problem.

Reap the Benefits –  

By flattening our hierarchy and getting rid of the bosses, Ciplex’s culture has thrived. Our employees are happier because they actually want to come to work every day–they don’t feel forced to work because of money, nor do they feel shut out of big decisions. In addition, we watched the quality of work and customer satisfaction increase, while costs were lowered. Grow your company by getting rid of the hierarchy, and you will create a company people love working at.

Could your company culture benefit from dismantling your hierarchy ? Why OR why not ? Share your thoughts in a comment below !!! 

“Unisex Salon chains rising in India” | G. Seetharaman | Business Today

The grooming industry is getting a makeover . A few years ago, if a man wanted a haircut, he went to the local barbershop, the kind with posters of film stars with gravity-defying hairdos on the walls. Women who wanted their tresses snipped or eyebrows threaded went to a nearby beauty parlour, usually for ‘ladies only’ and run by an enterprising neighbourhood woman. But the rise of unisex salon chains is changing all that.

A typical example of the new salon client is Aditya Mahajan, a 31-year-old auto industry professional in Mumbai. He switched from traditional barbershops to unisex salons a few years ago. “I wanted a better hairstyle and better service, so I tried one of these salons,” he says. He tried out several and eventually settled on the Enrich chain.

                           

“Men acount for 35 per cent of our footfall and 40 per cent of our revenues,” says Vikram Bhatt, Director, Enrich. The Mumbai-based chain expects sales of Rs 55 crore this financial year and plans to take its salon count from 28 to 40 by March.

Even established chains are hopping on the unisex bandwagon. Lakme Lever, a unit of Hindustan Unilever, which already has 170 salons across the country, launched its first unisex salon, Lakme Ivana, in July 2011. Clients such as Mahajan are an important factor in the growth of unisex salons.

Veena Kumaravel, Chief Executive of Naturals Beauty Salon, says men are increasingly going beyond haircuts. “We see them getting pedicures, manicures and facials, and even getting their hair coloured,” she says.

A visit to the flagship Jean-Claude Biguine salon at Bandra, Mumbai, corroborates her words. As we talk to Dharmendra Manwani, the dapper Founder and CEO of JCB Salons, the Indian franchisee of the Paris-based chain, a man in his twenties sits with his head under a hair steamer, while a couple more await their turn.

A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry pegged the size of the salon business at Rs 7,000 crore. Rashmi Upadhya, Managing Consultant, PwC, says the industry could double in size in three years.

“These chains use franchising to scale up and move to Tier-II and Tier-III towns,” she says. Jawed Habib Hair and Beauty, for instance, owns only 15 of its 329 outlets in the country. Naturals, which has over 100 outlets, has set up shop in small towns in Tamil Nadu, such as Thanjavur and Chidambaram, through franchisees, and is exploring possibilities further north to nearly double the number of its salons.

However, franchising is not everyone’s style. Enrich owns and operates all its salons. “Though it may limit our ability to expand, it helps us follow a consistent process and centralise key functions,” says Bhatt.

While small-town India has huge potential for salon chains, some, such as b:blunt, are sticking to big cities, as going beyond them might mean lowering prices. “We don’t want to fiddle with prices too much, because others have got into trouble doing that and trying to be too many things to too many people,” says Satyajeet Thakur, Director, b:blunt. The chain has two formats: the flagship b:blunt, where a haircut costs between Rs 850 and Rs 4,000, and b:blunt mini, which charges half as much. Jawed Habib, too, has a compact and cheaper format – JH HairXpreso – for locations such as malls.

Besides Indian chains, global ones, such as Toni & Guy and Saks, are making their presence felt. JCB Salons’ Manwani says the Indian salon industry is changing rapidly. “Earlier, salons took 12 months to break even. Now it’s four months.” Each of JCB’s five salons makes an average of $1 million (Rs 5.3 crore) a year.

While demand is no problem, what could stand in the way of salon chains’ expansion is the lack of skilled stylists. To get around it, they have their own academies, whose graduates start with salaries of Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 a month, plus commissions and tips. “The growth of the salon chain is impossible without skilled stylists being produced regularly,” says Rohit Arora, Executive Director, Jawed Habib.

Even companies such as L’Oreal, which supply products to salons, play a role in skill development. “We train 80,000 hairdressers a year,” says Dinesh Dayal, Chief Operating Officer, L’Oreal India. “We do not supply some products to salons without first training the staff to use them.”

Another hurdle salon chains must overcome as they grow is financing. The PwC report notes that funding through internal accruals is not conducive to rapid growth. Jawed Habib filed in February for a Rs 60-crore initial public offering, and is awaiting clearance from the Securities and Exchange Board of India. In late 2010, Enrich raised a reported $10 million from JM Financial India Fund. Analysts say Enrich’s peers may also take the private equity route as they grow bigger. Remarkably, the growth of the salon business is something nobody doubts.

“Skills for Global Business” in the new-age | by:Peter Vanham | FT.com

United Steelworkers

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5860c3a6-8596-11e2-bed4-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2NRu8T8A2

“PVR BluO partners with Sony”,will Launch “Playstation-Lounges in India” | IndianRetailer

While offering premium entertainment to its wide set of audiences, PVR bluO encompasses a plethora of fun zones like karaoke lounge, tattoo parlor, fine dining spaces, gaming lounges and much more apart from the celebrated cosmic bowling. Over the years PVR bluO has established itself as the connotation of entertainment in India in the true sense.

As a part of its overall strategy, PVR bluO has tied up with Sony to launch its first-ever “Playstation Lounges” in India. 

The company is on an expansion mode wherein they are fervent in getting for their patrons, nothing but the best. With the launch of India’s first-ever Playstation lounge, PVR bluO has yet again outshone the combat of marketers in captivating the hearts of the patrons with love for gaming.

PVR bluO which has evolved as an organization while strategically building a strong array of interactive entertainment zones since 2009.