“Naturals salon brand”, gives credit to “Lakme salon format” for its success | ETRetail


Studying closely the business model of Lakme beauty salon, Kumaravel, CEO & Co-founder, Naturals—a hair and beauty salon brand, does not shy way but admits that he has learned a lot following their way of strategies. And the result!–today Naturals  is 130 salons ahead of Lakme, the number which they were behind when they started expanding.

Kumaravel, the man behind the brand says he followed the checklist what Lakme followed in terms of finding the right location and other business-related strategies. “This has given us tremendous learnings and we were able to taste the success,” he admits. 

The hair and beauty salon brand toady launched its 300th salon in India in Sector 4 Dwarka, New Delhi. The salon brand has FOUR formats—Naturals (Unisex), Naturals W (exclusively for women), Naturals Lounge (Premium Unisex salon), Page 3 (Luxury Unisex). 

Speaking exclusively to ETRetail, about the expansion plans, Kumaravel says that north India is ready for Naturals format. “I think in this region there is gap between very low priced salon services market and super-premium market. We fit in between these two categories and will position ourselves in term of pricing and services. We will not bring Page 3 format in the region.”

Started by Husband & Wife couple in 2000, gives opportunity to the aspiring women entrepreneurs through the franchise model. “We help sign agreements with banks to take loans who wants to become our franchisee partner. This encourages them to take the next big step with ease, ” says Kumaravel.

According to him, the Franchise store is able to do break-even within six months and ROI within 30-36 months. In order to run a successful beauty salon, basics have to be set right in the first place.

And what are those? Hygiene, Branded product, Skilled Labour, Printed prices/trariff, after-care services are some the main points to run a branded salon in the Indian market today.

“Private Equity & CEO Relationship” of portfolio companies : Partners in the Quest for Value | BCG

We have learned from our close involvement with private-equity (PE) firms and portfolio companies that their relationship and mutual cooperation are instrumental in determining whether a company performs well or falls short of expectations. While the cooperation between the honey-guide and the ratel is probably apocryphal, our research has shown that the PE-CEO relationship can be highly symbiotic, producing significant benefits for both sides.

To more fully understand the nuances of the relationship between CEOs and their PE firms, BCG has conducted interviews and surveys with both PE professionals and current and former CEOs of PE portfolio companies. This report covers the most revealing and salient results of these studies.

A Successful Partnership :

Most PE professionals would describe their relationships with their CEOs as partnerships, but even the most successful partnerships have points of friction. For example, CEOs accustomed to running their own show often bristle when PE firms intervene in management issues.

By the same token, PE firms have the right (and indeed, the obligation, considering the fiduciary duty they owe their investors) to remove under-performing CEOs—and they are quick to assert that right when necessary. In fact, our research into 198 companies currently under PE ownership found that 57 percent have alreadychanged CEOs since being acquired. Some of those changes were planned prior to acquisition, but many occurred because the PE owners came to the conclusion that the incumbent CEOs were not suited to the task at hand.

Despite the inevitable challenges and complexities of the relationship, we found that the overwhelming majority of CEOs at portfolio companies—more than 90 percent—agree that the PE owner has had a positive effect on their company’s performance. Perhaps more surprisingly, an almost equal percentage of CEOs say that the PE firm has enabled them to succeed in their role and has made them better at their jobs.

In this report, we will consider a few crucial questions, guided by the thoughtful and candid responses of the CEOs and PE professionals who participated in our research. Those questions include :

  • What do PE firms look for in a CEO ? 
  • What role do both sides expect the PE firm to play ? 
  • What are the most common reasons for a breakdown in the relationship between a PE firm and the CEO of a portfolio company ? 
  • What key principles and best practices should PE firms and CEOs follow to promote and support a successful partnership ? 

What PE Firms Look for in a CEO :

By its very nature, the PE-CEO relationship differs from other owner-manager relationships. The professionals at PE firms are highly skilled and expert shareholders and, crucially, they have been given powerful incentives to succeed. They therefore think and behave differently than less engaged shareholders do. Their mindsets and practices are sometimes misunderstood, and as a result, even the CEOs at portfolio companies sometimes fail to grasp what PE firms prioritize when they select and evaluate a chief executive.

Our survey revealed significant differences in the ways that PE professionals and CEOs view the capabilities and mindset required to succeed as the CEO of a PE-owned company. (See Exhibit 2.) PE firms, for example, generally want their CEOs to focus primarily on operational matters, while CEOs view themselves as strategists first and operators second.

PE firms also expect CEOs to balance their focus between the big picture and operational details. They demand that CEOs execute on stated plans and goals, and consequently they seek CEOs capable of intense attention to detail, with a hands-on operating style. CEOs, by contrast, believe that it is their role to focus more intently on the big picture.

It is also a common misconception that PE firms are biased toward short-term goals and thinking. In fact, PE professionals told us that they want CEOs to focus more on the long term. This is because PE firms take a long-term view of value creation. They embrace a holistic and pragmatic approach that sees no conflict between generating cash in the short term and building value in the business over the long term—both are equally valid and viable paths to their goal.

Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, PE professionals said that they want CEOs to be biased toward risk-taking. By contrast, CEOs believe they need to balance risk-taking with risk mitigation. These divergent views go a long way toward explaining why the relationship between the PE firm and the CEO can sometimes go awry.

What Role Both Sides Expect PE Firms to Play :

We also asked PE professionals and the CEOs of PE portfolio companies to rank by importance several different roles for PE firms.The points of agreement between the two sides are as telling as their differences. CEOs tend to believe that the proper role of the PE firm is to provide capital, monitor certain areas of performance, and serve in a limited way as a sounding board for managerial decisions. And they see less of a place for the PE firm as an advisor on operational matters or in day-to-day oversight of the business.

PE professionals, however, take a more expansive view of the firm’s role. They place somewhat less emphasis on capital provision and believe that the PE firm ought to have a greater voice in key decisions. And they see themselves as having significant expertise to offer on specific areas of the business. CEOs, by contrast, believe there should be little engagement from the PE firm on revenue-related and operational issues. As one CEO of a portfolio company told us, “PE firms should avoid getting involved in anything close to managing the business. That’s my job. They don’t have the resources or the expertise to offer the proper support.”

Our discussions with PE professionals and CEOs made clear that their differing perspectives on the appropriate level of engagement by the PE firm did not necessarily reflect any operational shortcomings of the PE firms themselves (of which there are some). Rather, their divergent views reflect a greater divide on the ways PE firms can and should contribute to value creation. (See Exhibit 4.) 

It’s clear from the survey responses that PE firms are not as meddlesome as many CEOs might think or fear. CEOs told us that PE firms rarely initiate an intervention in Operational issues and “focus instead on Strategic, Financial, and—to a lesser extent—Operational topics.” 

Rather than barging into a CEO’s office issuing orders, most PE professionals take pains to persuade a CEO that an intervention is in the best interests of the organization. Following such discussions, BCG research has found, it is most often the CEO who initiates an intervention or who jointly agrees with the PE firm to step up its involvement.

When analyzing the responses to our survey by PE professionals and CEOs, clear points of contention emerge. At the same time, however, both CEOs and PE firms have a deep appreciation for what the other side can contribute to value creation. Several topics, highlighted below, elicited the most passionate and thoughtful responses.

The Importance of Engagement by PE Firms on Strategy and Governance – CEOs see PE firms as natural partners in finance-related matters such as M&A, exit strategy, and balance-sheet management. In fact, many CEOs expect PE firms to take the lead when such questions arise. One CEO told us, “Our PE firm has been able to provide financing and legal expertise that we do not have in-house. We face more complicated issues than we did before the acquisition, and their expertise is welcome.”

PE Involvement in Cost Issues and Revenue-Related Operational Questions – Both sides agree that this type of involvement is not a priority. But PE professionals said they would like to be more engaged as a sounding board on these subjects. By contrast, CEOs in general want less involvement from PE firms on operational matters but recognize that PE firms can be helpful on questions of costs. They also accept that PE firms rightfully place a priority on issues of cash flow, such as capital expenditures and working capital. In general, CEOs said they believe that PE professionals’ experience qualifies them as experts on costs yet still leaves them without an intimate understanding of the business needed to address revenue issues. As one CEO said, “On detailed growth and cost projects, either you stay and help execute—which is not practical—or you stay away and let the CEO get on with running the business.”

Which PE Interventions Are Viewed as Helpful and Desirable – PE professionals told us that they see the value creation plan, with clearly associated key performance indicators (KPIs), as the core of the PE governance model; they also said they want to play a large part in its creation. Typically, the PE firm and the CEO reach alignment on the plan’s thesis and underlying principles before closing the deal, and the plan’s principles are translated into a coherent set of activities during the first 100 days of the new entity’s operation. CEOs generally said they prefer to take charge of drawing up the action steps, and many expect a limited amount of input from the PE firm. Because the plan is central to the PE business model, however, firms generally want to be closely involved in putting the plan into operation.

Successful CEOs recognize the critical importance of aligning with their PE owners on the plan—which will set the CEO’s agenda for the next several years—and managing a division of labor that plays to the strengths of both sides. They take responsibility for the specific operational details but look to their PE owners for guidance on constructing a robust framework for tracking progress on the plan, knowing that PE firms place heavy emphasis on a considered use of KPIs and an effective program management office. Without the PE firm’s expertise in designing tracking frameworks, CEOs often resort to deploying measurement systems already in place to track other programs. Such programs, however, are usually smaller and less far-reaching than the value creation plan—and are thus unequal to the task.

Most CEOs, especially those with prior PE experience, also invite their PE owners to participate in discussions of geographic expansion. And they want more engagement from PE firms on matters regarding market and industry intelligence. The CEOs recognize that PE firms have valuable, well-developed external networks.

The Most Common Reasons the PE-CEO Relationship Breaks Down :

From our research and extensive experience in the private-equity arena, we have identified FOUR root-causes that result in the relationship between a CEO and the PE firm failing to reach its full potential : 

  1. A lack of understanding of the other side’s perspective 
  2. A failure to adapt to the unique demands of the relationship 
  3. The lack of a fully trusting and transparent relationship between the CEO & PE firm 
  4. An incomplete appreciation of the value a PE firm brings to the table 

Four Imperatives for Successful Collaboration : 

The most successful relationships require mutual and ongoing effort. Both CEOs and PE firms have “FOUR Imperatives” to fulfill :

  1. Understand where your partner is coming from – In particular, understand their mindset. For CEOs, this often means refreshing or gaining new technical skills, and for the PE firms, this often means taking time to identify and dispel any preconceived notions about PE that CEOs might hold. PE firms also need to recognize that they probably made implicit agreements with the CEO before the acquisition—agreements they need to honor to foster trust and transparency. 
  2. Define the relationship up front – Set clear and achievable objectives together, defining roles in detail and avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach. 
  3. Make the relationship work throughout the cycle – Transparency is the most important factor in maintaining a relationship that adds value to the company and the PE firm.  Maintain transparency when the news is bad as well as when it is good. 
  4. Get the full benefit from your partner – Work together to make your partner your greatest ally.

Without doubt, a successful relationship between a PE firm and the CEO at a portfolio company can deliver huge benefits to the PE firm, the portfolio company, and the CEO. Conversely, a bad relationship can ruin the CEO’s career, tarnish the PE firm’s reputation, and cripple the company. In a world where private equity is focused on driving real value creation, making the relationship work should be a priority for PE firms and CEOs alike.

“India’s Luxury Market to cross $10 bn mark by 2014”: Luxury market “shakes off slowdown blues”| The Economic Times


India’s growing Luxury Market is set to exceed $ 10 billion-mark by 2014, boosted by a new class of wealthy  termed as the ” closet customers “ who have have joined the traditionally rich contributing to higher Luxe sales, a report said today.

As per the CII-IMRB report, the impact of the economic slowdown in 2013 has impacted the luxury market to a certain extent but by mid-2014 the market is expected to revive and continue its growth trajectory and grow at nearly 17 %  in the year 2014.

From about $3.66 billion in 2007, the luxury market has more than doubled to $7.58 billion in 2012. According to industry experts, India could emerge as an important luxury market in the next decade but pricing will continue to play a key role in expanding the market. 

Indias luxury market to cross $10 bn mark by 2014: Report – The Economic Times


” 7 Success Lessons” It’s Never Too Late to Learn | by: Kevin Daum | Inc.


“Life’s lessons don’t always come when we want them…But these ” 7 tips for success” are worthy teachings at any age.”

You never know when a new life lesson is about to occur. You can’t plan for them.  They just seem to sneak up on you when you least expect them….There are times I wish they had come a bit earlier in life to save me from my foolishness or, at the very least, from the wasted time and energy of learning things the hard way.

All that being said, I am very grateful for all the lessons that have helped me on my journey. Some of the lessons I share below were harder than others to grasp. Some I didn’t learn until after I was 40. And I am sure there are new ones coming after next year when I turn 50.

Here are SEVEN of my biggest lessons for success. Although it would have been nice to learn them earlier, I’m glad to have them in my back pocket now :

1. Collect People :

I’ve always been a pretty good networker. I’m not overly social, but I do like interaction with interesting people, and I like to help where I can. I often meet successful people, but it takes time to establish mutual trust and interest. It wasn’t until age 40 that many of the people I had known for 15+ years reached positions of power and success. Maintaining relationships with peers has brought great help in times of need and great opportunities along my journey. Cultivate relationships in a genuine and generous manner, and those people will continue to support your efforts for success. 

2. Plant Seeds :

Another realization I gained at 40 was the value of time–not as a commodity, but as an ally.  In my youth, I wanted to outsmart the process so I could speed the path to success. Now I use the passage of time to my advantage. Some of the most amazing things in life develop gradually. Great business models and effective marketing programs can take 3 to 5+ years to develop.  That seems too long for today’s impatient millennials, but time invested becomes a barrier to entry for competitors. Looking back, I am fascinated by the way that seeds I planted unknowingly more than a decade ago now bear valuable fruit. These days, I happily use my perspective to plan for harvests decades from now.

3. The Only Approval You Need is Your Own :

Early on, I constantly battled against insecurities. I needed accomplishments for reassurance and rarely felt confidence from success. I wasted time and energy being uncomfortable in my own skin. It wasn’t until my first For Dummies book in 2004 that I believed my public credibility was worthy and began to relax a bit. Only when heeding a good friend’s advice to simply “Decide to be confident” did the path to success become less fettered and distracted. Today I only seek my own approval and attract people who appreciate what I have to offer. The rest are welcome to look for guidance elsewhere.

4. Desire Outweighs Potential :

As an entrepreneur, I see potential in everything and everybody. As an employer, this got me into terrible trouble. I would hire people on potential without checking desire. Of course nearly every applicant wanted the job, even when they didn’t. Then in 90 days, the excitement of the new job wore off, and we all realized we made a horrible mistake. I now put people through rigorous testing for desire (including myself) when new opportunities arise. Spend time thinking of the implications down the road. Don’t ask the question Can I do that? Ask the question Should I do that ??

5. Pay Yourself First :

This sounds like a selfish approach, but actually it is a logical one. However generous you want to be, you really can’t help others from a position of weakness … just like in an airplane, where you’re told to secure your own oxygen mask before helping a child. To offer legitimate guidance and support, you must be strong, stable and secure financially and emotionally. The easiest way to get there is to set your materialistic needs low, secure a “happy home-life” and maintain a “healthy body”. Then, and only then, will you be ready to help others selflessly and abundantly.

6.  Civility Is Strength :

As a New Yorker, I know what it means to live around rudeness. And while I thrive on the directness of my fellow city dwellers, there is a time to sit back and let things pass. Being polite and cordial or even passive doesn’t automatically make you a doormat. You don’t have to be rude or pushy to get what you want or to appear strong. And you certainly don’t have to fight every battle. Today, I find that I accomplish more by allowing others to panic and get excited. Then I weigh in with careful thought and consideration. Before you get anxious and jump into the fray, ask yourself: Is this the highest and best use of my time and energy ??

7.  Appreciate Every Experience :

I’ve had my share of good times and bad. It’s been a bumpy ride, to say the least. But I have yet to live a day where I didn’t learn something, connect with someone of value or observe inspiring beauty. And for that, I am always grateful. I hope you are too.

“Real-Time Marketing” : The “New Standard” | by : Steve Hall | Popditto

Real-time marketing — OR the notion of brands capitalizing on newsworthy OR special events — has been around since the mid-nineties, but has only recently become a bit more mainstream with the advent of social media.

When Oreo acted quickly following the blackout during this year’s Super Bowl, it brought brands engaging in real-time marketing to the forefront. Oreo’s witty bit of real-time marketing spawned a host of copy cat activity one month later during the Academy Awards.

Prior to the advent of the Internet and, more importantly, social media, there was no effective way for consumers to spread brands’ messages. Now, though, it takes but seconds for newsworthy information to spread across the entire globe. Marketers realize this but still struggle with a mentality that requires long development times, layers of approval and a healthy dose of second guessing which, many times, sucks the life out of a great idea.

For brands to fully embrace real-time marketing, they have to leave the campaign mentality behind

For decades, marketing has been based on the clear identification of a specific target audience, the development of marketing materials that effectively communicate with that target audience and the planning and placement of that material in media consumed by the target audience. This process involved months of planning and once “the buy” was “placed,” no one gave it a further thought until it was time to launch another campaign.

Real-time marketing still involves the definition of a target audience, the development of marketing materials and the placement of those materials. What’s different is the speed at which brands must move to implement this new form of marketing and the tools they use to do so.

Many brands have now set up “newsrooms” or social media command centers which are solely designed to monitor up-to-the-second brand-related activity occurring online and within social media channels. For these newsrooms to be effective, they are staffed by people who have been given the responsibility to make quick decisions without need for layers of approval. This is exactly what Oreo and its agency, 360i, did during the Super Bowl and other events.

For brands and agencies to fully embrace real-time marketing — something they must do in order to relate to the speed at which consumers now communicate — there are seven steps they need to take.

Discover Appropriate Content Streams :

Just like old school advertising where you have to determine your target audience, with real-time marketing you have to determine where conversations relevant to your brand are taking place. Are relevant conversations occurring within a Facebook Group ? Is there a Twitter List your brand’s customers and fans follow ? Is your target audience visual and heavy users of Pinterest ? Are they information junkies who frequent specialized LinkedIn forums or Quora topics ?

Organize Relevant Content :

To grasp a clear picture of conversations relevant to your brand, marketers must consume relevant content and organize it in a useful way. Tools like HubSpot’s  Social Inbox can help unify the waterfall of content surrounding your brand. Setting up “as-it-happens” Google alerts on topics relevant to your brand can increase your consumption of content from different channels.

Interpret the Stream : 

It’s one thing to identify where conversation related to your brand occurs; it’s another thing entirely to achieve a clear understanding of the tenor and tone of the conversation. It’s a bit like entering a conversation during a cocktail party. Normally, you don’t just walk over to the group and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind without politely listening to the conversation first. You politely listen. You learn. And you gain context.

Determine Influence :

Now that you’ve determined the when, where and with whom elements of the conversation, you have to determine the importance of the conversation. How big is it? How integral to your brand is it? Is the conversation taking place on a scale large enough to warrant brand participation that will be seen by a large number of people? This is the step where a brand has to determine whether or not the content of the conversation allows for brand entry into the conversation. Just like the cocktail party scenario, when you have something of value to add, jump right in. If you don’t, continue to listen and learn.

Paint a Clear Picture of the Conversation :

This is, perhaps, the most difficult step in the process but is especially important in large organizations. At any given moment, relevant and important conversations must be summarized and framed in a manner that can be understood by others on the team in a way that allows them to determine how and whether to act. Framing the conversation brings clarity and helps identify whether or not the conversation is one that lends itself to brand engagement.

Set Up Notifications :

After you have identified appropriate streams of conversation, after you have determined the tenor and tone of the conversation and after you have concluded the conversation is relevant, essential decision-makers must be notified. There are some companies who choose to automate this process, but you can just as easily pass information on to the team via email, text, or chat. Most importantly, this must be done swiftly and all involved must act equally as swiftly.

Act :

After you have properly aligned all of the above, after all team members have been notified and properly briefed and once a plan of action has been determined, it’s time to act. It’s time to pull the trigger. It’s time to make use of all of the information you have acquired and for you to implement informative, insightful, or perhaps even witty real-time marketing.

Why should brands care about and engage in real-time marketing ?? Because that’s how consumers are now interacting. They are in “as-it-happens” mode and all signs point to that remaining the norm. The campaign is dead. All that remains is the continuous commitment marketers must make to “being there” when their customers are there.

“Eliminate Sales-Team Complacency” and Deploy the “Catalyst to Sales Growth” | by: k.daley | Peak Performance T&D

Most Presidents and CEO’s are frustrated with :

  • Sales teams that are run like fraternities
  • Sales managers who rely on sales person optimism instead of holding sales people accountable to objective performance standards
  • Sales managers who focus on poorly qualified pipeline hopefuls instead of on closing deals and the companies bottom-line
  • Sales people blaming their poor sales results on a bad economy, bad leads, or other external factor
  • Sales people not being proactive in the selling process—not making cold calls, not confronting objections, etc.

Most “Effective Leaders” understand they :

  • Must break through the barriers that prevent sales organizations from getting to the next level
  • Must identify the real sales-constraints that create sales bottlenecks
  • Must break the cycle of going over the same thing, with the same sales reps, over and over again

to uncover the gaps in sales and sales management inefficiency that create anchors to your success and growth as well as your options for success. Why it is crucial that the CEO, President or Business Owner play an integral role in sales and business development ?? 

Mistake Number One – Management Complacency that converts directly into Sales team Complacency.

Mistake Number Two – Management Fails to Prioritize Sales as the Primary Initiative.

Although every Manager OR Business Owner desires to increase sales performance and productivity they fail to articulate this desire as a priority. Everything takes precedence over sales : marketing, accounting, product development, and so on. But what could be more important than identifying and removing the common obstacles to sales success and the growth of your business ?

When speaking to Senior Level Management and Business Owners, we see a common and dangerous denominator present in many : Because of their numerous time-consuming responsibilities they tend to repeatedly perform comfort zone activities. It is uncomfortable and risky to attempt to change the mind set and routines of their sales team.

Driving people out of a non-productive comfort zone is stressful. They too often become paralyzed with the downside possibilities and fail to do what is most important for themselves and their company, to drive sales productivity! In other words they have begun the process of allowing their sales team to manage, management !!

Stop doing more of what doesn’t work. Stop running your business out of fear. Are you at the point of discomfort ? Have you gotten to the point of realizing that remaining status-quo is more dangerous and financially devastating than changing your sales course of action ??

Mistake Number Three – Letting Past Success Block Future Performance.

Another reason for sales team complacency is that Business Owners and Sales Managers often accept excuses from sales people who have been successful in the past. It is usually those previously successful sales people who are most resistant to change—despite the fact that their past success may have occurred some time ago and been more the result of positive market conditions rather than stellar sales ability. It is also the business owner or sales manager who has experienced significant growth in the past who often defers realizing that change is essential to repeat that past success.

To make Top-line growth a primary initiative, management must first engage in a brutally frank discussion regarding potentially disturbing facts such as :

  • Shrinking margins,
  • Client decay,
  • Limited success in developing new accounts,
  • Limited success in further penetrating existing accounts
  • Poor lead conversion

Have you come to the realization that maintaining the status-quo is more financially damaging than change itself ??

The economy is changing, buyers are more skeptical and you are working harder and longer for the same or less revenue. You have concluded the necessity for or have been asked to lead a change initiative. The problem identified is that what you or your organization have been relying upon for business development is not working to the point where you can gain the traction necessary to get to the next level.

The time, energy, effort and desire are present, however real change and results are not..

“Starbucks” eyes “Thousands” of outlets in India | VC Circle

Global CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz said that the international coffee chain plans to open “ Thousands of Stores” in India in the not-too-distant future.

This step will make India one of itsTWO largest markets outside North America along with China, as mentioned in a report by PTI. 

He also mentioned in his book “Reimagining India : Unlocking The Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower” that Starbuck’s JV with Tatas will help the company achieve this goal. However, he said that, “Getting there would not be easy. Our successful beginning in India has not been without hurdles. On the contrary, it has been a complicated six-year journey.”

” I believe China and India offer Starbucks one of the greatest opportunities for growth. Our plan over time is that the number of our stores in India will rival the size and scale of what we have planned for China—thousands of stores…

I look forward to a day in the not-too-distant future when India takes its place alongside China as one of our two largest markets outside North America,” said Schultz in his book which is edited by global consulting firm McKinsey.

Starbucks opened its first store in India in October last year but has been present in China for the last 13 years.

The organised café market in India, which grew almost six times in the last five years to $230 million currently, is likely to hit $410 million by 2017, maintaining a compounded annual growth rate of 13-14 per cent, according to a report by a leading consumer consultancy firm.

Café business comprised some 11 per cent of total organised food services market in the country as per the report.

“10 Qualities” every “Leader of the Future” Needs to Have | by: Martin Zwilling | Entrepreneur

The reigning theory in business has long been that “Alpha” Leaders make the best Entrepreneurs. These are Aggressive, Results-driven achievers who Assert Control and insist on a Hierarchical Organizational model.

Yet I am seeing increasing success from “Beta” start-up cultures where the emphasis is on Collaboration, Curation and Communication.

Some argue that this new horizontal culture is being driven by Gen-Y, whose focus has always been more communitarian. Other business culture experts, like Dr. Dana Ardi, in her new book The Fall of the Alphas, argue that the rise of the Beta’s is really part of a broader culture change driven by the Internet — emphasizing communities, instant communication and collaboration.

Can you imagine the overwhelming growth of Facebook, Wikipedia & Twitter in a culture dominated by Alpha’s ?? This would never happen. I agree with Ardi who says most successful workplaces of the future need to adopt the following Beta characteristics and better align themselves with the Beta leadership-model :

10 Qualities Every Leader of The Future Needs to Have

1. Do away with archaic command-and-control models – Winning start-up’s today are horizontal, not hierarchical. Everyone who works at an organization feels they’re part of something, and moreover, that it’s the next big thing. They want to be on the cutting-edge of technology.

2. Practice Ego Management – Be aware of your own biases and focus on the present as on the future. You need to manage the egos of team members by rewarding collaborative behavior. There will always be the need for decisive leadership, particularly in times of crisis. I’m not suggesting total democracy.

3. Stress innovation – Beta’s believe that team members need to be given an opportunity to make a difference — to give input into key decisions and communicate their findings and learnings to one another. Encourage team-members to play to their own strengths so that the entire team and organization leads the competition.

4. Put a premium on collaboration and teamwork – Instead of knives-out competition, these companies thrive by building a successful community with shared values. Team members are empowered and encouraged to express themselves. The best teams are hired with collaboration in mind. The whole is thus more than the sum of its parts.

5. Create a shared culture – Leadership is fluid and flexible. Integrity and character matter a lot. Everyone knows about the culture. Everyone subscribes to the culture. Everyone recognizes both its passion and its nuance. The result looks more like a symphony orchestra than an advancing army.

6. Be ready for roles and responsibilities to change weekly, daily and even hourly – One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make is they don’t act quickly enough. Markets and needs change fast. Now there is a focus on social, global and environmental responsibility. Hierarchies make it hard to adjust positions or redefine roles. The beta culture gets it done.

7. Temper confidence with compassion – Mindfulness, of self and others, by boards, executives and employees, may very well be the single most important trait of a successful company. If someone is not a good cultural fit or is not getting their job done, make the change quickly, but with sensitivity.

8. Invite employees to contribute – The closer everyone in the organization comes to achieving his or her singular potential, the more successful the business will be. Successful cultures encourage their employees to keep refreshing their tool-kits, keep flexible, keep their stakes in the stream.

9. Stay diverse – Entrepreneurs build teams. They don’t fill positions. Cherry-picking candidates from name-brand universities will do nothing to further an organization and may even work against it. Don’t wait for the perfect person — he or she may not exist. Hire for track record and potential.

10. Not everyone needs to be a superstar – Superstars don’t pass the ball, they just shoot it. Not everyone wants to move up in an organization. It’s perfectly fine to move across. Become your employees’ sponsor — on-boarding with training and tools is essential. Spend time listening. Give them what they need to succeed.

Savvy Entrepreneurs & Managers around the world are finding it more effective to lead through influence and collaboration, rather than relying on fear, authority and competition.

This is rapidly becoming the new paradigm for success in today’s challenging market. Where does your company / start-up fit in with this new model ??

“Online Retail” is the “Front & Center in Quest for Growth”| Consumer Products & Retail | A.T. Kearney

E-commerce websites are no longer just off-shoots of Retailers’ physical-stores, but valid alternatives for Global Expansion” — The 2013 Global Retail E-Commerce Index™

Today’s most successful Retailers see Global expansion as a crucial platform for growth. 

Wary of “Real-estate wars” and long ROI horizons, many have seized the online retail opportunity to overcome these challenges. Retailers everywhere are diving into online retail as consumers across the globe in both developed and developing markets go online to buy products. They are using a variety of growth strategies, from grassroots websites to acquisitions of smaller online retailers or expansion of international shipping capabilities.

A.T. Kearney unveiled the first E-Commerce Index in 2012, highlighting the top 10 developing countries for online retail investment. This year we have taken the Index one step further, ranking the top 30 countries in both developing and developed markets. The rankings are based on NINE variables, including select macroeconomic factors as well as those that examine consumer adoption of technology, shopping behaviours, infrastructure, and retail-specific activities. The Index balances current online retail market indicators with those that reveal the potential for future growth.

This study is designed to help retailers devise successful global online-retail strategies and identify market investment opportunities while understanding the trade-offs and barriers to success.

About the 2013 Global Retail E-Commerce Index :

A.T. Kearney’s Global Retail E-Commerce Index ranks the most attractive countries for online-retail on a 0-to-100-point scale. The higher the score, the more potential a country has in online-retail.

Online-retail is defined as the sale of consumer goods to the general public through websites operated by pure-play online retailers or those owned by store-based retailers. This term also includes mobile commerce sales through smart-phones OR tablets. Sales are attributed to the country where the purchase is made, not where retailers are located.

Online retail encompasses the following consumer – goods categories :

  • Apparel
  • Beauty and personal care
  • Consumer appliances
  • Consumer electronics and video games hardware
  • Do-it-yourself and gardening
  • Food and beverages
  • Home care products
  • Housewares and home furnishings
  • Media products
  • Toys and games
  • Other products 

Online market attractiveness is based on the following metrics :

  1. Online market size (40 percent) – Current online retail sales. The higher the rating the greater current online retail market size.
  2. Technology adoption and consumer behaviour (20 percent) – Indicators of online consumer behaviour, such as Internet penetration, purchasing trends, and technology adoption. The higher the rating, the more favourable a country’s consumer base is for transacting online.
  3. Infrastructure (20 percent) – Indicators of financial and logistical infrastructure development, including credit cards per household and the availability and quality of logistics providers. The higher the rating, the more conducive a country’s infrastructure is for purchasing online.
  4. Growth potential (20 percent) – Projected online retail sales growth. The higher the rating, the greater the projected rate of growth.

( Data and analyses are based on Euro-monitor, International Telecommunications Union, World Bank, and World Economic Forum databases).

The Index Findings :

The Index rankings show a combination of developed and developing markets (see figure 1). China occupies the top-spot, and the G8 countries (Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Russia, and Italy) all fall within the Top 15. In the middle of the rankings is a compression of scores, with only five points separating the 15th- and 30 th-ranked countries. 

Developing countries feature prominently in the Index, holding 10 of the 30 spots, including first-place China. These markets have been able to shortcut the traditional online-retail maturity curve as online-retail grows at the same time that physical-retail becomes more organized.

Consumers in these markets are fast adopting behaviours similar to those in more developed countries. For example, mobile phones per capita in Russia (1.8) and the United Arab Emirates (1.7) are much higher than many developed markets. Consumers in these countries use their phones to research products, compare prices, and seek input from their friends on social media.

The rankings include 10 “small gems”—countries with populations of less than 10 million, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Slovakia, New Zealand, Finland, United Arab Emirates, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, and Switzerland—that have active online consumers and sufficient infrastructure to support online retail.

On the other hand, India, the world’s second most populous country at 1.2 billion, does not make the Top 30, because of low Internet penetration (10 percent) and poor financial and logistical infrastructure compared to other countries.

India’s Unharnessed Online Retail Potential :

India is on many online-retailers’ radars – after all, it is the second most populous country in the world (1.2 billion people), with an online-retail market worth $1.5 billion. Yet it falls short of the Index’s rankings because of its low Internet-penetration and significant infrastructure constraints.

Increasing Internet-penetration remains the “key to unlocking India’s online-retail potential”. Only one in 10 Indians use the Internet, as many lack access to a computer and fixed broad-­band.

Mobile phone usage may bolster this rate, as more than 900 million Indians have mobile phone subscriptions, but only 10 percent of mobile subscriptions are for smart-phones. Internet-penetration may dramatically improve in the coming years as smart-phone usage increases, mobile broadband improves, and India’s government rolls out its National Optical Fibre Network plan.

India’s poor logistics and trans­portation infrastructure, particu­larly outside of tier-1 cities, makes timely delivery difficult. Planned infrastructure improvements on roads and highways in tier-2 and 3 cities, would improve the base of online consumers.

Low credit card penetration and complex tax laws also impede Indian consumers’ ability to conduct online-retail transac­tions efficiently. Cash on delivery (COD) is common in India, as only 10 percent of Indian households have a credit card.

However, many online-retailers recently halted COD payment options in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, because of operational challenges. In addition, India’s complex state and local tax laws hinder online retailers’ ability to apply accurate taxes to online orders. The planned introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST) is expected to mitigate tax complexity across states and improve online-retail efficiency in the future.

Despite the hurdles, India’s large population presents online retailers with a tremendous long-term opportunity,  especially as investments are made to shore up infrastructure gaps. Today, 58 % of online users make purchases, a figure that will increase as retailers are able to improve consumer conditions.

More Similar than Different ? – 

Globally over the past 5 years, online-retail has grown at a 17 % CAGR, with growth particularly strong in Latin America (27 percent) and Asia Pacific (25 percent) (see figure 2).

At first glance, online-retail in developed and developing markets appears vastly different. In developed markets, retailers with an established presence in physical stores are struggling to integrate their in-store and online channels to offer consumers a seamless shopping experience.

Retailers in developing markets, however, worry less about multi-channel integration and more about addressing the barriers to online purchasing, such as financial and logistical infrastructure and cultural norms.

However, both types of markets share many similarities, which retailers should account for as they expand their global presence online.

The “Key” Market Types :

As in any globalization strategy, there are FOUR main questions to contemplate while considering online-retail expansion and investments :

  • How big is the market ? 
  • How fast is the market growing ? 
  • How do consumers behave within the market ?
  • Is there sufficient infrastructure in place to deliver on the online customer promise ?

These answer questions by comparing online growth potential to online consumer behavior in the Global Retail E-Commerce Index’s top 30 countries. This comparison offers an insight into the primary types of online retail markets.

Plant the Seeds for Growth :

Retailers are racing to expand online, and through-out the world they are building capabilities across the Retail e-commerce value chain to meet consumer needs and customers’ desires.

The winners will recognize commonalities across markets and develop scalable online expansion strategies for local markets. As always, regardless of location, successful retailers will manage the customer experience from browsing and community interaction to purchase to delivery and return in order to maintain and gain market share.

In this fast-moving space, one thing is clear : Online-retail is front and center in the quest for growth..

“Consumer Neuroscience-Based Advertising”| Making :15 sec spot, the New :30 sec | by:Randall Beard | Nielsen

Often treated as an after-thought by Marketers & Agencies alike, the 15-second TV spot is usually just a cut down version of the 30-second spot, rarely copy-tested, but assumed to be at least 50 percent as good as the : 30 from which it’s derived.

But the truth is that most marketers have no idea how good, or bad, their :15s really are. It’s as if everyone just blindly assumes the best, without thinking about the worst. Fifteen-second ads adhere to the same basic principles of success as :30s, but just get much less attention.


Things have improved somewhat over the past few years. With the advent of real-time TV ad effectiveness measurement, marketers can now monitor the performance of their : 30s and : 15s on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, enabling them to understand relative differences in performance.

This allows you to see when your 15s perform well enough to warrant moving out of your : 30s and into 100 percent focus on your :15s. But all of this is after the fact. What’s really needed is better : 15 design beforehand. But how ?


Consumer neuroscience has had any number of fits and starts over the past few years when applied to marketing. But one area where there has been substantial and undeniable progress is in the area of copy testing. The most advanced technique uses EEG measures of brain activity to understand how viewers are responding to advertising. This approach uses EEG to identify and capture responses to brain stimuli in fractions of a second.

In particular, EEG based copy testing can measure THREE things extremely well :

  1. Attention – When and how much viewer attention is paid to an ad. This is key to knowing if someone even notices or pays attention to your ad in the first place.
  2. Memory – Whether a viewer’s memory is activated in response to viewing an ad. Without memory, it’s unlikely that an ad will influence much future behavior.
  3. Emotion – To what degree a viewer is drawn to or pulls away from the ad stimulus. Attention and memory are important, but so is positive emotional attraction.

Taken together, these three measures are key to effective ads. They relate directly to whether someone pays attention to the ad, whether the ad is stored in long term memory, and whether the ad elicits a positive emotional response.

Importantly, EEG based copy testing measures viewer’s brain waves in milliseconds throughout the commercial. Typically, a viewer’s brain waves looks like a series of peaks and valleys as the viewer responds to different parts of the commercial. These peaks and valleys correspond to the parts of the commercial that are most and least effective as measured by attention, memory and emotion.


Back to the :30 vs. :15 conundrum: how do you design a better :15 TV spot? Well, it’s not as difficult as rocket science, but it’s essentially an exercise in brain wave assessment. Simply put, you cut out the ad’s “valleys” and keep the “peaks.”


Consumer neuroscience-based copy testing has advanced to the point where it can algorithmically eliminate the weakest portions of the :30 TV commercial while keeping the strongest ones for the new :15. This re-cut commercial is then edited by the agency creatives for story flow, continuity and visual seamlessness into a final spot.


At this point, you might be asking: “but how good, really, are these cut down neuroscience based ads? It all sounds like a big black box.”

Based on Nielsen NeuroFocus testing of both original :30 TV spots and the EEG-optimized :15s, here’s what we see :

  • ~ 90 % of Neuro-science optimized : 15sec ads test just as well as their : 30sec counterparts 
  • A significant number of optimized : 15sec ads actually test better than their : 30sec counterparts 

So, the next time you see your Ad-agency, tell them that you have a “present”  for them — Consumer Neuroscience-based : 15sec.