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Category: Entrepreneurial Leadership

I Want to be a Consultant!

Which and how core business consulting skills could be useful for new business development? 
And are the business consultants people, who creatively associate network and experiment, or rather people who are extremely good and careful in linear-thinking?
According to Victor Cheng, who is considered as “McKinsey’s golden child” , rigorous linear-thinking makes a real business consultant. Scattering around creatively could make a good CEO, but not a good consultant says Victor.
So what’s so exciting in core business consulting skills and how you could learn them to develop your business?
One of the most comprehensive ways to embrace core business consulting skills at a glance is to join Victor’s Cheng case interview preparation programme. It’s a programme consisting of couple of hours of videos training, which aim is to prepare people to get a job in top management consulting.
The programme explores most popular business analysis tools and frameworks and teaches how to approach popular business situation cases.
By practicing it you can develop abilities of analyzing businesses and also preparing complex, competitive and feasible business plans. It’s a skillset which every entrepreneur should master.
By exploring Victor’s Cheng videos you’ll learn e.g.:
1)How to build a big picture and place your business in wider context
2)How to look and use the market data
3)How to make reasonable assumptions when there is no data
4)How to make estimations basing on these assumptions
5)How to build business hypotheses and then prove them right or wrong
6)How to use “the outliers” in the data, which are the numbers/facts which are especially good or especially bad
And what specific it means for entrepreneurs?
1)You’ll learn how to recognize the market trends and use them for your business modeling
2)You’ll know how to do market sizing, estimate how much you can grow and to explain the others why your business is worth investing
3)You’ll be able to plan the market entrance
4)You’ll know how to refer to baselines and do benchmarking to improve performance
5)You’ll know how to tackle profit decreases by analyzing revenue sources and costs of business
6)You’ll know what to do if you if you stuck at any stage of your business planning, and why of segmentation of markets and Client’s is so important to grow further
I must admit that I owe Victor Cheng a lot. I went through all his videos couple of years ago and. I made notes and get back to them regularly as I find them really working. If you prefer reading to watching you can alternatively use Case Interview Secrets also wrote by Victor, which foundation of business skill-set and provide great deal of brain-origami exercises. 
Should you wish to explore and develop more business consulting mind effects, use the Wharton Consulting Club assets including their Casebook.
They say that Basic business consulting skills are just the beginning, as you get hired because of your analytical skills, you get promoted by the Client skills and you go to the top always by….sales!
Dzida !

Why Entrepreneurs Need the Second Half?

To the one, without whom I wouldn’t levitate by an inch.
If you take a look at people considered successful you’ll often find that they were linked with strong feelings with someone else. Albert Einstein, Jack Welch, or Roger Dowson and others who impacted reality in significant way openly admit how much impact their marriages had on their way to success.
As I have been blessed to experience this phenomenon myself, let me share with you, why should you seek a deep relationship with another person.
1. The second half will be the first instance for honest feedback. You should appreciate that and ask them often “What do you think?”. It’s the second half you’ll turn to for mock-up interviews, negotiation strategies and sales strategies. The more different person she or he is from you, the more you’ll learn.
2. The second half will not only easily advise on your perpetual tie dilemma, and help you to start your day. If you are propitious enough, they will also make sure you will not starve or get dehydrated. It appears to be really useful in case you experience one of these blissful productivity moments or acts of brain-origami, which make you accidentally forget about the whole world.
3. Preventing from starving or dehydration also refers to sport events you may take part in, including long distance runs in particular. No one else, but your second will come up with “homemade power muffins” and something to drink at the route, in case you are not a fan of running with bottles in the hand or backpack. And hunger after 20th kilometer while doing the marathon cannot be compared to anything else, after 30thone you start dreaming about eating a whole cow. She or he will be there your biggest and most devoted fan.
4. The second half will be the instance of last resort when you are active in the web and no one want to give you endorsement, like, to share or retweet whatever digital content  you create and publish. If you ask very kindly you may even be given a feedback on the content before it goes viral on whether it’s appealing for broader audience.
5. The second half is the source of “daily inspiration chunks” always if you are open and listen for them. Recently I was inspired to start thinking about launching a blog for novice entrepreneurs who have a home-made product, but don’t know how to sell it or finance their development. I’m starting to think that there might be a niche for something like this.
Einstein’s memorandum to his wife may seem horrid at a first glance, but I think it’s something wonderful to find a person, who will accept not only your best side, but also your quirks and even some selfish demands, communicated honestly, and heard up without fussing. The important thing to remember is that it should also work in reverse.
So be good to your second half. And don’t forget about making incoming St. Valentine ’s Day special.
                                                       Source: Own pictures library.
Dzida !


What’s Big Deal About Saying Hi?

Recently a colleague of mine shared with me an observation that his supervisor is not replying anything to “hi” when passed by in the corridor. Does not replying to greeting, or even not weaving a hand sound familiar you? 

If so, you’d better change it quickly and consider spotting people’s presence when they are within the reach of your sight and your views might cross. Say “hi” when you are close enough to hear each other without shouting and exchange the handshakes in case you stop to talk for a moment.

The “ritual” of exchanging handshakes has a profound meaning deriving from ancient times. Showing you have nothing in your hand meant your intentions are sincere and you do not plan to harm the person you are meeting with. This is also the first thing you do when you start building relations. So remember to keep your drink in the left hand at the business cocktails to have your right one free, dry, and ready to introduce yourself. It shows that you are a professional. 

I hope I don’t need to even remind, that you handshake should always be firm and confident. If you started talking and the heated conversation keeps rolling as new people are joining, remember to make an eye contact with them at least, so they don’t feel ignored.

The first rule of being a gentleman or a lady is that no matter what happens to you, you should never your problems someone else’s problems. You should preserve an upbeat and unshakeable attitude at any time.

So what do you do when asked “how are you”? You reply politely and ask about the same the person, who asked you about it. If constantly replying “I’m fine” sounds boring for you, make yourself a challenge to answer the question differently each time. There are so many adjectives and phrases expressing great attitude that you can impress others with.

So instead of saying “I’m fine, thanks. How are you?”, consider going with I’m:

– awesome
– delightful
– delicious
– faboulous
– outstanting
– splendid
– spectacular
– terrific
– first-class
– top-octane
– out-of-this-world
– elevated
– majestic
– magnificent
– smashing
– glorious
– accelerated
– orgasmic 

So how are you?

Source: www.pinterest.com

What Entrepreneurs Will Learn at MBA Studies?

Basing on own experience of participating in Professional MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation at WU Executive Academy in Vienna, Austria I can openly admit that it is internalization of students and professors and unconventional teaching methods, which make MBA studies unique experience. What you shortly observes is that you substantially change the way you analyse business, makes decisions and your network of contacts starts growing exponentially.

Brand new campus reminding “city inside the city”, endless business-mixer events with distinguished guests from business and start-ups world are what complements to core classes delivered by professors teaching also at global business schools or managing directors of strategy consulting power houses.

On pretty critical path of “mastering creative destruction” at WU Executive Academy I learned that real business strategies are definitely not what companies communicate at their websites, that if you don’t have data enable to decide clearly, it’s the skill of building “well-educated guesses”, which is essential, that story-telling communication with allegories and metaphors is the way to win minds and heards of your audience and make speeches convincing and memorable. Fortunately you can learn here these a lot.

What I gained from meeting guest speekers in between the classes in events organized for us is that there are more than financials that makes companies profitable, it’s more than brand positioning makes them desirable and far more than design that makes them beautiful. It was also eye-opening how successful companies went through crises and were able to turn threats into opportunities.
Having already finished half of core business classes I have still remaining part of them to master by preparing to classes in pre-modules, actively contributing to core classes and delivering post-module assignments, incl. comprehensive group assignments. There will be also international residency in Boston, USA this year, and series of entrepreneurship and innovation specialization subjects and writing and defending the master thesis in the next one.
Curriculum and classes never bore, the cookbook of methods here includes virtual bridging courses, drilling down case studies in teams,  presenting in front of classes, decision making games, role playing, critical discussing or self-reflecting on concrete matters in your professional context.

Being considered as experienced in running various business initiatives and doing management consulting for a profession, or having graduated from PhD studies in Economics before I joined MBA programme I can frankly say that joining WU Executive Academy was one of the best development decisions I made ever and kind of investment which pays out immediate dividend.

It’s also kind of fun to do things with fellow students, who are entrepreneurs by profession or spirit and come from Americas, Africa, Asia, or Europe. And if you are enough with classes you can always go to ball in imperial style and swing from the chandeliers with them 😉

Should you like to know more about the programme reach out directly to programme managers or to me. 

Dzida !


What Entrepreneurs Can Wish in 2015?

As entrepreneur you know the meaning of “make it a December to remember” and after the final sprint you think about New Year’s eve as of good moment to drink champagne and dance on the table.

They say that it is also a good moment for making some plans, resolutions and wishing they come true, therefore you may find below list useful and inspiring:
1) Studying new ways to make your first sale, e.g. by taking comprehensive course in ecommerce and learning from start-up specialising groups at LinkedIn.

2) Participating in
challenges for entrepreneurs, not only for financial rewards and fame, but collaboration with gother reat minds, who think alike, greater good of society and innovations looked for.

3) Gathering professional feedback on your business  to make it more agile, viable and ready for market take-up. Consider reaching to Venture Capitalists in area of your focus and ask for business opinion. An example of VC focused on life science innovations is Black Pearls.

4) Boosting your business by co-financing from EU funds available at national level in EU member countries and additionally under SME Instrument planned for 2015 under Horizon 2020.

5) Promoting entrepreneurial spirit your local level. Who else can do it better than you?

Consider inspiring your local government to create challenges for entrepreneurs like you from their area. Why? Because it’s impactful, good for people and image of authorities as well.  

Think how to make your place healthier, greener, good to live and make business. Take a look at Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2015 for inspiration.

For all entrepreneuers and entrepreneurship enthusiasts – happy new dreams and happy desires, happy new days and happy new ways. Happy New Year !

                                         Source: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/

Dzida !





What Zohan Dvirr Tells us about Customer’s Experience?

Remember Zohan Dvirr, who was considered one of the most effective Mosad agents’, but in the long run really wanted to… cut people’s hair and make them silky-smooth?

If not, then you’d better catch up with “Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, as the story brings pretty to what is nowadays called customer’s experience. And it is customer’s experience making them buying from you, not competitors, especially when you offer goods or services which seem to be common. Besides Adam Sandler is a great actor and another movie not to miss with him on your entrepreneurial journey is “Mr Deeds”. Especially if you are somewhere between speed of the processor and poetry of everyday life 😉 But hey, the post should be about customer experience, right?

Customer experience and customer centricity lies at heart of IT corporates like Cisco, which five-point scale of measuring customer satisfaction after all customer-facing operations in company is considered as business classic. Annual salary bonus at Cisco depends on answer their Clients to the question “What is your overall satisfaction with Cisco”, and all employees know that non regarding their position at the company, in order to maximize this indicator, they have to cooperate putting Client first and not leaving the issue raised by Clients for themselves.  

Another approach of costumer experience maximization provides company called Avis operating in car renting business offered among others at airports. Avis hired Experience Engineering to perform Cient’s experience audit and redesign the way rental cars are being rented. Avis Clients’ behavior was recorded using cameras and devices installed at Client’s watches and cloathes.

The results had been analysed by Experience Engineering team consisting of futurologists, psychologists and culture anthropologists to discover what exactly their Clients see and feel at every stage of car renting. Experience Engineering team analysed body language, tone of voice and language when the Clients went emotional, they performed in-depth interviews with Clients and employees of Avis looking for unarticulated needs and inspirations referring to even smallest details. They cut process of renting car into 100 pieces, which elements had been thoroughly analysed and enriched.  

As a result of this undertaking Avis installed  monitors informing about arrivals and departure of the planes in places of car rentals, as it was discovered that car renting process might be stressful due to lack of access to this information. In Avis car rental spots special doors adjusted to nonstandard language of their Clients had been constructed.  Avis also set up “communication centres” in the airports to enable Clients to work with their laptops, do phone calls, use Xerox machines or just sit and wait.

The most important thing resulted for Client’s experience audit was creation of service omitting car rental spot at the airport enabling to go straight away to the place where the car is parked.  Experience auditors found out the need to change the Client’s outfit from formal too casual after the journey and Client’s going to the airport toilet’s to do this. Using this observation Avis installed changing rooms in their car rental spots making preparation to the journey painless and friendly. Above that they introduced option to rent a car with chauffeur and installed in their cars a system automatically calling for rescue once the airbags in the car had opened or remote diagnostics of the car.

Taking a look on how important is how your Clients experience you, what do you do make it unique, unforgettable and disco-disco-good-good style?;-)
                                                         Source: http://www.fanpop.com/



Up, up and Away!

You may think that incorporating large company practices into growth of your emerging organization offering minimum viable products is not very business-wise approach. But what if there are large, profitable companies, active on highly competitive markets, which actually work like start-ups?

Take a look at Southwest Airlines – low cost aviation business player, which is an object of enormous number of best practices case studies, incl. Jim Collins “Great by choice”.What Southwest Airlines does is that they sell they tickets directly using Internet, cutting fees on commissions and lowering their prices and giving priority during the boarding for those, who bought their “product” online.

I assume that as business enthusiast you understand the concept of supply and demand ;-), so in terms of tickets pricing, Southwest uses dynamic pricing, meaning that when demands for “products” increases they charge more for them, and when the demand is low they sell “products” almost for nothing . It keeps their revenue stream flowing and they offer other revenue-generating opportunities once they catch the “product user”.

What they offer in fact a seat (with no number <!>) in one type of plane they have, so its cleaning, maintenance, and people training related to it is as simple as possible. Therefore thir efficiency of operating it is much higher than of their competitors.

They avoid crowded airports, so their “distribution channels” are smaller, cheaper and not congested ones and enabling to “release the product” on time.

It is said that Southwest’s employees are more important for the company than Clients, as the Clients only will come, if the team is unique and gives value to the Clients look for. When there is a risk of flight delay everyone at Southwest from pilot, customer serving agents to flying attendants and baggage handlers get their hands on board to ensure the plane leaves on time.
Their flight attendants build customer relationships with telling jokes, rapping during the safety briefing, or making unforgettable experiences like in case of couple, who was flying to get married, when the lights in the cabin dimmed and whole plane sang a loud wedding toast. Relating to J. Gitomer –  making them laugh makes them buying 😉

In 2009 their received almost 100 000 resumes and employed less than 100, what makes them more prestigious than the Ivy League. Herb Kelleher in attached video explains what they value in the people they look for most, and whom by all means they would not employ 😉

What they also practice besides rewarding going the extra mile to provide great customer service is celebration of the successes. There are 100 000 photographs in company headquarters’ in Dallas commemorating company’s moments of joy.

Albert Schweitzer once said that “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”. Assuming that you do what you love, and it is only matter of time to get there where you want to get, learning from Southwest – don’t forget to collect some stories to inspire and ignite fire in others later on 😉
                                Source: World Business Ideas channel at www.youtube.com


Dzida !

First Who, then What


So you got an idea to set up a business, to be so successful that Clients will not only be satisfied but seriously stroked with how good you your people and tell about it to strangers spotted in the streets.

This is the moment you spotted it refers not only to you, but also about the people thinking with you together how you are going to win. As Jim Collins,author of “Good to great”, once spotted, gathering right people to the bus is far more important than knowing where the bus should go. Therefore reaching out and inviting people, who will make your dreams come true seems pretty important, right ?


You may think that there recruiting a teammate to a business, which is just emerging costs a lot? Nothing more wrong than that. There are literally hundreds of places where people look for joining new business venture on volunteer basis, incl. e.g. start-up campuses and people offering virtual hands-on engagements.


So what criteria should you apply when working on buy-in and reaching out to potential candidates?

Let’s be serious and agree that people who offer joining new business ventures on volunteer basis may not have enough experience you look for. But hey, who said that some kind of experience is important at all?


In case of new businesses believing in the concept are far more important than experiences, hence you look for people, whose smartness and energy substitutes experience well.


Even Jack Welch, author of “Winning” referring to corporate environment doesn’t refer to experience while sharing with best candidates recruitment approach. Jack Welch proposes “4E + P” formula, which in context of start-ups sounds better than anywhere else. According to this formula, in order to win, you should always look for people, who:


       have energy and drive, are not feared to go forward, love changes and challenges,


       have ability to energize others, they can inspire others to do impossible and are not afraid to cherish the hardship of everyday work,


       have the edge and are brave in taking up tough decisions, what especially refers to taking up decisions when no full information needed is available,


       have ability to execute, what means going forward against all odds, chaos and surprises, because people, who know what they want know that winning is about results,


       have passion, what means sincere, honest, deep and authentic fascination with work and everything around. Basically passion is appetite for life 😉


They say that before you become a leader success is about yourself and yourself only. Setting up emerging business by you may be perceived as such.
They also say, that when you’ll invite others to work with you, the success will be not about yourself, but people you’ll develop and change you create together with.
Isn’t that noble, but also pretty exciting purpose to invite others to grow and win?
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                                                    Source: https://www.goodreads.com
Dzida !


How to Change a Start-up into a Corp-up?

Whitehead once said that whole European philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. Having studied hundreds of books on contemporary management one may came to a conclusion that they consist of footnotes to Peter Drucker, and his intellectual output encapsulated in “Management” from 1970’s.

Drucker is not only father of remark that business has two, and only two basic functions: marketing and innovation, but also other essential principles on managing teams and delivering work in productive way, which is the first test of management’s competence.

It was Drucker who is said to invent society of organizations depending on managers, who in the first place set objectives, secondly organize, next motivate and communicate. Managers, says Drucker analyse, appraise and interpret performance. Finally they develop people, including themselves.

Drucker gives a lot of clues on how to make wise decision. Becoming part of top management you’ll constantly need to ask yourself the question “What is our business, and what is not?”.

Drucker says, that the right answer are the results of asking the right questions, and decisions are rarely choices between right and wrong. They are at best a choices between “almost right” and “probably wrong”.

Drucker describes illuminating decision making stories, incl. those when Sloan Jr said at one of GM top committees “Gentlemen I take we are all in complete agreement to the decisions here – then I propose we postpone further discussion on this matter until our next meeting, to give ourselves time to develop disagreement or perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about”.

Drucker observed that top decisions are not made well by acclamations. They are made well only if they are based on the clash of conflicting views, dialogue between various point of view and choices between different judgments. Does in not reminding you what we call an “open innovation” approach today ?


Why else you should read Drucker ? You will learn from Management that the customer never buys a product, but by definition the customer buys the “satisfaction of a want”, and that the most productive innovations are products or services that create new potential of satisfaction.

Drucker will explain you that spirit of performance in a human organization is in fact an act of creation of energy, as company’s energy output is larger than the sum of efforts put in, and that the purpose of organization is to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

In the end you’d like to set up great company, right?
                        Source: http://pandawhale.com/post/28476/jeff-bezos-favorite-business-books

Dzida !

2 Kaplans to Guide You

Are you pitching large caps or just wondering how to make the first contact? Proposing value to large company is easier, if you start thinking like you’re in one and crack down its internal structure. To do this nothing is better than “Bag the Elephant !” by Steve Kaplan.

But then, before approaching the Client, you need to forge a unique value proposal to win them over. Saul Kaplan comes with helpful bits and pieces to do that. I know people, who repeat this every morning like mantra, to get the right level of focus and purpose in the mind palace.

“The Business Model Innovation Factory” rules of Saul Kaplan:

1.    Catalyze something bigger than yourself

2.    Enable random collision of unusual subjects’
3.    Collaborative innovation is the mantra
4.    Build purposeful networks
5.    Together, we can design the future
6.    Stories can change the world
7.    Make systems level thinking sexy
8.    Transformation is itself a creative act
9.    Passion rules – exceed your expectations
10.  Be inspiration accelerator
11.  Tweaks won’t do it
12.  Experiment all the time
13.  Off the whiteboard and into the real world
14.  It’s a use-center world –design for it
15.  A decade is terrible thing to waste.


Dzida !