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Member 04 Apr 2012
Posted by: Michelle Tan
Impact of Myanmar elections - Global Perspective
"YANGON, April 3 (Xinhua) -- The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi has won 43 of 45 parliamentary seats available for contest in Sunday's historic by- election, according to final official result announced by the Union Election Commission on Tuesday"

Dear friends,

Do you think this will have an impact on businesses / trade in Myanmar?

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Member 04 Jul 2017
Posted by: Germaine Lee
Establish a Relationship with the Customer, Do Not Just Take an Order

Establish a Relationship with the Customer, Do Not Just Take an Order

Ensure a cure, don't just take the medicine. Establish a relationship with the 
customer, don't just take an order

Superficial actions will not do in this competitive market. All of us can take the medicine 
for our ailments, but the objective is to be cured. Every company can take an order, but at 
the end of the day, it aims to secure a loyal customer. This is why there is a Chinese 
saying, " You can change the soup without changing the medicine." The effect will not 
be efficacious. Sadly, sometimes we spend a lot of money on marketing, we know very 
little about our customers.

In the past, the target was to satisfy the customer. Today the ante has been raised and 
merely satisfying the customer is not good enough. The target is to gain loyal customer 
who will not switch to your competitor because of lower price, buy your products and 
services on a regular basis and even recommend you to other customers.

Consider research done by the Forum Corporation, which analyzes commercial 
customers lost by 14 major manufacturing and service companies. Some 15 percent of 
those who switched suppliers did so because they found a better product - based on 
technical measure of product quality, such as a greater mean time between failures or a 
lower defects rate. Another 15 percent took off because they found a"cheaper product" 
somewhere else. Twenty percent of the lost customers hightailed it because of the "lack 
of contact and individual attention" from the prior supplier; and 49 percent left because 
"contact from old supplier's personnel was poor in quality." It seems fair to collapse the 
last two categories into one, after which we could say: 15 percent left because of quality 
problems, 15 percent scooted because of price and 70 percent hit the road because they 
did not like the human side of doing business with the provider of the productor service. 
In other words, there was a problem with the relationship. Recent finding indicated that 
due to the dog-fight-dog competition, 65-85% of customers who leave for another 
supplier claim to have been satisfied. Thus merely satisfying customers is not good 

Relationships evolve through three distinct phases, and in each phase your role changes. 
You start as an expert for hire, this is how your client sees you when he first gets to know 
you. The crux is how to break out and develop a longer-term relationship. Next you 
become a steady supplier and get rewarded with a steady repeat business.However, you 
are still a vendor and certainly not part of your client's inner circle. You should target to 
be your client's extraordinary advisor and then possibly develop into abroad-based 
business advisor.

Successful companies also tend to create personal relationships with their customers. 
High-end hotels take copious notes about their frequent guests' preferences,from the 
specific rooms they desire to the items stocked in the mini-bar. Successful online 
companies such as Amazon have used technology to create the same sort of personalized relationships. When you visit the Amazon Web site, you are greeted by name,reminded 
of your last transaction and presented with new recommendations that your profile 
suggests you might be interested in. Likewise, personal computers have increasingly 
become more personalised, even though the word-processing and Web-browsing 
programs are necessarily standardised. Increasingly users can download more options 
from free sites on the Internet. They can customise their computers with macroprograms, 
sounds and other options.

Call centres are the rage today because companies recognise the need for customers to 
have front-line sales and support contacts. When the client perceives that you have 
helped him in some extraordinary way, the result is often loyalty.

Involve the customers in the decision-making. What better way to build customer loyalty 
than to have customers create an entire life around your product - whether virtual or real? 
Unfortunately, many companies fail to achieve this extreme differentiation from their 
competitors' products. In fact, they move to quite the opposite direction,turning their 
product into a commodity. All too often, the result is that they become locked in a 
competitive price battle to the death. In such an environment, innovation is often stifled 
because it is either too costly as margins become razor thin or too risky because a wrong 
bet will surely sink the company.

The customer is profit,everything else is overhead

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Member 04 Jul 2017
Posted by: Germaine Lee
Know When to Exit, Do Not Be the 'Living Dead'

Know When to Exit, Do Not Be the 'Living Dead'

Within the corporate world, there are the 'living dead', which are the sick companies that 
go on a wretched existence, without any hope of turnaround. These companies need a 
miracle such as a resurrection from the dead. Many of these companies need a change of 
DNA or business models. They are technically commercially insolvent and the owners 
will face the fate of bankruptcy if they close down the operations. Therefore,these 'living 
dead' just hang around, waiting for the death sentence. For some, the death sentence may 
take years before the owners decided not to throw in good money anymore to chase after 
bad money. For others, the bubble keeps getting bigger such as the construction 
companies in Singapore that continue to clinch loss-making projects to cover up for the 
earlier losses.

Some of these 'living dead' are large companies with huge amounts of bank debts. 
However, the banks are unwilling to wind up these companies, as some one said:When 
you owe the bank lots of money, you owe the bank." These banks may go under together 
with these "living dead'. Therefore, these living dead are allowed to survive in the short 
term. An example is Donald Trump's corporate empire that went into massive financial 
difficulties in the 1980s. He owed the banks a lot of money then and the banks were 
unable to press the trigger to stop the flow of credit as they would be dragged down with 

If companies are caught in such situations,the owners have to take some tough decisions 
to get out of this quandary. It is important to know when to exit. An optimised exit is one 
of getting out of non-core or under performing businesses, where there is a loss of 
confidence in the management and further losses and declining profitability are expected. 
Removing such under-performing assets can free up capital for investments in the core 

If you are able to optimise your exit, then it is no longer perceived as organisational 
failure but rather unlocking of your values. Optimised exits should be made strategically 
rather than be done out of desperation. This is because when it is done out of desperation 
and panic, quite often the value of the company is diminished. Successful exits require a 
lot of planning and can maximise shareholder's value, minimise cost, liability and 
disruption as well as enhance the value of the enterprise.

Optimised exit is necessary for many 'living dead'. For some it may mean cleaning the 
"deck" prior to an acquisition or integrating a large acquisition that included non-core or 
unprofitable assets. For others, the business model needs to be revamped with the market 
changes. The management needs to be able to bail the company out of the dire situation 
and scarce resources need to be re-deployed elsewhere for better returns. For some 
others, it may be a case of the shareholders and owners getting tired of the business and 
deciding to move on to do something else.

There are various channels to bail the company out. One way is to sell the business as an 
ongoing concern. Another way is to attempt to turn around the company from financial 
losses before disposal. If the company has a grim chance of turning around, it is better to 
close the company immediately, cut losses and move on. There is nothing to be ashamed 
about with your company going bust. Many successful entrepreneurs suffered failures in 
their earlier ventures. They are able to make subsequent comebacks. It is better to bite 
the bullet, avoid bankruptcy and recoup the losses and to fight another day than to be totally dragged down 
to the bottom because of trying to save a hapless situation.

Usually, it is difficult to get a good price or premium when selling a troubled company. 
Many acquirers try to avoid buying a loss-making enterprise like a plague. They will find 
it extremely difficult to convince their shareholders to undertake the risks of acquiring a 
loss-making enterprise. For instance in China, some loss-making and state-owned 
enterprises are offered for sale at one dollar without acquiring the past liabilities. Yet, 
there are few takers. You never know the full liabilities that you can be buying into. 
In Singapore, some businesses are conducted at a loss. The high rental overheads, 
expensive manpower staffing, etc, have eroded all the profits. However,many 
entrepreneurs felt trapped and reluctant to shut down their business as they will have to 
proceed with bankruptcy procedures immediately. However, any delay in closing down 
such businesses can dash any hope of recouping the losses.

There are some points to consider before you embark on saving the company. Is it worth 
the pain and effort? Do you want to keep it going by throwing good money to chase after 
bad money? Therefore one needs to ask whether one's company is worth more dead than 
alive? If it is much like a vampire, neither dead nor alive but living on the nutrients and 
sustenance of the living blood, then it is time to drive a stake through the heart and 
relieve the misery of the 'living dead'. It is worth more to be dead than alive.

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Member 04 Jul 2017
Posted by: Germaine Lee
The 4 Cs in a Corporate Restructuring Process

The 4 Cs in a Corporate Restructuring Process

Restructuring is not a slash-and-burn exercise, but one that calls for the surgeon's skills. 
It does not require the use of a parang or long knife but the surgeon's lancet.The 
restructuring process may involve re-engineering, downsizing, rightsizing and delayering. 
These all require the use of the same basic techniques and approaches.

During the restructuring exercise, remember to use the 4 Cs.

Communication: The manager needs to communicate personally the restructuring plans 
truthfully to the staff. Similarly, a doctor does not delegate to a nurse the task of briefing 
the patient about his ailment and treatment. You need to communicate the restructuring 
plans personally. Regular communication with all the staff, shareholders, board members, 
customers and business associates is necessary to get their buy-in and support for the 
restructuring plan. It is also very important that whatever you promise, you need to 
implement and deliver. There are many anxious and impatient people waiting to know 
the progress and outcome of the restructuring programme. You need to keep them duly 
informed. You need to "walk the talk", otherwise it is like shouting at a dead body to 
leave. The dead body will not leave but your friends may.

Concentration: The surgeon operates on only one patient at a time. Similarly, the sick 
company needs to concentrate on its core competence. During bad times, you need to 
concentrate even more as resources are scarce. If possible, sell away all non-core 
businesses. In desperate turnaround situations, your focus should be as sharpas laser. 
You cannot afford to be hazy, sloppy or uncertain as these will impinge on your limited 
resources. Divest away non-core businesses so as to concentrate on the focused areas. 
Cost cutting: It is an important antidote or effective remedy to administer especially in 
desperate situations. Cut costs to the bones without injuring the muscles and organs. If 
circumstances permit, amputate non-profitable businesses rather than try to bandage and 
apply stitches. Investigate into cutting your fixed and variable overheads by outsourcing, 
downsizing, delayering and across-the-board salary cut. Every cent saved or cut goes 
right into the bottom line.

Cash flow improvement: Cash flow is your lifeblood. Slipping into losses may give you a 
migraine but a sudden shortfall in cash flow will cause immediate massive heart attack. 
Try to reduce your inventory, purchases, perks, credits to customers,outstanding debts 
and related items without hurting the company further. Ensure that your receivables are 
promptly collected. Negotiate with your creditors for extension of the credit limits or 
source for more credit lines or more time to pay back the debts. You need to do whatever 
you can during the financially tight situations to quickly improve the cashflow position.

Typically in a major restructuring exercise,the timing is extremely short for you to 
deliver the positive results. There are many things to do and remember.However, you 
need to prioritise and remember these four Cs.

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