Business managers need to go through a vast variety of business scenarios and problems and make decisions during good as well as bad times. Some of these decisions and business management skills can propel their business into a position of competitive advantage.
The key things a business manager does are goal setting, planning, business communication and marketing, managerial decision making, accounting and finance. The main purpose of a business is to make profits and these business management activities help in achieving this purpose.
Strategic management is the key to gaining a competitive advantage over one’s rival companies. Business managers need to have or develop strategic management skills to gain a competitive edge. This follows from the setting of mission and objectives of the company by the senior management and the alignment of other business functions and operations with these missions and objectives.
All business managers down the line must be able to align their respective function or operations with the company’s mission and objectives. However, in order to gain a competitive edge for each function separately, the business managers need to have a strategic outlook and not just merely carry out their operations.
As per a Harvard Business Review article, business managers can have a four-phase strategic planning module. The four phases are: meeting budget, predicting the future, thinking strategically and creating the future.
In the first phase, meeting the budget, the managers must have a basic financial planning module whereby they must have an annual budget. They must have a functional focus on this stage and apply operational controls to stay in charge of the budget and not run into deficits. At this stage, the projected earnings growth rate indicates whether or not a company has a strategic approach.
In the second phase, predicting the future, a thorough environmental analysis, both, internal and external must be carried out. Through this analysis, managers can create multi-year forecasts. This will lead to effective planning for future growth and allocation of resources. Phase 2 is a critical phase as this step is laden with data and most business managers tend to not make thorough analysis and instead make only shortfall adjustments to previous year’s plans. This must be guarded against.
The third phase, strategic thinking, involves strategic plans based on the analysis done in phase 2. A key thing for managers is to have a heavy external focus in order to understand the customer and the market requirements, and strategies already being deployed by the competitors. Resource allocation must be dynamic as well as creative in this phase. Innovations and creativity must be the cornerstones of this phase.
The final phase, creating the future, is the time when the resources must be strategically allocated and synchronized to create a competitive advantage. The strategic planning framework must be decided and followed. The processes must be creative and flexible, having a growth orientation. All of this must be strengthened by a supportive value system within the company.
The above four phase business management process is taught in business management certificate courses and can lead managers to create strategic competitive advantage.
Description: It is a well-known fact that 80% of startups fail within the first two years of existence, while the remaining 20% go on to being spectacular successes. But the path to e-commerce glory is much more than a gamble. It is a science requiring skills and spirit to overcome business challenges.
It’s a widely held belief that 80% of funded startups fail within the first 18 months of inception. Over the years, this view has been supported by venture capitalists and the business media as well, lending credibility and turning it into a fact.
But what is it that causes most of the dreamy-eyed entrepreneurs to crash and burn so badly that the damage is almost irreversible? Surely if they can envision an innovative product or service that is credible enough to be funded by venture capitalists, they should be able to ensure the survival of their venture?
The results speak otherwise, and the general consensus among first-generation entrepreneurs seems to be that the following aspects rank among the most prominent reasons that 80 % of startups fail within the first two years.
The Top Four Survival Challenges Faced By Startups:
Regulatory – India ranks among the lowest in the world in terms of a startup favourable environment and legislation. At number 142 out of 189 countries in the ease of doing business index study conducted according to the World Bank, the environment in India cannot exactly be called conducive to business inception and growth, although that has recently changed with the introduction of new policies to foster entrepreneurship and growth.
Financial –For any business, and especially for technology-oriented startup businesses, Cash is King. Cash flow problems rank among the biggest causes for most startups failing. Cash flow is the difference between the receivables and payables for a particular period of time, and survival of any startup is heavily dependent on the ability of the entrepreneur to survive the period it takes to break even or until the positive cash in-flow from sales exceeds the outflow into various operation overheads.
GTM and Market Acceptance – This is one of the main areas where over-optimism generally causes maximum damage. Without adequately testing the actual market acceptance of a potential product. This has recently changed with the increasing acceptance of user acceptance testing and soft launches. However, premature GTM (Go-To-Market) strategies and incomplete customer analysis, while maintaining optimistic sales projections largely account for many startups failing to survive in the market beyond the initial lunch hype.
Human Resources – One of the most underrated but significant challenges that entrepreneurs face for their startups is the dearth of a capable and motivated talent pool. More often than not, startups are pitted against the might of large corporations and global multinationals in the war for adequate talent and skills. In fact, the race for suitable talent is the third of the top challenges that startups face. And it is not just talent acquisition, talent retention and engagement are also some of the major issues that startups have to deal with, even when they are paying their employees top of the line compensation.
For aspiring technology entrepreneurs and those who want to build a fast-paced career in the booming e-commerce sector in India, Talentedge, India’s leading online professional courses platform has recently launched the Post Graduate Certification in E-Commerce Business Management. In collaboration with MICA, India’s most renowned institution in advertising and brand management and OLX, India’s largest and most successful classifieds website, this Post Graduate Certification Program is conducted by industry and thought leaders and enables learners to kickstart their careers in the E-Commerce Segment, both within India and globally.