From The Side Lamps Glow

Run-up to the 1st day of classes…

Posted by From The Side Lamps Glow on September 18, 2010

Passed the last week on making some preparations for school. Completed the immunization requirements, re-visited the curriculum and class schedule.
Finally, I met with one of the alumni’s (Evening MBA Grad) and got some words of wisdom. This meeting was very informative, specially because the individual confirmed my choise to go to Foster school of business as a good decision. We also talked about classes, professor’s things to do etc etc.
Received the 3rd newsletter from MBA office. Everyone seems to be busy preparing for the orientation, grand opening of school and also the new building (Paccar Hall).  ePRIME as the orientation is called seems to be very intense and fun-filled 2 days. Cleaned up my LinkedIn profile to reflect my most latest status (MBA Candidate..:)). Still haven’t finalized my laptop deal.
By the way there are two interesting aspects that I noticed this week, first being the way sections were made (Purple & Gold) that closely resembled the tradition followed at LSU (I am in Section Purple) and the second and important one being that the 1st assignment for my MBA program is due on the first day of class for accounting course.
How interesting…. totally look forward for the classes to start.

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H-P’s BOGIE on 3-PAR

Posted by From The Side Lamps Glow on September 3, 2010

It was very interesting to follow the 10 day long professional takeover duel between H-P Co. and Dell Inc.  In the end it was H-P who won over Dell by scoring a bogie to scoop the deal. The 2.1 billion / $33 a share offer by H-P was almost twice the initial offer of $1.1 billion put forward by Dell.

Few facts standout in this interesting deal-

1. Businesses will see how cloud computing concepts and corresponding storage mechanisms will play a major role in company’s future strategies.

2. Acquisitions seem to be catching on. Couple of day’s back we saw Intel taking over Infineon and McAfee.

3. H-P showed its courage and ability to maneuver fast putting aside all the other things going on in the company. (Mark Hurd’s departure)

Overall as the suspense unfolded, questions remain as to see how H-P will use this acquisition to increase its overall numbers. It is still to be seen how H-P will reap the benefits of its acquisition of PALM.

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CFO Insights on Business Plans & Financial Projections

Posted by From The Side Lamps Glow on August 12, 2010

Today I co-counseled at Seattle SCORE with an individual (Ms. NC) who worked as a CFO for several internet/software & manufacturing firms here is Seattle area. I thought this will be a great opportunity for me to meet and learn from the highest professional in the hierarchy of the field of my interest (Finance).

Apart from the little reading that I did during my bus ride, I learned little bit about the importance of business plans and financial projections.

The first aspect that caught my attention today was about Leadership. Darwin E. Smith was the CEO of Kimberly-Clark for 20 years who on retirement, reflected on his exceptional performance, saying simply, “I never stopped trying to become qualified for the job.” I was inspired by this statement and hope to put it in practice.

We met 3 different clients today whose business ideas were quite varied but in all instances Ms. NC could clearly establish the importance of financial projections & business plan’s.

– Client 1: Couple of years into his business. Owner was trying to expand the operations. It made easy sense at the beginning why financial projections were important in case of client 1 who was looking for investor money and how the projections become part of the bigger business plan.

– Client 2 was trying to see the viability of employing new staff and how this would impact her business. Even in this case, Ms. NC’s argument was very convincing as to why a business plan and projections will make sense. I could see as to how documenting the plan and making scientifically guessed financial projections gave the client the ability to use the plan and the data for making decisions and see how viable different alternatives were. In this case the client was not looking for any funding nor was she trying to convince anyone about her business.

– Client 3 was trying to take advantage of the SEAP (Self Employment Assistance Program) program offered by SBA and came to the office well prepared. By prepared I meant she had her vision as to what she wanted to do and how she wanted to get there by documenting her thought process in the form of a business plan that included projections. Even in this case the advantages of the documents were clear.

In conclusion, what I learnt today was that entrepreneurs and business owners might not realize the importance of business plans and financial projections, these documents should be integral to every business. Even if one is not looking for expanding their business, these documents can be used as a beacon in some instances or as a benchmarking to do some useful variance & comparative analysis in their respective industries.

Overall I would say it shows the owners commitment to the cause and also good business practice.

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Target Marketing & Fear of Narrowing

Posted by From The Side Lamps Glow on August 10, 2010

Today I attended SCORE’s Seattle chapter monthly meeting. It was a pleasure meeting other counselor’s who bought a treasure of varied business experience and expertise to the table. It was really fun being part of the team.
Apart from the regular items on the meeting agenda such as updates on Chapter activities, workshops etc, we also had a guest speaker (Stacy Karacostas) who spoke about “Choosing Effective Marketing Tactics”.
Some key takeaways are as follows:
1. Always know your market. Targeting a specific section of the market and identifying target customers is at most important. Cannot be stressed enough.
2. Some times entrepreneurs face trouble identifying their target specific markets and there is a fear of too much narrowing. Experts and market research has proved the benefits of target market in more than one instance.This exercise helps to know the exact nature of the problems faced by customers, wants of customers and how your product / service will help to address these specific problems.
3. The best way to identify target market is to define your ideal customer / client. This will allow you to establish a connection and develop a specific message to your customer or helps you to go back to the design board.

Bottom Line – Do your market research, identify your target market / target customers. Do not mass market your product / service. All this information will give you the necessary critical mass for strategizing your marketing efforts.

When in doubt approach local SCORE office for free counseling. There is help waiting for you…

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