Tag Archives: opportunity

An end is a new beginning

“What feels like the end is often the beginning” or “one door closes, another door opens” are useful phrases to think about when a project meets its natural, or unnatural, conclusion.

With international projects, these phrases are particularly relevant. Often times we are met by closed doors on the path to success. It does not mean that the project is done but that it might need to be re-envisioned or changes in someway.

Life is dynamic. Business is always changing. So should our projects. A closed door or “end” is just an invitation to a new beginning.

-EMC

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Savvy Saturday December 13th, 2014

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
― Sun Tzu

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Timelessness and Timeliness

Long and winding road

The most important concepts in business are timeless. That’s why Peter Drucker’s articles and books are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them twenty to forty years ago. Questions pondering the goal of business, how leaders paint a vision, or why small changes make a company innovative are timeless. Industries may change but the timeless concepts do not.

When we confuse timeliness with timelessness we have a problem. Timeliness is “occurring at a suitable or opportune time” while timelessness is “unaffected by time”. Both can occur simultaneously but one should not substitute the other. Both are important but we need to know when to be timely and when to be timeless.

Concepts are timeless; actions are timely. Ideas are timeless; plans are timely.

If we confuse timelessness with timeliness we could be in the danger of going nowhere – endlessly asking why or trying to perfect the product and never “shipping it” as Seth Godin would say.

If we makes decisions based purely on timeliness we might regret those decisions in the long run when our haste to get results or take action should have been tempered with some strategic thinking, or understanding our customer better, or going the extra mile for our stakeholders or jumping to another innovation curve.

We need to distinguish between what is timeless and what is timely. Two great quotes to end today’s post:

Timeless:
“Time doesn’t seem to pass here: it just is.”
JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Timeliness:
Make use of time, let not advantage slip.
William Shakespeare

Photo: camerondavidson.com

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Why Latin America? 5 ways that opportunity knocks

fabric

Opportunity: we look for it every day. It’s what our organizations are built upon, it inspires us to create new products and it helps us set our sights and company vision on creating something of value; today’s best new ventures are those that act on an opportunity of changing (even just slightly) the status quo. But if there is opportunity at home, why consider expansion to a region like Latin America?

And that’s exactly the question posed to me this year by a group of executives in a stuffy office in downtown Quito, Ecuador. It’s an all too familiar question according to my colleagues in trade and investment promotion. Partners, clients and sponsors all want to know: “What’s the big deal about Latin America?”

Based on ten years of working in Latin America and conversations with hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, employees and corporate executives, there are 5 reasons that seem to resurface when we talk about the “why” behind business expansion and opportunities in the region:

1) Heterogeneous
The fact that Latin America is a heterogeneous region gives companies a wide range of possibilities for market entry, collaboration and how they manage their operations. Countries in the region vary in their acceptance of foreign investment and ease of setting up a business representing opportunities for innovation, partnerships, and use of local resources. I have collaborated with international brands that have been wildly successful in this dynamic region – mainly because they didn’t try a monolithic approach to market entry and expansion in the region. BMW Group and their country specific local partnership strategy (usually allowing one well established business group to manage the brand in each country) is one example of a successful approach tailored to specific markets in the Latin American region.

2) Economic Powerhouse
Latin America represents a $4.8 trillion economy with about 600 million citizens. Brazil is seen as an economic powerhouse but there is no denying that rapidly growing Mexico and resource-rich countries like Chile, Colombia and Peru (the Andean Region) also have tremendous buying power. Buying power and growing number of consumers represents an opportunity for new ventures as well as entrenched players.

3) Burgeoning Middle Class
In the last 10 years, 50 Million Latin Americans have joined the middle class and present an opportunity for foreign companies not just as consumers but also as sources of talent from an increasingly well-educated and globally savvy middle class.

Apple is aiming to launch its first retail store in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by March 2014 in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup; the rising middle class is driving demand for consumer products and electronics and, in the future, may be a factor in the establishment of more manufacturing plants if public and private sector are able to convince the manufacturing side of business that the talent and opportunity exist in the region.

4) Connected
Mobile penetration in the region is above 100% and Latin America will have nearly 300 million Internet users by the end of 2013 and nearly 400 million by 2017. Public and private sector organizations in Latin American countries are bringing most of their service and product offerings on line making the dynamic region more connected and transparent for doing business. This also brings ample opportunity for brands – from startups to large corporations- to engage with their customers, suppliers and stakeholders.

5) People
Latin American countries have high context cultures meaning there is a real focus on relationship- building and the “context” associated with doing business. While international companies studying their market entry strategy may find these nuances daunting – such as how connected you are – it is an opportunity for foreign firms to start with a clean slate and connect with the right people – and make the right impression – from the very start.

The risk-reward argument in favor of doing business in Latin America doesn’t quite cut it anymore; Latin America used to be touted as an opportunity for brave companies to make large amounts of money: “high risk brings high reward” people would say. But after helping organizations understand, engage and grow their market in Latin America in the last ten years, I have learnt that risk-reward is not the answer to why companies should “bother” with Latin America. Ventures that want to take advantage of opportunities in the region will likely enjoy monetary rewards as well as foster innovation and learning in their organization by diversifying their market, accessing new talent and resources, building a loyal following and creating a strategic contact network.

EMC

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Savvy Saturday September 21, 2013

In every crisis there is a message. Crises are nature’s way of forcing change – breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can take their place.

Susan L. Taylor

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The biggest factor in entrepreneurial success is…

BELIEF.

Entrepreneurs naturally have a strong belief in their business idea and how they will make an impact on the world; they are driven to find solutions to the problems (inefficiencies, conveniences, why can’t it work this way?) around them. But it’s only when that belief is translated into action and into a product or service that we can use does it become real and successful.

The biggest factor in entrepreneurial success is belief. Of course there are ways – quantitative and qualitative – to predict failure or success of new business ideas but it is belief behind the idea and behind the entrepreneur that gets the idea noticed, funded and adopted by society.

Business plans identify and describe the opportunity and talent behind an idea but it is belief that brings entrepreneurs, investors and market together.

Making the idea work = belief.

Get funded = belief.

Get noticed = belief.

Be successful = belief.

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Savvy Saturday June 15, 2013

“ Opportunity is the best captain of all endeavor. ”

— Sophocles

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“Know Thyself”

I am researching “know thyself” for an upcoming project and wanted to share with you why I think this phrase is important in business and in life in general. Why? Because when you know yourself: you know your strengths and weaknesses, you know your likes and dislikes, you know your goals and your dreams; with this knowledge you are able to overcome the day to day, see more strategically, seize opportunities, negotiate better, mitigate risks and make decisions that mean something to the people around you – be it your customers, your family, your friends, your competitors or your nemeses!

Doing meaningful work is associated with knowing yourself. Creation of value comes when knowledge and talent intersects with opportunity to solve a problem that may otherwise not have been solved.

know thyself (knowledge + talent) + opportunity = value

It means that all of us have the opportunity to create something of value; the most difficult part could be knowing thyself.

 

Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.

~Sun Tzu

 

 

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