Monday, September 30, 2019

Formula for Success


Break down problems and identify the simple, elegant solution.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Friday, September 27, 2019

Bruce Lee Quote on Limits

"If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."



© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Guest Post: Tech Help, Equipment, and Software for Savvy Solopreneurs



Tech Help, Equipment, and Software
for Savvy Solopreneurs

Running a business, even when you have an employee base of one, is a tough gig. There is a lot to do and only 24 hours in the day to get it done. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you have to sleep sometimes. The good news, however, is that being an entrepreneur in the digital age means that you don’t have to look far for tools and tech that can increase your productivity, boost your bottom line, and give you the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Your Equipment Matters

Many independent business owners started out working on their laptop from the kitchen table. While there is no reason that you can’t continue on this way, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have a powerful PC and dedicated office space.

Ideally, your work computer should have plenty of storage and a high-capacity processor that allows you to work at lightning speed. Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2 is a great option and allows you to video conference in 1080p while using the apps and services you rely on to get things done. A few things you should download on your desktop include Dragon speech recognition software, which allows you to control your computer with your voice, and a collaboration solution, such as Slack, which integrates with Gmail, Google Drive, and more.

Similarly, it pays to invest in mobile technology that lets you manage your business from wherever you are. The iPhone 11 Pro Max from Apple is a fan favorite. It is a high-end phone but offers so much for the money. Direct from the iPhone, you can shoot pics (it has a triple camera system) to post on your Pinterest page or IG feed, and email/respond to texts almost instantly. If you forget your charger, that’s not a problem either since the Pro Max has an 18-hour battery life when being used, not just sitting idle. 

Android also has a nice lineup of business phones. Android Police reviewer Corbin Davenport likes the OnePlus 7 Pro, which is an affordable option that packs a punch. The OnePlus 7 Pro has respectable storage and is compatible with most GSM carriers. No matter which phone you choose for your business, before you commit to a two-year contract, make sure your preferred carrier offers a data package that works for your needs. You will also want to add insurance and double-check that their tech support is top-notch.

Support Services

While we're thinking about tech support, how do you manage your own company’s technology needs? When you have the manpower of one, you’d likely spend a ton of time Googling problems and running down to your local OfficeMax for diagnostics. It’s time to stop wasting this time. There are plenty of ways to tackle your technology concerns without dipping into your productive hours. Online tech support companies can now help you fix a slow computer, remove viruses, and eliminate pop-ups and error messages. Look for a service with US-based techs that have experience in all operating systems, security, and router diagnostics.

When it is time to take your technology to another level, your tech support provider might even be able to work as an IT consultant. In this capacity, they can help you determine which equipment, software, and services will work best for your specific needs. Many IT consulting firms can also pair you with an experienced web developer that can help you integrate your website with online payment processing, chatbots, and much more.

Just because you started your business by yourself does not mean you have to go it alone. The technology available to you today can help you expand your reach, maintain, or exceed current efficiency levels, and give you — and your customers — a streamlined experience.

Image via Pixabay

Should Companies Force Employees to Take A Lunch Break?

I don't think companies should force employees to take a lunch break.

As a former corporate executive, and now as a consultant, I know that workers are different, and maximum productivity occurs when they they have control over their schedule.  All employees should have the option of taking a lunch break away from their desk—without being forced to.  Some will welcome the break, while others would actually prefer to work during lunch, so that they can work at a more leisurely pace in the morning or afternoon.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

How and Why Corporations Should Team With Startups to Drive Innovation

1.  By collaborating with startups, corporations get access to cutting edge talent, fresh ideas, and an entrepreneurial environment.  The corporations themselves can never recreate this because:

   A. Their bureaucratic structure is designed for risk avoidance and delivery on a large scale, not innovation, experimentation, and quick, iterative cycles of test, fail, and succeed.

   B. Because of this structure, cutting edge talent is not attracted to corporations.


2. A lot of times, corporations are failing to engage with startups because they act as if the startup is another corporation.  For example, I know a true story of a corporation that, a couple of years ago, tried to collaborate with a hot, innovative startup in Silicone Valley.  The product would have really helped the corporation, which was losing market share to an innovative, new disruptor.  However, just before they sealed the deal, the corporation's legal department dumped a huge legal document with hundreds of pages onto the startup.  The startup neither had the resources nor the patience to deal with that, so they killed the deal.


3. A good example of a successful partnership is Coca-Cola's collaboration with startup Wonolo (an on-demand, technology-driven flexible staffing company). Coke actually helped fund them.  The secret to their success together is that:

     1. The startup had skills that Coke did not possess.  Coke's corporate structure is designed to create beverages, not run a staffing company.  However, they had a big problem because they distribute to so many outlets, many of them small.  If some of these retail points run out of product, their existing structure wasn't flexible enough to quickly provide more product.  As a result, they lost money.  Now, with Wonolo, Coke's local manager can use the app to hire flexible workers to rush Coca cola products to the retail outlet.

     2. For Wonolo, they gained funding from Coke, a large customer, and access to advisors inside the company.  What's also important is what they didn't get—micro-managed with oppressive rules and contracts.


In conclusion, the key to making collaborations work between corporations and startups is space.  The corporation can fund them and offer resources, but they need to take a hands-off approach to startups, otherwise they will eliminate the flexible, entrepreneurial, cutting-edge environment that made them attractive in the first place.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Cloud, Change Management, and ERP


As a former start-up CEO, bank executive, and now consultant, I've worked on many ERP and digital transformation projects.  In every case, I've found that most of the issues have resulted from miscommunication (on both sides) and over-complexity.  User-focused change management and on boarding was an after-thought, with user training and orientation done in one overwhelming swoop at delivery time. Developers and designers failed to fully understand the users' current work-flow in order to design critical tasks to be familiar.

Today, the cloud can make change management much more effective.  Since the cloud handles infrastructure, designers and developers are freed up to focus more on the business logic, and customization of work-flow to match the users' current method of work.  Secondly, the ease of deployment in the cloud means that mock-ups and limited-functionality demo instances can be set up during the deployment phase, so that users can be trained in phases, and provide feedback to designers while development is still taking place.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Guest Post: How to Grow Your Business as a Solopreneur Without Full-Time Staff



How to Grow Your Business as a Solopreneur Without Full-Time Staff

If you’re a solopreneur, chances are you like doing most of the work yourself, and you’re in no hurry to build a staff. However, if your company is successful, there may come a time when you need a little help completing a variety of tasks and pushing your business forward. 

The good news is that you don’t have to bring on full-time employees to achieve this. Many solopreneurs are finding that hiring freelancers and incorporating tech provide the help they need to keep their company in a position to flourish. If you’re running your own business, these tips can help you to grow without building a staff:

Get a good phone. 

First of all, it’s difficult to run a business these days without a reliable smartphone. As a solopreneur, you can use a smartphone for many different tasks, such as returning phone calls and messages, responding to emails, and taking product photos for your website or social media pages. Along with a solid phone, you also need a plan that meets your business needs and budget. Find a provider that offers several plan options, and think about what you need (e.g., talk/text, data, etc.) to determine the best one. 

Make sure you have a great website.

No matter what kind of business you run, having a solid website is paramount, and hiring an HTML5 developer is the quickest way to get your site up and running. Every website you see is built on HTML code—a code that is behind features like data tables, links to social media pages, and contact forms. 

HTML5 is the latest iteration of the code, and a qualified HTML5 developer will have expertise in this particular code and be able to power your site as needed. Compared to trying to code the site yourself, hiring a freelance developer will save your company a significant amount of time and money, as well as ensure that you have a professional-grade, easy-to-use website.

Offer written content. 

If you peruse a variety of small business websites today, you will notice that many of them have a blog section. This is because companies of all types are finding that offering their audience written content is good for business. Not only does it help you gain visibility and build authority in the industry, it can also reduce your time spent answering individual inquiries when you provide enough information to customers in your blog posts.

Make promotional videos.

As with written content, videos are also an effective tool for building your presence. When you make a promotional video, you have the potential to reach a wide audience through your website, email marketing and social media. Whether you’re simply advertising your brand or laying out details for a new product, videos have a special power to move customers and clients to act.

Embrace automation. 

Automation can transform your business operations. In short, automation carries out a variety of tasks that you would otherwise need to hire humans for. For instance, chatbots are great for engaging customers and growing your customer base, and they can even respond to customers’ questions. Likewise, marketing automation can help you to build your brand by targeting your audience through purchase history, preferences and other characteristics. 

Solopreneurship is hard, but you don’t have to go at it completely alone. Make sure you have a reliable phone and service provider, and consider bringing in a freelance HTML5 developer and content writer for your website. Also, think about making promotional videos and using automation to give your business a boost. In today’s world, you can have a successful company even without any full-time employees. 

Photo Credit: Pexels

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

What’s your "Moby Dick"?

Captain Ahab was obsessed with the white whale to point of losing his ship, crew, and life. Do you have a strong obsession or passion? Can you channel it positively instead of destructively? 

hashtagstrategy hashtagdreams hashtagplanning


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Three Factors For New Product Success



Click on image to enhance.



© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Disruptive Innovation = Simplicity


Disruptive innovation = simplicity Because progress occurs by making things faster, cheaper, and easier. hashtaginnovation hashtagdisruptiveinnovation hashtagsimplicity hashtagstrategicsimplicity


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Simplicity: 21st Century Super Power

Simplicity is a super power, and the future of the 21st century's Attention scarcity age. Our creativity is sapped by complexity and having to make decisions. The amount of info in the world is increasing. To scale, we need to be able to quickly train employees and educate our customers about our products/services. Simplicity allows us to do this. hashtagsuccess hashtagsimplicity hashtagstrategicsimplicity hashtagbusiness



© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Happiness and Doing


Nothing I do makes me happy. I am just happy, and I bring that happiness to the things I do. hashtagtruth


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Data Science: Pipes and Straws


Data Management: Organizations need both fat pipes and narrow straws hashtagDataAnalytics hashtagdatascience

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

How to Have a Fulfilling Career


Having a fulfilling career: It's 20% choosing the right field and 80% finding the right company / boss. #business #hr #careermanagement


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Apps and User Settings: Use Groups

When you design an application, it is an audit and security risk to give all users access to every function.

But, there are two ways to set user access—and one of them is much better.

1. Direct user settings - For each user, you enable system settings, such as limits and access.

2. User Groups - Settings are done at the group level, and users are assigned to a group.

In my 30 years of experience, I have seen both types of applications.  From both an administrative and a security/audit point of view, the group option is always best.

Apps should be designed so that new groups can be created/modified/deleted, and users are never directly assigned any settings.

As the number of settings becomes complex, the group model is even more important.  It is easier to track one group for each user, then having to track multiple settings per user.

For example, if you have 30+ different settings and, for a user, you need to temporarily give them a higher level of permission for one function, it is easy to forget to set the value back, and hard for auditing to catch it.

However, if you create a new group, with "temp until XX/XX/XXXX" in the name,  set the permission here, and change the user's group to this new group, it is much easier to track.

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Disney is the Master of Synergy


They have perfected the system of transforming their intellectual property (such as Marvel, Star Wars, or Disney Princesses) into multiple products and services, and using them to cross-promote each other. Their main engines are the Disney Channel and their theme parks. Whenever they acquire a new franchise (such as Marvel), they can create movies, merchandise, rides, TV specials, etc. and they can promote them to viewers of the Disney Channel and visitors to the theme parks. Every product and service strengthens the brand, and makes it more likely that a customer will consume another product. hashtagsynergy hashtagdisney hashtagstrategy


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

"net" = "not entirely true"

'Let’s start with this warning: The acronym "net" stands for not entirely true. Anyone on the human side of the web can say anything at any time for any reason.' 

- Don Lancaster, back in 1997 (even more true today)


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

ALL Companies Are Now Tech Companies...and Need A High-Level IT Strategy

As a former start-up CEO, bank executive, and now strategy consultant, I know that ALL companies are now tech companies. While there are plenty of vendors who provide app design and cloud services, I find that the one thing that companies need, above all else, is a high level IT strategy. Too often, I have seen that companies, and their vendors, focus on tactics (the How?), like apps or website design, without thinking about strategy (the Why? and What?). To really grow your business with technology, you need alignment between the business and the technology. Unfortunately, many consultants in IT strategy work for, or are aligned, with vendors, so they focus on fitting the strategy to their pet technology. However, there are independent consultants out there, such as myself, who don't align with vendors or specific technologies, and stay unbiased. hashtagcloudservices hashtagitstrategy hashtagconsulting hashtagerp


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Sell Them Fish First!




Ever hear the saw "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and you feed him for life" ?

Well,

1. If a person is malnourished, he needs the fish! He / she is in no shape you learn to fish.

2. This is the Attention Scarcity Age.  Most people just want the fish, and don't care about fishing.

3. Until they taste the fish, they won't trust you or have the confidence to learn to fish.

So, sell them the fish first!


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Benchmark Against Yourself



Many consulting firms have their ONE BEST benchmark.  They evaluate their clients against it, and then create a large report detailing the changes needed to completely convert them over.

To implement all the changes, the client would have to spend a lot of time and money.  Afterward, the chances are, their ROI would be average at best.

I've seen companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new IT systems, such as ERP, when all they needed was a custom app, added to their existing system, to eliminate functional gaps.

That is why my firm specializes in advising.  By not offering implementation services, I avoid biases (unconscious or not) towards large changes, or specific vendor systems.

After 30 years of experience, I know there are many paths to excellence.  I don't try and convert clients to any single model.  Instead, I like to start where they are, recognizing the value of their existing business, and then identifying the key changes that lead to dramatic ROI.

As a consultant, I want to work with a scalpel, not a demolition crew.


© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com

Great Leaders Develop Their Team Members


Whenever I managed a team, I was never afraid to give my teammates more responsibility and help them improve their skills. I never thought about hoarding knowledge or credit for myself for job security. 

What I found was that, not only were my team members happier and engaged, but it reflected on me, and made me look better. 

© 2019 Praveen Puri

Strategic Simplicity®: Praveen Puri helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com