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31
Ransomware is currently the biggest cyber security concern for many businesses, and the danger of an attack is continuing to grow. There has been a 600% growth in new ransomware families since December 2015, according to a recent Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) guide, which also reported that ransomware crime cost businesses an estimated $1 billion (approximately £800 million) last year.

This should be particularly worrying for any business that stores, transmits or processes payment card data. Given that many hackers are after money, gaining access to payment card information is their most direct route to their goal.

This is why point-of-sale (PoS) systems are such a common target. They are essential for many businesses to operate, and whether or not the victim organisation pays the ransom, the hackers get what they want.

32
Business and Economics / What is International Marketing?
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:19:52 PM »
Introduction to International Marketing

International marketing is simply the application of marketing principles to more than one country. However, there is a crossover between what is commonly expressed as international marketing and global marketing, which is a similar term. For the purposes of this lesson on international marketing and those that follow it, international marketing and global marketing are interchangeable.

Note: Keegan’s definition is typical of those that see international marketing a one stage of an internationalisation process.

What is Global Marketing?

“Global marketing refers to marketing activities coordinated and integrated across multiple country markets.”

Johansson (2000)
Note: Jonny K. Johansson defines global marketing as a bigger brother to international marketing i.e. more of an extension.

". . . The result is a global approach to international marketing. Rather than focusing on country markets, that is, the differences due to the physical location of customers groups, managers concentrate on product markets, that is, groups of customers seeking shared benefits or to be served with the same technology, emphasizing their similarities regardless of geographic areas in which they are located. “

Muhlbacher, Helmuth, and Dahringer (2006)
Note: Muhlbacher et al delineate international marketing (adapted) and global marketing (standardised).

"Global/transnational marketing focuses upon leveraging a company’s assets, experience and products globally and upon adapting to what is truly unique and different in each country. “

Keegan (2002)
Note: Keegan takes a strategic, corporate overview to define the transnational nature of global marketing.

So, as with many other elements of marketing, there is no single definition of international marketing, and there could be some confusion about where international marketing begins and global marketing ends. These lessons will assume that both terms are interchangeable, and will define international marketing as follows:

International marketing is simply the application of marketing principles to more than one country.

Bibliography

Doole, I. and Lowe, R. (2001), International Marketing Strategy – Analysis, Development and Implementation, Thomson Learning, 3rd Ed.

Johansson, J.K. (2000), Global Marketing – Foreign Entry, Local Marketing, and Global Management, Johansson, International Edition.

Cateora, P.R., and Ghauri, P.N. (1999), International Marketing, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, European Edition.

Muhlbacher, H., Helmuth, L. and Dahringer, L. (2006), International Marketing – A Global Perspective, Thomson, 3rd Ed.

Keegan, W.J., (2002), Global Marketing Management, Prentice Hall, 7th Ed.

The intersection is the result of the process of internationalisation. Many American and European authors see international marketing as a simple extension of exporting, whereby the marketing mix is simply adapted in some way to take into account differences in consumers and segments. It then follows that global marketing takes a more standardised approach to world markets and focuses upon sameness, in other words the similarities in consumers and segments. So let’s take a look at some generally accepted definitions.

What is International Marketing?

"At its simplest level, international marketing involves the firm in making one or more marketing mix decisions across national boundaries. At its most complex level, it involves the firm in establishing manufacturing facilities overseas and coordinating marketing strategies across the globe.”

Doole and Lowe (2001).
Note: Doole and Lowe differentiate between international marketing (simple mix changes) and global marketing (more complex and extensive).

"International Marketing is the performance of business activities that direct the flow of a company’s goods and services to consumers or users in more than one nation for a profit. “

Cateora and Ghauri (1999)
Note: Cateora and Ghauri consider international marketing in the absence of global marketing.

"International marketing is the application of marketing orientation and marketing capabilities to international business. “

Muhlbacher, Helmuth, and Dahringer (2006)
Note: Muhlbacher et al consider international marketing in relation to marketing orientation and competences (see also Global Marketing).

"The international market goes beyond the export marketer and becomes more involved in the marketing environment in the countries in which it is doing business. “

33
Despite the scale and potential harm from cyber-attacks, there's wide recognition that corporate leaders, especially boards of directors, aren't taking the necessary actions to defend their companies against such attacks. It's not just a problem of finding the right cyber-defense tools and services, but also one of management awareness and security acumen at the highest level, namely corporate boards.

"Our country and its businesses and government agencies of all sizes are under attack from a variety of aggressive adversaries and we are generally unprepared to manage and fend off these threats," said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan, a longtime cybersecurity consultant to many organizations.

Litan's worries seem to have reached some quarters of the corporate governance community. The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) recently released a survey of more than 600 corporate board directors and professionals that found only 19% believe their boards have a high level of understanding of cybersecurity risks. That's an improvement from 11% in a similar poll conducted a year earlier.

34
How does an organization enter an overseas market?

Background

Modes of entry into an international market are the channels which your organization employs to gain entry to a new international market. This lesson considers a number of key alternatives, but recognizes that alteratives are many and diverse. Here you will be consider modes of entry into international markets such as the Internet, Exporting, Licensing, International Agents, International Distributors, Strategic Alliances, Joint Ventures, Overseas Manufacture and International Sales Subsidiaries. Finally we consider the Stages of Internationalization.

Licensing

Licensing includes franchising, Turnkey contracts and contract manufacturing.

Licensing is where your own organization charges a fee and/or royalty for the use of its technology, brand and/or expertise.
Franchising involves the organization (franchiser) providing branding, concepts, expertise, and infact most facets that are needed to operate in an overseas market, to the franchisee. Management tends to be controlled by the franchiser. Examples include Dominos Pizza, Coffee Republic and McDonald’s Restaurants.
Turnkey contracts are major strategies to build large plants. They often include a the training and development of key employees where skills are sparse – for example, Toyota’s car plant in Adapazari, Turkey. You would not own the plant once it is handed over.
International Agents and International Distributors

Agents are often an early step into international marketing. Put simply, agents are individuals or organizations that are contracted to your business, and market on your behalf in a particular country. They rarely take ownership of products, and more commonly take a commission on goods sold. Agents usually represent more than one organization. Agents are a low-cost, but low-control option. If you intend to globalize, make sure that your contract allows you to regain direct control of product. Of course you need to set targets since you never know the level of commitment of your agent. Agents might also represent your competitors – so beware conflicts of interest. They tend to be expensive to recruit, retain and train. Distributors are similar to agents, with the main difference that distributors take ownership of the goods. Therefore they have an incentive to market products and to make a profit from them. Otherwise pros and cons are similar to those of international agents.

Strategic Alliances (SA)

Strategic alliances is a term that describes a whole series of different relationships between companies that market internationally. Sometimes the relationships are between competitors. There are many examples including:

Shared manufacturing e.g. Toyota Ayago is also marketed as a Citroen and a Peugeot.
Research and Development (R&D) arrangements.
Distribution alliances e.g. iPhone was initially marketed by O2 in the United Kingdom.
Marketing agreements.
Essentially, Strategic Alliances are non-equity based agreements i.e. companies remain independent and separate.

Joint Ventures (JV) and modes of entry

Joint Ventures tend to be equity-based i.e. a new company is set up with parties owning a proportion of the new business. There are many reasons why companies set up Joint Ventures to assist them to enter a new international market:

Access to technology, core competences or management skills. For example, Honda’s relationship with Rover in the 1980’s.
To gain entry to a foreign market. For example, any business wishing to enter China needs to source local Chinese partners.
Access to distribution channels, manufacturing and R&D are most common forms of Joint Venture.
Overseas Manufacture or International Sales Subsidiary

A business may decide that none of the other options are as viable as actually owning an overseas manufacturing plant i.e. the organization invests in plant, machinery and labor in the overseas market. This is also known as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This can be a new-build, or the company might acquire a current business that has suitable plant etc. Of course you could assemble products in the new plant, and simply export components from the home market (or another country). The key benefit is that your business becomes localized – you manufacture for customers in the market in which you are trading. You also will gain local market knowledge and be able to adapt products and services to the needs of local consumers. The downside is that you take on the risk associated with the local domestic market. An International Sales Subsidiary would be similar, reducing the element of risk, and have the same key benefit of course. However, it acts more like a distributor that is owned by your own company.

Internationalization Stages, and modes of entry

So having considered the key modes of entry into international markets, we conclude by considering the Stages of Internationalization. Some companies will never trade overseas and so do not go through a single stage. Others will start at a later or even final stage. Of course some will go through each stage as summarized now:

Indirect exporting or licensing
Direct exporting via a local distributor
Your own foreign presences
Home manufacture, and foreign assembly
Foreign manufacture
It is worth noting that not all authorities on international marketing agree as to which mode of entry sits where. For example, some see franchising as a stand alone mode, whilst others see franchising as part of licensing. In reality, the most important point is that you consider all useful modes of entry into international markets – over and above which pigeon-hole it fits into. If in doubt, always clarify your tutor’s preferred view.

The Internet

The Internet is a new channel for some organizations and the sole channel for a large number of innovative new organizations. The eMarketing space consists of new Internet companies that have emerged as the Internet has developed, as well as those pre-existing companies that now employ eMarketing approaches as part of their overall marketing plan. For some companies the Internet is an additional channel that enhances or replaces their traditional channel(s). For others the Internet has provided the opportunity for a new online company. More

Exporting

There are direct and indirect approaches to exporting to other nations. Direct exporting is straightforward. Essentially the organization makes a commitment to market overseas on its own behalf. This gives it greater control over its brand and operations overseas, over an above indirect exporting. On the other hand, if you were to employ a home country agency (i.e. an exporting company from your country – which handles exporting on your behalf) to get your product into an overseas market then you would be exporting indirectly. Examples of indirect exporting include:

Piggybacking whereby your new product uses the existing distribution and logistics of another business.
Export Management Houses (EMHs) that act as a bolt on export department for your company. They offer a whole range of bespoke or a la carte services to exporting organizations.
Consortia are groups of small or medium-sized organizations that group together to market related, or sometimes unrelated products in international markets.
Trading companies were started when some nations decided that they wished to have overseas colonies. They date back to an imperialist past that some nations might prefer to forget e.g. the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Today they exist as mainstream businesses that use traditional business relationships as part of their competitive advantage.

35
Business and Economics / Advertising vs. Marketing
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:15:47 PM »
Advertising and marketing are concepts that many people consider to describe the same thing, selling a product or service to the marketplace. However, they are distinct concepts and understanding the difference is important to ensure you give due attention to each. This article will help explain the two concepts so you can clearly approach both advertising and marketing for your business.
Marketing

Marketing refers to the strategies and preparation you do to get your product or service ready to sell and identifying the target customers for your product. Marketing is a long term forward looking process whereby you determine how you're going to package and brand your product and design it to appeal to the target market you seek to capitalize on.

Successful marketing involves significant groundwork in terms of clearly studying your target market. What are the needs of your customers? How will you address them? What is most important to them in terms of how much emphasis you should put on different aspects of your product or service? The needs and drivers for individuals in their early 20's differ greatly from individuals in their early 50's, so taking the time to assess your target market comprehensively is important. The branding and messaging you'll need to reach different groups will vary, and to ensure a successful advertising campaign you need to ensure you effectively communicate to these groups.
Advertising

Advertising refers to the process of actually promoting your product or service to the marketplace. Ensuring that you are effectively getting your product known to your target customers and emphasizing the benefits to them is important when it comes to driving successful sales. So where marketing involves the ground work of branding and researching the needs of your target market, advertising is the process whereby you actually communicate with your target market.

Advertising campaigns can be communicated through numerous venues, television, radio, or online for example, and part of your marketing research will be identifying the most effective venues for your target audience. A product could have a terrific online campaign, but if your market research has identified seniors as the key target market that would not likely be the most effective use of your advertising dollars. For many target customers social media is becoming an ever more popular focus for advertising campaign as it can be a very inexpensive way to reach many different users.
Advertising campaigns also evolve over time for many different reasons. Once your products and services are in the market you'll get further information about and likely be able to refine what your target market is. Additionally if your product is successful different venues like television, which can initially be too costly, may open themselves up to you. How to effectively advertise your products or services is something that should constantly be re-evaluated (as should the market research).
Advertising vs. Marketing

When considering both advertising and marketing it is important that you take the time to address both aspects of selling your product comprehensively. Market research can be done comprehensively, but if the advertising doesn't take place the target market will never know about your product or service. Conversely, a brilliant advertising campaign can be launched, but if it targets the market inappropriately your product or service may not sell. Looking at both advertising and marketing and linking the market research to your advertising will ensure your work effectively drives the sales your business needs to succeed.

36
Business and Economics / Marketing mix
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:15:10 PM »
The marketing mix

The marketing mix is one of the most famous marketing terms. The marketing mix is the tactical or operational part of a marketing plan. The marketing mix is also called the 4Ps and the 7Ps. The 4Ps are price, place, product and promotion. The services marketing mix is also called the 7Ps and includes the addition of process, people and physical evidence.

The marketing mix is . . . The set of controllable tactical marketing tools – product, price, place, and promotion – that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target market.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).
The concept is simple. Think about another common mix – a cake mix. All cakes contain eggs, milk, flour, and sugar. However, you can alter the final cake by altering the amounts of mix elements contained in it. So for a sweet cake add more sugar!

It is the same with the marketing mix. The offer you make to your customer can be altered by varying the mix elements. So for a high profile brand, increase the focus on promotion and desensitize the weight given to price.

Another way to think about the marketing mix is to use the image of an artist’s palette. The marketer mixes the prime colours (mix elements) in different quantities to deliver a particular final colour. Every hand painted picture is original in some way, as is every marketing mix. Let’s look at the elements of the marketing mix in more detail. Click on the links to go to the lesson on each element.

Price

Price is the amount the consumer must exchange to receive the offering .

Solomon et al (2009).
The company’s goal in terms of price is really to reduce costs through improving manufacturing and efficiency, and most importantly the marketer needs to increase the perceived value of the benefits of its products and services to the buyer or consumer.
There are many ways to price a product. Let’s have a look at some of them and try to understand the best policy/strategy in various
situations.

Place

Place includes company activities that make the product available to target consumers.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).
Place is also known as channel, distribution, or intermediary. It is the mechanism through which goods and/or services are moved from the manufacturer/ service provider to the user or consumer.

 

Marketing Mix
The Marketing Mix
 

Product

Product means the goods-and-services combination the company offers to the target market.

Kotler and Armstrong (2010).
For many a product is simply the tangible, physical item that we buy or sell. You can also think of the product as intangible i.e. a service.

In order to actively explore the nature of a product further, let’s consider it as three different products – the CORE product, the ACTUAL product, and finally the AUGMENTED product.

The Product Life Cycle (PLC) is based upon the biological life cycle. For example, a seed is planted (introduction); it begins to sprout (growth); it shoots out leaves and puts down roots as it becomes an adult (maturity); after a long period as an adult the plant begins to shrink and die out (decline).

The Customer Life Cycle (CLC) has obvious similarities with the Product Life Cycle (PLC). However, CLC focuses upon the creation and delivery of lifetime value to the customer i.e. looks at the products or services that customers NEED throughout their lives.

Promotion

Promotion includes all of the activities marketers undertake to inform consumers about their products and to encourage potential customers to buy these products.

Solomon et al (2009).
Promotion includes all of the tools available to the marketer for marketing communication. As with Neil H. Borden’s marketing mix, marketing communications has its own promotions mix. Whilst there is no absolute agreement on the specific content of a marketing communications mix, there are many promotions elements that are often included such as sales, advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, online communications and personal selling.

Physical Evidence

(Physical evidence is) . . . The environment in which the service is delivered, and where the firm and customer interact, and any tangible components that facilitate performance or communication of the service.

Zeithaml et al (2008)
Physical Evidence is the material part of a service. Strictly speaking there are no physical attributes to a service, so a consumer tends to rely on material cues. There are many examples of physical evidence, including some of the following buildings, equipment, signs and logos, annual accounts and business reports, brochures, your website, and even your business cards.

People

(People are) . . . All human actors who play a part in service delivery and thus influence the buyers’ perceptions; namely, the firm’s personnel, the customer, and other customers in the service environment.

Zeithaml et al (2008).
People are the most important element of any service or experience. Services tend to be produced and consumed at the same moment, and aspects of the customer experience are altered to meet the individual needs of the person consuming it.

Process

Process is) . . . The actual procedures, mechanisms, and flow of activities by which the service is delivered – this service delivery and operating systems.

Zeithaml et al (2008).
There are a number of perceptions of the concept of process within the business and marketing literature. Some see processes as a means to achieve an outcome, for example – to achieve a 30% market share a company implements a marketing planning process. However in reality it is more about the customer interface between the business and consumer and how they deal with each other in a series of steps in stages, i.e. throughout the process.

37
Business and Economics / The Marketing Mix and the 4Ps of Marketing
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:14:10 PM »
What is marketing? The definition that many marketers learn as they start out in the industry is: Putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time.

It's simple! You just need to create a product that a particular group of people want, put it on sale some place that those same people visit regularly, and price it at a level which matches the value they feel they get out of it; and do all that at a time they want to buy. Then you've got it made!

There's a lot of truth in this idea. However, a lot of hard work needs to go into finding out what customers want, and identifying where they do their shopping. Then you need to figure out how to produce the item at a price that represents value to them, and get it all to come together at the critical time.

But if you get just one element wrong, it can spell disaster. You could be left promoting a car with amazing fuel economy in a country where fuel is very cheap, or publishing a textbook after the start of the new school year, or selling an item at a price that's too high – or too low – to attract the people you're targeting.

The marketing mix is a good place to start when you are thinking through your plans for a product or service, and it helps you to avoid these kinds of mistakes.

Understanding the Tool

The marketing mix and the 4Ps of marketing are often used as synonyms for one another. In fact, they are not necessarily the same thing.

"Marketing mix" is a general phrase used to describe the different kinds of choices organizations have to make in the whole process of bringing a product or service to market. The 4Ps is one way – probably the best-known way – of defining the marketing mix, and was first expressed in 1960 by E. J. McCarthy.

The 4Ps are:
Product (or Service).
Place.
Price.
Promotion.
A good way to understand the 4Ps is by the questions that you need to ask to define your marketing mix. Here are some questions that will help you understand and define each of the four elements:

Product/Service

What does the customer want from the product Add to My Personal Learning Plan/service? What needs does it satisfy?
What features does it have to meet these needs?
Are there any features you've missed out?
Are you including costly features that the customer won't actually use?
How and where will the customer use it?
What does it look like? How will customers experience it?
What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
What is it to be called?
How is it branded?
How is it differentiated versus your competitors?
What is the most it can cost to provide and still be sold sufficiently profitably? (See also Price, below.)
Place

Where do buyers look for your product or service?
If they look in a store, what kind? A specialist boutique or in a supermarket, or both? Or online? Or direct, via a catalogue?
How can you access the right distribution channels?
Do you need to use a sales force? Or attend trade fairs? Or make online submissions? Or send samples to catalogue companies?
What do your competitors Add to My Personal Learning Plan do, and how can you learn from that and/or differentiate?
Price

What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
Are there established price points Add to My Personal Learning Plan for products or services in this area?
Is the customer price sensitive? Will a small decrease in price gain you extra market share? Or will a small increase be indiscernible, and so gain you extra profit margin?
What discounts should be offered to trade customers, or to other specific segments Add to My Personal Learning Plan of your market?
How will your price compare with your competitors?
Promotion

Where and when can you get your marketing messages across to your target market?
Will you reach your audience by advertising online, in the press, on TV, on radio, or on billboards? By using direct marketing mailshots? Through PR? On the Internet?
When is the best time to promote? Is there seasonality in the market? Are there any wider environmental issues that suggest or dictate the timing of your market launch or subsequent promotions?
How do your competitors do their promotions? And how does that influence your choice of promotional activity?

38
Leadership strategies are those actions that promote the creation of a unique and valuable market position through a system of activities that complement one another towards achieving the end goal. Often seen as a collection of informed choices, trade-offs and deliberate deviations from the norm, leadership strategies help determine where the opportunities lie and what you can do to best exploit them.
In many cases, leadership strategies are the groundwork for a company's strategic plan and must therefore remain at the forefront when setting organizational goals. But as addressed in Strategic Leadership for Executives, there are two primary branches of leadership - analytical and human - that serve as a framework for operational approach. And the choice of analytical over human is often the result of an individual's personal strengths and weaknesses in the multi-layered aspects of business.
Matching strategy with personality

Strategic leadership is often practiced by those who run large companies, managing thousands or hundreds of thousands of people throughout an extensive organization. To accomplish this task effectively, the leader must possess a refined set of skills geared toward achieving the end goal. And while it's not necessary that he or she possess all traits, most will find a high degree of competence and comfort in the areas in which they naturally excel.

Consider the following traits and their respective leadership strategies.
Visioning and the autocrat

The term visioning refers to the initial spark of an idea, the moment that represents the start of any strategic plan. Once the leader has outlined strategic goals, all members of the organization must work toward those goals, using all possible influence and resources to accomplish the changes necessary to support the larger plan. And though a leader's strategic plan is often unique, it must also be relatable enough and have enough internal and external support to enable those who follow to think along the same lines. Without commitment, success is unlikely.

Visioning is a common trait to most high-level executives, but some are not able to achieve as much success with it in comparison to others - in particular, the autocrat.
The autocrat manages by telling people what to do and when to do it. Often referred to as a "micro-manager," the autocrat possesses little confidence in subordinates and may even distrust them. In select instances, such as military or law enforcement applications, this approach may actually save lives and therefore serves as the best leadership strategy. However, in the corporate world, this managerial style is often viewed as stifling and almost always fails to entice the commitment required to achieve the optimal levels of creativity and innovation. Within this system, employees are unable to make decisions on their own, preventing not only their personal growth but also the sharing of valuable insight and creative ideas. As a result, an autocrat's visioning typically produces little more than a high rate of employee turnover.
The benevolent autocrat who employs 'command and control'

Command and control sounds like a tactic the autocrat would employ... and even enjoy. But it actually has little to do with micro-management and more to do with fostering an environment that provides the necessities that allow the organization to achieve its goals. Focused heavily on creativity and innovation, command and control establishes a framework for achieving goals and then creates organizational networks that elicit the best from its people.

Within this framework, the benevolent autocrat succeeds, primarily because they're the driving force behind this particular employee-driven brand of corporate culture. The benevolent autocrat is typically someone who prefers to function as a coach or mentor to subordinates and frequently disseminates tasks to a wide range of people to maximize the organization's talent. This individual makes important decisions then works toward convincing subordinates to go along, a process that has been shown to build an organic level of commitment at all levels of a company. Though the benevolent autocrat will often use rewards to motivate personnel, he or she may also use punishment, a practice that is viewed as counterintuitive to modern strategic leadership.

39
Business and Economics / Strategic Leadership for Executives
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:11:38 PM »
How effective are you at managing change? In the modern business landscape, the process of successfully navigating change - whether it's organizational or related to products and services - is one of the most highly-valued skills for the entrepreneur.
And to manage change successfully, an executive must possess the skills and tools for strategy formulation as well as implementation. The combination of these two elements has come to be known as strategic leadership, providing the vision and direction for the growth and success of an organization.
A Snapshot of the Strategic Leader

In general, strategic leaders can be found at the head of large organizations, influencing thousands to hundreds of thousands of employees and external support personnel. Within this role, they are tasked with establishing organizational structure, allocating funding and other resources and effectively defining and communicating the strategic vision for the company as a whole to employees and investors alike.

Common traits often include:
Ability to operate in an uncertain environment where complex problems and external events may impact the success of the venture
Make decisions by processing information quickly and assessing alternatives (often based on incomplete data), the consequences of which impact a wider range of people and resources than a standard organizational leader
Often will not see the fruit of their labor come to light during their tenure, planning instead for initiatives that will take place years later and possibly even after the leader has left the job
Two Different Approaches

As with just about anything in a large organization, the process of strategic leadership begins with people. Managing change through uncertainty requires strategic leaders who possess and communicate a clear path of direction, fostering ownership and alignment within their workgroups to achieve the desired outcomes.

In addition, these leaders are keenly aware of the delicate balance between the analytical and human components present within their organization, which is why many who've successfully employed this system have been shown to rely on strong second-tier leaders, enabling them to exert their influence primarily through subordinates while focusing on the larger issues that impact the organization as a whole.
However, depending on the strengths and individual personality of each executive, many corporate leaders opt to focus on the human component more than the analytical, as seen in the modern employee-centered organization, or vice versa on analytical, as seen in organizations based on a more traditional model that center primarily on a bottom line.
How to Select the Style That's Right for You

Strategic leadership is an ongoing process. And when trying to decide how to conceptualize your role as a strategic leader, you must first decide how you see yourself participating as the process moves forward. Is it your goal to provide bold, analytical leadership and establish yourself as "hero" among employees and stockholders? Or do you envision yourself serving as a benevolent and humane coach, enabling those under you to realize their own full potential and stand in the limelight?

An analytical leader desires to personally come up with the right answer. Leading from the front, these individuals tackle strategic issues by drawing primarily upon their own experience and insight, attempting to single-handedly outsmart the competition and establish dominance within the marketplace.

In contrast, the leader focused on the human branch of strategic leadership believes their organization's strategy is only as strong as the breadth and depth of the understanding and commitment it attracts. As such, the development of strategy is carefully coordinated but widely disseminated throughout the organization. In doing so, this type of leader is able to guide and respond to directional elements while fostering commitment and encouraging empowerment among employees at all levels.

40
Leadership strategies are those actions that promote the creation of a unique and valuable market position through a system of activities that complement one another towards achieving the end goal. Often seen as a collection of informed choices, trade-offs and deliberate deviations from the norm, leadership strategies help determine where the opportunities lie and what you can do to best exploit them.
In many cases, leadership strategies are the groundwork for a company's strategic plan and must therefore remain at the forefront when setting organizational goals. But as addressed in Strategic Leadership for Executives, there are two primary branches of leadership - analytical and human - that serve as a framework for operational approach. And the choice of analytical over human is often the result of an individual's personal strengths and weaknesses in the multi-layered aspects of business.
Matching strategy with personality

Strategic leadership is often practiced by those who run large companies, managing thousands or hundreds of thousands of people throughout an extensive organization. To accomplish this task effectively, the leader must possess a refined set of skills geared toward achieving the end goal. And while it's not necessary that he or she possess all traits, most will find a high degree of competence and comfort in the areas in which they naturally excel.

Consider the following traits and their respective leadership strategies.
Visioning and the autocrat

The term visioning refers to the initial spark of an idea, the moment that represents the start of any strategic plan. Once the leader has outlined strategic goals, all members of the organization must work toward those goals, using all possible influence and resources to accomplish the changes necessary to support the larger plan. And though a leader's strategic plan is often unique, it must also be relatable enough and have enough internal and external support to enable those who follow to think along the same lines. Without commitment, success is unlikely.

Visioning is a common trait to most high-level executives, but some are not able to achieve as much success with it in comparison to others - in particular, the autocrat.
The autocrat manages by telling people what to do and when to do it. Often referred to as a "micro-manager," the autocrat possesses little confidence in subordinates and may even distrust them. In select instances, such as military or law enforcement applications, this approach may actually save lives and therefore serves as the best leadership strategy. However, in the corporate world, this managerial style is often viewed as stifling and almost always fails to entice the commitment required to achieve the optimal levels of creativity and innovation. Within this system, employees are unable to make decisions on their own, preventing not only their personal growth but also the sharing of valuable insight and creative ideas. As a result, an autocrat's visioning typically produces little more than a high rate of employee turnover.
The benevolent autocrat who employs 'command and control'

Command and control sounds like a tactic the autocrat would employ... and even enjoy. But it actually has little to do with micro-management and more to do with fostering an environment that provides the necessities that allow the organization to achieve its goals. Focused heavily on creativity and innovation, command and control establishes a framework for achieving goals and then creates organizational networks that elicit the best from its people.

Within this framework, the benevolent autocrat succeeds, primarily because they're the driving force behind this particular employee-driven brand of corporate culture. The benevolent autocrat is typically someone who prefers to function as a coach or mentor to subordinates and frequently disseminates tasks to a wide range of people to maximize the organization's talent. This individual makes important decisions then works toward convincing subordinates to go along, a process that has been shown to build an organic level of commitment at all levels of a company. Though the benevolent autocrat will often use rewards to motivate personnel, he or she may also use punishment, a practice that is viewed as counterintuitive to modern strategic leadership.

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Business and Economics / Strategic Leadership for Executives
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:10:49 PM »
How effective are you at managing change? In the modern business landscape, the process of successfully navigating change - whether it's organizational or related to products and services - is one of the most highly-valued skills for the entrepreneur.
And to manage change successfully, an executive must possess the skills and tools for strategy formulation as well as implementation. The combination of these two elements has come to be known as strategic leadership, providing the vision and direction for the growth and success of an organization.
A Snapshot of the Strategic Leader

In general, strategic leaders can be found at the head of large organizations, influencing thousands to hundreds of thousands of employees and external support personnel. Within this role, they are tasked with establishing organizational structure, allocating funding and other resources and effectively defining and communicating the strategic vision for the company as a whole to employees and investors alike.

Common traits often include:
Ability to operate in an uncertain environment where complex problems and external events may impact the success of the venture
Make decisions by processing information quickly and assessing alternatives (often based on incomplete data), the consequences of which impact a wider range of people and resources than a standard organizational leader
Often will not see the fruit of their labor come to light during their tenure, planning instead for initiatives that will take place years later and possibly even after the leader has left the job
Two Different Approaches

As with just about anything in a large organization, the process of strategic leadership begins with people. Managing change through uncertainty requires strategic leaders who possess and communicate a clear path of direction, fostering ownership and alignment within their workgroups to achieve the desired outcomes.

In addition, these leaders are keenly aware of the delicate balance between the analytical and human components present within their organization, which is why many who've successfully employed this system have been shown to rely on strong second-tier leaders, enabling them to exert their influence primarily through subordinates while focusing on the larger issues that impact the organization as a whole.
However, depending on the strengths and individual personality of each executive, many corporate leaders opt to focus on the human component more than the analytical, as seen in the modern employee-centered organization, or vice versa on analytical, as seen in organizations based on a more traditional model that center primarily on a bottom line.
How to Select the Style That's Right for You

Strategic leadership is an ongoing process. And when trying to decide how to conceptualize your role as a strategic leader, you must first decide how you see yourself participating as the process moves forward. Is it your goal to provide bold, analytical leadership and establish yourself as "hero" among employees and stockholders? Or do you envision yourself serving as a benevolent and humane coach, enabling those under you to realize their own full potential and stand in the limelight?

An analytical leader desires to personally come up with the right answer. Leading from the front, these individuals tackle strategic issues by drawing primarily upon their own experience and insight, attempting to single-handedly outsmart the competition and establish dominance within the marketplace.

In contrast, the leader focused on the human branch of strategic leadership believes their organization's strategy is only as strong as the breadth and depth of the understanding and commitment it attracts. As such, the development of strategy is carefully coordinated but widely disseminated throughout the organization. In doing so, this type of leader is able to guide and respond to directional elements while fostering commitment and encouraging empowerment among employees at all levels.

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Business and Economics / Importance of Developing Leadership Skills
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:10:14 PM »
What makes a good leader? The answer varies widely depending on who you ask, with researchers disagreeing on the critical components that go into the most effective corporate chief. But there are traits they do agree on, including personality components and acquired skills. Some believe even the situation for leadership itself has a bearing on the effectiveness of the leader.
Important Leadership Skills

Commitment, resolve and perseverance - driving every aspect of the organization toward a singular unified purpose.
Risk-taking - breaking conventions and developing new products and services to establish marketplace dominance (and possibly even create a unique market).
Planning - though a leader typically doesn't get too involved in the details, he or she must orchestrate a high-level plan that drives everyone toward the unified goal.
Motivating - an effective leader must be able to encourage contributions from the entire organization, navigating the specific motivators of each individual or group to push the right buttons and inspire employees at every level to achieve not only their personal best but the best for the organization as a whole.
Communication skills that rely on active listening - far more than just being able to speak and write persuasively, leadership communication skills incite others to work toward the stated goal in line with the path the leader has chosen.
Possessing or obtaining the skills required to successfully achieve business goals - bringing a unique knowledge set to the table or acquiring it personally or through employees and other subordinates.
What Makes These Individual Skills So Important?

First, a distinction needs to be made: the difference between a leader and a manager. A leader is someone who does the right thing, whereas a manager does things right. Or to put it another way, management is an occupation, leadership is a calling.

As addressed in the list above, this calling demands a unique vision for success and the tools necessary to communicate and implement that vision. The leader must possess a set of clearly-defined convictions and the daring and skill to translate their vision into a reality. This is why many people believe, as seen in What Motivates True Leaders, that the most successful development of leadership skills takes place when the leader is geared toward the development of individuals or social constructs. This foundation creates a drive and a passion that many believe cannot be replicated or faked in situations where the leader is concerned solely with financial returns.
With effective leadership, all participants within the organization are confident someone they know is working towards the greater good, both on their behalf personally and that of the company, as well as the larger impact created by the specific product or service. And within this system, one of the most critical elements to success is a leader in whom they can place their trust. That's because true leadership is about taking people to places they would not or could not go on their own. And achieving that level of loyalty and dedication is next to impossible without the genuine allegiance inspired by true leadership skills.

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Business and Economics / Leadership vs. Management
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:09:40 PM »
Many people quickly assume that being a good leader means you're a good manager and vice versa. The two concepts are actually quite distinct and understanding that distinction can help you understand what it means to be good at either or good at both.
What are the Key Characteristics of Management?

From a broad perspective, management is smaller scale and more focused on details than leadership. The leader sets the vision and the broad plan, the manager executes it and does what is needed to achieve that plan. Key characteristics of management are:
A tactical focus on aspects of the organization's strategy
Executing on specific areas within their responsibilities
Formulating and enforcing the policies of a business to achieve its goals
Directing and monitoring their team to achieve their specific goals
Management and containment of risks in an organization
Short term focus with attention to the details
What are the Key Characteristics of Leadership?

Leadership is setting the tone of an organization, the broad objectives and long term goals will come from the leader, and then managers need to execute on a plan to attain them. Leadership is not necessarily getting caught up in all the details but rather setting the plan and inspiring people to follow them. Key characteristics of leadership are:
Strategic focus on the organization's needs
Establishing goals and the strategic direction
Establishing principles
Empowering and mentoring the team to lead them to their goals
Risk engagement and overall identification
Long term, high level focus
Which is more important?

Any organization or business needs people who are good at both leadership and management if they are going to succeed. With good management and poor leadership they will be able to execute everything very well, but will be doing so without a consistent direction and overall strategy. With good leadership and poor management a company will have the goals and inspiration to succeed, but no one to execute the plan on how to get there.

Emphasis needs to be placed equally on both areas if an organization wants to thrive.
Can someone do both?

Good leaders and good managers are not often the same person, the few people that excel at both tend to be overwhelmingly successful in achieving their goals. Management and leadership skills are in some ways very opposite from one another, short vs. long term, big picture vs. detail oriented, etc. It can be very difficult for one to split their time between the two and excel at both. Often organizations that succeed have a mix of individuals, some who excel at leadership and some who excel at management.

While it's good for anyone to clearly understand which they excel at more, being aware of the other characteristics is important. Just knowing what it takes to be a good leader can make you more aware of yourself even if you know you tend to be an excellent manager. Understanding the differences between leadership and. management can ensure you see where you can improve and what else you should be thinking about, and not assume you are simply excellent at both. Ultimately this can make you both a better leader and a better manager.

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Business and Economics / Venture Capital vs Crowdfunding
« on: April 20, 2017, 06:08:46 PM »
The primary difference between venture capital and crowdfunding is simply equity. Venture capitalists acquire equity in the startup. Crowdfunders do not. Instead, crowdfunding is much more like a high-risk pre-order platform, where there's a reasonable probability that the startup may fail to deliver the pre-order.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/venture-capital.html

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The primary differences between VC vs seed & angel investing are timing in the company's lifecycle, monetary size, and deal structure.

Timing. Venture capital is typically not used for extremely early funding. Instead, these rounds are often called "Series AA," or "Pre-A" rounds, and include funding from friends & family, angel investors, and seed stage financing syndicates and firms. Venture capital firms usually get involved at the Series A round and after (all happening after the AA or Pre-A rounds). Although both VC and seed/angel investing are high risk investments, seed & angel investing usually happen in the earliest stages of a startup when the risk is ultra-high.

Funding Amounts. Venture capital also usually starts with companies that are slightly more mature (although not necessarily profitable), with higher valuations, and higher funding amounts. Funding amounts in angel & seed investing typically range from a couple thousand USD through to one million USD, while venture capital is usually millions, tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of dollars.

Deal Structure. Angel investing also frequently uses different deal structures than VC, although this is primarily to reduce legal costs, cut transaction overhead, and rapidly accelerate the rate at which the startup and angel investor can agree on terms. Some of these alternative structures include convertible notes and SAFEs ("simple agreement for future equity"). Unlike venture capital, convertible notes and SAFEs don't actually transfer equity in the company to the investor until a later date, and in the case of failed startups, sometimes not even at all.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/venture-capital.html

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