Book Review : “Become an Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate”

How many of us out there in the crowd have the following feeling:

  • “Sigh, I am in the wrong profession”
  • “After engineering, I wanted to go into Web-Development but I am currently working as an Embedded Engineer”
  • “I should have been an Entrepreneur instead of working in an organization”

When I completed my engineering [and that too not from a well-known college & I only played Cricket :)], the only aim each one of us had is ” To have a STABLE JOB in TCS/Wipro/Infosys irrespective of the kind of work that might be assigned” without knowing what we wanted from life after Engineering !! And as you might have guessed, I was not selected on any of these companies from Campus !!!

On a lighter note this post is not about my “Life History” [and surely readers would be least interested in it :) ] but to stress the point that “What if as STUDENTS, we would have received proper GUIDANCE from industry insiders i.e. If you need Entrepreneurial guidance, you would turn to an Entrepreneur/ If you want to work in a startup, you would be turn to a startup employee”;  Mantra being “Turn for an advice/guidance to someone who has been there, done that !!

“Become An Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate” by Mr. Sivakumar Palaniappan is a book that acts as a “Holy Grail” for engineering students/fresh engineers.

About the author

Sivakumar Palaniappan is an Author, Motivational Trainer, Key Note speaker, Career Coach & Happiness Consultant, a hands-on engineer who has worked in companies like NXPQualcomm etc.

Detailed Review

“Become An Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate” is written with the aim of encouraging engineering graduates to be passionate engineers, help them enhance their employability potential & enable them to sculpt their career as an engineer. Please note, it is not a placement guide but it is a culmination of research done by the author through analysis of engineering education, discussion with placement officers, HR managers, parents etc. & trying to solve a pain-point – “Don’t be an Engineer for the heck of it but be a PASSIONATE engineer“.. doesn’t this sound like the 3-Idiots dialogue “Beta kabil bano kabil, Kamyabi to sali zak mar ke tumhare piche ayegi..” [Source - Galmsham]

Combined

Is this book for “YOU” ?

The book [Around 150 pages] is a breezy read with the message that “the reader i.e. engineer/student” should act on the tips. The book is structured in a nice manner where every chapter starts with a “Student Tale” i.e. a real-life incident that triggered the need for that particular chapter.

The book acts as a guide for “would be engineering students” to select the right stream of engineering so that when they are done with engineering, their interest/hobby also becomes their “profession”. Every chapter ends with a “Mantra” so that the reader can bring the “words” in each chapter into “formidable action”.

Key Chapters

As mentioned above, right from basic things like “Why choose an Engineering Degree” to “Why be a Student Entrepreneur”; the book tries to answer those tricky questions. Some of the notable chapters from the book are:

Chapter (5): Why should I develop a Useful Hobby - Having a USEFUL hobby [not sleeping, watching TV etc.] is very much important and you never know when your hobby becomes fulltime profession when you are bored of your day job.

Chapter (8): How to do What I Love to Do -

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life – Confucius

10 steps approach to do what you love to do:

  1. Find your passion
  2. Find your finances
  3. Find your core strengths
  4. Find your weaknesses
  5. Focus on your strengths & improve upon your weaknesses
  6. Have the commitment
  7. Don’t ignore the present
  8. Get ready to give up
  9. Have a strong belief in yourself
  10. Have a big dream

Chapter (10): How to Use the Power of Social Media in Career Crafting

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, question is how well we do it - Erik Qualman

5 ways to use Social Media for Career Crafting

  1. Use the power of top three social sites i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
  2. Build a positive online identity
  3. Learn through social media
  4. Demonstrate your expertise & credibility
  5. Use your online presence effectively

Read More »

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Hands On : Nomad ChargeKey Review

How many times have you have been into situations where the phone has run out of battery & you had wished that there was “charging cable in your bag/pocket” :) Well, a US based startup HelloNoMad is trying to solve that problem with their innovative charging solution – ChargeKey & ChargeCard. We received a review copy of the “ChargeKey for Android” & today we do a hands-on review of the same.

ChargeKey for Android

Design

ChargeKey is a 2.5″ key sized charging cable. It is made up of flexible rubber components with two plastic ends. The cable can be connected to a PC, TV or any other device that can act as a “Host” and supply +5V for charging.  In case of “ChargeKey” for iPhone, the other end of the device includes “Lightning Connector” for Charging & Sync functionalities.

MainCover_ChargeKey

Portability

“Charging on the Go” is the primary concern that HelloNoMad is trying to solve & the “Size” is the main USP of the ChargeKey. One end of the ChargeKey provides the flexibility to the user to connect the ChargeKey to a key chain. In all the scenarios, the user would have their home keys with them, so ChargeKey ensures the phone is never out of charge.

I personally faced this issue the very day I received the ChargeKey & I had forgotten my Charger in the office; so I connected the ChargeKey to the TV to ensure my Android phone remains charged & I don’t miss any important calls :)

ChargeKey_WithKeyChain

Durability

As mentioned before, “Size” is makes ChargeKey unique charging solution & after using for around 2 months or so; there has been no issue with the cable. However, there there was one question [and I am sure any ChargeKey user would have this question in their minds] – “Why there is no mechanism i.e. caps to protect the charging plug”.

Charging_With_ChargeKey_ReSize

Well, HelloNoMad started with their KickStarter campaign [their funding goal being 29,000 USD] and that provided us with the answer [Source : HelloNoMad on KickStarter]

The lightning end of the cable is water resistant. You can wipe it clean with confidence that it will not corrode. That said, we did strongly consider a cap but it boiled down to the premise that we felt it wasn’t necessary.

Rubber quality is quite good and even after heavy usage, there has been no damage so far which makes ChargeKey a compelling proposition !!

Conclusion

Priced at $29 [with free shipping worldwide],  ChargeKey is a very interesting solution to end user’s charging needs !! If you are a die-hard traveller, ChargeKey is the one-stop solution to all your charging needs !! Please note that this review was done on “ChargeKey for Android”, if you are looking out for “Charging for your iDevice”, please head over here

If you have any questions about ChargeKey, please leave them in the comments section. If you are a blogger and interested to review ChargeKey, please leave your details in the comments section & I would send across my ChargeKey to you …

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Exit strategies for SME’s in India [Guest Post]

Every now and then, several SME’s have been thinking on the exit strategy from their business. The most common exit plan for SME’s is the out-and-out sale of the business.

There could be various reasons for which the owner decides to sell the business. Irrespective of the reasons [why's] or motivations, the business owner should be confident that the real object is met – the business is sold.

Today we have a guest article by Priya Bhagat; Co-founder of Indiabizforsale. Indiabizforsale is an online platform for Business buying, selling, Business valuation and leasing. Before starting Indiabizforsale, Priya had a successful career in UK and India working for companies like Suez group, Nestor healthcare, Billdesk.com in various capacities in finance. Also, she has gained masters in international finance from Middlesex university & masters in commerce from Mumbai university.

In this article, Priya highlights “Business Selling/Exit Strategies for SME’s in India”.

IndiaBizForSale

The likelihood of business being sold successfully rises when the business for sale is marketed carefully; business valuation is genuine; internal factors are promising & external elements are beneficial.

Market carefully – Sale of a business is a life-changing scenario; the business owner should very diligent in promoting the business opportunity for sale in the market. The business owner’s main concern while marketing the business for sale is to maintain confidentiality [so that competitors & employees are not aware] at the highest level.

Hence, using the right medium to sell is very crucial to maintain privacy and at the same time generate prospects. Offline advertising like newspapers can be expensive & has a short life span. Many online classifieds provide a good channel to advertise the business for sell, however, one needs to chose a premium platform & avoid websites that have junk listings. The business owner should also be careful of any hidden fees or commission that such listing websites charge.

Genuine Business Valuation – If the valuation of your business is done on a realistic basis, the chances of closing the deal successfully increases. The value of the company should be estimated before marketing the business opportunity for sale. There are various methods used for business valuation, it is ideally important to seek help from professional expert to get the valuation of the business done properly.

Promising Internal factors – Internal factors like financial performance of the company, management team and employees, technology, suppliers and customers have to be dealt delicately as these internal factors increase the success of the Business for Sale. It is better to inform the employees after you have reached to advance stage of the business sell. about the decision to sell and address their concerns.

Beneficial External elements – External elements like market conditions, trends in the industry, legislations, competition, etc. can be beneficial if impacted positively to the business.

Generally, the SME’s approach the business brokers, the most common platform. On successful completion of a deal, these brokers expect a return in terms of a commission on the transaction price, which normally ranges from 1%-10%. Such hefty succession fees are sometimes not affordable to SME’s and the chances of businesses being sold quickly slows down. At the same time if the SME is not experienced [generally most SME's are not] in selling the business, it is most appropriate to get professional help. In brief, if your business is not selling a business, please seek help while selling yours.

Plan and start EarlyThe average time it takes for a business to be sold is from three months to twelve months. Once your business opportunity is out for sale, be patient for the genuine buyer to be attracted.

You can reach Priya Bhagat on LinkedIn here. If you have any questions for Priya, please leave them in the comments section.

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Event: Social Media Week, Bangalore

After the successful debut of Social Media Week [SMW] in India held in Mumbai in September 2013, Bangalore is all set to host this mega global festival. SMW Bangalore will be held between the 17th and 21st of February simultaneously with seven other cities namely Barcelona, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Lagos, Milan New York and Tokyo.

About Social Media Week

SMW is a worldwide festival exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media. In just under five years, Social Media Week has become a platform and a community that has grown to more than 100K members in 26 cities around the world.

SMW,Bangalore is a 5 day event scheduled from February,17 to February,21. To register, please log on to http://www.socialmediaweek.org/bangalore/

About R SQUARE Consulting

R SQUARE Consulting, an integrated marketing services agency will be hosting SMW Bangalore. “After the phenomenal success of Social Media Week in Mumbai, we believe that SMW Bangalore will set a new benchmark. Bangalore’s reputation as a cultural melting pot and as the IT capital of the country makes for an optimal combination” Rohit Varma, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, R SQUARE Consulting said.

The festival is expected to attract over 5000 professionals, including people from advertising & marketing, brand management, entrepreneurs, start-ups, management students and other communities of relevance and interest. Running community is one such example. “We launched MegaPink in partnership with SMW Mumbai with runners from 40 cities taking part.

Speaker List

Some of the prominent speakers who are expected to be part of the event are listed below:

  1. Neville Taraporewalla, GM India, Microsoft Advertising & Online
  2. Rishi Dogra, GM Marketing, PepsiCo India
  3. Kiruba Shankar, Blogger
  4. Varun Agarwal, Author and Founder, Alma Mater
  5. Nikhil Dey, President, Public Relations, Genesis Burson-Marsteller

Social Media Week Partners

  1. GroupM, leading media agency
  2. Genesis Burson-Marsteller, leading integrated communication consultancy
  3. Chlorophyll, India’s first end-to-end brand consultancy
  4. Time Out Magazine
  5. Yellow Seed
  6. MxMIndia
  7. Social Samosa
  8. AIESEC
  9. Indigo 91.9 FM
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Intuit & NIESBUD to roll out Financial Literacy Programme for Indian SME’s

Intuit India, a leading provider of business & financial management solutions for small & mid-sized businesses in the country and National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development [NIESBUD] have come up with a specialized course on financial management for Indian small business owners.

The course is briefly divided into three modules & starts from the very beginning i.e. How to start a business. The contents of the modules are as below:

How to Start a Business

  • Focus on Basics [Contents - Market Research, Target Market Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Capital/Funding Needs, Infrastructure required?, What’s the return on investment?]
  • Understand what you need ? [Capital, Man power, Infrastructure]
  • Understand how to start [Choosing the Right Type of Entity, How to register a company ,Raising and Managing Capital]

How to Manage your Business?

  • Understand Key Financial Indicators
  • How You Can Monitor Financial Indicators ?
  • How to Manage Cash ?
  • How to Manage your Budget ?
  • Some Important Tax Laws to Keep in Mind
  • Don’t Forget to Pay the Government on Time !!!
  • Some Financial Risks to be aware of
  • Put in Place Checks &  Balances

How to Grow Your Business ?

  • How to Value Your Business ?
  • How to Budget for Growth ?
  • Sources of Growth Capital
  • Get Debt Right.
  • Manage Your Personal Finances, too!
  • Where and How to Find Assistance ?

Financial Management - Journey to Small Business Success [Intuit], Click to enlarge

If you need any further information, please let your comments & we would append the same in the article.

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Book Review : “Business Sutra” by Devdutt Pattanaik

Each one of us would agree that Indian Mythology is very rich & there are tons of things that can be learnt from it.  If we look back at our day to day life, everything that we do has someway or the other got some mythological angle to it !! It would be interesting if the two dots namely “Mythology” & “Business” are connected & this is what forms gist of the book – “Business Sutra” by Devdutt Pattanaik.

About the author

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik is an Indian physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist and author whose works focus largely on the areas of myth, mythology & management. He is the Chief Belief Officer,CBO of “Future Group” bringing the wisdom of Indian mythology into Indian business, especially in human resource management [Source - Wikipedia]

Detailed Review

Business Sutra uses stories from Indian [particularly Hindu, Buddhist & Jain] mythology & shows how it’s learning’s can be used to run a small/medium sized business or in our day to day work in a large corporation [MNC]. Diagrammatic representation of the mythological characters makes the book an interesting read, without which the reader would have do lot of research to understand the connections !!!

Some of the important key take away’s from the book are given below [excerpts taken from the book]:

3B Framework

It briefly describes the the connection between “Belief” & “Business” & calls it the 3B Framework – Belief, Behavior & Business. The author says “Belief plays a key role in business: it determines choices and propels the decisions of buyers & sellers, regulators and shareholders, investors & entrepreneurs, employers & employees, vendors & customers. It determines how we do business and what ultimately gets done.” As is Belief, so is Behavior, so is Business i.e. Business is a direct outcome of our Behavior, which in turn is influenced by our belief.

Food for Yagna [Exchange]

Lakshmi – Wealth, Durga – Power that grants security & authority, Saraswati – Human Imagination & Knowledge. Only a person who understands that philosophy is the seed of all economic & political decisions can understand that every human being has a different philosophy & only the wise are able to accommodate everybody’s philosophy. Entrepreneurs & risk- taking investors are the best examples of this category !!!

Being a “Sattva”

Each person has different Guna [personality] & they are broadly classified into three categories – Tamas, Rajas, Sattvas. A person with “Tamas” guna will agree with what majority says. He of  “Rajas” guna will see Lakshmi [wealth] as the end target. He of  “Sattva” guna will see Lakshmi as an indicator of personal growth. In most societies, people with “Tamas” guna form the majority pack which is directed by the minority pack of “Sattva” guna.

Business Sutras

  1. Every Devata seeks a high Return On Investment [ROI].
  2. We have to make room for others.
  3. He who takes the call is a Karta & everyone is a potential Karta.
  4. A Karta who allows & enables others to take a call is called a “Yajaman”.
  5. Size of the contribution does not matter.
  6. Not everyone can handle the burden of “Uncertainty”
  7. Decisions are contextual. If the decisions are good, the Yajaman is beneficiary & if they are bad, the Yajaman alone is responsible.
  8. Regeneration ensures sustainable wealth.
  9. He who satisfies hunger becomes “desirable”.
  10. Strategy is the force than tactic is the counter-force.
  11. If Ambition is the force than Contentment is the counter-force.
  12. If Creativity is the force than Process is the counter-force.
  13. Upstream forces need to be balanced by Downstream forces.
  14. Balance is the key to avoid tug of war.
  15. Impact of an organizational decision varies depending on the source.

Closing Thoughts

“Business Sutra” makes a very interesting read & it brings a fresh and whole new dimension to Business & Mythology. It’s definitely not a breezy read & the reader might need to get into the “mythological” groove to get the best “Sutra(s)” of “Business Sutra” !!!

The book is available on Flipkart here [though the status indicates "Back in Stock Soon" which itself speaks for the awesome work done by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik :)]

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books !

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Insights into “Coupon Marketing”

One of the fast emerging marketing techniques is couponing business. CouponMAMU has brought a revolution in the way marketing takes place. You simply produce a booklet with different schemes in it after tagging certain hotshots of various categories and the customers can benefit from the discounts relevant to those brands. It is a win-win situation for the buyer and the brand offering discounts as the latter gains multiple customers within a short span of time.

Different Types of Couponing

If you are a shopping enthusiastic or an ardent businessperson, knowing what all kinds of coupons you can enjoy the benefits or offer would be of great advantage to you. Thus, the following types of coupons are available:-

Cash discounts
You may use these types of coupons for any period of time and attain the said discount benefits on relevant products.

Limited time

These coupons are issued only for a limited period of time after which you cannot attain benefits from it. But usually, given to the limited time duration, such coupons are highly lucrative for, both – the consumers & business people, as well.

Discount today
This is an immediate discount scheme wherein you get upfront discounts based on the purchases you have made.

Deferred Discount

In this type of coupons, you get discounts each time that you make a purchase and it keeps on accumulating until a substantial amount is accrued which you can make use of at a later date. It brings more customers and increases the purchase of goods of the respective brand.

Coupon mix
Here, more than one kinds of coupon scheme are clubbed so that the businesses can devise a scheme that is highly beneficial to itself & which also seems attractive to customers.

Strategies for Couponing Business

In order to thrive in the couponing business, a businessperson has to be smart enough to device perfect strategies for marketing.

Word Of Mouth
You can gain exclusive hoards of customers once you spread the word about your coupons. Word of mouth is really effective to gain customer fan-base in a short span of time for free or minimal cost.

Communication skills
The way you represent the coupons and show their prospects makes a lot of difference. You should be convincing and, yet, not  overbearing to the customer.

Lucrative offers
Too many lucrative schemes would do you no harm, in fact, it would drag potential customers to you like you’re some hot shopping hub.

Customer loyalty
You need to tap customer loyalty by staying in touch with them, updating them of newer schemes & establishing cordial relations with them.

Online buzz
Internet is a great medium for marketing. You may put a post on any Social-networking website’s or create a viral video regarding your coupons and their benefits and your work is done! People would spread it like crazy !!!

CouponMAMU holds a wide range of gadgets, accessories and apparels. Do give them a spin & let us know your comments …

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Social Media Tips for Start-Ups [Guest Post]

Social media marketing is hailed as one of the best ways to promote a start up. It is cheap, relatively easy and pretty effective in helping a company establish its own identity and brand. While there are certainly many benefits to social media marketing, truly benefiting from your efforts requires a certain level of skill and dedication. With the wrong approach, your social media presence could even harm your fledgling business.

These five tips will help any start-up make the most of this hectic time & leverage the power of social media for maximum benefits.

Focus Your Efforts

It seems that every day a new social media platform launches and claims it will be the next Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. This provides a mind-boggling number of options for you to try with your social media efforts. While exposure is a good thing, spreading yourself out too thin is not. Pick a platform that works best for your business. B2B start-ups could consider LinkedIn. Targeting a younger audience, consider Twitter.

Are you a local business? Facebook offers plenty of tools to expand your subscriber base by location. By limiting the number of platforms that you are tracking, you can invest real time and effort for your start-up. This can also help to avoid mistakes as you get accustomed to the platform and social media marketing.

Be Interactive

In many cases, the ultimate goal of social media marketing is to increase exposure, drive traffic and create leads. This leads to some misconceptions on how to use the platform. Simply promoting yourself everywhere you can will only find a small level of success. The true power in social media lies in building relationships, establishing authority & offering benefits to subscribers. The first step in this is actually interacting with your subscribers. Every little interaction, from thanking them for reading or sharing one of your posts, to responding to questions helps to build a relationship for your brand. This is also the best way to keep track of what readers and users are saying about your company and an integral part of brand management.

Establish Authority

Anyone can create a social media account and post about how great their own products or services are. In fact, you will see a large amount of this. However, this is just a basic implementation of the platform. As a startup, you should be establishing authority in your field and building your subscriber base. A great way to do this is to find other relevant social media accounts, blogs, sites and services and mention them on your social media feeds. By establishing authority, followers will be more likely to trust your suggestions, look at your links and come to you for products, services and information.

Participate Regularly

Frequent interaction with your social media accounts is essential to success. Try to set aside a few minutes each day to dedicate to finding new targeted subscribers, posting new content and communicating with your existing base. If you have trouble updating your social media during appropriate hours, simple use a scheduling service, such as HootSuite for Twitter or Buffer. If you use scheduled posting applications, be sure to keep each post unique and check back in periodically to interact with and respond to anyone who mentioned the post.

Test, Analyze and Improve

There is no guaranteed formula to social media success. It all depends on your market, your business and your investment. Certain tactics may work great for a competitor but fail for you. Track interactions, clicks and other important stats on your social media campaigns from the start. Though they make take a little time to provide useful information, you do not have to worry about not having access to the information should you need it. From the time you post to headlines and hashtags, any little detail could be the difference between social media obscurity and viral success. Do not be afraid to try new tactics. With your analytics behind you it, it is hard to go wrong.

One last bonus tip is to keep your brand’s messaging consistent. This requires some discipline in brand management and not veering off into every new trend that pops up on the Web. In this case, your Brand will send a mixed message to your audience members, hurting your chance for properly positioning your company in their minds as solution for a specific problem — one of the basic principles of branding and marketing.

About the Author

Steven Anderson has been writing about brand management and marketing solutions for nearly a decade. Visit Cloverleaf Innovation to learn more.

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About the author

Hey, Welcome to Himanshu's blog. Himanshu is a engineer, blogger, startupper & an aspiring entrepreneur from Bangalore, India. To know more about him, please visit this page.

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