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

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.

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 [SourceWikipedia]

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 !

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 …

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.

Though there are plenty of things to worry about during the start-up phase of any business, there are few things as important as brand creation and management. Whether you are securing investors or building your customer base, your brand is often one of the major determining factors in your success.

The following tips and tricks are great ways for your start-up to establish & build a brand:

Understand the Many Facets of Your Brand
Many start-ups get lost in the act of brand building and fail to realize just how detailed the process can be. The end result is a weak brand. Brand building and management is not just about everyone sees your brand. It is about how investors, employees, customers and partners see your business individually. Though positive aspects for each group tend to offer some benefit to others, building a truly strong brand is about focusing on each specific group and showing them exactly how your start-up is the best target for their money, time and trust. By monitoring and building your brand from each perspective, you can ensure that your brand is solid, stable and strong.

Research Your Market to Help Establish Your Brand
With the competitive nature of a globalized economy, market research is more important than ever. Establish a demographic & market and build your brand from there. Knowing your market makes establishing value and building your brand much easier. This also ensures that other parts of your brand, such as the name, logo and advertising, are honed easily to fit your market for improved results in your start-up efforts. Each of these factors can impact the success of your start-up. It is also much harder to alter many of these smaller aspects once the business is established. By researching before and during the start-up phase of your business, you position it for long-term success.

Embrace Your Brand
You can ask anyone what they feel makes the brand of a large corporation or business and get many answers in return. It is easy to promote a brand after it is created. However, establishing a brand in a start-up is very different. Most start-ups have only a few employees. This means that everyone should be embracing and living the brand of the company. When so few people are involved, every action you take reflect directly back on your start-up and could help or hurt its success. If you are living your brand and integrating into your practices, partners and eventually employees will be more likely to adopt your stance as well. This makes brand management and promotion easier in later stages of the business. The opposite is also true. If you live in opposition to your brand, your employees, investors and customers will be the first to notice and point it out to others.

Build Your Brand from the Beginning
Every second that a business delays in building its brand it is risking failure. Branding is not a process that requires substantial investments or dedicated professional services. Branding should start at the conception. This means that it should be an integral part of the start-up process. Branding establishes a number of things, ranging from your target market to your potential competition. This makes it one of the most crucial yet overlooked aspects of the start-up process. By establishing your brand early, you are defining the value and benefits that your start-up will offer consumers, investors and other entities. While making money is important for any business to succeed, creating value and establishing a market are two major keys to long-term success.

In summary, know what you are trying to convey with the brand, do the market research to know what your target audience will respond to, and don’t delay in executing — just do it !!!

About the Author

Eric Armstrong is a marketing professional specializing in qualitative market research.

Recommended Read

Some more interesting articles on “Brand Building” can be found here

Gone are the days when we had to stand in queues for booking train/bus or even Flight tickets. With the rise of OTA, it has not only become convenient for customers to book tickets but also get great discounts on them. Today we have an article by Rohit who works for  Coupon Lava & his awesome customer experience with MMT gave rise to this article where he touches upon “The success of MakeMyTrip”. He can be reached on Google+

Initial Days of MakeMyTrip

Many might think that MakeMyTrip [ henceforth referred as MMT ]is yet another website founded in the early 2010’s. But it is certainly not so. MMT became the traditional online travel-booking site of India a few years ago. It was founded on the 1st of April in 2000 by Deep Kalra, a successful agency businessman from Haryana. The website was almost untouched till 2002 and then, advertisements triggered a revolution in the field of tours and travels. MMT is funded by Helion Ventures, Sierra Ventures and SAIF Partners and the amount is nearly Rs. 13,000,000.

Sweet taste of Success

According to some official surveys and accounts of the Indian Airspace, it was inferred that nearly 1/12th of all the domestic flight bookings was done using this website in the year 2009. Initially, MMT was just an intermediate between the passengers and the ticket counters for air travel. Subsequently, as time moved on, the website experts and the IT technicians decided to boost the privileges and started online booking for railway trains, registered government bus services and international airways.

After 2005’s incredible success, the developers started focusing on e-tickets. Today, the e-ticket is processed in less than 30 minutes and is immediately emailed to the concerned passenger. Bookings of domestic flights, international flights, hotels, packages like ‘flight plus hotel’, holidays, taxi cabs, private cars, bus and railways are the services offered by the company.

Some critiques and journalists say that online travel booking is totally unsafe as the discounts have no relevant roots behind them. The companies never tell the source of discount and subsidies. To curb this problem, MMT added trusted brand-ambassadors and increased the advertisement frequencies to let everyone know about their genuine and reliable methods of operation. Also, they have consistently provided great MakeMyTrip coupons which can be easily found at coupon websites like Coupon Lava, CouponCabin etc. Also, in the quest to provide economical travelling solutions to its customers, MMT launched the ‘Trip Rewards’. According to this deal, a passenger earns a certain number of reward points after (s)he books a relevant travel plan with the online mega-company. These reward points can be used as discounts for all the future transactions.

MMT is also one of the first Indian websites to accept online payments via PayPal.  The payments can be made via many accounts. More than 70 employees are engaged in website development, consumer support and customer relations.

The history, revolutionary development and the present success of this e-company is capable enough to make us believe in the bright future of this company.

If you had an awesome experience with any OTA, please share them in the comments section …

For many people, working at a startup is the holy grail of employment, and it’s not hard to understand why. You can get in on the ground floor, be a part of something exciting, and maybe even be a part of huge growth. That’s why it’s so cool to work for a startup, but that’s also why it’s so hard to actually get a job with one: everyone else wants to do it too. Competition is fierce, but with the right knowledge and approach, you can find a way to make the cut. Read on, and you’ll discover 33 insider tips that can help you land a coveted job at a hot startup.

Find a startup you love
Identify a startup you can really connect with, and the rest is easy. With the right fit, you’ll be better poised to connect with the startup’s culture, vision, goals, and needs.

Present yourself as an innovator
Startups are always ravenous for fresh and creative ideas. You can really stand out if you come to your interview prepared with ideas for growing and improving the business.

Show that you’re well-rounded
Do you have side projects that demonstrate your interest and passion for technology? Discuss what you’ve been working on and your dedication will be clear.

Identify what makes you unique and valuable
Getting a job means being a great salesperson, and every great salesperson knows you’ve got to have a unique selling point (USP). What’s yours? Be sure it’s the star of your resume and cover letter.

Engage in startup-related chatter
Check in on Quora and other great sites featuring startup discussions, and do your best to answer questions impressively. By being a part of the conversation, you just might catch the attention of a startup that’s hiring.

Don’t wait to see a job posting
Actual startup job postings may not show up for quite some time, especially among those in the early stage. Rather than waiting to see if they’ll pop up, get engaged with the startup early on to express your interest.

Go big or go home
Go into the application process with the mindset of leaving it all on the table. Successful startup hires have created infographics, catchy slideshows, even interesting websites to stand out in the crowd.

Be flexible
Working at a startup isn’t like working at a 9 to 5, usually. You may have weird hours, unusual commitments, and strange tasks. Be willing to take them in stride and don’t be shocked when you’re asked how you’d feel about taking them on in the interview.

Just start working
One of Square’s earliest employees was initially denied an interview at the company. But he brushed it off and took it upon himself to acquire card readers and use them to sign up 10 new merchants for the service in one day. It’s a bold move, one that got him noticed, and hired, by the startup.

Say thank you
Sure, it’s impressive to create high tech, attention-getting media to woo your potential employer, and if you have the skills, by all means, do it. But startups are made up of regular people too, and everyone, yes, everyone appreciates a good, old-fashioned hand-written thank you note. Do this, and you’ll really stand out.

Fill multiple needs
Being great at one thing is impressive, but it’s much more likely to get you a job at a big company where they can afford to have one employee for one task. At a startup, needs tend to be much broader, as each employee is expected to take on a wide variety of tasks. Show that you can contribute with a wide skill set that fills multiple needs.

Know everything there is to know
Don’t just check out the company’s website a few hours before your interview. Really spend time getting to know what the startup is all about. Do extensive research, connect with their social media outlets, and learn about their development. Go beyond the surface so that you’ll be able to stand out as knowledgeable and intensely interested in what the startup stands for.

Don’t try to share any BS
Entrepreneurs tend to have great BS detectors. Don’t give them a reason to lose faith in you by trying to feed them any. If you don’t know the answer, own up to it and offer to find out and follow up with them.

Be a part of the community
Be visible in all the right circles. Attend meetups, hackathons, and launch parties. Take the time to make connections and nurture your network. Connect with the right people, and it’s likely to lead you to a great startup job.

Be personal
Joining a small startup means lots of one on one time with the first people with boots on the ground. If you don’t click personally, chances are, you’re not getting hired. Do you fit in with the company’s culture? Get along with the founders? If you think you do, make sure that you let your personality shine through so they will recognize it as well.

Have your own questions
Be really impressive by showing that you’ve taken the time to contemplate what the startup is all about. Come to the interview with your own questions, ones beyond salary, hours, and benefits, that really demonstrate an understanding, appreciation, and willingness to explore the company.

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