Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Establishing Credit during the Recession

It has never been easy to build credit from scratch. If you have no credit history, you're likely to be turned down due to the lack of credit history. Now that lenders are holding onto their money, establishing credit may feel like a mission impossible. The question is, how to build credit during the recession?

There's no reason to wait for better economic times! Building credit is a time-consuming process and having no credit history can make things pretty hard for you. If you're about to rent your first apartment, you may have troubles getting the best deal, as landlords also review credit scores.

If you're just starting out your financial life, it makes sense to open a checking or savings account at a reputable bank that offers a wide range of products and services, including credit cards. Applying for secured cards issued by the bank where your money is kept, you are likely to be approved. Step by step, you can establish a good reputation with the bank as a reliable customer and then you will be able to consider unsecured credit card applications that require no money deposit and come with better terms and features.

Secured cards are probably the best option for those who want to start building their credit history from scratch. These cards come with no credit or income check, so that applicants are not likely to be rejected. Student credit cards are still available for youth folks. If you are a college student, you may consider some really good unsecured cards that require bad or no credit.

The bottom line is that you'd better be safe than sorry – take your time to do some research before applying for a credit card. Read carefully the terms and conditions of card agreements and choose the card that is right for you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Dead" Secrecy: UBS at Crosshair

Services have always been difficult to pitch because of the sheer fact that quality for them is difficult to measure due to their intangibility. So at times it boils down to the order of priority and the relativity of what one refers to as outstanding quality. Banking is an industry which has been fiercely competitive in this area, offering a bundle of services that competitors do not. So what sets apart a bank and a particular banking system are the critical unique differentiators.

At the pinnacle of this in the banking world sit the Swiss banks due to the code of secrecy that they stick to, bestowed upon them by the softer norms in the Swiss banking system. Secrecy is why the Swiss banking system has always stood apart and has managed to beat even the likes of Cayman Islands. But this very foundation of the Swiss Banking system is jittery now as US Tax authorities have demanded UBS to release the names of 52000 Americans who are suspected of opening secret accounts to evade taxes. UBS needs business in US right now and it cannot turn a deaf year to the US Tax authorities and has thus agreed to release 250 names.

But the earth shattering repercussion for this will be that UBS will have a chink in the armour and there will be no further reason for customers to do business with Swiss banks. Secrecy is their business and if it goes away then it will take the entire Swiss banking system with it. What surfaces will be a whole lot of chaos for the Swiss banks and unimaginable volume of business for the banks in the Cayman Islands.

Posted by: Rahul

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cartoon :)

Meetings & their types

Meetings are marketing in real time with real people. (A conference is not a meeting. A conference is a chance for a circle of people to interact).

There are only three kinds of classic meetings:
1. Information. This is a meeting where attendees are informed about what is happening (with or without their blessing). While there may be a facade of conversation, it's primarily designed to inform.
2. Discussion. This is a meeting where the leader actually wants feedback or direction or connections. You can use this meeting to come up with an action plan, or develop a new idea, for example.
3. Permission. This is a meeting where the other side is supposed to say yes but has the power to say no.

PLEASE don't confuse them. Confused meeting types are the number one source of meeting ennui. One source of confusion is that a meeting starts as one sort of meeting and then magically morphs into another kind. The reason this is frightening is that one side or the other might not realize that's actually occurring. If it does, stop and say, "Thanks for the discussion. Let me state what we've just agreed on and then we can go ahead and approve it, okay?"

While I'm at it, let me remind you that there are two kinds of questions.
- Questions designed to honestly elicit more information.
- Questions designed to demonstrate how much you know or your position on an issue and to put the answerer on the defensive.

There's room for both types of questions, particularly in a team preparing for a presentation or a pitch. Again, don't confuse them. I like to be sure that there's time for the first type, then, once everyone acknowledges that they know what's on the table, open it up for the second, more debate-oriented type of question.

From, Seth's Blog.

Brilliant Ad

Understanding People

One philosopher to another: "I don't really understand people. Tell them that you can go around the world in half and hour, or that a boy was born with a snake's body, and they'll believe it. But put a sign on a bench saying 'WET PAINT' and everybody will touch it to see if its true."

- Chistes de tutifruti (Selector, Mexico City)

From, Buyer Behaviour.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Branding in Troubled Economy

Times are such when IIM kids are striving for. Times are such when the best of the companies are losing out to competitors. Times are such when a nation's economy is directly related to the world economy. Times are such when you need Branding the most to survive in a Troubled Economy.

Find here one of the best presentations to understand the tricks of the trade in the World of Branding.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Big Companies still hiring amidst recession

I guess everyone would have been shocked on hearing that only 10 companies visited IIM-A this year on Day Zero of their placement season. More suprising was the fact that there were only 25 offers made with the highest being Rs. 25 lacs per annum.

Amidst such a bloodbath scenario which is taking place in the job markets in India, it is a pleasure to know that some of the big firms are actually hiring and their requirements are huge. A recent report stated that hiring figures have actually increased in January majorly in the IT, BPO, telecom, banking, education and hospitality sectors. Niche sectors such as legal, governmental and defence keep up the momentum on an upsurge by recruiting fresh talents.

Biggies such as LIC require around 45,000 employees and SBI are looking upto a figure of adding 25,000 fresh talents. Petroleum sector companies such as Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil also look to add a few thousands over a period of next couple of years. The educational sector looks the most stable with many state governments announcing openings for lecturers and professors in various state universities. The openings here are around 50,000.

Metro, a German retail enterprise, plans to open six wholesale centres in Punjab with an investment of Rs 900 crore (Rs 9 billion). This should happen in the next two-three years. Punjab has launched three major projects including a business centre, bus terminal and hospital with a combined capital outlay of Rs. 10,413 crore. A knowledge based industry township comprising of companies is scheduled to open shortly in Kerala which would be offering around 90,000 jobs. A requirement of around 25,000 cops in Andhra Pradesh and around 40,000 jobs in the nationwide media sector looks good too.

Coming to the most hit Automobile & Aviation sector which have been the worst hit; the good news is that Ford India & Paramount Airways are looking for fresh hirings in numbers of 1000 and 500 respectively. Reliance Life Insurance also needs around 1,00,000 emloyees by the year end.

With other openings in different states for BPOs, police, firemen, doctors etc. in substantial numbers, the scenario looks quite good now.

The question to be answered is - Has India Inc. faced recession boldly and made necessary amends ?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slumdogs Are No Underdogs

The laurels that A. R. Rehman, Gulzar & Resul Pookutty brought to India at the centrestage of the Academy Awards function have enthralled every conscious Indian. We may have had loads of criticism against the portrayal of India's poverty and wretched condition of life of its slum-dwellers in this movie, but we cannot detach ourselves from dousing in the celebration for the victors who are very much Indian.

This is not the end of the story; India have once again proven her worth in another field - banking. Our very own State Bank of India (fondly known as SBI) have superseded Citigroup's market capitalisation to be among the largest banks in the world. The market capitalisation of SBI on Friday closed at Rs. 66,285 crore. This is around 25% more than the closing market capitalisation of Citigroup on the NYSE on Friday. The market capitalisation of Citigroup was Rs. 52,931 crore.

Though Citigroup's revenue in the last four quarters is almost eleven times more than the revenue earned by SBI, its profits are nowhere near the figures earned by SBI. While Citigroup has suffered losses of Rs. 83,474 crore in the last four quarters, SBI has booked profits of Rs. 8,262 crore. Martin Hutchinson, an economic commentator, recently put out a list on the status of the 12 largest banks in the US. He categorised Citi as a zombie bank. “Citi has been a serial flirter with bankruptcy over the past 30 years and remains a basket case,” he wrote.
Posted By : Anirban Dutta

Friday, February 20, 2009


Greg Mandel, the chief economist for BusinessWeek had raised a question "Is the market and economic turmoil nothing more than a crisis of confidence?" His question is in response to what has been told by Ben Bernanke to the Economic Club of New York on Oct. 15:
"At the root of the problem is a loss of confidence by investors and the public in the strength of key financial institutions and markets."

The Bernanke-Paulson paradigm is based on the rationale that the financial turbulence will cease as the confidence of the investors are restored, and they start putting money back into the stock markets and companies around the world. Here Mandel once again challenges the view. He asks "what if the Bernanke-Paulson view is wrong? What if financial stress is a symptom, not a cause?"

It is highly likely that over the years people have realized that the way cross-border technological transfer, foreign trade and financial integration have taken place cannot be maintained over a longer period of time. The U.S transferred technology and business know-how to other low-wage emerging economies like India and China. The goods and services produced on a massive scale in these emerging economies were moved to the U.S assuming that there will be perpetual consumption demand. And, the financial flow was from the rest of the world to the U.S to finance their trade deficit.

This is good till such time your consumption demand is backed by your earning potential. You cannot pay back your debt with falling income. By BusinessWeek's calculations, in the U.S, real weekly earnings for college grads without an advanced degree have dropped every year since 2002.

Thus the panacea to the current crisis is not just restoration of investors' confidence but, developing innovative new products and services that the U.S can produce and sell in the global markets. It's high time for the U.S policymakers to get back to action to reduce the external borrowings the country has to do, and help create a sustainable global economy.
Posted By: Anirban Dutta

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book retailing---Adding new chapters in Retailing!!!

In the late 1980s ,an engineering student set aside his degree mid way and landed up with a job in Landmark book stores in Madras(now Chennai).He thought he would be continuing with the job for all the three months and who knew that he was the man behind to build one of the India's most successful bookstore chains---R.Sriram , the former founder CEO of Crossword;India's biggest book retailer.Sriram says:"Book retailing had served, underserved and unserved customers.We saw a huge opportunity in trhe underserved and unserved segments." Sivaraman Balakrishnan,marketing head,Crosswords points that any consumer irrespective of his location will be treated with the same shopping experince.

There were times when books were sold through small outlets leading to an experience similar to that of buying drugs from a medicinal stores.So the ground to be covered was large and had huge potential.The national chain had to be reinvented and remarketed to change the perception of the consumers.Sriram was fortunate enough to found a backer for the concept who gave the seed capital and real estate(space for the store) in Mumbai.The name was Crosswords as it signifies fun and learning.But a numerologist said that the name was unlucy;Sriram suggested the dropping of 's' and so came the Crossword.Crossword was founded in 1992 by Mr R. Sriram and Ms K. Anita along with a young team from India Book House Limited and the first Crossword store opened on 15th October 1992 at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai.

Desired to deliver a unique shopping experience to the consumers --appealed mothers and children on the front.It came with the concept of dedicating a scetion only for the children.This risk ultimately paid off and contributed about 35%of the sales.The strategy of placing the sections in different places in the store was a new and innovative idea keeping in mind the customers they want to target during their walk in the store.The concept of book reading sessions by the kids was also introduced.It was the first bookstore that provided seating spaces for its customers to sit and read the books with no questions asked on the times spent by them.To make their customers spent more time,Cross word came up with the idea of setting up a coffee store within the outlet.And on the customer's bill,it offered a new term and condition which is unique:'Books once sold WILL be taken back'.Over the years they added to many more innovations to satisfy their customers.

All this summed up in creating a brand experience that could be solely associated with the brand.Crossword has grown to 52 stores today over 12 cities, with a mix of company owned and franchised stores.Currently, Crossword Bookstores Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary Company of Shopper’s Stop Ltd – India’s leading department store chain. Success has come as a result of shared passion and commitment for customers & business which resulted in one of the bigges brand in the world of book retailing---Crossword.

Posted By:Jaspreet

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Top 10 Companies to Work for

Fortune Magazine in association with Great Place to Work Institute came up with the Top 10 companies to work for list. Companies which were picked were places where employees were happy and motivated and made a huge contribution to a company's success.

Here goes the list -

1. NetApp
2. Edward Jones
3. Boston Consulting Group
4. Google
5. Wegmans Food Market
6. Cisco Systems
7. Genentech
8. Methodist Hospital System
9. Goldman Sachs
10. Nugget Market Inc.

Check out more details.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Burger King-Mc Donald's recession proof???

Last week, it had come to notice that McDonald's had a sizzling set of trade figures in 2008.Not only this but it had also declared to open 1,000 stores worldwide, as consumers continue to show an appetite for fast food.Recession-resistant McDonald's is feeding consumers around the world as global meltdown has led to cost-conscious shoppers opting for low-priced meals.

The world's largest hamburger chain announced an 80% leap in profits for 2008.The healthy results were helped by an 8.5% rise in comparable sales across its European outlets. This was well above the global like-for-like sales hike of 7.2%.the average number of customers served per day increased to more than 58 million in 2008.
It can also be indicated that McDonald's low-price formula--such as the recession-friendly Dollar Menu-- is a winning strategy during the current economic scenario. McDonald's place in the food service industry is similar to Wal-Mart 's success as the low-cost retailer of choice. Mac Donald's have seen sales rise as the economy sinks, with consumers turning to the fast-food chains for low-cost meals. Though domestic sales are not as strong as international sales but McDonald's is continuing to focus on value and possibly lowering prices of certain items to stay more competitive.

The statistics are taken from http://news.sky.com/skynews.

Posted By :Jaspreet

Friday, January 30, 2009

How startups can avoid competition??

I was reading an article by Vimarsh Bajpai,which reflects on the various parameters that may hinder the way to success for the startups. It is a general fact that startups face many challenges to establish itself amongst the big and established players in the market.The need of the day is to have a multi-prolonged strategy.The article aptly put forth the key pointers that can help any entrepreneur to the tackle the competition in the market and business.
1.KNOW YOUR COMPETITION:When you enter the market unprepared,the unawares hit you and opens the way to failure.So a competitor analysis is a must to know the current market condition and the existing products and services that are doing well.
2.GETTING YOUR FIRST CUSTOMER:A rapport with the previous employer or people known in good terms can easily get you your first customer.But definitely one has to work hard to make significant sales.
3.OFFERING NICHE PRODUCTS & SERVICES:This is where the starups can drive the wind their way.If you desire to get noticed, you have to bet and carve a niche for youself which can raise a new platform in the market against the existing businesses and its offerings.
4.COMPETITIVE PRICING:It becomes essential for a startup to price competitively.Offering a variety of pricing and deployment model can actually make pricing a non-issue.
5.SERVICE QUALITY:Setting new benchmarks for quality could be a great differentiating factor.
6.ADVERTISING & PR:For startups "word of mouth" is the best startegy.Outsourcing work to smaller PR agencies and networking are the major means that can lead the startups to reach the new customers swiftly.
7.EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION:As the startups cannot offer huge pay packets , an inspiring work environment can make them get most out of their employees.This would also provide them a place for experimenting and coming forward with different new ideas.
8.CONSTANT INNOVATION:It is the only way to retain customers and add more to the kitty.
9.GRAB A PIE IN BIG PROJECTS:Large corporations get their work done from outside agencies and it makes sense to grab ssuc business.
These key pointers should be kept in the mind before entering into any new business as it will definitely help in avoiding a large percentage of risk that any entrepreneur may face while formulating the business plan-from idea to reality.
Posted by:Jaspreet

Wednesday, January 28, 2009