Tagged: businessmen

International Banking Basics

International Banking BasicsWe keep hearing stories about rich businessmen and corporations around the world opening up Swiss bank accounts and parking loads of money into international banks. We probably wonder about the amount of money these international banks make out of foreign savings and investments. With new businesses emerging out of different industries and economies, International banking is taking a whole new dimension and rich individuals around the world use such banks to shelter their money from their home country’s income and estate taxes.

According to OCRA Worldwide — international banks tend to offer their services to companies and to fairly wealthy individuals, i.e., people with cash of about $100,000 and counting. A large number of banks are based in countries with low or no income and estate taxes, such as the Cayman Islands, Belize, Panama and the Isle of Man. Swiss banks also offer great opportunities for foreign individuals by allowing them to open up bank accounts in their country.

There are many corporations and individuals that use such international banks to invest in the economies of booming countries and in developing countries, the same way they might invest in domestic ventures or investment opportunities. These banks offer other exciting benefits, for example, some International banks make it easier for a company with an international presence to do business around the world. There is less paperwork and easy regulations to handle while doing business internationally. Also, such banks offer better interest rates than domestic banks, providing a money-making opportunity for customers.

Well, there is a flip side to international banking too. One should do a thorough homework before opening up accounts in international banks. It is always good to keep in mind that the way domestic currency can change value, so can foreign currency. Is the bank in a country on the verge of some sort of civil war or economic collapse? Is the bank known for efficiency and smart investments or for poor customer service and federal bailouts? These are things one should always check and keep in mind while taking the international banking route. Also, due to numerous cases of money laundering and international terrorism, many international banks keep a close eye on account activities. So, if you’re moving massive amounts of money around quickly, you will raise a red flag.

Last but not the least; international banking should be treated as an initiative in itself. It is always advisable to consult seasoned international financial consultants before opening accounts in international banks. Businesses should do a complete check on the regulatory and policies aspect of these banks and make a move, when they feel the time is right.

At the end of the day, it is all about how well you can manage your money by securing it safe.

Learning from Jugaad Innovation

“Jugaad” is a term popularly used in India. It originated from Sanskrit word yugat later converted as jugat, jugad, and jugaad in modern use. It means having a creative idea or an alternative to solve a problem. The theory originated when people found the need to work around creative solutions due to lack of resources, equipment and money. In the past few years, a jugaad movement has gathered a community of enthusiasts, believing it to be the proof of Indian bubbling creativity, or a cost-effective way to solve the issues of everyday life.

The jugaad movement is also popularly known globally as Frugal innovation or frugal engineering. It is described as a process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, famously coined the term “frugal engineering” in 2006. He was impressed by Indian engineers’ ability to innovate cost-effectively and quickly under severe resource constraints. And under Ghosn’s leadership , Renault-Nissan has proactively embraced frugal engineering and become one of the world’s leading producers of both electric cars as well as low-cost vehicles — two of the fastest growing and most promising market segments in the global automotive sector.

In now-a-days resource constraint environment, business and entrepreneurs need to come up with innovative solutions that fix problems and bring long lasting results. A quick fix is not the answer, but a way to think and come up with innovative solutions is important. Jugaad as a concept has inspired many business owners and innovators to think “out of the box” and experiment with unconventional solutions for better results.

Business lessons from Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist, philosopher, author, and is perhaps the most influential scientists to ever live. He published many scientific and non-scientific works and is popularly known for his explanations & research on the Quantum theory. He is considered the father of modern physics and has influenced many modern day entrepreneurs. Here are a few business lessons to learn from Einstein:

Curiosity is the key

Ask yourself this question: What piques your curiosity? What makes one business to succeed and the other to fail? Always searching for the right mix or the right answer is what drives a business owner. The pursuit of your curiosity is the secret to your business.

Use the power of Imagination

Imagination is everything. It is more important than knowledge. Are you using your imagination in your business? It is always important to remember that imagination pre-plays your future. Are you exercising your “imagination muscles” daily? Einstein once said, “don’t let something as powerful as your imagination lie dormant”. Imagination gives birth to innovation.

Create Value

It’s simple: Time + creating value = SUCCESS

Don’t waste your time trying to be successful, spend your time creating value: value for your customers, value for people and value for society. If you’re valuable, then you will attract more business and therefore more success.

Determination

Through sheer determination and perseverance you can break all boundaries! Are you willing to persevere until you get to your intended business goal? Are you willing to be focused with a clear cut objective and mission? Do you have the tenacity, courage and will power to sail through tough times? A business built on the core values of determination and perseverance becomes the ultimate gainer in prospective.

Be more present

There is a popular saying: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

Learn to be present where you are; give your all to whatever you’re currently doing. Multitasking is a killer to productivity and innovation in any business. Focused energy is like burning power, and it’s the difference between success and failure of any business or business owner.

The West Bank “Silicon Wadi”

The West Bank is becoming the budding Palestinian tech sector and though outsourcing contracts are the foundation of the industry there, the business model that the West Bank tech sector looks to is not similar to the Indian outsourcing setup i.e. numbers amplified due to the immense population, but more that of Israel.

Innovation, creativity and being ahead of the curve” is the ultimate goal.

The Palestinian I.T. Association of Companies recently listed 125 members, about three-quarters of them based in the West Bank and the rest in Gaza. Palestinian business owners admit that the industry is still in its nascent stage, with total outsourcing revenue estimated to be not more than $6 million a year. However, they also understand that it can be an attractive opportunity for Israel-based firms because of its proximity, cultural familiarity, the talent of Palestinian engineers and their loyalty to their companies.

Many people here have attributed Cisco’s arrival in 2008 as a turning point for the industry and believe that if compared with other industries, the West Bank information and communications technology sector has an advantage: it is much less affected by impediments to movement, like the barriers, checkpoints and permit requirements that Israel imposes on the territory.

Economic experts and entrepreneurs say that the main asset of Palestinians is their young, well-educated, entrepreneurial-minded population. However, they also understand that there is an immediate need to gain maximum exposure from world business leaders and investors and overcome the image that the world has of the territory as a volatile conflict zone.

Staying SMALL can help you get BIG

The New York Times recently wrote about companies that physically downsized by moving employees into smaller amounts of space and how they not only saved significant amounts of money, but also increased collaboration, teamwork and efficiency.

The idea behind it is not to pack your employees like crabs, but smartly reduce the amount of space you need:

SCAN more & PRINT less:
When’s the last time you cleaned out and got rid of all the paper, and the accompanying cabinets with it? Try scanning documents onto servers rather than keeping physical copies. In fact, there is even software available that satisfies the IRS. Using less paper will help you get rid of unnecessary clutter and space.

Smart Devices & Desks:
Look at slim-profile PCs, printers, and other equipment that could take up less square footage area. Look at rearranging desks so that they fit more efficiently without leaving people feeling overcrowded. Taking some help from an expert in office design could also be a good idea.

Redesign your Data centre:
The less space your servers need, the less space your business needs. Now-a-days companies use more powerful hardware and special software to more effectively use their servers. The technology has come a long way and now smaller companies can get products and services that will allow them to do the same thing as corporate giants.

Encourage telecommuting:
If you think that you need your employees under your watchful eye to get work done, then either you might be hiring the wrong people or you’re not effectively managing. Try to give people options to work home or at remote locations and then have common workspace they can use when in the office.

The above ideas are just a start, on how you can save space, bring your team closer together and become more efficient.

Dabbawala – The Box person

A Dabbawala is a term used for a person in India, commonly found in the city of Mumbai, who is employed in a unique service industry whose principal business is collecting freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from the residences of the office workers, delivering it to their respective workplaces and returning the empty boxes back to the customer’s residence by using various modes of transport.

Most of their employees are illiterate and the last major upgrade this 125 year old organization made to its delivery chain was the bicycle. So far the dabbawalas deliver and return 150,000 dabbas (boxes), or tiffins, every day. As per the Forbes magazine, they have a 6 sigma rating of 99.9999, which means less than one out of every six million deliveries goes amiss.

Their business model revolves around strong teamwork and strict time-management. At 9am every morning, home-made meals are picked up in special boxes, which are loaded onto trolleys and pushed to a railway station. They then make their way by train to an unloading station. The dabbawalas, who all receive the same pay, are also seen as paragons of “bottom up” social entrepreneurship.

Harvard Business School has produced a case study of the dabbawalas, urging its students to learn from the organization, which relies entirely on human endeavor and employs no technology.

Gardner’s Pursuit of “Happyness”

Christopher Paul Gardner is an American entrepreneur, investor, stockbroker, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist who, during the early 1980s, struggled with homelessness while raising his toddler son, Christopher, Jr.

Gardner’s personal struggle of establishing himself as a stockbroker while managing fatherhood and homelessness is portrayed in the 2006 motion picture The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino, starring Will Smith. The unusual spelling of the film’s title comes from a sign Gardner saw when he was homeless. In the film, “happiness” is misspelled (as “happyness”) outside the daycare facility Gardner’s son attends.

After Gardner separation from his wife, he ended up homeless and often scrambled to place his child in daycare, stood in soup lines and slept wherever he and his son could find safety—in his office after hours, at flophouses, at parks and even in a locked bathroom at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station.

His BIG break:

Gardner worked to become a top trainee at Dean Witter Reynolds. He arrived at the office early and stayed late each day, persistently making calls to prospective clients with his goal being 200 calls/day. His perseverance paid off when, in 1982, Gardner passed his licensing exam on the first try and became a full employee of the firm.

In 1987, Chris Gardner established the brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co, in Chicago, Illinois, an institutional brokerage firm specializing in the execution of debt, equity and derivative products transactions for some of the nation’s largest institutions, public pension plans and unions.

His new company was started in his small Presidential Towers apartment, with start-up capital of $10,000 and a single piece of furniture: a wooden desk that doubled as the family dinner table.

Gardner reportedly owns 75 percent of his stock brokerage firm with the rest owned by a hedge fund. He chose the name “Gardner Rich” for the company because he considers Marc Rich, the commodities trader pardoned by former president Bill Clinton in 2001, “one of the most successful futures traders in the world.”