journey

India’s unique chance to finally stand up

India’s Unique Chance to Finally Stand Up

India’s 2009 began with uncertainty, not just due to the global financial crisis, but also tensions over the nation’s national security in the wake of the apparent ease in which terrorists were able to penetrate many of Mumbai’s main focal points with nonchalance, arriving by sea near the Gateway to India, a central point in the city. India remained stoic in the face of such events just as the Indian economy remained relatively untouched by the events unfolding globally. Unlike China, with an exposure of about 40 percent of its total economy in providing global exports, India was less affected. Its domestic consumption ratio is more balanced, and a wealthy middle class – interestingly of about the same size of China’s at around 300 million people – continued to spend the country out of real danger.

India’s exports to the West account for about 20 percent of its total economy – half of China’s exposure – and although this caused pain for the export sector, the government stepped in to assist with a massive fiscal stimulus plan in any event. That has largely been snapped up by Indian consumers purchasing cheap cars, as the government tries to wean India’s rural population from ox and cart and into minivans. “Small is beautiful” in terms of auto sales came at just the right time for India, who’s Tata Nano looks set to become an iconic vehicle globally. With an emerging auto sector poised to offer rural India the chance of employment in a variety of related industries, the conversion from Ox to car is set to spearhead the rise of India as an economic power. The green movement, appalled at the prospect of 10 million Indians driving petrol fueled vehicles, is mildly consoled by India’s concerted effort to give them LPG engines, and unlike China, LPG gas filling stations are becoming a common sight on many garage forecourts.

A mandate to reform
The major event of the year was of course the general elections, which returned the first sitting prime minister in India in nearly 40 years. The Congress Party won a de facto majority, itself the first time in twenty years that India has a government not greatly impacted by having to horse trade with coalition partners. That stagnant political era, which has coincided with the rise of China during the same period, has now come to an end. India is equipped with a mandate from its people to move on, and with a business friendly and reform minded government in position, changes in India are coming thick and fast. To demonstrate the level of, and desire for change, India’s first tax reforms for 50 years are being pushed through Parliament in moves that will see an overall reduction in tax for many. Sectors previously off limits to foreign investors are being opened up. Indeed, my own firm obtained its full license to practice in May – just three months after the changes in law that made it possible. Our ability to bill for certain services had been restricted for the previous two years of our India operations. Opening up market sectors to foreign investors is an increasing trend as local market barriers are being torn down in the name of competition and free trade.

India has often been criticized for its lack of infrastructure, and indeed, much of India’s problems come from a lack of investment in many sectors, hampered by a lack of political will fermented by a two decade succession of political stagnation. While China has leapt ahead, India has lagged behind. China’s Shanghai Port can turn a cargo ship around in terms of unloading and loading it in little under eight hours, while to compare, in Mumbai it takes three days. India’s national highway infrastructure – the Golden Quadrilateral, and the NSEW Corridor – have yet to be built. Indian vehicles require special permits to travel interstate and are rarely seen outside their own backyard. However, the lack of infrastructure in India has now become the opportunity. As China now boasts high speed trains and maglevs, the world’s attention is turning to India to provide construction, goods and services to lift the national infrastructure onto a platform more in keeping with a 21st century country of 1.3 billion. As we wrote in the November issue of India Briefing “Investing in India’s Public-Private Partnerships” the Indian government will provide financial support to foreign investors who wish to get involved in the redevelopment of the nation. It may well turn out to be a bonanza of construction, building and development that may make China’s development over the past 20 years pale by comparison. Foreign investors involved in architecture, construction, and infrastructure development on all levels should be sending executives to India right now to assess the possibilities. While China is restructuring its economic base, India is poised to gratefully accept foreign direct investment into the national infrastructure development it so badly needs. Global GDP growth over the next two decades will be lead by the development of India, not China.

A domestic market the size of China’s
Coupled to that is the chance to participate in another major sales opportunity. India, like China, has a massive population, and a middle class of about the same size. More aligned to Western tastes than the Chinese, and culturally more accessible, the markets in India additionally represent a huge opportunity to sell. Not for nothing have brands like Bugatti, with a super car costing US$500,000, established show rooms in Mumbai. Busy too are the restaurants, bars and social meeting places. Mumbai at present is booming, with queues to get into popular restaurants. Shanghai seems quiet by comparison.

However, India still has an image problem in the West. “Dirty” is a common perception; and the food another. Part of this is related to Indian traditions, which are difficult to change. However, regardless of how sacred a sacred cow may be, it would be prudent to have them wandering about in controlled areas rather than freely along highways and main shopping areas. India needs to adapt some of its cultural habits to make life more appealing and marginally less chaotic in appearance. As foreign investors have become comfortable with China – a trip to Shanghai is appreciated – a trip to Mumbai may be met with a different reaction.

Additionally, just as China is diverse, so is India. India possesses a combination of 35 states and union territories, a number similar to China’s collection of 34 provinces, autonomous, special administrative regions and municipalities. Investors familiar with China will need to learn about India, and its diversity of culture. An adaptation to a rather different culture, coupled with an understanding of the significance of India’s multi faith population and diversity of near tribal ethnicity needs to be undertaken. While China has in many ways become deliberately bland to make it easier to attract FDI, India is far more demanding. Yet the rewards are there.

Infrastructure to drive growth for the next decade
Concerning the nation’s performance in 2009, the Indian government has been, like China, remarkably bullish about the growth of the economy the past twelve months. However, while a whiff of manipulation and lack of transparency surround China’s figures, a free and investigative media coupled with government accountability tend to keep India’s leaders more accurate, and even conservative in their statements. Accordingly, India’s growth of about 7 percent over the year looks reasonable and is probably correct. Talk of GDP growth of about 8 percent for 2010 appears again, reasonable and more importantly, sustainable. India’s growth is starting to be fueled by the redevelopment of its infrastructure and this should be a ten year trend, possibly longer.

Additionally, the Indian Rupee, unlike the Chinese RMB, is a globally traded, fully convertible currency. There are no political or financial concerns about the manipulation of pegs to the US dollar or any other currencies. With l
ess dependence on exports to the US, India can afford to decouple from other major economies in a manner that China cannot. Additionally, the current Indian government is led by a respected economist – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a first class honors economics graduate of Oxford University, has previously spent five years as the country’s Minister of Finance and is a renowned expert on global economics. The rest of the Indian government’s senior leaders are also a combination of economists and lawyers, which makes sense: the economists to balance and push forward the national growth, balance payments and reinvest, and the lawyers to push through constitutional reform. It is telling that China’s boom the past twenty years has been fronted by Chinese leaders well versed in engineering, and that this continues to this day. China’s current economic woes and inability to decouple from their exposure to U.S. exports need the wisdom of a Manmohan Singh, whose 1964 book “India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth” was an early critique of India’s trade policy. India accordingly is unlikely to get into the sort of problems China is currently facing.

Manufacturing out of balance with technology
However, there are problems in India’s manufacturing capabilities. Whereas China has admirably invested in the education of its semi-skilled and skilled workforce, India has lagged behind. While Indian labor is cheap, investors will need to spend time on training just as was the case in China fifteen years ago. This gap between the competencies of Indian and Chinese workers will be closed over time, but for the present, an economic comparison needs to be put into place to measure up the benefits of employing Chinese workers on higher salaries and greater welfare and job protection than against training an Indian workforce whose wages are lower yet require training. It is an equation that will become increasingly pertinent as companies look to relocate manufacturing from China to India or elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

However, unlike China, India has made significant inroads into its technology and services sector, which now accounts for about 55 percent of its GDP. While India needs to reduce this ratio to develop manufacturing to cater for the massive infrastructure investments and developments the country has begun to embark on, the nation does appear to have developed an IT industry base suited to the demands of the 21st century. IT rules in India, and the best and brightest have strong collaborations with R&D institutes in the United States and beyond. Fluency in English is a major driver. It is a far different economic model than China’s which has been created from the development of low end manufacturing, and is struggling now to progress beyond that on a national scale. India is already there in added value service, and the reliance of India on an economic base strongly rooted in IT is a development yet to come to fruition.

Relations with China
In other areas though, India and China share common interests, most notably over climate change issues, where in Copenhagen both stood firmly together, and also on security, where a common fight against potential Islamic extremism is of concern to both. A sticking point is India’s position over the Dalai Lama, and the hosting of the Tibetan government in exile by India, which China regards as subversive. Concerns over the death of the Dalai Lama – he is 74 and rumored to be ill – are more likely to impact on China than India. However, a reincarnated Dalai Lama discovered in Indian territory could create serious diplomatic pressures between the two countries. India also still possesses fault lines in its union. The recent debacle over the creation of a new state of Telangana could surely have been avoided, and did not seem to be in the best interests of the Indian Union as a whole. India will need to manage its historic border fault lines well if this is not to impact on much needed development.

Looking forward for India in 2010, I expect the economy to rebound and to move quickly to a sustainable 8 percent to 9 percent per annum GDP growth. In this regard, India will almost certainly reveal faster growth than China can over the next few years. Its economy will be driven by infrastructure development, just as China’s has been. Exports too are likely to rise and reach somewhere in the region of US$200billion – relatively small beer compared to China overall, but coming from a much lower base. The nation is entering a period of growth, dynamism and prosperity unmatched since independence, and if India can avoid conflict with Pakistan and damaging terrorist attacks from fanatics, the future looks bright indeed. While the nation is very different to China, it is in many ways embarking on a similar journey. India’s success will be in managing its economy – which it seems well able to do, and pushing forward much needed reforms – which finally the political structure has provided. Investors globally should be evaluating India as a top priority for the provision of infrastructure expertise and goods, and this will drive the economy for much of the next decade along with an explosion of domestic Indian purchasing power.

Predictions

* Actual 2010 GDP Growth: 8 percent to 9 percent
* Internal security to be tightened on borders with Pakistan and China
* Some tensions to remain with China due to Dalai Lama issues, but bilateral trade to increase
* Foreign investment opportunities: At present, massive demand for investment in infrastructure related projects, in addition to an expanding domestic consumer market for foreign products at all levels; local purchasing considerations need to be implemented for second tier destinations
* Foreign investors will need to look beyond perceptions of dirtiness and poverty

It's not all about work

It's Not All About Work

“Success is about the quality of the journey, not about the destination.”

We’ve all heard the phrase above, but most probably, not many business people follow its inherent advice.

One day, a ranch owner who had decided to retire after fifty years of arduous work called a real estate agent to put his ranch up for sale.  He was ready to enjoy his life after so many years of struggle and hard work. 

The real estate agent paid him a visit and they spent a big part of the day riding around the ranch, to see what it had to offer a potential buyer.  About a week later, the agent went back to the ranch to settle the listing and to get the owner’s approval for the ad he was going to post to sell the property.

The ad was thought for a city person.  There was a large city about 200 miles away, and the ad wanted to appeal to a person tired of the congestion, contamination, and poor quality of life in the city.  It talked about the freedom the fields offered, about how the river that crossed the property sang its way down the hills, about the peace that was felt in the presence of the bright colors that painted the beautiful sunsets every single day, about how rewarding it was to sit on the front porch at the end of the day to watch the horses play and eat. 

After the agent read the ad, the ranch owner walked to the window and just looked out for a few minutes.  Eventually he said to himself: “Seems like this ranch is really not for sale”.  He turned to face the agent and told him that the ad had just described his dream, and that he was finally aware of how much he possessed.

A hectic life and the obsession to restlessly do more and earn more, sometimes blinds us and tires us too much to be able to enjoy what we have accomplished.  Most of the time we are only thinking about what we have not achieved yet, and it seems to be the tragedy of human nature to always postpone living.  We dream, and dream, and dream some more about the shiniest day, instead of noticing the bright sunshine that every day brings.

There is no soul on the planet that is not guilty of this.  Even the biggest leaders, the best motivational speakers, and the most illuminated of persons, have fallen prey to the anguish of daily routine.  The difference is that they eventually discover that by not slowing down to enjoy and smell the roses on their path, their accomplishments become less rewarding. 

When you stop and take a moment to enjoy and honor where you are, your life takes a deeper and more fulfilling meaning, and it helps you get energized to follow through.  When things are tough, there is nothing better to keep you going than to focus on the things you have succeeded at and on everything you are thankful for.  

Radical changes and aggressive leaps forward are very frightening; equally, constant change and improvement can consume you.  True leaders design a progression route that is composed of short journeys, allowing time for celebration and for taking pleasure in the successes achieved along the way.  This is how effective leaders invigorate their teams to aim for the next goal.

There are many ways in which leaders show their appreciation for their people, and even more ways in which they energize and inspire: by taking the time to celebrate every achievement.  These leaders always strive to make everything fun and fulfilling.  Just as shown in the animated movie, Monsters, Inc., they know that laughter and happiness are far more empowering and energizing than fear and constant struggle, and that a happy team translates into a winning organization.  

In order to become such a leader, you have to let go of the deeply set belief that business is a very serious matter.  Being successful in business never meant you should stop smiling; much to the contrary, it is just another way to experience life and its most meaningful rewards, the ‘simple’ things that we normally take for granted.  True leaders take the time to be grateful.

Is it time to quit, or are you simply afraid

Is it Time to Quit, or are You Simply Afraid?

Copyright (c) 2008 OnlineBizU.com

“You give up too easily,” is what my 10-year old next door neighbor, Mike, told me in 1972 or so when I wanted to quit playing our game of chase. I couldn’t seem to tag him “out” as the last player the game, despite my best efforts of 10 minutes of trying. Of course, I vigorously denied that accusation, but have been given cause to think about what he told more than once, especially recently.

In my teens and early 20s, I was the most goal-driven, type A personality of anyone that I knew. Whatever I wanted, I set a goal to achieve it, no matter what. And, to my credit, that determination helped me a great deal. It helped me find a way to pay for 2 college degrees without any help or support from my parents, who thought college was a complete waste of time. It gave me the courage to move to take my first professional job in the northeast U.S., a “foreign country,” as I thought of it at the time, since I’d never stepped foot out of southern culture. That move that opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking and of doing things. At that time in my life, failure wasn’t an option. And, I most certainly viewed quitting as failure.

And, through the school of hard knocks in the subsequent years, I became intimately acquainted with failure. I “quit” both of my college degrees, as I discovered too late that I was bored out of my mind with my choice of my bachelor’s degrees (Speech Pathology/Audiology), and then stayed in a job too long and suffered from severe burnout so that I “quit” my career afforded me by my master’s degree in higher education administration and completely left the field. I then started a business in the crafts industry but “quit” that when it was no longer fun, and I realized that I didn’t really have the skills to pull it off.

My life was in shambles at the time, as I desperately searched for what I wanted to do when I grew up, and when I finally latched onto the notion of starting my own business as a virtual assistant, my marriage couldn’t take the strain of that decision. So, I decided to “quit” my marriage and ask for a divorce and move back to my home state of Texas and reinvent myself. A few years later, after successfully launching my business, I decided to relocate to Arkansas in pursuit of another business opportunity, which turned out to be yet another failure, and I “quit” that as well.

I spent much of this time second-guessing myself and my decisions, wondering if I was quitting too soon because the going got rough and I was afraid, or if it was just really time to quit and move on. I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my thinking when I recently read Seth Godin’s book, The Dip. He defines the dip as a temporary setback that you will overcome if you keep pushing. So starting a new business venture is fun and thrilling in the beginning, but after two or three years, it can become very hard and not much fun at all. But, on the other side starting a successful business, most people can see that they are changed for the better, have learned much along the way, and are hopefully making money from the venture.

So, how do you decide if you’re simply in a dip, or if you really need to quit? Godin says you need to make two considerations: 1. Do you have the resources to get through it? and 2. Is it worth what it will take?

As I evaluated my “quitting” as described above, it occurred to me that the answer in all cases to both questions was a loud and clear “No!” Why? Because I’d been secretly settling for mediocrity all along. It was time to quit when the things I was measuring weren’t improving, and I simply couldn’t find anything better to measure. Most importantly, the sick feeling in my gut that I experienced at the time at the thought of continuing wouldn’t let me continue.

I’ve had moments of panic and fear along my journey, as well, and trying to distinguish between the fear and when I’m at a dead-end has been difficult. What have I discovered? The difference between a dead-end and a dip. The dead-end won’t get better, no matter how much I try, and the dip makes me feel panicked and scared because I know that I will be great at something and that scares the hell out of me because it pushes me completely outside my comfort zone. More importantly, in a dip, I’ve realized that the end justifies the means.

I’m currently involved in moving a business venture extensively outside my comfort zone, and it scares me to death. I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “What, are you crazy? You have no idea about what you’re doing. Everyone is going to figure out that you’re completely clueless — a complete fake.”

And that tells me that I’m right on course for success.

Internet businness, is it for me, and where do i fit

Internet Businness, Is it For Me, And Where Do I Fit

For heavens sake, are there any legitimate work at home business opportunities? Most certainly!! Is the good news answer, for you people that are willing to apply yourself and be honest enough to dedicate a realistic time schedule, that suits you and your family’s lives, absolutely. How ever, for you folks that are looking for the quick fix, “I made $10,000.00 last week for doing nothing, stop reading this article and scroll the internet and I am sure you will find your marketing soul mate, who is more than happy to take your credit card details and re-lease you from your hard earned funds.

So to sought the wheat from the shaft, also, to think of an article title, because as I write I am thinking,” in what category would this be featured, because there are many areas that this article could apply to, so here are my considerations.

I whole heartedly (as “yawn” as that sounds) believe in internet marketing business as a legitimate way to earn a living, Why, because I do it my self, and I am not an expert, also, for the record I have no hard luck story to tell, as I have a bricks and mortar business, which I have run for the past five years.

So to the title, what are we writing about, would sing. Internet business, and where do I fit, or Internet business and is it for me. Well if you have made it this far through my article, it is made for you and it will fit you. How do I know? Because you’re still reading. What needs to be looked into by all of us individually is “what can I do? How and where would I learn? As we all know time is money and wasting time, is wasting money.

Without being told, we all know that if you are shown the correct ways, and are guided (hand held if you like) you will learn more and have more fun on that particular journey an altogether more positive experience.

What then can we consider, and apply ourselves to, in this internet world. This is to vast of a question I know, because any one who is reading this article is completely different to the next. That is true, but if there is a common ground of internet business novices then we are all the same, and therefore learn from the same platform (but at different levels).

What then is required,” a one stop shop”, for want of a better term. to save time, money and to decide for your self, if you are an e-bay person, a affiliate marketing guru, an individual that has invented their own product or service and wants to run their own web site promoting that particular field, or maybe a writer or teacher who wishes to use the internet as a powerful marketing arm to reach more people.

The considerations are endless and also exciting but to broach any, in the computer world (unless you are a complete expert) with out your hand held is like a ship with no course destine to hit rocks.

Thank you for reading, and happy sailing
Martin.

How to create a fun, passion filled business that you enjoy building without stress

How To Create A Fun, Passion Filled Business That You Enjoy Building Without Stress

Want to have lots of und and excitement in your business life? Want to leave the stress of building your business behind? The first thing to realize is that your business will build over time. The overnight success that you hear about is a fantasy. The reality is that you can build a thriving successful and passion filled business but it will take time.

The idea is to make the journey fun though and not filled with stress and anxiety. Expressing yourself, creating new thought, new products for your market, new processes and ways of thinking about your industry is very rewarding and exciting.

Share your message with others. Share really good and relevant content. You will find that sharing your message is fun! Know you are helping others offers you an incredible thrill. Excitement is inspiring and we love that feeling and its this feeling of being vitally alive that makes the hours pass like minutes – by sharing our wisdom, experience, education and inspiration along with our knowledge with our target market? They will love you for it as you can get the ball started for them. Then, when they are ready for the next step, they can give you a call.

Success belongs to everyone and being a player is not just for other people. You can play, you can win. You can be the star of your life. Success, prosperity and passion for everything you do is available to you and remember, its not just other people who get the really good stuff in life! You simply do what inspires you in your life and in your business and you will find that work becomes more like play to you.

Putting in the time is what makes your business successful. If putting in time is like putting in jail time, you know you are in the wrong business. Consistency over time wins every time so you better love what you are doing so you have the energy to do what it takes to be very successful.

Once you realize that you can do it too, you can get out there and make it happen. A secret that I can share is this: don’t stop even when you feel a litte overwhelmed as you are almost there but one the keys to success is to listen to what your target marketing is telling you by their actions.

1) What are they telling you? Are they hiring you? Yes, good, do more of what you are already doing and continue to expand and create new ideas.

2) Are you hurting for clients? Create what they will buy. Know your market place and keep creating and developing until you hit the nail on the head, that is, you, have a product that fits the needs of your marketplace.

3) Look to your marketplace for the answers- what are they buying? Can you offer a better deal? Add more value? Can you create better products and services?

To give extra meaning and energy to your day wrap everyday around your mission statement for passion and excitement. No “bland and boring mission statements please”.

Your mission statement can be an exciting expression of the accomplishments you have always dreamed of being able to create in your own life. Know what you will accomplish and why. Your mission statement will propel your growth and fuel your business growth.

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