4 Ways to Stay Motivated as You Build Your Business 0 759

By : Chantal D

It takes consistent motivation to push through the hard times.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re having an amazing month when things are flowing in your business. You’re signing new clients, your current customers are spreading the word about your business. Things are going so well that you pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.

Then, the next month arrives. Business slows down. Potential clients decide to use someone else. One thing after another just doesn’t go your way.

In either case, your motivation affects the growth of your business. During the good times, motivation can be a little different to stay focused on the smaller tasks that grow a business. During the hard times, you don’t feel motivated to do anything but sit with a drink on the couch verging out on your favorite TV series.

It takes a lot to build a business. Your motivation is an important part of the equation. Being motivated 100 percent of the time is not a realistic expectation, but there are strategies for staying consistently motivated to achieve explosive growth in your business.

01. Take plenty of ‘you’ time. 

Take plenty of 'you' time

It’s easy and common to get lost in the hustle of building your business. You have long workdays, respond to message all hours of the day and chase down potential business when it looks within your grasp. Before you know it, you start to hate your business because it’s overtaken your life. You start to get bitter about what you once loved. To stay constantly motivated, you need breaks.

You need to schedule lots of “you” time. This includes vacations and hours when you turn off “business mode.” Set boundaries with clients and have lots of time set aside for doing the things that light your fire. You need to recharge your batteries so that you can come back stronger after the “you” time.

Those breaks will help you get more done because it brings greater consistency.

02. Build connections into each week. 

Build connections into each week

Human beings crave connection with other human beings. You can try building a business on your own, but at some point, you’ll need to involve others. It may be bringing on employees, a virtual assistant or strategic partnerships. But also, it’s human contact and connection through groups and masterminds. Don’t build your business on an island.

Consistent motivation comes when you’re sharing experiences with other motivated people. You learn from each other while getting the connection that’s built into your DNA. Set aside time to mastermind, connect and meet fellow entrepreneurs who can help your entrepreneurial journey.

03. Have your sources of instant inspiration. 

Have your sources of instant inspiration

No one is motivated 100 percent of the time, but with the right sources of inspiration, you can get motivated instantly. There are videos, podcasts, articles and different forms of virtual content that you can consume immediately. Have content on the ready for tapping into when you’re unmotivated.

Listen to what the entrepreneurial greats who are doing what you’re working to do have to say about taking action. When you feel down, hit “play” and get an instant boost of inspiration to keep going. You’ll be surprised by what a simple video or article can do for your mindset.

 

04. Have a mission bigger than just a business. 

Have a mission bigger than just a business

Take a look at any successful business and you’ll see it is more than the widgets, marketing or who is in charge. They are businesses that are built around a mission and vision. There was a driving force that caused the business to be formed with the main goal being to help people and change the world.

Constant and consistent motivation comes when you build your business around an idea that’s bigger than just making money. Build a business that makes an impact on the lives of those your business serves. A business that creates freedom and financial security. Get clear on your mission and the values that shape the actions you’re taking.

You’re an entrepreneur building your dream. You’re putting your dent in a world that’s full of conformity. It will take a lot of consistent motivation to push through the hard times because there will be plenty of them every single day. Use these four tips to tap into your inner power and use that motivation to do amazing things.

 

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Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Decisions Comments Off on Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Decisions 911

By: Dr. Gehan S. Dhameeth

DBA, M.Sc., MBA, BBA, CIW Certified Data Analyst
Associate Professor of Business, Business and Economics Department, Wells College, Aurora, New York, USA.

The core of marketing is to find opportunities and challenges to meet them with the right solution in satisfying the expectations of stakeholders.

Artificial Intelligence in Marketing DecisionsEfficient marketers use concepts and tools to handle said opportunities and challenges. A decade or so, few marketers would have imagined that online advertising would pose such a serious threat to conventional advertising while some assume marketing investments to be held to the same standards of financial accountability as investments in more tangible aspects of the firm, like operations.

Only a few visionary organizations prepared themselves to exploit the availability of data and information that often overwhelm today’s marketing decision makers. In today’s marketing context, marketing decision makers are demanded to use data-driven (analytics) marketing decisions, going beyond the conceptual contents that have been honed by experience.

This needs more systematic analyses and processes. Hence, today, marketing decision making resembles design engineering: putting together concepts, data, analyses, and simulations to learn about the market place and design effective marketing plans. One of the famous schools of thought is to view traditional marketing as an art while others regard it as a science. However, modern marketing can be introduced as engineering, as it combines both arts and science to make marketing decisions.

Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Decisions-
Marketers today are bombarded with a plethora of all types of content, user and socially generated data, and expert opinions, and they can combine and process that information in new ways to enhance decision making. Hence, basing decisions on such information has become a minimum requirement to be a successful player in their industries. The most important factor when doing business is to be prompt in providing solutions to consumers. In managing a profitable business model, business leaders will have to thrive hard to meet the said expectations of consumers. The above task needs a lot of consideration given to the type of data, sources of data, storing, processing, and types of business decisions to make. As such, designing of an “effective and sustainable data warehouse” is of paramount importance of business leaders. Hence, this is where the big data comes to play with an emphasis on the three Vs; Variety, Velocity, and Variability.

With the growth of organizations facing well-informed customers who seek greater value, organizations must scrutinize the productivity of all their management processes. Therefore, re-engineering marketing functions, processes, and activities in line with the digital age is paramount for organizational survival. Despite the challenges marketing managers face today, such as reduced cost to improve productivity, mass marketing gave way to micromarketing, fine-tuning to meet individual customer needs in their respective market segments, global competition, and demand to use lean management techniques. Marketing managers have access to hardware (computers, hand-held devices, and mobile phones), software, and data and must use these tools to find and deliver value to micro markets through fragmented media and channels. As a result of these trends, marketers need much more than just concepts to exploit their available resources; they must move from conceptual marketing to Marketing Engineering.

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DEVELOPMENT BANKING – THE NEED OF THE HOUR. 1 1337

Rajendra Theagarajah, is a name synonymous with Sri Lanka’s Banking and Financial Sector. As the former CEO of the National Development Bank, Hatton National Bank, and more recently Cargills Bank, Theagarajah has overseen significant growth during all his tenures. He is also a previous recipient of the Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award in 2013 for Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the current economic environment, Theagarajah says that he believes that the banking sector needs to realign in order to streamline economic growth, and stresses the importance of a specialized Development Financial Institution to cater to the urgent needs of the country’s entrepreneurs.

With over 34 years’ experience in the local and international banking sector, Theagarajah offers his opinion on the needs for the industry, as the country strives to recover and progress following a year of unimaginable challenges.

What are your thoughts on the state of the banking sector leading up to 2021?

The year 2020 was one where two key events posted a ‘double whammy’ for banking in Sri Lanka. Firstly, the ‘over-spill’ into 2020 from the April 2019 impact on tourism and business in general, with moratoriums and the ‘hand holding’ of several sectors.

Secondly, the surfacing of the COVID-19 pandemic devastated several sectors due to them having to grapple with the unknown, and learn to live with working from home as a new norm. Lockdowns both locally and internationally, and restrictions on tourism, limited access to markets for many sectors, which in turn, slowed down the economy to record negative growth, and also led to a slow but sure rise in Non-Performing Loans in Bank & Financial Institution (FI) lending portfolios.

The negative economic growth and the downgrading of the sovereign rating no doubt has put further stress on the credit loss models in computing ‘Probability of Loan Loss’ and ‘Loss Given Default’ ratios, which impose additional stress on FI profitability, as well as a need for additional capital infusion in an environment where many investors have adopted a wait and see attitude (other than the upside seen in the CSE from a few stocks).

The banking sector has, to date, rallied around the government’s initiative to infuse relief by way of moratoriums to businesses for bank borrowings. The real impact however, will probably be known later in 2021 when moratorium deadlines expire, and the behaviour of foreign shareholders is seen when ‘the freeze on declaring cash dividends by banks is removed’, and whether the impact of excessive liquidity in the system actually reaches borrowers to fuel real growth.


The Central Bank has announced that a single-digit interest rate regime will be maintained. How will this affect the banking sector as well as the economy? 

Single digit interest rates have two components; one on the pricing of bank deposits, and the other being the pricing of loan products. In a declining interest regime, the latter tends to adjust itself faster than the deposit base, due to the prevalence of a substantial chunk of bank deposits being fixed deposits. 

While a single digit interest regime will naturally encourage businesses to think of activating investment and growth plans, what is pivotal to its success is (a) consistency in such a policy announcement, and (b) defending such a policy in the medium term at least for 5 years. In doing so, what is of paramount importance is regular, clear communication with the public on measures taken to defend such a policy despite “blips” in other factors contributing towards economic growth, such as revenue to GDP contribution etc.

Without intending to sound negative, my concern is that past attempts to maintain single digit interest rates have not been sustainable, mainly on account of the balance of payment position of the country. We will obviously have to look at this challenge in relation to future external debt repayments over the next five years plus time horizon.

While confidence reposed on borrowers will naturally look towards more borrowings, the drop in the price of deposits will also affect the large percentage of pensioners and those depending on deposit interest for their existence.

What is needed in parallel is the development/rollout of long-term savings options by the Colombo Stock Exchange, which can also offer a better yield from issuers who have sustainable business models. 

Three further issues to watch for are, (a) the danger of an external imbalance due to large imports which could result from investment decisions, and (b) dampening of foreign investor interest in the inflow of ‘Hot Money’ into the country, and (c) ensuring that lending rates fall sharper than the drop in inflation, thus improving the ‘real rates’ at which commercial borrowings from banks become attractive.

 

What is the role of a development bank for a country, and how is it different to a regular bank?

A development bank as a model should take a medium to long-term view of a business and its entrepreneur, and be able to assist in the growth of the business whether it is, (a) value added exports, (b) import substitution catering to domestic demand, and most importantly take a positive view on financing either capital expenditure (for manufacturing related entities ), and or support the strengthening of supply chains including dry/cold storage, transport from source to manufacture, manufacture to distribution, and/or shipping locations.

Regular banks traditionally engage in retail, consumer-related financing, acceptance of deposits, and mainly provision of short term working capital needs for both manufacturing and trading businesses.

While some regular banks have extended the portfolio offering to address some of the above areas relating to development finance, there is more room for a specialised Development Financial Institution (DFI), to play a more meaningful role, especially when the moment in the country’s journey towards building sustainable economic growth requires a clear long term view.

Why has Sri Lanka not ventured into development banking?

I believe that two institutions in 1955 and 1979 were set up under special acts of parliament to identify and promote development banking. These two institutions as a model, (a) did not accept public deposits, (b) did not engage in foreign exchange activity with customers, (c) did not engage in consumer or retail banking, and (d) over decades built solid ‘project and industrial financing’ capability, with structured training given to a carefully selected cadre of staff including those with sound engineering, financial analysis and structured financing capability.

These DFIs were also able to take equity stakes in businesses they financed, were allowed to sit on such company boards as observers adding valuable inputs to decision making etc. Another critical success factor of these DFIs was that the lending portfolio was not financed by short-term deposits from the public, but from structured credit lines negotiated both with local institutions as well as multilateral agencies, and DFIs with a long term appetite.

When the first wave of economic liberalisation was opened in the late 1970’s, the demand appeared to favour the fostering and encouragement to open a flurry of new Licensed Commercial Banks (LCBs), both with local sponsorship and/or as branches of regional and international banks.

These institutions mainly focused on short-term retail and working capital financing of a trading nature, with little or no focus, nor intellectual capacity for long-term project related financing. As a result, the banking ecosystem is skewed towards a few playing their rightful role in contributing towards nation building, while others simply mobilise deposits and take a very short term view.

As far as the two DFIs mentioned above were concerned, both had ventured into commercial banking including retail, by acquiring retail banking franchises and merging them into the DFI model and getting necessary regulatory approvals to get out of the respective acts of incorporation. Somewhere around 2014, the then government announced the facilitation for both banks to merge for a new development-focused Licensed Commercial Bank to be formed.

By doing so, the objective was to also harness and preserve the project/development finance skill set of respective banks in the new bank, which would have a sizeable balance sheet with a dedicated Development Banking pillar inside the overall model. A global advisory firm, highly experienced in bank M&As, was engaged by both boards to create the roadmap for amalgamation and a substantial amount of ground work had been done towards implementation.

Unfortunately, with the change in government at the time the project was dropped, and in my opinion we lost a golden chance to create a special vehicle harnessing the best in established development banking and commercial banking. The lesson for the future from this is do not reverse a good policy initiative merely because of a change in regime.

Why do banks continue to prioritise the trading sector over the manufacturing sector?

Over the years it was easier for LCBs to finance short-term working capital and trading related financing based on underlying short term deposit bases, which were the main source of funding. Secondly, Sri Lanka’s capital market has seen very little progress in non-deposit based funding tools from both listed and unlisted sources.

The maturity profile of a corporate debt instrument typically ranged from 2-5 years. Anything with a longer tenure had to typically see a reduction of 1/5th annually, instead of a bullet repayment in order to qualify for ‘Tier 2’ eligibility of capital adequacy.

At the same time the human capital capacity of LCBs was skewed mainly towards, retail, consumer, and branch banking with very little capacity in project financing.


Have Sri Lankan banks created an environment that supports the growth of a start-up and innovation led economy?

I would say relatively no. There are several reasons for this. In the start-up eco system, there are multiple cycles ranging from, (a) promoting a smart idea, (b) experimenting with innovation till commercial viability or otherwise is established or validated, (c) engaging banks for funding commercial activation including access to local and export markets, and (d) the patience to build a domestically testable model on 20 million people which is subsequently highly scalable to regional and international markets.

In each of this stages, there is a high degree of uncertainty, risk of failure, lack of courage among entrepreneurs to rise from initial failure, re-engage with applying key learning from initial failure, and most importantly to build and drive a brand which is a competitive USP (Unique Selling Proposition) which does not rely on government protection in terms of either tariff or exchange rate movement.

Banks are simply not geared to understand such models, nor take such a degree of risk with depositors’ monies (the main source of funding loan portfolios). Banks are also not permitted to take up equity stakes in such entities, and furthermore LCBs are subjected to accounting standards which include ‘impairment for credit losses’, which has a direct impact on their capital bases. Hence this eco system has, to date, relied heavily on private equity, which is able to take an informed decision weighing all the factors mentioned above.

Also when LCBs typically focus on short-term financing, there is very little capacity available internally both at management level or board level, to understand and keep pace with innovation and how innovation can contribute towards creating a sustainable business model not dependant on protection.

 

How should the sector adjust in order to focus on the long term growth of the Sri Lankan economy?

The banking sector has to clearly align itself to the journey that seeks long-term economic growth of the nation’s economy. In doing so the following areas for a shift should be introduced by those in control of policy formulation:

  1. The Central Bank, having responsibility for monetary policy, must clearly articulate its policy on medium and long-term interest rates. In doing so, it must also regularly communicate to banks and other stakeholders its rationale, and steps taken to defend their policy so that there is confidence reposed on consistency.

 

  1. There has to be recognition of the importance of technology, relating to value added agriculture, financial inclusion and supply, and value chains. In my opinion, banks are operating in isolation mostly in relation to the above ecosystems. We need to encourage the development of a Technology Centric Platform (similar to a national fibre network) where the various ecosystems can plug and, (a) upgrade individual infrastructure into a common minimum standard, (b) have the choice of either investing in such a platform, or benefit from it on a “Pay-As-You-Consume” basis 

 

  1. The sponsorship of such a platform mentioned in the second area mentioned above must be driven by the Central Bank as a key enabler of monetary policy stability. The reason for this is most bank CEOs/Chairpersons have a relatively short time frame in office, and probably do not have the luxury of time to drive such a vision for the sector. The anchor must come from an institution that has that bandwidth and long term vision. Future selection of bank boards must also have a good mix of skills that can think outside conventional models, and contribute towards steering the banks towards agility and competitiveness, whilst not compromising in risk and reputation.

 

  1. Currently the digitalisation roadmap for banks is driven by the Department of Payments and Settlements at the Central Bank. Some very good stuff gets discussed at technical official level, but it’s time that key developments, especially linking FinTech/AgriTech innovation with the financial system architecture of the country, must be escalated regularly to the attention of the Governor, Monetary Board and Bank CEO Forum to ensure there is strategic ‘buy-in’.

 

  1. The new Banking Act should actively promote the licensing of ‘Digital banking licenses’ with differential capital requirements, and limited service offerings (similar to the Monetary Authority of Singapore), which will bring in a new breed of agile innovation centric Financial Institutions into the ecosystem who can cohabit and compliment legacy FIs with larger balance sheets.

 

  1. The technology-centric platform mentioned in (2) must clearly foster the availability of data analytics and machine learning that can be offered to ecosystem players to improve their product offerings and competitiveness, instead of taking shelter behind a ‘protected’ ecosystem.

 

  1. LCBs should be encouraged to set up incubators, as well as commit a percentage of their capital into seed/start-up funds. That component can also be linked to a 100% deduction against assessable income of the respective bank.

Finally, on the setting up of the Development Banking Institution proposed in the recent budget, my humble opinion is that merging three institutions with little or no development/ project financing capacity will not achieve the objective. It is not too late to re-visit and re-activate the original tone set by the government in 2014, by merging NDB and DFCC and create a powerful balance sheet, positioning the merged bank as Sri Lanka’s premier Development Focused Commercial Bank.