Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Today's super consumers

No wonder Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple computer had left everyone's months hanging out, by his email to China Mobile for launching iPhone in China. At that time China has about 600 million mobile handsets in use and China mobile had nearly 3/4 of the market. Steve felt that the Chinese market was integral to the company's continued growth. He was right. China has a population between 1.2 to 1.5 billion. The United States is the third most populated country on earth at about 320 million people, and is the largest consumer society on earth for now, and yet as a market the U.S. Is China's rounding error. Similarly, Europe's population is more that 400 million people and China is likely to have almost 500 million online shoppers by 2015. Before we dive into the background and the backdrop of the past, culture and history that shapes China's super consumers, lest consider a few more facts: 

General Motors sold more than 3 million cars in China in 2013 and expects to sell 5 million in 2015 and 2016. China is Audi's most important market and Porche expects China to be its biggest market until 2015. Thirst Chinese consumer more beer and wine by volume than any country on earth. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Prada are the three most desired luxury brands in China, and each drives a significant percentage of profit from China Sales. Coach’s second-largest market is in china and China has made Michael Kors the most searched for brand on the internet.

It’s not difficult to notice why world’s famous companies are focusing on Chinese consumers- young, old, men, women. Many Chinese citizens have been asking themselves: “Why should I follow the cultural tradition of sacrifice and modest means, when I can afford a consumer and brand lifestyle that I see many of my friends pursuing as well?” China’s consumers are exhibiting their tastes, sophistication, spending power, adoption of the best of the west and their ultimate Chineseness through travel. All of the industries, companies and nations that are tend to benefit from Chinese mass consumption find these benefits at their doorstep when China travels.  

Chinese consumers have changed the world and will continue to change the world. American consumers changed America and the world in the second half of the twentieth century. The same thing is happening in China today. We have worked for more than 20 years to build not only bridges between foreign and Chinese companies and executives but to build cultural, linguistic and personal ties between China and rest of the world. Part of that process now includes understanding the good, the bad and ugly realities that China's consumers have created in order to ensure the future growth and comfort of China and the foreign and domestic companies who have benefited and seek to continue benefiting from Chinese mas consumption. 

Source:"China's Super Comsumers" by Wiley

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Listen to your customers

Would the only purpose you decided to be self-employed be that you wanted to make a lot of money? Did you think that if you start your own business that you'd get more time to spend with your family? Or maybe that you wouldn't have to report to anyone else because you would be the boss and run the business in your own terms? If so, you'd better think again. When you think about starting your own business, the last thing you want to focus is failure and these are the biggest reason of a business failure. 50% of business fail and close when an owner start the business with these motives.

There are 27 million solo entrepreneurs in the USA, but only 9% of them make over $100,000 a year. In his book Small Business Management (published by West Publishing Co.), Michael Ames gives us the following reasons like lack of experience, insufficient capital (money), poor location, poor inventory management, over-investment in fixed assets, poor credit arrangement management, personal use of business funds, unexpected growth.
If you have a passion and love for what you will be doing for your business and strongly believe -- based on educated study and investigation -- that your product or service would fulfill a real need in the marketplace. Any failure won’t defeat you. You will learn from your mistakes and use those as lessons. Studies show that 90% of successful business owners showed they attributed much of their success to "building on earlier failures;" on using failures as a "learning process."

Businesspersons are strong-minded, bold, and competitive. Most of the time, they have the personal qualities they need to run a successful business. If you have a business and it is not doing well, the way you wanted. Think again, go back from the day you started and study from where it has been lacking the proper management. For any business to be successful proper planning, execution, management , marketing, budgeting and last but not the least customer service play very important role. Any business gets the money from their target customers. If the business does not focus of the targeted customers it is impossible to be successful.

Perhaps your initial business model can produce a certain level of activity, but if you are not perpetually studying your market and evolving accordingly, you run the high risk of being left behind. Our own company learned this lesson in a very big way, and it has resulted in exponential growth that would not have been possible if we had maintained status quo (in fact, we may not have even survived). Do your research on your industry and the market in your geographic location. You may find that you can be ahead of trends in your area based on similar companies in other areas. Study how other successful small business owners in your area thrived and incorporate what you find. Taking the time to do the nitty-gritty research will pay off when you are ahead of market trends and standing out in your community.

 In order for your business to thrive, your business must be visible to consumers doing their online research and shopping. SEO work, social media marketing, and cross-selling between all communication channels are all absolutely crucial to increasing online visibility. Press exposure, press releases, traditional PR, social media, and even print marketing should incorporate strong online components. For example, many companies now incorporate QR codes and social-media icons into their print ads because they know an increasing number of people will look up their business online. The more that SEO activities intersect with marketing efforts, the more visibility you gain.

78% of consumers will listen to the input of other consumers online more than any other source. Whether or not your primary marketing efforts are online or offline, give your customers an easy and immediate way to interact with you online. They can give you feedback about your product, pricing, and business practices. In turn, you give them a "chat level" of response that can turn into an ongoing relationship. Your quick and helpful responses to your customers' feedback and reviews will impress both your current customers and potential customers--those who are looking into online reviews to determine if they want to use your business.

While many offline marketing efforts have short-term impact, your online marketing efforts can last long term. If you brand yourself effectively, you can grow exponentially. The online marketing you do once can continue to influence your business for years to come. Make sure your online presence, ranging from a corporate website to a company Twitter account, are all in sync with one another in messaging, tone, and overall look and feel. Customers and potential customers will respond well to aesthetically pleasing websites and are more likely to return to your site. Put in a little effort now and you'll be reaping the rewards for months and even years to come.

Most self-made millionaires possess average intelligence. What sets them apart is their openness to new knowledge and their willingness to learn whatever it takes to succeed. A business entrepreneur has drive, determination, patience and a positive attitude. When others throw in the towel, you are more determined than ever.