Building A Turnkey Business

November 30, 2007

In the businessworld from which all things trade, I knew it would eventually come into learning what it takes to design and build a turnkey business, including all the bells-and-whistles necessary.

The requirements were pretty much laid out loud and clear, though.

 All I need now is buckle-down and concentrate on a typical business that can be turned into a franchise. It doesn’t have to be enterprise the size of manufacturing, nor the size of a small service business. So I’m left struggling to find a suitable activity falling in the range of a merchandising business. Well, the accounting system will definitely be included too.

Off the top of my head, a sample business activity will be selected. I’m more inclined on choosing a 3D model merchandising business as most of the business transactions will happen online. Everything including ordering, purchasing, marketing, selling, invoicing will be done online. All rolled-up into the Business Plan.

In the next few weeks, things will definitely get exciting as this turnkey system will develop into something of good utility.


Utility

November 28, 2007

Finding a solution to a social problem, specifically human behavior can be trivial, yet so obscure at the same time. The solution is not derived via quantitative means alone, perhaps it has something to do with how consumers define utility.

And so I continued my search to define what is utility in terms of our product line. Is it the product itself that consumers buy, or is it satisfaction derived from the use of our products define what utility is? If it is true, then how do I connect the dots in such a way the messaging is always in tune to its utility?

3D Game

After painfully emerging from the great unknown in figuring out the latest-n-greatest GPU shaders, it seems that the next exercise would be to mimic a commercial released 3D game, simple enough to do yet not too easy to be considered nihil. New shader features implementing skin shading via subsurface scattering and cloth shading, another is hair shading where hair is affected by several forces acting on it.

Two gametypes came up right away, the first was Taekwondo (TKD), the way of fast kick and punch, made a good impression. Modeling the terrain is simple, a scene having a place where two opponents fight. The actor having several animated sequences, often derived from standard Taekwondo forms. The objective is to implement said features to an actor with proper skin shading, good enough to render realistic skin showing the oily (sweaty) part of skin. Facial expressions are tackled as well, making sure the proper vertices are shaded to show the correct expression. Cloth shading referring to the kimono (Grandmaster Uniform) should show cloth tension and gravity. The mechanics of hair will also be studied and implemented if possible, yes hair mechanics is hard.

The second gametype is to basically resurrect my favorite Apple II game that we played, known as Karateka. This is basically a fallback of the first, in the case TKD turns out to be complicated.


Marketing From The Bottom

November 21, 2007

I was reading a book yesterday how advertisers lament the current situation. In it he states that the days of forcing Joe Schmoe to watch a series of ads while lying down on a comfy sofa is now over. Joe Schmoe is not lying down watching the TV, he is now sitting on his chair in front of a computer connected to the Internet. Joe Schmoe has taken control of viewing content and now has power to turn-off messages he doesn’t like. “Oh yeah, you marketroids are done now. You’re just a click of a button away.”

I remember in the class, when agricultural economy turned to manufacturing, marketing evolved to meet new challenges of having to deal with huge quantities, surplusses to be exact. Selling in conjuction with identifying the buyer became a little bit complicated, with marketing having to satisfy not only one but several types of buyers. That’s only one aspect of it, not including geography which is another facet.

Now, in this age of information and service-based economy, a new type of behavior is rapidly growing to the unsuspecting marketing guy, like a throbbing green blob in a petri-dish. And this behavior is the one most advertisers fear of, power has shifted to the side of consumer who are now in control of data, the (over) abundance of information has changed the field. Overflowing rivers of information coursing through the network, straight into Joe Schmoe’s tiny brain is like a bolt of lightning hitting the advertisers.

Ka-Boom!

The place littered with pieces of old junk.

“What a disaster. Oh my gaawwwwd. Quick, call the dumpster man now!”

With that fact already in place, the guys at the marketing department came up with a new way of reaching consumers, known as bottom-up approach.

And then…

Well, sit back and relax, enjoy. While I go for now to finish the Accounting assignment.


An Appeal to (emo) Being Cooler Than Cool

November 20, 2007

So here I am writing a draft about ads, nothing really too important to analyze about, though. I simply chose the one that’s close to the geeky side, see what external forces are driving them,  messages they send to appeal to my taste, err…emotion.

Linux ads, especially the one shown above was made to address an issue, so they came out with this ad to show credibility should rise above software. Notice the corporate targeted messaging here, showing to users the legitimacy of running a ‘licensed’ Linux OS on their corporate desktops. You will not see any basement-related props with a young kid tinkering, though.

Apple, with their switcher campaign came up with an update showing a progression favoring the Mac. You will notice Apple’s targetted market here, initially the creatives followed by corporates. It could be a repeat play out of the bowling alley, where they create specific messaging to target a different alley, namely the corporates.

Here’s another one, you’ve got to see this one, it’s something different. The ad targets the tech segment, the ones who first came aboard the Linux Mothership. Notice the non-corporate messaging, definitely not the creative, though. The bullseye is the hardcore geek, carefully crafted words to arouse the hidden desires of every down-to-bare-metal-hacker. World domination, a common theme among the first tribes of linux was part of the message. True to the original sentiment, an aura of geek superiority rising above the definition of cool.

I know, how can anybody not miss this? Here is the ad targeting the first gen. You’ve got to see it again.


Wage Determination

November 13, 2007

Determination of wages is complex for a given business, there are many factors to consider when setting up wage level. Many factors come into play in several dimensions, such as internal and external to the business.

1) Non-union wage determination – for non-union businesses, a system is established by management to determine wages, using quantitive means. Job content and job value is used to set wage levels.

2) Job Content – How much worth a job is to the business, is determined on skills, duties and responsibilities for measuring how much content a job has.

3) Job Value – How much a job is worth in relation to the objective and goals of the business. How much a job contribute to the bottomlime.

4) Market Job Wage Rate – How much a job is worth within the geographic area. A business will have to consider how much the competition is paying for the job in order to get that job filled.

5) Supply And Demand – How much a job is worth depends on how many people are available to fill a job. A good number of applicants will affect wages as more applicants will work for lower wage. On the other hand, if available jobs outnumber applicants, wage levels are adjusted higher to attract a scarce or rare worker.

6) Cost of Living – Inflation is also considered in wages as workers should be able to have a sustainable living wage. A decent lifestyle including adequate housing, food, clothing, housing, energy, transportation, health care, and education. Capable of setting saving money for future needs.

7) Goverment – Provides the definition of wages for jobs that are protected and enforced by law. Businesses follow these laws and implement them in their wage structure.

8] International – wages can be affected by jobs outside the national boundary when outsourcing of work is considered.

Using the factors described above, determination of wages will depend on the following:

a) Local and Federal laws – A base pay known as minimum wage determines the starting pay of a worker. The minimum pay is used to make sure the worker wage right is protected under law.

b) Job Content And Value – depending on rank and position a pay scale is set just for content and value.

c) Market Rate And Worker Supply – wages are also affected by the market going-rate and how many are applying for the job. Wage is adjusted based on availability or scarcity of skill and talent.

d) Cost of living – A wage is set enough not to depress the living standard of a worker. Instead, a wage is set for a sustainable wage living.

Using all these factors, a standard formula can now be set for a given business:

Wage level = minimum wage + cost of living adjustment + job content and value adjustment + market going rate adjustment


Establishing And Keeping Relationships

November 7, 2007

In the class I’m attending, there was this sentence or a sentiment that was expressed by someone who mentioned about relationships in the context of business. In this age (and the olden days as well), businesses see customer relationship as a value that is strongly correllated to revenue. Customers are more willing to enter into a new relationship given a chance offered, while keeping in touch and not losing the moment the idea of the numerous alternative relations available. It’s not about selling a product anymore where a customer simply walks-in, takes the item and pays for it, then walking away. The reality today is having to invite a customer to enter a relation to a business, to be more precise, offer a set of services for the customer to engage in. Customers nowadays are aware of services that provide tangible and intangible items as a result of that relationship. They will walk in malls and stores, read magazines and newspapers, browse the web and perhaps use a search engine. Just to compare and contrast who offers the most for a reasonable amount. When all the right reasons align, the customer simply makes a decision and enters the relationship.

Look at the image below and you’ll see bags of beans, a couple of roman columns, lion statues. Looks pretty familiar, a common sight when you go to the local market. Customers look for things to buy and also establish good relations to the owner of the business. The same behavior that customers will enter a relation given the right product.

It’s also the same in technology, businesses build services that simplify and even cut processes into half. Businesses that innovate quicker and deliver to market are more inclined to get customers who are looking for better services, and as a result these customers enter into a relation. Customers enter a tech relationship for the purpose of receiving services onto their tech gadgets. Take for example Google Map service, which is provided along with other services. A customer must first have a relationship with Google in order to access the Map service, this relation is initiated by the customer who willingly enters and sign his name in a textbox before pressing that commitment button.

As you may have guessed, relationships are a human characteristic and it is subject to many forces that can be controlled or not controlled by a business. A customer can walk away and simply not use the service, if the service is free. Or, the customer could terminate the relation at a press of a button, then billing will simply be sent at the end of the period, for the last time.

So, the interesting question is now upon me who wrote this article for the sake of documenting a sentiment I got from the class is simply stated as: “What it takes to build relationships on the web?”

  1. A set of innovative web services.
  2. A system for managing and maintaining customer accounts.
  3. A system for handling billing.

I’ll continue on with this in the next article. Got some stuff to read and research about. See you later.


The Right To Compete In A Mature Market

November 3, 2007

It looks like I may have chosen the wrong product cycle stage in the example I wrote in the discussion. What is finally coming down to is definitely this one: that the market is already mature and the marketing strategy being employed by my example company is based on price, more specifically getting efficiency up while competing in price–yes, a price war.

What initially I had in mind was a product ramping up growth, in which growth is increasing alongside profits.  Yes, the company I described may have changed plans several times, but the market it is competing in is still the same market, having the same set of competitors.

Marked by declining profits, the company will play the race-to-the-bottom game in order to grab a slice of the pie, which translates to even more saturation. I have not heard any news from management how this will eventually drive the competition to the ground, and when that happens, I am sure the status quo will change into our favor.

This is the reality being played in the market. Product cycles define the behavior of competing businesses, an environment where there are less winners and significantly more losers.

The example I gave was taken from the real world, my own experience as a developer and close friend of the owners of company. I never thought I would use this one as an example for this class, though. It’s just that it sometimes makes me wonder how the ideas I get from the classroom have significantly widened my view about the realities of business.