The analysis of the members and the interactions of these members within a value network. Value network analysis is usually done through visualizing the relationships using a chart or web. The participants are evaluated both individually and on the benefit they bring to the network. Value network analysis looks at the business as a whole, including financial and non-financial aspects of operations.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Value Network Analysis’

Value networks are made up of members and their interactions while producing a product or providing a service. These connections are extremely important in identifying strong companies as well as finding a company’s potential risks. For example, if a network member has a large influence, the loss of that member could devastate the entire group. This is an example of intrinsic value analysis because there is value, but it is hard to place a price on.

 
 

Networking

What is ‘Networking’

Networking is a process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas among individuals or groups that share common interests. Networking may fall into one of two categories: social or business. Less commonly in finance, the term “networking” may also refer to the setting up and operation of a physical computer network.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Networking’

Physically, a network forms interconnecting lines through passages, lines or cables. One line may intersect with another, and then the second line goes in a different direction to connect to more lines, and so on and so forth to form a netlike structure. Metaphorically, someone’s network remains connected through a series of symbolic ties. Business connections may form due to someone’s education, employer, industry or common colleagues.

Business Networking

In terms of business networking, one of the implicit objectives is to form professional relationships that may boost one’s future business and employment prospects. Networking events, such as conferences and meetings, are common practice within professional organizations, which may also link up with other bodies to stage a joint event.

Strategies for expanding someone’s network include developing relationships with people and companies as opposed to just swapping contact information. People and companies within a network usually maintain regular contact with each other to gain each other’s trust. Instead of going for a volume of contacts, quality may be preferred even though it takes more time and effort. The key to networking lies in engaging with someone in a network. Without meaningful, relevant contact, the purpose of in-person and online networking fails.

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Online Networking

Business networking has received a tremendous boost in participation thanks to the burgeoning popularity of business networking websites. LinkedIn provides an online meeting place for business professionals to engage with other professionals, join groups, post blogs and create online profiles with the goal of catching the attention of others with similar interests. LinkedIn allows users to search for companies, departments and employees of various firms. People within a LinkedIn network can put potential employees in touch with human resources managers or recruiters. Likewise, a business-to-business customer pipeline could develop in this way.

Computer Networking

Computer networking involves connecting computers in the same building or office so users can readily communicate with other computers or devices. Switches connect multiple devices in one building on the same network. Computers, for instance, can connect to printers, fax machines, scanners and servers through a switch. Routers tie multiple networks together, such as when a computer connects to an Internet router to access the Web. Routers control the information going to and from computer networks through security software and programs.

 

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* Spreadbetter sees European bourses opening lower

* Nikkei edges higher, on track for 0.9 pct weekly rise

* Dollar edges down, but DXY poised for a winning week

* U.S. crude edges up, pulls further away from this week’s lows

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TOKYO, June 23 Asian shares flatlined on Friday but remained on track for a weekly gain, while crude oil prices pulled away from this week’s 10-month lows.

Financial spreadbetter CMC Markets sees European markets opening modestly weaker, with Britain’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 all seen shedding points in early trade.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was nearly unchanged on the day, and was up 0.4 percent for the week.

The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.7 percent while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.3 percent. The latter earlier this week hit an 18-month high on excitement over MSCI’s decision to include mainland shares in a key index.

“Investors have no incentives today to take new positions ahead of the weekend,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, equity strategist at Japan Asia Securities in Tokyo.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index was slightly higher in afternoon trade, on track to log a rise of 0.9 percent for a week in which it touched its highest levels since August 2015.

“The actual macro situation in Japan is pretty good,” said Ed Rogers, head of Rogers Investment Advisors in Tokyo, who noted the country’s streak of five quarters of positive gross domestic product numbers.

He said the dollar remained bolstered against the yen by the Federal Reserve’s move to hike interest rates last week and leave the door open for further monetary tightening later in the year.

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“We’re not seeing global inflation, but we think the Fed will continue to move. That stone’s rolling down the hill,” Rogers said.

Longer-term, that will support the dollar and underpin Japanese shares, he added.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.2 percent at 97.449, though up 0.3 percent for the week.

The euro was up 0.1 percent on the day at $1.1163 but was down 0.3 percent for the week, while the dollar was steady against the yen at 111.29, up 0.4 percent for the week.

“We’re getting close to the end of the month, and fundamentals aside, there will be people selling dollars, so it will be easy for the yen to strengthen next week,” said Mitsuo Imaizumi, Tokyo-based chief foreign exchange strategist for Daiwa Securities.

“We also need to keep an eye on the healthcare debate in Washington, because political turmoil tends to undermine the dollar,” he said.

U.S. Senate Republicans offered a bill on Thursday to overhaul Obamacare, the next phase in the party’s long war against the 2010 law enacted by then-President Barack Obama, though it remained unclear if the bill has enough support to pass the Senate.

On Wall Street overnight, U.S. shares put in a mixed performance, though the S&P healthcare index rose 1 percent and hit its fifth consecutive record close following the release of the Senate Republicans’ bill.

U.S. economic data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, but remained at levels consistent with a tight labour market. Home prices also increased in April more than expected.

The Mexican peso added 0.1 percent after soaring 1 percent on Thursday as Mexico’s central bank board raised interest rates, saying it wanted to anchor inflation expectations and take into account last week’s move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to hike borrowing costs.

Crude oil futures pulled further away from this week’s lows, though market sentiment remained fragile amid a global crude glut that has persisted despite OPEC-led output cuts.

Brent crude was up 0.4 percent at $45.40 a barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 0.4 percent to $42.91 a barrel.

Spot gold added 0.2 percent to $1,252.51 an ounce, moving away from a five-week low touched earlier this week.

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The Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister in charge of the Cabinet Office visited Mumbai and Delhi from July 27-29,2015. In Mumbai, Minister Letwin met with ShriDevendraFadnavis,Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra. In New Delhi, Mr Letwincalled onShriArunJaitley, Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Government of India to discuss financial and economic cooperation between the UK and India. Minister Letwin also met with Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Railways and Shri Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

Rt Hon Philip Hammond, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs visited India on March 12, 2015 to open a new British Deputy High Commission in Chandigarh. During his visit he called on SmtSushmaSwaraj, Hon’ble Minister for External Affairs, Govt of India and ShriArunJaitley, Hon’ble Minister of Finance.

Baroness Verma, former UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change led a 19 member renewable energy business delegation during February 12- 18, 2015 to participate at the global Renewable Energy Investor’s summit (RE-Invest) in India. The delegation included representatives from project developers, financial institutions, and technical advisory firms.

Lord Livingston, former UK Minister for Trade and Investment visited India during January 9-12, 2015. Lord Livingston led a contingent of over 60 British companies and 100 delegates to Vibrant Gujarat. This is one of the largest delegations of any country at Vibrant Gujarat 2015, with sectors including advanced engineering, manufacturing, retail, financial services, infrastructure, design and education.

MsPriti Patel, former Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and UK Prime Minister’s UK-India Diaspora Champion, led the UK delegation to the PravasiBharatiya Divas convention on January 6, 2015. During her visit, MsPriti Patel, attended the inaugural session of the PravasiBharatiya Divas to support greater UK-India links.

On the side-lines of G20 Summit held in Australia in November 2014, Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India held his first bilateral meeting with Rt Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK. During their meeting, the UK Prime Minister said that the “relations with India are at the top of the priorities of the UK’s foreign policy.”

Prior to that, at the last India-UK summit held in New Delhi on February 19, 2013, the Prime Ministers of India and the UK reviewed the progress made since the previous Summit in July 2010 on building a stronger, wider and deeper relationship across the range of India-UK interests, based on shared culture, values and strategic interests. They agreed that, while substantial progress had been made on the ambitious targets set in 2010, there was considerable potential for expanding the relationship further, in particular in the area of trade and investment, and they agreed on the importance of an approach which supported business. The UKPM visited India for a second time on November 13-14, 2013. This was the third visit of UKPM in three years since 2010. The PM was accompanied by a small business delegation to further increase the opportunities on offer to help British businesses succeed abroad.

Three Tips for Better Budgets

You owe it to your business to make the process as straightforward, efficient and accurate as possible. Fortunately, with the right techniques and apps, budgeting can be reduced from a stressful, high-stakes endeavor to a logical, simple sequence of steps.

1. Overestimate your expenses and underestimate your revenues.

When it comes to maintaining and even growing revenue, you may want to err on the side of caution. If you overestimate how much money you make, your cash flow will be lower than expected, which means that you might have to cut potentially crucial areas of spending, like marketing, staffing or inventory.

Overestimating your profits (as opposed to overestimating expenses) means that you will have less money to work with, take home and rely on in lean times. Furthermore, if you underestimate your income, you likely won’t have to rely so much on fickle factors like seasonal bumps or consistent referrals. (Remember, hope is not a business strategy.)

2. Update your budget regularly, so you always know the numbers.

Another mistake business owners can make is to treat their budgets as static and unchanging. For instance, it’s easy to see an entrepreneur keeping the same balance sheet month-to-month (or even from one year to the next), rather than updating it as business conditions change.

For example, if you run a restaurant, your fixed costs (like equipment and rent) won’t change that much, but your variable costs (like produce and waitstaff) are constantly changing. For one, it’s possible that your supplier will suddenly go out of business or raise its prices. Or worse, your landlord might suddenly cancel your lease, forcing you to settle on a more distant (and more expensive) location.

Lastly, understand that while variable expenses will fluctuate (as their name implies), they often do so in very unpredictable ways and at unpredictable times. New legislation in areas like minimum wage, health care or tax regulations come and go more frequently than you’d expect, and each change can lead to new considerations, expenses and headaches.

3. Plan for your busy and slow seasons ahead of time.

Fashion houses have showings for their spring, summer, fall and winter clothing lines. So it’s easy for department stores and clothiers to plan out their inventory ahead of time. Alternately, an HVAC contractor may end up selling more inventory during the summer months only, and can also plan accordingly as far as a year in advance.

Businesses with clear busy and slow seasons can still face one major hazard—overextending the business, which usually takes the form of excessive spending or insufficient planning to get through the low months. After all, there are still year-round expenses, such as payroll, equipment maintenance and rent.

That’s why it can be important to balance the revenue from your peak season alongside the revenue you’ll have to survive on during your low season to maintain a functioning business (and income) year-round.

Two Budgeting Apps to Consider

Thanks to the digital startup boom, it can be easier than ever to find the right budgeting tool for your business. However, there are two apps that may be worth checking out: Level Money and Goodbudget.

1. Level Money

Level Money

One of Level Money’s features is its ability to analyze spending trends and predict future spending. For instance, if you live in a seasonal climate, Level Money can predict utility bills based on past spending and budget more money to set aside during the coldest (or hottest) months.

Still, Level Money does lack some more advanced functions, like payroll and taxes. Nonetheless, it can be a helpful program—especially for entrepreneurs on a shoestring budget.

2. Goodbudget

A popular idea for personal finance is the envelope system, where individuals (and sometimes, business owners) set aside money for various expenses into different envelopes. According to this neat, tidy system, when buying items like groceries, books or clothes, you would dig into the appropriate, labeled envelope and pay accordingly.

Obviously, the envelope system seems impractical for individual use, to say nothing of businesses. Luckily, Goodbudget

is the digital version: Instead of carrying out manila envelopes with cash (which can be both unwieldy and risky), Goodbudget allows entrepreneurs to set aside money in virtual spending categories, which are deducted or replenished as income flows in. This may help make it easier to visualize and track spending categories, cash flow and expenses all at once.

However, Goodbudget requires users to enter transactions manually rather than automating the process. Still, even this can be helpful, as it gives business owners a chance to reflect on their expenses and revenues.

We get it: Budgeting can be intimidating, especially because there are such high stakes involved. After all, anyone can dream up a business idea on the back of a paper napkin. But budgeting is what keeps the dream alive.

Growing-the-Business

1. Market segmentation

“Market segmentation” simply means picking a sub-set of the entire marketplace that you can organize your sales efforts around. Out of all the people in the world, who will you try to sell to?

Most big businesses are good at carving out their corner of the market. Then they do whatever they can to own that space.

Red Bull gets its energy drinks in front of a young, adventurous crowd: its segment of the market. Have you wondered why Red Bull owns a Formula One racing team? That’s why.

Pepsi was losing its battle with Coca-Cola to become the heavyweight cola company. Instead of trying to beat Coke at its own game, Pepsi focused on a young, fun-loving demographic. Many Pepsi commercials show younger music stars, celebrities or other young status symbols.

In other words, Pepsi stopped targeting the over-30 crowd and segmented its market. Coke is still the top dog, but thanks partially to market segmentation, Pepsi has built a very successful brand as well.

Most small business owners would be happy with building the next Pepsi, but many are afraid to eliminate part of a potential market. It can seem scary, but you need to focus on your core customer if you want a clear path to growth.

Segmenting your market comes down to making choices. Who will you serve? Who will you avoid? And which segment can you focus on to improve profitability?

2. Leveraging partnerships

Some small business owners love to complain about how they can’t compete with the vendor relationships that the big guys enjoy. It’s true you can’t “pay to play” like the Fortune 500s, but you can leverage partnerships in a savvy way.

For example, let’s say your small business makes tennis balls and you have a technology that makes the balls bounce better and last longer. You have a great product, but you don’t have a manufacturing facility, a distribution channel or any of the other parts of the tennis-ball supply chain. All you have are great tennis balls.

You may not be able to compete with the big industry players like Wilson, Penn or Prince for sponsorships or tournament partnerships, but you could partner with a tennis-ball factory and a distribution company. In fact, you could partner with them without having to pay a cent for your own factory or distribution. Just pay your partners a portion of the profit every time you sell a tennis ball.

The result? You negotiate for mainstream production and distribution without paying the huge upfront cost of building a plant or hiring a shipping company. Now you can focus on selling tennis balls instead of worrying about making them.

Big businesses can pay for partnerships up front. Small businesses have to negotiate for partnerships that pay per sale.

3. Use checklists

Big businesses have massive facilities, complex supply chains and large equipment. Managing the day-to-day operations in these environments is too complex for one person. There are too many variables to track.

Guess what? Small businesses are the same way. Small business owners have to wear many hats. If you don’t hold yourself accountable and remind yourself to do something that “brings home the bacon,” then it’s easy to get caught up doing things that aren’t essential. In the rush of a normal day, it’s also easy to forget to do a critical task.

Take a page from big business and develop process lists or checklists for specific tasks and jobs. Give yourself a guide to success and a reminder to do the essentials each day.

4. Acquisitions

Perhaps the primary way that most big businesses grow is through acquisitions. Before you think I’m off my rocker by suggesting this move for small businesses, let me explain.

First, acquisitions are tough. You can easily break the bank with one bad purchase. That said, acquisitions can be a massive source of profit and a means to growth if you make a few key moves.

You know what’s a good buy in your industry. Follow tip No. 3 and keep to a specific list of characteristics that you’re looking for. Don’t let emotion or ego play a role in a major purchase. Stick to the checklist.

Secondly, do you have the budget to buy up everyone in the industry? Probably not. I’m not suggesting that you buy something you can’t afford. But you can afford some businesses, especially those that you can improve. Don’t dismiss acquisitions just because you’re small.

5. Become a leader in the industry

Big businesses often make their name by leading an industry. They make moves when other businesses sit by the wayside.

I was recently talking with the employees of a large distribution company that wants to do business in China. There’s just one problem: The distribution company ships products for other companies and those businesses don’t trust the distribution channels in China yet. As a result, the distribution company isn’t selling in that region.

If there are no products to ship to an area, the company doesn’t set up distribution in that area. But if there’s no reliable distribution network, nobody ships products. It becomes a chicken or egg problem where neither side wants to move first.

So what does this company do? They say, “We know you don’t like the distribution there, so we’re going to fix it. Then, you can give us all of your business in China.”

Is it a bold move? Yes.

Is it an expensive move? Yes.

Is anyone else currently doing it? No.

Does that mean that there is a huge opportunity for growth? Yes.

What’s the lesson for small businesses? Don’t be afraid to solve the hard problems that everyone else avoids. There is a lot of money to be made when you’re the first person to fix something.

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The capacity to focus on what matters is fundamental to securing business growth. It is worth pointing out that understanding where not to focus your attention can be just as critical as recognizing the importance of concentrating your focus on areas with the highest return. The following article highlights five of the areas which are key drivers of business success.

1. The core value proposition (CVP)

All companies have their own USPs – or unique selling propositions. These are aspects of their offering which are truly valued by customers and which help to differentiate an organization from its competitors. It is all too easy for an ambitious company to become distracted from its core competences, the result being that it loses focus and dilutes its offer and/or position. It is recommended, therefore, that resources are channeled into a company’s existing, rather than its potential, strengths.

2. Customer centricity

Independent research has determined that the greater the importance placed on a company’s customers, the greater the growth potential of that company. In some instances, a mere rise of 5% in customer retention rates has resulted in an increase of profits of up to 80%. What’s more, it can be up to 20 times more expensive to win new customers than to retain existing accounts. It makes sense, therefore, to work on improving satisfaction and loyalty levels among existing customers as they can be considered lower hanging fruit with a higher return on investment (ROI).

3. Segmentation

The whole purpose of segmentation is to enable a company to focus on the groups of customers and/or prospects that deliver the highest return. It is commonly acknowledged that the top 20% of customers in any given business may generate as much as 80% of the company’s profits, half of which are lost serving the bottom 30% of unprofitable customers. Logic therefore dictates that companies should be prepared to let certain customers defect in order that they may concentrate on those which are more important to them.

Savvy marketers should closely target their offerings to the customer segments that most value them. These market segments are almost always the most profitable to a business, and are likely to be where a company enjoys the greatest competitive advantage.

4. People assets

One of the highest costs to any business is its labor. However, its employees are also one of its biggest assets. Research among Sears’ employees revealed that a 5-point improvement on its employee attitude scale led to a 1.3% improvement in customer satisfaction; this, in turn, boosted revenues by $250 million a year. It follows that more satisfied employees leads to more satisfied customers, who are then inclined to spend more.

Many companies are guilty of viewing staff as a means to an end, rather than recognizing them as the valuable asset that they are. Focusing attention on the likes of employee engagement and development of talent will help to maximize the ROI in labor.

5. Continual improvement

Complacency can be fatal. Businesses that believe they know everything about their customers and markets are setting themselves up for a fall. Every market evolves and every product has a life cycle. As demand increases, often so does choice, making it all the more vital to improve a product/service in order to increase its appeal, as well as continuously drive higher awareness through to loyalty levels.

Any improvements need not necessarily be confined to the product itself. A focus, for example, on improving the customer experience is likely to result in financial gain, with eight out of ten customers stating they would be willing to pay up to 25% more for a superior customer service.

Whatever the chosen point of focus, key to success is prioritizing resources for maximum return and never deviating from the ultimate goal.

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Like many business owners, I wasn’t born to be an entrepreneur, I never planned on running a business, and I most assuredly had no experience in successfully growing one.  However, over the course of my nearly 21 years of business ownership, I have learned a few things that have helped keep the bumps and bruises to a minimum while maintaining double-digit growth year over year. Regardless of the industry you are in, you can be highly successful if you live by these very simple ideologies:

1. Know what you do and what you don’t do.

Some of the best advice I learned early on was  don’t try to be all things to all people, because it typically means you are not very good at any one thing. As such, I believe that it is a mistake to take on far-reaching service offerings, develop products outside your comfort zone or expand outside of your target markets just to make a few extra bucks. When you do that, you jeopardize your true strength to focus on what you may not be successful at and create undo pressures for your team, your budgets, and your company as a whole.

2. Stay focused on the prize.

We have always tried to be very strategic in our approach to growth. We set three year business plans, track against those plans, and modify them when necessary. I believe that if you don’t set goals you have no way of measuring yourself, your team and your company against some pre-determined objectives. When everyone understands in a very crystal clear way what the overall goals of the organization are, it allows everyone to rally together and take pride in successfully accomplishing them.

3. Remember that people work for people, not companies.

It is rare when a business can successfully operate and grow without talented people. In fact, we often talk about our people being the only asset we have to sell and we are always looking for ways to improve our culture, our benefits, and the reasons why employees would want to keep working for us. I believe that many companies forget that true loyalty comes when employees believe that the organization and its leadership team care about them personally and professionally. This ultimately results in long-tenured employees, which has a very real and direct effect on company growth.

4. Running a business well is different than being good at a trade or profession.

I have often said that just because someone is good in PR, it doesn’t mean they will be good at running a PR agency. The same is true for any profession. Growing a successful business is all about having a good business mind, combined with a strong skillset in your particular area of expertise. The behind-the-scenes side of business–such as process, people management, billing and operations–are critical to business success. I have seen a number of very smart people get into business only to ultimately fail because they didn’t look at their business through the lens of operational success, and instead focused solely on being good at their profession.

5. Passion is contagious.

When you love what you do it shows to the people surrounding you every day in the office, facility or production plant. Showing excitement and enthusiasm cannot be underscored enough in terms of how it relates to your team working harder, being more focused, and ultimately more successful at their job. This translates to a better end-product. The opposite can be said for someone who is an unhappy person, leads through negative motivation, creates a challenging work environment or frankly doesn’t love what they do.

6. Challenge yourself to always keep improving.

Technology is changing the world we live in every day. In order to stay relevant, it is important to innovate, regardless of your industry, as well as want to get better. This could mean new programs, new thinking or new processes. I believe that you are either moving forward or you are becoming obsolete. At Formula, we are constantly looking at our way of doing things and looking for ways to improve our end product, improve our client relations skills, and become more efficient at what we do, which ultimately drives greater profitability.

7. Forget the “Build it and they will come” mentality.

During a challenging economy, many brands look at marketing as an expense and therefore try to cut it from the budget. However, the marketplace is littered with good ideas that lacked the marketing support to gain traction or they were launched with the ideology of “our product is so great, that consumers will flock to it.” Consumers are incredibly discerning about their money; as a result, they generally buy products that they have either sampled or have been referred to them. Therefore, make sure that marketing is completely aligned with product innovation and roll-out to ensure that when the product is ready for retail consumption strong consideration has been given to how the product will be marketed.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee for business success. It takes a combination of right brain strategic logic and left brain creative thinking to ensure that a brand or business is successful. However, the aforementioned recommendations will help alleviate some of the common pitfalls that many businesses face as they look to gain traction and acceptance.

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