Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas about personal and professional development.

Archive for January 2011

If you can dream it, you can do it.

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If you can dream it, you can do it - Walt Disney

This quote as title of this article was from Walt Disney. Recently, I was attending a presentation session for web entrepreneurs, organized by the Betagroup in the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels. The organizer of these sessions is used to end the session by telling a quote related to entrepreneurship. After the session, ending by a networking drink, I had the pleasure to talk with a freelance journalist about the experience of entrepreneurship. She was raising the question to know if the fact to dream about doing something is a sufficient condition to do something and to succeed. This question seems to be a bit naive, but it is not the case at all.

Today, we can attend a lot of coaching training sessions where some coaches says that everybody can do what he is dreaming and that he will succeed. I wrote on this blog an article about the fact to stay focused on your goal. I agree with the fact that if you do not believe in what you are doing, you will never reach your goal. But in order to succeed in the project or the job of your dreams, there are several conditions you have to keep in mind:

  • Do I have the talent for this? It is important to know about yourself, to clearly determine what are your strong points and your weaknesses. Peter Drucker was used to say that it is better to work on your strong point in order to go from the competence to excellence instead of to work on your weaknesses in order to go from the incompetence to the mediocrity. I would add that you can be able to play piano, but there is a huge difference between knowing to play piano and to be a piano player like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In a competition environment, you have to appear to be one of the best player.
  • Am I entrepreneur minded? To become entrepreneur is not only a change of social status, it is also a question of mind. An entrepreneur needs to have always a project in advance. He is somebody who wants to move things forward, who is curious and who has of course the entrepreneurship spirit.
  • Is there a market for the services I want to propose? You can not escape to that question. It is important to know if there are customer interested by your product or services and if they are ready to pay the requested price.
  • Are you ready to assume the risk linked to start as an entrepreneur? As you know, entrepreneurship is always risky. Are you ready to loose a part of your money if your project do not succeed? If you can not sleep anymore, it is because you invest probably a too big part of money in a project and you are scared to have a lack of revenues.
  • Have you an alternative plan? If you do not succeed, have you develop an alternative plan in order to still have revenues? I remember an article about a entrepreneur who launched his own activity after a 15 years employee career in a bank. This man was explaining that he invested a part of his money in two apartments he gave to rent, ensuring an alternative revenue in case of business failure.
  • Do not hesitate to ask advices to serious advisers. It is always an asset to have different points of view from professionals in different areas. There is more in few heads than in one. Make the difference between serious people and the others. The others are building time to time their own legend, or are telling you only their success and not their failures.

These points I mentioned are important to maximize your chance to realize your entrepreneurship dreams. If you can dream it, you can do it, but stay in contact with the reality and be creative.

Interesting links for entrepreneurs: http://www.betagroup.be/ – http://www.westartup.eu/

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 27, 2011 at 00:38

What the figures don’t say

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What figures don't say.

Each company is obliged legally to keep an accounting and to present balance sheet and income statement one or few times a year. For quoted companies, the main concern is to publish figures on line with the budget and expectations in order to give satisfaction to the investors.

It is obvious that a company needs to have an organized financial information system in order to drive the business, to see the evolutions, to compare actual figures and to compare with budgeted figures, and to take the appropriate actions in order to reach a determined target. It is always good to show good performances and else better performances than expected. But we have to keep in mind that such statements show only a picture on a time T. In order to measure trends, we need to compare statements over several periods. But is such analysis giving a good picture of the health of a company? Do positive figures mean that everything is fine in the company? Of course, figures need to be commented, but are the comments reflecting the entire reality? No, because comments will only speak about figures.

There are a lot of elements that a financial statement doesn’t show, but which could have impacts on the mid-term and long-term results of a business. Let us take for example the human resources. The human capital is the motor of a company. A lot of human resources aspects can produce negative or positive effects on the business. The satisfaction level of your employee is an important key indicator for your business. If people are not satisfied by their job or work conditions, they will probably leave the company. The result will be a loss of know-how, an increase of recruitment costs and a period of lower performance of the new employee who need a certain time to learn before to be fully operational. The consequence of a high human resources turnover and a decrease of know-how contribute to de-organize the company, with a negative impact on the activities, and a negative impact on the customer satisfaction. If you have a look on a financial statement and you see a profitable business when the accounts were closed, you can wonder how many times it will do so, if there are for instance human resources problems.

Often, we can note that companies are focused on human resources costs, and frequently try to maintain or decrease such expenses. If we have a look on the concept of cost or investment, costs or investment are commonly defined as a cash-out amount that will provide future economical advantages. In this case, the question to be asked is to know what will be the economical advantages produced by the employees. The performances of the advantages will be or could be proportional to the level of satisfaction, because satisfaction contributes to motivation, and to provide better performances. We can see here the importance to define the objectives of each collaborator and to give him the tools to reach the goals, by giving training programs for example. This implies a mid and long term view. Such view is important when we notice lacks of specific profiles on the market. When somebody is leaving the company and you cannot find somebody with the same qualification level, it could impact your business negatively and for small structures, put your business in danger. When for example, if a small software company has troubles to find software developers to develop or improve a product, the business will be negatively impacted and could rule the company to bankruptcy.

By taking such example, we underline the fact that a financial statement represent a instantaneous picture of the company but does not show the quality level and controls of processes. The question is to know if the incurred costs are the result of a mid and long term view and if they will generate sufficient revenues, contributing to ensure a sustainable business. This means that not only financial results indicators are important, but also qualitative measurements of all the constituting components of a company.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 16, 2011 at 12:48

2010 in review

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 37 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 57 posts. There were 45 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was December 7th with 132 views. The most popular post that day was Stay focused on your goal..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were linkedin.com, lmodules.com, 74.125.67.100, images.yandex.ru, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for goal, goal setting, lehman brothers, apple headquarter, and multicultural.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Stay focused on your goal. November 2009
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Was it better before ? October 2009

3

Work in a multicultural environment. January 2010

4

Small could still be beautiful November 2009

5

Goal or goals in your life ? May 2010

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 2, 2011 at 12:01

Posted in Uncategorized