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12 Things year 2015 Taught About Startups And Entrepreneurship

Today 2016 is already 2 months old and I go back to 2015, which was a crucial year! Interestingly, as Vala Afshar of Salesforce puts it that post 2015, we will be closer to year 2030 than we were to 2000. By then, everything will seem antiquated. It makes me wonder what are our takeaways from 2015?

Below are some of our insights, varied from brief to elaborate, and touch on changes in perceptions, as well as broader trends that will affect businesses. I hope these reflections will prompt you to share your own key learnings as well- let us know what your big takeaway from the year has been.

Expect The Unexpected

Whether it is the Snapdeal – Aamir Khan episode or the Chennai floods at home or Ebola virus in Africa or Greece Crisis in the EU; there could be several issues, which may affect your business or the way you conduct business. Hence this traditional directive stands even today, to expect the unexpected. Anticipate and mitigate risks!

Being Nimble And Agile

Further to earlier pointer, this insight applies to all businesses irrespective of manufacturing or technology services. One has to be lean and agile. Various appropriate frameworks apply to relevant industries. Be responsive than being reactive!

Consumer Centricity

It might sound cliché but stands true even today in the developing countries like ours. Not being complacent and customer/consumer centricity is the key, irrespective of your size and legacy. It is vetted by the likes of Microsoft, which shifted its focus to ‘customer love’, or Facebook that listened to its users and expanded safety features.

Driving Change Effectively

Taking tips from Make in India or International Yoga day, there are certain key elements to drive change, which can be picked for your business as well. Successful change initiative not only includes having clear vision and mission to achieve the same but also require a strong brand for effectively driving the change and binding teams together.

Focused Improvements – Kobetsu Kaizen

Business crusaders took hints from several private & public sector reforms, from the likes of world economies putting efforts to improve their business rules in the past year or technology teams working towards solving issues mattering the most via cloud computing or IoT. Leaders can address chronic problems by acknowledging room for improvement and working towards improving the same via structured approach.

Small Group Activities

Organisations have harnessed collective power of well-designed small group activities leads extensive financial benefit and strong cultural impact. Various crowd sourcing campaigns are classic examples of collaborative efforts that are increasingly rewriting the rules in every sector- from recruitments to technology to funding to even Swatch Bharat Campaign.

Work Sampling/ Time & Motion Study

However traditional, nothing beats these sets of tools in terms of results it delivers to ascertain manpower productivity and point ways to improve it. Productivity plays crucial roles in several aspects like economy, business sectors – manufacturing or services, etc. further leading to competitiveness of organisations and regions.

Productivity Improvement Via Training Within Industry (TWI)

Train the workforce to reach optimum skill levels, in as short as 7 days, based on the framework devised during World War II. The effective framework of TWI – evolved by the US Navy, was picked up by several industries to boost skill levels leading to productivity improvements.

Zero Effects – Defects

With the zero effect zero defects, also known as the ‘ZED maturity model’ campaign, the emphasis on quality (using clean technology) over quantity was evident, and thereby enabling organisations to get visibility in the manufacturing centre stage of the world. Businesses with focus on green and renewables shall lead the world market growth to 2020. We wont forget Volkswagen Emissions Scandal for long time!

Respecting Standards!

VW scandal or warnings issued by US FDA to pharmaceutical manufacturers again strengthens the view of respecting and following standards. Standards support customer satisfaction and experience through the requirements they lay out and through the guidance they provide in management systems.

Inspiring Excellence

Demanding excellence is easy work. Developing excellence is hard work. Inspiring excellence is remarkable work. As you go, so will your people. Say you want a more transparent, open and effective culture. Then be the first one who avoids politicking at all times.

Don’t Let The Fear Of Losing Be Greater Than Joy Of Winning

Robert Kiyosaki had put it in context long back! Fear is an incredibly personal experience. That’s why some people are afraid of flying while others fly every week. Or some people are afraid of heights and others work in skyscrapers. But there is some science behind why people are afraid of things, including losing money. While there is still a lot of research to do around the subject, observers wisely advise to focus on the journey and celebrate small victories along the journey.

Finally, the last thing to remember is that you’ll always have fear in your life, and that’s okay. The most important thing to remember is to control it so it doesn’t control you. ‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

Written by: Faber Aakash Borse – one of the founding members and Director of Faber Infinite Consulting (www.faberinfinite.com), with operations in Asia Pacific, Africa & Middle East. He holds a masters degree in Operations Management with his 1st degree being in Mechanical Engineering.

Originally published by Inc42 here.

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