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What is Idea Generation?

Idea generation is the creative process or procedure that a company uses in order to figure out
solutions to any number of difficult challenges. It involves coming up with many ideas in a group
discussion, selecting the best idea or ideas, working to create a plan to implement the idea, and
then actually taking that idea and putting it into practice. The idea can be tangible, something
you can touch or see, or intangible, something symbolic or cultural.
5 Skills Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Master

1. Exposure. More marketing leads to more opportunities -- period. Identify

the spots where customers shop and become the helpful customer in the
aisle (just dont be weird about it). Offer advice -- and perhaps a business

If you own a painting business, get to know the local retail clerks at every
paint store in a 50-mile radius -- by name -- and frequent those stores on a
consistent basis.

Or join a group. The Entrepreneurs Organization is a one-stop shop for

startup folks, offering everything from personal mentorship to networking and
local meeting chapters. Remember, every bit of exposure helps.

2. Experience. With more exposure comes the experience of dealing with

diverse groups of people and managing expectations -- the soft skills that
leaders sometimes take for granted after getting used to an executive-level
position. Never forget that relationships make the world go round.

Other sources of experience are universities. Many offer classes on

entrepreneurship to educate students on what mistakes not to make before
they actually make them.

3. Expertise. In todays hyper-connected world, specializing in one particular

knowledge base is not enough. In fact, its limiting, because the rate of
technological change is so fast today that what once defined you as a
specialist yesterday may classify you with the rest of the cattle today.

Instead, what are needed today are generalists -- people who can wear a
few different hats and not only adapt to change but anticipate industry
revolutions. Generalist knowledge entails practical competencies such as
learning agility, resilience, vision and problem-solving, to name a few. The
more you learn, the more you open yourself to opportunity. Its that simple.

4. Evaluate. In the military, we conducted after-action reviews (AARs)

following every mission and training evolution to reflect and learn about the
event. Specifically, we assess what was intended to happen, what actually
happened and why to make a change. Reviewing the situational details that
drove decision-making is absolutely critical to learning as it allows time to
apply judgment to the past to better anticipate outcomes in the future.
Social Responsibility
Definition: Acting with concern and sensitivity, aware of the impact of your actions
on others, particularly the disadvantaged.

Does your business use recycled paper products or donate to a homeless shelter? A
growing number of consumers consider such factors when deciding whether to
patronize your business. A company's "social responsibility" quotient can make a
difference to its bottom line.

If you think getting involved in social causes would work for your business, here are
some things to consider. First and foremost, customers can smell "phony" social
responsibility a mile away, so unless you're really committed to a cause, don't try to
exploit customers' concerns to make a profit.

Here are a few steps you can take to make social responsibility work for you:
Set goals. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your company to
achieve? Do you want to enter a new market? Introduce a new product? Enhance
your business's image?
Decide what cause you want to align yourself with. This may be your toughest
decision, considering all the option out there: children, the environment, senior
citizens, homeless people, people with disabilities--the list goes on. You might
want to consider a cause that fits in with your products or services. For example, a
manufacturer of women's clothing could get involved in funding breast cancer
research. Another way to narrow the field is by considering not only causes you
feel strongly about, but also those that your customers consider significant.
Choose a nonprofit or other organization to partner with. Get to know the
group, and make sure it's sound, upstanding, geographically convenient and
willing to cooperate with you in developing a partnership.
Design a program, and propose it to the nonprofit group.Besides laying out
what you plan to accomplish, also include indicators that will measure the
program's success in tangible terms.
Negotiate an agreement with the organization. Know what they want before
you sit down, and try to address their concerns upfront.
Involve employees. Unless you get employees involved from the beginning, they
won't be able to communicate the real caring involved in the campaign to
Involve customers. Don't just do something good and tell your customers about it
later. Get customers involved, too. A sporting goods store could have customers
bring in used equipment for a children's shelter, then give them a 15 percent
discount on new purchases. Make it easy for customer to do good; then reward
them for doing it.
Challenges to MSME

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role for the growth of Indian economy by
contributing 45% of industrial output, 40% of exports, employing 60 million people, create 1.3
million jobs every year and produce more than 8000 quality products for the Indian and
international markets. SMEs Contribution towards GDP in 2011 was 17% which is expected to
increase to 22% by 2012. There are approximately 30 million MSME Units in India and 12 million
persons are expected to join the workforce in the next 3 years.

Despite of the importance of the MSMEs in Indian economic growth, the sector is facing challenges
and does not get the required support from the concerned Government Departments, Banks,
Financial Institutions and Corporates which is proving to be a hurdle in the growth path of the
MSMEs. The list of the problems that are faced by existing/new companies in SME sector are as

1. Absence of adequate and timely banking finance

2. Limited capital and knowledge

3. Non-availability of suitable technology

4. Low production capacity

5. Ineffective marketing strategy

6. Constraints on modernisation & expansions

7. Non availability of skilled labour at affordable cost

8. Follow up with various government agencies to resolve problems due to lack of man
power and knowledge etc.

(i) lack of adequate capital,

(ii) Poor infrastructure
(iii) Access to modern technology
(iv) Access to markets
(v) Getting statutory clearances related to power, environment, labour etc. etc. etc.

It is very important to empower the SME sector to utilize the limited resources (human &
economic) they have in an optimum manner. The SMEs need to be educated and informed of the
latest developments taking place globally and helped to acquire skills necessary to keep pace with
the global developments. SMEs are now exposed to greater opportunities than ever for expansion
and diversification across the sectors. Indian market is growing rapidly and Indian entrepreneurs
are making remarkable progress in various Industries like Manufacturing, Precision Engineering
Design, Food Processing, Pharmaceutical, Textile & Garments, Retail, IT and ITES, Agro and Service

To counter the challenges faced by SME sector and grab the opportunities in the market, the
Chamber has developed key strategies to promote and support the SME sector. The Chamber
encourages SMEs to adopt innovative ideas and concepts for the promotion of their business. The
goal of the Chamber is to organise Seminars, Conferences, Workshops and Training Programs and
other trade promotional activities to educate & create awareness amongst the SMEs. CIMSME has
decided to start various activities to empower and educate the SME Sector by organising various
trade promotional activities.

Tamil Nadu Subsidy and

Tamil Nadu state is the second largest contributor to the Indian GDP and the second most
industrialized state in India. Good infrastructure backed by easy availability of skilled or
unskilled manpower makes it an ideal State for setting up manufacturing units or service
units. In order to attract Foreign Direct Investment and boost domestic investment in
businesses, Tamil Nadu government has announced various subsidies and schemes. In this
article, we cover a list of business subsidies and schemes popular in Tamil Nadu.

The following subsidies are only available for SSI units or MSME units. To know more how
to obtain SSI Registration or MSME Registration, visit the following:

Capital Subsidy
All Micro Manufacturing units or Micro SSI units that are setup anywhere in the state of
Tamil Nadu and investing in capital assets (plant and machinery) are eligible to receive a
capital subsidy of 15% on eligible plant and machinery, subject to a maximum of Rs.30 lakhs.
Micro manufacturing units are those manufacturing units having less than Rs.25 lakhs of
investment in plant and machinery.

In 251 blocks notified as backward areas and industrial estates promoted by the Government
and Government Agencies like SIPCOT, SIDCO, etc., (excluding industrial estates located
within the radius of 50 Kms from Chennai city centre) the capital subsidy will be available
for all SSI Units, Micro, Small and Medium. Further, an additional capital subsidy of 5%,
subject to a maximum of Rs.2 lakhs will be given to enterprises set up by Women, SC / ST,
Physically disabled and Transgender entrepreneurs.

An additional capital subsidy of 25% is also available on the value of plant and machinery
installed to promote cleaner and environment friendly technologies, subject to a maximum of
Rs.3lakhs and certification by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board that the equipments
installed serve such a purpose.

Employment Intensive Business Subsidy

For those units setup in Backward Blocks of industrial estates promoted by the Government,
an additional capital subsidy of 5% subject to a maximum of Rs.5 lakhs will be granted if at
least 25 workers have been employed for a minimum period of 3 years within the first five
years from the date of commencement of production. The evidence for the employment of
workers would be the related statutory returns such as the returns filed under the Employees
Provident Fund Act, etc.,

Agriculture Subsidy
Capital subsidy and Employment Intensive Business subsidy are available for those setting
up an agricultural business in all 385 blocks in Tamil Nadu state.
New Entrepreneur Enterprise
Development Schemes [NEEDS]
The NEEDS scheme has been announced by the Government to assist the educated youth of
Tamil Nadu to become first generation entrepreneurs. Educated youth with any Degree,
Diploma, ITI/Vocational Training from a recognized institution and in the age group of 21-
35 years under General Category and 21 to 45 years under Special Category aspiring to
become entrepreneurs would be eligible for assistance under this scheme. The project cost
shall not exceed Rs.1.00 crore. Capital subsidy of 25% of the project cost upto a maximum
of Rs.25.00 lakhs will be provided by the State Government. For more information, refer to
the article on NEEDS Scheme in Tamil Nadu.

Interest Subsidy Scheme [Interest

Subvention Scheme]
All term loans sanctioned from 03.09.2012 by Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation
Limited [TIIC] for SSI units or Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises both manufacturing
and service sectors, under various types of schemes like General Term Loan, Term Loan for
Windmill, Working Capital Term Loan, Open Term Loan, etc. are eligible for the 3% interest
subsidy. Individual beneficiary can avail maximum interest subvention of Rs.30.00 lakhs
under this scheme irrespective of the number of loans.

Back-ended Interest Subsidy

A 3% back-ended interest subsidy is provided to a maximum of Rs.10.00 lakhs over a period
of five years on loans up to Rs.100.00 lakhs for Micro / Small /Medium Enterprises under
specific schemes.

Generator Subsidy
Tamil Nadu government provides a subsidy of 25% of the cost of Generator upto the capacity
of 320 KVA purchased on or after 11.11.2008 by all new & existing Micro, Small and
Medium manufacturing enterprises for their captive use subject to a maximum amount of
Rs.5.00 lakhs.
Elements of a Business Plan

A business plan is a description of the business, a road map that will help you get to your
desired destination. It gives you an idea of the obstacles that lie ahead and can point out
possible alternate routes. One of the major benefits you will receive from developing a
business plan is getting to thoroughly know your industry and market. A well prepared
business plan will not only assist in plotting a course for the company, it can also serve as
a vital sales tool.

The following are the major elements of a business plan:

Executive Summary
Most important part of your business plan
Must be clear concise and compelling so that people will read further
Should be written after you have completed the other sections of your business
Try to keep this section to around one page

Description of Company
State company name, legal status and ownership structure
Mission statement should provide focus for your company and define your
business for at least the next few years
Outline where your company has been and where you are at right now. If you are
a startup company describe what your company intends to do. Only include
information that is relevant to the product or service you are describing.
How will this new activity add to or enhance your existing business

Product or Service
Describe your product or service what is unique about it and why will you be a
Indicate any regulations that will effect you and show that you have or can meet
the requirements

Outline the industry you are in, how you fit in and what will be your market share.
Who is your primary customer? What are the demographics of this customer
base? It is very important to know your customers as success depends on you
being able to meet customer needs.
Why have you chosen this customer base and how large is it? You need to know
that there is enough room in this market for you and that it is not already
What are the trends that are influencing and affecting your market (customer
base)? How are you addressing these trends?
Who is your competition and how will you be able to compete? By knowing and
understanding your competition you will be able to better position your product or
service in the market place.
If your business is seasonal (ie up- pick operation), explain how you will handle
this challenge
What is the price of your product or service? How does this compare to similar
products in the market?
How will you distribute your product?

Marketing Plan
The marketing plan is very important - you can have the best product in the world
but if you have no sales, you have no business.
How will you make customers aware of you product or service?
Where will you sell your product (ie farmers market, farm gate sales, retail, etc)?
When will you launch your marketing plan?

Where will your business be located?
What facilities and equipment do you have and what do you need?
How will you run the business?
How will you keep track of inventory?
How will you keep costs down to remain competitive?
What is your plan for growth?
How does this business mesh with your existing business? It is important that you
keep separate records for each different business you have. This way you will
know what is making you money and what is not.

Management Team
Investors pay particular attention to this section. They want to know that you have
the right people for your business.
The quality of your people will determine the success of the business.
Indicate who is on your team, their qualifications and responsibilities (ie
production, marketing, accounting etc).
If you do not have people in these positions right know because of the size of your
business, provide a time frame to put your team together.
How will you overcome any labor shortages?

Financial statements show where your business is at right now and provides you
with the information you need to make decisions.
It is important to keep your statements current and to refer to them on a monthly
You should include the following financial forms with projections for three to five years:
Income statement
Cash-flow projections
Balance sheet

When making financial projections, it is important to explain any assumptions - how you determined
the figures you used.
If you are looking for financial assistance, lenders will want to know where you will get financing
for your business and how you will spend the money. They will also want to see historical records
for the past three to five years.

6 Steps to Develop an Enterprise

Getting started with Social CRM can be a daunting proposition, particularly for those
organizations just taking their first steps on the path. In previous articles, I walked
through two enterprise use cases for Social CRM, but a good portion of the feedback and
comments boiled down to, this all sounds great, but how do we even begin to foster such
robust Social CRM capabilities at our organization when weve got nothing in place now?
As with just about any enterprise capability, the answer is good planning and consistent
execution -- easier said than done, right?
Setting the Stage
So with that in mind, I want to dig a bit into how you might begin to tackle an enterprise
Social CRM strategy to set the stage for improved branding and customer experience
using Social CRM tools and processes.

1. Determine the Organizational Goals that Social CRM Will Support

Growing market share, consolidating business units/product lines after a merger, improving
customer experience, evolving your brand, reducing administrative costswhatever the
corporate vision for the organization is, Social CRM will have to contribute to it (and visibly
so) if its to get the support and funding it needs to succeed long term. And if you cant find
an organizational goal that Social CRM will support, nows the time to think long and hard
about whether it makes sense to embark on the process of getting Social CRM up and
running at your organization.

2. Determine the Scope of Social CRM

Social CRM touches a lot of areas in an organization. You need to determine what
elements of Social CRM will be required to help meet the desired organizational goals.
Some of the broad choices are:

1. Internal vs. external audience customers, suppliers, partners vs. employees and
2. Stand alone vs. integrated with core business systems
3. Business application some of most important to date have been product
development, customer service, marketing, and sales, but others will emerge (e.g.,
supply chain)
3. Then Recruit Stakeholders
Determine which individuals, workgroups, departments, divisions, etc., need to be on
board for Social CRM to succeed and get them involved. Depending on how many and
who they are, this can be an informal working group, a more formal COE, an organizational
program or even a quasi-official department.

4. Determine What the Current State of Social CRM is

What technology, processes, policies, procedures, awareness, people skills and so on, are
already in place to support Social CRM and which are not.

5. The Define the Future State

Determine what the future state(s) of Social CRM needs to look like to support the org
goals you selected. Make sure to think about the milestones along the way, e.g., near term
(8-12 months) and midterm (18-24 months), not just the end of the road (36 months and

6. Build the Roadmap

Sketch a roadmap of what needs to be done to move from current to future state. This can
even be as simple as, we have no idea and need to hire someone to help us before we
can move forward -- be honest about what you can and cant do and then act accordingly.

The Design Thinking Process

The Design Thinking process first defines the problem and then implements the solutions, always with the needs of
the user demographic at the core of concept development. This process focuses on needfinding, understanding,
creating, thinking, and doing. At the core of this process is a bias towards action and creation: by creating and
testing something, you can continue to learn and improve upon your initial ideas.

The design thinking process consists of these 5 steps:

EMPATHIZE: Work to fully understand the experience of the user for whom you are designing. Do this through
observation, interaction, and immersing yourself in their experiences.
DEFINE: Process and synthesize the findings from your empathy work in order to form a user point of view that you
will address with your design.

IDEATE: Explore a wide variety of possible solutions through generating a large quantity of diverse possible solutions,
allowing you to step beyond the obvious and explore a range of ideas.

PROTOTYPE: Transform your ideas into a physical form so that you can experience and interact with them and, in
the process, learn and develop more empathy.

TEST: Try out high-resolution products and use observations and feedback to refine prototypes, learn more about
the user, and refine your original point of view.

Business model