Stories about business

Sex for sale: Where are we heading?

On a recent trip to a juice shop in Lahore, my husband and I noticed a huge black Cygnus car stop at the turn across the road. After closer observation, we saw two women, both around the age of 25, dressed in bright silk step into the jeep that careened off. Two other women were left behind. After some 20 minutes, they too stepped into a Camry and sped off. My husband and I looked towards each other simultaneously – we knew what we just saw but did not have the guts to admit what was going on so openly at ...

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TV commercials: Inform, remind and persuade!

While I was watching the news the other night, a newscaster said, “Stay tuned, we’ll be right back after a short commercial break,” making me immediately think, “Oh god! Not again.” The musical rollercoaster of advertisements began – a five minute ride that I seriously did not enjoy. What I learnt in my O-level commerce class was that there are three categories of advertisements – ‘reminder advertisement’ that reminds consumers of the products available in the market; ‘informative advertisement’ that keeps the consumer informed and ‘persuasive advertisement’ which persuades consumers through various techniques to buy the product. And these apply ...

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How to generate business excellence

I’d like to shed some light on a topic much debated in companies that have survived more than five years and would like to get out of the break-even trap. They wish to bring their capabilities at par with the corporations they once aspired to be, and the key is operational excellence. This is achieved by building operational capabilities, which in turn come about by undertaking structured programs for epic-systematic high performance. To develop a rewarding development program, four factors are crucial to a corporation’s goals: Aim to create value by developing a marketing road map that grants a systematic process for ...

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Money 101: Getting down to business

If I was to do a spot poll and ask a hundred odd people whether they wanted to work for themselves or someone else, 95 per cent would choose being their own boss over job security and the luxury of forgetting about work when the clock strikes 6pm. But for every person who dreams of owning a quaint bookshop, a café by the sea or any other small scale business there are 10 others who will never get around to starting it up. Small businesses are the backbone of any economic system, often owned and managed by families, they continue ...

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The customer is always right…but is he happy?

During uncertain times, the customer becomes the lifeblood of any business. But today the brand team is struggling with which existing and prospective customers to target with their current offers via multiple channels of interaction. Many established corporations are aligning their resources towards BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China, for growth opportunities and are aiming to hone in on the rise in disposable income within these economies – notably China, whose new five-year plan aims at a growth strategy fuelled by domestic consumption instead of the trillion-dollar generating strategy of exports maximisation. What they are finding is the difficulty to ...

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10 ways to be a better manager

People do not usually quit their jobs because they are unhappy with an organisation, but because they are unable to give input to the degree which satisfies them. Satisfaction comes from performing tasks exceptionally well. This feeling can be created through the effective management of the human resource. Here lies the role of the manager who needs to know the power of his written and spoken words, his anger and smile, his attitude and behavior. Organisations generally do not fall because of bad strategies, but because they encounter bad managers. It is important to note that bad managers are not those who ...

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TV ads: Is all the dancing really selling?

Products in Pakistan have not always been sold by armies of men and women dancing to uncoordinated perfection. However, recently advertising ‘charts’ have been hit by four choreographed entries: Tarang, Sooper, Warid and Chaika, which are running on all major TV channels night and day. Does dancing sell? Does this mean that singing and dance routines are what grip the Pakistani people and make them go buy brands? Or, does this simply mean that this is an idea that can be easily sold to clients by agencies? Agencies have developed a stereotypical solution for all marketing communication needs and forgotten the essence of ...

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Why job creation alone isn’t going to save Pakistan

Pakistan is a land of opportunity, but also has many needs.  It is critical to create jobs in this country, but it would be an error to believe that jobs alone will solve the issue of poverty. An article from Business Week titled, “A silver lining in Pakistan’s floods” states that “this natural disaster may have given the country an opportunity to tackle a recurring point of contention in Pakistan—feudalism.” The author states that aid money going to Pakistan should focus on job-creation strategies in addition to housing. She argues that the provision of jobs in relief work and an emphasis on business training ...

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What advertisements are doing to our children

“Bubloo tumhara sabun slow hei kia?” chants an arrogant, animated girl character in a liquid soap ad, teasing the poor boy who has been silly enough to not know that soap bars are useless compared to liquid soap. Such is the shallowness being imparted on  children during their formative years through advertising. They develop a narcissistic attitude towards what they see as  “me and my things.” As ad filmmakers are formulating the most effective ways of enticing consumers to buy their products, they have found children are good targets. Younger minds are easy to manipulate and are seen as long-term potential buyers. ...

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Why do you wake up in the morning?

In the 70s, there lived in a make shift two bedroom apartment in Mumbai, a lower-middle class family who did small-time trading with Arab merchants for a living. Today, that family owns not one, but two of the biggest private sector conglomerates in the world. Today, two brothers from that family control the biggest fortunes in the world. The elder of the Ambanis, a fiercely competitive Indian called Mukesh, is worth an astonishing $29 billion. Here’s my question: why does the 53-year-old magnate still go to work? According to the regional averages, he has about 10 years to live. Even if he stopped ...

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