Managerial effectiveness in the SME Sector !

When I started a new business start-up from the scratch in Kores- Hewlett Packard Printer consumables way back in 1998 – my focus lay on managerial effectiveness and able decision-making to initiate and spur business growth. Excellent managerial decision-making accounts for the difference between businesses that grow fast and businesses that don’t. Managers and entrepreneurs who rise to the top and take their companies with them have usually developed habits and systems for making difficult decisions.

“Kores India Limited was and is still catering to a monopolistic carbon paper trade in the stationery market with 28 branches spread across the country. In 1998-99, Hewlett Packard India had just started finding its feet on the ground ( in the Indian market). Inkjet and Laserjet Printer consumables market were at initial stages in India during this year. I had a task to complete and get Kores India ‘Up and Running’ in a new un-known frontier where managerial effectiveness, market intelligence, pricing, product availability and decision-making had a definite large role to play to succeed well. In addition, the deploy-able funds available were minimal and the top management was not used to thin profit margins and high voluminous business. So, it required from me to change the mind-set of the top management. Top-line growth remained the key factor to succeed well – especially when you are competing with Multi-national IT giant distributors like Tech Pacific and Redington already established in the market. Kores India is a family-run business, which belonged to the leading G D Birla group of companies before the Thirani family took over. But then, How did we reach 24% market share within the first 18 months of business activity in Kores India ? ”

Essential steps leading to Managerial effectiveness and Able decision-making –

1. Identify the business issues and Opportunities – In any new business poised to succeed well, it is mandatory to identify –
a) What is working ?
b) What is not working ?
c) Issues
d) Concerns

It is a simple business matrix that gives the business manager – insights – to enable best decision-making at the earliest. All business problems are symptoms or effects of a non-identified cause. Complex chains of cause and effect in a system mean that the greatest changes can be brought about when adjustments are made at the root. It also becomes essential to seek, identify, qualify and quantify business opportunities. Most SME owners have succeeded well due to effective exploring and discovery of unique business opportunities.

2. Discussions, Dialogue and Meetings – Once the business problem and opportunity is identified, it becomes necessary to explore various business options to take advantage of the present market situation. A manager with a good deal of experience is able to draw up a wider set of potential directions to choose from. Such a manager who is disciplined at execution is able to research unknown or new options at a much faster pace.

3. Opportunity Analysis – It is not necessary to jump the very first moment you identify a business opportunity. Sit back and Analyze each business opportunity. There are literally hundreds of strategic thinking tools applied by effective managers to analyze options and make decisions. It takes sometime, after permutations and combinations, to arrive at the right solution that will optimize results.

4. The Decision-making process – This is really a crucial step to take the business forward. Even with excellent analytically right tools, a leader’s personal decision-making style can affect the speed at which decisions are made, and even affect the the quality of the final decision.

5. ACT NOW ! – Many businesses collapse or get stranded due to lack of implementation. In fact, 80 % of business success depends entirely on implementation.

6. Study, Review and Collate information – It requires a keen eye to identify shortcomings from actions done. Constant monitoring is one of the common requirements found in fast growing businesses. At Kores- Hewlett Packard Start-up, the days were longer and meetings generated improvised thinking every time. I recollect, every decision was based on market intelligence inputs gathered on a daily basis.

7. Take care to incorporate the Changes into your business plan – The basic motive is to improvise decision-making skills through revision, review, and monitoring business activity. Changes are incorporated to arrive at best decisions.


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