Industries such as healthcare, real estate, and parking have offered very little innovation over the years, especially in marketing. Advantage Parking is looking to change that. Ottawa’s parking company, Advantage Parking, is offering a group-buy deal. While researching new technologies to further ease the process for those who park in their locations, Advantage Parking wants to offer a limited-time group-buy deal to test the opportunity and desire for innovation in marketing within this industry. Esha Abrol © December 2013
A recent talk from former Dragon, Brett Wilson, at a Start-up Canada event during global entrepreneurship week has got me thinking more about “the valuation of a company”, particularly a start-up. In this post I’ve jotted down some thoughts that have been circling my mind.
You walk into the meeting room and ready to pitch…
Before that, here are a couple of things to consider when valuing your company:
1) Numbers (projections) are subjective
2) Know your value proposition, it is as important as the product/service itself
In this post I want to demonstrate how projections, per-forma statements, and forecasts are just predictions and subjective ones. In addition, rather than discussing valuing a company based on assets, sales, or market size (potential), I’d like to discuss the influences of strategy and value proposition.
Firstly, numbers – the following is a recent news story, demonstrating how even large, established company’s can miss their projections:
In April, upscale fashion company, Burberry, took control of their beauty line, as it was previous licensed out. As a result, they now posses full-control over their products; however, it also has added to their costs – marketing expenses added a heavy weight to their financials – they’ve realized that their marketing costs have doubled. This new strategic direction has been a costly one (at least short-term) and they’ve felt it hit their bottom-line. While they projected sales for their beauty division to reach 25 million pounds, they only earned 10 million, less than half.
The valuation of a company is partly based on projections; the above example is a great example which allows us to see how numbers too can be subjective. The overall picture is required for crafting strategy. Had the demand, current customer knowledge of the beauty line been measured, and need and costs of marketing been considered, would the projection of 25 million pounds been closer to the actual figures? If so, would Burberry have decided to take full-control or continue licensing?
In addition to the product/service itself, strategy and value proposition are key influencers in the success of the business.
Value proposition is the unique selling point, which illustrate why the consumer will benefit from becoming a customer, seeing the value in what you are selling.
While at a Start-up Canada event, I had the opportunity to chat with a fellow attendee, Omar, co-founder of YP-it (http://www.yp-it.com). Omar was telling my about his colleague’s, the founder of Canada’s beloved coffeeshop, Second Cup, story. In the 70′s, if you wanted a coffee, you had two choices – the generic cafe coffee and a branded one, both were “vanilla”. Soon after, Second Cup was born (before Starbucks), to provide hard-working folks with a treat, a gourmet hot beverage – priced higher than the other two available, but the value proposition (a unique selling point, which illustrates why the consumer should become a customer) allowed them to do so. They created a market through a vision.
Any recent companies’ value proposition catch your attention lately?
Esha Abrol © November 2013
A couple of nights ago, at a milonga (an Argentine tango event), I was telling a fellow tango dancer about my marketing company, he was fond of our “storytelling” approach and responded, “wow, you’re intelligent, what did you take in school?”
I asked him why that mattered. Is formal education really the ideal way to measure intelligence? In my opinion, the more appropriate measures would be: one’s ability to adapt, discipline, and appreciation for introspection and self-improvement. These are things I was not taught in class, in business school.
I explained to him, I may know more about marketing and business strategy, but he knows more about tango and he is a much better dancer than me. He responded, “That is because I’ve been dancing tango for 12 years, while you’ve only been dancing for one year. You’ll be as good or better than me in time.”
Isn’t that how we all grow – through investing time in learning? School provides a structured system in knowledge intake; however, tests and projects are not a way to assess one’s full knowledge and ability. What I did get from school was: learn more discipline, immediate credibility (versus proving my knowledge via action), and a network which I may or may not have been able to build otherwise.
We can’t learn everything, so we’ll always feel unintelligent on unfamiliar topics, like when I recently asked an architect whether he got to play with LEGO at work or when I asked a violin teacher with the difference between a quarter note and half note was, but all of us are experts at something, even if that’s a video game or black teas.
Reflection question: What in your opinion, what makes someone intelligent?
Esha Abrol © October 11, 2013
This post is meant to be a subtle reminder that self-limiting statements are simply rubbish. Let me explain how “the world is your oyster” through rejecting limitations. Please see the illustration below, let the blue “x” represent us. While the dome around the “x”, represents the limitations that we place on ourselves and allow others to place on us. In this post I’m going to explain what a “limitation” is through examples.
Imagine a world without this dome, then visualize the number of opportunities (represented by the white space) that lie before you, personal or as a business owner (this is unbelievably effective to keep in mind for sales calls/meetings). The good news is that this dome is formed of merely: ideas, thoughts, opinions, and perspectives – all of these can be altered. We intentionally keep this barrier around us to protect us from real and imagined or perceived threats. The goal should not to remove the dome, but to be aware of it to be able to weigh the actual risks from the fear of discomfort, change, the unknown, or fear itself. Rejecting limiting beliefs and tackling new challenges bring new outcomes and perspectives, seemingly increasing the world’s opportunities. Allow me to elaborate with four personal stories as examples. Please read through them and reflect on how this dome affects your decisions and actions. Please share via e-mail, I would love to hear your stories.
Example #1: Last summer a dear friend decided she would celebrate her birthday by signing a death waiver, strapping on a parachute, and jumping out of a plane. And, she asked her friends to join her. Just excellent. Before I knew it, I was just waiting around on a plane, waiting for it to reach the right altitude. We waited until we could release the plane door, be sucked-out into the atmosphere, pierce holes through the clouds to be able to touch the ground again. Ah, earth beneath my feet – that’s the way it should be!
So, was it really that bad? Not really, I would do it again. Jumping out of the plane does not feel frightening because my mind just couldn’t process what was happening – how often do we jump out of moving vehicles, particularly those 12,000 ft in the air? My mind just couldn’t register what was about to happen. However, prior to the jump I was uncomfortable, apprehensive, OK, and petrified. Hey, the anticipation of facing the unknown and the idea of conquering this daring adventure was a little unnerving. I also questioned my sanity: “What the heck is wrong with me… Why do I need to jump out of plane, again?!!!!!!!!”
Why was I scared? I was about to break out of the dome. The ideas, thoughts, opinions, and perspectives were scary. I kept repeating to myself and others, “I’m not the type of person who goes skydiving, I prefer calming and soothing activities, like yoga… I’m terrified of heights, I’d never be able to accomplish this, etc..” And I began to believe all of it. In reality, I actually knew very little about skydiving, but somehow I had already decided that it wasn’t for me. It was only something I had seen on TV, but never paid much attention to. So, let’s try to breakdown the fear:
The idea of jumping out of a plane- imagine it in your head? Humans don’t have wings (unless you drink Redbull). The visual of jumping out of a moving vehicle, from 12,000ft in the sky is scary because we’re supposed to feel earth beneath our feet. Because it is so scary-looking, the thoughts that run through my head are ones that validate the idea that this could kill me. Then, a friend asked me, “Esha, what if a bird pops your parachute? This is not for you!” My friends know exactly what to say to comfort me. Now, their opinions were based on their thoughts and ideas of skydiving because they had never actually done it themselves. They were perspectives.
I was terrified, but who wouldn’t be? As I drove to work that day, my eyes became a little moist as I said drove past a park where I played in my childhood – “I may never come back!” I thought. (This experience brought out a more sentimental and perhaps dramatic side in me)
It wasn’t easy to get myself on the plane, but once I was there, there was no turning back.
I did it! You know, it was actually not that bad at all. I felt glad that I kept my commitment and followed through by rejecting the limitations.
The world now looked like this, I had given myself a little more space to explore:
Example #2: A few months later, as I walked into the gates of an amusement park with friends, voices in my mind repeated, “I hate rollercoasters. Rollercoasters are scary and dangerous. Stay away from the rollercoasters.” I’d heard many stories of accidents – belts failing, old equipment giving up, etc. My friends said to me, “Esha, if you can jump out of a plane, this should be easy, no?” So, I joined them and waited in line, for all three of the rollercoasters there. And, I survived them all.
Now, my world looked like this:
Example #3: For years and years, I was told that India was not a safe place to travel alone, especially for females and, that the food would make me ill. I really wanted to go; however, these images became fears in my mind – “I can’t go to India because I will become ill and possibly be kidnapped. I’m not the type of person who takes risks like this. I am content traveling somewhere more safe.”
Recently, I met someone sporting a bright-coloured suit and top hat at an event. In a more conservative city like Ottawa, he really stood out, I had to get to know him. Turns-out he was visiting from San Francisco. We immediately connected – his appreciation for creativity and doing things differently was obvious. We exchanged experiences, knowledge, and stories including this study he shared with me: A divider was placed in a fish tank, giving the fish access to only half of the tank. The fish would swim within the area that was available to it. After some time, the divider was removed. However, the fish remained in the same half of the tank that it was used to. It never crossed to the area where the divider once stood.
Upon an inspiring exchange of ideas and thoughts over tea with this extraordinary character, I went back to my office and booked my flight to India. I departed in two weeks and returned alive, although with serious food poisoning I would be OK soon and my life had forever changed. India was absolutely magical – the people, the history, the art, the vibrant colours, and architecture – breath-taking.
My world now looked like this:
Example #4: About a year ago, I was preparing to celebrate my third-anniversary working at a large company, the job I had started after university. For my age, I had become very “successful” as many old schoolmates, friends, professors, parents, and other family members would say. But, why didn’t I feel “successful”?
After school, I started applying for jobs because that’s what most people do after school. Originally, I only chose to study business to be better equipped to start my own business. I let myself forget that based on what I was seeing around me. The idea of applying for jobs and working with a stable income brought me more certainly and ease and it allowed me to “fit in”.
Three years at my job just flew by. As I was telling a special entrepreneurial friend about my upcoming anniversary, instead of congratulating me, he said, “Esha, just quit that stupid job already.” Forward and rude, but exactly what I needed, a reminder that I was letting limiting thoughts make my decisions, thoughts such as, “I am not as open to risk as I thought, I’m just not brave enough.” or “I have failed as a business owner before, I will fail again.” I finally quit my job (no 3-year anniversary cake for me) and this is what happened to the dome after I realized that my lungs would still have access to oxygen after I made this decision:
We create a dome around us and allow others to ensure we keep it snug and air-tight. It acts as a barrier, blocking-off threats but also opportunities that may offer developments and improvements. These limitations are set based on excuses that we create to avoid discomfort that may challenge us. Of course challenges are not easy, people who encourage you to push yourself further are a key ingredient – I am thankful for the people who have been there to give me a little push when I needed it.
As we face new challenges, the domes around us continue to grow, allowing us to experience new things; however, the white space around it also seems to grow – how far do you want to go?
On a separate note, the next time I see you, remind me to tell you about the bandages on my hands in this picture:
Esha Abrol © September 2013
I was in Argentina, on my way to the Gualeguaychú Carnival with my dear friend, Ketevan. We managed to find the right bus and now heading to Gualeguaychú from Buenos Aires. It was around 11PM, as we were passing the country-side, I looked up from the window. The stars were beautiful, like I have never seen. Immediately I pulled out my iPhone to try to capture the beauty in a photo… this is how it turned out:
I took another one, same results.
The sky, clear of light pollution, twinkled. The shiniest stars were the ones that make up the constellation of Orion, the seven main stars were very bright. As I stared, a shooting star flew by.
The reason we pull-out our cameras to capture such moments? I would say, because these moments move us, capturing the visual may help us capture the emotions felt at the time and share with others too. What if the picture doesn’t turn-out, or you forgot your camera at home? How about observing each detail to be able to take a mental picture! So, I just stared… well, into space…
It looked like sparkles on a black blanket or fireflies stuck in the sky. There were millions of them. Each dot illuminated a radius of about an inch surrounding it. The visual of the contrast of luminance to dark was what made it so capturing. The inconsistency of the amount of light and twinkle each star gave-off, gave the sky character and mystery, telling us that the limit is unknown and there is more than we can see with our eyes. Every time a car drove by, the lights from the headlights would hide the some stars, mostly the smaller ones, the ones farther away. Although they would be hiding, I knew they were there.
OK, so what’s my point? This is not just meant to be an attempt at poetry
While I’m staring into space and journaling, I am now realizing, we were not sure if we were even on the right bus or which stop to get off at. And, we could not communicate with anyone on the bus because of the language barrier. At this point, it was almost 1:00 A.M., the carnival was supposed to start around 12:00 A.M. I wasn’t worried though, counting the stars kept me calm, without me even realizing it. Similar to a tough yoga class, as attention to the breathe makes the poses more bare-able and keeps the mind from wandering. I was focused on something more positive.
I realized, I’ve never found undisturbed tranquility from the stars before. Perhaps if I was home in this same situation: uncertain of which bus I was on, with people who I couldn’t communicate with, and with no idea where I was in the middle of the night, my reactions may have been different.
While on vacation, the dots in the sky may be more clear and appreciable. Now, imagine being in such a state while working, brainstorming new ideas, and in our everyday lives.
Rather than just remembering the visual, I took note of the emotions evoked. How I felt: Inspired, happy, pensive, philosophical, curious, intrigued, and fortunate. OK, the nerdy side of me made me wish I had an encyclopedia on space with me, so I could look-up everything I saw. Feelings and thoughts were anything but stressed or worried. What good would such thoughts have done, anyway? What good do such negative thoughts ever have?
“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” – Richard Carlson
A reflection question for you: Relating this experience to accomplishments, how would changing our perspectives based on the positives around us, better support us in achieving our goals?
By the way, we did make it to the Carnival; however, how we got there and returned back to Buenos Aires is a story I’ll tell you in person as I would need to use a lot of hand gestures and facial expressions.
Esha Abrol © June 26, 2013
Introducing Oscars for Brands…
Just a few weeks ago, for fun and in hopes of improving my presentation skills, I enrolled in acting classes.
I wanted to talk a bit about my first class. No different from any “first class”, we started with an introduction-round. We all shared our story, explaining what brought us in that room. There was a high-level of openness. With some corporate background, I’ve attended countless meetings and presentation. Comparing the emotions exhibited in class to a business meeting would be like comparing blowing your nose with Kleenex (the extra soft kind) vs. sandpaper. I realized that I’ve been quite unkind to my nose. Sorry, weird analogy, but I felt it created strong imagery (the reason for my apology).
After the intros, we got right into it. We were given a short dialogue. With a partner, we were given a minute to prepare a scenario, then rehearse the lines, act it out in-front of the camera, with the bright lights shining in our faces, the rest of the class crowded around the TV screen watching our every move, and the teachers providing very direct feedback, challenging us to show more emotions without over-acting.
Five words to describe the scenario? Un.com.fort.a.ble. We naturally resist everything involved in acting! Even with the butterflies in the stomach, it’s crucial to keep important details in mind, such as:
1) Connecting with your co-actors, demonstrating generosity by delivering your lines with full sincerity even if they are in the spotlight, allowing them to work with you to give their best performance
2) Working with the emotions you are feeling at the moment rather than pretending
3) Catch and toss: matching the emotions and tone of your co-actors
4) Avoiding our distracting quirks that we unconsciously do to “hide”, ex. tilting of head, raising eyebrows, forgetting to breath (apparently acting is 90% breathing). Afterall, we all go watch the flicks to see the awkward moments and uncomfortable emotions we are shy to emote in real life
5) The list goes on…
Although this was unfamiliar territory, I was able to find some comfort. As a marketing professional, I got to appreciate that branding and film-making were more alike than I had realized. Both should tell a story. Both should evoke emotions. In the case of acting, we are the product, we are the brand. Common elements in evoking emotions include: facial expressions, words, environment, gestures, tone of voice, and colours.
Sell your products with the Oscar in mind
Film-making means story-telling, expressing raw feeling, without hiding anything.
Think about your own experiences with adverting as a consumer. Are there any commercials that you would actually watch rather than fast-forwarding through? Do you follow any company’s Facebook fan pages? Do you show preference over brands in the garbage bag aisle at the grocery store.
Odds are these brands are not just companies, but personalities. These personalities show us the value of their products and services through a truthful story. If we can relate to the story and personality, we will be moved in some way and build connection with this brand. With an established connection, we are more likely to pick their products over competitors when we are overwhelmed with options.
Marketing has come a long way, just over the past few years. Today, as consumers we are given a choice on whether or not we will engage in conversation with brands, we can share stories that move is in seconds, and we can better educate ourselves on products and services within minutes.
BrandsRole is an initiative that I founded with the hopes of helping companies of all sizes share their stories. At BrandsRole we are always eager to seek and share inspiration through the power of story-telling.
Please contact me or see the BrandsRole website for more info: www.BrandsRole.ca
-Esha Abrol, Director of Seeking and Sharing Inspiration, BrandsRole
BrandsRole © June 2013
A few days ago, I was chatting with a brilliant university student who is still exploring possible career paths (no different from most students). He asked me “which area of business do you think would be best for me?” This question triggered some reflection. I shared the story below and asked him to think about something we’re all guilty of, what I call: the decision-validation process.
Career decisions can be life-altering. Not to mention anxiety-causing. These important decisions often come with a tight deadline. Action is required.
A common action is to contact friends, contacts met at networking events, old co-workers, and family members. Upon telling them about the choices that lay before us in a particular situation, they may respond by sharing, “what they would do.” But do we already have some idea what they will say? The student I was talking to knew that I was extremely passionate about entrepreneurship. I’m quite sure he didn’t expect me to recommend a stable 9-5 job, where he is given set boundaries and limitations. When I suggested he consider starting his own business, his eyes lit-up.
Let me provide an example of the decision-validation process: While I was in university, I was offered a summer intern with the federal government. Everyone in my program wanted a summer intern with the government. It meant I would, most likely, be able to secure a government job upon graduation.
This placement was about a one-hour commute, I would have to be up at 4:30 A.M. to make it on time. (I was around 20-years-old – at that age, I wasn’t a morning person. ) The pay was not great and the work itself didn’t seem all that exciting, so I wouldn’t be able to save much or gain much tacit knowledge.
My parents suggested I pass it up, but the interviewer, my potential future manager, was very persuasive – he said that if he was me, he would take this job.
I didn’t know what to do.
I asked a friend for his opinion. I explained that I would have to be up at 4:30 A.M., then have to bus to the other end of the city and to do boring work for the next four months. I asked him what he would do. He was still in shock that a 4:30 in the morning existed. He said he would never do it. And he also said, “You knew what I would say.” He suggested I only asked him because I knew he wasn’t a morning person and that he would never even even consider such an offer. He was right. I obviously didn’t want the job or to secure a government job. I needed people to endorse me in my decision. I did end-up turning down the offer and never looked back or regretted it.
Being open to other’s perspectives and new opportunities is valuable, but ensuring the decisions made are yours, in the long run, will prove to be more rewarding and fulfilling. We often look to others to validate our opinions to make decisions. Why? Perhaps to avoid making mistakes by considering every single perspective, trusting others’ judgments more than our own, remove pressure from our own plates – it’s not as nerve-wrecking to make a decision for someone else. Making a decision can be stressful and difficult, but who knows your objectives, goals, strengths, weaknesses, and what you enjoy and find insufferable better than you?
Copyright © Esha Abrol. Canada. April 2013.
Check-out a friend, Kevetan’s blog, Because, for a guest post I did in January titled “The path to bliss though entrepreneurship”
Please kick me if you ever hear me say: “I’m too busy!”
The other day, I caught myself complaining about my schedule, which has been more full than usual lately. Instead if complaining and raising anxiety levels, I should have used my time crafting a better management plan for my time, removing waste and items with little ROI.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people telling me, “I’m too busy…”. I’ve always said, telling people (complaining about) how busy you are is a fantastic way to market yourself as a poor time manager. Why would you want to do that? And what exactly do you do with your time that blocks you from sparing 15 minutes of your time? I would hope that they actually mean that they are just not interested in the proposed project/request because they have other priorities and commitments.
When I meet new people and get asked that same exciting question; “where do you work?” (A question I very much despise – try replacing this with: “How do you spend most of your time?”), I usually respond: I don’t work, but this is how I spend my time…. Often people ask me how I’m able to get so much done. I wanted to share “my secrets”, which unfortunately aren’t actually secrets at all…
An e-mail exchange with a dear friend and fellow entrepreneur a couple of weeks ago got me thinking about the difference between staying focused and poor time management skills. I told this person that I would not be able to attend an upcoming networking event he invited me to because I was unable to draw the line between my business objectives and my time spent at the event. I told him that my main focus currently was: focus! He said he was concerned about my schedule being too busy. I explained to him my priorities based on my business objectives and he then was able to appreciate my declining the invitation. He appreciated how I respected my own time and others’ time and how this positions me better to reach my targets.
When I was a student, a mentor and I had a discussion on time management. He told me, “Esha, if you want something to get done, ask a busy person”. Honoring multiple commitments requires prioritizing, focus, and a strong grasp of your strengths and weaknesses. A busy person should have all of these mastered and knows how to get things done!
I recently was telling someone that I practice meditative activities daily. She said: “Wow, I wish I had the time to do that, you’re so lucky.”
In reality, she choices not to make time for meditation… she also implies I have all the time in the world, when in reality, she probably has more free-time than me. She wishes she had time to meditate, but doesn’t take action to make it happen. Perhaps she doesn’t need to, she doesn’t realize the benefits it could have in her life, or she’s just slothful. We have the ability to choose how we spend our time. We can make time for anything, if we really wanted to. But the moral of this story is: we need to align our high-level objectives with our actions. Currently my top two objectives are (without going into detail): business growth (sales) for my start-up and being happy. To help me achieve my objectives, some of tactics involve: measuring monetary ROI on all business events I attend, investing in personal health (meditation, diet, weird hobbies to diversify my interests, surround myself with good, like-minded people) to be in top-form for my business and happy/satisfied overall.
Let’s get started. Let’s look at how we can all start managing our time better to achieve anything we want.
#1 Make two columns on a piece of paper. List what you do on a daily basis in the first column, the activities that take up most of your time. In the second column, list the outcome (your return).
#2 Define your goals, short-term (something you want to achieve over the next two years), and long-term (2-10 years). When setting goals, be ambitious, keep your standards high, but be realistic. Most importantly, ensure that you goals are aligned with your objectives. Ask yourself, why do I want to achieve this? Will achieve x make me happy five years from now?
In my office, I have a reminder, nothing fancy:
If you don’t know what your goals are, how will you achieve them?
N = _x_ ( x is the length of time you need to achieve your goal)
#3 Most people stop there. This has been one of my mistakes. When I was younger, I set many ambitious goals for myself, many would be impressed when I talked about them, this made me feel like I was on the right track. I thought that my life would magically follow some invisible path that would guide me to achieving my goals. I forgot to construct the path. I sometimes still fail at this, for example, as silly as this sounds, I have overlooked scheduling eating lunch in my schedule, which has adversely impacted productivity and overall happiness.
The path is your plan. Of course things won’t go perfectly as planned and it’s important to remain open to new opportunities. The HOW is the most important piece to this process, it’s the most challenging and a step that most people don’t think about. It’s especially important if you’re like me, I’m a typical entrepreneur – see opportunities everywhere, a creative mind, and some ADHD issues. For those that work 9-5 jobs, it’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day activities; we get stuck in a rut and don’t even realize it. I found the only way to get out of it was to quit my 9-5 job – it was too much of a distraction. Another challenge is, we may keep moving on from one thing to the next without getting much done.
Go back to the sheet of paper from step 1, list the tasks you should be doing to get to your goal – break-down the big stuff into small pieces. (Feel free to e-mail me for more info on this).
#4 Prioritize and set time commitments for each activity that will lead you to your goals. The amount of time we put into something does not necessarily reflect the outcome. The trick is to work smarter. Multi-tasking is not the answer; it’s actually been proven to be counter-productive. The first step in improving time management is looking into how we spend our time, and the outcome of our input. Then, re-organizing how we spend our time using a daily scheduling system that will allow you to evaluate the ROI on each commitment and a to-do list.
How to measure ROI? ROI or return on investment is the return from the time you invest. The return will be aligned with your goals and ultimately your objectives. It does not necessary have to be monetary return, it can be anything from “achieving a clear, calm mind”, “strengthening your relationship with your sister” – it depends on your objectives and goals. Go back to the piece of paper you’ve marked you goals down on and list the necessary outcomes of your activities. Then be able to evaluate on a scale of 1-10 the impact of each item – this will help you prioritize.
#5 Stay focused. This is not easy! Reaching new places requires you to develop new habits, which it can be as difficult as quitting smoking. It’s easy to modify your path, but you need to accept you will not fulfill your objectives without action and hard work. There are no other secrets other than discipline.
#6 Diversify your interests or more commonly recognized as keep a “work-life balance”. I would recommend participating in unique activities to keep a balance and diversify your interests and how you use your brain power. Time spent away from your goals can allow you develop new skills and perspectives to achieve more. For example, I recently picked up Argentine Tango, ballroom dance, photography, and horse-back riding – these activities involve me to wake-up a side of my brain that doesn’t get to be used as often in the office, meet new types of people, give me new perspectives, learn more about my own strengths and weaknesses, and keep stress/anxiety levels in control.
#7 Reflect. I know some people who journal every day. I set aside time at the beginning of the day, every day to reflect on the day before, be thankful for another opportunity to carpe diem and reflect on how I can make this day better. I also look at my productivity at the end of each week which dictates how I spend my week-ends (a busy week = relaxing, work-free week-end, a less busy week = a busy week-end!).
#8 Update your plan. This step is based on your feelings during your reflection. this entire self-improvement exercise can offer many new opportunities. As a result, you’ll be able to better your plan and position yourself in a positive place surrounded by good things (as cheesy as that may sound) – at this point, it’s important to be open and adaptable. Being too rigid in following your plan can easily result in missing out on seeing opportunities presented to you. I find the biggest challenge finding the balance between focus and evaluating different opportunities that are presented to me on a daily basis. That’s what makes this so fascinating, this process requires constant experimenting and dedication to find the most healthy recipe for your mind and soul.
This may look overly comprehensive and a little overwhelming the first time you look at it, but these are just guidelines – develop your own list, one that works for you. Let me know how it goes!
Until next time, cheers, Esha
Copyright © Esha Abrol. Canada. November 2012
There are a few techniques to manage foreign exchange rate risks. Such techniques include: exposure netting, money market hedge, domestic pricing, price adjustments, and forward contracts. Let’s explore them more.
Exposure netting involves a company utilizing the same currency for payables and receivables. The net amount of payables should match the amount of receivables.
For example, a Canadian company exporting to France will receive payment in Euros and also make payments for imports from a market that uses Euros. So, this may require the company to set-up suppliers in a country where Euros are used, if they don’t already.
The risks of currency fluctuation is removed because currency would not need to be converted, it would require the company to set-up a bank account in the foreign market, allowing the company to make transactions with the foreign currency. This is a strategy that is ideal of larger organizations as it can mean setting up suppliers in a new market (to be able to make payments in the same currency), if they don’t already. It would also require careful attention as the payables and receivables amounts require to be equal in order for this method to be effective.
Another method is called: Money market hedge. If a company was unable to set-up suppliers to match the payables to receivables, the company could take out a loan in foreign currency. The loan should be in the amount of the expected sales in the same currency. This is a technique that companies with the ability to borrow can benefit from.
Domestic Pricing is a relatively easy method as it simply involves the exporter to charge in their own currency, completely eliminating the step of converting currencies. However, this approach forces the customer to carry the risks of currency fluctuations, so not ideal.
Price adjustment requires the exporter to think about possible currency risks when developing their pricing strategy. The pricing will be slightly inflated in order to mitigate risks of additional costs of currency conversations. The risk is over-pricing compared to competitors and or not being able to cover all the costs of the currency fluctuations should economic conditions become unstable.
A forward contract is one of the most common strategies. A forward contract allows an exporter to set a pre-determined future currency rate. This contract is made with a commercial bank, wherein the exporter commits to selling a currency at the rate set. This strategy eliminates the uncertainty of future rates, helping minimize costly risks of fluctuations. However, this also doesn’t allow the exporter to benefit should there be favorable movements in currency rates. Future contracts are similar to forward rates, but they trade within markets instead. Also, much like stock options foreign currency options are also a possible method.
Copyright © Esha Abrol. Canada. November 2012