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How policy makers can predict the economic future and strive to make better policies for their countries

Policy makers who are concerned about expanding the economies of their countries should have the ability to predict the economic future of their country . This does not mean that they should do this from the back of their minds without analyzing and looking at certain facts and working with accurate or factual statistical data. In short, this requires some critical analysis to be undertaken looking at some very important aspects of the economy before predicting the country’s future and subsequently making policies based on sound analysis and judgement. This can be achieved using the Country Analysis Tool. The Harvard Business School developed a very good and effective analysis tool which is a four-step process that attempts to organize all available and factual economic, social, political, and geographic data primarily for strategic development.

Step 1

Analyzing the Country’s past performance
The first step involves policy makers analyzing all available and factual measures measures, such as the exchange rates, GNP, inflation, employment, investment, consumption, population growth, education level just to mention a few.

Step 2

Identifying the Country’s Strategy
Once step 1 is completed, that is analyzing the past performance, policy makers should strive to identify the main goals of the country’s government and this should most importantly be linked to productivity of the specific country’s economy and the fiscal, monetary, trade, and social policies.

Step 3

Analyzing the Country’s Context
Upon completing step 2, the policy makers should then engage step 3 by evaluating the “basic facts” about their country such as several physical indicators bordering on size, population and geography then political indicators covering the aspects of government type, stability, corruption and international indicators in line with trade advantages and competitiveness. Always important to narrow down things to the specific context of their country.

Step 4

Making a Prediction about the Country
With the 3 steps above completed, policy makers should be able to combine all important information and make a prediction or predictions based on the facts gathered so far.

The Country Analysis tool or process is a multi-purpose tool which if followed or used properly,  provides the best way to sort out all the various segments of economic data that are available on a specific nation. Using this analysis tool gives policy makers rest assurance that the policies will be sound and provides them with the framework for proper strategies in policy formulation.


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Differentiating marketing and sales

Marketing and sales are one of the most important components or elements any business needs to survive in the market. Much as both are dependent on each other, many people confuse marketing with sales and vice-versa which is not supposed to be the case. Marketing involves designing a product according to the needs of the market and customers, promoting the product through advertising etc. and setting up a competitive price for the product. Marketing is a platform which drives sales. While on the other hand the sales process is what you do to successfully sell a product and fetch a contract. Sales and marketing together is a part of selling and one cannot do without the other. They can also be called activities. The success of a business is critical to the success of these two important activities.

Marketing is the backbone of a company’s future and launching pad for the sales. While the marketing process encompasses the design of the product, advertising etc. the sales process is the execution of all the efforts which involves direct interaction with client either by in-person meeting or cold calls or by networking. But there is always an ongoing rivalry between the two, one claiming dominance over other. The marketing people say they have an upper hand because they think it is they who designs the products, lays down the strategy and also develops tools essential for sales. It is said that sales are the outcome of marketing and thus should follow its directions. The sales people might not agree to this view and may be completely opposite in their opinion. They think that it is the sales people who actually sell a product and bring money to the business.

However, many experts believe that marketing should play a pivotal role among the two. A successful marketing campaign makes sales easy and makes people believe that it is actually the sales people who are the dominant leaders. The most important role of marketing department is to create opportunities for the sales department. Marketing drives sales and sales drives companies’ success. Marketing is like a life support for sales, one who is constantly backing up the sales department and enabling them to successfully deliver the end product. There shouldn’t be a race to gain supremacy over another department but a race to win the market and customers working together.

Many businesses combine sales and marketing but in reality they have different targets. While the sales department is interested in fulfilling the requirements of what the customer asked for, the marketing department is actually busy studying what the market demands. The goal of the marketing department is to foresee how the market will shape up in future. They should envision their product catering to the needs of the market for next few years and be ready to make design changes in their product accordingly.

It is very important that a company integrates their sales and marketing department/s in a well fashioned manner. It is the correct integration of these two important entities that fuels the growth of a company. The sales people should not be merely treated as the cash collectors. Each department has its own role and should go hand in hand in selling the product of the company and should be the most important aspect.

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JBSims Updates its privacy policy in line with GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect tomorrow 25th May 2018 and June 25, 2018 for all the other regions or the rest of the world. This is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. You may ask why JBSims should bother to update its privacy policy in line with this regulation in EU law? Well, the answer is simple and it will interest you to note that the regulation also affects those organizations outside the EU that collect or process personal data of individuals located inside the EU. In short, it covers the export of personal data outside the EU. This can be anything from a name, a home address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, computer IP address and/or medical information. JBSims deals with individuals inside the the EU hence the update to its privacy policy. This new regulation repeals or replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive.

You are rest assured that your personal data is protected with JBSims Consultancy in line with the GDPR.

Please click on privacy policy above to view the JBSims updated privacy policy.



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Characteristics of Visionary Entrepreneurs

You may ask a question as in what it really takes to be an entrepreneur?. Further, you may also ask what it takes to be that kind of a truly visionary entrepreneur who has an idea that really shifts paradigms and changes the world for the better?.

Well, suffice to say that the answer/s will depend on who you ask. Whatever the answers maybe, here are a few things that most people will definitely agree as being relatively important when it comes to being a visionary entrepreneur.

Fearless – Risk is always involved when launching a new idea/venture. Even if that idea doesn’t involve financial risk, you’re still putting yourself on the line and there’s still a chance that your idea won’t sell or that it will be laughed at. You need a thick skin and you need to be willing to fail.

Resilient – Very important than the willingness to fail, is the willingness to get back up again when you do. Almost every successful entrepreneur will fail multiple times before they eventually succeed and this is because they keep on trying and trying and eventually they succeed. Its worth noting that you only need to succeed once.

Inventive/Innovative – An entrepreneur needs to be inventive as well as innovative. They need to be able to spot opportunities and come up with new ideas that others miss or are not fully taking advantage of. This is something that you may have been born with or may not have been born with to some extent, but there are certainly things you can do to encourage yourself to get more creative in your thinking.

Old – This is a good one and please pay attention. You don’t necessarily need to be old to be a successful entrepreneur. The point to be taken home here is that that you don’t need a specific age to be a successful entrepreneur but it is also worth noting that some of the most successful businesses are/were started by people in their 40s or older, for example KFC. So, don’t count yourself out of the race just because you are or you are not in your twenties, thirties or forties! You still have the time to succeed in your entrepreneurial venture/s.

Team Players – One misunderstood thing is that entrepreneurs are not team players and that they act alone/solo. In reality and the truth is that entrepreneurs almost always surround themselves with strong teams and credit this with some of their success. They do appreciate and acknowledge those that mentored them and assisted them on their start up journeys.

Passionate – This may as well be the most important characteristic of all that an entrepreneur needs to be passionate. If you don’t believe in your product or service, if you don’t feel incredibly excited about it, then you won’t have enough drive to see it through to completion. Moreover, you won’t be able to win over other people and get them excited about or for it. It is said that excitement is contagious, therefore, don’t carry on doing something that you find or is perceived to be dull and/or uninteresting.

I would like to state for the record that I do not think or consider myself better than anyone or others.  I have also made mistakes as well as failed at some point/s on my journey in business which I have learnt from and for that reason am validating the characteristics mentioned above especially the willingness of failing and willingness of getting back up after failing. That also gives me a better position to advise you on this so that you can avoid the mistakes or flaws that can potentially have a negative impact on your business and jump start you to a better start of your prospective business or smooth continuity of your already existing business venture/s.

Please visit the JBSims Online Shop by clicking shop on the menu above on my website to buy yourself the best of eBooks to reshape your mind and give you the best of insights at affordable prices. Wish you all the best in your businesses or would be/prospective business ventures!

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Competition on Global Markets

Business among and between Nations of the world has grown significantly in the 21st century. There has been a remarkable increase in the exchange of goods and services across international borders. A question may arise as to why countries trade. Mostly, when local/domestic markets become matured or fully developed, the volume of sales reduces or slows down  thereby making companies to explore opportunities of doing business in/with other countries. Global trade is important to a country and the businesses in that country as it creates opportunities for the economy to grow through provision of a market for its products, services and accessibility to the needed resources. Companies are thus availed opportunities to expand their business outside their countries and increase their productivity as well as developing world-class distribution channels/systems. Further, there is reduced dependency on the economies of their own countries.

A numbers of factors influence decisions to trade globally such as price, availability, capital, natural resources, quality of labor, innovation in entrepreneurship and technological advancements. These make up the basic factors of production in a foreign/overseas/distant/outside country. Global trade allows companies to broaden or spread their risk due to the fact that different countries may or are usually at different stages of economic cycles or development stages.

A limited number of countries/nations can effectively and efficiently produce ALL the goods and services their populations or people need. Absolute and Comparative Advantage come to play as a result of that. Global trade provides countries with a means to meet demand in their country.

A country has an Absolute Advantage in making a product for which it can maintain a monopoly or that it can produce at a lower cost compared to any other competition or country. It is worth noting that this type of Advantage (Absolute) is rare in most countries in the 21st century. However, some countries or nations do have to some great extent a better management of the absolute advantage in some products such as oil. This being the case and due to the fact that geographically, majority of the oil deposits are in the  Middle East countries, the countries in this location with oil deposits have more control over oil products and this can sometimes create an opportunity to overprice to make more money.

A Country has a Comparative Advantage in a product if it can supply it more efficiently and at a lower price than it can supply other goods compared to the outputs of other countries. China is one such example of a country in the production of furniture and Japan in electronics though countries such as South Korea, China and Taiwan are closing in on Japan in my opinion.

Coming to my home country Zambia, the nation does have some comparative advantage in some agricultural products such as Maize, Wheat and Soya Beans. Much as these commodities/products can not compete fully on the global market, within the region, especially Southern Africa, Zambia does have Comparative Advantage in these commodities.

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Significance of effective communication in business

I have been to different companies and/or organizations around the world and have seen the direct or indirect negative impact of ineffective communication on me as a client or just an ordinary person interacting with that organization or its employees/people. In an organization, bad or poor communication reduces productivity and profitability, paves way for low employee morale as well as misconceptions which ultimately negatively affects the clients to a point that that they may choose to leave. I have seen and felt the negative impact of bad or poor communication and it is not good for business at all.

Communication in simpler terms is the act of transferring information from one place/point to another. It is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. It is a way of sending or receiving information. It is complex when it comes to how important communication is in/to an organization or in business. From an organizational or business perspective, communication is not conveyance of the message and it does not imply the message itself. It is correlative of reciprocity in understanding starting with the receiver. Communication must be effective in an organization as it is the nub of management. Primary functions of management are to control, direct, organize, plan and recruit etc.  and these cannot be executed properly in the absence of effective communication. Effective communication involves constant and consistent flow of information in an organization. Feedback which is an effective way to evaluate organizational performance is an inherent aspect of communication in an organization as it involves many people at different/various levels of hierarchy in an organization and plays a very vital role in the process of controlling and directing the people of/in an organization. Immediate and timely feedback can be obtained and this helps in avoiding misunderstandings that would potentially arise. There should be effective communication between those that delegate and those that are delegated to in an organization as well as between the organization and customers and/or people in general. This is viatal for the success and growth of a business and/or organization. Gaps in communication within and outside the organization should be avoided always. In an organization, communication aims at achieving specific goals and objectives. The rules, regulations and policies of a company or organization must be effectively communicated to people within and outside the organization. With the advent of technology, we have mobile phones, video conferencing, emails, and satellite communication to mention just a few as a means of supporting the flow of information within and outside an organization. Effective communication also aids employee motivation by informing and clarifying the task/s delegated to them by their superiors and the procedure/s or way/s it should or is expected to be done or carried out.  Employee/individual attitudes can be reshaped through effective communication as informed individuals will have a good attitude compared to those who are less-informed or not informed at all. Organizational magazines, journals, meetings and other various forms of oral and written communication help in shaping employee’s attitudes. Effective communication also helps in building the goodwill of an organization and will ultimately impact positively on customer satisfaction!.


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Dark side of consumer behavior vs marketing

What is the dark side of consumer behaviour? What are the effects of the challenges on businesses faced every day because of the dark side of consumer behaviour?. How can these challenges be addressed?

In modern times, the greater need for businesses to sell goods and services at all costs has brought about some serious effects on how consumers purchase and consume the various goods and services on offer by various businesses. The dark side of consumer behaviour deals with aspects of impulsive and compulsive consumer behaviour and how that affects the purchase and consumption of goods and services on the market. Impulsive behaviour means acting or doing something without forethought or considering the consequences while compulsive behaviour means performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure. Marketing ethics are basic principles and values that govern the business practises of those engaged in promoting goods and services to consumers. Ethics is a very contentious subject because everyone has subjective judgements or their own views about what is “right” and what is “wrong”. Marketing plays a critical role when it comes to the dark side of consumer behaviour and this is either directly or indirectly.

Consumers are affected by both internal and external factors of impulse buying.  Since impulse buying behaviour is stimulus driven, increased exposure to certain external stimuli or marketing tactics increases the likelihood of impulsively purchasing or consuming of goods and services. The fact of the matter is that one’s unconscious mind is often driving his or her behaviour as a consumer usually under the influence of evolutionary drives and tactics of marketers or promoters. It is easy to feel compelled to buy something that later doesn’t make sense in your life. The love of shopping proves the simplest explanation that some people just derive great pleasure from acquiring something new.  The act of buying to them is an act of empowerment that may be felt all too rarely in other aspects of their lives.

Marketers have learnt that consumers are very susceptible to the loss aversion switch. Loss aversion is a term that describes our innate concern to avoid feeling bad in future. Normally this affects consumer decisions and most consumers find themselves with questions as to whether they would feel bad if they bought a specific item and did not have money for something else. But when marketers add in a discount to the consumer or the consumer assumes the product won’t last forever and their unconscious mind switches to the fear that they will miss out on the deal, most consumers will definitely go for the product.

Most shopping is too tiresome and time-consuming to carry out with conscious attention. Imagine if every item/service you intended to buy was cross-referenced with every other available item/service on the market, as a consumer, you would need to look at price, product composition, reviews and maybe even the quality of customer service supporting it.  Even if you could find all the information in comparable formats it would take you hours jut to buy that one item.  So instead consumers use heuristics, which are unconsciously held rules of thumb that help make quick decisions that they may have learned as to work out well generally. Marketers and promoters take advantage of this by packaging up products as bulk buys, or they include the so-called “free” extra or the buy one get one free. The consumer gets the impression that it must be good value, and they go with this feeling instead of researching any further.

The desire to save, a susceptibility to value and apparent discounts is not just down to the loss aversion switch as many consumers have the desire to save. Marketers play on this by telling consumers how much they could save by buying and using their product. Consumers routinely delude themselves by believing they are better than average drivers, better than average parents but clearly, they can’t all be right. This objectivity is an elusive virtue. Rather than look back and reflect on their past actions with anything approaching a balanced score card, most consumers look to the future with an idealized view of what it might be like and marketers take advantage of this to influence the consumer purchase decisions.

Compulsive buying mainly deals with addictions or is often associated with certain disorders. But whatever the case markers take advantage of such in the name of “to have is to be” or “we are what we eat”, “we are what we drive” or “we are what we wear’ etc.

All these factors about consumers are very well-known to marketers and work in their favour but tied to ethics, they present a challenge as to how marketers/businesses should promote their products/services and from what perspective. This consumer behaviour can even create opportunities for business to sell substandard or even expired products as well as compromise on the quality of goods and services. Yet businesses want to sell their goods and services but also face challenges on how they can take advantage of this behaviour without being involved in unethical practices.

 In view of all these important factors, it is better for consumers to take time and at least understand what influences their purchases and consumption of goods and services rather than just going by what everyone is doing. Businesses/marketers should also take into account what the dark side of consumer behaviour involves but strive to stick to their corporate social responsibilities, quality assurance pledges and efficiency as well as effectiveness in delivery of their goods and services to the consumers without taking undue advantage of consumers by engaging in some unethical practices that may be concealed due to the dark side of consumer behaviour.


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Creating business opportunities from problems or voids

If any opportunity comes my way, I will grab it. I have heard a lot of people say that. Others say they are unfortunate or disadvantaged and they can’t do anything about their situations in life. Many people wait for an opportunity to come their way and even when one does come, very few are able to recognize it not to talk of seizing it. Much as opportunities may or will come our way at one point which cannot be guaranteed, we have no control with the aspect of when that will be or when an opportunity will come our way from whatever perspective we are thinking of it or expecting it. Granted that opportunities may come our way at some point, what if we created them instead of waiting for them? What really constitutes an opportunity coming our way? Can an opportunity come our way or present itself without us noticing? These are some important questions we do well to ask ourselves especially when we are considering entrepreneurship or starting our own businesses.  Most of the time as we interact with both people and systems, we face one problem or the other from time to time. We either feel something is missing or is not being done in the manner or way it should.  The problems we face or voids we encounter are best scenarios to create opportunities and when you critically think about it, you will realize that those problems or voids are actually opportunities themselves. Think of how frustrated you may be about a problem or void and ask yourself the what if questions. What if I had a better way of doing this? What if I come up with a solution or solutions to mitigate these problems or voids? What if I came up with a method or system which can better handle such problems or voids? What if I set up my own business which can bridge the gap between what existing manufacturers, suppliers or service providers are offering and what the customer/s really need and want? As you slowly start answering these questions it will dawn on you that you have an opportunity or opportunities right before you or that you can create opportunities from that.

Thinking positively about problems or voids and how they can be solved or filled can create an opportunity or opportunities of a lifetime. Many businesses worldwide are born as a result of a problem or void that needs to be solved or filled. Working or starting a business venture from this inverse perspective as some may consider it assures you of an available market  or prospective client/s should you venture into a business that will be setup to solve or fill X problem/s or void/s. You can even straight away begin to profile and/or demographically segment your prospective clients or target market from a factual perspective and come up with efficient and effective marketing techniques that will draw them to your business and guarantee you of that or those sales when you start your business. I must state for the record that am not saying this is the only way a business can be born or started, but that it is one of the most easy and convenient ways to start-up a business in my opinion. In both the private and public sectors, institutional voids create great entrepreneurial opportunities.

No one loves to go through problems as they deal with people, systems and institutions in this busy world. Rather than get frustrated continuously as though the world is coming to an end, think of how to solve or fill those problems or voids. Think of what opportunities are presented or can be created by those problems or voids. Remember to ask yourself some of the what if questions and honestly answer them. You will be amazed with what you can do about or with those problems or voids!