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When I got my highest corporate position as Operations Liaison at Citigroup, the position was equivalent to Assistant Vice President – Operations.

 

I was virtually in charge of the day to day running of our franchise in the Auto Division, a position I held until I left to pursue other interests and my personal dream of running my own enterprise(s).

 

I soon realized that perception was everything in the corporate world and it did not matter what I was made of or even what I said. What was important was what others thought of my capacity to execute and run things.

 

I was taken aback by what the Lord once asked his disciples in the big black book. Mathew 16:13-16 (NKJV) below … I rarely use biblical analogies even though I love the book but this is by far the best I could think of …

 

“13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”


14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”


15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”


16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

Jesus was asking his disciples a perception question. He wanted to know what others out there thought of him and also wanted to know if his disciples themselves knew who he really was.

 

The moral of the above analogy is that perception, however right or wrong, is actually reality to whoever holds it. It is therefore important that we actually control perceptions of those around us.

 

We can not control what others think about us entirely but we can certainly circumvent their perceptions of us. Each one of us needs to make sure that the perception of others towards us is positive because people respond based on their perception of what they anticipate would be our reactions to circumstances.

 

To be successful in any enterprise one needs to have the ability to read people and tailor antitheses to what he/she perceives to be the most logical derivative reaction(s) from the said subjects.

 

While a lot of this requires a lot of training and understanding oneself, much of it is achievable by sheer instincts and thus culpably realizable. It requires the development of a sixth sense if you like and every one of is capable.

 

Without the ability to control peoples’ perceptions one is at a loss for advancement in any endeavor be it family, enterprise and otherwise. Most people fail miserably in life and business not because of lack of expertise but because they do not have the ability to circumvent others’ perception(s) of themselves.

 

The only thing standing between you and that promotion is your boss’s perception of you, the only reason you could not close the last deal was the perception of your client, the only reason you could not get the right investors go alone with your business plan was their perception of you.

 

You can change any one’s reality by simply changing their perception, the ball is in your court and you have whatever it takes to get started, circumvent others’ perception, get in the driving sit and take control of whatever circumstance(s) pulling you down.

 

Take a look at yourself today, look around you and evaluate. Do you have a perception problem? If so, it is time you took time to correct it, dress for success and thrive …

 

If you get a hang on what others think about you, you are halfway to success – trust me, you will feel like a million bucks in the process.

 

That’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO  & President – Zambian Chronicle

 

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

 

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc

 

 

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NEW DELHI: After giving China a tax free zone, the southern African nation of Zambia wants to create a similar exclusive economic zone for Indian companies to bring “value-addition” to its mining industry. “We have had a long partnership in India, with investments in several areas. But what has been lacking was visibility. This zone will help in improving India’s profile (in Zambia),” visiting Zambian Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix Mutati said.

He said that the offer was specifically drawn up to mark his visit to India for the fourth India-Africa business conclave. “I have not yet told my president of my decision. But we need to make quick decisions nowadays,” he said, tongue-in-cheek. The landlocked African nation, whose economy has been traditionally dominated by copper mining, has already approved two multi-facility economic zones being developed by the Malaysians and the Chinese.

“If the Malaysians can do it, why not India, which is a bigger country,” he asked. Malaysia was the first to ink a deal for a multi-facility economic zone (MFEZ) last year, followed by China, which is currently negotiating an agreement with the Zambians.

The minister said that the Chinese planned to invest nearly $900 million to develop the tax-free zone. “We want the Indian zone to be at least $900 million. If it’s smaller, then it will not have the visibility,” he said, adding that 30 sq km land had already been identified in the central province of Kabwe, about 150 km from capital Lusaka, for the special economic zone.

The Zambian minister said that he would like Indian firms to focus on supply of equipment and processing of raw products. “While we have a lot of mining activity, we have to export all the raw materials for processing outside as there is no proper processing plant,” he said.

Pointing out that Zambia was surrounded by eight nations, who were also mineral-rich, Mutati said: “Our neighbours like Congo, Angola and Mozambique also have active mining industries, which could also be catered by this proposed economic zone.”

He said that he was already in talks with the Tata Group, which had shown interest in setting up a plant in the proposed zone, while another Indian industrial group will be visiting Zambia next week to survey the site. Mutati said that once Indian firms invested in the tax-free zone, they would act as “marketing tools” to attract more Indian investment in other parts of the economy.

Currently, India has a share of 50 percent of Zambia’s mining industry, while the Chinese have 15 percent – courtesy Vedanta Resources’ majority stake in the country’s largest copper mines, Konkola, at a cost of $1.2 billion. The total Indian investment in Zambia is estimated to be $2 billion, with capital flowing in other sectors like banking, health and education too.

While he does not foresee India losing its strong position in the Zambian mining industry, Mutati was clear that China’s “whole new way of doing business” in the continent had to be matched by the Indians. “The Chinese start to work behind the scenes, but they come and make a decision there and then. After that, they start to work backward, asking for data on the projects,” he said.

He cited the example of the Chinese MFEZ in his country to illustrate his point. “They have already constructed 30-40 percent of the buildings, but it is only now that they are negotiating an agreement,” said Mutati. Similarly, he said, the Chinese had announced an investment of $1 billion in the mining sector, but were yet to see the land. “Chinese do and assess, while Indians assess and do,” said Mutati.

He was also appreciative of the Chinese strategy to combine their acquisition of licences for resources with development of infrastructure. “In a neighbouring country, the Chinese have offered to build 3,000 km of road in a swap for a mining concession of 20 years,” he said. “Indian firms need to be more aggressive, otherwise they are losing out,” warned Mutati.

Source: Economic Times

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Zambia expects investment of upto $3 billion this year. Commerce Deputy Minister, Dora Siliya however said the projected investment will only be attained with the full participation of the private sector.

Ms. Siliya was speakingin at a media breakfast organised by the World Bank and the Private sector Development Program.

World Bank Private Sector Development Program Specialist, Sylvia Solf was confident that government will speed up the process of making it easy to conduct business in Zambia.

And Zambia Business Forum Chairman, Pasmore Hamukoma said there is need to acknowledge the political will that government has shown in implementing the Reform programs.

Private Sector Development Program Coordinator, Kayula Siame called on government to address factors acting as a barrier.

Source: Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation

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Brett Nelson from Forbes tries to ask and answer the 20 most important questions in business for us …

 1. What is your value proposition?

This is the single most important question of the bunch. If you can’t explain–in three, jargon-free sentences or less–why customers need your product, you do not have a value proposition. Without a need, there is no incentive for customers to pay. And without sales, you have no business. Period.

ALT2. Does your product address a viable market?

Entrepreneurs are passionate to a fault. Many fall in love with an idea before confirming that there’s any viable market for it, let alone one large enough to attract investment capital. If a market doesn’t yet exist–the toxic term of art here is “white space”–they assume they can create one. (Hint: There may be a reason for all that white space.)

3. What differentiates your product from competitors’?

Few companies can rely on–let alone afford–clever marketing schemes to separate themselves from the competition. Yes, Starbucks made people believe they wanted $4 caffeinated concoctions, and Louis Vuitton lulled people into shelling out $1,500 for denim handbags, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule. If you want to win in business, you need to offer something tangibly valuable that the competition doesn’t. Examples: rock-bottom prices (Wal-Mart); ingenious product design (Apple); extreme convenience (Fed Ex).

ALT4. How big is the threat of new entrants?

If you’re smart enough to spy a profitable business opportunity, you can bet competition isn’t far behind. Some barriers to entry–patented technology, a storied brand–are more fortified than others, but eventually someone will find a way to do what you do faster, cheaper and maybe even better. If not a direct competitor, then a substitute technology might take a chunk out of your hide. (Think what digital film did to Kodak.) The trick: building a loyal following before that happens.

ALT5. How much start-up capital do you need?

Any early stage investor or small business consultant will tell you that most businesses fail because they were undercapitalized. The lesson: Figure out how much you think you need, and then add plenty of extra cushion.

ALT6. How much cash do you need to survive the early years?

In case you didn’t pay attention to the previous question, take this one to heart. It doesn’t matter how much money your business might make down the road if you can’t get out of your garage. Plenty of business plans boast hockey-stick-style financial projections but run out of cash before the good times kick in. (Remember all those busted dot-com companies from the tech boom?) Three words: Mind the cash.

ALT7. How will you finance the business?

You have a few choices: Aunt Sally, credit cards (dangerous), angel investors, and if you’re really onto something, venture capital. Forget bank loans (at least until the cash is flowing in a positive direction). As for selling shares to the public, what with all the regulatory hurdles, you might find the price of that exposure a tad steep. If you can bootstrap your business, do it; raising money is difficult and distracting. If you plan on stumping for capital, consider how much equity and control you’re willing to give up. (The more you need the money, the stiffer the terms will get, so ask for it sooner than later.) Finally, always remember to match the timing of cash inflows from your assets and the outflows to cover liabilities. A mismatch can sting.

ALT8. What are your strengths?

Google writes powerful search algorithms; Steinway works wonders with wood; Cisco sniffs out promising new technologies and buys them. Figure out what you’re good at and stick to it. An obvious notion, perhaps, but plenty of zealous entrepreneurs lose their way–especially when the world seems so full of possibilities.

ALT9. What are your weaknesses?

You may know how to design a widget, but not know a thing about running an efficient manufacturing plant. Apple designs and markets its nifty iPods and iPhones, but lets someone else slap them together. Countless Webpreneurs farm out the design of their sites and back-office payment systems. Wasting resources just to be mediocre is suicide. Stick to core competencies and find trusted partners to handle the rest.

ALT10. How much power do your suppliers have?

Convincing customers to buy your products is tough enough without suppliers giving you a hard time. Basic rule of thumb: The fewer the number of suppliers, the more sway they have. Take the steel industry, which relies on a handful of companies for its iron feedstock. If two of those big guys should get together–as BHP Billton and Rio Tinto have been discussing–they would have significant pricing power, potentially crimping steel producers’ margins. On the flipside, beware getting hooked on low-cost providers who don’t keep an eye on quality. (“Lead-laced” Barbie, anyone?)

11. How much power do your buyers have?

Take a lesson from Delphi, the giant auto parts supplier stuck in Chapter 11 despite its $26 billion in annual sales: It’s no fun to be in a business where a few big customers can demand price cuts with each passing year. Meanwhile, movie theaters–even while besieged by video-on-demand and other services–still manage to push higher prices on the disaggregated masses. The cost of a seat at a Regal Entertainment Group theater in lower Manhattan is now $12–up 20% in less than three years.

ALT12. How should you sell your product?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to wooing customers. For two decades, Dell Computer bypassed retailers and sold directly to customers, with limited tech support. General Motors and Coca Cola rely on distributors to move their cars and cans. Clothing companies like Ralph Lauren work both internal and external channels. And thanks to daily, intensive sales training, privately held Lazy Days moves some $800 million worth of RVs out of one sprawling location near Tampa, Fla. Whatever sales method you choose, make sure it aligns with your overall business strategy.

ALT13. How should you market your product?

Young companies have to get the word out, but they also can go broke doing it. A decade ago, America Online spent so much money flooding the planet with free trial software that it tried to mask the bleeding by capitalizing those expenses on its balance sheet. (Regulators later nixed that accounting treatment, wiping out millions in accounting profits.) What percentage of sales should go toward marketing? As with sales, there is no one rule of thumb. For more, check out Six Marketing Strategies Worth Paying For.

ALT14. Does the business scale?

Bill Gates plowed piles of money into developing the first copy of Microsoft Office. The beauty: Each additional copy of that software program costs next to nothing to produce. That’s called scale–and it’s the difference between modest wealth and obscene riches. What models don’t scale? Think service businesses, where the need for people grows along with revenues.

ALT15. What are your financial projections?

You can’t lead if you don’t have a destination. Two critical milestones: 1) the point where more cash is coming into the business than going out in a given period, and 2) the point at which you finally recuperate your cumulative initial investment (including an adjustment for the time value of money). Financial projections should be reasonable. Paint too rosy a picture and seasoned investors will run; more to the point, you might run out of cash.

ALT16. What price will consumers pay?

Get this answer wrong and you could leave bags of money on the table–or worse, send customers running into the arms of the competition. When Apple sliced the price of its iPhone by a third after only two months on the market, even loyal customers screamed, forcing chief Steve Jobs to apologize and offer a partial rebate. Consultants get paid handsomely to help companies arrive at the right price. For more affordable advice, check out “The Six-Step Guide To Pricing Your Product.” Wannabe consultants should read “How To Price Your Consulting Services.”

ALT17. How do you protect your intellectual property?

Imagine slaving for years on a new cellphone battery that lasts more than two days, only to watch it reverse-engineered and patented by someone else. Before you ask anyone to crank out a few prototypes, file for a provisional patent. It protects your idea for a year while you work out the kinks. For more on intellectual-property protection, check out Protect Your Prototype and The Patented Path To Profits.

ALT18. How do you keep the help happy?

What’s Google worth without its super-geeks? Goldman Sachs without its number crunchers (and their golden Rolodexes)? The local bar without old Jim manning the tap? Not much, which is why attracting and retaining talent is critical to so many businesses. For starters, that means crafting the right benefits package. Starbucks sets a fairly high standard: Health benefits are available to any Starbucks employee who works at least 20 hours a week and has been with the company for more than 90 days.

ALT19. How committed are you to making this happen?

About a year ago, Chuck Prince, recently resigned chief executive of Citigroup, addressed a group at New York University’s Stern School of Business. An audience member asked what life looked like at the helm of such a colossal firm. Prince responded that, save for a few exceptions, every evening for the next five months was already accounted for. Fair warning: If you want to run the show, get ready to give everything–and then some.

ALT20. What is your end game?

Running a business with an eye toward flipping it to a strategic buyer is a lot different than digging in for the long haul. (Will YouTube ever turn a profit? Who knows, but that’s Google’s problem now; the same goes for MySpace and News Corp.) Not sure whether you want to build the next great empire or just make a decent buck? Ask yourself the following eight questions.

NB:Some aspects of this article have been edited to fit our format …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2007-05-16-zambia-3_200.jpgElection results are very interesting to analyze because they are a true indicator of the actual demographical sentiment and performance during campaigns.

A closer look at the last elections reveals a tonne of information; some of it too scary to explore. 

For instance, the MMD performed exemplary well among the illiterate and the semi-literate segments of the population while the elites voted for the opposition en masse. 

They (MMD) performed well among the low to lower income earning classes but poorly among the middle to upper income classes … 

Their performance (MMD’s) among the village to rural dwellers outclassed theirs among the city to urban counterparts.  

These stats are critical to an overall analysis of party performance and could be very important for future tactical and strategic considerations. 

All things being equal, it would therefore be safe to say that the MMD is a party run by the elites that sell well among the illiterate to semi-illiterate.  

These elites find it easy to convince village dweller and lower class people than they do otherwise among compatriot of diametric segments. 

So, what then is the future of such a party? Would such a party be self-interested in keeping the majority of the population village-wise and uneducated so it could keep winning among the base? 

Would such a party evolve and start to find ways to attract those of the other dichotomies or would it continue to encourage bwembwarism to keep its hold on power?  

If human development is the cry of every free human spirit then it is just a question of time and the MMD will be no more … 

The last election results present the opposition with a challenge to soul search and decide as to whether they are actually different from the incumbents. 

They need to realize that together they got the majority vote but because the vote was split, the MMD got the presidency back and it is time they strongly considered a two party democracy if progress has to be achieved. 

Having sad the above, things may be different should the first lady get her party nomination due to the G Factor. The G stands for gender because women tend to stick together more as they show support using girl power. classy-daddy-3.gif

As CSO figures currently stand, we have more women than men in our population; consented voter-drives might prove very powerful and usher the MMD back into State House come 2011 with different demographics.

We don’t even know if the first lady would be interested in running but if she is, things would be changed forever and the stakes may move in a different direction.  

And that’s this week’s memo from us here at the Zambian Chronicle.  Happy holidays … thanks a trillion.  

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.        

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By Michael Perry  

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australians began voting on Saturday in national elections to decide whether to end more than 11 years of conservative rule or give Prime Minister John Howard, who trails in opinion polls, a fifth term.

“Its in the hands of the people,” Howard said as he took his morning walk from his Sydney Harbor-side residence.

Howard, 68, again warned voters that if they elected a Labor government it would threaten Australia’s economic prosperity.”

The government to be chosen today will set the direction of the country for years into the future,” Howard said on YouTube Web site, in a pitch to young voters he has struggled to woo.

“So if you think the country is heading in the right direction don’t risk that right direction by changing the government,” he said.Howard, a staunch U.S. ally, has made a commitment to keep Australian troops in Iraq if re-elected. He has offered voters A$34 billion ($29 billion) in tax cuts, but few new policies.

In contrast, opposition Labor leader Kevin Rudd has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, further isolating Washington on both.

The Mandarin-speaking former diplomat would also be expected to forge closer ties with China and other Asian nations.

An Australian commando died fighting the Taliban on Friday, the third soldier killed in recent months in Afghanistan.

Both Howard and Rudd want to keep troops in Afghanistan, but opinion polls show Australians opposed to operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and are losing faith in Howard’s tough security stance, which has won him previous elections.

Howard has been written off by opinion polls throughout the six-week campaign, with some predicting a landslide win for Rudd, after only 11 months as party leader.

But a Newspoll on Saturday had Labor only slightly in front.Howard risks becoming the first prime minister to lose his own seat in an election for 78 years.

Boundary changes have turned his blue-ribbon Sydney electorate, which he has held since entering parliament in 1974, into a marginal seat.”LAZARUS”Many voters of Asian origin see Howard as anti-immigration, due to his tough stance against boat people. An anti-Muslim leaflet distributed by his party in the closing days of the campaign may reinforce their belief.

Labor needs to win an extra 16 seats to take office and both Howard and Rudd say the election will be very close, possibly decided in a handful of marginal seats.Howard once described himself as “Lazarus with a triple bypass” for his ability to be resurrected from political defeat.

Even if he wins it will be his last hurrah, as he has promised to step down mid-term for his treasurer, Peter Costello.Rudd, 50, is offering voters a generational change, saying Howard is too old and tired to lead Australia.“I offer Australia new leadership for the future, a positive plan for the future because Mr Howard’s government’s best days now lay behind it,” Rudd said on Friday. “Mr Howard has gone stale in his government’s approach to the future.”

Howard has attacked Rudd’s lack of experience, insisting that a Labor government dominated by former trade unionists would wreck an economy which has recorded 17 years of growth and record unemployment.

He says that under his tenure, dominated by security and the economy, Australia has become more secure and stable.Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, Australia has been on medium security alert.

Australia’s military in 2006 was at its highest operational level since the Vietnam War, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

© Reuters2007All rights reserved   

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We did it again!!!! This time by being included on the Wall Street Journal preferred blog list. Last time we earned the Featured Blog title from WordPress and that’s after winning the Blog of The Minute Award. 

The Wall Street Journal is the Gold Standard for the world in financial reporting and for us to be included as of Friday, November 23, 2007.  The article that made us hit the list was Dollar Sets a New Record Low – Money News 

Blog Posts About This Topic • 

Dollar hits Fresh Lows against Euro and Swiss Franc  westranchbeacon.com• 

Dollar Sets a New Record Low – Money News  zambianchronicle.com 

It goes without saying that we have made great strides in presenting ourselves as one of the most trusted sources for objective reporting. We will forever strive to be the best out there … classy-daddy-3.gif

As a privately and an independently wholly owned interactive media, Zambian Chronicle is committed to bringing only the best and most verifiable information to our audience. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our patrons and pundits who give us all the reasons for wanting to be the best there is, the best way we know how. Happy holidays … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.   

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