Posts Tagged ‘Business’

The JAMK Centre for Competitiveness proudly presents a webinar on Key Success Factors in Strategic Development of Clusters!  Don’t miss out.  The webinar will take place on march 26th, 2013 at 14.00 Finnish time (UTC/GMT + 2 hours) = 13.00 Central European Time = 07.00 USA Eastern Standard Time.

  • Speaker: Albert Solé, consultant at Cluster Development
  • Moderator: Dr. Murat Akpinar, JAMK
  • Date: March 26, 2013
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Starting Time: 14.00 Finnish time (UTC/GMT + 2 hours) = 13.00 Central European Time = 07.00 USA Eastern Standard Time

Process: 30 minute presentation by the speaker + 30 minutes time for discussion and questions from the audience. The audience can submit their questions during the first 30 minutes or during the Q&A session to the “Chat” area. The webinar will be video recorded and made available at the blog of JAMK Centre for Competitiveness as well as through the channels of the Competitiveness Institute (TCI) and MoC network.

Participation: You can participate by signing-in as a guest (no password required) at We will allow entry five minutes before the start.

Key Success Factors in Strategic Development of Clusters

Clusters have been recognized as an important means for stimulating innovations and fostering competitiveness, economic development and prosperity. Today, about 20 years after the concept of business clusters gained relevance as a tool for economic  development, it is used by countries and regions around the world with varying speeds, particularities and of course different starting points. Cluster initiatives are undertaken to stimulate cluster dynamics and development. Understanding key success factors behind strategic development of clusters is crucial in order to optimize public resources and deploy efficient cluster policies. This webinar aims to serve to this purpose with examples of success stories.

Cluster Development is a Spanish consultancy firm headquartered in Barcelona. It specializes in the strategic and sustainable development of clusters to reinforce the overall competitiveness and long-term profitability of cluster firms. Its team of consultants has applied a results-oriented, innovative and hands-on methodology to more than 140 cluster projects within more than 30 different economic sectors around the world. For more info, please visit

Albert Solé

Albert Solé has 10-year experience in the field of clustering, both from the consulting and the public sector perspective. Previously to joining Cluster Development, he worked for different consulting firms in the US and Europe. Later, at the Catalan Competitiveness Agency (ACC10), he managed the sectorial policies unit in charge of facilitating collective actions to reinforce the competitive position of Catalan economic sectors. He is an active member of European-wide discussion groups in the field of clusters and regular speaker at The Competitiveness Institute congresses. He holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco.


by Roger Martin  |   8:00 AM February 5, 2013

I must have heard the words “we need to create a strategic plan” at least an order of magnitude more times than I have heard “we need to create a strategy.” This is because most people see strategy as an exercise in producing a planning document. In this conception, strategy is manifested as a long list of initiatives with timeframes associated and resources assigned.

Somewhat intriguingly, at least to me, the initiatives are themselves often called “strategies.” That is, each different initiative is a strategy and the plan is an organized list of the strategies.

But how does a strategic plan of this sort differ from a budget? Many people with whom I work find it hard to distinguish between the two and wonder why a company needs to have both. And I think they are right to wonder. The vast majority of strategic plans that I have seen over 30 years of working in the strategy realm are simply budgets with lots of explanatory words attached. This may be the case because the finance function is deeply involved in the strategy process in most organizations. But it is also the cause of the deep antipathy I see, especially amongst line executives, toward strategic planning. I know very few who look forward with joy to the commencement of the next strategic planning cycle.

To make strategy more interesting — and different from a budget — we need to break free of this obsession with planning. Strategy is not planning — it is the making of an integrated set of choices that collectively position the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage relative to competition and deliver superior financial returns. I find that once this is made clear to line managers they recognize that strategy is not just fancily-worded budgeting and they get much more interested in it.

Obviously you can’t execute a strategy without initiatives, investments, and budgeting. But what you need to get managers focused on before you start on those things is the strategy that will make these initiatives coherent.

That strategy is a singular thing; there is one strategy for a given business — not a set of strategies. It is one integrated set of choices: what is our winning aspiration; where will we play; how will we win; what capabilities need to be in place; and what management systems must be instituted?

That strategy tells you what initiatives actually make sense and are likely to produce the result you actually want. Such a strategy actually makes planning easy. There are fewer fights about which initiatives should and should not make the list, because the strategy enables discernment of what is critical and what is not.

This conception of strategy also helps define the length of your strategic plan. The five questions can easily be answered on one page and if they take more than five pages (i.e. one page per question) then your strategy is probably morphing unhelpfully into a more classical strategic plan.

This definition of strategy can be disconcerting to those who have spent a lifetime generating traditional strategic plans. Not long ago I facilitated a day long strategy session with the senior team of a very successful $10 billion company with an outstanding CEO. By the end of the day (in part thanks to a goodly amount of pre-work by the head of strategy), we got to a nice set of integrated choices. I congratulated the group on its great thinking and working and affirmed what I judged to be an excellent strategy.

My enthusiasm notwithstanding, the CEO was troubled. I asked him why. “Is that all we have to do,” he asked, as if he thought he had cheated on an exam. I am sure he expected that he had to full binders and long lists of initiatives to feel that he had been thorough in this year’s strategic planning process. I reassured him that he had given strategy anything but short shrift. And that day strategy prevailed over planning. I suspect that CEO will never go back.

So if you pass the five-page mark is time to ask: Are we answering the five key questions or are we doing something else and calling it strategy? If it is the latter: eject, eject!

Download a free chapter from Playing to Win, Roger’s brand-new book with A.G. Lafley.

More blog posts by Roger Martin
Roger Martin

Roger Martin

Roger Martin ( is the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto in Canada. He is the author of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works. For more information, including events with Roger, click here.


Posted on 12th December, by Peter Marino in SEO, Small Business Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Web Design

social mediaSocial media has grown from a curiosity to an integral piece of corporate strategy in the space of only a few years. Nearly overnight, companies have brought on whole teams of specialists to craft effective social media strategies and manage multiplying numbers of social media accounts. Companies are hungry for better social media tools to engage their constituents. Below is a list of five features key to delivering on a social media strategy.

1) Scheduling
Social media doesn’t sleep, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to! Ensure your social media management tool of choice allows you to schedule messages in advance. So even if you’re in New York, you can schedule messages out to your customers in Tokyo during their workday.

If you want to take scheduling to the next level, look for a tool that offers the ability to schedule large batches of messages at once. This will be a super useful time-saver when it comes to managing campaigns or contests that require heavy messaging around a certain period of time.

2) Geo
When it comes to interacting with your customers, those in different locations may have different needs, speak different languages or follow different trends. You’re going to want a tool that optimizes your searches and filters your searches by language to help you curate relevant content for different demographics.

3) Keywords
Social media is also an effective way for businesses to keep their finger on the pulse. Setting up keywords or search streams provide insight into what is trendy among your customers. This can help you develop a marketing strategy that focuses on customer’s lifestyles and personal preferences.

Keywords are useful for keeping track of competitors’ activities but they’re also useful for tracking brands that are complementary to your offering. If your product is often purchased in conjunction with another product, keep an eye on the complementary product’s social media activity to take advantage of promotions or recent sales, as these are potential leads ready to be converted.

4) Collaboration
It takes two to tango especially when it comes to being social. Collaboration is key when it comes to developing and executing an effective social media campaign. Ensure your social media management tool enables you to seamlessly collaborate with your team to ensure you execute an integrated social media management strategy.

5) Reporting
Gone are the days of social media purely being about ‘building buzz.’ It is now a line item in budgets as companies invest resources in these channels and there is an expectation for reports which show ROI for social media outreach.

Make sure your tool has the ability to analyze important metrics such as click-through rates on shortened links, clicks by region and top referrers. It’s also important to have access to Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

The most effective tools will provide the ability to access in-depth granular metrics on the efficacy of your social media programs. This will allow you to determine which messages resulted in the highest number of conversions, which platform is providing the greatest return and which time of day is most effective to drive traffic.

What does it take to go Pro?
Social is here to stay and to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses need to stay abreast of this ever-evolving space. HootSuite Pro help teams engage with audiences and analyze campaigns across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one secure web-based dashboard.

– See more at:


Learning how to network effectively is a great way to build your business. By taking the time to meet with other businesspeople and discovering how you can help them and they can help you, you can develop relationships that will provide great rewards for you in the future.

Networking is more than just attending Chamber of Commerce meetings, going to local business association mixers, or joining a group such as Business Network International or Powercore. These articles explain how to make the most of your networking time, what the different types of networking groups do, and how you can use the contacts you meet at networking events to grow your business.

As Membership Director for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Zaken has attended hundreds of networking meetings. She shares some effective business networking tips that she has learned over the years.

To be an effective networker, you have to learn how to communicate with other people. Find out why you’ve got to put a personal touch into your networking activities in this article about why Networking is Not a Spreadsheet Activity.

If you’re planning on attending a networking event, there are several things you can do before, during, and after the meeting to increase the odds of Connecting Effectively with Other People.

Networking can bring many benefits, from a sales lead to a new job. By expanding your list of contacts, and following up with them appropriately, you can Make Your Own Networking Luck.

Ever-increasing advertising messages—from TV commercials to email—have gotten to the point where most people don’t even notice them any more. That makes networking and establishing relationships even more important than in the past. Don’t Sell — Connect with Your Prospects.

Networking is about building relationships with other people. It’s something we do every day. This article onRelationship Networking explains how an individual can develop a networking relationship with others, and how companies can develop business relationships with other companies through partnering.

In a closed contact networking group, members are expected to give leads to other members. By following these tips on Getting More Referrals, you can improve the chances of getting referrals that are likely to turn into sales prospects.

Do you approach your networking activities as a series of quick hits that might turn up a lead or prospect for your business, or do you look at your networking activities as an opportunity to build long-term relationships? Find out how positive networking, although it takes more time, will help you meet contacts that can help you over the long term.

Speaker and author Susan RoAne is well known for her networking expertise. She shares networking tips in her article Savvy Networking: Who You Gonna Call?

Business cards are the common currency of business networking. Attend a meeting, and you’re sure to hand out –and receive– several. Follow these tips for Using Business Cards to Market Your Business to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.

How good a networker are you? If you think you know all about business networking, take the short quiz in this article, and learn What Networking Is – and Isn’t.

Are you thinking about joining a networking group? Business networking is about sharing leads and developing relationships with other businesspeople. This article explains the different types of networking groups you can attend.

By attending a leads group, your goal is not to make the group members your clients. Your goal is to turn members into your marketing department, so they will provide you with the names of people they know who could use your services. Follow these strategies for developing relationships with your fellow networkers, and you’ll see referrals increase.

Are you doing everything you need to to make the most of your networking time? Follow these tips to make sure your networking is effective.

One great way to learn to network is to listen to someone who has lots of experience. Pam Fennimore is a member of three different networking groups. She discusses how she gets the most out of networking in each group in this interview.

You’ve gone to a networking event, and you’ve come back with a load of business cards and new contacts. Before you try to turn these contacts into leads, take a look at this article on Networking Mistakes to Avoidduring your follow up activities.

Do you find yourself handing out a lot of business cards at networking meetings, but never getting any leads? Maybe you need to focus on the people you meet rather than yourself. Learn how by reading Catch More Clients Using Strategic Networking.

Networking doesn’t stop when the meeting is over. In fact, you can cement relationships by following up with the contacts you meet. Find out how in Garnishing A Network.

Sole proprietors can benefit from attending networking events and developing relationships with the people they meet. This is especially important because they may not be in contact with their peers as are individuals at larger firms. Find out more in The Power of Relationships.

How do you keep track of the people you meet at networking events or trade shows? Get some valuable tips inHandling Business Card Overload.

The way we communicate with the people we meet affects the relationships we build with them. Learn how to communicate effectively when you network in Language Spoken For Winning.

Successful networking is a mix of attending different types of meetings, becoming active in the events you attend, and following up with the contacts you make. Get some valuable tips in Networking Success: Mastering the Right Combination.

What should you do at a networking meeting? Networking Means Showing Up…Showing Up Isn’t Networking.

You attended a networking meeting and met some good contacts. You aren’t done yet. Networking Starts When the Event Is Finished.

If you find yourself attending networking events and never having anything to show for it, these tips can help you become more effective. Networking That Works

What should you expect after attending a networking meeting? If you network effectively, you should be able to gain one or two new clients from each meeting. Find out why in Networking – Working The Numbers.

The way you approach people at a meeting can make a difference in the results you get. Our pets provide a good example: The Dogs and Cats of Networking

Are you making the right contacts when you network? If you want to learn how to get more from your networking activities, read The Ultimate Business Network: One Secret Power of the Masters


Phoenix unemployment

This post originally appeared at Gawker.
Read more:

We were forwarded this rejection email, apparently sent to more than 900 hopeful applicants in one bulk delivery, by a reader who shall remain anonymous. (The person is, after all, still looking for a job).

“I don’t find it helpful,” the rejected applicant wrote. “I just find it arrogant.”

“At first I thought I’d made it to the second round,” the reader said on the phone this evening, “but then I realized I’d been Bcc’d, along with 900 others, on my own rejection letter.”

Here it is, in all its bullet-point glory:

————— Forwarded message —————
From: Shea Gunther
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Subject: You applied for a position at my clean tech news site


If you’re reading this, it means that you applied for one of the positions open at my new clean tech news site (this ad-> I’m Shea and it’s been my job to do the first read-through of the 900+ applications that have poured in as a result of our ad.

I have gone through each of the applications as they have come in and picked out the best 50 or so to be passed into the second round of consideration. Some of you are amazing candidates that I am really excited to learn more about. Those of you who are passed into the second round of consideration will be hearing from us soon, if you haven’t been contacted by us already.

Others applications have come in from strong writers who just aren’t a great fit for what we are trying to do. When you have a pool of 900+ applications, you can be picky, and we passed over many worthy people simply because they don’t have enough experience in clean technology and green media. I would advise anyone without enough of the right experience who wants to break into environmental writing to start a personal blog and write about the things you want to get paid to cover. You are welcome to get back in touch with us in the future after you’ve built a more focused portfolio.

Beyond those two groups, there were applications that were skipped over after just a quick read—the brutal truth is that the very worst applications got less than a few seconds of consideration. Often I could tell from the first few words of an application that it would be passed over. I was helped by the fact that we are hiring writers; if a person can’t craft a good email applying for a writing job, she’s unlikely to be the kind of writer we are looking to hire.

As I went through your applications, I couldn’t help but jot down ideas on how some of you could improve your job hunting email skills. As evidenced by the response to our ad, there are a lot of people out there looking for work right now and you need every advantage that you can get if you want to beat them to a good job. If your application email sucks, you are going to be left looking for work for a long time because you will get flushed out with the first filter every time you apply for a job. Some of your applications are that bad.

I have broken my suggestions down into a list of 42 writing job application dos and don’ts.

Good luck.