"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Feb 07, 2011
Before you roll out that business plan, ask yourself if it will survive first contact with the customer

“At $5.2-billion Iridium was one of the largest, boldest and audacious startup bets ever made. Conceived in 1987 by Motorola and spun out in 1990 as a separate company, Iridium planned to build a mobile telephone system that would work anywhere on earth. It would cover every city, town and square inch of the earth from […]

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Jan 31, 2011
Does your business add any meaning to life?

“Today, a new generation of renegades – companies as seemingly different as Walmart, Nike, Google, and Unilever, for example – are thriving not in spite of but by rebelling against the tired, toxic orthodoxies of industrial age capitalism. Their secret? Haltingly, imperfectly, often messily, never easily, they’re learning to become twenty-first-century capitalists. Maybe, just maybe, […]

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Jan 03, 2011
Who is at the centre of your business – you, or your customer?

“If you pull out your smartphone and click the button that says “locate me” on your mapping application, you will see a small dot appear in the middle of your screen. That’s you. If you start walking down the street in any direction, the whole screen will move right along with you, no matter where […]

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Nov 28, 2010
Since when is misleading customers a winning strategy?

Suppose you go into a shop to buy a drink. You notice that instead of saying “1 litre” on the carton, it says “up to 1 litre” instead. You buy the drink, go home and empty out the contents and measure them. You find there was only half a litre in the box. How do […]

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Nov 08, 2010
Learning from the latest Fortune Global 500

The 2009 Fortune Global 500: 1. Wal-Mart Stores (US) 2. Royal Dutch Shell (Netherlands/UK) 3. Exxon Mobil (US) 4. BP (UK) 5. Toyota Motor (Japan) 6. Japan Post Holdings 7. Sinopec (China) 8. State Grid (China) 9. Axa (France) 10. China National Petroleum Fortune (August 2010) Fortune’s Global 500 List is usually worth a look […]

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Oct 31, 2010
Such a different world now – with everything to play for

When I was a boy, the world seemed a simple place. According to pretty much all the books and comics I read, and the TV shows and movies I watched, there were some self-evident truths about the world. These were some of them. All the action was in the world was in the rich countries […]

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Jun 07, 2010
The sin of hubris undoes many a dominant company

“We will encounter multiple forms of hubris in our journey through the stages of decline. We will see hubris in undisciplined leaps into areas where a company cannot become the best. We will see hubris in a company’s pursuit of growth beyond what it can deliver with excellence. We will see hubris in bold, risky […]

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May 17, 2010
Why does your company try to annoy its customers?

“I was reflecting the other day on the near infinite number of ways in which companies annoy their customers. A few that make me go “grrrrrr:” – Being forced to rifle through a two-foot pile of garments in order to find my size – Having to search through lines of nano-sized text at the bottom […]

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May 09, 2010
Good business is the only sustainable option

Whether or not Goldman Sachs is found guilty of the various charges laid against it, its reputation has suffered huge damage. It is being fried at the court of public opinion, and faces an uneasy path back to its previously dominant investment banking position. Many other companies face these ordeals, and they are usually of […]

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May 03, 2010
How global-minded European firms are surging ahead

“Contrary to the widespread cliché of American dynamism versus European economic stagnation, over the past decade Europe’s top companies have beaten America’s (not to mention Japan’s) by an often substantial margin. Despite the rise of China and the rest, Europe has held roughly steady, at about 17 percent, its share of world exports since 2000, […]

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May 02, 2010
Why do so many good businesses go bad?

The problem with being a business commentator is that your subject-matter regularly lets you down. Last year I was interviewed by NTV about the importance of ethics and integrity in business (a clip can be seen on www.sunwords.com). Great firms, I asserted confidently, do not become great by cutting corners or greasing palms. They thrive […]

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Apr 26, 2010
Five ways in which the world of work will change

1. No more 9 to 5 2. Productivity will be closely measured 3. Cogs will become redundant 4. The winners will be the linchpins 5. Work will become art SETH GODIN, Regus Business Sense (April 2010) Business guru and author Seth Godin spelled out some of the ideas in his new book, Linchpin, in Regus […]

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Apr 18, 2010
Why do we seem to attract the world’s second-raters?

I walked into an Italian restaurant in Mombasa recently, and first impressions were favourable. The ambience was pleasantly rustic, and we were greeted with smiles by a waiter, which makes a change. The Italian proprietor was hovering around benignly. But there was an immediate warning sign. During the middle of lunch hour, a worker was […]

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Apr 11, 2010
The future of your business is in the palm of your hand

One of the key practices of successful businesses is the ability to follow trends and anticipate market movements. This is extremely difficult: if any of us really knew what next year’s markets would look like, we would be billionaires. Some trends, however, are so predictable that the foolishness lies in ignoring them. And that is […]

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Apr 04, 2010
This childish culture of dirty tricks in our business world

The recent spate of competition in Kenya’s telecom sector has been characterised by something ugly: vandalism. Now that fibre-optic connectivity is commonplace, what easier way to disable your competitor than to hire a few goons to cut their cables? That leaves them in disarray for days, while we gain ground. Or do we? Telecommunications is […]

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Mar 07, 2010
We have a long way to go in product quality

The other day I reached for a box of tissues. As I pulled a tissue out, another five came out of the box. I had not encountered this recently, and wondered what the problem was. It turned out my household has been using imported tissues for a while, which are soft and detach easily. Those […]

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Feb 22, 2010
Why this culture of layoffs hurts good business

“Companies have always cut back on workers during economic downturns, but over the last two decades layoffs have become an increasingly common part of corporate life – in good times as well as bad. Companies now routinely cut workers even when profits are rising. Some troubled industries seem to be in perpetual downsizing mode… …But […]

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Feb 15, 2010
The key to success: enjoy yourself thoroughly!

“Because starting a business is a huge amount of hard work, requiring a great deal of time, you had better enjoy it. When I started Virgin from a basement flat in west London, I did not set out to build a business empire. I set out to create something I enjoyed that would pay the […]

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Feb 08, 2010
Toyota’s communication lapses are compounding its woes

“When Toyota told the world of the recall of its cars in January, one of its first public statements was made by a Japanese executive who faced television cameras wearing a surgical mask. Masks are common during Japan’s cold season. However, crisis management experts are seizing on the image as a metaphor for a company […]

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Feb 01, 2010
Apple’s remarkable ability to generate product emotion

“This Wednesday, Steven P. Jobs will step to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and unveil a shiny new machine that may or may not change the world. In the magician’s world, that’s called “the reveal.” And the most magical part? Even as the media and technology worlds […]

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Dec 28, 2009
In 2010, appoint more women to your board of directors

“The number of female directors on FTSE 100 boards has stalled at 131 over the past year, a report has said. Furthermore, the number of firms with female executive directors fell from 16 to 15, the Cranfield School of Management report found. There was also a “disappointing” drop in the number of boards with multiple […]

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Dec 20, 2009
Are Kenya’s tyres connected to its steering wheel?

A board member with whom I was discussing his company made me laugh out loud recently. When I asked him how effective his board’s policy formulations were, he told me, with refreshing honesty: “You know, sometimes I wonder whether the steering wheel is really connected to the tyres…” Hilarious imagery: a bunch of important personages […]

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Nov 02, 2009
Guess what, Starbucks did bounce back

“Howard Schultz (returned) in January 2008 to run the firm he had made great but which had by then entered a seemingly inescapable spiral of decline. Investors approve: having fallen below $8 last November, down from an all-time high of nearly $40 in 2006, shares in Starbucks have risen above $20, a bit higher than […]

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Oct 11, 2009
What’s wrong with Kenyan restaurants?

This week I want to stick a steak knife into the restaurant industry. Running a good eatery should be simplicity itself. Entry barriers are low, if you’re willing to start small; many a world-beating restaurant chain started life as a single food stall somewhere. Yet in Kenya we are running this most important industry very […]

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Sep 14, 2009
My NTV interview – watch it here

My recent interview on NTV (August 29, 2009, with Misiko Andere) is now up on the NTV website, courtesy of YouTube. Watch it here

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Learning from the Crocs shooting star phenomenon

“For a while, they were just right there, in the middle of American culture,” says Richard Polk, the owner of Pedestrian Shops and ComfortableShoes.com, based in Boulder, Colo. Polk’s store was the first real shoe store to stock the crazy-looking plastic shoes, a few years back, when they first roared out of nearby Aurora to […]

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Feb 12, 2006
Knowledge is the key future resource

Peter Drucker, widely acknowledged as the greatest management thinker of the past century, died 3 months ago. His death went largely unremarked here in Kenya; not surprisingly, as we tend to pay little attention to management – either as a concept, or as a way of doing things. Drucker was just a few days short […]

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