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‘OSPF’ to Business Excellence

The essence of any business is to create better opportunities for it to sustain and grow
in a zero or stiff competition environment. Any organization today has its roots in a
strong product or service offering backed by a well researched business model.
Financial viability ensures commitment to investment before break-even that is
necessary before it becomes possible to establish with credible numbers of clients.
Whereas a differentiating factor vis a vis other businesses helps it to attract customer
base.
The initial era is actually a ‘Stiff-Hands’ period that allows little scope to experiment, as
one needs to arrive at a secure position both in terms of industry recognition and
financial returns. This stage of consolidation requires a resolve and ability to withstand
failures as in due course they get included in the book of learning for the organization.

The biggest challenge lies in lifting this whole gamut of business from the gestation
period to the next milestone set. There is no set rule for this and every company
achieves this with different kinds of method implementations. There is what is called as
Organic and In-Organic growth that lets companies achieve their objectives in this
growth period. Business is always a balance of two Ts i.e. Talent and Timing. Some call
it luck or destiny. Things are to a certain extent beyond anyone’s capability to control but
largely provide space to execute with clinical precision leading to the accomplishment of
success.

Now the biggest question is whether one wants to go the Brick-n-Mortar way or the way
through Acquisitions. I suggest a model called ‘OSPF’ i.e. Open Shortest Path First, that
describes the quickest way to grow ones’ business exponentially. The OSPF model is a
confluence of several strategies and executions leading to one gain after the other. This
also carries big risks as the tendency is to push the safest methods on the last benches.
But given into careful planning and deep analysis process one can guard against
unforeseen shortcomings if any.

The OSPF subscribes to the idea of acquisition for areas which are traditionally not of
the company’s strongholds. It also depends heavily on the quality of the employees of
the company. Outsourcing is yet another tool to effectively categorize and control
overheads to the minimal extent possible. A partnership with specialists at the corporate
and non-corporate levels is another great way to reinforce business activities.
Diversifications of business activities into low-risk low-gains provinces ensure minimum
deterrence towards mistakes and errors in judgments. Dis-engagement is yet another
valuable device in keeping with safe levels.
The shortest path in this form of business structure is in not following any one of the
above methods but to implement then in a sequence such that returns outweigh the
risks taken.

Below is a diagrammatic representation of the OSPF model.


{5}
Dis-Engagement

{4}
Diversificati
on
{3}
Partnership

{2}
Acquisition

{1}
Outsourcing

The OSPF concept begins with Outsourcing of activities like general administration,
systems administration and manufacturing. It is recommended that HR and
Sales/Marketing activities be restricted as in-house competencies always. The
outsourced company should be changed after a span of 1 year to introduce new
thinking and execution approaches.
Next comes the Acquisition part which is the most important of all as this directly affects
the long-term prospects of the organization. In here, care should be taken to absorb the
company that brings in more benefits than risks. Inevitable as they are, the drawbacks
of the acquired company drags the parent organization of all its past efforts and
achievements. Rather than an all out cash buyout it should be a majority stake model
based acquisition to safeguard against any possible miscalculation. This kind of
operation is successfully followed at Microsoft at the beginning stages of entering new
domains.
Then follows the Partnership component where strengths complement each other. It
also enables to enter new areas of business without a low risk factor count. But a
painstaking effort is required to immediately bring better results to such a venture as
otherwise it may lead to a tendency of a long gestation period before meeting the set
objectives. The speed achieved could be tremendous if each side is able to visualize
and perform to their key strengths.
Later to follow is the Diversification part that gives the required financial thrust to fund
ideas and manage risks at intermittent levels. This can be in areas similar or different to
the core business of the organization.
Like for example GE Capital which is not linked to the engineering background of the
company.
Finally arrives the Dis-engagement component which instructs companies to pull-out
after a certain period on reaching the set objectives with acquired companies or
products/ Services. This liquidation will infuse funds that can fuel additional
infrastructure or compensate for the poor performances of the parent group itself.

The best part of this business model is that permits the organization in exploring newer
avenues of doing the same business in newer styles or formats thus providing more
creative ways of working around challenges. And this can be adopted by any small to
medium company looking for better growth options. The human resource, which is the
only and best asset of any company, gets to pursue changes in an ordinary yet dynamic
environment thus nurturing the spirit of innovation and learning.
One of the chieftains of business models, this OSPF constitution creates one of the
unique ways of risk-mitigation in a high-risk climate.

This plan also incorporates an exit strategy in case the winds decide to blow in the
opposite directions and it goes completely beyond control.
In terms of bringing the nuances of the business to each and every productive
employee down the order, OSPF promotes what is called as the ‘SBM’ or simply a Small
Business Manager. This SBM title for every knowledge worker fosters an environment
of ownership amongst people and that enables them to execute things efficiently and in
cohesion with the organizational strategies. A strong reward plan should be put into
practice to motivate people to subscribe to this idea of business ownership.

SBM will always capture the voice-of-customer and translate it into productive results
that craft a loyalty nature within the customer base. OSPF goes further to create
‘Business Partner’ relationships with the end customers. This concept relies on
engaging potential customers (people having good reach and knowledge in related
industries) to become part of the organizational activities that promote business. The
remuneration package will play a key role in encouraging customers to participate in this
initiative which can yield good results in short time span. This can in turn give rise to a
franchisee model which can also be explored by the organization. But with changing
times this concept has got merged with partners or VARs that bring in added support of
end customer solution management.

The OSPF business model will succeed in these times as the companies careful in
choosing who they do business with whether they are partners of customers. This
model is sure to enhance the profit margins by about 40% of the standard metrics.