Setting the Business Direction of a Company



Setting the direction of a business requires defining three essential aspects:
  1. Values
  2. Mission Statement 
  3. Vision 

1. VALUES

Values are principles which are very innate to an organization and only the company itself can identify and define it well. Values motivate the company to follow its mission statement and further to define its policies, procedures and daily operations. 

Values of some local Pakistani companies are given below to help your company in defining its own values:

  • KESC (Karachi Electric Supply Company)

    • Thought Leadership
    • Knowledge Based Learning
    • Values
    • Social Responsibility

  • Lakson Tobacco Company Limited

    • People
    • Excellence 
    • Customer Focus
    • Teamwork
    • Openness
    • Innovation
    • Diversity
    • Responsibility

  • Nirala

    • Continuous Improvement 
    • Innovation
    • Integrity
    • Teamwork
    • Social Responsibility




  • Telenor


    • Make it Easy
    • Keep Promises
    • Be Inspiring
    • Be Respectful


  • Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)

    • Customer Expectations
    • Service
    • Innovation
    • Cohesiveness
    • Integrity
    • Reliability
    • Safety

  • Junaid Jamshed

    • Products 
    • Customers
    • Indigenous Cultural Values
    • Quality
    • Innovation
    • Integrity



2. MISSION STATEMENT

A mission statement is a very critical statement for an organization since it defines the framework structure upon which the company operates. It is a short documented statement and usually contains the purpose/ goal of the organization, its principal stakeholders, and the services and the products that the company is offering. It tells how a company is going to achieve its vision statement.

Some companies tend to not mention their services (as can be seen in the mission statement of PTC below) so as not to restrict their operations and to expand to other areas if possible: 

  • Pakistan Tobacco Company

"Transform PTC to perform with the speed, flexibility and enterprising spirit of innovative, consumer focused company"


  • Haleeb Foods

"Build branded food business to improve quality of life by offering tasty, affordable and highly nutritional products to our consumers while maximizing stake holders' value"




3. VISION

A vision statement defines where the organization would ultimately like to see itself. The vision statement is for the company itself and should motivate the employees to put in every effort to achieve it. Hence it should be a worthy goal. 

Here are a couple of vision statements. Compare the two and decide which one is better (although even the better one can substantially be improved)

  • Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)

"To be the leading Information and Communication Technology Service Provider in the region by achieving customer satisfaction and maximizing shareholders value. 

The future is unfolding around us. In times to come, we will be the link that allows global communication. We are striving mobilizing the world for the future. By becoming partners in innovation, we are ready to shape a future that offers telecom services that bring us closer"

  • Dawlance
"We are commited. Above everything else, Dawlance places its top priority on the satisfaction of human being the satisfaction of its customers, partners and employees. All our policies and approach towards revolve around our corporate belief"



How to Register a Company in Pakistan



We all know that starting a business is a difficult task. Similarly lack of relevant information is one of the difficulties that entrepreneurs face. Many people would like to know what the official way to register a company in Pakistan is. 

The following article therefore lists the steps required to register a company in Pakistan. 


Step 1. Get the name of your company approved
Get the company name approved through the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)'s e-Service website. The company needs to provide the SECP with one or more company names. Their availability is checked with the current lost of company names and the decision is made accordingly. 

Step 2. Pay the fees for name registration and company incorporation
Currently this can be paid using bank challans at designated Muslim Commercial Banks (MCB)

Step 3. Register company for incorporation 
This can again be done online using the e-Services of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)'s website. Three forms are required to be submitted (declaration of compliance, identification of office's location and particulars of directors, secretary, chief accountant, auditors and others) along with copies of the memorandum and articles of association with each member's signature. 

Step 4. Get digital signatures from the National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT)
These signatures can again also be obtained using SECP's e-Services

Step 5. Make a Company Seal
Depending on which city you are going to start your business in, you may be required to present a company seal. It is prepared generally after the certificate of incorporation is issued

Step 6. Register for income tax.
Apply for a National Tax Number (NTN) at the tax facilitation center of the Regional Tax Office (RTO) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to register for income tax. The requirements of this application are the NTN form, proof of registration, memorandum and articles of association, bank account number, copies of national identity cards of the company's directors, and an attestation of the business address. All of these are required to be submitted at the nearest tax facilitation counter of the Regional Tax Office in Pakistan

Step 7. Register for sales tax
Just like the income tax you can register for sales tax too by applying for a Sales Tax Number (STN) at the tax facilitation center of the Regional Tax Office (RTO) of the Federal Board Revenue (FBR)

Step 8. Register for professional tax
You will need to register for professional tax with the Excise and Taxation Department of the District

Step 9. Register with Employees Social Security Institution
Depending on where your business is located you will either need to register the company with the Balochistan Employees Social Security Institution (BESSI), Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (SESSI), Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI) or with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Employees Social Security Institution (KPKESSI)

Step 10. Register with the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI)
Any establishment with five or more employees has to be registered with the federal EOBI. Under the EOBI, insured employees are entitled to a pension, disability, old-age grant and survivor's pension. 

Step 11. Register with the Labor Department of the District
Registration with the Labor Department under the West Pakistan Shops and Establishment Ordinance 1969 is required


For more information you can visit the following sites: 




Which City in Pakistan Should I Start a Business in?




You have an idea but can't decide which city in Pakistan you should start your business in?




A lot depends on the type of idea you have. If you have a look at trends and consider what areas the cities are famous for, you might automatically place your idea in a certain city. Look at the following and you will understand:

  • Sialkot: Sports goods
  • Gujranwala: Textile industry
  • Quetta: Dry fruit industry
  • Faisalabad: Factories - mainly of garments and fabrics
  • Lahore: Boutiques, food and beverage, and real estate development
  • Northern Areas: Tourist resorts
  • Islamabad: Corporate offices, IT industry
  • Karachi: Software industry, FMCG industries, steel mills

One can not however just follow this pattern. There are loads of factors one should consider (additionally you might want to have a look at Porter's five forces model). Some of the factors are listed below:
  • Market Size
The first and foremost factor that you have to look at is the market size for your idea. There is no point in starting a business if your actual customer is located thousands of miles away from your area of production. Closer the client is to your production vicinity lower the costs. This concept is of course mainly applicable to the 
production industry and not the service industry. As a side note, for most ideas big cities like Karachi (6th populous city in the world), Lahore and Faisalabad have a big market.

  • Competition
Say you are starting a business in one of the categories in the cities listed above. Competition these days is so stiff that it is almost a suicide starting such a business. In fact you might want to have a look at this link if you want to know more about how to select a business ideas. You should therefore consolidate your business idea according to the strength and diversity of competition when choosing a city.

  • Employees, Resources and Suppliers
In most of the cities in Pakistan, you will find educated professionals. Similarly all the required infrastructure for most industries can be found in all of the major cities of Pakistan. However depending on your industry you might want to dwell more into this issue and gather all the stats before making your decision.

  • Expenses

Whether they are initial expenses or fixed expenses, high expenditure is always dreaded. The case with Pakistan is that all major cities are pretty expensive with Islamabad topping the list. The key therefore is to start your business small concentrating on a certain market segment and gradually expanding it to more cities and industries based on your resources. 

These were some of the factors that need to be considered while selecting your city. The International Bank of Reconstruction and Development along with the World Bank released a study in 2010, which took into account various factors for starting a business and also continuing that business for some cities of Pakistan. Below is a table and contains their ratings. The digits are the ranks of the city for the respective criteria. You might this useful. 

City, ProvinceEase of Doing Business (Rank)Starting a BusinessDealing with Construction PermitsRegistering PropertyPaying TaxesTrading Across BordersEnforcing Contracts
Faisalabad, Punjab



1




2




6




1




3




4




2
Multan, Punjab



2




6




1




7




3




5




4
Lahore, Punjab



3




3




3




4




3




13




8
Islamabad, ICT



4




1




8




3




1




11




10
Sheikhupura, Punjab



5




9




8




5




3




7




6
Gujranwala, Punjab



6




13




2




6




3




10




4
Sukkur, Sindh



7




10




4




10




11




3




1
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa



8




3




6




9




10




8




8
Karachi, Sindh



9




3




10




11




11




1




3
Rawalpindi, Punjab



10




8




5




7




3




12




10
Sialkot, Punkab



11




12




11




1




3




5




10
Quetta, Balochistan



12




6




12




13




2




9




13
Hyderabad, Sindh



13




11




13




11




11




2




7




Image by ricardodiaz11

Useful Online Tools for a Small Business



If you are looking for some neat online tools which can assist you from going to the stage you are at when starting a business to the stage when you have made an established, one you will find the following tools very useful. Some of these tools are essential for entrepreneurs and are free.



Wordoid is a great website if you are having difficulty looking for good domain names for a website. It randomly creates words with the preferences you set. You can then choose from the various names it generates.







Google Apps is a suite of web applications which can be used under custom domain names. There is no need to buy or install any software since all the web-based programs and file storage run on a web browser. The applications include messaging apps  such as Gmail, GTalk, Google Calender; collaboration apps such as Google Video, Google Sites, Google Docs & Spreadsheets and iGoogle 


3. Doodle

Doodle is the website you want to visit if you want to set up an event such as a meeting time between your team members or you want to create a poll and want everyone's opinion. It's very easy to use and it can be synchronized with Outlook, Google Calender and Lotus Notes. SurveyMonkey is another good alternative if you want to create online surveys for free




If you want to are into email marketing and sending out newsletter then MailChimp is the solution for you. There service is reliable and their interfaces are pretty user friendly. You can design, send and track your html email campaigns 


5. Skype

It's famous for a reason. Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over internet. Calls to other users of the service and, in some countries, to free-of-charge numbers, are free, while calls to other landlines and mobile phones can be made for a fee. Additional
features include instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing.




6. Picnik

With Picnik you can do almost anything with your photos: crop, resize, print, share, make a collage and edit in multiple ways. Best of all most of its features are free and the system is fast. 



7. Zamzar

Zamzar is an awesome file conversion website. All you need to do is to upload your file, give the conversion format and enter the email address you want the converted file to be sent to. Formats include those of images, docs, music, video, ebooks and other formats. Their basic service is free and is a delight to use.





8. Onehub

Most Email provider services have a small size limit on the files you can send. Onehub provides a great alternative. With it you can send, receive and track large files in a very easy manner. 




9. Senduit

In Senduit you can host files online and then send the link of the files to your friends for them to download it. The service is free and supports many file formats. Box.net is another really cool alternative. 




This is an awesome tool for business travelers. Once installed on your computer, the software immediately backs up all of your files online and keeps them in sync with each other. You can access then access the files remotely from another location. 


11. Bubbl.us

Brainstorm individually or with friends using Bubbl.us. This is a free online application that allows you to create colorful mind maps and then share it with your friends. Lovelycharts is another good alternative to use. 







12. Twiddla

Twiddla is a webbased meeting room that allows you to brainstorm effectively by allowing the attendants to draw in a sandbox mode. This is a perfect platform for remote stakeholders to share their ideas under a single roof. 








13. 280 Slides

This is an amazing site. You can create presentations online on the site for free and similarly access and present them from anywhere. It makes you independent of  your hardware and is a great tool to have. 



14. OpenProj

OpenProj is a nice alternative to MS Project. It is a free open source project management solution and is available for various platforms. 





This is a dream site if you are a web developer or an owner of a blog or a website since you can test almost every aspect of a website using it. You can validate your coding, check how popular your website is, whether your website is really up and running and do all sorts of stuff. 





Adobe Kuler is a really cool online application for graphic designers. It lets users create and save color schemes. It then allows the option of exporting the scheme to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. 






17. Bizroof

There are many CRM software out there but hardly any of them is free. Bizroof is a free CRM and is ideal for small businesses. 



Image by conorwithonen

How To Be Innovative In Your Business





 Is your team not coming up with bright new ideas? Is innovation a long forgotten task in your list? Then have a look at the following ways to become more innovative in your industry. You might just end up with a very exciting new idea.





  • Allow loads of ideas and then shortlist them
The key to a successful idea starts by having loads of ideas in the first place. A team or an individual should thus brainstorm initially and allow and list all sorts of ideas that come to mind even if they don’t make sense. You never know you might be crossing out an idea that can bring you millions in the future. The next step is to narrow down the ideas in accordance with the requirements of the consumer. Finally market research needs to be done in order to assess the feasibility of the idea.

  • Act as a devil’s advocate during screening phase
It’s sometimes a good idea to ask one of the team members to wear a black hat and oppose ideas that are put forth by other team members. This allows everyone to step back and view the ideas critically. Hence there are more constructive task conflicts between team members which result in more consolidated ideas. This technique should mainly be employed after the initial brainstorming session and during the idea screening phase. 

  • Allow people to make mistakes and equip them with adequate resources
Pixar is a great example of a company that is innovative and captures the imagination of its target market. The key to their success is that new employees are given all required resources and are allowed to make mistakes. They are encouraged to seek the advice of senior management but it’s not compulsory for them to follow their advice. This allows for a greater degree of creative freedom in terms of thinking and assessment

  • Bring fresh perspective from outside
Group thinking (team members thinking in a similar manner) usually occurs when all team members have been working with each other for a long time and share similar opinions on matters. It is thus a good idea at times to bring people from outside to assess the situation and to come with bright new ideas. Consider Grameen bank for instance. The bank was started by Dr. Muhammad Younas who came with a non-financial background and looked at the banking system from a whole new perspective. A normal banker would have perhaps never taken the bold step of revolutionizing the banking system the way he did through the introduction of micro-financing in Bangladesh.

  • Consider user scenarios and test cases for tasks
It is ultimately the user to whom you are selling the value of the idea. Therefore always keep the user’s priorities in mind and the customer experience. Some companies come up with amazing new ideas but fail to prioritize the customer needs and end up making great products which don’t fill a good demand.

  • Keep a watch for trends, new competitive technologies and businesses
User needs keep on changing. So do technologies and demands and supplies of businesses. Being innovative also involves keeping a watch on all of these while consolidating your ideas accordingly.

These steps are not complete but if implemented can help your business become more innovative. 

Image by Raneko