Tag Archives: Granger

6 Steps To Laying Out Your Competitive Strategy

6 Steps To Laying Out Your Competitive Strategy

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Why do so many companies languish and watch as their business turns into a zero profit zone, while others seem to thrive?” />

6 Steps To Laying Out Your Competitive Strategy

Why do so many companies languish and watch as their business turns into a zero profit zone, while others seem to thrive?

When you look at your business, whether it’s a new venture or a company with a long history, can you answer the following questions?

  • What does my company do better than anyone else?
  • What unique value do I provide to my customers?
  • How will I increase that value next year?

Companies that fail to answer these questions, and don’t believe they are of paramount importance, relegate themselves to marginal profitability at best and failure at worst. But companies that can answer these questions are able to raise the value bar for their customers and reap the benefits of success.

Of course, being able to answer 3 simple questions does not ensure success, but it is an important step in creating a strategic and focused operation which leads to a successful business. With today’s business environment being so competitive, businesses need to re-invent the rules on which they compete in order to be successful. Companies like Wal-Mart have figured this out and have redefined competition in their market by delivering a unique value to a selected customer group. By maintaining a focus and discipline, they make it difficult for other companies to compete under old competitive terms.

Simply, competitive strategy has never been more important to success in today’s business environment. It does not matter what type of business you are in or whether you are small, big or just starting out, a company can not survive without an adequate and focused strategic plan to best the competition. Yet many companies fail to execute a successful strategy; it is these companies that languish in the zero profit zone.

In simple terms, for a company to achieve success and enter the profit zone it must first decide where it will stake its claim in the marketplace and what kind of value it will offer its customers. A company needs a clear marketing thrust, a precise knowledge of its customer base, and a product or service with a niche or some competitive advantage to be successful. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and business owners get stuck in the process of defining their competitive strategy. They often have the idea and the product, but being the technician they are not sure how to define its market. Even worse, many entrepreneurs assume or guess their target market and often glaze over a competitive strategy, usually to the detriment of the business.

So what are the steps to laying out a competitive business strategy? While there are different methods you can follow, I have laid a series of 6 basic steps to help you.

1. Financial perspective

This step may not seem to have much to do with strategy, but it is important to determine the value of success quickly. Why? Because, in simple terms if the venture can’t deliver significant returns, it may not be worth the risk, and you have to ask yourself if it is worth continuing with your business. In this scenario you complete a reverse income statement. You start by defining how much profit you want to see at the end of a certain time period, and then determine the amount of revenues needed to generate that profit and the costs to deliver that profit. Do the numbers add up and make sense? The goal here is to be objective, if the expected revenue is not sufficient to generate your required profit at the end based on an estimate of costs, don’t simply fudge the numbers and assume you can reduce costs or increase revenue. Be diligent in your assessment.

2. Understand the industry and competition

In step 2 you are going to assess your industry and the competition. This basically comes down to assessing 5 factors:

  1. Understanding who your competition is including factors such as competitor strengths and weaknesses, market position, pricing, new product development, advertising, marketing and branding. You should determine how you compare to your competitors.
  2. Assessing the threat of new entrants into the industry (which may include you) and any potential reactions from existing companies. There are basically 6 barriers to entry you can evaluate: economies of scale, product differentiation, capital requirements, cost disadvantages, access to distribution channels, government policy.
  3. Assessing the threat of substitute products (existing or future) that can place a ceiling on pricing.
  4. Assessing the bargaining power of suppliers who can increase prices, lower the quality of products or limit the quantity of supplies one can purchase. This all has an impact on profitability.
  5. Assessing the bargaining power of customers who can force down prices or demand better quality, more services and play you off versus a competitor.

3. Understand the Customer Perspective

In step 3 you assess your customer. This is a key step, get it wrong and you may not be able to recover. In fact, the customer value proposition and how it translates into growth and profitability for the company is the foundation of strategy.

Start by asking your self a couple basic questions: To achieve my vision, how must my customers look? Who are the target customers that will generate growth and a profitable mix of products/services?

Next, ask yourself what is the value proposition which defines how the company differentiates itself to attract, retain and deepen relationships with the targeted customers? There are basically 3 value propositions or disciplines that you can choose from:

  1. Cost leadership In this discipline you choose to provide the best price with the least inconvenience to your customers.
  2. Product leadership In this discipline you offer products that push the performance boundary (i.e. newer and better than competitors).
  3. Best total solution In this discipline you deliver what the customer wants, cultivate relationships and satisfy unique needs. In this case, you may not be the cheapest or the newest, but the total package you deliver to the customer cannot be matched.

In order to help you determine which of these value propositions you decide on, you may want to work through a value chain: 1. Determine your customer priorities 2. Determine the channels needed to satisfy those priorities 3. Determine the offering (products) that are best suited to flow through those channels 4. Determine the inputs (materials/knowledge etc) required to create the product 5. Determine the assets/core competencies essential to the inputs (ask yourself, in order to satisfy my customer at which processes must I excel? For example, product design, brand and market development, sales, service and operations and/or logistics).

4. Finish the business model

The business model shows how all the elements and activities of a business work together as a whole by outlining how the business generates revenue, how cash flows through the business and how the product flows through the business. By this time, you should understand the revenue capability of the business, how the industry works and your competition, who you customer is, what you are going to offer them and how you are going to offer it. By drawing a flow chart that shows how these activities are linked together you will understand how the business activities flow to generate projected profit, which you determined in step 1. This is also a good step to see if something is missing in your analysis.

5. Construct the business plan

By the time you get to this step most of your work is done. If you are looking for financing, a formalized plan will have to be completed. If you do not need financing, simply make sure the preceding tasks are documented so that they can be reviewed and changed as time progresses (strategy is an ongoing process, not a one time task).

6. Learning and growth perspective

In this last step, you ask yourself how/where the organization must learn and improve in order to become and remain successful. For example, determine the skills, capabilities and knowledge of employees needed, the technology needed and the climate and culture in which they work.

About The Author

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated. Send to:jeff@companyworkshop.com

article source: adzines.com


Logo Design and Branding

Logo Design and Branding – Points to Remember

Logo Design and Branding – Points to Remember

By: Ray Smith

A good logo design is highly instrumental in establishing a business brand and creating a long lasting impression among its customers. It should be able to create a powerful impact on the viewers and successfully exude the nature and attitude of a business. Ideally, a company logo design should be able to communicate your company ethos, principles, mission and the nature of product/service offered, to the viewers.

A professional logo design would establish a professional image of your company and strengthen your brand. Actually, in most cases the consumer gets the first impression about the company through your logo. Your business logo should build a brand that is strong enough to give your consumer a visual imagery of your company. People should be able to identify your company on sight of your logo.

Trend shows, most of the good logos are simple and often text based. Think of the IBM, SONY or Microsoft logo, even if you view a part of it you will be able to recognize the company. It is extremely essential for a logo to be easy for people to remember.

This principle of simplicity applies n most cases, however, we often see exceptions in Government Organizations, Hotels and Luxury resorts etc because they want to put up a classical exclusive image. This again brings us to a very important point that should be considered for a good logo design – the nature of business.

While simplicity can be the basic principle for any logo design, the designs might vary widely depending on the nature of business. For example, a financial institution might like to use a bold face font to express solidarity and stableness where as a courier service or transport company might prefer italicized fonts to express the speed and movement involved in their business.

In addition, while specifying the design requirements for your logo you should consider the fact that you will probably have to use your logo on your fax cover and other places where it will be in black and white. You should ensure that your logo looks equally good and attractive in black and white.

I would also suggest avoiding a very trendy look for your logo if you are planning for a long-term business because what we concern “modern” today might be backdated tomorrow. It is very important that your logo designer knows how to maintain this balance.

While any professional logo designer should be able to create a custom logo design once you have provided them with your specifications, you should be careful to select an experienced designing company and not land up with some single designer start up venture.

Last but not the least important factor is price. You are paying for your logo – something that is going to be used to establish your brand and represent your business for years, so you should be ready to pay a decent amount while it is also not necessary to pay some big amount like $350 for a logo. With the online logo design firms coming into business, now you have a wide choice of price for your logos and it should not be difficult to find a logo designer that fits your budget. Some logo design sites would even allow you to quote your own price for your logo.

If you have still not got a logo for your business or are not happy with your existing logo, it’s time you get your new logo. Wish you lucked with your logo hunt.

Author Bio
Ray Smith is a marketing Expert with years of experience in different industries and specialized knowledge on branding and Internet marketing.
Custom Logo Design

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com – Free Website Content


Another Great Article on the Rocket Racing League.

This article originally appeared on airport journals.com

Rocket Racing League—NASCAR-style Racing in the Sky Jul ’08

By Henry M. Holden

Courtesy Rocket Racing League Inc

The prototype Rocket Racer takes off for a test flight from the Mojave Desert in October 2007. The rocket produces a 10- to 15-foot long, bright yellow flame and a roar heard and felt for miles.

The Rocket Racing League of Las Cruces, N.M., combines the competition of air racing with rocketry. X-Prize founder Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, who serves as co-founder and chairman, and Granger B. Whitelaw, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion team partner who serves as co-founder, president and CEO, established the RRL in 2005.

The Rocket Racing League will use a rocket-powered Velocity, a four-seat pusher canard experimental aircraft. The Rocket Racer, currently under development, began test flights in the fall of 2007. The aircraft will use a single 1,500 to 2,000 pound thrust liquid oxygen and kerosene rocket engine that emits a 10- to 15-foot long, bright yellow flame and a roar heard for miles. Mesquite, Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace will provide the LOX engines.

With the acquisition of Velocity Aircraft by Rocket Racing Composites Corp., a subsidiary of RRL, Velocity will produce an airframe that will be consistent for all competing Rocket Racers.

“The first aircraft we tried was the Long EZ, but we retired the precursor vehicle called the EZ-Rocket,” said Whitelaw. “The EZ-Rocket used a modified Long-EZ aircraft frame and two 400-pound liquid oxygen and alcohol engines. We thought the Velocity was the most stable aircraft for racing that we could make modifications to and add our rocket engines and avionics. It’s an easily crafted composite aircraft, and we liked its flight profile.

“People have contacted us from the very first day asking if they could enter their aircraft into the league. We’ve been saying that after the first two or three years, we’ll announce new engine manufacturers. We’ll certainly look at other aircraft as we get the racing series going and we have some safe vehicles we can add to the mix.”

Courtesy Rocket Racing League Inc

The Rocket Racing League plans to use the Armadillo Aerospace engine, seen here during a test firing. The combination of liquid oxygen and kerosene produces multi-colored exhaust flames.

The Velocity airframe needed major modifications.

“We had to build a new aft section to mount the rocket engine and the LOX tank,” said Whitelaw. “We had to increase its size to hold the larger tank. We made some other structural changes, such as changing the rod system for the ailerons and rudder. We also added some cameras and radios for tracking and viewing. From the wings forward we made very few modifications.”

Safety measures and methodology borrowed from the Formula One and Indy cars will help provide a safer vehicle and better protect pilots and passengers. Reinforced cockpit seats will enable the Rocket Racers to withstand impacts up to a 20 G-load.

Rocket racers will debut at the world’s largest air show.

“We’re going to our first exhibition race at EAA AirVenture, in Oshkosh, Wis., Aug. 1 and 2,” said Whitelaw. “The first flight will be on Tues., July 29, for a press conference, and then on Friday and Saturday for the show. We’ll field one or two aircraft, depending on which aircraft we feel are safe and reliable at the time, to fly in front of the public. The Rocket Racers will have speeds up to 350 miles per hour, and we hope that for the first time, two Rocket Racers will compete head-to-head in a demonstration race on the raceway in the sky.”

He said they might add two or three more at future exhibition races.

“We’re doing it as much for us and for the FAA, to get a feel for what we want to do, and what kinds of modifications we may need to make,” he said. “We’ll be adding other things to the show, and by the end of 2009, we may start the flight series with eight to 10 aircraft racing at one time, and put on a good show with patterns that are safe to fly. It’ll be its own venue and a race, similar to NASCAR racing, with prize money. We’re going to do exhibitions first to let the people see what it looks and feels like. At the end of the day, we want people to have a new experience as well as a fun air show.”

He said the first exhibition race would be an important milestone in the progression of the Rocket Racing League.

“We’re looking forward to sharing the experience and thrill of rocket racing with the public,” he said.

Courtesy Rocket Racing League Inc

Granger Whitelaw, CEO and co-founder of the Rocket Racing League, oversees the league’s management, operations, partnerships and corporate affairs.

Raceway in the sky

Instead of racing high performance cars around a ground track, the RRL will fly manned rocket-powered airplanes within a virtual three-dimensional track in the sky. The track is one mile high, two miles long and one-half-mile wide. Virtual GPS “tunnels” will shape the closed circuit track. The race will consist of four-lap, multiple elimination heats over a five-mile closed circuit Formula One-type raceway. The thousands of fans in attendance will witness the racing action live and displayed on multiple large projection screens. The fans watching on TVs and PCs at home will experience the thrill of the race via unique remote and rocket-mounted cameras that’ll give them the sensation of riding alongside the pilots.

“People will actually see the rocket planes racing on the tracks,” said Whitelaw. “There’ll be special effects for rocket planes that go through a virtual barrier and are penalized, similar to Formula One races. Viewers will have a view from the cockpit unlike anything that’s been done before. The races are projected to be about an hour and a half in length.”

The Rocket Racers will fly at a safe distance from the crowd, will never fly directly towards or away from the crowd and will follow all air show regulations set forth by the FAA.

“Safety is a number one priority with us,” said Whitelaw. “A team of dedicated engineers and scientists with years of experience in the given fields are charged with ensuring safety for all those involved.”

The teams

Currently, the league has six teams: Thunderhawk Rocket Racing, Santa Fe Racing, Bridenstine Rocket Racing, Rocket Star Racing, Team Extreme Rocket Racing and Canada-based Beyond Gravity Rocket Racing. Down the road, Whitelaw expects a maximum of about 14 teams.

“We’re still working out those details,” Whitelaw said. “The teams, pilot and pit crew will probably be about 10 people. If you include all the support staff, there’ll probably be about 30 to 40.”

World-famous aviators, including retired NASA astronaut Rick Searfoss and aerobatic pilots Sean Tucker, Len Fox and Jim Bridenstine will fly the Rocket Racers, capable of accelerating from zero to full-throttle in a split second.

Photo By Diane Bondareff for Rocket Racing League

Granger Whitelaw and actor Timothy Hutton examine a scale model of the Velocity Rocket racer. Hutton is a Rocket Racing League advisory board member.

Funding

Whitelaw and the board of directors will fund the league privately.

At every Rocket Racing League event, pilots who finish in the top three spots will earn points. The pilot who earns the most points overall at the end of a regular season will be crowned league champion.

“The teams are individually owned, so they’ll have their own funding, whether it’s from private money or sponsors,” said Whitelaw. “The prize monies will all be funded by sponsors. The first prize will be $100,000, with other prizes for fastest turn around, lap, pit stop and so on.”

He said revenues would be generated through six primary sources. Each will fall under a separate revenue unit of the RRL: sponsorship, sanctioning fees (and venue related revenues), merchandising/licensing, broadcast rights, gaming and touring/amusement park offerings. The licensing of intellectual property will generate additional revenues.

“We anticipate our crowds to reach the same level for those who attend other motorsports and air show events—between 100,000 and 500,000 people,” said Whitelaw.

Following the first exhibition race, the RRL will hold exhibition races at Reno National Championship Air Races, in Reno, Nev., X Prize Cup, in Las Cruces, N.M., and Aviation Nation, Nellis AFB, in Las Vegas, Nev.

For more information on the Rocket Racing League, visit http://www.rocketracingleague.com.


A look back at the RRL: Rocket Racing League Earns Experimental Exhibition Certificate From FAA.

This article appeared on the Aero-News Network.

Rocket Racing League Earns Experimental Exhibition Certificate From FAA | Aero-News Network 
Tue, Oct 14, 2008 Rocket Racing League Earns Experimental Exhibition Certificate From FAA Permits Rocket Powered Aircraft Flights At Over 20
Venues In US The Rocket Racing League has announced that it has been granted an Experimental Exhibition Certificate from the FAA for the first
of its next-generation Rocket Racer that has been selected as the baseline design for the fleet moving forward. This exhibition type certification
marks the first time in the FAA’s history that a production level rocket powered aircraft has been cleared to perform exhibition flight demonstrations
at over 20 venues across the US . The DKNY Bridenstine Rocket Racer vehicle, built on a Velocity Aircraft airframe and equipped with liquid
oxygen (LOX) & alcohol engines manufactured by Armadillo Aerospace, was used in test flights to demonstrate the Rocket Racer’s stability, safety,
performance and reliability to the FAA. “I would like to personally thank the FAA for their assistance through this process”, said Granger Whitelaw,
Rocket Racing League Chief Executive Officer. “This historic moment was built upon the unprecedented cooperation between our company,
Armadillo Aerospace, and the FAA. The League will now move forward with solidifying venues for its 2009 Exhibition season and be on course for
the official race season in 2010.” The league plans to work with show, airport and local FAA authorities to select 8 venues from the more than 20 that
have been approved by the FAA. Among the venues approved by the FAA for the Rocket Racers include: National Championship Air Races and Air
Show, Reno, Nevada; Miramar Air Show, San Diego, California; Las Cruces International Airport, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Aviation Nation, Las
Vegas, Nevada; Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, Sebring, Florida; McGuire Air Force Base Airshow, Wrightstown, New Jersey; Igor I Sikorsky
Memorial Airport, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Oklahoma Spaceport, Burns Flat, Oklahoma; Spirit of St Louis Airport, St Louis, Missouri; Wings and
Wheels Fly-in, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Lackland AirFest, San Antonio, Texas; Langley Air Force Base Air Show, Hampton, Virginia; EAA
AirVenture, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; NAS JAX Air Show, Jacksonville, Florida; Albert Whitted Airport, St Petersburg, Florida; Moffett Federal
Airfield, Mountain View, California; Mojave Air & Space Port, Mojave, California; New York Air Show at Jones Beach, Farmingdale, New York;
Caddo Mills Municipal Airport, Caddo Mills, Texas; Majors Airport, Greenville, Texas; Grayson County Airport, Sherman/Denison, Texas; Fort
Worth Alliance Air Show, Fort Worth, Texas. Founded in 2005 by two-time Indianapolis 500 winning team partner Granger Whitelaw and X PRIZE
Chairman and CEO Peter H. Diamandis, MD, the Rocket Racing League (RRL ) is a new entertainment sports league that combines the exhilaration
of racing with the power of rocket engines. To be held at venues across the country, the Rocket Racing League will feature multiple races pitting up
to 10 Rocket Racers going head to head in a 4-lap, multiple elimination heat format on a 5-mile “Formula One”-like closed circuit raceway in the sky.


Granger Whitelaw

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Granger Whitelaw


Indianapolis 500 Challenges Drivers and Inspires Automotive Excellence (Part 2) By Granger Whitelaw Cofounder, Rocket Racing League

The high stakes and top speeds of the Indianapolis 500 continue to attract huge crowds of fans each year. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway organization chooses not to divulge the exact number of visitors who attend the event each spring. Race-day experts, however, estimate that between the 257,000 permanent seats and variable infield seating, the number of people who attend the Indianapolis 500 each year may well top 400,000.

Over the last 3 years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated centennial anniversaries commemorating the construction of the original track in 1909 and the 1911 introduction of the Indianapolis 500. Historians note that the 2011 race was not actually the 100th Indianapolis 500, because the race was not held during the years of World War I and World War II. Nonetheless, the tradition of the race, as well as fans’ deep commitment to it throughout the years on the home front, date back 100 years, making the anniversary a true milestone.

Winners of the Indianapolis 500 usually drink milk to celebrate their victory. The ritual began in 1933 when Louis Meyer drank a glass of buttermilk after coming in 1st for the 2nd time at the Indianapolis 500. When he won again in 1936, he received a bottle of buttermilk rather than a glass. A local dairy manager realized that the milk bottle image represented an excellent marketing and public relations opportunity. The dairy today offers winners of the race a choice of whole milk, skim milk, or 2% milk.

Just as the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar racing have generated dozens of traditions, the Rocket Racing League reaches out to fans to create new customs and conventions to celebrate their love for the high-powered aerial sport.

About Granger Whitelaw

A fan of racing and high-speed air and motor sports, Granger Whitelaw cofounded the Rocket Racing League to give fans the chance to enjoy the new sport that melds rocket–powered aircraft and a Raceway-In-The-Sky that follows the model for IndyCar races.


Indianapolis 500 Challenges Drivers and Inspires Automotive Excellence (Part 1) By Granger Whitelaw Cofounder, Rocket Racing League

The Indianapolis 500 traces its roots to the 1909 construction of an asphalt track slated for use as a testing ground for automobiles. The humble track became the first fixture of what is today known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and launched a series of relatively small races that evolved over time to the event now dubbed “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

 

The sport developed with a long series of innovations aimed at providing safety to drivers, pit crews, and the audience. The original asphalt racetrack, composed of a mixture of packed tar and gravel, crumbled and broke apart several times. The obvious safety concerns prompted the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to replace the unstable material with bricks. The $155,000 project also included construction of a concrete wall around the circumference of the track to protect bystanders if a car veered off course.

 

The new track debuted to the public over the 1910 Memorial Day weekend. Though the event attracted crowds exceeding 60,000 people, subsequent events drew much smaller audiences. Beginning in 1911, the event organizers chose to concentrate their publicity and motor sports team recruitment on a single, large race. To generate excitement, the event entailed 500 laps culminating in a $25,000 prize for the victor.

 

About Granger Whitelaw

 

Granger Whitelaw cofounded the Rocket Racing League. The organization oversees the competition for Rocket Racing, a sport that employs high-technology, rocket-powered aircraft and track scenarios similar to those used in IndyCar racing. Before establishing the new race model, Granger Whitelaw owned Whitelaw Racing, Inc., an organization that represented and sponsored IndyCar teams, including two winners of the Indianapolis 500.