Archive for March, 2008

Thought of the Day

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”

Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001)

Certifications for senior leaders

Are their vendor certifications that add value to the profile of an executive level? What are they? I am keen on certifications that can be pursued irrespective of location and are custom paced like oracle and microsoft certifications.

Ayanansha Acharya


Executive MBAs, formal training in SOX, HIPAA, CobiT, COSO, ITIL, PMP, PgMP, etc. A good foundation in financial controls, governance, compliance and managing across the IT/Business divide will go far with a lot of organizations these days. Even if you won’t be working directly in an IT role, every aspect of business is touched by IT and will benefit from the expertise that you’d bring to the table.

Think in terms of differentiation. If you have the identical qualifications to your peers, you need to step it up with something that they *don’t* have. If they’re all IT people, look at a CPA or financial cert. If you’re all Finance, look at IT Governance or ITIL. If you’re all JDs, consider a CISA or CISSP to complement your role. It needs to be relevant to your targetted position, but you want to avoid wasting your time on a commodity cert that doesn’t stand out from your competition.

ISACA has a new certification that they’re rolling out called the CGEIT (Certified in the Governance of Enterprise Information Technology). I don’t know if it’s going to go anywhere and it will likely be a few years before the HR people take notice. But it’s probably worth looking into. I suspect that it will be a hot cert for a few years after it rolls out.

What you might want to consider is talking with your HR department about what certs are showing up in thier job postings. Talk with your C-levels to see what certifications that they consider valuable (if any). Also, look at job postings for the positions that you’d want to pursue in 2-3 years and see what certs they list. All of these should give you some good direction.

Good luck!

Best businesses opportunities

Based on your experience, what is the best business to start within 12 months and why?

If you could suggest a business to start soon, highly profitable, in a growing market, but with little need of capital, what would be your best guess? What would be the strategic assets needed for success?

Guido Sullam

Business expert

Wow. That’s a pretty open question. A lot would depend on the amount of capital that you have available (“little” is a relative term), your network, your tolerance for risk, your own personal expertise and interest and what you consider to be “a business” (are you trying to build an empire or personal wealth?)

For example; If you’re a skilled technology or business professional with a good network of peers and potential customers, You might want to consider starting a consulting company. The startup costs are minimal, potential profits are high and your knowledge and expertise would be the key assets. It would primarily be a case of marketing your services and lining up customers. (don’t forget that you could also partner with someone who has that network and would be willing to work it for you.)

Franchises are a mixed blessing. You’ll need to do your due diligence to understand the business and the market that you intent to enter. More responsible franchisors will insist that you do this by default. But the less professional ones will just take your cheque and let you deal with it.

MLMs are an easy way to some quick money if you have the hustle and a decent network. However, you’ll burn at least some of your contacts. I would avoid these. I only mention them before someone else does. I know some people that swear by MLMs, but they’ve always rubbed me the wrong way.

Direct services business are hot right now and a good investment. Daycare, medical, store-front retail, food services, cleaning, entertainment, etc.

Real Estate may be a good investment in the longer term, but requires access to capital and a certain amount of expertise to pick the right deals. It’s a buyer’s market right now with a lot of good deals. But there are no gaurantees that there won’t be an additional drop before the rebound. So you would need enough capital to be able to keep your investments afloat.
There are a lot of opportunities for commercial development as well. But, again, you’d need the expertise and network to leverage those oppoprtunities. Don’t ignore the ability to leverage a small amount of capital to control a relatively large investment.

My recommendation to you would be to make a list of your skills, hobbies, interests and assets and then start brainstorming where they might be a good fit. You may find that something jumps out at you.

Once you have a list of potential opportunities, assess the risk, reward, “fun level” and document all of the things that could possibly go wrong and how your would deal with them.

If your interest is simply in the financial transaction, you might want to consider brokering deals for other entrepreneurs or groups. Your profile indicates that you may have the expertise to do this. A bit of focused research and a LOT of networking could provide you with that “low capital/high profit” opportunity.