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The question of money and wealth is perhaps the most vexing of all issues confronted by those who aspire for a more conscious way of life. Money has a subtle corrupting influence even on the best of minds. It is for this reason that money is amongst the first things to be rejected by the spiritually inclined. Most spiritual disciplines celebrate poverty because of a deeply ingrained fear of money. But wealth is indispensable to life on earth and any spirituality that dismisses wealth will have to, by that very logic, dismiss the action of life itself.

According to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, money is not just a medium of exchange but a powerful force at work on earth. This force can be harnessed and used consciously and creatively for human welfare and wellbeing, to generate physical, material and vital abundance for all humans everywhere; or it can be used for personal and collective aggrandizement. Being a force, money by itself is neither good nor bad: it is what we make of it and how we use it.

Sri Aurobindo said that the wealth force is essentially a divine force, a spiritual force, that must be used for the work of the Divine on earth. In other words, wealth is a force to be used for establishing Dharma. But, in the present scheme of things, this force happens to be under the control of the asuric or adharmic forces, forces ruled by greed and ego and opposed to Truth and Dharma. Those who have the money often do not have the consciousness of Dharma; and those who have the consciousness, often do not have the money!

In Indian spirituality, there are two dominant forces in the play of evolution: the daivic and the asuric. The daivic (from the word deva, meaning divine) represents the forces of Truth and harmony, unerringly aligned with the highest dharma; the asuric (from the word asura, meaning demonic) represents the exaggerated and unbalanced ego which typically needs to devour others to grow and thrive. While the asuric concentrates all wealth and power in its own hands for its own selfish use, the daivic distributes, circulates, shares so that all grow together, following wider and deeper laws of universal oneness and harmony. The asuric wealth is typically Kuber’s wealth, hoarded and jealously guarded, while daivic wealth comes from Mahalakshmi and must flow and circulate freely for it to return to her. Note that the very name Kuber, in Sanskrit, means deformed or demonic, whereas Lakshmi (लक्स्ह्मि, She-of-the-hundred-thousands) in Sanskrit represents prosperity, abundance and divine Grace (Lakshmi as shri).

The fact that the asuric forces rule the wealth force explains the present state of affairs in our world — the irrational imbalance of wealth, the inequality of distribution of resources, the rampant greed and corruption of spirit that marks most businesses and money making ventures. Because the forces controlling wealth are asuric in origin, the all round consequences are equally asuric — our entire work culture, based on a cultural obsession with making money at all costs, clearly sucks. Hardly anyone in our modern day corporate and business environment loves or enjoys the work she or he does. Most people work like donkeys, in dehumanizing and uncreative environments, for crassly utilitarian objectives. The objective of work should be creative fulfillment, the ananda or delight of creative and productive work that generates global prosperity and wellbeing. But few ever come to such delight of work in their lifetimes.

Consider the fact that we are living in a world where the richest 1% own 44% of the world’s wealth and resources [1]. If that’s not bad enough, consider further that adults with less than $10,000 in wealth make up 56.6 percent of the world’s population but hold less than 2 percent of global wealth. If this is what we have achieved over millennia of civilization and economic planning, then we seriously need to check our premises.

But this is precisely the result of asuric influence and control — distortion, exaggeration, imbalance, instability. Human societies are sitting on a powder keg. Such glaring inequality is bound to implode. It is a question of when. The socialist model in economics failed because human consciousness, dominated by the asuric ego, was not ready for it, and those who led the system were themselves unquestioning servitors of the asuric; the capitalist model too is failing because of the same reason: asuric domination. The way we work, earn money and live is a reflection and expression of asuric greed and insecurity: corporate systems and governance are based on mutual distrust, the corporate and social machinery is ruthless, exploitative and transactional.

Self-interest is the defining attribute of the asura, and it is self-interest that has largely defined us as communities, organizations and nations. We act compulsively out of self-interest, and this is what makes us and our systems exploitative. If we act out of self-interest, we will inevitably exploit each other. This is inevitable and we don’t need a Marx to tell us that.

In an ideal world, where the wealth force is possessed by the daivic and dharmic forces, those with a higher and wider consciousness would have access to the wealth force; only the enlightened would be given the power over wealth and resources. The most privileged would also be the most responsible, conscious and compassionate, and therefore the most grateful and generous. Generosity is the defining attribute of the deva, just as self-interest is the defining attribute of the asura.

But an ideal world will be created only under certain ideal conditions. The balance of forces will have to be restored, the asuric influences have to be replaced by the daivic, the generation of wealth will have to be aligned to Dharma — the True, the Right and the Just.

The first condition for reversing the balance of forces would be to ensure that those who are spiritually conscious are the ones who turn to generation of wealth. There is a cosmic law that governs the wealth force: wealth flows towards its votaries and not towards those who resist or reject it. This has been the great tragedy of our civilization for millennia, that those who should wield control over the wealth force are the ones who have deeply resisted or completely rejected it. This must change. The old idea of poverty as a condition for spiritual life must be rejected for what it is — a life negating belief; wealth is a divine force and must be used for the work of the Divine, and this can best be done by those who seek the higher Light and Truth in their own lives. The Truth of Life is not to be found in forests and monasteries but in the active field of life. Wealth is not a thing to be rejected but to be possessed by the mighty in spirit and used for the welfare of humanity.

The ancient Indians did not reject human desire or wealth in their pursuit of spiritual Truth and liberation, they harmonized and synthesized fulfillment of desire, generation of wealth, pursuit of dharma and spiritual liberation in a wide integral embrace of the whole field and scope of human existence. Kama (desire), artha (wealth and the generation of wealth), dharma (the order and harmony of all existence) and moksha (spiritual realization and liberation) were interwoven in the very fabric of everyday life in the world. This is the principle to which our modern civilization must return, for this is the true resolution of all our conflicts and crises.

The second condition would be to bring back the sage and the Yogi to the centre-stage of our collective life. We need to discover amongst ourselves the votaries of the higher Truth and not the votaries of money and power; we need to find and value those men and women of consciousness, those enlightened masters, who can be our new thought-leaders and role-models. We must collectively realize that possessing wealth, power and fame do not mean anything if one does not possess consciousness, wisdom and compassion. We must collectively understand that the rich, the powerful and the famous are not necessarily the true and the wise; on the contrary. We must insist on the values of consciousness, integrity and responsibility and must collectively and vigorously reject the self-indulgent, the false and the hypocritical; we must, with great vigor and passion, reject pettiness and falsehood and celebrate truth and wideness; we must learn to recognize the most conscious amongst us and honor them, value them, celebrate them.

A lot of us everywhere must now begin to speak up like the little child in the fable who publicly asked why the emperor was not wearing clothes. We must learn to see truly, without filters; we must learn to stand for truth, whatever we may possess of it; we must learn to speak for the true and the right, call a spade a spade, and live with integrity and courage. The poverty of consciousness must end, and we must grow rich in mind, spirit and body. The old division between wealth and spirit must go. The next generation should learn this invaluable lesson: that to possess the true wealth force, one must possess the true consciousness.

These would be the first conditions for establishing the next capitalism on earth — a conscious and enlightened capitalism created and sustained by groups of conscious and enlightened thought-leaders wielding the wealth-force; and this then will open the possibilities of a new and enlightened socio-economic order. Only such a conscious and enlightened capitalism based on Dharma, or a dharmic capitalism, will bring about the crucial changes in the way we collectively work and live on this planet. A dharmic capitalism will naturally encourage the principles of justice, fair play and equal opportunity as much as the values of hard work and excellence. Unfair wealth generation, crony capitalism, unbridled greed and corruption do not make for a healthy and sane society, and the aim of wealth is to create a healthy and sane society. This is a deep spiritual truth. Let us reflect on it.

Originally published on the Satyameva website

Harnessing data has become one of the most pivotal tasks today. Companies are consistently searching for techniques that help generate huge amounts of data which can be studied and electronically processed to draw predictions.

Predictive Analytics is a dedicated term wherein businesses use historical data with the intent of guessing future outcomes. It is an advanced tool which helps companies in anticipating changes in market behavior. It also empowers companies to prepare, modify, and adjust, their operational, production, and marketing methods.

For organizations, Predictive Analytics is a sought-after tool as it’s extremely potent in creating a personalized experience for consumers. Let us take a look at why this advanced tool is being increasingly used by companies across the globe.

 

Outperform Competitors

An effective predictive model helps in anticipating the behavioral patterns of users amongst your target audience.
This is unequivocally a competitive advantage as it helps you track down the aspirations of a user.
By creating personalized content, your company stands a better chance of winning the loyalty of users.

 

Create Opportunities

As Predictive Analytics render crucial insights into buying patterns of potential and existing customers, you can push customers by offering discounts and privileges to generate additional revenue streams. By collecting valuable data of users, your company can diversify its product range as well.

Also Read: Why Health Care Organizations are focussing on Predictive Analytics

 

Understand Target Audience

Using historical or past data, predictive analytics can reveal the preferences of the target audience.
For instance, while recording a specific user’s data, you can note down the current preferences whereas once this data is processed using this advanced tool, you can make a well—informed guess regarding a user’s future preference.

This is a major benefit enabling businesses to understand its users or customers.

 

Retention

One of the most crucial aspects of running a business is to understand how to retain its stakeholders. Regardless of the type of company, it is not easy to acquire and then retain a customer or an employee. Both of these stakeholders need to be understood by the company.

Predictive Analytics as a method assists in understanding the reason behind the exiting of such stakeholders.
For instance, a retail venture can use its predictive analytical skills to take note of reasons that push customers to choose their competition.

 

Operational Improvement

A whole lot of companies use predictive analytics to improve the functioning of their inbound and outbound processes.
For instance, Airline companies use it to determine ticket prices in the coming months. Some companies use predictive models to anticipate the inventory levels necessary for sustaining through a financial year.

With such varied application, predictive analytics is undoubtedly a significant tool which can either make or break a business.
It does take years to accumulate valuable data and create a full-fledged roadmap but once that stage is through, you can be assured of positive results and steady growth.

Is Your Business Prepared For The New Market? – The Basics with BluOne India

A majority of businesses in the world fall under the category of “Small Businesses”. If you are a Small Business owner, with the lockdown currently in place and an emerging new market that seems quite unpredictable, it’s a good time to evaluate (or re-evaluate) the directions and choices regarding your business and strengthen your foundations for the future.

Running a business in the 21st century not only needs a deep knowledge of well-established business strategies but also adds the dimension of online and digital marketing practices. Businesses need to establish their presence not only in the real world but also online as potential customers often look up information about you on the internet before ever visiting your store.

The first in this 3 part blog series written with BluOne India explains the ideal scenarios and research that must be performed by those people who want to start a new small business with 5 or fewer employees or are still in the early stages of a recent small venture. BluOne India delivers smart solutions through health care revenue cycle management, user experiences, education, technology, branding, and marketing.

The first thing any business needs is a problem that their potential customers are facing, which they solve. This is called the Problem Finding approach. You either address an existing problem in the market (Like UBER addressed the waiting in the sun for cabs and rickshaws problem), or you create a problem that your solution fixes by doing existing things better (like the use of Cars and Bikes when going on foot or cycles is not exactly a problem, just a worse way of getting around).

The solution that your business presents to people has to, obviously, solve the given problem that you are addressing, and on top of that has to be User-Centric, meaning that the user should be able to use your product with a certain degree of ease (this is where terms like user experience and user interface come in). Seeing what things people care about is essential in solving their problem, for example, when it comes to taxi apps, people care about how long they need to wait for their driver, what their location is during the ride and how long it will take them to reach their destination. All 3 of these are readily viewable and constantly updated in all such apps.

 

Once the “Problem” and “Solution” have been identified, you need to know exactly who your target audience is. Detailed research of potential customers based on their geographies, income groups, gender, and professions allows you to create a “Consumer Persona” of a typical individual who would be using your product or service. Doing this lets you understand your ideal customer by listing out their:

  • Motivations
  • Goals
  • Vision
  • Personality Traits
  • Fears

Whether young or old, in India or the US, it is necessary to do the research and have such “Persona Templates” customized for all the different types of consumers who would be interested in your business. For example, you might think that advertising men’s products specifically to men might be the right strategy, but it leads to low sales for some businesses. Women are heads of households when it comes to making buying choices, and wives and girlfriends quite often buy men’s products for their partners. This is a section of your target audience you would miss out on if you didn’t do your research well enough when creating a “Consumer Persona”.

Most new businesses often get overconfident in saying that they don’t have direct competition, but are actually being very narrow in their research. If you don’t see much competition in your business, either the market for such a product doesn’t exist, or you have fallen short in your evaluation of the competition. (eg: Travel and Business industries these days don’t have much competition, but that is due to there not being any market for travel in this time of global lockdowns). London based food delivery app Deliveroo knew that they had competition, but on doing their research realized that there was a lack of quality food being delivered. By tying up with high end and well-known restaurants, they were able to get ahead of their competition.

The Jobs-To-Be-Done framework is for defining, categorizing, capturing, and organizing all your customers’ needs. Moreover, when using this framework, a complete set of “need statements” can be captured in days — rather than months — and the statements themselves are valid for years — rather than quickly becoming obsolete. It focuses on what the customers want to accomplish rather than what they want to purchase. By taking the example of Photoshop vs Instagram, while these are both photo editing software, we see that the “Job To Be Done” is different for each. While Photoshop is for professional editing of high-resolution photos for sharing on websites or for print, Instagram is for sharing beautiful pictures with your friends on a daily basis.

Now that your business seems more feasible, developing core values for yourself is the ideal next step for your institution. Whether it be about helping the environment, honesty, quality, or any other qualifying message, it has to be set in stone and is the basis on which your company ethos exists. (eg: Companies with a “Profits above Costs” core value will operate by using predatory pricing, aggressive marketing, hiring competition and then shutting them down, while a company with honesty as its core value will not go in for a transaction or deal that hypothetically involves bribing a minister).

Here are Adidas’ core values to illustrate how they define a company:

  • Purpose: Through sport, we have the power to change lives.
  • Mission: To be the best sports company in the world.
  • A deeper dive: “Athletes will not settle for average. And neither do we. We have a clear mission: To be the best sports company in the world. Every day, we come to work to create and sell the best sports and fitness products in the world, and to offer the best service and consumer experience—and to do it all in a sustainable way. To successfully do that, we focus entirely on our authentic sports brands as they connect and engage with our consumers.”

Every business needs a brand name. Brand names need to follow some key guidelines like being easy to search, having an available domain name, no more than 2 syllables in the name, and being easy to remember and relate with the product. Eg: Facebook, Twitter, Tesla, Nike, Yahoo.

We suggest you don’t invest too heavily in a logo at this stage, and perhaps even just use the company name in a specific font as the logo. The primary focus should be on the solution itself at this stage instead of the graphics around it. As things develop, you can bring in those logo changes at a later point.

Now all that’s left to do is to use all the information that you have gathers, and informed by it, create the “Minimum Valuable Product” It is the most stripped-down version of your product that can be offered to your customers faster than a fully-featured version, but it must also be able to satisfy your first adopters. This will allow you to test how you do in the market you have defined for yourself, reaching your specific target audience while using strategies best suited to work against your competition.

In part 2, we shall look at Digital Marketing Strategies and what you can do to get more customers online.

BluOne India explains the ideal scenarios and research that must be performed by those in the early stages of a small venture. Learn more about best strategies for new businesses. Originally hosted at Tejee’s studio.