Business Cards – Then and Now

Business cards can be termed as the most important entity for any modern day professional. It is not difficult to understand why. Business cards, after all divulge such important information about an individual like his name, the organisation he is working in, the post he holds, his contact numbers and his e-mail ID. In addition to all this, business cards also give information about the organization one works in and the type of product it churns out. Surely, anything that gives such important information about any person can be nothing, if not important.

No surprises then those business cards enjoy very important status amongst people. However, it would be interesting to know how this phenomenon of business cards started. Well, business cards came into existence in the 15th century in China. In those days, their use was confined to the people belonging to the upper strata of the society. They used these cards to announce their arrival in a house hold. With the passage of time, this practice was picked up by the others as well.

In Europe, business cards marked their arrival in the 17th century. And England is the country that holds the honour of using the business cards for the first time in Europe. The merchant community held its strangle hold over the use of business cards initially. These cards included the name of the stuff sold by the merchants. One unique thing about the business cards used in England in those days was the use of maps guiding people to the shop.

Today, however, business cards have undergone complete change and are available in a wide variety of colours, design and price range giving people ample option to choose from. Though its would not be out of place here to state that simple business cards with all the information would be a far better bet than a flashy one.

Comparing Skiing in Europe With That of America

When it comes to enjoying their favorite sport, skiers and golfers have quite a lot in common. Each loves to go to that spot that for them feels kind of special, but also makes them feel comfortable. With skiers, though, when looking for a place to ski if you live in the United States it might seem much too costly to ski in Europe. Obviously there will be some additional cost with travel, but once you get there costs will not be that much higher in Europe. Plus there are about five times as many ski areas in Europe, about 4000, then there are in North America.

There will be quite a few differences, such as in the texture of the snow. In Europe the snow will be more like that found in New England; not as light and fluffy as you’ll find in western North America. Plus ski slopes will typically be longer. Ski areas there will cooperate and interlink their runs together, sharing a complex of ski runs among as many as half a dozen resorts in one case.

In Europe businesses surrounding the ski areas that deal with rentals, restaurants and hotels will typically be family-owned establishments that have been around for many years, sometimes generations. These family-owned restaurants will serve local food and cook using traditional recipes. Only if you go to the large hotels will you see the style of restaurants that Americans have come to be familiar with.

The ski runs in the Alps will typically be much longer than in North America. Of the 50 longest ski descents in the world, virtually all of them are in the Alps. One in France runs down 15 miles with a 9200 foot vertical drop. Quite a lot of investment has gone into ski lifts in Europe in recent years, and as a result you will find many of the lifts much more comfortable, as well as fast.

When most of us think of skiing in Europe we naturally think of the Alps. But you can find some great skiing and often at bargain prices at other locations throughout Europe. For instance Andorra, located between Spain and France has a very nice resort. Bulgaria is quickly gaining the reputation as a place with great snow and bargain prices. And even Scotland not too far north of Edinburgh has skiing, although not to the degree that you would build an entire ski trip around. But Edinburgh is always fun to go to, so a diversion with some skiing could be something to consider.

If you watch the winter Olympics you will see that alpine skiing is a huge part of the European heritage, as countries in the Alps always compete well. For the skier that will not only want to go for some excellent skiing but for a romantic getaway, Europe is a great place to go.

Continental Europe Warming Up to Indian Markets

The executives of the Indian IT industry are known for their sense of style, but there is a flip side too which Indian geeks should really focus upon. Ever heard of caste and gender prejudice stalking the IT corridors?

According to a survey carried out by a London-based outsourcing advisory firm though Europeans appreciate our dressing sensibilities, but caste and gender discrimination have left a more bitter taste in their mouths. The later has an high impact on the former.

The firm surveyed almost 35 top companies across Europe, asking them to talk about the obstacles they face while doing business with their Indian counterparts.

Different countries had different versions.

Nordic region companies talked about the awkwardness in attitude of the Indian men when it comes to interacting with their female counterparts. It is often observed that Indian teams sent for sales pitches don’t comprise even a single woman. On the other hand the people they are pitching too are generally women.

Business deals are generally fixed during drinks and dinner but Indians generally lack the adeptness to manage it.

Another disappointing factor that has come to the fore is that respondents felt that Indians over commit and also are not very flexible when it comes to sharing information.

Further, Indians working onshore in Europe made little or no attempt to assimilate with the local people, rather preferred socializing and living with other Indians.

However, despite all these negative feedbacks, Continental Europe is proactively looking forward to do business with Indian Outsourcing companies.

Significant goings-on have already been observed in the Benelux which includes Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg as well as Germany.

Nonetheless, the Nordic countries are showing much more interest. Nordic countries are home to heavyweight companies like Ikea, Nokia, Shell and Ericsson.

According to a top source from a leading advisory firm, if one communicates with 10 companies in Germany for potential business prospects, in all probability only two will respond. On the other hand, if one contacts 10 companies in Nordic, rest assured at least 7 will give a call back.

That continental Europe is upbeat about India is justified by the fact that India major TCS is doing a good business here. TCS has witnessed its European share doubling to 30 percent in the last 10 years.

Moreover, though Europe looks upon India as a traditional country, the continent by far has not been able to do away with its rigid mindsets.

Europe still looks at IT as an integral function of the company and therefore hesitates when it comes to outsourcing the same. Case in point being: German Pharma giant Bayers and chemical major BASF. Though both these have international operations, however they still retain IT services in house and employ almost 20,000 people for the job.

However, global meltdown has put the companies on a contemplation mode. By now they’ve figured out that outsourcing is the key to cutting costs. However, Indians have their own set of challenges when trying to enter these markets.

In continent Europe, business is based on relationship-building, unlike the US and UK markets, where businesses are purely revenue-focused.

When it comes to UK and US markets, Indian IT companies just send a few people on project basis. Here they focus much more on the verticals and are not at all regionally focused.

When it comes to European markets, Indians just can’t do with knowing the business nuances, they need to know the intricacies of the culture as well.

Some big players like TCS, Infosys, HCL and Cognizant realizing the potential of the European market have started investing here in a more sustainable fashion.

As Indian companies slowly but surely seem to grab the eyeballs of more and more clients, the European companies in turn are warming to the idea of off shoring and working hand in hand with Indians. The best parts being they even have opened up to the idea of accepting Indians in the IT consultative or advisory space.