Miodrag Kostic

Business education and consulting

Predictably Irrational – Why do rational people make irrational decisions?

I have published a series of articles in Profit magazine on Behavioral Economics and particularly on decision making in sales (or how we decide to buy something). I was inspired by reading a book: “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions”, a 2008 book by Dan Ariely, in which he challenges readers’ assumptions about making decisions based on rational thought. I found a great video clip featuring Dan Ariely. Enjoy it!



Project PLATO Serbia – Regional Chamber of Commerce Smederevo

Yesterday I was in Smederevo performing “How to establish contact with potential partners” training, for Regional Chambers of Commerce Smederevo, under Project PLATO Serbia. European network PLATO was created in the nineties in Belgium and today it connects over 8500 SME-s. Great idea!

plato serbia

plato serbia

New BusinesKnowledge services: LEAN and KAIZEN


Akter magazine Article on Miodrag Kostic and “Business Knowledge”

Akter magazine has published an article, written by my colleague Slavoljub Arsenijevic, about me and my consulting practice “Business Knowledge” and importance of active listening skills in sales. Well done!

akter magazine

akter magazin

Sales Knowledge


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My article on branding on the cover of Politika newspaper insert

The most prestigious daily newspaper in Serbia “Politika” in its special edition (insert) on branding has published my article. The whole insert is about BrandFair conference that is currently taking place at Belgrade Fair. The title of the article is “Poverenje u najbolje” or “Confidence in the best”. They have even signed it “Miodrag Kostic Poslovnaznanja.com”. Also there is one more of my articles on laws of branding on the second page. You can click on the picture below to see the higher resolution. (Note: its written in Cyrillic alphabet)


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Selling – Sales Plan training – perfect for Serbian business education market

sales academy
Few weeks ago as we have been developing our Sales Academy project, I have noticed a need for specific service on Serbian business education and consulting market. Most of the companies do not have a plan on how to organize sales and systematically approach the problem of selling. So we have compiled the list of 50 questions (each one with dozen or more sub-questions). We made it into template form for the training “Create your sales plan“, and we also do it as a consulting project.

We go to the client and together with their sales force find answers to specific questions. First we gather all the necessary information on company, sales, organization of sales, selling process, sales relations, sales information, sales management, marketing. Than we start building the sales action plan: how to prepare for sales, how to realize selling process, and how to evaluate sales results.

Anyway, it is a great tool for sales managers to look at their sales organization, see where it is now, decide where they want to go, and how will they get there. Here is the list of these questions. Find the right answers and enjoy profitable sales and happy and loyal customers.

1. What is your business about?
2. What is your business environment?
3. What is your competitive environment?
4. What are the main business goals of your company?
5. What is the business strategy of your company?
6. What are the main sales goals of your company?
7. What is the sales strategy of your company?
8. What are the individual (measurable) sales goals of your company?
9. What are the timetables (deadlines) to accomplish sales goals?
10. How is your sales force organized (sales organization)?
11. What are your current sales activities?
12. What are your sales results (sales parameters)?
13. What are the phases of your selling process?
14. What are the steps of your selling process?
15. What are personal selling skills and experience of your sales force?
16. How are relationships with other company departments?
17. Who are your stakeholders (who will cry if you die)?
18. Who are your strategic partners and strategic alliances?
19. How do you gather sales information (intelligence gathering)?
20. What are the information on your clients?
21. What are the information on your market?
22. What are the information on your competition?
23. What are the information on your industry?
24. What are the information on your products/services?
25. How do you manage relations with your potential clients?
26. How do you manage relations with your existing clients?
27. How do you perform and manage customer service?
28. How do you measure-record your sales results?
29. What is your sales reporting (recording) system?
30. What is the SWOT analyses for your company’s sales?
31. What is the SWOT analyses for your products/services?
32. What is the marketing strategy of your company?
33. How would you fulfill your sales goals (essence of your sales plan)?
34. How would you organize your sales force (sales organization)?
35. How would you measure and control fulfillment of your sales goals?
36. How would you carry out your sales support actions?
37. How would you establish strategic partnerships and alliances?
38. How would you gather sales information?
39. How would you carry out strategy and tactics of gaining new clients?
40. How would you create communication channels to new customers?
41. How would you carry out strategy and tactics of CRM?
42. What would be the steps of your selling process?
43. How would you create loyalty programs for your clients?
44. How would you plan and create your sales budget?
45. What would be your sales action plans (timetable)?
46. What are the actions and timetable to create sales department?
47. What are the actions and timetable to maintain sales department?
48. How would you measure-record your sales results?
49. Who would control (and how) you control sales action execution?
50. How would you perform evaluation of your sales plan execution?

50 questions + 50 answers = better sales + more profit

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The Fun Workplace May Be the Most Productive – New York Times

This is an article I read in New York Times – articles selected by Politika newspaper. It was written by Lisa Belkin, in her “Life’s Work” column. Its so much in line with my own article “Working with a smile”, I wrote in Emagazin few years age. You just must read this article. I scanned and OCR-ed it into my blog.

Work, in its most traditional sense, is the antithesis of fun. As my grandmother used to say, when I complained about a boss or a deadline, “There’s a reason they call it work.” Grandma would be beyond surprised at what Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher have to say in “The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up.” The book, which is being published this month, examines how fun in the office increases the bottom line. “When they’re laughing, they’re listening,” said Mr. Gostick, an author and consultant on employee motivation. He and Mr. Christopher, a comedian and humor columnist for Human Capital magazine, chuckle as they offer favorite arguments: Being fun gets you hired. A study of 737 chief executives of major corporations found that 98 percent would hire an applicant with a good sense of humor over one who seemed to lack one.

Having fun makes people loyal. According to a survey of 1,000 workers conducted for the authors by the global market research firm Ipsos, employees who laugh at work tend to stay. Those who rated their manager’s sense of humor “above average” also said there was a 90 percent chance they would stay in their job for more than a year. If they worked for a boss whose sense of humor they describe as “average” or below, the employee’s chances of staying dropped to 77 percent.

Amusing people go far. According to a study in the Harvard Business. Review, executives described by coworkers as having a good sense of humor “climb the corporate ladder more quickly, and earn more money than their peers.” A good laugh is good for your health. A study from the University of Maryland showed that while stress decreased blood flow, humor increased it. By 22 percent.

O.K., laughter is beneficial. And potentially good for business. But isn’t that knowledge its own form of stress? I mean, what if you aren’t funny? Not to worry, Mr. Gostick said. “We define levity as more of a lightness, more being fun than being funny,” he said. “Great leaders have a way of bringing lightness into the workplace.”

In recent years, a growing number of companies have strived to have “lighthearted” workplaces, Mr. Gostick said. Bain & Company, the business consulting firm, does that by gathering more than 400 employees from around the world for the annual Bain World Cup soccer tournament. Lego America in Enfield, Connecticut, which manufactures toys, encourages employees to travel the company campus via scooter. Google holds roller-hockey games in the parking lot twice a week, has ongoing Scrabble tournaments throughout the day and boasts a baby grand piano in the break room. Some companies actually put a group or an individual in charge of planning the levity.

At the advertising agency iris North America it’s called “the Smile Squad,” said Stewart Shanley, a founder. The squad is responsible for “general well-being and serendipitous happenings” at the 475 employee agency, Mr. Shanley said. “Keeping people happy is what makes them perform,” he said. “The trick about running a successful business is to attract talent, and then this is the part people seem to forget, to manage and retain that talent. That’s what the squads are for.”


Also this is another excellent article: “Time Wasted? Perhaps It’s Well Spent” by Lisa Belkin, in her “Life’s Work” column, on similar subject.

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