The Upsurge of Joint Ventures in Small Businesses: Exploring Potential Pitfalls

Photo by Rami Hammoud

Let’s say you run a small business that produces sustainable and eco-friendly home goods, such as bamboo towels and reusable beeswax wraps. You have a strong commitment to sustainability and reducing waste, but you’re struggling to expand your product line and reach a wider audience.



You could enter into a joint venture with another purpose-driven company that shares your values and has complementary offerings, such as a company that produces sustainable cleaning products or reusable containers. Together, you could create a bundled package of sustainable home goods that meets the needs of consumers who are committed to reducing waste and living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.



This joint venture benefits both companies – you gain access to new product offerings that you can offer to your customers, while the other company gains access to your customer base and expertise in sustainable home goods. Together, you can offer a more comprehensive range of sustainable home goods than either of you could alone, and share in the profits that result.




Key Takeaways


– Joint ventures (JVs) are a strategic alliance, where business can pool their resources and expertise to achieve a goal

– Advantages of JVs include shared costs, access to more resources including capital, labor, assets and expertise.

– Joint ventures are different from partnerships because JVs do not involve any sharing of ownership of the venture.




What is a Joint venture? and how does it apply to small companies?



A joint venture is a strategic alliance where two or more people or companies agree to contribute goods, services and/or capital to a common commercial enterprise. The contributions can include resources such as capital, labor, or assets, skill or expertise such as experience and knowledge



SMEs have advantages when consider JV (Joint ventures), by teaming up with other people or businesses in a joint venture, you can:


– Extend your marketing reach

– Access needed information, resources, and skill sets

– Build credibility with a particular target market

– Access new markets that would be inaccessible without the partner

– Access technical expertise and know-how that your company may be lacking

– Access intellectual property that would otherwise be out of your reach

– Access new revenue streams

– Share risks and expenses



For instance, suppose you and five other potters form a joint venture to hold a Potter’s Fair on a particular date. Because you pool your resources, you’re able to do much more advertising and promotion 

than you would be able to go alone, bringing out crowds of customers for your joint event.


At first thought, a joint venture sounds like a partnership, doesn’t it? But legally, joint ventures and partnerships are not the same thing, they’re two distinct forms of business ownership. In a strategic alliance there is no exchange of ownership between the companies involved.

The key distinction between a joint venture and a partnership lies in their respective purposes. Joint ventures are formed when individuals or entities collaborate for a specific purpose or project, while partnerships are formed when individuals or entities come together to run a business jointly.



In a joint venture, each member retains ownership of their own property, and shares only the expenses associated with the specific project or venture. Conversely, in a partnership, all members share ownership of the business, as well as the associated profits and losses.





Joint ventures can certainly exist in small businesses and start-ups, and can be a valuable way to pool resources and expertise in order to achieve growth or tackle complex projects. However, there are several potential pitfalls to be aware of when entering into a JV:



  1. Misaligned goals: If the partners have different goals or priorities for the venture, it can lead to conflict and disagreement over how to proceed.
  2. Unequal contributions: If one partner contributes significantly more resources or capital than the other(s), it can lead to resentment or a feeling of unfairness.
  3. Lack of communication: Communication is key in any business partnership, but particularly so in a JV where there may be multiple parties involved. If communication breaks down, it can lead to misunderstandings or missed opportunities.
  4. Legal and financial risks: JVs can expose partners to legal and financial risks, particularly if they are not structured properly or if the partners do not have adequate protections in place.

To better understand the potential risks and rewards of joint ventures, let’s take a look at a graph that illustrates some key data points:

Risk vs Benefit - JV

In this graph, we can see that JVs can be a valuable way for businesses to achieve growth and increase profits. However, they also come with risks, particularly if the partners are not well-aligned or if there are legal or financial issues. It’s important for businesses considering a JV to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks, and to work closely with legal and financial advisors to structure the partnership in a way that minimizes risk and maximizes the chances of success.

As a hybrid consultancy, Anima can help small businesses identify potential joint venture opportunities and create smooth journeys for collaboration. We have extensive experience in working with small businesses and developing customized strategies that align with their unique needs and goals.

Our team of experts can help small businesses navigate the complexities of joint ventures, including identifying the right partners, defining clear objectives, and setting metrics for success. With our deep understanding of different business models and strategies, we can help small businesses create a solid foundation for their joint venture and ensure that both parties are aligned towards common goals.

At Anima, our unique value proposition lies in not just strategy development but also in execution. We understand that execution is where most businesses falter and that is where our team can add the most value. We work closely with our clients to develop practical, actionable plans that help them achieve their goals and create value for their stakeholders.

We are well-equipped to help small businesses navigate the complex world of joint ventures, identify opportunities for collaboration, and execute on their strategic plans. With our expertise and focus on execution, we can help small businesses achieve growth and success through joint ventures and other innovative business models.

How To Integrate Sustainability Into Your Brand Identity

As consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious, sustainability is becoming a key factor in brand identity. Companies that embrace sustainable practices not only benefit the planet but also appeal to socially responsible consumers. 


In this post, we’ll explore some strategies for integrating sustainability into your brand identity, and why it’s important to do so.


Why Integrate Sustainability into Your Brand Identity?



Integrating sustainability into your brand identity is important for several reasons. 


First, it allows you to differentiate your brand from competitors. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they are increasingly looking for socially responsible brands to support. By incorporating sustainability into your brand identity, you can appeal to these consumers and set your brand apart from competitors that are not taking sustainability seriously.



Second, integrating sustainability into your brand identity can help build trust with consumers. By being transparent about your sustainability practices and values, you can demonstrate your commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. This can help establish a strong, positive relationship between your brand and your customers, which can lead to increased loyalty and advocacy.



Finally, integrating sustainability into your brand identity is simply the right thing to do. As a corporate citizen, you have a responsibility to do your part to protect the planet and promote social responsibility. By incorporating sustainability into your brand identity, you can align your business practices with your values and help create a better world for future generations.



Strategies for Integrating Sustainability into Your Brand Identity



Now that we’ve established why it’s important to integrate sustainability into your brand identity, let’s look at some strategies for doing so.



– Define your values and mission statement

The first step in integrating sustainability into your brand identity is to define your company’s values and mission statement. 

What does your company stand for? 

What are your long-term goals? 

How do you want to impact the world? 

Once you have a clear understanding of your values and mission, you can begin to integrate sustainability into your brand identity.


For example, if your company values social responsibility, you could incorporate sustainable practices into your supply chain management, packaging, and marketing. If your mission is to reduce your carbon footprint, you could use renewable energy sources, implement energy-efficient practices, and invest in carbon offsets.



– Assess your environmental impact

The next step is to conduct an environmental impact assessment to identify areas where your company can improve its sustainability practices. 

This could include reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste, and sourcing materials from sustainable suppliers.

There are many tools available to help you assess your environmental impact, including the Carbon Trust Standard, the Global Reporting Initiative, and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. These tools can help you measure your carbon footprint, water usage, waste generation, and other environmental impacts, and identify areas for improvement.



– Communicate your sustainability efforts

Once you’ve identified your sustainability practices, it’s important to communicate them to your customers. 

This can be done through marketing materials, social media, and other communication channels. 

By being transparent about your sustainability efforts, you can build trust with your customers and differentiate your brand from competitors.


For example, you could use your website to highlight your sustainable practices and values, or use social media to share stories and updates about your sustainability initiatives. You could also use eco-friendly packaging materials, and include information about your sustainability practices on product labels or packaging.



– Incorporate sustainability into your product design

One of the most effective ways to integrate sustainability into your brand identity is to incorporate sustainable practices into your product design. 

This could include using recycled materials, designing products that are reusable or biodegradable, or reducing the overall environmental impact of your products.


For example, Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company, has incorporated sustainability into its product design by using recycled materials and implementing a product take-back program. The company also encourages its customers to repair and reuse their products, rather than disposing of them.



– Collaborate with sustainable partners

Collaborating with sustainable partners can help reinforce your commitment to sustainability and increase your brand’s visibility among socially responsible consumers. 

For example, you could partner with a sustainable supplier, sponsor a local environmental organization, or donate a portion of your profits to a sustainability-focused charity.



– Educate your employees and stakeholders

Finally, it’s important to educate your employees and stakeholders about your sustainability practices and values. 

By involving your employees in your sustainability initiatives, you can create a culture of sustainability within your organization and increase employee engagement and morale. 

You can also communicate your sustainability practices to stakeholders, such as investors and suppliers, to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and build trust with these important partners.





Integrating sustainability into your brand identity is an important step for businesses that want to appeal to socially responsible consumers, build trust with customers, and do their part to protect the planet. By defining your values and mission statement, assessing your environmental impact, communicating your sustainability efforts, incorporating sustainability into your product design, collaborating with sustainable partners, and educating your employees and stakeholders, you can create a strong, sustainable brand identity that sets your business apart from competitors and contributes to a better world.


How Sustainability Initiative Mapping Can Help Your Organization Achieve Its Sustainability Goals

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the need for businesses to embrace sustainability and take action to reduce their environmental impact. But with so many different sustainability initiatives out there, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to start.


That’s where sustainability initiative mapping comes in. Sustainability initiative mapping is a process that helps businesses identify and prioritize their sustainability initiatives, map out their environmental, social, and economic impacts, and develop strategies to mitigate those impacts. Here’s a closer look at how sustainability initiative mapping can help your business achieve its sustainability goals.


Identifying Sustainability Opportunities


Sustainability initiative mapping helps businesses identify opportunities to improve their environmental performance and reduce their impact. One key aspect of this is that sustainability initiatives often require companies to look beyond their own operations and consider the broader environmental, social, and economic context in which they operate.


In other words, many sustainability initiatives require companies to look externally for solutions rather than developing something of their own that they can create an ecosystem around. For example, a company that wants to reduce its carbon footprint might need to work with suppliers to reduce emissions throughout the supply chain, invest in renewable energy sources, or partner with customers to encourage sustainable transportation options.


By mapping out your environmental impacts and considering the broader context in which you operate, you can identify areas where you can make changes to reduce your environmental impact, conserve resources, and minimize waste. This might involve exploring new technologies, collaborating with other companies or organizations, or engaging with customers and other stakeholders to identify new opportunities for sustainability.


Ultimately, by taking a proactive approach to sustainability initiative mapping, businesses can identify and prioritize the most effective and impactful initiatives, and develop strategies for implementing them in a way that is practical and achievable. This can help businesses not only reduce their environmental impact but also create value for customers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders by addressing sustainability challenges and contributing to a more sustainable future.


Prioritizing Sustainability Initiatives


Once a company has identified sustainability opportunities through initiative mapping, the next step is to prioritize which initiatives to pursue. This can be a complex process, as there may be many initiatives to choose from, each with their own costs, benefits, and risks.


One way to prioritize sustainability initiatives is to focus on those that align with your company’s overall goals and values. For example, a company that values environmental stewardship may prioritize initiatives that reduce its carbon footprint or water usage, while a company that values social responsibility may prioritize initiatives that support local communities or improve working conditions in its supply chain.


Another approach is to assess the potential impact and feasibility of each initiative. This might involve conducting a cost-benefit analysis, assessing the level of stakeholder support, and evaluating the risks and challenges associated with each initiative. By weighing these factors against one another, a company can identify which initiatives are most likely to have a positive impact while also being achievable and cost-effective.


In some cases, prioritizing sustainability initiatives may require a trade-off between short-term financial goals and long-term sustainability goals. For example, a company may need to invest in renewable energy sources or sustainable production methods that have higher upfront costs but can deliver long-term cost savings and environmental benefits.


One example of prioritizing sustainability initiatives is Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company that has made sustainability a core part of its brand identity. In 2019, Patagonia announced that it would donate the $10 million it saved from tax cuts under the Trump administration to support grassroots environmental organizations. This decision aligned with the company’s values and demonstrated a commitment to investing in sustainability initiatives that have a positive impact beyond its own operations.


Ultimately, prioritizing sustainability initiatives requires a holistic approach that takes into account a company’s goals, values, stakeholders, and broader social and environmental context. By prioritizing sustainability initiatives, companies can not only reduce their environmental impact but also create value for their stakeholders and contribute to a more sustainable future.


Engaging With Stakeholders


Sustainability initiatives often involve engaging with a range of stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, and local communities. By involving these groups in the sustainability process, companies can gain valuable insights, build stronger relationships, and create a shared sense of purpose and commitment towards sustainability.


One example of effective stakeholder engagement is Unilever, a global consumer goods company that has made sustainability a core part of its business strategy. Unilever engages with a range of stakeholders through its Sustainable Living Plan, which outlines a set of targets and commitments aimed at reducing the company’s environmental impact and improving social outcomes.


Through this plan, Unilever has engaged with suppliers to reduce their environmental impact, launched sustainable products to meet consumer demand, and collaborated with NGOs and governments to address social and environmental challenges. By engaging with stakeholders from a purpose perspective, Unilever has created a sense of shared responsibility towards sustainability and built trust and loyalty among its stakeholders.


Engaging with stakeholders also creates opportunities for innovation and growth. By listening to the needs and concerns of stakeholders, companies can identify new market opportunities, develop more sustainable products and services, and strengthen their brand reputation.


For example, outdoor clothing company Patagonia has engaged with its customers and employees to develop sustainable products and initiatives that align with its brand values. Through its Worn Wear program, Patagonia encourages customers to repair and reuse their clothing rather than buy new items, reducing waste and promoting a culture of sustainability. This program has not only reduced the company’s environmental impact but also created a loyal customer base that values sustainability.


Creating a Culture of Sustainability


Creating a culture of sustainability within a company means embedding sustainability into every aspect of its operations, from its core values to its daily practices. This involves creating a shared sense of purpose and commitment towards sustainability, and empowering employees to take ownership of sustainability initiatives.


Deep creativity freedom is a key element of creating a culture of sustainability. Companies that foster a culture of sustainability encourage employees to think creatively about how to reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future. By giving employees the freedom to explore new ideas and approaches, companies can tap into a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and drive innovation and growth.


One example of a company that has successfully created a culture of sustainability is Interface, a global manufacturer of commercial flooring. Interface has a mission to become a sustainable, restorative company, and has implemented a range of sustainability initiatives across its operations.


Interface has created a culture of sustainability by empowering its employees to take ownership of sustainability initiatives. The company encourages employees to think creatively about how to reduce their environmental impact, and has established a Sustainability Task Force to drive sustainability initiatives across its operations.


Interface has also embedded sustainability into its core values and business strategy. The company has set ambitious sustainability targets, such as becoming carbon negative by 2040, and has aligned its business model with the principles of the circular economy. By creating a culture of sustainability, Interface has not only reduced its environmental impact but also created a strong sense of purpose and commitment among its employees.


Relevance for today is another important aspect of creating a culture of sustainability. In today’s world, consumers and investors are increasingly focused on sustainability and are demanding that companies take action to address environmental and social challenges. By creating a culture of sustainability, companies can stay relevant and competitive in today’s market, and build a more sustainable and prosperous future.


Measuring and Reporting Progress


Measuring and reporting progress is essential for sustainability initiatives. It enables companies to track their performance, identify areas for improvement, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability to stakeholders. However, many organizations face limitations when it comes to transparency, such as concerns about disclosing sensitive information or uncertainty about what to measure and report.


Sustainability initiative mapping can help companies overcome these limitations. By developing their own sustainability initiatives, companies have more control over what they measure and report. They can tailor their sustainability initiatives to their unique circumstances and priorities, and report on progress in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their stakeholders.


Moreover, sustainability initiative mapping can help companies identify the most effective metrics for measuring and reporting progress. By engaging with stakeholders and understanding their priorities and expectations, companies can select the metrics that are most relevant and credible, and ensure that their reporting is transparent and accurate.


One example of a company that has used sustainability initiative mapping to measure and report progress is Danone, a multinational food products company. Danone has developed a comprehensive sustainability initiative called “One Planet, One Health”, which aims to create sustainable value for all stakeholders, including consumers, employees, suppliers, and communities.


As part of this initiative, Danone has set ambitious sustainability targets, such as achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and using 100% renewable electricity by 2030. The company regularly reports on its progress towards these targets, and has developed a sustainability reporting framework that is aligned with international standards and guidelines.


Through sustainability initiative mapping, Danone has been able to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, engage with stakeholders on sustainability issues, and identify areas for improvement. By reporting transparently on its sustainability performance, Danone has also built trust and credibility with its stakeholders, and strengthened its reputation as a responsible and sustainable company.



We strongly believe that sustainability initiative mapping is a game-changer for businesses. It not only helps them achieve their sustainability goals but also enables them to take meaningful action towards creating a more sustainable future. By identifying opportunities for improvement, prioritizing the most impactful initiatives, engaging with stakeholders, creating a culture of sustainability, and measuring progress, businesses can stay on track and hold themselves accountable. Through sustainability initiative mapping, businesses have the power to break free from the limitations of today’s transparency standards and chart their own course towards a better future. By taking these steps towards sustainability, your business can not only make a positive impact on the environment but also set itself up for long-term success.

The Power Of Relationships: Why Effective Stakeholder Engagement Is Crucial For Initiative Success

Have you ever stopped to think about all the different people and groups that your business impacts? 

Customers, employees, investors, suppliers, and communities all have unique needs and expectations that are important to consider. 

That’s where stakeholder engagement comes in – it’s all about building relationships and engaging in ongoing conversations to understand and meet those needs.

When you engage with your customers, it’s not just about selling products or services. 

It’s about listening to their feedback, responding to their concerns, and involving them in the decision-making process. 

By doing this, you create a sense of ownership and investment in what you offer, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Employees are another critical stakeholder group. 

When you engage with your employees and involve them in decision-making, they feel valued and part of something bigger. 

This sense of purpose and ownership leads to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and increased productivity. Plus, engaged employees are more likely to advocate for your business and attract other top talent.

Stakeholder engagement also helps you stay ahead of potential risks and compliance issues. 

By engaging with regulators, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders, you gain insights into emerging threats and can proactively address concerns before they become major issues.

But perhaps most excitingly, stakeholder engagement can lead to innovation and business growth. 

When you involve stakeholders in product development and decision-making, you gain valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, and identify new market opportunities. 

Engaging with suppliers can also foster collaboration and innovation, leading to new business models, products, and services.

In addition to stakeholder engagement, there are other key strategies that businesses can use to promote sustainability and drive innovation. 

One of these is sustainability initiative mapping, which involves identifying and mapping out the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a business and then developing strategies to mitigate those impacts. This approach can help businesses become more sustainable and improve their reputation among stakeholders. 

Another strategy is business model innovation, which involves creating new or modified business models that address sustainability challenges and create value for all stakeholders. 

By combining stakeholder engagement with sustainability initiative mapping and business model innovation, businesses can not only build stronger relationships with their stakeholders but also achieve long-term sustainability and success.

Building strong relationships with stakeholders requires ongoing dialogue, transparency, and a commitment to mutual benefit. 

But by prioritizing stakeholder engagement, sustainability initiative mapping, and business model innovation, you can not only succeed in the short term but also build a more sustainable and resilient business in the long term. 

So take the time to engage with your stakeholders, identify sustainability opportunities, and embrace innovation – it’s worth it!


The State of Small and Medium Enterprises: Insights from a Survey of 90+ Business Owners

The State of Small and Medium Enterprises: Insights from a Survey of 90+ Business Owners

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are vital engines of economic growth and employment. However, competing with larger businesses can be a formidable challenge. In a recent survey of 94 business owners, we gained insights into the current state of SMEs and the issues they face in the market.

Differentiating from the Competition

Quality of products/services and branding were considered the top differentiators by SMEs, with 33% each, and 16.7% citing pricing as the key factor. This emphasizes the significance of crafting a unique value proposition that sets a business apart from its competitors.

The Top Challenges

Attracting customers (41.7%) and financing (41.7%) were cited as the leading difficulties faced by SMEs when competing with larger businesses. SMEs must adopt effective sales and marketing strategies, and explore alternative funding options, to overcome these hurdles. Technology (33.3%) and regulatory requirements (16.7%) were also mentioned as challenges.

Staying Informed

Online research (83.3%) was the most popular method of staying informed about industry trends and changes, followed by networking (58.3%) and reading trade publications (33.3%). Attending industry conferences and upgrading knowledge ranked lower. SMEs need to ensure they have a strong online presence to maximize the benefits of online research.

Gathering Customer Feedback

Online reviews (41.7%) and in-person interviews (50%) were the most commonly used methods of gathering customer feedback, followed by surveys (25.9%) and phone calls (48.1%). SMEs should prioritize gathering customer feedback to improve their products/services.

The Importance of Online Presence

66.7% of SMEs rated having a strong online presence as “very important” while 16.7% rated it “important”. This underlines the need for SMEs to invest in digital marketing and develop an effective online marketing strategy.

Measuring Success

Sales (33.3%) and customer satisfaction (16.7%) were the primary measures of success for SMEs. To succeed, SMEs must focus on delivering value to their customers while maintaining profitability.

Improving Competitive Advantage

A majority of SMEs (81.7%) expressed interest in learning more about Anima’s services/solutions to enhance their competitive advantage, offering a significant opportunity for consultancies to provide information about their ability to navigate the competitive landscape.

Maintaining Supplier Relationships

Frequent communication (25%) and flexible payment options (16.7%) were the top factors in maintaining good relationships with suppliers. SMEs must understand their suppliers’ needs and work together to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship.

Having a Business Plan

A majority of SMEs (43.6%) do not have a solid business plan in place, highlighting the importance of having a well-defined business strategy.

Motivating Employees

Employee recognition (33.3%), professional development (27%), and flexible work arrangements (14.7%) were key factors in keeping employees motivated. SMEs should invest in their employees and create a supportive work environment.

Managing Profitability

Continuous improvement (48.6%) was the most common method of managing profitability, followed by cost-cutting (37.7%) and increasing sales (31.7%). SMEs must continually seek ways to improve their bottom line.

In conclusion, SMEs face several challenges in the market, but by leveraging the right tools and resources, they can overcome these obstacles and achieve success. As always, if you have any queries about the survey or would like to talk about your business and its challenges, get in touch with one of our experts and we would be happy to help to the best of our abilities.

Also, we are excited to announce the launch of “The Anima Perspective”, a new segment within our business that will provide valuable insights and advice on how to define and leverage competitive advantage in the business world, live.

Being Agile in the UAE

Being Agile in your Small or medium enterprise

What is agile consulting, really?

The word agile means the ability to move quickly and easily. As a result, agile has become the consulting industry’s new favourite word.

Like these birds, they don’t follow a leader. Scientists say that every individual bird makes autonomous decisions. Their alignment makes autonomy, and their autonomy makes them fast and flexible.

What do consultants really mean by Agile? And why is it so sought after?

Agility in consulting is essentially business flexibility with a rigid priority. It refers to the ability to evolve and to the requirements of projects and re-allocate resources. The agile framework is usually seen within many digital and technology services in the industry. But the framework has other uses as well. And it usually can be applied to many industries. However, people often confuse this straightforward definition of “agility” with corporate jargon.

Each firm has a few catchphrases about what agile consulting is for. The top consulting firms, for example, says it allows them to “focus on business values”, be “attractive to talent”, and have a “faster time to market”. Unfortunately, this particular explanation misses something. They open by saying what they think are the results of agile consulting, without or usually not explaining how they got there.

The fundamental goal of agile consulting is, as the term suggests, to be nimble. Agility means that a team moves and flexes as a project evolves. This allows them to offer clients an evolving set of services. As new opportunities appear and the client’s wishes change, a consultancy can realign with the moving parts of a project. It not only maximizes the opportunities for revenue generation but also means that teams can be autonomous.

Most of the time, 70-90% of innovation projects fail. Their lack of success is that firms set out resolutely to do something with very little room for manoeuvre. Two-thirds of the successful innovation projects did not end up doing what they did. An agile approach allows them to flex and move toward innovation. In this sense, Agile permits a business to continue to meet its purpose and strategy without having to rethink “how” at every intersection.

Agile teams must be minor, entrepreneurial and highly digitized to create this adaptability. In this sense, agile consulting often resembles the culture of a start-up in its push for novel solutions and new ways of doing things.

Agile has made way for an entirely new set of terminology. Things you may have heard of, like “sprints”, are products of this new world. Most of these new ideas revolve around the need to test new ways of doing things. Although things change rapidly, they are also more prone to failure or technical difficulties. Nevertheless, they must receive the testing they need, so this product design language has grown.

What are sprints? And why are they essential to Agile?

Agile sprints are a short period wherein a development team works to complete specific tasks, milestones, or deliverables. Sprints, also called “iterations,” essentially break the project schedule into digestible blocks of time in which smaller goals can be accomplished. Sprints break down a project into bite-sized chunks. Teams plan a single sprint at a time and adapt future sprints based on the outcome of the previous one.

While each sprint is planned separately, the number and length of sprints in your project should be determined at the beginning. Agile projects are broken down into sprints or iterations — short, repeatable phases, typically one to four weeks long.

For instance, if you have a website launch project, you might split three months’ worth of work into six two-week sprints. During sprint one, your goals might include hosting setup, WordPress theme installation, sitemap creation, and content interviews/research. Tasks like these can often feel like prep work that team members are eager to get out of the way so they can focus on the real meat of the project. But if you establish them as the goals of your first sprint, you’ll ensure the project starts off on the solid ground and help team members feel an early sense of accomplishment while ramping up for more intense work.

Sprint Cycles

A sprint cycle is a repeatable process you’ll go through every time you manage and plan a sprint. The steps of the process will stay the same—what will change are the insights you learn at the end of a sprint and how you apply them to make the next sprint even more effective.

How the process works

At Anima, we follow Agile frameworks very often. It helps us quickly understand our clients’ immediate goals and help clear those as soon as possible. Note that this isn’t rushed work; rather, the pace at which we would operate would be hyper-focused. This is how Agile helps our consultancy provide accurate and ideal deliverables for each client.

Agile methodology is commonly used by both Scrum and Kanban enthusiasts. They use this framework religiously as it has proven tactics to ensure efficient results: Results like

  • 2x – 4x acceleration in time to market and new project delivery
  • 15% – 20% reductions in development costs
  • Most importantly, 90% employee engagement

It’s easy to see why. Like organizational transformation objectives, achieving agile at scale requires companies to address their full operating model. They must embrace change. And they must support this agile transformation—completely and visibly—from the top.

Anima’s Approach to Agile at Scale

Taking agile beyond pilots and scattered initiatives requires great changes in processes, habits, and even mindsets. It also requires careful timing and coordination. We work with clients at every step of their agile-at-scale journey.

  • Understand the starting point. Our customized approach starts with understanding where an organization is. Proprietary assessments, such as our agile maturity assessment, help us gauge capabilities, competencies, and willingness to change—and benchmark against best-in-class peers. By understanding a client’s readiness for enterprise agility, we can shape recommendations and strategies to fit their unique environment.
  • Enable the organization. Enterprise agility requires catalysts to change and influence behaviour. Set up and execute agile pilots. Agile at scale generates value and lessons that help scale this new way of working when well implemented. We work with organizations to select visible and relevant pilots, establish agile processes, and measure results—building dashboards to track value delivery, squad performance, defects, and work progress.
  • Adapt the operating model. By feeding learnings into the operating model, we fine-tune methodologies and set the stage for agile transformation. We define how roles and responsibilities will shift, drawing on a database of more than 3,000 role charters that detail accountabilities across functions. We address all functional model components, including governance, culture, leadership and talent, and technological enablers. And we work with clients to communicate changes—reducing ambiguity, and tension, as they deploy agile at scale.
  • Build an agile playbook. Transforming to an agile organization won’t happen overnight. By building on initial projects, customizing best practices to a client’s context and culture, and enabling ongoing coaching, workshops, and pulse checks, we create a roadmap for enterprise agility—and a path for sustainable change.

What 10,000+ employees say about agile transformation

We surveyed nearly 10,000 employees while they were amid an agile transformation. About one-fifth of them worked in organizations with more than 100,000 employees. Slightly less than half worked at organizations with fewer than 5,000 employees. The rest were relatively evenly distributed between those extremes. The employees worked in the technology, telecom, and financial services industries, as expected, but also in the logistics, health insurance, automotive, consumer goods, and professional services fields.

The survey consisted of 51 questions that tested whether employees were enabled or hindered during the agile transformation. We averaged each respondent’s answers to identify the top and bottom quartiles. The top quartile had the most positive sentiment and reflected where workers felt more empowered to embrace agile. Conversely, the bottom quartile had a more pessimistic view and consequently represented where employees felt more hindered and unlikely to adopt agile.

Three conclusions stand out. First, successful agile organizations are learning organizations. They do not rest on past accomplishments and practices. Nearly nine of ten respondents who feel enabled by their organization’s agile transformation said that their culture and management encourage failing fast and embrace learning from mistakes.

Second, agile teams want data to help them prioritize their work and measure success. Data helps them learn. Unfortunately, too few teams have the data they want. For example, only half of the respondents said their teams could measure customer satisfaction, a key indicator of team effectiveness.

Third, agile runs into trouble when it rubs against the conservative practices and behaviours of traditional organizations. Agile becomes the square peg struggling to squeeze into a round hole. For example, more than half of respondents said their organization’s standards, risk processes, and control requirements slow their work.

At its core, agile requires responding to change more than following a plan. Teams continually test and refine what they create based on feedback from customers and end users. So it’s no wonder that agile team members value learning and smooth interactions with the rest of the organization and want to take advantage of the insights data can provide.


Organizational change is hard. Most large change efforts do not meet their objectives. If you lose the support and engagement of your people, you will almost certainly fall short. Our survey suggests a winning approach: be a learning and data-driven organization, and anticipate that you will need to adjust the operating model to match agile ways of working. None of that is easy—but it is all achievable.

Business model

The Different Types Of Business Models

The different types of business models

Everyone (including me) has been in the same boat when they start a business, understanding the problem you are solving for your customers. Undoubtedly this would be the biggest challenge when starting a business. Customers need to want what you are selling, and your product/service needs to solve a problem, a real problem.

Like every piece of advice you get from friends, family, and mentors, they mention the first step in starting a business. But, there are a lot of “first steps”. On top of figuring out what the first steps are, you need to make sure there is revenue flowing in. So, where does a business model come into play?

What is a business model?

A business model is a conceptual framework supporting the viability of a business, including its purpose, goals and ongoing plans for achieving them.

In simple terms, a business model is a plan for how a company can create value. n

A business model answers fundamental questions about the problem you will solve, how you will solve it and the growth opportunity within a given market.

Creating a successful business model is essential, especially if you are starting a new venture, entering a new market, or changing your go-to-market strategy. The foundation of every business is its business model. It is the foundation because you need to look at the different avenues, partners, channels, customers, and values your company should be a part of to flow significant revenue inwards. If you look at your direct competitors doing “something” better than your company, that affects whom the audience will listen to. People want to work with companies that are more solid foundationally. A transparent, impactful business model is one of the only ways to increase the probability of success.

Let’s get into the different types of business models.

If you go online, some articles and blogs mention over 50 different types of business models, and we’ve summed them up into four different types (5 if you include businesses inside the metaverse, but that’s a whole other topic):n

    • Business-To-Business (B2B)When dealings or transactions occur between two companies or the business, this type of business model is known as Business-to-Business. What is important to note here is that for transactions to be successful in a B2B model, participating businesses need adequate planning, relationship building and relationship management. Ensure that relationships with other companies are well nurtured and that your business is positioned as a force to be reckoned with. Other models evolve from B2B; models like Business-to-Government or Business-to-Business-Consumer are specific niches that show other challenges to overcome.

    • Business-To-Consumer (B2C) The B2C model is a retail model where products move directly from a business to the end user who has purchased their product/service for personal use. For example, a B2C retail experience can be shopping at a local grocery store or purchasing new headphones from an online store. A B2C service experience can be a visit to the doctor, visiting a hair or nail salon, dining out at a restaurant or using the Uber app to purchase transportation. nnTransactions here tend to be more product/service-driven and less relationship-building (excluding service providers). As a result, impulsive or emotive buying decisions are frequently made in B2C models.

    • Subscription Based Models Any application-based businesses or software companies have subscription-based business models. They offer their product as a one-time or recurring purchase. In return, the company earns monthly or annual revenues. This business model allows the company to earn regular income by allowing the client to pay for the purchase in 12 equal payments rather than asking them to pay the wholesome amount in one go.

    • On-demand Models The on-demand business model follows a simple rule: “Access is better than ownership.” Hence, the idea is to make the services and products easy to access, including those the customer cannot own. For instance, you can rent a car instead of buying one. Likewise, the on-demand delivery business model works on the same pattern. The objective is to deliver the products to the customer safely in less time. Because of the new tech, users tend to use mobile apps for most services. Due to the increasing trend of on-demand services, businesses are now focusing on on-demand business equipment and delivery software. Companies can use non-employees for shipping goods on demand, wherein they may hire local workers or delivery companies to build this business model.

The word “model” conjures up images of whiteboards covered with arcane mathematical formulas. Business models, though, are anything but mysterious. At heart, they are stories that explain how enterprises work. When a new model changes the economics of an industry and is difficult to replicate, it can, by itself, create a substantial competitive advantage.

Another great use of the business model is that it can help crystalize the vision you have for the business. It can get arduous to explain what your vision is and get it to resonate with the network around you. In our business model and innovation series, we will be addressing all areas we know are difficult to maneuver in the early-stages of the business. Creating a sustainability business can get difficult if you’re unaware of the different situations you would experience in “the system”. If you are currently experiencing any stress around your current business model, please feel free to reach out to one of our business model innovation experts.


Insights into 300 exhibitors and brands at the gitex global 22′ event

On October 10 – 14th, 2022, GITEX, or GITEX GLOBAL, held its annual technology exhibition. The exhibition was organized so that companies in their specific industry could showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services, meet with industry partners and customers, study the activities of competitors, and examine market trends and opportunities. The exhibition had gathered over 100,000 attendees, 5000 exhibitors and 850 startups from over 170 countries. To get a closer look at what exhibitors and brands did during the GITEX GLOBAL event, we interacted with 300+ exhibitors and brands spanning numerous categories. Among other highlights, we found that:
    • Nearly two-thirds of these exhibitors and brands showcased a new product/service line. Of these exhibitors and brands, 60% have achieved PMF (Product-Market-Fit) with their new product/service in a different location (outside of the GCC). At the same time, 40% have unveiled a new product/service and are using the exhibition to reach PMF.
    • Some exhibitors focused on pricing. About 15% of exhibitors and brands tested their product/service pricing points. This objective allowed them to acquire real-time insights into the value of their product/service through the course of the exhibition.
    • A handful of exhibitors and brands were looking for investment. 15% of exhibitors were positioned to look for investors. The Northstar exhibition was the central location for investors to hang around, as there were special lounges and meeting areas set in the Northstar exhibition for startups and investors to meet and discuss opportunities.
    • 65% of exhibitors and brands were looking to enter the UAE market by Q1 -Q2 2023. We registered a typical pattern with the exhibitors and brands we reviewed that integrating into the UAE marketplace was a priority for most exhibitors and brands. In comparison, the other 35% looked at the interest and had not set a plan or time to enter the UAE marketplace.
    • A keen lookout for domestic partners. Approximately 70% of exhibitors and brands were looking for local partnerships to help enter the UAE marketplace. These partnership opportunities varied across the board.
    • The exhibitors’ expansion plans. 40% of companies outside of the GCC had been established for more than five years. The UAE marketplace is now under their line of sight for international trade missions.
    • Other exhibitions, such as “Digital Cities”, which consisted of government and semi-government entities, showcased innovative technologies that could integrate into UAE society. In addition, a collective of government authorities had unveiled programs at the exhibition that would bridge collaboration between government and private sector entities.
As we’ve entered the year’s final quarter, companies are now preparing their infrastructure to align with the new year’s goals. Companies have now shown progressive behaviours in entering, growing or occupying the UAE market, which comes with many challenges. Our interactions with these entities have opened our eyes to their different challenges. Such as not entering the UAE market unless the right partner comes on board, adapting the business model to fit the needs of the GCC market, or finding the right investor to fuel their startup. Whether they are expansion plans or starting from the ground up, everyone at the exhibition felt excited and stirred by the future. As business turns for the better, we are excited to see the interest generated in taking on the UAE market. We invite you to fill in this form and learn more from a business model expert and find out how your business can excel in the UAE market.
carbon off

Carbon offsets aren’t the solution but are necessary for markets to snowball.

At this very moment, organizations (both private and government) are creating best-hope estimates in their decarbonization plans – keep in mind that they are only estimates.

In the race to make organizational pledges, commitments and guarantees to decarbonize, the carbon-offset market needs to become more significant and have standard procedures in place quickly. n

The current struggle of any organization today is to find a feasible, sustainable way to remove carbon altogether from its supply and value chain. We are a few years away from fossil or hydrogen fuel technology to break even. We’re in this awkward phase where the solution is not clear, though the goal is.

Many small businesses centred around sustainable solutions have sprung up over the past five years. Most of them will provide a service or product that solves the most pressing issue. One of the cardinal rules of achieving sustainability is collaboration. Given the options available today, organizations will take any help.

  • Tier 1- These are the direct emissions from operations owned or controlled by an organization.

  • Tier 2- Emissions consumed indirectly by the organization, such as heat, steam, electricity or cooling.

  • Tier 3- These emissions include everything indirect through value or supply chains.

Tier 3 emissions are the most difficult to keep track of for an organization. Keeping track of tier 3 emissions requires complete transparency between all players in the value chain. It requires organizations to question everything from where each fabric is sourced to its location, ethicality, and sourcing.

There is no sugar coating around it. If you are dependent on your supply chain, you are responsible for all three emission tiers.


Today, organizations may use carbon offsetting to achieve net-zero emissions, especially to compensate for tier 3 emissions. But carbon accounts and offsets must be standardized.


Specific demographics might consider carbon offsetting to be the lazy way out. And it is a persuasive argument. But Organizations use carbon offsetting as the last tool in their belt. Tier 3 is almost impossible to keep track of in-house.


Green/carbon financing has taken a lot of steps since its inception. Banks spend weeks talking to C-level executives to understand their plans because this, in turn, affects the bank’s plans.

Lets talk about the carbon offset market.

It isn’t news that this market is in its infancy stage. However, the market is both problematic and filled with opportunities. It has to snowball and to a scale where impact is visible from the naked eye.


The year 2050 net-zero targets will demand 7.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide to achieve net-zero status. That’s 7,600,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, seriously tonnes (1 tonne = 1000 Kilo gs).


At the shallow end, markets for carbon offsetting will quadruple – Bank of America.

Today, there are four primary registries for carbon offsets: Verified Carbon Standard, or Verra; The Gold Standard, the American Carbon Registry and the Climate Action Reserve. All are non-profit, non-governmental organizations.


Note: These organizations have to come together soon to form some standardized process.


There’s bound to be bad press around carbon offsetting. It is inevitable. At this stage, we can’t be picky. There are a small number of cases of greenwashing, and it gives the entire market a bad reputation. But planting a tree is still desirable, compared to not planting one.



We’ll define what carbon credit is a few lines below, but let’s take a quick look at its value in


2019 – 8$


2020- 18$


2021- 35 $


It’s 2022, and it’s not getting any lower. Why the rise? Let’s define what a carbon credit is first.


According to the Corporate credit institute, a carbon credit is a tradeable permit or certificate that provides the holder of the credit the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or an equivalent of another greenhouse gas (GHG).


The increase in price relays one thing. If organizations can pay their carbon away, they will.

Let’s look at it from a basic level. If a farmer can demonstrate a reduction in one metric tonne of CO2 or its equivalent on their farming operation, they should be able to create and sell a carbon credit.


There is a more pragmatic practice today if you’ve heard of the term ESG investing. Organizations have started investing in forestry and community climate facilities. The carbon not emitted through these facilities sells as carbon credits by investing in these areas. As a result, the term offset has a more precise meaning now.



At Anima, we see any movement as progress. Is this the right direction? Of course, it is. Any forward or adjacent movement is a good movement. But do we think that this is the only way to move? Most definitely not.


The key to progressing sustainability within an organization is by being proactive. These solutions provide a reactive premise because they were designed reactively. The second something new comes up, we need it. And we must support these projects on all fronts. Time is of the essence in our world. Every year there seems to be one calamity after another, and it’s not helping our cause.


Nonetheless, at Anima, we believe that every organization has something more to contribute. A solution to sustainable issues that genuinely defines the organization.



Prevention is always better than cure.

Sustainability for ad agencies (2)

Should ad agencies lead conversations on sustainability?

Should ad agencies lead conversations on sustainability?

The world pretty much agrees that businesses have to behave more ethically, with more concern for their actions’ social and cultural outcomes. And it doesn’t matter what the motivation for this improved behaviour is – a genuine concern for the planet’s fate or a cynical hunch that doing the right will drive growth and profit; if the improved behaviour is natural. Surveys show that the move to ‘doing well by doing good’ will only become mainstream when the corporate social responsibility agenda and the growth agenda become one and the same.

Despite its stature for repetitiveness and excess, the advertising business is brilliant for one thing; persuading people to change its behaviour. This comes down to driving consumers to want product B instead of product A. Let’s not forget the other records of charity, NGO, health and public sector work that has bought many benefits to a lot of people.

We’re in a spot where significant behaviour change is required; governments are inert with their vested interests in urban development. This is why businesses and people who sustain businesses have to take up the challenge.


In order to take up the challenge, the ad business needs to develop new vocabulary, processes and strategy tools to help their clients understand the unique landscape and discover a purpose beyond profit for their brands and clients.


What is the problem?


Client company procurement departments have systematically welded down agency compensation to the point where talent and resources are thin on the ground to do any research and development. Everyone would love to do more, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Urgency > important.

Since urgency is always a priority, this has created a capabilities gap. There are, of course, many reputable companies operating in the CSR space with the sole purpose of helping clients understand the issues and stumble towards solutions. But they deal with smaller operations and tend to lack consumer understanding, brand expertise and creeative firepower of the big ad agencies. Keep in mind that conversations about sustainability should be held in the offices of the CEO and CMO, not the CSR departments.


Suppose the agencies aren’t initiating the CSR conversation. In that case, clients will look elsewhere for their needs – to the world of consultancy, design (where these issues have been thought about more deeply), media & technology – and to their resources. Currently, the client community is further ahead of this than its agency partners.


How then can you get from ground zero to lighting a fire under business, forcing it to address the discrepancies and meet the needs of the business?


The awards and creative education industry D&AD has launched “break the silence” to encourage the ad and creative agencies to start the conversation on climate change with their clients.


Why the rush?


The biggest pressure is starting to come from millennials who are in business. They are often more conscious about these issues and therefore well versed. This generation understands the power of communication to be a force of good. They are born social media adepts and want at least part of their professional lives focused on a combination of purpose and business.


There’s a long way to go and a lot to be done. Unfortunately, the ad industry’s systems and processes are closer to where it first developed than where it needs to go. But, there is movement, and that’s good.