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The Viral Potato – The Story Of How A Potato Went Viral

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At a time when sending mails has become quite an outdated means of communications, the internet world has been looking at enabling new forms of sending messages to the ones you love. Taking a page from the extremely successful idea, the Potato Parcel (based out of the United States,) a young couple, Simran and Nav, came up with a similar startup called The Viral Potato! Remember when you were a kid and sent secret notes of love to the person on whom you were crushing? The Viral Potato took this concept and turned it into an online business. The only difference? Instead of sending the love messages through notes, they send the messages on potatoes!

Picture credits: TheViralPotato

Two years ago, when Nav saw how successful the Potato Parcel was as a business, he knew he had a unique business. However, the idea was put to bed for a while and when the young couple returned to India, a random potato in the office pantry sparked it again. A scrawled number on a discarded potato inspired Nav to give birth to The Viral Potato and selling one potato at a time, the startup started picking speed. However, while sending messages on potatoes may seem like a romantic venture, the fact that potatoes could go bad was a problem which had to be factored into the equation.

Fortunately, the team had a solution for the rotten potatoes. Now, the team source special type of potatoes called “pahadhi potatoes” and ensure the vegetables they source last for 4 to 6 weeks! Once they reach their natural state of decay, the team sends replacement magnets and products as placeholders for these messages.

Picture credits: TheViralPotato

Using their individual savings as a roster for The Viral Potato, Simran and Nav have a wide array of services they provide under the umbrella of The Viral Potato. Ask them about their business plan and Nav says, “We are bootstrapping the company with the money we saved from giving consultations to big companies for over 10 years. However, we are not closed to an investment opportunity and it would help us spread  love on a potato much faster!”

With no immediate aim of switching to different vegetables, The Viral Potato team has plans of expanding their services from just providing love notes on Valentine’s Day to giving customers the option of sending special messages to their loved ones. The website is where you should go to buy these  love potatoes, “We have a website where you can buy our potato boxes for as low as Rs. 99 (plus shipping!) We have different packages for various occasions which run all the way to Rs. 299!”

Picture credits: TheViralPotato

Simran and Nav have grand plans for where they see their startup going. Ask Nav about their future plans and he quips, “We are aware of the existence of The Potato Parcel and our plans are to be bigger and better than the original brand!” The Viral Potato aims at making the world a more loveable place, one potato at a time!

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Ratan Tata Unknown Facts

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Chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata is arguably one of the most successful people of India.  During his 21 year career, he transformed Tata Group from a national brand to an international brand with his impeccable business skills.

Here is a list of some lesser known facts about the 81 year old industrialist:

1) Though he was born in an affluent household, Ratan Tata had a troubled childhood. His parents, Naval Hormusji Tata and Sooni Tata, separated when he was just 7 years old.  Post the separation, his brother and he were raised by their grandmother.

2)  Ratan Tata has a degree in architecture from Cornell University and he even pursued an advanced management program from Harvard Business School.

 

3) When Ratan Tata first started his career at Tata Steel, his job was to manage the blast furnace and shovel limestone.  It was only in 1991 he became the Chairperson.

 

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4) Ratan Tata is an avid car lover and does not refrain himself from spending on cars.  His car collection includes Maserati Quattroporte, Chrysler Sebring, Ferrari California, Mercedes Benz S-Class and Jaguar F-Type.

 

5) Not many people know Ratan Tata is a trained pilot.  He owns a pilot’s license and is often seen flying aircrafts owned by the Tata Group.  He was also the first Indian to fly the F-16 Falcon in 2007.

6) In 1999, Ratan Tata and his team went to Ford to sell their emerging car business and were humiliated by Bill Ford who said, “You do not know anything, why did you start the passenger car division at all.”  Nine years later, Ratan Tata got his sweet revenge when he took over Ford’s ace car brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, for half the price.

 

7) Ratan Tata received the third and second highest civilian awards, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 2000 and 2008 respectively.  In 2009, the United Kingdom honoured him with the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

8) Ratan Tata is not included in the world’s richest as he owns most of his shares through trusts and foundations.  If all those shares are accounted, his net worth would be $ 72 billion.

 

9) By his own admission, Ratan Tata came close to marriage 4 times in his life, but backed off each time either due to fear or another reason.

10) Ratan Tata donates millions to education every year.  One particular year, he donated $ 50 million to Harvard University and $25 million to Cornell University, especially for the Indian students studying at the two universities.

 

Fighting all the hurdles that came his way, today Ratan Tata is the king of the corporate world.  Thank you, Mr. Tata, for being an inspiration to an entire Nation.

 

Comment below and let us know which of these facts surprised you the most.

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5 Essential Skills Required To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

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All the high net worth individuals in the world are where they are because they developed a certain skill set, which in turn helped them to reach their goals.  Mere knowledge of your niche area won’t help you become a successful entrepreneur. While you need patience to run a business, you also need to focus on developing some critical skills which not only help you run your business but also can help you solve any problems that might arise in your entrepreneurial journey.

Here is a list of 5 skills you should start developing if you aspire to become a successful entrepreneur.

 

1) Creativity

As an entrepreneur, you will face new problems every day and for entrepreneurs, creativity isn’t just about coming up with new ideas, it is about being able to adapt to new situations quickly and finding solutions for problems as and when they arise. You will also have to constantly improve and upgrade your products and services to stay alive in the market. Therefore, creativity is the most essential skill an entrepreneur should possess.  

The brand Apple is synonymous with creativity, thanks to the genius Steve Jobs. When the iPhone initially launched, critics came up with a 100 reasons as to why it would fail and it almost did. With his creativity, Steve Jobs kept upgrading the product and today, it is the best selling smartphone in the world.  Steve Jobs’ creativity was the driving force behind Apple’s product design and marketing.

 

2) Communication

Every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. It is essential for entrepreneurs to be able to communicate with employees, customers, investors, peers and mentors. One simply cannot manage a great team or  provide a great customer service if one is not an effective communicator. Irrespective of whether a person runs a startup or a Fortune 500 company, communication is the key skill that he must develop.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson who himself is a student of communication, calls it “an art”.

 

3) Salesmanship

As an entrepreneur you should be able to sell sand in the desert.

Salesmanship is one such skill without which, it is nearly impossible to succeed as an entrepreneur. The soft skill of sales goes hand- in -hand with communication and is key to run a successful business.  An entrepreneur should be able to sell the business idea to investors, their products and services to customers.

Salesmanship plays a key role in building trust between the company and the customer.

Mark Cuban, an American businessman, investor and the owner of National Basketball Association often emphasises that salesmanship is the skill that made him millions. When asked what he would do if he lost it all, he replied saying that he would pick up a sales job and was pretty sure that this could make him a multi-millionaire again.

 

4) Money Management

If you cannot manage money, you cannot manage a business. Period!

Financial management is the most important responsibility of an entrepreneur, especially in the startup stage. Knowing your cash flow can make planning and budgeting for financial needs easier. This is a key skill to develop if you are aiming to be a successful entrepreneur.

Elon Musk, the 46 year old CEO of SpaceX and Tesla often states that he does not spend his $ 20 billion fortune on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Instead, he invests his profits back into his business for its development.

 

5)  Ability to find and manage people

Having great people on your team will make life much easier for you. It gives you access to new strengths while building a company culture of which people would want to be a part.  Hiring the right people is key to building a successful company. Along with hiring the right people, an entrepreneur should be able to manage them efficiently. He should be able to assign the right kind of tasks to people considering their strengths and weaknesses.

The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos follows a three question method of hiring people for his company.  

  1. Will you admire this person?
  2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
  3. Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?

Only when he is satisfied with these answers, will that person work for him.

Being an entrepreneur is a complicated task and your success as an entrepreneur is the result of the small actions taken over a period of time.

If you notice you are lacking a skill or two, focus on nurturing those skills today so you might be able to enjoy success tomorrow.

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Reasons Why Businesses Fail

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According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 business fail within the first 18 months of their inception and the sad reality is, almost all the businesses fail because of the entrepreneurs who handle it.  While there are a multitude of conditions which could lead to a business failure, most startups which fail, make similar mistakes.  Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why businesses fail.

 

1) Starting a business for the wrong reasons

Most people start a business with a desire to earn a lot of money.  While this is a benefit successful entrepreneurs achieve after years of hard work, starting a business for money is not the right entrepreneurial mindset.  The driving force for your business should be your passion, not your desire for money. Entrepreneurship requires a lot of dedication, hard work and patience and if you lack passion, you will most likely lose interest in a few years and eventually end up failing.

 

2) Lack of proper planning

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Planning is an important part of running a business.  If you do not work according to a proper plan, your business is most likely to fail.  A good plan consists of definite short term and long term goals and will also define where your company will be in the next few years.  Lack of such proper planning will cause irreparable damage to your business.

 

3) Lack of funds

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The most common reason why startups fail is the lack of proper funds.  Budding business owners often do not understand money management and are likely to underestimate the amount of money they require to start a business and might even have unrealistic expectations about profits. As a result, the money spent on the business becomes more than the money earned by the business.  This leads to debt and when this debt becomes too much, they are forced to shut it down.

 

4) Lack of value

The heart of any business is the value it creates. The higher your value, the more will be your customer base and the more you will earn.  Your product or service should be more valuable than your competitors’. In other words, your business should be able to offer something new.  If your business lacks value, it is bound to fail.

 

5)  Early expansions

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It is rightly said that slow and steady wins the race.  New entrepreneurs are often in a hurry to expand their business to other markets and this is the leading cause for bankruptcy.  Expanding a business is good, but before you enter new markets, make sure you maximise your existing market. If not, you will most likely be forced to close your business due to bankruptcy.

 

As they say, failures are stepping stones to success and as a business owner, the success of a business mostly lies in your hand. If you ever failed trying to run a business, learn from your mistakes and start over again. Most of the billionaires today are people who once failed.

 

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