It is often easy to think about an idea and not wonder if you can turn it in to a business model. However, it is easier said than done, as starting a business is no easy job. Having an idea is fine, but the real work lies in building a sustainable model capable of generating revenue. This is where a lot of ideas just become what they are i.e., ‘just ideas.’ Here is a simple guide which may help you convert your idea into a business.
1. Take the dive:
A lot of successful startups were not founded on something new. The founders just identified a problem which could be solved and just began working on it. Starting a business is as simple as just taking the plunge. Jan Koum and Brian Acton, the founders of the popular texting app WhatsApp, left their Jobs at Yahoo! and applied at Facebook, but were rejected. They then developed WhatsApp, which revolutionised the way messages were sent. Had Jan Koum and Brian Acton not taken this risk, the way the world communicates today would be extremely different.
2. Evaluate the idea:
The business idea needs to be evaluated by assigning goals, targets, revenue and capital investment. A lot of initial brainstorming is necessary in order to lay the groundwork which will let the idea become a business model. Try to identify the demand for your idea so that you can be sure to convert the idea into a realistic business model.
3. Do market research:
It is important to set aside a dedicated budget for just marketing the idea. This will help out a lot in the long run by helping a business identify their target audience. Market research provides a ton of data which can be crunched to establish key result areas (KRAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs.) If there are any potential competitors or existing competitors, it is important to research about them as well. Digital marketing, offline marketing and surveys are just some of the things which can be done. Market research is important in estimating the value for the product, which in turn will provide you with the necessary data to develop a revenue model. An interesting example of how market research is vital would be the story of when beverage giant Coca-Cola decided to rebrand the Cola to New Coke, along with a change in the product formula. It caused outrage amongst consumers which led to them boycotting the product. Coca-Cola then realised its mistake and went back to its original name and formula. During initial research surveys, it was found that the new flavour would be received positively. However, the outcome was completely different. Perhaps, had the Company done extensive market research, there are chances the outcome may have been avoided.
4. Making it official:
Once the initial market research is finished and goals are assigned, the business can be made official. This can be done by legalisation, by establishing a business name and business structure. This may help in eliminating the chance of someone else stealing your idea.
5. Hiring your workforce:
Offering jobs on a contract basis can help you out with getting a team to work with you. This will help out in allaying any hesitation with regards to working for a startup, where security is important. Finances can be stringent and it is not easy to get the talent you need nearby, therefore it is helpful if you can hire remote workers.
6. Find a co founder:
Finding a co founder is not an easy job as it begins with self reflection and evaluation of your own strengths and weaknesses. Selling the idea to another person who can complement your weaknesses and allows you to work with each others’ strengths will help out a great deal in managing the business. Apple was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Wozniak was responsible for the design and development of Apple I, while Steve Jobs took on marketing the product and the rest, as we know, is history. This highlights how a co founder who can add value to the skills lacking in a founder helps build a good business.
7. Building infrastructure:
A lot of infrastructure needs to be in place to be able to run a business, like a building, IT framework and software, amongst many others. Identifying and establishing the necessary infrastructure can help in streamlining your business. A little bit of research can also be done to identify vendors who can take up the burden of starting up. Identifying the right vendor is vital as they may have access to sensitive company or product information. Indian food delivery unicorn Swiggy believed in having a strong infrastructure in place and spent considerable resources in developing their logistics and infrastructure, which contributed immensely to their growth. This led its competitor Zomato to take note and start doing the same in order to catch up.
8. Generating sales:
Once your business is established, it is time to start putting in the work to generate your sales. The future of a business is dependent on the sales it generates. Always be on the lookout for problems which arise during a sale conversion, brainstorm a solution and apply it. Regular feedback on every sale will offer a great deal of insight into establishing an efficient workflow. When Indian e commerce giant Flipkart acquired online fashion brand Myntra, they decided to make Myntra an app only platform. This was a move which did not sit well with the consumers. It reflected on the sales by showing a 10 % dip in revenues, forcing Flipkart to get the website back on. Learning from customer feedback is important in order to keep the sales regular.
READ MORE: How To Pitch To Investors
It is not easy to convert your idea into a business, however, begin by utilising these strategies and investing in marketing and customer satisfaction. If you keep doing your market research on a regular basis, there is a higher probability of your business taking off to a good start. A lot of businesses or successful startups took off by following these simple steps. While there are many other things different businesses do when they are starting up, almost all of them may have the same guidelines mentioned above at their core.
How To Increase Online Sales Of A Business
Sales is an important part of any establishment or organisation as it is a major revenue contributor. A product or service can be sold any number of ways, but mostly it falls under either offline or online sales. The present consumer is increasingly relying on technology to make their purchases and that is the reason why almost every company or organisation has an online presence on an aggregator platform or via their own in house app.
Online sales can be made consistent by following some simple tips given below.
1.Show customer testimonials
Testimonials are an important way for a new user to get an understanding of the product or service they plan to buy. Testimonials offer customers a sense of confidence that they are making an informed decision about their purchase. Good testimonials are a way to convert impressions into sales. Amazon has reviews for every product it offers on its platform and urges customers to leave a review as well after making a purchase.
2. Money back guarantees
Most online sales happen without the customer physically inspecting a product or service before making a purchase. Therefore, it is a good practice to offer some form of money back guarantee for a sale, in case a customer is not satisfied with their purchase. Having a money back guarantee is also a form of conveying the strength and quality of the product being sold. Online clothing store Myntra has a return policy where, if a customer is not satisfied with their purchase, they can return it back and the cost of the transaction is reverted back to the customer’s account.
3. Create a call to action
Creating a sense of urgency or a call to action is a very subtle way of guiding a customer to make an online purchase. This can be achieved in many ways like offering a product bundle for a discounted price or creating a discount sales campaign. Showcasing high selling products or the most recommended products are some other ways to make the customer make their choice quicker. Food delivery platform Swiggy has an option called Swiggy Pop which has a curated list of meals for one person at attractive prices. This spares the customer the hassle of browsing through multiple restaurants and making a decision.
4. Streamline the checkout process
The checkout process is the most important part of a purchase. Items in an online shopping cart are often left in the cart itself as the checkout process is time taking. Lengthy information fields are most often a hassle and make a customer abandon their product in the cart and instead look for other alternatives elsewhere. Having a secure payment gateway, which does not interrupt transactions midway, is a must have for the customer to trust the brand.
5. Offer multiple payment options
Have multiple payment options like cash on delivery, netbanking, online wallets, credit and debit cards. The present day customer has many options at their disposal to make a payment and they would like to be able to make that choice in choosing how they would like to pay. In India, almost every online marketplace offers a plethora of alternatives for payment, like Paytm, Google Pay and credit/debit card transactions from multiple banks, from which the customer can choose.
While there are multiple tweaks and ways to increase the online sales of a product, following these tips can help streamline the sales process and offer a sense of understanding from a revenue standpoint as well.
Learn more about how to increase sales of a business here: 4 Tips For A Business To Increase Sales
4 Tips For A Business To Increase Sales
Any business, once established, needs to generate revenue in order to sustain itself. Sales are the major revenue generating stream for any business. In the current business landscape, it is highly imperative to have stable sales revenue. A good product will automatically generate sales if it has a target audience who like what they are purchasing. However, any product or service always has scope for improvement and generating more sales.
Let us have a look at some tips for a business to increase sales.
1. Invest in a good sales team
Any business needs a sales team which can look after pitching the product or service to the target demographic. Providing resources and training to the sales team will go a long way in generating a healthy sales forecast. Elevator pitches, quarterly audits and target based competition will generate a healthy atmosphere and a zeal to perform. Leading software as a service (SaaS) company Salesforce currently has one of the best sales teams in the world and they invest a lot on them by offering them training at an event called ‘Dreamforce.’ The sales team is trained by leading industry experts and Salesforce executives.
2. Generate positive reviews
A business needs constant feedback to know the needs and wants of the customer in order to optimise its offering to suit their audience. One of the easiest ways to do it is to go online and register on a reviewing site relevant to the industry in which the business is. Constant feedback, especially positive feedback, is important as it increases the likelihood of generating more traffic and demand for your product/service. Google is one of the best platforms to get reviews as it is used by almost everyone. For example, a business which is in the food service space can focus on reviews on platforms like Zomato or Yelp.
3. Create packages or bundles
Creating packages or bundles of products or services clubbed together is a good way to maximize sales. Clubbing together products or services which deal with the same issue or action increases the convenience and seem more useful to customers, who may believe they are getting more value out of a purchase. E commerce giant Amazon offers suggestions based on user purchases, which show similar products that will be useful with a purchase. For example, if a customer purchases a mobile phone, Amazon’s suggestions may include a screen guard and a mobile phone case.
4. Partner with other businesses
A business can explore the possibility of partnering with another business if investing in research, development and infrastructure is expensive. Partnering up with a business can create unique products which need less development time and investment because existing businesses have the necessary infrastructure in place and only need collaboration. Microsoft is a good example in this instance. Microsoft was notorious for its reputation of not offering its products on Apple’s Linux platforms because Apple is a competitor. However, Satya Nadella, when he was made CEO, decided Microsoft would partner with Apple and release a Linux compatible Microsoft Office suite for the iPad, the iMac, the iPhone and the MacBook. This move drastically increased the sales of Microsoft.
A business can adopt these tips to come up with a sales plan which creates a revenue stream. While these do not guarantee immediate results, they can provide an organic growth in sales traffic. A good product should be able to elicit a definite answer from the audience and these tips should always go along with a call to action for the customer.
Read more about how to increase business opportunities here: Five Steps Entrepreneurs Can Follow To Identify New Business Opportunities
How To Start A Business With Little Capital
Starting a business may seem like a great idea to pursue a passion, but it has its share of problems. It is easy to worry about from where to bring in the investment for it, what kind of business should it be, whether it will give a return on investment and whether it will become sustainable and provide a stable source of income. While these questions and the uncertainty can act as deterrents to begin a business, you can still start a business with a little bit of planning.
Let us look at some tips about how to begin a business with little or no investment.
1. Keep working at your present job
If an individual who wishes to begin a business already has a stable job, it is a little easier to begin investing resources into a business or an idea. Having a job acts as a cushion on which you can fall back if things don’t go as planned. The job also acts as a source for initial startup capital by creating savings on which you can bank. You will, however, have to put in those extra hours to work on the business. Mailchimp is a popular email marketing platform which was created by founder Ben Chestnut when he was running a design consulting business.
2. Create a business plan
Once sufficient savings are pooled up, it is important to work on your business plan. Creating a list of variable and dynamic parameters which may affect the business, analysing the market for a demand, creating a business plan with minimal investment and operational costs and creating value for the product is important.
3. Start simple and build a revenue stream
One of the easiest ways to begin a business with little capital is most often by creating a service based model. Service based models are easy to implement as revenue can be generated after providing a service. There are many service based industries like washing and cleaning, housekeeping and delivery services, to name a few. If a product based model is your passion, consider starting off with services and use the revenue to build a product. For example, cooking or baking is the easiest way to generate revenue. Food will always see sales and the initial market demographic can be acquaintances, family and colleagues.
4. Consider a small loan or an incubator
Once a working model is established with revenue forecasts, consider taking a small business loan which will provide a capital pool that can be used to invest in scaling up and building infrastructure. Incubators are a great way to grow as well. An incubator acts as a source of funding for businesses if they have good business models. Many well known business schools act as incubators. The famous startup WeWork also began as an incubator platform for startups and they have branches all over the world now.
Crowdfunding is a very powerful tool to generate capital for your product or business idea. A lot of businesses kicked off using crowdfunding and it is not just limited to businesses. Crowdfunding can be used for any number of reasons like making a movie, starting a restaurant or funding travel. Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset which was crowdfunded by multiple backers on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform. Oculus was later acquired by Facebook for over $ 2 billion.
Starting a business does not have to be a complicated exercise and it can begin by following these tips if there is the problem of initial capital . There is no shortcut to success, but these simple steps can help in achieving the goal of starting a business.
Read more about how to start up here: A Simple Guide To Starting A Business
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