Most of us often think a revolutionary idea is all you need to set up a business. Yes, a great idea is definitely the heart of your business, but funds are its backbone. Most startups fail within months after their inception due to lack of proper funds. Raising capital to build your business is a huge challenge, especially if you are a first timer. We are here to help you with just that. Keep reading to find out some ways in which you can fund your business.
How to raise capital for your startup
1) Self funding
This is the most obvious way to fund your business. If you are a first time entrepreneur, you may have a tough time trying to find potential investors. Therefore, you can consider funding your business from your own savings or ask your friends and family to contribute. This process of funding your own business is called bootstrapping. Bootstrapping should always be considered as the first option for funding your business. However, this is suitable only if the initial requirement is small.
Crowdfunding is a millennial way to fund your startup. How does crowdfunding work? An aspiring entrepreneur puts up a complete description of his/her business, like the business plan, the vision, what he aims to achieve and how much funding he needs, on a crowdfunding platform. Users of this platform will read about the business and pledge an amount of their choice, if they like the idea. Here, anyone can contribute to your business. Apart from providing financial help, a crowdfunding platform can also help in marketing your products or services. Kickstarter, Patreon, GoFundMe, RocketHub and CircleUp are some of the most popular crowdfunding platforms in the world. In India, Faircent, Ketto and Wishberry are some of the most famous ones.
3) Venture capitalists
Venture capitalists (VCs) are professionals who invest in startups and companies which have huge potential. VCs usually invest in a business against equity, which is the difference between the value of assets and the value of liabilities. They exit the business when there is an acquisition or an IPO (Initial Public Offering.) Venture capitalists are not easy to impress, especially if you are new to entrepreneurship. They even come with their fair share of disadvantages. Though a VC invests in your business, they often expect a recovery within 3 to 5 years. This is suitable for businesses which have crossed the startup stage and are already bringing in revenue. Some popular venture capitalists in India are Blume Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners. Index Ventures and Accel Ventures are venture capitalists which made their mark across the globe.
4) Angel investors
Angel investors are people who have a huge amount of cash and a keen interest to invest in a potential business. Sometimes, a group of investors come together to scrutinize and invest in a potential business. Apart from finance, angel investors can also provide advice as mentors. They are even willing to take higher risks for better returns. Angel investors are the people responsible for the establishment of several big names in the world, including Google and Alibaba. One drawback of angel investors is, they give far less capital compared to venture capitalists.
5) Participate in competitions
In recent times, several competitions are being held, where the winner gets capital for his/her business. All you have to do is present your business idea or module to a jury and if you win, you get the required capital to start your business. This, however, is not easy as the competition is going to be very high and your idea has to really stand out from the rest to be able to attract investors.
6) Get help from business incubators and accelerators
Business incubators and accelerators have become immensely popular recently and they are found in almost every major city across the globe. Business incubators produce several successful entrepreneurs every year. They usually have a program for 4-12 months, during which, they nurture, train, evaluate and fund your business idea. Accelerators, on the other hand, help an already established business grow or take a huge leap. StartupVillage, T-Hub, TechnoPark TBI and GSF Accelerator are some examples of business incubators and accelerators.
7) Bank loans
A bank is probably the most convenient place to get funds for your business. Almost every bank in India provides business loans against some sort of security. Bank loans for businesses are of two types—working capital loans and funding. Working capital loans are designed to traverse one full cycle of revenue generation. Funding, on the other hand, is the process of sharing your business plan and your business valuation to get the required funds.
An added advantage with bank loans is, you will not have the pressure of an investor depending on your business.
8) Government schemes
Governments these days are keen on encouraging entrepreneurs. There are several plans and schemes which are made available by the Government to fund your business. In India, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana and the Startup India Scheme are some initiatives. The Startup India Scheme, which was started in 2016, is known to have created thousands of entrepreneurs in India.
These are some of the several ways in which you can fund your business. Before approaching any investor, it is suggested you do full fledged research about each of these options and also get an idea about various market scenarios. After that, choose a plan which is suitable for you and your business type. If you have a professional network, which we recommend you do, discuss the various options with them and then take a decision.
Do you know of any other ways to fund a startup? Comment below and let us know.
How To Master Self Discipline
In the world of entrepreneurship, people with strong self control seem to succeed and achieve great success. These are people who are able to do everything and excel at their life goals. Fortunately, the habit of self control is a taught one and one can master the skill with determination. Here are five tips which can help anyone master the art of self discipline.
How to master self discipline
1) Set a clear goal
It’s easy to get distracted or discouraged if you don’t have a particular goal in your mind. In order to master self discipline, one should have a clear idea about what your end result will be. It is always better to have an end goal in your mind and a clear set of steps which will keep you motivated to achieve the goal.
2) Remove temptations
An important step to master self discipline is to avoid temptations. Having temptations, however small or big, will always urge you to overlook your long term goals. The best way to improve your self discipline is to remove the greatest temptation from your environment. For example, if you want to improve your productivity at your work and get good results, turn off your phone or mute the notifications on it to concentrate on your work.
3) Small steps
The process of self discipline may seem difficult to achieve at the beginning. It requires you to find your weakness and working on improving it. It can be pretty overwhelming to let go of your weaknesses all of a sudden. Therefore, it is a good idea to start with baby steps. For example, if one of your goals is to save money to start your own business, start by cutting down unnecessary expenses, one step at a time.
4) Eat regularly
According to researchers, not eating regularly can affect your mood and willpower immensely. Skipping your meals results in low blood sugar, which weakens the resolve of a person. It also affects a person’s ability to concentrate as well. A weakened willpower will result in you compromising your progress, be it in your work or personal life. Hence, it is always best to keep yourself fuelled throughout the day with healthy food.
5) Reward yourself
Lastly, rewarding oneself for achieving one’s goal is a good way to stay motivated and move forward. Having a reward in your mind drives you to work harder to reach your set goal. Once you reach a goal and collect your reward, it will motivate you further to work on a new goal.
It is really important to have self discipline while starting or running a business. It gives you courage and keeps you motivated to achieve big things.
If you think we missed any tips about how one can master self discipline, comment below and let us know.
How To Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout
Entrepreneurship can be a very satisfying job. Owning your own business and working on your idea is fulfilling to many people. However, being in charge of a company comes with many difficulties, especially if you are just starting out. One of them is occupational burnout, which comes from unresolved, work related stress. Hard to diagnose, burnout is very common among entrepreneurs and if neglected, can lead to other serious problems like mental and heart diseases. Let’s look at some ways in which one can cope with entrepreneurial burnout and still remain productive at work.
How to avoid entrepreneurial burnout
1) Set realistic goals
In the entrepreneurship field, the result of a new venture is uncertain. Sometimes, setting very high and unrealistic expectations for oneself and one’s company can easily lead to disappointment, if the entrepreneur fails to achieve the goals. Disappointment leads to stress, which eventually leads to burnout. Setting some realistic goals is necessary to remain focused on the task and avoid disappointment. For example, launching a product in just 2 months when it requires 6 months to get ready is unrealistic and will lead to overworking and stressing out.
2) Maintain a balance between professional and personal life
Many new entrepreneurs fail to draw a line between their professional and personal lives, which results in them getting burned out pretty fast. Establishing a boundary between these two is important to work efficiently. A break from professional responsibilities helps in getting some relaxation. A balance between your professional life and personal life can be achieved by setting up some rules, specifics of which vary from person to person and following it religiously.
3) Change your routine
Following a similar routine day after day will inevitably lead to burnout. Having to deal with a similar task and similar people on a daily basis can sometimes become frustrating and stressful. Entrepreneurs can avoid this by making some minor changes in their daily routine, like working away from their normal setup or handing away certain tasks, which are stressing them out, to someone else.
4) Talking things through/venting out
Sometimes keeping all the stressful things bottled up inside can lead to more stress and frustration. Venting them out in a healthy way to one’s family, friends or therapists is a good way to cope with burnout. Venting your frustration out is good to take pressure off one’s mind and keep them relaxed.
5) Taking a break
While the thought of a break from work can be tough for many entrepreneurs, it is the ultimate solution to avoiding burnout. Sometimes taking a temporary break from your work and spending time doing things which relax you is a great way to avoid burnout. Read a book, play sports, or cook—whatever it is which helps you calm down, take a break from your work and do it to ensure you stay refreshed and are not burned out.
With burnout becoming increasingly common among entrepreneurs, it is important to cope with it or avoid it all together to remain interested in your work.
If you have any other tips about how to avoid entrepreneurial burnout, comment below and let us know.
How To Strengthen Cybersecurity Of Your Startup
With the rise of malwares nowadays, it has become very important to have a strong cybersecurity plan, especially for startups just beginning their journey in the business world. As a report suggests, almost 43 % of cyberattacks are focused on startups and small businesses as they are more vulnerable to security breach than big corporations. If your startup is working in such an environment and has limited resources to protect itself from security breaches, these tips can help you secure your data online.
Tips to strengthen the cybersecurity of your startup
1) Start with the right plan
It’s always easier to start with the right plan and to get your basics right to help you secure your startup. By identifying the important information valuable to your startup and keeping it separate from public information, one can avoid losing important information due to major security breaches.
2) Securing cloud storage
Startups use cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive to store important data about the company. Sometimes, they fail to recognize the risks of backing up data in this manner. Even though the cloud services take extra steps to secure all the stored information, it is not completely secure from hackers. Installing advanced and internal firewalls as well as intrusion detection system are some simple steps one can adopt to protect their startup’s data. Some of the best cloud firewalls in the market right now are CloudFlare WAF, Amazon Web Services WAF and Sophos XG Firewall, which are easy to use and offer multiple security features.
3) Use stronger passwords
Sometimes, instead of using advanced software to hack into a startup network system, hackers just type in passwords to get access. It is wiser to set up passwords with multiple special characters and to avoid using the same password for multiple platforms, to keep your network system protected.
4) Two factor authentication
Using multiple factors to log in to the system is a clever way to protect your account and information from security breach. Two factor authentication helps in verifying the identity of a user, usually through password and a second factor like SMS verification. Two factor authentication can be used anywhere from protecting your email accounts to your Dropbox account and more. Many Companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft provide this service, which can be used by any startup to ensure its online security.
5) Educating the employees
It is a good idea to put the employees of a startup through a cybersecurity training. The training can be about how cybersecurity works and in which direction it is headed and most importantly, how the employees can contribute to protect their organization from security breaches.
With the cost of data breaching expected to increase to $ 150 million by 2020, it is important to take every precaution available to save startups from losing money and time.
If you have any other tips about strengthening the cybersecurity of a startup, comment below and let us know.
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