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
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
Four Tips For Effective Communication
In an ever changing workplace environment which is increasingly becoming fast paced due to the ease of communication tools present and the adaptation of technology to make jobs easier, soft skills play a major role in adding value to an individual. Soft skills are a combination of people skills, communication, character traits, social and emotional intelligence.
Communication skills are important to effectively communicate with peers or the hierarchy and play a major role in upskilling an individual.
Here are four tips to communicate effectively:
1. Be a listener
Listening during communication is one of the most underrated traits which often tends to get overlooked. Recruiters and managers are always on the lookout for individuals who not only speak but are also able to sit back and listen to alternative arguments, views and perspectives. Listening gives the advantage of taking in information and verifying if it is factually correct or whether there is strength to the opposite argument. Not interrupting a speaker, adding comments like ‘yes’ and nodding your head will improve your position as an engaged listener. Waiting for another person to finish speaking also implies a respectful overtone.
2. Control your emotions
Emotions play a major role in how an individual communicates. It is no secret humans give in to emotions and let them affect how they communicate or speak. Emotions interfere with effective communication if the topic is sensitive, often leading to giving biased arguments and an inability to look beyond one’s outlook. Giving into emotions will lead to situations of regret. Therefore, it is important to keep your emotions in check and not let bias seep into a conversation. Anand Mahindra is one of India’s famous business personalities and is known for not losing his cool and so are Ratan Tata and Azim Premji. They never let their emotions get the best of them, irrespective of the situation in which they are.
3. Be aware of the non verbal signs
Non verbal signs are gestures an individual makes while speaking or listening. They could be facial expressions, body movements, eye contact, posture and voice tonality. A good communicator effectively employs these in a conversation. These gestures play a good role in conveying a message when words are not able to express it. Silence can also be employed to convey information and is often overlooked. Non verbal communication is often times more impactful than verbal communication. All good leaders use a lot of hand gestures when speaking. Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai and Barack Obama are some of the leaders who employ hand gestures to convey intent.
4. Be clear about what you want to convey
Collecting your thoughts and making a note of what you want to convey before actually communicating can help a great deal in expressing an idea, message or intent clearly. It is easy to get pulled into your emotions or get wrapped up in the argument. Being able to share thoughts and ideas in a genuine manner can improve the chances of the message being delivered correctly. Being assertive and exhibiting firm beliefs strengthens the nature of the conversation. Steve Jobs’ iPhone release presentation is one of the best examples of conveying a message precisely and is a great example to this day. The iPhone was a revolutionary product at the time of its release because it aimed to do what no one else had done before. It redefined a smart phone by merging both software and hardware to work seamlessly. However, just having a great product is not enough as the audience must believe in the product to purchase it. Steve Jobs did just that—he convinced the audience to buy the iPhone, a new product, because he conveyed the information about the iPhone’s innovations precisely and clearly.
Communication is a great skill to cultivate during a leadership journey and can be complex. Always be on the lookout for signs, gestures and verbal cues. Remember to think and formulate ideas before beginning to converse. These tips may not make you a good leader or a great team member overnight, but they can help you communicate effectively so your ideas or thoughts stick with your audience.
Read about how to build a strong work ethic here: 5 Tips to Build A Strong Work Ethic
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