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Learn How To Set Up A Startup With (Almost) No Money

Smruthi Kishore

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For a while, let us think you wanted to start your business or you are fascinated by an idea to be implemented in the future. You are ready to take related risks like leaving your job, investing your personal revenue for a while. Still, you tend to take a back step – The reason?

You don’t have sufficient money needed to set up a startup. This might haunt you or this seems like a major problem. But insufficient capital should not stop you from pursuing your dreams. It is all the way possible to start your business with nil capital when you know what you’re doing!

Firstly, why do one need money?

There is no constant startup fee for building a business, so different businesses have different investments. So, first analyze how much money you need to sell your product.

Consider the following requirements for starting a business:

Licenses and permits
Supplies
Equipment
Office space
Associations and subscriptions
Memberships
Operating expenses
Legal fees
Employees and contractors

After considering this, you have been left with two paths of starting a business with less money – lowering your costs or increasing your available capital from outside sources. For this, try following these options to suit your business.

1) Reduce your needs

Your first option is to change your business model so as to demand fewer needs as listed above. For instance, if you are starting a company of personal trainers, you can reduce the employee costs by being the sole employee at first.
Until and unless you require an office space to work, try working from home. You can also cut out entire product lines that are too expensive to produce at the outset.
However, there exist few expenses that you won’t be able to avoid.
According to the SBA, a micro business can get a start with less than $3000 and home based startups need less than $1000.

2) Bootstrap

Your second option solicits the idea of a ‘warmup’ period for your business. Just start with the basics instead of going straight into a full-fledged business mode. However, you can start as a self-employed individual, by this you can avoid some of the biggest initial costs.
Once you start filling in your pockets, build the business you imagined piece by piece rather than all at once.

3) Outsource

Your last left option is to outsource the funds. There are many potential investors surrounding you, once you have hit the right button, you are likely to get started. Here we name few potential investors for you.

Family and friends
Angel investors
Venture capitalists
Crowdfunding
Government granted loans
Bank loans

With one or more from these three options, you should be able to reduce your personal financial investment to almost nothing.
Some small sacrifices such as starting small, taking debts or accommodating partners come in your way. But if you are confident about your idea, then none of these should stand in your way.

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How To

The Importance Of SWOT Analysis For A Business

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Startups and their incredible stories, do not just happen overnight. It requires extensive research and dedicated hard work to make things happen. As a beginner who is launching a business, one must be aware of the do’s and don’ts of their business operations. Whether it is financial tasks or resources or manpower, a startup should keep a track of what and how and where to invest. Every business must conduct a SWOT analysis timely in order to find out its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A perfect way to find out where your business stands is to conduct a SWOT analysis. From large firms to small firms, every business can follow this analysis to find out its whereabouts in the market and implement the same when required.

The four elements of a SWOT analysis are as below!

Strengths – This element shows the characteristics of a business that give you an advantage over others. In simple terms, your strength could be your Unique Selling Point (USP.) Alongside, anything that adds weight to your business plan such as financial support, effective strategies, first mover advantage or any other internal factor that is your strength comes under this category, Recognize your strengths and use them to climb up the ladder to success!

Example – Nestle Maggie Noodles is the leader in the noodle market and its strength lies in its first mover advantage.

Weaknesses – Weaknesses refers to the areas your competitors have an upper hand when compared to you in the market. It is extremely important to recognize your weakness and work on it before it is too late. Low performance of your team or lagging behind with respect to technology upgradation could be considered as one the weaknesses of a business.

Example – One of the major factors why Nokia disappeared from the mobile phone market lies in its incapability to switch to the manufacturing of smartphones at an early stage.

Opportunities – This domain helps you achieve your objectives with ease. Find out the factors which could help you do more with your existing customers or clients. With the additional information you have, go for an extensive market research. As a startup you can go for expanding your business via social media platforms. Use it as an opportunity to expand your business. Examine your business with questions like, are there any new technological advances we could use to expand our business and reach new consumers? How can we adapt our business to changing consumer tastes and preferences?

Example – IKEA is traditionally famous for its diversification strategies. The company is launching its first ever store in India with its debut in T Hub which happens to be India’s largest incubator for startups, located in Hyderabad, Telangana.

Threats – Threats can be elements in the environment that could be dangerous for a business. Emerging competitors or changing customer attitudes could be major threats. Consider the factors that could affect the flow of your business and its operations. Try to opt for a solution and overcome them. Threats are external factors that you have no control over.

Example- PepsiCo must consider the consumer shifting toward health drinks as a threat and focus more toward flourishing the market with health drinks!

As easy as it may sound, SWOT requires a lot of considerations with regards to your business, your competitors, your  work environment in the best possible way. So, when you are starting a business do not forget to conduct the SWOT analysis! Swot away your obstacles with a successful analysis!

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How To Talk To People You Cannot Avoid

Smruthi Kishore

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There is always that one person with whom you do not know how to break the ice. Even the most out going person could find it difficult to speak to strangers. However, every workplace has different people and sometimes, it just comes to a point where you have no choice but to initiate conversation; also known as small talk!

1. Begin with an anchor 

An anchor is essentially the starting point of every random conversation. It helps to set the tone and gives you an idea of what the other person is thinking. I usually start off with something like, “Oh, the weather is so nice today, I do not feel like working!” The best part about these openers is both you and the person to whom you are talking to know the statement is for the purpose of small talk and the awkward ice can be finally broken!

2. Reveal something about you 

The best way to fill the gap in those minutes where the conversation becomes awkward is to say something like, “this job is quite exciting. I have not done such a challenging role before!” When your colleague knows the struggle is real, the conversation flows easily and quickly.

3. Listen 

Listen, because it is important. When you say some of those superficial line fillers, you never know what kind of a conversation it may trigger. For instance, I had a bad day at work and a colleague happened to ask me how I was. In all fairness, the question was just a simple opener. I took it to be a real opener and offloaded onto a stranger. What makes listening work is you can always learn something about the other person! On a side note, this person and I are really close friends now!

4. Know when not to talk 

Okay so there are times when you are engaging in random conversations, you hear things you do not entirely agree with. If these conversations are with people you do not know, then it is best to really keep quiet and not say things you regret later.

Small talk is quite a task and usually, in an informal setting, the ice can be broken over shared interests. At work, that is a little harder, even for an extrovert like me! I have used these tips in the past so I truly hope they help you too!

 

 

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5 Ways To Promote Your Business On LinkedIn

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If you are not promoting your business on LinkedIn then you are definitely missing out on something big!

LinkedIn could get you a massive potential audience for your business and boost your business to another level. At present, LinkedIn is the third most popular social networking website. From finding jobs to finding customers, this commercial website is widely used by everyone. This platform is the modern day lead generation software. According to stats, around 255 million people visit the site each month, ranging from individual employees to leaders of business.

Here are 5 ways to promote your business on LinkedIn

Create an effective company profile

Start off by creating an effective company profile on LinkedIn. The profile needs to be precise and unique which could differentiate you from others. Create a company profile that includes information about what your company does, how long you’ve been doing it and how interested clients can contact you for more information.

Post content actively

At this point, content marketing plays a vital role in any and every business. Of course, content is the queen! You have to post as much content as possible to keep the audience hooked to your company’s whereabouts. The content you add in your company summary section to news updates or to your own personal profile need to be targeted and optimized. Do not forget to use keywords that emphasize your speciality. Writing clever and brief content that shows you’re an expert in your field. You can also share your highest performing blog posts or articles. Alongside, do not forget to post interesting videos on LinkedIn. Provide links to relevant content on your website and attract the audience toward your business.

Boost your company’s SEO on LinkedIn

Optimizing your company page on LinkedIn is very important. I repeat, very important! When people are searching on LinkedIn, a well optimized company page pops up first. So, an effective SEO can help you gain immense visibility. You can insert relevant keywords in your company’s profile information. Apart from this, you can link your company page which is essential for boosting your ranking in search.

Join LinkedIn groups

Groups help you connect with professionals as well as customers. When you join the right groups, you have the potential to be targeting major decision makers that could become your clients. However, you may already be a part of several groups on LinkedIn but taking it as an opportunity to uplift your business is what matters. Each time you participate in a group, your photo and name are included, plus you can add on a short signature with your company information on your posts for added promotion. Isn’t that cool? Add a catchy signature that could grab the potential audience’s attention which in turn would take them to your company profile. You could also make a collaboration based group which can be created and managed by your own company. It can be an outstanding way to get your company name out there and recognizable. Isn’t that what every business wants as a beginner? You can promote your business indirectly on LinkedIn by providing a perspective in group discussions.

Interact, Interact and Interact

One of the greatest things about LinkedIn is that it helps you interact with the right people by showing you networks of connectivity. Browse through profiles of your connections and see who they’re involved with and you might discover a valuable lead. Sounds interesting, right?

So, the next time you are trying to promote your business, do not forget to consider LinkedIn.

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