Pages

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Ways to Get Your Business Going

When you are in business, especially in the field of information technology, one challenge that you have to face is in managing it. There is also the issue of risk, which is a very real problem in this business. How you handle it will depend on your skills as an entrepreneur and your resourcefulness. Take note that being successful does not mean having the most resources. Indeed, even resource-strapped firms are able to survive and manage to generate IT sales leads of their own. Take note, such B2B leads can be pretty hard to get, so you will have to find creative ways to deal with things. How do you do it?

1. Prove your idea - you may think that you have the best business plan ever, or that your business concept will work, but if you do not succeed in proving that your idea is sound, then you might have to look for better ideas. Pet projects might turn out to be drains in the end.

2. Look for a mentor - and not just any mentor. You need to find someone who knows what he is talking about, and can help you see things that you might miss when you start your business. Ideally, it should be someone who is also in the information technology business.

3. Focus on your customers - better if you become obsessed over them, really. After all, they are the people who are going to open their wallets to you. If you can identify who your customers are, as well as figure out how to best sell to them, then you will get good IT sales leads.

4. Put back into business - every dollar that you earn in your business should be invested back. This is especially true if you are still starting, or if you are using telemarketing services to support your IT lead generation campaign. You do not have the luxury yet to spend on anything right now.

5. Use affordable, yet effective, tools - when you need new business prospects, you will need to find them in the most cost-effective ways. Right now, doing business can be a bit costly, so it's better to look for affordable means. Maybe a CRM software system can help you make the job easier.

6. Market before you have it - even if you are still in the developmental stage, it is already a good time to begin promoting. You cannot afford to concentrate in perfecting your product, and then have nothing left to use in order to market it. If you want to get returns for what you developed, better start promoting now so that people will start buying when you have it already.

7. You are not alone - one thing that you should remember is that you should not be alone in business. One good way to maximize your returns is by getting a partner in business. Not only will this help you reduce costs, but you also get a hand in helping with your business.

Well, think about it. It is worth it.

Ways to Get Your Business Going

When you are in business, especially in the field of information technology, one challenge that you have to face is in managing it. There is also the issue of risk, which is a very real problem in this business. How you handle it will depend on your skills as an entrepreneur and your resourcefulness. Take note that being successful does not mean having the most resources. Indeed, even resource-strapped firms are able to survive and manage to generate IT sales leads of their own. Take note, such B2B leads can be pretty hard to get, so you will have to find creative ways to deal with things. How do you do it?

1. Prove your idea - you may think that you have the best business plan ever, or that your business concept will work, but if you do not succeed in proving that your idea is sound, then you might have to look for better ideas. Pet projects might turn out to be drains in the end.

2. Look for a mentor - and not just any mentor. You need to find someone who knows what he is talking about, and can help you see things that you might miss when you start your business. Ideally, it should be someone who is also in the information technology business.

3. Focus on your customers - better if you become obsessed over them, really. After all, they are the people who are going to open their wallets to you. If you can identify who your customers are, as well as figure out how to best sell to them, then you will get good IT sales leads.

4. Put back into business - every dollar that you earn in your business should be invested back. This is especially true if you are still starting, or if you are using telemarketing services to support your IT lead generation campaign. You do not have the luxury yet to spend on anything right now.

5. Use affordable, yet effective, tools - when you need new business prospects, you will need to find them in the most cost-effective ways. Right now, doing business can be a bit costly, so it's better to look for affordable means. Maybe a CRM software system can help you make the job easier.

6. Market before you have it - even if you are still in the developmental stage, it is already a good time to begin promoting. You cannot afford to concentrate in perfecting your product, and then have nothing left to use in order to market it. If you want to get returns for what you developed, better start promoting now so that people will start buying when you have it already.

7. You are not alone - one thing that you should remember is that you should not be alone in business. One good way to maximize your returns is by getting a partner in business. Not only will this help you reduce costs, but you also get a hand in helping with your business.

Well, think about it. It is worth it.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Rules for Succeeding in Business

From World War II until his death Getty was considered one of the richest men in the world, in this post I share his 10 winning formulas for business success. These rules were extracted from his legendary book "How to be Rich", I have added footnotes to each of the rules to make it more relevant to our age and time. I hope you find this as useful as I did and make a commitment to apply these rules to your business.

Here are the rules;

1. Adequate knowledge of the business:
Almost without exception, there is only one way to make a great deal of money in the business world-and that is in one's own business. The man who wants to go into business for himself should choose a field which he knows and understands. Obviously, he can't know everything there is to know from the very beginning, but he should not start until he has acquired a good, solid working knowledge of the business.

Footnote
There's no way one can run a business successfully without having adequate knowledge of the nitty gritty of the particular business he or she is venturing into. Take your time to learn as much as you can about the particular industry, market and peculiar characteristics of the prospective customers your product or service will serve. Also, make sure you have the necessary skills needed as the leader of the business. Remember, "time spent learning and planning is considered an investment in business and the knowledge eventually acquired is an asset and competitive advantage to the business."

2. Commitment to the central purpose of a business:
The businessman should never lose sight of the central aim of all business-to produce more and better goods or to provide more and better services to more people (customers) at lower cost.

Footnote
In the words of Management Guru, Peter F. Drucker, to know what a business is, we have to start with its purpose. Its purpose must lie outside of the business itself. In fact, it must lie in society since business enterprise is an organ of society. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. This then is achieved through the continuous production of more and better goods or the provision of more and better services to the society at lower cost. Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two-and only these two-basic functions: MARKETING and INNOVATION. It is not necessary for a business to grow BIGGER; but it is necessary that it constantly grows BETTER. A businessman or woman who runs a business that isn't doing this should not hope to achieve any form of business success.

3. Financial management:
A sense of thrift (economy) is essential for success in business. The businessman must discipline himself to practice economy wherever possible, in his personal life as well as his business affairs. "Make your money first - then THINK about spending it," is the best mantra for the man who wishes to succeed!

Footnote
There's no way a business can be successfully managed without a good sense of money management on the part of the business owner. There must be a clear line of difference between 'necessary expenses' and 'luxury expenses'. Always remember you're not in business to satisfy your own personal desires, but to satisfy your customers' desires consistently through the production of more and better goods or the provision of more and better services at lower cost. To do this, firstly, you must practice budgeting-a process of prioritizing necessary expenses essential to the survival and operational stability of the business. Secondly, negotiate everything! Always strive for a bargain no matter how small or intangible it may seem.

4. Seek continuous growth through necessary expansion:
Legitimate opportunities for expansion should never be overlooked or ignored. On the other hand, the businessman must always be on his guard against the temptation to over expand or launch expansion programs blindly, without sufficient justification and planning. Forced growth can be fatal to any business, new or old.

Footnote
Every business like every child ultimately wants to grow; this is the natural inclination of every living entity. The alert businessman or woman would seek various ways through which the business can grow through expansions. There are a few strategies for business expansion such as; buying over other related businesses, licensing of products or services, selling of franchises, opening of more branches, creation of strategic alliances and the cheapest; network marketing. Adequate planning and research must be fully carried out before any of these strategies can be adopted. Any business which fails to grow through necessary expansion faces the risk of extinction!

5. You're the BOSS, call the shots:
A businessman must run his own business. He cannot expect his employees to think or do as well as he can. If they could, they would not be his employees. When "The Boss" delegates authority or responsibility, he must maintain close and constant supervision over the subordinates entrusted with it.

Footnote
The great Inventor and entrepreneur, Henry Ford was once accused of being uneducated and rather than feel offended he posed a challenge telling his accusers to ask him any question whatsoever. With every question asked, Henry Ford simply called upon any of his workers who was qualified enough academically to answer the questions. On answering all the questions through his workers, his accusers claimed to have proved their allegations of Henry Ford's illiteracy. Henry Ford smiling made a profound statement which will never go down in history; "I don't bother to do the work anyone can do, I do the hardest work of all-thinking, which only a few men can do." The few men who can think are those who become business owners employing those who cannot think but simply follow orders. Your key task as a businessman or woman lies in these words: directing human activities. And only those who know how to think can direct those who don't think. To do this, you have to know a little about a lot (versatility) and employ those who know a lot about a few (specialization).

6. Seek continuous improvement:
The businessman must be constantly alert for new ways to improve his products or services and increase his production and sales. He should also use prosperous periods to find the ways by which techniques and operational processes may be improved and costs lowered. It is only human for people to give little though to economies when business is booming. That, however, is just the time when the businessman has the mental elbow room to examine his operations calmly and objectively and thus effect important savings without sacrificing quality or efficiency. Many businessmen wait for lean periods to do these things and, as a result, often hit the panic button and slash costs in the wrong places.

Footnote
Success they say is a lazy teacher who makes her student complacent and comfortable. The best time to examine your business and seek ways for improvement isn't when it's declining, but rather when it is booming. A businessman or woman who desires success in business must deliberately seek out more and more ways of improving their business operations, products or services long before it becomes an emergency. Entrepreneurship is not a destination one is heading to, but a journey one embarks on; it has no end but death. In other words, there is no stationary spot or a point for resting on one's laurels. Areas through which improvements can be channeled includes; business processes or systems, cost of production or cost of service delivery, product or service features and benefits, human resources, research and development, customer relationship management, finance, distribution etc. Remember, "opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared". Now, not later or tomorrow, is always the time to make room for improvement!

7. Take only justified risks:
A businessman must be willing to take risks - to risk his own capital and lose his credit and to risk borrowed money as well when, in his considered opinion, the risks are justified. But borrowed money must promptly be repaid. Nothing will write finis to a career faster than a bad credit rating.

Footnote
Taking risks in order to meet the needs and solve the problem of the society is the essence of entrepreneurship. However, not all risks are worth taking. A businessman or woman who desires to be successful in business would always evaluate and analyze any risk they choose to take so as to justify its viability. It has always been said, "It's not the entrepreneur with the best idea that wins but the entrepreneur with an idea whose time has come." Adequate care must be taken in ensuring that whatever project or venture a businessman or woman chooses to embark on has a positive return on investment (ROI). There are various tools that can be used to analyze the viability of a venture or project some of which are; Best/Worst analysis (BWA), capital budgeting techniques, SWOT analysis etc.

8. Seek new business opportunities:
A businessman must constantly seek new horizons and untapped or under-exploited markets. Today's shrewd businessman looks to foreign markets.

Footnote
Businesses exists because of the opportunities created by the needs and problems of the society in which they operate. If these needs or problems weren't present, the entrepreneur wouldn't have any cause to go into business in the first place. Each need or problem represents a business opportunity usually called an 'untapped-market'. It becomes paramount then to the alert businessman or woman who desires to succeed in any business to constantly be on the lookout for more needs or problems that may represent business opportunities within the society in which they operate. Taking advantage of these opportunities is what innovation is all about. An innovative business is one that is alert to the needs and problems of the market it serves. Once a business becomes dead or indifferent to the needs and problems of the society, its demise is inevitable.

In today's world, the society in which a business operates has greater implications as a result of the changes created by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The world as we know is now a global village making the operating environment in which businesses function to be unlimited. A local business enterprise can fully meet the needs and solve the problems of an international market through the aid of Information and Communications Technology. For example, millions of businesses are created on the internet every day, businesses open up branches in different parts of the world as a result of strategic alliances/partnerships formed over the internet, goods and services are now being bought and sold online, meetings are held in various places over the internet across the world. Never before in the history of mankind has such a time like this where opportunities abound for the alert businessman or woman to capitalize on and make the most of the 'boundary-less markets' open to them.

9. Trust is a social capital:
Nothing builds confidence and volume faster or better than a reputation for standing behind one's work or products. Guarantees should always be honoured-and in doubtful cases, the decision should always be in the customers' favour. A generous service policy should always be maintained. The firm that is known to be completely reliable will have little difficulty filling its order books and keeping them filled.

Footnote
Business at its very core is a social activity. The whole concept of business is built around human interaction. All the parties needed for the successful operations of a business are people; your customers, employees, suppliers, professional partners, etc., are all people. So there's hardly any thing one can do in the world of business without dealing with people or social interaction. This places a great burden on the character of every businessman or woman much more than they probably bargained for. In the world of business, whether you're just starting out or you're an established entrepreneur, your character is a valuable asset that must be jealously guarded. Before you became a businessman or woman, very few people counted on you and how you lived your personal life. The moment you choose to start your own business, the reverse is the case; every one within the world of business watches your every move and character. Your employees look up to you for leadership, your customers hold on to your brand promises, your suppliers bank on your credit worthiness, your professional partners count on your integrity. Everywhere you turn in the world of business, your character as an entrepreneur is daily put to test; your long term success in business will greatly depend on how well you are perceived by those you work with in business. Do you keep your word to your customers, employees, suppliers, professional partners? Do you sell or produce inferior goods or services? Do you cut corners to get the project done? Do you make all the money and treat your employees like rags? Are you sincere and honest in your business dealings? What you must always bear in mind at all times is this; "business is like making babies, you can't do it alone!" And the golden rule of dealing with people is; "do unto others as you would have them do unto you-treat people like they would like to be treated"

10. You are an instrument of nature:
no matter how many millions an individual amasses, if he is in business he must always consider his wealth as a means of improving living conditions everywhere. He must remember that he has the responsibilities toward his associates, employees, stockholders-and the public.

Footnote
Entrepreneurship is a call that is obeyed. There is a spiritual side to it. History is filled with great men and women who built businesses that have significantly improved our existence as humans here on earth. Imagine what the world would have been like if there weren't people like Thomas Edison who invented light bulb? Imagine a world without computers; would there ever be a term like global village? Imagine a world where we had to gaze at the sun to know what time of the day it is? There are countless examples the world over of breakthrough inventions that has radically changed our existence, all these were made possible by men and women like you and I who felt it more compelling to use their wealth and talents for the good of humanity rather than wallowing in their own fantasies enjoying all the good their wealth can possibly buy. Entrepreneurs are the architects of civilization. We are the instruments of nature being used for the good of humanity.

In conclusion, in the words of the legend himself, J. Paul Getty;

"do you want to make a million? Believe me, you can - if you are able to recognize the limitless opportunities and potentials around you and will apply these rules and work hard. For today's alert, ambitious and able young men and women, all that glitters truly CAN be gold!"

Friday, 11 May 2012

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are gifted with the unique ability to discover, create and attract many lucrative opportunities. Because of this they are positioned to create substantial long-term wealth for themselves and the organizations they represent.

But what can an entrepreneur do to manage the hundreds, even thousands of opportunities that will ultimately come their way?

They can work all of them - Though this is an option, the challenge with this path is that entrepreneurs, like the rest of us, are limited in their time, effort, resources and money. And by dedicating equal time to 15 different business ventures, it would ultimately violate the cardinal rule of business success, which is:

"Focus is the ultimate key to business success."

In order for a business to succeed it needs an overwhelming amount of focus, passion, and determination. It also requires a substantial amount of activity to manage the hundreds and thousands of tasks that need to be accomplished. Also if you also consider the expense in terms of marketing, overhead, payroll, insurance, and such, all of these combined needs, makes it very difficult for an entrepreneur to succeed if their attention is divided.

Though this is an option (the one that most entrepreneurs follow), it is a recipe for failure, because no one business will get enough of the business owners attention and resources to become viable. They will fail by trying to be a "jack of all trades, and master at none."

They can work on one only and forsake the rest - Again, this is an option, but it also comes with its challenges. For instance, who is to know if the current business you are managing will be successful? And if you have all your eggs in one basket, if the business fails - what will you have left to support you, your family, as well as help you start your next venture?

This option also fails because, it could be possible that a better business opportunity may come along that provides a substantial greater return for less time, effort, resources and money. Last, another cardinal rule of business success would be broken by only focusing on one business at a time, which is:

"Long term business success is determined by a combination of multiple streams of independent sources of income."

Because there are forces beyond your control, (i. e.: the market, the economy, etc. ) it is wisest to have multiple business that are independent of each other to weather these challenges as they arise. Even better if each of those businesses respond opposite to one another in response to external circumstances.

I think a more strategic approach will create a situation where you get the best of both worlds, while minimizing the challenges of both.

I call it, the 80/20 Entrepreneur.

The idea goes like this:

1. 80% of your time, effort, resources and money (TERM), goes to your most lucrative business opportunity, determined by specific criteria. The criteria for choosing the 80% business could be a combination of any or all of the following:

a. The business that is generating the most revenue and income.
b. The business that you can confidently deliver results to your customers.
c. The business that you have the most expertise in.
d. The business with the most leveraged results (revenue/income to TERM).
e. The business that is most proven to generate sales in the marketplace.

2. 20% of your time is dedicated to progressing with other lucrative ideas.

Now these 20% must be approached in a passive and inexpensive manner.

This is because the first question that needs to be answered before any business venture is responsibly considered is:

"Is there a market for my product or service?"

In other words, new ideas have 3 very big hurdles that must be overcome before you can even determine if they are viable.

1. You have to prove that there is a market for the product/service. Generally this is done after the 5th sale.

2. You have to prove that you can identify the optimal marketing and sales strategy (OMSS) for this market. OMSS - The right combination of marketing and sales efforts that brings in loads of qualified customers, at your best price point.

3. You have to prove that the business is scalable. This is proven by the capability of achieving a critical mass of qualified customers that can be leveraged to bring more.

The reason you want to operate passively and inexpensively is that you are not sure if the business will be successful, especially because 90% of business ideas aren't, especially if they are untested. Any overconfidence in a "sure thing" is purely speculative, and full of unnecessary risk.

Since your time is valuable, identifying passive ways to progress with these business ventures will be your best option. Passive efforts can include:

1. Taking in a partner to do half or most of the work.

2. Automating it with technology - For example, since market research is the first stage of every business venture, the market research can be automated through a website that sells your product and service (a product or service you have not created as yet, mind you), just to determine interest of the market.

3. Hiring a market research team to do the research and deliver you the results.

Since your resources and money are valuable, identifying inexpensive ways to test the business venture will also be your best option. Inexpensive efforts can include the ideas above, as well as:

1. Marketing your new product or service to your current customers as test research subjects.

2. Again, using technology to test market with using a simple website, some SEO, and great copy just to generate interest.

3. Using technology to capture the contact information of an interested list of prospects that you can later market to through email marketing or social media marketing.

Utilizing the 80/20 model of entrepreneurship, you are able to focus the vast majority of your limited time, effort, resources and money on your most lucrative projects, and deliver high level, short term results; while testing new and potentially viable ideas in the marketplace.

In the 80/20 entrepreneurship model, the goal will be to go through as many business ideas as possible until you discover the goldmine opportunities among them. At the same time you will still be generating income from multiple businesses that can be later expanded or sold to generate even more capital that leads to even more business opportunities.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

What Does Entrepreneur Mean?

Say you have a business plan and you intend to carry it out starting with a small business enterprise. You gather the right materials, the needed capital for investment and then you launch into the business. If you are one who does this-launch your own business enterprise amidst the risks posed by the industry you wish to enter-then you can be called an entrepreneur.

Following its business definition, an entrepreneur is someone who owns or manages a business through several risks. When you are termed as an entrepreneur, then it means that you would take full responsibility of whatever outcome would be of your business.

At present, there are already several definitions of the term entrepreneur. Often, people who are called entrepreneurs are young people who wish to venture into businesses of their own passion. Nowadays, most young entrepreneurs launch their businesses through online stores wherein they post photos of their products on line, receive orders via electronic mail or phone calls and then ship the order to their buyers' addresses.

You can be one of the many types of entrepreneurs. You can opt to be a social entrepreneur, which means that your business would be geared toward the improvement of social, environmental, economic, educational and other noble aspects of society. These are businesses that usually fall under the category of non-government organizations and charity groups.

If you have a particular passion that you wish to turn into a money-making business, then you can be a lifestyle entrepreneur. Examples of this type of entrepreneur are people who have a passion for photography, fashion design and even writing. They can sell their services as photographers for certain events or as freelance writers. Or they can also design clothes or apparels that they would market under their own small label.

But if you have several ideas that you would want to create a business out of, you can therefore be a serial entrepreneur. It is like building up your own conglomerate wherein you have small labels nestled under one proprietor.

Regardless though of the type of entrepreneur that you want to be, the only important thing is that you have the right qualities. You need to be good as a leader and as a communicator. Most importantly, you need that knack in predicting what can work for your small business and what your consumers are likely to want from your company or from the services you are offering.

Related Posts