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SunnySeptember 21, 2018
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6min20


By WACEKE NDUATI OMANGA
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Have you been struggling with your business plan? Many people do. I am currently going through a very vigorous business planning exercise that is forcing me to demystify the process.

Many entrepreneurs will relate to the inability to put their dreams, plans, actions and rationale in a way that can be understood by others. Here are a five things you can do to get started.

Articulate the vision: What do you see happening with your business? Do you see your kindergarten becoming a primary and secondary school?

Maybe the kindergarten spreads to other towns or markets. Nobody can tell you what vision to have.

They can prompt some level of thinking but ultimately, you have to own the vision. Vison can also incorporate the values that you want the business to have or the experience/impact you want to see happening. It will scare you because you will not be able to logically see how this will get done. Vision never seems possible.

Business rationale: What is the business opportunity? Why do you expect your business to make money? Maybe there is more demand than availability of schools. Maybe a certain target market has not been catered for. Why does your business make sense? What problem exists that you are solving? This should be put in a way that anybody can understand.

Goals. Your vision has to turn into specific goals. If your aim is to get to the mountain, there will be specific landmarks, towns, signs that will tell you that you are on the right track.

These are the goals. Goals get us to really become clear about what is going to happen. If you wanted to have your school in multiple cities, the goals would break this down to where and by when. For example, open a second kindergarten in Nakuru by June 2019 or start offering lower primary classes by January 2021. Vision is great but our minds need something more tangible to latch on to so that we can be more focused.

An action plan” Goals have to be further broken down into activities. To launch the school in Nakuru there are certain things that would need to get done e.g. finding venues, teachers etc. Give each of these actions a deadline as well. Without intentional effort to do something different, you may find yourself in the same boat three years from now. Goals will be achieved if there is intentional time spent on doing different activities, many of which will not have results today but in the future. Being clear about what you need to do will help you consciously allocate time to that.

A financial plan. Very simply put, what amount of money do you expect to make and how do you expect to spend it? People become very unrealistic with this part of the business plan because they want to impress others or convince themselves how they will make loads of money. Have an argument for increased revenues; don’t just pull numbers from the sky. It is also OK to project losses.

The financial plan doesn’t need to show increasing profits always. There could be a bad season e.g. what many businesses faced during elections. Planning ahead would help you figure out what to start doing.

These projections help you also think about what resources or expenditure you might incur. You cannot claim to triple revenues without investment in people, systems, marketing, etc.

Based on the plan, you will be able to provide a basis for funding. You may also want to get into strategic partnerships and can use this plan. It’s an excellent way to communicate the agenda of this business to your teams. Most of all, it is a working document for you to keep improving as you learn and discover new things along the way.

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SunnySeptember 21, 2018
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9min20

It is widely accepted that good goals are SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals are used widely in employee performance reviews and in strategy sessions in the corporate world. What many entrepreneurs fail to realize is the application of SMART goals can simplify and change the effectiveness of writing a business plan.

This article will review how to apply SMART to the biggest sections of a business plan: the market research section, the financials section, and the launch schedule section. Some perspectives imply that SMART goals be applied singularly to an issue or goal. For instance, being specific about what business you want to start, then creating a measurable way to track website traffic, an achievable marketing goal, etc. In reality, all components of SMART should be applied in parallel to a core goal or topic in order to be most effective. The following will explore applying this in a practical way that helps create a more powerful and actionable business plan.

Writing A Business Plan With SMART Market Research 

Market research in a business plan is usually the place where entrepreneurs get lost. Quickly, they realize there are mountains of information available about their industry or business realm. Dozens of pages later, they think they have completed market research for their business plan.

The reality is, market research should be summed up in about two to three pages, maximum. If this section is any longer, it is probably full of too much information that does not directly impact the business. However, even more important than having an effective length is that the market research section should end with one to three SMART goals. This means your market research chapter should have actions, goals or next steps that relate to what you’ve learned from the market research. Similar to a conclusion paragraph in an essay, you must summarize why all of these statistics, trends and facts matter.

To show why the data matters, explain how the information will be turned into actions by your organization. Will it be used to guide specific goals for your marketing campaigns? Will it drive decision making for changing your prices? Will this new awareness of your industry influence any component of your operations? Get specific and set SMART goals at the end of your market research section in your business plan to conclude that information and make it useful to your business.

Writing A Business Plan With SMART Financials

Hangups occur in the financial section as well. Typically, the idea that forecasts can be right or wrong is where entrepreneurs get derailed. You need to remember that financials will always be wrong. You can never create perfect financials because you cannot predict the future perfectly. However, you can create SMART financials that increase your odds for profitability.

In financials, revenue and costs should each be looked at from a SMART perspective. In revenues, be specific about your revenue goals. What precise revenue streams will generate income for your business? List them, no matter how big or small a role they play. With those revenues, what measurable impact will each income stream have by percent of overall income? Are those revenues achievable based on what you currently have laid out in the business plan, or do they assume additional costs or operational structure? Do each of those revenue streams seem relevant to your core business offering, or are some of the streams beyond your main goals for what you will become best known for providing? When considering whether your revenue goals are time-bound, ask whether you can feasibly launch all revenue streams from day one or if you will need to stagger when each revenue stream goes live in the business.

Consider applying this same mindset to your costs. Ask yourself whether your cost assumptions check out as being SMART projections. Get honest about whether you need to tweak some expectations or get more specific about any preliminary estimates.

And remember, there is no such thing as perfect. However, the more reasonable and realistic you can get, the better. This will increase your chances that your numbers will at least be in the right ballpark.

Writing A Business Plan With A SMART Launch Schedule

The launch schedule for a business plan should be outlined by quarter. This is something most first-timers overlook but is critical to include. List the actions your business needs to complete every three months for the next 12 months. Then make it a SMART launch schedule by adding one overarching goal to each quarter.

For instance, perhaps your first quarter includes creating a website, setting up business profiles on social media and generating a digital footprint that targets certain audiences. The SMART goal for quarter one may be “secure digital awareness that results in 500 website visitors every month.” This is specific, targeting a certain number of website visitors. This goal is measurable, with the audience size of 500 being the target. This is achievable based on your action steps outlined in the schedule, assuming you complete them all strategically. This goal is relevant as long as it directly impacts sales, brand awareness or profit margins. This goal is naturally time-bound because it’s a goal for a specific quarter.

Final Thoughts

It is easy to think about SMART goals hypothetically, but applying them to a business plan requires you to step back and strategize. The best way to do this is usually by brainstorming with someone on the outside who has no knowledge or personal investment in your business. Work with them to get an unbiased opinion on what SMART goals would apply to the market research, financials and launch schedule sections of your business plan. This will increase your odds for highly impactful SMART goals that create a highly impactful business plan, which increases your odds of success.

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SunnySeptember 21, 2018
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3min40

A CAMPAIGN group committed to restoring an iconic South Lakes lido has had permission to access the site to complete its research.

Save Grange Lido (SGL) presented its business plan for the swimming pool to South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) on Wednesday (September 19).

The lido closed in 1993 and although owners SLDC plan to invest nearly £2m to save the structure, its plans do not include restoring swimming to the site.

But the group is desperate to bring the lido back and has undertaken research to produce a business plan which proposes a pool, restaurant, café and spa.

It claims the lido would run at a surplus of £100,000 per annum and would cease to be dependent on tax payers.

Phil Bradby, chair of SGL, said: “We presented our report and business plan to the councillors which, like previous studies funded by SLDC, shows a lido with a pool would be viable and a valuable addition to the local economy.”

However, a spokesperson for SLDC said any previous studies which had shown a pool option would be viable had ‘inflated’ the amount of visitors which would be required to make a pool option work.

“Our report shows that restoring the lido with a pool is the only sensible and realistic option,” Mr Bradby continued. “We are concerned that alternative plans will create a white elephant. People don’t want a temporary fix, consultations have all shown there is strong demand for a lido with a pool at its heart.”

A spokesperson for SLDC said it welcomed the business plan and would respond to key points alongside Grange Town Council.

“The campaigners and their professional advisors will have access to the lido site to complete their research,” it said. “Several studies have concluded that retaining Grange Lido for use as a pool is not viable. Following public consultation, SLDC is moving forward to restore the lido site in a way that is sympathetic to its listed status and to secure its long-term future as a sustainable community asset. This includes a temporary infill of the pool which would not preclude future plans for the site.”

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SunnySeptember 21, 2018
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1min20

वाशिंगटन, 21 सितंबर (भाषा) विश्वबैंक ने शुक्रवार को भारत के लिए एक महत्वाकांक्षी पांच वर्षीय ‘स्थानीय भागीदारी व्यवस्था ’ (सीपीएफ) को मंजूरी दी।इसके तहत भारत को 25 से 30 अरब डॉलर की वित्तीय सहायता मिलने की उम्मीद है ताकि देश को निम्न मध्य-आय वाले देशों की श्रेणी से उच्च-मध्यम आय वाले देशों की श्रेणी में पुंचने में मदद मिल सके। विश्वबैंक ने प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी की इस घोषणा के एक दिन बाद इस भागीदारी व्यवस्था को मंजूरी दी है कि भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था अर्थव्यवस्था पांच-सात साल में 5,000 अरब डॉलर की अर्थव्यवस्था हो जाएगी। उसका मानना है कि सीपीएफ योजना से भारत को अपने समावेशी और स्वस्थ आर्थिक वृद्धि के लक्ष्यों को हासिल करने में मदद मिलेगी। विश्वबैंक के निदेशक मंडल ने भारत के एक उच्च मध्य आय देश बनने के लक्ष्यों का समर्थन किया है। इस सहायता से देश की बुनियादी विकास की प्राथमिकताओं की कुछ समस्याओं का निवारण करने में आसानी होगी। इसमें संसाधनों के प्रभावी इस्तेमाल और समावेशी विकास, रोजगार सृजन और मानव पूंजी का निर्माण जैसी प्राथमिकताएं शामिल हैं। इस भागीदारी व्यवस्था के तहत भारत को अंतरराष्ट्रीय पुनर्निर्माण एवं विकास बैंक (आईबीआरडी), अंतरराष्ट्रीय वित्त निगम (आईएफसी) और बहुपक्षीय निवेश गारंटी एजेंसी (एमआईजीए) से पांच साल में 25 से 30 अरब डॉलर की वित्तीय सहायता आने की उम्मीद जतायी गई है। विश्वबैंक के उपाध्यक्ष एवं दक्षिण एशिया मामलों के प्रभारी हार्टविंग श्काफर ने कहा, ‘‘तेजी से बढ़ती अर्थव्यवस्था, वैश्विक कद और पिछले दशकों में सबसे ज्यादा संख्या में लोगों को गरीबी की रेखा से ऊपर उठाने के अपने विशेष अनुभव के चलते भारत 2030 तक एक उच्च मध्य आय वाला देश बनने की अच्छी स्थिति में है।’’ विश्वबैंक के भारत के निदेशक जुनैद अहमद ने पीटीआई-भाषा से कहा, ‘‘यह एक पांच वर्षीय योजना है जो भारत के बारे में बैंक की प्रतिबद्धता का सबूत है। यह व्यवस्था इसबात से जुड़ी है कि हम क्या करेंगे, कैसे करेंगे और इसका वित्तीय स्तर क्या होगा। यह इस तरह पहली साझेदारी व्यवस्था है जो भारत के साथ बनायी गई है।’’ अहमद ने कहा कि सीपीएफ में प्रक्रियाबद्ध तरीके से देश की समस्याओं की पहचान की जाएगी जो देश के बारे में एक प्रस्तावना पेश करेगा। विश्वबैंक के भारत के लिए सीपीएफ पेश करने के तुरंत बाद अहमद ने कहा कि बैंक पिछले कई दशकों में भारत द्वारा की गई आर्थिक प्रगति और विकास को मान्यता देता है। उन्होंने कहा कि बैंक जानता है कि भारत ने एक कम आय वाले देश से कम-मध्य आय वाले देश के रूप में पहुंचा है और देश अब कम-मध्य आय वाले देश से उच्च-मध्य आय वाले आर्थिक बदलाव में प्रवेश कर रहा है। यह सीपीएफ इस लक्ष्य में बैंक की सहायता के बारे में बताता है।

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SunnySeptember 21, 2018
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11min50

zeenews.india.com understands that your privacy is important to you and we are committed for being transparent about the technologies we use.  This cookie policy explains how and why cookies and other similar technologies may be stored on and accessed from your device when you use or visit zeenews.india.com websites that posts a link to this Policy (collectively, “the sites”). This cookie policy should be read together with our Privacy Policy.

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SunnySeptember 20, 2018
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5min40

TEN years on from the financial crisis, the structure of American banking has not changed. At its core are government-guaranteed, and therefore cheap, deposits that banks put to work, primarily through lending. Deposits have become more important for bank funding in recent years; governments have become increasingly fussy about how the money is lent out. The basic set-up is so entrenched that many believe there is no alternative.

A startup called TNB, short for The Narrow Bank, is questioning that assumption, and causing a stir as a result. On August 31st TNB filed a complaint in federal court against the New York Fed, which, it alleges, is breaking the law by refusing to grant it access to the central bank’s payment system. The Fed has made no comment, but in response to growing pressure, it has acknowledged the complaint.

The case throws light on an unusual business model. Led by a former head of research at the New York Fed, TNB is based on the idea of a narrow bank, which was first suggested by professors at the University of Chicago as a response to the banking crisis of the 1930s. The proponents of the “Chicago plan” argued that deposits and lending need not be linked. A bank could have a narrow mandate, restricting itself to merely receiving deposits.

The court filing suggests that TNB planned to do just that, taking deposits from financial institutions (though not from consumers) and redepositing them at the Fed in order to take advantage of the Fed’s interest rate on reserves, which is 1.95%. There would be no need for branches or credit analysts. Compliance costs would be minimal: as the bank would not make loans, regulators would need only an audit to show the bank’s funds on account at the Fed covered its clients’ deposits. To keep costs lower still, TNB intends to avoid having deposit insurance, which can cost up to 0.4% of assets. As the money is invested with the central bank, it is already guaranteed by the government.

Most American banks pay measly rates of interest of under 0.1%, according to Bankrate.com, a data provider. With its austere model, TNB could plausibly provide a competitive rate on deposits, while keeping some of the spread between the Fed rate and the interest it pays to customers. The operating model is not without risks. The Fed could cease paying interest to banks, for example, a demand that both America’s political parties have made at times. But TNB, or a similarly minded institution, could tweak the model in response and invest its deposits in government securities instead.

The Fed’s silence has drawn criticism. TNB has received a temporary banking charter from Connecticut, so the state regulator clearly deems it to be legal. The central bank may worry that narrow banks, which lend to neither companies nor individuals, could hamper the effectiveness of monetary policy. Their business model may also risk unsettling incumbent banks, which could have large economic consequences. TNB’s suit says that the Fed’s actions “have the effect of discriminating against small, innovative companies” and “privileging established, too-big-to-fail institutions”. The Fed may eventually be forced to explain why that is a virtue.

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SunnySeptember 20, 2018
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1min20

Isha Ambani Anand Piramal की सगाई। &nbsp | &nbspतस्वीर साभार:&nbspInstagram

नई दिल्ली: भारतीय कारोबारी मुकेश अंबानी के घर में एक बार फिर खुशी का माहौल है। इस बार मौका है मुकेश अंबानी की बेटी ईशा अंबानी की सगाई का। ईशा अंबानी की सगाई आनंद पीरामल से इटली में हो रही है। इससे पहले आनंद पीरामल ने ईशा अंबानी को महाबलेश्वर में प्रपोज किया था। उस वक्त दोनों की तस्वीरें सोशल मीडिया पर खुब वायरल हुई थी। दोनों की सगाई इटली के मशहूर लेक कोमो में होगी।

दोनों की सगाई का ये जश्न तीन दिनों तक चलेगा। मीडिया रिपोर्ट्स के मुताबिक सगाई का ये जश्न 21 सितंबर से शुरू होकर 24 सितंबर तक चलेगा। तीन दिनों तक चलने वाले इस जश्न समारोह के लिए अंबानी परिवार ने पूरी प्लानिंग की हुई है। 

21 सितंबर को अंबानी परिवार वेलकम लंच का आयोजन करेगा। जिसमें होटल पहुंचे आमंत्रित मेहमान हिस्सा लेंगे। शाम को जश्न के तौर पर विला बालबियानो में डिनर का आयोजन किया जाएगा। 22 सितंबर को विला गैसलेट में इटालियन फेस्टा जश्न का आगाज होगा। शनिवार शाम विला वोलमो में सभी मेहमान डिनर करेंगे और डांस करेंगे। 

 

23 सितंबर को सभी मेहमानों के साथ Duomo di Como और Teatro Sociale Como में लंच का आयोजन किया जाएगा। इस जश्न में हर दिन के लिए अलग-अलग ड्रेस कोड है। 21 सितंबर को मेहमान कैजुअल शिक में आएंगे। डिनर में सभी ब्लैक टाइ इवेंट होगा। इसमें इंडियन फॉर्मल भी ड्रेस कोड हो सकता है। शनिवार लंच में मेहमान  कोमो शिक ड्रेस अप में होंगे। वहीं रविवार को लोग स्मार्ट कैजुअल ड्रेस कोड होगा। 

कारोबार  से जुड़ी और खबरें  यहां  पढ़ें BUSINESS NEWS , टेक्नोलॉजी सेक्शन के लिए  TECH NEWS पर क्लिक करें  और कार, बाइक से जुड़ी खबरें AUTO NEWS में पढ़ें। देश और दुन‍िया की सभी खबरों की ताजा अपडेट के ल‍िए जुड़िए हमारे FACEBOOK पेज से।

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SunnySeptember 19, 2018
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3min30

We all have those million dollar ideas at times. 

Inspiration strikes, the idea for a product or business seems to emerge fully-formed and you’re sure it could make someone a mint. If only you had the resources. *Sigh*

If you’ve ever wanted to take your idea beyond the concocted-on-a-cocktail-napkin or wishful-thinking stages, your chance is coming this fall. 

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, T2 Accelerator, Laurie Crawford Coaching, Winnebago Seed Fund and the University of Wisconsin System Technology Foundation have teamed up to revive the Northeast Wisconsin Business Plan Competition this fall. 
Surely you can put together 250 words each on your product, your target customers, the market’s size and competition you’d face, right? Register on the competition’s website and submit your descriptions by Oct. 7 and you have already made it into the first round of consideration. 

From there, you’d have to develop a business plan, due by Nov. 4. If your plan makes it to the finals, you’ll make an in-person pitch to a panel of judges on Nov. 30. Win and you receive a package of in-kind business services from area companies valued at $7,500, although UWGB Lecturer on Entrepreneurship Ryan Kauth expects more services to be added to the package before the Nov. 30 pitch contest. 

The last time northeast Wisconsin had its own business plan competition was 2014. In the four years since, statewide organizations noticed the number of northeast Wisconsin businesses making the statewide Governor’s Business Plan Contest dwindled. 

Kauth said UWGB and its fellow sponsors wanted to encourage area residents to explore their business ideas. He noted the contest is free to enter and will help connect innovators, entrepreneurs and investors with low- or no-cost resources available to them in the area. 

“I’ve been wanting to revitalize it since it ended in 2014,” Kauth said. “With all the new things going on in northeast Wisconsin to develop talent and keep it here, it makes it more important, in my opinion.”

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SunnySeptember 19, 2018
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8min40

An old friend of mine called me earlier today to discuss his new business idea. I spent a couple of hours helping him flesh it out and create an action plan. However, like most would-be entrepreneurs, he had his priorities mixed up.

Why do the obsession with business plans? It’s not because you need one to get investors because–surprise!–investors aren’t going to believe your plan without proof of concept, unless you’ve already got an established track record.

The real reason, I suspect, is that writing a business plan is a low risk, no deadline activity that can be accomplished in one’s spare time. It therefore allows would-be entrepreneurs to remain in their day jobs, while still pretending that they’re moving the ball forward.

Rather than write a business plan, it usually makes more sense to launch a stripped-down version of your business to create proof of concept and to learn what problems you’ll encounter going forward.

As an added benefit, this can usually be accomplished without quitting your day job. Here’s how:

1. Define and execute the barest minimum.

You may be bursting with ideas and ecstatic about the possibilities, but you’ve got to focus on the basics: 1) what is our product, 2) how will we take orders, and 3) how will we fulfill those orders. Everything else is bullsh*t until you’ve got the basics in place.

In my friend’s case, he wants to sell a customized product. While he wanted to talk about getting endorsement and extending the concept to other product categories, what he really needed at this point was: 1) the basic product, 2) a way to order it on-line, and 3) a manufacturer who can customize and will drop ship the product.

In most cases, assembling the bare minimum will be about the same amount of work as writing a detailed business plan. More important, the spare time that you spend executing the basics actually launches the businesses, rather than just define it.

2. Do some easy but effective marketing.

Given any business, there are probably “n” number of things you can do to market your product. The trick in the early stages is to only do a few marketing activities that will have an outsized effect compared to the amount of effort involved.

Here’s how to prioritize your early-stage marketing:

  1. List out every possible way you could market or promote this product.
  2. Assign every activity a number (1-10) where “1” is easy and “10” is difficult.
  3. Assign every activity a number (1-10) where “1” is cheap and “10” is expensive.
  4. Assign every activity a number (1-10) where “1” is “if successful, will get a lot of customers” and “10” is “if successful will maybe get a customer or two.”
  5. Assign every activity a number (1-10) where “1” is absolute certainty you can do this and “10” is highly skeptical you can pull this activity off.
  6. Now add up the numbers for each activity.
  7. Throw out the bottom two thirds.
  8. Execute the remainder in ascending order (starting with the lowest number).

I realize the above sounds simplistic but–believe me now or believe me later–you’re vastly upping the likelihood of success if you just do minimum marketing at this point.

3. Assess and pivot as necessary.

Yeah, I know that the term “pivot” is biz-blabby but it’s convenient here so I’ll go ahead and use it. At this point, you either have 1) a viable business that’s got some cash flow or 2) your business isn’t working out. If it’s viable, jump to step 4.

If your business isn’t working out, do not fall into the trap of thinking that if you spend more time and money on marketing, you’ll start getting customers and it will be successful. It won’t and you’ll just be throwing good money after bad.

Instead you’ve got to step back and take a hard look at the basics (step 1) and make changes so that the easy-peasy marketing (step 2) starts creating some revenue.

4. Grow your customer base.

Now that you’ve got a miniature business running and you’ve learned how that business will actually work, figure out how to sell more. In most cases, you’ll find that doing more of “what worked” (step 2) will create more new customers than trying to execute the remaining list of marketing activities.

For example, my friend knows a lot of celebrities so one of the easy-peasy marketing tasks is to get endorsements on Twitter. He originally wanted to jump right into this, but I advised him to wait until he had the basics in place. That way, the tweets would drive traffic to his site.

If those endorsements drive traffic that converts to customers, then I would advise him to go for more endorsements rather than, say, worry about Google ads or brand extension.

5. Quit your day job.

‘Nuff said.

6. Write a business plan.

BTW, if you follow the previous five steps you probably won’t need a business plan anyway. The main thing is to take action and start small. That way you’ll be worlds ahead of most other folk who want to start a business.

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