How, we can make sure that we are among the winners rather than the losers in these high stakes game? The answer is within us. We must ask ourselves four key questions to determine whether our small business can survive and thrive.
business, starting a business, small business, entrepreneur, SME, SME Startup, Startpreneur, Startuppper
Every year lakhs of people answer “Yes” to the BOOM – (Being Oné Own Man/Woman) calling and make it their SOP – (Statement of Purpose) and every year that answer comes with Risk Staruppers ( I call them Startpreneurs) take which costs them money, time, efforts, confidence, goodwill and heartbreak as 9 out of 10 Startup businesses fail ! Even where their is a single soul as sole employee, it happens. I was a Startup and I tasted failure 16 times. In couple of cases, I fired myself as CEO/ Founder with impunity :). Funny, but True! It happens to many of the new entrepreneurs.
As per an estimate, two-thirds of new businesses survive at least two years and 44 percent of Startups survive at least four years.
Two of the key factors in the businesses survival and ability to thrive evident are:
- the owner’s education level and
- the owner’s reason for starting the firm in the first place.
Let us examine from an Investor’s point of view as to what they judge us as Startpreneurs:
- A Top Angel investor looks at 5 things in Startups before investing
- People 2. Product/ Service 3. Process 4. Traction 5. Profitability.
- Some investors focus on the Founders and look at Vital Qualitites such as:
- Passion 2. Ambivert 3. Erudite 4. Calculated Risk Taker 5. Dedicated All-in
(But more about these in another article I shall share here)
So how d we make sure that we are among the winners rather than the losers in this high-stakes game? The answer is within us. We must ask ourselves four key questions to determine whether our own small business will survive and thrive.
- What is our STATE of Readiness?
How mentally prepared are we, for the switch from employee (or student or whatever label fits we currently) to boss? as we are going to be the ones making decisions now about everything from office products to product line.
This total control is one of the driving forces behind many people who take the plunge into starting their own business, but it is also one of the elements that drives new entrepreneurs crazy. When we start out there is an endless list of decisions that need to be made and new questions crop up every day.
Even more important we will need to remember that in a small business we will have to wear many hats. Even if we manage to start out with one or more employees we will each fulfill more than one role in our new business. And if we are running a one-man or one-woman show then we serve in every capacity from file clerk to maintenance crew to salesman to CEO.
Can we handle switching from task to task and role to role like that? Are we willing to make those switches?
Similarly, have we prepared our family and friends for this switch in attitude. Our life is going to change — pretty drastically — and that change can have a positive or negative impact on our family life and social interactions. It will make things much easier if our friends and family are supportive going into the process.
- Where O’ where does lie My Niche’? Does it REALLY exist?
Have we identified our niche yet? One of the reasons many businesses fail is that they fail to focus on a target audience. Yes, if we are a major discount store then we can sell everything from peanuts to wallpaper, but this type of business requires vast resources that just aren’t available to the small business. But small businesses dominate the marketplace by finding a different approach — a niche’.
Knowing our niche’ means we are better able to find, target, and maintain our customers as well as provide the best possible goods and services to that customer base. That focus is one of our best chances to not only survive but to thrive in a very competitive marketplace.
- Do you have a Plan of Action? With Who, What and When ?
Another key factor in the survival and ultimate success of our business is how much planning we do before we open our electronic or physical doors. We need to decide if our business will be based on the internet or include more traditional models.
Are we going to work full-time or part-time at our new business? Are we going to hire help or go solo? Have we written (or at least outlined) our business plan? Dreaming, thinking and planning can save we much trouble and waste later when things are hectic and problems strike.
Planning can also help keep we focused and to balance our spending and time.
- Who is / Are my Back-up Cushion/s? Just in case, we FALL?
At some point, no matter how experienced a business person we are, we will need help. We will need support, advice, tools, or information — or all of the above. One of the beautiful, and most frightening, aspects of growth is that it can lead us to places we never imagined. No matter how much planning and experience we bring to our new position as CEO the unexpected will arise.
How will we cope with this? It is important to recognize that no business is an island. It is not failure to seek help. Failure is when our business shuts down because we didn’t get the help we needed.
The best way to get timely help is to work on our support system while we work on building our business. That way we will already have a ready list of resources available that we can quickly tap into when emergencies strike. In today’s world there are many marvelous resources available to we no matter what our business model may be. These include, which I define as the 4 M’s
- Media (newsletters, magazines, books)
- Mentors (professional advisors, mentors, teachers, consultants)
- Memberships (organizations and forums in our niche as well as general business and marketing)
- Mental Stimulation : Education and training (tutorials, courses, and seminars)
After we have answered these four key questions we are now ready to ask ourrselves that one big question again — are we ready to start our own business?
Growth hacking is part science, part art
Building a business is not easy. This easy to read step by step guide shall provide an outline to starting a business in just four easy steps.
Building, business, step by step, guide, outline, four easy steps.
Creating a successful and profitable business is not easy. Initially, external factors, such as competition, timing and demand, with scant or little contol bother us. We aspire to have sound business plan. In order to lead a successful business we must assume that external factors shall favour us. The five steps we consider while building our business from the ground up:
1. Determine your business. What are you selling?
This question is not as easy to answer as you may think. For example, Nike is in the sportswear business, but the truth is that when you buy a pair of Nike shoes and a t-shirt at the mall we are buying a lot more than sportswear; you’re buying an image, a feeling. You’re buying the Nike brand. For example someone who is in speciality retial business may say, ìconvenience or “innovation” before they specify any particular industry. Your brand is what sets your product apart from your competitors.
2. Select your market. Who are you selling to?
This step is a bit less interpretive as the first, though equally important. Who are you selling to? or more importantly, what do you know about this person? Understanding your consumer is a key to success. What do they do? Where do they hang out? What do they watch on television? These are just a few of the questions that you should be able to answer about your consumer. Knowing the answers to these questions can answer a lot of questions of your own when it comes to a devising a marketing strategy. We have to understand our market with “amazing ability to figure out the things that people want to have.” This ability to perceive our consumer’s desire can only be a result of knowing them like our neighbor.
3. Create a marketing strategy. How do you speak to these people?
This is a culmination of understanding your brand and your consumer. As mentioned in number two, understanding our consumer can answer a lot of questions concerning our marketing strategy: Where should you advertise? What’s the voice of your brand? What kind of prices are reasonable for this demographic? In order to engage your consumer, a.k.a. sell your product to them, you must know where your advertisements will be noticed, how to speak to them, and how much they will be able to spend, among many of things. Really, this step should have been combined with the last because who your market is dictates your marketing strategy entirely.
4. Learn by example. Seek advice from those who have done it.
There are many books written by professionals who have already started their own business and have been successful in doing so.
Remember, building a successful business in not all about the Rupees and Paise. Equally as valuable is you brand equity and your ability to engage your consumer, which is only attainable by understanding them. Assuming there is a demand for your product, and you can compete with the other brands, following these four steps shall guide you in the right direction.
Itís a great time to be startpreneurs in the last decade, technology has leveled the playing field and propelled an entrepreneurial revolution. As an startpreneur, you now have more access to information that enables you to make more intelligent choices more quickly. You have an advantage over big businesses in that youíre lighter, more flexible, and faster on your feet. You can target new markets more quickly, and you can turn on a dime.
It ís a great time to be an entrepreneur in the last decade, technology has leveled the playing field and propelled an entrepreneurial revolution. As an entrepreneur, you now have more access to information that enables you to make more intelligent choices more quickly. You have an advantage over big businesses in that youíre lighter, more flexible, and faster on your feet. You can target new markets more quickly, and you can turn on a dime.
But being a successful entrepreneur requires that you look at the big picture and follow a plan through from beginning to end. Rieva Lesonsky, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine gives some practical guidelines that can help you when beginning your own enterprise:
1.Don’t Quit Your Day Job.
Consider starting your business part-time, especially if it’s online, while youíre working and have a steady income. It usually takes six months to a year to get a business going and you donít want your ability to make your house payment to hinge upon your company being an overnight success. Start with what you can manage, financially and time-wise, and scale up as your business grows.
2.Find Your Niche.
The days of general stores are over. Particularly online, consumers are looking for stores that specialize. You have to find a needósomething a specific group of people want, but canít get at the big chain storesóand fill it. Advises Lesonsky, ìYou canít compete with the big guys, so you have to find where the big guys arenít and go into your niches.î
3.Have an Online Presence.
Even if youíre not planning to start an online retail business, consider that the internet can still play a valuable role in your company. Having an online presence eliminates the limitations of physical location and broadens your customer base by, literally, millions. Itís also a great tool for promoting yourself and letting people, even in your own area, know that youíre there, and what youíre doing.
4.Refuse to Quit.
Successful entrepreneurship requires creativity, energy, and a drive to keep going when you fail. Few people realize that before Bill Gates created the extremely successful Microsoft 3.0, he created a Microsoft 1.0 and 2.0, both of which floppedóbut he kept at it. And that determination and refusal to give up is what will separate successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones. Arm yourself with optimism to get beyond the #No1 or the trouble. There’s nothing wrong in failure just don’t repeat the same mistake!
But it can be a pretty expensive obsession to have! With typical menu drinks costing about $3-$7, plus whatever add-ins you prefer, it can add up (especially if it’s a daily occurence!). However — it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s worth looking into how to get more bang for our (Star)buck, and how many options the trusty coffee chain and cafe really can offer us. Read on for the hacks that will save you time, money, and calories at Starbucks.
1. Don’t limit yourself to what’s on the menu
In fact, the most expert Starbucks-frequenters rarely order off the menu, to get their favorite drinks and to save money! Check out the secret menu (yes, it really does exist!) or try these secret menu drink concoctions that are all $3, and never pay $5 for a coffee again! If you prefer lattes, order the cafe misto, which tastes the same (half coffee, half milk), but is significantly cheaper (and will save you calories!). More of a tea drinker? A chai latte misto is half steamed milk and half brewed chai tea, saving you money and sugar (you can also just order a hot chai tea with steamed milk if the terminology weirds you out, and save about $2).
2. Make your own drinks for a cheaper price
Iced lattes are one of the most satisfying and refreshing drinks, but can get pricey, especially if you prefer them in Venti size instead of the Tall (don’t we all on Monday mornings?). Instead of ordering a latte, order a triple espresso over ice, in a Venti cup (with room for milk), and then go to the condiments area to fill up your coffee with milk, which makes an iced latte, but for a fraction of the cost. If you prefer your lattes hot, you can also order a Tall coffee with steamed milk (still cheaper than a latte!), or a Tall hot coffee in a Grande cup, and fill up on the milk at the condiments station — a Grande latte for the price of a Tall coffee!
3. Never pay full price for two drinks during the same trip, again
Spend a lot of workdays or meetings at Starbucks where you stay for hours and get multiple drinks? Or maybe just one cup of coffee for you doesn’t cut it? Anytime throughout the day (and in any size — Tall, Grande, or Venti), refill your cup with brewed coffee or tea for just 5o cents. Just know that “refills” only count as iced or hot coffee and iced or hot tea (but remember the tricks above to turn it into a latte!). Also an insider tip: you can get a 50 cent refill with coffee or tea, even if your original drink was not just brewed coffee or tea. So feel free to fill up on a Pumpkin Spice Latte and get a 50 cent extra pick-me-up of tea before you leave!
4. Bring your own cup
Not only will you be saving the planet, one coffee cup and plastic straw at a time, but you’ll also save 10 cents on your drink whenever you bring your own tumbler, cup, or mug. We love using an ever-so-chic mason jar with a lid, or — funny you should mention it — Starbucks has amazing reusable cups of their own. We love this one, this one, and this one.
5. Sign up for Rewards
Normally I detest rewards programs at restaurants and stores — it’s just more spam emails and I probably spend more money than I save (it’s hard to resist a 30% sale or free pastry with purchase of drink). But at Starbucks, it is a must (and with no cons)! First of all, it’s free to sign up (did that convince you enough?), and besides just having a ton of perks for being a reward member (hello, free birthday drink!), you also earn points for a number of things, like purchasing anything in store and certain Starbucks items in grocery stores, that can be used for free food and drinks. Did we mention that it’s free?
6. Don’t buy a water bottle!
Never pay $3 for the plastic water bottle in the Starbucks fridge; just ask for a Venti iced water! You don’t have to worry about the water not being clean — Starbucks triple-filters their water and ice, so you know it’s as clean as possible and you could save some serious money. For an environmentally friendly option, you can also bring your own reusable bottle and ask Starbucks to fill it with water and ice, for free.
7. Order a French Press Pot of coffee
Going with friends or know you’ll want a few cups during your day at Starbucks? Order a French Press pot of coffee instead of individual cups. Each pot serves a few cups of coffee, but will be cheaper than buying each cup individually. Enjoy a pot with your friends, or get a serious caffeine buzz on your own (sometimes, we just need it!).
8. Get the most out of your iced drink
If you’re getting an iced tea, ask for “no water.” Iced teas are typically watered down from the original pitcher into your cup, so asking for no water will make the brew stronger. You can also ask for “light ice” (unless you prefer lots of ice). Ice is usually filled up much more than is necessary to keep the drink cold, limiting the volume of space the barista can fill the cup up with your favorite coffee drink or tea. Having light ice will give you more bang for your buck because you’ll be getting more of your drink, while still keeping it nice and cold.
9. Be specific about your syrup
I love the occasional PSL or Vanilla Latte as much as the next girl, but did you know that a Tall with sweetener has three pumps of syrup, a Grande has four pumps, and a Venti has five or six pumps? Just one pump is about 20 calories and 5 grams of sugar… are you keeping up with this math? That means just a Tall has 15 grams of sugar in the syrup alone. I don’t even want to think about how much is in a Venti! Asking for either one or two pumps per drink still gives the same flavor (we need that pumpkin spice!!) and sweetens up your drink, but if you order a Grande Vanilla Latte with two pumps vanilla syrup, you’d be saving 40 calories and 10 grams of sugar, for not much difference in taste.
10. Ask for a sample so you never get a drink you dislike again!
I don’t know about you, but I usually stick to the usual iced coffee, just so I don’t risk getting a drink that I end up not liking. But oh the possibilities out there in the Starbucks universe! Unless the store is super busy, the barista should be totally fine getting you a sample of a certain brew or drink, if you’re unsure whether or not you’d like it.
11. Know all the sizes
Thought “Tall” was the smallest? Think again — “Short” is an 8oz size (“Tall” is 12oz), which clarifies that age-old confusion that “Tall” was the smallest size, when it counterintuitively sounds like the largest — it’s because “Short” is the size smaller. Clears up a lot, doesn’t it? If you’re in the mood for a small drink, Short is cheaper than a Tall. The “Short” cappuccino has the same amount of espresso as the “Tall,” so if caffeine is your goal, opt for the cheaper options.
12. Are you and a friend both getting a Frappucino? Get one Venti!
A Venti size of your favorite sweet iced drink is about 24oz, while a Tall is 12oz. However, a Venti frappe is significantly cheaper than two Tall frappes would be (about $4 less, precisely). So instead of getting two, order the Venti size and ask for two Tall cups. Divide accordingly, and enjoy your frappucino with your friend, knowing you both saved money.
13. No time to wait in line? Order through your cell phone!
Using the Starbucks Mobile app, you can order ahead of time, and just go pick it up. No more waiting in long lines for your coffee! We’re busy women — we have much more important things to do.