Tag Archives: entrepreneur

5 Must Haves For A Successful Business

Starting a business can be a daunting and complicated adventure with a lot of unknowns. Especially if this is your first go-around with starting your own company, it is always nice to to be able to bank on the facts  you know will certainly help you succeed. Take a look at the list below to make sure your new beginning has what it takes to succeed:

1. Genuine need

True business opportunities meet needs or solve pain points people have in their lives. The best way to discover these needs and pain points is by being intimately involved in a particular field or industry. Most successful entrepreneurs have worked in the industry they start their business in, in a related industry, or are very familiar with the products, services, and problems through personal experience. They discover a need and verify it through firsthand observation. You generally don’t discover pressing needs by joining a think tank, learning how to brainstorm, or sitting in a university class.

2. Credible experience

Knowing the products, services, and problems in an industry not only helps you avoid the pitfalls of trial-and-error learning, but it also gives interested parties the confidence that you’re the right person to build this business. Your experience and credibility are very important to potential team members, investors, customers, suppliers, and strategic partners. If you don’t have the skills and experience to build your business, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. When this is the case, it’s best to find advisors, partners, and team members who can fill in the gaps in your skill set. In the end, you and your team will need to have the experience and credibility necessary to build your business.

3. Adequate Resources

Many would-be entrepreneurs think they need money to start their new venture — no money, no business. Actually, successful entrepreneurs use a host of other resources to get started; they work from home, find mentors and advisors, use free software, acquire used equipment, barter and trade, partner with their first customers, obtain credit from suppliers, and borrow before they rent or buy. The important thing is to determine what your new venture requires, then go out and find the resources you need to get started. You don’t necessarily need funding, but you do need resources.

4. Buying Customers

Smart entrepreneurs have customers committed to buying their products or services as soon as they launch their ventures. For instance, Dave Twombly had customers waiting for him to launch his garbage company. Patrick Hayden already had customers buying his firearms and accessories. And Joanne McCall sold her first contract to her employer prior to launching her marketing agency. When you have specific customers who are willing to buy your product as soon as you launch your venture, you have the ultimate validation of your solution, immediate sales, and early cash flow from which to grow. Selling your products or services prior to your launch is always a great strategy. If you can’t do it, you may not be ready to go.

5. Sound Business Model

Your business model is the way you’ll make money in your venture. It includes your sources of revenue, pricing, costs of goods sold, gross margin, operating costs, and profit margin — essentially the elements of an income statement.

The best businesses have multiple sources of revenue, competitive pricing, a 50 percent or better gross margin, and a 10 to 20 percent profit margin. If your numbers aren’t this attractive, it will be difficult to survive. So make sure all the numbers work before launching your venture.


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3 Ways You Can Gain Startup Capital

There are many exciting and new adventures that come along with starting a business, but  one aspect that may not be as exciting or may even be taunting, is finding ways to fund your company. Below are three ways to jumpstart your thinking on how you can fund your business:

1) Angel and seed investors.

Sometimes you find these people via the Internet, your personal network, or maybe you cornered Chris Sacca at his favorite coffee shop to pitch your idea. Regardless, your angel or seed investor is your go-to advisor whom you may compensate with equity in the company. Their network is always as rich as their net-worth, so take advantage of it. Angel investors can be found at websites such as Angel.co.

2) Crowdfunding websites.

Kickstarter, Indigogo, Gofundme, etc. We’ve all heard of these. Crowdfunding is a centralized way for startups to reach out to a large audience in their niche to make their prototypes or ideas a reality. In return, you not only create a community around your product, but you acquire your first users to test, utilize, and help innovate what you are working toward.

3) Private Lenders.

Music to an entrepreneur’s ears. Through private lenders, founders can gain access to funds without any involvement from the government. It is the most convenient way for most businesses to begin operations. One of the key players in this space is My Business Funded. They have a remarkable reputation for funding startups quickly and efficiently, even they’ve only been operational for 6 months. In turn, a ministration like this allows founders to worry less about operational costs, and focus on selling. Remember, as Shark Tank has shown, a startup doesn’t have to be a tech company; it’s any company on its way up! MyBusinessFunded is one of the quickest growing business funding websites today.

 


 

Read more from the original source:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270373

8 Ideas For Your Next Business

So you have this goal on wanting to start a business, you just don’t know what exactly it is you want to specialize in… You know you have the characteristics of an entrepreneur, the drive it takes to build a company and the support you need, just need a little help on figuring out the type of business to run; Take a look at these 8 business ideas to help get your creative juices flowing;

EVENT PLANNING
Has expansion possibilities

One of the first things you need to do is visit every potential event location with which you plan to work. Work with the marketing manager to tour each site and learn what is available at each location. Start a database that will allow you to sort venues by varying features–the number of people each site holds, if there is AV equipment available on site, will you need to arrange for rental chairs, etc. Then when you are beginning to plan an event with a client, you can find out what the key parameters are for the event and easily pull up the three or four sites that meet the basic criteria. and engagement parties, etc.

FINANCIAL PLANNER
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

To start, you should go through the certification process so that you can label yourself a CFP (Certified Financial Planner). Your certificate shows that you have expertise and credibility, and this differentiation will help people choose you as their financial planner.

For more information and details on certification, click here. http://www.cfp.net/become/Steps.asp

INTERIOR DECORATOR
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Market your talents to building contractors. People purchasing new homes can often be overwhelmed with the choices and possibilities in home decorating. Design some questionnaires for each major element and each major room in the house. Find out how the homeowner will use the home–are there children? Pets? Does the woman of the house wear high heels? Do the home’s residents neglect to remove shoes? How will each room be used? Where might task lighting and ambient lighting be most appropriate?

NOTARY PUBLIC/JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

In most states in the U.S., a notary public is a state officer who is authorized to witness and attest to the legalities of certain documents by signature and stamping a seal. Most states require that you pass an exam and a background check. It costs very little to become a notary and your income from notary work is negligible. A justice of the peace typically performs wedding ceremonies. States have varying rules and procedures for becoming a JP and performing services. Becoming a JP and/or notary public does not cost much money. And it is not a big moneymaking venture! Many states set the fees you can charge for JP services. JPs can add additional fees, and often do, including travel and hourly rates for additional meetings such as rehearsals, other prep time and any special requests.

PERSONAL TRAINER
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Advertise your services in places where everyone goes, like restaurants and grocery stores. Having a website is a good idea–people want some privacy in their decision-making when it comes to getting fit. They can go to your website and determine if your approach to personal training is an approach that would work for them. It is important to emphasize the safety aspect of using a personal trainer. You can help clients get fit and avoid injury.

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Your job, in the case of rental units, will be to make sure the property is running smoothly. For seasonal properties, you will most likely spend your management time making sure the property is ready for seasonal visits and well-maintained when no one is around. If the owners go away for six weeks in the winter, the property manager makes regular checks on the property. You will be the contact number if the security system operator needs to contact someone about a breach in security.

CONSULTANT
Has expansion possibilities

To be a consultant, you need to have an expertise in something so you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area. Perhaps you managed several large warehouses in your career with a drugstore company, you did all the marketing for many years for a large shoe manufacturer or you set up a chain of beauty supply shops or take-out restaurants. You can use this experience to help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way.

ACCOUNTANT
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Create a flier outlining your services. Before you do that, you need to know what those services will be. Do you want to simply do bookkeeping for a small business? A more involved level of accounting would be do actually work up balance sheets, income statements, and other financial reports on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis, depending on the needs of the business. Other specializations can include tax accounting, a huge area of potential work. Many business owners don’t mind keeping their own day-to-day bookkeeping records but would rather get professional help with their taxes.


 

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How To Start A Business Despite Your Lack Of Money

One of the biggest concerns with accomplishing a dream a lot of times, is money. But money doesn’t have to be a barrier when it comes to your dream of starting your own business, you just have to know how to work around it. Below is advice from Jayson Demers, CEO and Founder of AudienceBloom, on how to start a business despite your lack of money:

You have two main paths of starting a business with less money: lowering your costs or increasing your available capital from outside sources. You have three options here:

Option one: Reduce your needs

Your first option is to change your business model to demand fewer needs as listed above. For example, if you were planning on starting a company of personal trainers, you could reduce your “employee” expenses by being the sole employee at the start. Unless you need office space, you can work from home. You can even do your homework to find cheaper sources of supplies, or cut out entire product lines that are too expensive to produce at the outset.

There are a few expenses that you won’t be able to avoid, however. Licensing and legal fees will set you back even if you cut back on everything else. According to the SBA, many microbusinesses get started on less than $3,000, and home-based franchises can be started for as little as $1,000.

Option two: Bootstrap

Your second option invokes the idea of a “warmup” period for your business. Instead of going straight into full-fledged business mode, you’ll start with just the basics. You might launch a blog and one niche service, reducing your scope, your audience and your profit, in order to get a head-start. If you can start as a self-employed individual, you’ll avoid some of the biggest initial costs (and enjoy a simpler tax situation, too).

Once you start realizing some revenue, you can invest in yourself, and build the business you imagined piece by piece, rather than all at once.

Option three: Outsource

Your third option is all about getting funding from outside sources. I’ve covered the world of startup funding in a number of different pieces, so I won’t get into much detail, but know there are dozens of potential ways to raise capital — even if you don’t have much yourself. Here are just a few potential sources for you:

  • Friends and family. Don’t rule out the possibility of getting help from friends and family, even if you have to piece the capital together from multiple sources.

  • Angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who back business ideas early in their generation. They typically invest in exchange for partial ownership of the company, which is a sacrifice worth considering.

  • Venture capitalists. Venture capitalists are like angel investors, but are typically partnerships or organizations and tend to scout businesses that are already in existence.

  • Crowdfunding. It’s popular for a reason: with a good idea and enough work, you can attract funding for anything.

  • Government grants and loans. The Small Business Administration (and a number of state and local government agencies) exist solely to help small businesses grow. Many offer loans and grants to help you get started.

  • Bank loans. You can always open a line of credit with the bank if your credit is in good standing.


 

Learn more from the original source here:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/271446

Tips To Growing Your Leadership Skills While You Grow Your Company

It is such an accomplishment to grow a successful business from the ground up with your own two hands and to see the progress of each department. However, while every other aspect of the company has grown, entrepreneurs must keep in mind their leadership skills have to expand as well. Going from leading yourself, to one other person to a team of skilled employers takes different types of leadership skills. Below are a few tips to help make those adjustments:

1. Learn to manage managers.

The most important parts of this transition are clarity and training. Be clear with your new managers about what their personal and team responsibilities are and how you expect the level of effort to be split between responsibilities. Secondly, make sure they have the learning resources and support to become effective managers.

2. Transition from presence to process.

When a startup is young, leaders tend to be hands-on and physically present every day. Once a company scales, however, a leader’s physical and mental presence needs to be devoted elsewhere. One study shows managers waste up to 80 percent of their time on things that have little to no impact on their companies’ long-term value — and micromanaging employees falls squarely into that category.

Thus, it’s key to transition your leadership skills from presence to process. Do this by applying organizational processes that ensure clear communication — communication effectiveness is the key ingredient of successful leadership, especially when founders aren’t able to bump into everyone on a daily basis.

3. Prepare to address administrative duties.

As your team grows, so will your administrative burden. At some point, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going to continue handling all this paperwork yourself of if you want to hire an administrative assistant to handle it. Doing neither will leave your employees out in the cold.

Tasks such as expense reports and payroll can be taken off your plate by a full-time (or virtual) administrative assistant. Consider the time and effort you’re currently spending on these things; then consider all the things you could be doing.


 

Read more from the original Source here:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269588

How To Talk About It AND Be About It… The Key To Getting Sh*t Done

There’s nothing worse than looking back on a great idea and realizing if only you would’ve actively pursued such thing, you would probably be better off than you are now… For some reason, following through can actually be a difficult discipline to learn. Below are five tips to help you follow through on your grand ideas to lead you to success:

Accept risk.

Pursuing your idea is a lot like skydiving. You anticipate your parachute opening, but each time you jump, you accept risk — there is always that chance your chute might not open. Being an entrepreneur has many risks, including financial issues, personal relationships and even health. When you run wide-open with your idea, completely accepting the risks associated with it, you stand a much better chance of reaching the finish line.

Create a plan.

Anyone can come up with an idea and a desired goal — that’s the easy part. It’s the complete plan that allows you to get from start to finish that’s the difficult part. Write everything down and reverse-engineer a plan that will give you a legitimate shot at accomplishing your goal. Be as detailed as possible, covering every step along the way.

Constantly build momentum.

Taking your idea from concept to fully executed is an uphill journey. You have to constantly build momentum and not stop. If you do, the energy and effort required to get back up to speed will be much greater than it would have been had you kept plugging away. Even if you are working on an idea in your spare time, away from your full-time job, a consistent two hours of work daily is far more beneficial than sporadic full days dedicated to your idea.

Anticipate obstacles.

Entrepreneurship isn’t all fairytales and unicorns, regardless of what you see in the media. Insane valuations, investors fighting to get a piece and bottomless funding are very rare. Shoestring budgets, bootstrapping and constant obstacles are the reality of pursuing your idea. When you go into it expecting — and being mentally prepared — to face obstacles, you stand a much better chance of successfully dealing with them.

Set micro-goals.

Even the most treacherous journey will appear to be do-able if you break it into smaller, easier-to-digest pieces. This is where setting micro-goals can play a very crucial role in bringing your idea to life. It will not only help you make steady progress, but the satisfaction you feel when you accomplish any goal, even a micro one, will give you the motivation and fire inside to push toward the next one.


With an Entrepreneur mindset like yours, take a look at this list of books that will help you and your business succeed!

Read more from the original source here:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269869

 

7 Books You Should Be Reading if You’re an Entrepreneur

If you’re aspiring to be a wildly successful entrepreneur (or even if you already are one) you should always stay on top of tools that will help boost you to the next level in your career… These book recommendations have inspired and shaped some of the most successful entrepreneurs out there (think Mark Cuban) and are a great way to get into the right mindset to rock your business:

 

“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

Self-made billionaire Mark Cuban tells Business Insider that this book is required reading for every entrepreneur.

It’s also a favorite of Charlie O’Donnell, a partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. He says:

I don’t know any book that sums up the entrepreneurial passion and spirit better than “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

“The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker

This is one of the three books that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had his senior managers read for a series of all-day book clubs. Drucker helped popularize now commonplace ideas about management. For example, managers and employees should work toward a common set of goals.

The Effective Executive” explores the time-management and decision-making habits that best equip an executive to be productive and valuable in an organization.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

 

“The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen

"The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen

Amazon

Bezos also had his executives read “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” one of the all-time most influential business books and a top pick of several other founders and VCs, whose reviews are below.

Steve Blank, a former serial entrepreneur who now teaches at UC Berkeley and other schools, says of the book:

Why do large companies seem and act like dinosaurs? Christensen finally was able to diagnose why and propose solutions. Entrepreneurs should read these books as “how to books” to beat large companies in their own markets.

Chris Dixon, an investor at Andreessen Horowitz and a former cofounder and CEO of Hunch, notes:

“The Innovator’s Dilemma” popularized the (often misused) phrase “disruptive technology,” but there’s a lot more than that one big idea. Great insights into the “dynamics” (changes over time) of markets.

“Business Adventures” by John Brooks

"Business Adventures" by John Brooks

Amazon

This collection of New Yorker stories by John Brooks became Bill Gates’ all-time favorite business book after Warren Buffett recommended it to him in 1991.

Gates says of the book:

“Business Adventures” is as much about the strengths and weaknesses of leaders in challenging circumstances as it is about the particulars of one business or another. In that sense, it is still relevant not despite its age but because of it.

“Benjamin Franklin” by Walter Isaacson

"Benjamin Franklin" by Walter Isaacson

Amazon

Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, says this book is one of his all-time favorites.

“You can see how [Franklin] was an entrepreneur,” Musk says in an interview with Foundation. “He was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.”

Musk has read other books by biographer Walter Isaacson, and he also recommends “Einstein: His Life and Universe.”

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

"Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill

Wilder Publications

Daymond John, cofounder of clothing business FUBU and investor on ABC’s hit pitch show “Shark Tank,” tells Business Insider that Napoleon Hill’s classic business book, “Think and Grow Rich,” changed his life.

“The main takeaway from that was goal-setting,” John says. “It was the fact that if you don’t set a specific goal, then how can you expect to hit it?”

“Conscious Capitalism” by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

Kip Tindell, cofounder and CEO of The Container Store, tells Business Insider that this is a must-read for entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Tindell is close friends with John Mackey, cofounder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, and says that they both believe inConscious Capitalism, “that a win-win is what’s most profitable, and that no one has to lose. Business schools have discovered it, studied it, and found that companies that practice it are more successful.”

This book is a great primer.

 


 

Original Source:

http://www.businessinsider.com/best-books-for-entrepreneurs-to-read-2016-1

Why Entrepreneurs Are, Well… Entrepreneurs

You know that saying, “If you don’t chase your dreams, someone else will hire you to chase theirs”? Well which side of this quote are you on? If you aren’t on the hiring side, maybe you’re tired of being micromanaged and underpaid because your worth isn’t recognized? If so, get inspired by just of the few perks of being an entrepreneur:

You have the ability to build something of value.

Beyond the financial benefits, owning your own business gives you the ability to create something that adds value to your community. This can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

You not only have the ability to help others, but you also can create jobs and give people a chance to learn and grow.

You have the ability to grow exponentially.

Climbing the corporate ladder is incredibly slow. Think about all the hoops you have to jump through just to get a raise or promotion.

Now, imagine you could give yourself a raise or promotion.

When you own your own business, there is no ceiling to how much you can make. It’s literally up to how hard you work. It’s no wonder three out of four millionaires in America are entrepreneurs.

You have all the control.

One of the biggest issues I had with getting a “real” job was being managed. It made me incredibly anxious knowing someone was constantly looking over my shoulder, critiquing my work and telling me what to do and when to do it.

As an entrepreneur, you set the rules.

Feel like sleeping in? Do it. Want to work on a passion project? Go ahead.

The control and freedom entrepreneurship gives you is what most of us work our entire lives for.


Original Source: http://elitedaily.com/money/perks-being-entrepreneur/1210596/