You are the boss of your company. You built it from scratch with your blood, sweat and tears. Everyday you work towards building it and see it grow, the same way a loving parent would do for their child. There are many intricacies with running a full-fledged company. In the beginning it may have been a start-up and you were able to manage the daily affairs efficiently. Then as it started to grow bigger, you invited friends and loved in to help you out. But then there came a time when you had to delegate responsibility to other individuals so you could concentrate on the business itself. All major entrepreneurs will tell you that in order to take your business to greater heights, you need to start handing out responsibility to others so that you can use all your energy on the important stuff – making your business grow exponentially. Here are some of the departments that you will need in your legitimate venture:
Finance Department: Everything works with money. Whether you are trying to run a house or full-fledged business, you need finances to get you going. The finance department is supposed to make this happen for you. From mundane things like paying bills to dispatching salaries to the employees, your finance team will do it on behalf of you.
Human Resources Department: To run a business, you need people. Right at the front door there may be security, you might need a personal assistant and other qualified personnel to help you turning your brainstorming sessions into reality, etc. It is the human resources department (popularly known as HR) that will handle this task for you. It is their job to find the right people to help expand your company. Human Resources is so important today that there are Masters and MBA degrees that specialize in HR!
Marketing & Advertising Departments: You might have a brilliant product that you are sure is going to sell like hot cakes and be a hit with potential customers. You have spent a lot of time building it and making it suitable for the public at large. But you do not know how to get word out there about it effectively. Enter the marketing and advertising departments. They will come up with strategies, campaigns and ways to make sure that your product is sold out there in the market in the best way possible. They are qualified to come up with unique and tried and tested ways to get your product from your boardroom onto the streets.
Information Technology Department: These days, everything runs on computers and machines. Whether it is the software or the hardware that your company uses, you cannot use your precious time cracking codes or huddling under the desk checking wires. This is where the IT department comes to use. They make sure that all your online stuff is working seamlessly because let’s face it – without the use of computer technology, you might as well get yourself a time machine and go back to the stone age. These brilliant employees need a significant place in your company.
These departments are the basic pillars of a company. Depending on what you are specializing in, there would be other departments that would help you carry forward your venture. Other departments include Legal, Planning, Projects, etc. Whatever decision you take, remember something that Sir Richard Branson advised: you need to employ people who will be the backbone of your company, dealing with its daily running so that you can concentrate on more important issues. Very sane advice, indeed!
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You might still remember the thought that led to a dream about beginning your business. Maybe it was your intuition that made you realize you wanted to be your own boss. Or maybe it was that business tycoon you looked up to who always seemed to change the game in their field. Whatever planted that seed, you have kept up to the idea of starting your own business. Here are a few reasons encouraging you to go ahead and begin your own venture.
Being Your Own Boss: One of the best parts about owning your own business is that you get to be your own boss. You get to make the rules and run the show. Starting up a venture means that you also need to come up with the mission statement of your organization, know in what direction to take your work – basically CREATE from scratch. There is no other satisfaction that comes close to waking up everyday and making the rules.
Taking The Risks: Another benefit of starting your own business is that you get to take risks. People are usually intimidated, if not afraid, about starting the word “risk”. But think about it in a positive way – all the blood, sweat and tears that you’ve put it will reap great rewards. When you take that leap of faith, it is almost certain that you will meet success on the other side. Do not think about losing because that will unnecessarily divert your attention. Make sure that you look ahead always and simply jump.
Building Your Own Team: So maybe you worked before as an employee with someone else and had to be part of a team or department. You didn’t get to choose who worked with you and sometimes your ideas were shot down or ignored. But guess what? Now that you are the boss of your own venture, you get to decide who will join you in the walk to success! One of the major tips that entrepreneurs will give you is that you need to surround yourself with like-minded people always so that everyone goes in the same direction.
Tax Benefits: There are many countries that offer tax benefits for budding companies and small businesses. Check with your legal team (if you have one) and apply for these benefits as soon as possible. Also, loans offered by banks come with special features that will be good for your venture. Never underestimate the power of a tax benefit because after all, every penny saved is a penny earned that can be put back into your venture to offer better service to your customer.
Creating An Awesome Product: There are so many legendary entrepreneurs out there who had an idea, worked with it and went down in history. Maybe that idea in your head is another revolutionary product that you know will change the market you work in. You may just never know until you decide to take the plunge and start that business. How would Steve Jobs know, walking barefoot across the street to a temple for free food, that Apple would break all sorts of technological records and go on to revolutionize personal computers and the way we listen to music? It is because he took the risk and made his dream a reality.
Believe in yourself and the product that you plan to create and just go with it. No one ever succeeded by only dreaming. That is just the start – the true adventure will happen when you turn your dream into a business venture. If you have it inside you, you also have the potential to make it real. So go ahead, register that awesome company name and start creating!
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So you have decided that you want to start your own business. Great! That is a fantastic idea. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Maybe if you were living in the early ages, you could think about it one day and start selling your product the next. But in the new world of business and commerce, there are different structures that you need to know about, choose one and follow it until you decide to make a change. Here are a few business structures to get you started.
Sole Proprietorship: As the name suggests, it means you are bartering your products all by your lonesome. You own the venture and you have put in the capital yourself. The best part about this is that you get to make all major decisions yourself. You own the assets and liabilities of the firm and you are the boss! Another great point is that you take sole responsibility of the risks. If you take a decision and it works out, you get complete benefit of the profits. If your idea fails, well, you take responsibility of that, too. This type of structure is great if you are just starting out and have a handful of ideas that you want to work with. Once your business starts expanding (and of course it will, don’t worry), you can always change it and maybe bring in a partner or partners to help you out.
Partnership: This type of business structure is great if you have someone else to help you build this venture. There may be one or more partners, and the great part about this is that you get to decide who takes how much responsibility and share in the profits (or loss). An important point to remember is that the people who will be your partners need to have a similar frequency with thoughts – if there is someone who wants to go at warp speed ahead or another partner to likes to take the safe route, then you will find yourself in trouble. Check with a legal expert to determine which type of partnership suits your business.
Corporation: Once your business has expanded greatly, it will have an identity of its own and not be about you and your partner. So if a customer is dealing with a product that is manufactured by your corporation, they will address the company by name and not the owners individually. This is one of the best forms of business that you could have because now you do not need to put in personal hard-earned capital. You can invite the public in the form of shareholders to contribute and be a part of your growing venture. Yes, the cost of running a corporation is much higher than the small-time sole proprietorship or the medium risk partnership business structure. But who wouldn’t want to share their dreams and work with the community at large?
Whatever your decision is to start a business, make sure that you set a concrete blueprint, planning for contingencies and other aspects. Running your own venture is exciting, but it comes with a lot of responsibility – the main ones being financial and legal. You can build a team of experts to help you out, because ultimately, you are the boss and this is your company!
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When you dream, you can think of the impossible. But once you have decided to turn that dream into reality, you need to follow certain steps to make that happen. No doubt, each venture is unique and building it may take a distinct blueprint. Just to guide you, we have come up with an outline to the basic rules you need to start your own business.
Make A Plan: As with anything else, you need to make a plan. This is not college anymore when looking before you leapt led to crazy stories you could laugh about with your friends. Starting a business is serious business and without a goal and the way to get there, you will soon find yourself lost. Yes, you can audit and edit along the way, but there should be some basic roadmap to guide you.
Create A Mission: Before you start a business, you need to know what your mission is. A mission statement is basically the foundation on which you are building your company. When someone reads, they should get to know what the core values of your business are. Some companies have a mission statement with regard to the environment, some have make it about leaving the planet a better place. Apple, for example, has a mission statement about revolutionizing the way we use personal computers and listen to music. Your mission statement needs to be realistic and the truth, so think about an appropriate one.
Hire The Best: Richard Branson, everyone’s favorite entrepreneur says that he employs the best and treats them in such a way that they never want to leave. While it might be expensive to hire the best talent out there, it will prove beneficial later because your executives will know what they are doing and would have past experience to prove it. When it comes to your core team, you need people who think on the same wavelength as you because they will be taking your ideas and forwarding them to the rest of the company as well as customers.
Understand The Legalities: Any business starting out needs to know if what they are doing is legal in the area of business. If you are located at a place that is environmentally conscious and you have a business that doesn’t necessarily use manufacturing processes that could potentially harm the environment, then don’t expect there to be much co-operation with what you are doing. Get a good legal team to sort out the law aspect of things, and you should be good to go. Real estate Mughal Donald Trump is known to have amazing legal backing that helps him fight through his personal and business problems.
Choose A Great Location: Whether you are opening up a bakery or your business is inclined towards technology, you need to choose the proper location to hold your headquarters. If, for example, you want to start a restaurant, you need to be located in a populated area where you know people will stop over for lunch. An IT company would locate somewhere near Silicon Valley and a law firm will be closer to the business district. As with real estate, business should also be about location, location, location.
No matter what your business, you ultimately need to reach the public because they are the source of income. Also, the market is volatile and changes on a daily basis. Be open to change and correction, whether it is a personal scrutiny or feedback from employees and customers. Staying rigid will only leave you in a pond, not an ever-flowing river. Take time to think and brainstorm with yourself and trusted associates and in no time you will find that you grow along with your company.
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Many people have that initial dream of starting their own business and being their own boss. Basically, in order to start your own venture you need to have intention. As the brilliant writer Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote, every thought begins with intention. Having the right intention goes a long way in creating a business that will stand the test of time and be at the head of the field. Even though so many think about business, very few go ahead and get it done. The very fact you are reading this article means that you want to do your best and give it your all to not only get into business, but exceed at it. Congratulations! Here are tried and tested ways on how to succeed in it:
Be Disciplined: In their No. 1 bestseller THE ONE THING (you have to read this book), Gary Keller and Jay Papasan said something that made so much sense, but that we were not taught in school about: You need to develop good habits. It takes 21 days to get a habit to stick with you, so all you need is enough discipline for less than a month to inculcate that habit and then life goes on that much easier. Imagine that! Now that you are an entrepreneur and ultimately a leader, you need to have a certain amount of discipline to carry you through good times and bad.
Research & Learn: “The rolling stone gathers no moss” is the phrase we heard growing up while our parents lectured us about not being couch potatoes. The market changes everyday, so you need to make sure that you keep abreast of the latest happenings. These days we are very fortunate to have ample access to magazines, blogs, websites and what-have-you that have articles about improving your business acumen within and without your field. Keep moving with the times. This will not only help you excel in your field, you might just come up with a brilliant idea that would put you AHEAD of the game. Now, who wouldn’t want that?
Take Time Off: You may laugh at this suggestion, but being a pack mule won’t take you very far. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that working nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is going to do very good beyond a point. Even the President of the United States goes on vacations. You will find that you are able to work better, more refreshed than before. Not only should you, but even your employees be encouraged about holiday time. In Australia they have an amazing work culture and everyone is mandated to take 2 weeks off from work annually. Work smart and then sit back and relax and let things maneuver on autopilot.
Take Risks: You are an entrepreneur and you are brilliant. Don’t let a school grade or college certificate tell you how smart you are. The power is within you. If there is a seed for an idea in your heart, there is also the intention to make it happen and succeed. Do your research, brainstorm, procrastinate as much as you want and then get back and jump! What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe you will fail. Thomas Edison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
Follow Your Heart: Your loved ones around you just want what’s best for you. They think they are protecting you but might unknowingly be discouraging your dream. There also might be critics that those that you look up to who will tell you you’re crazy. Maybe you are. But what your heart says is ultimately the direction where your feet will go. Follow your heart. Take the risks that need to be taken and pursue your dream. If you have watched The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith, you will know what gut, grit and the heart can do for you if only you will believe.
In all honesty, there is no particular formula for exceeding in business. Each successful entrepreneur ultimately followed his or her heart and did what they felt best. Maybe you can gain inspiration from others, but you cannot form a plan to the T based on what someone else has done. However, what you CAN do is not be discouraged or give up because you failed a couple of times. Learn from it and move on.
Read about The One Thing at: http://www.the1thing.com
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No great company has been set up without a unique brand. Starting from the logo to the mission statement and the brand ambassador, if you want your company to stand out, you need to be one in seven billion. Let’s take a look at the various aspects that go into building your brand:
Look at great companies like Ford, Apple, KFC, Virgin and all the others that stand out in their fields. They each have a logo that is not only eye-catching, but when you see it, you know the brand. McDonald’s Golden Arches are a prime example of how a mere logo can be the brand ambassador for the company. Even this website on which you are reading this article has its own logo. They can be words, images or both. There are certain legalities that go into creating one, but they are easily doable.
- Click this link to find out the procedure to trademark your logo in the United States.
- Click this link to find out the procedure to trademark your logo in the United Kingdom.
- Click this link to find out the procedure to trademark your logo in the European Union.
- Click this link to find out the procedure to trademark your logo in Australia.
There is a certain sort of image that comes with your brand. And not surprising, you are the first brand ambassador for your brand. If you are selling steaks, you cannot say that you are going vegan and cannot even consume your own product! You are the person who is going to silently be the sales person for your company. When people look at you they can easily understand what your venture stands for. Brand imaging is very important when you’re promoting your company, especially if it is a new one in the market. When you walk out into the streets, remember that you and your employees are representatives for your business and create the image accordingly.
A mission statement is a word, phrase, sentence or entire paragraph that describes what your company is working towards. When someone reads it, they immediately decide what mettle your brand is made of. You need to think really hard about this and you need to decide something that is accurate to what you truly believe in. If you create a company without it, then when people check your logo or even your website, they won’t be able to understand where you’re headed to exactly. This will be the first impression they get of you and the venture you are building.
There is no company in the world that was at the head of its game by staying stagnant. Your employees and your customers are the best people you can get valuable feedback from. They will give you insights into what you are doing right, what is wrong and what might need to change. With the changing times, you would also need to update your brand logo, mission statement and so many other things.
Check out the changing logos of Apple:
By taking feedback, you also open yourself up to change and improvement, which is one of the best ways you keep your company in the public eye!
Your customers are also brand ambassadors and advertisers for your company. They are brand ambassadors in the sense that if someone is wearing your clothes, people will associate that image to your brand. A major clothing and apparel brand like Abercrombie & Fitch has stated in the past that they burn clothes that have not been sold because they would rather let their apparel go to waste rather than donate them to the poor. Their reasoning is that they are associated with the elite and upper class folk. Likewise, whatever it is that you are selling, you need to make sure that your customers not only use your product proudly, but also spread the good word about it!
Again, each business has its own market reach and visions for its growth. Come up with a unique plan for your own business to see it grow exponentially and become a name among the public for this generation and the next!
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So, you may have made the decision to start your business from the comfort of your own home. This is actually a great idea, but nonetheless, we take a look into the pros and cons of doing so…
– You get to save on commercial space. You obviously won’t be setting up shop in a godforsaken town because the rent is cheap! You would look for a space that is near a busy district, maybe in the most populated area of a suburb or city. By working from home, you save on the rent that you can put back into your business.
– As a start-up, you may be strapped for funds. Yes, maybe you saved your school lunch money or got a large inheritance from your grandma or maybe you’re just rich! Either way, when you are just getting started on your business, you need all the possible funding you can get your hands on to help with initially getting your business on its feet. By working from home, there are a lot of unnecessary additional expenses that you would save on.
– Working from home means that you can get on that important task at any time of the day or night. Your work hours are as per your leisure and you don’t need to bother about commuting back and forth that would be precious time wasted and energy spent.
– You get to take on personal responsibilities. In case you are a person who has additional home work like bringing up children or taking care of an old family member, by starting your business from home you will be able to take care of personal and professional needs within one location.
– Working from home is more laidback. If you are someone who likes a chilled work environment like Richard Branson and his beloved Neckar Island, then building a business in a bathrobe will be your cup of tea. You don’t need to sit up straight all day and wear “official” clothes – you can put up your legs and still be able to delegate tasks to off-site colleagues.
– You might not be able to divide time between personal and professional. One of the worst parts about working from home is that even though at first you tell yourself that you will spare only a certain amount of time for home and the remaining concentrating on your business, you might not succeed at this as slowly the divisive line will be wiped out.
– You will need to attend to unwanted guests. Maybe you have a neighbor who loves to drop in occasionally for a “chat” that will go on for a long time, without you being able to put a stop to it. In case you have children and relatives, then their friends might come over as well and create a disturbance you cannot afford to have when building a serious business.
– Clients may not like the whole home vibe. Unless you are selling furniture or curios meant for a house, your prospective clients are not going to necessarily like the home environment as people are associated to thinking of business meetings in a more professional set up. Unless you have understanding clients or it is you who makes the travel to your client’s home, you might not benefit from working from the confines of your personal space.
– Your local council may not support a home business. You need to check with the local municipality or government in your area to let you know if its ok to bring commercial work into the neighborhood.
– You might be tempted to take too many breaks. Another disadvantage of working from home is that you may take too many breaks than necessary. One off day when you need to rest may result in you convincing yourself that a little “me time” is what you need to rejuvenate and then soon laziness is what you become.
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No matter what business you are building, you need to advertise it. Even big companies that already have a name in the market advertise on a regular basis to keep the public aware about the latest products available to them. When you switch on any channel, you are bombarded with ads that promote products. Websites, video sites like youtube, billboards, etc. all have advertisements that make an attempt to sell a product. These can be costly, but large companies feel that it is worth it, if it is ultimately going to lead to larger sales. Here are some smart and free ways to advertise a product you are putting on sale or even to create some buzz about your business:
You: The first and most important way to advertise your company is through YOU. You are the one who has started the firm, you have developed the mission statement and only truly know where your company is headed. Basically, you are the brand ambassador of your own company. The way you behave, market and promote yourself will ultimately lead to advertising your company. Some of the greatest entrepreneurs have their own image stamped on everyone’s brain that make people want to own the product sold. Take an example of Dr. Dre. He is a remarkable figure in the music industry and because of him, the Dr. Dre Beats are being sold faster than they can be manufactured. You should be what you sell.
Employees: These are the people that work for you and you may never know the places they go and the people they meet who can become potential customers. Encourage your employees to market your brand either directly or discreetly by the way you treat them. Google has been voted countless times as a company that is the Best Place To Work. Because of the goodwill from employees, outsiders automatically want to be patrons of such an awesome business.
Customers: Surely you have heard of Net Promoter Score (NPS) that many companies are starting to take on to determine what is the level of goodwill out there. NPS is basically a graph that determines how likely customers are going to promote the brand that they themselves endorse. Obviously brands know what they are doing by adopting this process. It is through customers that potential patrons are recruited. You an definitely recall at least one time when a friend gushed about a new product they tried and then you went out and purchased it yourself because of the good feedback.
Self-Promotion: Instead of paying huge fees to advertising companies to come up with a good promotion, why don’t you promote your brand and products yourself? There are so many social sites that you can take advantage of for free. Make short Youtube videos or ask people to share your posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. With the network built through other people, your brand can reach further circles without you having to spend a penny.
Events: Another way that you can promote your brand is through events. It will do two things: advertise your product and create goodwill within and without the society. Go to your local church or school and hold a charitable fest where maybe you can give away your products in the form of prizes or goodies. Remember to attach a sticker or tag to remind people of your company and have banners set up during the event. People never forget a giving spirit, so if you hold an event for an orphanage or animal shelter, patrons will get magnetized towards your philanthropic nature.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of ways in which you can advertise for little or nothing. There have been businesses that have thrived simply by word of mouth. No advertising. No PR. No payment made to make a brand known. The fact of the matter is that if you have a product that will benefit others and is priced right, your sales will increase by and by.
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This is a fast-paced age. More and more people are suffering from short attention spans and can get easily distracted with new information constantly being thrown in their direction. You need to promote yourself in 5 second videos or less than 140 characters. In short, you need to be short. Here are some tips on how to make your business stand out in less than 15 seconds, because that is exactly the time it takes for someone to get their first impression of you post which they will undoubtedly be distracted by someone else trying to market their product.
LOGO TO REMEMBER: The one thing that literally symbolizes your business is the logo for your company. It needs to be something that stands out so that even after browsing through it and moving on to something else, the image stays in their heads. You may need to put in some funds to get a graphic designer to come up with something unique or you may be able to create something yourself. Either way, this is an investment that would pay huge dividends if advertised the right way.
UNIQUE BRAND NAME: Why do you think some brands stick out more than others? True, Virgin offers products and services like no other company, but the very fact it is named “Virgin”, people stop for a minute and take a look. No one is saying you need to be controversial or whatever, but think of a unique (and short) brand name that sums up what you have to offer. People like saying weird things out loud, so make your company a home name so people can use it and sound cool. That right there is advertising through word of mouth.
IMAGING: Social media sites like Instagram are used by millions because the only thing being shown on it are pictures. Compared to words, images attract more attention. You see, lettering mostly happens in black and white and after sometime people get bored of going through words. But a colorful image will have someone stop and take a look. One of the best ways that you can make your business stand out is by using images.
CONTENT: Twitter seems to have started the 140 characters or less craze that just encouraged ADHD. Many brands have a short and simple tagline that people have started using in their personal conversations. McDonald’s started saying: I’m lovin’ it and that became an expression being used all over the world. You can brainstorm and come up with content that will stay in people’s minds long after they are done browsing your product.
SHORT VIDEOS: In the 1950s and 1960s, advertisements stretched on to a minute or more. These days, the length of ads has reduced to 30 seconds or less. In case you don’t want your potential customer to “Skip Ad”, you would need to portray your message in a concise and effective manner. Instagram has videos that go on for only 15 seconds, and yet brands are successfully advertising on there. You can easily do the same.
Look for inspiration from tried and tested brands and how they are able to keep up to advertising gimmicks of the new age. You can also be innovative and bring something unique to the advertising table. Remember that potential customers are being bombarded constantly with unlimited advertising and promotions. Depending on what product you sell, try being as unique as you can in as little time as you can. Timing is key because you may never know when your customer is going to be enticed by another product just by their effective marketing strategies.
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You are not the first one. There are millions of people gone before you who have lit the way and guided us with their mistakes as well as their wisdom. Here are a number of greats in the business circle who have pearls to share with us that we can learn from:
“If you’re not a risk-taker, you should get the hell out of business.” – Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald’s
“Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, Co-founder of Google
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney, Co-founder of The Walt Disney Company
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft
“Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” – Peter Drucker, Management Consultant
“Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.” – Paul Rand, Graphic Designer
“You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself.” – Seth Godin, Entrepreneur and Author
“As a start-up CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every 2 hours and cried.” – Ben Horowitz, Co-founder Opsware
“If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” – Donald Trump
“Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” – Lori Greiner, Shark Tank
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