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Are You Prepared to Be the Boss and Run Your Business?

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article | Are You Prepared to Be the Boss and Run Your Business? | Entrepreneurship
 
Whether you currently have a stable job or you are still in the process of finding a job, the idea of running a business and being the boss looks very appealing. With the unemployment rate that the economy is experiencing, it means that many companies are still struggling to survive. The idea of starting a small business can be quite a scary idea because the success rate is low. If you feel that you are up for the challenge and you are ready to take risks, then you must make the necessary preparations. To increase your chances of being successful here are some tips on how to prepare you for business.

Define your goals

It is easy to say that you want to have a business, but you need to be very specific with your goals and wishes. Ask yourself what kind of business would you like to have? Are you planning to sell services or goods? How long are you giving your self before you start hitting your business goals? Your intentions of running a business should be genuine, or else there is a big possibility that it will fail in the long run because you lack passion and commitment.

What are the costs?

It does not matter whether you want to start small or big, but the bottom line is that you need money to make your investment sustainable. Do you need to figure out how much capital you need to start the business? Do you have enough savings to cover all the costs? If not, are you willing to apply for several loans to increase your revolving funds? You need to have a clear vision of whether you can continue supporting your business in a few months or you will end up closing down because things are not going according to your plan.

You need experience

Before deciding to open up a business, you need to have some first-hand experience of handling people with different personalities. It would help if you also learn the ropes in the industry that you are about to be part of. It is a good idea to get several months or years of experience in companies in the same industry, so you will have the confidence to manage your business.

Find ways to save money

Most start-ups struggle with finances. That is why you need to be thrifty and wise when it comes to your expenditure so that you can survive the competition. Think about your monthly overheads like rental, utilities and staffing. These will be your top three expenses. Try to look for a place with lower rent or do it from your home. You can work on your workforce by hiring a sufficient number of people only.

Lastly, you need to look for a trusted Utility Bidder before moving to a new office space or setting up a physical store. It would help if you found an electricity and gas provider that is affordable and offers excellent service.

5 Challenges of Starting a New Business From a First Time Business Owner

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article | Entrepreneurship | 5 Challenges of Starting a  New Business From a First Time Business OwnerYou might have heard the stereotype that millennials don’t know how to work hard, how to pound the pavement, how to put in the blood, sweat and tears it takes to build a business from the ground up but, I am here to smash that stereotype into smithereens.

I’m 23 years old and started my business when I was just 21. Usit (www.usit.care) was an idea that I had that babysitting could be done better. It could be done wiser. It could be done with more benefit to the worker bee and the worker bee hirer. Still in college with a full load of classes, I certainly made my share of embarrassing mistakes, but I lived to tell about them and I think the mistakes made me stronger and even more determined. I am going to use the word “Challenge” instead of “Mistake” as a necessary euphemism because mistakes conjure up negative emotions while “challenges” are something to overcome and persevere through- which I did and I still do as I work to expand my business into a small empire!

Here are 5 challenges I faced and some essential ways to mitigate those challenges so you don’t become discouraged while on your path to building your own business.

1. Find the right team

You’ve heard it said you are the company you keep – and it’s true. Aim high here. Finding the right Co-Founder or partner(s) in your startup journey is a difficult one, especially in the beginning, but even if it delays your launch, don’t settle here. Don’t go straight to your friend, family member, or roommate. Go to someone who has a complementary skill set (it doesn’t help if you are both good at the exact same things,) someone who is as passionate as you about the business, and someone who loses as much sleep about the business as you do. Find someone reliable, someone with a similar work ethic, someone with the same ‘failure is not an option’ mantra.

2. Finding advisors and mentors

Again, you are the company you keep. Seek out smart, successful people with proven track record. I wouldn’t be where I am now without a supportive startup community, mentors and advisors, and other founders. Get advisors who understand the startup world because they’ve lived it already. You don’t have take everything they say as a blueprint for what you must do – each business is different, but let their ideas be springboard for your own.

No one knows your business better than you do. I go to my advisors when I’m conflicted with business decisions, fundraising questions, pitch help, or general advice. They are important nutrition to the over health health of your business so find the right ones who have different skill sets and experience. You’ve heard it said “Diversify” in your financial investments. The same is true when assembling your team. “Diversify.” Find people with different superpowers. Find a person who excels at sales, find a whiz marketer, find a tough-as-nails lawyer to advise you on all things legal. You get the idea.

3. Keeping your team motivated during tough times

To hit the peaks, you’ll be in your fair share of valleys. What goes up, must come down. You can’t defy the laws of gravity so know there will be tough times. Staff can smell fear a mile away. Never give off that sense of concern even if you feel it on the inside. It’s up to the Founder to rally the troops and keep the team motivated and positive. If you’re freaked out, the team will be freaked out and success never flourishes in fear.

4. Working with limited resources

It pretty much goes without saying that when starting a new business, you are working with limited resources. “Money does not grow on trees.” But there are big decisions to make about when to fundraise, how to fundraise, the how and when of green lighting big expenditures that require an investment. Talking to mentors and advisors to decide when the right time is to tackle those big questions is essential in maintaining a healthy bottom line.

5. Rejection

Take a “No” or a closed door in your face as a personal challenge. No great companies were built without rejection. No actor gets every part he/she auditions for. No singer got a record deal without hearing some naysasyer along the way. You’ll face a lot of “No thanks, Not Nows, Not Evers,” but rest in the knowledge that it’s just part of the process. That said, don’t discount every bit of criticism you receive. Constructive criticism may well be your best asset. Follow your gut, and dust yourself off every time you’re thrown onto the ground from the bucking horse that is the startup world.

Good luck! I am rooting for you!


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Ifrah KhanIfrah Khan is the Founder and CEO of Usit, the last minute babysitting app that connects busy parents to vetted college student babysitters in their community. Ifrah was named one of Atlanta Inno’s 25 under 25 entrepreneurs in 2018 and has a passion for how technology can help create new communities and opportunities in dual sided marketplaces. She just completed Atlanta Tech Village’s Pre-Accelerator and is focusing on disrupting the babysitting industry by turning what used to be a huge pain in the butt for both parents and sitters into an easy and exciting process. Ifrah supports and brings together other young entrepreneurs with her position as a Kairos Society Executive with a mission of focusing the next generation on problems worth solving. She graduated from Emory University’s undergraduate business school in 2017 and previously worked in Finance at Accenture. Although she’s not a mom, she is passionate about helping mothers and children in need which is why she serves on the board of Helping Mamas, a fast growing local Atlanta non-profit aimed to help moms and children in need.   https://www.usit.care/

Scaling A Small Business Tips

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Entrepreneurship | Scaling A Small Business Tips | Scaling Business
 
It’s no easy feat scaling a business, it is pretty difficult and takes considerable effort. At the beginning of a business, the owners will practically do every job that needs to be done. Things that involve a wide spectrum of skills and knowledge from different business departments, such as dealing with sales and marketing. It also means understanding taxes and corporate compliance including employment regulations and laws. And finally, usually, for small businesses, It will involve having to interact with customers on a daily basis.

Spending all your time fulfilling these roles can make you think that your business is far from any growth or expansion and in doing so would damage its foundations. Sometimes this is not true. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who struggle to grow their business. Scaling a business is a strategic program framework and requires an element of planning with compiling the business assets into one fluent engine in motion.

Like anything else in life, including business, you will have to put in the time if you’re looking to reap the benefits of success. Don’t focus on the short-term outcome of your work but look to the long term and build sincere value to your customers.

Here are some ways a small business can prepare for growth and scaling up.

Build A Good Sales Funnel

One of the first ways to quickly grow a business is by building a sales funnel. If a business does not have one, they’re making a monumental mistake. Sales funnels can help to somewhat automate your business functionality making it more established.

Upgrade Your Technology

Scaling a business will require some essence of updating the current system in place that takes care of the business needs. Whether it is a fleet of smartphones or vans, sometimes the investment will need to be made to keep clients and customers satisfied with your products or services. If your business requires minimal IT but still requires digitalizing documents or even hosting a web site, check out Hudson Valley IT Services company, who will take care of your site needs.

Customer Management System

Now manually tracking transactions is hard and can take up a lot of space when storing them in cabinets. No one wants to do that. Paperwork can get burdensome as the business grows but if you want to scale quickly, use a customer management system. You can find plenty to choose from online and make sure you choose the right one that depends on your line of work.

Email Lists

Back in the day, it was a little book with all the client information but now one of the best and most effective ways to grow a business quickly is to build an email list. The more people you can send offers and deals to the more potential sales you will have.

Scaling up takes time and strategic measure need to be in place to be able to counter-act any problems that may occur. Have you scaled your business recently? Share your tips on what you found helped you in the comments below.

5 Things To Remember When Starting A Chemical Manufacturing Business

A chemical manufacturing company is a potentially very lucrative business idea, however, it does require a lot of initial investment. You need to cover the cost of finding a prime location, buying and setting up all of the equipment, and hiring a lot of specialist employees. You’ll have to put a lot of money into this business if you want to get it going which means the risk is very high and if you fail, you will find yourself in a very difficult financial position. That’s why you need to think carefully about it and make sure that you know exactly what is involved in setting up a successful chemical manufacturing business. If you think that it’s the right idea for you, make sure that you have considered these things.

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article | 5 Things To Remember When Starting A Chemical Manufacturing Business | Entrepreneurship

What Is Your Niche Going To Be?

Unless you want to spend huge amounts of money on different types of equipment, you need to pick a fairly narrow niche for your chemical manufacturing business. Starting out with one or two products is the best thing to do, otherwise, your overheads will get out of control before you even get started. The first decision that you need to make is whether you’re going to make intermediate chemicals or finished products for market. Intermediate chemicals will be sold to other businesses which will use them during the manufacturing process to make products that go straight to market. Alternatively, you could make products like cleaning chemicals, soap or toothpaste etc. for companies that will then sell them direct to retailers.

If you’re making intermediate chemicals, the manufacturing process is usually simpler and cheaper. You’ll also have more choice of customers, especially if you make a product that is used to manufacture a lot of different things. However, the profit margins on these products tend to be smaller so you’ll be selling in larger quantities but not necessarily making as much money on each unit.

Manufacturing finished products for market does tend to give you a higher profit margin, the only problem is that the overheads are also a lot higher. When you’re manufacturing more complex products, you’ll need a lot more equipment and at this point, you probably can’t afford that. It’s best to start out with intermediate chemicals and move on to more complex products once you’re well established and you have the money to cover the increased overheads.

Location In Relation To Raw Materials

Choosing the right location for your manufacturing plant is very important. You need to make sure that you have adequate space for all of the equipment that you’ll need but you also need to think about your location in relation to the raw materials that you’re going to need. If your manufacturing plant is located too far away from companies that supply the raw materials then you’re going to be spending a lot of money on shipping and that will eat into your profits. The best thing to do is to decide what you want to manufacture and work out what raw materials you will need and then find a location where they are easily accessible.

Storing Chemicals

When you’re choosing a location, you don’t just need to consider how you’re going to get your raw materials and then manufacture new products with them, you also need to think about where you’re going to store all of those chemicals. You will need to store the raw materials before manufacture and the finished product afterwards. That’s why it’s important that you find a location that has plenty of space for storage as well as manufacturing. Get in touch with a company like Tuffa Tanks that supply storage tanks for chemicals so you can get an idea of what it will cost and what kind of size you can get. This will give you an idea of the cost of storage and how much space you will need so you can make sure you choose a suitable location.

Packaging And Shipping

Storing the chemicals at your own facility is one thing, but you also need to deal with packaging and shipping the chemicals. If they are hazardous in any way, this can be quite a challenge and it might cost you quite a lot of money. Some of this cost can be factored into the price when you sell the chemicals but you don’t want to push the prices up too high and lose customers. There are certain regulations around the packaging and shipping of certain chemicals so it’s essential that you do your research beforehand and find out whether this applies to you or not. If you are found to be breaking these regulations, even without realizing, it’s likely that your business will be shut down temporarily, if not permanently, and you’ll be hit with a big fine.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Ship Hazardous Materials|We Answer the Top 9 Most Commonly-Asked Questions About Hazardous Materials PackagingEnvironmental Concerns

Manufacturing chemicals can have a big impact on the environment, especially if you’re using hazardous materials, and that’s something that you need to think about when you’re setting up your business. Disposing of waste properly is so important because if you just dump it, you’ll do a lot of damage to the surrounding ecosystems. If you’re found to be disposing of waste in the wrong way, you could get yourself into a lot of legal trouble. There are proper channels for disposing of your waste in a safe manner that doesn’t damage the environment so it’s important that you follow them properly. This is usually going to cost you more than standard waste disposal for a business so make sure to factor that in as well.

Ideally, you should try to use less harmful chemicals where possible because this will improve your public image. Consumers are very concerned with environmental issues and a lot of people cite it as a major factor in their purchasing decisions. If you can find different ways to manufacture your products and reduce your impact on the environment, you’re far more likely to make sales.

If you don’t consider these things before you start your own chemical manufacturing company, you’re likely to fail before you even get off the ground.

How to Use Outsourcing to Boost Your Profits

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | How to Use Outsourcing to Boost Your Profits | Entrepreneurship | OutsourcingOutsourcing is a word that’s used a lot in business articles and guides for business owners, but is it really worth considering if you only have a small business or are a sole trader? If you think of outsourcing as something that only medium to large companies need to do, you’re missing out on a powerful way to boost your profits, because the benefits of outsourcing have no relation to the size of your business.

Because of its association with more sizeable businesses, outsourcing tends to be viewed as a situation where a whole section of a large corporation or organization is subcontracted to another company. For example, a hospital that pays a specialist cleaning company to undertake all the housekeeping duties.

There could be fifty or a hundred employees taking care of the hospital with not one of them being employed directly; the hospital pays the cleaning company, and the cleaning company deals with staff management. The hospital director gets a clean hospital without having to worry about looking after staff, equipment, recruitment, rotas, and all the other responsibilities of doing the cleaning in-house.

The test of whether outsourcing can work for you is to examine the numbers, which will tell you if outsourcing is viable in your circumstance or not. You may be a small business with a handful of employees or someone who works alone out of their back bedroom, but the same financial calculations are as applicable to you as they are to the hospital director. The bottom line is, can you earn more in the time it takes you to perform a task than it would cost you to pay someone else to do it? That’s the essence of how outsourcing boosts your profits in a nutshell.

In practice, what it means is that if your profit is $35 per hour as a freelance researcher, and it costs $20 an hour to employ an assistant to do all your admin, every hour you spend doing admin is costing you $15. If you spent those hours doing more paid work, you could have all your admin done for you and still be making money. In some cases doing tasks yourself could well be costing even more if you don’t have the skills to complete the task effectively and efficiently.

For instance, if you do all your own SEO, that could be taking you five hours each week, so straight away you’ve got the difference between how much you’re losing by not earning, and the cost of outsourcing the task. However you’ve also got the loss you’re incurring by spending more time than an expert would, and not being as effective as an expert at optimizing your business presence. By outsourcing to a specialist like Orlando SEO, you can devote more time to earning, and have a better return on the investment than you’d get if you carried on trying to do your SEO yourself.

Have a look at what you’re doing that could be done by someone else, and see how much it would cost to outsource those tasks. Even if you just take on a remote assistant to do two hours a week, if you make $35 an hour and pay them $15 an hour, over a year you’ll boost your profits by over $2,000 a year!