Excerpt from Chapter 2- The First Step from our book on entrepreneurship You can do it!
The first step taken right is half the journey undertaken. Therefore, it is imperative that we stride with care and caution. There is no dearth of opportunities. However, once you have decided to be your own boss, you need to fix a date where in you take that all-important step to quit your job. It is like making plans for a vacation, when you block the dates, book tickets and start preparing for the travel, stay, food and activities.
To start a business venture, you have to start finding new answers to the age-old problems. Most of the groundbreaking ideas are so obvious and common that on hearing one, you wonder why you did not think of it yourself.
For new ideas, you do not need to solve complex mathematical equations, but come up with a new combination of old elements.
There are two things responsible for the success of any business idea: Is your idea (a) addressing someone’s PAIN or (b) is it allowing someone to GAIN? Experience shows that starting a business to remove somebody’s pain stands a better chance of success as compared to the gain factor. This is because pain demands immediate removal while gains can wait. For Gains – you may also require creating a new market, but for Pain, a market already exists.
Make sure your idea is simple and can solve problem for many people at any given point of time. The best way to find ideas for business is to start with pain points in your surroundings. A friend started her business of manufacturing Potty Seats for children because she wanted a comfortable and convenient seat for her own child
In the late 1960s, banks started facing the problem of long queues where customers stood in line to withdraw or deposit cash. Senior managers wondered if adding more counters or opening more branches or extending the bank working hours would solve the problem of overcrowding and delays. Over time, some smart minds found the solution. It was not that people wanted more banks to open for longer periods; they just wanted cash anytime anywhere. That is how the ATM machines came into existence.
Once you find which pain or gain, you are going to work on, start looking for a solution. You need to rewrite problem statements repeatedly to see if you can come up with the right problem statement, which is easy to fix. Always look for simple solutions rather than complicated technical solutions.Remember that simple solutions are difficult to find. However, if you are able to find simple solutions, your success in business is a sure shot guarantee.
Even if an opportunity exists, do not get into it if it is not your interest or passion, as even if you become successful, you may not sustain for long time. You require imagining yourself in the business for long term before exploring any venture.
If you want to replicate an existing successful business, the best way is to take up a franchise.
Do not worry if your business is not creating disruption in the industry, or creating the next ‘game changer’ in technology. The spark that is within you will dictate your success. Success is a relative definition. You may be successful in your own ways – from where you started and where you are today! This thought drives you to succeed in your mission and convince others to support you in achieving it. It makes you get up every morning, go to work happily with lots of zeal and never give up at the slightest hint of trouble. What you need to avoid is comparing your growth with other’s growth. Generally, the tendency is to compare ourselves with highly successful people like Ambani’s, Bill gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Tata’s kind. This kind of success in an outcome of continuous actions, right decisions, right process, right team, right connections and years and years of investment in the business. You may reach that level of success gradually once you follow first things first rule.
It is possible that at the first roadblock, you would be disheartened, your friends and others could be making more money or running more successful ventures, which would make you doubt your own capabilities, but the trick lies in doggedly following your own path and listening to your inner voice.
Each journey you take is a test for your willpower. The bigger you aim, the bigger the roadblock on the way, but remember that roadblocks are merely steppingstones to success. You have to believe in yourself to make things work. If you do not believe in yourself, nobody else will.
It is very important to set a goal before you start your journey. Your goal would be your company’s vision too. A SMART goal brings clarity and structure to your efforts and it conforms to the criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Questions you should ask yourself while setting the goals: 1. What exactly do I want to achieve? 2. How do I want to achieve it? 3. What is my timeframe? 4. Do I need any partners? 5. What are the conditions and limitations? 6. What are the risks involved?
Some of the focus points for you:
Know your Target Audience: Your primary aim is to sell your product or services. Before you launch it in the market, you should be very clear about your target audience. You have to know their needs, the current choice available to them, and their preference, their expectations from the new product, and ways to satisfying their needs to attract their attention, and earn some loyalty. Their buying capacity could also be a deciding factor for this.
Prepare for the first step :: In addition to gathering information, you have to keep a few things in mind. First, calculate the least amount of money you can live on with dignity and without making undue sacrifices. If you are young, unmarried with no liabilities, you can survive on very little sum every month. Of course, you might have to say good-bye to party nights and expensive gadgets. But, those with families and other responsibilities have to make a bigger sacrifice. Prepare your family for the drastic cut in the expenditure until your business is on track. You might have to postpone buying the big house your wife desires or the high-end car your son wants or premium university that your daughter wishes to go to. Importantly you have to win their confidence and support so that they are prepared for what lies ahead.
Timing the first step : Most of the entrepreneurs want to start something even while they are in a job, but this is not a very practical approach. One cannot concentrate on the job and work sincerely at the same time. This might even result in failing in both, the job as well as the business.
Finding Health quotient Most of the people just ignore health until it starts bothering them in their day-to-day functions. You need to make sure that you maintain healthy life style much before you start your entrepreneurial journey. If you are already approaching forties, it is advisable to take full medical test before you jump to start on your own. You need a fit and active body to take up a challenge in whatever you want to achieve.
Fixing a budget This is a tough question to answer. Mostly, business aspirants check their bank balance to decide their budget, but this approach may not be correct in long run. Starting a business with low budget means low investment, which is most likely to receive low returns, as well. Go beyond your comfort zone; borrow from family and friends, and those who trust you. Aim high to fly high.
Knowledge vs. Capital In respect of funding, you can either start a business, which needs a heavy amount of initial funding or go in for a skill-based venture. Both have their pros and cons. In capital based industry like manufacturing, you have greater chance to predict the items you will produce and the way you will be doing marketing and how the funds will flow as many entrepreneurs have walked this path. Enough and sufficient learning has already been recorded. You can follow this route when you have solid collateral, which can allow you to get bank loans easily. Before you start capital
In knowledge-based business, you start with less capital but there is no surety that your product will succeed, so always start with your initial concept, and have an open mind to change roadmap as your market demands. You need to have an agile mind and easy adaptability to transform your initial idea based on what market needs. If this is a software product, you need to make sure that architecture of the product is modular, so that it can be molded easily as per market requirements. intensive business, spend good amount in research about the future of the products
Whatever you get into, all you need is to give your 500%. Be flexible and stick to your values while doing smart work and success will follow you.
Our complete guide to Entrepreneurship Available at http://www.amazon.in/dp/1946048259