How can startups cure your indigestion

Knowledge that is not put into practice is like food that is not digested. –Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Have you felt the practicality of this sentence in your professional life? Have you noticed how working in a particular role, amassing a lot of knowledge and skill will make your life miserable because in big corporate world, you don’t get to put everything in practice?

I certainly have!

I have noticed that big corporate world does not allow you to experiment too much but wants to make everything process-driven, which is in itself is not a wrong practice. However, it sort of generates an indigestion within your personality. You feel a bit suffocated that you are not able to launch all of your fangs and antennas to grab the frequency of everything that’s out there.

So, what’s the solution?

The solution for this problem is to work for a startup. They offer you full array of responsibilities, skill-testing opportunities and also to achieve results on multiple fronts.

Why you should work for a startup?

Some reasons that should make your decision if you are looking to work for a startup:

  • You might be the sole guy to work for a vertical
  • You can put into practice everything you know
  • You can spare time to learn new things and implement them for the success of the business idea
  • You can experiment, innovate and anticipate
  • You can bring results by making your knowledge and skill-set work

If I get the chance to work for a startup

I feel that if I ever get a chance to work for a startup in my full capacity, I will be happy to throw away any kind of job that I might be holding or working for. Startups give you a high and you can’t let it skip by any chance!

A small business to start from home

If you might feel what I share with you is your cup of tea, then I can give you a great business idea. The services industry is swelling today like tsunami. Individuals and firms are venturing into offering new line of series that can render the customers’ lives easy and simple. There are several things that you can do from your own home without any big investment. Just think of this.

These days, most people at homes are moving outside for their business, jobs or studies. They have little time to run about procuring the various services and products they want for their homes. You can set up a home needs service outlet that will supply them anything and everything they want and can render any support they would require. For instance, this could be procuring the provision items and medicines, paying bills and so on. The idea is this. Your home needs service outlet will be kept open well before the people leave for their jobs and when they cross your outlet they will drop a list of products and services they want. They will also deposit some amount along with the list. You can procure the items and accomplish the tasks by evening and collect the balance amount after handing over the items and receipts at their door step.

This could turn out to be a huge enterprise in the long run undertaking maintenance chores at the homes and also accepting some contractual works. To start with, this kind of venture can be run from your own home without any need for huge infrastructure. Once it picks up, you can add more people to your organization and procure more amenities that can ease your working. This is in fact a great idea that can take shape into a highly lucrative business venture for a small investment.

A new business idea

There are two dimensions to a new business idea. It might refer to a new venture that an entrepreneur might think of launching, or it might also indicate an unconventionally new idea that would give route to a new line of successful business venture. In either way, a new business idea can be said to be the platform that an entrepreneur chooses to work on. Often the source of a business idea could be something you cannot imagine. When you walk on, you keep your eyes open to what happens around you. Keenly watch those aspects that can add convenience and comfort to customers.

Think of ways in which you can make complicated things simple. If your product or idea can ease the lives of people, then you are on the right track to conceive a lucrative business idea. It all ultimately depends on how well you are able to think off the track and forge several concerns to give shape to a particular product or service.

Entrepreneurs need to understand the consumer psychology. Business is not something new to this world. There had been businesses around us down the long history of the human race. Also, there are millions of businesses happening around us. Therefore, to be successful, what you would like to offer your customers should be able to serve the interests of the customers in a highly convenient way when compared to those that have been existing and those that are already there in the market. Once you ensure this, then you are perfectly on your road to success.

Plunge deep into the market, analyze the way things are manufactured and services are rendered. Look into the areas that you can improve by applying your thought. You will land on some points that you can change or do differently. This marks a new business idea and you can start working out your way from there.

A small business idea

A small business idea can be a royal road to a highly successful venture. The word business stems from being busy – meaning a hectic activity. The mind of an entrepreneur must always be busy. While there are employees to take care of the various business processes and attend to the lot of chores that run your business, you play the key role of thinking innovative for the success of your business. This aspect perhaps you cannot entrust to someone or hire someone to do.

Every entrepreneur must be able to visualize. Once you land on a small business idea, project it and imagine how it could take shape into a huge venture. Evolve new channels that would strengthen it and eliminate those aspects that have been raising queries and concerns. This is the way you can forge a small idea to something that will work out concretely.

Understanding the existing market clearly, identifying the areas or aspects you could improve, and evolving a solid working model – these are essential parts of a comprehensive process involved in conceiving a business idea whether small or big. Ultimately, the growth of a business depends on how well you put things in place and work on every aspect to see that the product or service exceeds the customers’ expectations. Your business could be successful to the extent it is received by the customers.

Remember that there are millions of others doing business already. Unless you have something to give your customers that they would think better, you cannot thrive in the market for long. There are many others who are entering into business every day and unless you keep up the competitive worth of your product, you cannot stand in the industry. Therefore, constant innovation and continuous improvement are the keys to running a successful business. If you want to be part of the race, keep running and never look back.

 

A small business ideas

World is a mine of ideas. You just look around you and you will find myriad ideas that you can shape into a concept to do business. Gold is extracted from underground. When you dig deep, you do not find gold bars crafted to ready use. You need to take the ore that hardly looks like what you imagine to be gold. The ore is found mixed up with soil and stones. You need to let the mineral undergo a series of processes to get refined into the gold that you can call so.

Similarly, you need to process every business idea to perfection before you can make it workable to do business. While your insight and creative energy can help shape ideas, you can also immensely benefit from what others can input to the shaping process. In this connection, you need not run hunting for business giants to help you. Your own family and friends can play a vital role in shaping your small business ideas.

No idea is small or big. In the beginning, ideas might look small. Eventually they might grow into incredible concepts to do a great business. What are huge multinational enterprises today have stemmed from small business ideas. In the process of their growth, they would have received several instances of trimming, crafting, forging, polishing and shaping. Ultimately, they have developed to their present state contributing to highly enviable businesses.

Never under estimate an input that you might be able to make use of to shape your business idea. Sometimes, what you deem useless and meaningless could open up new possibilities or improve some odd elements connected to your business. Accept all inputs that come in your way and apply your discretion to make use of them the right way. This is the way you can let your business ideas to work.

A business idea

As a huge tree grows from a tiny seed, often most business ideas germinate from a small innovative thought. First and foremost, we need to understand the term business. Business is a process that serves mutual interests – the needs of the customers and the entrepreneurs at once. The underline is that there is some service or product given away by the entrepreneur in return for a fee or cost paid by the customer. No entrepreneur will do business that is not profitable. No customer would buy a product that does not serve their purpose. Thus, a business can be successful as long as it effectively fulfills the needs of both customers and entrepreneurs.

If a business is more profitable to both the parties, then there is a strong likelihood that the business will turn out to be highly successful. Therefore, entrepreneurs will have to constantly strive to see that they give the desired product of the best quality to the customers so that they always stay at the winning edge of the market or industry.

Every entrepreneur must have a thorough insight into the market trends in the arena that they want to do their business. Without being able to ascertain what your customers would want, you cannot perhaps do a fruitful business. At the base of a business is a huge amount of brain storming that goes in. This process is associated with a good amount of market research. Thus, a comprehensive approach to business can give a solid workable shape to a business idea. Through their persistent ground work, entrepreneurs need to shape a business idea to perfection and once this is done, the roads to a successful business shall open. In the formative process, no business idea is small. There is neither a hopeless idea nor a great idea. It all depends on how best a start up idea is shaped.

What type of content resource a startup should hire?

Content ResourceI have been working in the internet industry for the last 11 years. I have seen the great rise of the dotcom and also the recession that hit almost everybody so hard that they had to make drastic changes in their career and life. I have also seen black-hat SEO techniques giving rich dividends to small companies, and also how Google quickly killed them by introducing various changes to its algorithm.

I have worked in the print, startups, and also in the largest digital media companies of the world. I did more than 500 projects on freelance basis through various marketplaces. So, here is what Gyan (the spellings are debatable) I could give to you if you are a startup and want to hire a content resource.

What is meant by a content resource

A lot of people are confused by what it means to be a content guy. Some of them feel that they are the most easily available chaps; randomly looking for a job (I myself am a mechanical engineer by studies), and in such a quantity that if you throw a brick anywhere, it hits a content writer. Well, quality content resource is absolutely not that. More about it later.

Some people think that content guy is somebody who will write random blogs and will see that there is something textual on the webpages (When Google started as a Search Engine, such wast he case).

In the recent times, a lot of people think that we need somebody who can post messages on social media.

Not really. Content resource is your key and face! Choose wisely, offer respect, and check the value addition. You will be amazed what a real champion of content can do to your business.

What ideally a content resource should be able to do

Quality content resource is something big and so instrumental for the success of any team that you can’t ignore the value. As a small business, you should look for a person who is capable in all of these things.

  • Great writing skills in the language that you are targeting (Indispensable quality). Though this does not mean that the content needs to be mechanically boring and only sticking to the grammar rules only, yet creativity should be used for the wow factor and not as a compromise for quality.
  • Knowledge of target audience (Content strategy). Without this, no content team can work.
  • Knowledge of Google Analytics or any other metric tool that you employ (Very important for planning, forecasting)
  • knowledge about web, mobile, social, and importance of viral-ity. If the person does not know the power of ‘what could click’ and what impact it can have on the overall performance of the product/service, there is hardly any future for that person in this domain
  • Great networking skills are pretty much important. If the person is more of a recluse, things might not develop the way they should be. A content guy needs to be a good-networker, always looking out to learn and try out new things, and also to get the work done by using the available resource optimally.
  • Though content writing is a highly creative work and Google has worked hard to erase the gratuitous use of keywords that used to be sprinkled here and there, a content resource should have a thorough knowledge of SEO and SEM. There is no short-cut or two-way around it.

The cliche goes that ‘content is the king'; but for me, a content resource is the king. If he is up to the mark, the success is guaranteed.

Startups, pay attention and diligence when you hire a content resource. Put maximum stakes in this field and reap rich dividends.

5 creative business ideas off the sleeve

Here are 5 creative business ideas that you can try. They are just creative ideas and of course a lot of hard-work will be needed to make them break-even or go profitable.

  1. Visit various strata of the society or different states of India and video-record how women celebrate the festival of Karwa Chauth. What are the beliefs associated with it, and how working women face the dilemma of going to office/job and still maintaining the decorum associated with this festival. If the video goes viral, you have a popular digital property. If you have the bandwidth to expand on this, you actually might have a YouTube channel to run. Without doubt, you can monetize your videos.
  2. Write a book on street businesses in India that are popular state-wise. You will need to do by actually visiting some famous street vendors and learning from them the modus-operandi of their businesses. You will also need to have a good camera to take pictures. I am sure you will have lots of lessons to share with entrepreneurs and also many stories from those small-scale entrepreneurs.
  3. Launch a website that talks about funny and weird things in the Indian society. Draw comparisons among mythological characters and the present-day stars. Criticize taboos and fundamentalists. You will have a lot of viral-ity on the social media.
  4. Create an iOS or Android app that provides support and help for Sanskrit enthusiasts. You won’t believe that but there are more than 100,000 searches that go around the Sanskrit word. The market can be expanded given the authenticity and creativity that you can bring in that app.
  5. Start a news portal in the regional language. Regional language websites are hit and there’s a huge potential of readership when it comes to vernaculars. You might notice that big media houses like BBC, NDTV, BCCL have various verticals in regional languages.

 

Guru Nanak Dev Ji endorsed entrepreneurship, check how!

So, this morning, I was thinking of this beautiful verse that is spoken so many times by complaining professionals in Punjab about the pathetic and pitiable situation of their jobs:

ਉੱਤਮ ਖੇਤੀ, ਮੱਧਮ ਵਪਾਰ, ਨਖਿੱਧ ਚਾਕਰੀ

This verse literally translates like this: Farming is superlative; business is good, but servitude is waste.

Why they keep reminding themselves about this is because of the fact that employee satisfaction is not the prime concern of the companies or institutions where they happen to work. Though, only a handful and small-scale companies have their offices in Punjab, but lots of Punjabi professionals are fed of their employment and want to do something or their own.

In the present time, this verse may sound like too harsh but so do lots of sayings said by lots of great thinkers of the past. Consider, for instance, Chanakya. He is branded as the male-chauvinist and sexist because of his harsh comments and controlling advice about women. Misunderstanding and wrong interpretation has not spared even Saint Kabir because of his couplet where he advises that women should be controlled by beating. (!)

My point is that we should try to focus on the real meaning of these sayings and try to find out what message and practicality they do have in the present time too. So, about the thing that Guru Nanak Dev Ji said, let’s not debate that he did not like working for somebody or whether he condemned people who are employees. Let’s talk about how he praised farming, which is nothing else but entrepreneurship. Why? Let’s find out.

Farming is entrepreneurship

FarmingSo, when we say farming is entrepreneurship and not a business, which was not considered as superlative, what comparison and equation we have in our minds?

Farming is like a new idea for every season and every time the farmer sows the seed in the land. Tilling and ground preparation is the beta version of developing an idea. The land is like the incubator where the entrepreneur is trying his idea. The rain and season is like the funding that will enable him to make his idea come to life. Rain Angels and Weather Capitalists will make sure that he gets full support.

As the seeds sprout, he will have to take care that he gets the crop, which is like testing and debugging and troubleshooting of the service/product is developed and made ready for the market.

Finally, when it is time to reap the harvest and sell it in the market, the real value of the entrepreneurial idea will be cashed. There is nothing better to explain this when the entrepreneur is ready for the market. If his crop (idea) is good, he will get better value; and if it happens to something inferior, he will have to suffer loss.

What I really like in the concept of farming being entrepreneurship is the element of uncertainty.  You don’t know what you will encounter as you grow your crop (idea). You test yourself as you move along.

Why it’s not business because you do farming on your own. It’s not a product or a service that somebody else has manufactured and you are earning profit by being the middleman or an agent. It’s your baby and your idea and you will lose/gain based on your own endeavor.

Share what you think about this idea and whether you agree to this point or not. I will be happy to know how well I have been able to correlate these two. :)

Things you should do or know if visiting a foreign country

Kauai Visit

 

This post is inspired after my recent visit to the US. I found that as a traveler, there are certain things that come handy and useful. Some of them are just informational and some of them are skill-based. Let’s see what these might be:

  • It’s better to know the temperature reading in Fahrenheit instead of simply knowing the Celsius scale. In India, we measure the temperature in Celsius but it is really useful to know the Fahrenheit scale for planning your trip. Just remember a simple formula that can convert Celsius to Fahrenheit and you are good. The formula goes like this: (°C × 9/5) + 32 = °F.
  • Conversion rate of your currency is really handy because you would be buying a lot of stuff in that country’s currency. This will help you determine the costs and also to plan your budget accordingly. Oftentimes, you will feel that you could buy or not buy certain thing, but when you realize the price in your own currency, you are at a better position to make the decision.
  • Unit of weight is also another thing that you will usually encounter while purchasing. In India, we follow Gram unit while in many foreign countries, Pound (lbs) unit is followed. Similarly, instead of Kilometer, Mile is used for distance. So, knowing these units is also a useful information.
  • Google Maps or map reading skills are also important for people who want to try out places and things in a particular city. If you are using GPS, you need to hone your skills on maps so that it becomes easy and hassle-free for you.
  • And finally, the thing that I lacked greatly and would love to overcome it ASAP is swimming. In foreign countries, you will get swimming opportunities at every nook and corner. It is always fun, healthy and great to know how to swim. If you know that, your trip to any foreign country can turn out to be awesome and memorable.

I would be happy to know any such information or skill that comes handy while traveling to foreign countries. Share if you would!

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