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manuj’s blog

January 2, 2022

How to Start an Online Business (7 Critical Questions Answered) Part 3

How to Start an Online Business (7 Critical Questions Answered) Part 3

Question: I am a C-Suite in a large company with tons of experience – but I am being laid off or I want to start a new business – but I do not know how to do it

Answer: In the past decade, I’ve watched dozens of unemployed executives start their own businesses. Some were wildly successful. Others failed miserably.

One thing I’ve learned is that if you’re getting laid off from a big company, you have a huge advantage over unemployed professionals who are just starting out on their own after leaving smaller companies or being self-employed.

Also, If you’re being laid off, the fear of failure is gone. You can take the time to understand your true motivations and passions. And when you start your own business, there are no bosses, no board members, and no investors you need to answer to. You’re the one in charge of your destiny. Here are some tips that will help you succeed. 

1. Prepare yourself mentally

Leaving your job is no easy thing, especially if it was your dream and you worked hard to get there. You have to prepare mentally. Take time off work and think about what you really want to do and how much it will cost for you to start a business. You need to know what you want and how much you will give up by quitting your job.

2. Set up the work-life balance

Being an entrepreneur is not easy and it truly takes dedication to make it work. You will be working long hours, most of the time without any compensation but it’s important that you take time off as well because if you don’t, then you will burn out eventually and won’t be able to do anything but think of how tired you are.

3. Decide on your niche market

If you want to succeed in running a business, it is imperative that you find your own niche market where everyone knows who you are and what services or products that you sell. This way, people will automatically come to trust your brand which will allow for maximum growth. 

4. Start networking like crazy

People come into contact with other people every day of the week without even realizing that they could be useful in some way down the line. It might seem obvious to start networking but don’t underestimate it. A great network will help you to build a trustable brand, get leads and establish a reputation. 

Question: I want an effortless way to acquire customers and referrals

Answer: Ever wondered how some businesses seem to go from nothing to a flood of customers seemingly overnight? It’s not magic, it’s just good marketing. Trying to acquire new customers can be difficult. Here are 5 tips that can help you get more business in a way that doesn’t feel pushy or salesy – so it will be easier for people to say ‘yes!’

1. Be everywhere

Make sure you’re easy to find, everywhere your customers may look. If you’re an eCommerce store, get your site in the search engines and give it a Facebook page. If you’re a local business, make sure you’re listed in Google Maps, Yelp, and anywhere else that might be relevant to your customers. Make it as easy as possible for them to find you.

2. Attract New Customers with Freebies

Everyone likes free stuff! Offer some kind of incentive to get people into your store or onto your website. It doesn’t have to be big — Maybe a 20% off coupon code when they sign up for your newsletter. You are giving them something of value and in turn, they are giving you their invaluable email address. 

3. Deliver outstanding customer service and experience

You may be the greatest product in the world, but if your customer service sucks, no one will ever buy from you again! Customer retention is easier than trying to find new customers! Do whatever it takes to make sure your clients are happy with the way they are being treated by your company. 

4. Be personal

Being personal isn’t easy when responding to mass emails but make sure you treat each individual as if they are the most important person in the world. This will result in better responses and better communication. 

Question: I wish there was a way to work with world-class intelligent people without dealing with all the politics or ego problems

Answer: Smart people are a lot like fine art. You can’t tell their true worth until you have the opportunity to experience them firsthand. However, fine art is also sophisticated — meaning intelligent people are not easy to deal with. If you want to build a team of world-class intelligent people, you want to avoid ego problems and politics. 

But the good news is, I’ve built so many teams of smart people for all sorts of projects. Therefore, let me share how you can do it too. Initially, you want to start with a few smart people and build your team around them. Then you can continue to grow your business by adding more and more people in the future.

1. Hire for knowledge, experience, and skill, then train for attitude

Hiring is one of the most important jobs for business owners and leaders. But it’s very easy to make mistakes and choose someone who doesn’t really fit into your company culture and work ethic. That’s why it’s important to hire for knowledge, experience, and skill, then train for attitude. Once you’ve got the right person in place, they’ll be eager to learn and improve their attitude towards work.

2. Make sure everyone in your team is working on the same page

I’ve seen too many managers who want everyone to be brilliant. But in reality, their organization doesn’t know exactly what their vision is or what they want them to accomplish. You want everyone to be on the same page so that they’re not wasting time coming up with ideas on how to move forward due to bad communication.

3. Treat your employees like your customers

Successful organizations understand that the people within their business make all the difference when it comes to growth and profitability. If you treat your employees like your customers, then you’ll be successful in finding and retaining great people.

4. Leave them alone

This doesn’t mean stop supporting them. Instead, train your employees enough that they can work on their own. Intelligent people know how to manage themselves. They perform best when they have independence. This will help you avoid clashes and ego problems as well. 

Question: There are always hidden costs in launching a new venture

Answer: Whenever you launch a new venture, you’re going to uncover hidden costs along the way. It’s part of the deal. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t launch your business or idea. You just need to be prepared for the unexpected costs that are going to come up along the way.

Trying to figure out how much it will cost you to launch your product or idea is like trying to predict the future. Sometimes, things change and you end up with more expenses than you expected. Other times, there are hidden costs that you didn’t consider at all.

The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for these hidden costs and make sure you have a good budget in place before you fire that starting pistol and let things roll.

1. Legal costs

There are always legal requirements connected with starting a new venture, whether it be permits, licenses, or insurance. These vary from country to country so ask a lawyer familiar with your local laws for advice.

2. Sales tax and value-added tax (VAT) registration

If you sell goods or services, you will need to register for sales tax and VAT if they apply in your country. Sales taxes are typically collected by the retailer and may be passed on to the customer as part of the purchase price. VAT is usually included in the purchase price by the seller and paid directly to the relevant government department by the purchaser at the point of sale.

3. Accounting costs

If tax is applicable, bookkeeping will be needed to calculate VAT and sales taxes owed to the government and input them into their accounting system.

4. Licenses and permits

Depending on what type of business you are starting, there will be different kinds of licenses and permits required.

Start small

Make a list of everything you think it will take to get your business off the ground — including marketing and advertising costs — then cut that estimate in half. This will give you breathing room in case unforeseen expenses crop up later on. The crux is this — starting a venture is tricky, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at all. Moreover, if you’ll follow my guidance, you’ll be avoiding all the roadblocks. 

Question: I need a way to quantify or forecast how much revenue I could bring in after spending X on marketing

Answer: After you have decided on what channel to use for your marketing, the next step is to figure out how much return on investment you can expect from each channel. To estimate your ROI, follow these steps.

1. Identify your business goals

What do you want to accomplish with your marketing? Do you want a 10% increase in website traffic? Do you want to increase sales of a specific product? Do you want to double the size of your email list? Be specific about what kind of results you are looking for and why. You can add a goal statement in the campaign overview section of your marketing plan or, if it’s short, at the top of the page.

2. Create a marketing strategy that will help achieve those goals

How do you plan to accomplish your goals? Are you using online advertising, social media campaigns, direct mail, or any other channels? Again, be specific about how you plan to reach your audience and why those methods will work for you.

3. Define metrics that will let you measure success along the way

So before you reach your final goal. For instance, if your goal is to grow an email list by 1% every month for a year and then send out an email announcing a new product when the list.

Question: I do not know if I am wasting resources with my approach

Answer: As entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s important we always ask ourselves, “Is what I’m doing right now the right thing to do?” Is your current business model making you enough money? And is it sustainable or not. So how do you know if your approach is right — and you’re not wasting resources. 

Here are some tips you can use to help determine if your business approach is right. 

1. It needs to fulfill a need

There has to be a need or a desire for whatever you are going to sell before people will buy it. Your product or service has to satisfy some basic human need, want, or desire. Simply put, If they don’t need what you are offering, then why would they buy?

2. Is your business scalable?

One of the biggest pitfalls of any business is being limited by time and resources. If your business can’t be scaled then it will eventually stall out, no matter how hard you try to market or bring on new customers. 

3. Measure your growth against your goals

Another great way to determine whether what you’re doing is working for you or not is by measuring your growth against your goals. Is it matching up? Are there areas where you’re excelling and others where you’re lacking? This exercise will show you where you need to focus more attention and resources. You may be surprised at how much it helps!

4. What unique value are you able to offer?

Your business needs a competitive advantage if it is to survive. If your idea relies entirely on price, there are always cheaper alternatives out there. Is there a particular quality of experience you can offer that others can’t?

5. What is your plan for success?

You can’t just hope that things work out; you have to have a plan. Will your success be built on quality, innovation, and service, or can you cut costs and undersell the competition? No matter what path you choose, you need to know why customers will want to buy from you and how they’ll benefit from doing so.

Question: I have lots of data and evidence of my impact – but I do not know how to present it in a compelling and engaging way

Answer: Telling stories is a great way to inspire others and convey your messaging. However, you need to turn your stories into presentations that will be interesting and engaging for the audience. As such, knowing how to present data of your achievements is a crucial skill to prove your point. 

Here are 4 tips on presenting data of your achievement more effectively.

1. Give context to your numbers

Telling someone you have a new tool installed in your company that has the ability to double productivity is great, but giving them the actual numbers of people impacted is even better. If you have a B2B business, be sure to give the numbers in a way that relates to their own business.

2. Analyze the data first

Before you begin designing your presentation, make sure you analyze what you’re trying to communicate. This will help you decide on the most effective way to capture people’s attention when delivering the information. For example, is there a particular strategy that will work best? Do you need to visualize specific facts in order for people to understand them? Are there any key statistics that would be beneficial if included?

3. Let them see the story

As I already said, one of the best ways to engage an audience is through storytelling. Include examples throughout your presentation that show how much value you have already created for others, and how much more you can do for investors.

4. It’s not about perfection

While it’s tempting to want every number or figure to be perfect before you present your pitch, remember that no one is going to remember everything you say. So rather than trying to cram too much into your presentation, give an overview of what you’re trying to say. 

Continue Reading the Final Part

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