How Soon Should You Start Talking About Business Idea

Idea

Some people are just itching to launch their own business. But all they have is an idea.

It is true that being passionate about your idea is critical to establish a business. But should you discuss it with your friends and family before you have anything concrete?

When is the Right Time?

Naturally, all entrepreneurs are very protective when it comes to nurturing and protecting their business idea. Every entrepreneur initially fears that someone would steal his or her idea.

For that reason, it is important that you don’t share a business idea with people around you, without translating your idea into a viable business.

But in some cases, you can’t take things any further unless you share your business proposal with an investor who can finance your business. Seasoned experts recommend that you must never share any business plan or idea without getting a confidentiality and NDA agreement signed by the other party.

These legal documents are generally drafted by attorneys and must be signed before you discuss your idea.

How to Start Talking about your Business Idea?

An idea is fragile in its infancy stages. It must be developed into an elevator pitch or a business proposal before you could share it with other people. Don’t be discouraged if your idea doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Some of the best business ideas were once turned down by giant investors and people in general.

Believe in Yourself

Did you know that Chester Carlson, who was the inventor of the Xerox machine, received a rejection letter that stated ‘Who wants to copy a document on paper?’ Most of us still don’t know that his idea was turned down by 20 companies between 1939 and 1944. Today, Rank Xerox Corporation earns millions of dollars in profits.

The problem is not that you want to share your idea with people. What’s more important is who you want to share your business proposal with. Many start-ups and entrepreneurs simply abandon their business idea if they are rejected initially. But if you have worked on producing a quick and affordable solution to your target consumers’ problems, never doubt the potential of your business idea.

Many entrepreneurs or companies have re-located to other countries where there is more demand for their products or services. Every city and town has unique government-funded business development offices. You can get free or inexpensive resources to work on your business idea and find your target market.

Connect with Positive People

While keeping your business idea to yourself initially is the best policy, sometimes it helps sharing your ideas with motivated and positive people. Self-motivated individuals offer good advice and offer the best emotional support to help you launch a promising business.

But stay away from people who always bring you down. These people not just steal your energy, but can also rob you of your incredible business ideas.

Create a Strategy

Your business idea is like a small baby that has to grow before you could introduce it other people. Many entrepreneurs have an idea of what their business ideas or products are going to do, but they fail to figure out the ‘how’ part.

Work on developing a decent product or solution, before you could pitch it to investors. Work on creating an impressive proposal that highlights the best features of your idea as well as elaborates the mechanics or the process that’s involved.

When you re-invent something, you need to show why your idea is better than the rest. There has to be something unique about your business idea or product that offers something new or inventive. Going creative saves you from disastrous pitfalls and guarantees a steady source of profits.

Work on Promotion

A solid marketing strategy offers a strong back-up for your business idea. Once you have produced a great product, marketing it right lets you reach out to a wide audience. Study and reflect on how your competitors promoted their first products and services. Did they rely more on promotion or improving their initial business idea.

Relocate to a New Location

There are many reasons why many companies and business relocate to other cities or countries. Some firms require specialized employees while other companies might need an extra and affordable place to run their business.

Ask for Help

Connect with people who listen to your business ideas without any bias or prejudice. Most entrepreneurs look up to a role model if they can’t find a mentor. A mentorship or partnership between two parties can be both formal and informal.

You can also find true strength and support from your friends and family. Reaching out to others and asking for help is never a taboo for entrepreneurs. Successful people know that they can’t do everything. In fact, some of the most lucrative businesses were never built alone.

Test your Services

If you have developed a product, test it on a sample audience to identify its best and worst features. If you are setting-up an ecommerce store, make sure your website has gone through A/B testing and does not have any glitches before you run it live.

In case you have an idea for a mobile app, make sure it goes through a meticulous Quality Assurance process to get any bugs fixed. It is not easy to fool or satisfy today’s smart consumers. Once you have materialized your business idea, you need to promote it successfully across all channels to reach out to your audience.

Final Thoughts

The best time to share your ideas with your friends and family is when you know that your idea can successfully bridge the gap between a problem and a solution. The best time to share it with investors or other companies is when you have meticulously worked on creating and testing the implementation of our ideas. Never prematurely take an idea to an investor, he will reject it. Take a product or business proposal and you have higher chances of getting an approval.

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Manage Your Fears: Six Exercises for Startup Owners

fears

At any given time, establishing a startup is never an easy task. This, however, becomes more difficult and fears for first-time entrepreneurs who do not have much background and experience in managing a company.

Because of the uncertain and ambiguous nature of most startups, would-be entrepreneurs usually find themselves facing a number of fears and misgivings about starting a business. These fears – which are often tied with the need to perform unfamiliar chores and tackle unforeseen challenges, among others – affect one’s performance and would usually lead to a rather disastrous outcome.

Fears are always present, that is the reality. And in order to overcome them, entrepreneurs should keep in mind that their goal is not to get rid it. Instead, they need to have the ability to transform the adrenaline that naturally arises from fears into an energy that can inspire them to move forward. Unmanaged, fear can be destructive. But with proper control, it could turn into a motivating force. 

In an address at the University of California at Santa Barbara, entrepreneur Seth Epstein – an owner of a popular clothing line and the Founder-CEO of broadcast design firm FUEL – talked about fear management and provided several exercises that could help entrepreneurs, first-time or not, harness their fears.

The exercises try to deal with common trepidations faced even by those who are not in entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, Epstein notes that following the suggested tasks would increase one’s chances of being a successful business owner. He said that in order to thrive and enhance their capacity to deal with problems, entrepreneurs must face and do things that they are afraid of.

Following are Epstein’s list of exercises to help startup owners manage their fears:

Go out on a date. Inviting someone to have dinner or watch a movie is one of the most common fears in town. This, therefore, should be on the top of the “face your fears” list. Unfortunately, this exercise is only for those who are still available.

Talk to strangers. People are usually afraid of conversing with unfamiliar people. This is understandable, considering the popular warning that parents often say to their children. Grown-ups, however, must keep in mind that it is important to talk to others, especially in social gatherings and other events.

Engage in an extreme challenge. A lot of people do not participate in extreme physical activities because they are afraid of falling, drowning, or simply losing control of themselves. If you want to know how to manage your fears, then start engaging in activities such as parachuting, bungee jumping, surfing, diving, etc.

Connect with our idol. Try to contact a very important person that you really admire. Look for his or her e-mail address or send a note via regular means. This does not only give you an opportunity to connect with your idol, it also prevents you from being intimidated whenever you face a high-profile person.

Go out and have an adventure. Participating in a challenging trip to an unfamiliar location will help you get used to unfamiliar circumstances and develop your resourcefulness – a very advantageous exercise for entrepreneurs.

Say yes to every opportunity for a week. People are afraid of grabbing opportunities because they are afraid that it will disrupt the status quo and will eventually lead to disasters. For a week, try to keep an open mind and say yes to every relatively safe opportunity that you come upon. This will help you discover things that you will never learn every time you say no.

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Things That a New Small Business Owner Must Expect

Business Owner

Many people dream about starting their own business, but very few are actually able to live their dreams by executing them, and even fewer make it past the first five years. This is mainly because a large number of times, some business owner don’t really know what to expect.

There are no words to describe what it feels like but in simple terms; it’s fun but scary at the same time. A large number of small businesses fail because of an inability to successfully make it past year one.

Many business gurus believe that with the right knowledge of what to expect, a new small business owner will know how to prepare for upcoming challenges. Here are a few things that any new small business owner should expect.

Be Ready to Hustle When You’re Tired

Isn’t that what being a small business owner is about? You may be thinking that as a small business owner, you can take a day off when you feel like it but that’s not the case. As the brains behind the entire operation, you need to hustle even when you feel like you’ve done enough. That’s the difference between being an employee and a business owner; you’ve never done enough.

There will always be paperwork that you need to sign, orders that you need to make and customers whom you need to talk to, especially in the first year. Just like in every other phase of life or an industry, the initial period is always make-or-break, and the end result highly depends upon how much work you put in.

You can spend each second checking and rechecking your plans and improving them, working on ideas and developing new strategies. After all, there’s so much on your plate (marketing, product development, vendor contracts and employee training)

You Can’t Make Every Customer Happy

It’s true that as a business owner, you need to retain a sense of balance in everything you do but when it comes to satisfaction, you can’t make everyone happy. As a small business owner, you’re bound to make quite a few customers unhappy and the truth is, you don’t really need to make everyone happy, either.

It’s important that you remember that the key is to have a consistent customer service policy and handling complaints carefully. If your product doesn’t impress a customer all that much, then the way you handle a complaint is sure to make them a loyal customer.

A major factor that differentiates your small business from that of a larger conglomerate’s is that you, as the owner, can give customers the attention they want, which is why they are likely to approach your brand in the first place.

Be the Master of All Trades

When you first thought of starting a business, you may have guessed that you’d only have to sign things and the wheels of your business would turn themselves. Wrong. In year one, you should expect to be able to do everything and know how every process works.

Along the way, you’ll think ‘they didn’t teach me this at business school’ as you try to find a good web hosting company for your company website or take aesthetic pictures of your products so you can post them on a social media account. You don’t learn everything about starting a business; you have to experience it hands-on.

From managing office operations during the day to writing content for your website at night, you’ll have to do most of it in the first year. You’ll be lucky to have friends or family who’ll be willing to help around but in year one, you can’t afford to hire many employees. In addition, even when you do get people on-board, you’ll have to know how to do things yourself before teaching them the basics.

Be Familiar with Laws

No this is where it gets interesting. Staring a small business will require you to be familiar with laws about hiring and taxes so that your business will genuinely be able to help people in the community by offering employment.

There are a number of regulations, laws, and licenses you need to know about before you can officially carry out operations as a business. In the beginning, you should expect to hire a lawyer for such needs because it’s impossible for you to know all the complex regulations that surround the startup of a small business.

This is crucial because no matter how hard you work on your business, it’s likely that even a small detail or legality can be held against you. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by investing in proper legal advice and obtaining all the licenses you require. Nevertheless, legal counsel isn’t cheap so you should expect to have enough financial resources.

There Will Be Some Bumps along the Road

Failure, no matter how big or small, is an inevitable part of running any business, whether big or small. You could make a product that doesn’t turn out as successful as you thought, your marketing strategy may backfire or worst-case scenario, you get a wave of negative feedback.

The first year won’t be failure-free but that doesn’t lessen your chances of reaching success. To keep yourself prepared for these situations, business experts advise that before you should quit your job, you need to have some savings. To be more specific, you should have enough money to support yourself for a year.

You need enough savings because no matter how well you plan the first year of your business, you can’t predict the future so there is always a chance that you might fail. There’s nothing wrong in preparing yourself for the worst-case scenario while planning for the best.

Conclusion

These are just some of the things that every small business owner must expect, especially during the first year after launching their business. Of course, no amount of expectation and preparedness can actually make you battle-ready to start a business but knowing a few of the most common symptoms will help you diagnose and reassure yourself that this is supposed to happen.

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How to Build a Successful Online Business in 2021

Online

Have you decided to ditch your 9 to 5 job in favor of an online business, such as an e-commerce website or a blogging business? Or have you decided to take up an online business as a side hustle to complement your 9-5 job, and rake in extra cash? Whichever way, these are great intentions.

The Internet and smartphones have changed the way we do business, and in 2020 alone, E-commerce sales accounted for over 25% percent of all retail sales online, according to Statista.

A great number of people are taking a stab at starting their online businesses, so why shouldn’t you?

But, do you have a real understanding of what it takes to be successful in an online business? While it is good to dream big and have big goals of generating a million dollars, do you have a full grasp of what you need to get to that point and ensure that you don’t get lost in the tide?

According to several sources, including Forbes, over 90% of all online business start-ups fail. Fortunately, you are reading this guide, which contains tips that can place you in the 10% successful online businesses. Let’s do this!

With this in mind, here are few tested and trusted tips that you must follow to stand out and succeed with your online business goals:

Understand Your Niche

How do others perceive your brand? What do people know about what you stand for? People like to do business with brands that they know, like, and trust. In your chosen niche, you have to be authentic, doing what works for you and your target audience.

This is why doing market research about the needs and wants of your target audience is important even before you start.

Are there particular demographics you want to attract? What qualities will they look out for in your product/service, and how can you meet those? This will help you with positioning your brand and creating the best marketing strategy for communicating your business with your target consumers.

For instance, if you want to start a blogging business in the fitness niche, you have to identify what aspect of fitness you are well versed in. In this vein, let’s say you decide to focus on workout routines and nutrition, your next step should be to identify the people you want to reach, and how best you can add value to their lives through your blog.

So, you have a niche now, what next?

Know Your Competition

Competition refers to brands that sell or market the same products/services as you. Except you are going into a niche with no existing businesses, which is almost impossible, then you need to evaluate your competition.

Why should customers choose you over others? This is even more crucial in the online business world.

Your strategy for Content Marketing, SEO optimization, and your User experience/interface (website/ mobile app) should position you ahead of your competition. You should be aware of the social media platforms your competitors are using. This will also arm you with knowledge on where best to engage with your potentials.

For instance, doing your analysis of your competition, you might discover that they focus more on Instagram because the majority of target consumers spend their time there. Needless to say, any social media marketing strategy you craft should then center more on Instagram.

Optimize your Web Assets

Web assets are what constitute your online business. They include everything from your website, social media profiles to your hosting accounts.

You need to organize these relevant assets and ensure that they are fully optimized for your brand.

For instance, your webpages and social media should always be completely updated with the latest information about your company.

Your website should be responsive with quick load time to improve the time consumers spend on it. A lightning-fast load speed increases visitor engagement and sales, and instant web response results in higher conversion rates.

According to a recent Aberdeen Group Research, every 1 second delay in page load decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent, page views by 11 percent, and conversion rates by 7 percent.

Over Deliver

After examining your competitors, set benchmarks for your brand’s products and services, and try always to surpass them. Endeavor to meet consumers’ expectations on the value you communicated and even exceeded them.

The importance of delivering more value, especially for your initial offerings, cannot be over stressed. First impressions usually last longer, and a great one could mean several loyal customers.

Just imagine the glee on your consumers’ faces when they discover that they have gotten way more value from your brand than they expected. Priceless! This will keep them coming back for more.

Such a consumer will go ahead to tell friends, who will, in turn, tell friends, and your customer base will keep increasing till you become a leader in that niche, gaining the trust and attention of consumers.

Be Conscious of and Protect the Online Reputation of your Brand

Reputation is at the core and center of any online business. Even the slightest mistake can put your brand in a negative light and taint your brand for a long time. One way to remain conscious about mentions of your brand is to set a Google Alerts notification.

Have social media guidelines and strict branding rules. If anyone is posting about your brand, then you understand what you expect from them.

But even beyond brand mentions, how do you deal with and respond to complaints from your customers. It is highly recommended that you develop a serving, not selling mindset. Be interested in solving customers’ problems, and meeting them at their point of need.

Recent statistics show that 73% of consumers love a brand because of helpful customer service, and 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.

Focus on Serving

When you focus on serving your customers to the best of your capacity and providing great value, sales and profit will come naturally.

Learn how to identify the concerns and problems of your consumers, and educate them on how to solve these issues as a freebie.

As an online fitness coach, for instance, if you notice that your customers are having issues with balancing their carbs intake, you can create a detailed blog post or YouTube video to address that.

People love free things. So, helping your customers with that issue for free will endear you to them. But even beyond that, it will also go a long way to show that you are very knowledgeable, and stand you out among other fitness coaches.

What’s more, research shows that brands which blog generate 67% more leads. So, serving customers will eventually lead to more gains.

Conclusion

If you want to enter the business world, you have to learn how to be persistent. If you continue to do all the right things we’ve discussed above, staying consistent, you can realize your goals.

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Setting Up A Small Business in 2018 – It’s Not all About How Much Money You Have

When you think of starting a business, the first thing that comes to mind is money/capital. Of course, you need money to start a business, even if it is very little considering the fact how easy it is to start a business in the digital age. However, there could be many other factors that affect a business in today’s digital economy—some you show serious concern to and some you don’t really pay attention to much.

Blockchain Is Affecting All Types of Businesses

One of the biggest concerns for today’s entrepreneurs before they start business is probably blockchain or crypto technology. The world is seeing the rise of crypto technology and how it is being integrated into the existing business ideas. A little more than a couple of years ago, you must have heard the term “bitcoin”. From bitcoin, people still believe that blockchain is all about digital currency i.e. money in the digital world. However, this is far from truth. Blockchain is expected to affect all types of businesses and industries in the world in the coming days.

It is a technology that redefines the security aspect of many businesses in 2018, introduced decentralization in modern business technologies and benefits the end consumers in multiple ways. For example, you could launch a gaming platform where no one needs the existing currencies. You could launch your own platform with your own money today. You don’t really have to start everything from the scratch; instead you could base your currency on the existing blockchain platforms like Ethereum. Through ICOs, you could have investors from around the world invest in your idea. So, blockchain is definitely a consideration for all businesses starting in 2018 and the coming years.

Physical Warehouses Are Not Necessary

A few years ago, only a certain types of business could be called truly online businesses. For businesses where products have to be stored for some time, a complete online presence was not the solution. Entrepreneurs who had such business ideas in mind had to have enough money to have their own warehouses. However, this has also changed quite a bit in the past couple of years. With the idea of drop shipping becoming common with time, it is becoming easier for businessmen to start their own businesses without much investment.

In a drop shipping model, all you have to do is collect orders from customers, forward those orders to the manufacturers or suppliers and have the goods shipped. You only act as a liaison in this particular model because it is the supplier that sends the products directly at the customers’ doorsteps. You will still need an online store with all the products listed for customers to see. However, you don’t need any warehouses because you don’t have to own, buy or store any products. The good thing is that this model now allows drop shippers to offer much more competitive rates so penetrating into the market is easier for them.

Big Data Is the Big Difference

Another technology that has been influencing business decisions and the way businesses operate is big data. While the term “big data” seems that you are referring to just large amounts of data but in reality, you are also referring to the methodologies and technologies that are in use to handle big data. You will be completely wrong to think that traditional software and hardware solutions can deal with big data in any way. Let’s take the example of a bank. A bank could have hundreds of branches located all around the country. In these hundreds of branches, the bank will have hundreds of thousands of customers.

The bank has account information of hundreds of thousands of these customers. In addition to that, the bank is constantly investing in stock and foreign markets, storing and utilizing that information. The same bank handles the data of all micro and macro loans it is forwarding to its customers. It is also storing information about customers through its mobile application to know what customers expect from the mobile website. On all of those hundreds of branches, the bank also has CCTV cameras collecting terabytes of footage on a daily basis.

Do you think all this data goes to waste? No, the data bank collected from banks is utilized in making bank branches securer. Data from mobile devices helps bank refine their mobile application. Data collected through financial softwares helps a bank improve its insurance, loan, mortgage, etc. offerings. It may seem on the surface that big data is a headache for big businesses only, but big data is just as important for small businesses as well. What this mean is that businesses starting in 2018 will have to have a big data approach right from day one.

Internet Security Is the Biggest Threat Now

It is unfortunate that rather than making the world a safer place, the new technology has led to greater internet threats. Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent with time, and much more sophisticated too. In the past few years, cyber attacks on some of the biggest companies of the world, including tech companies have proved that security has to be the major concern for every business—small, mid-scale or large. If you think starting a new business or having a small business gives you any advantage over large ones, here is something you would want to take a look at.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit Funded.com

Mistakes That an Entrepreneur Must Avoid When Pitching to Investors

Very few entrepreneurs are given a chance to pitch their businesses to investors. Unfortunately, not everyone who gets a chance to talk with potential source of financial support receives positive response. The reason: they often commit mistakes when pitching their business startups.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that business owners do when pitching their companies to potential investors.

Long elevator pitches

Elevator pitches are called as such because they are expected to be short – around a minute, which is the average length of a person’s ride in an elevator. And despite being called the “elevator pitch,” there are other instances when business owners are required to be brief when introducing their companies to possible investors. These include chance meetings in cocktail parties, meetings, or even introductions between common friends.

Such cases, which often happen in informal settings, are not boardroom meetings. And while investors may be interested in the pitch, talking about it for more than a minute or two is not appropriate. Doing so may put a bad impression on the part of the investor, therefore losing a possible deal.

Business owners must keep in mind that they should save the talk during an actual pitch.

Long presentations

During the actual presentation of the business, PowerPoint presentations are often considered as God-send tools. It provides the people around the room some visual information that could pique their interest on the topic being presented.

However, business owners must keep in mind that PowerPoint presentations are used as support and are not meant to be the star of the show. Therefore, entrepreneurs must be able to limit the length of the PowerPoint presentation so as not to bore potential investors.

These people want business owners to talk about their business startups and not just read from a prepared presentation.

Made-up proposals

Business owners want to impress potential investors. However, putting wrong information on the investment proposal, for instance blowing up the exit figures to impossible proportions, often raise eyebrows of investors.

Entrepreneurs must remember that investors value business owners who present them with the reality more than those who make-up information just to impress them.

Early discussion on valuation

Investors often turn their backs on business owners who start they pitches with valuation. Before doing so, business owners are expected to introduce first the business and its operations. Investors are there to provide money, but they would rather hear about the business first before getting information on the valuation which is, technically, their expertise. There is no need to walk them through on this process.

These are just some of the things that business owners must avoid when pitching their businesses to their potential investors. Following this would make them one step closer to getting some financial support.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept. If you need to access a network of angel investors or business plans for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Must Avoid When Pitching to Investors

Very few entrepreneurs are given a chance to pitch their businesses to investors. Unfortunately, not everyone who gets a chance to talk with potential source of financial support receives positive response. The reason: they often commit mistakes when pitching their business startups.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that business owners do when pitching their companies to potential investors.

Long elevator pitches

Elevator pitches are called as such because they are expected to be short – around a minute, which is the average length of a person’s ride in an elevator. And despite being called the “elevator pitch,” there are other instances when business owners are required to be brief when introducing their companies to possible investors. These include chance meetings in cocktail parties, meetings, or even introductions between common friends.

Such cases, which often happen in informal settings, are not boardroom meetings. And while investors may be interested in the pitch, talking about it for more than a minute or two is not appropriate. Doing so may put a bad impression on the part of the investor, therefore losing a possible deal.

Business owners must keep in mind that they should save the talk during an actual pitch.

Long presentations

During the actual presentation of the business, PowerPoint presentations are often considered as God-send tools. It provides the people around the room some visual information that could pique their interest on the topic being presented.

However, business owners must keep in mind that PowerPoint presentations are used as support and are not meant to be the star of the show. Therefore, entrepreneurs must be able to limit the length of the PowerPoint presentation so as not to bore potential investors.

These people want business owners to talk about their business startups and not just read from a prepared presentation.

Made-up proposals

Business owners want to impress potential investors. However, putting wrong information on the investment proposal, for instance blowing up the exit figures to impossible proportions, often raise eyebrows of investors.

Entrepreneurs must remember that investors value business owners who present them with the reality more than those who make-up information just to impress them.

Early discussion on valuation

Investors often turn their backs on business owners who start they pitches with valuation. Before doing so, business owners are expected to introduce first the business and its operations. Investors are there to provide money, but they would rather hear about the business first before getting information on the valuation which is, technically, their expertise. There is no need to walk them through on this process.

These are just some of the things that business owners must avoid when pitching their businesses to their potential investors. Following this would make them one step closer to getting some financial support.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.Funded.com

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