I started my entrepreneurial journey when I was 15 and failed a few times. While I was exploring new venture opportunities I learned that the faster I fail the closer I will get to success. After I realized my core competency I channelized my focus on it.
I came across hundreds of entrepreneurs and SMEs from around the world and they very much have the same problem. Most of us think that seed capital is a key issue but you know what, it's not. The problem arises only after you get the capital.
Now a days things are available almost free, if you need any information to get started, just google. Some business ideas doesn't need any seed capital and can be grounded without any initial investment other than your time and effort. What makes a significant difference is the mindset of the person running the business. Whether you are a corporate or an entrepreneur these 5 steps will help you to grow your business regardless.
1. Earn and Invest:
You must have heard this a million times that to get money you need to spend money, that's not true most of the time and it is one of the grave mistakes an entrepreneur commits. The newbies start investing all their life savings to go big even before they step into the market and the result is that they end up getting bankrupt. When you are 100% certain about a deal that will bring in money upon certain investment that risk is worth taking. But your confidence must be based on data not your guts. Guts can help you in short term but to sustain your business in the long term you will need to make judgments on quantitative and qualitative data.
Start small, test the market, talk about your business plan to the people with relevant experience and note down their comments, suggestions and criticism. Work on getting your first client; it could be a friend, a relative or anyone you know who is willing to bet on the product or service that you are providing. If you are successful on your first attempt, that becomes an example for your future clients. Keep going this way till your are confident about the sustainability or feasibility of your business. When you have enough cash to sustain your business, start with necessary investments like creating a brand image, marketing and sales.
2. Strategic Location:
Business from all over the world are now moving their headquarters to Singapore and India because of their strategic locations and easy access to Asian market. Location plays a massive role in a success or failure of a great business idea.
India and Singapore provides accessible and economical business support services and policies making it easy for entrepreneurs and corporations from around the world to expand and venture into the Asian market which is the home of 4.4 billion people.
3. Team Building:
This is the most crucial and underestimated part of a new business. Some of the entrepreneurs I advised and mentored used do everything on their own. The reason they gave was that they couldn't find anyone who can do things exactly their way and they ended up working alone. In the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey, if you are hiring, partnering, commissioning with someone, you need to be flexible to different working styles. A flexible and adaptive mind is the key. There can be several ways to approach a task and applying them is the only way to find out the right approach that generates maximum output and concrete result.
The biggest dilemma of an entrepreneur or a corporate is getting the right people on board. Many great ideas failed because of conflicts within the team. The common mistake entrepreneurs make is teaming up with people who has the same thought process and working style thinking it will multiply their strength but in reality they are weakening it. When all the team members think from the same perspective they miss out a massive chunk of other positive prospects and risks which makes it difficult for a business to survive.
You should be looking for people with a different perspective and approach but they are willing to understand the motive of the owner and vision & mission of the company. When a diverse team brings in different perspective and solution on the table, you will have the option to choose which best suits your business.
Another area where entrepreneurs and corporate make mistake. The competition is fierce in the market and it is impossible to survive alone. Entrepreneurs and corporate take any similar businesses (there is a difference between similar businesses and competitors) existing in the market as a threat to their existence but in reality that's another life line to survive and grow. Most people ignore this strategy due to fear, uncertainty and lack of confidence. A strategic partnership with similar businesses in the space can help you to capture larger market share while reducing competition.
This is a crucial step and needs to be done by experts. Choosing the wrong partner can threaten the existence of your business and shatter the brand image whereas choosing the right partner can lead to a solid business structure and a market that will be impenetrable to your competitors.
5. Create a Robust Brand Image:
You must be thinking why I put brand image and not sales and marketing in this list. The reason is that brand image has the power to ease things up for marketing and sales. Without a good brand image a business will struggle in introducing and selling its products and services.
Sales is a crucial part and it is necessary for any business to survive. When you have a robust brand image, whether you use pull or push strategy it will work on people since they are interested in your reputed products and services.
I have personally found that most businesses have brilliant strategies which they have created either by themselves or through consultants but most of them mess up during the implementation phase due to various factors. These steps if implemented in a right manner can lead a company towards an exponential growth. However these are the basic steps for growing a business and there are several other aspect that needs to be considered before, during and after the implementation.