SWIM BEFORE YOU SINK!!!

When we say sink or swim, we are not asking you to take a dive. Rather we are talking about the situation that can be equally alarming for your business.

People love to hear about startup stories. Especially one that has chronicles mishaps of first-time entrepreneurs and their eccentric founding team members.

There is a reason why some startups fail while other succeeds. Libraries are full of books on “How to become rich?” or some famous and successful Entrepreneur sharing his “Secret”. But at the end of the day the success or failure of the business does not come due to some book but rather the efforts and investment made in the business.

If you think the biggest reason for failure is short of money than BINGO!!! You are right, ultimately a business do fail because it runs out of money. But along with this, there might be magnitude of reasons why this may happen. Management teams, business models, access to markets, finance, ideas, timing and the abilities of the entrepreneur themselves are all factors that can influence the failure of startup.

Many founders tend to build solutions first and find problems to solve for paying customers later. All too often, they operate using unproven business models and ignore important questions about who their ideal customers are, how much it will cost to reach those customers or how much of their initial capital must be used to support their own living expenses. Any one of these mistakes can sink a promising startup.

Just look at TinyOwl, which shut down most of its locations in May because of a faulty business model. The India-based restaurant delivery service had raised more than $27 million in investor funds, but it couldn’t overcome the costly logistics of running the company or the oversaturation of the restaurant delivery service industry.

It’s also easy for first-time founders to get so caught up in their ideas that they dive in before vetting their concepts. That’s how companies end up with solutions that are looking for problems — and often how they fail. Inventory costs alone can consume a startup’s budget as its founders search for a fit.

Businesses that try to reach all demographics end up with generic, boring products. Instead, they should identify who will actually be interested in the offering and whether it fills a want or a need — before they sink serious money into building a product. No matter how excited people are about a product they want, they’ll ultimately prioritize items they need. Responding to urgent demands strengthens the business model and improves the startup’s chances of success.

Successful startups don’t deal in vague assumptions and unsubstantiated business models. Entrepreneurs must rely on fact-based decision-making to ensure their companies have the best chance of succeeding in competitive markets.

ENTREPRENEURS IN HEELS

You don’t have to be masculine to be a strong woman.

Women in India have come a long way from being just ‘homemakers’ to the ‘worldmakers’. The world now sees them with a different eye and a new respect.

Gone the days when women were not considered to be strong enough to compete with men. Gone the days where men used to dominate world and were reluctant to acknowledge the fact that women are as good as men if not better.

The new generation women across the world have overcome all negative notions and have proved themselves beyond doubt in all spheres of life including the most intricate and cumbersome world of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship, considered to be one of the toughest arenas, is now experiencing the footsteps of some of the most powerful women who truly have fire in their bellies.

India too has its own pool of such bold and fearless women who have made a mark for themselves both within the country as well as overseas. Hindu scriptures defines women as the embodiment of ‘Shakti’ and she lives up to image every time, whether it is problem solving at home or running a successful business.

Their relentless zeal, incessant quench for success and willingness to walk the extra mile has broken all myths about their inborn limitations that were supposed to be major roadblocks on their success expressways.

Be it in any field, e-commerce, education, investment, travel, fashion, fitness anywhere and everywhere women are determined to make a difference and their own identity.

Chanda Kochar, Indira Nooyi, Indu Jain, Simone Tata, Suchi Mukherjee, Jyoti Naik, Ritu Kumar, Shahnaz Hussain,  Ekta Kapoor; are just few names to add in the ever growing list of self-made women. Today women have proved that they are equally, or more capable of excelling in the male-dominated fields.

WHAT TO PURSUE?

I have so many new ideas for my business. How do I figure which ones are the best to pursue?

We always struggle to find the answer of a very basic question. Which is the most profitable business?

Most business owners want their business to grow, and often growth includes consideration of new products or services. Sometimes, though, brainstorming new possibilities interferes with maintaining the core business by distracting the owner from focusing on the issues confronting them. To allow room for new ideas without distraction, it helps to have a system for handling them.
Being an entrepreneur is attractive for many reasons. Some people think about opening a business all their life but never get around to actually doing it.

Then there are people who open one or more businesses, hustle their way through whatever gets thrown their way, and make it with a little bit of luck and lots of ambition.

Then there are the people in between which is where most people are at. You have a million business ideas or maybe just this one nagging idea gaps that just doesn’t seem to go away. The question is where do you start? How do you know whether a business idea is worth pursuing? Entrepreneurship is a gamble. And with the chips stacked against you, it’s difficult to know whether an idea has possibilities.

It’s not just about finding a good idea; its finding an idea worth pursuing.
But, finding that idea, and building a company with that idea in mind, is always a struggle. It almost has to be that way.
For those of us who have a variety of business ideas and want to narrow it down, here are five ways to find out whether your business idea is a yay or a nay.

In lieu of this, try examining the idea using the following five questions:
1. What does this idea have to do with my business mission?
2. Does this idea replace an existing outdated product or service?
3. Will implementing this idea use excess capacity?
4. Who are the customers for the new product or service?
5. What is the value to customers they can’t get anywhere else?

New ideas are best implemented only if they improve business performance in some way such as increasing profits, using excess capacity, or improving customer service for existing customers. Include these in the next update of the company business plan. New ideas build businesses if they are strategically a good fit. Any system that helps analyze ideas will benefit the business owner, so find the strategy that works best for your business.

CONQUER BUSINESS LIKE WONDER WOMAN

Far from masking the devastation of war, Wonder Woman plunges its heroine, Diana Prince, into a World War I war zone. When she finds herself on the battlefield in No Man’s Land, Diana is ready to jump in and fight. Her battlefield guide, Steve Trevor, fearing for her safety and losing sight of their mission to find Ares, tells her that they are not there to save lives. Her response: “You’re right. But it’s what I am going to do.”

As she mastered one skill, her aunt and trainer, Antiope, would add on new challenges to build endurance, strength and character. Each new challenge and repetition helped strengthen Wonder Woman’s muscle memory, which enabled her to focus on strategic decisions.

In turn, this strategy allowed her to get everyone on her team engaged with the same goals by transforming their strengths and desires into a team of change agent disruptors who work for the common good.

But, did you also know that Wonder Woman is also an inspiration for entrepreneurs as well?

Wield the power of empathy.

Diana can detect others’ emotions — in other words, she has the power of empathy. That further explains why she’s such an important member of the Justice League.

Empathy is perhaps the most important skill that entrepreneurs can possess. By walking in someone else’s shoes you’re better suited to understand and solve their pain points. That is what entrepreneurship is all about — making the world a better place?

Be fearless in battle, even when the odds are against you.

Diana has fearlessly battled monsters, gods and even allies, including Superman. Even when it appears that it’s against all odds, Diana willingly faces these foes for the greater good of humanity. However, Diana never goes into battle without a plan. She’s an excellent strategist and doesn’t just start smashing everything around her (like the Hulk).

The odds are always stacked against entrepreneurs — particularly women entrepreneurs — so always test the market and validate your ideas before going into battle.

Cultivate a practice of discipline and iteration.

While technology has leveled the playing field of marketing, social media has also created a noisy marketplace where large-scale campaigns can fall short of expectations and cause internal turmoil inside the walls of an organization.

Be a warrior for truth, peace and equality.

Wonder Woman’s goals are to promote truth, peace and equality – despite being an Amazonian warrior. This dichotomy is what makes her character so appealing and a great leader and teammate. It’s also why her most well-known weapon is the Lasso of Truth that forces people to tell the truth, even when it’s difficult to hear.

Truth, honesty and integrity also make entrepreneurs heroic. It’s what makes them exceptional leaders. It’s what rallies employees, investors, stakeholders, and customers around them. It’s how they make the right business decisions. It’s what separates them from questionable and shady competitors.

The importance of mentorship – and paying it forward.

Diana sought a mentor before becoming Wonder Woman because she needed a guide to train her to become a warrior. One of Diana’s mentors was her aunt, Antiope. In the comics, Diana returned the favor by mentoring a number of portages like Wonder Girl and allies like Etta Candy and Paula von Gunther.

Entrepreneurs should also seek someone to train and guide them in order to help them hone their skills. Mentors can also share their mistakes and existing business knowledge. However, entrepreneurs pay it forward someday by also taking an emerging entrepreneur under their wings.

Be a warrior for truth, peace and equality.

Wonder Woman’s goals are to promote truth, peace and equality – despite being an Amazonian warrior. This dichotomy is what makes her character so appealing and a great leader and teammate. It’s also why her most well-known weapon is the Lasso of Truth that forces people to tell the truth, even when it’s difficult to hear.

Truth, honesty and integrity also make entrepreneurs heroic. It’s what makes them exceptional leaders. It’s what rallies employees, investors, stakeholders, and customers around them. It’s how they make the right business decisions. It’s what separates them from questionable and shady competitors.

 

WHAT MAKES YOU SUCCESSFUL?

Have you ever wondered why or how people like Jeff Bezos or Indu Jain became what they have become? And when you do, what comes to mind as possible reasons? Mostly I hear people saying things like Luck, Hard Work, Focus, and/or Dedication. Hmm, it makes sense but really is that all? Let’s look at them one by one.

Luck: This is the favorite one! Whenever we look at successful people, we call them ‘lucky!’ But what is luck? Is it just a chance, a good fortune? If yes, then how do people get repeated successes? If I were to say that luck is important too, then I would define luck as a confluence of perseverance, prospects and preference. Opportunities present themselves every day to every person. Do they not? But only a person, who recognizes them and seizes them without delay, gets to convert these opportunities to their preferred outcomes. And we very comfortably tag them ‘lucky’. However, a close look reveals that only those people who persevere to look for prospective opportunities to exploit become lucky. Hey, but this is no rocket science! Still why most of the ordinary folks are not able to do so? Why?

Hard work: “…No, No, it’s not luck, its Hard work or rather Smart work…” This is the answer of most people who don’t believe in luck. Malcolm Gladwell argues in his book, Outliers, that if someone spends 10,000 hours towards any activity, then he can become a world-class expert in it. Or in other words, 10,000 hours of hard work is required to be extremely successful. And I am sure he is correct. No success is achieved without hard work or sweat. Even the child prodigies became world-class experts in their fields, only after working at it for a long time. Mozart had his most famous compilations much late in his career. Sachin Tendulkar was at his best only when he was 24-year-old, although he had started showed brilliance at a young age of 16. I am yet to find a single successful person who hasn’t done his share of handwork. But, why is putting 10,000 hours so difficult? It is only 5 years of work! Still, why do most of ordinary people give up sooner? Why?

Focus

When I asked my dad what one skill is the most important when it comes to achieving success, my dad told me, “Your ability to focus,” when I pressed him on his answer he says, “Focus allows you to drown out the noise, it allows you to say no to things that are not going to aid you on your path to success, it’s the one skill that is applicable to any goal, and the skill necessary to acquire any other skill.”

Focus has allowed me to open for Comedians who regularly appear on Comedy Central within my first year of taking up standup.

Focus has allowed me to put thirty pounds of muscle over the last six years and win my weight class at powerlifting tournaments.

So definitely believe that focus is a key to success.

Courage

Most people will never live up to their potential because they do not have the courage to take the risks necessary.

Most people will not live the life they want, not because they don’t work hard enough, but because they do not have the courage to risks temporary failure.

Being courageous is like taking steroids for your life. You will see massive growth very quickly, but the more you use the greater risks.

Discipline

Where focus is your ability to say no. Discipline is your ability to action, whether you feel like it or not. Discipline understands that your emotions are not meant to help you. It is the ability to see through your own BS and do what you know you should do whether you feel like it or not.

Ultimate Success: Knowingly and unknowingly we often do things that are in line with our inner drive, along with other things as well. The important thing to note is that successful people choses to do only those things that are in line with their inner drive, and ordinary people end up doing random things. And quite often, ordinary people end up spending their lives driven by external forces or drives which are not in line with inner drive, and live a stressful and unhappy life.

If you want to be successful, identify your inner drive, and make the relevant trade-offs. When your inner drive becomes the enabler, then the combination of hard work, focus, and luck becomes possible and success and happiness is achieved.