Are You Forty Plus? It’s Not Late to Startup

Are You Forty Plus? It’s Not Late to Startup

Nobody can take away the credit from the young generation to show us the way in launching a business, running it successfully and raising funds from some of the biggest foreign funds. These two set of professionals have only one thing in common – fire to launch a business and make it a success – but beyond this, there are stark differences in how they execute their vision.

The older entrepreneurs who are beginning to give start-ups a serious thought should play to their strengths, like their experience, domain expertise, their ability to finance their business, use their professional network to recruit the right talent. If you are 40 plus and looking to start up, launch a business idea you understand and don’t attempt to merely ape and compete with high energy and daring younger entrepreneurs.

For a 20 something, they have no family pressure or equated monthly installments to pay. What they lack in experience, they more than make up for it in their energy and hard-to-control enthusiasm. The younger generation has grown seeing what technology can do to address many problems of our lives and is thus inclined towards launching more consumer facing tech-enabled businesses. In India, these folks while in college replicate international business models and build minimum viable products and are able to scale up much faster.

One of our investee companies, launched by three IIT Kharagpur 2012 graduates, has young founders with merely two years of work experience. They lived in a rental accommodation and used their savings to start a business in inter city cab booking segment. They had no fear of failure and no preconceived notions on what would work. They put all their saving to risk and lived hand to mouth for a year. Recently, they have raised funds and seeing a healthy month on month growth in the business.

If a young entrepreneur fails, society in general, and the corporate sector will see this as a positive. It shows their risk taking capability. On the contrary, if an entrepreneur fails in his 40s people take it as personal failure not realizing that entrepreneurship is anyway fraught with risks. Corporates, on the other hand, may brand this failed entrepreneur as someone who likes ‘full freedom’ in the work environment and not someone who can work in an organised set-up.

As a senior entrepreneur, one needs to leverage from industry knowledge and network. Create a business in the industry where you have grown and solve a problem that you have faced. More senior entrepreneurs should look to digitise business processes in their industry of comfort and knowledge. Having spent time within the industry, one is able to leverage from one’s contacts to get things done at a minimal spend and in most judicious manner.

To my friends of my age, I say: Go for businesses in sectors you are familiar with; take the risk and be out of the corporate set-up; invest the risk capital and build the product; take newer blood in your team; shred the ego of who you were and how many people reported to you; get used to travelling cattle class and don’t compete in businesses that the 20 year olds can do too.

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How to Communicate With Your Clients

How to Communicate With Your Clients

Imagine if you will, a bright, red telephone in your office. This telephone is the hotline to the most important person for your business – the client. Unfortunately, the phone cord has been cut. There is no way you can use this telephone to communicate with your client. Wouldn’t it make sense that you would want to get that telephone line repaired so it could connect you to the lifeblood of your company? Curiously enough, many small business owners do not think that way.

Frank Cooper, the author of many books on client service, makes it clear that without the client there is no paycheck for us, our managers or employees. If that is true, why would anybody not want to communicate with this most important person? Some of the excuses I’ve heard include:
“I don’t have the time – I’m too busy!”
“I don’t want them to know who I am – they might have a complaint.”
“”I didn’t think it was that important.”
(fill in your own )____________________________________

One way for you to consider communicating on a regular basis with your clients is to be visible. One of my past clients, Terry Johnson, Owner of Johnson’s Car Wash in Wayne, MI does this very well. Throughout the day, he makes it a point to walk around and stop and talk to his clients. He knows many of them by name. He listens to them and he hears what they like and he hears what they don’t like. By walking around and talking with his clients, he has developed a solid connection with the people that sign his paycheck.

Another major benefit is that his clients feel a connection with him. “They feel special because they talk to the owner.” Is that important? You bet it is. Remember, the number one reason why a client or customer will quit doing business with your company, is because they get a feeling that you or your staff do not care about them.

Your clients want to be listened to and they want to feel appreciated. By being visible to them, your clients have access to you and they like that.

Another way to communicate with your clients, is to watch their body language, and listen to their tone of voice as they interact with you, your managers and employees. Do they look and sound like they are glad to be interacting with you and your people, or do they look like they are only tolerating the process.

Of course there will be clients who don’t enjoy much of anything, but the question is, are the majority of your clients happy to do business with your company? If they are, what can you observe that is contributing to that successful experience? Is it the way the manager or employee is interacting with them? How about the ease in which they are served?

How about the environment? Is the area well lit, with pleasant music in the background? You be the judge. Take good notes and spend some time thinking about what is working and what isn’t? What should you continue to do; what should you stop doing or change?

To summarize here is a list of things to do that will help you communicate with your clients more effectively.
1. be visible
2. listen to your clients

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5 Productivity Tips for the Small Business Owner

5 Productivity Tips for the Small Business Owner

Here are 5 tried and tested productivity tips that every small business owner needs to follow…

1. Use technology to manage your time, tasks and appointments
A lot of advancements have been made in technology that helps people, organize their daily schedules, remind you about appointments and also helps to chart out your day. In fact, you don’t have to carry around any calendars or paper organizers; you can schedule the appointments on your smartphone, and it will send you reminders. For example, cloud-based applications allow users to store their data and programs on a virtual platform which you can access from anywhere. With this technology, you can check your schedules and tasks without having to open your laptop or PC.

2. Don’t Multi-task
Multi-tasking was once considered a very resourceful quality. But what a lot of business owners don’t realize is that multi-tasking does not deliver quality. When you handle too many tasks at a time, you are bound to leave room for errors, and this hampers the result. Multi-tasking also leads to a drop in focus, increased stress-levels and inability to meet business goals. Focussing on one job at a time is s sensible way to enhance productivity. You will remain more focused and relaxed and have a better job satisfaction. You can use advanced apps and software to organize tasks and finish each task with finesse and on time. This is applicable not only to the owner but can help employees also to deliver their best performance.

3. Keep a clutter-free workspace
Cluttered space does not promote productivity. The work areas have to be neat and tidy at all times. Office cluttering usually occurs due to the presence of too many files, documents, papers, etc. The second you walk into your office and see so many papers lying around, the mind shuts down. Maintaining a clutter-free and clean work space is necessary to create a pleasant atmosphere at the office. The use of online software to store data is an excellent way to avoid cluttering in the office.

4. Get a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants provide service from a distance, maybe from their home or another office. You need to pay them only for the services they perform; it is something like freelancing work. You can designate not-so-important tasks like proofreading, doing paperwork, making schedules, writing a press release, articles, blogs, etc. to them. So your work gets done and you can use your time to attend to more crucial work. There are numerous other services also that they can perform which can save you lots of time. Getting a virtual assistant will help you meet the business goals more effectively and efficiently.

5. Take a break
This is necessary for every individual. Business owners need to be creative and should possess quick decision-making skills, but when you subject yourself to continuous work every day, these qualities start to deteriorate. Setting aside 15 minutes every day to meditate helps to revive and freshen up the mind. When you have a sound and peaceful mind, the productivity also improves.

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