How women entrepreneurs can fund their business?

To start a business one needs an idea and a thought out plan but to put this idea into practice one needs capital. As education level is rising in women, more and more women are coming out of their home to make a career or start their own business. While starting her business, many women face the problem of acquiring capital. Part of the capital they arrange from family sources, but for the remaining part, they face the problem. There are many different ways one can fund her business. To ease her problem discussed below is how a women entrepreneur can fund her business and execute her plan.

women entrepreneurs1. Bootstrapping

It is one of the ideal ways to start your business. You can start your business without taking any external funds. You can tap into your personal saving and get started. Maybe in the initial phase, it will not be big, or returns will not be as expected. But once the business grows, you can plow back your profits back into the business.

  1. Family funding

If bootstrapping does not work in your case the next best option to secure funds for your business is through family and friends. You can tap into your internal source that is your family and friends. People close to you, when they listen to your business idea, they may be ready to fund your venture. They may give you money as a donation (to encourage you) or loan (the amount that is to be paid back later) or equity (partnership) in the business. The loan can be paid back later once the business picks up and is in motion.

  1. Crowdfunding

Getting funds from the crowd (known and unknown people) who are interested in your business idea may be ready to fund you. On the internet, there are many crowdfunding platforms where you can run your campaign to receive funds. Many company owners who see your business an extension to theirs or like your idea, to encourage young entrepreneurs, are ready to crowdfund the project.

  1. Winning sponsored competition

There are many entrepreneur competition organized by government and private companies wherein you can showcase your product or service. The winner is entitled to prize money apart from getting sponsors, and investors. Note that your business idea should be viable and should have features that satisfy early adopters.

  1. Women based initiatives

There are many states as well as central government programs/schemes that encourage women entrepreneurs by offering soft loans, grants, and/or a variety of subsidies. Many banks also offer structured loan focused only for women entrepreneur and participants are entitled to loans at the discounted rate of interest. Out of the schemes available, many do not require collateral security against the loan. There are schemes which provide training to women entrepreneur by experts also.

  1. Angel funding

Angels are those persons who can help you with funds who are mostly high net worth individuals (or group) that mostly funds startups in its initial lifecycle in exchange of equity (partnership). The angel can also bring in his network of connections to help your business.

  1. Bank loan

Financial institutes and banks provide financial support to startups if they are satisfied with your business model. They also figure out if you can pay them back the loan that you have taken. They also take a look at your credit score before offering any loan. Most loans offered are term loan or working capital against hypothecating (mortgage) your business to them.

Above mentioned are few ways how women can fund their business and secure funds to give wings to their business. There can be many other ways of obtaining funds which you can comment in the comment section. It will help women entrepreneurs to stand up on their feet as an individual.

How does franchise model help business to go international?

A franchise is a business opportunity that allows the franchisee (that is you) to start a business legally using franchisor’s expertise, idea, and processes. The franchise business is a business in which the franchisor sells the right to use their business name, logo and model to third-party retail outlets. These are independent third party operators called franchisee.

franchise modelThere are three types of franchise, business format franchise, product or single operator franchise, and manufacturing franchise. Franchising is a common way of doing business.

Franchising model has grown its popularity over the last several decades. The structure of the franchise model can help the business grow in foreign markets more efficiently. It is more cost effective than other expansion models and opening corporate chain outlets.

From the franchisor’s point of view, franchising allows the franchisor team up with local businesses who very well understand the local culture, marketplace and know their territories very well. The new brand has a tremendous advantage as it does not take much time and does not require huge capital to speed up their businesses.

The franchisee (local operator) also provides valuable feedback to the franchisor which in turn can be used to customize the business for a particular market.

There are some challenges if one is expanding internationally. Some are significant and some are trivial. Let us discuss a few challenges one by one.

  1. Language

In many cases, the company training material, operations manual, marketing literature, and website has to be translated. This needs the cost and creates challenges in relation to certain content that cannot be directly translated.

2. Currency

The varying currencies rates and different currency can make the collection of royalties and other fees challenging. This, in turn, can affect the unit’s financial model and the franchisor’s profitability.

3. Supply chain

In many franchise models, the franchisee has to depend on the supply of raw material to operate and maintain the quality of product/services. If there are problems in the supply chain then it can limit the successes of the franchise unit.

4. Some trivial issues

Some less important problems can be the cost and logistics issues that can arise while supporting franchise operators from long distance. Many a time franchisor enters the foreign market even before they are ready for it. It is because the potential franchisee has a strong interest in the regional market. Premature launching in a distant and new market can cause disruption in the whole system which can even fail.

Brands going for international franchisee should perform a complete analysis before going ahead for a foreign franchisee.

Those investing in foreign franchisee opportunity and are new to the market should look into the foregoing challenges if they are addressed or not. The brand should be ready, willing and have sufficient resources for expansion in the region.

Having some structural options, the franchise model can make international expansion more efficiently and appealing for both the franchisor and the franchise in the region. The popular structural options can be area developer and regional developer agreements.

Most countries have regulations which govern the franchise industry. For this, the franchise companies should check with the local government agencies to see that the franchisor complies with it or not.

How to transform your product or service into a brand?

A brand is seen as the company’s most precious and known asset. A brand can be recognized by its logo, slogan, or mark that the general public associates with the company.

create a brandFashion is a fascinating business field and unlike any other field, it is ever changing and highly dynamic. And in such a fast moving and changing industry, to create a brand is a herculean task. But if you adopt some simple points and laid out strategies the herculean task is possible.

Fashion is an industry which is fueled by brands. Is the office colleague wearing an Arrow shirt or Peter England?  Youngsters check out on Instagram which brand they should wear for college farewell party, etc.

It is the potential value of the brand, which not only speaks about the product but beyond that. It represents an image of the company, its people and all stakeholders who stand for it.

We have discussed here a few steps that one should follow and keep working on it to ensure you create a wonderful brand.

Define the brand to create the first impression

It is important that you first outline the brand yourself prior to getting into the reasoning of it. You as a creator and generator of the brand should write down clearly the important elements of the brand. Better write down, as it will get embedded in your thoughts. Essentials like what you wish to communicate with the people, the relation between your brand and your business, etc. are the important things and should be set on high priority.

Take personal interest and be original

Building a brand is one of your business biggest assets. It is often seen that entrepreneurs often outsource brand-building task to some third parties. This should actually be the last thing you should do. A brand is close to your heart, hence it is you who should nurture and grow with your efforts. It is your vision and your mission and not the third party’s which is involved. As a brand is your thought, your vision and mission, therefore it is you who should make all efforts creating, building and promoting it.

Weave a story

Weaving or telling a story is one of the most crucial aspects of brand building. As a human being people are more interested in storyline instead of a just logo, tagline or Facebook share or like. So weave a good story that becomes the script of your brand. The story can be just anything, not necessarily how your brand came into existence. The important point is, there should be a flow in the story and it should be associated with your brand. It is the story which will stay back in consumer’s mind for a long time to come.

Look beyond only sales

A good brand building exercise calls for seeing further than just merely selling the product to the end user. You should be constantly and consistently be in touch with your consumer. It can be after sales service, addressing his/her grievances, feedback about the product, etc. which creates a sustainable brand in the consumer’s mind.

Brand building is a never-ending process and hence you will have to keep on putting efforts continuously and consistently.

Business lessons to become a successful entrepreneur

‘Tough times never last, but tough people do’ so goes an old age saying and has strong relevance in today’s entrepreneurial setup. Entrepreneurship has its own set of responsibilities and challenges to deal with. That is, from turning dreams into reality to forming a capable team to arranging finances. An entrepreneur often feels that road leading to success is never-ending and is full of bumpy rides. Depending upon sector or industry sometimes it may take years to make profit which tests entrepreneur’s resilience and persistence. Though everyone cannot become a successful entrepreneur or maybe he/she is not cut to become one.

Business lessonsLet us look at the lessons every entrepreneur should learn along the way towards success.

Search financial opportunities

One of the important steps towards building any business is to have finance in place. With passion alone your company cannot take off, you will require starting capital. It is also important to understand the operational and maintenance cost your enterprise will need.  Before you plan to start your venture you will have to calculate the total required costs that you will incur and you have to manage how to get those funds. You will have look beyond the traditional approach by surrounding yourself with industry insiders who can also invest in your business. Another method is to crowdfund your business. In simple words, you should not leave any stone unturned to see that your finance is in place perfectly.

Aim for the bigger picture

If a business survives for three years consecutively then it has better chances of success. One can see many startups die prematurely due to lack of a visionary leader. One should focus more on long-term goals instead of short-term ones for running the enterprises successfully. There can be few hiccups on the way which the entrepreneur has to overcome. One should understand the fact that success cannot be achieved immediately. You have to make a few years planning to register growth and profit from it. You may not get the expected results right in the first year but it is better to stick to your plan and stay committed to your long-term goal plans.

Learning from mistakes

‘Failures are the pillar to successes’ goes the old age proverb which is true even in this current scenario for the entrepreneur. Every business has few shortcomings along its way. One should have the ability to learn from mistakes that were committed in the past and negative feedback received from the customers and co-workers. One should access the past performance on regular basis to know which thing worked for you and which did not. Entrepreneurship is not about committing mistakes but using them to your advantage for the future.

Hire capable and talented employees

Human capital is one of the most valuable assets of any enterprise.  They function as an intangible source of profit. It is important to hire skilled, hardworking, and efficient employees who give their 100 percent to the enterprise. They may be needed to acquire job-related skills; they should be self-motivated and action-oriented.  Before taking final decision to hire an employee, try to spend some time with him/her. You will understand their thoughts, know their nature, and know their personality. To hire any employee do not base your decision only on academic qualification or an impressive biodata.

Entrepreneur’s job is not an easy one and you need to have a certain amount of commitment before you become a successful one.

How to convert your fabulous new business idea into practice?

There are many youngsters who have great business ideas but are unable to put it to work in a practical world. They do not know how to turn that fabulous new business idea into reality.

new business ideaAccording to a report nearly five hundred and fifty thousand people wish to become entrepreneurs every month or who want to start their own business. There is no sure shot formula to start a successful business but there are steps that you can take in the planning stage itself which will increase your chances of being a successful one.

The first and foremost thing as soon as a new business idea strikes your mind is to determine “why” and the “who” of it. You may think that your idea is awesome and fabulous one but your business will not succeed if you are unable to answer ‘why’ it is a good solution and for whom it would be a good solution. We will focus on “why”.

To begin with, what problem your business idea solves? Does it solve only your problem or the problem of others? If nobody faces the problem that you are facing then ‘why’ will anybody buy your solution?

You will have to think deeply and carefully ‘why’ your business is needed in the first place, who will be the target customers of your business. Think about the demographics to whom you will sell your solutions to, how will you communicate with them and what is important to them. A business is not a business if you do not have a customer.

There will be business similar or somewhat similar to yours out there in the world, which proves that market does exist for what you will be doing. You have to think about your competitor and what exactly they are providing. And what you will do differently or better than what they are doing.

If you want to stand out from your competitors, you should know your unique selling point that sets you apart from them. Research about your competitors, their target audience, how much do they charge, and things like that. It is not necessary to do things from the beginning or scratch but see to it what these companies are lacking in and how you can improve upon in those areas.

After the study of competitors, you should divert your efforts to study your potential customers. Start talking to your potential customers regarding the services/product offered by you that they can use, how much they are ready to pay for it, and comparable product/services that they are using at present.

Another way is to get a survey done by asking people to fill out forms; this will help to know your customers even better. Do not worry about the negative feedback as it can help refine your idea.

Note down all the finer points in details. The offering (product or service you plan), the cost at which you will sell, the marketing model, etc. It will be better if you know the concept of your business inside out. Organize your thoughts in a systematic way and step by step through tools and software available on the internet.

How to navigate your businesses through tricky growth stage?

Startup businesses have to struggle with environment volatility. The next stage companies which are in the growth stage struggle with volatility and complexity. These growing companies sometimes behave in unnerving and unexpected ways.

business growthThe entrepreneurs and leaders of the scaling (growing) companies require new skills and different approaches to navigating this challenging phase. It is the ‘middle’ period where the decline in businesses must be endured, and growth must be optimized. There can be swift alternating swings between both the situations. The entrepreneur should take ambitious risks along with his own leadership ways.

Here are few useful tips how one can navigate through this phase.

Leaders should leave the urge to control everything

Startup companies usually have a small team in which everyone is clear on the vision of the company and strive to act on it. Communication between members is frictionless. But as team size grows, to a single question like what are we trying to do, or what is the priority of the company, you start getting different answers, then it is the time to align the whole team. That is the company’s vision should be more focused upon and ingrained in everybody’s mind.

Leaders who start losing touch with their members as the organization grows should avoid regular check-ins of members and unnecessary sign-offs, which they do to maintain the feeling of control. Procedures and mechanisms should not be created in a vacuum. One has two options, to brainstorm people in a group or let members dream up ideas on their own and that idea should be discussed with everyone.

Discontinue weekly meetings

Processes which started when the company was a startup may have outlived their utility and usefulness. Like you may be conducting meetings every Saturday which may not be possible now just because today is Saturday and the meeting has to be conducted as it did in initial stage. Improving on the process or stopping it outright,  as everyone has to assemble leaving their current work.

Encouraging collective participation

If the team device their own work process, the entrepreneur should not get in the way. Though entrepreneur may know better than anyone else what the business needs to succeed. There are chances that other new team members may know better than you what it needs to get work done.

Alignment of thoughts and ideas in one direction improves the process. But as companies grow this alignment weakens. New members join in, new products are developed and the mission gets obstructed. So in the growth stage once in a while, the entrepreneur must convey the company’s goal, aim, and mission loud and clear to all the employees as they do to their clients or public at large.

Before developing new products share with employees

Companies spend large sums of money to market themselves to the general public but too little to market themselves to their own people.

Any new product that the company plans to develop, the idea should be shared among all present there and their views and opinion should be considered, as everyone around sees the usefulness of the product from the different angle.

The main job of the leader in a growing company is that when the company is going for a change, there can be many different views and after discussion and deliberations point out to the whole team where to focus all their energies and attention to. It should be the central theme for everyone in the company.

Everyone wants to cross the growth stage smoothly but only few succeed.

How to make your business successful internationally?

Indian economy is growing and so the businesses that are operating in the country also growing. Businesses are now poised to throw their hats in international markets through collaborations abroad and that is really great.

business

There should be a fruitful collaboration across cultures and businesses for both the partnering companies and mutually beneficial for all those involved. When any businesses wish to cross the national boundaries to form collaboration, a crisis can develop due to improper communication, lack of cultural knowledge and poor leadership between the two.

Here are a few suggestions to overcome the problem.

Prepare yourself, your company, and team for going international

In your company, you can conduct cultural understanding training that will help understand and familiarize the team with the unfamiliar culture of the foreign country. Though it may look absurd and an unnecessary expense but in a long run it will save your time and money. The training can either be permanent or temporary but it infuses your team with a new perspective and challenges other than the basic cultural assumption one has of the partnering companies’ country.

Gain knowledge

It is always better to know more about your prospective market. There can be a lot of difference in behavior, norms, values, etc. between the two countries and their markets. It is good to know what is valued and appreciated in the country you want to develop your market. Many a time a word in your country can have a different meaning in some other countries. For example, take the word ‘quality’. In some countries it can mean delivering on time, maybe in other, it can be the best possible product and to other, it can be completely different.

Make a plan

You should make a strategy and plan it out how you are going to enter the new market. The technical skills that you are familiar and the experience that you have gained through these years can be your formula for success. Many IT companies which have gone abroad have failed because they did not know what the client expected as there did deficiency of cultural understand on both the sides. When you plan it out let someone from outside evaluate and assess your plan and it is one of the methods that you can develop a winning business development plan.

Feedback from clients

If feedback is taken seriously it helps to improve your shortcoming. It is good when your client praises you. You can ask for feedback with every commitment that your company has accomplished. Allow the client to fill in the feedback form and do not forget to ask at the end how can things improve. One can use feedback to improve and make changes whenever needed.

Strategic alliance with companies

Getting into strategic alliances with companies abroad will broaden your perspective in the business activities you are involved in. One should be aware of own company’s strength and weaknesses that are real and practical which in long run will lead to your successes and failures.

Diversified team

Your team should be as diversified as possible on parameters like age, gender, education, language skills etc. This diversification will help you succeed more likely than you may think of, as each member will have a different view and opinion. Initially, you may not be comfortable with the team but you will have a very wide range of options that you can work upon.

You can easily face the competition in a foreign country by doing things smarter than your competitors.