Innovation

For many people out there innovation and disruption are terms that are often confused. However, there is a difference between the two. The only problem is that the difference is a little hard to spot.

 You may innovate but not necessarily disrupt something. However, when you disrupt something you are not only going to be innovative, but the innovation is going to seem so irrational, so away from the norms that eventually the whole industry will be disrupted.

Confused? Probably a better way to explain this is with the help of an example. Hotels.com is an online platform where you can look up different hotels and resorts, find out about their amenities and facilities, book yourself a room, check out the nearby locations etc. In its own time, when it first rolled out Hotels.com was seen as an innovative way of handling your accommodation needs when travelling.

It was definitely innovative, but did it disrupt anything? No!

What would seem like a disruptively innovative idea in the same industry? Several people put their heads together and thought that it would be a great idea if they could have an online marketplace where they could have people who want to rent out their homes to people who may be in need of an accommodation.

And this is how Airbnb was born! The idea of connecting the hosts and the travelers together was not only innovative but disruptive too!

When an individual is just being innovative they might be that way without necessarily having to dismantle the entire system. They can simple propose a new, more insightful problem solving strategy, one which the world has never seen before just like they did with Hotels.com. At the end of the day their strategy is also something completely original, but it has not created any disruption anywhere.

On the other hand when you talk about people who wish to disrupt markets, their idea does not only have to be innovative, it needs to be so ingenious that just on its innovativeness it creates chaos. Only then would they be able to create the disruption they intend to. It is clear by now that for a person to create disruption, they must possess the key of innovation in their hands.

Disruptive Innovators: A Force to be Reckoned With

When disruptors want to introduce a revolutionary solution, they think about introducing such a massive innovation which would disrupt their particular industry in such a manner that the old no longer remains in demand. The disruptive innovators become a force to be reckoned with on their own.

 Another popular example of businesses that introduced disruptive innovation includes Facebook: the social media site which literally changed the game of how people previously interacted with each other.

It is clearly that if an industry wishes to survive, they must constantly innovate. This is the biggest competitive edge they have. But do businesses need to disrupt too? While this may certainly be food for thought, one thing is clear that you can neither be innovative or disruptive without being backed up by innovation.
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Business, Entrepreneurship

Mistake #01: Not having a plan

If you don’ have a plan then you fall into a category called as ‘Accidental Entrepreneurs’. The only problem with the entrepreneurs staring of from here is that their success might be accidental but their failure will not come as a surprise.

Mistake #02: Looking for shortcuts

There are no shortcuts when you are trying to establish a brand name. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and persistence. And the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into your business depends on how passionate you are about it.

Mistake #03: Investing way more than its required

Common misconception new entrepreneurs have is that the success of the business is directly proportional to the amount of money they invest in it. And because of this the end up investing a lot more then it is required, in the beginning. Many successful businesses had a humble start and managing your finances from day 1 can steer you clear of any future debts.

Mistake #04: Doing things randomly

You can’t make random decisions and hope that things will fall in place at the end. Every decision you take, about your business, should align with your long term goal. If things don’t add up in the beginning, it’s ok! As long as you know why you are taking a certain decision and how will it benefit your business down the road.

Mistake #05: Resistant to change

Sure, persistence is required in setting up a business but at the same time you should not be resistant to change. One of the best advices I was ever given was, ‘to not stick to a mistake because you spent a long time making it.’ Observe which strategies are working for you and which aren’t and then be proactive in changing the ones that aren’t.

Mistake #06: Trying to become a Jack of all trades

If you are trying to do everything at once, there is a high probability of messing things up. Instead focus on the things you are good at and do them perfectly. As Jack Dorsey, Co-founder of Twitter puts it, “Make every detail perfect, but most importantly, limit the details to perfect”.

Mistake #07: Having a competitor-based approach

If you have a competitor based approach then you’re going to operate out of a place of fear. Fear of losing to your competitor. You should opt for a customer-based approach instead, because at the end of the day it is your customers who are helping your business grow. Therefore, you should be aware about their needs and requirements first.

Mistake #08: Equating web traffic with success

This point is particularly true for online business ventures. Creating traffic on your site should be an intermediate step and not the end goal. The end goal should be to make the sale because that is what is going to get you revenues, not the page views.

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Business, Entrepreneurship

Mistake #01: Not having a plan

If you don’ have a plan then you fall into a category called as ‘Accidental Entrepreneurs’. The only problem with the entrepreneurs staring of from here is that their success might be accidental but their failure will not come as a surprise.

Mistake #02: Looking for shortcuts

There are no shortcuts when you are trying to establish a brand name. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and persistence. And the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into your business depends on how passionate you are about it.

Mistake #03: Investing way more than its required

Common misconception new entrepreneurs have is that the success of the business is directly proportional to the amount of money they invest in it. And because of this the end up investing a lot more then it is required, in the beginning. Many successful businesses had a humble start and managing your finances from day 1 can steer you clear of any future debts.

Mistake #04: Doing things randomly

You can’t make random decisions and hope that things will fall in place at the end. Every decision you take, about your business, should align with your long term goal. If things don’t add up in the beginning, it’s ok! As long as you know why you are taking a certain decision and how will it benefit your business down the road.

Mistake #05: Resistant to change

Sure, persistence is required in setting up a business but at the same time you should not be resistant to change. One of the best advices I was ever given was, ‘to not stick to a mistake because you spent a long time making it.’ Observe which strategies are working for you and which aren’t and then be proactive in changing the ones that aren’t.

Mistake #06: Trying to become a Jack of all trades

If you are trying to do everything at once, there is a high probability of messing things up. Instead focus on the things you are good at and do them perfectly. As Jack Dorsey, Co-founder of Twitter puts it, “Make every detail perfect, but most importantly, limit the details to perfect”.

Mistake #07: Having a competitor-based approach

If you have a competitor based approach then you’re going to operate out of a place of fear. Fear of losing to your competitor. You should opt for a customer-based approach instead, because at the end of the day it is your customers who are helping your business grow. Therefore, you should be aware about their needs and requirements first.

Mistake #08: Equating web traffic with success

This point is particularly true for online business ventures. Creating traffic on your site should be an intermediate step and not the end goal. The end goal should be to make the sale because that is what is going to get you revenues, not the page views.
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Business, entrepreneur

Have you ever been overwhelmed with the numerous tasks that you have to juggle simultaneously?

Are you tired of running one man army, to set up your business?

Do you feel exhausted being a jack of all trades?

If your answer was ‘Yes’ to the questions above, then you should keep on reading. Below is the list of tools that can make your work significantly easier and manageable. The best part, you ask? These applications are FREE (or require minimal investment in some cases).

Yoast

This is the most effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool that an online entrepreneur can have. In this age of digital marketing, businesses compete to get a higher visibility on search engines and that is why SEO skills are a hot commodity in the market these days.

With Yoast you can transform your digital content into a lead generating tool. It keeps a record of your desired keywords and analyzes their strength by assigning a ‘SEO score’ to your online content.

It is a great tool if you are looking to generate traffic on your website through online content marketing.

Canva

Internet is flooding with the information, and what separates good content from the rest of it, is the quality of the content. Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are all emerging as important players in streamlining the customers to your site. But what persuades a potential customer to click on your link? It is observed that people react to visuals more than the written content. Canva helps you in designing engaging visuals and thumbnails for your social media sites.

It is extremely user-friendly graphic designing software and anyone, even without prior knowledge of graphic designing, can use it.

Evernote

There is no specific hour to get inspired. Most amazing ideas are born in the most unlikely places and for this very reason you should develop the habit of note keeping. It is highly likely, that with hundred other things going in your mind, you will forget about the little, but potential, detail.

Evernote is the best organization tool that helps you store and brainstorm your ideas. Like most of the digital applications, it is compatible on various devices so that your most amazing ideas are always at your disposal.

Survey Monkey

Customer feedback is imperative for any business and surveys are great way to record that data. However, creating an engaging survey and manually collecting the response can be a really daunting task. SurveyMonkey is extremely user-friendly software that creates surveys and records responses in real time. An added advantage is that, you can also analyze the results via the software.

Fiverr

As an entrepreneur, you have to do most of the work by yourself. But there are certain things that require special skills and are better left for an expert to handle, for example designing a website, creating a mobile application for your business etc. The best option for you to deal with such situations is to hire freelance help. This option is cost-efficient as well as time efficient. Fiverr is one such platform where you can hire freelance help.

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Business, Entrepreneurship

Congratulations for finally joining the not so new but slowly growing wave of women who are choosing to work from home.  You have got all the tools you need, a business plan, support from your family and determination. But here are some tips that you will need in order to thrive in your new working from home journey:

Manage your time

Leaving the office life behind doesn’t mean you completely disregard your time and not manage your time. The best thing about working from home is that it saves your time and gives you so much more to do. It offers you the flexibility that you didn’t previously get in managing your life. no more traffic to deal with, no more rushing and waking up early and getting dressed, no more ironing clothes for the next work day etc. that’s all fine and dandy but don’t abuse this new opportunity to be productive by taking too many breaks, talking to friend son the phone for long periods of time or watching  TV shows.

You need to make a schedule of your work timing and stick to it like glue. A smaller but undisturbed work time is much better than long working one full of many breaks and distractions.

Don’t overwork

Never over work yourself because this is the reasons why many women become burnt out in the earlier stages of working from home running a business form home.  Just work at your own pace and be relaxed. You have nowhere to go because you are already at home, no traffic to worry about or to pick up kids from daycare. Women think that just because they are working from home, they have to overcompensate it by working too much. This is actually very counterproductive.

Don’t wear pajamas all day

The idea of wearing whatever you want when you are working from home is a great one but it might not necessarily be productive. It’s great that you don’t have to wear formal clothes that you did at the office. But staying in pajamas all day will give a feeling of leisure and comfort, the mind is going to associate it with sleep and soon you will be taking naps on the sofa or taking too many breaks. Just wear casual clothing that you would wear everyday at home.

Take meaningful breaks

It’s totally up to you how many breaks work for you but when you do make sure they don’t waste your time. Your breaks should include you getting out for some fresh air, a siesta, lunch, calling parents/spouse, reading, listening to music, spending time with your kids etc. leave the comedy re-runs for the evening with your spouse.

Make to-do lists


It’s always great to prioritize your work and making lists for the next day/week/month. It saves you time and de-clutters your mind and it will make multitasking so much easier for you.
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Business, Entrepreneurship

Google, Apple, Hewlet Packard and Amazon – what do these businesses have in common? Sure, they are ruling their respective industries, possess the highest market shares and are multi-billion dollar corporations but what else? A little known common fact about these business giants is that they all started in the back of a garage. Yes! Shocking isn’t it.

With the right execution, a small business that begins in the back of the garage has the capability to transform the living style of an entire generation. We millennials, belonging to the online generation of Google and Amazon, are a living proof of it. So if you have an idea and you are unsure about it because everyone around you jokes that it is way too crazy or unrealistic, well then maybe it is, but who is to decide that crazy is not good. Let me tell you, it is the decisions you make along the way. Below I have compiled a list of things that you should avoid to transform your crazy business idea into a great one.

Here are a few tips I wish someone had told me when I was starting my own business.

Sometimes those who wander are lost

For any business to work it is absolutely imperative to have a concrete business plan. You should make sure that you set small targets for yourself to ultimately achieve the big goal. You have to have an idea about where you are headed, what your target audience is and which market are you attempting to operate in. Having a road map makes it easier for you to reach your destination and you achieve your end goal faster.

Don’t be overly-positive about any outcome

It is good to be positive and optimistic about your business idea but don’t forget to look at the things critically in the process. Be wary of your flaws before someone else points them out for you. Try to opt for an active approach rather than a reactive one.

Don’t stick to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it

This advice is not only for new entrepreneurs, it can be applicable regardless of the scalability for your business. If something is not working out, as you had planned, stop wasting more time and resources over it and move on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Even the best businesses out there require a team so why are you exhausting yourself by doing everything on your own? Don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help. Even if you have limited resources you can always depend on family and friends.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes

Lastly the most important thing you should know is that no one can avoid failure completely. Yes you can learn from others’ mistakes and try and do things differently and this is why I have compiled this list for you. But you learn from your experiences, so don’t be afraid to dive in and give your 100 percent.

Good Luck! Now go and start working on that dream project of yours.
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education

Every entrepreneur should read these 5 books to gain some insight and motivation. Even if you are not an entrepreneur these books are fantastic reads. They are full of life lessons and you are bound to learn a thing or two.

1.     Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

This book is so simple that even a 10 year old can read it but it taught me some of the most important lessons. When I was reading this book, I was in awe of perfectly it fits every situation in my life and how I have exceedingly complicated my professional matters. This book urges you to take matters into your own hands, take action and not be resistant to change. You can easily finish the book in one sitting but the impact is going to last way longer than that. What I like best about this book is that it is so metaphorical that everybody concludes a different message from it making it universally beneficial.

2.     #GIRBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso established a billion dollars empire and a brand name Nasty Gal, out a thrift store haul. This book covers her journey from being a weird teenager, who used to shoplift and think that she was too smart for school, to becoming the power women she is today. This book is a must read for everyone who thinks their ideas are unconventional and don’t fit into the pre-determined cut out patterns of the society. Sophia made us realize that weird is okay and that “the straight and narrow is not the only path to success”.

3.     Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

It is regarded as one of the best self development books of the 20th century. People have mixed reviews about it, some claim that is drastically changed their life some find it vague and annoying. Again with self development books, I think it depends on the individual and what they plan on taking from it. Personally, I think it is a good read and equip you with helpful tips and tricks to lead you on the path of success.

4.     The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

One of the best things about this book is that it involves case studies and real life examples so that the readers can better relate to it. Probably the best lesson I learned from it was that you can’t turn all of your passions into profitable ventures and some dreams are better left as dreams. So the key to success is to decide carefully which passion to follow and find a point of convergence between your passion and value.

5.     Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

Ok, this book contains some concepts of economics but it does help you in developing your critical thinking abilities. It revolves around the idea that even the apparent random things happening in our everyday lives are not random and that everything follows a pattern, either hidden or evident.
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Business, entrepreneur

There was a time when working from home was the dream of people working in the corporate world, but now thanks to the internet, a whole world of new possibilities has opened up. The internet has left people spoilt for choice when it comes to communicating, entertainment and doing business. With the advent of technology, people have discovered new avenues for conducting their business and a huge shift or shall we say migration has taken place in the world of business.

Whether you are someone who is thinking about starting your own business or a working mother who wants to spend more time with the kids, working from home is a great option. Not only will you be spending more quality time with your family but you will also be saving a lot of money by cutting back on a nanny, baby sitter, daycare center or after school care for the kids.

Here are 4 surefire ways to kickstart your very own business from home:

1. Create your own things

If you are skilled in painting, knitting, arts and crafts, then why not maximize your profit and create things you love at the same time? You can sell your handmade creations online and improve on your skills. There are many websites that promote and sell handcrafted items. The most popular ones are Etsy, Bonanza and even Ebay. If you have a penchant for everything organic then Abe’s Market place is the go to website to sell your handmade/home grown products.

No matter what, there will always be someone out there who is willing to pay the price of your choice for a handmade item. That is why handmade items are comparatively having higher prices than factory made ones.

2. Sell goods

You can buy things in wholesale and sell them at a retail price on websites such as Amazon or Ebay. Just ensure the items are original and in good condition so that customers don’t leave a negative review for you. It is really important to have good ratings for your online store front these websites. Alternatively you can also sell your old or used products at a cheaper price if you are thinking to get rid of some stuff.

3. Sell your services

If you don’t have any products to sell, then you can sell your services to people. You can be a masseuse, baby sitter, daycare person, psychic service (for the crowd that prefers it), or any other service that can be done from home as long as its legal and you have a license for it should the profession require it.

4. Freelancing

There are tons of freelancing opportunities online that you can do. Whatever profession you are in, you can find a freelance version of it online. Whether its graphic designing, coding, writing, business consultation etc just research on it and you will find one.

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education

So you have finally finished your MBA program successfully and are now exploring your options in the job market. Probably one of the reasons you are reading this currently is because you stumbled upon this post while looking for places to apply for job.

Wait! Just pause your job search for a while and hear us out. Well if you really wanted to try your luck at job market, why didn’t you do it after Bachelors? Or maybe even if you did why didn’t you stick to it? Why investing two years of your life in attending classes and paying a handsome amount to an institution when you could very well be cashing your Bachelors degree?

I know what you’re going to say, that it is difficult to land a good job by just doing Bachelors. Good and reputable companies want a person with diversified and skills set and prefer MBA’s over BBA’s.

Take a step back and analyze. Who gave companies that option of hiring over qualified employees for under qualified positions? It is all about the demand and supply. I am sure all of us have read about that during the course of our MBA programs.

The supply of over qualified MBA professionals looking for job increased and why would companies not hire someone with advanced skills set anyways? It is a complete win-win situation for them. But is it a winning situation for us? Not so sure.

Here are some of the reasons why taking up a job after completing MBA is a bad move.

1. You will be living someone else’s dream

You use your skills set and experience to build dreams of your employers. And the worst part is that you feel accomplished doing that. You take up a job thinking that it is a temporary refuge but soon it becomes your comfort zone that you are too scared to leave.

2. It kills innovation

When you decide to pursue a graduate studies program you already have basic theoretical knowledge about the subject through your undergraduate studies. You build up on existing foundations and explore the previously unexplored academic domains. This practice of critical thinking generally transforms into an innovator. When you decide to take a regular job after MBA you basically kill the innovative spirit by taking on the mundane tasks.

3. It is an era of entrepreneurship

There is a significant chance of humans loosing the current jobs to machines because of the rapid digitalization. People have developed complex algorithms for carrying out manual tasks and human expertise are no longer needed in those domains.

The only way to combat the predicted dreaded scenario is b human playing an active role in creative fields. If you still want to be employed in the next decade, utilize your MBA degree, put your creative entrepreneurial hat on and produce something that robots cannot.

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Business, Entrepreneurship
A list of fears that every entrepreneur should overcome to be successful

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

This question practically changed my outlook on life and helped me in making the toughest decisions, in the most crucial times.

Ask yourself, how many times you have lost valuable opportunities just because you were afraid? The feeling or realization is not pleasant, but if you are reading this, it means that you have accepted your weakness and you are looking for ways to overcome it.

Entrepreneurship is a journey and the end destination depends on the routes you take along the way. This instills a fear of unknown in many entrepreneurs. Here are 5 fears that you have to overcome to be a successful entrepreneur.

Fear of taking the first step

To begin a journey, you have to be brave enough to take the first step that puts you out on the path. Often, the decision of taking the first step is the hardest part about the whole process. The fear of starting can be a result of over-thinking and over-analyzing every little detail. I have heard people giving excuses like, ‘Oh you know, I am trying to perfect all the details before starting, I am a perfectionist.’ But let’s face the hard truth, you are not a perfectionist, you are just afraid of starting. Either that or you are confused about where to start from.

As an entrepreneur, you should understand that, setting up a business is not a onetime thing, it’s an ongoing process. You learn through your experiences and you evolve along the way. So you should stop trying to perfect the details and focus more on executing them.

Fear of taking the risk

One of the defining characteristics of an entrepreneur is that they are not afraid to take the risks. When you are employed and working for someone else, they have to take the hard decisions about the future of the business. You just have to follow the orders to reach that goal. But while you are running your own business, it is you who have to make the call. You have to take the risks, in order to get the returns.

The fear or taking the risk arises because of the uncertainty of the outcome. While you cannot omit 100% uncertainty, with careful speculations you can predict the outcome to certain accuracy. And that assurance is enough to overcome your fear of taking the risk.

Fear of failure

You should understand it from the first step, that failure is inevitable. So don’t let the fear of failure cripple you and crush your spirits. When you were a kid, you didn’t learn how to walk the first time you decided to do it, but you did it anyway, you learnt it over a period of years. Apply the same philosophy to your career. Give it your 100%, hope for the best outcome but be prepared for the worst to happen.

So the next time, you fail at something, look at situation critically and ask yourself what you learned from it. It will change your perspective and transform the way you do your business.

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