Entrepreneurship

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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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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Entrepreneurship

“Never start a business just to make money, start a business to make difference” (Marie Forleo, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist)



Social entrepreneurship is on the rise because people have become increasingly careful about the impact of the money they spend. They now prefer purchasing brands that are working towards sustainability or any other social cause. Below there is a list of inspiring TED Talks give by prominent social entrepreneurs to inspire you to create a sustainable and socially benefitting business model.

1. Founder: Jacqueline Novogratz
Project: Acumen Funds
Sector: Finance

Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder of Acumen Funds, a project that provide low income consumers with access to facilities such as healthcare, housing and early business investments. The business model of Acumen funds work on the concept of saving on mortgage payments. Throughout her career, Novogratz has passionately worked for eradicating poverty from the world. In this particular talk, she discusses about her trip to a slum town in Nairobi, Africa and how a local encounter inspired her to develop a social business model for Acumen Funds. She says, “When systems are broken, like the one we are seeing around the world, it’s an opportunity for invention and innovation. It is an opportunity to truly build a world where we can extend services and products to all human being, so that they can make choices and decisions for themselves”. You can listen to the talk here.

2. Founder: Muhammad Yunus
Project: Grameen Bank
Sector: Banking and Microfinance

In this TED Talk, Muhammad Yunus explains about his journey of founding Garmeen Bank, with a humble start of only $27. He talks about the reasons behind the huge success of Garmeen Bank. He discusses how he defied all the conventional and traditional rules of a banking system and financed those who had no collateral to offer. In doing so, he provided an opportunity, to people with limited resources, to have a chance at life by building their own businesses. He adds that, “We are not interested by the apst of our borrowers; we are only interested in their future”. You can listen to Muhammad Yunus’ Ted Talk over here.

3. Founder: Salman Khan
Project: Khan Academy
Sector: Education

Khan Academy is a social startup that produces educational videos and began as a personal project in 2006. In this video, Khan discusses how the idea of Khan Academy was born, when he first started to make videos for his cousins in New Orleans from his home in Boston. And since then his venture has reinvented the concept of remote learning. His social business model has helped kids with autism and enabled them to learn at their own pace, from the comfort of their own homes. You can listen to the full version of Khan’s talk over here.

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Entrepreneurship

“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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Entrepreneurship
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 by 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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Leadership

It is often said that not all good managers are good leaders, neither are all good leaders good managers. The business world kind of kept peace with this reality for a long time, but now the tides are turning. With the changing organizational hierarchy, the need to find people who can manage and lead in an equally efficient manner has become crucial. As a matter of fact, management is a one of the most critical leadership skills one needs to confidently control the helm.

Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle faced in nurturing great leadership and management qualities is misunderstanding of the two terms due to their archaic definition. The conventional definition of a leader is a person who makes plans and strategies, and a manager is a person who makes people implement and follow those plans. There is something seriously wrong with these definitions as neither focus on the people, the cornerstone of any organization. Smarter organizations who have evolved with the time have realized that the power and potential lies in the people, and it can be truly realized not by controlling them but by encouraging and empowering them.

Now the new, and naturally improved, definition that works in benefit of the organization as well as each individual associated with is more centered around people, be it the employees, partners, or customers. A true leader is one who inspires people to perform better by realizing their own potential and a manager is the one responsible for creating an environment/system that enables and facilitate people to do so. With the same focus and the same goal, the differences are widely settled and the chances of conflict almost eliminated. So, while it is ideal that leaders should posses good managerial skills and managers should be able to think like leaders, it takes time to develop such aptitude and understanding.

At the end of the day what becomes most important for an organization is to develop a team where leaders and managers share not just the goal but also the values, vision, and most importantly, perspective. Together, they must be able to inspire trust among the people – employees, partners, and clients alike. Most of all, the biggest responsibility that leaders and managers share is to create and provide opportunities to develop leadership and managerial skills among the team, for not even the greatest empire can survive without ensuring a worthy successor.

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Entrepreneurship, Leadership

‘Failure’ is a term badly misunderstood; most people terribly fail to grasp its true meaning. In its literal sense, the word is the exact opposite of success. In reality, however, it is one of the most crucial elements of success itself. And we have thousands of actual success stories to back it up. Therefore, dealing with failure is one of the most important ability one needs in order to achieve success.

Unfortunately, failure in an entrepreneurial life doesn’t always mean low sales for a season or a marketing campaign that backfires. Things can get worse as soon as they start to look great. You can even get fired from a company you founded. The good news is, latest polls conducted by Ipsos reveal one amazing fact about entrepreneurs in general – they tend to have thicker skin. It is indeed a trait one needs in order to overcome failure. Not all of them are born with it, it is something they develop through sheer determination. Here are some of the most effective ways entrepreneurs learn to successfully deal with failure.

Meet Failure as an Old Friend

Old as in someone with experience and wisdom – someone you can learn from. Failures can teach you more than success. Failing a hundred times means learning one hundred ways that don’t work, and eventually discovering the one that would. It is important to reflect back on how you reached the negative outcome and try to discover and identify what actually went wrong. More often than not, it is one small move that turns the whole thing upside down.

Accept that Results and Responsibilities

What keeps entrepreneurs back is the habit of denial. Whether you are denying the fact that you have failed or the responsibility of that failure, it won’t play out in your favor. Accepting failure as it occurs save you from investing more efforts and resources on a lost cause; it will save you from exhaustion and frustration. Denying the responsibility will limit your ability to learn and improve. Consequently, you will find yourself stuck in the same spot or simply running around it in circles.

Overall, it is all about changing the way you perceive failure in order to deal with it. Don’t think of failure as a dead end, take it as a clear sign to make a turn. With each turn, you get closer and closer to your destination.

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Leadership

Many a times we set goals for ourselves without really thinking what we actually wish to achieve from of them. Only after reaching the destination we set our eyes on, we realize it wasn’t even worth the whole journey to begin with. Worst is the situation when we still insist of pursuing the same goal despite knowing we are not achieving anything from it. This is indeed one of the biggest leadership fails. Your journey as a leader should begin only after you have set the right goals for you and your team – goals that matter and goals that actually result in growth and improvement for everyone involved in the journey.

Understand the Need to Change Goals

While determination and resolve are great traits to have as a leader, flexibility is one thing that goes a long way. Flexibility is what lets you bounce back from a fall, learn from your mistake. It saves you from the state of denial, and lets you through the first step of dealing with failures i.e. accepting the failure. It applies to setting goals as well. As a leader, you should know that goals may be needed to change for many reasons. It could be because they weren’t right to begin with or because they became obsolete or less important because of other variables. What should remain constant is your vision; the moment you find your goals drifting away from that vision, know that you need to set better, more relevant goals. Successful corporations treat goals as milestones and go for new ones after certain period of time.

Take It Up a Notch

Your previous goals may have result in positive growth, but with that growth comes the need to aim higher. Consistency kills competitive edge. If you reached the second best position this year, you need to aim for the lead this year. If you gained lead this year, you need to set new standards next year. If your goals aren’t challenging enough, they won’t be useful enough. There is no point wasting your efforts on maintaining the same position. Eventually, your best won’t be best enough. So, as a leader you must be as brave as you are wise. Even if you missed a few goals this time, review your strategy to find out what went wrong and go for bigger goals with you improved strategy.

Lastly, let your team in on the change. Get their input on the goals you have achieved and ones you missed. Set goals that are aligned to that one vision you share with the whole team and start anew with new goals, new strategies and new zeal.

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Innovation

Last two centuries were the centuries of invention – the current seems like the era of innovation. Very few people, however, seem to truly understand the essence of innovation, what it really is, and how it is just as important, if not more, as invention. Many believe that it is just a buzzword that sounds impressive and heavy but actually lacks any real sense or substance. This is a serious misconception that may limit productivity and potential of individuals as well as organizations.

It is true that innovation is more of an abstract concept as compared to invention. This fact, however, is also what makes it all the more important. Innovation and invention are both processes of creating. In case of invention, it is creation of a product or a process. In case of innovation, value is the main product. Therefore, one can also say that innovation is a process of improvement rather than creation. It is indeed as simple as that.

What causes confusion regarding the concept of innovation is the kind of examples used to explain it. Most people will talk about how Apple innovated the smartphones and stories that involved lot of technical mumbo-jumbo, but innovation is not all about technology. Everyone can be an innovator in everything they do. A teacher, for instance, can be an innovator by introducing a teaching method that facilitates easy and quick learning. A chef can be an innovator by introducing a more efficient technique of slicing vegetables. Da Vinci was an innovator not because he created models for machines of the future but also because he pioneered techniques to add dimensions and depth to his artwork. From art to education and from science to everyday life, innovation is incorporating improvement and creating value through that improvement. So, to put it accurately, innovation is the way forward.

This definition holds true in the world of businesses. We have entered an era where inventions are not as frequent as in the past two centuries. The R&D sector is no longer invested in discoveries and inventions, it is more geared towards innovation because at the end of the day, it is the value that generates revenue. The wheel on innovation is moving at a much faster pace than the wheels of invention and businesses that fail to keep pace fail to survive.

To answer the question, innovation is not a buzzword – it is a necessity and the most crucial key to survival, both on an individual and organizational level.

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Innovation

There’s an old adage which goes “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door”. There’s a lot of business wisdom which focuses on how innovation drives success. It makes sense too if you think about it. If you are selling the best product, naturally you will get the most customers, right? Reality, sadly, does not conform to such simple statements. There are a lot of factors involved in the success of an innovation. If you really have an innovative idea, you don’t have it all, you have only just begun.

An innovative idea is just the start

There are a lot of people with innovative ideas. You’ll meet many people who are new entrepreneurs who will be very passionate about their idea and will love explaining it to you. They will tell you about how their idea is a game-changer and is sure to succeed. The reality is that the innovation is only good if it is applied in the right place and if it is run the right way.

One of the best examples we have of companies innovating and not realizing it comes from the computing industry. Everyone knows about Microsoft and how successful they were. It is easy to think that Google and Apple are bigger but that is only in other arenas. When it comes to computer software and operating systems Microsoft has no competition. They have more than 90% of the global market and have had it for more than 3 decades now. The interesting part is that Microsoft didn’t get their start by innovating.

Microsoft’s first hit in operating systems was MS-DOS, which they did not create; they bought it from another company. They were also lauded for innovating with Windows 3 and by focusing on a visual user interface. They were also lauded for their mouse support and how much better it was to use the computer with a mouse. They were not the first ones to sell either of them.

You can also look at Apple the same way. The iPhone is considered one of the most innovative products out there. The reality is that LG was selling a phone without a keypad almost a year before the iPhone. Android, the operating system, was already being made by a small company. Apple was just the first company to get the smartphone right. Google later bought Android and used it in the right way to succeed.

Why Innovations Fail

Innovations fail for one very simple reason; they need to be what the business is centered around, but they cannot be all that the business is centered around. You have to think of your innovative idea as the engine and your company as the car. Sure, your engine works great, but you need a lot more to make a car work. You need tires, you need good brakes, you need safety for passengers, you need oil to make the engine work, you need proper maintenance of the engine, and much more.

The same is true for business. You do not just need an innovative idea. You need financing to make the idea run, you need smart marketing to make it popular, you need limited liability to make it safe financially, you need a good way for the customers to interact with your idea, and much more.

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