11 Tips to Owning a Successful Small Business

1. Start Slowly
2. Don’t Jump into a Partnership
3. Cash Flow
Your business lives and dies with cash flow. Make conservative estimates about sales and costs.
. Know the Market
Don’t jump into a business just because the numbers look great. Work in the industry before you open your own shop.
5. Sales
Every great small business idea still needs selling and marketing to run profitably. But understand that these are two different skill sets.
6. Marketing
You might have the best products in the world, but if people don’t know about it, you’ll never keep your doors open.
7. Reduce Risks
8. Your Plan
Your business plan isn’t a guarantee of success, but you can almost guarantee failure if you don’t have a plan.
9. Talk It Up
Don’t keep your ideas to yourself. Discuss your business idea and plan with trusted business people you know. Get their input.
10. Be Flexible
11. Focus on Your Goals
The reason you go into business is to have more control over your life. You can better control how much money you are going to make and what your life is going to look like if your business is successful.

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5 life tips from Warren Buffet

Inspired from most admired finance guru in the world, we recommend five most important personal finance tips for everyone:

1. Spend wisely
If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need.– Warren Buffett

All of us suffer from the urge to splurge and we justify our spending using the pretext of special occasions, peer pressure, lifestyle, family, emotions and even smart decisions. Most marketing companies understand this urge and try to exploit it by making offers that give consumers the false notion of having made the right decision. Unhealthy carbonated drinks are sold with promises of happiness, adventure, youthfulness, etc. Take the example of the current EMI options on expensive smartphones.

When one could do with a Rs. 15,000 phone (within budget), the EMI option gives a false sense of smart decision and instead makes you buy a Rs. 35,000 phone (overstretched budget). Spending wisely is not being stingy but being smart and aware. Every rupee spent on unnecessary urges contributes to lost wealth.

What you should do: Always ask these questions: Do I really need this? Am I overspending? Can I save some money without compromising on the value I want from a particular product/service? Encourage your family members to follow this path.

Lesson: Rule No. 1 : Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget Rule No.1 – Warren Buffett

2. Saving: Save for the unexpected
Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. – Warren Buffett

All of us know that saving is important for a better future. But it is alarming to observe that most of us do not even save enough for emergencies. This happens due to our myopic view about personal finance.

Instant gratification today matters more than saving for tomorrow. In fact, saving is perceived as sacrifice by people.

What you should do: Follow “pay yourself first” principle. Set aside money for your future goals (and risk) as soon as you receive your monthly paycheck. Take professional advice to know where and how much you should invest for achieving goals.

Lesson: Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving. – Warren Buffett

3. Think long-term and be patient
 “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett

Money is part of nature, it doesn’t grow overnight. However, we overestimate money we can make in a year and underestimate what we can make in 10 years. People make money by staying invested for the long-term and without doing much “dancing in and dancing out” i.e. changing portfolios frequently.

Investors around the world believe in the India story in the long-term. You can benefit from India’s growth only if you invest for long-term and not panic seeing short-term fluctuations.

What you should do: Make a diversified portfolio based on your risk appetite and financial goals. Pick right financial instruments recommended by your financial advisor and invest regularly and persistently for the long term (8-10 years).

Lesson: Life is like a snowball. The important thing is finding wet snow (opportunities) and a really long hill (long term). – Warren Buffett

4. Borrowing: Limit what you borrow
You will not become rich by living on borrowed money (credit cards, loans). People initially think that borrowing is manageable. But our country is full of examples when managing debt becomes overwhelming. Borrowing should never be done without an objective assessment of future cash flow and other financial needs. One needs to have a solid plan to pay the debt back and not become its lifetime slave. A debt-free life is the best life.

What you should do: Start with thinking that borrowing money is not an option. Shift to using debit card (in-hand money) from credit card. Negotiate your interest rates with the banks and re-finance (early phase) if necessary. Objectively assess inflation rates, income growth, sources of income, assets to pledge, etc, while planning long-term borrowing.

Lesson: I’ve seen more people fail because of liquor and leverage – leverage being borrowed money. You really don’t need leverage in this world much. If you’re smart, you’re going to make a lot of money without borrowing. – Warren Buffett

5. Risk
Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing. – Warren Buffett

Everyone wants to make money and we all want it quick. We go for investments which promise high returns. But we fail to objectively analyze the associated higher rate of risk. Trying to hit a six on every ball with your hard-earned money is nothing short of gambling. This happens because we are greedy, don’t read fine prints of financial instruments and don’t understand their investment objective. Our financial planning is vague and is done in a random fashion which leaves us susceptible to risk.

What you should do: Understand the objective of various financial instruments and asset classes.

Consult professional advisors to understand the investment pyramid, develop an investment strategy, review regularly and diversify.

Lesson: Investing without knowing increases risk. However, instead of shying away from investing one should acquire knowledge to get it right.

Our Starbucks Mission Statement

Our Starbucks Mission Statement

Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

Here are the principles of how we live that every day:

Our Coffee

It has always been, and will always be, about quality. We’re passionate about ethically sourcing the finest coffee beans, roasting them with great care, and improving the lives of people who grow them. We care deeply about all of this; our work is never done.

Our Partners

We’re called partners, because it’s not just a job, it’s our passion. Together, we embrace diversity to create a place where each of us can be ourselves. We always treat each other with respect and dignity. And we hold each other to that standard.

Our Customers

When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers – even if just for a few moments. Sure, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection.

Our Stores

When our customers feel this sense of belonging, our stores become a haven, a break from the worries outside, a place where you can meet with friends. It’s about enjoyment at the speed of life – sometimes slow and savored, sometimes faster. Always full of humanity.

Our Neighborhood

Every store is part of a community, and we take our responsibility to be good neighbors seriously. We want to be invited in wherever we do business. We can be a force for positive action – bringing together our partners, customers, and the community to contribute every day. Now we see that our responsibility – and our potential for good – is even larger. The world is looking to Starbucks to set the new standard, yet again. We will lead.

Our Shareholders

We know that as we deliver in each of these areas, we enjoy the kind of success that rewards our shareholders. We are fully accountable to get each of these elements right so that Starbucks – and everyone it touches – can endure and thrive.

The Six Disciplines Entrepreneurs Need To Succeed

“Another important discipline involves proper planning. Creating a business plan in the beginning will raise your likelihood of future success because it forces you to think about and plan for critical issues you will face down the road. Furthermore, by devoting time to planning each year, you will be better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions.“

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When starting out in business, you may be able to fumble your way to short-term success if you have a good product and a measure of business savvy. If you want to experience long-term success, however, there are some core disciplines that must be learned and executed. At some point (sooner is better than later), you will need to become skilled in the following six areas:

1. Conducting Market Research: Doing market research will provide you with key information about the industry in which you operate. It will also help you develop your business plan and adapt it over time. Adequate market research includes, at a minimum, the following areas:

  • Industry: Trends, main competition, growth rates, sales figures

  • Competition: Profile your competitors; examine the good and bad points about their operations

  • Ideal Customers: Their demographics, geographic locations, typical profile

2. Testing Your Ideas: Starting a new business or launching a new product can be intimidating, but it’s also very exciting. Sometimes the excitement causes entrepreneurs to over-commit time and resources on untested or unproven ideas. This is a recipe for failure.

Find ways to test every idea before rolling it out. With the Internet, testing an idea does not have to be difficult or expensive. Search engines and social networks provide some incredible tools that can be used to effectively test and perfect business ideas.

3. Developing Business Plans: Another important discipline involves proper planning. Creating a business plan in the beginning will raise your likelihood of future success because it forces you to think about and plan for critical issues you will face down the road. Furthermore, by devoting time to planning each year, you will be better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions.

There are several mobile and desktop applications that make creating business plans much simpler than it used to be.

4. Saving vs. Spending: It’s easy to spend money on a new venture, and many entrepreneurs overspend in the beginning. Because it can take a while to get established and begin generating revenue on a consistent basis, it is wise to maintain a cushion at all times. A new business owner should have at least six months of operating costs socked away before going into business.

5. The Art of Negotiating: Knowing how to negotiate is one of the most powerful skills an entrepreneur can acquire. When opportunities arise, you must know how to negotiate for lower prices when buying and higher prices when selling. If negotiating is not one of your strengths, study the art of negotiating and practice doing it whenever you get the chance.

6. Mental Toughness: If you’re not resilient, you won’t be able to bounce back from the setbacks that you will face. Every entrepreneur inevitably faces setbacks and failures. Some will be small, and some will be so big that they will seem overwhelming. You must cultivate mental toughness and the determination to press on despite obstacles if you’re going to survive in the business world.

Last Word

You have the ability to build a successful business. Thousands of people have done it who have no more ability than you do. To succeed, they simply learned the necessary behaviors to make their dreams a reality, and consistently took action to reach their goals. You can do the same.

Source – Forbes

Big Questions Every Business Plan Should Answer

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Business Plan Questions to Answer

Is Your Product or Service Innovative?

This does not mean the core offerings of your company have to be completely different from anything that’s out there on the market now. In fact, having what amounts to an alien concept can be detrimental to a business pitch, because you’ll have no foundation to compare your company with.

Instead, your business plan should highlight what is different, exciting, or inspiring about your product or service. An element of innovation will underline the viability of your concept, and help to persuade investors that you can succeed.

Will People Pay for What You’ve Got?

As a business owner, you can’t just put in your 40 hours and cash a paycheck at the end of the week. Your product or service needs the ability to earn its keep, so that eventually it’s turning enough of a profit to cover the overhead costs of your business, the salaries of any employees you have or plan to hire, and your own cost of living.

Your business plan should outline the potential revenue for your company by showing how much you plan to charge for your products or services, and why people will pay that amount for what you’re offering. This piece of information shows investors that you know the real worth of your company, and you’re prepared to avoid collapse and bankruptcy with realistic projections.

Is Your Target Industry Growing?

Pitching a business that’s going to “revitalize” an industry is a tough sell – mostly because it takes more than one company to save a sinking ship.

Investors like to see new or expanding businesses in industries that are either stable or growing because it presents them with a better chance that their investment will pay off.

What Have You Got That Your Competitors Don’t?

The competitive edge is more than just a corporate buzzword. A great business plan articulates the differences between your products or services and similar offerings from your competitors. You should be able to describe why people will choose your widget over the next one in line, and therefore why your business will be profitable once you’re established.

By taking the time to describe your competitive advantage, you’re also giving yourself a foundation for a solid marketing plan.

What Are Your Staffing Plans?

Few companies can remain viable forever as sole entrepreneur operations. Eventually, you’ll need to hire people as your company grows. Investors want to know that you have smart, realistic staffing plans in place for your start-up or expansion.

You might start with assigning multiple roles to yourself and/or your existing staff, and then outline the milestones that will necessitate hiring new people, and offloading roles to them.

It’s important to have your business plan show that you understand the need for management and collaboration – and that you have good timing.

Are Your Goals Rooted in Reality?

You may be completely confident that your business is going to make a million dollars by the end of the first year, but that’s not something you’ll want to say to investors. Your business plan is a place for reasonable goals, with carefully considered, even conservative projections.

One of the best rules for customer service is to under-promise and over-deliver, and your business plan should follow that rule. Use it to outline a business forecast that you can reasonably expect to meet, and then wow your investors when your (private) wild speculations come to pass

 

Source Small Busienss Trends