Connect with us

Startups

10 Tips For Startups Sourcing Products From China

Published

on

I had the pleasure recently of interviewing Michael Fox, who is the co-founder of the online store Shoes of Prey. What I loved about talking with him is that most of their brand has been built by word of mouth and the use of social media influencers. One of those social media influencers was Juicystar07 aka Blair Fowler, who sent more than 700,000 people to the Shoes Of Prey website in a very short period through a Youtube video she shot.

In the first three years, none of the founders took a salary, and the money they had each saved was what they lived off. In June 2012, they raised a $3 million AUD round of funding which they used to ramp up their hiring and experiment with marketing channels. In November 2013, they raised another $2 million in funding. Finally, in November last year they did a big round of $7 million to help them grow even further.

Shoes of Prey are predominantly an online business with a small retail footprint that allows women to design their own shoes, which they make and then send to their customers. The options for designing women’s shoes on their site are literally in the trillions and you can change things like the toe shape, the back shape, heel type, decorations, leather type and colors of the shoe.

The biggest success they have had in recent times is their partnership with Nordstrom in the USA, who have 120 department stores. They currently have two retail stores in Australia and six retail stores that they have partnered with Nordstrom over in the USA. After being introduced to Nordstrom they took feedback on their design and spent the next 12 months tweaking things for the USA market. This resulted in them getting a yes from Nordstrom. The main crossover was that they are both fanatical with customer service so this was a good foundation to build a partnership and relationship on.

Michael, his ex-wife Jodie and Mike Knapp started the business while they were all studying at law school. The three of them were fairly entrepreneurial and started out with regular jobs. Michael was doing advertising sales at Google; Mike was a software engineer at Google and Jodie was working in advertising. When Michael and Jodie would book holidays, Jodie would always like to book stopovers in Asia because there were stores where you could design your own shoes.

On her second and third trips, her friends started asking her if she could design shoes for them because they had seen the cool shoes she was wearing. The three of them wanted to start something in the online space for a while and spent many years diligently saving up their money to do so. When Jodie’s light bulb moment came with the shoe design concept, the idea ended up becoming the now famous Shoes of Prey.

The future looks bright for Shoes Of Prey so expect them to be opening more stores, raising more money from investors and introducing new product lines such as boots, handbags and other leather accessories.

Below are the ten tips Michael Fox gave me to help you be successful in sourcing products from China for your startup.

 

1. Find smaller suppliers at the start

When you are first looking for suppliers, you want to try and go with someone who is a bit smaller because they will be hungrier for your business and might be more open to doing something a bit different. Michael said that the economy also helped them because during 2008 the Global Financial Crisis hit the smaller suppliers, and their orders were suffering as a result.

Shoes of Prey had to find fairly unique suppliers in China because they were sourcing custom made shoes one at a time and sending them to a customer rather than ordering containers of product. Rather than using websites like Alibaba, which is great for generic products, they attended trade fairs in China and met with shoe manufacturers. The first obstacle they had was that the minimum order was often a thousand pairs of shoes, and they wanted them made one by one.

 

2. Stand out with your product to avoid copycats

To avoid copycats copying your product and affecting your sales, you should consider the concept that comes from Seth Godin’s book “Purple Cow.” The analogy in the book is imagine you’re driving past a paddock of brown, black & white cows, you wouldn’t pay any attention because you have seen this before but, imagine you saw a purple cow, you would be posting photos on Facebook and telling everybody. What your business can learn from this analogy is that you want your product to be like the purple cow and to really stand out from the other products in the market so that you will attract buyers that can’t go anywhere else for what you offer and avoid copycats. It’s this concept from “Purple Cow” that inspired Shoes of Prey to start their eCommerce company.

If there is a way for you to develop a unique product, you won’t have to deal with the issue of your suppliers selling the same products to your competitors. You can try locking them into exclusivity, but you will need the volume to do this.

 

3. Get the volumes up with your marketing

From the beginning of the Shoes Of Prey business, they marketed via word of mouth and on the first day they sent an email to about eight hundred of their friends. The email told their friend’s what they had been working on for the last few months along with a coupon that gave them a $50 credit. This $50 credit also allowed their friends to forward the same coupon onto other people to try it out too. Michael believes that word of mouth, along with a unique product and awesome buying experience will see your online sales quickly grow. Through this process, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to your net promoter score, which will help you attract repeat customers.

The other part to Shoes Of Prey’s marketing strategy was to open small stores within larger department stores to leverage their brand. Every time Shoes Of Prey open a store in the USA they contact all the local fashion bloggers, Instagrammers and influencers and invite them along to the store events. This helps to get people talking about them, and the traditional media are also very useful for these events too.

Shoes Of Prey had an amazing story where a video blogger on Youtube spoke about their product, and they got more than 700,000 thousand visits to their website. This volume of traffic was more than what they had had in the nine months prior to the video being posted! Check out the video  from Juicystar07 below.

Go through your own customer database using some of the tools available online, which allow you to lookup your customers Instagram accounts to see who the influencers are and then invite these people to your events. Consider also using a PR agency that will have access to a lot of the top fashion bloggers and journalists.

 

4. Work with multiple suppliers

Michael said that at the start the approached about twenty suppliers before they picked two suppliers and began placing orders with one of them. With a business like customised shoes, you can’t work with two suppliers because one factory might make a totally different shade of red shoe than another. When three months with one supplier passed, the relationship just wasn’t working out which is why it is always important to have a second supplier as a backup. The next supplier that Shoes of Prey used lasted for three years. Michael’s advice would be once your startup gets big enough, it’s a good idea to think of building your own factory in China, which is what they now have.

If you only have one supplier, then that company know that strategically you are not in a strong position and this can lead to them dictating both price, delivery times and quality.

 

5. Make it easy to send orders to your supplier

Before they had their own factory Shoes Of Prey developed an online order form that had a built in translation system that could translate the order from English to Chinese and then be sent to the factory to explain the individual shoe that needed to be made. Once the order form was in the factory, all the components of the shoe would be put into a box and go through various stages to make the shoe before going then proceeding through to quality control.

With custom made products it’s important to price the shoe at a lower margin when you begin so that you can still be competitive, once the volumes rise you can then increase your margin because your buy price is lower.

 

6. Be careful of intermediary shipping

China is like the Wild West for doing business and if you have the money to spend you can source almost anything very quickly. The negative is that if you don’t have enough shipping volume in the early days to deal with the large shipping companies like DHL, you are forced to use an intermediary. What Shoes of Prey found was that because the intermediary were paid by the cubic metres of the shipping parcels and then they in turn were charged by DHL in cubic metres, they would unpack their nicely packed shoes boxes, and cut down the top off the shoe box to make the shipping cheaper for them.

Customers began telling them that the shoes were great but the boxes looked horrible, and Michael couldn’t figure out why. Being a clever entrepreneur and understanding the power of customer feedback, he drove around to one of the customer’s houses in Sydney and inspected the box. On closer inspection, Michael could see the shoebox had been cut around the top to save space.

 

7. Keep a close eye on the payment terms

In the early days of your startup, you should expect to pay your Chinese suppliers up front. In the case of Shoes of Prey, they would get the money in full from the customer at the time of ordering, and once they had a relationship with the supplier, they could typically pay 14 days from the invoice. What this did was put them in a positive cash cycle and allowed them to grow. For you to be successful in importing products from China, you must be continually renegotiating your supplier payment terms to make the cash cycle as good as it can be.

 

8. Keep the design process simple at the start

Shoes Of Prey Design Process - David JonesInitially, Shoes Of Prey used the Chinese manufacturers design of the shoe to start with and so that it wouldn’t burden the relationship too much early on. If you go down this path, consider flying to China and seeing all the samples yourself. If you only deal with them by email, it can be tough to have any sort of relationship. As things have progressed, Shoes Of Prey now do all the design work and styles themselves. The continual theme here is to start with a simple arrangement with your manufacturer otherwise you will find it very difficult to get your first one. As things move forward, and they can see orders coming in, they will be much more open to trying new ideas with your product.

 

9. The first employee you hire should be in China

Overcoming the language barrier when dealing with Chinese suppliers is definitely possible as a lot of them have English speaking sales and business development staff. Very early on in your startups journey, it is a good idea to hire English speaking staff that work for you and are based in China if you’re going to be sourcing products from there.

The nature of manufacturing anything in China is that you must have rigorous quality control standards, and this must be done by you. For Shoes Of Prey, the first employee they hired was based in China to do quality control before they even launched. As you expand you should eventually have your own factory with a workforce of employees that you employ directly – small steps should be taken early on.

As founders, you should expect to be spending a fair bit of time China yourself keeping on top of the quality control, and perfecting the business.

 

10. Control the production time

If the manufacturer knows you can’t go to another supplier, it can be very challenging to hold them accountable for production times of your product. One solution to this problem is to keep the backlog of orders on your end. For example if you had 100 outstanding orders for shoes, you would send 10 to the factory, they would produce them, and then 24 hours later you would send an order for another ten of your must urgent orders and so on. This can help them keep the production time under control.

Shoes Of Prey Founders Michael Fox, Jodie Fox, Mike Knapp

Shoes Of Prey Founders Michael Fox, Jodie Fox, Mike Knapp

Visit the Shoes Of Prey website to find out more about their products and latest styles.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Startups

5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

Published

on

business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

Continue Reading

Startups

‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

Published

on

Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Startups

Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

Published

on

The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Startups

How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

Published

on

company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

Continue Reading

Trending

Entrepreneurs

5 Guilty Pleasures to Cut Out Immediately if You Want to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Published

on

successful entrepreneur

Admit it, you admire the mansion, you covet the sports car, you dream of that private jet or owning that marvelous yacht. To make matters worse you see your boss owning all of these and living the “good” life.  Deep down you envy your wealthy boss because you wish you could have his possessions. (more…)

Stefany Liefeld is a content strategist with a knack for marketing. A wild introvert who likes to observe life and the universe from as many angles as possible. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Startups

5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

Published

on

business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

Continue Reading

Startups

‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

Published

on

Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Startups

Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

Published

on

The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Continue Reading

Startups

How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

Published

on

company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

Continue Reading

Trending