5 TIPS TO MAKE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS CLICK!

According to London photographer David Locke, photography is not just about being a good photographer. In this dog-eat-dog world, where Instagram has made photographers out of everyone, (including your neighbour’s great aunt), professional photographers need to have a steady head for business, along with a steady hand for shooting. To help point your business in the right direction, here are a few basic tenets followed by photographers who have made the cut in this fiercely competitive field.

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Source: Google Images

Photography is not a hobby, it’s a business.

Even though photography may have been your hobby first, it is now your business, and you need to make sure other people see it in the same light. In a bid to score more clients and build an impressive portfolio, many rookie photographers offer their services free of charge, especially to friends and families. Soon, they are established as a ‘by-the-by photographer’ in the eyes of the world. If you indiscriminately offer free services, your business will soon be staring down the barrel of a gun. Choose clients wisely in the beginning, and offer free services only when you think a project can significantly up your marketing quotient. Also, instead of offering free services, carry out free photography sessions, but offer prints and digital images at a discounted rate.

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Source: Google Images

Since photography is a business, make it pay.

One of the chief conundrums creative people find themselves in is how much to charge for their services. Compounding this problem is the fact that most creative folk are constantly racked by ‘artistic guilt’, wondering whether they ‘deserve’ to get paid well for their services. The good news is – you definitely do. The tough part is convincing yourself of your worth, and being bold enough to ask for more. Says photographer Rosh Sillars, “Every time I raise my rates, I lose clients who take too much of my time and don’t want to pay for it. I find new clients who believe quality photographers charge more and are willing to pay the price for the best. I like these clients, you will too.”

Bottom-line: There is no ‘right or wrong price’. Ask for what you believe you are worth and stick to that. In fact, what is wrong is underselling yourself.

Be a purple cow – do not follow the herd.

When you have just hung out your shingle, you may give every photography project the nod, for that ‘extra bit of money and experience.’ While that may see you through in the beginning, it will not help you carve a niche for yourself. Like Seth Godin has put it, you will get eyeballs only if you are a purple cow in a field full of ordinary cows.
So observe your strengths and weaknesses, think hard about what kind of photography you really like to do, and build on that. Take the case of Anne Geddes, the iconic photographer, who started photographing babies because she found them to be deeply inspiring. Jeff Cable, another world-famous photographer has said, “I’ll shoot stuff that most people wouldn’t shoot in ways that most people wouldn’t shoot it. I’ll lay on the ground, I’ll go up high, I’ll even dance sometimes with the kids while I’m shooting them.” (source: PicturePerfect:)

Find out what makes you a purple cow, and then hone in on it.

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Source: Google Images

Give your business maximum exposure.

‘My business doesn’t need a marketing plan’, said nobody ever. Every photographer, however brilliant, has had to market his/her skills. However, the crux lies in efficient marketing; and not just a ‘spray and pray’ technique. So how do you stand out from your competitors? The secret lies in not marketing yourself, but in marketing how your client wins by choosing you. Make your website, your social media page, every piece of communication all about what the customer will get and how they will get it, rather than about how great you are. Remember to delve deep into the distinctive benefits of your service, or your unique skills. So if you are a portrait photographer, avoid making blanket statements like – We bring out your best.  Nobody ever hires a portrait photographer to bring out their worst, so an obvious statement like this is no help for your business.

The next step is to identify exactly what kind of clients you will be targeting (brides, pregnant mothers, performance artists?) and then formulate a plan that knocks specifically on their doors.

Most seasoned photographers swear by the efficiency of email marketing as a means of establishing personal, meaningful ties with clients, while blogs and social media channels help create general awareness about their work.

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Source: Google Images

Network: When not behind the lens, take the spotlight

For most start-ups, business comes through referrals from happy customers. But how do you get customers in the first place? That is where networking and people skills come into play. When not behind the camera, try networking with a wide variety of people through different channels. Join forums, clubs, participate in start-up meets, hold workshops on photography, attend workshops on photography, even befriend your competitors. You never know where the next project may come from.

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Source: Google Images

As photographer Lauren Lim puts it, photography is a people’s business. The more effort you put into connecting with people, the more success you get.

 What has helped you grow your photography business? Chip in with your advice in the comment section below and let us know.

deAsra Foundation offers end-to- end support and counselling to emerging entrepreneurs in the small-mid scale sector. To date, we have helped 52 entrepreneurs grow and nurture their ideas into successful businesses. Thinking of starting out as an entrepreneur? Reach out to us at 020 – 65365300/11 for personalised guidance and help.

 

 

Cooking up a small food business? Read these tips to get a head start.

According to statistics, 9 out of 10 start-ups fall by the wayside. This figure may paint a grim picture, but rather than getting discouraged, budding entrepreneurs should take heart, because 1 start-up out of every 10 does manage to tick all the right boxes, and that start-up can be you. In this article, the business mentors at deAsra have put together a few challenges commonly faced by small-scale food businesses, along with tips to help you sail over these speed bumps smoothly.

But first, what qualifies as a micro/small-scale business?

A mess service, a home-made ladoo business, or even a food packaging and reselling outlet can fall under the category of a small business, as long as the capital investment in machinery does not exceed 5 crores, (for businesses in the manufacturing sector) and is up to 2 crores (for businesses in the service industry) If your investment in machinery is up to 25 lakhs (manufacturing sector) and up to 10 lakhs (service sector), your business will be classified as a micro enterprise. In this case, revenue generated does not bear much weight – For example, a vada-pav vendor could be selling 1000+ vada pavs a day from his cart, yet, his business is still classified as a small business.

Partnership, Proprietorship, or Private Limited? Depends on the need.
Another question often raised deals with registrations – what kind of company registration should start-up founders and co-founders opt for? According to deAsra mentors, it depends on the need. For example, when you’re at the cusp of transforming your chakli-making hobby into a full-fledged business, you may start off with a proprietorship registration, and later, as the business scales, convert it into a private limited, in order to run it in more professional way.as well as to take advantage of tax benefits.

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Source: Google Images

Get your licenses right before anything else.

Before you get your business in place, it is essential to get your licenses in order. Miss this step, and fines or penalties could be staring you in the face.

For any business, however small, FSSAI registration and the Shop Act registration are compulsory. Manufacturers, distributors, retail traders and stockists also need to get licenses if their business turnover exceeds 12 lakhs.
A variety of legal formalities too are applicable on the different kinds of company registration. For example, partnership businesses call for partnership deeds and registration thereof, and private limited companies need to get registered at the Registrar of Companies (ROC).

Funding is more accessible than most people think.

Since Pune (and the surrounding region up to a radius of 40 kms) is classified as a developed zone, certain government subsidies do not apply to businesses here. However, to give women entrepreneurs a leg-up, the government has launched many organisations, like the Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal, which offers loans at beneficial interest rates.

The big F word in the start-up scene – funding – is not out of reach anymore – especially if your business is commercially viable, enjoys a continuous stream of revenue and you can raise up to 25% of the margin demand by the bank. And even if that margin is beyond your scope, organisations like deAsra connect you to banks and financial institutions who can give your business some amount of runway.

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Image Courtesy: Quora

Research before you figure out your pricing sweet spot.

“How should I price my products/services?” is one of the foremost challenges every entrepreneur faces. Low prices can undercut competition, but can also make your business unviable, while high prices will put you out of the running completely.

 

To tackle pricing, deAsra mentors help the business owners undertake a thorough audit where they assess the financial viability of a business, and estimate various fixed and variable costs, including raw materials, equipments, electricity, packing material, etc.
They also encourage entrepreneurs to carry out extensive competitor studies, observe the rates in the surrounding localities for the same product/service, and then work on the pricing model.
The USP of your business and its competitive edge can also affect pricing.

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Source: Google Images

Marketing matters.

A preference for a brand can only be born when there is awareness of that brand’s existence. To get customers beating a path to your shop, deAsra mentors recommend converting your current brand champions into marketers for your business, since referrals, according to them, work the best. Roping in relatives and friends who swear by your delicacies and spreading the news through them is a good way to get one foot in the door.
A few other marketing tactics which can get you off to a good start include distributing food samples and leaflets in your area of operation, distributing products through retail outlets and offering incentives/discounts, especially to referred customers.
Keeping in touch with customers through Whatsapp and email marketing channels; and closely monitoring people’s preferences is also crucial. For example, people are becoming increasingly health-conscious, so incorporating that aspect into your product (think ‘diet chiwda’) could help boost sales.
For a vada pav seller, a simple change in the presentation of his product – and a switch from a wooden cart to a swanky mobile van – did wonders for his business.

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Source: Google Images

Watch out for these hurdles.

As an entrepreneur, it’s ok to make mistakes; in fact mistakes are the stepping stones to success. But learning from those mistakes, and more importantly, learning from other people’s mistakes, can take you a long way ahead in the entrepreneurial journey.

For example, many food businesses end up buying wholesale quantities and building unwanted inventory, which leads to revenue drain. Also, home-grown businesses borrow money from chit funds or micro-finance institutions, which lands them with higher rates of interest. Instead, opt for banks and reputed financial institutions, suggest deAsra mentors. For food businesses, maintaining consistency in quality and taste is also a major problem area. This can be solved by strictly adhering to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Raw materials need to be tested too, which is not widely practised in India. For example, there are more than 20 kinds of potatoes produced in our country, so a vada pav seller has to test all varieties and find out which works best for his vadas.
Keeping tabs on the shelf life of products is equally crucial; maintaining a batch-wise record of products can prove to be helpful in this case. Apart from this, maintaining a proper book of records is essential and comes in handy when you need to recover pending payment dues.

The food business is beset with labour problems – how does one handle that?

According to deAsra mentors, most business owners forget that their labourers too, at the end of the day, are customers, and should be treated with dignity and respect. At deAsra, business owners are introduced to HR management techniques, which help bridge the gap of discord between labourers and owners, while building loyalty and reducing attrition.

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Source: Google Images

Finally, don’t give up too soon, and don’t pass up expert help.

Any food business generally takes a year to pick up pace, and that’s if the quality is top-notch and the right marketing strategies and SOPs are followed to a T. What’s the advice of deAsra mentors to budding entrepreneurs? ‘Don’t give up on your business too soon, but more importantly, don’t hesitate to ask for expert help. Help can move you forward, fast.’

deAsra partners with mentors, business experts and other complementary organisations and financial institutions to help entrepreneurs build a successful food business from the ground-up. Need help with your food business? Give us a call at +91 20 65365300 / 11.

To know how we helped other food businesses take off, read our impact stories here.

 

5 MISTAKES THAT CAN SLOW DOWN YOUR TRAVEL START-UP

Fear of failure has nipped many a start-up in the bud. Small wonder, then, that Silicon Valley’s mantra of ‘fail fast, fail better’ has found wide-spread favour among entrepreneurs; by putting a positive spin on failure. But according to a Forbes article, this adage might well be just lip service. Most entrepreneurs are, in fact, terrified of failing and writing away their investors’ hard earned money (and trust) in the process.

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Image Source: Google Images

While failure cannot be avoided entirely (and could also prove to be a stepping stone for greater success), wisdom dictates that we learn from the mistakes of our predecessors and avoid making the same ones. Here are 5 commonly made mistakes, culled from the experiences of various entrepreneurs in the travel industry.

1) Failing to create a water-tight business model

Many entrepreneurs get so caught up in the fuzz of ‘inspiration-first’, that they fail to establish a robust monetisation model for their product, believing money will follow inspiration. According to industry veterans, this is a recipe for disaster. Consumers may not beat a path to your door just because your product is inspiring or interesting, especially in the long term. Hammering out your business model and outlining a realistic cost of customer acquisition is crucial before launching a start-up.

2) Not offering anything different, or better

At last count, there were more than 200 start-ups (as estimated by traxcn.com) in the online travel domain, not including the heavy-weight offline players. To make any headway in this crowded industry, your product would have to fulfil an unmet need of consumers, or offer something way better than what is currently available in the market. In his interview with the Economic Times, Michael Lyngdoh, co-founder of Tripoto, has voiced his conviction that this field still has a lot of room for improvement, as no player has managed to close the travel loop fully. The Economic Times article has further highlighted niche segments such as last minute bookings, metasearch, tech providers to hotels, personalised travel packages, alternate stays and budget hotels, as relatively unoccupied areas to focus on.

However, there is a flip side to this. Many entrepreneurs concentrate their energies on a niche, just to avoid the fiercely competed segments. While this strategy may prove lucky, it isn’t the go-to formula for success. If we look closely at the genesis of flourishing start-ups, we can identify a common trend – they’ve all come into place because their founders identified and capitalized on an unsolved problem of consumers.

3) Being under-capitalized

Your start-up is like an airplane. It needs a decent stretch of runway (read money) to take-off smoothly, or it will inevitably nosedive. Statistics cite shortage of funds as the number 2 reason for start-up failure. To get a fair idea of the capital investment needed, make an honest, detailed account of all your expenses, including marketing budgets, and secrete away sufficient cash (around 5%-20% of your entire budget) for a rainy day.

4) Being too invested in your original plan

Every entrepreneur needs to be fired up about their idea; they cannot be entrepreneurs otherwise. However, resting on the other end of the scale, where you are completely consumed by your idea and blind to the inputs of others – is no great shakes either. Start-ups would do better to follow the trail where it leads, and more often than not, it leads to entirely new horizons not previously envisioned.
Take Instagram for example. This immensely popular app was originally Burbn – a multi-faceted, check-in project, similar to FourSquare. Burbn had many complicated features, one of which was a photo-sharing app. But following inputs and behavioural trends of consumers, the founders trimmed down the features to just the popular photo-sharing one, and re-named it as Instagram. Sometimes, listening to others, especially your customers, can make or break your business.

5) Not working with an A-team

Have you heard of the successful one-man company? You couldn’t have, because it doesn’t exist. A successful start-up depends on a team of highly-skilled and deeply-invested people, who put their heads together to make magic happen. Hiring the wrong resources, either from ignorance or due to lack of funds, can prove to be a start-up’s undoing. Your product is only as good as the people working on it, so make sure your key members are the best money can buy.
For some founders, hiring for attitude rather than just skill is a game-changing factor. Elon Musk is said to have told Business Insider that his biggest mistake was, “Weighing too much on someone’s talent and not someone’s personality. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.”
Jim Collins, the famous American business consultant has summed it up quite succinctly in his quote – “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

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Image Source: Google Images

What mistakes have you made, that you wish you hadn’t, while launching your start-up? Weigh in with your advice in the comment section below.

 

 

Established in 2015, deAsra helps individuals become self-employed by offering them end-to-end support across all stages of their business lifecycle, including bank loans, compliance support, supply chain guidance, recruitment advice and more. In the next 5 years, deAsra seeks to enable 25,000 self-employed businesses.

5 TYPES OF FRIENDS EVERY ENTREPRENEUR NEEDS

Building a business from ground-up is hard work. While running your own show can give you a high, there are days when it can pull you down so low, that all you want to do is crawl under a blanket and hide. This is when it really helps to have the right circle of friends and supporters, who can help you pick up the pieces and march onward, chin and head up. Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, has said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, it makes sense to choose our friends wisely, and once we have found them, ‘grapple them to our soul with hoops of steel,’ as Polonius advised Hamlet.

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Source: Google Images

Here are 5 kinds of friends every entrepreneur would be well-advised to have.

The Mentors

As a new entrepreneur, mistakes will be a part and parcel of your life. Which is why every entrepreneur can benefit from a mentor who has been there, done that, and knows enough to tell you not to do that. A good mentor is like a compass – they can point your business north when things are going south. Mentors will also help you skirt around common entrepreneurial stumbling blocks, while offering you sound business advice. To make more ‘mentor friends’, go out and network with as many people as you can. Remember to look first within your own circle of family and friends; you never know who may be a perfect fit. Brooke Stone, Founder and CEO of Brooke Stone Lifestyle Management, realised that her entrepreneur father was the ideal mentor she had been looking for, when she once happened to call him in a moment of complete overwhelm. Find a good mentor and befriend them early on in your business.

The Business Butterflies

The business butterflies are those blessed individuals who are connected to absolutely everybody in the business world and can introduce you to all the right people in the right places. If you are lucky enough to have friends like these, ask them for help and guidance.

If your influential friend list is currently stuck at 0, you can start out by meeting more people at networking events and building strong relationships with them. Remember to be genuine, and honest in your dealings, and more importantly, since this is a two way street, be open to lending your help too, as much as possible. Like the famous American author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, has said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

The Sunbeams

Friends who light up your life with motivating words of encouragement and support are your Sunbeams – and every entrepreneur needs a few of these – or rather, a truckload of them, given the rollercoaster ride entrepreneurship is. When you’re down and out, you need someone to believe in you and remind you of your strengths. Acclaimed author Stephen King, who rose to fame after his first novel ‘Carrie’ was published, had in fact trashed the novel drafts and would’ve never worked on them again, if his wife hadn’t retrieved them from the dustbin and urged him to keep at it. We all need a friend who will show us the bright side when we want to give up on our ‘Carrie’.

 The Backers

Having supportive friends is crucial. But sometimes, you need more than just moral support, you need financial backing too. And for most entrepreneurs, turning to friends and family first is the way to go. Judy Wicks, founder of the wildly popular White Dog Café,  (featured in Condé Nast as one of the “50 American restaurants worth the journey”), first started out with a $75000 loan from a friend, which she used to build a kitchen with a grill. Millionaire fashion designer Eileen Fisher, had only $350 in the bank when she launched her namesake company. Eileen borrowed money from her friends and paid them back with an interest of 2% a month as soon as her deliveries cashed in. When you have friends who believe in you to the point of lending you runway capital, you’ve literally hit the jackpot.

The Critics

Life is not always sunshine and roses. And that’s good. While positive words of encouragement are essential, sometimes, we need people who can give us constructive, intelligent criticism, without holding back or getting personal. According to Elon Musk, getting critical feedback and knowing how to take it is vital in order to run a successful enterprise. “Ask what’s wrong”, advises Musk. “People don’t like to complain or point out faults, but that’s what will make your business stronger.” Friends who can deliver tough news with a soft bow and make us pull up our socks eventually help us grow into better business leaders.

So what kinds of friends have been instrumental in your business success? Share your stories with us in the comment section below.

The goal of deAsra Foundation is to help individuals become self-employed.  Our mission is to build a scalable platform to enable 25,000 self-employed businesses over the next 5 years.  To this effect we are focusing on urban services businesses. For individuals wanting to do these businesses, we have established a rich eco-system that will be able to provide individuals complete end-to-end support across all stages of the business lifecycle such as bank loans, compliance, supply chain, recruitment etc.  We are particularly proud of the work we have done in building out “Business Guides” (http://www.deasra.in/#BusinessInABox)

The Checklist

We have been talking about planning as a prerequisite for sustained efficiency and quality. The systematic planning makes us more agile and we can deliver quality work in minimum time frame.  Here is an example of how failure to plan has lead to a  big chaos. You may have read a few days ago that Maharashtra Chief Minister’s flight could not take off from the airport because one of the officials accompanying him on the international tour had forgotten to take along  his Visa papers! The Chief Minister along with the rest of the passengers had to wait till it was  retrieved from his home.

The common sense answer to avoid these lapses is – the checklist. Mere planning is not useful unless it is executed flawlessly.  The checklist serves as an effective tool – Plan. Do. Check whether the things are happening as per the plan. If not, Act i.e. make the necessary correction. This is called the PDCA Cycle. This is the foundation of ISO 9000.

We often tell school children that they must keep ten minutes at the end of the exam to go through the answer sheet and to make sure they have   attempted all the questions. Another very common example in our daily lives is  we check the taste of a recipe before serving it to people to ensure that it is upto the expectation.  What we are doing here is simply checking if all the ingredients have been added, and in the right proportion to give the right taste. Once we are sure of it, we are ready to enjoy all the compliments that come our way as guests relish the dish!

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Image Source- Google Images

If we use this ‘checklist’ in so many activities in our daily lives, why not in our professional lives.  A company manufacturing auto spare parts had to dispatch parts in lots of 8, 24 and 72. The client would randomly check the number of parts in the boxes and if any one box had a,shortage, it was presumed that all  boxes contained the same quantity and he used to deduct the  payment on the entire consignment causing substantial loss to the supplier   The company, then, started a system wherein they sent parts in multiples of the lot number to the packing department. So for the lot of 8, they sent 800 parts for packing, no more, no less. This way, as the parts got packed in boxes, in case one or two remained, it meant that some box had been filled with a wrong number of parts and it  used to be checked immediately.  The loss to the company was  averted as with systematic packing of job  there was no chance of delivering the wrong quantity. The point is, to accomplish excellence in quality and to  maintain the consistency  the job/product needs to be checked at various stages. Dr. Atul Gawande’s book ‘ The Checklist Manifesto’ underlines the importance of regular checks on processes to prevent damage or loss. He has related his observations of the American hospitals where lapses in following protocol in examinations led to spread of infections. The book lucidly explains the cause and effect of the problem and how it was overcome by  observing a strict protocol and following it.

We often avoid  following PDCA Cycle referred above.  You will be amazed  to know  how much difference this little checklist can make while presenting the final, flawless product. It not only gives you the opportunity to rectify errors but also enhance the final effect of the product, service or process and to enhance Customer Satisfaction.

Author: S.R. Joshi

The author is a director at deAsra Foundation. deAsra Foundation is a Section 25 company, a not for profit association formed to contribute to social welfare by enabling entrepreneurship, which will create employment opportunities.

10 Must-Read Books for All Aspiring Entrepreneurs

There are times when all entrepreneurs struggle and need some help getting back up on their feet.  These are books written by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs as a way to give guidance throughout the business journey.  The lessons given in these books provide a new insight to business related issues as well as a new way of seeing things in relation to yourself and your business ventures.

 

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1) Dream With Your Eyes Open by Ronnie Screwvala

UTV founder and entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala chronicles his experiences and myriad of business ventures in his autobiography.  He beautifully details the ups and downs of his business success and the formation of his empire.

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2) Go Kiss the World by Subroto Bagchi          

The Co-founder of Mindtree intertwines his personal life and entrepreneurial journey, and describes the multiple influences and decisions that shaped him and his company today.

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3) Bhaag! by Ganesh V

Bhaag! overviews student entrepreneurship in India and illustrates the journeys of 11 student entrepreneurs and the challenges, mistakes, struggles, and successes they faced and overcome on the road to becoming successful.  If they can do it, so can you!

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4) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Critically acclaimed author Malcolm Gladwell describes a tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” and says “ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do.” Gladwell encourages you to think deeply and to be empowered to see the world through a different lens.

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5) Launch! By Scott Duffy

Written by the prolific founder of Virgin Charter, Launch! serves as a manual for bringing your product to life.  Duffy narrates several examples and anecdotes, and provides a guide to follow throughout his multiple years in business.

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6) Connect the Dots by Rashmi Bansal

The stories of 20 new entrepreneurs who, without business degrees, started their own companies.  With a hard-working ethic and desire to achieve, these individuals prove that passion is all that is necessary to turn dreams into a reality.

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7) Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson

The autobiography of business mogul and billionaire investor Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, details his life and business ventures, as well as his life experiences and personal life philosophy.

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8) Take me Home by Rashmi Bansal

This book focuses on 20 young entrepreneurs who dreamt of making it big. Bansal again provides all the encouragement needed to become a young entrepreneur in India.

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9) Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnema

Penned by Nobel-Prize winning author and Professor Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow details the decision making process of the brain, as well as the functions, advantages, and disadvantages to this system and how it affects the world of business.

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10) The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Ries provides any entrepreneur the practicality and science behind generating ideas.  Ries explains how startups are comparable to science experiments, through the process of testing and analysing everything you do.  Through his explanation, entrepreneurs can understand the methodical processes behind creating and running successful businesses.

 

7 Life Skills an Entrepreneur Should Learn

It takes more than just technical and business proficiency for an entrepreneur to succeed- it takes particular life skills.  These are abilities that extend farther than the normal primary layer of expertise and are critical in order to maintain proper business relations and function.  Success in the business world goes beyond intellect and embraces emotional qualities and other life skills.

Let’s look at what these are:

  1. Keeping Calm and Braving the Storm
  2. It’s More than Just Please, Thank You, and Sorry
  3. Negotiation- and why it’s Non-Negotiable
  4. Ask – Don’t be shy
  5. Courtesy and politeness
  6. Maintaining a Positive attitude
  7. Playing to Your Teams Strenghts
  1. Keeping Calm and Braving the Storm

This area is generally the most volatile.  Most people can agree that they have trouble keeping calm and sometimes lose their temper in times of crisis.  Crisis is known to bring out the devil in us.

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Source: Google Images

This is why you, as an entrepreneur, should practice keeping calm and braving the storm, rather than letting the crisis (and your temper) get the best of you.  Easier said than done, right?  Meditation is an advisable technique that comes highly recommended by many entrepreneurs.  Remember, when walking the path of an entrepreneur, you are bound to encounter a few storms along the way.  For example, Maggi Noodles have forever been a consumer giant and fan favourite- but did encounter some dangerous storms and scandals.  However, the Maggi Corporation braved the storm and are once again favourite!

 

  1. It’s More than Just Please, Thank You, and Sorry

There are words that work wonders on you, the other party and the situation and these words go beyond the usual and default ‘Please’, ‘Thank You’ and ‘Sorry’. As is the case, many people and cultures shy away from using even these, but these are a must. And so are the others. Such as, giving positive strokes and appreciating things that you genuinely like about others and their work – may it be your team, partners or competitors even. In emails, try to be courteous and always use a salutation.  Do not forget to say ‘Hi’ ‘Hello’, ‘Dear’. Check who you are talking to and accordingly customize your salutation. Not using a salutation is a strict no-no. Your tone of voice speaks mountains, so always use a polite and courteous tone whether you are talking on the phone or writing an email or message. And yes, avoid texting-lingo in formal communication.  Keep your LOL and TTYL out of the message, even if it takes extra time to type the message.

  1. Negotiation- and why it’s Non-Negotiable

As an entrepreneur, Negotiation is a skill you need to master. It is not a difficult skill to master. When negotiating it is important to keep an open attitude and to remain alert. The situation is often dynamic and you may have to make quick decisions that you would not regret later. Negotiation merits patience, stamina and a calm mind. Do not show you are desperate-show you are keen on the deal. Although you may go wrong initially, you later will know how to do it correctly. A good tip is to be well rested, well fed and in a pleasant mood when you head for crucial negotiations. However, if you do not have adequate time to prepare, you can still try deep breathing, visualizing good outcomes, and calming your mind before beginning negotiations. Additionally, your travel/commute time can be used to prepare yourself.

  1. Ask – Don’t be Shy!

Don’t ever feel shy or hesitate to ask something that you don’t know, want to know more about, or are not clear about. Ask as many times as you need to until you understand. Ask until you know and understand. Sometimes, asking solves everything and not just gives you answers, but also lightens your troubles and worries. It’s good to ask! It’s excellent to ask your customer things – has he liked your product? What are his buying plans? Maybe ask him to visit your site, ask him to write to you- Ask

Recently, a professional who worked for a start-up was looking for space partners (free space) for an event, with whom they would co-brand. She thought, why would anyone give space for free? But she decided to ask-and the first space partner agreed. If she hadn’t asked, she wouldn’t have known that there are people willing to give free space.

  1. Courtesy and politeness

It is always good to practice courtesy and politeness in every situation. Unfortunately, these virtues are things that we typically forget when we are in panic mode or caught in a situation or crisis. However, we should never stop being courteous.

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Source: Google Images

Being polite and courteous are signs of good leadership and great entrepreneurs.  Moreover, practice this also in non-verbal and written communication. It’s an excellent habit to cultivate. As we know, good habits are built in 21 days.

  1. Maintaining a Positive attitude

This is one asset that every entrepreneur should have. An entrepreneurial journey is strewn with challenges, obstacles, setbacks, and people who pull you down. If you can face all these and maintain a positive attitude, then you are well on your way to success and happiness. A positive attitude means accepting setbacks and picking yourself up again with a smile, zest, and a new found optimism. If you do not succeed in one project, do not worry. Find out what went wrong, and try and correct it the next time. Steve Jobs, the CEO and Founder of tech giant Apple, was asked by his company’s board to leave the company.  He remained unfazed and worked his way back up after proving his worth. If he had he given up and let himself sink, we would never have been able to see such amazing products come out of the Apple company.

  1. Playing to Your Teams Strengths

Successful entrepreneurs are only as strong as their team. Pool your teams strengths together instead of focusing on their weaknesses in order to go far ahead in your business and life. For example, someone may be a good at organizing but may not be good at generating ideas. Another one may be disheveled and bad at organizing but may be very good at generating ideas. If you pair the two together, you will have twice the productivity and twice the success!.

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Source: Google images

Try building one life skill every three weeks, and experience the transformation within.