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5 More Successful Businesses That Started With a Simple Idea

5 More Successful Businesses That Started With a Simple Idea

Starting a business may appear daunting, but it’s really not difficult. Many people believe that most new businesses fail within three years. While most will fail, the truth is that you can start one with a simple idea.

There are a lot of success stories out there from entrepreneurs who have made it. It all begins with an idea, some paperwork, and a storefront and/or website. Here are five more successful businesses that started with a simple idea:

1. Mente Cacao

Eduardo Villers became interested in chocolate during his travels throughout Mexico. Eduardo enjoyed traveling through the jungles, where he came in contact with the cacao tree. Inspired by his deep love for cacao, Eduardo decided to introduce it to the Mexican people, who only knew about Hershey’s chocolate.

He started Mente Cacao in Mexico City by offering cacao drinks to the local people. During his time there, he also studied with his uncle, who was a farmer and taught him a lot about cacao and chocolate. He remained in Mexico City for two years before moving his business to San Miguel De Allende in central Mexico.

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Mente Cacao now has two locations in San Miguel De Allende. Most expats and locals say that it is the best chocolate in town. Eduardo Villers is currently working on getting Mente Cacao distributed in the United States and Japan.

2. BloomNation

Gregg Weisstein started out working as a business consultant, primarily helping rescue companies that were on the verge of bankruptcy.  His friend and eventual co-founder came up with an idea to offer a floral marketplace based on the Amazon model. They didn’t want to become another 1-800-FLOWERS service.

They were advised by many people to drop the idea because many of them could not foresee the potential in a dying flower industry. However, Gregg and the team were not dismayed by the ridicule.  They wanted to offer a service that was more personalized, interactive, and transparent. With BloomNation, they connect people with local florists and show their reviews to customers so that they can make an informed decision.

BloomNation now works with over 3,000 florists nationwide and has been named the “Top Silicon Beach Startup to Watch” by Entrepreneur magazine and Business Insider.

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3. Billy

Toke Kruse had a problem common among millions of new business owners. As an entrepreneur, he always thought that accounting was a hassle. He went from one accounting application to another with no success. While some of them were better than others, they ultimately still gave him headaches. It didn’t take him long to realize that these software programs were built for accountants.

Toke wanted to create a solution for the business owner who knew little or no accounting at all. Most people could simply hire an accountant for their needs, but most accountants are expensive, especially for new business owners who don’t have a lot of money to begin with.

Toke decided to create an accounting application that was very simple for business owners with little or no accounting experience. Toke and his partner launched Billy four years ago in Denmark. The software application was well-received not only in Denmark, but also in the United States. The company now grosses over $1 million in revenue annually.

4. Professor Egghead

Shaun Tuch decided to start an after-school program with his brother eight years ago. They began with one sports class in Los Angeles. They both had a sports background, so the idea was a no-brainer. The initial plan for them was to make some extra income. However, after receiving some great feedback and seeing the popularity of the program, Professor Egghead started to offer science classes too.

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Shaun hated science when he was a kid. So, he wanted to make a science class that was fun for kids. Because he enjoyed making slime and building LEGOS, he wanted to incorporate those activities into his classes while also giving children an educational and engaging experience.

They now run multiple programs in 50+ locations throughout Los Angeles. Recently, they franchised the concept and are now offering Professor Egghead as a franchise in the United States.

5. Toronto Vaporizer

Nima Noori was just an international student struggling to pay his tuition. He soon realized that a minimum wage job was not going to be enough and needed to do something else. He thought about selling electronic accessories and computer parts on Kijiji (an online service similar to Craigslist). However, after researching the market, he realized that it wouldn’t be worthwhile.

Nevertheless, he became aware that there was some online interest in vaporizers, a device used for smoking. As a result, he put some test ads on Kijiji to test the market. After getting dozens of inquiries from interested customers, he saw that he could fill a need in the marketplace. He used his personal credit card to buy some units and started selling vaporizers on Kijiji.

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Nima was motivated and wanted to beat his competition. So, he offered same day drop-offs within the Toronto metropolitan area. The success of Toronto Vaporizer exploded as a result of his same day service. Toronto Vaporizer is now a multi-million dollar business and Canada’s largest online retailer of vaporizers and vaporizer accessories.

*This article is the sequel to the initial LifeHack article: 5 Successful Businesses That Started With a Simple Idea.

Featured photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg via imcreator.com

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Kallen Diggs

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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