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7 Things People Starting Their Own Business Should Know

7 Things People Starting Their Own Business Should Know

Gone are the days where the most viable option for most citizens to get an income was to get the regular 9 to 5 job. We live in an era where, through the power of the internet, the possibilities are endless—all it takes is for you to reach out and grab one.

A popular alternative option is entrepreneurship. What’s not to like about starting your own business? You get to be your own boss, plus you get to create, develop, and sustain something that you are passionate about. Starting your own business is no walk in the park, but it is one of the most amazing experiences that would reward you with a great life.

Ready to take on this journey and be part of the entrepreneur movement? Read on to learn the seven things that people who are starting their own business should know.

1. You must evaluate yourself.

Taking note of your expectations from the very start will make the path to building your business easier. You have to evaluate your reason for starting a business, your current skills and capacities, and any other relevant realizations that would aid the backbone of your business. It may seem daunting, but by knowing who you are, what you can offer, and what you expect to happen, you will ultimately determine how to go about things. No matter what happens, your personal aspirations will keep your morale up in the long haul.

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2. Your business starts with a great idea.

Ideas are the seeds that grow forth to become the great things we now experience in this world. You have to put great thought into coming up with one that fuels your passion because your business will be taking up a lot of your time, money, and energy. It needs to be more than an idea that nourishes you, it must also fulfill the laws of business: supply and demand.

Think about an idea that other people will believe and buy into. As much as possible, make sure that it’s unique so you stand out. Don’t be discouraged that just because there are plenty of cool things around for us to consume, that there might be fewer ideas to jump on. Everything we have now wasn’t present a few years back, and look at all the stuff we’re enjoying now. Your great idea is out there. Get inspired and then develop your plan. Bootstrap it to facilitate the idea into reality, starting with the most basic operations first.

3. Your excitement and stress will overwhelm you during the planning stage.

Now that you’re armed with a great idea, the next important thing to have is your business plan. This will be your roadmap, outlining the things you need to do, the cost of the entire operation, the strategies and tactics you have for execution, and the milestones to chart your business’ progress. Business plans are primarily seen as something to entice investors and banks with. But here’s a tip. More than its necessity for financing, think of your business plan as a means of formalizing your intentions.

For those people who didn’t take any business related course, you might be scared off by creating a business plan. Don’t fret! Everything can always be learned! There are so many resources that you can tap to help you create your business plan—case in point: the Internet.

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4. You will (more often than not) be forced to learn how to ask for money from everyone.

Businesses don’t magically pop out every time someone has a great idea. Ideas live in your head, but it is financing that brings it to reality. If you aren’t blessed lots of money in your bank account, this is the lesson that you will have to learn and not be shy about: Learn how to ask for money from everyone. There are many that you can approach to help you finance your business. You can file for a business start-up loan with your local bank, look into local investors that would be interested in your business, seek venture capitalists, use crowdfunding to help you raise the money, and the ever reliant approaching of family and friends. Looking for financing is always difficult; you could be rejected for a loan and might not be able to find interested investors.

But think of this as your training ground as a salesperson. To get investors, you have to learn how to sell your product. How will you learn to sell to consumers if you don’t know how to sell your business idea to people who could finance it? With this training, if you get investors to believe in you, then it is highly likely that you will get customers who will too.

5. Your office will be the second home that you will pour your heart and soul to.

When you have the financing to back your business, it is now time to set up shop. In business, just like real estate, this mantra is very important: Location, location, location. Whatever your business is, may it be a service where you would be needing an office, or a product where you would be needing a store, you must know where to place it. You want it to be accessible and appealing to attract more customers.

More than just the location, you also have to work on the atmosphere of your office/store and make sure it ties back to the brand of the business. Needless to say, you’ll be working on the aesthetics, buying supplies, getting necessary items installed, have your business cards printed, hiring your staff, basically building your second home. It will be exhausting, but also exciting at the same time.

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The beginning is always difficult, but isn’t it unbelievable exciting? We set up the success of our business by its origins, so make sure that in every step of this stage, you give it thorough thought.

6. You have to be creative when building your business’s customer base.

The magic phrase that will get your business its customer base is PR and Marketing. You have to build your brand, and then create a creative strategy to attract customers. It’s best to hire an expert in this field, to make sure that you’re getting a well thought of strategy that your brand will follow in years to come. Nowadays, there are so many creative ways to get your brand’s name and product out there. To be competitive, you need to come up with out of the box ideas on how to market your brand and keep the people coming back to your business.

Have you ever checked into a hotel or dined in a restaurant where you were given great service by people who were happy to assist you and made sure your experience there was pleasant? Treat this as a “never forget” in business: great customer service skills also go hand in hand with the right PR and Marketing. Make customers happy by addressing their needs and you will find yourself retaining and growing your customer base.

7. You will flourish with trial and error.

If you ask any entrepreneur, from the small time internet shop to the big time CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, they will always tell you that the road to building their business was/is never perfect. There is no easy formula to follow that will guarantee your success in business. “You will flourish with trial and error”, as shared by Sagar Babber, CEO of Snyxius, who relocated to Austin to kickstart his web and mobile app development company and now serves clients from over 10 different countries.

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There’s no harm in creating mistakes because it is with mistakes that we learn best. And when we learn, we are able to find ways on how to make the situation better the next time. So don’t be afraid to stumble and bumble once in a while, because if you take it in stride, these mistakes will be what ultimately lead you to your success.

Starting your own business is undeniably one of the biggest risks that any individual could take. With the right mindset, the right idea, and the right work ethics, any business can thrive. You will be tempted to quit when faced with the frustration, rejection and hardships that happen in the beginning, but the one secret that you should remember is this — don’t stop. Great businesspeople never stop when hit with setbacks. If that happened, then we would never have Apple, Ferrari, Paramount, or your favourite restaurant, favourite salon and all the other things that we enjoy now.

Starting your own business is never easy, but then again, aren’t the difficult things to come by the ones that you enjoy more in the end?

Featured photo credit: Steven Depolo via flic.kr

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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