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10 Ways to Kickstart Your Business Idea in 2016

10 Ways to Kickstart Your Business Idea in 2016

It’s never been a better time to start a business. Access to online environments and innovations such as smart devices and cloud technology mean that many entrepreneurs can set up on a shoestring and get things going without needing excessive start-up budgets. Add into the mix the wide availability of cloud-funding platforms and cheap marketing through social media and it’s easy to see the many opportunities that people don’t want to miss out on.

Here are just some ways to get your business idea off the ground if you have the entrepreneurial spirit this year.

1. Find the Right Support

You may have all the personal and physical tools in place, but you’re nowhere without friends. There’s no better time to start networking, building business associate relationships, and getting sound advice from people in your local area and online. The great news for startups is there’s plenty of guidance from other entrepreneurs who are happy to help out for free.

Take the opportunity to make solid, long-term contacts and research all areas of running a business. A good place to start is the Government’s own business portal.

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2. Organize Your Funds

While it can be cheap to set up a business nowadays, especially if you have the right idea, it’s a good thing to check what you can currently bring to the table. This should include any debts you have, which may need to be addressed first, and the amount of collateral you can use, if needed, to apply for a loan. If you are finding it difficult to make ends meet, you may well have more problems down the line when you start your business.

3. Come Up with the Right Idea

What may seem like a good idea over a couple of drinks in the local bar might not seem so bright in the cold light of day. Coming up with a good idea is imperative if you want to have any chance of success.

This includes researching how others are running businesses in a similar industry or niche. It also means being honest with yourself.

For a very successful business, the question of scalability is always an issue. In other words, when you come to grow, how easy and cheap is it going to be to carry that out? If you run a restaurant business, that might involve giving out franchises or spending money on new premises.

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Check out this article from The Guardian on how to find the right business idea.

4. Plan the Business

This is the crucial stage of any startup and the step that many entrepreneurs get wrong. It involves setting out clear stages and strategies, from getting financed, setting up websites, marketing, brand development, and deciding whether you need to have staff employed and where you are going to find them. As far as staff are concerned, there are plenty of options to hire freelancers who can do the initial jobs for you, though you may have to do some hard searching to find the right ones.

You also need to plan for a long-term future and not just look at the immediate setup of your business. There may be a lot to do but it’s important that you have your direction set for some time to come. Your plan should include how you are going to build capital and secure your business future.

You’ll need a strong business plan, especially if you are going to be heading to the bank for a loan or looking at crowdfunding. Check out this article from Start Up Donut for some sound advice.

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5. Check Yourself Online

If you have been working for a number of years, no doubt you have a persona online and you need to have a quick search to make sure it doesn’t have any negatives associated with it. Another thing to check, if you don’t want egg on your face, is the name of your new company and whether someone else has got there before you.

6. Register Your Business

One thing you are going to need to do is register your business. This used to be a complicated process, but with online sites such as www.companyformations247.co.uk, everything is reduced to simplicity and you can register everything within 3 hours. You need to do this in the UK if you have a limited company, and it includes registering with Companies House as well as designating directorial roles within your business.

7. Raise Money

Getting the finances together for a business idea is much more viable nowadays. You can use your home or other properties as collateral for a bank loan or choose to sell property and self-fund. Increasingly, many entrepreneurs are turning to crowdfunding to get their business ideas off the ground. If you have good presentation skills and a solid business plan, and can communicate how strong your idea is, then this a great way to get capital. You generally pitch your idea online and people from all over the world can help fund it in exchange for something you offer, for instance a free product or share of the company.

8. Develop Your Brand Online

If you are going to run a business nowadays, you need to develop your online brand and that means marketing. You should have looked into this in detail in the planning stage of your business idea, as it’s the key to success or failure.

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You need to build brand awareness, find a following, engage with customers, and use all the free and paid resources out there that help make your business thrive. This may include doing a lot of it yourself at first, but you can also engage with online marketing companies to help you choose the right options.

9. Test, Evaluate, Tweak, Test

While you had strong ideas for how your business would begin to develop, the chances are that things will not go completely according to plan. Even the most experienced entrepreneurs encounter hitches along the way. This is where you need to put in more hard yards. It’s a question of testing everything, evaluating it, tweaking, and then testing again to guide you in the right direction.

10. Plan for Growth

Once your business is up and running and you are satisfied with its progress, it’s time to take a look at that plan again and check whether you under or overestimated growth in the future. Now that you have a bit more experience in the real world, there will no doubt be new ideas that have to be incorporated to guarantee more success. You might need to think about getting other experts on board, or you could be looking to expand into profitable new markets.

There’s no doubt that running a new business requires a lot of good thought, strong planning, and putting in the effort, not to mention often working long hours. With some 50% of startups failing within the first five years, it may seem that you are swimming against the tide in the effort to succeed. If you have done the planning, come up with a great plan, and have the enthusiasm and energy to carry it forward, you stand a better chance of success than other ventures.

Featured photo credit: 10 Ways to Kickstart Your Business Idea in 2016 via google.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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