Entrepreneurship – a way of life

March 31, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Interiors

Entrepreneurship_ams

 

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”   - Warren Buffett

Starting a company is a riveting roller coaster of emotions with tremendous highs and at times, difficult lows at times. In-spite of the peaks and valleys the business of running your own business has its own set of rewards. To do what one loves is the most satisfying of all jobs. “When we take the time to travel the road of self-discovery and act on the things that we come to learn about ourselves, we simply live more productive, satisfying lives.” Deciding to set out on your own is the first step towards being an entrepreneur. The next is to make sure you succeed and succeed well.

Study the market. Understand what you are heading for. Research a bit on likely competitors and see where you fit in. But don’t over-think or over-plan. Know where to place your products or services. Business can be of various types. From modular solutions to financial services the list is endless. Before taking the plunge study the market well. Identify the target market – who will avail your services or buy the products you sell, the age etc. Carry out market research. Qualitative research is more exploratory. It is a good way to find out the kinds of feelings and needs people have about your product or service. This method involves focus groups and in-depth interviews. For example you can go to a gym and ask users what they think of the logo or ad you have designed for your new gym.

Quantitative research on the other hand is statistically represented. Surveys can be conducted by phone, in person, by mail, or on-line. What is important in this research is to get the data from the right sample audience.

Once you have the product in place carry out testing. Get people to sample what you offer and take inputs seriously. For example if you decide to set up a cupcake place then give out samples to known and unknown people and make changes as per feedback.

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Market what you endorse. Spend time in promoting your brand and company. Make media relations a priority. Marketing needs of every business vary and there are a number of techniques that can be used. Start with a website as it is one off the best way to showcase what your brand is about and the services you offer. Promote the website online. There are various methods you can use for promotion –  blogging, social media, press releases etc. Offline promotional methods can include offers, discount, coupon codes, networking, running a competition etc.

Entrepreneurship – managing a bar

March 31, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Entertainment

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Running a bar seems like a lot of fun but there is a lot of hard work that goes into setting up and managing a bar. Besides the most obvious requirement of getting a liquor licence, you need to have interesting ideas and implementation skills if you want the bar to do well.

What kind of licence are we looking at?

For setting up a bar you require government licences, permits, approvals and registrations. For managing the bar you should be well conversant with codes of practice, standards and guidelines and understand compliance responsibilities. Running a bar comes with responsibility and you should be well aware of these. Licenses can include a license to serve alcohol up until a certain time, seating licenses, OH&S requirements, food licenses. Take a look at this cheat sheet on bar requisites: Employees will need food handling permits. If you can then attending a short training on bar skills is an asset. Some recommended short courses that are available are mentioned below:

  • Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) – Compulsory Training
  • Management of Licensed Premises
  • Certificate III in Hospitality
  • Adv. Diploma In Hospitality
  • Bar Operations
  • Small Business Management
  • Small Business Marketing
  • Tourism Training Australia

Interesting themes

You need to have drafts of your bar drawn up professionally and the draft should be submitted to the council once you have found a location. Once the place and licences are obtained you should think of a concept that makes the bar different from those around. Identify the people you are looking to target and then work around the concept. For example if there is a university in the vicinity you may look at creating an atmosphere for a younger age group. On the other hand if the surrounding area has a good number of older people you may look at a more elegant theme. Take a look at The London Club to get an idea of an elegant themed bar. Themes vary right from funky to retro to a country based theme. Make sure you have the right one keeping your audience in mind.

LondonClubLogo

Managing the bar

Make sure you have set aside a budget for the initial 6 months. The bar should survive a few months running without netting a dime. So keep the funds aside accordingly. Start with recruiting the staff. You will require a few bartenders and if you serve snacks, then cater for waiters and a cook. Make sure that the employees have food handling permits. Stock up on liquor, glasses and other equipment required to run a bar. Be organised and check out the stock behind your bar, the kitchen, and even the supply closets.

Make changes on and off. Change out your beer and drink offerings every few months to make room for seasonal beers and new cocktails. This will keep your bar from becoming stale. Make sure that people find the menu and the drinks interesting enough so that they continue to frequent the bar.

 

Setting up a financial services company

March 31, 2014 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Finance

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Debt is a commonly used word. The use of credit cards, availability of easy purchases, online orders have slowly increased our spending capability and hence our capability to add more and more debt. If you struggle with your first credit card, and find yourself slipping behind in repayments, the bank may choose to officially list you as a ‘bad credit risk’ (meaning you have a high risk of finding yourself unable to pay the amount due). As a result, you may find that banks and other financial institutions don’t want to offer you credit or as much credit in the future. Or they may only offer you credit if you have somebody to personally guarantee that you will make your repayments on time (a guarantor). The guarantor may then be liable to pay back the loan if you’re unable to do so. This is where a financial services firm comes in. A number of financial services firms have mushroomed as a solution to the growing debt problem. People turn to a financial services firm to help them get out of debt fast – only to find they getting into more debt and the cycle continues.

debt consolidation

A financial services business typically consists of one or more financial advisors. These advisors can also be financial planners. The basic motivation is to help individuals manage their money. As a financial advisor the advice you offer remains vital to the growth of your firm. To start with you have to obtain an investment or law license. The licenses depend on the services a firm provides. Consultancy services are changing from long-term care to alternative investments. For example if the services offered are investment services where stocks and bonds are sold and bought, mutual fund investment is offered or other investmnent plans are offered then you must acquire an investment license or an insurance license. For financial services businesses that offers law advice, you must also obtain a license to practice law.

Assuming that the necessary licences have been obtained and maybe a couple of professional designations such as the Certified Financial Planner  or Chartered Life Underwriter you are almost ready to start a financial services firm. Identify the kind of financial planning practitioner you want to be associated with. This helps you chalk out the kind of services you will offer clients and the method of compensation. Some financial services businesses specialize in certain areas, such as retirement planning, while others are general financial advisors who assist with managing assets, liabilities and insurance, in addition to setting and meeting financial goals. For compensation you can decide  if you would like the firm to charge a fee based on service or take a percentage from the total amount paid by the client or just charge a consultancy or flat fee.

All financial planners need indemnity insurance. Opting for an Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance will give cover in case of malpractice suits.

The what? and the why? of a law firm

March 31, 2014 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Heading out on your own is an exciting time.   Filled with drive and motivation we are raring to get cracking. However starting a business is not just about getting clients, selling products and day to day administration.

In a digital era where online is not an option but a requisite there is plenty of background work to be done. It starts with checking out a name for the firm you wish to establish. The name is important. Does it reflect what the company is about? If the firm were to grow would it be able to encompass the increased services within the same umbrella? Is the name available online? Registering a name and finding that the same domain name is already in use can work negatively.

Keep in mind that a website is also a brand presence. Don’t create a shoddy looking site. Take a look at a good law firm website like Steinpag Pagnin to see what a legal services website should like.

Invest time and effort as clients will want to know a bit about you and a website is the best way to show what you are about, what services you offer, what you have achieved etc. Avoid print where you can. Most legal books can now be purchased in ebook form. You will always have them with you, they are often very searchable, and the overall costs are much less expensive as are the updates. You will also need to invest in legal management software. Opt for cloud-based systems. Online cloud based systems like Rocket Matter can be used within $100 a month spend and are also easily accessible on the mobile.

Besides an online presence a brick and mortar office is also required. For the early years of practice you can consider starting out with a virtual office operating from the house. This is relatively simple as now you can hire just about any virtual staff – from virtual receptionists to assistants to support – a number of options are available online. But over time especially in case of criminal law or other practice areas you will have to consider a bigger area to accommodate support staff and walk in clients.

Once the basic online presence is created you will have to consider online advertising  to get new clients. Google makes this easy but time consuming. A good portion of time is spent in creating the right profiles and marketing the services across the web. You can market your practice through blogging, podcasting, and social media. Advertising directly also helps. This would also involve adding the firm name to sites like Better Business Bureau listing, a Lawyers.com listing etc. It is best to advertise within the location you are listed. This will keep advertising costs low and also get in potential clients especially walk-ins.