Entrepreneurship

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Of the last decade and the next

So I turned 30 just 2 days  ago; and I’m writing this post talking about what my 20’s turned out to be like and what I’m committing to in my 30’s. More than being a post, this is a dedication to a lot of people who made the decade what it was suppose to be. I know that the last decade has been great because when I sat and looked back at it I realized that not once did I get the thought of “I wish” it was different or I had done it differently. I was happy looking back at the last decade because I realized that everything that I have done in the last decade, I did because I wanted to do it. I was not forced or rather I did not let anyone force me into doing anything that I did not want to do and honestly, that is what being in your 20’s is all about. It’s about putting ourselves in a position of owning everything we do – the decisions, the mistakes, the failures, the successes, the journey.

I consider myself lucky because I had the right people around me by the time I turned 20. I had friends who did not just hang out with me to have fun but spent time with each other knowing our dreams and do what ever little was possible on pushing each other towards achieving them. I had the freedom from my family to make my own mistakes, learn, do better and achieve success. More importantly, I had a mentor just before I turned 20, the person who introduced me to NLP, a tool and set of skills that would give me the ability to change and design my own life. My mentor actually helped me realize what I truly wanted for myself and then coached me to have the courage and ability to do something about it. I remember when I had just started Sankalp Academy with my wife and then girlfriend Kiarha, Ashlesh (my mentor) took a walk with me and told me “there will be times where things may not seem to work and achieving your goals or dreams may seem really hard, You just stay at it and I know you will find a way to make it work, Just stay at it!” If it were not for those words, then Kiahra, myself and the academy would have never been able to come this far. My mentor gave my past decade a brilliant kick-start and along the way I met many more people who kept pushing me forward. Whenever I needed something, I had someone around to help me with it. When I doubted my capability, my sister Priyu made me realize and believe that I could actually do anything very effectively and powerfully. When I felt down and lacked strength, Kiahra showed immense amount of patience in giving me the support and strength to bounce back, when I behaved like a victim, my friends Varun & Swati kicked my butt.
When I started Sankalp, I did not even know how to send a good professional e mail and my friend Niki always came to my rescue. Niki even designed our first logo, our first letterhead and our first certificate template. Now you know why I consider myself lucky.
There are a lot more people to acknowledge but that would require a lot more posts. However, a loud shout out to my mentor Charles for making this journey even more effective and a lot of fun and of course to mum and dad for having the faith.

Coming to a very important point, I had stepped into my 20’s with a clear outcome. It was not about all the clichés like just make money, buy a house, a car etc etc. it was about making a name, an identity by making a difference and I am so happy and content that I was able to do that. I got listed as an expert on entrepreneurship & leadership in many publications, got good media visibility and acknowledgement and also authored a book that became a best seller. I had heard many times before I turned 20 that the 20’s would be about making a name; you can make all the money in the world as you keep growing but your 20’s will be about building character. I’m glad I focused purely on that and everyone around me helped me keep that focus. Of course they were a lot of challenges in the journey, but that is what made it better and made me better. If it were not for the people who let me down and made my life hard, I would have never known how strong I could be. So even to them, thank you for being there and playing the role that you did, for it has helped me be more, do more & achieve more.

So for any of you who are in your 20’s now, make this decade of your life about building character. It will turn out to be better than what you can imagine. Purely speaking out of experience ☺.

Now coming to the next decade. I surely have a lot more roles to play now than I did when I turned 20. I’m a husband, a father, a mentor, a consultant and a lot more keeps getting added to the list. Instead of listing down my dreams and goals for my 30’s, I’m just going to share the out come. Since my last decade was about making a difference it only makes sense for the next one to be about making a mark and facilitating growth. I don’t hope but I know that I will bring immense growth and I will create impact and leave a lasting mark on a lot of lives this decade. This decade, I will be a role model for I have a lot of people counting on me to grow and add value. This decade I will make you even more proud not just as an entrepreneur, a leader or a mentor but as a person. Many people have played great roles during my last decade and a lot of them will play even bigger roles in my next one.

The last decade was great and I’m all geared up for the next one!

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Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs make in Sales

Over my two decades of experience in sales, I’ve worked in various industry verticals

interacting with different circles of people. It all summarises to a simple fact that you are either selling a

product, service or a concept. We ought to realise that selling is not just a commercial

activity, there is much more than price, payment terms and delivery!

Sales is an important activity that every business owner has to recognise and acknowledge.

It is not the last stage in the business. You are in business because you have sales!

We all have heard the famous maxim: “A greatest sales person can sell a refrigerator even to

an Eskimo”. Well this is the old theory! The current world demands; “You have to sell what

the customer wants, and not what you have!”

Business owners and organizations have to change the way they handle customers in

today’s highly volatile market. The old techniques of selling are changing and the

organizations have to be innovative and think differently from competition to sustain the

onslaught of the business.

I have collated certain essential selling ideologies that most sales people and sales

organization either get incorrect or don’t implement:

1. Not selling the solution

Individuals and companies buy products/services only with the sole intention to solve their

problem or improve productivity. Sales people spend too much time on the offer rather

than assuring the customer what the product can do for them and how it will benefit them.

When you sell the solution, the product or service gets sold automatically.

 

2. Excessive dependency on the “sales presentation”

I have seen sales people spend hours creating colourful presentations with data, graphs,

charts and then become so dependent upon the slideshow and other details, that they are

no longer aware of vital buying signals the prospect is demonstrating. Remember personal

meetings are an opportunity to build the rapport and not to demonstrate one’s

presentation skills. Personal meetings can take your business to the next level based on how

you build your rapport.

 

3. Price is not the deciding factor.

I have not come across one customer who selects a product/service just because it is cheap!

No one buys a price, ever! I have been in sales my entire career and have seen customers

use the term “your price is high” just to buy time or to gain advantage on negotiations.

There is no such concept as “higher price” or the “least price”. It is just the “right price”. So

don’t be jittery when someone says your price is higher. Take that objection as a step closer

to closing the sale.

 

4. Overlooking the influencers

Are you barking up the wrong tree? One mistake many times we do is to put too much

attention on the decision-maker and missing the influencers. You will agree that most of the

decisions are based on certain influences from others. Ask the customer, "Who else other

than him will influence decision making or that you would like involved?” Find out why they

are important to the decision and what is most important to them. Always remember, two

heads are better than one!

 

5. Not knowing the customer well

Although business happens between two companies, in the deeper context, the business

actually happens between two individuals. You are selling to the person first and then to his

company. Hence, one of the primary determinants of success in sales is to be

knowledgeable on customer likes, dislikes, and preferences. Building a rapport with the

customer and continually using exploratory queries to find out more about them can help

you find a common chord. This is foundation of great relationship building, which can

ultimately help you close the sale.

 

6. Not updating skill sets

What sells today is obsolete tomorrow. During my mentoring sessions, I find that

entrepreneurs invest very less time to update their skills sets. Self-development can be

possible only through books, articles, videos, podcasts, or attending professional sales

training. Successful sales professionals attend sales seminars and workshops and make it a

habit of reading about sales practices on a regular basis. Reading newsletters and visiting

websites that help in improving the selling skills is also a healthy practice to follow. In the

present age of information and technology, the customer is well informed and aware about

your competition more than you know. Hence be well informed.

Selling is not an Art! It is Science!!

 

M.S. RAVINDRA

LEADING SALES TRAINER

FOUNDER– LEAP CONSULTING

You can contact Ravindra on ravindra@leapconsultingindia.com

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The Importance of a mentor in your life

I grew up hearing to the sloka “Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Gurudevo Maheshwara” which in Sanskrit meant Guru is in all forms of god. During my early education I lived up to learning from every teacher and had high respect for each of them. The key to learning is an open mind and hard work. So, I did both which helped me get knowledge powerful to lead a life. I had amazing teachers and my respect to all of them through all phase of life. But since I am sharing about a mentor, there is very key difference between the two.

Key difference between Teacher and a Mentor

– Teachers are instrumental in imparting knowledge which is key to be aware about the subjects in life but a mentor makes you take action on the knowledge to let you have experience of your own to lead

– Teacher shares the content so you understand, but a mentor will ask you to give an example of your own.

– One Teacher will teach a group of students, but a mentor does it one to one.

– Teaching is a job, but mentoring is a role with responsibility.

– Teacher will give you grades but mentor will bring out all the shades in you.

So, through my journey of starting 2 business ventures Honeymoon Havens and MarkYourTrails, I learnt the importance of having a mentor in life. Its been a roller coaster ride for last 5 years and I must admit everybody needs a mentor for sure. So, for all those who looking to have mentors would suggest its key to have right mentor.

– He who can understand you completely.
– He who is not making you feel comfortable but is focused to create results for you.
– He who makes you do more than you can think you can.
– He who will make efforts to evolve you through a process than just talks.
– He who speaks less and make you do more.

So, go out there and make a decision of having a mentor who can help you walk the path to reach your goals. All the best..!!! Learn, Experience, Succeed.

Chetan Yallapurkar
Founder
Honeymoon Havens &
MarkYourTrails

You can contact the author on chetan@markyourtrails.com

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The Importance of Visual Content in Business Today

A few days back my external hard drive containing important data relating to my scripts crashed. All I did was just see a video – ‘HOW TO RECOVER DATA FROM HARD DISK’ on YouTube and easily recovered my data from hard disk in no time!

That’s just a simple example of the power of visual content in our day to day life.

Even in the business marketing world, visual content plays a major role in the success of one’s business. No business today can be successful without involving visual content as their major marketing strategy.

So why should we align ourselves to visual content?

To answer, we need to know that there are 3 types of learners :

  • Visual learners – learn by seeing
  • Auditory learners – learn by hearing
  • A mix of styles

Research has shown that we remember visual images much easier and better than just words and hence, the largest portion of learners are Visual Learners.

So in this digital world, visual content is dominating over text in marketing one’s business or product.

What are the kinds of visual content used in marketing?

1.IMAGE

2.VIDEO

3.INFOGRAPHICS and Comics

4.COMBINATION of all above

Popular social media channels like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Vine play a great role in visual content marketing strategies. It can be seen that an image or video on these social media platforms get more attention (likes, comments, shares) than that of text.

Its easier to reach a large number of people with these simple social media tools, but to create an impact, the quality of the content always matters. So the business owner has to choose the right people /agency to visually market their content as it makes their fortunes or lose it.

 

Here are the few visual content statistics proving that its the boss of marketing in today’s world:

  • 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies.

 

  • Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.

 

  • 39% of marketers believe that more of their budget should be allocated to the acquisition or creation of compelling visual assets.

 

  • Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.

 

  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.

 

  • Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion.

 

  • Syndacast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.

 

  • Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

 

  • Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images.

 

Seeing is believing. Get into visual content marketing to leverage maximum benefit out of it.

 

Santosh G

Creative Director

Avyakta Films

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How to put together a good marketing plan for start ups

– Tarunjeet Rattan, Founder, Nucleus PR

When you enter the world of ‘start ups’ you are either about to step into the making of a dream production or a dream life. It’s your call. However both of them require certain common and certain defining elements for it to be a success. But what is that one BIG factor that will single handedly make it an overnight success? What’s that I hear? Good marketing? Hoo boy! So not true. Agreed, that a good marketing plan can drive a start up towards success and rapid growth or completely decimate it. But how do you cull out a good marketing plan for your start up? What you say, how you say it and when you say it can make all the difference between failure and success. What are the elements that need to be defined to make a good and smart marketing plan that will propel your startup towards success? Budget? Reach? Medium? Soooo… not true. Yes, it is a contributing factor but not the core of your plan. Here are the five elements that you need to define to define the core of your marketing plan.

Idea: What’s the idea of the startup? Is it filling a unique need gap or are you just a different version to an existing idea? What is the USP of the venture? How relevant is it in this day and age and for how long? Good sustainable startups that will last and become legendary brands are those that fill a unique market need gap and solve a pressing issue with a kick ass idea. Today. And yet has the potential to expand and adapt to changing times.

Execution: Having an idea is great but unless it is planned and executed well there is not much it can do towards the contribution of your success. The market is abound with ‘good’ ideas that flop and ‘borrowed’ ideas that are super successful. The key being the execution of the idea.
Team: So you have a great idea and a good plan towards seamless execution to it as well. But how do you do it? As entrepreneurs we all seem to assume that we have some hidden super powers and burn the midnight oil…and ourselves with it … to get things done. This is a fact based on the assumption that ‘If it has to be done…then I have to do it myself.’ Not only is this time consuming but also inefficient. If you are trudging along with an oxygen mask by the time you launch the idea because of the time or the effort it took you to launch it… you are going to end up spending all that monetary success in your hospital bills. Having a good team in your start up is crucial to the success of your venture.

Intention: This will differentiate your start up from being just a dream production or a dream life. What drove you to start the venture? What is the motivation and intention of it? Once you gain clarity on this it will define your company and will influence every decision that you take for the company. Once the intention is defined it will always be the driving force for the growth of your company. And no, this is not something you can push off to deal with later. If you want your company to succeed then define this and put it into words as quickly as possible.

Commitment: Another important factor to the differentiation mix. Your commitment to your idea will define its success. Are you in it for the short term or longer? Whatever it is…define it and stick to it. This will again influence a lot of your decisions for your start up.

Bandwidth: Can you handle the attention marketing will get you? Do you have the bandwidth to quickly move to full capacity and more? This often becomes the key to initial success. The first series of customer experience is crucial to the very credible and essential word-of-mouth recommendation routine. If this is amazing then you are on your way to success else it has a cataclysmic domino effect on the whole marketing efforts which is very difficult to come back from. Once a customer moves on from your service or product s/he has lots of other options to choose from. Before you start any kind of marketing efforts ensure that you have the capability to handle more. Think of a number that you can handle and double it. Do a dry run before dipping your toes into marketing.

Only after you have defined all the above do you come to marketing. Yes, this will also be a huge differentiation factor that will set you apart from the rest. A smart marketing plan will have you be the talk-of-the-town in no time. You can either choose to create a huge buzz about nothing with a huge budget or use it to connect with your potential and existing customers and inculcate strong brand loyalty. It is the core of your marketing plan that will define this leading to failure or life-long success. The above six factors are crucial to it. It will make all the difference between your customer scratching their heads trying to recall and figure out what you offer to rooting for your success and become vested in it. Once that is set the marketing decisions compliment, refine and magnify the same and are driven by these parameters. Medium, budget, methodology are all defined by it. Remember, a marketing plan will amplify your core values and messaging so make sure that the core of it is in place.

You can connect with the author on twitter (@mindtweak123) and LinkedIn.

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