Why Do Start-ups Blowup?

As many of us remember being taught about the ancient merchants and traders way back in high school. Those were the days when everyone was a business person. It was rare to see someone working as an employee. It was either you were a merchant or a poor widowed women with 6 six bastard children; who stole bread and eventually got their figures chopped off as punishment…*ahem* – Starting a business was easy back then; all you needed was a product and a spot at the market place. Everyone’s product was different and everyone made money nothing was too difficult.

Now business has become much more difficult due to the high increase of competitors who were not necessarily there in the 1500’s. The amount of competitors they had around back then were maximum two; even then they weren’t really competitors because they were selling just the right quantity of goods. Let’s say they were selling bread, two people selling bread for an entire city’s population? They probably ran out of stock half-way through the day; and I’m talking about both bread sellers. Now-a-days, the percentages of surviving small businesses are:

 

  • 40% survive for 1 year
  • 80% fail within 5 years

Those stats are base on 1000 businesses.

In total only 4% of Canadian businesses last after 10 years which is amazingly low.

Analysis’ noticed that businesses with 1-4 employees had a teeny-tiny higher successful rate. Bizarre isn’t it?

To increase your knowledge on this subject  I’ve created a post on the top reasons businesses tend fail (which is an after post of  Mandatory Start-up Business Pointers).

Hope you enjoy!

1.Start and be business oriented

There are a percentage of people who create businesses that barely bring in a revenue. They do it due to strong passions and dedicated beliefs. Those business people have business plans that normally don’t focus on income but focuses on getting themselves out there. Without an income the business will never stay up, if your main objective isn’t to make money then you need to make a plan that will get investors or donators or even members. Great example of companies who planned for a low or no profit organization is Costco. They set a membership fee. They have a personal and business memberships for $55 and they have a premium membership for $110. This will cover any extra cost as well as possibly give a 2% ROI to the premium members. Quite intelligent isn’t it? The clients save and the company doesn’t lose any money.. both sides are happy.

2.Start it for the right reasons:

After explaining why you shouldn’t make a business without there being a point of revenuedon’t just consider the income. If you’re going to have a business – create a business revolving around the things you love. If you love fine cuisine, open a fancy restaurant, if you have a passion for investing open a stock brokers company, if you’re obsessed with art – open a gallery or run a photography business. Don’t invest your time into something you’re not interested in because you’ll most likely lose interest, inspiration, and motivation. You’ll end up wanting to something you actually want to do. Never forget that start-up years are the years you will most likely be working up to 70-80 hours a week because you’re under staffed and have piles of work to do. The first year is always a learning experience. Also, it’s when you will make loads of newbie mistakes therefore you’ll need time to fix all of them, you need to able to sacrifice your time and not feel as if it’s worth nothing.

Horrible/No Market Research:

People who don’t check out their competition end up being SQUASHED by their competition. Make sure to set two evenings a side at the end of every week to research your competition and write a full monthly report on what they’re doing. A few things to look for:

  • If they’re switching/opening new location(s)
  • New high-ranked employees
  • New products
  • New pricing
  • Newborn companies in the industry/field
  • Read their blogs
  • Find out their discounts, contests, freebies
  • Their advertising methods/strategies
  • Who their wholesalers are (could be an economically beneficial)

Anything else you need to be a top-level competitor to them – look it up. For example take Canadian Banks and their client base:

  • Toronto- Dominican = 19 million
  • RBC= 18 million
  • TD= 11 million
  • CIBC= 9 million
  • BMO= 7 million
  • Desjardins= 75 000 clients..

Let’s say you’re Desjardin, you need to figure out why you’re not as good as BMO, once you’ve figured out why start working towards it. Once that’s done, figure out why you’re not as good as CIBC… and the list goes on. Desjardins is actually the most beneficial out of them all; with low rates, flexible loans etc. They’re a non-profit organization, which explains everything. They don’t have the budget to market like the other banks have – therefore no one knows this information.. That’s why they’re at the bottom.

Lack of Planning:

Many businesses fail to create a business plan and financial report. These reports will help you plan for future advancement. Once you’re company begins to roll – things will become hectic and you won’t have time for them. Not only that but because a system wasn’t created or planned for every level of growth things will be unorganized and become a mess. It usually makes it very hard to fix and/or organize. When these become hectic and all over the place, the things you did want to monitor during the project will be forgotten; which can result in everything messing up – permanently. A good example is the bridge photo. It shows bad planning and for a million dollars project – they were most likely sued.If you want to see really funny photos of companies terrible planning click the link:

Epic Planning Fails (click link)

Insufficient Capital:

So many people have made this mistake; including myself. If your company is small it still needs a small company loan. If you have the money already – fine, if not, do yourself a favor and take a loan out. You don’t need a massive amount just enough to cover your expenses until it makes its point of profit or revenue. For small businesses it’s usually in the first  3 months – year. I run a small business in which I didn’t think needed any kind of investment but soon after found out I did. When you run out of funds and rely on the company’s revenue. Since the business is new the revenue is relatively  low, therefore you’ll begin to be  desperate for sales that way you can cover your expenses. You’ll become a pushy salesperson, you don’t have enough money to spend on mandatory  equipment, material,  marketing nor advertise; which will make obtaining in clients much harder. Take a loan it’ll be worth it. Just make sure your company is incorporated.

If your company is incorporated it will allow you to take as many loans as you like and not be personally responsible for it. Which means if your company ends up failing and going into bankruptcy you’re personal credit will not be held accountable. Where as a sole proprietorship (normally small restaurants, corners stores, etc) those companies usually aren’t incorporated and end up being held accountable of the losses and go through a personal bankruptcy.

Location:

______________________________

Ever seen an abandoned restaurantor gas station in the middle of nowhere? It’s called location. Just because the property is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good spot for your target. Don’t make it too far from you target. Figure out where your target is and set up there!

                                    NO WEBSITE?!

Every business should have a website without it you don’t exist on the internet. Even if you do have a review on a blog or on search page without a website your clients will prefer your competitor due to the fact their website actually elaborates on their services, rates and display photos etc… To the client – they’re more developed than you are therefore they are the better choice.

The owner is ‘difficult’:

Last but not least, many people who have this problem don’t notice it and it yet it’s obvious to the people around them.  When starting a business keep in mind that, just because you’ve become a business owner it doesn’t mean you’re all of a sudden a worshiped figure whom everyone loves and admires no matter what you do or say. You won’t earn a great respect nor will you earn fans instantly.. Especially if you’re not a big buyer or spender . If you can afford to lay down 6.6 million for a purchase order then perhaps you’ll begin noticing sales people lining up excitingly waiting to give you exactly what you want – all for just a bit of your attention or opportunity. If you’re a spender and can afford to give out 6.6 million of freebies to your clients; It’ll definitely make them happy. In fact, they will be so happy you’ll have clients spreading the word about how great you are and selling your company/product for you! They’ll do all of this while you have the great privilege of being a jerk, why? Because money helps by allowing you to:

  1. Hire a customer service team who will deal with your clients in a pleasant manner which helps hide you’re rude and intolerable personality and attitude  from your client base..
  2. The sales people want a cut of that 6.6 million purchase, they’ll do anything for that commission. As well as any other order you request in the future.

Even if you do have money don’t be a jerk because no one will want to work with you, no one will want to pay you for a service considering your negative attitude not only that but no one will out of their way for a jerk… would you? Make sure you’re clients and employees/suppliers are taking care, even if you have money; you’ll earn more success and respect this way.

To end this post, I’m sure there are many other points on why or how businesses fail but in my opinion these are by far the major issues.

Let me know how this post helped you and looking forward to hearing from you all!

Katie

Sponsored by: Kontego Networks Inc  The coolest internet provider in Montreal :)

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Mandatory Start-up Business Pointers

Starting a business is not an easy job. You need to make sure everything is in order and you  %100  prepared for your estimated client base. Lately quite a few people have asked me for advice on the subject so here is how I ready myself for when I was starting off:

Start-up Costs + Monthly Expenses

Start-up costs are normally a one-time cost the amount obviously depends on Imagewhether you are a service provider or a merchant will depend on how high your COGS (cost of goods) will be. Most service providers will have to buy start-up equipment and from there they will use it until it deprecates and needs replacing; since a merchant needs to restock on a regular basics. Calculating your total amount of expenses will help you calculate your total revenue and break-even point. Here is a link that will help you calculate your start-up costs:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/startup/startup.htm

Break-Even Point:

Your break-even point identifies when your company will begin making profit. There are companies who make profit in the first few months where others make profit after their second year. The break-even point tells you when you’re out of debt and solely making profit ex: Let’s say your first year (the start-up year) you invested into equipment or surviving off loans, and paying for your start-up essentials and liabilities; the company ends up with a total cost of $450 000 even though your revenue was $200 000 the total loss will be $250 000 with no profit. Normally businesses will experience a loss in the first year due to all the start-up costs. The break-even point will show your profit (not revenue) after subtracting all your expenses in the second year and losses in the first (which normally occurs after the second year since you’ve already made your start-up investments). Take a look at this example I drew out (pardon my horrendous writing):Image

Keep in mind not every company reaches their break-even point in the second year.  You need to do this calculation until you finally get a gain (seen in the second year). Once you’ve got your gain you can calculate the year you’ll have your break-even point.

Image

You can also calculate the month in which you will make it in which you take the estimated monthly profit and divide 50 000 it by that number. You will get a number that will be between 1 to 12; you will have to match the number with the corresponding month.

Here is a link to help you calculate your break-even point:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/startup/break-even.htm

  Planning For a Business

Everyone needs a plan for their business. You need to know what you’re doing, how you’re going to do it, who is going to want it, and where youroffice will be. Bad planning is one of the leading reasons why businesses tend to fail. There are so many resources that can help you plan your goals and priorities. Here’s yet another link that can aid you in this:
http://www.businessknowhow.com/startup/planningwks.htm

  

Things you need to have before launching:

These items will make your business look more appealing and will help create a higher volume of comprehension to your potential investors. Not only that but it helps toward everything in regards to starting a business. Making everything more clear and organized will help you grow faster and meet your business goals

Save Money Everywhere You Can!

As to whether you have the money or not you should always be looking for ways to save money. There are many ways to do this.

–          Start looking at barter companies that allow you exchange services with other companies you have exchange services and save thousands of dollars. A good company for that is bizXchange

–          Start partnering up with companies that will sell their merchandise cheaper ex: you’re an internet and phone provider so partner up with a phone manufacturer to get a cheaper COGS bill. A great social network for that is PartnerUp or BizAssit

–          Cloud computing is a super economical way to save on storage investments, filing, printing, organization, backup. A great company to go with for that is Kontego Networks Inc

–          Use Social Networks to get your name out there, Network online with other business owners and pitch your product in a genuine way(don’t be a sales person; be a contact). Use: Linkedin, Facebook, Biz Assist, PartnerUp, Youtube, Blogs etc.Image

 

By doing a bit of research you’ll be able to get a lot more information on free marketing and inexpensive ways to exchange. I will eventually blog about it as well. So perhaps subscribe and slowly learn at a reasonable pace.

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Having your own business is truly an extraordinary change to one’s life style. You are the key decision maker; you are in charge of your success and your business’ success. As for next week’s blog post I’ll make a list of the things that will destroy your business and bring it all down to complete and utter ruins.

Let me know how this blog helped you!

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

 

 

Sponsored by: Kontego Networks Inc  The coolest internet provider in Montreal :)

Top 9 Inspiring Entrepreneur Movies/Videos


Glengarry Glen Ross – DirectedBY: James Foley

Image

This is a story about real estate agents and their hectic lives. It lets you in on what they go through and how they manage or mismanage their affairs. I personally think it’s a great movie to watch mainly because it shows different scenarios in the work force that will or can lead to hardship or success, especially in the sales field.

Watch the thriller at:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104348/

The Social Network – DirectedBY: David Fincher

I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, The Social Network was a huge hit. It’s Imageno surprise to me the movie made it big considering how it goes into depth about how the invincible Facebook was created as well as what happened in the process. The movie demonstrated betrayal, loss, first and third rate planning , and major success. I’d say it can teach many modern entrepreneurs innumerable business affairs perhaps even personal such as when to start marketing and advertising, what dedicated development is, the down falls of partnerships and much more. I suggest you definitely check it out.

Check out the trailer:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285016/

What Matter to you –CreatedBY: Jr0canest

This video is posted only on YouTube on May 9, 2008 which has now has 436,404 views. ImageIt was posted to enter a contest created by the Vancouver Film School(VFS). The champion with the best video would win a $20 000 scholarship at their school (BTW: VSF is the best film school in Canada). Anyway, I stumbled upon the video when I was looking to acquire some inspiration to keep me motivated and focused on my film making. After watching it I sure did get quite  a potent boost.. His speech is so passionate it forwards all of his passion directly to you. I used to watch it daily, which explains how much of an inspiration it was for me. The main objective of the video was to show how much digital design mattered to him and how he pushes himself to work hard in order to get what he wants; and doesn’t stop until it’s done (FYI: he won the contest). I highly recommend this one and it’s only 2minute and 20 seconds long, totally worth it.

Check the video out here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KExoP97KUnY


The Great Dictator– DirectedBY:Charlie Chaplin

Even though this video isn’t necessarily about business but teaches Imageyou plentiful things about becoming successful in both life and business (in my opinion). I’ve attached a link to its YouTube video where he gives a heart pounding speech. The speech he preaches is absolutely outstanding and to some life changing. It makes you realize something in life; however I can’t completely elaborate at the moment. You’ll understand once you watch it and felt it’s magnificence yourself! The video I’ve linked isn’t the exact clip from the original movie but an edited recreation. I found the music added an extra touch and the imagines gave us a bigger picture as to what the speech meant.

Watch the link here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo&feature=BFa&list=FLmHWfE6lX3t8hh78nBw9P3A&lf=mh_lolz

The Pursuit of Happiness – BY:Gabriele Muccino

The Pursuit of Happiness with the superior actor Will Smith Imagetells a story of a struggling business man who invested a large sum of money into a hard to sell product. In the end he and his spouse have a child and begin to struggle immensely due to his lack of sales. His wife worked a stable job in a laundry company in which it was identical to torture. Feeling depressed and lost  she selfishly decides to leave him. He refused to leave his son and insisted he should be the one to have custody of his son. Due to his lack of money he decides to compete for a broker’s position. This is a true story, moreover a heartbreaking one.  Watch the movie to find out the ending; it is truly remarkable!

Watch the trailer here:

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4260888857/

Sweet November-DirectedBY: Pat O’Connor

Sweet November is yet another all time movie. It tells about a man (named Nelson) Imagewhose life revolved around his job. With ongoing success he finally faced fail and reacted so badly to it he ends up losing everything. After having a rushed encounter with a free-spirited woman named Sara. Sara somehow manages to show Nelson parts of life he had almost forgotten about. Slowly they both start changing each others lives.

Watch the trailer at:

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi277676313/

The Corporation – BY:Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott

The Corporation is a brilliant, out of sight movie. It can Imagehelp an entrepreneur to properly invest in his business. Know what the results of  your actions and how your business will better or destroy in our society.  It takes a GIANT step into the corporate world and shows you how they think and what their priorities are; and believe me it’s scary.  I very highly recommended it.

Check the trailer at:

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi42664217/

Boiler Room – DirectedBY: Ben Younger

It’s a movie about a high school dropout who lands a job Imageat a brokers company. He soon realizes  not everything that had been  said is actually what it’s made out to be. Shows you just how nasty some businesses are same thing said about some brokers.

Check the trailer out here:

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1622868249/

Limitless- DirectedBY:Neil Burger

Limitless is an outstanding movie about growth. Even Imagethough it’s highly fictional it tells the story of a man who goes from being nothing to being masterly; all because of a little pill call NZT. Along his new path of success he faces many challenges in which he is not on NZT. A reason to watch this would be to see the path of failure and success sudden fall in and out someone’s hands. I suppose you could use your imagination and replace NZT with something more along our lines of reality, for example: con artists, cheating etc.

Check the trailer out here:

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1218485017/

www.kontego.net

7 Essentials for a Perfect Working Environment

Working Environment When it comes to your private work space – details DO matter. It’s not just about the desk you picked out of the garbage, nor the chair that  gives you an awful back ache – and it’s definitely not about your hand-me-down desktop your parents donated to you out of pity – It’s about creating a work station that will keep you motivated and on the ball; take my word for it – a great office environment is worth the investment. Here are the Top 7 things that will create a perfect office environment.

1. Design and Layout:

Whether you are working from home or have a rising corporation, the layout and design of your office is a very important factor. You need to design a layout that inspires you and/or your employees. Something dull will only cause you to create yet another excuse to procrastinate. You and/or your employee’s work performance revolve around the atmosphere the office brings to them. Take the two photo examples I’ve posted below-

Check out these links for more cool offices designs and layouts:

http://iniwoo.net/web/25-inspirational-offices/

http://1dak.com/people/google-office-pictures-47-pics/

2. External Hard Drive OR cloud computing:

Make this mandatory to all employees and yourself! For all those hours of work put into a presentation or report it should definitely be backed up hourly. There’s nothing worse than being a few minutes away from the finalizing a project when your laptop decides to explode or freeze. It’s something that I’ve personally experienced  so often that I should be embarrassed. I normally spend hours on advertising flyers, letters or blog content so due to past disasters I back everything up that way I don’t lose anything. However, I’ve learnt the hard way through many horrible data loss experiences.

Save your content (every hour) on an external hard drive, then once completed send it to your cloud provider to back up your goods up..

3.Staying Organized:

I think the picture I chose is perfect; it shows that without organization you’re doomed. Messes begin with BAD ORGANIZATION and BAD PLANNING. Preferably before you launch your company go out and buy these items:

  • Filing cabinet
  • Filing folders
  • Label maker
  • Binders
  • A desk with drawers
  • Agendas/ Hardcover note-book
  • Printer & photocopiers
  • Shelves
  • Bookshelves
  • Wire organizers

Another great way to keep the office organized is through cloud computing. Cloud computing helps store your data in an online storage space. In other words no need to print out that backup copy of the important document you signed- instead just send it over to your cloud provider and they’ll storage and manage it safely. However, not every internet company does cloud computing; I’m currently with a company called Kontego Networks and they’re amazing at what they do. It’s helped me a lot. The best part about it is it’s much more economic than doing it yourself – on top of it my office space looks nothing like the picture above (poor guy :’|) My advice try to avoid printing; try to keep everything IN your computer.

4.Adjustable Lighting:

Every person is different. Some people are easily stressed some are stress-free. Not everyone agrees with your standards. Therefore do everyone a favor and install adjustable lighting to your office so they can adjust it according to  their comfort and emotions.

When I work from home I have a tinted ceiling light which helps me relax when I work. However, there are times when I need more light so I made sure to place a mini lamp on my desk that way I can easily adjust the lighting to my liking.

5.Whiteboard/ Calendar:

Another contribution to a great office space is getting things done! A great way to do this is to buy yourself a small or large  white board. It’s a great way to keep organized and to remind yourself and your employees about the pile of work that still needs to be done.

You can use your white board for:

  • Calendar/scheduling
  • Presentations
  • Notes
  • Messages to your crew or staff
  • Brain storming
  • Keeping track of stats
  • Telling someone off because you lack the confidence to say it to their face?..

OK maybe not the last one but you get my drift. It can be useful for many things, especially in a fast pace business.

6.Recycling System:

By putting a recycling system in your office you’re not only are you creating a better future for the earth, yourself and your family, but you will also save a massive amount of money and resources. Every year a Southlander will send 545 kg of rubbish and 101 kg of recyclable to the landfill; %45 doing this is businesses. At home and the office there are so many things you can recycle such as: Paper, plastic, cardboard, metal, glass, electrical waste and etc. Many people don’t take the time to set up recycling system because they think it’s pointless and doesn’t bring anything back to them. But they’re wrong! Here are a few benefits to recycling:

  • Reduced risk of harmful chemicals in electronic goods ending up in our environment
  • Increase supply of resources for manufacturing
  • Reducing demand for councils to provide waste disposal services helps keep rates lower
  • Reduction in your carbon footprint

Once again cloud computing is a great money saver. It will cut the acquirement quantities of paper, folders, filing cabinets and so many other affairs.

 7. Comfort

I’m sure many will agree on the fact comfort matters; especially when you’re sitting in your chair all day. Setting up an office that has (at the least) comfortable chairs will  make a huge difference in the long run. Don’t just do it for their desk space but also do it in the lounge room. Throw in some beanie chairs or extra comfy sofas along with a TV. Put a bunch of blankets in a closet so when someone forgets their sweater they can snag a blanket to stay warm. Make sure there is a coffee machine with descent coffee.

Take Google as an example, they created an atmosphere that makes their employees want to come to work. It motivates them to do their best and prove that their skills are worthy of their  spot in Google. Point finale, if you pet their back they’ll pet yours. If you give them something amazing they’ll want to do the same.

Bringing comfort to an office space is definitely an investment worth investing in. Think of it this way, a comfy office space should make your employees feel at home and as if they’re working for their own benefit when in reality it’s actually  towards yours.

www.kontego.net

Sponsored by:  The coolest internet provider in Montreal :)

A creative blog about business

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