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Top Biggest Mistakes Startups Make

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As a fellow entrepreneur, I’ve had my share of business success and failure. At the end of the day, I believe that failure is just as important as success, as it teaches you what to do, or not to do, next time.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out advice, especially when you’re new to the game.

If you’re a startup or toying with the idea of bringing a new product to market, here’s a look at seven big mistakes that startups tend to make. Avoid these whoppers and save yourself from having to learn everything the hard way!

1. Skipping The Business Plan

I realize it’s 2018. But a good old-fashioned business plan is just as important now, as ever. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be contained in a three-ringed binder of yore, but it does mean taking time to run the numbers, create your identity, and develop your sales and marketing plans –and target milestones. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll have a hard time getting there. A business plan will help to keep you on track. Plus, if you’re hoping to secure funding, you’ll need this.

2. Not Accurately Gauging Interest

Yeah, I know. You’re in love with your product/idea/brilliant innovation. But is anyone else? Besides your mom? While bringing a new product to market is hard, bringing a product that will have little demand is even harder. In fact it’s soul-destroying. Don’t do it unless you’re certain it’s going to be well-received.

3. Not Defining Your Target Market

Before you launch a product into the ether simply hoping for the best, you’re going to need to run some numbers and create an accurate projection of how well that product will perform. Your first step in this journey is pinpointing your exact target market. Without a clear idea on WHO you’re marketing to, and what, exactly they’re interested in, you’re going to have a hard time pitching and promoting your product. Trust me, it’s hard to sell something when your audience isn’t even sure they want it.

4. Forgoing All Advertising Efforts

It’s 2018. These days, we need online advertising to succeed. The truth is there’s only so much that you can do with organic reach and word of mouth. At the end of the day, if you want to grow significantly, you’re going to need to pay to play, and invest in a Facebook/Instagram/Google ad campaign. Fortunately, ads have come a long way in recent years, and today, it’s easy enough to create a campaign that’s extremely targeted; drastically increasing your response rate. This is another reason why it’s important to know your audience. If you don’t, you won’t be able to reach them very well.

5. Pretending That You Don’t Have Competition

“I don’t have competition, I’m in a league all of my own.” I hear it often. Don’t fool yourself though, you have competition, just like everyone else. The secret to rising above isn’t pretending it doesn’t exist, instead it’s about finding that chink in their armor. Where is your competition lacking? How can you offer more value? Most importantly, is that value something that your customers actually care about? If you have a definitive answer, then by all means continue to pursue your business. But if you’re basically the same, but slightly different, then I’d tread carefully.

6. Ignoring The Elephant In The Room

You know what I’m talking about –that looming threat on the horizon that you’re uncomfortable about. This could be a strong competitor, waning interest in your product, shifting market conditions. Whatever it is, don’t ignore it in hopes that it’ll get better or go away. Because it won’t. You need to rerun the numbers and projections keeping this guy in mind. Years ago I started up an import business, but didn’t take into account rising oil prices. When oil went up, my profits went down and eventually the entire business model was no longer viable. Don’t ignore the elephant. Always keep it in mind when formulating your attack plan.

7. Being Stuck

As a startup, being flexible is key to survival. This doesn’t mean that you should flake out every 5 minutes, but it does mean being able to change direction when the winds change. Take Nokia, for example. They were a paper mill when they first started out. Or Sony. They sold rice cookers. Don’t be so in love with an idea that you’re blind to other opportunities. As a startup, your ability to pivot and flexibility is your strength. Think on your toes, make changes when you need to, and keep your eyes and ears open. Always have a backup plan.

If all of this sounds like a lot of hard work, that’s because it is. Success as a startup isn’t easy and it’s not getting any easier. But the truth is that big things rarely happen to those who are content to sit and wait. Instead, success is the result of a hard and difficult pursuit. It’s not always easy, but I believe that it’s worth it. With the above suggestions, you’ll already be 500 miles ahead of all the other guys out there.

Agree? Disagree? Any questions, hit me up.

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You will never become a Millionaire: Myths Debunked !!!

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How to become rich?

I am sure you must have wished at some point in time of your life that you had a million dollars in your account so that you never had to work again?

Isn’t that wonderful?

How about driving fancy cars, travelling around the globe? Many people dream about a life as happening as this… While it would certainly be nice to have such a lifestyle, people believe — they’ll never become millionaires and it’s just a dream. They have no clue how they can become one.

The truth is hitting $1 million mark is more reasonable today than ever.

A writer, Thomas spent 20 years studying American millionaires and patterns in their habits. The result of all his research was the bestseller, The Millionaire Next Door.

Even if you don’t have time to read this book, I think you are lucky and surely this post if for you !!!

Advice #1: 

– Always think “Long Term”: Try to harness the power of compound interest.

Long term thinking doesn’t only apply to your “Savings”, in fact it also applies to your spending patterns. There is a famous saying “Buy what you need, not what you want”.

To understand this, let’s do a simple math:

You must have spent $100 on a trivial stuff occasionally. Right? Everyone does, including me.

Now, instead of thinking it as “just a $100 expense for a month”, think of it as stealing $1,200 from yourself every year and approx $18,000 from you every decade assuming a 5% interest rate (which is way below the average of S&P 500 stock exchange) and reducing inflation.

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So that $100 actually costed you a whopping $1800 ? Sound’s crazy, isn’t it? But how many times do we actually make these calculations?

Next time when you buy a Starbucks coffee, just think about it? This doesn’t mean that I’m asking you to lead a frugal life, however it’s just that your mind needs to be tuned.

Not that difficult, right?

Advice #2

– Open an Investment Account

This is a simple and mandatory step. Can you image to make millions without investing your money? Impossible.

In the above example, it is assumed that you invested the $100 which you saved otherwise you would be losing money due to inflation if you simply kept it as cash.

Advice #3

– Earn money from multiple sources, spend less and invest the rest.

Okay, it’s a fact that we all need to save money as much as possible. Earn money, spend less than you earn by living below your means, and invest the rest. Leaving aside your emergency funds, the money saved should be invested. You can consider to buy ETFS,  Mutual Funds, or stocks based on your risk appetite.

I would suggest to go with ETFs as they are less risky, and will help you to get a decent return and become a millionaire. Note that all investments contain some amount of risk.

Calculation of savings per month to become a millionaire! 

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This means…

If you currently have $10,000 saved, you need to save $935.55 each month for 30 years at a 6.00% rate of return to reach $1,000,000.

That’s it!

That’s just apprx. less than $500 a paycheque if you are paid bi-weekly and after 30 years you become a millionaire.

This amount is even less as I have taken a very conservative Interest Rate. Each year your portfolio earns interest which will then be reinvested and interest can be earned on those reinvested funds!

Advice #4

– Do NOT withdraw your INVESTMENTS

Never ever withdraw your investments. Forget as if you never had that money. This should be your strategy. Numerous studies have PROVED that leaving your money invested over the long run is the best way to accumulate wealth.

Now, let’s go through the detailed steps to become a millionaire…

Complete Step-By-Step Guide to become a millionaire

Here is how to become a millionaire step by step. This even works as a teenager! Who wants to learn how to become a millionaire? Most of us actually. Becoming a millionaire is largely based on discipline and restraint, not what kind of car you drive or the square footage of your house. The desire for material possessions and a lavished life will actually prevent you from accumulating significant wealth. I am going to outline the ten things you need to do if you want to learn how to become a millionaire.

1. Plan

A plan forces you to take action, not just talk about your dreams. Figure out how much money you are spending and how much money you are saving. Focus on the expenses you can control and minimize them. Forget about what happened in the past and run your life like a business. No business succeeds without a plan and nobody becomes a millionaire without a plan.

2. Income

It is incredibly hard to save your way to millionaire status. You need to increase your income without upgrading your standard of living. If you continue to upgrade your standard of living as your income increases, you are not getting ahead. If you want to increase your income, start a side gig, start a business, educate yourself, invest your money to work for you and acquire assets, not liabilities.

3. Investment Costs and Taxes

One of the easiest things you can do is maximize contributions to your 401K because the money grows tax deferred resulting in faster compounding. You also want to maximize contributions to a Roth IRA separate from your 401K. Put away as much as you can tax free. When trading, trade as cheap as possible and less frequently. Take advantage of tax deductions. Millionaires are smart about their money, and give as little to the government as possible. If you are investing in stocks, hold them for over one year. Investments held for less than 12 months are taxed as ordinary income while investments held for over 12 months are taxed at the long term capital gains tax rate.

4. Income Streams

The majority of millionaires have multiple streams of income. Start building other income streams. Start a side business, get a part time job, invest, rent out real estate, build online income streams or create passive income streams. There are countless ways to make money, but the point here is to be diversified. If one of your income streams disappears, you have others to fall back on. Do not rely solely on the income from your job!

5. Automate

Automate contributions to your 401K and to your savings account. Automate your bill payments to save time, because time is money! Automate as much as you can in your life so you have more time to focus on what is important, making more money!

6. Invest in Yourself

Read every single day. Write. Keep a journal. Listen to podcasts. Learn new things. Become a well rounded genius. Millionaires consume knowledge like it is food keeping them alive. Like Warren Buffett says, the more you learn the more you earn!

7. Lifestyle and Credit

Be frugal with your lifestyle. Avoid luxury and only buy exactly what you need. Plan out purchases in advance, and never buy something on impulse. Sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. You also want to avoid credit and credit cards like the plague. If you can’t afford it right now, don’t buy it.

8. Exposure

You become what you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people who are above you, and ask a lot of questions. The truth is, millionaires think differently. If you surround yourself with four idiots, you are likely to become the fifth one. If you surround yourself with four millionaires, you are likely to become the fifth one.

9. Experiment

Don’t be afraid to take a risk as long as it is well thought out. Treat your life like a science experiment and try new things. When testing things out, do so as fast as possible. If you are wrong, learn from your experience and try again!

10. Assets and Liabilities

Millionaires understand the difference between assets and liabilities. You need to increase your assets and decrease your liabilities. An asset is a useful or valuable thing, or something that appreciates in value as you own it. Liabilities are something you are financially responsible for, or something that loses value as you own it.

If you follow these ten steps, you have learned how to become a millionaire. It takes time, like anything else. Most of us lack patience today, and we want a reward for our work immediately. If you are patient, driven and intentional you will become a millionaire step by step, even as a teenager.

RELATED POSTS: Millionaire Mindset – Just 4 simple steps

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Millionaires Mindset – Just 4 simple steps

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Millionaire Mindset

Have you ever wondered what makes a millionaire different from an average middle class person? I would say it’s just the mindset.

This means you don’t think like a millionaire, instead you need to act like one 🙂 I was fortunate to hit the million dollar mark at the age of 35, however if I look back, I feel that it was a bit late. Had I followed some basic principals early in my life, I could have hit that mark at 30 or maybe at 25.

Nevertheless, everyone has his own “time zone”. So take a deep breath, relax and follow the basic steps. I can assure you that these are the most powerful yet “simple” steps to become a millionaire !!!

Regardless of your age and what’s there in your bank account at this point in time, you can start following the basic principles.

1. Millionaires think about “IDEAS” and NOT things.

Millionaires understand that it’s the idea which is the most valuable asset in the world. They tend to focus more on big ideas for the future than on the trivial things happening in the present. In order to be successful and rich, you need to continuously expand your mind, thinking about innovative ways of doing the same things differently.

The age-old saying, ‘Winners don’t do different thingsThey do things differently’.

2. Millionaires take BOLD decisions and Calculated Risks… They challenge themselves and ask for more.

While an average middle class person will be happy to lead a normal life, millionaires strive to continuously challenge themselves and set their ambitions higher. Put another way, the middle class lives in fear of risking too much, while millionaires know when to go for it.

Millionaires overcome their fear with extensive skills/knowledge. They often educate themselves before taking risks, and then consider the consequences of failing. They evaluate the worst case scenario versus the power of the reward and if they feel that the rewards are exceptional, then they Go for it.

3. Millionaires think about creating multiple avenues of income.

It’s common sense… right? The more income sources you have, the more potential you have to get fatter paychecks.

But driving multiple source of income means letting go of a mindset that often holds the middle class back… The idea that you must do everything yourself as this puts extreme limits on your financial potential.

Millionaires believe they can find someone who can do not only the job as as they can, but maybe even better! This will help them in streamlining one source of income, and then move on to the next income stream.

4. Millionaires are generous.

Generosity is a necessity for the rich, while the middle class people believe that they can’t afford much to give back.

The Law of Cause and Effect states that whatever you send out into the universe comes back. In my opinion, it comes back with a bigger impact !!! Think about it.

They see money as a seed. They feel if they are generous, they will receive much more in return. This doesn’t mean that all millionaires are generous, however I just want to draw your attention to the point we discussed earlier, that if you have a mindset of being generous, 99.9% chances are that the universe will send back a reward for you!

Conclusion:

People often use “affirmations” which help them change their mindsets. These are short sentences that we repeat to ourselves that affirm our objectives and abilities. They can be really powerful and assist you to make the shift in your thinking process. You can recite the affirmations the first thing in the morning, or after a meditation session. This is because your mind is active and receptive to these new ideas. I assure you will find it much easier to change your thought process, but you surely need to be reciting them every day.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to become a Millionaire in 4 simple steps