How do I hire the right people when I cant afford to pay too much right now?
Pay and people are believed to be connected. In reality they are not connected to a great extent. The connection is between the person and the sense of purpose that job gives them. So when you reach out to people to hire them for your enterprise, be transparent about what you are offering - the quality of work, the balance between work and life, the learning opportunities, the space to take decisions. These are big factors which can become the reason for the right talent to join you.
As a small entrepreneur should I invest time and effort in digital or social media marketing?
Yes. This is a huge space that has the potential to expand your business and increase your visibility tremendously. You should however do it in phases and with small but targeted effort or investment. It's worthwhile to undertake a good course if you plan to manage this on your own. Please understand that a whole lot of marketing is done entirely through the digital media and using your social media channels wisely is important.
Small businesses are struggling. What can I do to make my business sustainable?
You need three things to make it sustainable no matter what happens in the economy - a vision, social connect and a unique product / service. The vision is an extension of your own beliefs and sense of purpose. The social connect makes your business have a soul. And the unique nature of your product or service make it fill a gap that nothing else can. If you have these three elements, you will always remain relevant. The market changes will have an impact on business but it's likely to survive the ups and downs.
How do I get the right loans for my business?
There are many schemes and options available in India now for MSMEs and start-ups. Not only does the government have loan options but several banks also offer competitive financial support. Read the article '10 Business Loans For Start-ups And MSMEs By The Indian Government' from January 2019 on the inc42 website - https://www.inc42.com
What should I do when I see others trying to work in the same space as me despite my business being the first one to do that kind of work?
That will always be the case. People will copy your work or emulate it because they realize that you have a viable business idea. They may also try to approach the same set of clients and these are challenges for small entrepreneurs. But being an entrepreneur is a lot about resilience. You should not lose sight of your purpose. Collaboration is a bigger tool than competition. So think about ways in which you can collaborate with others who can then become a support network. That's the best way to deal with competition.
Should I be in constant touch with my potential clients to expand my business?
There are two things to remember here - it is important to communicate regularly and be in touch because due to the digital clutter your voice can get pushed into the background unless you are on the top of your client's mind. But the second thing to remember is that each communication should be meaningful. No client or potential client wants to see a barrage of messages or emails or even social media posts which have no clear message or meaning. So balance these two aspects when you reach out.
I have created a community that shares a common purpose and it's growing well. But how do I engage it so that members continue to contribute?
If you are a community leader, this is the biggest concern as well as a great opportunity for you. Your community will thrive and be engaged when you give them reasons to be excited about and a sense of pride in belonging to it. For example, when you collectively do something that has a positive impact, or you have knowledge sharing sessions that experts can hold for the community or have fun activities such as contests or videos that encourage your community members to share more. All of these aspects when done together make a community stronger and more connected. You as a community leader will also need to lead from the front - by sharing your own knowledge and by being a part of all activities that are designed to engage the rest of the members.
Should I actively look for mentoring support for myself as a small business owner right now or wait for the business to reach a high-growth phase?
Mentoring can be valuable at any point in time during your entrepreneurial journey but only when you know the reason and purpose of the same. Are you doing it because you are facing some challenges in scaling up or widening your market? Or are you doing it to be more mindful of your own strengths and how to leverage them? These are two very different needs but they apply for all entrepreneurs. So first you need to introspect about the why. And then you need to proceed with the how.
How can we implement digital payments for all customer transactions?
Digital transactions are defined as transactions in which the customer authorizes the transfer of money through electronic means, and the funds flow directly from one account to another. The different modes of digital payment include the use of debit/credit card, internet banking, mobile wallets, digital payment apps, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) service, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Bank prepaid cards, mobile banking, Electronic Clearing Service (ECS), National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), etc. These accounts could be held in banks, or with entities/ providers.A secure, reliable and smooth transaction is what a modern day online customer seeks, and it is possible to achieve this through new forms of digital payments. Customers are now becoming more receptive to various modes of online payments, due to the convenience and flexibility involved in the process.
Is Covid-19 spreading through exchange of currency?
Covid-19, as we all know, spreads through droplet infection. So, if an infected person has sneezed or coughed into his/her hand and we accept the cash/currency from his un-sanitised hand to us, there is a chance that the germs will spread to us and we catch the infection. Therefore there is a need to use digital transactions as much as possible, to avoid spread of the disease by touch. In case we are unable to adopt digital payment/receipt modes, we should wear gloves or immediately sanitize our hands after receiving cash or currency from anybody to ensure ours and the safety of others too. Let's Break The Chain!
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