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10 Simple Business Tips You Need For A Successful Startup

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When starting your own business, there are countless matters to plan and things to do. However, regardless of your industry or the scope of your business, there are key elements that can help you succeed. To guide you along the way, check out these essential small business tips for startups.

1. Write A Business Plan

Many fledgeling entrepreneurs think they only need a business plan if they are applying for a loan. While many traditional lenders require a business plan, loan applications aren’t their only use. Beyond that, a business plan helps you identify short and long-term goals for your company.

Throughout the time your business lasts, you should revisit your business plan on a regular basis and ensure that it reflects your current goals and expectations. Setting clear goals is key to moving forward in an organised and orderly fashion.

2. Be Ready On Day One

Ideally, you should never open your business doors until you are completely ready to go. Similarly, if your business only has a web presence, that should also be fully functional before the launch.

Let’s say you get a rush of customers the first day, but you’re not ready to serve them due to lack of inventory, poor employee training or other issues. In most cases, those customers won’t come back, or it will definitely be an uphill battle to get them back. Whether it’s dating or business, first impressions are everything.

Image Credit: Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images

3. Test, Test, Test

To ensure you’re ready on day one, test everything. If you’re manufacturing a product, get the prototype into use so you can identify and address weaknesses before you order a large batch. If you’re opening a restaurant or cafe, have a ‘dry opening’ with friends or family so you know the front and back of the house is ready. Regardless of what your business offers, make sure to test as much as possible before opening day.

4. Visualise Your Corporate Culture

As part of your business plan or as part of a separate document, you should define your corporate culture. What’s important to your company? What are your values? How can your customer service model reflect those values? Similarly, how can your employee compensation and benefit packages reflect those values?

Those are the types of questions you should consider as you fine-tune your corporate culture statement. Ultimately, your corporate culture should inform everything, from how you deal with clients to how you treat employees.

5. Sketch Out A Worst-Case Scenario

Hopefully, your business will go perfectly, but mostly, that’s not the case. To ensure you’re ready to deal with bumps on the road, you should sketch out several worst-case scenarios. For instance, let’s say you have a budget that outlines projected sales and expenses. To be on the safe side financially, you should see what happens if your revenues are half of what you expect and your expenses double. Can you make it? What’s your plan?

6. Set Up Three Months Of Operating Capital

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t expect to take any money out of the business for at least a year. Unfortunately, that’s simply not realistic for most people. As you run your business, you will need funds to cover day to day living expenses.

Even if you can’t fathom not taking money out of your business for a year, you should set aside three months of operating capital. That can be in the form of savings, small business loan, a line of credit, or even a credit card if you have no other options. Those funds can be a lifesaver until your revenue gets firmly established.

7. Learn From Others

Other industry professionals can provide a wealth of knowledge, experience and guidance. Consider connecting with other professionals through local or online groups. Alternatively, set up a mentorship for even more guidance.

8. Don’t Forget Finances And Accounting

As an owner of a small business, you have a lot of financial obligations. And to stay on top of all of them, you need to be organised financially. Whether you’re opening a business that consists of just you or starting up a firm with dozens of employees, you need to make an accounting plan early on.

You should start tracking business-related expenses long before you ever get your first client. Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may want to check out a streamlined accounting app, a more detailed accounting program such as QuickBooks, or even consider outsourcing the job to a third party accountant.

9. Hire Conservatively

When your business is just getting started, it’s important to not over-obligate yourself, even with employees. Whenever possible, you may want to hire freelancers instead of employees. If you need employees, be careful about promising things you can’t provide. For example, you may want to be clear with employees about how many hours you can provide — you don’t want to commit to full-time hours and then only be able to provide part time work.

10. Get Your Name Out There

Finally, marketing is essential. You need to get your name out there and make sure that people hear about you. That can take a variety of forms from traditional marketing to social media posts. If you don’t have the funds to carry out paid advertisements, check out each the business pages of social media sites (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have them) for tips and tricks on how to organically boost your social presence. Once you’ve built a big enough following, you should reach out to industry influencers to see if they can promote your brand.

Starting a business can be arduous, and you might not always know where to start. Each industry has its own challenges, but this guide can help you no matter what kind of business you’re opening. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to running your business in no time.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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