Wednesday, February 20, 2019

small scale business

small scale business


How To Start A Startup As A Small Business Owner - Forbes

Posted: 19 Feb 2019 11:01 AM PST

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The Small Business Administration defines a small business as an independently owned entity built for profit and is not dominant in its industry. Startups, on the other hand, are temporary organizations created to search for a repeatable and scalable business model as defined by entrepreneur, author and investor, Steve Blank.

Based on numerous conversations with small business owners interested in building a technology startup, I found that entrepreneurs are mostly intrigued by the scalability and repeatability aspects of a startup that are not feasible under the small business model. In other words, I observed that most small business owners who want to start a startup are looking to build a venture that reaches and serves thousands of customers without necessarily needing hundreds of employees.

A successful small business owner recently told me that 80% of his business expenses are overhead costs that average $450,000 per month. He emailed, "I would rather run a $1 million business with 80% margin than generate $10 million in revenue and only keep $800 thousand."

While simple projections can make sense, building a startup is one of those battles where "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face," says Mike Tyson. However, just like any business, there are right and wrong ways to start it and there are many strategies by which an entrepreneur can mitigate risk of failure and increase certainty in the path to market and growth.

Here are two important lessons about startups followed by how to start a startup especially if you are currently running a growing small business or have developed expertise in a particular industry.

  1. A Startup Is Not A Small Business

While small businesses execute on a validated business model, startups search for one. Take the example of a restaurant. For as long as we can track humans, selling and trading food were how people survived for thousands of years. The main responsibility of a restaurant owner is to provide quality and accessible food at a price that justifies the value. One startup idea that comes to mind related to restaurants is a food on-demand app. Consumers have been used to buying food a certain way, therefore, the job of the entrepreneur is no longer making and selling the product only but in educating the buyer and validating the on-demand model which may sound viable but is not necessarily valid for every segment.

This important distinction simply means launching a startup with a small business building mindset will rarely work. If you have not previously experienced the ups and downs of startups, it is wiser to hire a mentor and team members who can help you build a valid, viable and valuable solution the right way.

  1. A Startup Is Not An App

According to CB Insights, it costs less than $5 thousand to launch a startup today compared to $5 million twenty years ago. Take a moment and Google, "cost of building an app." Most of the estimates you will find exceed $100 thousand only for the first version of the application. The question is, if it has never been cheaper to start a startup why is the cost of an app in the six figures range?

The truth is, a startup is not synonymous with applications. Apps, web or mobile, are accelerators and, in many cases, not mandatory to launch a startup and deliver a solution. In most cases, entrepreneurs can deliver the desired outcome by leveraging existing tools and by doing things that don't scale.

The founders of the food on-demand application DoorDash used Find my Friend app, their cars and a simple landing page to connect buyers with local restaurants and deliver the food. As CB Insights explains, thanks to open source technology and cloud-based tools, virtually every entrepreneur with an idea and a passion can launch a startup venture quickly and cost efficiently.

Based on conversations with first-time technology startup founders over the years, I found that most entrepreneurs rush into building an advanced application thinking that it is the quality and functionality of the app that determines the success of a startup. Many founders spend over a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars building a product just to realize it isn't solving the right problem, the right way. Instead, here are three key steps that will help you alleviate risk and increase chances of success.

Focus On What You Can Control

If you are brainstorming ideas, keep in mind that your startup is more likely to succeed if you control most of the variables. In other words, ideally, you want to create a scalable solution in an industry you are already in with customers you spent years learning about and serving and with other key stakeholders like partners, suppliers or distributors that you understand and perhaps know.

This scenario will allow you to make wiser hypotheses, avoid many mistakes and accelerate the path to market by creating solutions you know people will pay for if not willing to invest in it before it's launched.

Delay Automation And Focus On Manual Work

As noted earlier, many entrepreneurs at the early stages focus exclusively on creating a web or mobile app which are costly and time-consuming. Instead, find existing tools that you can leverage to solve the problem quickly and cost efficiently.  It took the founders of DoorDash an afternoon to set everything up and receive the first order. They could have spent months building an advanced food ordering app but decided to start by doing things that don't scale, gather customer feedback and generate revenue quickly and then progressively invest in the advance, scalable version of the product.

Forget Ads And Get Your Hands Dirty

One of the advantages of controlling most of the variables as stated earlier is that you can market to a group that knows and trusts you. Nonetheless, many entrepreneurs prefer to invest significant advertisement amounts hoping that this will accelerate growth. In reality, a startup is not at a growth stage until it validates a business model and finds product/market fit. When you use ads to acquire new users, you miss a big part of the opportunity to gain customer feedback and learn what needs to be adjusted and created next. Even billion-dollar companies like Airbnb, Etsy and Uber acquired the first users by personally meeting and assisting them.

It can be enticing for successful small business owners to jump on the tech startup bandwagon especially when cash is no longer a problem. Nowadays, for most startup business models, funding is not a determinant of successful execution and thus taking measurable and educated steps are key to startup success.

How Big Businesses Can Care At Scale - Forbes

Posted: 20 Feb 2019 05:00 AM PST

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Whoever cares the most for their customers wins.

When I think about all of the people I've given business to over the years, it all comes down to trust and rapport. This got me thinking about what builds trust. To me, it's an authentic connection with someone who has my best interests in mind. But how do you determine who that person is?

It all comes down to who cares the most.

Think about it: The reason you ask advice from a parent, sibling or best friend (regardless of whether they're experts or not) is that you trust them and know deep down that they care about you.

As a peer or a small business provider, it's easy to care for individual clients. When I was a realtor, I helped a client buy a small condo. Although the commission would be much lower than what I was used to, I knew I wanted to help. After six months of viewing properties every weekend, she was ready to make an offer. The problem was that I knew she wasn't really in love with the place, so I advised her to wait a little longer. She couldn't believe her agent was delaying his interests for hers, and in that moment she trusted me more than ever. She knew I cared. Three months later, we found the perfect home, and she's been there over 10 years. Without me knowing this would happen, she referred me to all of her friends. I firmly believe that because I cared for each of them just the same, the cycle of referrals and repeat clients continued.

It's much easier to show personal attention when you're a small business, but how does a larger business with hundreds or thousands of customers care at scale?

I truly believe that the companies who will ultimately win are the ones who show their customers they care the most.

For example, Costco shows it cares by keeping prices down for its members and reportedly allowing them to return almost anything at any time.

Amazon's stated mission is not to sell you everything under the Sun, but to be the most customer-centric company on the planet.

Elon Musk of Tesla has been credited with saying that "We will not stop until every car on the road is electric." That's more than a goal for Tesla: It's a goal for all of us. Tesla cares.

How do these large companies accomplish caring at scale? They do so by implementing policies and standards that focus on the customer from start to finish.

There isn't one single thing these companies do to create trust. It's everything they do. It's who they decided they want to be.

With the pressures of running a business, having investors to perform for, and hard-working employees I feel responsible for, I made the mistake of putting profits over customers at times. But it only resulted in short-term gains, and customers lost trust. Worse yet: once they were gone, it was nearly impossible to ever win them back.

Trust equals consistency multiplied by time.  

I've learned from those mistakes, and over the last two years, I've taken an extremely customer-centric approach to everything I do. Here are examples of what's worked for me:

• Avoid long-term contracts. Customers who aren't happy should be able to leave you easily if they feel like there is a better solution, which keeps you honest and striving to always stay a step ahead.

• Provide more data. Share industry trends and findings openly with customers in your quarterly report so they can see what you see.

• Dedicate resources to client success. Assign a success representative to every customer so they always have someone they can turn to when they have questions instead of getting help from a generic "support line."

• Ask for feedback. Reach out to ask your members for feedback every few months so they know you care about how you can improve and help them be more successful. At my company, we receive our best advice on how to better serve our customers from our customers.

• Conduct personal outreach. As a CEO, I personally reach out to customers every week to find out how things are going and learn as much as I can from their experiences.

• Be responsive and available. Respond to complaints directly and make yourself available to customers through email and social media. Personally, I've had many customers reach out to me directly. Instead of sending it to our support team, I show them I care by seeing it through to resolution.

My advice for all companies is to remember that whoever cares the most wins. It's that simple.

Argentina 2019: Prepaid Cards Business & Investment Opportunities - Market Size & Forecast (2014-2023) - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire

Posted: 20 Feb 2019 05:36 AM PST

DUBLIN--()--The "Argentina Prepaid Cards Business and Investment Opportunities - Market Size and Forecast (2014-2023), Consumer Attitude & Behaviour, Retail Spend, Market Risk" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.

According to this research, the prepaid card market (value terms) in Argentina increased at a CAGR of 27.5% during 2014-2018. Over the forecast period of 2019 to 2023, the market is expected to record a CAGR of 19.8%, increasing from US$ 7.1 billion in 2019 to reach US$ 14.6 billion by 2023.

This report provides trend analysis (market size and forecast) of prepaid (pay before) cards, offering a wealth of insights to help companies understand this growing but quickly changing market.

  • Market dynamics: Provides a comprehensive view on size and structure, industry dynamics, market trends, consumer attitude and behaviour, and competitive landscape in prepaid card industry in Argentina.
  • Open loop and closed loop: market estimates and forecasts to assess opportunities in open loop and closed loop prepaid market segments. Details four essential KPIs - number of cards in circulation, number of transactions, load value, and value of transactions.
  • Open loop prepaid card categories: Identifies potential risks, consumer adoption, and market size across 11 market segments in open loop prepaid cards for the period 2014-2023. These include gift, business & administrative expense, payroll, meal, employee / partner incentive, travel forex, general purpose, remittance, teen and campus, social security and other government benefit programs, insurance claims.
  • Closed loop prepaid card categories: Identifies potential risks, consumer adoption, and market size across 10 market segments in closed loop prepaid cards for the period 2014-2023. These include gift, healthcare and wellness, consumer incentives, employee / partner incentives, entertainment and gaming, teen and campus, social security and other government benefit programs, transit and tolls, and fuel, utilities, and others.
  • Benchmarking and risk index: Benchmarks the prepaid card industry in the country with key global markets along with risk assessment through the Prepaid Cards Industry Risk Index (PCIRI).
  • Consumer attitude and behaviour: Drawing from proprietary survey results, this report identifies and interprets key prepaid KPIs, including spend by age, gender, and income level. In addition, it provides an overview of how consumers are currently using prepaid cards across five key categories - travel, bill payment, retail spend, cash withdrawal, and P2P transfers. It also provides a breakdown by transaction size.
  • Retail spend: Breaks down retail spend across 11 categories to provide detailed insights on consumer behaviour and changing dynamics of prepaid card spend.

Report Scope

  • Argentina Prepaid card market data and insights: It details market opportunities across 75+ market segments in prepaid cards and identifies potential risks. Market estimates and forecasts (2014-2023) assess overall prepaid card industry on four essential KPIs - number of cards in circulation, number of transactions, load value, and value of transactions.
  • Argentina Prepaid card analysis consumer segments: Retail (banked and unbanked / underbanked), corporate (small scale, mid-size, and enterprise), and government / public sector
  • Argentina Prepaid card spend analysis by consumer demographics: Age, income, and gender
  • Argentina Prepaid card spend analysis by retail spend categories: Food and grocery, health & beauty, apparel and footwear, books / music / video, consumer electronics, pharmacy and wellness, gas station, restaurants & bars, toys, kids & babies, media and entertainment, services
  • Argentina Prepaid card spend analysis by card function: Closed loop and open loop segments
  • Prepaid card categories: Drawing from proprietary survey results, this report provides in-depth analysis of opportunities in both open loop and closed loop prepaid card categories.

Included in the Report

  • Argentina Gift card spend analysis: Market size and forecast by functional attribute (open loop and closed loop) and by consumer segments (retail, small scale business, mid-size business, and enterprise business). Also, breaks down the market size by consumer behavior, covering gifting occasion, card type (paper, plastic, digital), and market share by retail categories.
  • Argentina Business & administrative expense card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level and by consumer segments (government, small scale business, mid-size business, and enterprise business).
  • Argentina Payroll card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level and by consumer segments (government, small scale business, mid-size business, and enterprise business).
  • Argentina Meal card spend analysis: Market size and forecast by consumer segments (government, small scale business, mid-size business, and enterprise business).
  • Argentina Healthcare and wellness card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level.
  • Argentina Consumer incentive card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level and by consumer segments (government, small scale business, mid-size business, and enterprise business).
  • Argentina Employee / partner incentive card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level and by functional attribute (open loop and closed loop) and by consumer segments (government, small scale business, mid-size business, and enterprise business).
  • Argentina Travel forex card spend analysis: Market size and forecast by consumer segments (retail, government, small scale business, mid-size business, and enterprise business).
  • Argentina General purpose card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level and by consumer segments (banked and underbanked / unbanked).
  • Argentina Remittance card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level.
  • Argentina Teen and campus card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level and by functional attribute (open loop and closed loop).
  • Argentina Social security and other government benefit program cards spend analysis: Market size and forecast by functional attribute (open loop and closed loop).
  • Argentina Insurance claim card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level.
  • Argentina Entertainment and gaming card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level.
  • Argentina Transit and toll card spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level.
  • Argentina Fuel, utilities, and other cards spend analysis: Market size and forecast at category level.

Companies Mentioned

  • Cencosud SA
  • Carrefour SA
  • Coto CICSA
  • MercadoLibre Inc
  • Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentacin (Dia) SA
  • Importadora y Exportadora de la Patagonia SA
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc
  • Garbarino SA
  • Electrnica Megatone SA
  • Frvega Sa
  • Farmacity SA
  • Falabella SACI
  • Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA
  • YPF SA
  • Cooperativa Obrera Ltda de Consumo y Vivienda
  • Avon Products Inc
  • Grupo Coppel SA de CV
  • Natura Cosmticos SA
  • Gasala SA
  • Ribeiro SACIFAI
  • Casa Humberto Lucaioli SA
  • Cimes ChP
  • Jufec Sa
  • Cetrogar Sa
  • Koninklijke Shell Groep/Royal Dutch Shell Group

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/2z75kc/argentina_2019?w=4

Quesnel’s Long Table Grocery shortlisted for Small Business BC Award - Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Posted: 20 Feb 2019 09:26 AM PST

Laurie Jones

Observer Contributor

A Quesnel business has been shortlisted for a provincial small business award recognizing socially responsible organizations that are making a positive difference in their communities.

Long Table Grocery is one of the top five finalists in the Best Community Impact category of the 2019 Small Business BC Awards, now in its 16th year.

Established in April 2017 as a community food hub, Long Table Grocery specializes in offering fresh, locally-grown and organic products, including a range of seasonal fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, cheeses, locally-roasted coffee, preserves and baked goods from more than 40 farmers and food producers around the region.

"One of our main goals is to support local growers and small-scale food processors by providing them with access to the consumer market on a year-round basis," says Amy Quarry, Long Table owner and co-founder. "Our mission is to grow communities through food. We want to provide better food, local food, more community-based food."

Long Table Grocery offers a subscription-based food box program with bi-weekly deliveries to homes and businesses in the Quesnel area.

Customers can also arrange to pick up their orders from Long Table's Marsh Drive location, where it also operates a retail market and café three days a week, and hosts cooking classes and food events throughout the year.

And the business is growing.

Last July, thanks to support from Community Futures North Cariboo, Long Table Grocery acquired the Marsh Drive facility, a larger, stand-alone building that doubled their size and included much-needed warehouse space. The move to a larger facility also allowed them to turn part of the building into a commercial kitchen and café.

Long Table employs two Red Seal-certified chefs who prepare meals for the café and also turn any leftover produce into preserves or frozen "ready-meals" that are sold under the Long Table Grocery brand.

The café grew out of the Farmer's Market days and has become a social hub, popular for its light meals such as soups, salads and sandwiches, and casual atmosphere.

"We approached Community Futures because I'd worked with them before and found them easy to work with," says Quarry. "They were willing to take a chance on me, plus they were able to see the potential of what we are trying to do. Working in the local food sector, we don't have the same efficiencies as the larger grocery chains. Even though our revenues are stable, we're still considered a high-risk venture, and traditional banks don't want to take that risk. Community Futures did."

Greg Lawrence, general manager of Community Futures North Cariboo, says Community Futures was particularly excited to support Long Table because of the potential impact on the agriculture sector.

"Agriculture is an important sector in our local economy," he says. "So when a successful entrepreneur like Amy comes along with an idea for a business that helps local farmers and producers while providing consumers with greater access to local food, it was an easy decision."

Long Table Grocery has 10 employees and offers a range of products from around the region.

"We contribute about $450,000 to the local economy each year," says Quarry. "Our market attracts anywhere from 50 to more than a hundred people a day. And we're just scratching the surface. People want more local food, and they want to support our local producers."

The Small Business BC Award nomination is not the first time Quarry has been recognized for her achievements.

This past October, Long Table Grocery received the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business of the Year Award for businesses under 10 employees.

Winners of the 2019 Small Business BC Awards will be announced Feb. 21 at a gala event in Vancouver.

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