Business expansion

Business expansion

There comes a stage in your business when you have to take a big leap. Growth happens when you decide its time! As an entrepreneur, make sure you have thought about following before going forward with expansion plans:

New products

Selling new products to existing customers is one way to grow. Apple has been successfully executing this strategy for the last decade. Their customers love Apple and are ready to lap up anything gadget. This ensures customer loyalty and helps build upon that base to expand to new customers. This happened with the iPod, iPhone, iPad and now the iPad Mini. Make sure you try to evaluate what your existing customers will need and build it.

New customers

One way to expand your business will be to sell existing products in newer markets. Coca Cola is a perfect executioner of this strategy. Every year, they will expand into new and emerging markets with what they have been selling for hundred years — bottled cold drinks! This ensures their globally recognised brand makes deeper inroads into newer territories. Even if you are a startup, try to sell your existing products and services in newer geographies and customer segments. Do not put all your eggs in one basket.

Unrelated diversification

Once you have exhausted the product-customer permutations and combinations, it is time to think of unrelated diversifications. This is what Reliance did last decade by entering the telecom market. After getting into all areas of petroleum and related products, it was time to think of the next big thing to do and Dhirubhai Ambani chose this new and emerging sector for Reliance’s growth. However, make sure the team with you is aligned to this new way of doing business as it requires a completely new mindset and way of dealing with things.

As entrepreneurs, growth is not a choice but a compulsion, so go ahead and do it.

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Guest Post by Garima Juneja

I guess I am addressing two categories of people through this post. One – who are still in college and confused about what they have to do in life and two – who have completed college and are still wondering what they are doing with their life!
It’s sad that our youngistaan is utterly confused and wandering here and there without any direction. If you ask them “dude! You’re a mechanical guy, why are you sitting in Infosys campus drive?” He’ll reply – “yaar, I just need a job. I want to earn money”. He’ll join that company, will be fascinated by the amazing glass building and stellar hostels of the MNC and when he’ll be asked to do Java training, things would change into a nightmare for him. The moral of the story is that there’s no point in blindly following others, you MUST identify what your passion is.
I had job offers from MNC’s. They used to call me every now and then to join them. But I didn’t. I didn’t join them because huge glass buildings don’t fascinate me. Because what I will have there is a small cubicle. What I will have is a small role in a big company! And what will they consider me as? Just another “trainee”.

The point is that I am not against MNC’s. There are people who love telecom and like the idea of a stable job with Ericsson. It’s great! Go Join. But if you love being your boss and are willing to chase your dreams with extreme passion, you’re bound to become an Entrepreneur. It is said that if you are an Entrepreneur, you’re the CEO, the HR Manager and the peon too. You’re no more the “babu” sitting on the chair all day.

What does it take to become a successful Entrepreneur?

It is passion, passion and passion! You got to have big dreams and the ability to chase them with passion.
Another quote – “Passion is the most potent fuel for your dreams”. That’s it – you ought to keep yourself fueled up all the time. I joined a regular job for like, 2 months. And, I was bored like hell! Your boss comes and assigns work, you finish it and submit. Done! Where are the challenges? Where is the growth? Where is the learning? They told me that I was too eager to climb up the ladder.
I told them, this is what Entrepreneurship is all about and signed my resignation letter.
I want to learn, each and every moment! Grow, each and every moment! That’s what makes an entrepreneur. You MUST be willing and eager to learn.


What is the first step?

Have you ever ridden a bicycle? The first move is the most difficult, isn’t it? The first step towards Entrepreneurship requires the maximum courage. First of all, be ready to be scrutinized by your parents, family and neighbors. When you announce that you don’t want to work for a company, you want to own a company! They’ll say that you’re mad! It’s alright. Everyone used to call Einstein mad. Everyone who dares to be different is called mad in the initial days.
Therefore, in the initial stage, COURAGE is on the essentials. You MUST be driven towards your goal, no matter what! You will have to face new challenges every day. And you have to face them with a smile.
Don’t stop BELIEVING! You just have to BELIEVE in yourself and the thing is done.

When I used to go for interviews, whoever used to interview me used to get surprised and impressed at the same time! Soon, I started to think that I am smarter than all the people who have interviewed me. Then I thought” hey, I don’t deserve a small cubicle in a big company”. I deserve something big and I WILL achieve it, no matter what! I took the first step, the second and I am still on the struggling stage. Still, I am happier, richer and better off than my friends who followed the crowd. And, I will NEVER stop trying, no matter what! :)

About Garima

Garima is a keen reader and avid writer. She has pursued from IP University Delhi. She had started working as a freelance content writer in college days and now has a team of writers working for her. She has worked with many big companies of India and abroad on online content writing projects and wishes to come up with a content writing start – up which will provide customized content to website owners.

Harness Handitouch Pvt Ltd, a Chennai-based educational technology startup has raised about INR 1 Cr angel investment from CLUB ah!, India’s newest and fastest growing angel investment network and a part of ah! Ventures India.

Harness Handitouch was founded in 2011 by former McKinsey & Company consultant and IIT, Madras & ISB, Hyderabad alumni, Subramanian Viswanathan. The company, which operates in a B2B model in collaboration with schools, is harnessing the tablet and cloud revolutions for collaborative, blended learning. They have developed a new learning operating system called Touch-on-cloud to provide a breakthrough improvement in methodology and learning outcomes of classroom and distance education. While their product is already ready for prime-time, the current funds raised from CLUB ah! will be partly used for company’s sales, marketing and working capital requirements and partly for further product feature enhancements.

CLUB ah!, which is a network of over 200 investors – both individual & institutional, looks to invest between USD 100K to 1M into innovative scalable ideas. ah! Ventures India, who have fathered CLUB ah!, is a growth catalyst that brings together promising businesses and investors through a unique blend of customised services, skill, and industry & domain experience. CLUB ah! is one of their many revolutionary innovations or ah!novations, as they prefer to call, that hopes to change the Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem for the better. “There aren’t just the oh-so-few hundred angel investors in India anymore. We believe there are thousands!”, says Harshad Lahoti, founding partner, ah! Ventures. “Ours is a blue-ocean strategy. We believe, given enough awareness and education of this new investment asset class, many rich and savvy investors of today are prepared to take the plunge into angel investing.”

No wonder over 80% of CLUB ah! members are the young new breed of investors comprising of successful first-gen entrepreneurs, rich professionals and smart educated businessman, who not only look at investing as angels but also to mentor and assist their investee ventures to network and scale. But is this new go-to-market strategy working for CLUB ah!? “Absolutely!”, avers Harshad. “7 out of the 11 investors from our last angel deal are investing for the first time ever. These numbers only reaffirm our faith in the angel investing capability of India and Indian investors.”

But that’s not all – CLUB ah! has many other unique features and offerings they have introduced. For one, they are probably the first and only angel network that are pro-entrepreneur. “Both Harshad and I are entrepreneurs ourselves,” says Abhijeet Kumar, co-founder of ah! Ventures. “And hence we very well understand the plight of an entrepreneur/venture looking to startup. Quick deal closures, immediate fund remittance, simple agreements with conducive terms and ready exposure to our extended network to help grow and scale, are some of the many expectations we have set for deals at CLUB ah!.” “We believe raising funds is just the beginning of an entrepreneurs journey and besides assisting them in this process, we will play a pivotal role to help them quickly transition from one level to next until they reach their deserving pedestal.” adds Harshad.

Besides the angel investment club and the usual mentoring and consultancy services that they offer, ah! Ventures is soon looking to take all its offerings online to cater to the next level of growth and innovation. Stay tuned.

Beating competition

As an entrepreneur, if you feel you have no competition, then you will definitely have three, and if you feel you have three competitors, then you will definitely have nine! Such is the world that every day new ideas keep taking shape, and the faster ones beat the slower ones. What are the ways an entrepreneur, especially a young startup, can beat competition? Let us look at some.

Identify competition

If you were the CEO of Coca Cola, what will be your competition — Pepsi? Wrong! If you are a visionary entrepreneur of Coca Cola, your vision will be that if anyone feels thirsty, he/she should drink Coca Cola, and by that definition, your biggest competitor is water! It is better to lose to water in a large segment than win against Pepsi in a small segment.

Keep in touch with customers

When Apple launched iPhone, Nokia and Blackberry were already big but hardly listening to customers. Steve Jobs determined that there was a need for a high-luxury mobile handset, supported by software applications (mobile apps) for day to day use of customers. Apple went on to make history by building relations with customers and making products that were loved by their fans.

Innovate constantly

As a startup firm, you can build a great product and let that product or service be your marketing tool. Do not be ashamed of killing a product or feature that customers do not accept. Neither Google was the first search engine, nor was Facebook, the world’s first social network — what matters is what you do, not whether you are the first or the only one to do it.

Be fast

One of my entrepreneur friends has a notice on his desk — ‘Ship it out fast, and keep correcting’. Speed is a must for beating competition.

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