Irrelevant posts are deleted without notice. Please, interact meaningfully.
Business Talks Loading discussions...
More and more people want to ditch their 9-to-5s and take control of their futures by starting their own businesses.

But starting a business isn't easy. It doesn't matter whether you want to start a small business from your spare room or create the next multimillion-dollar global phenomenon -- if you're not prepared, your business won't succeed. Luckily, though, there are a number of tips you can adopt that will make the likelihood of your success that much greater.

If you're launching your business in 2019, here are my tips for success.

1. Stop aiming for perfection.
When launching a new business, it's natural to want everything to go smoothly. But if you want to be triumphant, you must let go of your perfectionist tendencies. While you might think that being a perfectionist will be beneficial to your new endeavor by making you more motivated and pushing you to strive for success, that's not always the case. In fact, as reported by Harvard Business Review, perfectionists have higher levels of stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression.

Stop aiming for perfection. When starting a new business, you're bound to experience bumps in the road. If you expect them to happen, you'll be better prepared. Mistakes don't make you a failure -- they help you learn and become a more successful entrepreneur when you overcome them.

2. Build a support system.
Building a business is difficult and you can't do it alone. And I don't just mean financially. Having a support system in place when you dive into your new business venture will make all the difference. If you think you already have a support system -- after all, your parents and your spouse are supportive of your business -- that's great. But you also need to need to surround yourself with people who understand what you're going through.

If you don't have that type of support system yet, build it. Start networking with other local business owners in your area or get online and join some LinkedIn or Facebook groups for entrepreneurs.

Plus, according to Psychology Today, being a part of a group is motivating and increases feelings of warmth. This can be incredibly beneficial to you on the rocky road to starting a business.

3. Think about the long term, not just day to day. As reported by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, only about 50 percent of small businesses survive five years or longer. This statistic can typically be attributed to business owners getting caught up in the day-to-day minutia of the business.

Make sure to take some time each week to think about the long-term health of your business. Think about the goals you've set and how you'll get there. Do you need to invest in marketing or employee development and training, for instance? Planning for the future will help ensure that your business is around for a long time.

4. Grow your skills.
As a business owner, you never stop learning. You may be starting a business because you have a lot of knowledge and experience in a field, but running a successful business requires a wide variety of skills and expertise. So, as a new business owner, you'll need to be a jack or jill of all trades.

Spend some time growing your expertise in marketing, writing, SEO, bookkeeping, sales, general management, etc., to develop a well-rounded entrepreneurial skill set. There are a number of free resources online that can help you boost your skills. For example, HubSpot offers free courses on SEO, content marketing and more.

5. Start small.
Your biggest dream might be for your business to become a multimillion-dollar enterprise overnight, but that probably won't be your reality -- at least not immediately. Many new business owners try to do too much too soon because they think it'll bring them success faster, but it won't. Instead, start small and grow.

Starting small might mean bootstrapping your startup instead of trying to get a bunch of funding right out of the gate. It also might mean releasing one product or service first and getting some traction and experience instead of trying to put out an entire catalog of offerings. Starting small and giving your business time to grow will make things easier to manage.
FinTech, MedTech, EduTech, PropTech, AgroTech....! Have you noticed how virtually all industries now have 'Tech' attached to them? Well, that is exactly how it is in the startup world these days. It's almost like no one builds a company without technology this days and if you really want to survive in the startup world and raise funds from investors and venture capitalists, you would think twice before starting any non-tech startup.

As of 2019, technology handles most of our tasks thereby making life easier but that's not the only reason behind it. Tech startups are scalable and can serve a larger market without breaking a sweat. Even the giant brands running the world today are all tech companies so, we Africans have no chalice than to fully embrace technology because well, it's the future!
From all indications, these sectors hold the biggest opportunities this year. Our first is the payment processing industry where we have the FinTech giants such as Paypal as well as non-FinTech brands all trying to get a piece of the cake.


A big booming investment market will be that of the payment industry. Let’s face it, until now, banking and finance have remained relatively sheltered from disruption, but the tech giants are increasingly venturing in that area too. China’s Alibaba and Tencent have obviously acted as real pioneers in this segment: with contactless, mobile and in-app payments quickly overrunning cash and payment cards. They are not content to stick to their local market, though. Just think of Ant Financial’s Alipay that has been entering 20 countries across Europe, signing deals with numerous banks and digital wallets companies.

No surprise that Facebook has become inspired and is launching a Whatsapp payment service in emerging market India, on top of its more recent Messenger payment functionalities. The question here remains if people will feel comfortable with Facebook handling their money, after their trust has been breached during the Facebook Analytica scandal. Very curious to see what happens there.

Traditional banking players are not oblivious to these evolutions at the edge of their market either and they too are investigating new ways of payment through mobile and wearables to keep them from becoming ‘dumb pipes’. Just think of BNP Paribas Fortis’ alliance with Apple Pay and Belgian bank KBC’s recent experiments with wearables.

This is truly a pivotal and very exciting time for payment players, and those from adjacent markets. All of them recognize that they have to move now, and fast: in a few years the battle will have been fought and only a handful will remain to dominate the market.


This is one of the most exciting fields of 2019, where I expect major changes. Last year, I predicted that Apple could very well buy Netflix or Spotify. Though it did not happen, I still see this is a very real possibility. The reason is China. When I was guiding my company nexxworks’ Day After Tomorrow Tour China last year in June (we’re going again this year), I was truly impressed with the holistic thinking of the Chinese content models: both Alibaba and Tencent do not just produce a lot of content, cleverly keeping their IP inhouse, but they have their own distribution channels. The US content ecosystem is a lot more scattered: Netlix is a powerful platform but – owning only a fraction of the IP of its content – it dangerously depends on its partners. Announcements like Disney studios that will stop releasing their movies on Netflix, only underline the fragility of Netflix’ current leadership position. Disney, on the other hand is ripe with content and IP but lacks a popular distribution channel, though its recently launched streaming service might very well challenge that. Facebook, Apple and Amazon too lack the ‘magic’ mix of content, IP anddistribution. So I expect we’ll see investments and acquisitions in that area for them.

Despite Alibaba & Tencent’s leadership position in content distribution, they too are not safe from disruption. Fast-growing Chinese challenger Bytedance’s hugely popular media platform Toutiaou and short form content provider TikTok are out to eat their cake, which will necessitate Alibaba and Tencent to make huge investments if they want to stay on top of the market.


Advertising of course remains the core business of many big tech companies. So, it should not come as a surprise that this domain will remain a key focus for the coming year. Digital marketing platform Ali Mama, for instance, persists as Alibaba’s biggest cash cow and the latter will definitely keep investing and acquiring in that direction. Bytedance’s content platforms TikTok and Toutiao, too, are masters at buying and holding people’s attention though machine learning: we’ll surely see some further endeavors in the advertising category if their élan continues. The potential is huge, if you realize that Chinese readers spend an average of 78 minutes per day on Toutiao, compared to Facebook’s ‘mere’ 66 minutes per day. And let’s not forget about Tencent. Though advertising is still a relatively small business for the internet company – compared to its gaming or streaming revenue – it will very probably make investments in this area to support its further growth.

Though there is little further expansion possible for Facebook when it comes to wall advertising, the tech giant is permanently on the lookout for other channels to monetize: we’re noticing careful efforts in the direction of Messenger advertising and 2019 will definitely see the use of direct ads in the WhatsApp status feature. And let’s not forget Amazon which has now become the third biggest digital ad platform in the US, after Google and Facebook. Its ad business is now growing fast-paced at a rate of 50% per year, even 123% in Q4 of 2018. Without doubt, Bezos will keep driving this expansion with surprise investments in 2019 in that area.


Now that mobility is moving away from engineering and evolving into the realm of software, big tech companies will keep investing and acquiring in that area. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are all partnering up with start-ups in mobility services, autonomous driving, vehicle connectivity, electric vehicle technology, and auto commerce. As CBInsights recently wrote, each of them has their very own focus: Google prioritizes autonomy and shared mobility, Apple pivots from full vehicle design to self-driving software and battery tech, Amazon focuses on autonomous logistics and aftermarket parts retail, while Microsoft leverages strength in cloud computing for the connected car. Facebook is actually the only one of the US players snubbing the auto space. Could this be another sign of the Facebook empire losing power: clinging to its core business and failing to recognize that the application market is where future growth will remain strong for the coming years?

In spite of the enthusiastic investments of the US market, China definitely dominates the EV market, as it both produces and sells a lot more of this type of vehicles. This obviously has to do with the many incentives of the Chinese government, which the US and the EU governments fail to match. The US still dominates the autonomous driving market, though. So I’m really excited where this race for the future of mobility will land at the end of 2019.


Healthcare will certainly take a leap in 2019, under the influence of the big tech investments. This evolution became blatantly clear over the past few years. The Apple Watch health kit, for instance, is a true-blue healthcare product, with an FDA-approved cardiogram. Amazon is firmly looking in this direction, too. Just to give one example: the Amazon Alexa team is collaborating with Omron Healthcareon the first-of-its-kind blood pressure skill. Google is one of the most active investors in healthcare start-ups with for instance a big investment in Oscar Health in 2018.

But here too, I believe that China will dominate the market. The reason is that data is the fuel of healthcare innovation, and that they have a lot less ethical barriers when it comes to experimenting with its usage. The same goes for the Chinese experiments with CRISPR – HIV-resistant twins, to name just one example – which seem to be bound by less confining rules and laws like in Europe. No wonder that China leads the world when it comes to advanced healthcare publications.

The sweet spot of technology, data and healthcare will prove to be a goldmine and the big tech leaders are always the first to follow the money. Just like in the finance and banking industries, though, traditional players like GlaxoSmithKline – though its deal with 23andMe for instance – are partnering with disruptors to fight for market domination against the tech players.


Last but not least, one of my favorite sectors, the retail industry, will fuel some major investments from the big tech organizations. Obviously, they will keep on closing the gap between online and offline with running acquisitions – like Amazon and Walmart – that will feed the rise of offline digital platforms like Alibaba’s Hema stores or Amazon Go.

Above all, though, we will see the birth of giant retail ecosystems that have the advantage of scale, talent attraction and capacity needed to thrive. Where competition used to take place between retailer A and B, the war now goes in between the different ecosystems. Many US retailers have extended their partnership with Instacart, a front-end e-commerce solution for grocers. Walmart opened up a collaboration with JD.com, which was founded by the Chinese Tencent, as well as setting up a retail partnership with Google Home to compete against Amazon Alexa, and investing in Flipkart from India. Kroger found a Chinese partner in Alibaba to do the same. Amazon is partnering with Monoprix. Tencent has a share in Carrefour. Google has an e-commerce partnership with Carrefour.

These evolutions will drive some of the hardest conundrums for current day retailers: fight on your own, keeping the direct relationship with consumers and their data OR join ‘the enemy’ and pay the benefits that follow from that with the loss of a true customer relationship. Chinese companies seem to prefer the ecosystem approach while Europe seems to favor the individualistic standalone approach. The US, in its turn, goes for a mix of both. This flocking together of complementary and even competing players is happening in a lot of industries, right now. You can already see the same evolution in media, content and automotive, and I am sure others will follow.
I think Richard Harroch really did a great job on this one.
If your company is ready to pursue VC funding in order to grow, be sure you understand the kinds of questions investors will ask and have strong responses prepared.
Should you even be seeking venture capital funds for your business?

DESPITE ALL OF the attention that venture capital firms get in the business press, they actually finance very few businesses and it is a relatively small industry. The better venture capital firms are deluged with proposals from budding entrepreneurs, but most of them are inappropriate for venture financing.

What Kinds of Businesses Are Venture Capitalists Looking to Fund?
Most venture capitalists concentrate their financing efforts on later-stage business funding. However, some venture capitalists will consider financing a start-up. What they really want to see from any entrepreneur seeking funding is a history of start-up successes. These venture capitalists are best known for financing high-tech firms, but they do finance other types of businesses—approximately 50 percent of businesses they finance are not high-tech.

Venture capitalists prefer to cut deals that provide an exit path within five years. They look at the probability that a firm will successful enough to go public or be purchased by a larger company. They are looking for firms that have the potential to produce net income of tens of millions of dollars a year.

They also expect very high returns for their investment risk that only the fast pace of highly profitable growth will bring. They want to see a management team in place that can handle rapid growth, and one that is well balanced with all types of experience and skills represented: creative, engineering, financial, marketing, and management.

Each venture capital firm, and usually each venture capital partner, has its own deal criteria and tends to specialize not just in certain industries but also in certain deal types. Maybe they focus on early stage health care firms or start-ups in mobile hardware. Find out who covers your space and focus on them.

I have seen entrepreneurs waste their time and energy taking their proposal to venture capitalists. If your situation is not a venture capital–potential business, don’t waste your time and energy trying to make it one—there are other financing alternatives.

What Do Venture Capitalists Look for When Investing in Start-Ups?
Generally, in financing start-ups, venture capitalists are looking for a reasonable probability of being able to cash out their initial investment with a high multiple within five to seven years. The liquidity event may involve taking the firm public, or selling it out to a larger company.

If the venture capital firm doesn’t recognize the start-up entrepreneur, it looks to see what other venture capital firms have already committed to funding. Especially in funding start-up companies, venture capitalists tend to make very small commitments because even they find it difficult to judge the likely success of a start-up. They tend to prefer investing in start-ups when another venture capitalist that they respect has already agreed to make an initial investment.

The question then is: how do you get the first commitment? Well, one solution is to get at least a tentative commitment, or an indication of interest, from one of the more prestigious firms, and then perhaps go to a secondary firm for your first solid commitment.
What are the top trending online business one can invest in with low capital??
What do you need to do to start a business? You don't succeed in business just by completing a list of tasks. Nor will your business be a success just because you think it's a good idea. What will make or break your business? What determines if it will be a success? According to BusinessKnowHow;

1. Know yourself, your true motivational level, the amount of money you can risk, and what you're willing to do to be successful. Sure, we all want to make millions of
dollars. But what are you willing to give up to reach that goal? How many hours a week will you work on an ongoing basis? How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to stretch? How far will your family stretch
with you? To be successful, keep your business plans in line with your personal and family goals and resources.

2. Choose the right business for you. The old formula – find a need and fill it – still works. It will always work. The key to success is finding needs that you can fill,
that you want to fill, and that will produce enough income to build a profitable business.

3. Be sure there really is a market for what you want to sell. One of the biggest mistakes startups make is to assume a lot of people will want to buy a particular product or service, because the business owner likes the ideas or knows one or two people who want the product or service. To minimize your risk for loss, never assume
there is a market. Research the idea. Talk to real potential prospects (who aren't family and friends) to find out if what you want to sell is something they'd be interested in buying, and if so, what they'd pay for the
product or service.

4. Plan to succeed. If you're not seeking investors or putting a huge sum of money into your business, youm ay not need an elaborate business plan, but you still do
need a plan - one that specifies your goal – your destination – and then lays out at least a skeletal roadmap for how you'll get to where you want to go. The plan will change as you progress and learn more about
your customers and competition, but it will still help you stay focused and headed in the right directions. Use our business planning worksheet to help develop that basic plan.

5. Don't procrastinate. I've heard some people advise would-be business owners to not move ahead with their business until they have investigated every last detail
of the business they want to start, and are absolutely sure it's all going to work and be profitable. The problem with that approach is that it leads to procrastination. No one ever really has all the pieces in place – even after they've started their business. Yes,
you need to research the market, have a rudimentary plan in place and do things like get a tax id if needed, register with local officials, if required, etc. But if you try to make everything perfect before you launch, you may never get around to starting the business at all.

6. Start on a small scale before going all out. Some people believe that entrepreneurs are risk-takers. But for the most part, successful entrepreneurs don't like walking
blindfolded on a limb. Instead, they take controlled risks. They test an idea on a small scale, then build on what works well, tweak what shows promise and discard
the disasters.

7. Don't fixate on mistakes or get demoralized by them. The difference between successful people and everyone else is that the successful people learn from
their mistakes and move on. They don't dwell on failure, blame the economy, curse their bad luck, or blame other people for their fate. If the path to their goal is blocked, they look for an alternate path, or sometimes choose a different, more attainable goal.

8. Learn from others. Find mentors, join groups with like-minded people, learn everything you can about youri ndustry and what it takes to get from where you are to
where you want to be. Attend industry conferences. Take training courses when they are available. Buy courses
offered by experts. You'll save a tremendous amount of trial and error by learning from people who have been there before.

9. Think of what you do AS a business. Keep track of income and expenses, keep business money separate from personal funds, find out what regulations your business needs to abide by.

10. Understand the difference between working for yourself and building an ongoing business. If you want to build a
business, you need to develop systems and methods that allow you to hire other people to DO the work of the business while you plan it. You limit the potential for growth if you don't bring in other people to work for

11. Get to know investors. If the business you are starting will need investors to grow, do what you can to find out what investors are looking for and where to find those
who might invest in your kind of business. Local angel and venture capital groups are a good place to start – attend meetings they hold or meetings that investors are speaking at.

12. Put yourself out there. Ask for what you want (in a polite way.) I started my online business by participating online on GE's GEnie online service. When I was ready
to send them a proposal to run a small business area, I could not only talk about my credentials in general, but point to places I was already contributing to their service. I became one of the early content providers to America Online because I picked up the phone and made a cold call. I wound up with a new consulting client after I struck up a conversation with a woman sitting next to
me on an airplane. Remember, people like to do business with people they know. Get the ball rolling, and keep it rolling by continually reaching out and introducingy ourself to new people.

13. Embrace Digital Marketing. Even if you’re running a local business, you need a comprehensive digital presence. At minimum you need a professional-looking
website, an email list that lets you communicate with customers and prospects on a regular basis, and presence on the social media channels that your
customers frequent. While you may get many of your customers by word of mouth, referrals or networking, you still need a strong digital presence. The reason:
prospective customers are likely to look you up on the web before they decide whether or not to contact you. Coupons, special offers, and practical information sent to your email list can encourage customers and prospects to buy from you or make repeat purchases.

14. Never stop learning and trying new things. What's profitable now, won't necessarily be profitable next year or 10 years from now. So, don't let yourself fall into the "this is the way I've always done things" rut. Keep your eyes and ears open for new things. Are there newer
or better ways to market your products and services? Are customers asking for something you're not offering? Is there a different type of customer you should be targeting? Get answers by reading everything you can about your industry and listening to your customers.
The human mind is always in constant search of something. At some point, you may fool yourself into thinking you will be the happiest person in the world once you acquire certain things but once you get it, you quickly get bored of it and move on to finding something new. This is why every brand that intends to the intends to survive years to come must be in constant evolution , innovation while always adapting to current trend to fit the need of their customers. Now, guys what do you currently want? I want investments that will make me good money!
This was how I started as a freelancer and I did it offline!
Gaining quality clients offline is actually easier than you might think. Most times the clients come to you. When you do some quality job for someone, any other person interested in such a job will likely hire you after seeing the ones you did for his colleague. It's that simple. The quality of your job can speak for you. However, how do you get the first few clients? When I was freelancing as a web designer a few years back, it was indeed a challenge since not everyone was ready to consider the possibility of a larger market through the internet. Most times, I had to move from one establishment to another in search of clients.