Top 5 businesses for 2012

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Business, EPM World | 3 comments

We are in 2012 now.  The new year this time has brought several exciting business opportunities at almost nil investment to any investment size.  These opportunities are going to rule the market at least for a decade from now.  I would like to talk here about my choice of top 5 businesses for 2012.  Let us look at them:

EPM WORLD

1.0 Web 2.0 Technologies

This is one of my favorite areas of business investment.  We can explore business opportunities like (a) Online marketing (b) Social Media Consulting (c) Content development for web and digital documents (d) Enterprise Analytics (e) Services to develop personal branding.

One can start a business in this line with a minimum investment of 1 PC from home.  The one other important requirement would be he / she should be English literate with definite knowledge in written English.  This is most ideal for freshers who are passionate to work on their own full time or part-time.  Considering the rapid growth of Internet users, online media has emerged as one of the foremost options for business promotion by small and big companies.  The business opportunities indicated from (a) to (e) above surround Internet and Internet technologies.

Though this is part of Information Technology, I consider this as a marketing and branding opportunity where one doesn’t need to possess any programming or technical skills except using social media platform.

2.0 Food Processing:

Every business activity related to manufacturing, processing or trading of food items falls under this category.  It could be milk dairy, ready to eat food items, juices, edible oil, or energy food.  There are hundreds of such opportunities around us.  We can in fact aim at organic version of these products.  Government of India is consciously promoting food processing sector with loans, subsidies, technology know-how and many props.  Changing food habits, growing tastes for global food culture, and increasing purchasing power have contributed to the demand of varied food requirements besides the natural increase in the population.  Thus, food sector has become most vital investment opportunity.  The increasing presence of Indian and Global retail chains have brought the need to bring forth food variety.  Besides, it is possible to start a business in this line with low investment like INR 2 lakhs onwards.  A right business for every one including a housewife.

3.0 Retailing

This is another excellent opportunity though demands sizable investment.  What could constitute a business opportunity in this line?

Branding of any consumer product especially a private label product whether it be a food item, textile product, health care item or any other proprietary or sourced product retailing.  For example, one can source a couple of products from local manufacturers like Self Help Groups or other MSME segments and brand it in their own name.  We can see a brand name to every other item today whether it is Wheat flour, masala powder, rice or so.  It only denotes the potential to market a particular item with guaranteed quality.  The one requirement to take up this kind of business opportunity would be right sourcing of the chosen product w.r.t. price, quantity, quality and period of agreement.

Besides the market for luxury product retailing is very profitable and growing.  It can be any thing like an imported exotic food consumables, non-jewellery articles made by silver or gold, furniture, imported building material and more.

4.0 Information Technology

This is one of my favorite business opportunities.  Indian market needs considerable technology implementation in business applications.  It can be customized solutions for a particular segment, web applications, portals, or ERP applications.  I foresee a great demand for mini or micro ERP provided it comes with competitive price and cost effective support and operable from PC to mobile.

Other potential opportunity is mobile or handheld based business management for business persons to end user.  Sales force management applications ported to telecom mobiles with PC like connectivity to cloud applications will be a great choice.  A sales person in the field should be able to effectively perform his field sales, update data in real time to the server, access other business data on cloud, or switch to his personal applications from the same mobile instrument.  Every other task we perform on PC could be ported to a mobile though with limited functionality.  Even that limited functionality is acceptable to users provided it comes with ease and performance.  A provider in this line should extend total solutions consisting hardware, software, deployment and maintenance to capture real market.

Internet portals are another great business opportunity in the present times.  We can convert every offline business to online business model at a very reasonable investment.  We are all used to online transactions whether it is ticketing, product review, product purchase, online education and many more.  We are in a true e-commerce era.  A right time for people to make online a money making platform.

5.0 Solar Energy

Energy sector in India is undergoing a great movement of tense and uncertainty.  India has pitched a great hope on thermal power projects.  However, infrastructure problems like land acquisition, coal supply, institutional finance have derailed the hope.  Today, we have several pending thermal power projects which are suffering for these reasons.

Wind energy, hydel power or bio mass power are not as viable or feasible to be operated any where.

The one great choice we have is Solar Power solutions.  A right investment opportunity as a few MW plant to 1 KW roof top solar unit.  The prices of solar PV modules are very attractive.  The investment per MW plant has come down from INR 20.00 crore to almost INR 9.00 crore.  The prices are further falling internationally.  It is time for some one to invest on this as a long term business opportunity.  This is right time to build expertise and setup a business.  It can be grid connected solar plant or tailor made solution for an apartment, office building, village or industry.

There definitely many more business opportunities.  But these are my choice.  Hope you would take-up a profitable venture.

Wishing you all a Prosperous, Delightful and Peaceful New Year 2012.

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How to start an Online business

Posted by on Oct 11, 2011 in Business, EPM World, Marketing, Branding, Start-up business, Technology | 7 comments

Online Business:

The digital world has paved way for a new and additional business source in the form of online business.  The traditional marketing budgets which were in the range of millions and billions of dollars are no more a must for someone who would like to attract global business sales.  It could be a largest retailer like Wal-Mart Stores or sheer online shopping mall eBay.  Generous broadband connectivity and Internet proliferation have brought dollar cheers to business men and discount cheers to customers in the online business world.

The significance of online business is its nature to be able to function as the tiniest business model propelled by a single PC to the largest business model driven by gigantic technology infrastructure.  It is as practical as that, an ordinary individual who can invest $100 (INR 5000) of his pocket money can even create blog based online earning revenue model.

(A)  Types of online business:

Online business is prominently dominated by product sale.  Consumer electronics, household provisions, ready made garments, drug store and the list is unending and is limited to our imagination.  The other business type is service sale.  The most popular among them are job portals, matrimonial sites, service exchanges and even research services.

(B)  Online business idea:

epmworld online businessChoose a single product which has large scope in the market and which can be sourced by you at required parameters.  You can go for marketing of all cereals like Green Gram, Black Gram and so.  You can choose art items if you are an artist.  You can go for designer garments if you are a designer.  You can sell photo frames if you are an artisan.  Or you can market handyman services.

Every business opportunity is portable as online business model, provided you know the target market scope.

(C)  Approach:

Idea consolidation:  Finalize the product choice after proper market research.  Make a quality business plan to understand the investment and ROI.

Technology: The major points of consideration could be:

  1. High level requirements of portal
  2. Operating System & Database
  3. Hosting platform
  4. Design considerations for Front-end feel and look
  5. Analytics and Reporting structure
  6. Payment Gateway options
  7. Support
  8. Security measures; and
  9. Development and deployment time.

(D)  Process development and deployment:

What constitutes this?

  1. Finalization of terms with vendors, affiliates for product supply or service deliver.
  2. Statutory and mandatory rules & regulations related to sale and purchase of products contextual to target markets.
  3. Procurement and supply logistics.
  4. Transaction cycle like Ordering, invoicing and delivery.
  5. Operational structure.
  6. Performance monitoring and controlling procedures; and
  7. Customer Data & Privacy Protection Controls.

(E)  Marketing and promotion of portal: 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media tools are the cheapest measures to market any online businesses.  You should engage a professional organization or designate an internal two member team who will promote your portal on continuing basis.  You could check this link on ways and means of online promotion.

epmworld online business portal

(F)  Consistent improvement through market intelligence: 

The success of online presence majorly depends on the factors like (i) Ability to introduce trendy and quality things (ii) Accountability on extended services (iii) Tech intelligence to identify the constraints faced by users during their engagement with your portal.

(G)  Common mistakes:

Several online business portals go bankrupt or wound-up in the early stages owing to poor planning, unfounded projections or technological challenges.  The mistakes to be avoided among other things would be (i) Keeping the site static in terms of design, look and user experience components (ii) Faulty design or insufficient features causing navigational confusion and frustration (iii) Poor performance like slow loading of site (iv) Inadequate or slow support (v) Limited payment options; and of-course (vi) non-competitive in price, product, offers or variety.

(H)  Success metrics:

When you ensure rectification of failure points as indicated above you would obviously find success in your way.  Still the major points or metrics of online business portal success would be (i) Efficient technology (ii) Presentation of clutter free and just in time and contextually required feature(s) (iii) Price and product attraction; and (iv) Real-time support.

Online business portals offer the advantage of business numbers which means a huge market, though with small margins.  From backyard products, house made items to far off place products every item could be traded online.  The secret is creating a brand of your own and maintaining it on consistent basis.  A small mistake or ignorance could distract the long-time customer.  You may tread slow initially but once the portal becomes attractive you would transact just dollars not the merchandise.

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Risk in business

Posted by on Jan 1, 2011 in Business, EPM World, Project Management | 0 comments

Risk is the first word and the thing that prospective entrepreneurs wouldn’t like to hear or face in their venture.  How does risk arise? Where from risk arise? and What exactly is the risk?  Risk in business could crop up majorly from:

(a)  Commercial unviability of the project.

(b)  Inappropriate or insufficient management processes.

(c)  Mismatched marketing or total absence of marketing and business development measures.

(d)  Misplacement of human resources, under utilization of human resources.

(e)  Under utilization of production or service capacity.

(f)  Insufficient working capital which might impact production, morale of human resources, stakeholders’ confidence, and missing delivery schedules.

(g)  Imprudent financial management.

(i)  Unfounded planning and strategies or delivery mechanism.

In one of the cases, I have found an entrepreneur who was adamant on gaining business even without a name and legal identity to his venture, with nil investment on marketing, promotion, with mismatched marketing resources who were ignorant of the business model, with absolutely nil inventories to serve any prospective order, unproven delivery mechanism and dangerously lack of self-confidence in his own business model.  He felt that spending on any of the above processes would be risky and he was waiting for a client before he commit his investment.  This, however, is a rare incident where risk is felt too sensitively.

Any time the onus would be on the business owner who should stride cautiously in every walk of his business cycle or business decisions.

My suggestion would be that the prospective entrepreneurs or existing businesses who are not able to do well should study themselves and go for honest due diligence of their business idea or model so that risk could be mitigated before it is too late.

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