What is Machine Learning? A definition

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves.

The process of learning begins with observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction, in order to look for patterns in data and make better decisions in the future based on the examples that we provide. The primary aim is to allow the computers learn automatically without human intervention or assistance and adjust actions accordingly.

Some machine learning methods

  1. Machine learning algorithms are often categorized as supervised or unsupervised.
  2. Supervised machine learning algorithms can apply what has been learned in the past to new data using labeled examples to predict future events. Starting from the analysis of a known training dataset, the learning algorithm produces an inferred function to make predictions about the output values. The system is able to provide targets for any new input after sufficient training. The learning algorithm can also compare its output with the correct, intended output and find errors in order to modify the model accordingly.
  3. In contrast, unsupervised machine learning algorithms are used when the information used to train is neither classified nor labeled. Unsupervised learning studies how systems can infer a function to describe a hidden structure from unlabeled data. The system doesn’t figure out the right output, but it explores the data and can draw inferences from datasets to describe hidden structures from unlabeled data.
  4. Semi-supervised machine learning algorithms fall somewhere in between supervised and unsupervised learning, since they use both labeled and unlabeled data for training – typically a small amount of labeled data and a large amount of unlabeled data. The systems that use this method are able to considerably improve learning accuracy. Usually, semi-supervised learning is chosen when the acquired labeled data requires skilled and relevant resources in order to train it / learn from it. Otherwise, acquiringunlabeled data generally doesn’t require additional resources.
  5. Reinforcement machine learning algorithms is a learning method that interacts with its environment by producing actions and discovers errors or rewards. Trial and error search and delayed reward are the most relevant characteristics of reinforcement learning. This method allows machines and software agents to automatically determine the ideal behavior within a specific context in order to maximize its performance. Simple reward feedback is required for the agent to learn which action is best; this is known as the reinforcement signal.
  6. Machine learning enables analysis of massive quantities of data. While it generally delivers faster, more accurate results in order to identify profitable opportunities or dangerous risks, it may also require additional time and resources to train it properly. Combining machine learning with AI and cognitive technologies can make it even more effective in processing large volumes of information.

Become A Better Entrepreneur

Starting and running a business is a goal shared by millions, but only a modest percentage of ventures will go on to realize their potential.

Many different factors will contribute to the overall performance. Still, it’s your responsibility to put the right features in place. Here are 10 steps that will give you the very best shot at sustained success.

#1. Become Financially Organized 

The success of a business will ultimately boil down to money. So, learning to take responsibility in regards to spending and financial management is essential. Without it, everything becomes harder.

There are plenty of accountancy software packages available to support this goal. However, it takes a conscious shift of focus. Learning to find the best deals and approaches to manufacturing, order processing, and operations is vital.

When your business is built to make its capital work harder, the hopes of success are greatly improved.

#2. Upgrade Your Skills 

If you want to unlock the best personal version of yourself, it’s imperative that you invest in ongoing development. Advanced training courses and business degrees are the answer.

Supporting your experience with academic development can transform your business skills forever. If the potential expenses are a concern, student loan advice can clear up everything. Think of as an investment into your company’s future, and vindication comes easily.

As well as a better understanding of business, you may wish to consider growing leadership and communication skills. As an entrepreneur, championing clarity is key.

#3. Appreciate The Value Of Skilled Staff 

Investing in your development allows you to set a winning example to the team. However, if you’ve spent time and money on recruiting the best candidates, it would be a disaster to waste their talent.

When you hire employees for their expertise, you should let them showcase those skills. Let them work with a little autonomy, and they will show greater engagement. Moreover, when each of their individual elements is completed to the highest standards, the company can thrive.

It’s equally crucial to invest in building a robust company culture while making clients feel valued on a personal level. A team that works together succeeds together.

#4. Understand The Latest Marketing Strategies 

Building a company that provides great products and services is one thing, but a business that makes money is another. It relies heavily on efficient and marketing. You must not forget it.

The methods behind your marketing strategies can have a huge impact on the return on investment. In today’s climate, content is king. It brings increased awareness and promotes conversions in a cheap and timely manner. You’ll also have control on who the ads reach.

You can also use influencers and affiliates to generate even greater returns. Persist with outdated or costly ideas, and it will severely dent your hopes of success.

#5. Accept Your Niche 

While choosing the right method of marketing will help you achieve great things, trying to please everyone can be very damaging. Fighting for leads from people that will never buy is futile.

Your business will have a target market of some kind. While you may still reach secondary audiences, distinguishing your place in the market is vital. Otherwise, you will waste time and money on outside audiences while also alienating your most likely customers.

Whether your niche is determined by age, location, financial backgrounds, or personal hobbies doesn’t matter. Getting this aspect right will make a world of difference to the cause.

#6. Realize It’s Not You Vs The World

As a business owner, you will naturally worry about the intense competition that you ace. In reality, you are not in direct competition with all other companies. In fact, many of them can be allies.

When running a local business, you can connect with others to share resources. Or build mutually beneficial agreements. Meanwhile, when you share an audience without being direct competition, you can use the contacts to achieve greatness.

For example, a male barber may link up with a suit tailor as they each target the same audience without stealing business from each other. The value of a solid network is incredible.

#7. Focus On Loyalty 

The desire to reach new customers will consume a lot of your attention. Nonetheless, the best entrepreneurs appreciate that a loyal fan base is the best feature for sustained success.

It’s easier to increase a customer’s lifetime value rather than keep winning new clients. Using loyalty schemes and promotions can keep customers coming back for more. It will often encourage them to spend more on each visit to your store or eCommerce site.

Happy customers are a valuable tool for recruiting new customers too, as they will naturally tell friends and family.

#8. Champion Originality 

Standing out in the packed marketplace is hard work. Knowing who you want to impress provides a solid starting point. Ultimately, though, it’s the brand personality that will help you shine through.

While there are many aspects of business where following a tried and tested blueprint can work wonders, it’s vital to create a unique brand. After all, you have fewer than 10 seconds to make a great first impression. Originality grabs attention.

Besides, when your business is a little different, it becomes easier or consumers to remember it. This will translate to increased profits.

#9. Protect Your Company 

Building a great business counts for very little if it isn’t built to last. Ensuring that the various threats are kept at bay should be considered a key element.

You can protect your company in many ways. This can range from adding security cameras to using data encryption, or NDAs to copyrights. Either way, a comprehensive approach is vital for the sake of your mindset as well as your pocket.

When the company isn’t suitably protected, you’ll only ever be a single attack from disaster. If you wish to be a great entrepreneur, preparing for the worst is not negotiable.

#10. Have Confidence 

Nobody wants to be arrogant. However, self-belief is vital if you wish to lead your team to the desired outcomes while also influencing consumers decisions. Trust your instincts.

 

Ways to Market Your Small Business

Marketing is essential when starting any business, regardless of size or industry. Effective marketing strategies will build brand awareness, attract potential customers, drive sales, and increase profits. Fortunately, effective marketing does not have to involve large, expensive campaigns. There are plenty of simple strategies to advertise your business and ensure consistent growth. To help you achieve business success on a budget, here are four affordable ways to market your small business.

Create printed marketing materials 

Printed marketing materials are a simple yet effective way to market your small business. Some common examples of printed marketing include business cards, brochures, signs, posters, and flyers. With so many digital technologies now available, some businesses consider printed marketing to be outdated and unnecessary.

However, research shows that print marketing is still a highly effective way to reach your target audience and advertise your products and services. What’s more, print can easily be combined with other marketing platforms to make your marketing campaigns even more effective. You can easily create affordable print marketing by searching for Printing Services online. Many companies specialize in creating quality printed marketing materials for small businesses.

Have a strong social media presence 

Social media has become one of the most powerful marketing tools available to modern businesses. Any company can set up an account on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, then post content designed to captivate their target audience and drive traffic to their site. All businesses can now use social media platforms to advertise their products and services to a global audience and boost sales and profits.

Business owners should be taking full advantage of social media in their marketing strategies and using this innovative platform to grow their business. To be successful on social media, businesses must maintain an active presence, interact with their followers regularly, and post high-quality content. If you don’t have the time to manage your company’s social media accounts, then you should consider hiring a professional social media manager.

According to experts  – “Social media is constantly changing… a social media manager will track any algorithm changes on the platform and adapt your marketing strategy based on the latest updates.” This will ensure that your social media marketing strategy continues to be effective and produce good results.

Start a business blog 

Creating a blog can be a highly effective way to drive traffic to your site, generate leads, and increase sales and revenue potential. Having an active blog gives internet users a reason to visit your site and should attract more visitors each month. Fortunately, starting a business blog is relatively inexpensive with the help of blogging platforms like WordPress.

Once set up, you must produce quality content and post articles on a regular and consistent basis. This will help you gain a regular flow of visitors and increase credibility with your audience. Having optimized content is also an excellent way to improve your rankings on search engine result pages.

Make sure you share your blog posts on your social media accounts to help gain visibility. If you’re struggling to write interesting, informative articles regularly, then you should consider outsourcing this task to a freelance content creator with the skills to produce high-quality, optimized content.

Take advantage of cross-promotional marketing

Cross-promotional marketing is a simple way for small businesses to expand their market reach and increase earning potential. One of the most effective ways to use this marketing technique is by forming cross-promotional marketing partnerships with other businesses. In this partnership, you agree to advertise a company’s products and services and gain the same exposure in return.

If you are planning on implementing this marketing strategy, then you must consider your options carefully and find the right company to work with. Keep in mind that you will be sharing reputations, so always research a company’s credentials and online reputation thoroughly before agreeing to a cross-promotional partnership. You should also avoid forming a partnership with a competitor or a company that is offering products or services that are similar to your own.

Summary 

Marketing should be a key element of any business plan. Implementing effective marketing strategies is one of the easiest ways to expand your market reach, increase sales, and boost profits within your company. For that reason, all business owners must know how to successfully market their companies. Use a combination of the above techniques to help you successfully market your small business, whatever your budget.

 

Protect Your Startup From A Cybersecurity Attack

You’ve probably poured everything you have mentally and financially into your startup. There’s an area you’re likely overlooking, however, and that’s cybersecurity.

Anytime you’re using technology, you are at risk of being the target of a cyberattack, and the way these attacks occur is always evolving.

For example, one of the big threats right now are the different types of DNS attacks, and as is the case with so many other types of cyberattacks, it doesn’t matter how small you are. You could be a business of one and still be the victim of a cyberattack.

A study from the Ponemon Institute found that 55% of SMEs experienced some form of cyberattack leading up to the collection of the data for the study. If you use the internet, have a website or have cloud accounts, you’re at risk and SMEs may be more at risk because they don’t always have the resources or knowledge to deal with threats.

As a startup, you probably don’t have the budget for a dedicated IT team, but the following are steps you can take regardless.

Educate Yourself

If you’re at the helm of your startup, whether you have employees under you or not, you set the tone, and you are the leader. You’re also the person who can make or break your cybersecurity policies and implementation.

Even if you don’t have the budget to bring a security professional on with your company, learn as much as you can.

Get a feel for what the current threat landscape looks like and what you can do to protect your business.

Some things are simple—for example, making sure you understand phishing scams and how to be safe when you open your email.

Another thing you can learn about it and implement with no money at all and very little time is the use of strong passwords. If you’re using the same password across multiple accounts, you’re more likely to be a target.

Use a password manager on all of your devices so that you can mix them up but don’t have to worry about remembering them. With a password manager, all your stored passwords are encrypted.

Another simple step to put in place?

Enable two-factor authentication on all of your accounts.

When you’re storing backups, don’t do so on your own network. Store them somewhere that’s not connected to your company network, such as the cloud. Then, if your data and network are compromised, you’ll have copies of everything elsewhere.

Train Employees

If you do have employees, even if just one, train them on cybersecurity best practices as well. An estimated 90% of company breaches stem from phishing attempts, and in these cases, a cyber attacker will pose as a trusted person, such as a bank representative. Then, you or your employee would theoretically give the attacker sensitive information.

One of the most important things you can do for your business in terms of cybersecurity, no matter what your size is, is to learn how to recognize phishing attempts.

Have the Fundamentals In Place

As your budget grows, so might your cybersecurity protections, but in the meantime, beyond educating yourself and training your employees, you need to have at a bare minimum the basics of cybersecurity in place.

First, conduct a cybersecurity audit. This is important because it will show you where you are versus where you need to be. It will also give you a baseline so you can measure the success of future strategies you implement.

Beyond that, have a firewall. Anytime you have security software, make sure that you update it as you’re supposed to, and patch devices and firmware.

A good option for some startups, even with a small budget, is to consider managed IT services.

As a business owner at the helm of a startup, you might not have the time to put into cybersecurity. Managed IT is often an affordable way to get features like constant network monitoring, IT support, and device updates.

What’s especially good about managed IT for a startup is that there’s an inherent sense of scalability available from most providers so you can grow as you need.

You’re busy when you’re running a startup, and your time and attention are being pulled in countless directions, but that doesn’t mean you can overlook cybersecurity. Cybersecurity can be make or break for a startup, and there are things you can do today to make your business more secure from threats.

Selecting The Right Domain Name For Your Business

Take a moment to think about your favorite brand. How long does it take you to find their company website? Is theirs the first name that comes up in a Google search? If it’s a well-known brand, they probably have an easy-to-find website with a memorable domain name.

Picking a domain name for your business – in essence, your digital home – is a lot like buying a physical home. You need to find the perfect fit and it has to be available.

While you might think you have the perfect name already picked out, chances are you’re going to have to get creative. There are already nearly 360 million registered domain names.

Why is a domain name so important? Simply put, it is the heart of your online identity. And while domain names can be changed at any time, doing so could have a negative impact on your brand and your SEO. Choose the best possible name from the start and stick with it.

To help you understand the ins and outs of purchasing and maintaining a domain name, we’ve put together a list of six tips to help you make an informed decision.

Choosing the best domain name.

Choosing a unique domain name is an important part of your online marketing strategy. Domain names should be unique and easy to remember so your customers and prospects can easily find you online.

Your domain name should reflect your core products or services. As many of the obvious names are already taken, it’s important to make sure your name stands out.

When choosing a domain:

  • Keep it simple – Customers expect speed and convenience, especially when they’re searching for a product or service. Keep your domain name short and easy to type, remember and refer others to.
  • Use common keywords in your domain name – Always consider SEO. Use your business’s main keyword phrase(s) in your domain name to help your site’s ranking on search engine results pages (or SERPs).
  • Make it relevant to your business – Your domain name must be relevant to your products or services. At the same time, avoid locking yourself into a box if you’re considering expanding your offerings.
  • It doesn’t have to be a “.com” – The most commonly used and recognized domain extension is .com. However, search engines treat other domain extensions, such as .net, .site or even .club, the same as .com. Create an exact match domain (a domain that includes the exact keywords you want to rank for) and the search engines are likely to rank it higher than a domain name that’s less descriptive.

Trademarking your domain name.

If your domain is the same as your brand name, trademark it to protect your business. Trademarks provide legal recourse if a person or business infringes on your brand.

Changing your domain name.

If your business is going through a rebranding or if you want to capitalize on SEO opportunities, domain name changes can be beneficial. You can change your domain name whenever you like, and most registrars offer a process to migrate from one domain name to another.

Renewing your domain.

Don’t forget to renew your domain. Domain names are rented rather than purchased. The more domain names a registrar has under its management, the greater the operating costs. ICANN, the international governing body of domain names, wants to ensure that businesses can accommodate for this inflation over time.

Most registrars offer automatic annual renewal for domains. Automated renewal ensures you don’t lose your preferred domain name and won’t have to worry about remembering to renew it every year.

Redirecting traffic to social media.

A redirect automatically takes a user from one URL to another. 301 redirects are typically used to make sure users end up in the right place. This redirect tactic may be used by a business that has purchased a domain name but doesn’t have a website set up. In this case, they could redirect their domain to a social media page.

While this strategy is a good solution for companies who don’t yet have a website to go with their domain, redirecting to social media isn’t a long-term solution. Having your own website enhances your brand’s credibility and allows for greater control over your content. Setting one up should be a priority.

Private registration.

The information listed on your domain name must be made publicly available per your registrar’s agreement with ICANN. Using false information violates the registration agreement and can lead to the termination of your domain registration.

Ensure your personal information remains private by purchasing private registration, which provides all the benefits of domain registration without exposing your personal information. When you purchase private domain registration services, the WHOIS directory will list your registrar’s name, postal address and phone number instead of yours, while still providing the full benefits of registration (though this can vary by registrar). This means you retain the ability to:

  • Cancel, sell or transfer your domain registration.
  • Turn off the privacy feature, so your registrant details are shown instead.
  • Renew your domain registration upon expiration.
  • Designate the name servers to which your domain points.
  • Resolve claims arising out of a dispute involving your domain registration.

Choose a domain name with confidence.

Now that you’re familiar with the finer details of choosing and maintaining a domain name, you’re ready to take action. Your website is the face of your business online, so use this knowledge to choose the best available domain name. Get started now with our helpful resources.

 

Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur is someone who attempts to dream with a strong vision and finds ways to actualize it through innovative ideas and hard work. As Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Beginning with courage followed by hard work, strategic planning and ways to execute them systematically is the foundation for business success. Striving hard and not surrendering to failures but instead learning from them should be the motto that every entrepreneur should follow. A successful entrepreneur not only satisfies his creative ideas but also contributes to the society at large.

If you are young entrepreneur venturing into a new business and are looking at what you should know before putting yourself out there, here are five things you ought to keep in mind

Know your market and your product

If you are truly passionate about an idea, the first step is to spend time on market research. Understand your target audience, their needs and challenges. Interact with potential customers to know more about how your idea can help solve a problem. Take the time to understand if your product will stand out in a crowded market. If there are too many competitors, find your niche. Work towards creating a product or solving a problem that’s unique.

Find a mentor

When you are starting out young, it’s easy to get carried away with your idea and lose focus from the larger picture. Find a mentor who can guide you with business strategies, crunch numbers, connect you to the right group of people and provide insights about the market. An experienced mentor can play a key role in the success of your business.

Networking

Networking is a must if you want more people to know about your company or generate business leads. Identify networking events that are specific to your industry and make it a point to attend these events regularly. Participating in these events will help you build connections, identify new trends in your industry, helps you hire the right talent and build visibility for your business.

Transparency

Maintain transparency across all the stakeholders involved in the business especially customers. Don’t fool your customers just to satisfy sales. Be transparent about what your product is good for and what it is not good for. It’s not easy to maintain transparency across all aspects but once you start practicing it, positive results are bound to follow. Additionally, it also helps to build great brand image.

Perseverance

Perseverance is an important trait for an entrepreneur. Never give up on the idea that you are passionate about. When you start out young, you have the advantage of time. If the Plan A does not work, be ready with a contingency plan. The concept of overnight success rarely works in business. There might be multiple rough moments in your entrepreneurial journey, dust it off and keep working towards your goal.

 Marketing

While running the day to day operations, it’s easy to ignore the other aspects such as marketing and branding. A great idea is just an idea if no one knows about it. People are only familiar with a brand if they’re made familiar with it. Marketing is an important and an essential tool for reaching out to the desired market. It’s important to effectively explain why people must buy your product or invest in your idea.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurship in India

The modern era is the era of empowerment and upsurges in the condition of women. Be it the political landscape or the corporate scenarios; women have stepped outside the boundaries of homes and kitchens. They have confidently taken up the roles of leaders and bosses and are rubbing shoulders with the best of corporate leaders in the industry.

In a male-dominated business environment, finding women entrepreneurs with successful enterprises is a real challenge. India has produced some great female entrepreneurs in the form of Indira Nooyi-Chairperson PepsiCo, Upasana Taku-Founder Mobikwik, Neeru Sharma-Infibeam, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw-Founder of Biocon, Vandana Luthra-Founder of VLCC and Shahnaz Hussain –CEO of Shehnaz Herbals. They are great role models for aspiring women entrepreneurs in India.

Women Entrepreneurship in India: an Overview

Estimated total businesses in India 58.5 million
Estimated total women-led businesses in India 8.05 million
Percentage of Female Entrepreneurs in India 14%
Distribution of Women Enterprises in India 33% in Agriculture, 67% in Manufacturing& Retail
Average Employment in Women-owned Enterprise 1.67
% of firms with female partnerships 24%
Employment provided by Women Enterprises 13.5 million Indians
Schemes for Women empowerment provided by current Indian Government/banks Annapurna Scheme

Stree Shakti Package

Mudra Yojna

Mahila Udyam Nidhi

Problems Faced By Women Entrepreneurs in India

Women entrepreneurs in India have their own set of pitfalls and challenges. Only about 14% of businesses in India are run by women, with 57% of these being started by women alone. In a patriarchal society, women face severe restrictions to break the barriers of gender disparity, lack of resources, and inappropriate networking.

Let us explore some significant problems faced by women entrepreneurs in India:

  • Business Loan for Women Entrepreneurs
  • Lack of necessary business inputs like raw material, manpower
  • No or limited family support
  • Limited education and research opportunities
  • Inadequate infrastructure
  • Social limitations.

Reasons for restraint are numerous and call for the empowerment of women to break free first from their low achievement mind-set. An educated, skilled, and ambitious Indian woman will be powered to train her mind in the right direction to achieve her business targets. A little support and motivation in the right direction can work wonders for her and propel her on the right path.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurship in India

  • Providing Capital Access 

The essential element of an enterprise is finance. Women in India generally face financial restrictions as there is no property in their names that can be signed off as collateral for financial loans. An excellent start to an enterprise with a solid financial base can pave the way for steady business. Capital access in the form of fixed and current assets as well as working capital loans or small business loans for women entrepreneurs can make a big difference. With cooperation from the government now, credit lines and business loans for women are made available.

Under the Start-up India Scheme initiative by the Government of India, several programs provide free co-working space for women-led entrepreneurs, with over 50 seats available.

  • Sustainable Women-only Collective Enterprises

Women across all levels of society are capable of being drawn into the economic wave. It should be noted that women entrepreneurs do not belong to the urban population alone. Proper guidance and business initiative to rural women can also make leaders emerge. Women entrepreneurs can come up with sustainable enterprises that deal with livelihood activities like dairy farming, basket making, tailoring, organic farming, etc.

Initiatives for educating such participants in the business know-how should be taken in the form of lectures and workshops.

  • Social Network Build-Up

Women, by default, have a knack of conversations and building up a relation. This skill should be harnessed, and women entrepreneurs should be taught the significance and skill of building up a network with various levels of authority like customers, clients, suppliers, buyers, local government agencies, etc.

Building up a support system cannot be done alone, and women should be encouraged to overcome the fear of rejection and doubt. They should stretch their horizons across multiple channels for visibility.

  • Availability of Role Models and Mentors

Women entrepreneurs who are just beginning their business venture are always in need of appropriate mentors. They can look up to them in times when the business flow is low, and the start-ups face teething problems.  The availability of coaches and mentors who have carved a niche for themselves in the corporate world can provide encouraging relief to them. In the initial stages of a start-up, when uncertainties loom up and doubt clouds the mind of young female entrepreneurs, proper mentorship campaigns can work wonders. Peer networks, industry connect, and investor meets through proper mentorship can help build a robust support system.

  • Business Education

Education is the forerunner for any skill. Educating the women entrepreneur class in business ethics, policies, procedures, and other corporate skills become essential to make the new women entrepreneurs aware of the corporate environment. Knowledge about current market strategies, funding alternatives, supplier chains, marketing, and advertising is necessary for the correct visibility of the product or the service that they are trying to sell.

  • Appropriate Prioritization of Tasks 

Women have the double responsibility of taking care of both work and home. Prioritization of tasks becomes mandatory for them if they want to climb up the corporate ladder. Mentorship workshops and campaigns can be conducted to make new women entrepreneurs from all sections of society. There are hundreds of decisions to be taken daily in the business environment, and only correct prioritization of the tasks can help in proper scheduling and execution.

With the advancement in education and mind-set of the Indian population, women entrepreneurship in India looks up to a bright future. Opportunities are available more than before. Women will have to take initiatives, empower themselves, and make use of resources available to break the glass ceiling and set up their business ventures. Women empowerment in the right direction will not only positively impact the lives of these women, but their families and the society at large as well.

Making Entrepreneurs of Women

Policy and institutional support and mentoring are key. So is the need to change entrenched gender biases

A mere 14 per cent of the 58.3 million businesses in operation in India when the Sixth Economic Census was carried out in 2013-14 were owned by women, across formal and informal sectors in both rural and urban India. This is not a flattering statistic. A sizeable number of the 8.05 million women-owned business — over 83 per cent — did not have any hired workers; the corresponding number for male-owned businesses was about 70 per cent. Also, on average, women-run businesses are smaller than those run by men.

However, there are many shining examples of women entrepreneurs who have not only set up successful ventures but have also carved out a niche for themselves. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is one such woman entrepreneur. There are also some who gave up very successful corporate careers to turn entrepreneurs such as Falguni Nayar, a well-regarded investment banker who set up an e-commerce venture as she was turning 50 years of age.

There are also the likes of Ritu Dalmia, who broke out of conservative industrialist families, to venture into the world of gourmet food and fine dining with a chain of restaurants. Each one of them is a trailblazer and an inspiration for others. More recently, the start-up boom in India has seen many young, professionally qualified women taking the plunge. Self-help groups and non-profits focussing on skill development in rural areas have helped women entrepreneurs bloom.

Risks That Every Entrepreneur Must Take

Risk-taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship. To start and support your own business, you’ll have to put your career, personal finances and even your mental health at stake.

For most, the prospect of making your own decisions and being in charge of your own destiny is worth it. But if you’re going to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared for the risks and challenges that come with it.

The following are seven risks that every entrepreneur must take, from ideation to ongoing development:

1. Abandoning the steady paycheck.

Before you venture into the world of business ownership, you’ll first have to say goodbye to your current job, and in some cases, your career. Some people have the luxury of a backup plan — an option to resume your career in case things don’t go well in your independent business.

But for most starting entrepreneurs, the choice is a risky plunge. There’s no guarantee of your personal income, especially in the first few months and years of your company’s existence, and you’ll probably be too busy to secure or sustain an alternative line of income.

2. Sacrificing personal capital.

Some entrepreneurs are able to start their ventures relying solely on external funding. That usually means a collection of angel investor contributions, government grants and loans, and results from crowdfunding campaigns. But many entrepreneurs also have to dive into their own bank accounts and personal savings to get things started.

You may not need to completely liquidate your nest egg, but you will have to front at least some personal money — and that means abandoning, or at least diminishing, your safety net.

3. Relying on cash flow.

Even if you have a line of credit, securing a regular cash flow is difficult and stressful. You can position yourself for a profitable year, but still struggle with the day-to-day necessities if your revenue doesn’t match or exceed your costs in a timely manner.

Bills can add up quickly, and if you don’t have enough revenue to support your outgoing cash flow, you could run short of money for paychecks or be forced to dip into emergency funds. Be prepared to address it daily, or at least weekly.

4. Estimating popular interest.

No matter how much research you do or how many tests you complete, you’ll never be able to estimate popular interest in your business with perfect accuracy. People are somewhat unpredictable, which could put a giant hole in your otherwise sound plans.

Even when all the data appears to be in your favor, there’s a chance you’re overestimating the interest in your company, and if your projections are off, your entire financial model could implode.

5. Trusting a key employee.

When you first start a business, you won’t have a full team of employees working for you. Instead, you’ll probably have a small, tight-knit group of people working tirelessly together in an effort to get things up and running. You’ll have to put an overwhelming amount of trust in them, especially if they have special skills that are hard to find and are willing to start work at a lower salary than the industry standard.

For example, if you hire a single, experienced lead developer to work on your product over the course of a few months, you’ll need to have absolute trust in their ability to get the job done on time. Otherwise, your timeline (and your product) could be fatally compromised.

6. Betting on a crucial deadline. 

Startups are, by nature, forced into strict timelines for their product launches and milestone goals. Their finances are fragile, and their investors are eager to start seeing the wheels turning. As a result, most entrepreneurs are forced to make multiple goals contingent on a handful of deadlines, and those deadlines become absolutely critical.

Be prepared to stay up at night worrying about your ability to hit those deadlines, and coming up with contingencies if you cannot.

7. Donating personal time (and health).

Entrepreneurship takes a toll on the average person. You’ll spend countless hours doing work to make your company successful, and your remaining hours worrying about what you have or have not done thus far. You will lose sleep, you will miss out on personal time, and you will experience much more stress than usual.

The rewards of entrepreneurship often outweigh these personal risks, but you have to be prepared to live this type of lifestyle.

Risks shouldn’t steer you away from pursuing entrepreneurship. Instead, see them for what they are: necessary obstacles on a greater path. There’s no way to avoid the risks you’ll face as an entrepreneur, but by recognizing them, you can prepare for and mitigate them.

 

 

Risk Involved in Entrepreneurship

Most entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature. Many entrepreneurs risk all that they have when they decide to launch a business. For entrepreneurs, there is no secure monthly income, and spending time with family can be a challenge. Here are some of the risks that every entrepreneur and investor should evaluate and minimize before starting a business.

Financial Risk

An entrepreneur will need funds to launch a business either in the form of loans from investors, their own savings, or funds from family. The founder will have to put their own “skin in the game.” Any new business should have a financial plan within the overall business plan showing income projections, how much cash will be required to break-even, and the expected return for investors in the first five-year timeframe. Failure to accurately plan could mean that the entrepreneur risks bankruptcy, and investors get nothing.

Entrepreneurs face many risks when they launch a venture, and they should take measures to insure against those that are most likely to affect them.

Strategic Risk

An impressive business plan will appeal to investors. However, we live in a dynamic and fast-paced world where strategies can become outdated quickly. Changes in the market or the business environment can mean that a chosen strategy is the wrong one, and a company might struggle to reach its benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Technology Risk

New technologies are constantly emerging, particularly in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Some of these changes are characterized as “paradigm shifts” or “disruptive” technologies. To be competitive, a new company may have to invest heavily in new systems and processes, which could drastically affect the bottom line.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Entrepreneurs face multiple risks such as bankruptcy, financial risk, competitive risks, environmental risks, reputational risks, and political and economic risks.
  • Entrepreneurs must plan wisely in terms of budgeting and show investors that they are considering risks by creating a realistic business plan.
  • Entrepreneurs should also consider technology changes as a risk factor.
  • Market demand is unpredictable as consumer trends can change rapidly, creating problems for entrepreneurs.

Market Risk

Many factors can affect the market for a product or service. The ups and downs of the economy and new market trends pose a risk to new businesses, and a certain product might be popular one year but not the next. For example, if the economy slumps, people are less inclined to buy luxury products or nonessentials. If a competitor launches a similar product at a lower price, the competitor might steal market share. Entrepreneurs should perform a market analysis that assesses market factors, the demand for a product or service, and customer behavior.

Competitive Risk

An entrepreneur should always be aware of its competitors. If there are no competitors at all, this could indicate that there is no demand for a product. If there are a few larger competitors, the market might be saturated, or, the company might struggle to compete. Additionally, entrepreneurs with new ideas and innovations should protect intellectual property by seeking patents to protect themselves from competitors.

Reputational Risk

A business’s reputation is everything, and this can be particularly so when a new business is launched and customers have preconceived expectations. If a new company disappoints consumers in the initial stages, it may never gain traction. Social media plays a huge role in business reputation and word-of-mouth marketing. One tweet or negative posting from a disgruntled customer can mean huge losses in revenue. Reputational risk can be managed with a strategy that communicates product information and builds relationships with consumers and other stakeholders.

Environmental, Political, and Economic Risk

Some things cannot be controlled by a good business plan or the right insurance. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, wars, and recessions are all risks that companies and new entrepreneurs may face. There may be a strong market for a product in an under-developed country, but these countries can be unstable and unsafe, or logistics, tax rates, or tariffs might make trade difficult depending on the political climate at any point in time. Also, some business sectors have historically high failure rates, and entrepreneurs in these sectors may find it difficult to find investors. These sectors include food service, retail, and consulting.

Bottom Line

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that of the small businesses that were started in 2014, 80% made it to their second year (2015), 70% made it to the third year (2016), 62% made it to the fourth year (2017), and 56% made it to the fifth year (2018). Entrepreneurs should expect to make some mistakes, some of which will be costly. However, with the right planning, funding, and flexibility, businesses have a better chance of succeeding.