thinkinglazy

Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: Business

On Business: Writing The Book

My apologies to all the followers who expected to hear more about my business but could not. To be perfectly honest, I was looking forward to sharing my knowledge, but was worried about compromising my business edge, which was clearly not a valid concern.

The good news, however, is that I have decided to prepare a book to share my experiences about starting up a business. Unlike other books, it will not be about success, but about failure and the lessons learnt from such a valuable experience. It is not a part of my life that I regret, rather one that fills me with pride.

I will start preparing an outline and start a new blog with weekly, I hope, updates about my progress to test how useful an interesting this experience is for others. You will be posted about the details later.

On Writing: Keeping Thoughts

As I have told you in the previous post, one of the largest problems facing me is keeping my stories in mind when I have no time to sit and write. Songs and poems were the first of my solutions and, so far, they have been not only keeping my story in mind, but also contributing to the generation of new ideas and motivating me to write.

I have been keeping a little purple book with me at almost all times and use it to jot down notes on any subjects that come to mind. One of the ideas that came to me today stemmed from a reflection on my past and future. I finally realized that what I really want to do in life is: contribute to the betterment of mankind in any way I can, even if the contribution is minimal.

Thus I believe that by using writing to reflect on my few experiences so far I could make a difference and, at the very least, entertain a few people. I am considering writing a book about my failed business, analyzing the possible mistakes at the same time.

PS: notice that there are very few books about failures and many about successes. Is it not possible that we stand to gain more from learning about failures?

On Business: and Everything Else

I read an article about Sony just yesterday and it made me think more than I thought it would. Although This article is titled On Business, it is really relevant to everything else. Writers will definitely understand.

When I was sixteen years old, a time that seems so far away, I used to go once every week to play computer games with my friends – we were particularly fond of strategy games. I seldom went with the same people, but there was this one guy that would always come with me. We often played against one another and he always beat me, without ever revealing his secret to his ongoing success.

Many years later the topic came up and I asked him: “How come you always used to win?” His answer was simply: “Micro-management.”

Being an avid player at the time, I understood the term. Micro-management is exactly what it sounds like, paying attention to the small details in context of larger goals. In other words, treating every unit as if it matters the most.

By now most of you are guessing ‘What the hell is this guy talking about!’ but I am talking about a simple truth that we often overlook. In our pride and avarice, we tend to forget the little things, and sometimes they matter just as much as the big ones do.

Sony, being the giant at the time with its game-changing inventions, forgot that all what they achieved was because of the diligent work of their loyal inventors. These women and men were neglected and, naturally, they were sought out by a poorly-performing company at the time, Samsung, and given the liberties they wanted to satiate their curiosities to their hearts’ content.

Samsung made it to where they are today only because of one thing, Micro-management. They treated their inventors as Sony should have and gave them the opportunity to do what they love best.

What amazes me, however, is that a sixteen-year-old boy knew about Micro-management while an international giant such as Sony did not. I wonder how often does it happen that experience is beaten by simplicity.

On Writing: Nearly Finished & Ready to Publish

I have finished my story, as most of the ones who read my posts know, and am currently facing a whole new bunch of issues that require addressing. For starters, the reviewing process is becoming rather tedious, yet not to an extend that would allow me to consider procrastination. I have also started designing my book cover for the only intended publishing version of my book, electronic.

However, there are a few things that I have gotten out of my way. First of all, I have decided to publish via Amazon Kindle my electronic, and only, version of the book. I have also reached a conclusion regarding the pricing of my book. My original intention was to offer the book for free, as I do not seek to profit from writing considering that my skill has not reached the appropriate level for such action. As of this moment, I decided to price it 1.99-2.99$ – namely because several sources noted that free work tends to be associated with a low quality which directly effects exposure.

As I previously posted, attempts to officially publish my first book, not the one hogging the topic of this post, did not go as I expected – namely because there is no reason for a literally agent to trust an unpublished and unknown author. This, however, did not negatively affect my resolve, but boosted my will to find alternative means of getting my work out there.

This has been another post which had only the purpose of logging my journey so far, and I hope that it would not bore you. I would finally like to offer my sincere encouragements to whoever seeks to write and publish her or his work. Do not give up, for refusals in this field are far more than reason dictates, but I believe that the few who make it are either the ones gifted in the craft, or with iron-bound resolve.

Good luck in whatever you seek, be it writing or not.

On Business: Competition

Ever since we started ‘The Store’, we had no real competitors to threaten a loss of clientele or potential clients. We had nothing to rush us into the market or motivate us to work faster or harder. Now, however, things have changed a great deal.

Since the past month, a huge foreign business decided to penetrate the Egyptian market with an aggressive marketing campaign. This company is a giant which we cannot compete with. Hopefully, the situation will end up with us as it did with *David.

Instead of focusing on how we can be metaphorically sodomized by this new threat, we decided on thinking positively and using this new threat to our advantage. From the emergence of this competitor we can deduce the following:

There is a need in our market, since the competition branched into it

We work far better when competing with others, our efforts increased ever since we have been made aware of the situation

The triad of partners does not weaken by threats, our communication and motivation got accelerated by the existence of threat

It will be easier to find potential buyers or funders for the project, since we have a giant to compare ourselves to in terms of service

I hope that other small business founders would not be discouraged by the emergence of a strong competitor. Whenever facing such an overwhelming mind-numbing experience, take a day off and clear your mind.

 

*From David and Goliath.

On Business: Recommended Reading

To support and improve my writing hobby, I decided to read whenever I am free. One of the books which I picked up and could not get away from was Confessions of an Entrepreneur by Chris Robson. I literally read the book in one sitting because of how enticing and relevant to my life it is.

The book summarizes the journey of the author’s entrepreneurial life in a mere 200 pages. I highly recommend it for anyone currently starting their own business or intending to do so. Unlike many books of this genre (I call them business experience plugs), this one can be related to regardless of your nationality or cultural background. The author does not go into details of case studies which a certain group of people have been exposed to, but he simplifies them to the core essence of the idea he wished to convey.

On Business: PL=B

‘Hey, I’m going to a coffee shop now. Care to join me?’

‘What you going for? Just chilling or you got some work you would rather do in a social setting?’

“I got to work on my thesis. I can pick you up in five.’

‘Alright then. Pick me up.’

<Hang up>

I have been having these conversations ever since I quit my 9-5 job. Unless there is a specific social event where I am expected, I do not simply go out. Like all entrepreneurs  I have reached a level where my (Private Life) = (Business), and I just came to realize this as I was showering ten minutes ago.

I currently have no job, no money and only a hopeful idea that keeps me trying to make it work. My partners and I can easily blame the current political and economical situation, but we refuse to acknowledge being helpless. We have a brilliant idea and a team of three with the required skills and talents to make it work. I just feel its future success in my guts!

Unless I had not researched the entrepreneurial journey of other business starters, I would have not been so keen and hopeful about the future regarding my baby. Besides, if we fail this time, then at least we learnt something.

To whoever is having a tough time starting anything -business or not – try to look for writings or testimonies of others which had tried the same thing you are attempting. This should give you the necessary boost to continue on with your plight. However, do not forget that some ideas seem good, but are truly catastrophes waiting to happen.

On Business: Competition Arising

As you guys know, I started a business about a year ago and it failed miserably. However, after assessing the situation and reasons behind our failure, we managed to pick ourselves up and plan a new and far better business model. Due to fear of having our idea stolen, a common scenario in internet-based businesses in Egypt, we decided to find a developer and a designer to add to the owner’s team.

With a strange twist of luck, we managed to find one person with both skills, adding a third to the owners/founders. Anyway, the site launch has been delayed about three months so far and is expected to be delayed another month at least. Unfortunately, a competitor had started penetrating the market and is currently threatening our unique idea. Further investigation lead us to believe that this is not such a bad thing because it shows that there is a current need for the market. Nevertheless, their resources are far more than ours.

The emergence of this competitor gave us a fright at first, but we continued to assess the situation until a positive course of action had been determined. We will ride their marketing wave by a stroke of luck (their slogan is our name) and work even harder to reach our loose deadline. The competition gave us the required boost to work even harder and speed the development/testing process.

As soon as the website launches I will make a post so that you would know what the hell I have been ranting about for a year. Good luck on whatever endeavor you are currently embarked on or intend to.

On Business: Update on The Store

Well, I completely forgot to inform you guys on the progress with ‘The Store’, for those few who were interested in it.

After four months of operating, we decided to move into a new office. We originally planned to prepare for the new opening n one month – prepare the office and new website. However, we underestimated the time which it required us to prepare and drained our capital, over a grueling period of four months.

Fortunately, the purpose of the first phase was to give us an idea about the current market, it was a marketing research phase. After acquiring enough evidence that our concept is needed, most importantly, and profitable, we decided to proceed with the second phase.

Due to mismanagement from my part, my partner and I were forced into a complete re-branding of ‘The Store’. The business plan has been redesigned to minimize costs, while slightly reducing profits. However, the profit margin has been increased significantly.

I am not at complete liberty to disclose on further details of the project yet. As my small business picks up and stabilizes, I will disclose more and more details regarding the process and phases.

Just some advice for any new entrepreneurs, do not expect success with no failure. And try to find a part-time job or full-time job that does not require all of your time while setting up a business and trying it out.

Good luck to you all folk.

On Business: Question for the Managers

As some of you know, I’m starting a set of new businesses, yes there are more then one now, and was wondering how you choose to manage your employees, this question is not only addressed to managers, but employees as well or, basically, just anyone reading this post.

Please let me know what characteristics you think a great or good manager has, and what type of company you would like to work in.