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“Go Hard or Go Home”.

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…Except you just struck oil in your backyard or aunt Lucy left you fifty million big ones to splurge on, the reality is that It’s a fish eat fish business clime out there as economies the world over strive to achieve sustainability. This state of affairs has trickled down resulting in dire situations where there are little or no venture capitalists willing to inject required capital into businesses and investment angels looking the other way. Statistics have shown that only 0.05 percent of VC’s fund start-ups. Little wonder 90% of those amazing ideas out there never see the light of day. The chances of receiving funding for businesses are getting slimmer by the second meaning that if any great ideas are to be implemented, there’s definitely a probability that you might need to bootstrap your way to success. This way you get to retain more or all of your equity and feel really accomplished at the end of the daunting process

Here are some practical ideas picked up along the way that could help you bootstrap your business idea to fruition;

Start with YOU and Cut Out the Unnecessary

Most times, the main reasons businesses don’t get past the infancy stage is as a result of the people or person at the helm of affairs. Without a monthly salary, every bootstrapping-Bill needs to cut down on expenses or totally kill it. Go to the open market more and cut down of supermarket visits, run more of your local errands yourself as opposed to using a courier, go through your account statements and see areas where you could cut down on expenses. These would free up a little currency to be invested into the project at hand.

Get Creative with Your Marketing

Getting people to know about your business and what you do does not really have to be a question of how much you’ve got in the bank. It has a lot to do with how creative you can get whilst building a branding and marketing campaign. There are always opportunities to capitalise on without actually being a business parasite. Take for instance, a situation where a football competition is scheduled to happen in two months in your city and you decided to create a range of football-shaped cakes, take pictures of them and splash it all over Instagram, Facebook and local sites with a huge following. I guess this would bring in a customer or two and all you spent money on was data and ingredients.

Short Gestation, Short Turn-Around

Well this one somehow explains itself. What’s the use of a great business idea if the ones who get to enjoy and reap it’s benefits are your grand-kids? If you have to bootstrap PLEASE ensure that the revenue cycle of the business is short. The duration may differ depending on the nature of your business but ensure it’s a time-line you can wait out without your ship running aground. Any business whose revenue turnaround time exceeds 3 months must be approached with caution and lots of planning for a start-up.

Research Comprehensively

This is an important aspect in bootstrapping your way to success. It’s paramount that you find out who the other companies or individuals in your line of business are for three major reasons. Firstly you need to find out how they have managed to stay afloat in the business the whole time, secondly you need to also find out how they have been able to set themselves apart from the crowd. Lastly, combine both answers and find out cost-effective means that will make you stand out and also outdo already existing competition.

Let your First Customers be your Reps

New things have an initial ‘almost-endearing’ appeal. Everyone loves the determined business springing up against all odds but won’t for long. With this in mind, “Bootstrap-Bill’s” the world over need to ride this wave until they hit success beach or see it at least. Find out new ways which your first set of customers could gladly benefit from your business as well as promote the business. This was aptly re-enacted by start-up mobile advertising company ‘Brand Envoy by creating revenue earning opportunities for its reps who in turn gain value and then invite new entrants. Try this it works.

Take a hitting but keep Ticking

Rejection and disappointments will most definitely be a major part of your bootstrapping quest because partners, vendors, suppliers and the whole host will break your heart since they aren’t so into you and ‘what-ever’ it is that great idea of yours is. So from experience, I found out that there’s always that one person or crop of people who believe in you. Listen to them often and stay focused but if you find no-one, you must become both player and cheerleader. You cheer and believe long enough, you will start living and breathing this idea of yours and will look for honourable ways of navigating it through the tough times.

Hope these points make it a bit easier bootstrapping your idea out of murky ‘business’ waters. I personally think that “Nothing is worth standing between a good idea and its actualization” except of course “You”. Go start something. “Go hard on that great idea of yours or you might just find yourself going home like every other “almost-mader” (whatever that means). Stay pumped, stay expectant because it’s only time between your ‘now’ and ‘success’ with of course lots of hard work in-between.

Have a great and productive day.

Written by Temple Obike .

Twitter: @swampsage

Facebook: De Swamp Formula

Linkedin: Digital Content Africa

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Crisis Deepens as Nissan Issues Fresh Profit Warning Again

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The woes of the Japanese car giant looks to have deepened by the newly issued profit warning by Nissan while it seeks to recover from Carlos Ghosn’s arrest 

The firm had second cut in its forecast within few months by downgrading its projection for net profit in the fiscal year to March 2019 from 410-billion yen ($3.7-billion) to 319-billion yen.

Nissan appeared to acknowledge the recent difficulties surrounding the Ghosn affair, which has cast questions over the company’s own corporate governance.

Reasons for the downgrade are:

“the adverse operating environment facing the company during the fourth quarter, and the impact of recent corporate issues on sales.”

 “additional expenses arising from the implementation of a warranty extension campaign covering certain vehicles sold in the US market.”

The profit warning came as ex-chairman Ghosn awaits his fate after prosecutors hit him with a fourth set of charges over alleged financial misconduct.

 

In February, Nissan already slashed its full-year forecast, as it revealed that nine-month net profit had dropped 45 percent — a decline the firm blamed on rising raw material costs and foreign exchange difficulties.

It was forced to downgrade its net profit forecast for the fiscal year to March to 410 billion-yen, compared to 500-billion yen earlier.

 

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I’ve always wondered, Why do billionaires buy media empires?

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An article by Jordan Murray

Although the financial situation for newspapers remains less than ideal, billionaires continue to invest in print media for their institutional worth, with aims to make publications self-sufficient.

If you had $190 million to spare, what would you spend it on?

If you’re Marc and Lynne Benioff, you’d buy a media empire. The flamboyant CEO of Salesforce and his wife purchased the publication from Meredith Corporation a few weeks ago, quickly distancing themselves from the magazine’s editorial direction.

It was a decision that was made, Marc admits, without much forethought, and its spontaneity is as much a product of his outsized personality as it is of his wealth. Indeed, the large cash infusion represents a boon for Time, but represents only around three per cent of the Benioff’s net wealth. It’s endemic of a larger trend in business of high-earning CEOs bankrolling print media to insulate cultural institutions from economic and technological changes.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce

While many are grateful for Benioff’s financial infusion, others are suspicious of his motives and the pressures he might exert on the newspaper’s editorial position. For his part, Benioff has moved to assuage those concerns, with Time’s chief content officer Alan Murray saying the Benioffs were willing to “put journalistic integrity ahead of corporate gains”.

Otherwise, Benioff’s purchase of Time appears to be an effort to preserve the periodical, as opposed to turning it into a vehicle for his political views. That hasn’t comforted some sceptics though, who have witnessed the financially precarious situation that arises when business leaders expect returns on their investments.

Why would anybody buy a newsroom?

It’s easy to compare billionaires with an interest in media empires to Charles Foster Kane, Orson Welles’ ruthless newspaper magnate. The truth is often more complex than that. Some CEOs, like Jeff Bezos, purchase flagging institutions not out of pity but out of a profit motive. Bezos, after all, was initially unmoved at the prospect of purchasing a business that haemorrhaged money and that he didn’t know much about.

However, he saw the opportunity as having a greater sense of rightness to it. “If this were a financially upside-down, salty snack food company, the answer would be no,” Bezos reasoned, “But as soon as I started thinking about it that way, I started to realize The Washington Post is an important institution.”

“If this were a financially upside-down, salty snack food company, the answer would be no,” Bezos reasoned, “But as soon as I started thinking about it that way, I started to realize The Washington Post is an important institution.”

Nowadays, The Washington Post is profitable, thanks to Bezos’ technological direction as much as his financial contributions. He has remained outside the newsroom, and has instead focused on the newspapers’ economic situation, preferring not to think of his contribution as a “philanthropic endeavour”.

A comparable situation arose for Laurene Powell Jobs, when her Emerson Collective purchased The Atlantic in July 2017, saying that “there’s a door between Emerson and the Atlantic, but it only swings from the Atlantic into Emerson; it doesn’t open in the other direction”.

Like Bezos’ approach, the emphasis wasn’t on editorial direction as much as it was on improving the economic function of the publication itself, which Jobs managed to do. Although the financial situation for newspapers remains less than ideal, billionaires continue to invest in print media for their institutional worth – an often-achievable goal, as newspapers are relatively inexpensive investments – with aims to make the publications self-sufficient.

Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs

Do things always work out?

In contrast to those two particularly fortunate cases, other entrepreneurs aren’t quite as committed to the outcomes of their chosen publication, quickly losing patience with their investment and becoming eager to rid themselves of it.

Perhaps the most notorious example of this is Joe Ricketts, whose purchase of Gothamist prefaced an attempt to merge the idiosyncratic vehicle for snark and culture with his own New York-centric outlet, DNAInfo. The arrangement lasted for only eight months, in which time both newsrooms complained about mismatched agendas. When the staff of both publications attempted to unionise, Ricketts simply shut both down and walked away from the situation.

Similarly, Peter Barbey purchased The Village Voice in 2015 promising that he was “flat-out serious about getting The Voice to be a major Manhattan publication”. Three years later, he unceremoniously shut down printing, citing “business realities”.

Such billionaire investments in newspapers are met with suspicion by the journalists who work for them not because they portend maleficent editorial direction, but because they often become more accountable to the economic concerns of one person. Much like any other business, if there isn’t a model for self-sufficiency to work towards, that often means that the end is in sight.

Much like any other business, if there isn’t a model for self-sufficiency to work towards, that often means that the end is in sight.

So, what happens next?

In conversation with CNBC, Joshua Benton, director of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, cited several reasons for why billionaires choose to become involved in media, including “a mixture of … sincere appreciation of the art form, … a desire to see it flourish … [!and!] a sense of civic responsibility”.

Moreover, the chance for growth in an industry that has struggled to adapt to digital distribution is immense and has proven profitable under the right leadership. Ultimately, the emphasis isn’t about establishing a vehicle for personal retribution. It’s about product differentiation and, eventually, financial returns.

It’s not difficult to appreciate how Benioff views the matter; he believes that there are two types of CEOs, those committed to improving the state of the world, and those who are not.

When he purchased Time, he was acting on that impulse, believing that print journalism deserved attention. It doesn’t mean he’s prepared to throw away a significant sum of money. It means that he’s willing to help a beleaguered industry through challenging times, with the sort of leadership and business expertise only an eccentric, carefree CEO can bring.

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