Starting any type of business and seeing it grow and survive is hard. Entrepreneurs go into their ventures prepared to see them fail, even though they always have to give their all to stop that from happening. Saying that it’s a gamble would take it too far, but entrepreneurship is nevertheless a risky business.
Still, there are plenty of resources entrepreneurs can use to boost their business’s chances of succeeding. Experiences from their fellow enterprises who have been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale are invaluable.
For entrepreneurs looking to start a financial education company, here are three pieces of advice from the founders of OptionsSwing, the fin-ed company that’s the darling of Instagram users.
It could be argued that there’s never a better time than right now to get started on a substantial project. In this case, however, the “now” refers to an extremely specific time in the history of the world: the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full effects of the pandemic cannot be known while it’s still ongoing. It will probably take years and years after the world brings it under control until anyone will be able to even assess how much damage and suffering this virus has caused.
Some effects, however, are painfully obvious right now. One of them is that people are becoming either unemployed or underemployed. A number of them have been turning to the stock market in the hopes they’ll be able to use it as an additional revenue stream. Starting a digital subscription business at a time like that is great, but so is sharing the knowledge that can help people stay afloat.
In many cases, waiting for something to happen and then reacting to it is the best way to deal with challenges. When there are too many unknowns ahead, trying to cover them all can become impossible, impractical, or simply too distracting from whatever’s going on in the here and now.
Investing in expanding one’s problem-solving capacity is a whole different beast, though. Tech is a great example of it; investing in it early on means that entrepreneurs won’t have to scramble for resources when they desperately need them. The tech will be there, allowing them to focus on the problem they’re having.
Tech might be the most obvious example for laying the groundwork for future problem-solving capabilities, but the same advice can be extrapolated further. Investing in any resource that’s especially useful in critical times is a good use of money.
While it’s possible to see many one-person operations in the world of business, when it comes to scaling and growing, “the more, the merrier” is the correct motto. Talent procurement in startups is a big deal because, often enough, the quality of the talent has to compensate for the lack of resources.
Even entrepreneurs who believe in their singular vision and don’t want anyone to meddle with their ideas could use help now and again. Delegating work to other people and believing that they’ll do a good job might prove to be necessary for the business’s survival. At the very least, it will be a great way for the controlling entrepreneurs to learn to relax, better handle the uncertainty of someone else’s work, and build healthier relationships with the people around them. It’s a win on all fronts.
To keep up with OptionsSwing, follow them on Instagram at @optionsswing.
Why CEN Standardization is Good for Big Tech and Small Businesses
CEN is the European Committee for Standardization and works to create standards for 34 European countries in the European Union and European Economic Area. CEN standards, which you can access on iTeh Standards, are used to establish industry standards and technical documents for a variety of industries including:
- Consumer products
- Air and space
- Energy and environment
- Food for human consumption
- Food for animal consumption
- Health and safety
- Defense and security
- Pressure equipment
- Smart living
- Transport and packaging
- And more
Why standardization is essential
Standardization in any industry automatically increases important processes’ efficiency and makes it easier and cheaper to do business. Less time is wasted, less materials are wasted, and standards are continually revised to reflect the most efficient processes.
When small businesses and large corporations adopt industry standards, it strengthens the market competition, which supports economic growth. According to CENELEC, an organization that works jointly with CEN, standards “facilitate innovation and promote the adoption of new technologies.”
What’s so special about CEN standardization?
CEN standards are special because they apply to entire industries across the EU.
Any company can create their own standards in business, but they may not have all the information required to know if their standards are actually best for the industry and customers. When businesses in the same industry create their own standards, they’re not operating at their highest potential. They’re also operating in conflict with one another, which can sometimes make it hard to switch manufacturers and suppliers.
Having CEN standards relieves businesses from having to figure out their own standards at a fundamental level. They can still create their own standards for how they wish to do business, but the base level industry standards will be covered.
Having CEN standards also forces manufacturers and suppliers to conform to a set of industry standards, which helps them stay competitive in the market. When manufacturers and suppliers are required to meet the same standards businesses are accountable for, businesses can order raw materials and products from certified sources.
Standardization enhances the customer experience
No matter what gets standardized, it all leads to a better customer experience by creating consistency. In the end, every bump you can smooth out and every wasted second of time you can eliminate leads to a productive work environment. When teams are productive and things are running smoothly from top to bottom, customers are happier.
Likewise, standards also work to maintain safety, which also enhances the customer experience. For example, health departments set standards for handling and storing food to keep it safe, and machine shop workers follow standards for wearing protective gear and clothing to prevent injury.
You can standardize just about anything in a business, including job activities, rules, procedures, technology, services, behaviors, and measurements.
CEN standards are well-tested and documented
The advantage of CEN standards is they’re well-tested and documented. They weren’t just arbitrarily thrown together by collecting theoretical information across industries. CEN standards are created by studying and testing to see what works, what’s most effective, eliminating what doesn’t work, and establishing a set of rules that can be universally applied across the industry.
On the other hand, when organizations come up with de facto standards, they’re often illogical, ineffective, and counterproductive. De facto standards become a big problem when they’ve remained unchallenged for a long period of time. People want to do things the way they’ve always done them, and introducing standards can be off-putting to many.
Many businesses may not even be aware that their standards are actually inefficient methods like workarounds that have simply been in place for a long time.
There’s always room for more standardization
Standardizing industries is a big task – one that is infinite in scope and duration. There will never be an end to standardization. As technology evolves, standards must evolve alongside whatever tech is being brought to the industry.
While the world’s technology evolves, CEN will continue to work hard to create and develop standards for industries. Hopefully, more businesses will embrace these standards and see them as a support system for their business rather than an inconvenient hurdle.
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