What can an individual who lives on a small salary do to invest and augment his income somehow? Here are some tips to follow:
1. Invest in something close to your heart
Whether it is in music or cooking, investing in a small venture will have a greater chance of surviving and even achieving reasonable success if it involves doing something close to your heart or within your experience as a person or as a worker. If you work as a waiter, why not learn as much as you can about some way of improving a recipe or a drink and come up with your own sideline you, or with a partner, can run during weekends or after work?
We hear this advice often and yet not many take it to heart or are brave enough to actually do it. Many feel it takes too much effort and money to start a business. This is not true, in general. Making a single unique jacket or fashion accessory and selling it can be the one step you need to encourage yourself to make more. Even a used item such as a broken sofa, if repaired and furbished to look attractive might bring you some income you never thought you could have from what you already have.
Oftentimes, all it takes is a lot of imagination and a dose of courage to jump right ahead on a new venture you never tried before.
2. Learn the basic math
Any business, small or big, will depend largely on good and proper basic accounting. Learning the fundamental methods of bookkeeping will go a long way to controlling the flow of resources and understanding the nature of your business finance. We all knew about the Chinese who, for many centuries, used the abacus to make sure they got all the math figured out. With the calculator or the PC today, the job has become even easier and more efficient as we can keep records as well of our transactions.
Still, there are other tricks we can avail of to make the task easy and more enjoyable. Finger-Math can be a tool one can learn and use during those hectic moments when technology is not around to your aid. Mental math is a trick we can also develop to enhance our acuity in this area. Whatever suits your personality and style, make sure the math is a primary focus in your business. Remember, math is but a tool to make your work easier; but loving the work can make a lot of difference in how you conduct the business.
3. Know you product
Knowing your product is as important as how much you price it eventually. You may have a good round figure for your products price; but if you have not truly known your product (what it directly provides, what value it adds to its user, how it can be enhanced beyond its basic use), you will not fathom its true worth for you and for your customer.
Knowing your product goes beyond appreciating its innate value. Peanut butter is not just for making bread taste better or eating by itself. It can also be used for adding flavor to other recipes or with other food (try it with banana). And unless you tell people it can be used as so, they will never discover its other uses. Advertising or showing it in your packaging can be the step you need to do to enhance your products value and appeal as well as its price.
4. Know your customers
Not all people will want to buy your product or service. How to change their mind is the challenge you must never give up on. Changing your approach may allow you to capture certain customers you know patronize other brands. Price reduction, although it is not always the best thing to do or other come-ons, such as giveaways or freebies, may help promote your product in certain market locations you wish to capture.
Talking to people and being sensitive to their needs will help you get a clearer picture of your prospective customers.
5. Know your competitors
Knowing your customers will teach you how to appreciate and know your competitors indirectly as well. If you feel your product is better than your competitors and yet you cannot break into the bigger share of the market, then there must be something wrong with your product or your marketing approach.
Companies who have been in the business for many years have a lot to teach you how to go about your own venture. Get as much information from them directly through visiting their stores and factories or indirectly through reading books, magazines and websites.
6. No matter how many competitors you have, you can still join in if you are unique
Unless every corner in your area has a small variety store, you can still put up your own as long as you provide a unique feature in your business. Delivering your product while others wait for buyers can be your advantage in these busy times. Or, you can have orders picked up at certain times to encourage people to buy fresh vegetables, fruits or meat, for instance. The trick is to make your customers feel special and given a personal touch. Adding something nobody else provides may be the advantage you need to keep the competitors behind.
7. Find out what works for you and your product
Eventually, you will have to experiment and make a lot of mistakes as to how you can improve your product, your price and your style of operation. But things will change as economic and social realities also change ad adapting creatively will allow you to stay afloat. Being prepared for such eventualities ahead of others will help you reduce risks and manage your business well.
In the end, running a business may take more and more of your time and may lead you to give up your day-job. If you feel the time is right, then go ahead. Most business-people started that way. Make up your mind at the very start that the option is always present. It is just a matter of time when you will take the brave jump.