Posts Tagged ‘ Vahan ’

How to Grow a Small Business, Part 1

by Vahan Karian

Unless you are blessed with a staggering amount of capital, your business will begin like any other: small and vulnerable to the pitfalls of growth. For several years, I have lent my business expertise to companies eager to grow from minor operations into nationally known brands. The following tips and strategies have served me well in my efforts to evolve small businesses.

1. Draft a Business Plan You might think that taking the time to create a business plan tailored to developing your company to be a waste of time. After all, payroll, sales, and other concerns likely dominate your work time. However, just as a business plan helps lay the groundwork for starting a company, they prove as effective for expanding one. Writing a plan will force you to think long-term on subjects such as sales, marketing, product development, and other issues.

2. Reduce Expenses In your campaign to grow, certain aspects of your company must shrink. The advice likely seems paradoxical, but it makes good business sense: cutting costs in unnecessary areas frees up capital that better serves some other, more vital avenues. Examine your records and statistics, looking for ways to eliminate, consolidate, and trim. For example, some companies might consider trading goods and services rather than accepting a conventional payment.

3. Broaden Your Network Remember, who you know is as important in business as what you know. As you seek to expand, you may need the aid of others familiar with the road you walk. Make friends in a wide array of industries that you can call upon later when you need help. Of course, they may see fit to call upon you in return.

Advertisements

Vahan Karian’s Business Growth Tips: The “Freemium” as a Growth Strategy

Entrepreneur and business consultant Vahan Karian talks about the value of “freemium” offerings in growing a business, in running both startups and large, established companies.—

The term “freemium” was coined in 2006 to describe the business model of giving away a service in order to create a large base of loyal users, some of which would then return to purchase an enhanced version of the service. Since that time, countless businesses have built success on the freemium model. Done right, freemium doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated, and it has the potential to turn your brand into a household name through much-coveted word-of-mouth advertising.

Most freemium products are online services. The most common approach is to support them with advertising, and the larger the base of active users, the more success the company will have in attracting quality advertisers. This is essentially the model employed by the free entertainment papers found on many city street corners.

Another option is to give away the product without advertising, but offer an enhanced version for payment. Given a large enough user base, even a small conversion rate will lead to long-term profitability. Online companies like file syncing service Dropbox rely on this principle.

The key to success in the freemium market involves the creation of a great product or service that many people want to use and talk about. If you limit the freemium product too much, it won’t receive organic, word-of-mouth adoption and your efforts will be wasted. It is better to err on the side of too much functionality than too little. After all, if you have nothing new to offer in the premium version, you simply limit your business model to advertising revenue, which is a viable choice.

Another important consideration in freemium offerings is scalability. Do not offer a freemium product with the same cost-per-user into perpetuity. This may be manageable with 10,000 users, but the overhead might bankrupt you at 10 million users.

These qualifications aside, you have an infinite number of ways to make a freemium product work for your company, whether you run an online business or a traditional, bricks-and-mortar one.

Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway

An avid reader, Vahan Karian greatly enjoys the works of Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain. Epitomizing classic literature, the two authors produced timeless stories that continue to excite and enthrall readers across the globe.

Mark Twain, also known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, found success through writing as well as public speaking. Considered an author and humorist, Mark Twain is best known for the American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the Great American Novel. Mark Twain is considered by some to be the father of American literature, a title that accompanied his reputation as a witty and friendly man of talent. Born in 1835 in Florida, Missouri, Mark Twain was the sixth child in a family of seven. Once he came of working age, Mark Twain initially acted as a printer’s apprentice, and later, as a typesetter and contributor to the Hannibal Journal. Mark Twain often utilized public libraries, spending evenings educating himself on a vast array of topics. Eventually his love of travel and intense interest in science and technology would spur further writing, contributing to the great success he found through literature.

Also a revered figure of classic American literature, Ernest Hemingway gained notoriety from 1920 through 1950, and went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Characterized by his understated writing style, Ernest Hemingway continues to be known for authentic and compelling character creation. Early in his life, Ernest Hemingway served the Red Cross, which took him to Italy and Paris, among other places. This experience, along with his return home and his travels to Paris, shaped much of his writing, as he continued to seek out interesting people to inspire his writing. Carrying on a life of intrigue and adventure, Ernest Hemingway later passed in 1961, forever marked as one of the great authors of all time.