We cannot do everything ourselves and this applies to business sometimes. It is impossible for one person to possess all the necessary skills that come in to the picture when one decides to set up a business. This is why sometimes we need to rope in other people as partners.
Potential business partners are all around us. They could be family or friends or likeminded people whom we can gel with. However, choosing a partner is the critical aspect of building a partnership. One has to consider many things. Here are 8 questions I think should help you figure out who is the right business partner for you.
What is your vision?
This is the first question I would ask any potential partner. Where do you see this venture going? What is your vision for it?
This is important because if the two of you don’t see it the same way you might not end up making a good team to begin with. The glue that holds any team together is “shared vision”.
What skill sets will you bring in?
Each of us has a set of skills. Ask your potential partner what his or her skill sets are and evaluate how you can use them to build a business together. For instance: if you are setting up an e-learning company having a partner who has been or is an educator might be a good idea.
This question is also necessary because once you know what his or her skill sets are you can figure out how different or similar they are to your own.
What’s your take on test marketing?
Some people like to plunge in to business without testing the waters. However, some amount of test marketing is necessary before you dive in. Asking your potential partner about his or her take on test marketing will give you an idea about whether or not both of you are on the same page in this regard.
How do we share profits?
Some people don’t believe in equal partnerships others might be investing more which is when profit sharing on a 50:50 basis might not be practical or fair. Iron out your profit sharing issues before you decide to team up.
What is your exit plan?
This might seem like a negative question but it’s important to know where your potential partner will draw a line. At what point will he or she choose not to continue with the partnership. If it’s a lady you are partnering with then marriage and moving away might impact your partnership with her. Will you be able to continue and how is what you need to figure out.
What if this goes wrong?
Nothing succeeds like success but every business idea has the potential to fail (some more, others less). Asking your potential partner about what happens if this fails or goes wrong will help you understand a lot about his or her attitude towards failure or glitches. You’ll know whether you’ll be standing alone or have someone with you through a bad patch.
How much do you plan on working?
This question is critical if your potential partner is involved in other ventures or has a full time occupation. In order to avoid feeling like it’s you who end up doing all the work a clear definition of the amount of time and effort each one of you can put in to it is important.
How do you deal with bad stuff?
Business is often about disgruntled customers, bad reviews, returns, people haggling for discounts, unbending retailers. How does your potential partner deal with crisis?
Finding a potential business partner is not simple. There are many things one wants but we cannot get it all in one person. However, a good core team can make or business while a bad one can break it. Investing some time in evaluating which partner is right for you will be worth the effort.
Brand building might seem like a daunting task to newbie entrepreneurs, but it is certainly not rocket science. I believe good branding begins with knowing what you stand for and then telling the world about it. Identifying the core of your brand while just helps you communicate the essence of your brand with clarity.
MORA by Ritika is a brand that has fascinated me from the time I read about it in a small article in the Sunday Mid-Day. I got to know more about MORA (the brand) when I spoke to Ritika MIttal, the creative spark behind MORA when I interviewed her for this blog two years ago. In the interim period I have watched MORA evolve and grow and what stands out for me is how Ritika has positioned this apparel and now home décor brand as a lifestyle. Here are some lessons I’ve learnt:
Know What You Stand For
Ritika is very clear about what MORA is. MORA is a lifestyle, an ode to the weaving traditions of the North East. It is about reviving weaves and a fair trade brand that rewards weavers who create the beautiful weaves for her.
For wearers MORA could be a statement of personal style or fashion. But a MORA buyer inherently is someone who appreciates handloom and handicraft.
One of the great things about MORA is that the collections are limited edition. The collection comes out one in a year and the sale is online for about 4-5 days.
For a designer, this is a great way to operate, buyers seeking bespoke products look forward to limited edition collections. A brand need not be a mass brand. It can service the needs of a particular niche which makes all the difference.
How You Sell
You don’t really need an offline presence at retail stores. You can sell online and do it all by yourself. This is what I learnt from MORA.
Every year, the sale is managed through the Facebook page where links of the collection on Picasa Web are uploaded. The photos are amazing (something all sellers should learn about creating visual appeal) and each photo has a short description about the fabric and weave used. This year one could get prices by manually typing in the product code on the website.
Ritika replies to each mail and handles all the bookings online. While at our end this might seem simple at her end it must involve a great deal of planning and good time management.
Keep Retailers Out
How does one prevent retailers from buying say ten pieces of MORA for a store? Ritika seems to have found a way out there as well. No one buyer can purchase more than 4 MORAs.
Product Line Extensions
While MORA began with sarees, dupattas, stoles and shawls, it has added sarees for little girls and a home décor range in time. Some amazing product line extensions I would say.
My objective in writing this post is not to promote Ritika Mittal or MORA by Ritika, the idea is to help those who are looking to build creative and lifestyle brands in branding and positioning their venture. Very often lack of clarity on this front is what ruins a venture. However, by putting forth this live example, I hope I have helped some of you figure out branding.
Looking to pamper your skin with natural goodness? Or shopping for the perfect gift for a friend? You might find Do Bandar’s natural soaps a great gift or the perfect buy for yourself…
Mayura Kadur and Kaavya Nag are the duo behind the “Do Bandar” brand. They studied together right from class one at The Valley School, Bangalore. Monkeys were a big part of their school life, and the duo draws inspiration from these free-spirited children of nature, who enjoy the fun things in life.
When they put their heads together to create handmade goodness with natural ingredients and essential oils inspired by traditional recipes perfected by generations of mothers, grandmothers and Ayurveda their soap making venture, “Do Bandar” was born.
They started off by making all their products themselves. They now work with two women from a nearby village. They make their products in small batches, at their studio, located on an idyllic farm not far from Bangalore.
They hope to be able to use this as a pilot endeavour, and help generate employment for women in rural areas in the near future.
What I loved about Do Bandar:
The unusual name…it signals a fun, free spirited brand.
They have something for your pets! Innovative!
The duo says that they do not add any parabens, sulphates, foaming agents, artificial colours or other additives into our products. Their products are handmade, hand cut and hand-wrapped with love.
Get in touch with Do Bandar at:
# 65, Singasandra, Off Hosur Road, Bangalore 560068, Karnataka, India.
Or mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.