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Best Tools for Entrepreneurs and small businesses

Best Tools for Entrepreneurs and small businesses

To build a business, you need two things: Labour and Capital.

Entrepreneurs usually face scarcity of both. And, at the same time, they need to get things done to launch their business successfully. Fortunately, many tools and websites are available in the market that will fit your budget and help you in several ways. You can also use these tools to provide complementary services to your clients.

List of tools for entrepreneurs and small businesses

Fiverr – This is one the most powerful sites I have come across. You can get almost anything done at just $5. For example logos, whiteboard explainer videos, articles, mailers, business plans, Mobile App reviews, etc. When I started my business, I was not aware of this site. So I ended up paying hundreds of dollars for services that were available for just $5 on Fiverr. Visit this site to know more, and I am sure, you will definitely buy at least one item for your business.

WordPress – There is nothing better than WordPress if you want to develop a robust website for your business. You can develop basic sites for free. However, to give a professional look and feel, and enhanced functionality, you may need to purchase a premium theme which is discussed next.

Elegant Themes – I hired five professional web developers and wasted thousands of dollars before using Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. At a fraction of the cost, I was able to develop many awesome sites with the help of this theme. If you want an excellent corporate website for your new business, Elegant Themes will serve the purpose.

Grammarly – It is a very good proofreading software. With the help of this tool, you can write professional blogs, website content, and highly effective emails without having a fear of making a stupid spelling and grammatical errors. I always check my articles on Grammarly before posting them on this blog.

iStock – You don’t need to hire a professional graphic designer to design social media or digital ad campaign creatives. If you require extensive usage of images and graphics, subscribe to their monthly membership. Once you start using iStock, you will hardly feel the need for professional designers for daily graphic requirements. All the images used on this blog are purchased from iStock.

PhotoScape – PhotoScape makes professional image editing super easy. It has an intuitive interface and does a fantastic job. The tool has free as well as premium versions. I use the free version of the software which has sufficient features.

Copyscape – Plagiarized content can be extremely harmful to your site. If you outsource your content requirements, then use Copyscape to check the plagiarism. This tool checks if any portion of content is copied from another site and tell you the sources from where the content is copied.

Whenever I try a new tool and find it useful, I will add them here. I recommend only those tools that I have used and liked personally.

If you know great tools, websites, or applications that solve pain points of entrepreneurs, please suggest them through comments, and I will include the same in the list after a quick trial.

Content Marketing Strategy Template

Content Marketing Strategy Template

The Content marketing strategy template is useful for every business. It helps in streamlining the content marketing efforts. An excellent content strategy template enables you to stay focused on things that matter the most. Ideas and thoughts have no limits or boundaries. You need to provide a right direction to your mind in order to get meaningful things done. This is what a sound strategy does to your business.

Any standard content marketing strategy has six main elements:

  1. Timeline
  2. Business Analysis
  3. Objective and Goals
  4. Strategy and Planning
  5. Implementation
  6. Result Measurement and Optimization

I have used a simplified version of the strategy template that I developed for SixPL (for this site itself) to explain the fundamental elements of the template. You can customize it as per your specific business requirements.

1. Timeline – Six Months

The timeline is crucial. Content marketing is effective only in the medium to long term. Therefore, you should give at least six months to see if your content marketing strategy delivers the desired results. To generate immediate results, you may use paid advertising such Google Adwords or Social media ads.

2. Business Analysis

Business Model

We are into digital marketing. Most of our revenue comes from providing services like content development, SEO, SMO, Email marketing, Affiliate marketing, and PPC Advertising.

Target Audience

Would-be entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, CEOs and Directors of MSMEs, and individuals who wish to learn digital marketing or want to make money online legitimately.

It is important to note that our services are not industry or location specific. We have served a diverse range of customers from across the world. Thus, we have not considered the country or industry of our target audience. However, these are two critical parameters that should not be ignored while defining the target audience.

To make your content marketing strategy successful, define a precise target audience.

3. Objectives and Goals

Objective

In this section, you need to answer: “why are you developing a content marketing strategy for your business? What do you aim to achieve by doing the activities?”

At SixPL, the primary objective of content marketing strategy is to drive readership to our content.

Goals

This is the measurable outcome that you intend to accomplish at the end of the timeframe. You need to set realistic goals. Otherwise, the entire exercise will go in vain.

For SixPL, we have set following goals:

S.NoGoalCurrent StatusTarget
1Number of visitors (Sessions)75 visitors per day300 visitors per day
2Number of Email Subscribers100023
3Facebook Page Likes10000400
4Twitter Followers20000208
5LinkedIn Personal Connections50003000
6LinkedIn Company Page Followers2000725

 

It is important to understand how to arrive at a particular number while working on goals. In my view and experience, above numbers are the minimum that we should achieve in order to justify the investment in content marketing. For example, in 2016, we saw an average of 75 visitors per day. In the first half of 2017, we want this figure to reach at an average of 300 visitors per day. Same goes, with other goals.

I will also revise these goals on a monthly basis if required so that we adapt to the prevailing scenario. However, we will notify the same to our readers and mention the reasons for revising the goals to maintain the transparency.

It is noteworthy that, although we provide content marketing services to our clients, we never did that for ourselves. The main reason was work overload and lack of bandwidth. We were so busy providing excellent services to our clients (and to earn money) that we completely ignored self-marketing. However, since we want to move to the next level of business, we can no longer afford to ignore our own branding.

We have not included the number of leads in our objective or goals, as we have undertaken this activity for branding and not for the lead generation. However, we do expect to generate some leads, and we will keep you posted on this. At present, we have a separate lead generation strategy, which I will discuss in another blog.

4. Strategy and Planning

Develop a strategy keeping your target audience in mind. Remember that through content marketing; you should aim to bring a positive change to your customers’ life. Content marketing is worthless if it doesn’t make your readers think or act.

Following is the strategy in brief that I developed for SixPL:

Center of our strategy is to provide useful and unbiased information and insights related to digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and marketing technology. We will only produce evergreen content and use Google keyword planner tool to optimize every article for a minimum of one keyword and a maximum of three keywords.

In addition to this, we will also publish an off-beat article on Saturdays that would revolve around current affairs and positive things around us.

No article will be published without optimizing it for Google. The headline of the article will be written in a way that describes the content more accurately, rather than attention grabbing clicks baits that are used to get more traffic from social media.

A separate guideline will be developed to accommodate guest posts that fit our overall strategy.

Content Calendar

A new blog will be published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Newsletter to be broadcasted every Tuesday

Social Media Calendar

One Status Update Per day
On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – New Blogs

Tuesday – Creative

Thursday – Old Blog

Saturdays – Off-beat Article (From our blog or from across the Internet)

5. Content Promotion Strategy

Gone are the days when great content attracted a huge audience. Today, you need to spend a significant amount of time in promoting the new as well as old blogs. Otherwise, it will hardly be visible and read by anyone.

Here is the promotional calendar that I have developed for SixPL:

On the Blog Publishing Days (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays):

Blog will be published on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays Around 9 pm IST

After publishing a blog post following needs to be done:

  • URL Tagging (UTM Tagging)
  • Post it on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Promote it on LinkedIn Groups
  • Promoting it on Facebook through Paid Campaign
  • Share it on Inbound
  • Share it on GrowthHacker
  • Share it on Alltop
  • Engagement through comments on five websites
  • Publishing a blog on LinkedIn through Personal Account
  • Answering related questions Quora
  • Bookmarking

6. Measurement and Optimization

Initially, use basic methods such as UTM tagging and Google Analytics to measure the traffic conversion. For SixPL, we have decided to review the progress on a monthly basis and make required changes in strategy or implementation that can help us in meeting our goals and objectives.

Conclusion

You need to plan as much in detail as possible to overcome major challenges. For SixPL, I have even decided 90% of the blog topics and titles that would be created over the next six months. This gives me a clear picture of how the entire content will look like at the end of our first ever campaign. We have also planned the detailed list of activities and the number of hours I along my team is going to invest in content marketing. At the end of the campaign, this will give a fair idea of ROI on content marketing and whether we should continue doing it with some improvements or choose something else.

Watch this space for regular updates on the progress we make. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the updates in your email.

If you decide to implement a similar strategy for your business, do let me know, how it is going for you.

What is your opinion on this strategy? Will it work? Would you like to develop a similar strategy for your business? Or you have something better?

Looking forward to your valuable feedback through comments.

An Unusual Way to Start a Business and Succeed

An Unusual Way to Start a Business and Succeed

Some human’s perverse nature makes easy things look difficult. Ignore the hype and hoopla about startups and things become simple. Starting up and running a business is easier than we think. It may be demanding initially, but the rewards and joy entirely justify the hard work. If you have an idea and planning to start a business in future, then do it now.

The most unusual way to ensure the success is to adhere to core principles of running a business:

Money, money, and money

In its basic form, a business involves a buyer and a seller. The end objective of a vendor (or business) is to make money by selling products or services. As an entrepreneur, you need three things to build and sell a product or a service; time, money and expertise.

Time – Time is constant for everyone. You will get your share of 24 hours without doing anything.

Expertise – It takes the time to develop new capabilities and competencies. However, your current expertise is sufficient to start a business, irrespective of your education background, work experience, etc.

Money – This is the essence of life. It is easy to spend and hard to earn. At no point in time, you can’t afford to run out of cash. Venture capital, business loan, angel funding, etc. can only help if you have sufficient money to take care of necessary things. Moreover, money can also buy time and expertise (by hiring new people).

To build a successful business, you need to ensure consistent inflow of money by utilizing the time, money and expertise at your disposal. The faster you execute the cycle, the sooner you reach the climax and feel the pleasure.

No matter what business you are in, you need to take care of following to ensure an early success:

First thing first – Get Money

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched” – Mike Tyson

Never wait for having a business name, website, brochure, visiting card, an office or even a perfect product or service. Your face value has higher credibility than all the marketing collaterals. Define your product or service and sell the same to five customers before doing anything else. And I am not talking about taking feedback and free bits of advice from your friends and family. (We all know their standard answers). Until someone pays for your products, it is usually useless. The paying customers give best punches and become the ultimate source of inspiration. Even the greatest Gurus can’t teach you what you learn about your business in the process of acquiring first five customers.

According to a survey, most of the startups fail due to following 20 reasons.

 Reasons% of Startups stated this reason for their failureHow it can be addressed
No market need for their products42Gauge the market need by trying to acquire customers early
Ran out of cash29Constant inflow of cash - Acquiring more clients
Not the right team23Founders' Expertise
Get Outcompeted19Innovation
Pricing/Cost Issues18You can identify pricing mistakes if you talk to prspective clients
Poor Product17By trying to acquire new clients as early as possible
Need/Lack Business Model17Acquiring new clients
Poor Marketing14New client acquisition
Ignore Customers14Customer Service
Product Mis-timed13Market Research/Client Acquisition
Lose Focus13Founders' vision
Disharmony on team/investors13Founders competency
Pivot Gone Bad10
Lack Passion9Founders competency
Bad Location9Relocation
No Financing/Investor Interest8Bootstraping, Acquiring more clients
Legal Challenges8
Don't use Network Advisors8
Burn Out8Founders competency
Failure to Pivot7

If you manage to gain five clients, in the beginning, you can address top 10 challenges that leads to failure for almost 70-75% of the startups.

How to Increase Sales Immediately

Be Frugal

For first six months, spend on things that matter the most. Be frugal with time as well as money. First six to twelve months determine how far you will go. And running out of cash is not an option. Whenever you need to buy something, consider alternate ethical ways to get things done with minimum expenses. The only thing that you shouldn’t compromise is the quality of product or services. For everything else, it is okay to be mediocre.

Prefer Technology over People

Many times you may feel the need to hire more people to share the workload, do technical tasks, or simple consultation. Explore technological solutions before posting a job requirement on social media or job portals. For example, you can develop a basic website at no cost using free WordPress themes or even create an excellent site by purchasing a Premium WordPress theme at a fraction of what a web developer will charge to develop the high-quality site.  Similarly, you can buy custom logo, explainer videos, etc. from Fiverr at just $5. Today, technological advancements have made it possible to do the complex task using simple web applications. You can reduce operational cost significantly by using these services. Over time, you may need people to scale up your business. However, at the initial stage, hire full-time employees will create a liability. If at all you have no option but to hire someone, try to engage with freelancers on Fiverr, Freelancer or Upwork.

Best Tools for Entrepreneurs and small businesses

Believe in Yourself

You are more important than your business, products or customers. Believe in yourself. Trust and follow your inner voices. In entrepreneurship, there is no term such as failure. You will either succeed or learn something that is invaluable. Business schools and corporate world doesn’t teach these life lessons.

Everyone has their unique way of running a business. There are no fix rules of winning or losing. Those who learn and evolve quickly tend to be more successful than others. In difficult times, just go to basics, and I am sure you will get all the answers.

I wish you all the best. I would love to hear your opinion or feedback in comments.

15 Unique and Profitable Business Ideas for Better India

15 Unique and Profitable Business Ideas for Better India

India is among the fastest-growing economies in the world. Enormous domestic market and increasing middle class with high disposable incomes have insulated the country from global economic challenges. Most successful firms in India are export oriented. While this strategy works well for the companies, the domestic market remains underserved. Most of the startups in India have copy pasted the business models of international firms (mainly American startups). Therefore, the local market has an enormous potential for new ventures that can meet Indian needs.

If you are looking for traditional business that requires low invest, read following article:

Low Investment Business Ideas

However, if you are looking for innovative business ideas that can be scaled quickly, here is a list of business ideas that can be turned into a successful business models to serve domestic market:

If you are aware of firms that offer services related to the listed ideas, please mentioned them in comments and I will include the list in blog for readers’ reference:

1. Real Estate Research Firms

If I want to purchase or rent a home or office, I have no option but to spend a lot of time in finding the right information. Commission based business model leads to miss-selling by most of the brokers. Although I am ready to pay a fixed price for an extensive research that includes visiting some of the properties or localities, taking new images and providing a fair analysis of the properties. I can’t find a firm or an independent professional who can do this work. Some broker free portals are good for nothing as they have very limited useful information. Some research firms work for high-end corporates or provide subscription-based analysis which is too standardized to be helpful.

Another micro-business model (perhaps a blog is enough) that can provide accurate construction updates of new projects or recent developments in localities. Currently, you need to visit personally to get information that can easily be accessed through a platform.

2. Sales outsourcing services for B2B Businesses

Major e-commerce players such as Flipkart and Amazon work as brokers for B2C sellers. While the e-commerce is booming for B2C market, B2B sales are almost untouched by the technological evolution, especially in the services sector. Some of the sales processes such as tele calling, mass mailing, inbound call centers are outsourced. There is a great market for end-to-end outsourcing of sales and marketing for high-value products and services.

3. Lead Generation Services

Affiliate marketing has solved the need for result based marketing services to an extent. However, it is not popular among the Indian small businesses market. Also, there is a vast scope for lead generation services for offline and B2B companies that can’t take direct advantage of affiliate marketing technology.

4. Technology Business Consultants

If I want to start a payment gateway business or a mobile payment system, I don’t know where to find relevant information. Similarly, non-technology companies require the help of consultants to start technology-based businesses. Currently, the firms rely on technology services providers (such as developers) who hardly know anything other than coding. Large companies such as Infosys and TCS provide such services. However, they are too expensive to be approached by a small to medium business.

5. Independent Media

The news seems to be a thing of the past. A majority of media houses are either cheerleaders or adversaries of government and corporates. Newslaundry is making a right effort in this direction. However, they are still more focused on media critique and unbiased opinion rather than simple everyday news. There is an enormous scope for independent media entity that provides straightforward news without putting their stupid views that waste readers’ time.

6. Government Purchase

This kind of a business has a huge scope but requires connections in government. The defense purchase (or any government purchase) is still a messy and an expensive process. Startups can use technology for streamlining the purchase made by the government departments. Big corporates will never do it as they are the largest beneficiary of the current mess.

7. Content Writers

India is the second biggest country in terms of English speaking population. However, there are very few professionals who brace ghostwriting or content writing as a full-time profession. Therefore, there is a massive shortage of writers who are also a subject matter experts in specific domains. Excellent writers can earn more than IIT/IIM Graduates.

8. Queue Management Mobile App

The hue and cry by media over long queues after recent currency ban exposed their ignorance of rural India. People in the countryside are required to be in long lines for necessary daily requirements. From railway ticket, ATMs, cinema halls to banks, you can find long queue in almost every small town and village. Queue management apps can help institutions manage queues efficiently and save a large population from an unnecessary hassle.

9. Career Counseling

Pathetic is the mild term to describe our education system. It produces people who don’t know what they should and can do even after completing their studies. A professional career counseling can not only help students identify their strengths and weaknesses but also suggest in choosing the right schools, colleges, courses, and jobs. Currently, most of the career counselors act as an agent of sham institutions who pay commission for every admission.

10. Getting rid of unwanted Guests and noises

In many localities of India (especially in urban areas), it is difficult for sensitive people to sleep peacefully in the night. Sometimes stray dogs bark continuously, or pigeons keep fighting in the bedroom windows. Stray cows and buffaloes create traffic jams while monkeys create havoc all around in a busy market. Organized networks of beggars present a different set of challenges for people on the street. Currently, there is no way to get rid of such small but critical problems.  Addressing these issues will be a great social work in itself.

11. Hiring of semi-skilled and skilled labor

If you want to start a restaurant, salon, beauty parlor or a taxi services business, you will have a nightmare in finding people. Hiring plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc. for minor household work is another big challenge in urban and semi-urban areas. On the one hand, people blame governments for not creating enough jobs while on the contrary; businesses are shutting down due to lack of skilled individuals. The government has established National Skill Development Center for training and placement of semi-skilled and skilled labors. However, intermediaries are the biggest beneficiary of this initiative. Some portals such as Babajobs, Careersma, Quikr and OLX have done a good job of providing a platform to hire such people. However, their scope is limited to the major cities of India.

12. Car Pooling and Hiring a private car

Quality public transport is still a dream for the majority of Indians in urban as well as rural areas. Uber and Ola have done a brilliant job of providing cabs on demand in the main cities. Their reach is limited to commercial vehicles and big cities. Providing GPS based car and bike pooling facility for private individuals can be a significant boost to the public transport infrastructure.

Most office goers have their car parked during working hours. Renting the idle car will not only help others, but owners can also have an alternate source of income. This will also contribute to reducing congestion on the road. The implementation will always be difficult for this kind of business. But, this is what entrepreneurs are made for – to solve difficult problems.

13. Solid Waste Disposal

Solid waste is one of the leading causes of concern for urban areas in India. Municipal bodies don’t have the competency to address the concern. A technology based startup can easily get government funding to address this problem.

14. Laundry Services

Some startups in the major cities provide laundry services. However, its reach is still limited. The demand for such services is increasing in semi-urban as well as rural India. Although this business has a lot of implementation challenges in 2nd and 3rd tier cities of India, it also presents enormous opportunities to entrepreneurs.

15. Pending Court Cases

Our judicial system is amazingly slow. More than 20 million cases are pending in district courts in India. People hardly have any faith in the justice system. Criminals and corrupts are rarely punished whereas innocent and minor offenders spend years behind the bar. Courts will not fix the problem as the judiciary is not accountable to any institution in the democracy. No government will ever want to solve this issue as the politicians are the biggest beneficiary of the current system. Legal startups should step in to use technology to settle civil cases through arbitration or easing the burden on lower courts. Activists should build public opinion to pressurize governments to bring in judicial reforms.

I will keep adding more ideas to the list in future. Some may be far-fetched; some may look promising, while others might look laughable or ridiculous. But that is okay. If you also come across any pain points or business ideas (even if they are not implementable), please write them through comments, and I will include them on the blog with due credits. Also, please share your input and feedback on ideas mentioned above. Together, we can build a better India.

One Thing That Makes People Filthy Rich

One Thing That Makes People Filthy Rich

When I thought of writing this blog, I asked myself: “Am I the right person to advise on wealth; I stay in a rented accommodation and work 10-12 hours a day to earn my living.”

“No” was the clear response from my heart. “I am a nobody ” and therefore, I can’t advise people on how to become wealthy.

However, as an entrepreneur, I can share my experiences and lessons that I learned the hard ways. It may help others who have similar aspirations.

Here is my take on what makes some people wealthier than others.

To create enormous wealth, you need to have only one thing:

Rich Mentality

If you have the rich mentality, other things will follow.

People with rich mentality follow their heart and use available resources to multiply their wealth over time and in a legal way.

People with a poor mentality, which I call lottery mentality, are usually unaware of their current strengths or resources and spend more time looking for ‘ways’ to make more money rather than making money.

Both kinds of people are innovative, hard working, believe in work ethics and honesty, have good intentions and want to do good for themselves as well as for their community. However, people with rich mentality are the ones who successfully do what they want to do while others always feel the lack of time, dissatisfaction with what they are doing and always want to do more without knowing what exactly needs to be done.

The good thing is, it is easy to change the mentality if you want and this is how you can do it:

Poverty is the cause of all the evils

Respect money. Take control of your wealth. Don’t let others decide what is your worth. If you are doing a job and unable to take control of things, either move on or start a side business. A simple, even part-time business can allow you to have greater control over your wealth.

If you are already into a business, don’t let competition or even customers decide your strategy. Know the worth of your products or services, set a reasonable price, innovate and push yourself to move faster, grow bigger and get better at what you do.

I want it, but I don’t

Don’t let the choices and options confuse you. If you are ever skeptical about the direction you have chosen, remember this:

“This world has enough space to accommodate all types of products and services. A cobbler in Czechoslovakia invested his entire savings in buying machinery to make shoes. Soon, a traditional one man shop had ten people working on a fixed schedule and weekly wage, which was rare for its time. The company did a lot of firsts and went on to become a leading shoe manufacturer in the world. We know them as “Bata” Shoes. Almost all big brands began as a small business working in a highly competitive market. The difference between small businesses which go on to become market leaders (or grow to a significant size) and others is perhaps the vision of their founders. While one set of founders innovate and work out of comfort zone to make the product better, others constantly look out for other avenues from which they can make fast money.”

Have faith in yourself and the choices you have made. A little innovation can take you far.

If you are planning to start a business and not sure what to do, then

Do whatever you are good at

If you are not good at anything, then choose something you like or love to do. And you can work for 10-15 hours a day without getting tired.

If you love to do a lot of things, then

Pick ‘one thing’ that is the easiest to start, requires less investment and you don’t need any help from others to execute it flawlessly.

In short, it is important to believe in whatever you are doing. Love what you do or do what you love. Starting something just for the sake of money will need some help from God in terms of luck. If you consider yourself lucky, then you can take this route also to become rich and wealthy.

If you are willing to start a business but don’t have sufficient capital then start a business that requires low investment. To get some ideas on low investment business ideas, read this article:

Low Investment Business Ideas

I made a mistake and learned from it

For me, it has been one of the best learning so far.  When our consulting services business was booming, I spent significant energy and time in developing a product for faster growth. We were taking an uncertain path at the cost of a well-established business. This flawed strategy lowered the pace of our established business and stifled innovation. The focus on current business line boosted revenue by 40% per annum and expected to grow at the same rate for at least the next few years. I know many people who have ruined their best wealth creator by getting into too many things at a time.

Meanwhile, it is a good strategy to stay in a rented accommodation and save enough capital to reinvest in the business. Even a mediocre business generates better returns than real estate.

Wealth is the most debated point of all time. If you disagree with any of the points mentioned above, please write it through comments. Let us help each other to achieve our financial goals.

Why banning Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 Notes is the best decision by any government since independence?

Why banning Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 Notes is the best decision by any government since independence?

On November 8, 2016, India took a decisive step of banning Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes to fight against corruption, black money, terror funding and fledging fake currency industry. The government has taken several measures to make the transition as smooth as possible without leaving the scope for any loophole that allows black money holders to launder their illegal wealth. In India, the corrupts are well connected and influential. They consider themselves above the law and can go to any extent to establish their superiority over other fellow Indian citizens. Since they play a critical role in the formation of every government, it is almost impossible for any government to make a policy that goes against the interest of such powerful and wealthy people.

The Government of India led by Mr. Narendra Modi has pleasantly surprised its citizens by taking one of the biggest policy decisions since independent India to fight against graft. The new rule may cause temporary inconvenience to millions of people across the country. However, its positive impact may be felt for generations to come.

The fight against corruption is a continuous process and will continue till humans exist on earth. No single rule or policy can eliminate the corruption completely. What matters the most is whether we are moving in the right direction or not. Keeping aside our political inclinations, let us analyze the current policy to see its long term ramifications and where we are heading.

Here are some facts from the recent policy decisions made by Government of India to fight corruption:

  1. Existing notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 will not be valid from 9 November 2016 onwards.
  2. RBI will shortly issue (On 10 November) new notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000.
  3. Rs. 2000 currency will be the first in India
  4. The old notes can be deposited in banks and post offices accounts from November 10 to December 30, 2016, without any limit. You need to carry Aadhar and PAN cards to deposit the money. After December 30, you can deposit the old notes in some designated offices of Reserve Bank of India with reasons and declarations. While there is no limit on deposit of old notes, you can exchange old notes worth INR 4000 up to 24 November from any banks and post offices accounts.
  5. ATM withdrawals will be limited to INR 10,000 per day and INR 20,000 per week. The limit will be increased later.
  6. Until November 11, Rail, Bus, Air Ticket Counters, Petrol Stations (authorized by public sector companies) and government hospitals, milk booths, Safal, Crematoria and Burial grounds will accept old notes. Tourists can exchange old notes at Airports.
  7. Banks and ATMs will be closed for Public on November 9 and while some of the ATMs may not function on November 10. The cash withdrawal limit will be Rs. 2000 for 9 & 10 November.
  8. The cheque, card, and online payments will remain unaffected. The coins and other notes of lower denominations will continue to be legal tender
  9. New notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000 will be available in ATMs from 11 November.

Connecting the Dots

GoI started one of the biggest financial inclusion schemes of the world – Jan Dhan Yojna – to integrate the weaker section of the society into mainstream financial and banking system. More than 250 million (25 crores) new bank accounts have been opened as on November 2, 2016, under this scheme. Almost 200 million RuPay cards have issued under the same scheme. This scheme helped a lot of poor people to get connected with the banking system of the country.

Then through a Voluntary Income Disclosure Scheme, the government gave an opportunity to people to legalize unaccounted wealth by paying a flat 45% tax. At the same time, Income Tax department has become hyperactive and tracking all large transactions. PAN card has been mandatory for transactions of more than Rs. 2 lakh. Several other measures were taken to make black money transactions difficult. The current decision taken by the government is not a diversion tactic to divert attention but a part of its carefully crafted strategy to eliminate corruption. Thus, expect some more stringent policies and tough decisions to fight graft in the future. The next steps by the government will not close the loopholes but also strengthen the enforcement procedures to track and prosecute regular offenders.

Conclusion

There are some genuine concerns over the introduction of Rs. 2000 notes. Since the new notes have improved security features, it will be far easier to track them as compared to old currencies. Some people may truly face temporary hardship for few days. I suggest them that a few minutes of painful exercise in the morning can transform the way your body and mind works for the entire day and even for whole life. This is one of the best decision taken by any government since independence. And people should accept small inconveniences with grace. At the time of writing this blog, the real estate shares have tumbled by 20%. It clearly indicates the future impact of this decision on prices of properties. The price correction in real estate should be big news for lakhs of home buyers who wish to buy a home but can’t do so as the current rates are ridiculously high.
The new rule will also impact political parties including the ruling BJP which will find it difficult to fund their extravagant campaigns. The best part of the announcement lies in the way government has handled it. At the time when the bedroom discussions become the breaking news, the entire useless Indian media and political establishment have been shown their real “Aukaat” by the Modi government. The government and RBI must have made extensive preparation for printing and introducing new notes by November 11. However, none of the media houses or political leaders were able to get an iota of insider information. I call this the best example of “minimum government and maximum governance.” It also shows the honest intentions of the current establishment at the centre to eliminate the menace of corruption.

I will keep adding new facts and figures on this blog. Meanwhile, I would like to know your critical opinion on this issue. If you find my analysis biased or incomplete, don’t hesitate to point it through comments. If you like it, please like, comment and share it to spread the word.

Install a free WordPress theme

Install a free WordPress theme

In WordPress, a theme is used to change the design, look, and feel of the website. For example, if you want to change the background color, images, headings, menu display style, etc., you need to make changes within a theme. However, if wish to add new functionality, like adding a career page to show job listing, you need to use WordPress Plugins. I will write a new blog on what to expect from a WordPress theme and how to choose best WordPress theme for your business.

In this blog, we will focus on how to install a free WordPress theme:

To explain the process, I have taken a live example of digitalconsulting.co.in. I will refer your website as yourwebsite.com. (You should replace yourwebsite.com with actual URL of your site to practice following steps:

1. Visit yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.

wordpress-admin-login

2. Enter Admin Username and Password to login into WordPress Admin Panel.

wordpress-admin-panel

3. Take cursor on ‘Appearance’ on left vertical menu

click-on-themes-in-wordpress-admin-panel

4. Click on Themes. Three themes namely, Twenty Sixteen, Twenty Fifteen, and Twenty Fourteen will be displayed on the screen. The theme ‘Twenty Sixteen’ is currently in active mode as shown in the image. You can create a basic blog or site using the current theme, Twenty Sixteen. However, if you want to see more design options, click on ‘Add New Theme.’

 

click-to-add-new-wordpress-theme

5. Click on ‘Popular’ to check most used free WordPress themes. You can also search themes using keywords. In the example, I have used a keyword ‘Restaurant’ to find out themes that are designed for Restaurant business. Note that a theme developed for say, a restaurant industry can be utilized to develop site for any business (and not just restaurant business).

wordpress-theme-search

6. Click on Details and Preview to see Live Preview of your website. (For the purpose of this tutorial, I will install theme named ‘Vogue’ that can be found under ‘Popular’ WordPress themes.). The ‘Live Preview’ shows, how your website will look for end users. If you are sure about the theme, simply click on ‘Install’ to install the theme.

details-priview-of-the-wordpress-theme

wordpress-theme-priview

 

7. If you like the design of the theme, click on ‘Install’ and the theme will be installed. Click on ‘Activate’ to apply the theme to website.

And you have the new theme installed and activated. You now need to customize the theme as per your requirements. At any point in time, you can change the theme to change the front end design of the site. If you are facing any challanges, contact me through comments and I will try to resolve the same for free.

Install WordPress using cPanel – A Beginner’s Guide

Install WordPress using cPanel – A Beginner’s Guide

Installing WordPress using cPanel is easy. It takes no more than two minutes to complete the installation process. Here is a step by step guide to install WordPress using cPanel:

1. Login into cPanel

Hosting service providers send cPanel credentials to registered email. The standard URL for accessing cPanel is yourwebsite.com/cpanel. Enter the username and password provided by your hosting provider.

2. Locate Softaculous Apps Installer and Click on ‘WordPress’ icon

After logging into the cPanel, scroll down to locate Softaculous Apps Installer and click on ‘WordPress’:

install wordpress using cpanel

 

3. Click on ‘Install’ or ‘Install Now’ as shown in the figure:

click-on-install-now

4. Complete the Installation Process

Complete the installation process by filling up the details:

a. Choose Protocol – http:// (This is the default option so you don’t have to do anything)

b. Choose Domain – Select the domain name from the Dropdown. This is the domain where WordPress will be installed. In this example, I am installing the WordPress on domain digitalconsulting.co.in, so, I have selected the domain as the same.

c. In Directory – Leave this field blank (delete ‘wp’ if it appears by default) to install WordPress on yoursite.com (root directory). If you want to install WordPress on yoursite.com/blog then write ‘blog’ in this field. I have left it blank as I want access to the WordPress site on digitalconsulting.co.in

d. Under Site Setting, Write the Site Name and Site Description. At this point, you can simply write anything as the same can be changed later.

e. Under Admin Setting, choose Admin Username and Password and Admin Email. For security purposes, I recommend using any username other than common terms like Admin, Info, Website Name etc. Make sure to create a complex password and note it down for future use.

f. Click on Install. You can choose to receive installation details that include admin username, password, etc. by entering a valid email id at the bottom field.

complete-wordpress-installation

And, you are done! That is all required to install WordPress for your website. The WordPress comes with a default theme. You can continue with the same theme or install new themes if you wish to change the design. In the next blog post, we will discuss how to install and customize a WordPress theme.

Create a Responsive Website in Six Easy Steps

Create a Responsive Website in Six Easy Steps

I developed this site in less than an hour. And I am not boasting. If you are a beginner and don’t know anything about technology, you may take 2-3 hours to develop a responsive site.

For the newbies, responsive sites mean site layouts that provide best user experience across all devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktop monitors.

Here is a Step-by-Step guide to developing a responsive website:

Register a domain name

Our domain name is sixpl.com, which is registered on GoDaddy. Domain name is like your name that identifies unique IP Addresses or websites. A domain name is always unique and can be associated with only one website. You can register a domain name on GoDaddy at the cost of $10 per annum. If you are registering the domain for the first time, you can get it for free from web hosting providers as explained in next section.

Purchase Web Hosting

Web hosting, also known as web space or web server, is used to store all the data related to your website. The data pertaining to this article is hosted (stored) on a particular web server. When you type a domain name or a URL, the corresponding data is fetched from web servers and presented to you in the browsers. For the purpose of website development, we simply need to know about how to purchase the web hosting without going into details of its working. You can buy the web hosting from BlueHost. You can also get a domain name for free from BlueHost if you have not registered it already.

Update the Nameservers

Nameservers link the domain name and web hosting. When a user types a domain name into the internet browser, it is the nameserver that translates the domain name in computer’s language and links it with web hosting. If you have purchased the domain name and web hosting from different companies, you need to update the nameservers of  the domains. Here is a guide on how you can update the nameservers on GoDaddy. If you have purchased the domain name from other companies, please log into the account and follow the same procedure. Except for the design and placement of menu items, the process of updating the nameservers is same for every domain registrars.

Install WordPress

WordPress is a free content management system that is used to develop dynamic websites. There are many inbuilt features, like navigation menu, creating new pages, users registration and login and much more that can be used to develop a great website. You can just drag and drop to integrate powerful features on your site. Note that the core of the WordPress helps you in developing various features of the site. For designing, look and feel, color combination, etc. WordPress themes are used, which we will address in the next section. Guide for installing WordPress.

Install a New WordPress Theme

To change the design and layout of the website, you need to install a WordPress theme. There are hundreds of free themes that come inbuilt into the WordPress system. You can install any of the themes that are close to your requirement.

Customize the WordPress Theme

Once you have installed a theme, you can customize it further to change the color, layouts, navigation items, adding new plugins, etc. as per your requirements. And, like MS Office, you don’t need to know any coding to make these changes.

Write Content

At this stage, your website will be ready with the theme demo content. Now you need to write the content and post it on appropriate pages.

And you are done! That is all you need to develop a basic responsive website. There are several companies like wix.com and webs.com that provide domain name registration, web hosting, nameservers management and website builder all at one place. So you simply need to sign up with them and provide monthly fees to design and host your own website. While these services look ideal for beginners, the features, functionalities and design capabilities are highly limited. So, if you wish to integrate a new promotional feature on your website, you may need to hire an experienced developer to do that. The Plugin system in WordPress eliminates such difficulties. You can integrate 90% of the features of Time.com or forbes.com without writing a single line of code.

If you like this article, please share it on social media sites. You can also ask your queries through comments, and I will help you get started with your brand new website.

How to Change Domain Nameservers

How to Change Domain Nameservers

Nameservers link the domain name and web servers. We have already discussed how to register a domain name and purchase a hosting plan. Now, in this blog, we will learn how to link the web hosting to the domain name. This is required for the website to be accessed from anywhere on the internet.

Here is a step by step guide on changing NameServers of domains registered with GoDaddy:

Step 1: Login to GoDaddy Account

Step 2: Click on Right Top Login Icon and then Click on Manage Domains

how-to-change-nameserver-on-godaddy

Step 3: Select the domain name by checking the box to the left of the domain name. Click on ‘Nameserver’ and then click on ‘Set Nameservers’ as shown in figure below:

step-3-update-nameservers-of-domains

Step 4: Click on Custom in the pop-up. After that, click on ‘Add one now’ as shown in the figure.

add-custom-nameserver

Step 5: After purchasing the server you would have received the details in the email. Enter Values of Nameserver1 & Nameserver 2 in the respective textboxes as shown in the figure.

A typical mail from BlueHost contains Nameserver details like this

nameservers-details-received-in-email

Put the values of Name Server 1 in the top box and Name Server 2 in the bottom box. And click on Ok.

name-server-1-name-server-2

And it is done. The changes in Nameservers may take up to 24 hours to get reflected. However, it happens quickly and may take few minutes to get updated.

At this stage, the domain and hosting set-up are complete. Now you can simply install the WordPress in 30 seconds and start blogging or developing awesome websites.

Through comments, do let me know if it worked for you? In case, if you are facing any challenges, write to me through comments, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.