My Review of CouponzGuru website

If you are a fan of online shopping like me, I bet you are always on the lookout for the best deals. Why not make use of coupons to get amazing stuff at much lesser rates.  As more and more people are choosing to shop online, a number of coupon websites have popped up in the virtual world. Ecommerce has advanced to the extent that now you are able to get discount offers all around the year. Your savings are not limited to holiday sales only!

Today I will share my experience with a great coupons website: CouponzGuru. It is loaded with coupons offering discounts from a large number of online shopping websites.

What does CouponzGuru offer?

CouponzGuru is simply a coupon or voucher website which allows you to get discount codes for various online shopping websites. You can get the discount codes without spending anything and use them to get some amazing discounts.

CouponzGuru offers coupons for some very popular online shopping websites like Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, FirstCry, Snapdeal, homeshop18 and the so on. The discounts are not limited to fashion and clothes only. The website is full of coupons for other categories as well like Mobile & Electronics, Home & Furnishings and Baby & Kids.

Another interesting aspect is that you can get discount coupons for travel and online food orders too. You can easily save on flights and hotel bookings through Yatra, Makemytrip, Goibibo, Expedia and Travelguru. There are coupons available for latest domestic flights as well. If you are a frequent traveler, you must check out latest deals through the website before making any purchases or bookings. Foodies can enjoy discounted rates for Dominos, Foodpanda, TastyKhana and Justeat.

How it works:

 The concept is really simple. All you have to do is to search the website you want to shop from. As you find the coupon, click on the prominent button on the right side of the coupon saying “Click to get Coupon”. You will be automatically redirected to your desired website. Shop through the website as you always do. At the checkout, your coupon gets automatically applied. So simple!

 My review of the website:

 Pros

  • Easy Navigation: The website is well-designed, easy to use and convenient to navigate through. The featured stores are all provided prominently.  There is nothing complicated about the website design.
  • Neatly categorized: You can browse through neatly categorized tabs on the top bar. There are separate tabs for shopping, Travel and Food. Under the online shopping tab, there are sub-categories like Mobile & Electronics, Home & Furnishings and Baby & Kids.
  •  Redirection to the dealer website: A click on the prominent button to the right of any coupon takes the user directly to the dealer website. There is no fuss of registration or any complicated procedure to apply the coupon.
  • Deal of the day: There is a daily special discount offer located on the top of “featured and latest Coupons”. The Deal of the Day can be very handy for quick buyers.

Cons

  • Although the coupons are easy to use and simple to apply, it might be confusing for the first time users. There should be an introductory note for the new users on how to use the coupons.

Overall, the website is very neat and user friendly. A large number of active deals are always available through this website. Do not forget to check them out before you launch any online shopping spree!

Ratings: 8.9/10

Community building: Facebook groups Vs Facebook pages

Getting connected on Facebook is not about limiting yourself to friends. It’s also about furthering business interests, public figures, shared interests and hobbies. But in order to shape these ties, it’s essential to comprehend the difference between Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups.

Corporate vs. Personal

  • Groups are set up for a more personalized interaction, being directly connected with the administrator/s.  For example, an online toy store in India in order to interact with their customers on Facebook, a group would give them enough opportunities.
  • Pages are considered more of a person just like a corporate entity as they don’t list the name of the administrator/s. Pages can create content not linked personally, coming from the Page itself.
  • Groups are not indexed by external search engines like Google, whereas Pages are.

Communication

  • Pages are created and managed by official representatives.
  • Groups can be created by anyone.
  • Pages are perfect for two-way communication especially for individuals or organizations who want to make announcements to large groups of people.
  • Groups permit equal communication between all members and are perfect for friends or enthusiasts who want to converse without anyone dominating.

Updates vs. Email

  • Group admins can send messages to members.
  • There is no limit to how many fans Page admins can send updates to or the number of fans a Page can have.

User Control

  • Groups exercise more control over participation and the permission settings give admins the authority to restrict access and approve new members. The concept of a group is similar to a private club. It is just like an online kid’s toy shop having a private club at its discretion.
  • Access to a page, however, is restricted by certain factors.

Privacy

  • Page posts and information are public and usually available to everyone on Facebook.
  • Groups are equipped with more privacy settings in addition to an open setting. Posts are visible only to members in a closed group.

Applications

  • Unlike a Page, a group cannot host applications.

Moderation

  • Neither a Group nor a Page has great features when it comes to moderation.

Member Visibility

  • People who ‘like’ a Page cannot see who else has ‘liked’ the Page.
  • Group members can see who the other members are and can learn more about them by clicking on their profiles.

Repeat Visits and SEO

  • The big minus of a Page is that visitors are unlikely to return after they have liked the page unless you make a post which they see in their newsfeed.
  • The link on the sidebar of a member’s newsfeed enables him or her to remain abreast of all the latest activity.
  • Groups won’t show up on a Google search whereas a Page will.

Analytics

  • Unlike Groups, Pages provide you with analytics on the number of likes, shares and other demographics.

THE BOTTOMLINE

Groups are great for organizing on a personal level and cause based small scale interaction. Pages are better for organizations, celebrities, brands, bands or movies who want to interact with their fans or customers without the burden of being linked on a personal level. Both Facebook Pages and Groups are not perfect. In a way they are similar to their users. But the positives are aplenty.

This is a guest post by Charu Swaroop. Charu contributes to Toy Tasting. When time permits, Charu loves dreaming up and trying new dishes. She has been promising herself to get over her sweet tooth (since 2003), and to trek in Nepal (since 2009).

Image source: 1

Work at Home: Freelance Writing

From today, I am going to start a Work at Home series where I would be talking about various work at home jobs available and how to start a work from home business. This week the topic is “Freelance Writing”.

freelance writingThe global phenomenon called “internet” has pushed the boundaries of how people communicate, share stuff and most importantly; how they work. You can now work from the comfort of your home and make a living for yourself with maximum flexibility of choice and time. If you are an aspiring writer who happens to hate the 9-5 job, you have come to the right place because today we will talk about how to start your freelance writing career. Beginning is the toughest part and having the right approach makes all the difference. I hope the below mentioned guide is helpful in starting your Freelance Writing Career.

1.    Have faith in your skills:

Writing does not need journalism or language degree as long as your basics are correct. All it needs is passion and strong faith in your skills to develop into a successful freelance writer. With a belief in your abilities, you would be surprised to know how little experience is required to start off your career that can go a long way.

2.    Create a strong identity:

For getting notice in a competitive market, you need to create a strong identity. Though there is no dearth of freelance writing jobs, you need to put yourself out there for potential clients to notice. You can do so via a blog, website, social media accounts or freelancer profiles, which will act as your resume and will help you stand above the crowd. Your page must sell your specialized skills, so it is best for you to carve out a specialized area of expertise for yourself and focus on it. For example, if you love writing stories you should brand yourself as a “creative writer”. This will attract only a specific set of clients and increase your chance of success.

3.    Develop a sterling portfolio:

In freelance writing, clients are never concerned about your qualifications. They usually base their judgment on your portfolio and previous assignments. So a sterling portfolio speaks for you loudly if you have the required skills and quality.
In the beginning, it is not possible to build a portfolio without experience so many freelancers fall into the pit of low-paying assignments that puts them in a vicious cycle of low-payment work. To get high paying clients, your portfolio must demonstrate high quality work. To do that, you must do free work for the right client to develop a sterling portfolio and get an excellent feedback which will communicate your quality to your future clients and open the doors of success for you. A little free quality work in the beginning is the right way to step into the freelance writing world as it pays big time in the future.

4.    Get work:

After getting the previous step done well, now you are ready to pitch work. If you have created a specialized identity for yourself through your page, portfolio and testimonials, you will easily know which clients will work with you. Selling your specialized skills will attract only the right clients as people are less likely to take you seriously if you offer generic work.

Start pitching for freelance writing jobs through websites like ODesk, Elance, Freelancer and any social media or blog that offers work. The key is to pitch only the work that comes under your area of expertise and to pitch a lot. Pitching 10-15 clients per day is a good start.

After securing work, you must display consistency, quality and excellent communication skills to develop into a quality brand. The more clients you pitch, the higher the chances of your growth and success. Be sure to formulate a trustworthy relation with your clients and keep on improving your skills to succeed big in the freelance writing world!

10 Low Investment Business Ideas for India

Do you subscribe to the popular belief that you need a lot of money for starting a business? You will be surprised to know that you can actually start a business with low investment and make it a profitable venture.

10 low investment business ideasIf you live in India and want to put your entrepreneurial skills into some good use, you have landed to the right place because today I will share 10 low investment businesses ideas you can start in India. Just some direction, a negligible investment of money and time and you too can be a business owner! Indian economy is growing fast and so can your business.

1. Real Estate Consultation:

Real estate stays as the topmost profitable business in the blooming Indian economy. Although real estate business requires lots of capital investment, you shouldn’t worry about that because we are suggesting you to start real estate consultation services. Your business will guide the potential property buyers and will earn you 2-3% of the money your client will pay for a property.

2. Recruitment Firm:

Due to financial constraints, many companies prefer hiring employees on contractual basis instead of permanent ones. Providing such companies contractual employees can be your business. It is quite simple. Rent a small office, make contacts with several companies and learn what type of skills they are looking for, send a candidate to a company and take commission from the firm for a certain period of time.

3. Designer Festival Gifts:

These days exchanging custom made designer gifts on festivals is trending at top speed. Chocolates, designer diyas and gift boxes for Diwali, valentine and Christmas are quite popular. You can start the business right from the comfort of your home and use some creativity to attract more potential buyers.

4. Event Management:

Event management is also a blooming business. If you think you can manage things at the spur of moment and have networking skills, than this business can be your thing. You just need to take care of managing an event as money matters will be in the hands of the event hosts.

5. SEO Consultancy:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is becoming a necessity in the competitive internet world and with the growing number of websites and changing Google algorithms, SEO consultancy is in huge demand. You can take SEO training and set up your own SEO consultancy firm. If you produce effective results, you can be in huge demand not only in India but globally too.

6. Online Business:

You can also start an online business by simply setting up a page on websites like EBay or Etsy. If your products are good enough, they will sell themselves for sure. In addition, you can also promote other people’s businesses through affiliate marketing and earn every time your affiliate product gets a buyer through your link.

7. Wedding Planning:

Indian weddings are highly valued. People want their wedding to be the most memorable and impressive. So if you are good at planning a wedding, it can be an extremely rewarding business in India. (Remember the movie Band Baaja Barat?)

8. Blogging:

You can start your own blog in a niche of your interest and steadily start earning on it, if you provide valued information and bring traffic to your blog. Blogging is time-consuming work but it is a great long-term business with minimum investment.

9. Jewelry Making:

Indians adore jewelry because they love to dress up and look nice. If you love jewelry, you can take some training and start designing your own. If your designs are good enough, you will be earning a lot more than you currently are.

10. Food/Catering Services:

Food is a basic need and can earn you wholesome extra money if you serve mouth-watering treats, even if you start small. Open a catering business or food trailer if you can and put your chef skills to good use. If you have baking skills, you can even start a cake business from home.

With 10 low investment business ideas for India on the table, you can pick up the ones that interest you and turn your passion into a rewarding business. Do you have some new business ideas that need low investment? Please feel free to share in the comments.

How to Achieve Consistent Business Growth

business growthGrowth is critical to every business. No matter what they do, at the end of the day every business has the same goal- more sales, more clients, more income, more market share- in short, more growth.

Despite your best intentions and hard work, sometimes you may feel your business is stagnant and not growing at the rate you aspire for. How do you achieve a constant business growth?

Below are 5 simple principles for a consistent growth:

Maintain your customer loyalty

Surge ahead to the path of growth by manipulating your customer needs through complicated relationships so that it becomes troublesome for your customers to leave you. Modify your products and services by carefully analyzing the customer data. Follow the needs and aspirations of your dedicated customers by scrutinizing the customer data. Also constrain your customers by pragmatic measures and take well-planned actions to restrict their defections. Develop emotional bonds as sustainable way to customer loyalty.

Beat your competitors to expand your market share

Force your customers to leave your competitor’s products and services by providing better quality. Make effort to reduce the exchanging costs. It can be complicated to attract customers away from competitors, so you should use all you have systematically to pull away customers from your competitors. Providing improved products and services at lower costs is a way to meet the goal. Other is to buy your competitor to eliminate the smaller or equal competition (definitely not an option if you are starting out, so focus on the first).

Manipulate Market trends

Be proactive in perceiving growth tendency in the market. Carefully analyze data to check the markets trends especially in buyers alterations, product or service developments and popular trending items. The best way to manipulate market trends is to proactively maintain a systematic approach to spot market changes. Keep a database to measure the statistics in market and make timely decisions to utilize the market changes for your advantage.

Overrun adjoining industries

Overrunning adjoining markets must be done after analyzing the market’s opportunities and possible growth factors. Find out your edge over rivals and develop high standards to equal your competitors. Push yourself in exploring the adjacent markets but with minimum risks.

Expand your business

Expansion must be smart and finely tuned to the market trends. Never pay more than required for launching yourself in a new direction. Do not destroy your revenue by using complex methods already developed by others. Try to discover new and simple methods in place of complicated ones. Simplify and modify old patterns to decrease costs and increase efficiency. Collaborate with new partners and find new partners by evaluating their strengths, leadership abilities, team work and revenue.

All these five principles may not be a part of the existing growth plans of your company, but make sure to include one or more of these principles in your growth plans.

Make Passive Money Through Articles

If you have found online article writing an exciting way to make money, you will be surprised to know that you can also use article writing to produce passive income.

Passive income is like a source of money that comes without having to work on it constantly. For instance, if you write an article for a client on a particular subject, you will receive its upfront payment as the result of your work. But with passive income you can earn money on articles you wrote many months ago.

Now how do you actually generate passive income through articles? There are lots of options for this end. But you will not reap the benefits of your work in a spur of moment. Passive money takes time to reap fruits, possibly a couple of month or so.

The first method to generate passive income is by creating your own website. Select a niche on a trendy subject or the one that you like. For instance, if you tutor your children at home, you can develop a blog with tips and ideas for other parents. However, please keep in mind that blogs need constant updates to be successful.

Now another question comes of how to generate passive income after developing the website or blog. The answer is through advertisements. Of all the advertisement programs, Google AdSense is the most reliable and successful of all. This method allows income flow with every click on advertisement by your website visitors. The other way to make money is through affiliate marketing technique, by which you advertise products or services through your website. You get commissions every time your blog or website hits the sale.

Once you get the website or blog up and running, you need to drive traffic to your page. This is the toughest part of all. With massive competition on the web, it is not very easy to get noticed. But there are some techniques to ease the difficult part. With your writing talent at hand, it is easier to submit articles on article directories for search engine optimization, also called link building. Through this effective technique, you can develop huge following which will in turn increase the possibility of more clicks on advertisements, hence more money.

Apart from your own content rich website or blog, another way to generate passive income is through revenue sharing websites. These websites hire professional experts to fill their content. You may get commission on income produced through your article or may get a pre agreed bonus. This is a good approach, if building your own website is not a viable option.

Use optimal web search to locate such revenue sharing websites. Also, you can join lots of online article writing forums and communities where you may come across passive income sources including the revenue sharing websites.

Passive income generation is possible through a number of ways. But if you use article writing as a main source of your income, make sure to make your word play interesting. It is best to build up passive income sources in spare time while keeping regular writing assignments for a sure success in the long run.

Motivational Quotes for Success

If you are an entrepreneur or even an aspiring one, I am sure sometimes you feel overwhelmed with the enormity of the work that lies ahead. We all need inspiration and motivation and motivational quotes really do the trick. Below are some of my favourite inspirational quotes in no particular order:

1. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

2. “Success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom.” – General George Patton

3. “There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

4. “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” – George Bernard Shaw

5. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs

6. “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does– that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams

7. “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.” – Adam Osborne

8. “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” –Unknown

9. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” – John C. Maxwell

…and my favorite

10. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

Do you have a favourite motivational quote? Let me know in the comments!

How to Increase Sales

how to increase salesNo matter what business you are in, the key to business success is sales. As a small business owner and entrepreneur you may not have huge funds for marketing activities. So selling is an essential skill for all small business owners. Here are a few surefire ways that will broaden your sales horizons and increase sales:

1. Identify the potential customer

It’s important to maximize your time and foucs it on potential customers rather than time wasters. For this you will have to recognize who is the Decision Maker, the person who will have a final say in purchasing your product/service. Once you have determined the Decision Maker, check if they have a problem that you can solve or make them aware of a problem that you can solve. The key is to identify or create a need and then show them the way to fulfill it. You may have the greatest product in the world but you won’t make a single sale if you approach people who don’t need it.

2. Define your USP

Why should any one buy from you and not your competitor? This is the question that is always playing on your prospects’ mind and you should have a clear and satisfactory answer. Make sure your product/service provides a set of benefits that makes your company stand out. Create a USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

3. Understand your prospects better

People like it when you listen to them and show an understanding of their business. Many sales people make the mistake of talking too much about their product and not actually listening the customer. So research about your prospects, get to know their business better, ask better questions and listen carefully as they answer your open-ended question. This will help you uncover the problem and pitch your product/service better.

4. Earn Trust

Though factors like price, features, benefits etc. are important buying factors, people not only buy for practical reason but for emotional reasons too. So make sure that you gain the trust of your prospects by being sincere, honest and by keeping your word. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep and show empathy. Impressions and rapport go a long way in getting loyal customers.

5. Make the Perfect Presentation

At the end of the day,, what matters most is your sales presentation. Don’t take it for granted. Leverage all the things you gathered from the previous 4 points to develop an effective, winning presentation.

If you follow these points diligently, there is nothing to stop you from increasing your sales. I would love to hear about sales techniques that work for you. Do let me know in the comments section.

The Power of Goal Setting

Generally on this blog, I cover topics related to business and startups. But in this post, let’s start from the beginning.

I think this routine may sound familiar. You wake up at 7 am and reach office by 9 am. You slog it out at office till 6 p.m or even late. This continues every day, week after week, month after month and you just get tired on this routine. You start thinking about quitting your job and starting something of your own. After all if you earn for your boss, why can’t you leverage the same skills to earn for yourself.

Your monthly salary may not be enough to fulfill your dreams – the perfect home, your dream car, the much awaited vacation and you feel that you can do so much better on your own. But before you quit your job, you should honestly evaluate yourself and your future. Let’s start.

First you need to believe that you can do anything you want if you put in efforts in the right direction. Different people have different aspirations –some want financial freedom while some want more family time. Regardless of what anyone wants, many people fail to reach their aspirations because they are not clear about their goals.

Take some time out to find what you exactly want from life. Though it may seem simplistic, most of us have no idea what our exact goal is. I promise that by the end of this exercise you will have a more clear view of your goals and aspirations. Grab a pen and paper and start this exercise:

FIND OUT WHAT YOU WANT:

Once you find out what you want, you can focus all your efforts on it. To know what you want, answer these questions. Take time to really think through the answers:

1. What makes you happy?
2. What three things in life do you really enjoy the most?
3. What would you do if money wasn’t a concern and never could be?
4. How would you spend your time if you could do anything you wanted?
5. What do you want to keep doing the rest of your life?
6. What are your obsessions?
7. What do you want to learn? To know? To be?
8. What else would be a part of your perfect life? List it all

Write down all the answers to the above questions, no matter how silly they seem to be. Trust me, everything that you list down will be important in your goal setting process. The paper where you list your answers should have all your desires and wishes.

Now that you have listed all the answers, go back and select 5 to 8 items that interest you the most. Now among these items, evaluate carefully and choose one thing that you think is really worthy of spending your time, energy and resource on. The thing that you believe will bring out the best in you.

You may wind up with something like “I want to be a model as I love fashion”. But if you are above a certain age or don’t fulfill the criteria of a modeling career, this is not a viable choice. So what can you do in such a scenario? You can do something related. Like starting a blog related to modeling and fashion or pursuing a career like Personal Stylist. They key is to identify your passion and find ways to make it work.

I would advise you to set aside some time for this exercise. Find out what you really want and how you can make it possible and make a living out of it.

Life is too short to be put on “hold”. Identify your goals, work towards it and start living your dream life starting now!