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Startups

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Startups

  1. 1. Startups' Biggest Misconception<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />It is a common misconception that when you start trading online you should aim to resell products that are in hyper-demand. A classic example is selling the latest DVD and Blu-Ray titles: the reason you stand no chance is no fault of your own, supermarkets and music retailers are themselves losing money when reselling those products.<br />'Why oh why?!'<br />you may ask. The reason is that they need to attract customers to their door, to sell them the OTHER products that make them huge margins.<br />When you sell online however, through your eBay store or any other merchant service, you already have the customers, they are ALREADY at the door. Therefore the question becomes:<br />'Why am I trying to sell them what brings them to the door when the customers are already at the door? Shouldn't I be focusing on the OTHER products that have stratospheric margins?'<br />Of course you should. Now the next obstacle arises:<br />'What are those OTHER products? What can net me 10, 20, 30 times what I put in?'<br />There are many products that can do this, and the answer depends on two factors only, your start up budget and the current mood of the market.<br />If you have only a couple of hundred pounds to invest, aim for items that will cost you pennies and sell for pounds (mobile phone covers, cables, lighters, tapes, stationery, sewing products, shoe laces, accessories for electronics, etc, etc, etc). Imagine purchasing goods at £0.20 cost per unit, with a £100 initial investment and a retail price of £2 per unit. By selling all your stock you can multiply your initial investment by 10 (£100 * 10 = £1,000). That's a higher return rate than you will EVER make in a year from property or most other investments.<br />When you have more capital, you can expand your product range and start selling more expensive or seasonal items. Designer sunglasses and hawaianas at the beginning of the summer, back to school items at the end of the summer, Halloween goods between September and October, toys at Christmas, and so on. Spotting demand trends is easy, simply be an avid reader of news. Buy magazines related to your industry and find out what the new trends are. Then plan a buying strategy around those trends. Buy brand name goods or offer an unbranded alternative (of the same, equal or higher quality). You could even create all three qualities yourself, possibly brand them with your own logos, and distribute all three, all in competition with one another. You can then grab a broader range of the market.<br />It is only when you have done all the above AND have a strong position in your marketplace that you can consider risking money on loss leaders and promotion.<br />If you are starting from loss leaders you are grabbing the bull by the tail. Grab it by the horns and you will get very good results in managing your budget effectively and profitably.<br />Intuition Can Help Your Business<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />You have probably seen a product become extremely popular and thought to yourself: 'Of course, I knew it was going to be in great demand. Why didn't I think of that?'<br />In truth, your subconscious mind probably realised it a long time before. Science has demonstrated that intuitive predictions are generally better than rationally justified predictions. So what does it take to be ahead of the trend and figure out your intuitive mind before it becomes reality? It's a great skill, and it can take a lifetime to master it. Yet the sooner you start practicing it, the sooner you can start profiting from your intuitions. And the more you refine your intuitions, the larger your profits will be.<br />'So where does this process begin?'<br />Everyone has intuitive skills. It is NOT a psychic ability handed out through genetics. Instead, intuition is an UNconscious sorting of the information that you hold in your brain, based on ALL the knowledge and experience you have recorded in the past. Those 'gut' feelings that you get are based on a combination of not only the research data you collect today, but also on ALL the data you have collected in your past experiences. You might not be aware that this process is occurring, yet your subconscious brain is splitting those experiences into bits of data that are assimilated into a pattern you end up using to predict an outcome. Therefore your gut feeling is really a sophisticated pattern recognition program in your brain.<br />'How can I improve my intuition?'<br />There are two main areas you can improve to enhance your intuition.<br />Acquire more information:<br />You need deep information about your business and industry before your intuitions can be accurate. If there are gaps in your brain's basic understanding of your market, you will find it hard to make accurate predictions. Seek out information about other businesses and industries and think about how to apply it to your product and business. For example, startups often innovate by taking technology from one field and introducing it to a field in which that technology currently doesn't exist. Take as an example the online entrepreneur who is selling household appliances. As he looks to other industries, what can he learn that helps him innovate in his business? How about:<br />i. Personalisation seems to be an incredibly important part of life today. Take the car seat that memorizes each driver's settings. Would it make sense to have a toaster that records each family member's crispiness and toastiness preferences, so that when the bread goes in, you push the 'John' button and the toast pops out lightly toasted, and the 'Sue' button for a much darker and drier version?<br />ii. Interaction is also important. How about a counter top grill that announces how the cooking is coming: 'The steak is medium rare, shall I keep cooking it?'<br />Silly? Maybe ... but maybe not. Feed yourself a constant flow of information about your business, industry and market so there is a lot of information to work on. Force yourself to work through the patterns. Ask what new product your market will want to buy next year. Challenge yourself to think of two new uses for a product you are selling today. Take the top three stories from the day's news and decide how they will affect sales in your industry this year. Try it yourself and see if you can find a way to modify your product to catch the newest trend.<br />Learn to recognise your intuitive thoughts, and to recall them when necessary: <br />One of the first ways to work with your intuition is to recognise when it's working for you. By recognising the way your subconscious communicates in your mind, you will recognise your intuition more easily instead of dismissing it as an irrational thought. For example, some people get a visual flash of the answer they need. Others hear a voice in their head or feel physically pulled in a direction. If you hear it, ask a question in your mind. If you see it, write the question on a bulletin board or create a mental image of the problem. By acknowledging and reinforcing your subconscious signals you will be able to identify them quickly the next time you need them.<br />You can also use associations. For example, when you sense an intuitive thought, acknowledge it with some physical movement such as clapping your hands or squeezing your toes (sounds very silly, but it works). Then, when you want to evoke your intuition, use the same physical movement to recall your intuition.<br />You can also use meditation techniques to quiet your conscious mind and increase your connection with your subconscious, intuitive mind. Pose questions to yourself then meditate for a time and you may find new insights.<br />Help yourself make connections by brainstorming. Try writing down your problem, issue, goal in the middle of a piece of paper. Start drawing lines and writing thoughts about that central issue in connected balloons. Let your mind take you from balloon to balloon, drawing new lines, and making connections where they make sense. This exercise will show you different ways to think about the same problem, and then will lead you to your intuitive subconscious.<br />Don't ignore the data that you have. It's all useful, it all builds connections. But push the data as far as you can. Take a piece of information about the drop in purchase of luxury items, for example. Push that information:<br />i. How far will purchasing drop?<br />ii. What will people buy instead?<br />iii. Will there be a new generation of high end purchasers?<br />iv. What forces will allow that to happen?<br />v. What would the new purchaser want that's different from the old purchaser?<br />Then write down as many major trends as you can think of, and think about how each affects your issue both negatively and positively. Then think about what you can do to minimise the negatives and capitalise on the positives. Are there any themes that emerge? Do you see where you should be taking your business based on this analysis?<br />i. Think globally. If your product or business is focused in one country, think about what's happening in other countries.<br />ii. Think across industries. How are businesses in other industries dealing with this issue?<br />iii. Think about your customer. How is your customer changing in response to the issues you have identified? What does that mean about their wants and needs? How do you adapt your products to ride those emerging trends?<br />You may not be able to control your intuition, but by challenging yourself and your thought process, and training yourself to work with your subconscious, you will be able to inspire regular flashes of insight that you can trust to be a benefit to your business and your life.<br />It's the Application, not the Idea<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />Do you wish you could come up with the next fresh product idea that could be patented and sold? Does it seem like all the good product ideas are already out there? Do you feel that you are held back because you’re not an inventor or an engineer or you are simply not the creative type? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you’re thinking about new product development in the wrong way!<br />It's the Application, not the Idea<br />Few traders know that a patent is the protection of the application of an idea, and not of the idea itself. Simply put, an idea cannot be patented. For example, you cannot patent the idea of tying cables, but you can patent a specific type of cable tie which works using an arrangement of parts or mechanism that you yourself have invented. You may even use patented parts within your design, provided you give credit to the patent holders where due.<br />First Identify a Problem, Then Find a Solution<br />This concept should open an entire new world if you were not aware of this differentiation. For example, you could visit a home decor shop and observe which are the hottest selling products. Observe what makes the product good and any problems associated with it, then purchase it to inspect it in more depth in the comfort of your home or workshop, and identify how you can improve it.<br />Or, think about products that you use in your everyday life that don't work quite right, objects where you may have to create a 'work-around'. It's quite possible that your work-around is a patentable design change. For example, think about rolling luggage, introduced into general use in the late 1980s. According to Wikipedia, Northwest airline pilot Bob Plath hated lugging his heavy overnight bag and flight bag through airports around the world. So, he tinkered around in his garage until he found a way to attach wheels to his pilot's bag. Wherever Bob Plath's took his wheeled luggage, everyone wanted one. The company, TravelPro, was established to fill the demand. TravelPro now holds 15 patents on rolling luggage mechanisms.<br />Look around and you will find that there's almost always a way to improve on something. For example, most parents find the umbrella stroller, a lightweight, folding baby stroller, to be a huge improvement over larger, difficult to transport strollers. However, because of the three wheel design of most umbrella strollers, they are a bit unstable when transferring a child in or out, especially when you hang bags on the stroller as well. A creative mom, Dana Lowey, invented a kickstand that attaches to most brands of umbrella strollers and keeps the stroller from tipping, This innovation may seem rather small but parents of young children would probably vote to give this woman a Nobel prize. And of course, since Dana's contribution to stroller effectiveness, there have been more and more versions and modifications to the kickstand assembly as well as versions of kickstands that are now already attached to umbrella strollers.<br />Once you have identified a successful improvement or invention, it is time to prototype it, test it with family and friends, evaluate its effectiveness, get it patented, and finally get it manufactured.<br />Types of patents<br />Of the three types of patents available, utility, design and plant, your new twist on an existing product will be considered either a utility patent or a design patent.<br />Utility patent - any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;<br />Design patent - new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.<br />Once you have your thoughts on paper, you will file for a patent in your country. After you achieve patent pending status, you can move from paper to production, then think about how to improve on ... your improvement!<br />Bottom Line<br />Put your observation and problem solving skills to work to develop new products for your marketplace<br />The First Step to Successful Retailing<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />In this article we are going to discuss one essential step to successful online trading.<br />In the past you are likely to have purchased goods by mail order or on deferred delivery. This is when a retailer shows you their product range on a catalogue or in their showroom, accepts your order, takes your payment, and then delivers the order after xx days / weeks:<br />The retailer holds enough stock to showcase it (sometimes only the pictures of the stock if selling through catalogue only), and then;<br />Asks the manufacturer / distributor to (manufacture if necessary and) dispatch the order to the buyer as soon as possible.<br />You may feel more comfortable if we called this method of retailing dropshipping; dropshipping is just a new word, the concept has existed for a long time and remains more or less the same today.<br />This form of distribution was started in the USA, and was conceived much earlier than the World Wide Web. The idea was to allow retailers to trade with wholesalers and manufacturers located in far away states. A retailer would first sell the item and then pass the order(s) to the distributor to be shipped; goods could then be delivered directly to the buyer, only when required, and only once already sold. This setup was initially popular with bulky items and, as catalogue shopping grew in popularity, it was extended to smaller items.<br />With the advent of the Internet, some retailers realised they could use the web as a global mail order catalogue to exploit its far reaching powers and cost effectiveness. Retailers like Amazon started precisely this way, by using dropshipping (did you know that the eSources database includes the original Amazon dropshipper?). By using products which don't need face to face inspection by the buyer (in the case of Amazon, books), Amazon exploited the power of the Internet to become its biggest retailer.<br />Since then, many more businesses have started selling online; simultaneously the number of buyers has increased tenfold. However, while transactions are now being completed through a new channel, the fundamental rules of retailing have not changed. On the web every level of the supply chain is still duly represented, from the high end retailer, to the main stream retailer, to the retailer and market trader selling on eBay, to the manfuacturers and wholesalers coming online in increasing numbers. Yes the Internet has shortened the supply chain by removing many middle men, and you will experience more competition at each level as a result. However it has also substantially decreased promotional and administrative costs. If you are serious, and you select your position carefully, you can make bucket loads and more.<br />Therefore, if you are planning to start trading online, the first question you should ask is ''At which level of the supply chain do I want to position my business?'', which is the same question you would ask if you were planning to start trading offline.<br />Do you want to fight to the cent and penny on eBay for mainstream products that sell fast (if you have the right price)? If so, do you have the financial strength to meet the minimum order requirements of the big distributors offering mainstream products at competitive prices?<br />Do you prefer to buy surplus and liquidation to obtain cheaper wholesale prices? If so, can you handle the variation in the type of stocks that become available, and in some cases sifting through ungraded stocks to ensure sellability?<br />Or would you rather create your own product idea and manufacture it, to distinguish yourself in the marketplace with a unique proposition and a strong marketing effort to allow your idea to pick up? If so, do you have the investment required to manufacture your own product line? The budget required for this option may be lower than you think; if you develop a mainstream product, but with the specifications sought by the market at the time of selling, you can make some seriously high profits. You would then keep on renewing your product offerings by listening to the market demand and by developing new and unique products (the minimum order requirements of manufacturers are not as high as you may fear, even for custom products).<br />If you want to use dropshipping instead, do you have access to a wide range of verified dropshippers that offer a broad range of products and that allow you to vary your offerings regularly? Are you choosing products suitable to the level of competition in your market? If you want manufacturers and wholesalers to dropship for you, can you guarantee them the volume they require to setup such an arrangement? Manufacturers and large distributors can dropship for you, but they need you to prove to them you can generate volume, and that managing your dropship account will have a good return for the manufacturer / distributor as well. If you can guarantee the volume they require, how can you prove it to them in advance?<br />Would you rather distinguish yourself as a trendy upmarket supplier, with your own website and a well thought out marketing plan? Is dropshipping suitable in this case (a good example of a market where dropshipping could work well is custom-made expensive furniture delivered directly from the manufacturer)? Do you need a showroom to maximise sales? (by the way, did you know retailers like MFI work using dropshipping? Surprising right? Can you undercut them?).<br />The choice is yours to make. As with any business, if you deal in branded products, the brand will sell itself and do a great deal of the work for you, however you will be competing with many more retailers, therefore price will be a big factor (especially on the Internet, where comparisons are quickly made). If you develop your own product(s), you must have a strong marketing plan in place (one way to reduce your costs of market research is to know what buyers are searching for on the Internet), and identify the unique selling points (USPs) of each product you distribute. This option offers lower sales volumes but higher margins; statistics show that, for small businesses, the higher margin for unique in-demand products will always outweight volume in the long run.<br />The options available are only limited to your creativity and your desire to succeed. There are many sectors on the Internet that have not been covered, or that have not been covered as they should. Now is the time to choose your position in the marketplace, plan your business, start unfolding your strategy, and take the bull by its horns.<br />How much easier can it get to start trading online?<br />Article<br />by Richard Grady<br />Recently, I wrote about how you need to put in a fair amount of hard work before your online business becomes successful - there is no such thing as an 'overnight success'.<br />Despite this, setting up and running an Internet business is a hundred times easier today than it was five years ago. There are just so many more services and products available to assist you, and I got to wondering how much easier things could really get?<br />Not so long ago, the UK Post Office announced a new free service which allows people to buy their stamps online. You simply pay for the stamps you require with a credit/debit card and then print off a label to stick on your envelope. I haven't used the service yet but as far as I can tell, the label even includes the address to which the letter is going so you don't even need to write it out (or print off a second label)!<br />A similar service has been in operation in the US for some time but this is a fairly new technology in the UK. Just think how much time this new service could potentially save the average eBay seller.<br />One of the main reasons I stopped selling on eBay was because I couldn't stand queuing up in the Post Office to get stamps for my packages. Using the new online service, I could just print off my stamps and then drop all of my letters/small packages straight into the letterbox. There would be no need to even go into the Post Office. Admittedly this might not be the case for larger parcels, but the PO/couriers will pick these up from your house for regular senders (how much easier can it get?!)<br />The other thing I used to have to do was venture out to buy packing materials from a local office supplies company. Of course, there is no longer any need to do this as for several years it has been possible to get all of your packing materials (and in fact pretty much anything else) delivered to your door. In addition the prices are cheaper than the local stores too!<br />Whilst taking my packages to the Post Office, I used to have to visit the bank to pay cheques in and then wait for them to clear. Again, this hasn't been necessary for years with the growth of services such as Paypal and NoChex. Now all an online trader needs to do is check their email! While accepting multiple payment methods is recommended, buyers increasingly prefer automated options like online payments providers, as it saves them time too.<br />With so much of the offline world gradually coming online, it is already perfectly possible to run an Internet business without ever leaving your house. I used to joke that if the mood took me, that I could run my businesses without ever getting out of bed. This was never completely true since there would always be one or two tasks that I couldn't do from the comfort of my home but these are getting fewer and fewer.<br />So we are heading towards a situation whereby you can build and manage your own business without ever going outside, without ever talking to anyone and if you wish, without ever getting out of bed! Not only that, but this business has the potential to earn you more money than you would ever earn by doing the exact opposite (ie. going out and working). Ok, staying in bed for the rest of your life may not be the best thing for you; and the lack of social interaction would probably drive you mad; but is it just me that finds this possibility an incredible thing?<br />I mean, how much easier can it get?<br />Developing a Solid Business Plan - Part I<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />Options for Development and How to Utilize Your Plan<br />If you're starting a business, you're going to need a sound plan that outlines each aspect of your enterprise. First, you must consider who is going to create your plan. You have two basic options—you can hire an expert to write it or you can develop your own.<br />If you decide to write the plan yourself, you'll find numerous websites that provide free outlines and guidance. Taking on the job yourself can be intimidating, especially if you've never written a plan before. This document is, after all, the most important paper you'll possess when it comes to raising money for your new business, understanding all of the intricacies involved in creating and running your company and planning for its future growth.<br />Ask friends who already run successful businesses if you can see their plans or if they will take a look at yours. Also check with your local Chamber of Commerce for any information they may have relating to planning a new business. When hiring a company be sure to do your research. Ask for references, examples of prior work and check out the owners' credentials. Again, query friends and relatives to see if they have worked with a business planner who they can recommend.<br />Consider what a business plan is designed to do. It has numerous applications, with some of the most important being:<br />It's a personal document that clearly outlines the progression of the creation and implementation of your business.<br />It defines your goals for yourself, your employees and your suppliers.<br />It illustrates how you will achieve your goals.<br />It serves as an anchor, which is especially useful when times get chaotic and unanticipated problems arise.<br />It is a problem-solving document that you can continue to develop as concerns, challenges and changes evolve.<br />It defines your market, product and clientele.<br />It's your initial financial document that will show loan providers and investors that you are on solid economic footing, making you less of a money risk.<br />In order to achieve the above, your business plan should provide the following information:<br />Define and describe your business and your store's image.<br />Determine what you want and need in a storefront.<br />Describe the day-to-day operation and any weekly or monthly benchmarks or tasks.<br />Clearly define your marketplace and delineate marketing strategy.<br />Determine sales potential, including a typical customer profile.<br />Discuss how you will attract customers.<br />Indicate pricing and customer service policies.<br />Illustrate how you will advertise your business.<br />Determine how you will work with wholesalers/suppliers.<br />Spell out how much inventory you anticipate stocking and how quickly it will turn over.<br />Plan on how invoicing, accounting, ordering, display creation and other behind the scenes jobs will be done.<br />Define your budget including: <br />Start-up Costs.<br />Monthly Expenses.<br />Anticipated sales.<br />Accounting measures.<br />Stock control.<br />Receipts.<br />Sales.<br />Disbursements.<br />Break-Even point also known as your 'nut'.<br />Once you've created your plan and determined that it is sound, you're ready to begin implementing it. It will take time to perform the necessary research, write the document and successfully present your plan. You must also be prepared to rewrite your plan due to new information, developing trends and changes in the marketplace.<br />Remember that a business plan is as specific and grounded as it can be in a business world that is constantly changing. In Part II of this article, we'll provide more detail concerning what should be covered in your plan.<br />Developing a Solid Business Plan - Part II<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />Options for Development and How to Utilize Your Plan<br />In Part I we addressed the writing of your retail business plan, including describing and delineating specific areas relating to the creation and implementation of your storefront business. In this article, we'll consider a basic outline for your document.<br />The most important aspect of any business plan is that it's clearly written and organized. Although you will be asked questions regarding your venture, they should not be queries based on anything that is unclear or confusing in the document. As an example, if you believe you've defined your potential clientele and a few people review the plan and a majority of them ask you who you've determined will be your customer base, then you probably want to rewrite that section of your plan.<br />Questions related to your business plan should be based on interest in the project and not confusion over the document. Before presenting your plan to a potential financial source, you should have three people, whose judgment you trust and who will provide you with feedback, read it.<br />This plan is a sales document that you will need to know inside out and be prepared to present, expand upon and defend. Here are some of the essential categories that you'll want to include in your plan.<br />Introduction:<br />Describe your business by defining the concept of your venture and the purpose of your company.<br />Does your establishment/business have a catchphrase?<br />Describe the image of your business.<br />Delineate the type of business you'll be creating—partnership, sole trader, limited partnership, co-operative, etc.<br />Present the objectives of your retail establishment.<br />Product:<br />Define exactly what you will be selling and why.<br />Compare your product to competitor's goods and explain what sets it apart from similar wares.<br />Additionally, address where it fits in the marketplace—high-end and expensive, moderately priced, or inexpensive? Will there be a range of products in terms of pricing?<br />The Market:<br />Describe your potential customer base.<br />Is there potential for continued growth in this segment of the population?<br />Why would they want to buy your goods?<br />Discuss potential competition and how you will contend with it.<br />In what way will the city, community and location be conducive to the success of your business?<br />Marketing Plan:<br />Consider your product and what aspects make it attractive to customers.<br />How will you draw customers to your establishment?<br />Will you offer special promotions?<br />How will you focus your marketing to get the most value from the money spend?<br />What types of media will you utilize?<br />Personnel:<br />How many people will you need to hire in order to successfully run your business?<br />Define each if their jobs in relationship to the running of the business.<br />How many hours will your employees work? Will you be using full-time, part-time or both types of employees?<br />Do your employees need to be experts in the product and will they need prior sales experience?<br />Operation:<br />This is where you specifically describe how your business will function.<br />Include storefront and behind the scenes operations.<br />A daily, weekly and monthly schedule describing important operational elements is helpful.<br />Schedules might include maintenance, restocking of inventory, billing cycles, display development and changeover, etc.<br />Customer Relations:<br />What is your philosophy regarding your customers?<br />How will you handle exchanges, customer complaints and returns?<br />Will you offer some sort of discount or customer rewards program?<br />Premises:<br />Where is your store located and how will people get to it?<br />Is parking available, is the storefront visible and can it be easily found?<br />Does it need to be renovated or upgraded?<br />Stylistically, what will the outside and inside look like?<br />Will it be a pleasant place to shop? In what way?<br />Is there room for expansion?<br />Is storage available for inventory?<br />Financial Outline:<br />Key financial facts should be presented before going into detail.<br />Forecast of Profit and Loss.<br />Cash Flow Forecast for you business.<br />Describe the Break-Even point for your company.<br />Summary of Content:<br />Use this section to bring the focus back on your specific business.<br />Reiterate the value of your product.<br />Define once again, in a few words, the image of your company.<br />Create a final, positive picture of your venture and its relationship to the community, your customers and the other businesses.<br />Appendix:<br />Include CVs.<br />Details relating to the premises.<br />Marketing examples, such as ads, brochures and photographs.<br />Flow charts, diagrams, examples of the product.<br />Anything else that will provide substance to your presentation.<br />This thumbnail sketch of a retail business plan can serve as a basic template for your use. However, be mindful that this article in no way presents a complete picture of a successful plan. As an example, in order to develop a useful plan, you'll need to know how to determine Profit-Loss, Break-Even Point and Cash Flow. We have not addressed those specific exercises in this piece. Additionally, plans vary according to the specific needs and requirements of each business.<br />As you prepare this document be sure to do your research and compile your facts carefully. Your business plan is the written foundation for what you hope will lead to your success in the highly competitive world of retail.<br />Your Search for a Reliable Wholesaler Starts Here<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />Find Trade Partners with eSources.co.uk<br />Find Trade Partners with eSources.co.uk<br />When people walk into your establishment you want to be able to offer them an attractive, reliable product that provides sound value.<br />Before you can do that, you must locate a wholesaler, also known as a supplier or distributor, who will deliver the goods where and when you need them. They must offer a quality product, at a competitive price, and adequate volume.<br />You need inventory in your store and that translates into finding a supplier that is accessible, reliable, and ethical. You don't want to compromise your success by engaging anyone who offers less. If you do, it could mean lost sales, disgruntled customers, and the failure of your enterprise.<br />eSources.co.uk is your ultimate resource for connecting with importers, trade suppliers, and wholesale distributors in the United Kingdom. Our directory provides contact information, profiles, and product overviews for thousands of companies listed under 26 main industry sectors. By utilizing our service, you can be just minutes away from connecting to the wholesaler who will meet your needs.<br />Our business philosophy - which is based on linking retailers with potential suppliers - is focused on your success and prosperity. If you benefit from using our site by discovering the right wholesale distributor for your storefront then we have served both you and the supplier, making eSources.co.uk a win-win proposition.<br />You may also see the TradePass™ icon displayed in a company's listing just to the right of its name. This symbol is displayed after a wholesaler has gone through an authentication process that has verified them as a legally registered business. Although the TradePass™ symbol does not attest to a company's sound and ethical business practices, it does confirm that the contact person in the profile has the authority to represent or is employed by the firm. The process engendered by TradePass™ is an important step in determining a distributor's viability and in reducing your anxiety about sourcing trade products via the Internet.<br />After assembling a list of possible wholesalers, you'll be able to instantly view some of their products, access their website, or contact a company representative. By simply browsing a firm's listing on our site, you can do all of this and more.<br />The next step is to directly contact a potential supplier. You should explain what business you're in, the quality and volume of product you sell, and what you are looking for in a wholesaler. You'll want to know how they can insure that you'll have enough product when you need it; what their billing terms are; and how quickly they can turnaround an order.<br />Along with monitoring the information contained in their answers, you should be aware of how open they are to questions, their willingness to offer additional explanations and details at your request, and their openness in supplying you with references and printed materials. If a potential distributor is closed to your queries during the interview process, chances are this will remain a constant if you engage them in business. An unwillingness to communicate signals problems for future interactions and indicates that your search for a supplier is not yet over. For this point to be valid, your enquiries should be complete, and provide the supplier with all the information they require to qualify your request; suppliers think like you, so if your enquiry does not seem serious they will think the same of your business and potential as a customer.<br />Even if you feel you've found the right supplier you should continue looking for and interview company contacts. If you think you've exhausted your choices, go back to eSources.co.uk and review the listings, looking for new businesses or for companies that you past over the first time. With a few interviews to your credit, you're armed with new information that may change your views on the suppliers you initially rejected.<br />This process can take time. Our website helps you utilize your time effectively and efficiently. You may be tempted to take shortcuts by not asking questions or by going with the first promising wholesaler you find. Use every means you have to make your search and your retail business resounding successes.<br />Visit the largest directory of verified wholesalers, importers, distributors, manufacturers and agents in the UK to contact reliable wholesale suppliers.<br />Attract More Business to Your Website with Well-placed Information<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />One of the best ways to attract more business to your retail website is to make your website a valuable resource for your buyers. The more information your site contains, the more helpful and indispensable you become to your clientele, and the higher your search engine ratings will become.<br />Content that attracts business<br />What do your buyers need to know?<br />If you are selling digital cameras, you may want to include articles with photography tips or instructions on using photo editing software or even reviews of available software. You can add information on how to use photos in greeting cards, scrap booking, advertising and so on.<br />If you are selling vintage clothing, you can provide information on the fashion of the time the clothing represents or a discussion of the way button styles or hem lengths or colors have varied over time.<br />If you are selling beauty products, write articles on the research behind the ingredients, other ways to improve appearance such as nutrition and exercise, methods of application for day and evening wear, application based on skin type or facial shape.<br />Now comes the part where you upload your content to your website. Before you do this, you should decide on a coherent, keyword rich and relevant categories structure for your articles. Then ask your programmer to create a form in your administration area to easily list and categorise your articles. Finally, ask that your live articles pages display your product offers most relevant to each article's topic.<br />Once your articles are uploaded, it's time to actively place information in locations that lead back to your site.<br />Content placement that boosts sales<br />Your goal is to take advantage of the already established audiences on other websites to extend your reach.<br />Place your articles in article directories such as www.ezinearticles.com (or search article submission in google), including with each article a footer with a link back to your site. By doing so, you can take advantage of EzineArticles' extensive marketing capability to bring potential clients to you.<br />Write a longer article that you can call a report and sell the report on eBay or, give it away for free through pay per click by directing users to your site. Be sure to require that anyone looking who wants to download your article provide their name and email address first so you can build a database of people who may be interested in your products – people you can then target in an email campaign. Make sure your signup process indicates that the user receiving the free report will be automatically subscribed to a newsletter, yet clearly state your privacy policy.<br />Place a portion of your article on a blog or discussion board with a link to your site to obtain the rest of the article.<br />Place your articles on www.clickbank.com where you can sell them and also create a link back to your website and to websites you are affiliated with and possibly earn a commission from.<br />Consider placing your article with potential partner sites, a jewelry site that complements your vintage clothing or beauty products, for example, with a link back to your site.<br />You can also use your articles as revenue producers by selling them on sites such as www.constant-content.com, an article broker that supplies fresh content to websites and essentially markets you and your products at the same time.<br />How to produce content for your articles<br />If you simply aren't a good article writer but you think that adding content can improve sales, look for a writer on www.elance.com who can do the writing work for you. Writer quality varies as well as cost per article, ranging from $5-$100 per article, depending on complexity, quality, etc.<br />Extend your reach with useful information and watch your revenue grow.<br />Get a Free PayPal Enabled eCommerce Store<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />eSources has partnered with a leading eCommerce provider to offer you a free PayPal Enabled eCommerce store with up to 50 product listings!, ready to be setup in minutes. You can then link to your store from your eBay About Me page, or promote it on search engines to bring even more traffic.<br />Follow the link below to get started.<br />The rest of this article is accessible to our 1 Month or above premium buyer members. To upgrade click on the button below: <br />Principio del formulario<br />Upgrade to 1 Month + Premium Buyer Membership to access the rest of this article + lots more >><br />Tips On Selecting a Merchant Account Provider<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />Marketing studies show that e-tailers will lose 60 percent to 80 percent of potential orders if there is no option to pay by credit card; the studies also show that by offering credit card payments, not only will an e-tailer receive more orders, but those orders will be substantially larger.<br />Okay, so it's clear that you simply must offer online payment. How do you decide which vendor to use?<br />The rest of this article is accessible to our 1 Month or above premium buyer members. To upgrade click on the button below: <br />Principio del formulario<br />Upgrade to 1 Month + Premium Buyer Membership to access the rest of this article + lots more >> <br />Online Merchant Accounts – A Primer<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />If you plan to operate in today's e-commerce world, you will have to provide a mechanism for accepting credit or debit card payments directly online.<br />The online electronic payment world is filled with jargon and the many participants in the processing logarithm can create a variety of confusing fees.<br />Provider Requirements<br />First, you will need a relationship with an 'acquiring bank', that is, a bank that is willing to 'acquire' the credit card information then process it and place it into your account. Brick and mortar retail stores usually have a card swipe system that connects them to the acquiring bank. In order to create the same transaction online, you will need to establish a merchant account. This type of account allows you to accept electronic payment. You can establish a merchant account with an acquiring bank (eg your bank, if they offer this service) or through an Independent Sales Organisation or ISO (sometimes called a PSP or payment service provider). These are third-party merchant account providers offering online packages that include the hardware and/or software you need.<br />Fees<br />You will be required to pay two types of ongoing fees.<br />The Interchange fee set by the credit card networks and split between the networks and the credit card issuing banks. This fee is made up of a percentage of the transaction plus a per-transaction fee. The exact percentage of the transaction varies according to a wide range of specific criteria such as what type of credit card it is, what is being purchased, who issued the card, your monthly transaction volume and many other factors.<br />A merchant service provider fee which is also a percentage of the transaction and may include a per-transaction amount.<br />These fees vary considerably from vendor to vendor. Banks apply different charges depending on factors such as the overall value of card transactions and the bank's assessment of your exposure to card fraud. Providing banks with thorough information about your business is an important part of setting up a card-payment system. You will also need to pay set-up costs and sometimes an annual fee.<br />Typical fees are:<br />Setup Cost: ranges between £50 and £250, if applicable £120 is the average.<br />Annual Cost: normally around £150, but often not applicable.<br />Monthly: The most standard charge especially from acquiring banks, around £10-25.<br />PSP: Can be a commission of as little as 1% but often about £10 per month or 3-4%.<br />Transaction Charge: 2.79% for an established business but up to 4-5% otherwise.<br />Bond: your funds can be held by your acquiring bank for up to 60 days, especially if you do not yet have a strong operating track record. You can negotiate your Bond down once you have established a strong trading history with your acquiring bank.)<br />Fraud Issues<br />In general, online transactions are labeled as 'card-not-present' transactions, because you can't physically check the card or the cardholder. If a transaction proves to be fraudulent, the money will be reclaimed from your bank account - known as a chargeback. Even if a cardholder-not-present transaction is authorised by the cardholder's bank, you are not necessarily guaranteed payment. One way to guard against fraud is to work with a merchant account provider that offers access to the two major credit cards' authentication services - MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa.<br />How to choose a merchant account vendor<br />Read our article on 'Choosing a Merchant Account Vendor' for practical tips on evaluating online payment programs.<br />The Next Google Adsense<br />Article<br />by eSources Editor<br />There is a new advertising program recently launched that is giving AdSense a run for its money. Some webmasters are experiencing higher payouts, and the best part is that you can run it with AdSense on the same page, without breaching AdSense terms.<br />Some webmasters have earned £80+ from a single click. It may sound crazy but it is as true as taxes and death! Find out what the fuss is all about.<br />The problem with many Internet businesses<br />Article<br />by Richard Grady<br />The problem with so many Internet businesses is that they are often run by just one person. But surely that's a good thing right? Well, it can be - it means that you have complete control over everything you are doing and you know exactly what is going on with every aspect of the business at all times. BUT there is one big downside which is that each individual only has 24 hours in the day and this means there is a clear limit as to how much work you can actually get done in that time.<br />Don't get me wrong, I am as guilty as everyone else who falls into this trap. I am a self-confessed control freak and for years I wouldn't outsource any of my business tasks. If I wanted to do something, I would spend hours/days/weeks working out how to do it myself rather than letting someone else handle the work for me. The upside of this approach was that I did learn a lot but the downside was that I wasted a huge amount of time. Over the years I have got a lot better at outsourcing work but I still tend to only outsource small jobs rather than entire projects, with the rest of the work being completed by yours truly.<br />When I decided to create my most recent online venture, SimplyWholesale, I decided to adopt a completely different strategy. Not only did I decide to outsource the entire web design/build side of the project but I also took on a business partner on a 50/50 basis. My main reason for this major deviation from my 'normal' approach was that I just didn't want to do a lot of the work which was required. After working online for close to 10 years, I had had enough of building websites, designing scripts and carrying out some of the other mundane tasks involved in setting up a new Internet business.<br />Getting rid of the website design and build was a considerable weight off my shoulders and it was/is fantastic to have a competent web designer at the end of the phone. Whilst I still carry out minor updates/improvements to the new site, if I need anything more complicated doing I simply send an email to the design team and it gets done for me. Of course there is a cost involved in doing things this way but the time saving and decreased stress levels are well worth it!<br />The main benefit I have seen however is from working with a business partner. Although it is pretty obvious that having two people working on the same business will double your effective output, it is only when you experience this that you realize how much difference this actually makes.<br />There are now large chunks of running our business which I just don't have to worry about, or even think about much of the time. These areas fall under Dave's control and it is his job to worry about them. It works both ways of course, and there are plenty of things that Dave doesn't have to deal with because they are my jobs.<br />We all like to think that we are good at everything but the truth is that some people are far better at filling certain roles than others.<br />When it comes down to it, the only way that a business (either online or offline) can continue to grow is by employing additional staff. Even with something as flexible as the Internet, where it is possible for a one-man band business to earn a substantial income with much of the work on auto-pilot, there will come a time when the owner runs out of time each week (or just decides that he doesn't want to work as many hours each day).<br />Because of the way that so many Internet business start, it is so easy to get sucked into doing everything yourself. It isn't like opening a shop for example where you know that you will need staff because you don't want to be in the shop eight hours a day/six days a week. Many online businesses start off as tiny concerns run from a bedroom somewhere and gradually grow into 'proper' businesses. By this time, the owner has probably already fallen into the trap of doing everything and it can seem like an impossible situation to get out of.<br />If this sounds like you (or if you are about to start a new online business), spend some time thinking about how you could get someone else to handle some of your workload. You will probably be surprised at how much difference it makes to your income, lifestyle and business overall.<br />Remember, you don't need to rush out and hire staff - how about training your husband, wife, partner etc to do some of your day to day tasks? Even if you manage to snatch back just a couple of hours a day, your business (and your life) will definitely see the benefits.<br />Final del formulario<br />Final del formulario<br />

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