Maintaining Unique Designs For Your Boutique Clothing Business

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Building up a brand is difficult to do in most businesses, but as a clothing brand, the unique style and design of your clothes take on more of a risk. This is because consumers wear your brand and display your logo, making it a more in-your-face kind of marketing. It’s important to realise that maintaining your brand requires constant innovation and a fortitude not to follow what everyone else is doing. Creating an identity is your unique selling proposition because it’s what separates you from all the other clothing lines in the world. Designs that are remotely similar are sometimes labelled in the same group subconsciously. This has been the struggle that Pepsi and Coca Cola have been trying to shrug off for years, and it’s the same for clothing brands. It’s imperative that your style and designs are truly their own if you want to compete successfully with the major brands who have already cemented their position in consumers’ minds.

Cultivating ranges

Your boutique clothing brand needs direction so one day it can become a franchise. It’s very easy to make random designs because you have so many different ideas which you want to fulfill. However, this is bad for business as there’s no real brand being cultivated. Ranges in clothing lines are a way to position yourself as a sustainable brand. Certain designs that share a pattern, however subtle it might be, should be grouped together as part of a range customers can by. This may be to attract a certain customer e.g. straight jeans vs. skinny jeans; they’re still jeans, but your products can now be categorized and different variations, can be split even further into a finite design narrative. It doesn’t make sense to have one design of something, then five or ten different variations of something similar and selling them as one-off designs

Maintain independence of design

Many entrepreneurs in the clothing and fashion industry, spend hours and hours, printing their designs by themselves to save a lot of money. They stay after hours and make sure they have enough products for sale for the following day or week. This means extensive use of such equipment, and eventually, the wear and tear will creep up on you. Update and maintain your manufacturing ability by employing services for Screen Printing Equipment Repair. The constant use of UV printers requires you to replace or strengthen the vacuum system, or replace the LED lights that transfer the heat to the emollient.

By now you should have your own methods, technology and equipment to give you the ability to create and test your designs before they go to market. As a small business, you should try to be as self-sufficient as you possibly can. Outsourcing can be expensive and hiring freelancers is a great alternative to working with large companies that charge top-end fees. Maintain a certain level of independence when you’re creating and implementing new designs by sketching the art and intended graphics yourself. You don’t need to be an artist, but you save time and money, putting your imagination down on paper, before taking it to a professional freelancer.

Part of the joy of running a boutique clothing shop is the fact you get to sell products that are utterly unique. It’s your imagination, artwork and style that people buy and wear. However, preserve your independence and be able to do this without interference, requires constant maintenance of methods and equipment.

Cut Marketing Costs Without Cutting Marketing Reach

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When you think about the marketing efforts of a startup, the costs of those efforts are most likely to be one of the first things that pop into your mind. There’s no denying that it costs money to print and send flyers, to get a great website, develop content, and more. But it doesn’t have to bankrupt the business. Here, we’ll look at ways to stick to a smarter budget that won’t deprive the business.

Pinpoint your targets

There are a lot of reasons to get a much better knowledge of your customers. Track your analytics, talk to them about what they want, and find out why they might choose you over your competitor. For one, you’ll get a better idea of what sites they visit, what they look for, and what social media channels they use. Meaning you can put your marketing in just the right place rather than paying to get your message featured where none of the relevant people are going to read it. But it also helps you identify the aspects of the brand and your product or services that most appeal to them. It helps you hone down your message so it attracts a greater share of the market.

Shift the scales

There are a few changes you need to make if you want marketing to be cheaper but just as effective. For instance, you might not want to abandon physical marketing completely, but there’s no doubt that switching to digital allows you to reach more people for less money. But moving to organic methods instead of interruptive, to an SEO company instead of a video marketing company, can be a greater investment in certain situations, too. PPC advertising and other outbound methods are great for seeing a much higher initial boost in clicks and conversions if you’re launching a new product or event. However, search engine optimization, content creation, social media and other inbound methods allow you to build more visibility and prestige for the brand, which can convert much better in the long-term.

Focus on what you got

It’s six times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Don’t forget to make use of the contact details of the customers you already have, to focus on customer service and make sure they’re happy with their experience. For one, you’re not throwing away the future revenue they might provide. But you’re also making it much more likely they’ll engage in positive word-of-mouth, giving you another way to convert new leads. Some of that marketing budget might go on incentivizing referrals, too, to give them much more reason to help you out.

Use those leftovers

Developing brand new marketing content can be highly expensive, so think about being more frugal with how you use it. For instance, if you’re preparing a press release, then make the bare bones of it first by paying for a written abstract. Think about how you can then adapt it to other formats, such as social media posts, blog content, and infographics rather than having to create new ones. If you have an event, launch, or campaign going, don’t take on the effort of marketing it all yourself, either. Connect it to an opportunity for free PR to give your company more visibility for absolutely nothing.

Know your customers, know the different methods, and know how to capitalize on what you already have. Expanding this knowledge can make it a lot easier to make sure that marketing isn’t only more effective but more cost-effective, too.

Why Banks Turn Down Half Of All Small Business Loan Applications

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One of the worst things anyone can experience in life is rejection. It isn’t just the feeling of being slapped with a rather stinging ‘no’, it is also the effect it has on your confidence from that moment on. Unfortunately, as a new entrepreneur, you will need to develop a seriously strong immunity to rejection because you are likely going to be on the receiving end. That’s not just us being melodramatic either. You see, of all the small businesses that apply for financing, only fifty percent of them will be successful and, of the ones who are, not all of them will receive the full amount. So, yeah, you need to get used to the fact you have a fifty-fifty chances of being rejected.

Of course, this leaves us with one gaping question that demands to be answered: why do half of all new small businesses get turned down for a small business loan?

Well, in order to answer that question for you, we spoke to a selection of financiers, bank managers, loan experts and small businesses to find out exactly what could see a big, fat red ‘denied’ stamp mark your application.

Your Credit Score Is Low

This has to be one of the most important variables in a bank’s decision-making process because of your credit score, in short, is how your creditworthiness is measured. It is how they deem the level of risk you pose to any investment they make in you. As this is your first venture into business, your business credit score won’t exist so anyone looking to give you a loan will carefully analyze your personal credit rating. That is why you need to do all you can to review and understand your credit score. Once you’ve done this you can then work hard to repair or raise it. That means making timely-payments, paying off your debts, not opening any more lines of credit, and keeping those you do have open happy.

You Don’t Have Enough Collateral

You are a risk. You need to understand that. What’s more, the majority of lender is not going to run the risk of loaning you money without having some sort of safety net in place which, in this case, would be collateral they can claim if you don’t repay the loan as agreed. Banks want to know that reimbursement is guaranteed. That is why a lack of collateral is why so many banks tend to turn down loans. The best way to minimize the chance of this happening is to create a list of everything you own that could be put up as collateral. It could be your home, your car, equipment you own, antiques you’ve inherited, the artwork you own, or anything else that is deemed to be of value.

Your Business Plan Is Weak

No investor is going to consider your need for a loan without seeing a detailed plan that explains exactly how you plan on becoming a success. That is why you want to make sure your business plan is as detailed as possible. If you are starting up a business in the food industry, they will want to know what niche you will be focusing on, how much money you are going to spend on equipment, the fact you will be getting your disposable gloves from My Glove Depot, your staff wages, office overheads and just about every single detail to do with your projected finances. It is not good enough to just say you are starting a business in the catering industry and you need X amount to succeed. That is because a business plan is your way of showing you are serious about this. It is your way of proving you’ve done your market research, shows you understand your target audience, that you’ve put goals in place and understand the financial side of your plans.

Your Cash Flow Is Questionable

If you’re asking for a loan, then the banks are going to want to know you are good for paying it back, and that is why they will scrutinize your cash flow so vigorously. They will want to know that you can pay all your running costs – rent, payroll, supplies, vendors, expenses etc. – and your loan too. If you can’t then they are not going to green light your application. The risk is just too high. As such, you need to prove that you will have more money coming in than you will have going out. If this isn’t the case, you’re going to be looked at unfavorably. The best option available to you on this front is to have a good invoicing strategy in place, institute fines for any late-payment (or discounts for early payments), have an emergency fund in place and make sure your spending is the opposite of frivolous.

Your Reasons For A Loan Are Absurd

The majority of banks are going to assess your needs for a small business loan, which means they are going to want to know exactly why you need it. If it’s because you want to put a three-story fish tank in the center of your office then they probably aren’t going to sign off on the money (unless you are going to sell exotic fish as a business). They probably won’t give you the money if you are going to spend it on mattresses for your employees so they get a good night’s sleep. What they want to see is their money being spent to improve your business operations; the kind that will boost profits. Why? Because they want their loan to be paid back. So make sure your loan needs reflect this. It could be a loan to buy equipment, or office space, advertising or to bring in some seasonal products that you know will boost sales.

There are plenty of reasons why your application could get halted at this stage, but it is your responsibility to make sure you plan and prepare for them. It is your job to not give the bank any reason to turn you down. It can be frustrating, it can be a long process, and it can see you get a lot of no’s. But for every rejection, make sure you learn from it.

Sell Your Business, Not Your Products

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In the world of modern business, trying to convince people to buy from you can be incredibly hard. It doesn’t always matter how good your products or services are, other companies with worse can still beat you. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially for those who take a great deal of pride in their work. Usually, though, this is only down to your approach. Instead of trying to sell your products to customers, you should be trying to sell your business to them. The image of your company is much more vital than the reality of it. So, to help you out, this post will be helping you to get new customers through the right kind of marketing.

Before you can start to get new customers, you have to understand exactly what marketing is. Ultimately, this is a very broad area and comes in loads of different forms. To approach this correctly, it can help to look at marketing as a group of methods, all with the aim of getting your business known. Through branding, social media, advertising, and loads of other options, you can get your business known with ease. When doing this, you should try to establish an image and style for your company. This is the way you want customers to see your business.

Of course, marketing isn’t as easy as posting a couple of statuses on Facebook or buying some flyers, though. This field is incredibly complex, with people studying for years before they can make it into their career. Not a lot of small businesses take this sort of effort. Instead, they will rely on their charm to sell themselves. This isn’t always successful, unfortunately, and it could be worth looking at other methods. An MBA in marketing online can be studied while you run business. This will give you a good background in marketing while also helping to build determination and drive in your company.

Like any sort of creative work, marketing can often benefit greatly from being a collaborative process. Having other people to bounce ideas from while working on this side of your company will always benefit you. If you have employees, you already have a great resource to help you here. Along with this, though, you could also consider having a professional marketing company come to audit your work. This will ensure you haven’t missed anything important, while also helping to

Testing your marketing will take more than just an audit, though. Along with this, you will also need to learn how to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing. Most social media platforms have their own applications to help with this, making them easy to keep tabs on. Other methods, like SEO and branding, though, will have to be looked after separately. As part of your qualification, you should learn how to do this, but you can always have someone help you if you need it.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what can be done when you’re looking for new ways to get customers to your company. This can be one of the hardest areas for a small business to master. But, once you’ve gotten started properly, it will be much easy to improve into the future.

4 Big Reasons Why You Need A Digital Marketing Expert For Your Startup

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Marketing has come a long way since the Mad Men days of print ads and radio jingles. The internet has opened up a wide new range of possibilities to sell products and services to consumers, with a new set of rules required to play the advertising game. Digital marketing experts are vital for your business, and if you want to expand your sales and engage with more customers – you’re going to need their help. Take a look at these four reasons why you need a digital marketing expert for your business.

1. Your online efforts aren’t having the desired effect

Your website may look great and tick all of the right boxes, but is anyone visiting it? These days, having a website address is no longer enough to draw people to you. The internet has opened up a wider range of competition, and you need to be more strategic in your online marketing. Knowing who your target audience is and how to reach them is vital for getting you noticed, and a digital marketing expert will know the different avenues to do it.

2. You don’t have the right knowledge of SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an essential tool for helping to attract people to your website. SEO has become vital for businesses and forms a central part of online marketing strategies. It’s something that needs reviewing regularly to keep your website visible when people Google terms related to your business. SEO involves a thorough understanding of the different principles and techniques involved and done correctly can yield good results for your business.

3. You don’t have the time to stay on top of your digital output

Digital marketing is a full-time job and tasks such as creating and distributing social media content requires a dedicated resource. Having a digital expert in your team can help you to focus on the other aspects of your business while they take care of the online work. Another option to consider is to hire professionals like RiseFuel, a marketing automation inbound marketing & SEO agency, to plan and implement your online marketing strategy. Doing this will allow you to carry on with your usual business activities and leave the digital side to the experts.

4. You need someone who can stay up to date on the latest digital trends

If you can barely tell the difference between a tweet and a Snapchat post, it makes sense to hire someone who does. Getting to grips with social media and digital content in its current state is one thing, but have you got the energy and time to keep it up as things change? Digital marketing experts make it their job to stay on top of the latest digital trends. They know what’s on the rise, what’s on the out and where you should be focusing your efforts.

If you need further convincing about the value of a digital marketing expert, maybe you should take a look at the ABCs of online marketing to help you. Digital marketing is essential for your business, and the right expert by your side will help make sure you succeed.

The Very Real Benefits Of Franchising

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In the effort to learn more about business, many people will try and gather as much knowledge as they can before they take their first tentative steps to creating their own business or startup. Doing this is wise, because it arms you with the skills necessary to overcome the choppy waters of initial investment, and building your brand to the point where it is trusted and utilized by consumers.

However, you needn’t shoulder all of the risk yourself. Sometimes, and for the right people, there are smarter ways to get that first introduction to the world of business, without completely having to progress on your own. This is where franchising comes in. Franchising, otherwise known as opening a business that you operate yourself, but you use the rights, legal framework and brand imaging/methodology of operating of the firm you are franchising. We have an article about self-reflection before starting a franchise you can read here, but you should also be aware of the many benefits it can bring.

Exposure

How recognizable your brand is, or how presentable it is to consumers is among the main responsibility of any startup, and the first item of business they try to build. It’s not hard to figure out why this is. If you’re present in the collective consciousness of the society around you, they are more likely to recall your name when looking for the product or service your business conveniently requires.

Thankfully, for the fee and cost of franchising, you already have this taken care of. The franchising firm in question may even be happy to help you promote your location, as your success is in their financial interest. This can take some of the burdens off you when trying to find the perfect approach to marketing, which can often be costly, and doesn’t always succeed as expected.

Safety

While you may not be protected by the franchise, as your business is your business and you are simply paying for the rights to the franchising name, you may be given even more educational tools to wield in your industrial arsenal. This might include annual data regarding the best demographics to sell to, the most successful products that will allow you to shift exposure to your worst sellers, or it might simply provide you with a framework to help you operate within, knowing that the formula works.

This is especially helpful in difficult fields to get right. For example, dog grooming. If not armed with all the knowledge and paperwork of working on various breeds, what prices to offer for the highly specific nature of the work, and what products can help deal with skin issues animals might receive, it can take forever to research all this information yourself. Luckily, in this instance, an established dog franchise can help you look in the right direction for methods of improving your businesses competency.

These main benefits, coupled with getting average statistics about what firms are doing well, and being a part of a wider network of collaborating business (communication is the key to success,) will give you everything you need to succeed. Franchising is a fantastic and stable way to open your first retail store’s doors and keep them open.

Why Your Target Market Isn’t Excited About Your Business

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You know you have an idea that your customers want. You know that you have a market waiting for it. But still, you find that your business isn’t getting the kind of attention and success that it deserves. If your idea is truly that good, then it comes to finding the fundamental flaw in how you’re not facilitating it right. There are a lot of factors to business success, but having a target market that buys into the idea of the brand is an essential one. If you don’t have that, it’s time to ask why.

You aren’t getting the message across

Simply put, it’s all in the marketing. If you don’t understand marketing, then you’re going to have a hard time getting customers to even notice your existence, much less get excited about the products and services that you’re offering. Learning what it takes to build an effective brand through online MBA program marketing is going to help teach you about how to give your brand visibility, reach, and professional standards. A great idea isn’t going to make itself known. You have to find the best channels to communicate it to your customers.

You aren’t sending the message they want to hear

Getting the message across is all well and good, but you have to make sure that you’re communicating with the customer put first. Many brands start off focusing on the wrong direction, whether it’s based solely on their own brand story, their origins, or the simple practicalities of the product alone. Having your business easily understood is important, but so is championing your customer’s success. What are they going to get by buying your products and services? What kind of successful changes is it going to help them make? Some businesses even do better by focusing on a certain emotional fulfillment or lifestyle change the product can help them with.

You need to find your niche

Generic is the single worst thing your brand can be outside of incomprehensible. It’s likely that you have some competition in your field. If you haven’t done your research, you risk sending out the exact same messages that they are. If they’ve been around longer than you, then it doesn’t make a convincing case for why their customers should make the switch or why new customers should choose a new company over a more established one. Brand positioning is all about finding the niche that you can cater to that your competitors don’t. It might be about finding a service they’re not providing, or a priority they don’t have, or even a location they’re not serving. Without any kind of differentiation, you’ll have a much harder time convincing any potential converts.

First of all, you need to ensure that your message is both simple and visible to the target market. Then you have to make sure that it’s crafted with them in mind above all else. Finally, you have to make sure that you stand out from your competition. If you can’t give your brand those qualities, it will never appear to be the fantastic proposition that it might be.

Dig This: Top Tips To Accelerate The Progress Of Your Mining Startup Business

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When starting a new business in any sector, there is a demand for quick progress. Even if it takes some time to reach a stage where you’re making money, you need to see that things are moving in the right direction. And those sentiments are certainly true when working in the mining industries.

So, how can you be sure to see positive results from the start? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most vital stages.

Acquire Equipment

Mining is a complex assignment, and it requires the best equipment. Quite frankly, anything less than perfection will be a wasted opportunity. The reason for this is that you’ll be wasting both time and money on a daily basis.

Advanced machinery will speed up productivity, allowing you to cover more space each day. This will significantly boost your hopes of quick success and increased profits. Lease Corp mining equipment finance deals allow you to access the necessary resources ASAP. Assuming that your staff is well equipped to use them effectively, mining should become far more effective.

Assets are important in all fields of modern business. However, it’s especially important when the work involved cannot be completed by human hands. While basic tools are worthy additions to your arsenal, acquiring the right machinery is key.

Empower The Staff

As a new mining business, you may be restricted to a very small team. But don’t let this become an excuse for not paying attention to the need for great recruitment. If anything, low numbers mean that you need an even greater quality. Motivation is the greatest tool at your disposal.

Employees will naturally work harder when they think there is something in it for them. Offer them incentives such as commissions or extra days off for a job well done. You can learn more about the commission schemes with Tech City News. In addition to providing that motivational boost, it should show them that you are a boss that cares.

Staff members in this environment still have other requirements, not least with regards to safety. Regular training, combined with the necessary workwear and equipment will work wonders. Ultimately, when they feel that you treat them well, they will return the gesture. It really is that simple.

Make Connections

Once you’ve extracted those precious materials, you need to sell them on. Whether you sell them in their natural form or use them to create other items, building a client base is key. Until you know how to generate sales, you don’t have a business. You simply have an expensive hobby.

First impressions count for a lot in business, and you must not forget it. Dressing to impress consumers and B2B clients is essential. Meanwhile, it’s worth building a great looking website. After all, the vast majority of people you do business with will research your company before committing to a decision.

With those winning connections in place, the final processes in the chain will pass with far greater ease. In turn, that should enhance your immediate success while also giving you a better platform for future growth. What more could you ever ask for throughout the infancy of your venture?

If You Build It, Will They Come?

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Every startup faces the same dilemma – how much should I invest to attract my first major client or customer? In an ideal world, you would already have customers queuing at your door. This would spur you on to start up a formally structured business to address your customer’s needs. Of course, in the real world, many entrepreneurs are also inventors, engineers, and creators. They need a tangible product to exist so that customers know what it is that they are buying.

Building or producing your product before you have an order is financially challenging. You might consider investing your own cash into this kind of project. Ultimately, you’ve already invested your time and energy. Putting up your home or your life savings might be a step too far. What you need are investors. Like you, these investors need vision, or they won’t be able to invest in your idea.

What should you have in place to attract an investor?

You should have fully developed plans or schematics for your proposed building or product. There should also be a comprehensive research pack that highlights and identifies a need in the market for such an innovation. If you can turn any of these plans into a 3D illustration, this can help people visualize what you are proposing. Build a model, or simply invite a good artist to clearly sketch what it is you think this product will be.

Aside from your mockup and your research pack, you’re going to need a very compelling presentation. Brush up on your presentation skills, and make sure you have all the supporting materials you need. Ultimately, you are asking for money to build a prototype. To clarify and support the sum you ask for, you will need to have approached potential suppliers and cost the entire project up already.

Speak to companies that specialize in providing your raw materials and parts. You will have to have to be clear about size, use, and potential hazards or risks. You’ll probably need an aluminum supplier, a timber merchant, and maybe even some land if you’re constructing a building. For electronics and apps, you might need coders, engineers, and board suppliers. You must be confident that you have listed every component and every human resource you might need to get your project off the ground.

Now you need to carefully select the investors that are most likely to be interested in your project. Are you building eco-friendly homes? Then speak to local government planning offices to find out who would be most interested in that kind of project. If you’re developing low-power electronics, then maybe find an investor from one of the major electronics research centers. Online crowdfunding is also an option, but you will most likely need far more investors each offering a smaller portion of the money needed.

You also need to carefully consider what type of returns you’re willing or able to provide any investor. With a bank it’s easy. They simply want the original loan plus interest repaid over several months. What would your main investor most want for their interest, support, and cash injection? This is where you can get quite creative. This is the start of your marketing too. You have to sell the project and make sure your investors are happy to hand over their cash.

If your meetings, proposals and presentations have gone well, you might have the cash you need to build your prototype. However, this isn’t all you need to make sure customers come to you and make orders. Now you need to develop a winning marketing strategy. It should ensure a successful launch and a lot of public interest in your innovative new product. So where do you start?

Will They Come?

It’s important to consider where your target customers ‘hang out’ in the media. Are they using Facebook groups that you could get involved with? Do they all enjoy a particular TV program, or listen to a local radio station? You won’t know the answer to any of that without some careful and extensive research. You have a solution to someone’s problem but who are they? Create a typical customer persona and go from there.

Who are your competitors and what are they offering? Even the most innovative of products has a competitor solution somewhere. SWOT analyses of your competitors and their products are essential if you want to uniquely position yours. Dig deep to determine your tone of voice, branding choices, and use of media to reach your target customers.

Launching a brand new product successfully should help you take plenty of orders. As a startup, you need some experience, training, or connections to draw upon. You need to make your launch as newsworthy, topical and current as possible. What’s your hook? Why should the press print a piece about your product launching today?

A launch event brings interested parties to you, your sales team, and your product. You are there in a professional and formal capacity. Create a positive and memorable experience that customers can associate with your product. Hiring an event manager or a PR specialist is essential here. You have a lot to talk about in the evening, so make sure someone else is handling the catering, bar, and entertainment.

If what you are building, developing, or creating is exciting, then yes, your customers will come. But if they don’t know that it is exciting and solves their problems, they won’t attend, and they won’t make any orders. The prototype you are building is just one part of a wider marketing strategy. It should communicate directly, positively, and successfully to your target customers. That means that your upfront investment should cover more than a few components and materials.

Could you sell your product ideas to an investor without a tangible item in your hand? And could you sell a first-attempt prototype to the whole world? You might have a great idea that leaps off the page. You might have an incredible product that looks innovative and high-quality. But until you have a strong marketing strategy to go with it, nobody will ever know.

Frugal Business Practices That Every Startup Should Follow

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One of the problems with starting up your very first business is that it can take some serious cash flow before you’ve even got enough to rent an office. It can be demoralising, but it’s important to remember that without money, you’re not going to make any income on your investment. That’s why more and more people are looking at frugal ways to start a business.

Sadly, when people speak of frugal businesses they usually think about home businesses or internet-based companies that don’t even have an office. While these are perfectly viable choices for most people, it doesn’t help if your aspirations are bigger. If you’re interested in more traditional ways of running a business (such as owning an office, a factory, a warehouse and so on) then here are a couple of frugal business practices that you should follow.

Don’t buy new, repair instead

If you’re going to start a business that requires some seriously expensive equipment, then never buy new from a manufacturer. You can make huge savings if you hire someone to repair equipment for you. If you have the knowledge to do it yourself, then you can take the DIY approach and purchase machines or equipment and repair it yourself. For instance, if you want to take over an old factory and restore it, then you’ll need to visit www.dynatect.com for more information about OEM parts and products. It can be difficult to try and find the right pieces to repair expensive machinery, which is why you need to network with these kinds of companies in order to make huge savings.

There are, however, times when buying used can be more hassle than buying new. A good example of this is with computers. Computers themselves are (from the perspective of a business) not very expensive unless you need top-end equipment. This article from www.theguardian.com will give you a good idea of what type of computer you need to buy. While there are plenty of businesses getting rid of old business stock (resulting in extremely cheap office computers on auction sites) it might be worth investing in something new that hasn’t been used and comes with some form of warranty.

There’s no such thing as industry standard

You’ve probably heard people saying that certain software tools are “industry standard”. A good example of this is in the design industry. Many people use Adobe’s Creative Cloud due to the number of software packages available and how useful they are to most users. Sadly, it can be incredibly expensive to pay every month for a business license, which is why you should turn to free software or cheaper alternatives.

Certain things are worth investing in, but if you only need lightweight tools to do a bit of design work or word processing, then there are cheaper alternatives to the industry standard ones. In fact, with so many startups popping up everywhere, sooner or later the cheaper and free alternatives will become the industry standard and expensive tools will be premium options for the larger companies that demand more features.

Steps to Safeguarding Your Business Before and After a Robbery

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To be robbed is a stressful and traumatic experience. While it is especially upsetting when someone breaks into your home, seeing your company’s security threatened by criminals is no easy sight either. When you’ve first been robbed, you might think you’ve had your share of bad luck and can rest assured they won’t come back.

Unfortunately, it is more likely that the criminals target you again and return for a bigger prize; keep your employees and assets safe with these vital steps and boost your security once and for all.

Never work alone

The first step to employee safety at work is to make sure there is always more than one person present to open and close the business. This is usually when you’re at the most risk and someone shady might creep up on you the moment you’re ready to close. Remember to keep the back door locked at all times, at least when you’re not using it, and consider installing an industrial swing gate for extra security.

To never work alone also means that you should install a loud alarm system and CCTV cameras on the outside and inside of your business. Remember to cover the areas where a person could easily hide and where they might not expect to be monitored by a camera.

It works as a prevention as much as a way to keep you safe in case they should decide to make a move; as we know, prevention is much preferred to repairing the damage that has been done.

Train your employees

Although you don’t feel particularly lucky when you’ve been robbed, you can still feel relieved if it happened while the business was closed and none of your employees were around. They are the ones who are at the most risk if someone should break in during the day time, and it’s important that they’ve received vigorous training in handling potentially dangerous situations.

Train them to spot questionable behavior inside or around the premises, to comply with a robber’s instructions if anything goes down, and to safeguard the area until the police arrive. It will give them a sense of security as well, knowing that their manager is serious about keeping her employees safe – and they’ll pay you back with love and respect.

Never walk alone

You know very well that you should keep a low cash balance in your register and deposit excess money as much as you can – but it doesn’t help if someone has been watching your routine. As mentioned above, the robber may target specific industries and will often come back for more; they are calculating and may observe you for a while before they decide to make a move.

Don’t make deposits late at night, first of all, vary your times and routes, and make sure there is always more than one person who goes to the bank to make the deposit.

Safeguarding your business is as much about training your employees to spot crime and tackle a potentially dangerous situation as sensibly as possible. Make their days at work a lot brighter and happier by taking care of their safety, first of all – and then you may worry about your other business assets.

Realistic Ways You Can Earn More By Working Less

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We’d all jump at the chance to work less if we could, wouldn’t we? The only thing that stops many people from working less is the idea that they have to earn less. When we have bills to pay, partners to treat and kids to look after, this just isn’t realistic. However, there are a few realistic ways you can earn more by working less!

Automate Things You Do Every Day

To automate the things you do every day, you may need to invest in high quality software. However, this software will begin to pay for itself in the long run, and you’ll have more time to focus on the important tasks at hand. For instance, you can automate social media posting, scheduling appointments, follow up emails, recurring invoices, and more.

Raise Your Prices

Many people don’t realize that they have actually under-priced themselves. When you price your services too low, you may get inundated with orders. Yes, you’ll still have lots of money, but you’ll have a lot of work to do too. Consider re-evaluating what your service is worth, and up your price point. You’ll still get orders from high value customers, but you’ll have much less work to do.

There are an abundance of ways you can earn more by working less – so many, that we’d be here all day listing them all. If you want even more tips to add to your arsenal, here are 5 ways elite producers work less but earn more. Enjoy!


credit to CreativeOne

5 Tips to Save More When Ordering Custom Parts in Bulk

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Volume discounts for bulk purchases benefit everyone involved, helping suppliers move inventory, enabling companies to cut costs and allowing savings to be passed on to consumers. The savings for businesses can be significant, with suppliers such as Lowe’s offering discounts for bulk quantities of as much as 50 percent. Buying in bulk makes economic sense for businesses, but doing it successfully requires following some best practices to avoid some common pitfalls. Here are five tips for getting the best deal when ordering custom parts in bulk.

Compare Prices

Like any smart shopping strategy, smart bulk purchasing is based on carefully comparing prices. The best place to start researching prices is online. You can often find good volume discounts on Amazon, along with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime membership, advises American Express. Online directories such as SupplyChainBrain and SaleHoo can also help you find suppliers and compare prices. Don’t forget to check prices with local suppliers as well. You may also be able to get bulk discounts on certain types of supplies by joining a warehouse club. After you’ve done some preliminary research, request quotes from multiple suppliers so that you can do a fair comparison.

Compare Materials

While you’re comparing prices, it’s also advisable to compare the cost of using different types of materials. One mistake companies sometimes make is choosing high-priced materials without considering the possibility that less expensive materials may also do the same job. For instance, as a long as a material is durable enough to perform its function, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the strongest material available. When considering different materials, ask your supplier if they have any recommendations. They may be aware of materials and options you haven’t considered. For instance, o-ring supplier Apple Rubber makes products out of a wide variety of materials such as Viton that have been developed for specialized applications, and has an online material selection guide to help clients choose the best option for their needs.

Consider Quality as Well as Price

While it’s good to seek the lowest available price and the least expensive materials, it’s also important to balance cost against the need for quality when comparing suppliers. Inexpensive doesn’t need to mean low quality, and when there’s a concern with quality, it may be worth it to spend a little more to meet the standards you want to deliver your customers. You should also consider prospective suppliers’ quality of service. How quickly do they respond to phone calls and emails? How reliable are they? Do they offer guarantees? Research prospective suppliers’ reputations and ask them questions in order to evaluate their quality of service before settling on a provider.

Measure Precisely

Bulk ordering a custom-made part with the wrong measurements can be an expensive waste of time and money. A mistake multiplied in bulk is a much bigger wasted expense than a mistake on a single-unit order. Avoid this problem by taking an extra effort to make precise measurements before requesting a quote or submitting an order. Use the most precise measuring tool available, preferring 1/100 of an inch to 1/10 of an inch, for example. Take multiple measurements to make sure you’ve made an accurate estimate.

Draw Up Exact Specs

Just as it’s important to draw up exact measurements before submitting a quote, it’s also advisable to draw up exact specs. Before spending money on a bulk purchase, you want to make sure your supplier is crystal-clear on what type of part you need. The best way to do this is to hire a rapid prototyping service, 3-D CAD modeling service, engineer or draftsman to create a detailed drawing of the parts you need. If you’re selecting a part from a catalog, verify that you’ve chosen the right part number.

Content Which Has Purpose Connects Stronger With The Consumer

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Although the internet has only been around for a short amount of time, considering the length and breadth of human history, it’s perhaps the fastest evolving part of our lives. This is both tricky and wonderful for startup businesses. Not at any other time than now, has there been so many avenues you could do down to promote and market your business. However, it’s not technically a rule, but there is a right way and a wrong way. It’s no longer good enough just to have an advertising campaign based on targeted algorithms. Consumers want content that speaks out to them; they can relate and connect with. Explaining how you have the best product is no longer enough; you must show them why it’s better.

Why a video ad

Video advertisement can be very short, in order for them to fit onto multiple online platforms. Nowadays, all you really get is 5 seconds to hook the audience in before a ‘skip’ button appears on the screen. However, some advertisement can run for up to 20 to 30 seconds with no skip feature, so you have two kinds of options. Tell a story, think about how your product is mainly used by your customers, and why it’s important to them. Target the emotional angle, so there’s a feeling of having to rely on your product or service in some part of their lives. Cater for your key demographic, so whether it’s for a family or the youth, the angle must be representative of the particular lifestyle they lead. This way your product stays relevant to the use it was designed for.

Blogging with evidence

Blogging is a great digital marketing tactic that is content which is purely created from in-house staff and even you the business owner. The point about blogs is to write in an informal and pleasant manner, without the veil of a professional company outer shell. However, blogs often get stale, because it’s difficult to generate ideas once the main reasons why and how your product should be used are covered. A blog cannot purely live on just writing about updates and upcoming events. Content that stays alive is that which has a purpose and true evidence behind it. Companies like Detailed, offer case studies to businesses who wish to content market for their products and services. You can find out what makes your customers tick, see why kind of trends are important to them and then, tie your product into those narratives.

Responsive updates

When you release an update either for a service or a product, the update patch notes, or the blog or video that ensues, should explain why you made these changes and updates. You could read out customer questions in a video, and respond accordingly, citing a pattern of inquiries which made you perform the changes. Equally, in the blog or the patch notes, you could briefly explain the reasons why you felt the specific changes has to be made. This lets the consumers know that you’re thinking about them, and willing to take on board ideas from buyers to make a service or product better. Customer service which stands true to the term is greatly appreciated and not easily forgotten by customers.

Live Q n’ A sessions

Customers like to watch videos which go into detail about a product which they use. Having a live question and answer livestream over a social media platform such as Facebook, is a superb outreach strategy. It allows users to meet you, almost face to face. They can finally put a face to the business and hear your thoughts on the industry you operate in, where you think it’s headed and what the future may hold for your company. You’ll be getting questions from the audience, so being quick on your toes is something you’ll have to prepare for. Make sure to have notes with you, so you’re not left umming and ahhing, at a question that asks for specific evidence or data. Spread the word before and during the livestream, on your social media accounts so you can get the maximum amount of views watching you. Facebook and other livestreaming videos of CEOs are becoming more and more common as the need to personally connect with the people who buy your products and services, begins to be the most important goal for marketing.

Content that has a purpose stands a greater chance of connecting with the consumer. Stabbing aimlessly in the dark is great to keep viewer traffic on your website stable, but it doesn’t have the punch behind it, to make waves in the market. Therefore, listen and respond to feedback and be creative.