6 Mistakes Dropshippers Make When Starting Out

May 26, 2019

AmeriCommerce estimates that retail e-commerce businesses account for as much as $220 million in revenue annually. Dropshipping has the potential to be a major edge for online sellers for several reasons, from reducing overhead to shorter shipping and fulfillment times for orders. These benefits can only be realized with proper implementation of the factors that contribute to successful dropshipping.

The sad reality is that many new e-commerce entrepreneurs are either ignoring these basic steps or completely unaware of them because they seem trivial. To increase your chances of success in an e-commerce venture, don’t make these mistakes.

Mistake #1: Betting all your chips on one supplier

Having a unified supplier is a benefit in several cases: There’s only one point of contact, and all products are shipped directly from that one location to your customers. However, the situation of a supplier running out of stock or being unable to meet demand does arise on occasion. Researching and keeping in contact with a secondary or backup vendor is a necessity.

This assumes that the primary vendor you’re engaged with doesn’t require you to only deal with them. Pay attention to the contract you sign with your supplier for any predatory clauses like this before signing it. They could be the reason your e-commerce business sinks or floats.

Mistake #2: Getting the wrong supplier for the job

The choices for suppliers are myriad in the world of dropshipping. You need to make several decisions before you choose one. Do you prefer products made locally or shipped from overseas? What are the overhead costs and the inherent benefits and drawbacks of each? There’s a long checklist you ought to go through before settling on a supplier. Shopify notes that the steps in selecting a supplier vary by industry and the type of …

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How to Identify Third-Party Vendors to Help You Scale

May 24, 2019

After five years, only 56% remain in business.

As they put together the pieces necessary for growth, startups quickly discover that the first step is also one of the hardest – finding the right people. Without a capable and committed team, even the best ideas struggle to get off the ground.

Founders cannot simply find and onboard talent, though. They must also find people who can help build a sustainable, empowering culture and then learn how to keep as many of those people around as possible. As if that weren’t enough, founders also have to be able to recognize when someone isn’t a good fit. Those hard decisions can make or break startups with limited time and resources.

Product decisions, too, affect the odds of survival. What problem does the product solve? How much is that solution worth, and what are people willing to pay for it? Founders can’t rush into implementing their ideas before they truly understand the needs of the audience and the likelihood that the product will fulfill those needs.

Not every organization fits into the same mold. Startups pride themselves on their disruptive and agile natures, yet many founders are afraid to step out and try something truly different – especially when board members and other influential figures advise caution. However, standing out from the crowd might be the most important factor in startup success.

Where partners come into play

With so many challenges to overcome, few startups make it to the fifth year and beyond without a little help. Third-party vendors in a variety of functions can act as valuable extensions of the company’s core team. Startup executives should not see these outside parties as a threat, nor should they try to adopt every outside partner that proves useful. By letting the experts do …

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3 "Secret" Ingredients That Consistently Drive Business Growth

May 24, 2019

Is it a question of mindset? What can we learn from those companies that have achieved a pattern of stable growth throughout the decades?

Hard work, talent, dedication, commitment to excellence and even more hard work. These things – especially an unending supply of hard work – make up the not-so-secret secret formula used by companies that have attained consistent growth. On top of that, the leadership within these companies keeps a future-oriented mindset. “This business is being built for years – and generations – yet to come,” is a much better leadership outlook than one that says, “I have built this by myself and for my own glorification right now.”

But really, it’s all about hard work. That’s why the secret formula is really pretty obvious. We all know the value of hard work, and we all believe in it. Some of us even practice what we preach when it comes to hard work. But do you know exactly what hard work looks like? Have you ever realized that hard work takes many shapes and forms? Does your company – do you – work hard at everything you do?

Shortcuts are not hard work

Shortcuts look smart. They look efficient, easy, quick and painless. They offer a chance to deliver a higher volume with little or no extra effort. But they are not hard work. Working smart and keeping up with best practices is crucial to your product’s quality, but it should never be the end you seek. The product’s quality is all that matters; that, and your character, are all your customer will ever really see. Minimal effort work (i.e., work that’s full of shortcuts) produces a minimal effort product. Minimal effort is what your competitors provide, inferior quality from others is what drove your customer to you …

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Sustainability Is Changing How We Do Business … For the Better

May 23, 2019

The idea of going green to succeed in business is a relatively new one. In previous generations, it was enough to simply sell a quality product or service. Customers didn’t ask about supply chains, livable wages or carbon footprints. Whether a company was run ethically was entirely up to its board of directors.

This all changed once millennials began to flex their buying power. And, yes, millennials actually do have buying power – they may often be labeled as perpetually broke, but millennials make up one-quarter of our population and are expected to spend $1.4 trillion in 2020.

While our nation’s avocado-loving youth has been accused of killing everything from cereal to homeownership, millennials have undoubtedly brought sustainable business practices into the spotlight. Their penchant for living green and buying local, compounded with growing concerns about climate change and social equality, has prompted a growing number of businesses to find more ethical, sustainable ways to be successful.

Here’s how sustainability is transforming business all the way from the consumer to the investor.

Consumers are supporting their values with their credit cards.

From the great straw ban of 2018 to the backlash against Nike’s Kaepernick campaign, consumer spending is increasingly tied to personal beliefs about everything from environmentalism to fair trade to political loyalties. An Edelman study spanning eight countries found that 64% of consumers are belief-driven buyers, meaning “they choose, switch, avoid, or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.”

While it might feel polarizing to find your business on the downside of a controversial issue, it could be a boon for your business and your cause if your stance resonates with your customer base. In fact, 89% of consumers are likely to switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, and …

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SBA Loan in Default? Forgiveness is Possible

May 16, 2019

But, that’s what I want to discuss with you today. The downside. But not just the downside in a general kind of way. I want to talk about a very specific downside: what happens if you default on an SBA loan, and how you can resolve it.

SBA Loan Basics

The internet is full of information about SBA loans, so I’ll spare you the book report. Instead, I’m going to highlight the key features of SBA loans. If you want more details, the SBA’s website is a great place to start.

  • The SBA is not a direct lender (in most situations). They simply guarantee repayment to the bank in the event that you fail to repay the loan. Your lender funds the loan and typically services it, though sometimes they sell it.
  • The SBA charges a “guarantee fee.” This is primarily how the SBA program is funded.
  • The SBA guarantee doesn’t get you off the hook if you default on the loan. It reimburses the lender, but this doesn’t impact how much you owe. Borrower’s often get confused by this, so I’m going to say it again. The SBA guarantee is for the lender, not the borrower. If you take an SBA loan and default, the SBA guarantee does not relieve you of the obligation to repay the loan.
  • SBA loans are great for borrowers who meet all the normal criteria for a traditional business loan except collateral. If you have good personal credit, two to three years of profitable operating history, strong experience in the field, and cash to inject, but not enough collateral to cover the loan, an SBA loan might be a good option for you.
  • Startups with no operating history are unlikely to be approved unless it’s a franchise with a good track record. A
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