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Must Have Tools for Running a Successful Drop-Shipping Business

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Drop shipping offers a great way for you to make money from home, to start your own business on a shoestring, or to attain financial independence. You don’t have to purchase inventory to get started, and you can sell virtually anything so long as you can find a reputable wholesaler to provide it. You can run the business while you are still working, or you can drop everything and put all your effort into making the business a success.

At the same time, there are plenty of Facebook groups and free resources online to help you get started with the process. In short, it’s definitely one of the most sought after methods for starting an online business right now and many newbies are finding success in the process.

For the more seasoned entrepreneur and online marketers, many people have made their fortunes on drop shipping. You just need to be persistent, use the right tools, and make the right choices for your business. Here are some of the top tools you should be using to be successful in your drop-shipping business:

Inventory Management System

Your inventory is everything. You need to know how much you are selling and how much is available. If you are drop shipping, you won’t have inventory on hand. But you will need to keep track of how much inventory is available through your wholesaler. You don’t want to disappoint or anger a customer by telling tell them that you don’t have the item available and sending a refund instead.

Over time, you may decide to grow your business by having the inventory on hand and selling in person at a store, a trade show, marketplace, or elsewhere. It is important that you have the right systems for inventory management so you always have what the customer needs in hand. Inventory management is also essential to make sure you don’t order items that you already have and cut into your profits.

Customer Management System

Sales don’t just appear out of thin air. In addition to running ads and other promotions, you need to generate leads and nurture them through your sales funnel. A good customer management system will help you keep track of your leads and where they are in the funnel.

Any time you get a lead – such as through a list serve sign up or a sale – you put that contact information into your CMS. You then keep track of all contact you have with the customer, including emails, phone calls, and sales. Over time, you build up quite a lot of information about your customer so that you have a more complete picture of what the customer wants and needs, and so you have more demographic information. You can use all that information to create better pitches that have a higher likelihood of success.

Content and Blog Management System

Just as important as the products and listings on your actual store, a blog can compliment your brand, service and increase sales in the process. This is something we are seeing many of the top e-sellers and dropshippers finding success with today. It’s no longer about just having an online store and listing products for sale, it’s about creating engaging content that grabs the interest of an audience and makes them want to buy.

This can all easily be setup with a WordPress blog, which is quite easy to learn — even for someone that’s never had a website or blog. Once you’ve added a blog to your online store, be sure to add social sharing buttons and also link back to your product pages whenever you reference something that can be purchased on your site. To see examples of how some of the top brands and e-commerce sites are already doing this, simply visit the ‘blog’ section on any of your favorite online stores.

Payment Processor

Paypal isn’t the only player in the game for payment processing. You have many options for accepting payments from your customers and for making payments to your vendors. It is important that you explore all your options so that you get the best terms. Even a small difference in fees can add up over time, cutting into your profits.
You must also consider whether the payment processor collects the payments that are most popular amongst your customers, and how good the customer service is. If your customers don’t like the payment process, you’ll also lose money.

Payroll System

When many people get started with drop shipping, they have a one-man operation. But once you start to make a little money and can grow your business, you may want to hire a few people to help you out. You may start with one assistant, but you may eventually have several people processing orders and answering customer inquiries. Once you have any kind of staff, you’ll need a system to help you manage payroll, from calculating hours and pay to determine the appropriate taxes. A good payroll system will do everything from issue checks to report taxes to the IRS.

Using the right tools for your drop-shipping business is more than a matter of convenience. Using the right tools can help you enhance your customer service, keep your costs low, increase your sales, and maximize your profits. Right after you find the right wholesaler to work with, you should start looking for the right software tools for your business – even before you have your website set up. The right software will help you create a solid foundation for the success of your business.

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Entrepreneurship

Time is Money: How to Maximize Both as an Entrepreneur or Business Owner

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Are you wearing too many hats? Being pulled in a hundred different directions? Having trouble completing tasks because new things keep coming up?

You’re probably a business owner.

The hours you spend working are as important as the money made in that hour. Your time is money; wasted time results in wasted cash. You can change this with some simple time management hacks.

Your productivity depends on your time management. Once you master this, everything in your business will become simpler. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your time as a business owner.

Invest in Great Employees

Many business owners find themselves hiring employees far too often. A high turnover of staff means the time you take to plan and to train goes to waste.

The trick to saving time on hiring is making the right hires in the first place. And, making the job so great they don’t want to leave!

You can do this by creating an Employee Development Plan. Any employees that you truly value and depend on should have a path for growth. They should have benefits and perks that make working for you worthwhile.

When recruiting new hires, be very detailed in what you’re looking for. Weed out the lazy, unenthusiastic applicants from the hard working and passionate candidates.

Once you hire great employees who love working for you, they can take a load off your plate. Remember to ask for their feedback and input on new ideas. You trust them to do a good job, so you can delegate tasks to them.

Track your Time

Spend a week recording everything you do from morning to night. You can do this with Google Calendar or on paper. Write the tasks you work on each hour or the free time you spend.

After one week, review your log.

How many tasks did you switch between in any given hour? How many tasks comprised of you fixing other people’s work? Did you miss any deadlines or lose out on any profit?

You may realize you’re working an extreme number of hours per week. Or, that you’re struggling to move projects forward because you aren’t focused enough.

This problem is very common for business owners. It gets solved by automating and delegating tasks.

Automate Tasks

Thanks to the magic of technology, we don’t have to manually complete many tasks. If you haven’t leaned into automation, now’s the time to start.

Automation is when you let technology automatically complete tasks without your constant approval. You set up the rules and expectations, then the frequency of the automation. After that, your load is a little lighter.

Here are some tasks automation can help with:

  • Email marketing
  • Assigning inbound leads
  • Following up with networking peers
  • Offering free content to attract leads
  • Identifying the hottest leads
  • Tracking accounts receivable

The list goes on and on. Did you know that 80 percent of top-performing businesses use automation for marketing? 80 percent of these highly successful people can’t be wrong.

Look at your business’s tasks and systems. Where could automation help you?

Delegate Tasks

Not all tasks can get automated; some should get delegated. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you’re used to doing everything yourself. “If you want it done right, do it yourself” right?

Wrong.

Most of the time, “done is better than perfect.” You need to decide which tasks demand your attention and which ones your employees can do.

This might mean training your top employees on new roles and duties. This is great because it shows them you believe in them and it lightens your workload.

Look back at your time log for the week. Find at least three things that you can delegate. Start the process of transferring those responsibilities to someone else.

This will give you more time to do the things only you can.

Work in Batches

Jumping from one task to another in completely different realms is awful for productivity. Switching gears all the time ruins your focus and lowers your energy.

Instead, start working in batches through calendar blocking.

Schedule your day to complete all like-minded tasks in the same block of time. That could mean spending all of Monday morning working on payroll duties. Or, all of Monday afternoon updating the company website and planning new components.

Consider using an app for all your scheduling needs, like this company. Every employee can download the app and have access to all work-related things.

By staying in the same realm of tasks for a larger chunk of time, you can focus completely on that umbrella of tasks. You can use your time more efficiently and get more done.

Get Organized

Look around your office. Is it messy? Is there clutter everywhere, especially on your desk?

This is a subconscious productivity-destroyer. How can your mind think clearly when your space feels confused and chaotic? Both you and your employees are less productive when the space is messy.

Start by cleaning your personal office. Your desk should only have things you use every day or make you happy. File loose papers or shred them.

Declutter the floor. Boxes should get put away and objects returned to their home in the office. Hire a cleaner to deep clean the space.

Then, set new expectations for your staff on office cleanliness. Like tools need to get put back after use and don’t leave rotten food molding in desk drawers.

You may need to buy some organizational systems to keep this momentum going. Get some low-maintenance plants to put around the office and lift the mood. Make the office a calm and clean place to work for everyone.

If Time is Money, Are You Spending Yours Wisely?

As a business owner, you’re supposed to be hustling and grinding. But, you can do more by working smarter, not harder.

Boost your productivity and profits by getting better at time management. Put systems in place that save you time and let you focus on important things. Your time is money; making better use of it will result in higher earnings.

For more tips on being a business owner, productivity, and making more money, check out this article.

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Entrepreneurship

The Ultimate Guide To Streamlining Your Accounts Payable Process

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Let’s face it: the process of improving and streamlining your accounts payable process can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of busywork. It’s also one of the most important, yet overlooked, processes within a business that can actually make you go from negative to positive in monthly ROI. This is especially true with online businesses, as many of use are using various automation, SEO, and marketing tools that have built-in recurring monthly costs… but how many of them are we actually using, yet still paying for?

This is something I occasionally talk about on the blog, as it’s a great reminder to always keep an eye on not just what your monthly expenses are, but also what they are actually being spent on. We all watch the incoming and outgoing money within our businesses and brands, but many of us will forget to actually look through our credit card and banking statements to see who is billing what. Soon enough, you could have thousands in monthly recurring bills, and not even realize that you aren’t utilizing such services.

It’s not just affiliate marketers and bloggers that have to deal with these types of issues, it’s businesses of all sizes — and it really comes down to the various payment processors, invoice tracking, and tax software being used. The truth is that an inefficient accounts payable system costs you in time , money, and anxiety. Between chasing down your tax information, waiting for invoices to be verified, and frantically paying bills at the last second, things will slip through the cracks.

You won’t just lose money. Your company’s reputation will suffer as a result. You might lose important business relationships that you’ve worked hard to build.

It’s time to make a change for the better.

Read on to learn how to improve your current accounts payable procedures.

1. Look for Patterns in Your Payments

The first thing that you need to do when you’re ready to make over your accounts payable process?

Think about how you can get out in front of upcoming payments.

The best way to do this is to look for payment and invoice patterns, and then create a matching schedule of accounts payable.

For example, do you know that your supplier sends you a bill on the first Monday of every month? If so, you know that this payment to your suppliers is a fixed cost every month. You should schedule an automatic payment, since it will likely be in the same amount each time.

Additionally, figure out who you sent the most money to, the most frequently.

This will help you to keep better track of your spending pattern, and know who to prioritize when it comes to getting payments out on time.

One more thing you might discover during this review process?

The fact that you’re not exactly spending your company’s money in the most effective way. Taking a closer look at things won’t just help you to spend less time each month on accounts payable.

There’s also a good chance that it will help to save you some serious money.

2. Define Your Invoice Payment Strategy

You know that paying invoices on time and in the correct amount is an essential way to maintain excellent relationships with freelancers and suppliers alike.

However, if you’ve noticed that your accounts payable process seems to be missing the mark when it comes to invoices?

You need to make a change — and fast.

First of all, decide when you’ll pay the invoices that are sent to you. Is the goal simply to get them paid as quickly as possible? Or, is it better to send payments at a set date?

Determine the payment method that you use. Will you write them a check, or do they prefer to get their money sent to them via systems like PayPal? And which method of payment works best for your business?

You should also make sure that you have a strong record-keeping system in place when it comes to your invoices. That way, even if something does go wrong, you’ll be able to track exactly when and how it happened.

One final piece of often-overlooked advice?

It’s simple: make sure that you have the right employees working on accounts payable.

Is now the time to create a specific accounts payable department, as opposed to assigning invoices to “whoever has time” to complete them? What short of qualifications do the people working in accounts payable have? What sort of training program have you implemented?

These are certainly all things to consider — and to speak with your team honestly about.

If you need to hire someone new, then the cost of bringing them on will likely pay for itself in the time the rest of your team members will earn back.

3. Consider a Payment Automation System

Of course, if you’re truly serious about improving your current accounts payable process, then you’re likely going to need to invest in a payment automation system.

Look for a system that allows you to make payments in a variety of currencies and payment methods. You should also decide on an option that helps you to eliminate as many rejected payments as possible.

The goal here is to find a platform that helps you through every part of the AP process — including making early payments.

Also, ensure that the payment automation system you choose helps you to keeps things secure and compliant. The right system will scan potential payees and identify potentially fraudulent or problematic companies.

Finally, make sure that you take a close look at the transaction fees of any payment automation system you use. Remember that fees are usually charged on a per-transaction basis. So, cut down on the number of individual payments if possible.

Looking to learn more about what makes a great payment automation system?

If so, be sure that you check out the Tipalti website, to learn how their platform could save up to 80% of your accounts payable team’s time.

Once you’ve implemented each of these solutions and accounts payable processes, you may finally be at zen with your personal and business finances.

Ready to Overhaul Your Accounts Payable Process?

We hope that this post has helped you to understand what it takes to truly improve your accounts payable process — and eliminate errors in the process.

Of course, tackling accounts payable is just one smart of what helps you to streamline your time at the office, and get more out of every day.

You need to ensure that you have a strong digital and print marketing strategy, that you employees feel motivated within the work environment, and much more.

Keep on coming back to our blog to score even more tips on how to take your company to even higher heights.

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Entrepreneurship

How to Pick the Best Business Credit Cards for Startups

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You obviously know about the existence of business credit cards, and you may have even heard about the benefits they give to companies, but you’re still worried about getting one for your startup. If that’s that the case… don’t be. I’ve personally used credit cards for my business expenses for over 20 years now, and as long as you stay on top of your payments, they are perfectly fine.

Right now, you may think you’re playing it safe by avoiding the plastic, but in reality, you’re missing out on a ton of great deals that could help your business grow and become more successful.

There are a variety of credit cards that you could choose from, and each card offers their own unique trademarks that you could use to your advantage. Let’s have a look at some of the best business credit cards for startups.

The Best Business Credit Cards for Startups That You Should Use

Depending on your type of business, you can gain some serious perks to help you level up your business game. Keep reading to find out more.

Decide How Fast You’re Paying the Monthly Bill

The first thing you need to worry about is the amount of time you think you will need to take care of your monthly statements.

Some companies can pay off their fees in full every month like clockwork. Others may only be able to pay off the bare minimum in order to keep things rolling. There are cards for both types of businesses.

If you know how to make the full payment each month, you should go for a card that gives you longer grace periods and a lot of rewards so you can capitalize on all of the benefits.

Charge cards are also handy for those who always pay in full. These little guys give you the money you need, as long as you’re able to pay it off within a 30-day time frame.

If you’d rather take your time paying off the card, then get a credit card that has a low-interest rate or a 0% APR to allow you time to pay everything off without any backlash.

As for my own personal and business expenses, I’ve always been a fan of American Express, and have been a customer of theirs since 2003. You can see a few of my other preferred business credit cards for entrepreneurs and bloggers as well.

Think About Operating Costs

One of the biggest reasons (if not, the biggest) why you want a credit card is to take care of the operating costs that come with every business.

Look through the spending log and see which of your operations takes up the most of your money, and then find a card that gives you benefits directly related to those operating costs.

For example, if you spend a lot on customer service, get a card that offers bonus points on spending in this category. That way you get returns as you spend cash.

Credit Expenses

The last thing that you should be worried about when choosing a credit card is are the credit expenses.

Different cards offer different costs on their monthly and annual fees. More often than not, this is directly related to the number of benefits and perks you get from using it.

The general rule of thumb is that the more basic the card is, the less you’ll have to pay in fees, and vice versa. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to take the thrifty approach or if your business can fork the extra cash for the bonuses.

If you want to learn more about what card would suit your company best, check out this website for a list of credit card reviews and other things that could help your small business soar.

The One Stop for All Your Startup Business Needs

Now that you know about some of the best business credit cards for startups, you can make moves to grow your business! When starting to apply for different cards online, you may find better success with lower level credit options and stay away from American Express until you have a decent credit score or business history. If all of that already looks good, then apply away!

As mentioned, I’ve been making money online and helping businesses grow their reach and exposure for well over two decades now. If you ever have any questions or are in need of services, just send me an email and I’ll be sure to give you the answers that you need.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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