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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

The Rise Of The Internet Entrepreneur

With E-Commerce becoming a solid reality in the business world, many are now the chances for the young (and the experienced) entrepreneur to create a solid business… from a simple laptop. Not only purely E-commerce related, but also when it comes to mobile optimisation, trading and networking, let’s try to understand the breed known as “webtrepreneurs” in a more detailed way.

The Dropshipping Method

One of the most prolific ways of doing business when it comes to E-commerce is dropshipping without a doubt. Dropshipping, believe it or not, is way older than you think: IKEA, in fact, started as a dropshipping business and Amazon, too.

The process behind Dropshipping is quite simple: basically, you are selling products that you don’t physically own and that are not stored in your facilities.

In the current Shopify era, the whole concept behind Dropshipping evolved accordingly: the whole idea now revolves around having a store that focuses on selling niche products (phone cases, for example) that are provided by Chinese online suppliers (mainly Aliexpress and DHgate) and are ultra branded with a charge on their original price that currently fluctuates around 200/250%. The whole process is then automated with an app called Oberlo.

Dealing with such suppliers could be risky, that’s why many of these shops have quality professional indemnity insurance.

Digital Marketing Agencies

The business-savvy marketer nowadays knows that one of the best ways to get new clients is via proper marketing campaigns online, whether if they are content related, focused on SEO or PPC. For example, every modern drop shipping business is relying on Facebook (and Instagram) ads to increase their sales. This demand for quality marketing campaigns, of course, is giving power to the experts in the craft, that are of course making a big profit from it.

Marketing a store or a brand could be a hard task, so being able to properly show a solid ROI to clients is, of course, the top priority for the marketing entrepreneur.

The Influencer’s Path

Many are the ones who saw Instagram as a potential business environment all the way back when it started but no one knew about the level this platform could have reached: to this day, having organic, quality traffic on a big Instagram page is something that attracts companies, investors and literally everyone who wants to showcase his/her product. That’s why influencers are the most powerful form of paid social advertising now. By the way, no one will ever reach what today is known as “The Kardashian Effect“: in fact, whatever goes to Kim’s (or anyone from the family) Instagram page (currently fluctuating around 110 million followers) automatically goes viral a couple of (get ready) SECONDS after it has been posted.


About the Author

StrategyDriven ContributorPaul Matthews is a freelance writer and E-Commerce entrepreneur in Manchester. His aim is to inform people about the power of the internet, while he still focuses on Caunce O’Hara. You can often find him mountain biking or at the local library.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

What You Should Consider When Hiring Your First Employee

When you own a small business, you’d expect that over time it’ll start to grow. As it grows there’ll be more tasks to deal with and not enough resources for it.  Help will be needed to manage your build up of tasks, in which case it might be worth considering hiring your first employee. It could be seen as a big step as you’ll now have to teach someone else how you run your business and you’ll be letting someone into something that’s really special to you. But if your business requires extra resources and you want it to grow further, it’s the jump you have to take. So, here are the things you need to consider when hiring your first employee.

What are the Requirements for the Job?

It’s good first of all to identify exactly what person you require to fit a job role and the skills they need. Note down what it is this person needs for them to be successful in the role you’ve put on offer. From running the business and working on day to day tasks, you’ll know where you need the help and what it takes for it to be completed. After you’ve done this, you should get a better idea of what you’re looking for to put into the job specification.

How Does your Brand Look to Others?

SImilar to how customers use a brand to buy services and products from, you want to be able to show the same to potential job candidates too. They should be able to benefit from working in the business and want to be attracted by your business in some way to apply for the job. You could conduct some market research on what others think of your brand, or just ask close family and friends. It’ll help candidates understand what you do so it can help them decide whether it’s right for them.

Do You Offer Any Training?

If there’s space for an employee to grow, it can be a great plus in attracting candidates. This is, of course, dependant on the type of person you’re looking for, as someone more experienced may not necessarily need the training. Someone who’s ambitious though may see training as a valuable asset for later in their career.

What Type of Working Hours Will You Be Offering?

Nowadays, there are more people looking to distance themselves away from typical 9-5 working hours, as flexible working becomes more popular. Consider the type of working hours you’ll be offering as flexible working hours is known to be more popular when candidates are looking for jobs.

Do You Have Any Perks That Come With the Job?

It can difficult when jobs don’t have a good work-life balance. It can be more appealing to job seekers when there are benefits in the role as it can have a great effect on morale, encouraging a better work ethic. Within the job description be sure to outline any benefits that you may be offering as it’s likely more people will consider working for you.

Writing Up a Contract

Let’s say that you’ve managed to find your successful candidate, and you can’t wait for them to start work. Bear in mind that details in a contract are one of the most important things when hiring a new employee. This is crucial in making sure all parties involved are on the same page and everyone’s protected, including your business. If you’re unsure of how to write up a contract there’s always employment solicitors that you can involve who can help you along the process.

It’s always worth considering the best ways your business can grow, and retaining your best staff for a successful future. Considering these aspects can go a long way as you want to make sure the first employee is the right employee.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Finding the Best Business Property for You

A new business property can be one of the biggest commitments that you can make as a business owner. It is also, at its heart, a difficult thing to make a decision on as there are a lot of different elements involved. Especially if you have never owned a business property or rented one before.

Of course, some of your initial considerations will include a number of important factors, such as:

  • What’s your budget?
  • What size premises do you want?
  • Do you need a lease or a licence?
  • Where and when do you need to start looking?

Outside of this, there are also a lot of other considerations that you need to make in order to set your business off to a flying start. Including:

Transport Links

One of the most important considerations for any business – new or old – is the problem of transport. Can people, clients and employees alike, get to your location easily enough without it being a hassle? Buses, trains, parking for cars and just a generally easy to find entrance are a big part of ensuring transport is as easy as possible for everyone. If you choose to base your business in an office in the middle of nowhere, then you may find that very few people want to work for you. Nor will you have an easy accessibility that clients prefer. So, always factor transport into your property calculations.

Location, Location, Location

There are lots of places to look when it comes to finding the right property to base your business at, as many people say on the property hunt, it’s all about location, location, location. You need the right amenities, footfall and lots of other factors that come into play when choosing a property to be just right before you settle on a location absolutely.

Usually, your biggest concern should be being in the right area for your business. So, if you are a thriving digital agency then you will obviously want to be situated in a city centre. Or if you need foot traffic in order to generate enough sales then you need to be situated on a busy high street or at least somewhere a little more visible to the public.

Upgrades

Another important thing to consider is whether or not you plan to expand your business any time soon. If you do, settling on an office or storefront that is too small for your future business pursuits is not a good idea in the long run. Find a property which will be level up alongside your enterprise.

Getting advice from a commercial property agent could be the best solution for you when it comes to actually finding a good property, as it gives you more insight and knowledge to the sector that you might not necessarily have on your own.

At the end of the day, finding the right property for you may not be the easiest process to go through from start to finish. But, in the end, it will be worth it when you find yourself in your brand new business office.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Brand Identity: 5 Basic Steps You Need to Cover

McDonalds, Nike, Dominos Pizza, Chanel… What do these four have in common? Powerful brand identity. Because, chances are, you’ve heard of most of them, and there’s reason why. Just how powerful the brand?

Let’s just say, according to this article, children recognize the fast food chain’s iconic logo before their own name. And, in 1998, 97% of Americans recognized the Nike’s swoosh logo (chances are, this figure has increased both nationally and internationally).

How do startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs) create a strong brand identity that makes customers keep coming back? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Know What is a Strong Brand

According to Forbes, strong brands have these four things in common: recognition, trust, financial value, and a boost in employee morale.

When business owners have a million things going on, it’s easy to get their brand identity muddled. To ensure you stay on track, always keep those four elements in mind, and regularly ask yourself and your marketing and design team these questions:

  • Recognition: What will customer think or remember when they see insert-logo or insert-image?
  • Trust: Does insert-item support our mission statement and build trust with our target audience?
  • Financial Value: How will insert-item impact my return on investment?
  • Boost in Employee Morale: How will insert-item impact my team?

2. Don’t Ignore Personal Branding

Personal branding can also help (or hinder) a company’ brand. Point taken, brand messages shared on social media between employees don’t just get 100 but 561% greater reach than the same brand message from the company’ main social media account.

Long story short, if your employees feel excited to work for your company, chances are, they’ll be posting about it.

At the same time, have a social media policy in place that specifically outlines what employees can and cannot say about your company to avoid negatively impacting brand messaging.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Re-Brand but Do So Cautiously

Consider Nike which transitioned from Blue Ribbon Sports to the Nike we now know. However, not all rebranding experiences turn out just like Nike. In fact, if companies become too reckless, they can end up making a bad business deal as Entrepreneur points out Netflix did in 2011.

The movie streaming provider teamed up with Qwickster, and announced that it would split into two companies.

Long-time Netflix customers didn’t like it: two companies, less convenience, and 60% more cost. With 800,000 subscribers down, Netflix quickly realized their branding mistake and ditched the rebranding move.

4. Keep Your Mission Statement and Vision

When rebranding, feel free to change the story but try to keep the mission statement and vision intact. The reason? Your mission statement and vision is the foundation of your business.

Think of it as a house: you can change the structure but, remove the foundation, you leave you’re a shaky structure.

5. It’s the Little Things That Counts

You see, the more you can get your logo in front of the eyes of your target audience, the more likely they’ll remember it. Which is why you shouldn’t forget publishing it on social channels but also make an impact with your table cover.

Final Thoughts: Branding Impacts

According to Forbes, branding pulls in sales versus marketing that pushes. Which sounds easier? Have any more tips to help businesses strengthen their brands? Leave a comment.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

How to Decide if a Franchise is Right for You

Many entrepreneurs wish to start a business based on an idea they have that they believe fills a gap in the market – or creates a new market. However, in many cases, you might wish to start a business but lack a viable opportunity in your location. This is where franchises come in. The basic idea is simple enough; you pay an established company for the right to use their business model and brand and run your own business under their umbrella. Some of the biggest commercial names run on this model, but how do you know if this would be a good fit for you?

Advantages

The main advantage of a franchise is that you don’t need to establish your business in a competitive marketplace. One of the main strategies of a new business will be to run effective marketing campaigns, which can be time-consuming, costly and a lot of work. With a franchise, you have that brand awareness in place already, and the marketing burden is largely taken off your shoulders. There is still a requirement for a degree in marketing, depending on the contract you sign, in which case you could look at social media marketing for franchises for example. The other key advantage is that the business model, including supply chain, IT systems, and personnel management is already in place, saving a huge amount of work compared to starting a business from scratch.

Disadvantages

The first thing that might spring to mind is the initial investment required for a franchise. This can be a sizeable sum for a major chain, and you will need to have a sound source of funding to be able to take on a franchise. However, before you dismiss the idea on these grounds, consider how much you would need to invest as an individual if you were starting from scratch. Factor in the costs of running marketing campaigns to the set-up costs and you may find that this puts the franchise cost into perspective.

One main issue is not so much the finance, because to start a business you will need investment anyway; rather it is your perception of the loss of autonomy. You will be bound by your contract to operate within the company regulations, normally with very little freedom to go your own way. Franchisors want their customers to be essentially unaware that the branch they are in is a franchise, so if you’re in an establishment in Delaware, it will be exactly the same as the one in Richmond, or Boulder. If you would find it hard to function with this lack of control, then franchising is probably not your best option. If, however, it is the challenge of being productive and profitable that is your passion, you could find franchising a perfect fit.

When considering the pros and cons of franchise opportunities, remember that with so many potential franchises to evaluate, there will be corresponding variations in the degree of control you have, so there could well be a business model out there that fits you.