General Business

Pricing Handicrafts

Whenever you sell something, you need to be sure that you are charging enough for it in order to cover your costs and make a fair profit. Collecting and analyzing this data is known as a price analysis. One area that has been studied recently is the global market for handcrafted goods from India. For centuries, the only way to get these items was to travel to India as a tourist and bring them back, but thanks to the development of global markets and cheap transportation, embroidered silks, carvings, metalwork and more are available worldwide. This means that prices have to be set, and that is where price analysis comes in.

Control for Variables

Many things go into determining the price of an item and handmade goods can be tricky. Some costs are fixed; for example, the cost to purchase supplies and raw materials and transportation cannot be controlled by the artist most of the time. The cost of the artist’s time is where the wiggle room comes in. A key consideration for artists is that they are fairly compensated for their work, although this is not always the case. Setting an income target for the business is important before determining a price.

Research the Market

Examine the markets where the items will be available. Are the items high-end home furnishings that will go to brick and mortar stores, or are the products lower-end items that will be available at discount stores like Walmart or Target or online? Will the items be displayed at trade shows where buyers can see and feel the items and then place orders? Is the item considered a niche product with few outlets but a high price tag? All of these points need to be considered.

Analyze the Audience

You also need to think about who is going to buy the artwork. Will this be a large, one-time purchase, such as a piece of furniture or a large carving, or are customers going to buy multiple pieces over time, such as with dishes, glassware or linens for the home? Analyze your audience to help you create the kind of goods people are likely to buy.

Check Out the Competition

Research what else is out there. Multiple sellers are not necessarily a bad thing. Because handcrafted items tend to be one of a kind, customers may be willing to buy the same kind of thing from several different sellers and may appreciate the variety.

After you have gathered the data, a price analysis will indicate how prices should be set in order to meet your business goals. This kind of tool can make or break a business.

What To Do For Online Investments in 2020

2019 has been a particular year for what concerns online-based businesses. Everything ranging from Amazon FBA to Dropshipping has been impacted by a multitude of price increases in terms of paid social advertisement and hosting problems on AWS. With this in mind, there have been some speculations regarding which are and which aren’t good business models to follow in 2020 for what concerns online investments, let’s analyse some of them.

The Rise Of Dropshipping Services

Let’s state a major fact: Aliexpress and everything China-related for what concerns dropshipping is dead. As said above, ads prices rose in the last couple of months and so have such Chinese suppliers prices. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that dropshipping isn’t just limited to physical goods and cheap products that have been white labelled on a quickly built Shopify store.

In fact, drop shipping as a whole has evolved to drop surfing, where websites are building an interface which supplies services ranging from insurance, real estate renting and finance. There are many drop shipping portals which are providing financial services, ranging from stocks trading to long term finance. (given the fact that refurbishments were such a popular topic in 2019).

Don’t Blind-Trade

Online trading has become a substantial matter for what concerns online investment. In fact, what was once known as an incredible niche topic has moved to a more “mainstream” audience, also because the entire “online entrepreneur” culture has built significant relevance on Youtube, with famous ones being Tai Lopez, Grant Cardone and Gary Vaynerchuk. With this in mind, especially given the fact that online trading has been approached by many youngsters, it’s important to have a deep market understanding before starting this matter, otherwise, it will basically be considered as a mere form of “online gambling”.

Invest In Data Science

In 2019, data science has risen to the top for what concerns technology development and, in fact, many companies started to open offices where the Python-savvy developer would have been able to create and manage such data. With many startups opening on the matter, in 2020, this could be quite an easy form of investment, especially within the real estate industry.

This could also be considered from a technological point of view, especially for the entrepreneur who is technical in his approach and knows the ins and outs of the front end development industry. Data science is being used in a variety of business sectors, from commercial property management to eCommerce.

To Conclude

These are 3 of the main forms of investments for what concerns the mobile industry. There are, indeed, many different skills required in order to be successful within these areas, given the fact that these are not just simply “supply and demand” based, but, it’s safe to say that the future of online entrepreneurship will move towards this type of approach.

How to Transform Your Side Hustle into a Genuine Business

If you have been having a successful time in a side hustle, gig or ‘passion project’ then you may want to consider taking it a step further when it comes to the New Year. As developing your business could open up a whole new world of success. So, with that in mind, here are some of the key factors you can work on in order to develop your side hustle that one step further in 2020:

Why Develop Your Side Hustle?

So, your side hustle is going well. You’re making money, feeling positive and you are starting to wonder: could you be doing more? The answer is almost always: yes.

The fact is that whether you mean to or not, almost all successful side hustles eventually begin to morph into full-blown businesses. Intentionally taking that step from ‘side gig’ to ‘legitimate business’, however, can be a thorny path to cross.

Dedicate More Time

Okay, your side hustle is doing well based on the amount of time spent on it so far. But, how much time has that been realistically? Have you been working both weeknights and weekends to make this work?

By no means should you burn both ends of the candle in order to achieve a full business out of your side hustle, but allowing more hours to work does help. If you have been fairly stingy with the amount of time invested in the side hustle, consider upping that now. As it will be more time and investment at this stage which will now push your business forward.

Seek a Partner

If you want to take your side hustle all the way then it’s important to consider taking on a business partner. You may have avoided this route thanks to slight unease or unwillingness to share the profits, but think about it. With a partner, you could easily make up for a skills gap, gain useful contacts or simply double your work output as a side hustle/business. For example, if you’re an app development London professional, you may want to seek a partnership from an Alexa developer in the north. Not all partnerships end in horror stories, no matter what the internet might prefer to tell you.

So, start networking with like-minded individuals and try to suss out who might be worthwhile partnering with. Even short-term collaborations can be useful. With that in mind, don’t knock anything until you see what might be available to you!

Focus on Successes

By the time you have developed a side hustle to the point of potential expansion, you will have a good grasp of what works and what doesn’t. If you want to move forward, then it is vital that you concentrate doubly on the successes you have had. Whilst, potentially for good, leaving the failures behind.

Doing this, you will enable your side hustle to shed a certain weight. Thus potentially giving yourself enough buoyancy to shoot higher as a result.

Set-Up Specific Systems

Systems tend to make a business function more smoothly, allowing the day to day tasks to tick by peacefully. Implementing these early in your side project in order to support your business as it grows, then, could be simply good foresight. Good systems to have in place early includes: invoicing, accounting, document filing and even something as simple as having a separate business account for your side hustle.

Consider Hiring

Developing your business to the next level may require extra work, not all of which you can complete by yourself. This is the point where you may want to consider hiring additional talent to support your burgeoning business – such as freelancers.

Of course, hiring a full-time employer for your side hustle at the exact moment of expansion may seem like one step too early. So, instead hire on freelancers for a specific period of time every week or month. This way, you can get help on specific projects or clients in order to expand your side hustle into the next stage of business.

Final Thoughts

Turning a side hustle into a fully-fledged business isn’t necessarily as easy as saying: 1, 2, 3. But it can be much simpler than you may anticipate. Get a plan in place and you will be able to achieve a steady growth trajectory over a set period of time. Which, compared to other business models, may help you to develop a much stronger foundation of success.

Understanding Product Development

Developing and launching new products is one of the most important ways for your business to expand. New products give existing customers more chances to spend money with your company, and provide a clear way for you to attract new ones.

Product development is neither cheap nor risk-free – you have to invest substantial resources in research and development, and the production of prototypes before you have a product you can launch to start earning back it’s development costs and turning a profit. Even if you do invest a lot of time and money in making a product you think is perfect for your customers, there’s a chance they won’t agree, and if you organise a big product launch with a strong marketing push behind it, and the product fails to find it’s audience, it can do some serious damage to your brand. Think of a movie studio that invests a lot of money in what they hope will be a summer blockbuster: if it gets critically savaged, and hardly anyone goes to see it, not only do they lose the majority of the money they invested in making the film, it also becomes less likely people will go to see future films made under that brand.

It’s worth taking the time to understand how the product development process works, so you can make more informed decisions about how you’re spending your money.

Concept Testing

It’s important to test not just prototype products, but the very concepts you’re considering taking forward to development. Customers need to be able to grasp how this potential new product can work for them: why it would be valuable to them and therefore worth spending their money on. If they can’t grasp the concept that the product is based on, it’s unlikely to be worth the money it will take to design and make it.

Iterating on Prototypes

When you begin to produce prototypes, be it of a physical product or mock-ups of the UI and functionality, it’s important to give consumers access to see how they use them. People within your own business already know how your systems are meant to work, so they don’t make good test subjects.

To get a true read on how good your designs are, you need outsiders, unprejudiced by a history with your products. Working with a market research company can help you find testers, as well as finding the right way to learn from their use of a prototype. Asking the right questions and watching their behaviour in the right way will give you the insights you need to feed into the next prototype, and ensure you’re iterating your way to success.

Small Business Expansion Tips

Most small businesses want to expand. The problem is that this is not at all something that is really easy to do. Unfortunately, expanding without a good plan in place can easily lead to failure. As an example, when you hire many employees and you do not really need them, bankruptcy is quite possible.

No matter what your goals are, if you want to expand your small business, here are some great tips from the Fix It Right Plumbing company in Melbourne, Australia. These tips will surely help out a lot.

Focus On Company Culture

Every business needs a very strong company culture, no matter how small it is. This is what keeps employees together when exponential growth starts. When you do not know how or where to start, just talk to the team you have. Think about why the company exists and what its values are. Then, work on the company vision.

You want employees to feel connected to the company so they can stick together if times are tough. Strong company culture will attract brand new customers too so be sure that you are consistent.

Hire The Best People

Hiring is a huge part of successful business growth. You need to take the time that is needed to find the best possible employees. When you hire the wrong staff members, it is so easy to end up failing to manage business growth.

When you hire people, be sure that you think about company culture, not just skills. Will the people you hire be a good fit for the team you already have in place?

Proper Innovation Helps

As the small business expands, it is tempting to spend money on creating new products or improving what is already sold. The problem is that this often happens in an inappropriate way. Do not blindly focus just on one thing. Try to innovate in other parts of your business. For instance, innovate onboarding experience or maybe adopt some brand new technology to scale the customer service department. The goal should be to gain more stability in your business. After you do this, you can focus on introducing new products.

Always Focus On Brand Recognition

As the customer sees your advertising campaign, slogan, packaging or logo, your goal is to be sure it is instantly recognized. Building brand recognition is by far the most important thing at the end of the day. Everyone knows the “Just Do It” Nike slogan. Try to achieve something like this and you will end up with long-lasting customers that are loyal and keep coming back to your business.

Focusing on brand recognition does not mean you should forget about the customers you already have. There are many small business owners that are blindly focused on getting new customers when they should be focused on that and keeping their current ones. Existing customers have to feel valued. When this does not happen, you have a big problem. This is because getting new customers is much more difficult than getting your current customers to come back.

Reasons to Choose Interdependence Public Relations For Your PR

If you are looking for a public relations company which is going to help your business to reach its goals then I would strongly recommend using Interdependence Public Relations. This service has helped my business more than I ever could have dreamed of and I have no doubt that they will be able to do the same for you.

Looking for a PR company which fits your business is not easy and before we fund these guys we spent months and months sitting through meetings with many PR agencies who just didn’t quite fit well with what we were looking for. In all honesty it was a real relief when we found Interdependence PR because we had almost lost hope. We knew within just 5 minutes of our meeting with them that  these were the guys we were going to use, and I am very happy to tell you that we made a very wise choice indeed. This is what you get when you use this brilliant PR team.

Creativity

Creativity is a must when you use a PR company and you should expect that they think in a different way to you, in order to achieve the same goals. I now realize that this is a company which is very difficult to get a job with because they set such standards. This is why you can count on their creativity because only the very best get to work here.

Market Knowledge

Most PR firms operate in one particular industry or niche and they understand and know those markets very well. This was actually what we were looking for and when the guys at Interdependence told us that they operate in a number of marketplaces we were slightly worried. We really shouldn’t have been however because in terms of our industry they knew it inside out. They knew how to communicate with the consumers  in this industry, what kind of language to use, how to promote things to the market and they also had a deep understanding of the competitors within our niche.

Dedicated to Success

One of the biggest issues which I had with so many of the public relations companies that we sat down with was that they just didn’t really show us that passion which we were looking for. My team and I are hugely committed to success and delivering results and within just a few minutes with the team here we could clearly see that they are built in the same way. They showed us that they were just as committed to delivering results as us, and that blew us away.

Having worked with this company for two years now I can say that our original thoughts about the company were entirely accurate and they have not only promised results, they have also delivered them time and time again.

This is a brilliant PR agency who will most definitely lead your team and your business to find the success which it has been looking for.

Scott Tominaga – Why Your Business Needs a Financial Advisor

One of the most common questions which we are asked here, specifically business questions, is what can the role of a financial advisor play in a business? Whether a financial advisor is necessary? And when should a business hire a financial advisor? To help us answer those burning questions we have consulted with one of the best in the business, Mr. Scott Tominaga. Scott has been supporting business throughout his career and he was most excited to contribute to giving you some answers around why your business needs a financial advisor.

The first thing to mention is that on the third question of when a company should hire a financial advisor, Scott’s response was ‘as soon as the company can afford one;. His reasoning for that can be explained by looking at what a financial advisor can bring to a business.

Reasoning

For someone to make financial decision about their own company they need tome able to completely remove any emotion and base their decision on fact and logic. This however is almost impossible if the business is your own, as your heart will always be factored into the decision making process. A financial advisor on the other hand will deal in nothing more than numbers and probabilities when making a financial decision, which is why they are great to have on board.

Contacts

When you hire a financial advisor you are not just getting their services, but also their little black book of contacts. Don’t underestimate how many people a financial advisor knows, or how much they can help you with what you need. Let’s say that you are looking for new premises, fresh investment or even a good deal on a mortgage, your financial advisor will be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you with what you need.

Avoid Failure

Did you know that less than 50% of all businesses will make it past year 5? The most common reason for the failure of these businesses is poor financial management and decision making. The accountants will of course deal with the incomings and outgoings of your business but it is the financial advisor who will help you to shape your financial plan going forward. You can avoid exposing yourself too much, you can make smart financial plans for growth and ultimately you can have someone on hand who will be able to spot danger and steer you away from it.

Good Advice

The clue really is in the title with this job role, financial advisors are able to give you great advice which can really help you to reach the levels of growth and success which you are looking for. These men and women only have their client’s in mind when they are offering advice and once they get to know you and your business they will be able to serve you to the best of their ability.

Don’t delay, get yourself a financial advisor as soon as you can.

Brennan & Clark LLC – What Are The Advantages of Working With a Debt Collection Agency?

There are tens of thousands of people around the country who are in debt issues and for anyone who is facing a mountain of debt which they cannot get out from under, it can be a truly difficult time in their lives. Piling debts result in pressure, stress, difficulties at home, difficulties at work and it can feel as though there is no way out. Contrary to what many think, a debt collection agency can be your ticket to debt freedom, as long as you work with them. We spoke to the team at Brennan & Clark to find out how working with companies like them, can help all involved.

How Debt Collection Works

The premise of a debt collection company is actually very simple, they buy bad debt from banks and lending institutions for a fraction of the overall cost of the debt. The banks love it because writing off a small portion of the debt is cheaper than chasing the unpaid debt, and the agencies are then able to work with debtors to help them get paid up.

Facing Up

When you get calls or communication from debt collection agencies it is vital that you take the call or respond to the letter. Some people make the mistake of burying their heads in the sand assuming that this will somehow work, it won’t. People think that debt collection agencies are monsters who are going to take three home from underneath them, the irony is that severe action like that is taken when they cannot get in touch with debtors, or debtors don’t pay. Face up to what you owe and speak to the agency.

What an Agency Can Offer

Despite the reputation that they have, debt collection agencies are actually there to help you, they don’t want your debt outstanding any longer than you do, so they will help. Debt collection agencies can work with you to put together a sensible payment plan based on your current financial situation. These companies won’t charge interest on your debt, because they are not extending you credit, they are just seeking to get a debt payment back.  The ore open and honest that you are, the more that they will be able to help you get on the road to debt freedom, which is what everyone wants at the end of the day.

Failure to Comply

These companies are not to be messed with, if you do what you have agreed then everything will be fine, if you have notified them of a change of situation then they will support. If however you have a deal in place which you renege on, they do have the power to go and get a court order and start taking possessions away. If you have car finance then they can take it, if you have used your home as collateral then they can take it. Nobody wants it to come to this, much less the debt collection agency, so it really is in your best interests to work with them and get your debt resolved as soon as possible.

Interested in Bringing in More Traffic to Your Website?

Everybody has a website nowadays. There is a good chance that your own mom has her own website for some reason. It seems to be the “in thing” to do at the moment for individuals as it is a place to share your thoughts and dreams with others. Or perhaps you have a website for business reasons and want to drum up some extra income. Whatever the case, you probably would like to see more traffic to your site than you are currently getting right now. In this day and age, if you don’t have enough eyes on your website, then it basically is a waste of time that you should cut ties with. However, don’t give up quite yet! Here are some ideas you may use to bring in more traffic to your site.

Have Frequent Updates

There is nothing worse than getting really excited because you just found an interesting website that you like to read over now and then, but then you discover the last update that was made to it was like three years ago. If you want others to visit your site, you need to keep it current. Write a weekly blog and switch out the pictures now and then. It won’t take much time to do and it will let others know that the site is a priority in your life.

Let the Public Contact You

If you are lucky enough to have others digging your website, then give them a way to reach out to you. You don’t have to put down your home address or anything silly like that. However, you could have your email on the website and perhaps a contact form as well that they could fill out.

Allow Comments and Reviews

Social media is everywhere! Sites like YouTube and even Amazon are considered social media as it allows others to share their views and thoughts with the world. There is no reason you can’t do this on your website.

Lastly, Maybe the Web Host Is the Problem

Does your website often crash for no apparent reason? Is your home page constantly taking too long to load? You only have a few seconds to gain interest on your site and if it is not loading up quickly, you are losing the public. Perhaps it is time to make a change. You could receive great support with a web hosting in Canada that will ensure your website is operating at full speed.

Can I Get A Mortgage If I’m Self-Employed?

It’s certainly much easier than it used to be to apply for a mortgage as a self-employed individual. Nowadays major lenders, as well as a wide variety of specialist lenders, offer really good options for individuals who are self-employed and looking for a mortgage.

One of the first things you should do is to choose your mortgage adviser, and as you’re self-employed what you’re looking for here is a reputable, online, mortgage adviser with a speciality in all kinds of mortgages, especially self-employed mortgages. We’ve chosen Right Mortgage UK as our experts for this article, because they make everything as simple and easy as possible for their customers right from the outset, and their very detailed website has some great FAQ guides about well, everything you could possibly connect to mortgages!

Whether you’re a self-employed individual working for yourself or someone else, a sole trader, or a limited company owner / director; you’ll find yourself falling into the category of a self-employed person when it comes to a mortgage application.

As such, you’ll all be facing the same checklist of things you’ll need to provide in lieu of payslips and a contract of employment. These include:-

  • Bank statements – usually three months
  • Accountants statement / annual return – usually you’ll be able to make an application now with just one year’s accounts and it’s certainly worth seeking advice from the experts at Right Mortgage UK at that one year end to see if you’d qualify for a mortgage
  • HMRC tax returns
  • Proof of ID – driver’s license or passport
  • Proof of address – usually a council tax or utility bill, dated within the last three months

Life used to be a lot harder for the self-employed mortgage seeker. It used to be the case that you had to provide at least three years’ worth of accounts,and sometimes even up to five years’ worth. Now though, there’s a large number of mortgage providers – including some of the major names – catering for self-employed individuals who have just one year’s accounts, which has really opened up the market and the mortgage opportunities for applicants.

There are no industry restrictions on self-employed mortgages either. Wherever or however you work, there’s a mortgage for you – you just have to make sure you’re talking to the right people to help you find it. So no matter what industry you’re self-employed in, there’s definitely a mortgage for you. Lenders are happy to consider applications from:

  • Taxi drivers
  • Builders
  • Plumbers
  • Painter
  • Decorators
  • Electricians Any other tradesmen
  • Musicians
  • Artists
  • Actors
  • Landlords
  • Those in the financial sector
  • Retailers
  • Those with online businesses
  • Professionals
  • Investors

You simply have to be able to proof a regular, steady income – all the lenders really care about is knowing that you can afford to pay back that monthly mortgage amount, they’re not really interested in the type of job you’re doing to earn your money.

Remember in mortgage application terms, you’re classed as self-employed if you own 25 percent – or more – of a business. Again, it doesn’t matter what sector the business operates in, so long as it’s viable and you can prove a regular income. That’s why lenders like you to have your first year accounts done – however, it can be worth speaking to professionals as you come up to the end of that first year, you don’t necessarily have to wait til after the accounts are done to start the process.

Now that there are no such things as self-cert mortgages, you must be prepared for your application to be thoroughly checked by the lender. It’s worth making sure that your credit file is up to date – no missing or incorrect information, for example – and you need to not have any recent missed or late payments either, as those would count against you in an application. After self-cert mortgages were banned because of the levels of mis-use for those mortgage types, lenders became a lot more cautious for self-employed individuals. However, providing you’re transparent about your income and can back it up in terms of HMRC and Accountants statements, and of course your bank statements, you shouldn’t have any more difficulty with a mortgage application than an average employed individual would.

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