Three Common Issues Dropship Entrepreneurs Face

Entrepreneur working with boxes around

Dropshipping is one of the most popular ways of running an online store. Many entrepreneurs get attracted to this business model because of the impression that it’s the easiest way to enter and succeed in e-commerce. You don’t need to hold a big inventory. The finances you invest can be as small or big as you’re comfortable with. Some people even start dropshipping with almost no money.

However, like in any business, there are mistakes that many entrepreneurs make that can discourage them from continuing or even ruin their business altogether. Here are the three most common challenges dropshippers face.

1. Customers Receiving Damaged Items

Since dropship business owners don’t physically pack and send their products, there are times when customers receive broken or damaged items. Some dropship operations are so big that it can be difficult to process damaged items, especially when the warranties differ from each supplier.

Fortunately, there’s warranty management technology from logistics companies like ReverseLogix that you can take advantage of to make sure that damaged items eligible for replacement are addressed immediately. Being familiar with the suppliers’ and manufacturers’ warranty details and Terms & Conditions is important in the dropshipping business, so it’s best to be on top of these things before the return requests start piling up.

2. Customers Getting the Wrong Quantity

Angry customer shouting over the phoneGetting the product right is crucial in dropshipping. However, there are cases where the product is correct but the quantity isn’t. This, more often than not, has the same effect on the customer. Customers can feel like they’re being scammed or that the store they’re dealing with isn’t professional. Some can also immediately sound off their frustration on social media even before reaching out to you — and this can impact your business negatively.

To prevent this from happening, always check the invoice you get from the fulfillment center. It’s an extra step, but it’s required to make sure that customers get what they paid for. The invoices usually arrive before the deliveries are made, so if there’s a discrepancy, you can call them immediately to stop the shipping and correct it before going out.

3. Delays in Order Processing

When dropshippers receive orders, it’s best practice to process it immediately to avoid any delays. You forward it to the manufacturer or the fulfillment center and provide a tracking code to your customer for the shipment. However, this process doesn’t always go smoothly. Each order has to go through many steps, and delays can happen on every single step.

It’s typical in dropshipping and any e-commerce operation for orders to take 24 hours to be processed. Make this your deadline internally and reach out to the fulfillment center if you don’t receive a tracking code after 24 hours. Customers expect orders to be processed quickly, so it can affect your brand and your reputation if orders are always delayed. Your fulfillment center should be able to provide a definite reason for each delay and a guarantee that they will do everything to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If the delays persist after following up repeatedly and discussing with your fulfillment center, don’t be afraid to go looking for a new one.

Running a dropshipping business doesn’t have to be overly difficult, but it does require you to address issues as they come up. Don’t be complacent and always put the customers first.

Better Bets: Ways to Take Smarter Risks in Business

woman on her phone and laptop

Risks are an inevitable, necessary element in the life of a business. Every entrepreneur knows that the only way to move forward, to see difference and growth is to “take the gamble,” as many put it. However, contrary to what most starting entrepreneurs think, embracing risks doesn’t mean being daredevils, not caring about anything, and just acting on decisions rashly. The truth is that there’s a smart way to take risks. If you’re still exploring business opportunities or trying a business idea, embrace such risks with these tactics:

Gather as much information as you can

With lots of research, you’ll be able to assess better the pros and cons of the risk you’re taking and prepare yourself for the possible cons. For instance, if you’re considering a franchise opportunity in the food industry, you should be able to know the success rate of existing franchisees, the market share of the brand, the unique selling point over competitors, and more. Ask the franchisor about these things. It also pays to check out third-party resources to validate the claims of the company. Credible materials online cover the best sandwich shop franchises or top-performing pizza food chains, so from there you’ll be able to learn how to play the risk game. The same principle applies when you’re pursuing a business idea. Evaluate the demand, observe your competitors, and learn as much as you can.

Seek an excellent mentor

Mentoring

It’s good to bury yourself in books and other resources to make yourself more informed before taking risks, but nothing compares to the valuable training you’ll get from a good business coach. Mentors can offer you advice straight from their experiences. Also, they can understand all the other “external” factors you’re dealing with when taking risks, like your family’s financial security, your reputation, and even your occasional self-doubts. Thus, they make an ideal sounding board for when you’re not sure about whether or not to take risks. There are lots of ways to find yourself a mentor. Attend networking events, like seminars or conferences. Get yourself involved in the business community. Reach out to industry experts through social media. If you want to buy a business franchise, your franchisor might be a good coach.

Do it in increments

When you take risks, don’t go all in just yet. Have one foot out of your comfort zone and the other on your safety net. Test the idea or the opportunity first in small increments until it yields promising results. For instance, if you’re going to buy a food franchise, consider exploring the different packages. Perhaps you can go for a school cart or a small kiosk first before diving deep into a full-scale restaurant. In the context of a business idea, test it in phases with specific budget caps. Evaluate your wins and losses at the end of every stage, then recalibrate efforts at the beginning of a new one. The principle is to take risks with baby steps.

Risk-taking is essential in business, but it doesn’t necessarily mean jumping into the unknown impulsively. Embrace risks the smart way. Be a wise risk taker.

Dirty Office? What It Means for Your Bottom Line and What You Can Do About It

Employee with a pile of paper on his desk

Many things represent your brand: the logo, tagline, marketing strategy, endorsers, and others. However, there is one thing often ignored that says a lot about the kind of company you’re running and the type of management style you have. It’s your office.

This underscores the need to make your office as presentable as possible, indoors and outdoors. Whether your office building is on Wall Street or a small town in Utah, investing in commercial cleaning services is beneficial. After all, who wants a dirty office environment? It only affects your bottom line. This is what happens when you don’t maintain a clean work environment.

Customers tend to get turned off

Imagine entering a restaurant and seeing trash bins with overflowing waste, spills on tablecloths, and food on the floor. Would you be impressed? Chances are you’d leave as soon as you arrived.

Now, even though you may not be in the food industry, keeping your office clean is just as important. When clients walk into your dirty office, you’re leaving a bad impression – and you risk losing these prospects. The way your office looks reflects the way you manage and operate the business. If your office isn’t well-maintained, your customers may assume that your products and services are substandard and your work ethic and practices are also poor.

Employees get sick

Employee having headache in the officeThere’s more to an untidy office than piles of trash in the corner or a dusty carpet. The more dangerous things are the ones you don’t see: germs and bacteria. These invisible elements are present anywhere, from walls and ceilings to office equipment and computers. When your employees come in contact with these contaminated surfaces, they are at an increased risk of illnesses and diseases such as colds, fever, and diarrhea.

Mold and other pollutants may also be present somewhere in an untidy office. These elements could lead to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). Low IAQ could trigger asthma and allergies. A study also found that indoor air pollution has an impact on workers’ productivity.

Now that you know how much of a problem a dirty office is, here’s what you should do:

  • Encourage a clean-as-you-go culture among your employees. If they’re done for the day, require them to tidy up their stations before they leave. If they used the pantry or restroom, they should clean up after themselves.
  • Provide cleaning products like a vacuum cleaner or broom. Also, everyone should have access to hand sanitizers, so they avoid spreading germs.
  • Invest in janitorial services. You didn’t hire your employees to clean the entire office. Otherwise, they might not get anything else done. When you hire professional commercial cleaning service providers, you have someone to deep clean the office. From emptying the trash to vacuuming the carpet to making the restroom germ-free, professional janitors can help make sure you don’t lose money because of clutter.

Maintaining a clean office is part of running a business. When your working environment is free of dirt, clutter, and germs, you’re giving a good impression to customers and protecting the health of your employees. Moreover, a clean and organized office reflects a well-run company.

Running a T-shirt Business at Home: What You Need to Know

silk screen print

It all started with a ’70s funk song.

Shari Neal, a successful T-shirt entrepreneur, shared that a T.S. Monk’s song called “Bon Bon Vie (Gimme the Good Life)” inspired her to pursue her passion. Neal confessed that she has an obsession with tees, so she decided to quit her job in pursuit of a “good life.”  She now runs a T-shirt business supported by thousands of customers worldwide.

You, too, can achieve the good life you want. Like Neal, you can also start your own T-shirt business even if you’re at home. Passion can help you grow this venture, and down the line, it may even turn into an established T-shirt franchise.

Starting a T-shirt business may take up a lot of your time and energy, so passion is key to keep it running. Otherwise, you’ll end up burned out. Here are three important factors to guide you in establishing this type of home-based business.

Conduct Market Research

A part of Neal’s success is knowing what she wants to offer to consumers. After studying the market, she realized that there was a gap for clothes that celebrated brown women and their unique style. This motivated her to design tees that would inspire women of color to feel more confident.

It was a success. From empowering T-shirts, her brand has expanded its offerings to crop tops, sweatshirts, totes, and mugs. She also designs apparels for men and babies.

So knowing your market first is crucial. Market research allows you to identify your target consumers and understand their behavior. Knowing who your market is makes it easier to create an effective advertising strategy.

Additionally, accurate market research allows you to find the areas that offer great opportunities. It lets you focus on those opportunities and avoid unproductive areas.

Once you have identified your target market, it’s time to create compelling designs that would be entice consumers.

shirt printing press

Create Your Own Designs

Since screen printing and digital printing have become accessible and affordable, more people are likely to be engaged in this type of business. But this should not stop you from pursuing your goals of running your own T-shirt business. Instead, take it as a challenge to motivate you in creating unique designs.

There are different ways to make your designs stand out. For example, choose the right font. Use typography that can justify the message of your design because it helps in create a positive impression.

You may also get inspiration from the latest trends in pop culture. Consider using funny illustrations, eye-catching colors, or original imagery. The key is to create designs that not only capture attention but also stays true to your brand as a T-shirt business.

But don’t just do captivating designs; do them using high-quality materials to deliver value to your customers.

Invest in High-Quality Equipment

You may not need a degree in fashion design to start a T-shirt business. But you do need to invest in quality equipment and materials to produce your products. Consider the following:

  • Iron-on materials – these allow you to transfer images printed on paper permanently onto a T-shirt fabric.
  • Screen printing – this creates a stenciled effect, although it can be a lengthy process. You can re-use the screen to create the same design on different tees.
  • Fabric paint – this is a type of paint specifically for fabric. Using fabric paint allows your design to adhere to the material, even after several washes.

Neal emphasizes that it’s necessary to have the right equipment to keep up with the demand, especially when your business starts to grow. Streamlining your process can reduce the stress and maintain your enthusiasm to run your venture.

A successful business may start with a simple idea. When fueled by passion and determination, this idea can give you the good life you’ve envisioned.

The Perks of Outsourcing Your Corporate Printing Needs

printing press

Printing will always remain invaluable in almost any kind of business, despite all the modern innovations that make it seem irrelevant. Despite the drive for digitalisation, companies will still need a lot of physical materials that still have no inexpensive substitute, such as signs and promotional items. Because of this, they want to find a cost-effective solution to lower their potential expenses, and one of these ways is to outsource their printing needs. If you’re still not yet entirely sold on the notion that this is a convenient alternative, here are some reasons that can finally change your mind:

Lesser Risks

They’ll be hiring professionals to do the job for them, so they can rest easy knowing that their request will be in good hands. They can ask for a custom volume or a faster production rate, and it won’t affect the quality of the result as long as the request is reasonable. The amount that they have to pay for equipment maintenance or compensating their employees for extending their hours will more than suffice. Also, they get way better material with this option.

Quality Results

As noted in the previous point, the printing quality that experts offer just cannot beat any DIY option as they have the best equipment as well as the right amount and kind of training for it. This is important, especially if those printed materials will be used for advertisements. They need to be visually appealing to reel customers into businesses. When you buy a commercial printing company for sale, you’ll be able to provide this quality service that they need and earn in the process.

layout artist

Better Overall Productivity

Employees already have a lot on their plate and adding more to their already hectic schedule might cause them to lose focus on what their original job is and negatively affect their performance. They’re better off doing what they originally signed up for because then, they can deliver the quality of work that their employers expect from them. Having the printing done by a third party who specialises in it will help companies handle the requests of their customers without compromise in quality.

Less Hassle

For companies to create an in-house team, they have to purchase all the needed equipment to cater to all their needs as well as train their staff in operating those machines. Imparting the skills required to those people might take weeks, and it will also mean that there’s a loss of opportunity to earn. Time is of great essence to all companies, so a solution that can give results at a much faster rate is recommended. Fortunately, outsourcing is here to save the day as this will eliminate the need to subject their staff to additional training that can add to their costs.

While it’s true that having a printer and readily available staff at their disposal are great, the advantages of outsourcing still outweigh them greatly. Take on the challenge of providing this in-demand service. With the proper training and the right equipment, you’ll be able to turn this need into your source of income.

The Opportunities and Challenges of Citrus Farming in Australia

a citrus farm

Australians are not the healthiest. A 2015 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) cited how 90% of people had low vegetable consumption. More preferred eating fruits, but only 50% were able to meet the dietary recommendation.

The trend can change in the coming years as more learn how to eat healthily. The organic industry in the country, for example, can grow over $1 billion by 2022. Mobium Group research reveals that 60% of households buy natural products. The popularity of clean and even plant-based eating can also boost the need for a well-known Aussie fruit: citrus.

Citrus Farming in Australia

Australia is one of the world’s exporters of fresh produce, mainly fruits and vegetables. In fact, more than 75% of the production ends up in other countries such as China and Japan. While the country produces many types of fruit, it’s the citrus category that leads the list.

According to Citrus Australia, the likes of mandarin and navel oranges, grapefruit, and lemons make up more than 25,000 hectares of horticultural land. They also grow in various regions, including New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and Victoria. New South Wales alone can already produce over 200,000 tonnes of the fruits, comprising 40% of the production, revealed the Department of Primary Industries.

The industry also enjoys healthy profits over the last few years. Between 2012 and 2013, a tonne’s return amounted between $200 and $300. In 2018, it reached as much as $900 for the same volume of production.

In reality, Australia supplies only a small portion of citrus compared to other countries such as Spain. In big markets such as China, though, the country enjoys a favourable position. It ranks third following South Africa and the United States as its major citrus suppliers.

Their need, on the other hand, will only likely to grow soon. The 2016 data, for one, illustrated how orange consumption in the country increased to almost 6 million within the past decade.

Overcoming the Challenges

citrus fruits in a basket

It seems citrus growers found their pot of gold these days, but they might not enjoy it for long if they don’t learn to overcome the challenges. Some of these require investing in practical technologies such as a hydraulic bin tipper.

One of the issues is labour. Most of these growers depend on seasonal workers to augment the demand. A lot of these workers are backpackers looking for in-between jobs to sustain their temporary stay in the country. The heavy working conditions, low pay, and changes to the working visa programmes can affect the supply and appeal of working in the orchards.

Another potential problem is the high demand and low supply of citrus. To cope with it, many farms are looking for fast-growing varieties. Many nurseries, however, have sold out these kinds of trees. It can then take them as long as three years before they can provide the desired citrus plantings.

Using technologies such as bin tippers do not resolve these complex issues. They are valuable in increasing productivity and efficiency to compensate for the shortage of labour. They can assist without increasing labour and production costs. In turn, growers can maximise their returns on every fruit they produce while waiting for faster-growing varieties to become available.

4 Ideas to Market Your Pizza Business

Pizza

Congratulations! Opening a franchise business is a great way to earn passive income until it becomes stable. Now that you’ve finally decided on getting a family pizza franchise, you now must learn how to manage it. Running a business takes a lot of time and effort. You won’t even see the fruits of your labor until you’ve successfully established it. But how do you do that?

One way to establish your business is by using an effective marketing strategy. Proper marketing can bring in customers, but it can also be expensive. To start an effective campaign strategy, you should create a balance between the cost with the return of investment (ROI). To help you get started, here are a few tips that can help you sell your pizza.

Use coupons

Although it may not look like it, one great way to increase your revenue is by using coupons. Small Business Chron says that coupons can attract customers, which can affect your sales. You need to create coupons that fit your business well. A few standard coupon ideas are buy one, take one offers as well as discount offers.

You can consider printing fliers with various kinds of coupons and see which ones your customers will likely use. One way to do so is by sending it directly to their mailboxes or even hang them on doors.

Use modern technology

Pizza Delivery

Another way of marketing your business is by setting it up on Google Maps. Fit Small Business says that a massive number of consumers commonly find a pizza store using Google Maps from their mobile devices. That’s why it’s essential to verify and optimize your store’s location via Google My Business.

You can also include posts within the system whenever you have special deals. It’s best to link the post to your website to get more site visitors.

Tap into social media

Another effective way to market your business is to use social media. You can create a business profile on various social networking sites and ask customers to “like” your page. When your customers do this, all the people in their friends’ list will see what they did and may even encourage them to see your special deals.

As most people nowadays use social media every day, using it to your advantage is a great way to create a brand for your business.

Consider setting up online reviews

Another powerful form of marketing is word-of-mouth. If you want your business to stand out from the rest of your competitors, then it’s best to let your customers do the talking. You can tap into online reviews by using review management software to help you collect, manage, and respond to the reviews on your site.

Getting ahead of your competitors through marketing is a great way to increase your revenue. Learn how to build a brand and create a unique relationship with your customers. You can ask your franchisor for tips on how to advertise your business or even look it up on the Internet, too.

Sales Pitch for Franchisors: How to Sell your Business to Investors

Salesman talking to partners

Many business structures have emerged over the years. But, one of the most effective and established ones, especially where localized products and services are involved, is the franchise business model.

Entrepreneurs who want to expand their companies often decide to franchise their businesses.  This decision helps them leverage their brand name, as well as eases the burden of resources – such as money, time, and people – that business owners would otherwise have to provide for expansion.

If you are among these entrepreneurs, you may already have an idea on how you can franchise your business – what should be included in the franchise package and the legal requirements. But there is one thing you shouldn’t overlook: your sales pitch.

Assure the franchise is not a fad

When you first established your company, you probably laid out a detailed blueprint of how you could sustain your business into the future. If your business has been around for years, that tenure can be your selling point.

Businesspeople want their investments to profit, over time. While many new entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of investing in what’s currently hot, the more careful ones can identify which brands are short-term investments. Selling to these individuals means you have to provide substantial proof that the franchise will still be profitable even after ten or more years and despite trends and new competition.

Show them figures

Speaking of proof, you should provide documents that back up your claims. Potential investors want evidence that your concept is profitable. You don’t have to provide all the documents in detail, as they may contain sensitive and confidential financial information. But you should give your prospect an overview of figures, such as an estimate on how much they can earn in a month minus royalty fees, overhead costs, and other logistics expenses.

If you have already sold other franchises which have been successful and profitable, don’t forget to include them in your sales pitch. This is the kind of solid proof potential investors look for.

Guarantee ongoing support

Man making a callOne of the advantages of buying a franchise is that the package comes with training and support. When you’re selling your franchise, explain what is included in training, such as employee workshops and how to operate a specific machine. Additionally, show them how your support can be advantageous to them – it saves them time on sourcing reliable suppliers, for instance, because the business already has partners

You should guarantee your client that you will provide consistent assistance from day one until needed. Support shouldn’t only be given during the first few months or first few years. It should be a long-term commitment between you, the potential investor, and when necessary, other franchisees.

If you don’t have enough resources to expand your company, franchising your business may be the way to go. In a perfect world, you can find investors who will trust your concept in an instant. In reality, you need to find leads and draft a great sales pitch to attract prospective franchisees. However, a great sales pitch will not work when you don’t have documents and proof that you’re selling a business that sells.

Business Security and Safety: How ID Badges Help

Identification and security are essential areas in any business. Stealing ideas, products, and marketing plans are a critical concern in many industries. Many companies try to get an idea of their competition’s next move, so many of them improve their security in many of their facilities.

These companies use several layers of security, from ID badges, fingerprint identification among others. But many companies in the UK still choose to order ID badges or cards online for their staff. They serve as access, security, and proof of identification in many establishments and facilities that require high security.

In schools, government facilities, hospitals, and other public facilities, ID badges or cards are a mandatory requirement. Security has become of prime importance in many public facilities, and these cards are often used in the following manner.

ID Badges Identify Company Personnel

ID badges make it easy for customers to identify staff and other colleagues. Your clients and customers will never mistake contractors or other temporary workers for your regular staff members. These cards could include barcodes and magnetic strips that are unique to the staff member.

ID Badges Double as Parking Permits

ID badges can be used to access restricted areas such as staff only car parks. Staff members can swipe the cards to open parking barriers and allow staff to park in their designated space. This increases safety for staff when leaving the building at the end of the day.

ID Badges Prevents Access

employee hand showing id card badgeID badges prevent unauthorised access to certain areas in your facility. Some facilities have several levels of security, and certain ID badges only provide access to certain areas. These cards could also be used to time entrances and exits to restricted areas. When companies want to protect their products and ideas, they need additional layers of security. Some require non-disclosure agreements, while some reveal a limited amount of information, but all are designed to control the flow of information and people’s access to company data.

This information is not limited to the business. Some companies use the ID badge as a way to access an employee’s personal information, so for many employees, an ID card is more than a mere form of identification.

ID Badges Can Provide Benefits

ID badges can double as gift cards or discount cards for many stores. Many companies use them as a great way to reward productive employees for reaching their targets. Commission and holiday bonuses can be linked to an employee’s ID card. These ID badges can have multiple uses for employees. Many companies use RFID (radio frequency identification) as part of their electronic ID badge to use them as smart ID cards. RFID uses radio frequency to identify the user and allow access or entrance. It also stores more information than a magnetic strip or bar code, enabling companies to use them for different purposes.

ID badges not only serve as proof o identification; they provide companies security from business saboteurs and spies. Companies can use them to limit the flow of information to only select members of the staff. They could also use these cards to provide benefits, incentives, and safety to their personnel.

Employee-Friendly Offices: Making the Space Work for Your People

Due to the work they have to do every day, employees undergo quite a bit of stress. Many offices and their interiors aren’t even helping because of their restrictive designs.

One of the best ways to avoid this kind of problem is to make the office as friendly as possible. It’s a place where employees come and go in order to work and earn. This is why you have to provide them with a good reason or incentive to return to the office and do their best. Some suggestions on what you can do to create a welcoming environment for them are as follows.

Elbow Room

Everyone, especially employees, would need ample space to move about in the office. Their activities do include them needing to stand or walk towards who or what they need in order to finish their job on time. Room for easier communication is also important for the office as it lets people work smoothly.

Instead of making cubicles narrow and higher, why not make them wider and with lowered walls? If you need new furniture, you can buy office desks and other items online. Being able to move freely enables people to breathe easily and relax their minds and bodies even while at work.

Homey Vibe

On average, employees spend at least 40 hours per week at work, not counting overtime as well as other work-related activities such as attending company events or seminars. If you’re spending this much time in one place, wouldn’t you want to at least make yourself comfortable for the duration of your stay?

Keep your employee’s morale up by letting them give a personal touch to their assigned spaces. With proper regulation, allow them to bring small trinkets, such as photos, letters, action figures, or even music for themselves. It also helps to post encouraging messages on the company bulletin board once in a while.

Clutter Buster

clean and minimalist office

Keeping it clean in the office lessens the toxicity and maintains a pleasant appearance and experience for everyone, including your employees. However, you can’t just expect everyone to pick up their own mess without the means to do so.

Provide enough storage for paperwork and other office equipment and supplies on each employee’s cubicle and common spaces. This will help send the message that everyone should take the responsibility of keeping the office’s hygiene. It’s also essential for employees to be given storage for personal items that need to be kept away while at work.

A number of studies already prove that the office itself contributes to not just the employees’ output, but also their overall well-being. The whole structure is only as good as the sum of its parts and in this case, it’s the people who exert effort and take the daily grind while trying to stay positive who make up most of the company. All things considered, the office could be called the second home for a company’s employees. And because it is so, you should do your part and make it a welcome sight for them.