The Basics of Starting a Retail Business

Businesses are quite different as compared to towing service. They work to sell items or services to customers for their consumption, use as well as pleasure. They typically sell items and services in-store, but some items may be sold online and shipped to the customer. Examples of retail businesses include clothing, drugs, groceries, convenience stores, among others. When looking forward to establishing and growing a retail business, there are lots of things you need to ensure you get right. Various aspects are involved ad you must work hard to get things right.

When starting a retail business, here are some important steps you must follow for your success.

Create a Business Plan

One of the first and most important things to have when starting a business is a business plan. It is a document detailing all aspects of your company including what to sell, how your business will be structured, who your target audience is, and your financial information. Creating a business plan is very important because it provides you and your partners a comprehensive overview of your business and makes it easy to determine what’s working and what’s not working. It is a living document that you can use to make changes that would be most suitable for your business.

Choose your legal structure

When starting a retail business, you will have to choose a legal structure. Legal structures can be recognized by Internal Revenue Service and determine which form of tax you need to fill. There are different types of legal structures to choose from. The first is sole proprietorship where you own and control everything in the business yourself. We also have a corporation, S corporation, partnership, and limited liability company. You need to research and settle on one structure that best serves your interests.

Name your Business

You need to come up with a catchy and easy to say and repeat as well as a unique business name that conveys some meaning. This way, you will know it resonates with your customers and that it can be memorable. You also need to search the web to ensure the name you settle on is not in use anywhere. Search on the trademark database to ensure you choose a name that will not bring you problems in the future. If you are intending to use a corporation, you can check out the state secretary website to ensure the business entity name you intend to use has not been used anywhere else.

Understand Retail Business Laws

There is another important legal step you should never overstep. You need to understand other retail business laws at both state and federal levels. You will want to ensure you have all other legal matters taken care of before you can open up a retail business. Every state’s government website will have a section that details set laws on how to start and operate a business. You will need to acquire all the necessary retail business papers and have a good understanding of tax, employment and labor laws, advertising, antitrust, environmental, and licensing laws, among others. You can seek the legal and expert services of a lawyer to ensure you get through the process successfully. Such experts can walk you through the process and clear any challenges and roadblocks that may come your way.

How to Define a Product Purpose and Plan

Say you are in the process of developing a new cleaning services device that will be capable of blowing off all the dirt and stains from surfaces of materials. You have already incorporated a next-level technology and you are convinced it will be an absolute game-changer. However, something goes wrong. The product is rushed through the development phase and you have missed key issues on identifying customer needs to be met. To avoid all this fracas, you need to come up with a product strategy.

Product Strategy

A product strategy is an overarching plan that guides the course of product development. It will address key issues such as target audience, make a product fit for the market, and forecast the implication the product will have business-wise. It will work following a company’s market vision, specific goals as well as the big picture.

If you want to bring a product to the market in the right way, here is a product strategy framework you need to implement.

Market Vision

When it comes to market vision, you must be able to answer who your product is for and what that means for your business. You need to have information about your target customers and have a solid plan on how you will position your product. You must have some insight into how it is going to perform relative to your market. Additionally, your market vision must address your customer needs and buyer persona which you intend to appeal to, as well as the tactics you will use to deliver a competitive advantage.

Product Goals

There needs to be a form of endgame to all your efforts involving product strategy. Setting goals means you are working towards something and is crucial in charting your course and keeping you on track. Goals will guide your development team and allow you to keep on tabs your progress. Ultimately, it will measure success when your product has been released. The goals you set need to be smart. You need to set individual and timely milestones that will guide you along the way and ensure your team is maintaining a solid pace and accomplishing everything that is needed.

Product Initiatives

Product initiatives are essentially more of conceptual product goals. They define the big picture and include the trends you want your product to influence. They represent the kind of impact your business needs to have including your reputation, your status in the industry, and the impact you want your business to have.

To have an effective product strategy, a couple of elements needs to be properly constituted. You need to get it right in customer segmentation. You can’t develop a product without knowing who you are developing it for. Have a clear understanding of your business as well as the competition you have.

Finally, you must get it right when it comes to product positioning. The concept of product positioning will revolve around how your customers view your product, and space the product will occupy in their minds. You need to come up with a way of best communicating the useful and compelling attributes of your product to your target audience.

The Power of Focusing on One Thing at a Time

One of the biggest problems we face as humans is trying to do too much at once. We may have the zeal to accomplish a lot of things, and the excitement that comes thereafter, but in real sense, taking too much than we can chew can be counterproductive.  I have always wanted to start different businesses and companies, but I came to realize success in any will rely on approaching one thing at a time. Inspired by Dream Builders in Fredericksburg, I hyper-focused on starting a home construction business due to my love in real estate, and it was a success. Using the same principle, and methods that brought success in the first business, I rolled to other businesses. 

Why Single Tasking?

Single tasking is the opposite of multi tasking and is better in every way. At the initial thought of it, our brains may resist single tasking because it is less stimulating. However, working on one thing at a time helps us diver deeper and do a better job. That way, we don’t have to spread our time, attention and energy on two or three things, that may get us less productive. Single tasking helps us create more attentional space around the work to be accomplished at the moment.

Be more efficient

It is important to focus on one thing at a time. When we have multiple things we want to work on, we prioritize all of them at the top and nothing really gets done. If everything is important, it beats the logic of priority. You will find yourself jumping from one thing to the next, and in most cases, you end up doing nothing.

Avoid stress

Focusing on too much at the same time becomes a breeding ground for stress, and overwhelms you to a burn out. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. It is good to create lofty goals to yourself that involve a lot of work. However, for all your goals, irrespective of their number, focus on one goal at a time and work on it until you fail or succeed, before moving to the next.

Form good habits

Focusing on one thing at a time is like a muscle, that you build over and over again. Take it like building a new skill. You will need to do it over and over again until you get good at it. In this day and age where everyone is trying to get your attention, it can be a common practice to look at your phone, internet and all other forms of distraction. Ensure you put total concentration what’s on your desk for three straight hours, before taking a 20-minute break.

If you can think back to your last most productive day, you will find you focused on one thing. Chances are you were spending all your time and energy on that single task. While it is true it takes time and energy to adapt to being less stimulated throughout the day, it is worth all the efforts.

How to Develop a Data Analytics Strategy for Business

Big dataAs the world continues to become smarter, data becomes very important for organizations to achieve a competitive advantage. They say data is the new oil, and analytics is how we refine it. Any tech person involved in modern businesses knows that this statement is true. Whether you deal with consulting, towing service, ecommerce, technology products, among others, there is the need to develop a data analytics strategy that can help propel your business to the next level. Today, big data and analytics promise to transform the way organizations conduct their business.

What do we mean by analytics?

Analytics is a disruptive technology that is defining the way businesses conduct the day to day tasks. Analytics involves extracting value from data to drive business intelligence. It is very important for businesses to establish a strong business intelligence strategy to gain a competitive edge. This involves taking all necessary steps that help to better understand a company and the state of the market a company is involved in. For business intelligence to work, you have to start from the ground up, and ensure that you do not leave any important elements that can help in creating a better strategy.

Where to Start

Having a clear strategy is absolutely important for any business looking forward to dominate the market. Businesses should not be caught up in the big data buzz and forget the vital elements that need to be set up. Instead of a company starting with the data itself, it should instead start with a strategy. At this stage, what matters is not the data out there, or what kind of data you will be looking forward to collect, or what your competitors are collecting. The key thing is to evaluate what data is readily or potentially available. For companies to develop a smart strategy, they need to focus on the data they really need to help them achieve their goals.

Where do companies go wrong?

business-strategyMost companies go wrong when they try to segment their strategies, instead of having a wide view of what they need to achieve. Some may focus on sale and marketing, or another department such as human resource, and miss to have a wide data plan. Managers and the larger corporate body should also quash the myth that analytics belong to the IT department. Analytics should be at the top of any organization, as it dictates how other elements roll out.

Elements of a good strategy

A good analytics strategy comprise of various elements. To create a better strategy, an organization should start by defining their data needs. They must first start by defining how they want to use the data. The next step is to decide how an organization will source and gather the data. There are different ways to source and collect data be it through purchasing from external sources, or collecting it internally. When data has been collected, the next focus lies on how to turn it into insights. This involves applying analytics to the data to extract value. Organizations should also put in place technology infrastructure requirements as these define what software and hardware will be used to turn data valuable.

 

 

 

Why most e-commerce Businesses Fail

failStarting any business, be it Fairfax Tow Truck or any other company is never an easy task.  However, starting an e-commerce business can be relatively easy and fast. Sustaining a business and growing it to prosperity is the main deal. E-commerce businesses have a failure rate of about 80 percent and creating a successful one is even more challenging. Although any business is unique, there are common contributors to e-commerce failures.

If we can understand the common pitfalls to business success, then we stand a better chance to avoid them. Here are common reasons why most e-commerce businesses fail.

 

No real investment

It is possible to open an online store with a few hundred dollars but that doesn’t mean your capital will be sufficient to cater to the needs of your business. Just like any other business, an online store requires a good injection of cash to support various departments. If you have a brick and mortar business and you are planning of expanding online, think of going online as opening a new location and work towards all the requirements a new business would need. You need to cater for cash flow issues and ensure that you spread out expenses.

 

Poor management of inventory

Inventory management can cause a lot of problems depending on your business model. If you have too much inventory, you could be crippling cash flow. On the other hand, if you have too little inventory, you could be missing out on sales and disappointing your customers. The point you have to understand is that ordering products are not as easy as many people think. Vendors may be operating at different times meaning that it may take one supplier a few days to get a reorder effected.

A lot of competition

The internet is a land of very many opportunities. However, there are lots of people who are too lazy to innovate, all they want is to copy. This makes the survival of most online businesses to be difficult in the wake of competition. This is one of the reasons new e-commerce stores struggle to survive as they try to sell the very same products offered by major retailers. You need to sell products that are least sold by your competitors. The bottom line is to try to avoid competition as much as possible.

Others issues that affect the success of an e-commerce business include a bad website, poor product photography, no website traffic, no patience among others.

E-commerce Trends to Observe

ecommerceThe world of e-commerce sales has reached a whopping $2.5 trillion in 2017 and this number is projected to grow exponentially. While many markets are well covered, there is still a huge potential of the audience out there yet to be reached. There are exciting e-commerce trends that will help conquer these markets There is the need to look at what lies ahead when it comes to e-commerce, because of the promising nature of this sector, It is poised to grow to more than $4 trillion by 2020 and it is potentially going to disrupt very many other industries.

Here are top of the trends to watch this year and beyond;

Customer personalization and experience

Customer experience is a big thing when it comes to the success of e-commerce. The trend of personalization aims at winning and keeping customers unique to their needs and tied to a company. Businesses that will work on personalizing their customers will stand to win big when it comes to customer loyalty and retention. With the world we are in today, customers do not want to waste time with getting irrelevant information and advertisements; they want information that is personalized and targeted.

 

Omni Platform and devices

More than 2 billion people are now using mobile devices to shop online. While not all of them shop for products using their mobile, stats have it that 95% of them look for information on products and services leading to making a purchase. Google estimates that 85% of shoppers start shopping for a product on one device and end up making a purchase using a different device. This trend provides for the need to integrate online platforms and devices to facilitate a seamless shopping experience.

 

M-commerce

McommerceMobile devices are becoming exceedingly important for e-commerce. By the end of this year, mobile devices are projected to make at least 70% of the overall traffic leading to an online purchase.  Companies such as Samsung, Google and Apple are making it even easier with the integration of advanced mobile payment technology. This form of technology makes mobile checkout are a very preferred method for many customers.

 

Voice Search

More people are now making use of voice assistance when searching for products online. By 2020, the number of voice searches leading to making a purchase is projected to exceed 50 percent. The voice search trend continues to be a big subject, especially for advertisers and search engines. Voice search determines how customers will be able to find products without having to visit a website. Businesses now have to think of ways of optimizing their listings with voice search.

 

Convenience

Customers are yearning for convenience and increased fulfillment options. They want the best convenience in choosing their pickup and delivery points. They also want their goods delivered immediately. The delivery and fulfillment market continues to be very competitive and only the most convenient ones will meet the test of time. For companies to succeed, they need to be faster and more efficient and offer more options to their customers. We are poised to see an increase in terms of automation of the warehouse with autonomous vehicles that facilitate pick and pack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Marketing Strategies for e-commerce Business

seoWhether your business has just starting up or you the point of having a well-connected customer base, it is very important to stay up to date with the most current trends in marketing and techniques to help your e-commerce business. To properly structure and launch your e-commerce business, you will have achieved a very huge milestone. It is very important to invest in an effective website structure as well as the marketing strategy.

Produce original content

The first step in setting up a successful e-commerce website is creating content that resonates with your products and services. You need to create high-quality content that is original and set it up. Your content should be in line with what your customers want. Make sure that they can interact with it in their process of making a purchase, thus maintaining a following. You need to be creative and original. Promotional content provides a great way to make a statement and point out your compelling idea. Put an extra step to create content that is genuine and compelling.

Optimize your website

After launching your e-commerce site, it is very important to test the layout of your website, as well as the language and placement of the conversion elements. When customers visit your website, you need to ensure that they are interacting with a site that is easy and simple to check out. You should test the language that is displayed on your landing and product pages. Also look at the language displayed at the landing pages and product pages to see if there is strategic placement of icons and elements.

Search Engine Optimization

seo watchOne of the most important methods of optimizing a successful e-commerce website is ensuring that you optimize it for search engines. Today’s SEO is more important than ever as it ensures that your website is constantly updated with relevant content that is rich for your users and search engines. The content with your website should be rich, reliable and well optimized.

Content Marketing

Proper content marketing has the power to attract more positive interaction, attention and sustainable conversion in a manner no other marketing can. When you create and promote original content, you are assuring your audience with new information that caters on issues that matter to them. You need to brainstorm with your team to create a list of different types of content such as videos, blog spots, and newsletters. You can also utilize your marketing budget to consult with experts and outsource some of the work.

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons to Start Doing Business Online

ecommerceIn this modern era of the growing popularity of the internet and technological advancements, it has become much easier and quicker to buy and sell products online. Businesses which have an online presence give themselves a powerful marketing edge which is incredibly cost-effective. The internet infrastructure is well advances such that time and distance are no longer important as consumers can literally get anything they want within no time.

If you are not selling online, you are missing big time. In this guide, we look at convincing reasons that should motivate you to take your business online.

 

Scalability

The internet offers an incredible scalability what it comes to doing business online. Scaling any business is not easy, be it a brick and mortar on an e-commerce. However, the internet offers limitless opportunities to scale your business through customer acquisition and reduced costs of expansion. However, you should be keen not to overestimate or become over-ambitious. Many entrepreneurs start an online business thinking that customers will automatically find them and their products and buy. Well, you will make sales, but you should also be patient to grow incrementally.

 

Improving Company Image

Improving company image can alone be sufficient reason to motivate you to go online. It is very important to note that without a website, an online presence or a blog, prospective clients would cast doubts on how serious you are about business. Today, companies of different types and sizes are all establishing an online presence. If you claim to be a professional and do not have an online presence, you can’t expect your prospects to take you seriously.

 

24/7 Trade

shop onlineA key advantage of having an e-commerce business is the ability to do business 24/7 every day of the year. Your clients and prospects can read about your products at any time of the day and make a purchase. This means you are not limited to working hours and that you can make sales at whatever time of the day. This can lead to increased sales as well as cutting extra operating costs.

 

Better Customer Support

The internet allows you to interact with your customers at any time. You can solve customer problems, give sales webinars among others, all without taking any of your time. You can create a video or just an FAQ section that answers most of the questions people may be facing. This can help in saving you time as well as providing better services to your prospects. Your clients will be looking for specific information before making a buying decision, to solve problems with their existing purchase and also to research alternatives before making a buying decision.

Low startup costs

Starting an online business means you are going to experience very low startup costs. You have absolutely no business to construct or a vehicle to buy unless you’re getting into a very large e-commerce business. If you are already selling offline, the transition can be very smooth. When you put your business online, you are simply giving yourself a new source of customers.