All posts in "Business"

Common Mistakes That Startups Should Avoid

a few months ago

It is natural to commit mistakes when you start with a new venture. No startup founder knows exactly what to do, and we all learn while working on the job.

I have worked for several startups and I have seen them make some common mistakes. If these mistakes are not avoided, they can lead to failures further down the line.

Here is a list of some of the mistakes which should be avoided by startups.

Fear of failure

When you start with a new idea, the biggest fear is the fear of business failure. The pressure of failure can lead you to make mistakes. Do not allow fear to take over — you can overcome it by talking with friends and other startup founders.

“The success rate can only be estimated when you start implementing on your business idea.”, says Piyush Jain, founder of Simplam, a top mobile app development agency in DC.

Not doing proper planning

A proper business plan provides you with a path to guide your business. You need to plan by keeping in mind the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of the business and the risk associated with them.

The plan should be flexible, means it should be continuously updated. You should create a business plan update it as you progress — this is what drives success.

A good plan defines goals for short term and long term. The predefined goals and time-barred targets of an organization are helpful in its long-term survival. You need to differentiate between the long- and short-term goals of your organization.

Many entrepreneurs make mistakes by setting time-barred goals, ultimately meaning they lack the resources to meet their goal. Thus, your pre-defined targets should be in SMART format i.e. Simple, Marketable, Achievable, Reliable and Time-bound.

Not doing detail market research

Your idea can be unique and you might create a benchmark for small businesses and startups. But when you start with a new venture, it is beneficial to have complete knowledge which can be gathered with detailed market research.

When you conduct market research, you learn about current market trends, customer likes and dislikes, and the expectations of your target consumer. Through these, you can adopt possible changes in your business idea to make it more effective.

Not looking at competitors

Startups and small businesses always have competitors, and you should always look at what they are doing. Search for companies who provide similar products/services to yours and consider their pricing structures, customers and activities. By studying your competitors’ drawbacks and flaws, you can address or avoid those in your own product.

Customers tend to buy products with new features and designs, elements that are missing from your competitors’ offering. Looking at competitors can help you design the right product/services for your customers.

Not taking feedback from customers

An entrepreneur should not only focus on selling the product/services in the market. They should also focus on collecting feedback from customers. When you sell your product, you should reach out personally to customers to get the feedback.

Even if customers are not very happy with the product, they would appreciate the fact that you reached out to them to get the feedback. This can help you to retain even unsatisfied customers.

The most successful startups have focused on changing the product based upon the feedback gathered in the initial stages. It becomes an ongoing process in your company. While adopting the changes, you should ensure that the core objective of your product is not sacrificed.

Avoid over-expenditure

Failing to conduct sufficient financial planning is the biggest mistake in the beginning stages of a startup. Most startups are launched with limited funds and it becomes difficult when costs stack up and you exceed the budgeted amount.

Consequently, do not spend more than your allotted budget just because you have the funds. Be cautious with your spending and try to get tasks done at the minimum cost possible. When you are looking for vendors or services providers for your startup, negotiate to keep your cost down.

It is a fact that businesses do not start making profits from the starting phase and it takes them time to break even. Consequently, you should plan your day-to-day expenses and check on unwanted expenses of the organization.

Not working with experts

When you start on your venture, you should reach out to experts in the domain. It is easy to find and connect them. Linkedin is a great network for finding experts who have done similar things.

Always try to find experts who are local, who you can meet in person. Try to take them out for lunch, dinner or other activities to gain from them. Sometime you may want to hire an expert and they may be very expensive. Instead of hiring them full time, you can hire them part-time to avoid the cost.

You can find several sites and listing which provide experts you need for your startup. For example, one of my friends was looking for app developers in Chicago and they found this Chicago based app developer listing very helpful.

Not adopting new technologies

Adopting to new technologies helps entrepreneurs to conduct business activities faster and better. These days everything is moving into the cloud, including file sharing, data sharing, emails, and other related activities.

Adopting new technologies reduces the burden of work on your startup’s employees and its founders.

Not balancing marketing and sales

Many of the founders do not focus on synthesizing marketing and sales. Putting tons of money in marketing is of no use when your product is not having a sufficient demand in the market. Both the activities should be carried on simultaneously.

Many entrepreneurs think that they can easily put a truckload of money in marketing and reach success. Most of the time this has been a big reason for the failure of startups. You should spend some money on marketing and see how it converts into real sales.

In conclusion

These are just a few of the most common mistakes that startups make. Follow the tips above and put your startup on the path to success.

Author bio: Piyush Jain is the founder of Simpalm, a US mobile app and development company.

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Avoiding The Pinch Of International Sales Tax

a few months ago

Amazon, eBay, and Etsy – they’ve all made it incredibly easy for anyone selling online to sell their products internationally. Almost too easy. As countries across the globe crack down on international sales tax, ecommerce sellers are starting to feel the pinch (and fines) of selling across borders. Join us as we take a look at the fine-ancial implications of international eCommerce and how you can take action now to avoid being caught out later.

What is international sales tax?

Let’s backtrack a little bit first. Sales tax is money collected from someone buying a product, which is then later passed onto the government, for government spending.

When the buyer and seller live in the same country, the process is simple – you collect sales tax at the local rate and submit it to the local government. When the buyer and seller live in different countries, things get a little more complicated, and international sales tax may, or may not, be owed to the buyer’s local government, at its own rate.

What’s the problem with international sales tax?

International sales tax itself isn’t a problem per se – but it can cause significant (and costly) problems for online sellers – especially those who accept international orders without first understanding the consequences. Common problems driven by international sales tax are:

  • Charging customers too much – if you’re not sure of the local country’s tax rates and rules, you could be charging customers too much, limiting your success in that country.
  • Charging customers too little – likewise, if you’re not sure of the local country’s tax rates and rules, you could be charging your customers too little, footing a large tax bill at the end of the year yourself.
  • Breaking the law – if you fail to pay the correct amount of international sales tax, or if you fail to realize that you need to pay international sales tax, you could be subject to hefty fines and restrictive penalties.

But while this can all sound a bit doom and gloom, it’s not all bad. Cross border sales are set to amount for USD$627 billion by 2022 – making up 22% of the ecommerce industry. International ecommerce can be a hugely profitable, rewarding, and scalable business opportunity when done right – you just need to know the top tips for navigating international sales tax first.

Top tips for avoiding the pinch of international sales tax

So let’s jump straight in – what are the best ways to avoid being caught out by international sales tax?

1. Work out whether you’re affected

Before getting yourself into a twizzle about international sales tax, it’s first worth working out if you’re actually affected by international sales tax.

Same country or state

If you’re only selling to customers in the same country or state as you, then you can probably stick to local ecommerce tax laws and not worry about anything international other than your next vacation.

State to state

If you’re selling to customers in different states, then the law is a little murkier. Some states require you to have a significant presence in that state before being required to collect taxes.

However, in June 2018, the US Supreme Court decided that states could require businesses without a physical location to collect sales taxes on purchases made from that state. If you sell state to state, then research the local ecommerce tax laws before proceeding.

Country to country

If you’re selling to customers from a different country, then you may be required to register and collect local taxes if your annual turnover is above a certain threshold. Again, research the local ecommerce tax laws before proceeding.

If you’re still unsure, seek the help of an international ecommerce accountant or bookkeeper pronto.

2. Calculate your tax rates

Once you know which countries or states you’re required to collect local tax in, next you need to work out how much tax you need to collect and when you need to submit it. Tax rates and submission deadlines vary significantly, so take the time to research the appropriate rates and deadlines properly.

3. Ensure your listings are compliant

The impact of international sales tax begins way before your annual (or quarterly) tax bill. In some countries (such as the EU), you’re required to include Value Added Tax (VAT) in the product listing – whereas, in the US, this is rare and will make your product prices seem expensive.

4. Assign orders to the correct country

Once you’ve decided you’re accountable for international sales tax, and you’ve updated your listings accordingly, next you’ll need to assign your sales orders to the correct country. For low-volume, single-channel sellers this will be relatively easy to do within your sales channel admin, or manually in your accounting software.

For high-volume, multi-channel sellers, this is a little more tricky. A useful tip here is to use the tracking categories in Xero to create different countries for sales orders to be assigned to, and use Xero ecommerce integration software to automatically push cross-channel sales orders to the correct country tracking category.

Under the ‘Accounting’ tab, select Advanced > Tracking Categories > Add Tracking category, and then away you go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Apply and file the correct tax rates

After your orders have been assigned to the correct country, you’ll then need to apply the correct tax rate so that you can collect the appropriate rate of tax for filing.

While this can be done manually or via CSV, a far easier and quicker way is to use Xero’s tracking categories to filter your orders by country and bulk change the tax rate to the correct one.

6. Make someone accountable

The final, and perhaps most important tip of them all, is to make someone responsible for keeping you up-to-date and compliant with local tax laws and regulations. If this is beyond your expertise, capacity, or desire, then enlist the help of a professional ecommerce accountant or bookkeeper.

Not only will their international sales tax knowledge keep you fine and error-free, but with them using the latest ecommerce accounting integration software to send your orders to Xero automatically, they could save you time and money too.

International sales tax – final thoughts

International ecommerce sales tax doesn’t have to be taxing – you just need to be aware of the implications and enlist the right expertise and tools to ensure that you’re compliant now and in the future.

Author bio: Niki Tibble is a content writer for Expandly, a multi-channel management platform empowering online sellers to manage multiple sales channels, shipping carriers and Xero from one platform. She also writes for CartStack, Deliverr and have written for Oberlo, so she knows what’s what when it comes to eCommerce!

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The Benefits Of Outsourcing Fulfillment & Inventory Management

a few months ago

There are many benefits to outsourcing fulfillment, reduce shipping and operation costs, extend your reach, improve customer service, and focus on growing your business.

Order fulfillment providers are usually equipped with facilities all over the country, allowing lower shipping rates that you can take full advantage of. Along with that, operational costs can begin to rise and fulfillment services will normally charge a flat rate for warehousing your products.

By using a fulfillment company you will be able to reap the benefits of inventory management, item tracking, security, shipping and handling, carrier selection, and payment processing. 3PL companies are able to use the latest technology to process and ship your products with ease. Now it is time to grow your business and let the outsourcing experts do their part.

Author bio: This infographic was created by our friends over at Our ServiceWorks, a brand-focused outsourced fulfillment and customer care service.

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Best WooCommerce Themes Of 2019

a few months ago

Creating a website is very common these days. There are a lot of websites and the niches of websites greatly differ from each other. One type is ecommerce websites. These include brand sites and the sites that were initially just for fun. Easily available and easy to use plugins are a major reason for the rise in ecommerce stores and one of those plugins is WooCommerce.

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is popular among small and large businesses. WooCommerce makes the process of selling very easy and its interactive themes make it a breeze to build a great looking online store. There are a lot of WooCommerce themes with different features. Let’s see some of the best themes for 2019!

Shopkeeper

Shopkeeper is the fastest theme available for WooCommerce websites. The installation of Shopkeeper is easy, as everything necessary for installation come in the detailed documentation. If someone needs more assistance then their customer support help in getting the installation done smoothly. The customization of every section is available, and it does not need any coding.

People love the clear images and Shopkeeper provide them. The layout is a full screen that offers quality one-page visuals. The responsive and minimalist design of the Shopkeeper provides an easy shopping experience. So, in conclusion, the visual appeal and the responsive design are the factors that are keeping Shopkeeper favorite of many WooCommerce sites.

Ultra

If you do not have much time to individually design each section of your ecommerce store then Ultra is great for you. A theme that offers great flexibility, Ultra provides an option to install a ready-made website. The installation can be done in one click and, after this, you can replace the sections with your own content. Isn’t that super easy? Obviously, yes.

But it doesn’t mean that Ultra is not for DIY lovers. For them the options are open. They can design by drag and drop feature of Ultra. You can add pricing tables, can play with diverse header styles, can add a photo gallery, and much more. So, Ultra is multi-functional and suits every need.

Hugo

Hugo can be named “customizable,” making it suitable for every kind of online business. The design is little conventional like the header at the top and then the product or headline sections below it.

The color scheme options and the customizability of themes are among the plus points, with Hugo offering great ways to present product displays. You can add customizable social media widgets so that people can easily find out your social media accounts and thus earn you more following. The widgets can also be customized for the contact information and to enhance the visibility of the website content.

It also offers page builders for the site. Thus, if you are not a pro in web development, there is no need to worry. Hugo is for you.

Merchandiser

Merchandiser is a classic theme, one that is simple yet elegant and minimalist in design yet very functional. The simple design reduces the loading time of shop and that’s the feature customers probably love the most. After the shop is loaded in seconds the customers can look for the products simply and find them very easily.

There are 9 layouts for the homepage and a lot of design options to display products.  Whether you want to display images in single format or in slide format, the options are seamless. Another benefit of Merchandiser is the availability of themes for other pages along with the shop page. It means you can also find attractive themes for your blog page (etc) along with the themes for your shop page. All these benefits can easily be used without getting coding classes.

Porto

We can call Porto an enriched theme, as it offers access to a lot of templates and is feature enriched. There are different online shop demos that can help you get inspiration for your store. If you find a template from shop demos that is very relevant to your needs, you can edit it to make it a perfect fit for your shop.

You can easily change the color, font, and other display settings from themes section that is under the control panel. The product listings, filters, and wish list can be established according to the needs.

WooCommerce websites developed by using Porto are accessible from every device and have no compatibility issues. Porto is perfect for the online WordPress shops as well as other WordPress websites, such as blogs.

Mr. Tailor

Mr. Tailor is a sleek and responsive design theme, making it good for any kind of business. The portfolio and catalog options are the next level features to display products, while the Visual Composer Page Builder can be used to build unlimited pages. The shop features and the theme are fully customizable, allowing you to enhance the functionality of your ecommerce store.

There is a lot of content online available on WooCommerce WordPress themes but the choice is yours. Any certified digital marketing professional will agree that it’s you and the needs of your business on which the theme choice is dependent. Furthermore, a good decision will be based on your market analysis. As it differs from business to business. So review the themes I’ve recommended, decide wisely and start building your ecommerce business today!

Lorenzo Gutierrez

Author Bio: Lorenzo Gutierrez is a published author in over 30 industry websites; he writes on marketing and business. Lorenzo graduated from WGU with a Masters in Business and works as an online marketing consultant. Connect with Lorenzo on his social media accounts LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

 

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