How to Become A Hair Weave Seller in South Africa

A hair weave distributor you sell hair extensions from somebody else, so if the quality of the hair will change over time, if you have orders but the wholesale suppliers fails to deliver in time people will blame you for it.

Do you need a LLC to sell hair?

If you want to operate your hair business under a name other than your company’s business legal name, you will need a trade name. Your trade name for your hair business does not need to include LLC, Corp, or other legal endings used for your taxes and other forms.

Can I make money making wigs?

On the high end, businesses selling custom medical wigs can bring in over R 151130.98 per month in revenue. Businesses selling R 604.52fashion wigs likely won’t have enough sales to make this much each month, but they can have a steady revenue and they often see a significant bump in sales around Halloween.

Below are steps to Become A Hair Weave Seller/Distributor in South Africa

Explore The Market To Learn Hair Knowledge (NO COST)

Once you decide to join in the hair business, it simply means that you must already know something about wigs, hair extensions, virgin hair bundles etc., but this is not enough.

Formulate Your Marketing Plan (NO COST)

After you must have understood the market and products, determine your customer base and sales channels (no money for advertising and promoting is your goal), develop regular sales goals and action plans to ensure that all work is done can be completed without missing and analyze the factors that affect the achievement of the goal.

Get FREE Inventory

Finding a trusted hair supplier is very important if you are looking to start this distribution business without money. Note that what you want is no-cost investment, which means you don’t want or have no additional funds for an inventory.

Get Free Product Information

Note that many wholesalers or suppliers in the industry will be happy to provide this information to you, you only have to save it for online store merchandise display, advertising and introduce the product to customers.

Create your Own Online Store FREE

Due to the advent of the Internet, anyone and everyone can create their own online store without any investment.

How do I start a hair distributor business?

If you want to become a supplier of human hair, there are several things you should consider before launching your business.

Research Your Products.

Pick a Venue.

Set Up Wholesale Accounts.

Provide Customer Incentives.

Sell Accessory Supplies.

Offer Discounts to Repeat Customers.

Promote Your Business.

How much does it cost to start a hair weave business in South Africa?

You can start a hair salon business for as little as R 14282.65, maybe less, or for as much as a quarter of a million. Don’t forget that it’s a perfectly legitimate approach to start with a low-dollar approach, renting a booth and leveraging yourself into a shop of your own over time.

Is selling wig profitable in South Africa ?

On the high end, businesses selling custom medical wigs can bring in over R 14282.65 per month in revenue. Businesses selling R 571.31 fashion wigs likely won’t have enough sales to make this much each month, but they can have a steady revenue and they often see a significant bump in sales around Halloween.

How do you become a beauty distributor in South Africa ?

You do not need special licensing to purchase and distribute salon care products, but you do need to obtain a sales and use certificate from your state and must have a legally registered wholesaling business. You can gain licensure online through the website of your state department of commerce.

How do I start my own hair extension line?

How To Start A Hair Extensions Business

Find A Quality Hair Extensions Supplier. The first thing you need to do in order to establish a hair extensions business is to find quality hair extensions suppliers.

A Place To Store Your Bulk Orders.

Market Your New Hair Extensions Business.

Brand Yourself With Beautiful Packaging.

Wrapping Up:

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, over 1,000,000 SKU and more. With a successful track record of over 100,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements.

Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses! If you would like to know more details about us, please contact us:  blog.shopshipshake.com. If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on: https://bit.ly/3Cfdu4w

Source: https://zarecruitment.com/how-to-become-a-hair-weave-distributor-south-africa/

SEO for Small Business: 5 quick tips to getting optimised for success

Pinpointing the beginnings of Search Engine Optimisation, known as SEO is tricky. Some say it dates back to the term’s first usage in 1997, while others argue that full-fledged SEO began only during the Google boom in the 2000s. Either way, SEO has become a buzzword in today’s digital landscape, especially for businesses. Experts even say that 2022 will be the year that Google My Business becomes the most critical driver of search rankings from TechRound. For smaller startups, this makes SEO a powerful set of practices that can help you thrive in the digital age.

The importance of SEO

Nowadays, SEO is everywhere. Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find any online content that doesn’t make use of it. After all, search engine algorithms favour pages or websites that have amassed large amounts of “link equity”. In layman’s terms, this means having a rich web of digital content and links. For businesses, this means that practicing SEO online can help you reach more people organically for less money than traditional digital marketing. If done well, SEO can help increase engagement, traffic, brand recall, and even conversions.

But SEO is more than just about linking. This is especially the case today that search engines like Goole are becoming stricter with backlink quality. Essentially, if your backlinks are too obvious or lack legitimacy, don’t expect to score rank highly on an online search.

Good linking should be relevant to the overall topic, appear naturally within the text, and use long-tail keywords that lead to relevant pages. For instance, in content about “X Best E-Commerce Tips”, you could add a link to a timely statistic that is hyperlinked under “average online shoppers”. Bonus points, if your links are compatible with alt-readers since this lets those with visual impairments enjoy your links, too. Moreover, you can use SEO to highlight direct payment or checkout links leading to payment apps like ours here at Yoco. This way, you can seamlessly provide a better customer funnel even for first-time visitors, and encourage sales.

A less than ideal link is one that is clearly shoehorned in and adds no value to the copy. Think random contact us links or ambiguous anchor texts that say “article here”. Those aren’t doing you or your readers any service since it doesn’t flesh out your text nor encourage readers to click them. While this may be acceptable a few times, if your site mainly uses this type of linking, then you’re not really taking advantage of SEO.

5 SEO tips for small businesses

Refining your SEO can be quite intimidating, especially if you aren’t confident in your technical expertise and if you lack the budget. But if you have a website with some organic traffic, can run Google Analytics, Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and others. If these sound totally foreign to you, don’t worry. They’re basically all just tools that you can use online that help you track and monitor your website’s performance whilst also updating you on any trending topics or keywords. If that’s not something you’re comfortable using yet, though, don’t worry. If you’ve claimed or created your Google My Business listing, you’ve already got the basics covered.

1. Improve your website

Prioritize your site’s structure, loading speed, security, as well as user experience. If you’re running your site with WordPress, there are already pre existing SEO plugins that you can use. This allows you to apply SEO even without formal training. If you want to go the extra mile, though, you can also go through free website-making courses.

2. Set your location

For many small-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, the pandemic caused a clear drop in business location visits, especially with the spread of the new variants. By letting Google know your location, you can appear on more local search results. This lets you take advantage of statistics that show 76% of people looking for a business nearby will visit that business within a day. Of those searchers, about 28% will result in someone making a purchase.

3. Write good content

It goes without saying that SEO relies heavily on the content that you put out on your website. Consider your niche and your target market as well, as you’ll have the best chance of making good business with people who are actually interested in your product or service. If you’re looking for a more targeted approach to content, SEO industry leader Ayima highlights how a boutique approach that marries tech with talent can help your content drive serious growth. To do this, many businesses like British Airways use data to finetune their content’s tone and angle. If, however, you want to keep your content in-house, you can always write it yourself. Do review other sites and keep updated on the latest analytics, though, to keep content relevant.

4. Connect to social media

Online magazine Forbes explains that with the rise of the online era, the least you can do is to make sure you’re utilising your social media platforms to boost your website and get people to visit. It’s great for brand awareness and for social ‘proof’, like ratings and reviews. If you’re new to social media, something you should keep in mind is engagement and transparency. People flock to businesses they can connect with online because it fosters a sense of community. At the same time, social media is a cheap and effective way to get a better understanding of grassroots trends. Just remember that your business’s social media, isn’t your personal one. Customers are following you online for your brand, not necessarily for your hot takes.

5. Stay up to date

Lastly, keep your information updated and make sure everything is running smoothly, and check your analytics from time to time. 

Once you invest in optimising your SEO, you just might surprise yourself with the results.

Wrapping up:

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, over 1,000,000 SKU and more. With a successful track record of over 100,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements.

Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses! If you would like to know more details about us, please contact us:  blog.shopshipshake.com. If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on: https://bit.ly/3Cfdu4w

This article partly refers to: https://www.yoco.com/za/blog/article/seo-for-small-business/

4 Ways SMEs Can Deal With the Energy Crisis While They Await Relief

South Africa’s escalating energy crisis shows no signs of abating with the implementation of Stage 6 load shedding plummeting many parts of the country into darkness last week.

Source:

As the backbone of the country’s economy, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been worst affected by load shedding. Many are just recovering from the pandemic and are now being faced with the devastating effects of having no power for between eight and twelve hours a day.

The government has just announced it is stepping in to take the pressure off SMEs and has instructed the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) to collaborate with various stakeholders and find a solution via an energy relief package. While these talks are ongoing, Eskom announced the devastating news that South Africa will be placed on permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding for the next two years.

In response to Eskom’s latest announcement, small businesses have appealed to the government to consider implementing subsidies on diesel, diesel-powered generators or other alternative energy solutions to help them cope with load-shedding, as many will not be able to survive another two years of constant power cuts.

“The details of the Seda and Sefa-driven packages and how SMEs can claim are not yet available, but relief efforts like this are vital if our SMEs are going to survive the indefinite energy crisis,” says Miguel Da Silva, managing director at Retail Capital.

“We applaud the government for stepping in and hope that the relief package will go some way towards creating alternative sources of energy, recovering some losses, and subsidising existing energy solutions. In the meantime, we encourage SMEs to act now and invest in alternatives if they have the finances available,” he adds.

There are a number of things that small business owners can do to help mitigate the effects of these power outages – the key is to act fast.

Da Silva suggests four ways every SME can and should be dealing with the energy crisis today:

1. Find affordable alternatives

Not all alternative energy solutions are expensive, so do your research and find out which solutions will best suit your business. A small generator or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for example can cost as little as R900 and can be purchased from high street hardware stores or online.

“They’re not a 24-hour solution but, at the very least, these will provide you with an interim source of power until the lights come back on,” says Da Silva.

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

Battery packs and power banks are also cost-effective options that will help keep your electrical items, Wi-Fi and Pos devices running. “Using battery and power banks can be a juggling act though and you need to remember to keep these charged when the power is back on,” says Da Silva.

Investigating gas cooking solutions is another effective way of maintaining business as usual – or as close to it – for restaurants and other hospitality businesses. “Gas alternatives do require professional installation so make sure you factor in the cost of having it installed by a gas safety engineer who can provide you with the right safety certificates,” advises Da Silva.

2. Get funding to go off-grid

For most SMEs and individuals, ordinary savings won’t even cover the costs of getting off the Eskom grid. If your business premises are mortgaged with certain banks, then you may be able to take further financing from the bank to pay for these alternative energy solutions.

Several banks have partnered with renewable/backup energy providers to provide discounts to their customers. Some may also offer improvement loans for business premises, and this could go some way towards financing an alternative source of energy, like solar.

3. Change the way you work

If an off-grid solution is not financially viable for your SME, then consider investing in a hot desk at a shared office space that’s equipped with a generator.

“The costs can be quite high depending on your location and amount of people working for you, but this could be a worthwhile cost to bear if it means your business won’t be interrupted by outages and ensuring you are still profitable. Smaller teams are also more flexible so consider working schedules that can adapt around load shedding hours,” says Da Silva.f

4. Manage any price fluctuations

“If you are considering the expensive off-grid option, you may need to make realistic price hikes on your goods and services so that you keep yourself in business. However, it is wise to manage any price fluctuations carefully and to be completely transparent with your clients from the get-go. Building in added value for your clients can go a long way towards offsetting any resistance to this,” he advises.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, over 1,000,000 SKU and more. With a successful track record of over 100,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements.

Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses! If you would like to know more details about us, please contact us:  blog.shopshipshake.com. If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on: https://bit.ly/3Cfdu4w

This article partly refers to: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/838/235292.html

The Future Shopper Report 2022

Study shows more than 85% of surveyed South African shoppers say retailers need to get better at giving them the products, service and experience they want.

South Africans surveyed form part of a study of over 30,000 global online consumers from 18 countries.

The research, commissioned by Wunderman Thompson South Africa as part of Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2022, reinforces how online shopping sites, shopping apps, marketplaces and social media are driving e-commerce.

The survey explores what motivates local South African online shoppers, where they get their ideas from, how they research before they shop, and what factors ultimately drive their appetite for purchasing online. 78% of SA respondents indicate they will be increasing their use of digital shopping channels in the future, albeit 74% of this group say they prefer to shop with a brand that has both a physical and an online store.

Over and above examining common denominators across sectors, the study unpacks detail about different products, from groceries, home furnishings, pharmaceuticals, toys/games and electronics to clothing, accessories and financial products.

For brands and retailers selling their products and services online or through apps, the results offer a departure point for winning over customers and driving online revenues. The insights will help businesses understand the demand, highlight how the pandemic has a fast-tracked appetite for online purchase and usage, and point to critical SA consumer expectations about service, pricing, payment methods, delivery, tracking and returns.

Parusha Partab, Group strategy director at Wunderman Thompson South Africa, says: “Where they buy from, what they’re buying online and how much they are spending is one thing, but understanding how South African consumers react to a range of factors is going to be crucial for retailers going forward. It has implications for business models, marketing strategies, technology investments, the supply chain – a whole range of business dimensions that need to adapt to our new reality.”

The research also asks respondents about the information presented to them on e-commerce platforms. 89% from South Africa indicate a preference for imagery and videos, while more than 90% claim product reviews and discounts are important.

Wunderman Thompson South Africa Group consulting director Kayembe Ilunga adds: “There’s a wealth of valuable insight. Our study also delves into how frequently South Africans buy certain products from different platforms and brands, their propensity to abandon a purchase while it’s in progress, and their likelihood to return products purchased online. Combining these indicators with solid historical data gathered through digital platforms will shape business projections going forward and points to the growing need to accept how the worlds of marketing, technology, data and sales have converged. We believe brands need to revisit their operating models and structures. There’s no longer one department solely responsible for delivering online experiences”.

Driving change

There are distinct differences between the results from South Africa and the rest of the world, so one of the key benefits of the local research is that it helps identify what the local emerging trends are and to what extent brands should be ‘localising’ their response to the growing popularity of online shopping. Social networks have, globally, been one of the key winners, with Facebook and Instagram featuring as leading platforms of choice for South African respondents.

Another key trend that has emerged is the propensity to research online, but still conduct the actual purchase in-store – 80% claim they do this, and there are marked preferences for shopping directly from a brand versus what is called an aggregator platform, depending on the nature of the product. “This insight will help inform business decisions about online product offerings and portfolio expansion going forward,” says Partab, adding that the intention is for Wunderman Thompson South Africa to host a Future Shopper 2022 Online Event in due course to unpack the South African shopper results in more detail.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more. With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us:  www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on: https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Original: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/19/229159.html

business charts data document

10 Ways to Adapt Your Marketing Plan During the Pandemic

Your target market’s needs are continually shifting, so it is important to stay up to date with trends and modify your business strategies accordingly. One way to reach your customers during this unstable time is by adapting your marketing plan to meet their needs. We spoke with small business owners and marketing experts to determine the 10 best ways to adjust your marketing strategy during the pandemic. 

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is an overall strategy for how you will communicate with your target audience and influence them to buy your products or services. Although marketing plans can vary from basic to comprehensive, they should include pertinent information about your brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers. 

“A well-rounded, strategic plan will address where the company currently is in the market along with a road map for where it would like to be and in what timeframe,” Heather Schuck, founder of TheSchuck.Agency, told business.com. “While the specifics can vary by industry, most commonly you’ll want to address the seven P’s – product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people.”   

When promoting your products and services, it is important to adhere to your marketing plan to stay in line with your brand identity. However, a marketing plan is a living document that should be modified to best fit the current needs of your customers. For example, the coronavirus crisis, recession and civil unrest have caused drastic changes in consumer behavior, and your business should adapt your marketing strategy to match consumers’ current demands. 

The economy and marketplace are in a state of constant change, forcing your consumers into a wide variety of purchasing phases. How you pivot your marketing efforts to match those needs can make or break your business. Instead of continuing with “business as usual” – which your customers may perceive as insensitive – or overcorrecting and flooding your consumers with exhausting information, there are several great marketing strategies you can employ. 

We spoke with small business owners and marketing experts to help you determine the top 10 ways to modify your marketing strategy and reach your audience during the current economic upheaval. 

1. Emphasize the true relevance of your product or service.

As consumer needs change, the relevance of your product or service may change as well. It is important to emphasize how your brand is still essential to your consumers and how it can be beneficial to their lives. This may mean shifting focus from one product to another or emphasizing unique ways that your current offering can fulfill your audience’s needs. 

“As far as messaging goes, between the pandemic and the possible recession, leaders and brands have an opportunity to further connect with anxious consumers and focus on the true relevance of their products or services,” said Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

2. Meet current consumer needs.

“Focus more on meeting consumer needs and helping them deal with the realities of the pandemic rather than blatantly promoting what you have to offer,” said Linda Pophal, marketing consultant and owner of Strategic Communications. “I’ve seen a number of SaaS and app providers offer free subscriptions for some limited time period, [and] some news outlets have taken down their firewalls to offer access to virus-related reporting, etc.” 

Offering helpful tools and thoughtful promotions can build brand awareness and loyalty. Think of ways you can help your customers make a purchase, whether that is by promoting online services, offering curbside pickup, or providing live chat and support. 

3. Increase your digital marketing efforts.

Your consumers are online, so it is important that you are too. Focus on digital marketing efforts like paid ads, search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing. Keep your website up to date, and focus on establishing yourself as a thought leader through blogs, videos, social media and other digital content. If you have the marketing budget for it, consider hiring a marketing professional or social media influencers to increase your online visibility. 

4. Modify your email marketing campaign.

Companies should focus on adapting their email marketing campaigns to address the unique challenges customers are facing. Instead of sending out the standard email content you’ve always offered, change the tone, content and frequency to match your consumers’ expectations. Stay on brand, but be cognizant of how your emails are adding value to your audience.  

“For example, just because a day care closed doesn’t mean a parent still doesn’t need help caring for their children,” said Schuck. “Don’t waste that email sharing your updated hours for the third time; provide value such as tips on fun ways to practice the alphabet while preparing dinner. Those types of value-add communications will pull your customers in towards you, not repel them.” 

5. Focus on social media marketing.

Chances are a large portion of your audience is on social media, so use that to your advantage and take part in the conversation. Focus your marketing efforts on the social media channels that drive a lot of your customer engagement (such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). Create relevant posts that add value, education and entertainment, instead of strictly trying to make a sale.   

“Be engaging, comment on audience posts, and adjust upcoming posts based on the current sentiment and feedback,” said Schuck. “When our world is in a state of upheaval, creating content to be automatically posted 30 days in advance might not be the best option. It can make you appear tone-deaf and heartless, no matter how innocent the posting goof was.” 

6. Communicate critical information.

Keep an open line of communication with your audience, and the transparency and honesty will be well received. Each state and industry has its own set of regulations and guidelines, so keep your customers informed on how you are being impacted. It can be especially helpful to update your hours of operation on your website and Google business listings. 

“Even if you have to be shut down, don’t stop communicating with your audience,” said Pophal. “They need to know you are still out there, and they want to know when, if and how you will reopen. With small businesses particularly, your customers are likely worried about you personally, so make sure you’re sharing messages and updates frequently.” 

7. Incorporate your audience.

Schuck said this is an opportunity for you to show true leadership by reevaluating your goals, adjusting timelines and welcoming your audience to be part of the conversation. Invite your target market to help guide the direction of your business, as they will likely have valuable insights about what they need and how you can help. 

“For a company to create raving fans, there must be some level of buy-in from the audience,” Schuck said. “When you demonstrate to your customers that they are being heard, it builds trust and strengthens customer loyalty.” 

8. Show compassion and empathy.

It is crucial to show your customers compassion, especially during this tumultuous time. As your customers deal with financial, emotional and mental stressors, offer empathetic content that shows you truly care. 

“Words are part of the healing process, and we can see which leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul,” said Arnof-Fenn. “There has never been a more important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness and timeliness.” 

9. Give back to the community.

Help out your community in any way you can, whether that involves donating, volunteering or collaborating with other businesses. If possible, pivot your business strategy to better serve the community. Giving back will help you increase your community support, goodwill and brand awareness. By encouraging your staff to take part in the conversation, you can facilitate corporate social responsibility movements that your whole team believes in, building a positive company culture.  

10. Audit your sales funnel.

Just because your marketing strategy was working three months ago doesn’t mean it’s going to work right now. As the market changes, it is important to thoroughly audit your sales funnel and analyze the data. Conducting a competitive analysis can help you see what others in your space are doing, letting you evaluate what is working and what isn’t. 

“I think we all get a bit emotionally overwhelmed, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of complacency,” said Schuck. “However, there’s opportunity in hardship. Taking that extra step to reevaluate your funnels might mean the difference between gaining an extra 25% market share or losing it.” 

What to avoid in your marketing plan

There are several things to avoid when you are reworking your marketing plan. For example, you don’t want to continue sending out the same old marketing campaigns as though nothing has happened, but you also don’t want to inundate your audience with exhaustive marketing and political material. Consumers are fatigued and can see through PR stunts and bandwagon emails. 

It is important to acknowledge the current state of affairs, but don’t talk about these things any more than you need to. Instead of flooding your audience with generic information, provide them with educational or entertaining marketing messages that add value and enhance their customer experience. 

You also want to avoid being too pushy for sales or over-promoting your products or services. Ensure that every communication you have with your customers has a purpose and value, whether it be on your website, through email or on social media. As the social and economic situation changes, adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Tasks to Do Before Starting Your Home Business

Step 1: Decide Which Products or Services Your Small Business Will Offer

Before you can start a home business, you have to know what products or services you want to offer. To decide what business will be best for you, consider these questions:​

  • What do you have to offer?
  • What makes you an expert? 
  • Do you have all of the education and skills you’ll need to compete successfully in the marketplace or will you need to get training?
  • Does the product or service you’re thinking about meet a need?
  • Is this a seasonal product or service, or can you market it all year long? 
  • Is it a fad or something that will last over time?
  • How sensitive is marketing this product or service to general economic conditions? When the economy is weak, how do you think your business will be affected?
  • Do you have a passion for or enjoy this business idea? While money is, good, it’s not enough to propel you to success. You need to be enthusiastic about your offer as well.

The saying, “Do what you love, love what you do” should not be taken lightly. Your business is going to be your livelihood, so it should be something you believe in and/or enjoy. One advantage of that is that you can turn a hobby into a business. If you choose an idea you’re not excited about, it will be difficult to get motivated at times.

Step 2: Know Your Market and Your Competition

While having a great product or service is required, without buyers, you still don’t have a business. Knowing your market, what it wants and needs, and what inspires it to buy, are crucial to your success. This means discovering your target market and determining your unique selling proposition, the thing about your product or service that sets you apart from others that are similar. Here are a few things to consider:

Who Is Going to Buy Your Product or Service?

  • What characteristics or traits does your “typical” customer or client have? “Everyone,” is the wrong answer. What type of person needs what you have to offer?Middle-income moms? Baby boomer men?
  • Will you market to businesses, to consumers, or to both?

What Is Special About What You Offer?

  • Is the need for your product or service not currently being met or are there other businesses offering it? If there are others, how many others?
  • What is about your product or service that is different from the competition? Are you faster, cheaper, more service oriented, etc.?
  • How does your product or service meet the need of your target market? What benefits do they get by using it. 
  • What is your value proposition? What is your competitive advantage?

Step 3: Make Sure You Can Do the Tasks That Need to Be Done

multitasking in business
There’s a lot to be done in starting and running a home business. Credit: ImagesBazaar | Getty Images

There is a lot that goes into starting a home business. Along with the tasks, is the ability to deal with hassles and frustration, fatigue, and slow results. If you can’t do the tasks, or stay the course when things get hard, then a home business may not be for you. To make sure you have the stamina to succeed, answer this question honestly: Can you handle the day-to-day general tasks that starting a small business requires, like:

  • supplying product/service
  • distribution of product
  • invoicing/billing
  • setting appointments
  • ordering supplies
  • bookkeeping
  • marketing
  • filing
  • answering the phone
  • checking and replying to e-mail
  • manage energy levels
  • deal with disappointment
  • manage overwhelm

Some of these tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant, but many home business owners are solopreneurs, starting on a shoestring budget and having to wear all business hats. If you plan to start on your own, make sure you have the stamina to carry you through until you can hire help. It helps to learn how to prioritize and manage time. 

Step 4: Make a List of What Needs to Be Done to Start

Home Office

It’s much easier to complete any task or project if you have all your supplies and a place to work. Here are some things you need to consider putting in place before you launch your business:

  • Home office: In order to work without distraction, a separate space with a door is recommended. Also, if you plan to take the home office deduction, this space will need to be used regularly and exclusively to run your business.
  • Converting space: If your home office will be in a room, garage or attic that requires building or altering the space, how and when will that be done.
  • Space for inventory, supplies, records and/or equipment. Consider if climate control is needed. 
  • Power needs such as extra outlets, power strips and more. 
  • Second phone line: While many today use a cell phone, a second business phone line creates a separation from personal and business, and allows you to have other business-only connectivity such as fax and Internet.

As you determine what you’ll need, keep track of your estimated costs because you’ll need them later in this exercise.

Related Articles on Your Home Office

  • Home Office Ideas – How to Set Up Your Home Office

Step 5: Learn the Risks and Benefits of the Legal Forms of Business Organization

Form an LLC
Form an LLC. RunPhoto | Getty Images

Before you start a small or home business is time to understand the various legal forms of business organization. Will you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), an S corporation, a partnership, or a full-blown C corporation?

The easiest and cheapest option is the sole proprietorship, but to best protect your business, while still being affordable is the limited liability company. You’ll want to research issues surrounding all forms of the business structure now because your decision will affect your startup costs, as well as your tax situation and your personal liability for the actions and debts of the business. Take advantage of the IRS’s website for free tax information on the various legal forms of business organization.

Finally, your decision on which legal form of business organization you will use will largely determine what steps you need to take in order to set up your business when you’re ready to do so.

Step 6: Find Out the Legal Requirements to Run Your Home Business

Legal Contracts

While it’s tempting to set up shop and start selling right away, most areas have rules about running a home business. Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines and being forced to close up shop. Here are some legal issues to consider:

  • Check your zoning laws before starting a small business. If you won’t have a sign, work with toxic materials, or see clients in your home, you can usually get a waiver. Also check your homeowners association’s covenants and restrictions, as well as your lease agreement if you rent, for any restrictions on home business. 
  • Contact your city or county regarding a business license. Most areas have a business license requirement. Usually, it’s affordable.
  • Contact your state’s occupational regulatory agency to see if your business is regulated and requires additional permits or licenses. For example, most businesses involving grooming (people or pets), financial help, child care and food are regulated by the state and you may need to get a permit. 
  • Get a sales tax license from your state’s taxation or comptroller’s office if you sell tangible goods. This allows you o collect and pay sales tax.
  • Get a business bank account. The IRS doesn’t like to see your personal and business funds mixed together. 
  • Consider getting an employer identification number. While not required in a sole proprietorship, it is necessary if you employ people. It’s free and the advantage is that you can use it, instead of your social security number on business-related paperwork. 
  • Protect your intellectual property. ​If you’ve invented or created something, you can protect it with a patent, trademark or copyright.

Step 7: Review Your Home Business Insurance Needs

insurance
Protect your business. Credit: John Rensten | Getty Images

When you go into business, you’ll potentially be exposing yourself, your home, and your family to a variety of risks. You need to think about how you’ll manage those risks and find out if you need small business insurance to help handle them before it’s too late.

Consider these insurance needs:

  • Health insurance: There are many options for health care for self-employed persons. The key is to find the option that works best for you and your family.
  • Additional home coverage for business: Your regular homeowners insurance may not cover costs related to a home business. Check your policy and/or contact your insurer for information on making sure you can recover losses from a business if your home burns down, is flooded or robbed.
  • Liability insurance: If someone falls in your office or is otherwise “hurt” by your business, are you covered? Also, learn if you should get errors and omissions coverage.
  • Auto insurance: If you use your car in business, you may need additional coverage. 

Remember, your homeowners’ and auto insurance policies weren’t designed to cover your home business. Small business insurance can be a major expense, but less expensive than a lawsuit or recovering from a loss of due to a fire or other catastrophic event. 

Record any small business insurance cost estimates for this step — you’ll need them to determine your startup and operating costs.

Step 8: Determine Your Startup Costs and Funding Sources

money

While you can start a home business on a budget, it’s not likely you’ll build a profitable one without incurring some expense. Calculate your startup costs — the amount of money you need to open up shop. It’s okay if you don’t know specific costs, but you want to get as close as possible, perhaps even over-estimate expenses. Here are common start-up expenses:

  • Professional services such as a lawyer or an accountant.
  • Office furniture or equipment.
  • Supplies and materials required for your product or service.
  • Inventory.
  • Business licenses and other fees (i.e. franchise fees, permits, etc).
  • Construction costs if you need to build or alter a room to create a home office.
  • Website fees; domain name, hosting, website design (if you hire a professional designer).
  • Business cards and other printed marketing materials.
  • Other items specific to your business idea.

Once you have your list, look for ways you might be able to cut costs and fund your business without going in debt. For example, can you make do with the computer and printer you currently have? Can you barter for website design?

You need to also consider:

  • How much will you need to pay your bills until the money starts coming in from your home business?
  • Will you be keeping your full-time job or is there another breadwinner in the family that can help you until you develop an income stream?

As you move closer to starting your business, keep a tally of expenses you didn’t anticipate and add them to your list.

Finally, since it takes money to make money, look for funding sources for your business that ideally won’t put you in debt. 

  • Where will the initial investment come from? Savings? Selling assets? 
  • Will you need a silent partner to help provide working capital, especially until you reach your break even point and being making a profit?
  • Are you willing to use your home equity to finance your business?
  • Is it possible you qualify for a loan? Check your city and state’s websites on business resources as many localities have programs to help small business. You can also check into SBA loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration?

Step 9: Calculate Ongoing Income and Expenes

cash flow accounting
Develop a system to track income and expenses. Credit: Glow Images, Inc | Getty Images

Not only do you need money to start, but you’ll need money to stay open. The goal is to earn enough to cover your operating expenses and make a profit. Here are some additional money issues to consider: 

  • What will your continuing outlays be for items like equipment, services, salaries and/or inventory?
  • How many products must you sell or hours of service do you need to provide to reach the break even point (your income is equal to your expenses)?
  • What is your goal profit and how do you earn it?
  • Have you run the numbers to determine the ideal pricing for your product/service?
  • Look at ways you can continue to run your business on a budget, allowing you earn more in profits.

Step 10: Gauge Your Family’s Support for Your Home Business

family.png
Get your family on board with your home business goal. KidStock | Getty Images

Your family’s support will be more important than you think, so don’t leave this step undone. 

Running a home business isn’t done in a vacuum. Members of your family may need to make sacrifices or lifestyle changes in order to accommodate your business. As a result, they need to know what you’re up to and how it might affect them. If you have a spouse or significant other or children living with you, your home business will be a big part of their lives too.

Communication is key to helping them understand what you’re doing. Explain to them your intention and goals. Allow them to be a part of the process if they’re interested. Ask for their support as opposed to expecting or demanding it. If they have concerns, try to understand where they’re coming from. Respond to their questions, issues, or objections, discussing them openly and calmly. There is a lot you can do to get your family members on board with your home business goal if they’re resistant.

Couples who plan to operate a business together need to have a good idea in advance if they can work together. It’s a good idea to discuss who will be responsible for specific tasks. If you can’t agree on this now, there’s a very strong likelihood you won’t agree on it later. 

Don’t let your business damage your family relationships. A strained family situation is bound to show in your business activities, so strive to work with your family to develop a routine and systems to make your home business and home life successful.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Important Things for Knowing Your Customers

Knowing and understanding customer needs is at the center of every successful business, whether it sells directly to individuals or other businesses. Once you have this knowledge, you can use it to persuade potential and existing customers that buying from you is in their best interests.

This guide tells you what you need to know about your customers, how to use this information to sell to them more effectively, and how to win business from your competitors.

Why do your customers need you?

Every business needs a reason for its customers to buy from them and not their competitors. This is called a Unique Sales Proposition (USP). Your USP can be identified by completing the phrase “Customers will buy from me because my business is the only…”

Your USP can change as your business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customers.

For example:

  • a stationery store could offer a free same-day delivery service for its business customers within a local area – an effective USP for businesses that need fast delivery
  • the same stationery store could offer a 5 per cent discount to businesses that spend more than $1,000 a month – this would be a USP for cost-conscious customers
  • the stationery store could also make sure it offers the most comprehensive stock of artists’ materials in the area – a USP for local professional or amateur artists

All of these USPs can be effective because they are driven by what the customer looks for when making a buying decision.

It’s a good idea to review your USPs regularly. Can you tailor your products or services to better match your customers’ needs? Consider asking your customers why they buy from you. This will tell you what they think your USP is – this may differ from what you think your USP is.

It’s also useful to check constantly what your competition is doing. Remember – if your competitors are doing the same, your USP isn’t unique anymore.

What do you know about your customers?

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. It’s well worth making the effort to find out:

  • who they are
  • what they buy
  • why they buy it

If you’re selling to other businesses, you’ll need to know which individuals are responsible for the decision to buy your product or service. For information on targeting decision-makers, see our guide on how to target the right people in an organization.

You can learn a great deal about your customers by talking to them. Asking them why they’re buying or not buying, what they may want to buy in the future, and asking what other needs they have can give a valuable picture of what’s important to them.

Strong sales are driven by emphasizing the benefits that your product or service brings to your customers. If you know the challenges that face them, it’s much easier to offer them solutions.

It’s also well worth keeping an eye on future developments in your customers’ markets and lives. Knowing the trends that are going to influence your customers helps you to anticipate what they are going to need – and offer it to them as soon as they need it.

You can conduct your market research and many existing reports can help you build a picture of where your customers’ markets – and your business – may be going.

The customer’s current supplier

Chances are your potential customer is already buying something similar to your product or service from someone else. Before you can sell to a potential customer, you need to know:

  • who the customer’s current supplier is
  • if the customer is happy with their current supplier
  • if buying from you would offer the customer any benefits – and, if so, what those benefits would be

The easiest way to identify a potential customer’s current supplier is often simply to ask them. Generally, people are very happy to offer this information, as well as an indication of whether they’re happy with their present arrangements.

If you can find out what benefits they’re looking for, you stand a better chance of being able to sell to them. The benefits may be related to price or levels of service, for example. Are there any benefits your business can offer that is better than those the potential customer already receives? If there are, these should form the basis of any sales approach you make.

Ten things you need to know about your customers

  1. Who they are
    If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers’ gender, age, marital status and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational?
  2. What they do
    If you sell directly to individuals, it’s worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.
  3. Why they buy
    If you know why customers buy a product or service, it’s easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.
  4. When they buy
    If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success.
  5. How they buy
    For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.
  6. How much money they have
    You’ll be more successful if you can match what you’re offering to what you know your customer can afford.
  7. What makes them feel good about buying
    If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer.
  8. What they expect of you
    For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don’t disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.
  9. What they think about you
    If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they’re likely to buy more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
  10. What they think about your competitors
    If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Hit the Shelves: 6 Steps to Getting Your Products Into Retail Stores

Moving from e-commerce to retail is a big step for any business to take. The payoff could be huge—big wholesale orders, new customers, and getting your products into destinations they’ve never been before.

Getting your product into stores sounds exciting because it is. But it’s also a move that requires a strategy to pull off just right.

We recruited an expert entrepreneur to give you the details on how to get your product into stores and the benefits of taking the leap from a website to store shelves.

Meet Mike D

Michael De Los Santos is better known as Mike D, since that’s the name you’ll see on his line of barbeque sauces and rubs.

Mike discovered BBQ on a trip to North Carolina as a kid and went on to start a BBQ sauce blog while working at a food truck. As he reviewed sauces, he just couldn’t seem to find the perfect one. So he decided to make it himself.

Mike D's BBQ sauces and rubs
Mike D’s ​BBQ

Now, Mike D’s BBQ can be found all over the eastern United States. Mike started online, grew into his own store in Durham, North Carolina, and now his sauce can be bought at dozens of retailers—one as far away as northern Wisconsin.

Mike has won multiple awards for his sauces and rubs and was even featured on Discovery Channel’s I Quit series, where he shared how he turned his business dream into reality.

Mike says getting into stores is an important step for entrepreneurs because it gives new customers a way to discover your product beyond word of mouth or finding it online.

“It’s been an important part of growth because if you’re limited to how many people can find your product and order, you’re limiting yourself,” he says.

“But the fact that they can walk into a local store and grab some, that introduces us to a whole new market of people.”

How to get your product into stores in 6 steps

Mike knows a thing or two about how to get your product into stores, and he’s here to share his best advice for other entrepreneurs. 

1. Understand when you’re ready for retail stores

Getting your product into stores isn’t something to rush into. In fact, Mike waited until he knew his business could support retailers. But how do you make that call?

The most important thing to consider is whether you have enough product to support both your own eCommerce sales as well as wholesale to retailers. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you can’t ship your own sales because of fulfilling wholesale requests, or not being able to supply retailers because you’ve sold too much online.

“You need to make sure that going into stores works for you at that moment,” says Mike, adding that scaling too quickly can just lead to “disaster.”

Take a hard look at your manufacturing process and assess if it makes financial and logistical sense. Can you scale up to meet anticipated wholesale demand? Are there supply chain issues that would make production difficult? Are you already having difficulty filling online sales?

Mike knew he was ready because his production was in a stable state and he knew he could handle filling orders online, in his own store, and at events, and still have room to produce for wholesale.

Pricing is also important. If your profit margin is already slim, setting an even lower wholesale price might not be sustainable unless you can lower costs or increase prices overall.

Sit down and do the math before making the leap into retail.

Free Guide: Shipping and Fulfillment 101

From deciding what to charge your customers, to figuring out insurance and tracking, this comprehensive guide will walk you step-by-step through the entire process get the free reading list

2. Know what makes your product unique

Before you pitch your products anywhere, you need a strong message about what makes them different from anything else a potential store is selling.

If you have a product that you’re selling, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the market.

For Mike, his selling point was his sauce. In North Carolina, BBQ sauce is typically either tomato- or vinegar-based. For his line, he combined those two bases to make a whole new product. He also took inspiration from both his African American and Latino heritage for the flavors and spice. Altogether, that makes for products that stand out in a crowded market.

Mike D's BBQ sauces and rubs
Mike D’s BBQ

“I had to have a unique selling point that was different from other products in my niche,” Mike says. “If you have a product that you’re selling, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the market.”

That uniqueness is exactly what you’re selling, he says. Potential distributors want whatever you’re offering to be something new—something they don’t already have on offer. It will also make your pitch more memorable.

Think about:

  • How your product compares to your top competitors
  • If you use specialized materials or ingredients
  • If you fulfill speciality niches, like vegan, organic, or free of allergens
  • If you can offer a lower price point than your competitors
  • If your products appeal to a specific demographic

You should be well-versed in what makes your products different and able to recite and sell those differences at a moment’s notice. 

3. Perfect your pitch

Mike’s first pitch to get his products into stores actually didn’t go so well. But he learned from his mistakes, and so can you.

On the first attempt, Mike walked into a local store and asked who was in charge of acquiring new products. When that person wasn’t available, he simply left some information and product on a table. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t hear back.

“We never got the face-to-face conversation we needed to get that going, but I learned from that,” Mike said.

Having an in-person conversation is key to getting into stores, especially local distributors. You should come prepared with a pamphlet or other materials that explain your product, what makes it unique, and your price points. And, of course, some samples to leave for the manager.

The next time, Mike was able to give a pitch in person and leave samples and information. He then stopped in again the next day to check-in. That store ended up ordering two cases of each of his products.

“That personal approach worked, but that first stop was a disaster,” Mike says.

Do some research beforehand to figure out exactly who at the store you’ll be pitching to when they’ll be available for a pitch, and if there are particular times of the month or year when they consider adding new products.

In that pitch, you should also talk about your current sales and if you have other hype surrounding your products, like a strong social media following. Add in what sort of people buy your products—it might be a demographic the store is trying to attract.

Lastly, you need to show the store that you’ll be able to deliver wholesale orders in full and on time.

“To prepare for those meetings, it’s really about making sure you have those things checked off,” Mike says.

After a pitch, Mike says you should stay in contact. He checks in the next day, then waits a week, then waits a week again. 

“After that third follow-up, if they say they’re still not interested, I tell them thanks for considering the product,” he says.

4. Join online wholesale marketplaces

As an entrepreneur, going in person to make a personal connection is always your best bet for smaller stores and chains, but as you grow, there are other ways to reach potential retailers.

There are a number of online wholesale marketplaces where you can list your products for potential distributors to find.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Get Guidance: 6 Business Plan Software to Help Write Your Future

Writing a business plan is an important but often difficult task for any entrepreneur starting a business. That’s why there are tools to help. If drafting your business plan from scratch sounds too daunting a task to tackle on your own, business plan software can guide you through the process.

Enloop

Business plan software for entrepreneurs who struggle with writing

Enloop business plan software.png
  • Pricing: 7-day free trial; detailed plan is $19.95/month; performance plan is $39.95/month; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: no, but there are no contracts, you can cancel any time, and there’s a free trial period
  • Capterra: 4 out of 5
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: n/a

Enloop has many of the same features as other business plan software. It automatically syncs financial data and creates financial ratios. And when you write your plan, it assesses it and gives you a performance score, so you can improve it if needed. You can also add users for easy collaboration and sharing. Enloop is especially good if writing isn’t your strong suit, as you can plug in your metrics and let the software do the “writing” for you.

PlanGuru

Best business plan software for planning, forecasting, and scenario analysis

PlanGuru business plan software.png
  • Pricing: 14-day free trial available; app and desktop require separate subscriptions at $99/month each, plus $29/month per additional user; discounts available for annual billing
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money back guarantee
  • Capterra: 4.2 out of 5
  • G2: 3.5 out of 5
  • Integrations: Xero, QuickBooks, Microsoft Excel

PlanGuru is a straightforward business plan software with most, if not all, of the features you’d expect. Budgeting, forecasting, financial reports and analytics, and strategic planning features are included, and PlanGuru excels in scenario analysis. While PlanGuru allows for additional users, each user also comes with an incremental monthly fee.

GoSmallBiz

Best budget-friendly, contract-free business plan software for new businesses

GoSmallBiz business plan software.png
  • Pricing: plans start at $15/month; Go service plan for $199/year; Guide service plan for $49/month; Grow service plan for $39/month; additional one-time services and recurring subscriptions available
  • Money-back guarantee: n/a: GoSmallBiz doesn’t require any contracts
  • Capterra: n/a
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: Mailchimp

GoSmallBiz has industry-specific templates to kickstart writing your business plan—especially helpful if your business idea is for a specific vertical market. GoSmallBiz gives step-by-step guidance, prompts, and tutorials as you build your plan. It also creates financial statements and projections for multiple years, including income statementscash flow statements, and balance sheets.

PlanBuildr

Business plan software with the option to get help from professionals

PlanBuildr business plan software.png
  • Pricing: free trial available; annual subscriptions available; PlanBuildr uses a custom pricing model; rates aren’t readily available on its website, but one landing page prices the business plan software at $3,500
  • Money-back guarantee: n/a
  • Capterra: n/a
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: integrations across accounting, CRM, and marketing

PlanBuildr is another user-friendly business plan software for people who aren’t comfortable with writing. It uses a fill-in-the-blank prompted process to help you build your plan quickly—though a drawback here is your plan may be less comprehensive. There are robust financial features, including charts and graphs and the ability to pull various financial statements. PlanBuildr has 10 business plan designs to choose from, and you can also hire PlanBuildr for additional business plan writing services.

LivePlan

Affordable business plan software with samples and templates

LivePlan business plan software.png
  • Pricing: standard plan is $15/month; premium is $30/month; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days
  • Capterra rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • G2 rating: 4 out of 5
  • Integrations: QuickBooks, Xero, open API

Owned by Palo Alto Software, LivePlan has more than 500 sample pages and plans to start with. Get step-by-step guidance on how to write your plan and use templates for different types of business plans, making it easy to tailor your plan to your needs. Note that some users have reported issues using the financials section and difficulty creating graphs and other visual elements. LivePlan is one of the most affordable business plan software on this list.

Bizplan

Business plan software for startups seeking investment

Bizplan business plan software.jpg
  • Pricing: $29/month; $349 lifetime access; annual discounts available
  • Money-back guarantee: refunds available within 3 days
  • Capterra: 4.4 out of 5
  • G2: n/a
  • Integrations: Xero, QuickBooks

Bizplan is a business plan software that caters to small businesses and startups seeking external investment. The platform makes sharing your business plan with potential investors easy. It also has tools to aid in fundraising, including the option to share your business plan on the online fundraising tool Fundable. Other standard features include guided prompts and financial tools to help set salaries, forecast revenue, and track expenses.

How to choose a business plan software

While most business plan software can accomplish the same end goal, each has its own pros and cons depending on your needs. The best business plan software for you may be different than the best option for your fellow business owners. When shopping for business plan software, consider the following:

  • Budget. Perhaps most obvious, the business plan software you choose needs to fit within your budget. More advanced features typically mean a higher price tag, so take that into consideration as well. Budget is important but it’s not the only factor in this decision.
  • Users. If you anticipate needing to collaborate on your business plan with a fellow founder, an accountant, or a legal counsel, you’ll want a software that allows multiple users to collaborate. Some software also allow you to add users as viewers, which can be helpful for distributing the plan to shareholders, lenders, or potential investors, for example.
  • Financial reporting. If financial forecasting and reporting are important to you, look for a business plan software that excels in this area. Look for features beyond basic data reporting—you’ll want to find tools that can help with forecasting and data visualization through charts and graphs.
  • Interface. Every tool you use in your business needs to have an interface that’s easy enough to navigate. Software with an unfriendly or difficult-to-navigate interface may make the process of creating a business plan more frustrating than it needs to be.
  • Templates. One of the greatest advantages to using business plan software is access to templates and examples. Some software have templates for all sorts of business plans. If you anticipate needing different plans for different contexts, pay extra attention to this.
  • Integrations. If you have a tightly connected tech stack, it would behoove you to find a business plan software that can integrate seamlessly.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Tasks to Do Before Starting Your Home Business

Step 1: Decide Which Products or Services Your Small Business Will Offer

Before you can start a home business, you have to know what products or services you want to offer. To decide what business will be best for you, consider these questions:​

  • What do you have to offer?
  • What makes you an expert? 
  • Do you have all of the education and skills you’ll need to compete successfully in the marketplace or will you need to get training?
  • Does the product or service you’re thinking about meet a need?
  • Is this a seasonal product or service, or can you market it all year long? 
  • Is it a fad or something that will last over time?
  • How sensitive is marketing this product or service to general economic conditions? When the economy is weak, how do you think your business will be affected?
  • Do you have a passion for or enjoy this business idea? While money is, good, it’s not enough to propel you to success. You need to be enthusiastic about your offer as well.

The saying, “Do what you love, love what you do” should not be taken lightly. Your business is going to be your livelihood, so it should be something you believe in and/or enjoy. One advantage of that is that you can turn a hobby into a business. If you choose an idea you’re not excited about, it will be difficult to get motivated at times.

Step 2: Know Your Market and Your Competition

While having a great product or service is required, without buyers, you still don’t have a business. Knowing your market, what it wants and needs, and what inspires it to buy, are crucial to your success. This means discovering your target market and determining your unique selling proposition, the thing about your product or service that sets you apart from others that are similar. Here are a few things to consider:

Who Is Going to Buy Your Product or Service?

  • What characteristics or traits does your “typical” customer or client have? “Everyone,” is the wrong answer. What type of person needs what you have to offer?Middle-income moms? Baby boomer men?
  • Will you market to businesses, to consumers, or to both?

What Is Special About What You Offer?

  • Is the need for your product or service not currently being met or are there other businesses offering it? If there are others, how many others?
  • What is about your product or service that is different from the competition? Are you faster, cheaper, more service oriented, etc.?
  • How does your product or service meet the need of your target market? What benefits do they get by using it. 
  • What is your value proposition? What is your competitive advantage?

Step 3: Make Sure You Can Do the Tasks That Need to Be Done

multitasking in business
There’s a lot to be done in starting and running a home business. Credit: ImagesBazaar | Getty Images

There is a lot that goes into starting a home business. Along with the tasks, is the ability to deal with hassles and frustration, fatigue, and slow results. If you can’t do the tasks, or stay the course when things get hard, then a home business may not be for you. To make sure you have the stamina to succeed, answer this question honestly: Can you handle the day-to-day general tasks that starting a small business requires, like:

  • supplying product/service
  • distribution of product
  • invoicing/billing
  • setting appointments
  • ordering supplies
  • bookkeeping
  • marketing
  • filing
  • answering the phone
  • checking and replying to e-mail
  • manage energy levels
  • deal with disappointment
  • manage overwhelm

Some of these tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant, but many home business owners are solopreneurs, starting on a shoestring budget and having to wear all business hats. If you plan to start on your own, make sure you have the stamina to carry you through until you can hire help. It helps to learn how to prioritize and manage time. 

Step 4: Make a List of What Needs to Be Done to Start

Home Office

It’s much easier to complete any task or project if you have all your supplies and a place to work. Here are some things you need to consider putting in place before you launch your business:

  • Home office: In order to work without distraction, a separate space with a door is recommended. Also, if you plan to take the home office deduction, this space will need to be used regularly and exclusively to run your business.
  • Converting space: If your home office will be in a room, garage or attic that requires building or altering the space, how and when will that be done.
  • Space for inventory, supplies, records and/or equipment. Consider if climate control is needed. 
  • Power needs such as extra outlets, power strips and more. 
  • Second phone line: While many today use a cell phone, a second business phone line creates a separation from personal and business, and allows you to have other business-only connectivity such as fax and Internet.

As you determine what you’ll need, keep track of your estimated costs because you’ll need them later in this exercise.

Related Articles on Your Home Office

  • Home Office Ideas – How to Set Up Your Home Office

Step 5: Learn the Risks and Benefits of the Legal Forms of Business Organization

Form an LLC
Form an LLC. RunPhoto | Getty Images

Before you start a small or home business is time to understand the various legal forms of business organization. Will you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), an S corporation, a partnership, or a full-blown C corporation?

The easiest and cheapest option is the sole proprietorship, but to best protect your business, while still being affordable is the limited liability company. You’ll want to research issues surrounding all forms of the business structure now because your decision will affect your startup costs, as well as your tax situation and your personal liability for the actions and debts of the business. Take advantage of the IRS’s website for free tax information on the various legal forms of business organization.

Finally, your decision on which legal form of business organization you will use will largely determine what steps you need to take in order to set up your business when you’re ready to do so.

Step 6: Find Out the Legal Requirements to Run Your Home Business

Legal Contracts

While it’s tempting to set up shop and start selling right away, most areas have rules about running a home business. Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines and being forced to close up shop. Here are some legal issues to consider:

  • Check your zoning laws before starting a small business. If you won’t have a sign, work with toxic materials, or see clients in your home, you can usually get a waiver. Also check your homeowners association’s covenants and restrictions, as well as your lease agreement if you rent, for any restrictions on home business. 
  • Contact your city or county regarding a business license. Most areas have a business license requirement. Usually, it’s affordable.
  • Contact your state’s occupational regulatory agency to see if your business is regulated and requires additional permits or licenses. For example, most businesses involving grooming (people or pets), financial help, child care and food are regulated by the state and you may need to get a permit. 
  • Get a sales tax license from your state’s taxation or comptroller’s office if you sell tangible goods. This allows you o collect and pay sales tax.
  • Get a business bank account. The IRS doesn’t like to see your personal and business funds mixed together. 
  • Consider getting an employer identification number. While not required in a sole proprietorship, it is necessary if you employ people. It’s free and the advantage is that you can use it, instead of your social security number on business-related paperwork. 
  • Protect your intellectual property. ​If you’ve invented or created something, you can protect it with a patent, trademark or copyright.

Step 7: Review Your Home Business Insurance Needs

insurance
Protect your business. Credit: John Rensten | Getty Images

When you go into business, you’ll potentially be exposing yourself, your home, and your family to a variety of risks. You need to think about how you’ll manage those risks and find out if you need small business insurance to help handle them before it’s too late.

Consider these insurance needs:

  • Health insurance: There are many options for health care for self-employed persons. The key is to find the option that works best for you and your family.
  • Additional home coverage for business: Your regular homeowners insurance may not cover costs related to a home business. Check your policy and/or contact your insurer for information on making sure you can recover losses from a business if your home burns down, is flooded or robbed.
  • Liability insurance: If someone falls in your office or is otherwise “hurt” by your business, are you covered? Also, learn if you should get errors and omissions coverage.
  • Auto insurance: If you use your car in business, you may need additional coverage. 

Remember, your homeowners’ and auto insurance policies weren’t designed to cover your home business. Small business insurance can be a major expense, but less expensive than a lawsuit or recovering from a loss of due to a fire or other catastrophic event. 

Record any small business insurance cost estimates for this step — you’ll need them to determine your startup and operating costs.

Step 8: Determine Your Startup Costs and Funding Sources

money

While you can start a home business on a budget, it’s not likely you’ll build a profitable one without incurring some expense. Calculate your startup costs — the amount of money you need to open up shop. It’s okay if you don’t know specific costs, but you want to get as close as possible, perhaps even over-estimate expenses. Here are common start-up expenses:

  • Professional services such as a lawyer or an accountant.
  • Office furniture or equipment.
  • Supplies and materials required for your product or service.
  • Inventory.
  • Business licenses and other fees (i.e. franchise fees, permits, etc).
  • Construction costs if you need to build or alter a room to create a home office.
  • Website fees; domain name, hosting, website design (if you hire a professional designer).
  • Business cards and other printed marketing materials.
  • Other items specific to your business idea.

Once you have your list, look for ways you might be able to cut costs and fund your business without going in debt. For example, can you make do with the computer and printer you currently have? Can you barter for website design?

You need to also consider:

  • How much will you need to pay your bills until the money starts coming in from your home business?
  • Will you be keeping your full-time job or is there another breadwinner in the family that can help you until you develop an income stream?

As you move closer to starting your business, keep a tally of expenses you didn’t anticipate and add them to your list.

Finally, since it takes money to make money, look for funding sources for your business that ideally won’t put you in debt. 

  • Where will the initial investment come from? Savings? Selling assets? 
  • Will you need a silent partner to help provide working capital, especially until you reach your break even point and being making a profit?
  • Are you willing to use your home equity to finance your business?
  • Is it possible you qualify for a loan? Check your city and state’s websites on business resources as many localities have programs to help small business. You can also check into SBA loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration?

Step 9: Calculate Ongoing Income and Expenes

cash flow accounting
Develop a system to track income and expenses. Credit: Glow Images, Inc | Getty Images

Not only do you need money to start, but you’ll need money to stay open. The goal is to earn enough to cover your operating expenses and make a profit. Here are some additional money issues to consider: 

  • What will your continuing outlays be for items like equipment, services, salaries and/or inventory?
  • How many products must you sell or hours of service do you need to provide to reach the break even point (your income is equal to your expenses)?
  • What is your goal profit and how do you earn it?
  • Have you run the numbers to determine the ideal pricing for your product/service?
  • Look at ways you can continue to run your business on a budget, allowing you earn more in profits.

Step 10: Gauge Your Family’s Support for Your Home Business

family.png
Get your family on board with your home business goal. KidStock | Getty Images

Your family’s support will be more important than you think, so don’t leave this step undone. 

Running a home business isn’t done in a vacuum. Members of your family may need to make sacrifices or lifestyle changes in order to accommodate your business. As a result, they need to know what you’re up to and how it might affect them. If you have a spouse or significant other or children living with you, your home business will be a big part of their lives too.

Communication is key to helping them understand what you’re doing. Explain to them your intention and goals. Allow them to be a part of the process if they’re interested. Ask for their support as opposed to expecting or demanding it. If they have concerns, try to understand where they’re coming from. Respond to their questions, issues, or objections, discussing them openly and calmly. There is a lot you can do to get your family members on board with your home business goal if they’re resistant.

Couples who plan to operate a business together need to have a good idea in advance if they can work together. It’s a good idea to discuss who will be responsible for specific tasks. If you can’t agree on this now, there’s a very strong likelihood you won’t agree on it later. 

Don’t let your business damage your family relationships. A strained family situation is bound to show in your business activities, so strive to work with your family to develop a routine and systems to make your home business and home life successful.

Wrapping up

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