Макар да се чува, че много търговци са преустановили дейност в eBay, репортът за 3-тото тримесечие на 2016-та показва печалба от 1 719 000 000 щатски долара. Този милиард и седемстотин хиляди долара разбира се е до толкова важен, до колкото ние можем да го сравним с резултатите за предишен период. За същия период през 2015-та година eBay имат 53 милиона по-малко печалба. Това означаава само едно.
Ясно помня момента, когато започнах да се занимавам с дропшипинг. Това беше третият ми онлайн бизнес. Имах ясната цел да го направя голям. Бях сигурен, че този път ще е по-лесно от миналите ми бизнеси. Continue reading “Защо да стартирам дропшипинг в eBay?”
You can see part I – here.
Mistake #4 – You rely on that you are going to be the first
“Every business model that could be copied, will be copied”
You may rely on that you are going to be the first who came up with this idea. This might help you if you are Mark Zuckerberg, but if you are not I have to warn you. There are thousands of people out there with deep pockets, who are looking for the next Facebook. And if you create something, at least a bit successful, you will catch their attention. And they will be wanting either buying you or … …hiring other people to do the same thing, as you do. “It is not fair!” – You may say, but this is the way the world work and the competition is here to stay. Is something good for us all and you have to be smart to put yourself in a good comfortable and winning position.
If everything could be copied, then how should we protect our business?
If you are developing a new product, for example, you may want to do a patent of your technology, design or other possible parts from it.
It is a good idea also if you trademark your name or brand for a little amount of money (depending on where you live).
The above methods may work, but my personal favorite is having something that people can’t buy. It should be difficult to achieve. Few things are coming in this category:
a) Unique skills
This might be the unique skill set your crew has. If you have an excellent and healthy relationship with the manufacturer/supplier of your product.
b) Unique relationship
For example, your supplier/manufacturer could give you a 50% percentage off for your orders, whereas if someone “new” asks for the pricing of the same products, he might get only 10%.
c) Insider information
You can also have an insider information for certain market or needs, which could boost your score. This is mostly used for stock markets.
d) Have authority
This is the most time-consuming way. If you are now starting, having an authority won’t help you right away. You will need to establish yourself on the market as a knowledgeable, responsible and valuable company. The relationships that you create will give you credibility and bring you more customers. The goal here is getting so famous with your brand that everybody is asking for you and you are defining the standards. Examples for these are brands like Ferodo and Pampers.
Mistake #5 – Targeting everyone!
I’m often asking – who is your target? And getting the following answer:
“well, everyone can use this product/service”
I know it is hard to define who would be your perfect customer but is very important. Is it black, white, man, woman, kid? What language does he or she speak? Are they using slang? What are their habits? Where do they eat? What places do they go to? Do they like more bars on restaurants for example? What is their age? Are they young or just before their retirement?
How do you understand all of these? Get data! You need data. Once you have a landing page or other form of validation, track who is saying “yes”. You may have a hypothesis who your perfect customer is, but see if you are right.
As we were building www.mengear.bg with Kaloyan, we were sure, that we are targeting boys. Geeks, people who play video games and watch the latest TV series. We were expecting like 80% man and 20% women distribution. Well, this is not what our friend Google Analytics say:
We were wrong. Most of our visitors are females. And I can tell you, that the higher percentage of our customers are also women. So thank you women! You are great!
Why is this important? It is because all of your texts, images, backgrounds, customer service and products should look appealing for your target group. So, no. You can’t target anyone. Even Coca-Cola are not doing this.
Mistake #6 –Scaling too early
Having sales already? Thinking of scaling up your business? Sounds great, but here is what you should look at. Don’t hire too early. You need to make sure that you are doing a significant amount of money. As a rule of thumb, I would say at least 2 times the salary of your first employee. And also, check if you can put some more time and effort from your side, before hiring. If you are still able to, then get back to work, pump up the revenue and see what happens. It is a common mistake that people are outsourcing their work, before even knowing best practices. How can you teach someone to do something, if you don’t know this yourself? In the most cases, you can’t. When your business grows up you can buy them courses, books or trainings. In the beginning you would need to know what the best processes are and what is taking vital time of your/your employees work, but not bringing any ROI (Return On Investment). Drop those tasks.
Mistake #7 – Selling the wrong thing.
You may have heard – I will buy me a car, a laptop, a new smartphone, a vacation ticket. And my previous not-so-well educated me often imagined that the people are really wanting to physically possess these things. Well, no. This is not the case. People want to buy freedom with the car, maybe also the feeling of acceleration, the adrenaline while hitting the corners with full gas, the respect of other people with the luxury car. Take the smartphone for example. People are buying the ability calling their friends and family, the ease of use accessing their favorite social network or their productivity apps. It is the same for everything we own.
Mistake #8 – Not using the Lean Startup Canvas
A great tool to have an overview of your business model is either the Lean Startup Canvas or the Business model canvas. Personally, I prefer the Lean canvas, as an activist of the Lean Startup movement. Whatever model you select, will help you having a one-page business plan, which is easy to use, understand and modify. Once you have all 9 boxes filled, you will be able to see what the riskiest part of your model is and tackle it directly. If you are failing, you can try different methods until it works, but if the riskiest vital part is not working, this would be a big red lamp on your dashboard. It is not a good idea starting with the easiest parts because if we fail on the hard parts, we already lost time on and usually people will lose even more time, trying to fix a born-dead idea.
To fill out everything I think that this might help you
Mistake #9 – Your co-cofounder is…
Often we make a business with friends and family members. Whereas this could be beneficial for both parties, there few steps that won’t break your relationships.
- Define responsibilities – “you are doing this, I’m doing that” type of document. Yes, DO-CU-MENT! Why? Because we need to know what our responsibilities are, not just “I think that I should do this”. You have to know what is yours and what is his/hers/theirs. Once you have this set up you can easily define if someone is meeting the expectations, doing his job, or not.
- Define who is going in or out and how – Accept that everything could happen. Life could be unpredictable. Don’t focus on the situations that may occur – death, serious injury, looking after someone. Focus on what would happen if a given person can’t work anymore in this business. For example – is he or she getting his share until the end of his life or just as long as he works for the business? Is he/she going to receive one-time payment? How is this going to work?
The same question comes in, if you need another co-founder. What would be his share and responsivities?
3. Share and equity – Last, but not least. Who is taking what. What is important here, is that everyone needs to know what his share is. You may all work equally, but someone could still be the “head” of the project and he may want to have a bigger piece of the cake. There is nothing wrong with that. The most important part here is that everyone feels satisfied with his portion. Your relationship as partners is more important than 10% more or less.
Mistake #10 – Trying to know everything
A common bottleneck in the already established businesses is that a particular person, most likely the CEO wants to know everything. Every little step, having thousands of meaningless reports, knowing the exact number of clicks of every employee. This is an observed behavior of people who want to rule everything. What happens then is, a bottleneck. The business goes as good as the head who is taking all the small decisions. To avoid this situation let the employees what tactics are working best for them and your business grow. As long as the reports are showing progress, let them do their job.
Bonus Mistake #11 – working in your business
There is a difference when you are working in your business and on your business. If there is a task, that could be outsourced, you better give someone who loves the mechanical part of the work and thinks how to expand your business. A common misconception is “I can’t afford to hire people”. If you are making more than 400$ in profit you can always hire someone to do the small tasks for you. Especially if your customers are speaking English. There is a site called www.onlinejobs.ph, which for 50$ gives you one month access to people searching for a job in the Philippines where the average monthly salary is around 300$. If your customers are not speaking English, you can still have someone part time. Just make sure that you will set them a target, they should achieve. You need results in numbers, not time, right?
I hope you enjoyed these tips and common mistakes. If you like or hate some of them, please let me know in the comments bellow!
Before we start I would like to explain what is a business for me “A system which create value, regardless if you working on it or not.”
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you run a business? All those employees and clients calling you in the middle of your dinner, asking for something. Or maybe driving your new shiny Porsche 911 motivates you, finding a way through all the inevitable voices questioning in your head “What if I fail?” Let’s get it straight. We all fail. If you are not failing you are not trying hard enough. You should fail in order to learn. We all know the successful stories but there are hundreds and thousands of people who are failing miserably. There are only few people that are succeeding like Elan Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates who went from zero to hero. Out of 7.2 billion population on our planet it is really small amount of people. And you may won’t be as much as rich or successful like them. Do you need all that money and fame to be happy?
While we all can’t be lucky as Donald Trump who obviously had a hard time as he is saying in an interview:
Don’t worry, here are top five myths that I will review about starting a
Myth #1 I prefer playing it safe and secure staying on job
Whereas this could be true in the middle of the 20th century when people used to work in a big factory and 40 years later leave the same job and retire, now the economic is growing and failing rapidly. The pension system is collapsing all over the world and the money which are now paid for retired people are not coming from their own contributions during their employee period. They are paid from the taxes which the government collects, including healthcare taxes, road taxes, etc.. If the number of the young working people (paying taxes) equals the number of elderly, everything will be fine. But the statistics are saying that the population is getting older. Especially in Europe. This is a recipe for trouble.
In every investment book they write, don’t lay all the eggs in the same basket. In the USA many of the employees are understanding this good enough and invest part of their money on the stock market, having a life insurance, saving a fair amount of money. Here in Eastern Europe, where I live, this is not the case. Most of the people I know rely solely on their salary as a primary income. As this being said a significant amount of their material wealth belongs to the banks – cars, flats, even furniture, TV’s, smartphones and cameras. If anything happens with their job, none of this possessions would remain to their owner. To avoid this situation, the best practices suggests to invest part of the money. You may not want to build a business but you can still have a portfolio of investments which are giving you good ROI (return on investments), including savings. As an employee one will feel safe and secure if the organization bankrupt.
Lets get back on the myths
Myth #2 I’m too old to start
Look at the picture bellow
Do you know how many times Harland Sanders (more famous as colonel Sanders, the old smiling guy from the KFC logo) tried before someone actually decide to try his unique chicken recipe? 1009 ! You see it correctly, one thousand nine times he was rejected on an age of 65 before he finally succeeds. Not convinced?
Charles Bukowski quit his full time job on 49 dedicating himself to full-time writing.
Myth #3 I’m too young to start
Many of the success stories are created exactly by a young people, who found a way to bend the existing market and build their product or service so well, that everyone in their target want it. If you are an employee, you would need to develop marketing, sales or programming skills. Where as you can always co-found a business and hire some most of the positions – the above mentioned tree are vital part of the company’s success and as the Founder’s dilemma book says – you will have to be an expert in at least one of these areas and ideally found a co-founder in the others.
Ben Sibermann. Do you know him? No? He is the founder of Pinterest. How old is he?
He was 29 when he found the company. And before saying the Pinterest value now I need to review what led Ben to this massive success. He has been a Google employee and he left the company. Then he had few false startups. In 2012 Pinterest was valued for 1.5 billion US dollars. In 2015 after new 367 million founding from an existing investors the company’s value is 11 billion dollars.
We can speak also for Kevin Systrom who found Instagram at age 27, Drew Houston from DropBox on age 29, Brian Chesky 29 AirBnB. You may say, but I’m only 18, or 20 years old, they were some 7-9 years ahead when they found. The important thing to remember here is that this was far not the first or the second startup that these guys had. They have been trying year after year ago, before you (and I) can hear of them. So no, don’t wait until you are 25 or 27 to start. Start now, you will be impressed how as much as you know the more you want to know, and the more questions you will have.
Myth #4 I don’t have money to start
Well, too baaaad, as one of my friends would say. As mentioned above, we can’t be all born rich, but we all can get rich. There are different methods that you can fund your idea. You can borrow money from family, friends or the bank. Be careful with this method. Having money while starting a new business from scratch is as bad as not having money. You have to adopt the broke man mentality when doing business. More on this on another article.
What I really like about our time is, that you can have almost zero investment in your idea and still validate if someone would buy. You can use bootstrapping, were you are finding the place, the goods and anything needed without paying just to see if the clients are going to buy it.
Another good method is the Lean Startup – where you are making micro iterations and test hypothesis if they work. It is scientific approach to a problem, where are having a pre-defined success and failure value. So you can tell in few hours or days if an idea works or not.
I met a great woman in San Francisco, who told me how she does startups. She starts a job, works there for a year and during that time she saved money for 6 months of living and funding her new venture. Then she quits her job and in 6 months her only priority is doing her business. If she fails, she finds another job. You can see if this is an option for you.
Most of the ideas are able to validate in between 0 and 150$. So are the money that really stops you?
Myth #5 I like the 9-to-5 routine
Having a routine is great. Actually 80% of our actions are habits. So I do understand that you need to get job done after work – taking your kids from school, get the housework done, go to the gym, meet friends, and so on. A common misconception of doing business is that you need to be available 24/7 in order to succeed. This is totally wrong. You are having working time, as the most people. After this you are not obligated to work. If you can’t stop or you are not able to do anything until 18:00 hrs and you were working 8 hours already today, then you need manage your time and focus better.
In the end of this article I would like to ask you – “What if you succeed?”. What if you are able to change the world for good? I bet you have something which you would like to help. For example the singer Akon brought electricity to 600 million people in Africa. This is how you can have massive impact all over the world and spread your cause.
Do you do business? How many times have you failed? Please share in the comments bellow!
Boost your score with these goal setting techniques
You have probably heard “New Year, New Me” quite a lot. Many people tend to do a list with some relevant and some irrelevant wishes and goals, they call New Year Resolution. I used to do this also but now I know that there is a powerful technique providing clear path towards my target.
Only 8% of the people are actually achieving their New Year Resolutions. Why is this happening? Well it is really simple. In 92% of the times they are not specific, actionable and not measurable. In other words you can’t say if you worked successful today or not, which is the vital part. Also in many cases it is mandatory to wrap a goal over a daily habit, which often is not the case with NYR’s.
So how can I boost my results?
In the next 3 minutes you will understand the mechanics of the successful goal setting
To be honest I don’t believe in long-term planning. Our lives are fulfilled with events many of which we can’t neither influence nor depending on us. Therefore I think it would be best to plan in short term – 3 to 12 months for best results. I’m using now 6 months planning.
Visualize and be very specific
“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster”
You won’t just write down something like “I want a car”. This is not how the Universe and the successful people’s mind works. If you have a crappy car, would still fulfil your desire. Or if you are a sports car fan like me and want a BMW or Porsche and get a Ford, this will not make you happier or leave you with an impression that you achieved your goal. You would like to write down not only the make, but also the model and what engine, chassis type even extras and rims type you would like to own. It is not that visualization would bring you the car but your clear mind and goals
2. Make them actionable
If you need a new car or a new house, you may need an additional income.
Let’s say that you need a 30 000$ for the car, but you can now only save 1000$ per month. You may not want to wait another 30 months. A great advise from Stephen Covey was “Start where you are, use what you have”. You can either find a second job and save the money needed from there or start something part-time – SEO business, dropshipping, blogging, youtube channel. You can also learn a new skill and change your job or get a promotion. For example I’m a CCNA Routing & Switching Network engineer and if I certify for the next level – CCNP – my salary would increase somewhere between 30% in the same state and 70% if I decide to move. It is pretty much the same situation if you are an accountant (check the ASSA cert), a manager (see PMI, 6 sigma, ITIL) and I believe it is also the same situations for the most of the job roles. Ask Google if you can develop further for yours. If you can’t then ask yourself if you will still do this job or you would like to pivot to another field.
There are literally infinite amount of opportunities. It is important how bad do you want it.
3. Measure, Measure, Measure
If you are setting goal for a car it is pretty easy, right? If you have the car you wanted – you achieved your goal. But what if you are having another goal – for example “I want to learn playing on a guitar”. Well here is not like you either play or can’t play. One friend of mine wanted to make a list with his goals. He wrote down just the same wish for playing on a guitar. He wanted to play on a guitar in the next 6 months so he decided that he can play every day for 20 minutes. Sounds really good. 20 minutes per day, 30 days per month = 600 minutes per month. These are 10 hours per month. Not much but maybe enough. Here is some vital part missing from the puzzle. If the 6 months are already gone and he exercised every day. Did he accomplished his goal? No one can say. Because the goal is not measurable. Yes you can measure 20 minutes per day, but you can’t say if you were productive during this time or not. In order to make a goal achievable, you will need to put milestones and see if you are on the right way along the path. We can make the goal as “I want to be able playing 18 songs on a guitar for 6 months”. Except that 18 is easier to calculate, this number of songs are a good playlist for every party (or a girl J ). 18 divided by 6 equals 3 songs per month or one every 10 days. Now when he start doing his daily routine he would know that he has a target to accomplish. If he learn slower than expected he would be able to adjust the time needed to accomplish his goal on a daily basis and for the whole period.
4. Focus is everything
“ If you want to have something that you never had
you have got to do something that you have never done”
Yes, you are able to accomplish anything especially if your name is Elan Musk. But even Elan has priorities in his life. Make sure that you will write down your goals on a list. Then put the list in your pocket. I have a friend who had a 400$ salary one year ago (Eastern Europe low-average salary) and put a target on 5000$ per month (8 times above the average state salary!). Does it sound crazy? Yes. Is it achievable? Yes, totally! Well guess what, he did it. I will not go into details who and how did he done it but the important thing to take away from here is that he put a target -> he did a daily routine with the above mentioned metrics -> he achieved his goal. He gave up on television, pointless meetings with random people, irrelevant events, additional work. He was just there claiming his mountain.
Do it now
(8-10 minute needed)
Write the things that you want to accomplish for the next 6 months. Then write what you are going to do on a daily basis for them. Additionally, make sure that you are having milestones along the way that will guide you if you are going into the right direction with the right speed. Now select the 4 most important things from your list and make them happen!
For best results I would recommend you to have your list in your back pocket and look at your “big picture” when you wake up. You will then know if your tasks are resonating with your goals. If your tasks does not –drop them.
Plan up to two mission critical tasks for the day on the day before. If your day is 100% full with priority 1 tasks your willpower, motivation and brain may not want to support you over the long run. Remember it is a marathon not a sprint. So have a good sleep, watch your food and do some sport.
What are your methods of goal setting? Please share in a comment bellow!
Work less, play more (7 techniques for time management)
Or simply – Time management
Okay let’s start with the basic habits that all successful (read extremely reach) people have. What is the resource that you and Donald Trump or Will Smith have in equal amount? You got it right, it is the time.
The time itself doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, black or white, old or young. We all have 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. What we need to do to get from point A to point B is proper time management (and focus, but more on this in the next posts).