Going Separate Ways: How to Protect Your Personal Credit

September 22nd, 2011

Credit Cards
Too many times, small business owners lump personal and business credit together. This presents several problems:

1. Your business experiences ups and downs and those downs can put your personal finances at risk. Missing just one payment can send your interest rates soaring.

2. Using personal credit to cover start-up expenses will drop your credit score, which will, in turn, negatively impact your insurance premiums and the interest rates you can get.

3. The extra money your bad credit will cost you is money you could be investing in your business.

It’s to your advantage to structure your business as a corporation or an LLC, and establish credit in your business’ name. That way, if you max out your business credit card, it won’t affect your credit score.

At some point in your business, you may need to borrow money. That’s why you must plan ahead – so you can get the best deals possible.

To authorize a business credit card, an issuer will likely require a personal guarantee. When deciding with whom to apply, keep in mind these key factors:

Does this card-issuer report to your personal credit report?
-Most don’t, but you should ask to be sure.

What’s their interest rate and terms?
-Don’t just look at the starting rate—READ THE FINE PRINT. Is the rate fixed or does it jump in six months, or if you’re late with a payment? Do you have to make so many purchases to keep the rate low? Understand the terms and conditions, so you’re aware up front what you’ll be paying.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Andres Rueda

Your Smartphone – One of the best Tools for your Online Business

September 12th, 2011

iPhone

You can’t deny that in this world of fast paced information and always on the go, that your cell phone is one of the most valuable pieces of technology that you own. For an online business person, having a Smartphone such as an iPhone, Blackberry, Android (and the list goes on and on), is an even more valuable Tool in your arsenal.

First, phones like these already come equipped with many tools that you can utilize for your online business. Such as the calendar, email, internet & usually a notes section.

On top of the already installed tools you can use, there are thousands upon thousands of apps to choose from to personalize your phone to suit your business needs.

Some of my favorite FREE business apps:
eBay Mobile – This app allows me to shop, view my online auctions, check sales and even create and post listings to sell things! Never miss a question from a prospective buyer & monitor your eBay sales from anywhere.

FedEx Mobile – I can easily manage my shipments on the go with this app. I can track shipments, create shipping labels, find FedEx locations and estimate shipping costs and delivery times.
(other shippers have apps as well. UPS Mobile, USPS Mobile and etc)

Documents Free (Mobile Office Suite) – This great free app allows me to edit and manage spreadsheets and text files. I can also sychronize this with my online Google Documents account to retrieve files on my computer.

CardMunch – Business Card Reader by LinkedIn – Meet a lot of business people or go to a lot of trade shows and get a lot of business cards? Instead of carrying all of those business cards around or entering all of the contacts in one by one, use this app! You “scan” the business card into the app and it then converts it so it will go into your phone contact list. If you don’t want all of those people in your phone contact list, you can save them in the app instead for sorting.

Chase Mobile Banking – I know that not everyone has a Chase bank account, but, this app has to be one of my favorites. This app allows me to view my balances and recent transactions. But my favorite feature is the deposits section. With this app, I can “scan” checks to deposit directly into my bank account. I never have to leave home to deposit checks! Maybe your bank offers an app such as this one!

There are a lot of other great free apps that you can download to your phone to help you with your online business and there are some great paid apps as well. When looking at apps to buy, always check to see if they have a Free “Lite” version first so you can be sure it’s something that you want. If they don’t have a Free version, I usually check out their website or check out what other people have to say before buying and downloading it.

Now for some exciting news!

Worldwide Brands has created a Product Sourcing Tool app for iPhone/iPad/iTouch and the Android! This app will connect with your membership at Worldwide Brands so you can search for wholesale suppliers while out shopping! Or if you are at a trade show, you can check the Market Research on the products before committing to buy. This is a must have for any online retailer that continues to source products for their business. Go HERE to get the app!

Creative Commons License photo credit: William Hook

Selling Information Products: Putting your Knowledge Online

August 26th, 2011

216036
Information products are increasing in scope and quality, and they present you, as a seller, with multiple benefits:

1. Extremely low overhead
2. No shipping costs
3. No inventory
4. Ease of creation

The term “information products” actually refers to any type of merchandise that can be delivered digitally—e-books, videos, audio files, original music or artworks. Most people know how to do something, or have a skill, that someone else would pay to learn. You can sell anything from quilting patterns, to recipes, to how to guides—there’s really no limit.

Creating a digital product isn’t hard. It’s just a matter of figuring out what information you have that would be valuable to other people, and packaging that for resale.

So get creative and see what you can come up with!

Creative Commons License photo credit: El Bibliomata

Lights, Camera, Action! Using Online Videos to Market your Business

August 22nd, 2011

Successful marketing means using trends and technologies—what’s popular changes constantly, and you have to stay on top of that to effectively promote yourself on an ongoing basis. One of the biggest web-based trends is online video.man with video camera

YouTube.com, one of the largest video-marketing vendors, has hundreds of millions of users. YouTube is free; the advantage they provide is that there’s currently no limit to the footage you can upload.

You, as an entrepreneur can use video to achieve far greater impact than you’d have with email or banner ads:

Create infomercials, testimonials, or short product clips.

Use content as a commodity to add value. Viewers will appreciate the education and techniques and come back to you for your expertise.

Videos are easy, and relatively cheap, to produce; they’re a powerful audiovisual tool for spreading the word about your business virally and increasing your exposure.

Creative Commons License photo credit: woodleywonderworks

Product Sourcing with a Pro: Expert Answers to 5 Common Questions

August 18th, 2011

Every e-biz owner deals with similar Product Sourcing issues. From finding reliable sources to figuring out what will sell, online retailers all face the same challenges. The following are insights on the five most common questions we get from internet sellers:

5 E-Tailer Questions:
Question 1: Isn’t drop-shipping risky—if a supplier turns out to be unreliable, I could have missed deliveries and angry customers?

Answer: No matter where you get your products, running short is always a possibility. You can minimize your risks by following some simple steps:
1.) Place at least one test order with any drop shipper you’re planning to use, to see what your customers will experience in respect to product delivery.
2.) Identify your best-selling items, and buy some in bulk—that way you’ll always have a few on hand, in case your drop shipper runs out of product and can’t fill your order.

Question 2: How do I decide what to sell?

Answer: There’s no short cut—you have to do your market research. Look at the demand for a product, the competition you’ll have, and whether or not you can be profitable. SimpleMarketResearch.com provides a great eBook at other resources to help you create a successful product line.

Question 3: Should I attend wholesale trade shows?

Answer: Trade shows are a good idea, but be careful which ones you attend. Some trade shows are simply glorified flea markets. If you want to do that level of product-sourcing research on your own, we highly recommend going to the bigger shows in and around the major cities.” To find news on upcoming wholesale tradeshows go to www.Tsnn.com. Remember, you’ll typically need your tax ID to register for these shows & sometimes they require a business card.

Question 4: What is a “light bulk wholesaler”?

Answer: A light bulk wholesaler is a term for any wholesaler that will sell in bulk with low minimum orders, under $500, as opposed to carrying minimums of $10,000 and $25,000.

Question 5: Why is importing so complicated and expensive?

Answer: The process is intricate and costly for several reasons:
Your products aren’t made until you order them, so you have to allow 25-30 days just for the goods to be manufactured. On top of that, you can expect to wait 2-3 weeks for shipping, if everything goes smoothly.
There are numerous expenses and paperwork involved with overseas shipping, customs clearances, and warehouse space.
For good solutions and information, check out www.ImportExportHelp.com.

The More You KnowProduct Sourcing with a Pro
As an internet retailer, product sourcing will always be an area of concern, but if you ask questions and seek out the answers, you’ll be much better prepared to prosper. This is the most common point of failure for online businesses. So many people aren’t aware how important research is. Understanding your market is key to your online selling success.

Creative Commons License photo credit: » Zitona «

Worldwide Brands Tool Goes Mobile!

June 23rd, 2011

Exciting News!

We have created a Worldwide Brands Product Sourcing Tool app that is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iTouch and the Android! Have the power of the Product Sourcing Tool in the palm of your hand.

Ever find yourself in a store or just out and about and you come across a product that you were interested in selling? Now you can immediatly login to the Worldwide Brands Product Sourcing Tool from your mobile device and check to see if we have any verified, listed wholesalers or drop shippers for that product. Or you can check the Market Research to see if it would be a good product to try to sell in the current online marketplace! No need to carry around a notebook!

Also, this app is connected with your login online! So, what you save on your mobile device in the app will also be available for you when you login to our site and vice versa!

For more information on how to get the app, go HERE.

The Power of Compelling Copy

June 2nd, 2011

Compelling Copy

Finding success in today’s market id difficult to say the least — there’s more competition than ever, more products than ever, and less attention than ever. One thing that can help you however is your copy … the actual language you use in your text. Whether you’re creating an advertisement in a magazines, a product description, or a press release, you need to be sure you’re as succinct as possible.

The best copy strikes the audience, whether a reader, listener, or viewer, and conveys the message quickly while holding their attention.

The best copy does this really well … and that’s because there’s usually an entire team of professional copywriters behind the project. However, this isn’t to say you can’t achieve the same success — you just need to take the time to learn copy in and out and practice; see what works and what doesn’t.

When approaching your copy creation, consider the following three guidelines:

What Your Viewer Wants or Needs

Consider identifying what your viewer wants from you, what they want from you, or what they were searching for just before they came across your website. Presenting this upfront will grab your viewers’ attention and reveal that they’re in the right place.

What You Have to Offer Your Viewer

Once you align yourself with your viewer, let them know you have what they want or need. This will compel them to continue discovering what your website is all about, and thus bring you to the final step, which is where you really win over or lose the potential customer.

Why Purchasing from You is the Best Option

Consumers know they have options — the key is to let them know why buying from you is the way to go. What type of guarantees do you offer? What do you offer in terms of customer service or customer loyalty? This is what customers will look for so be sure to let them know right up front with all of your copy.

Approaching any and all projects, whether a contact page, product page, or whatever, it’s crucial to approach your project with these three guidelines in mind.

 

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

How Social Activity Affects Search Engine Optimization

May 30th, 2011
Social Activity SEO

The More Social Activity the Better

Search engine optimization is the practice of efficiently conveying what your website is about to search engines through the use of various techniques, including content creation, meta data, and of course inbound links. However, one of the most recent developments by the search engines is their announcement that they are now factoring in social activity.

Search engines depend on certain signals to determine whether a piece of content or website is relevant to their users’ search queries — shared links, bookmarking, and comments are all forms of social activity that helps search engine optimization.

Enable Activity

In order to take advantage of this development, you first need to enable your visitors the ability to get active. You can do this with the various sharing tools and widgets available from the social networks and bookmarking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon.

Once you enable your users the ability to get active, focus on creating excellent content that compels your visitors to take action.

Encourage Interaction

Every piece of content should have the necessary tools and widgets in place to share it across various networks. This way, people can share your content with their friends if they so feel compelled. The next step is to encourage that interaction by revealing how many times your content has been shared, how many comments the piece of content has received, and specific questions to the reader that encourages them to respond.

This technique will provide you with a larger amount of interaction from your visitors when done properly. Remember, the more social interaction, the better your search engine optimization.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jurvetson

The About Page Shouldn’t Be About You

May 23rd, 2011
About Page is About You

It's All About You!

The about page can be one of the most powerful selling tools at the disposal of the online retail when used properly. Unfortunately, most online retailers merely end up with an about page that bores their visitors rather than a powerful selling tool.

The following is a simple idea that should be explored — it’s not a formulaic solution to the challenge of selling your products, building your brand, or creating community … it’s just a tool.

The about page isn’t about you or your company … it’s about your visitor.

For the time being, think of it this way: Your about page is about your visitor, while your company profile (if you need such a page) is about the company.

It’s definitely possible to combine the two and create a page that speaks to the visitor while still establishing your brand, but it’s something only a skillful copywriter will be able to achieve a good balance.

Convey How You Help People

It’s going to be tough to shake the tendency to talk about your company, but you have to do it if you hope to keep the eyes of your visitors reading your content.

Let them know how your company helps people achieve something they need and want. This reveals that you’re not just in it for the money, but also interested in helping people reach their goals.

Stress How Much You Care About Your Customers

Customer service is one of the most — if not the most — important elements of doing business online as a retailer. Customer have the ability to receive good customer service and support before they purchase anything when they shop at brick and mortar retail stores, so it only makes sense that you do the same.

Stress the idea that you’re just as helpful by revealing multiple ways to get in touch, offer to answer questions, explain products, and provide

Provide Some Sort of Promise

Whether you’re talking about the overall satisfaction, the customer experience, or pricing, making some sort of promise to your visitors will help you win over customers looking for trustworthy companies.

This helps establish your store and brand as a reputable place people can go to for their needs. Over time, as you build your testimonial and review portfolio, customers will find it easier to buy products from you, which in turn helps boost your profit.

Creative Commons License photo credit: joshuahoffmanphoto

Worldwide Brands Weekly: Week of May 16th, 2011

May 21st, 2011

worldwide brands weekly dropshippingThis week we covered a few topics involved with the actual operation, maintenance, and overall customer experience you create with your retail store online.

If you missed out, consider this your chance to catch up with all the latest content published. If interested in staying updated, subscribe to Worldwide Brands Dropshipping Blog and we’ll deliver the latest as soon as it’s published.

5 Reasons You Need Dropship Wholesalers

Running a business today involves a lot of risk — especially as a retailer. Brick and mortar retailers don’t have the luxury of drop shipping, so they’re stuck with having to purchase all the products they want to sell upfront … who knows if the product will sell or not? The risk involved can break a business fairly quickly, so it’s important to approach your model with as little risk as possible. This post provides a quick look at a few reasons why drop shipping with wholesalers can help lower this risk and make it easier for online retailers to find success.

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Drop Shipping and Social Communication

Social media has long been a buzz word in the business world, but it’s no longer something up for debate or consideration — it’s a must.

Social interaction is one of the best ways to find and connect with people, support existing customers, and build your brand. How available you make yourself for support during the overall process — especially the drop shipping process — is important to customers, so be sure you consider the options in terms of which networks work for you.

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How to Win Customers With Your Business

The competition is tough … you have to win your customers over if you hope to succeed. The way you do this is up to you, but providing an exceptional customer experience, excellent products and an organized store online will help. In addition, you should consider providing the best possible customer service up to the point of sale as opposed to customer service after the sale alone. This will persuade people to buy from you because you’re making yourself available.

Customer service is more important than ever before … and it’s what will help you win over customers from your competitors.

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How to Clean Your Retail Store Online

There isn’t much talk or emphasis on the importance of cleaning and maintaining your store online, but if we can learn anything from our brick and mortar friends, it’s that a clean retail store and customer experience is key to increasing sales. No one wants to shop in a messy store; likewise, no one wants to have to work to navigate a messy website.

In addition to creating a smooth customer experience with your retail store online, consider visiting and revisiting other parts of your overall website and make tweaks where necessary.

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The Single Most Common Reason Why Online Retailers Fail

There are a lot that goes into finding success as a retailer online, but it seems the majority tend to forget about one major aspect of doing business in general. Drop shipping makes things a lot easier for retailers online, however, it doesn’t completely eliminate the need to actually work. While it sounds nice to relax in a pool as your dropship wholesaler sends out your orders, you could be connecting with future customers, talking with existing customers, and establishing your brand and reach online by staying active.

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