How To Start A Dropshipping Business

The online market has significantly grown over the past couple of years. Consumers prefer to shop online because it’s a more convenient method after all. Despite the fact that the market is crowded and competitive, many stores are successful.

What’s more, many entrepreneurs want to partake in this kind of business and they want in fast, which is why the dropshipping model became so widely popular. Moreover, dropshipping is an ideal model for beginner entrepreneurs. That being said, here are a few ways to start your dropshipping business.

What Is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is an online retail business model. However, unlike a regular e-commerce store, dropshipping businesses don’t hold any inventory of their own.

Instead, they procure products from third-party vendors and suppliers then sell them to consumers through their online store. What’s more, dropshipping businesses usually outsource their entire logistics processes as well.

Choosing An Idea For Your Business

You might think that dropshipping is easy, especially since you can open up an online store for as low as $20 and you don’t have to worry about logistics. However, dropshipping is still a business, which requires planning, effort, and dedication on your part. Therefore, you must research and test your business idea before you put it in motion.

For instance, consider what to sell and to whom. After that, research market demand. The main reason you must do this is that if there’s no demand, you’re more likely to fail. As a matter of fact, the number one reason so many startups fail (42%) is because of the lack of market demand for their products or services.

Find A Dropshipping Supplier

As mentioned before, dropshipping means selling without an inventory of your own. However, you are unable to do so unless you find a supplier first. You can search for suppliers online or use one of the wholesale directories. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when searching for a supplier.

As an example, make sure that the supplier is legit. Also, ensure that they’re fast, affordable and that they have quality products, to begin with. Last but not least, if you decide to partner up with someone, make sure you have every detail written and signed in the contract.

Furthermore, you’ll have to negotiate a price and secure capital that will allow you to make regular payments to your supplier. To secure such capital, you can apply for a bank loan or consider no security business loans from alternative lenders. The main difference is that alternative lenders have more favorable conditions for small business owners than banks.

Obtain A Sales Tax ID

If you want to run your dropshipping business successfully, you’ll have to make sure that you operate legally first. That means obtaining a sales tax ID in accordance with your state laws. Depending on those laws, you might have to register a company first and perhaps even choose a business structure.

If you don’t do so, you might face hefty fines and even legal disputes, such as lawsuits and claims. Therefore, contact your local state’s tax authority office or the department of revenue and ask what’s required to obtain the sales tax ID.

Opt For A Selling Platform

When it comes to dropshipping, you must decide on a sales platform so you can actually sell products to your customers. This task is very important and it requires a lot of consideration. The main reason is that the option you choose will determine the amount of flexibility or lack thereof in your business. That being said, you have several options available to you.

For instance, you can create your own store on your own website. Also, you can opt for one of the e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, Magento, and so on or you can dropship on popular retail sites, such as Amazon or eBay.

Implement A Customer Acquisition Strategy

Now that everything is set and done, it’s time to get some customers coming your way and the best way to do so is through effective digital marketing.

Navigating the online market isn’t easy and you’ll have to be creative about it. Try to use as many marketing strategies, such as content marketing, SEO, email newsletters, social media, etc. as you can to acquire more customers. The more you invest in marketing the more visible your dropshipping business will be.

Now that you know what dropshipping is and how to start a dropshipping business, it’s up to you to ensure your online store is indeed successful.

How Small Business Owners Can Keep Finances Organized

Owning a small company is an arduous learning process – one that most entrepreneurs face alone. So, in this blog post, we’ll look at how small business owners can keep finances organized.

Learning as you go is never simple, and there are many elements of day-to-day business that need to be mastered. This is especially true when it comes to keeping the finances in order.

It can be challenging to keep your company’s finances under control and organized. But with a bit of know-how and some expert advice, you will be able to understand the data, technology, and procedures you require. Some of those are:

Get excited and organized

At first glance, excitement and organization don’t seem to go hand in hand. However, when you’re excited about something, it makes the task at hand so much more doable, enjoyable, and just easier in general. With this in mind, there are a couple of things you can do to be more excited about organizing:

  • Work out – Exercising before you start a task releases endorphins and makes you feel more energized. According to some studies, even a brief exercise for 20 minutes enhances information processing and memory function.
  • Write down every task you need to do – Just writing down everything you have to do, particularly the tasks you’re feeling dread about, can help your brain understand what it’ll take to achieve them. Often, we become overwhelmed simply because we build up a task in our minds. Then, we have a hard time processing these “complex tasks”. Writing them down makes the processing part easier.
  • Set a time limit – For example, with a 20-minute mark. Then see how many tasks you can complete in this amount of time. Racing against the clock pushes our minds to go beyond their usual mental capacity.
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Separate your business and personal finances

One of the most important aspects of owning a business is maintaining accurate records of your expenditures and income. This is the only viable way to precisely determine your business’ performance. For this reason, separating your business finances from personal ones is a must. Otherwise, you may end up with serious complications.

For instance, when it comes to your business credit, you may be able to receive a business credit card based on your personal credit history alone, but you will have to separate your business credit profile to secure bigger business loans or establish vendor lines of credit.

Yes, it is feasible to go through a personal loan application process in order to finance your business, but sometimes, opening separate lines of credit for the company simplifies things. The best way to have credit for your organization is to open a business credit card, but that requires a personal guarantee. In other words, you will be personally responsible for any debts incurred by the company in case of default. You can also have a separate checking account to help track your business income and costs.

Utilize what’s free

Besides planning your budget with spreadsheets, there are numerous free finance tools out there you can use to organize and track your enterprise’s financial goals. The first one is called Personal capital. This free-to-use platform provides you with insights on cash and net worth, and has, for the last few years, dominated the space of wealth management tools.

It also features calculators, reports, as well as some paid services if you require additional help. Even if the net worth of your company is negative, it’s still fundamental to monitor the overall picture of its cash and financial health. This will keep you motivated and conscious of what you’re doing with the money and what results in your efforts are creating.

The second free finance tool at your disposal is Mint. A preferred choice by many, this finance app will automatically update and classify your transactions, ultimately showing your expenditures in real-time. With it, you can also monitor bills and set budgets that send alerts if you’re getting dangerously close to your set limits.

Build a world-class finance team

Creating a world-class finance team is much more than building a back-office group that counts the money, reports numbers, and ensures internal control is working. It means having a finance department that sets a standard of excellence to be followed by others. While there is no standard procedure for developing a world-class finance function, the following steps can help you achieve the desired result:

  • Examine your current staff’s skills and identify the skills you need now and the ones you will require in the future.
  • Evaluate the responsibilities and roles to determine the best fit within your department. Pinpoint the gaps to determine needs.
  • Consider team workloads and the effects of transferring workload around.
  • Create two organizational charts, one for the current phase and the other for the future.
  • By now you will need to bridge the gap and bring in trusted advisors from within the company to give feedback and buy-in.
  • Think about discussing with your current senior team members (that you wish to retain) about what areas to improve, how to better communicate and what additional technical knowledge they may need. This is a time when you “map the path forward”.
  • Change individuals who do not suit the new structure.
  • Start tracking the finance staff results against key position initiatives (KPI’S).
  • Innovate, and then innovate some more. In other words, concentrate on regular improvements, progress through the workforce, teamwork and collaboration and the use of automation and technology.

Adopt and accounting strategy and stick to it

In essence, there are two standard accounting methods to opt for: accrual basis accounting and cash basis accounting. Both accrual and cash accounting are platforms for companies to monitor expenses and acquire insights from reports, but there are some key differences to consider before you decide which one is best for you.

Basically, cash accounting recognizes expenses and revenue as they occur, kind of like your bank account. When you spend cash, it’s removed from your account and when you make cash, your bank balance increases. This accounting method will provide you with an accurate picture of what’s in your account but it does not consider what cash is coming your way, nor what costs will be billed to you in the future.

Accrual accounting, on the other hand, recognizes costs and revenue as they’re billed and earned. This accounting method tends to make more sense for companies that invoice their clients rather than recording at the time of service.

Although you can change the method of accounting that you utilize, you’ll need to go through the process with the IRS which can be more of a hassle than sticking to one or another from the beginning.

Yes, running and owning your own small enterprise is exciting, but it can also be quite frustrating, particularly in regard to handling finances in a profitable manner. Don’t allow your business to suffer because of poor cash management. Use the tips given here and provide for your venture a bright future.

Ways to Fund Your New Business Startup

If you’ve managed to come up with a good business idea and are looking into starting a business venture you have most likely already started to face the biggest obstacle in your way, namely funding. Finding the capital, you need to get your startup off the ground and running can be a long and difficult task. There are many different options to choose from and many sources recommending different paths you should follow. So, in order to help you out, today we are going to take a look at some of the ways to fund your first startup as well as when you should choose them.

Apply for Free Grants

Grants represent financial assistance from various organizations both government and non-government that can be a great boost for your startup as they don’t need to be paid back. This means applying for grants won’t really cost you anything other than the small amount of time you will need to fill out the application form. So, if you have an option to apply for a grant don’t miss your chance.

Crowdfund Your Startup

Crowdfunding is an interesting approach to funding a business venture that has gained a lot of attention in recent years. In essence, it allows you to go to the internet with your business idea and get financed through many individual payments from people all over the world. Depending on the type of crowdfunding in exchange for their payments, a good business solution is to give these people early access to your products, small tokens of gratitude, or in some cases, these donations don’t have to be repaid in any way because people just want to see your business succeeds. However, while crowdfunding is an amazing funding option, most people won’t be willing to give you their money unless your business idea truly is unique and draws their attention.

Apply to Accelerators

Startup accelerators are another interesting phenomenon that has appeared and gained traction over the past couple of years. Namely, startup accelerators support early-stage startups not just through financing but also through education and membership. They provide an experience of intense, rapid, and immersive education aimed at accelerating the life cycle of young innovative companies and as such is a fantastic option if you have no prior experience and are trying to launch your first startup.

Obtain Funding from Angel Investors

Another common path many startups take in order to get funded is to seek angel investors. The great thing about angel investors is that, unlike loans, their investments don’t need to be paid back, giving your business a better prospect for future growth. However, the downside is that this form of funding does require you to give up a part of your ownership of the company, which is why it may not be the best option if you wish to have full freedom over where you take your business.

Self-Fund Your Startup

If you have some money saved up you can also fund your startup from your own pocket. If what you have saved up isn’t enough to cut it, you can also look into selling some of your property or start saving up a bit before you get started. This approach has many upsides, mainly, it allows you the most freedom as it leaves the control of your startup fully in your hands, but; it does have its downsides as well. Investing your savings and livelihood into your business will tightly tie you to its success, which means that if things are to go south you may find yourself in trouble.

Apply for a Bank Loan for your Business

The internet has made it extremely simple for anyone to just fill out an online personal loan application and get a bank loan in order to fund their business. Additionally, bank loans are one of the most common and sure-fire ways to get the funding you need. Even though some people tend to point out the downsides of running up your debt from the get-go if you are able to plan ahead and be responsible, bank loans could be the safest bet you have when funding your startup.

Seek Money from Family and Friends

Another way to approach funding is to approach your friends and family to help. It may feel that it would be awkward for you to ask them for money, but, if you have a business plan and are able to stand behind your vision, they will surely be willing to support you. Recognize they most likely won’t be able to cover all of the funding you need but remember, every little bit helps.

Conclusion

Remember that it’s never too late to follow your dreams and start your first startup, even if the process of obtaining funding for it can be long and difficult. With that being said, it’s also important to remember that the type of funding you choose will ultimately depend on your personal needs and preferences as well as the vision you have for your future business. So, take every option into careful consideration and understand that this is one of the hardest parts of setting up a new startup so don’t get discouraged if you run into difficulties along the way.

The Rise of Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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It’s been over a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the world is still grappling with the fact that there are certain aspects of life that have been severely affected by it. The education sector is among those that have been forced to make big adjustments in order to continue providing learners with essential knowledge. Turning to online learning has made it possible to organize classes despite the pandemic but is there a new era of education just around the corner? Keep on reading to learn more about the rise of online learning.

How have education institutions responded to COVID-19?

According to UNESCO, more than 1.3 billion learners have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since its outbreak. What is more, over 160 countries worldwide have had to partially or completely close down schools to prevent the further spread of the virus?

However, over time, countries have found ways to keep their educational systems running. For example, many schools have been investing in digital technology long before this crisis, which has allowed them to make a shift to online learning without any issues. On the other hand, those institutions that have not put the focus on distance learning may not have been so agile during this change but they still implemented various ways of online learning in order for their students to not fall behind.

Realizing the necessity, platforms used for online learning have started offering free access to various services. From online learning software and video conferencing tools to virtual tutoring and language apps, there is a significant increase in the usage of technology that will make learning from home much more accessible.

What are the challenges of online learning?

With that in mind, there are still some challenges when it comes to online learning. For instance, some countries and learners don’t have access to reliable internet and technology that facilitate distance learning. According to OECD data, only 34% of students in Indonesia have a computer to use for schoolwork. On the other hand, that number is as high as 95% in Austria, Norway, and Switzerland.

The income brackets within countries also play a role in online learning. In the United States, almost 25% of 15-year-old students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t have a computer they could use for school while virtually none of their counterparts from a privileged background face the same problem.

Furthermore, it’s not only learners that have had to adjust to the new circumstances. Many institutions, from private learning centers to public schools, needed to find the best approach that would suit everyone. For instance, finding the best online LMS for RTOs was essential to keep working and learning together. Learning management systems that offer instant messaging and progress tracking has been highly sought-after since the outbreak.

How effective is online learning?

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When it comes to how effective online learning is among those that do have access to the necessary tools, there is evidence that indicates that this approach has many benefits. For example, research shows that students learning online can retain up to 60% more material compared to only around 10% when learning in a classroom. This is due to the fact that students can learn at their own pace at home, with the chance to re-read and skip through concepts as they need to.

Nevertheless, it must be noted that the age of the students does affect the effectiveness of online learning. Younger learners need a structured environment and oversight to not be distracted. To provide this for learners, institutions are implementing various tools that should replicate a physical lecture and promote inclusion and intelligence. While group classes where students can play various games that encourage engagement are available, teachers also organize one-on-one lectures that can help further motivate younger learners.

What does the future hold for the education sector?

While there is a fair share of difficulties in e-learning, it has helped us spread knowledge during these unprecedented times. What is more, many schools and centers have realized all the benefits of online learning and are considering implementing it going forward, regardless of how the pandemic plays out. However, before the education sector can make such moves, it must ensure that the teachers are well trained and prepared and that everyone involved has the necessary tools. Otherwise, the quality of education will suffer immensely.

With social distancing becoming the norm, it’s only normal that there is an alternative to teaching in person. Online learning has stepped up and, despite a varying degree of success, showed that there is no need to stop learning even during a pandemic.

Author

I’m Willy Beamen, from Sydney, an avid researcher and editor helping website owners with content marketing.

Are Hand Dryers Hygienic Enough for a Post-Covid World?

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

The world as we know it has changed. The coronavirus pandemic has left us questioning many things, many choices we made up until now.

Hygiene has always been highly important even before the outbreak of the COVID-19. But now in the midst of it, the focus has been placed on hygiene and we’re left wondering if our hygiene practices are good enough.

By now we have learned how to properly wash our hands and for how long. However, are we properly drying them? From that, a new concern has recently been raised – are hand dryers hygienic enough?

Why is it important to properly dry your hands?

You have probably heard that just washing your hands is not enough. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap is just one part of the job. The other part consists of properly drying them.

Drying your hands is equally as important as washing them because some bacteria remain on your hands and they can be spread much easier with your wet hands.

Many people think that it’s better to dry their hands on their clothes or just leave without drying them, simply to avoid touching anything else in a public restroom. But this is a huge mistake. The bacteria on your clothes will easily get on your wet hands and the whole process of handwashing was in vain.

It’s important to remember, the next time you wash your hands, don’t touch anything before thoroughly drying them.

What’s the best way to dry your hands?

Now that we know the importance of drying our hands, another question pops up – what’s the best way to dry your hands? The answer is, whatever option is in front of you.

Some restrooms will have only paper towels, the others will have hand dryers. So, whichever option you have in front of you, use it. Just make sure you thoroughly dry your hands.

However, this is where our main concern lies – are hand dryers hygienic enough?

Are hand dryers hygienic enough?

Wondering whether or not hand dryers are hygienic enough is a legitimate concern, especially in the post-covid world. We have been warned that coronavirus can survive on surfaces such as doorknobs, phone screens, stainless steel, and so on. If we’re not careful we can pick it up from those surfaces and transfer it to our faces, eyes, nose, or wherever we touch with our hands, and in that way contract coronavirus.

When it comes to commercial hand dryers, there is nothing to fear. Long gone are those hand dryers that you had to manually activate. Today water taps and hand dryers are automatic and motion-sensor activated. So, you don’t have to touch them in order to activate them, all you have to do to get them activated is place your hands near them.

This means that hand dryers are hygienic enough and you can rest assured that you won’t pick up any virus or bacteria.

Types of hand dryers and how to properly use them.

There are several types of hand dryers and they are all motion-sensor activated.

The most traditional hand dryer is the one where you place your hands under the dryer. These ‘hands under’ dryers blow warm air in one direction, so you need to keep your hands some 5 mm away from the air vent and rotate your hands to fully dry them. The point is to wait until your hands are completely dry and only then stop using the hand dryer.

‘Hands-in’ is the second most common hand dryer used in public places. As its name suggests, you have to place your hands inside it to activate it. Here, you also don’t need to worry about touching the hand dryer because there’s plenty of room to fit hands without touching the hand dryer. These types of dryers are designed to dry your hands from both sides at the same time.

Hand dryer or paper towels

Image by Martin Slavoljubovski from Pixabay

There really shouldn’t even be a comparison between hand dryers and paper towels because of how different they are. Some people prefer paper towels while others prefer hand dryers. But for the sake of the argument let’s address the topic.

If we’re going to look at both of these options from a hygienic point of view – hand dryers would get a point. Drying hands under a hand dryer leave on your hands some 9% of bacteria, whereas drying them with paper towels leaves behind 13%. This is under the condition that you’re not rubbing your hands together under the hand dryer!

When it comes to an environmentally friendly option, once again the point goes to hand dryers. Why? Well, just imagine how many trees need to be cut to produce a sufficient amount of paper towels that are constantly in use and that generate waste?

Hand dryers are both pretty cost and energy-effective contrary to the popular belief. They use way less energy than you may think. Plus, they don’t create waste and you don’t need to constantly refill them.

Conclusion

Hopefully, we managed to clear up all the concerns you may have had about hand dryers. What you can take from this is that properly drying hands is as important as washing them. Nowadays, commercial hand dryers are automatic and motion-sensor operated – you don’t need to touch them. They are also more effective than paper towels and they are both cost and energy-effective.

Author

I’m Willy Beamen, from Sydney, an avid researcher and editor helping website owners with content marketing.

Using the Excitement of March Madness to Spark Learning

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March Madness is an annual NCAA college basketball tournament that runs throughout the month of March and has basketball fans going wild with bracket filling every year. What you may not know is that you can use the excitement of this event to spark learning in your students. Yes, you can create a much more fun atmosphere in your classroom using basketball and tournaments, and you can also arrange activities with the IB Chemistry tutor that are also very fun and interesting to help them learn better and become more interested in the subject. For some of the most creative classroom activities, keep reading.

Predict the best book

While during the NCAA competition you’d pick on the favorite teams to advance, in the classroom, you could set up a book bracket, instead. Have your students choose some of their favorite books and choose the champion after several weeks. Your school librarian can participate too by running a list of the top 16 books students take to read the most. Place the books into a bracket starting at the sweet 16 and ask kids to vote. Aside from voting for the favorite book, students can also fill out their own bracket predicting the book winners.

Look up the teams on the map

Having trouble keeping everyone interested in geography lessons? The Madness of March can help out in this area too. Namely, you can assign your students a task in which they would locate an NCAA basketball tournament team on a map. They can go all the way from researching the relationships of the team’s name to learning all about the different teams’ mascots. Have them look up the location of the college, and potentially find their favorite, and cheer the team to victory. This lesson is perfect for students in grades 6-12 because they’ll learn a lot about the geography of a variety of areas. Furthermore, they’ll connect the team names and mascots and find out everything about their relationship history and/or geography.

Basketball Printable materials

For younger students, printable materials are excellent entertainment that will help them learn too. In the spirit of March Madness, you can get basketball printable materials and allow your students to enjoy their favorite sport while also learning a lot. Printable materials usually include activities, such as word searches, a shape maze, counting mazes, dot-to-dot printables, and basketball coloring pages. If you maybe need learning materials for older students or vocational education, you can check out excellent RTO learning resources and get the best learning materials for your students.

Basketball Word Search

Another great way to spark learning in your students is to offer them tasks that involve word search activities. From word scramble to word searches, and something elementary kids can cut out and glue together worksheets will allow you to incorporate the championship tournament into your classroom without much fuss. Moreover, it’ll make your students want to come back to the classroom the next day and learn with much more enthusiasm because they had loads of fun interacting with each other through basketball-related activities.

Food Chain Tournament

Another creative task that features the excitement of March Madness could be the food chain tournament. Make your science lessons less dull, and have your students use their knowledge of the food chain to fill out a tournament bracket. They will create head-to-head battles between various animals in your ecosystem. Use only the animals you’ve taught the students about so far, and make a special bracket featuring those animals. It would be a good idea to pick the animals from the NCAA regions as different habitats. Pick rainforest, tundra, desert, and woodland, for instance. That way, kids can imagine battles between the animals and debate who could potentially be the ultimate food chain champion.

Who Can Be The Reading Champion

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

Another book-related activity that uses March Madness as an inspiration can be the book reading competition. Depending on the grade you’re teaching, the kids can go from competing in how many pages of the book they can read in a week, to how many books they can finish in a week. Pair the students up and let them compete against each other week in week out. To test their knowledge in the end and choose the winner, have the finalists answer questions related to the book, and whoever answers the most questions correctly will be the winner.

Final thoughts

Getting students to actively participate in class and actually become interested in the matter can be more challenging than ever these days. However, if you do your best to be as creative as possible, you’ll have no trouble making your students run to school eager for new activities. Therefore, to make the following classes loads of fun, think about incorporating some of the March Madness into your syllabus. From printable materials to reading competitions, your students will enjoy every second of your class and become more eager about learning, all thanks to your creativity.

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