One common complaint I hear amongst entrepreneurs is that they seem to have even less free time as business owners than they did when they were working a 9-5 job. Most entrepreneurs, including myself, start businesses so we could have the freedom to do the things we enjoy rather than be a slave to the clock. More often than not, however, the opposite ends up coming true.If this sounds like your situation, here are a few business tips I picked up in my journey as a small business owner that will help you put a little more breathing space in your day.Outsource Time Consuming TasksOne of my favorite business tips that really helped me was to hire people to handle tasks I had no time or interest in dealing with. As a new business owner, it is tempting to try to do everything yourself in order to save money (especially if you don’t have any in the first place). In the long run, however, you end up losing money due to missed opportunities because you were tied up doing non income producing work.If you hired a virtual assistant for an hour a day at $25 and then spent that hour talking to prospects that purchase $50 worth of products, not only did that virtual assistant pay for herself, you came out ahead $25.Make Good Use of TechnologyAnother good one out of my bucket of small business tips is to make good use of both online and offline technology to help you run your business. There are tons of software applications out there for both your cell phone and your computer that will help you get a handle on your daily tasks, customer contact and financial affairs among other things.For example, I love Twitter and I use it extensively to market my online shopping business. However, sitting in front of my computer and tweeting for hours a day just did not work for me. So I looked around the internet and found a few Twitter tools that let me automate my tweets which allowed me to spend more time talking to prospects while still getting my sales message to my community of followers.Get Prospects to Filter Themselves OutYou can usually tell which ones are the good quality business tips by how long and how often people have been promoting the idea. One tip that has been offered for years but which is still ignored by new business owners is to only sell to your target market.A lot of new entrepreneurs chase after customers under the mistaken impression that everyone they meet should be their client. The truth is not everyone is going to need or even be interested in what you have to sell. You want to focus your attention only on the people who are interested in your products. Spend some time figuring out the demographics of your target market and you’ll find it much easier to sell to your prospects.
The most common mistake people make when starting an online business is taking on too many things by themselves. Yes, it is true that many ecommerce solutions are designed to allow an individual to run an online store without any help but there is a limit to how much we can multitask before efficiency starts to slip.Remember, once a store is set up, a lot of time will be spent marketing the store and its products. This process never stops as marketing is what brings traffic to the store. The more traffic, the higher the chances of a sale.But with lots of traffic also comes lots of email inquiries, live chat, order processing and fulfillment. It can be overwhelming at times.To hire someone to help out in the early stages of a SOHO business might not be affordable to many. But, for a small price, you can opt for the services of a drop shipper take care of all or part of your order fulfillment needs. Here are a few tips on starting an online business with the help of drop shippers.The Plus Points
Many ecommerce software providers make starting an online business that much more affordable by already integrating themselves with at least one established drop shipper. This means a merchant need not pay any integration fees, which could cost a few hundred dollars. They only need pay monthly drop ship subscription charges which usually amount to about $50 a month and maybe a per product drop ship fee of a few dollars.Another convenience most drop shippers offer is that they do not require a minimum order quantity. So you only pay for what you need. Nothing more.Engaging a drop shipper saves you the time of fulfilling the order yourself. You do not have to search for the product, pack it and ship it off to the customer. Everything is taken care off. You also need not store inventory. That would save you space and money if you need to rent space to store inventory. One thing for sure is that you would not get stuck with dead inventory.The Catch
Unfortunately, there are drawbacks with such a service. Firstly, margins might be as low as 10% in some cases. But it could be as high as 30% in others.Secondly, while stock updates are usually done in real-time, they might not be up-to-date and this can cause a few problems post purchase. There have been complaints that customers have been told that their orders cannot be fulfilled because items were actually out of stock during time of purchase but the stock status was not accurately reflected on the site.Thirdly, there have been incidents where wrong items or wrong quantities of an item were sent to customers. This might take a little while correct since there are more parties involved.Lastly, you would have to rely on product information which your drop shipper supplies. Sometimes the information provided might be inadequate or not up to mark, such as blurry product images.Final Say
To me personally, the benefits of using the services of a drop shopper outweigh the drawbacks. Drop shippers have come a long way in terms of providing quality service. But before you sign up for their services, always do some research first. And then follow the tips on starting an online business with the help of drop shippers above.