Technology Adapts Even in Simple Import Export Businesses

Tech Shipping TechniquesContinuing on from our recent trend of tech improvements in business and marketing, today I’m going to talk about how tech advances can help businesses even in simple and somewhat generic import and export businesses. These are some of the most profitable (and boring) types of businesses in the world. In the UK I think I’ve probably meet close to 200 business owners over the past couple of years. And the number of individuals who were running some-what related import/export businesses was close to half! That’s how profitable this niche or tactic is. That’s also how generic it is.

But with that said, there have been a number of advancements to make this business model so much cleaner and more efficient. Not least the fact that these businesses can now order 1000 units and have them with their warehouse or company within a few DAYS! Let alone a few months. The reason behind this is obviously faster travel and shipping, but the knock-on effect from a cash flow and business point of view is huge!

Today I’m going to talk about someone I meet in these business events (an even in central London about marketing) who had a very simple, yet extremely profitable garage shelving business. This is what he outlined as the causes to his main issues and how he resolved them! Love this guys attitude to not only business but life. If you’re reading this, you are a solid guy!

Garage RackingOur main issue at the start of the business was obviously capital. I think this is the same for pretty much every start-up in existence unless you have some healthy investments. But lickily from selling an old business and having some savings we were able to get around this. Next was again what I think is a problem with most import/export companies and that’s the shipping or delivery. This is what really can either make or break your business and more specifically how much you have to go on to sell your items for.

As a result we looked into the new technology being used in shipping, things that would make ships either faster, safer or generally more efficient. We now use only 1 shipping company that has all of these things. Funnily I don’t actually reveal them as I don’t want my competition to find out who we use! They are slightly more expensive than your generic shippers but they arrive quicker and I’ve yet to even have a single minor issue with them. Businesses that run smoothly make money, ones that always have issues with systems or efficiency will lose money, its that simple.

Continuing Our Technology Trend: Automotive and Supercars

Range Rover HireContinuing on our technology trend that we have started over the past couple of months, I wanted to write a post on a topic close to my heart, that is supercars! I’m a big lover on automotive tech advancements and when this is mix with great business practices and good marketing I think this makes car companies some of the most profitable in the world. For example the range rover is a car/brand that I love for 3 reasons. 1.) The car is a good piece of kit, 0-60 in about 5 seconds for a car this size is extremely impressive. 2.) It’s steady and very safe. 3.) The marketing on this company is some of the best in the world. For example check out this viral marketing video by the Range rover team.

Not a bad marketing stunt – The idea behind it was that the individual who has this car is rich enough to have multiple women… Essentially without getting to graphic. The line people draw in their head is that if someone were to own this car they would be able to get multiple women. The amazon thing about this campaign is other people did the work for them. All they did was park in a busy London street and social media took care of the rest! With a trending hashtag meaning they got in front of millions of people for the price of a car of paint and a new paint job! Not bad.

But this article is talking about the technology behind supercars and not the branding side of things (Which I am also very interested in anyway.) – Anyway as you probably already know the amount of sheer incredible technical advancements that go into supercars is just mind blowing. But the interesting issue is that these supercars are actually some of the safest in the world. Due to many having a carbon fibre body they are incredibly strong. Meaning if you are going at 100mph and something does go wrong, your survival rate is a lot higher! The below video shows a Pagini going into a brick wall at 30mph.

These videos always interest me as most people think it is the size of the crumple zone at the front shows how well built a car is. But that is the exact opposite. What you want is a large crumple zone, as this increases the amount of time it takes for the car to slow down. Think of it like going from 30mph to 0mph in 1 second vs going from 30mph to 0mph in 0.01 seconds. One would kill you the other would give you a few bruises. The larger the crumple zone the more safe a car is (generally speaking.)

I might do another article on all the tech associated with supercars but I just wanted to highlight this aspect today.

5 Amazing Ways How New Technology Is Going To Change the World

  1. The first way that new technology is going to change the world is that soon enough everything will be connected digitally because of the power of internet. This technology of communication has actually greatly evolved from just showcasing websites to connected almost everything now like it’s not just a connection of people through the internet, but form gadgets to gadgets as well, even from a certain appliance to another one, like for example the smart TV’s and your smart fridge (though in reality those are still not smart enough to understand what you are saying but basically it functions as how you want it to function), and also most importantly your automobiles, vehicles.

Food

  1. Another thing that new technology will affect is the way of food production, specifically farming because with the help of new technology, farmers will not be able to wait for a long time to produce their crops and even help them plant their crops, which would be very convenient for them. Though in reality, they are the ones who need to have the benefit of a new technology because all humans are dependent on every harvest of each farmer, that is why of all the people in this planer, they should be the ones who should benefit from it. Imagine, there will be no farmers, who or where will humans get there source of food, when most of the people are so busy making a living in the city, where it usually come to a point that you have no longer enough time to eat or sleep.
  1. Then another way that new technology will change the lives of human being is the new discoveries in the field of medicine, like there would be new inventions of medicines for incurable diseases at this current time and also early detection of deadly diseases. Therefore, new technology also means new breakthrough in the field of medicine.

Innovation

  1. Another one is by unlocking the new opportunities in the field of business, like for example the communication between businessman to another, specifically in business meeting, for example now a day, you do not need to go somewhere just to attend a conference or seminar, you can just do it over the internet. This means that in the field of business, instead of spending their funds in sending people to another places, or gather some of their people for a certain project, then they can just spend it to another profitable task where funding is needed.
  1. And then the most effective way that new technology is changing your life is that the convenience it gives to every human being, in regards to your daily life. Now a day, you are already enjoying the convenience of your new developed features on your gadgets for example reading emails on your phone like you can already do a lot of stuff on your phone in the name of convenience; and also your appliances, your TV can already connect to your wireless internet connection, which means that you can already watch regular shows on your TV that are only offered online. Therefore, since you are already enjoying and benefiting from it in relation to your everyday life, how much more when there would be another new technology that would be created that would help not just you but the entire humanity in their day to day lives.

An Intro to the Drone Business | Financing the Unreal

DronesIn 2016 there has been a lot of talk about these new drones, the smaller hand controlled drones you see in the sky above busy city locations, being used by either high tech software owners, corporate companies or just someone with a bit of money to spare on them! The reason they are becoming increasingly popular is because they solve 2 needs. The first is safety. If you send a message across town, there is a chance someone will intercept it, its a very small chance don’t get me wrong, but there is still is a chance. With drones you remove this chance (unless it crashes of course) And the second is of course something that is needed everywhere in all new businesses, and that is of course speed!

I previously read 2 extremely interesting articles about turning these drones into businesses! When you think about it like this, suddenly something begins to click, what if I could use these things to transport goods and services across town, within minutes, from the comfort of a computer or even smartphone! Now the creatively minded people are starting to think about something that might be the case! But there is more! In one of the articles I read, on virgin.com they talked about the following:

What I mean by this is that the technology has been created, the cats have flown out of the bag. We need two types of entrepreneurs now: people who can make the technology do new things and perfect those things (this will mostly be with new software built on our existing platforms); and people who can apply the technology in new and meaningful ways.

So essentially what they are saying is that if you are the entrepreneur you claim to be (and we hope you are) – There is a great business model for you right here. You can pick up a state of the art drone for £800, but you can also pick up an “okay” one for around £100. This means you can literally build a business transporting light weight items for people across 10 mile distances for a few pounds… And what’s more is that people will actually pay it… Have you ever been in a traffic jam and remembered you had to pick something up, or go and drop something off….Imagine if you could (from your smartphone) just click an app and a drone flew to your location (again through your GPS smartphone) and picked up / delivered whatever you wanted! – That is truly a remarkable business model right there! – There is so much potential with these things, so just go out there and do something!

But there’s more.

The drone industry got tons of funding (aka sponsorship) by making a prototype, and that is going to be our tip of the day for start-ups that need a lot of funding, SHOW some real value before applying, Venture capitalists love to see drive, motivation and something that is clearly valuable!

How to Generate Funding for a Supercar Rental Agency

Bet you haven’t heard this title before? Generating business funding or sponsorships for a potential supercar rental agency, how can you do it, well we are going to talk to someone who did exactly this, He’s going to explain how he did it, where he is now, where he was and more importantly what you need to get started, it’s not what you think it might be. So without further ado I’ll let our writer take this over.

Aston Martin

Funding a Supercar Rental Agency

Hi everyone, as Tom mentioned this is a relatively interesting topic that I thought people would be interested in hearing. I’ll start by giving some information about myself. I own 2 supercar rental websites, both of which generate approximately 50-100 enquiries a month. These are: http://www.astonmartincarhire.com/ and http://www.ferrarihire.co.uk/ we are going to get into other brands of supercars eventually but for the time being we don’t have the cash flow (ironic I know.)

I’m going to start with the story of how I got rejected by 12 banks and investors. You’ve probably heard all of this before, the business owner with a good idea goes to a bank and tries to get a loan, he gets rejected and the business gets put on the back-burner, he continues to work but he can’t do much without the funding. Well this was me but I was committed. I got rejected by approximately 12 banks and investors before securing a loan for £75,000 to purchase 3 supercars to add to our fleet.

The reason why I was eventually accepted and the requirements I think your audience will find interesting. It wasn’t down to good credit or how much I had invested into the business myself, it was based on 2 things, I had a house and I was “more experienced” which is a kind way of saying I was older than when I first applied, although banks will never never ever admit to this, they tend to shy away from lending to very young individuals, especially when they are trying to get £75,000 to buy supercars! Can you imagine the looks I got, well I did get those very looks. What turned all these no’s into yes eventually was the commitment I showed to my business. I had 3 models in my fleet already when I was applying for this loan.

I also explained that we were having to turn customers away and raise prices because we simply didn’t have enough of a fleet. A £75,000 loan across 20 years is approximately £300 a month. That’s 1 day per month renting 1 of our new fleet that the loan would allow us to buy 3 supercars…. The maths was there I just need to show the commitment. In 2010 I decided to do this by working like a monster to scrape together enough money to buy another supercar, this meant I could now have approximately £6,000 in earnings most months. Although that doesn’t sound like much more than £4.5, it makes a huge difference for 2 reasons. The 1st is now subconsciously they weren’t investing £75k for a 50% stake, the value was lower as it was 3 supercars vs my 4. And secondly the £6k per month meant I had turnovers of £6 x 12 = £72,000. Pretty much equal to the loan I was asking for. This meant that people knew if everything went to sh*t I was still making enough to pay 10% of the loan off per year, meaning I could pay it off inside 10 years, not nearer 20. That’s another big psychological factor.

The grind that lasted about 8 months, working stupid hours (10-12 hour days) almost every day meant I was able to afford my next supercar, which lead to generating the loan, which now means I have a fleet of 18 supercars across 2 brands. It’s the compound affect in action. Grind for as long as you need to grind! Just get it done.

The Most Useful Marketing Advice – Small Businesses Listen Up

Return On InvestmentOkay I’m not going to give you some long introduction as I think the title was enough, but what you need to know is that small businesses should be doing active marketing! Whatever type you decide if your business is quiet, you need to do more, its a difficult situation to be in as sales = more cash flow for more marketing, but you have to be willing to make a loss to make a longer term gain, that’s basic business! Alright without further ado the most useful marketing advice:

Focus on: Return On Investment Marketing Methods.

If you didn’t already know ROI or return on investment was initially introduced as a financial trading term (as it sounds) it discusses the potential ROI for a particular stock or trade, usually with a time element to the trade. For example a trade might make a 20% ROI in 6 months, which would be seen as really good in most financial trading agencies. The ROI weighed against the risk associated would lead to a decision to either purchase the stock or avoid the trade.

In the marketing world

ROIIn the marketing world ROI is more commonly referred to as how effective a particular marketing angle or advertising campaign will be. The higher the DIRECT ROI, generally the most successful the marketing campaign will be. You can see this frequently in online advertising with Adwords for example or in lesser businesses simply offering the “up-sell” when you are in a purchasing decision. Either way calculating ROI can be difficult but its extremely important. We will look at a few marketing campaigns and talk about the issues and why you should focus on ROI when making a decision whether to go ahead or not.

Remember: Although ROI is extremely important it is not everything. The brand recognition you gain from a certain marketing method could be priceless in the long run but might not make any sales in the short term, always factor brand recognition into your marketing budget decisions.

For example if we take TV advertising to start with, have you ever considered getting a TV ad? Probably not unless you are a large corporation, this is because there is no need, you think your customers wouldn’t convert well with an advert, great that’s the first step in ROI marketing, this is seeing and visualising what will work for your business. Every niche and industry is different so I cannot give you guides and data on what will work for you, you can do as much market research, listen to a number of experts and look through a ton of data but if you don’t feel like a marketing method will work for you, then don’t bother getting it!

Social Media Marketing IdeasIf we next look at online marketing – Let’s say Google adwords for example, we know that people aren’t going to scroll to page 2 on Google, so why not pay Google a proportion to get people to click on your site? Easy! Well maybe not. ROI can be calculated quite easily on the face of it. If you convert 5% of your visitors and make £10 profit per visitor, then you can’t pay more than £0.50 per click. (50p x 20 = £10.) But you also have to factor in the LIFETIME value of a customer. This is the difficult bit. Generally you should be willing to make a slight loss to generate long term customers, in the longer term (and as your business grows) this will lead to much more profit!

Leaflet Marketing - Leafet Distribution3rd we are going to look at direct mail marketing. Personally one of my favourite marketing tactics. We use a leaflet company in London, UK for all our local distributions and drops. Although only on a small scale (5000 units) we get a good ROI as well as a stronger brand recognition, this leads us to belive that the campaign was a success! Design a simple leaflet that explains your main values and reasons why people shold buy from you and you can get straight to distribution. If you have time more than money then feel free to distribute yourself, if you do not then I highly recommend hiring a leaflet distribution agency… Or you could just hire some kid!

Finally SEO, SEO has a bad name for itself, people being scammed and individuals making £20k+ a month, but the truth is if done correctly and effectively Search engine optimisation is THE MOST EFFECTIVE marketing method. Just find yourself a good SEO company and get going, generally you should look for people with experience in your industry, don’t tend to go for someone just because they are close to where you live, that’s the best way to get ripped off. Search for companies who have experience promoting and ranking websites in your industry. Relevance is everything!

There are tons more marketing ideas that don’t require funds you just have to be willing to put the effort in!

Thanks for reading!

Remember to share, comment and I will get back to you in the comments section!

Cheers.

K.

Guest Post: Branding Your Business RANT

Another guest post today on the importance of branding your business in the right theme. This post is by the guys over at the London branding division.

Over 500 start ups go under every single day! That’s a crazy metric to comprehend. Why shouldn’t you be one of them? Well the answer is simply = YOU WILL BE! Unless you can ATTRACT enough customer and clients to survive!

Harsh? But true!

We believe that the best way to do this is to be different. I’m not going to write an article on how to get funding for your business as the team at Sponsorship-advice.org already have that covered. Instead I’m going to talk about what we have done and what we had problems with along the way. And yes this does turn into a rant so if you are against ranting about your business (which I’m guessing your not) then you should leave. If not, let’s get started.

Why Branding Is Important

We are a branding agency and our job is to convince people that branding is extremely important for their business!?

Right?

WRONG!

Our job is to teach them that without it, they will never be remembered.

There are 2 things that are guaranteed in life…. Death and taxes.

We can’t control either of those, so let’s play on people’s fear of both, but instead let’s switch the emphasis to: MONEY and TIME.

Ever heard the phrase time is money? Well its true and as we get older we start to realise it even more. But if you have 1 you most of time don’t have the other. Got both? Well done, you are a SUCCESS!

Success Image

So how does this come back to you me and our businesses?

It’s simple, we have to convince people that without us they will not be successful. As success = Time + Money. If you can convince someone you can give them 1 of these 2 things then you will likely be a good marketer. If you can convince people you can give them both, then you are a legendary marketer!

Walk into a meeting and say “I will give you 10 minutes to listen to me” What do you do, you instantly remove the control from the prospect. I know this takes balls of steel but there is no reason why you can’t do it. And after 10 minutes (even if you presentation is not complete) say are you ready to sign up. This is a very odd but extremely successful way of doing business.

The next step is to show them how you saved someone both money and time. Think of it from the businesses perspective. Hi we are going to save you time, which will save you money, oh and also we are going to make you money…. So yeah!

Never forget the foreign market either! Hablar De Dinero makes a killing from translating their make money online content into Spanish!

If they believe you then they will say yes to any price you quote. You save us 4 years and 10,000 hours of staff time, sure we will pay you £100,000. It’s stupid not to as you save them £150,000. Oh and also in this time we should be able to generate a 200% return on investment. Which means we can earn your business £200,000. So this means over 4 years this business is saving £150,000 and earning £200,000 whilst at the same time paying you only £100,000.

I’ll leave you with one final sentence: BE SMART!

be smart

Become A Renewable Energy Powered Business

Renewable energy is all the rage in 2015. The UK government is helping both individuals and businesses switch to renewable sources, including pv solar panels, mainly due to the ease to install as well as the proximity of solar companies. The reasons for this is that a “greener Britain” is good. I mean if we become more eco friendly then David Cameron can go to his G8 Summits and say “look at us, we are eco-powered” and get some great hand shakes from France and other countries who care. But for me and you as small business owners, is it worth the plunge?

solar panels UK

solar panels UK

Well we did some testing and in true Sponsorship advice fashion have some great numbers for you. The first of which is: YES, in the current economic and Government grant situation (if you live in the UK of course) it is 100% worth you converting to solar energy or other renewable energy forms! The reason? Is as always it saves you lots of money on your electricity bill, but more than this, it allows you to qualify for loans, grants and funding from the government more easily….Do I have your attention now? Thought so!

Anyway, aside from the obvious ethical reasons to switch to solar, their are other ones that people always always forget.

The first is your prospects and potential clients! If they see you are helping the envionment and doing everything you can to become more green and environmentally friendly. ALL OTHER THINGS EVEN, they will go with you over a competitor! This is a huge factor for you as its another win-win, new clients and you get to take them away from your direct competition.

The second is that when you come to eventually sell your business, having these is a HUGE asset to you, potential prospects love low-overhead businesses. Would you rather have a business that spends £20,000 a year on energy or one that spends nothing?!

The third is that these are great for marketing. Release a press release about your news solar panels and watch people come to you “because of it”. Most of our customer can either see or know about our panels and it’s also a great way to pick up random visitors to your store or start a conversion with a new potential client.solar energy

Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

Taking your online promotions to the next level!

Social Media Marketing Ideas

When it comes to digital marketing everyone seems to get a bit crazy. Sure SEO is great and ranking in Google is pretty much the only thing you need when it comes to making a buck. But the fact of the matter is that SEO is not enough any-more, you have to be socially active, not so you can look like a brand or a big business, although that is pretty important too, but instead so you can convert potential clients that check everything (including your facebook page) into paying highly profitable customers!

As was said on: http://hqseo.co.uk/web-design-cardiff/ there is a reason you spent a lot of money on your website design and it wasn’t so you can have a nice place to go when you feel lonely!! It was so you could make some sales and convert potential clients. BUT a very important aspect to remember is that growing online is not just about making a good website and firing as many visitors as you possibly can at it. Instead you also have to tick off the other boxes, such as social media marketing, or you can just cheat by buying the relevant followers, the decision is up to you but be warned that buying twitter followers in the UK at least is highly frowned upon and against the T&Cs of the business. So instead this is what we recommend:

1.) Create active social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google plus are the most common ones and all you need really.

2.) Grow these accounts – You can do this through 2 ways – the first is advertising, all of the below have platforms you can promote your brand too, facebook is seen as the best with the “Like” metric but followers on Twitter are also pretty good too.

A useful infographic

3.) Keep these people engaged – The best way to keep people engaged on your website is to have free stuff! Do the same with your twitter and facebook profiles, simply offer something that people will want to constantly check your FB page and keep going back and liking what you are posting. This is the way you can grow exponentially.

Below is another good info graphic if you’d like to check it out:

Another Useful Twitter follower infographic