We Are Back

It’s been a while since I posted to the Sponsorship advice blog. There are a number of reasons for this but it boils down to only 3.

Baby Laptop1.) I’ve had a Baby

As i think most people know when you have a kid it is a very tiring experience (to say the least) so this means I haven’t been able to post to the site. I haven’t wanted to talk about topics that are irrelevant to the site. I also didn’t want to mention anything that wasn’t related to business. But the other 2 reasons I’ve been away are actually 100% business, so I’m going to talk about them now and get going on this.

New Business

2.) I’ve Started A New Business

It’s not really a new business but I’m added to the business Ecoflor, this is a UK based creator of flooring solutions. Essentially it’s a great place where I can bring my marketing knowledge and get some good results for the businesses I’m working in, instead of just being a marketing consultant for a big company. It’s a win win here as I get to help an old friend and he also doesn’t have to pay a lot of money for a corporate approach. The other side of it is that I get to earn more money too, as I know what really helps these businesses, and that’s smart marketing then scaled. It’s something I am all about and as a result I believe its a win win.

3.) My Sister Got Married

Again not really business based but something that has been taking up a lot of time over the past few months.

Needless to say I will be back more officially now.

Thanks.

A Personal Story about Security (And a Lesson Learnt)

business-burglaryOK, this starts with a story. In 2016 we were robbed. Most of our technical equipment was stolen and we ended up losing £20,000 worth of stock. tech and other items. It was an incredibly stressful and trying experience for me personally but also on the business. As we didn’t have 20k to reinvest into the company. This as a result made everything slow down with the business and hence the business ended up recovering for about 6 months, hence progress that we had made in the 18 months before was lost. Not a good few months at all.

Instead of just complaining about it I wanted to write about how we reacted and what we did to prevent this in the future. Theft is such a huge issue for businesses but its something that no one really talks about. For example if you had 50% of your stock stolen, or even just damaged how would you react? Would you be OK, would the business go under? What would happen.

Also another aspect to remember is that your employees might not be who you think they are. This was our issue. The individual who stole our equipment was eventually caught and it turned out he was a very close friend of one of our employees, who he had used to access the building, but the issue is we only had keys and cameras, hence we had no way to know who it was (hoods were used when burglary was taking place). But we changed a number of things to prevent this happening ever again.

the-solutionOur Solution

We took a number of steps to ensure this never happened again. The first step was to improve the locks on all the doors. Previously we had only single block locks. These can be easily kicked through by anyone who wants to break into a premise. Instead we had triple D-locks on all doors, this meant that our weak points were now our strong points as these are very difficult to get through, even with a metal bumper.

door-access-control-example

The access systems

The next step was knowing who was entering the business at any time. As we run a 18 hour business there are different people who lock up and open up in the morning. We wanted to know who was who, as a result we contacted a security company called Nortech Control and asked them what they recommended. Their response was to go with something like a door access system, this way we could see which individuals came in and out of the business without having to monitor cameras.

This was very important for the future, this means that now if we are triggered that an individual is trying to enter the business with an employees card, we can simply call the employee and ask for a reason why they are trying to get in, and if they are in fact trying to.

If they state they are not and they have lost their card then we can manually block entry and then obviously call the police. A very effective, robust system for anyone who doesn’t want this to happen to them. There are also upgraded options for larger businesses and even bio-metric options too, but personally this would have been overkill for us.

The Importance of Cash Flow in High End Industries

supercarsToday I’m going to talk about a meeting I had with a very successful individual called Alan. He’s a millionaire who owns a rental company but not your average one… He rents supercars to individuals all over the world. As you can imagine this requires a lot of management of capital, insurance and cash flow, as a few mistakes and some bad luck and your business could go under, and one thing that you can’t have is selling supercars back to the supplier at 50% cost price you paid! That’s a quick way to a broken bank balance! Instead he talked about the most important element being cash flow.

If you don’t know cash flow is the actual monetary funds you receive into your business on a regular basis. For example you may have £10,000 costs per month, meaning you will need to have 10,000 of cash into your business each month to break even. But there is something so much more important when it comes to cash flow, and that is to ensure you have enough to not only break even but also to make sure your business keeps moving forward, for example marking your business to individuals will cost money (as does advertising) and if you don’t have a marketing budget then your business will slowly but surely bleed money.

The key

Re-investment – But don’t over-spend on your business. Getting the right amount of re-investment is the key to business growth and stability. For example if you don’t have enough to invest into a business the sales will decrease, this is simply due to marketing and advertising costs (amongst other elements.) But if you invest too much into the business at once, then when unforeseeable events occur, you will not have the personal funds to utilise for them. This is one of the most important mixes for a business and one that is incredibly difficult to get around.

Conclusion

In conclusion it is extremely important to not only track cash flow, but to also make sure you have enough at certain periods of time to make sure you can survive any unforeseen issues. For example you may think it is better to get a lower unit cost from a supplier but then if you have no money to actually use in the marketing of the units themselves then the unit cost decrease is going to mean nothing as you won’t sell many!

[Sponsored Post] Quadcopters and the Future of Flight

This is a sponsored post on something I thought would be really interesting to our readers. It’s about the growing drone and quadcopter market. More specifically the UDI u818a model and how it has changed the way we not only think about flight, but how we think about VR too! It’s an interesting post and I hope you enjoy it.

udi-u818a

Above is an image from one of the most popular products of 2016. It’s called the udi-u818a and its a quadcopter (hence the four blades you can see) but it goes into the drone category on Amazon. These are great, heck we write about them on our blog tons! But there is something more than this that most people aren’t even thinking about. It’s the concept that comes with drones. To understand we have to think outside the box.

Let’s take what drones were 5 years ago. When you said a drone did you think of the image below? The huge government spy drones that could fly over bases without being detected by radars, but also pick up great imagery of the surrounding areas? This was serious technology.

government-drones

Then someone had the idea that consumers would like to have this ability too. So they made them smaller, less powerful, consumable, cheaper and generally lower quality but so that people could use them and either a.) Get great pictures. For example the wildlife shots that have come from drones is quite incredible. Or b.) They could pretend to be a spy and actually “spy” on other people. Either way, they sold extremely well. But if you ask me, this is just the start. There are 2 ways that we should be going with drones and quadcopters. One is likely to happen in the next 2-3 years. The other is more powerful but its a longer term model.

Drone Transportation

Something that isn’t spoken about enough is how quadcopters can be used for transportation. They have already been used for this (although most of the time this is illegal) but its just a matter of time until some industries see the power of this model. Amazon’s same day delivery for smaller items could be delivered via drones. All with semi-automated software. The only issue (as to why this isn’t already happening) is safety. For example if a drone doesn’t make it to a location. But this will be on the market very soon! Watch the space!

The Future of Human Transportation

When I bring up this point most people actually laugh it off. How can drones (those tiny 4 bladed devices) ever be used to transport actual people across town/country/the world. Well obviously when it happens they will not look the same, but the theory and more importantly the NEED is already there. People are getting more and more impatient. Think about Uber and how profitable and successful that company is. It worked because there was a need. But anyway the future will be individual person travel using drones (you heard it here first!)

The Best Methods to Outsource Business Growth

OutsourcingMost business owners run by the following motto. “I will grow my business, and my team can maintain what we already have in place.” You see this in small businesses, medium sized and even multi national corporations. Personally I used to agree with this motto too. But nowadays I run by a different model and its not for everyone but I can assure you that its help me personally grow to a $100,000 per month business. And its this:

Hire the best individuals for the specific task.

Whether this be design, sales, accounting, marketing, building – Whatever. Just hire the best individuals and the knock on effect you will have is so positive, even if the cost seems expensive at the time! Below is a good infographic which talks about the basics of outsourcing.

Today though I’m going to talk about how to outsource growth, mainly in adding your specific services or products to new distribution channels. Namely the 2 giants of Ebay and Amazon. I don’t need to tell you how many sales these 2 companies make, but you probably have no idea of the sheer scale they make their sales. They make 10s of thousands of sales every single hour. That’s some crazy number! And if you set-up your business correctly, you can have a chunk of this action without doing any of the leg work or taking up any of your team’s time.

I’m of course talking about outsourcing the optimisation, listing, set-up, ranking and review process. Personally in our business we used an Amazon marketing agency based in the UK. But they run services for all types of Amazon and we broke down how much time and money they actually saved us. For our 3 products we had the full gold campaign, which set us back roughly $12,000. Seems like a lot to the average business owner. But in 6 months these were the stats:

  • Time spent by our team on Amazon Seller Central: 30 mins.
  • Time spent by our team packing orders: 20 mins.
  • Time spent by our team on customer service: 0 mins.
  • Investment after the $12,000: Approximately $400 per month on PPC/Sponsored ads.
  • Earnings PER MONTH after the 6 month set-up and optimisation period: $45,000 in sales…..

YOU HAVE TO OUTSOURCE!

Get people who are better than you or your team at doing specific jobs and the knock on effect or ROI will lead to these having not only more time but also a lot more money in the long run!

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!

Tom Buckland

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!

Our 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 luckily 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.

best coffee shop CardiffEven coffee shops are getting in on the simple import export process. There is one in Cardiff that boosts they make MORE through their import export business than they do in the local store front. That’s a huge claim and if true would mean simple import export businesses are now directly effecting storefront businesses positively!

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!