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Small businesses have always been the backbone of a strong economy. The independent business that is run by an entrepreneur, or a family business that is passed down from generation to generation is what keeps the economy stable. Essentially, individuals that take on the risk entirely on their backs and yet, run a profitable and well-liked business are the unsung heroes of modern capitalist societies. However, as more and more wealth is generated, it seems that the forces of criminal activity seem to be latching onto anything they can. If you don’t protect your business as an independent and privately owned business, then no one else will. On top of this, employee rights have grown and grown over the decade, which brings up other liability issues. In any event, you could potentially sink underneath the fines of lawsuits if you ever find yourself being erroneously charged for any reason. Preparing for a future where you might be sued is very complex.

Protect customer data

Consumer patterns can be tracked and allocated different algorithms that can compare and contrast different impacts of product changes. Services that can transform a business and update the model itself rely on good customer feedback and the reliable saving of their data. Cyber attacks are increasingly on the rise with half of them happening just to small businesses, and there could be potentially millions of hackers just surfing the internet, looking for a business to attack and steal valuable data from. It’s imperative that every small business get some kind of protection from this with the willingness to have a strong antivirus program on the servers as well as firewalls for any cloud service you use.

Unintended harms

The most common forms of being sued as a business are because a customer feels you misled them with a service, product or even advice. The other commonality you’ll see in small businesses is the fact that if employees get injured, they will also seek to sue the owner for negligence. You can compare insurance rates that can give you different lines of approach. Ex-employees might even sue because they think you went back on an agreement, or due to a possible unfair termination of employment in their eyes. The basics of legal protection must be adhered to by every small business if you want to prepare for a potentially unstable future for your business.

Hazards in the work environment

Employees will often do exactly what you tell them to and not use their own judgment for the fear of being harshly corrected if seen to be doing so. If you have a business that is in retail, distribution, manufacturing or something that involves the need for employees to navigate through potentially harmful environments, you need to make them safer. As part of your budget, you should have warning labels for areas where there is a particular hazard, such as heat or a slippery surface. The signs need to be clearly marked, and more than one needs to exist in the areas where you want to warn your employees. Bright right or yellow signs are the most widely used because they catch the attention. Individual equipment such as helmets, goggles, gloves, and boots could be made mandatory if your business involves manual labor.

Always prepare for an unstable future, due to many different factors. Never leave your small business open to cyber attacks where your credibility and trust can be permanently damaged. Equally, be wary of your employees that may want to take a chunk out of your business.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Dropshipping: How to start a hands-free online business

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No inventory, no headaches. This is the basic fonament of dropshipping selling model, so If you are thinking to start a new business from home, in this article we analyze the main advantages and disadvantage of drop shipping.

Dropshipping can be a real way to make a little bit of money on the side, all you have to do is work hard and choose a product of your interest as health and beauty, video games, wholesale gadget parts, music, candles or whatever you like yourself.

But, how dropshipping works? There are three different parts to this business model, the suppliers, the e-commerce store or dropshipper and the final customer. And four steps to make it all work together.

In the first place, you will have to list the supplier product on your e-commerce store for customers to buy. Afterwards and in second place, the customer can purchase something from your e-commerce store. The third step comes when you order that same exact product that the customer paid for, from your supplier. So finally your drop shipping supplier will ship this product directly to your final customer, and they will receive the item that they have ordered from your e-commerce store.

Easy right? You will receive the money you sold your product for and the supplier will charge you the wholesale price. So your profit will be the difference between the retail price and the wholesale price that you will pay to your dropshipping suppliers.

How to find products to sell online?

It is time to find products to sell and push for those items you think will succeed and customers will purchase. A good way to start is by importing items from China which will translate into better profits for your e-commerce.

China brands and chinese dropshippers are becoming very popular because they wholesale products with high-profit potential, as a double stereo Bluetooth with DSP for 27.62 dollars, that it can be sold for the retail price of 46.95 dollars. The benefit will be huge.

Or a popular set of knives ship free, a good opportunity to increase your earnings and avoid to invest in shipping. This little opportunity will make the difference in your new e-commerce. Millions of people buy knives every day as they are incredibly useful in the kitchen and required for many outdoor activities like trekking, camping or scuba diving.

Disadvantages and advantages of Drop Shipping

Even If the high-profit opportunities exist, they are not common. In general, low margins are the biggest disadvantage of operating in a highly competitive niche. E-commerce stores need so little in getting the business started, that they can afford to operate in such a low margins.

The inventory issues are another disadvantage of drop shipping. When you are sourcing from multiples suppliers, inventory changes on a daily basis, but to mitigate this problem you can start stocking some of your items. Shipping complexities If you work with multiple warehouses and supplier errors fulfilling the orders can be also tricky to face.

However, the benefits can be very good If you want to make it work and you have the time to invest. The biggest advantage of drop shipping is that you can launch an e-commerce store without having to invest much money in front. With this business model, you don’t have to purchase an item unless you already made the sale and the final customer has paid.

It is possible to work from anywhere as long as you have the internet connection, so make sure you can communicate with suppliers and customers easily. Another big advantage is that is easy to scale, as most of the work to process additional orders will be borne by the suppliers, allowing you to expand and create a better customer service and build the base of a good marketing strategy. So as the popular saying proclaims, If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

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Managing A Renovation Project

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Starting a renovation project can be a big challenge. It is not as simple as the shows you see on TV, a huge amount of planning, legal stuff and sourcing goes on before the work even begins.

Managing a project like this can be a complex affair which is why you need to make sure you know exactly what to do at every stage, and leave no stone unturned.

  1. Assess the Building’s Condition

Before you start to plan a renovation project you will need to know exactly what you are dealing with. You will need to visit the site and run a full check to see if the building is structurally sound, if the foundations are stable and what cosmetic touches you will need to do.

  1. Stop Deterioration

When you have assessed the current situation of the property you intend to work on, you will also want to make sure that no further damage occurs as you prepare for starting work on the project. You may need to put up scaffolding to keep the building supported or board out floors and the roof to prevent damp getting in.

  1. Check for Grants

It is not likely that you will get a grant for your restoration project, but it is certainly worth looking into. If the building you are working on is listed you may be given funding to carry out the work and make sure that the building’s integrity is kept.

  1. Apply for Permission

One of the most boring and long winded parts of renovation is getting the permission to carry out the work in the first place. As soon as you know you want to start a project, get your application for planning permission, listed building consent and any other things in. It may take a few weeks for the results to come back so it is always worth doing it as soon as you can.

  1. Structural work

The first thing you will need to do in terms of working on the property is making sure that the building has water, electrics and gas supplies- as well as being weatherproof. It may take some installation, plastering and insulating to get the building ready for the rest of the work you plan to do.

  1. Demolition

There may be certain parts of the building that you plan on knocking down and salvaging, so once you’ve stabilised the main structure you can go ahead and do the groundwork.

  1. Issues with Damp

If you are working on an old building, you will find that it is much more likely to be damp than a more modern one. This is because older buildings are made with solid walls. Because of this there is no airflow going through the bricks and therefore condensation builds up much more easily causing damp and mould to grow. To get rid of the damp you may need to call someone in to help you identify the source and to seal up any potential holes for water to enter the home.

  1. Check Drains

Sometimes you may find that the drainage around the property is damaged or blocked- and this can be another cause of damp in the home due to water becoming logged underneath the foundations. You will also want to check what’s connected to which part of the house, and you can do this by putting different coloured food dye down the sink and having someone inside a manhole seeing where the water comes out. It will show you whether your drains are in working order or if they are blocked.

  1. Plan Access

With a large project like this you will need lots of heavy equipment and machinery. Make sure that you have the ability to get the large diggers and other machines to the site without being an inconvenience to the surrounding public.

  1. Managing employees

It is not easy to manage a full group of trade people, but it will be required if you are to work on a large project.  If you are going to be overseeing the development of a home extension or a large row of homes, you will need to make sure that before the work begins you lay out the guidelines, safety laws and provide training to your workers. If anyone gets injured during the construction they could go to a lawyer like Hofmann & Schweitzer if you do not take the time to write down every regulation. It could be worth going over it with a lawyer before your employees sign it.

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New Business Approaches

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Business, like anything in life, can sometimes become a bit stale. Sometimes you need to refresh your approaches to give it that new lease of life that is so badly needs. But, sometimes it is unclear, and you’re not sure which direction you need to take to get the best out of your business. It is something that everyone goes through at some point, but is something that can be easily solved. All you need to do is know your business, and do a little research. Luckily for you, this article is going to give you a bit of advice if you’re stuck with knowing what to do.

Customer Focused

Somehow, this is where a lot of businesses lack. They’re so money driven that sometimes they can lose track of the bigger picture, and the people who matter the most. The customers. They’re ultimately who are going to be giving you the money you so badly desire, so keeping them at the forefront of your mind should be something you’re always trying to do. Even little things like making sure your office is immaculate when customers come in is going to make the difference between a sale or not. If they see somewhere that looks a bit dirty and dingy, they’re not going to want to do business. People prefer places to look tidy and smart. Custodial services aren’t that expensive, so if you know you’re rubbish at keeping the office clean, this might be worth looking into. Another way of making sure your customers are always happy is by doing questionnaires. These can be done either when they come in the store, or online anonymously. This feedback to your should be invaluable.

Marketing

Marketing should be a big approach for any business. If you’re not currently marketing yourself, you really need to look into why it’s important and how your business will benefit from it. If you are marketing already, then you’re already on a step in the right direction. The only downside to marketing is your approaches can sometimes become a little stale. What once used to work for you might not work now. This is where a fresh approach is definitely needed. Do some online research and see which methods you might be interested in. If you haven’t tried it before, SEO and link building is a really good way of gaining your business exposure. It is a risky game, so you are going to be better off hiring a consultant, but it’s definitely worth doing in the long run. Be warned though, you won’t see results straight away, and it is on the more expensive side of marketing. If you’d like to try cheaper ones, then radio or social media marketing might be the route to go down for you. It just might be the case that you don’t get as much exposure from methods such as radio.

New business approaches are bound to only do good for you. Above are just two ways in which you can make your business better.

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