For any entrepreneur looking to try their hands at something different, the ferry business might be an appealing move. Wherever you are in the world, there will always be people who need to travel. And, if it involves water, then there are opportunities for anyone who wants to start a ferry service to shuttle people from A to B, and back again.
However, one of the major stumbling blocks for many entrepreneurs is the startup costs. Ferries are, by and large, very expensive. So how can you raise funds to kickstart your idea? In today’s guide, we’re going to take a look.
Keep an eye out for subsidies
Although there aren’t many grants or subsidies on show for starting a ferry business, it’s worth keeping an eye out. Without companies running services, transportation agencies face pressure to build the right infrastructure. Especially in growing areas. Therefore, it works out cheaper for them to pass on a smaller amount of money to a ferry service that can transport people on existing waterways. It’s far cheaper than it would for building bridges, rail tracks and tunnels out of their own purses. So, watch out for water-bound locations that are seeing a population growth. And don’t be afraid to get in touch with the relevant state to find out what they can do for you.
The pressure on governments around the world to be more environmentally friendly increases every year. And, therefore, so will the amount of grants they hand out. So, if you can find 2nd hand passenger ferries that you can work on and turn into a hybrid vessel, there may be an opportunity for funding. Of course, you’ll need to prove your credentials – and those of your team. But a greener water transport service is always going to be welcomed by government agencies anywhere in the world.
If you can help businesses provide a service to their customers, then they may be willing to pay for it. Let’s say you find a coastal city with a busy airport. Perhaps a ferry service could be a more efficient way of getting to the airport on time, direct from the city center. If it prevents an airline’s service being disrupted by land traffic and hold ups, you can save them time and money. Of course, if you offer something cheaper and more efficient, then it might be something they would be interested in investing in. You could even target some businesses that serve the airport. Perhaps you could supply a delivery service that reaches them every day, on time, and avoids the heavy city traffic.
Of course, if you can prove your value as a ferry service on paper, then there’s a good chance of finding private funding. There are two things you will need to get private investment. A watertight – excuse the pun – business plan, and an experienced team behind you. Most investors will see the opportunity, and could well be persuaded. However, bear in mind that finding funding in the private markets can mean you end up giving away a reasonable percentage of your company. That may, or may, not prove problematic later on down the line.
Good luck with the new venture!
3 Issues That Businesses Are Struggling To Deal With Right Now
It was hoped that the start of 2021 would mark the end of troubles associated with the coronavirus. However, experts would agree it was foolish to believe or conclude that the problems associated with the pandemic would disappear overnight. Indeed, in many countries, the situation right now is no better than it was nearly a year ago.
Even with multiple vaccinations approved and accessible on the market, it’s still going to take months to ensure that vulnerable people have the doses they require and longer to guarantee vaccines are widespread throughout the population. We are also starting to see the first signs of variations of the virus that are more deadly and potentially resistant to the vaccinations that have already been created.
Ultimately, this means that businesses do still need to be concerned about the impact that COVID-19 could have on their company. Owners will also need to put strategies in place to guarantee that they are dealing with the issues here the right way. Let’s take a look at some of the problems that businesses need to handle right now.
Problems With Employees
Right now, business owners have some important decisions to make about their employees. First, they need to think about social distancing. Experts claim that social distancing will still be important up until winter 2021 and potentially beyond this. Companies must be following the right standards and regulations to keep everyone in their business safe, including employees. If they fail to do this, then they will be leaving themselves open to a massive potential lawsuit.
There are a variety of ways to adhere to social distancing guidelines. First, you can think about adding some new installations to your business environment. Plexiglass is the typical option used by businesses, particularly where there is a large number of employees working in close vicinity to one another and interacting with customers.
Businesses also need to consider where they need to reduce their team numbers. This is a more permanent solution to the issue of social distancing and certain environments indeed make keeping people separate far more difficult. For instance, fast food restaurants such as Mcdonalds had no choice but to let large numbers of team members go during the first lockdown.
It is worth thinking about this as an opportunity to trim the fat in your business model. You can get rid of some of the employees who are not pulling their weight or who are holding your company back.
Of course, it’s also possible that you have lost members of your team and you need to replace them. This could be the case if there were vulnerable team members who now need to shield. There are ways to ensure that you get great replacement team members and fill important positions. You can use specialized services for this like a construction labour hire agency. This could be perfect if you are worried about vetting new team members yourself or you just don’t have time to complete these processes.
While business owners are likely hoping that the days of lockdown are now behind us, there’s every chance that there could be a few more in the future. Researchers and government officials have already stated that this will need to occur if it seems like hospitals are going to be overwhelmed, if death rates are rising or if the R rate is too high.
So, what will lockdowns mean for business owners? Businesses weren’t prepared for the first lockdowns but they have an opportunity to prepare for the next ones. One of the ways to do this is to check your existing business insurance or set up additional plans. You can get the insurance that will guarantee you can keep your finances in order even if you have to shut your doors for an extended period.
As well as exploring insurance options, you might also want to think about exploring your online brand identity and profile. When there is a lockdown, the best way to make money is through online transactions. As such, the business profile online needs to be as strong as possible. There are a few areas to consider improving here.
For instance, you might want to think about ensuring that transactions are as smooth as possible. Improve the structure of your website and ensure any user is only ever three clicks away from a page they are looking for. Pages need to load quickly too otherwise your customers are going to get bored and look elsewhere online. When you think about load times remember that a lot of your customers are going to be using mobile devices. You need to make sure that pages load rapidly on as many devices as possible. A-B testing is one of the best ways to check for issues here and ensure that you don’t disappoint customers.
Security should be a top consideration here too. The last thing that you need right now is to suffer a data breach. There are a variety of ways that you can boost security levels in your business. Our recommendation would be to invest in the services of an IT support team. They’ll keep a check out for signs that your security has been compromised.
Now is the right time to reduce wastage in your business model and tighten things up a little more. One option that you might want to consider is saying goodbye to your business office. Thanks to the latest tech choices on the market, there are very few business models that require an office to work effectively. Work from home and you will reduce your costs immediately.
You can also think about hiring freelance workers rather than a permanent team. This is a trend that you should explore and you won’t be alone. By 2030, the majority of workers will be part of the gig economy.
It’s clear then that the worst may not be behind business owners. However, with the right strategies in place, companies will be able to weather this storm and keep their lights on, while they wait for a better tomorrow.
How To Reduce Your Shipping Costs As An Online Seller
Shipping costs are something that you are stuck with as an online seller. This makes finding innovative ways to reduce your expenditure on shipping a necessity. This keeps your profit margins high and your stream of revenue flowing steadily. Thinking strategically to reduce shipping costs for yourself and your clients is a major requirement if you want to be successful as an online seller. This is because your customers and clients expect to spend less on shipping and want free shipping in most cases. Here are five smart ways to reduce shipping costs.
Choose lighter packing materials
Protecting items in transit is important, and this means you must get the best packing materials to secure them. However, not all packing materials are the same. To lower shipping expenses, consider lightweight, protective materials that offer the same level of protection as the heavier ones. In this regard, use air pillows and bubble wrap to secure the boxes’ empty spaces—the lighter the package, the lesser the cost.
Use flat-rate shipping
Make the most out of flat-rate shipping. Most major logistics businesses offer some sort of flat-rate shipping, and you can take advantage of this to save some money. If you happen to ship heavy items frequently, this could present a great opportunity to save a lot. Be sure to research your options and make the best choice that makes it economical for your business. You can get significant savings on UPS prices here.
Improve your negotiation skills
Great negotiation skills are key to saving money anywhere, and in the shipping business, your ability to negotiate will save you some expenses. You can negotiate the terms and rates of your parcel volume even if it is on the low side with your shipper to slash your shipping costs. With competition high amongst shipping vendors, being a good negotiator could secure you a good deal. However, note that not all shippers can provide certain services or guarantees. So, be sure you settle on one that can fulfill all your shipping obligations and satisfy your customers’ demands.
Buy in bulk
Buy packaging products, from cartons to air cushions, to bubble wraps, and even pallets in bulk. Buying in bulk usually comes with volume discounts that can save you some money. One more thing to consider is your product packaging. Your packaging is part of your brand, so find suitable branding methods that do not alter your products’ weight by much.
Recycle and reuse shipping supplies
It is more likely than not that you also have items shipped to you before you resell. It is best to recycle and reuse such shipping supplies, to save money on shipping costs and packaging materials. You can repurpose the cartons and packaging material for your own packages. Simply replace the shipping labels with your branded ones. This also ensures you run a green business as you reduce the effects of possible environmental pollution.
If you decide to offer free shipping to your clients, that is fine but remember that it will eat into your profits. In this regard, you must find smart ways to save money on shipping expenses as well as packaging. If not, then as much as possible, find ways to reduce the shipping costs for your customers so that they can continue purchasing your products.
Ensuring The Best Quality For Your Customers
For all businesses big and small, customer satisfaction should be the number one goal, as they’re the ones who make everything possible. Without customer satisfaction, you’re going to see sales decrease, and it’s going to be hard to operate with efficiency! There’s a lot you can do to ensure that your customers are satisfied, and it doesn’t hurt to put in that extra effort to make sure of it!
Data security is very important for many reasons, but most importantly you want to make sure customer information is not at risk! It’s a legal requirement to protect the sensitive information of customers and employees, and you’re likely going to lose sales if you have a data breach. Make sure that all of your data is secured and away from people with ill intent, else you’ll be risking your reputation and the trust of your audience!
If you work in retail, the only way you can ensure customer satisfaction is from product testing, and making sure everything is the quality you want it to be! Whether it’s by tasting products as a food retailer or making sure customers are getting what they pay for. If you sell by weight, consider investing in some scales to make sure you’re selling what you advertise – ones like these: https://www.arlynscales.com/scale-knowledge/industrial-weighing-scales/. You don’t want any mixups with customer satisfaction, and many brands have faced criticism for inaccurate advertising.
Promotions and loyalty cards
Loyalty cards and promotions are a great way to reward your customers for buying from you, they allow you to give back to the customer for their repeating patronage! Make sure to set it up so that you don’t lose out, while also giving back to your customers – you’re trying to please the customer, not sink the business!
A lot of businesses offer credit instead of a loyalty card, finance that can only be used in their stores, encouraging them to come back and buy from you again! These deals are great for building lasting relationships between you and your audience, and should be used by every retailer if they can afford it!
Allowing customers to give feedback is very important if you’re trying to please them, as they can tell you exactly what you did wrong and how you can do better! A lot of businesses do this through their website with a review feature, allowing them to collect data on their customers and find a general consensus on what the audience wants. It’s never bad to hear what your customers have to say, and you might end up pushing yourself a little closer to success with each change based on customer complaints! You can read more at https://survicate.com/customer-satisfaction/tips/.
You can’t please every customer, but trying to please the majority of them is what’s going to help you climb closer to success. Trying to keep an honest relationship with your customers, and not driving your prices up too high is important if you want to keep loyalty between you; people can tell when they’ve been overcharged – and that’s not something you want!
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