5 Things to Know About Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a way for businesses and companies to sell products without having their own warehouses or inventory. This might sound confusing to someone unfamiliar with this process, but it can be profitable for small online businesses. 

 

So, what does someone need to know to understand dropshipping in Canada and the United States? We are going to go over five essential things one needs to know about it!  

What is Dropshipping? 

Dropshipping is when a company does not keep a specific inventory or has a warehouse, where the business keeps its products. The company uses a larger company, a direct manufacturer, or wholesaler to buy the products their customer wants. 

 

The company usually has an agreement with the wholesaler, so the company gets it at a lower price but sells it at a higher price to make a profit. The wholesaler then ships the item directly to the customer, but in the company’s name. 

How Profitable is Dropshipping?

The profit for dropshipping is high for companies. Usually, it ranges anywhere from 20%-45% profit for companies if they have products that sell and have good relations and prices with the wholesalers.

 

With some higher-priced items, like electronics or jewelery, a company can make a 100% profit or more. 

Who Can Use Dropshipping?

It is perfect for smaller online businesses or new online business. It is suitable for these types of companies because the company will not have to invest a lot in products to have in a warehouse with many items. The company can use larger warehouses and wholesales to hold inventory. 

 

Also, dropshipping is very low risk because the company does not have to invest in products that might never be sold. 

 

Which Products Should Be Used for Dropshipping?

For this to work to make money, a company has to know which products are better to sell using this business model. 

 

A company should look at the item’s retail value, based on the wholesale amount to see how much of a margin there is. Also, one should consider the size and weight of the products because that will play a role in how much shipping will cost. 

 

Also, a company should look at the quality and durability of the items. It is a good idea to sell a higher price and higher quality items to minimize returns and refunds. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Dropshipping?

Some pros are that it is easy to set up, low risk, and highly profitable if done correctly. A few cons is that if something goes wrong with the product, the company has full responsibility to replace it on their own. 

The Bottom Line

Dropshipping is a great system to use if one has a new online company or a smaller online business to make a good profit on selling products. 

 

Law Firms and Others Facing Increasing Cybercrime

In the past few years there have been myriad news stories about cybersecurity threats at law firms and other companies around the world. Hackers just love a challenge, but more than that, they love overcoming one. And their motivations run the gamut, but when they’re successful, they create lots of problems that can be extremely costly for the targeted organization.

To be sure, law firms aren’t alone. Cybercrime is a major concern today for just about every industry you can name, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, many sources say that it continues to rise. CNBC has reported that the overall cost of cybercrime has exceeded $600 billion.

Why is this happening? For one thing, most professional offices today depend heavily on technology to conduct their daily business, so the same widespread connectivity that helps us do our jobs is also making us vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Law firms are rightfully concerned about cybercrime because of the immense volume of confidential data — legal, financial and personal — that they maintain and transfer online. And law firms specializing in corporate or property law are at even greater risk because of the potential for financial gain by hackers.

Additionally, there have been many news reports in recent years about hackers employing cybercrime to satisfy political, economic or ideological motivations. The truth is that cybercriminals can range from computer buffs looking to have fun to business competitors and even spies or terrorists trying to topple governments.

In any business or legal environment, cybercrime is a threat that must be addressed. Smaller office networks are considered easier to break into since they may have fewer security resources and a smaller IT team than larger ones. All companies need to be aware of what’s happening out in the ether and the consequences that can follow a cyber crimes, and be prepared in the event such an incident does occur.

Email, where cyber criminals are most active, can be extremely vulnerable to phishing attacks. According to Verizon, email is responsible for 92.4 percent of malware. These attacks can take various forms including cleverly disguised messages that appear to be from a familiar source. Another common form of phishing can arrive via attachments that, if opened, can cause major problems. These and other ruses are developed to motivate recipients into divulging confidential information, providing users’ credentials or downloading viruses and other malware.

This is why it behooves all companies to be on guard. You never know when something malicious might arrive in your inbox, and clicking on an errant link could easily start a chain reaction that’s capable of shutting down your company network for hours, even days, at a time.

So what’s the solution? Well, hackers are nothing if not smart, even brilliant. And they’re also devious. The good news is that companies of all types are becoming more and more alert to this growing trend and are actively exploring ways to address it. Head the hackers off at the pass, so to speak.

If you own a company or business that has an in-house network, do everything you can to keep them as safe and worry-fee as possible. This means installing prevention technology that detects problematic emails and cyber attacks before they have an opportunity to enter and infect your system. This way, your network does all the heavy lifting, preventing you and your company from experiencing costly downtime.

Also, teach all the members of your team what to look for, should a malicious email appear in their inbox. This can range from checking the footer of a suspicious-looking message with professionally designed graphics to ensure that it’s really from the sender it claims to be from, to being aware of warnings noted by the system that it might be a malicious email to being very careful about opening attachments that haven’t been scanned by your company’s email system to determine safety.

It’s an old adage that still holds true today: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Fujitsu

A New Standard in Financial Processing – Fujitsu’s ScanSnap and HubDoc Accounting Software

 

A New Standard in Financial Processing

When technology and (GAAP) – (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) work together in harmony, it is indeed a beautiful thing. Fujitsu continues to show a commitment to evolve each year and that is exemplified by their industry leading status of having the number one global image scanner market share for nearly a decade.

Working in the cloud creates more time to manage resources efficiently and increases workflow productivity. Deviceless scanning is even possible with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap Cloud, as it delivers scanned data directly from the ScanSnap iX1500 to your favorite cloud services, without a computer or mobile device. ScanSnap Cloud automatically classifies your scanned images as documents, receipts, business cards or photos, and sends them to the appropriate cloud service based on your pre-set profile, all while reducing paperwork.

Enter Hubdoc, a software company that helps accountants save time, scale their practice, and build deeper relationships with the businesses they serve by automating document collection and management. Hubdoc’s ever-growing partnership with Fujitsu pays dividends to both technology users and financial software end users. This new software is based on basic accounting rules that turn “shoe box accounting” into a digital workflow that is both intuitive and user-friendly. Simply put – Hubdoc enables businesses to easily and securely scan and submit financial documents to their accountant or bookkeeper from anywhere using the cloud.

Hubdoc allows you to collect, sort, and file all your physical documents onto the cloud in a secured “digital filing cabinet” that is easy to access and search. No more chasing documents or conducting manual data entry. Hubdoc makes it easy for the finance and accounting departments to access their small and large business clients’ financial documents. It automatically collects bank statements, bills, receipts, and invoices from hundreds of suppliers and financial institutions. Clients can also upload documents via Hubdoc’s mobile app, desktop, and email.

With the integration between Hubdoc and Fujitsu’s ScanSnap, going completely paperless is painless. Ultimately, the ScanSnap iX1500 helps you save time and money without ever compromising on the quality of your work.

The convergence is here. Fujitsu and Hubdoc now share a partnership designed for accountants in need of a better, more efficient way to service their clients.

With Hubdoc’s intuitive software integration with Fujitsu’s user- friendly hardware, the usual setbacks are a thing of the past. To learn more about Hubdoc’s accounting software benefits, please visit: www.hubdoc.com. To learn more about Fujitsu’s ScanSnap iX1500, please visit: www.fujitsu.ca

Check out the full article in the next issue of Money Magazine or online at  www.MONEY.CA/fujitsu

 

 

Advice to Young Startups Looking to Make an Impact

When you’re thinking about diving headfirst into the entrepreneurial trenches, any piece of advice you can get from those who came before you is invaluable.

To get you started on the right foot in your startup journey, I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned along the way during my tenure in the venture capital industry.

First, remember that starting a company requires both time (lots and lots of long hours) and personal sacrifice. That’s why it’s important to make sure your business idea is something you believe will transform the market or directly impact a major void in a market. . Make it meaningful and something that will create significant interest from consumers.

A second guidance point, and this is probably the most critical: surround yourself with individuals and team members who are smarter than you and passionate about being part of a start-up. You need to build a diverse team of people who have a variety of backgrounds and perspectives and who can give you helpful, educated input and won’t be afraid to provide their opinions on the direction of your company. This will lead to higher-quality decisions and create a dynamic organization.

Be flexible. When you’re building something from the ground up it’s inevitable that you’ll make mistakes in the process. Being able to adapt to the unexpected will help you stay focused on what matters and the broader, more long-term goals. Don’t allow yourself to derail over the small things, and be prepared to react quickly to bumps in the road

All entrepreneurs need to prepare for every aspect of running a business, and this includes developing an ability to manage the company’s finances. Whether you are going to ask a lender for a loan or seek an investment from a venture capitalist, make sure to go in with a solid, well-researched business plan that shows the market opportunity.. Remember, angel investors hear pitches all day long and are really looking for a business idea that will stand the test of time and produce the largest ROI.

WIth that said, find a way to grab the investor’s attention. Be upfront about your business’s journey and your plans for its success.

Never fear failure. Instead, recognize that failure can teach you valuable lessons about your business as well as your career path. What works for one person may not work for you – don’t get discouraged. Try again until you get it right.

And my last piece of advice – go for it. There’s no need to spend years working on a business model. Just go and start. Do it. Test it. Good luck!

Entering Venture Capitalism? What to Know

One of the questions I often receive as a venture capitalist is, “How do I become a venture capitalist?” New graduates and startup veterans alike want to get into the industry, and, I admit, it can be enticing.

There are many ways to break into the venture capital world, but they can generally be broken down into two categories: serial entrepreneurship and investment banking. I define a venture capitalist as someone who distributes third-party funds into new, early-stage ventures. An angel investor is someone who invests in companies with their own capital.

If you want to be a venture capitalist or enter in the industry, my advice is to start by building your experience in the greater financial industry as soon as possible. Ask an established VC if you can shadow them and ask as many questions as you can.

You’ll also need strong analytical skills with the ability to research markets and have a mix of foresight and business savvy to pick winning investments. From my experience, success in this area also directly correlates with an ability to keep up with changing industry trends.

Finding entrepreneurs or young businesses at the earliest stages in the process is another critical skill. One way to find these potential investment opportunities is to attend meetups for emerging technologies and identify attendees offering the most potential.

Once you’ve discovered and pinpointed a potential business to invest in and have completed the necessary analysis to suggest it will succeed, the next step is figuring out finances. How much money does this business require? This isn’t the final stage of the process, but shaping out a basic set of terms is fairly easy — and highly important.

Working as a venture capital can be highly stressful, yet at the same time lucrative. Be prepared to clock in a lot of very long hours with most of that time spent listening to pitches by potential companies. It’s also, in my opinion, extremely rewarding to watch a start-up you invested in succeed.

Time Is Money: Why the Average Worker Spends Too Much Time on Email

Time Is Money: Why the Average Worker Spends Too Much Time on Email

Whether you’re a manager and looking for ways to improve the productivity of your staff, or a self-employed entrepreneur who understands how important your time is for your profitability, you should know how common it is for workers to spend too much time on email.

Email productivity issues are rampant in all sectors, and at all levels of employment. But if you know the underlying causes of this inefficiency, you can start working to address them.

Lack of Insight

The first and biggest problem is a lack of insight. Most people have no idea how much time they spend on email, and therefore can’t know whether they’re spending too much time on the platform. They don’t have any data visuals, productivity tools, or email analytics tools that can help them pinpoint their bad habits, so they’re stuck repeating the same processes they’ve grown used to over the years.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of Gmail apps that can help you remedy this problem, giving you insight into your email analytics, and directing your attention to problem areas.

The Volume Factor

Email is also a critical area for time waste due to the sheer volume of email in our daily lives. The average office worker gets something like 121 emails per day. If you do the math, you’ll see that even a 1-second time waste per message can lead to 2 minutes of lost time per day, and over 8 hours of wasted time per year.

A 10-second time waste is 20 minutes per day and 80 hours a year. Accordingly, it doesn’t take much to sabotage a worker’s productivity. From the optimist’s viewpoint, even a few-second improvement to email productivity can have a massively positive impact.

The Distraction Factor

Most employees keep their email open in a tab throughout the day, or have email notifications on a smartphone turned on, so they’re constantly notified of incoming messages. This is handy to shorten your response time, but it also has the potential to distract you from your work.

And as scientific evidence suggests, it takes up to 23 minutes for your mind to fully recover from a distraction. You can control this variable by turning off notifications, and disconnecting from your email periodically throughout the day.

Disorganization

Few emailers have a consistent system for organization; instead, they let their emails come in untouched, and address them more or less in the order they came in. This allows some emails to get lost or go without a response, and makes it harder to find older emails.

Every email platform has tools to improve organization, such as labels or folders—but it’s up to you to devise a clear system, and implement it on a daily basis.

Threads and Inefficient Communication

Then there’s the problem of inefficient communication overall. Employees send emails without subject lines, which make it hard for recipients to categorize them. They send 500-word emails when a 100-word email could suffice. They start and continue threads of 20 messages or more that could have been resolved with 5.

There’s no easy way to resolve these complex and, at times, subjective problems, but focusing on conciseness, intent, and scannable formatting (like bullet points and bold sub-headers) can do wonders.

You won’t be able to change your habits or the habits of your employees overnight, but with enough work and dedication to improved efficiency, you can master email as a communication platform. Start looking for points of inefficiency that you can optimize, and let small, iterative habit changes guide you to a more productive, profitable path.

AI, Marketing and the Skilled Workforce Needed to Drive Its Progression

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning have become common components of emerging modern technologies, from the algorithms that recommend new products for purchase to the chatbots that provide customer service assistance on many commerce websites.

Some digital marketing now incorporates AI to great effect, and these approaches can be beneficial, particularly in highly competitive spaces.

  • The use of AI in digital marketing can help optimize a user’s website experience by predicting consumer behavior, personas, cycles, and customer service needs.
  • As mentioned above, AI helps to optimize processes, which can benefit return on investment (ROI). AI can make a payment process more secure and frictionless, and machine learning can help collect better data from customers.
  • Search sessions on a site will be improved by AI assistance, since AI will be able to better predict user behavior and search terms.
  • Reaching the right audience for your brand will be an easier and more efficient process with the help of AI, which can allow for better targeting based on behavior, demographics, etc.
  • AI will improve sales models and other predictive elements, as machine learning and other AI-related tools can process data more fully and more quickly than humans.

However, many wonder about what sort of skills or talents are needed in the workforce to fully take advantage of all the benefits of AI-aided marketing. How can AI be implemented in marketing approaches if there is a lack of professionals who know how to develop and manage machine learning and AI-based tools?

While there is currently a talent gap between the needs of these emerging AI-related jobs and the skills present in much of the existing marketing workforce, many marketing professionals are taking the talents they possess — creativity, resilience, and risk tolerance — and working to build up their analytical skills. Many successful marketing professionals are learning skills related to AI, machine learning, and data proficiency through online courses or short-term workshops, or going back to school to learn more about data analytics, programming, and mathematics.

In addition, since AI is a quickly evolving field, agility is one of the qualities most prized by companies seeking individuals who can innovate and develop the technology for new applications. Many companies are finding that, when it comes to working with AI, it is useful to hire professionals who are creative thinkers, who have a high degree of resilience, and who are not afraid to take risks — and then encourage those employees to acquire and refine their skills through training programs or experience on the job.

AI and machine learning are already present in much of the digital space, and the influence of these technologies will only increase in the next few years. AI-aided marketing and AI-skilled employees will be less of a luxury and more of a requirement for companies and brands in the future.

Modern Age SEO Practices that Guarantee Success

Shockingly, in a recent news feature published by CNBC, Overstock.com reported a sharp 13% drop in the 4th quarter revenues for 2017. The company went on to explain that the decline was due to dwindling number of search results. This happened due to changes in Google’s algorithms, because of which SEO strategies failed to have a positive impact. This is why SEO companies in Dubai like Nenen, which specialize in providing services for search engine optimization in Dubai, always keep tabs on changing algorithms of prominent search engines to ensure the most effective optimization strategies.

We take a look at some of the proven SEO strategies that the best SEO agencies in Dubai follow for assured success.

Dependable SEO Strategies for the Modern Age

  1. Creating interactive, mobile-friendly sites: Prominent search engines like Google have added “mobile friendliness” as one of the factors determining the ranking of websites. Considering the huge impact the presence of mobile devices has had, this comes as no surprise. This is why websites need to be mobile friendly and interactive, in order to make a mark. The resolution and layout needs to be different to adapt to mobile screens. The same layout and design might not suit a smaller screen as it does a desktop.
  2. Concentrating on local SEO: Local searches have increased manifold in recent times. Companies specializing in online marketing in Dubai or any other major commercial hub will always advise strategies that can ensure visibility in local searches. Prospective customers need to be able to find your contact details, directions to your location, your opening and closing hours and other such relevant information online easily. Catering to searches that have the name of the location in them is extremely important.
  3. Structured data is the way to go: Search engines need to handle truckloads of information in varied formats. They need to inspect every website and literally “understand” them for making their job easier. This is why, systems like “schemas” that allow the data to be represented in a much more structured way proves to be of help to search engines. The digital marketing agency you engage will help you in engaging these schemas for best results.
  4. Being equipped with the right set of tools always matters: Search engine optimization strategies cannot be mastered alone. Of course, you will need assistance from expert SEO strategists. You will also need help from a set of tools that can be used for checking traffic levels, your ranking, results on social media, incoming links and so on. If you have a large website with plenty of traffic to manage, monitoring the results of your SEO strategies can never be easy unless you select the right tools.

Your website is like your brick and mortar store in the online marketplace. Making it visible and attractive will require meticulous planning and timely execution of online marketing and SEO strategies. Make sure you plan well.

Boost Traffic On Your Business Website With These Design Tips

Building a business website is not as daunting of a task as it may seem, but there are a few specific aspects of site design that work better than others.  To run a successful business website, you first need people.

Focus your efforts on boosting traffic to your website through design.  The more visitors you draw, the more likely it is for you to see your conversions rise.  Here are a few design tips that will help you boost traffic on your business website.

Build an awesome business blog

If your business blog is good enough, it will act as a powerful tool to draw visitors to your website.  Your business blog is the key to spreading your site’s message across the tangled web of the internet.

When people read and share your business blog posts with friends and family, word spreads quickly.  Your blog is also a great place to build your website’s keyword saturation and rank higher in the SERPs.

Ranking higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) means that more people will have more of a chance to “stumble” across your business website.  Check out how this business set up their blog presence.   

Learn all you can about SEO

Search engine optimization is just as it sounds.  SEO is a set of concepts which (if correctly implemented) will optimize your website’s position in the SERPs, so web users can more easily find your business site.  

Learn everything you can about SEO, and redesign your website to fall in line with the concepts.  You will see boosted web traffic within the first few days of the change.  Learning how the internet works will enlighten you in many ways.

Optimize for mobile access

As you rework your business design, optimize the website for mobile access.  People are no longer accessing web pages from their PCs or laptops as often as they are using their mobile devices.  

For your website to remain relevant to the technology of the times, you need to optimize for mobile access.  People should never have to pinch or swipe their screen to accurately view your business website.

Take your Google My Business slot

Every business, for the sake of visibility, should take their free Google My Business listing.  Google offers the opportunity to literally make your mark on their maps.

After taking your Google My Business listing, local searches will produce a listing and map marker for your organization.  Brick and mortar locations see a marked increase in traffic after signing up with Google My Business.  

Use high quality media on your site

High quality media looks more enticing to the Google search bots.  Sites with high quality media rank higher in the SERPs. People don’t want to look at pixelated images and wait a whole minute for a page to load.  High quality media will solve these issues and boost web traffic.

The Connected Supply Chain: Get Positioned Now to Play

Game changing.

That’s the impact the Internet of Things (IoT) technology may have on Supply Chain Management generally, and inventory management and demand forecasting specifically. And it’s happening now.

Through 2025, according to projections by DHL and Cisco Consulting Services, the IoT can be expected to generate some $1.9 trillion in value driven by supply chain and logistics applications. By 2020, the firms also estimate that the number of devices connected to the Internet will explode to 50 billion from 2015’s 15 billion.

Supply Chain Management at its simplest involves managing the flow of goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption and all the stops in between. A supply chain that’s “connected” stands to yield any number of operational efficiencies. But, at the same time, there will be challenges – not the least of which is bringing businesses current with IoT technology, given the number of outdated legacy systems being used alongside new technologies and assets that are both connected and unconnected.

Among the efficiencies a connected supply chain can create:

· Far better tracking of assets and at incredibly granular levels. The IoT poses substantive advantages by expanding the existing application of RFID and GPS sensors that will track products from floor to store or more. In addition, deeper data dives will be possible on things like storage temperature or length of time on retailers’ shelves. All of this improved data will combine to improve quality control, delivery performance and forecasting.

· Having better data on assets can lead to improved production schedules and also give companies a better perspective on vendor performance. That’s important when up to 65 percent of the value of an organization’s products or services stems from its suppliers. Having a better understanding of how they’re handling supplies and product is a bonus.

· IoT monitoring programs for forecasting and inventory planning purposes are a lot more accurate than what humans can do. Still, data collection can be haphazard, not necessarily providing a good baseline for analyzing product performance and predicting failures. MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, though, has developed an algorithm that builds IoT failure data directly into the equation. It not only helps predict future inventory needs, but has been shown to help reduce stock by 6 percent to 10, a considerable bottom-line impact

The drive to create a connected supply chain is not going to be easy, however. And it’s not just the question of investing in the technology and in the skills that people will need to develop to make it work.

The IoT-connected supply chain is going to result in exponentially larger amounts of data. Simply collecting it won’t be enough. It’s knowing what to do with all the disparate data that will be produced, when much of it will be incomplete, insufficient and inaccurate. This data will need to be accounted for and properly managed in order to lead to the sophisticated analytics that provide insights for smarter decisions. Sound analytics processes, along with the right people and technology need to be put in place.

Without question the IoT is changing the supply chain game. But as this game is a work in progress, your best bet is to start positioning yourself now to be a player.