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How to Ensure Your Real Estate Investment Has Positive Cash Flow

Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

The holy grail of real estate investing, acquiring properties you can rent for more than it costs to own and operate them should always be your goal. Like any other business, to be successful, you must be profitable. Fortunately, there are some key strategies you can employ to ensure your real estate investment has positive cash flow.

The first thing you need to do is find an area with the potential for growth with which you are familiar—or can become familiar. Most investors start out buying near where they live. However, if you’re located in a mature (read very expensive) market such as San Francisco or Manhattan, you’ll likely be better off targeting a newer, more suburban area.

However, rather than going in blindly, spend some time getting to know the region. You want to get a solid understanding of the types of people who are attracted to a given neighborhood, what it costs to maintain properties there, and most importantly, how much rent you can charge and still be competitive.

Once you’ve studied the locale, it will be easier for you to recognize solid opportunities when you run across them. This is where working with a residential property management company like Onerent can also be beneficial to your enterprise. The best ones know the areas they serve and can make solid recommendations based upon your preferences.

When purchasing, ideally, you’ll want to get into your investments for at least 20 percent less than the location’s median price. You’ll also pay for inspections, appraisals and transfer fees when you purchase, so these should be factored into the purchase price. You can then apply the following equation to get a rough idea of the profit potential of the investment.

(Gross Annual Rent/Purchase Price) x 100 =

If the answer is eight percent or more, you’ll probably be fine. Anything over 10 percent is pretty much a slam-dunk. A number below eight percent is likely to be problematic. Keep in mind; this assumes you have your costs in line so they don’t eat into that eight to 10 percent margin. So before you get excited about it, take some time to calculate the expenses you’ll need to cover.

One of the most important costs is the typical vacancy rate for the area in which the property is located. Your local realtor board can usually supply this information.  Whatever the percentage works out to be, you’d be smart to hold a commensurate amount of the property’s annual income in reserve to cover it. Property taxes should also be included in your operating costs.

Repairs, maintenance and turnover costs usually come in at around five percent of the annual income, so you should set aside cash for those as well. While repair costs won’t come up all the time—if you’ve identified a sound property—it’s better to have the cash in reserve than it is to scramble to find the funds when an emergency arises.

Looking at all of these numbers, you’ve by now realized only a small percentage of the properties you’ll encounter will qualify as guaranteed profit-making propositions. This is why it’s so important to go in with your eyes open to ensure your real estate investment has positive cash flow.

Basing your decisions on solid math, rather than speculation — or worse, an emotional response — will help you keep your choices grounded in reality. While it’s very easy to fall in love with a pretty property, it’s important to remember beauty is only skin-deep. Negative cash flow cuts to the bone.



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20 Practical Tips for Choosing a Great Domain Name for Your Brand

Domain Name

When it comes to selecting a domain name for your brand, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Domain names should be short, relevant to your business, easy to remember and easy to pronounce. If clients can’t find your website easily and recommend it by word of mouth, you are lacking something. This piece takes a look at 20 important domain name tips.

..But first, where can you buy a domain name?

A quick search online would present you with numerous options for registering your company’s domain. You can choose any of the numerous registrars and work with them. Depending on the kind of domain you are seeking to buy, you can expect to spend as little as $10 on a name and as high as 6-digit sums for premium names. If you already have a chosen hosting provider, you should consider getting a domain from them, since many of them offer free domains when you purchase hosting, and it can help to keep domain name and hosting in the same place.

Now to choose your domain name

1 Choose a brandable name

This is why experts advise you to brainstorm domains as well, when choosing your company name. A brand name that is accompanied by the same domain name is beneficial. You only need to look at the biggest brands and their domains, and how they dominate the search engines to understand this point. It’s easy for Coca Cola, Amazon or Apple customers to find the business online because the brand name is the domain name.

2 The .com extension should be high on your list

…But don’t get fixated on it. There have been many arguments on why the .com extension is the king of domains and why you must get one. There is some backing to those arguments as many web users are still addicted to expecting a .com ending for a website following years of dominance by the extension. However, the landscape has changed a lot in the last few years. New generic Top Level Domains have been introduced, with more in the pipeline. Users are slowly acclimatising to the fact that businesses can use other extensions. However, if the .com extension is available for your chosen name, go for it.

3 Ensure ease of typing

The short attention span of the typical web user is well documented. They would rather not visit your company website if they have to copy and paste the address from somewhere else or they have to struggle to remember it. Keep things easy and straightforward.

4 Consider keywords

What is your business about? You should consider using keywords in your niche. This is even more important where you are unable to secure a brand domain name.

5 Choose a pronounceable name

If the name can’t be pronounced, you would not be able to take advantage of word of mouth advertising. Seek the opinion of several external parties to be certain that the domain name can be pronounced.

6 Beware of trademark infringements

If your chosen domain name would be seen as a clear infringement on an existing trademark, you could be courting lawsuits. This is why you should consider legal advice during the process of choosing the company’s domain name. If the domain sounds similar to the name of another company, avoid it.

7 Short and Memorable Wins

Can the name be remembered after a glance? Some of the best domain names are short and memorable. Examples include: Hubspot, Facebook, Twitter, Behance, MOZ, Alexa and more. Notice something about them? They are mostly one or two syllable names.

8 Avoid numbers and hyphens

…And all special characters. They are a drag. Most people would not remember them and those who attempt, could make mistakes that would either lead them to your competitor or to a parked domain.

9 Choose a name for the long haul

You need to carefully complete the selection process as changing your mind years down the line can be debilitating, when the name has built some traction with your audience and the search engines.

10 Confirm social media availability

As a brand, you’ll need to use the same name across your social media channels. Check the availability of the name for the brand’s social media platforms.

11 The right domain name extension is vital

There is no reason to limit your brand with a country specific domain if your brand has a global reach- it sends the wrong signals.

12 Research

If you have read to this point, you’ll understand that the brand name decision is not one you can make lightly. Spend time on research. Which brings us to the next point.

13 Use a Domain Name Generator

There are many of them online. Feed the generator keywords and they can generate good domain names that can also double as your brand name.

14 Avoid personal domains

Even if your brand is a small home based business, avoid using your name as the domain. Apart from the negative impact on marketing and credibility, using a personalised domain is risky because it can be a pain when the brand grows bigger than you expected.

15 Feel Free to Modify

If you find that your brand name is unavailable, you can drop a letter or two or drop vowels to come up with a modified version of the name. Consider swapping letters like using KS for X using Z for S.

16 Stay Unique

Remember, your brand name should be unique. Originality creates a positive impression and also ensures that you won’t infringe on any trademarks.

17 Register other variants of your domain name including country specific domains

When you buy other versions of your brand name, you can avoid cybersquatting cases in the future. You can also redirect the additional domains to make sure you are not losing traffic to “wrong spelling squatters”.

18 Consider the new premium domain extensions

If your chosen domain name for your brand is Xyzcars.com, check to see if you can register xyz.cars. New premium domains have opened up a lot of opportunities with their memorable and keyword rich nature.

19 Avoid trends

Are you considering to make a trendy addition for your domains? Find a name that would stand the test of time instead. Using trendy abbreviations of buzzwords should be avoided.

20 Avoid a naming disaster

Do a quick search online for funny domains and you would find many examples of domain name choices that have gone wrong. If people laugh out loud on hearing your chosen domain, it’s not good for your brand. Similarly, avoid using words that have other meanings in other locations.

Choosing a brand domain name is an arduous task and for good reasons. The name is the foundation of what could to become an empire. Put in all the work with these tips in mind. For more information on domain names and hosting see Freeparking.co.nz



The post 20 Practical Tips for Choosing a Great Domain Name for Your Brand appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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3 Time-Saving Software Innovations for Your Construction Company

Admin tasks are like weeds – you get rid one only to find another three have sprung up.

Whether it’s finalising quotes for prospective customers, filling in paperwork or catching up with an overflowing inbox, there’s no shortage of pesky little jobs to keep you busy.

If you’re not careful, you’ll soon find you have to practically chain yourself to your desk for the entire week just to get halfway through them all.

It’s bad news when you run a construction company.

Instead of getting out there to visit sites you’re stuck at base camp, working in your home office and relying on phone calls to stay up-to-date with your team’s latest triumphs and difficulties.

To free yourself from your paperwork prison, you need to figure out how to cut your admin time down – and we’ve got just the answer for you.

Here’s our pick of three of the best software innovations that’ll boost your efficiency and help you get back on site.

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Copyright: kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo

#1: Inspection software

As the person in charge, it’s your responsibility to ensure all equipment and projects are in line with safety regulations.

Failing to do so not only puts your employees at risk but also your business – should your standards slip, you could face a major fine or even a closure.

Inspection software from Motion Software is used in lots of industries, including construction, to keep comprehensive safety records. By quickly collecting data it reduces the time between inspection and final report, helping you effortlessly build evidence of compliance.

#2: HR software

Whether you run a construction company or a retail shop, looking after your employees is one of the biggest admin responsibilities you’ll have to deal with.

If you don’t have proper procedures in place to handle payroll, expenses and scheduling, you’ll soon find it takes up all of your spare time.

HR software from the likes of MHR can help you take care of the odd and ends associated with workforce management, keeping you in line with regulations regarding employee rights and keeping your staff happy.

#3: Building Information Modelling (BIM)

OK, BIM may be a little pricey but we still think it deserves mentioning, mostly because alongside streamlining your processes it could also help you win bigger clients – and the sizeable paycheques that come with them.

Data-based 3D models of projects can reduce mistakes (and the time and resources they waste) and improve productivity, all by making collaboration between team members much simpler.

Autodesk BIM software could revolutionise the way your company operates so, even if it’s not a realistic option right now, it’s worth keeping an eye on developments and prices over the next few years.

Have you got any other time-saving tips for business owners struggling to stay on top of admin? Leave a comment and let us know.



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Five Simple Ways to Make an Online Store Stand Out

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Some months ago, a colleague of mine ordered a pair of shoes from an online store. When they unpacked the parcel during lunchtime, there was a leaflet in it with pictures of three friendly looking men working in the shipping department of that online shop. With a marker, there was a cross below one of them, indicating that Toby was the person who packed the parcel. Did I need to know that? No, not really, but it did turn the anonymous online store into a likable business run by real people.



This is just one example of how online stores can make themselves unique. The competition is tough, so it is definitely a good idea to focus on what makes you distinctive and unique. Let’s be honest, often online shoppers do not care much if they buy a product in the web shop “Fashion Empire” or from their competitor “Empire Fashion”. These customers go with the shop who is offering the right product for the right price in the right delivery time.

If your shop offers a unique experience, you can become the unicorn in a herd of horses. Your customers are more likely to remember you and increase the chances of them buying again. In the best case, the buyer will talk to their friends about your online shop and how it made them feel.

Uniqueness can be achieved in different ways – some smaller, some larger in scale. You should always keep in mind though, that with all such retail efforts you should stay within the boundaries of logical convention.

A great shop design

When creating an online store, the first thing that comes to mind is design. How your shop looks is the first thing your visitors will notice. Creating uniqueness doesn’t mean you need to go overboard and design something radically new. It is important to stick to the fundaments of web design and usability, like the design and typography. Additionally, colors also play a big role when online shopping and are useful for setting a specific mood.

Ensure your shop software allows for freedom of fonts to choose from and colors that can be easily changed in the administration area of your shop. Nowadays, the layout and details of shop themes offer great opportunities to create a unique design for your store.

Be effective with photos

The images in your shop are another huge aspect of how customers will perceive your store. Besides making sure that the image quality is always high, exercise freedom to create something unique using pictures. Why not show off your shop’s categories on the start page with beautiful pictures, and present yourself and your team on the “About us” page? A bold background image that fills the whole screen is an interesting way to use pictures to stand out from other stores.

Unique content and copy

The catch phrase “content is king” may well be over-used, but there is truth in it. The wording on your website is a quick and easy way to communicate what makes your shop unique. Whatever voice you come up with, it should be consistent throughout. It can be confusing for the customer to read a funny, pun-filled start page and then read a boring, authoritative FAQ page or blog post. Keep in mind the wording should be optimized for search engines, you should be current on the right keywords and conventions of SEO practices.

Show who you are

If you run a small shop, creating a personal connection to your customers can be a big advantage over big players like Amazon. Some merchants go so far as to put a picture of themselves in the sidebar of their store, so it is visible on every subpage.

You can also optimize your “about us” page. This part of your shop is the perfect place to explain to the customer what differentiates you from all of the other online shops out there. Show pictures of your staff and office, tell the story behind your shop and explain why you are the best person for selling these products.

Small supportive elements

Use small elements that show the customer a high level of care for them and attention to detail. One idea is to hide a so-called “Easter egg” within your store. This can be a hidden message, an inside joke, which is not so obvious but can be found by attentive customers.

Finally, yet importantly, you can also take care of the offline details of your shop. Why not put a small, inexpensive gift into each package or use branded parcels showing your logo? As you can see, there are plenty of possibilities to stand out from the crowd.

The post Five Simple Ways to Make an Online Store Stand Out appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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How to Convert HTML to PDF

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HTML and CSS are two of the most basic programming languages that are used today mostly in the world of web development. Both languages are independent of each other but they work together to create website pages, and describe how they interact with the user.



Even though these languages are very old they are still very common as they are used in writing code for most static web pages. Web pages are basically nothing else but a simple text document which contains information about the design and functionality of the page. If you haven’t ever seen one, check out the image below to get a closer look at a sample of a YouTube page:

HTML 1

As you can see from the image, to someone who isn’t familiar with programming and website development, it basically looks like gibberish. However, for the few of us that have encountered these types of files it is nothing new. In fact, we are so used to seeing them not only in text, but other formats as well.

Earlier we mentioned that web pages are basically a text file with a bunch of written commands and content. It is very important that none of those commands and no content gets lost, damaged or otherwise misplaced, and when you send files via internet or try manipulating it otherwise, that is just what might happen to HTML and CSS files.

Due to their simple nature, HTML and CSS files have little to no formatting. This is exactly why you must take care how you transport and manipulate these files, otherwise you might end up having just a messy text file online instead of a beautiful website.

One of the best and most safest ways to send your files is by converting them to PDF. Why? Well, Portable Document Format, or PDF, is built for sending files and safekeeping content and other types of files you need long term. Here’s a couple fun facts about why PDFs are the best format to send files in:

  • PDF files can be password locked
  • Content can not be deleted once it is inside the file
  • They are easily convertible and by far one of the easiest formats to manipulate
  • They are “read-only” and also designed to work on all platforms

So, what happens when you are on the road, your clients are demanding and sending you files to be reviewed and rewritten, or you need to do some quick changes to your file before sending it back to your development team? Or you have to do a quick email exchange and take a closer look at the file but you don’t have your laptop at hand? One handy app that might help you is PDF Converter Ultimate, a mobile converter that has instant free Text to PDF conversion.

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The app works via a dedicated online server which converts all files in under a minute or two, no matter how big they are. The app has a very simple user interface so it really shouldn’t take you too long to figure it out if you are tech savvy. Basically what you need to do is open the app and tap on one of the offered cloud services such as Dropbox, Gmail, Google Drive and others, and select which file you want converted. Once you select it, the file is sent to the server for conversion and downloaded back to your device once the process is complete. The newly converted file will be in .txt or .pdf format, depending on which way you want the process to go.

All the integrated cloud services are available in the free version
All the integrated cloud services are available in the free version

The app offers another 5 different types of conversion that cover most of the standard MS Office documents. Aside from text files, you can convert PDFs to Word, Excel, Image, PowerPoint and even AutoCAD files.

As we have previously said, this app can convert both ways (PDF to Text, and Text to PDF), which means that you can quickly close the loop when it comes to managing your files, receiving and sending them out via email.

If you are a developer and you’ve had some experience with this type of problems feel free to try out PDF Converter Ultimate which is available on both iOS and Android.

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Get Paid! Leslie’s Lane Blogger and Author Unearths Popular Work-From-Home Sites

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Whether I’m speaking publicly, having an intimate conversation with others, or writing a post for my blog, without fail, I often get this question: “How can I become my own boss and work from home?” Although individuals pose the question and have the desire to do so, it appears they feel such a brazen thought is unattainable for them. Since the concept is so foreign and alien, they don’t entertain that notion for too long. They continue to work in inflexible jobs.



But there’s great news! Of course you can be your own boss! Of course you can work from home! I have written about this topic and shared precisely how you can do so in articles for international publications, Leslie’s Lane blog postings and in my new book entitled: Leslie’s Lane The Book! Your One Stop Internet Resource Guide to Links for Jobs, Inspiration, Discounts, FREE Stuff, Scholarships, Travel and More! (Amazon $14.95). So you’re searching for full-time, part-time, one-time, seasonal or supplemental income? No worries! Check out a few of my favorite sites that allow you to get paid as you work from home!

1. Rat Race Rebellionhttp://ratracerebellion.com/ – Subscribe to their website and get extra cash for work-from-home jobs that are updated daily. Founded in 1999, the site offers virtual work such as data entry, customer service, pay for watching movie previews, survey takers, adjunct professors, teachers, researchers, writers and numerous others unique and exciting opportunities

2. Clark Howardhttp://www.clark.com/work-home-guide – Okay! Clark Howard is my hero! I’ve interviewed him a few times for my publications. He really does his research and consumers can trust what he says. While viewing his site, you’ll see gigs from international companies such as Amazon, Google, About.com, Hilton Worldwide and Xerox.  But at the same time, explore and grow with new companies on the horizon such as Cashcrate.com, eJury.com, Foap.com, Zintro.com and Elance.com.

3. Mystery Shoppers, Inc. – http://www.mystery-shoppers.com/ – Oh yes! I love this! You get paid to call doctors’ offices to gather info and apartment rental offices to pose as a tenant. Get paid to do some online shopping at stores too. An added bonus is that you earn cash for doing what you already want to or have to do outside of the home! You have to go to the bank, get fuel from the gas station and go to the grocery store. You would like to go to nice restaurants for dinner, take the pet to the vet and spend time at luxury hotels! If you become a mystery shopper, you can enjoy all these perks!

Leslie's Lane The Book Hi Res Image Cover (1)

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How to Build an Online Business from Your Own Expertise

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Let’s do away with the fluff: there are two elements that will make it easier and faster to create your own online business:

1. When you already have a core skill that your business can be built around. If you can base a business on a skill or talent you already possess, you won’t need to “learn the trade” of something new, which delays business building.



2. When you already know your target audience. Without marketing, any business will fail, and online marketing initiatives have to be based on a particular set of people: the target audience. When you have an intimate understanding of those you wish to serve, you’ll save hours of research time.

So although you have plenty of money-making options to choose from (seriously, there are thousands of ways to make money on the Internet), when you base your choice on these two pre-existing elements – using a talent you already have plus having an intimate understanding of your target audience – your business is likely to succeed faster.

What now? The first step to take is to create a talent inventory:

Step number 1: create a talent inventory

Take some time to scribble on a piece of paper, what skills you possess. It’s honestly not as easy as it sounds, because you’re likely to leave some off because you’ve forgotten them. A suggestion is to list your talents under each “area” of your life, like this:

  • Hobbies
  • Career
  • What people keep saying you’re good at
  • Knowledge you have that other people don’t have

Once you’ve come up with a list, consider ways you could generate profit from it. For example, if people often come to you for a good old chat in the office, you may be a good listener. If so, you could make money by teaching others how to listen better.

Step number 2: decide on your desired target audience

If you can hit on a talent that ties into understanding a particular group of people, you may have a winner. For instance, if you have a skill that involves customer service and you work in the IT industry, you could do customer service consulting for the IT industry.

Identify skills and talents, as well as the target audience you wish to serve (actually, the skill and talent may dictate the target audience, i.e. you won’t be able to choose the target audience if you’ve already chosen to use a certain skill). Using the same example of customer service consulting in the IT industry – the IT industry will be your target audience.

Make sense?

Why do you need to understand your target audience? Because online marketing is all about what your potential buyers see. You need to grab their attention, and to do this, you need to understand what will bring their eyeballs to the place of sale.

Step number 3: Brainstorm online options & tools

Now you’ve accomplished the previous steps, in what way will you facilitate your business? What will be the medium/s to accomplish your goals? What digital tools do you have at your disposal?

If we keep to the same example of customer service consulting for the IT industry, you could either 1) become a freelance remote customer service consultant, or you could 3) teach the IT industry how to provide better customer service, or you could 3) find affiliate products to promote that revolve around customer service in the IT industry.

Let’s dig in a little deeper as to how you would go about each of those 3 options. We’ll continue using the example of customer service consulting in the IT industry:

#1: Freelancing

The freelancing route is a great introductory way to start a service business online because there are freelancing websites that match freelancers to jobs. This is helpful because these sites already have traffic and potential customers already searching for remote help.

The key to getting business from these sites is through the proposals you write, as well as price. You may need to start by offering low rates, becoming pickier as you get more clients.

You can also make people aware of your service by using a tool like WiseIntro; without needing any skills, create a free webpage that displays your service. Simply distribute this page on your social media networks so that you can get more business.

Online Business 1
Create a free webpage on WiseIntro to let people know what you do and how you can help them.

#2: Coaching

You can set up a coaching business at the speed of light by using an online course builder like Kajabi, which offers everything you need to create an online coaching business, as well as to promote it.

Online Business 2
Kajabi is an all-in-one coaching solution.

There are other ways to do it like using membership and LMS plugins on a WordPress website, but since we’re talking about setting up a business as fast as possible, the all-in-one solution would be the way to go.

In order to attract traffic to your coaching website means that you’ll need to invest in content marketing.

Another way to coach your target audience is by using a webinar service such as ClickMeeting; people attend your coaching session via webinar, by paying the amount you set.

#3: Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s products for a commission. For a successful affiliate marketing business, you’ll need a website with a solid content marketing strategy, and your goal is not just to sell, but as with all online marketing, to build your email marketing list.

Because of this, affiliate marketing can be quite complex for the beginner, and a tad technical, as you need to promote unique links in order to get paid.

If you want to set up an affiliate marketing business pronto, you will need existing know-how, or alternatively, take some online lessons.

Basic steps to set up an affiliate marketing business:

1. Base the selection of products you wish to promote, on a target audience you already know well. This will save you time. Decide on whether you want to promote digital or physical products that require shipping. Note: you won’t be responsible for shipping; the merchant takes care of that.

2. Decide which affiliate marketplace to use. You may want to start with Clickbank, a marketplace for digital products, or Amazon where you can promote physical goods. You will need to take the time to learn how to use the marketplace effectively as an affiliate. When starting out, select one product and focus on that one. It will save you time if you have knowledge about the product and it’s benefits already instead of needing to learn about them before marketing them.

3. Now devise a promotional strategy based on providing value to your target audience.

4. To attract customers, you’ll need a website. Add links in your content that will direct traffic to a sign-up page so you can collect their email address.

5. Build an email marketing plan to generate and close more leads as well as to engage with previous clients.

Summary

The focus of this article has been to build an online business as fast as possible. To do so, you need to base your business on a talent you already have and not one that you would still need to learn, and you’ll save a substantial amount of time if you already know your target audience.

The steps to implementing a plan based on using two pre-existing elements, are:

1. List your talents, skills and things you enjoy doing in your spare time.

2. Think of a group of people you know well and see if you can combine it with your talents.

3. Consider online business options and helpful platforms that may speed up the process.

Some ideas you could choose from:

  • Freelancing
  • Coaching
  • Affiliate marketing

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Are Private Label Products Right for You?

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Weigh the pros and cons of private labeling.

Have you always dreamt of selling your own beauty products, but have no idea where to start when it comes to formulations? Do you already have a storefront, spa or online beauty store where you can sell a product of your own? Private labeling could be the answer.



Private label products allow you to have your own branded products (sometimes customized with your own scents and formulations) created to sell in your retail area and/or use during treatments (if applicable to your business). However, before launching into a costly (and time-consuming) project, let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits and pitfalls of private labeling according to private label manufacturers.

Private Labeling Benefits

  • Promote your own brand rather than someone else’s.
  • Stay ahead of trends by getting new product formulations in the store faster than big brands.
  • No more competition among brands (unless you choose to carry others).
  • Margins are significantly higher, which allows greater marketing opportunities, including higher commissions for staff.
  • Control pricing.
  • Since it’s your brand, you can sell it online if you choose to.
  • Packaging and labeling can be custom-tailored, allowing you to create a unique company image that generates strong customer recognition and brand loyalty.
  • Customers won’t be able to go online or to other stores and find your product at a lower or higher price since you own the product.
  • For a new business, private label could be the perfect way to build your brand and raise awareness.
  • For an existing business it’s a great resource to generate income and build upon an already successful brand.
  • A more exclusive and consistent look with all of the products the guests use.
  • Guests can continue their experience at home (if it’s a logo item, then every time they use it they will think of their experience and be more likely to return).
  • Lowered costs while still providing a quality product.
  • Choose your own scents.
  • Low minimum orders in most cases.
  • Higher commission possibilities for staff.

Common Private Label Pitfalls

  • Some owners are not prepared to do all that is necessary to train and motivate staff and introduce the new line to
  • Not defining your market and branding your products appropriately.
  • Ordering too many—or too little—products (12-24 units per SKU is ideal).
  • Not doing the homework to find out which products will sell best in your business.
  • Assuming that private label companies offer the same level of support as big brands (you will need to put in a bit more of your own marketing work, in many cases).
  • Jumping in when you and/or your staff are not excited about having your own line.
  • Not realizing that the lead time on receiving products is usually longer (up to two weeks) with private label products, since they are filled fresh upon order.
  • Wanting to customize too much in the beginning.
  • Lack of planning.

Before embarking on any private label program, ask the following questions.

  1. What are the minimums for each type of product and scent?
  2. How much is the set up cost? Is the cost per item or per product type?
  3. What sizes do products come in?
  4. What is the cost per ounce of each item?
  5. If ordering large amounts, can they be warehoused by the supplier?
  6. What is the production time for each product to be delivered to my door once an order has been placed?
  7. What dispensers are provided and is there a cost associated with each one?
  8. Does the line fit in with my clientele, philosophy and business plan?
  9. Does the company offer support and training?
  10. Does my staff understand that selling/educating is a major part of their job?
  11. What is the quality of the products; what ingredients are contained within? Do they contain harsh detergents my customers may reject?
  12. Do I have the necessary storage/inventory space?
  13. How long has the private label company been in business, and can they show a portfolio of successful launches with sustained retail sales?
  14. What are the fees for upgrading products?
  15. Can they send examples of packaging?
  16. Will this type of program fit my budget?
  17. Will my staff be excited about selling/recommending these products?

If you feel comfortable with the answers given to the questions above, a foray into private labeling could be your golden ticket into a winning beauty product business.

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10 Ways to Recognize Clients and Customers on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is not typically considered a holiday most companies would recognize to celebrate their clients. However, we think it’s the perfect reason to celebrate—companies value their clients and customers as the heartbeat of the business. It’s time to shift the focus from romantic love to “we love our clients!”



Valentine’s Day is the perfect and unexpected opportunity for business owners to show appreciation for their customers. It’s a great way to break up the monotony of the week and have a little fun. Below are fantastic ways to recognize your clients on Valentine’s Day:

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10 Ways to Recognize Clients and Customers on Valentine’s Day:

  • Signed, Sealed & Delivered. Call up your local bakery and have a delivery of heart-shaped cookies or cupcakes sent to your clients with a note of appreciation. As an alternative, get one of your employees to dress up in full Valentine’s Day style, such as head-to-toe red or as Cupid, and arrive at your client’s office bearing goodies and hand-written notes of thanks. It’s an easy little surprise your clients are sure to love.
  • Get the Party Started! Host a special Valentine’s Day get together at your office. Send out real Valentine’s Day invites and serve special treats like candies, cupcakes, and chocolate covered strawberries along with a coffee and tea bar.
  • A Lovely Cause. Donate to a charity in your client’s honor. A great one that just so happens to include the word “love” is Love a Child. Or you can give to a charity the client already volunteers with or supports.
  • Client Coupons. Who doesn’t love coupons or a great free offer? Give your customers a “We Love You” client coupon for a future service they typically pay for or you could offer them a new service free of charge that they don’t usually budget for as a bonus. Trust us, they’ll appreciate the awesome offer!
  • Honorable Mentions. Use your social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to give your special clients a “shout out.” If you have specific clients that you work with directly, also mention their names and why they are loved by your business.
  • Work with a local florist to have individual flowers wrapped up for clients. Gerber daisies are beautiful and cost a fraction of the price of roses this time of year. Have volunteers from your business personally deliver them.
  • Send Personal, Hand-made Valentine’s Day cards. That’s right- Bring out the paper lace doilies and conversation hearts. Be creative and make each card unique by including something special about each client.
  • Host an event for client’s and their families. Rent out an area roller skating rink for an afternoon. Purchase tickets for a family-themed movie at a local theater.
  • Give a Great Book. Look for books that have either been influential for you or have recently received a lot of great press. Write a brief, personal note to each client about why it’s one of your favorites!
  • Send a Gift Card. Everyone LOVES getting a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or salon. Get into the habit of sending gift cards to clients throughout the year, but especially around Valentine’s Day!

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Providing a Great Value Proposition to Boost UX of Ecommerce

Every ecommerce business needs to provide an exceptional user experience. According to this infographic, 79% of customers will abandon an ecommerce website immediately if they don’t find what they are looking for there.

The only way for ecommerce companies to retain and convert website visitors is by providing an excellent user experience. It all begins by creating a strong value proposition.

What is an Ecommerce Value Proposition?

A value proposition is the primary factor that differentiates a company’s solutions from its competitors. It is the reason customers should purchase its products on the open market.

Creating a Strong Value Proposition for Your Ecommerce Site

Your value proposition should be very clear and simple. You should be able to articulate it in 30 seconds or less. For ecommerce companies, this means it should be communicated in no more than 75 words.

Here are some quick guidelines for creating a great value proposition for your ecommerce company.

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Think Beyond the Product Itself

The functionality of your product is important. However, the product itself isn’t the only factor. Customers also take the following into consideration:

  • Pricing
  • Shipping options
  • Support

Don’t let yourself get tunnel vision. The most important value proposition may not be centered around the product itself. Your best bet is to ask existing customers what they like most about your brand and the solutions you deliver.

CPC Strategy has a list of 50 value propositions that you may want to try.

Avoid Patronizing. Make an Argument Instead

Too many brands try to manipulate customers with flattery. L’Oreal is a good example of this. Look at their slogan “Because You’re Worth It.”

Phrases like this are thinly disguised pleas. It basically says “We don’t really want to describe our value proposition, but we are willing to complement you. So buy our product!”

Avoid doing this. Don’t use clichés, flattery or soundbites. You want to make a clear, articulate argument instead.

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Write in a Language That Resonates with Your Customers

One digital marketing company I worked with did a very poor job creating content with strong value propositions for its clients. The problem is that it used language from its own industry, rather than language the client’s own customers would use. When writing content for a commercial landscaping company, they used the term “vertical”, which very few clients would use.

This is a very common mistake in ecommerce as well. You probably use your own terminology with your colleagues, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to use with your customers.

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. If you are selling a product to laypeople, then you must use terminology they will understand.

Make It Persuasive

Writing a clear value proposition is important. Making your value proposition persuasive is equally important.

Use language that inspires customers. Make a convincing argument. It is a good idea to use power words, such as “best” and “highest ROI”. You should use social proof and statistics to back your argument. According to Search Engine Journal, 63% of customers are more likely to buy a product from a website with reviews or other forms of social proof.

Ecommerce Marketing Begins and Ends with a Value Proposition

The old adage “if you build it they will come” is completely and utterly false. It does not apply in ecommerce marketing. You need a strong value proposition. Put it in writing before driving traffic to your online store.

What Is an Ecommerce Value Proposition?

A value proposition also called a unique selling proposition is the primary factor that differentiates a company’s solutions from its competitors.

It is the reason customers should purchase its products on the open market.



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