Risk and Reward- The Vital Two R’s of Business


We are risk takers by nature, all of us, in varying degrees. But marching into the unknown is a human instinct that manifests itself in obvious, as well as mysterious ways. Every hour of every day we take risks. You may allow your mind to explore this idea and find examples. Traveling to a new country, hiking an unmarked trail, buying a gift for a loved one, tasting a weird- smelling food, going to war, getting married, asking for forgiveness, climbing the Himalayas, camping, skiing, driving, falling in love, leaving home, and doing nothing is also a form of taking risk, yet indirectly.

For the sake of our topic, let’s narrow down that endless list to just one: Starting your own business and deciding to become an entrepreneur.

Why do people leave the comfort and security of a guaranteed pay-check, and go on their own? For starters, that comfort has become unattainable lately. Downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, financial crisis, to name a few, have made job security a thing of the past.

But that is not the main reason entrepreneurs go out and face the world alone. It is something within each and every one, a calling if you will. I bet you’ve heard this before and you might be thinking: “OK, a calling, but what is the percentage of success of that calling? Show me the money!”

True, no matter how strong a calling was, and how enthusiastic the person would be, a business venture must yield financial results. In other words: Money 🙂

That’s why, before delving in the ocean of entrepreneurship, one must evaluate few traits that are vital to making that journey a pleasant and fruitful one.

So what are those traits? The first that comes to mind is risk tolerance. I’ve talked about this, giving it an acronym of RT in several posts about investing, and it still applies here, probably more so. A low RT isn’t going to help here. A very high one would result in taking too much risk, and again that is dangerously dangerous 🙂

We are looking for a healthy RT, which on one hand drives the entrepreneur to explore new, uncharted frontiers, most of the time alone and with little knowledge and tools, and on the other, keeps him/her aware of the potential challenges, and do enough research and preparation ahead of, during and after taking the risk. What is that called in plain English? Wisdom combined with courage. And in eloquent English: Courageously wise or wisely courageous 🙂

The heart of our discussion here is the following:

‘Risk and Reward are proportional: The more risk one takes, the higher the probability of reward. The opposite seems to be true, most of the time.’

Let’s start with a simple example: If you decided not to teach your four-year old child how to ride a bike, fearing the risk of injury, you denied him/her the rewards that come with riding a bike. One of them is innocent joy!

To get any reward, we must do something, right? And any doing involves taking a risk, no matter how small. That’s why they are related proportionally.

Raise the level of one, the other gets a boost. The challenge is to find that threshold where raising too much would result in unwanted results rather than rewards. And that threshold differs depending on the situation.

In the example above, rushing the learning curve increases the risk of injury. Taking the matter way too slow may delay the reward or even prevent it from happening.

We need to be patient with the whole process. We start by taking small risks and observe our emotional and mental reactions, just like building, you start with a foundation, then keep adding to it.

Another aspect of this building process is appreciating the results, no matter how small.

When it comes to building a new business enterprise, the principle would be the same, however, the application is different.

Does that mean you start with a tiny little venture then expand gradually? That’s one way to approach it. Say open an online store with only one product line, give it your best till it starts making profit, then add a second product line, and so on.

Nevertheless, if you know that your RT is high enough to get into bigger business adventures, especially if you know you have good financial and practical backing by trusted partners, then you may want to create a vision that would lead to more aggressive plans. For example, starting an eCommerce platform, where small business owners can open their one-product-line stores.

The web is full of tools and articles on how to assess your RT level. Here’s one, which I have no affiliation with, and can’t guarantee its results, but you may want to give it a shot, or look for something else in that line of tools:

http://www.moneycontrol.com/personal-finance/tools/risk-assessment-tools.html

In conclusion, know thyself before starting a new business. The time, money and energy spent doing that is worth the clarity that result from being aware where your next step will hit the ground.

All the best,

The WEalth MAker

How to Show a New Product on Your Site


In the last post we talked about finding and acquiring a product into your online e-Commerce store.

Today we will cover few tips on how to make that product stand out and be easy to reach.

To begin with, I’d like to stress the importance of tags. Every product page should give a facility to list tags related to the product at hand. So what is a tag? Simply put, it is a searchable word that makes finding your product easier on search engines. Think of it as the hashtag you use when tweeting in order to attract the attention of people interested in that specific topic.

Then comes images. The more the better, but no repetition of the same pose or same outlook. You need your images to reflect the beauty, uniqueness, usability and quality of your product. And always put your best image upfront on ads and so forth.

A Product title is so important. It’s the punch line that would make it or break it. Select the words carefully and intelligently, both for SEO purposes and to tell customers what the product is about using as little and as meaningful words as possible. This is the ‘elevator pitch’ of your product. You need to practice being creative, direct and expressive in this department.

Finally comes the detailed description, which is usually the last to grab visitors’ attention, unless they are serious buyers. Here we need to give product specifications, so that the buyer knows what they are getting. Remember that the whole process is virtual and there is no physical appreciation. That’s why the description needs to compensate for that by being accurate and comprehensive.

Let’s have an example. Suppose the item you want to display on your storefront is a backpack bag. What kind of tags do you need to embed in the product page? Waterproof, light-weight, phone-pockets, school, business, laptop, and any other product-specific, unique features that would lead searchers to this item.

How about the title? Here’s a suggestion: “Waterproof, multi-purpose backpack for school or business.”

The images must show the bag from different angels, and must show the inside, where the user has ample space and good organization for their stuff.

The description specifies the bags material, interior and exterior, the brand, the dimensions and capacity, the colors and variants available, and any other detail that would help a buyer recognize the backpack as if they were holding it in their hands and going through its features.

The example below is from my store, storefour.ca. I’ll show all the details from the product page, which are hidden from site viewrs. This will aid our discussion with a real example.

Here are the tags:

  • sport
  • running
  • removeable
  • practical
  • portable
  • Pocket
  • Phone-Holder
  • phone-case
  • phone
  • Unisex
  • outdoors
  • Men’s
  • Men
  • iPhone
  • high-quality
  • Heavy-Duty
  • Gift
  • Durable
  • Digital
  • boys
  • blue
  • black
  • Armor
  • Waterproof

And the extra images:

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Heavy Duty Shockproof Armor Protection Case + Glass Screen Film for iPhone 7 6 6S Plus 5 5S SEHeavy Duty Shockproof Armor Protection Case + Glass Screen Film for iPhone 7 6 6S Plus 5 5S SEHeavy Duty Shockproof Armor Protection Case + Glass Screen Film for iPhone 7 6 6S Plus 5 5S SEHeavy Duty Shockproof Armor Protection Case + Glass Screen Film for iPhone 7 6 6S Plus 5 5S SEHeavy Duty Shockproof Armor Protection Case + Glass Screen Film for iPhone 7 6 6S Plus 5 5S SEHeavy Duty Shockproof Armor Protection Case + Glass Screen Film for iPhone 7 6 6S Plus 5 5S SEHeavy Duty Shockproof Armor Protection Case + Glass Screen Film for iPhone 7 6 6S Plus 5 5S SE

This page gives each visitor something they may be looking for: A certain use, dimensions, colors, etc.

The ultimate goal is to convert a visitor into a buyer. This attention to the way you post your product helps in that regard, but of course, it isn’t the whole story, something we will chat about in our next post. Stay tuned!

The Wealth Maker
© Article Image Credit: https://storefour.ca

How to Choose the Right Product


In e-Commerce, products are represented by images, multiple images that aim to show site visitors how the product looks and feels, how it serves the need it is intended for, and how it is superior to other, similar products on the market.

As you can see, this involves several skills, tools and decisions. The first and most important decision must answer the question: Will this product appeal to the visitors of my site, and does it serve their needs effectively? The next question concerns the price: Is the product priced competitively, while still making a profit?

If you’re like many new e-Commerce entrepreneurs who decided to open their own online stores on platforms such as BigCommerec™ and Shopify™, you might have considered drop-shipping as an alternative to traditional approaches.

The idea is innovative, yet simple. Instead of keeping inventory and worrying about shipping to your customers, a drop-shipping model takes care of that. The products on your online store come from suppliers from all over the world, who, once an order is placed, process the request then ship directly to your customers.

In addition to saving time, energy, space and money, drop-shipping makes adding new products or deleting old ones a fun exercise. All you have to do is brows through a supplier’s catalogue, pick the items you like, modify few things to make the product fit your overall theme and categories, then push the product to your store, and it becomes ready to view, and hopefully sell.

But how would you know that what you have chosen meets your requirements? To begin with: Do you know your requirements? Before seeking anything in life, we must ask three questions: What, why and how. Requirements answer the ‘what’ question. But in order to get to the right answers, we need to have a clear idea of what the business is about; what values it serves, and what objectives it aims to achieve.

One of the collections in my online store, storefour.ca is named Digital. For any product to fit into that collection it must operate digitally, or has a digital aspect to it. Here’s an example:

So knowing your requirements is the first step to selecting the right product. The second is knowing the supplier. The e-Commerce landscape is so crowded. Finding the right supplier takes doing your homework diligently: reviews, returns, age on business, location, complains. The list is long, but you will figure it out based on what you’re looking for.

Now you know what you want and where to get it. The third step is to find the right channel and process to communicate with the supplier and secure the product.

If we go back to the drop-shipping model, the e-Commerce platform you use plays a key role in helping its merchants find credible suppliers as part of its service. Shopify™, for example, recommends an app named Oberlo™, which connects you to a pool of previously verified suppliers, making your life a lot easier. Yet, to be on the safe side and save your business future hassles, keep doing your research even on recommended suppliers.

The point here is to use all resources available to select and show the best product on your store.

More details on this in our next post, stay tuned!

The Wealth Maker

©Article Image Credit: https://storefour.ca

StoreFour: Continuous Enhancement


Launching an online store requires a great deal of planning and attention to detail. From selecting the theme, to designing the logo. What will be the static content? How about navigation, payment processing, shipping rules, taxes, and a lot more.

Then once that’s been taken care of, comes one of the most important decisions to make at this point of store building: What exactly are we selling here? Is this going to be a general merchandise or a niche-oriented online experience? Who are the customers, and why would they buy from us?

Down the line from that is product strategy: What products should this store showcase and for how much?

As you move from one stage to the next you realize new understandings and, of course, learn new things.

The final ‘product’ just before the launch will never be perfect, and you know it. But does that mean you keep improving while delaying the launch? No! Continuous enhancement must hold a permanent place-holder on your project plan, just as sales and marketing. Failing to do so means choosing to fail in this fiercely competitive landscape.

Since the launch back in May, StoreFour has gone through several reviews, the last being just very recently. The depth and breadth of each review vary, but they all keep asking some essential questions:

  • In exchange for revenue, what value does this store offer?
  • Do current products serve that value?
  • Is there a clear line of sight between the products and the vision/mission of the business?
  • Are customers satisfied? How can we measure that, then improve it?
  • What products to keep, modify and/or delete?
  • What products to add?
  • Are marketing and sales efforts fruitful so far, and if not, why? How can they be enhanced?
  • What are the short and long-term objectives of this store?
  • Are the store’s design, look and feel expressive of its message and brand?
  • Is it easy to navigate and find information?

As you you can see, the questions do not follow a specific order. In these reviews, you capture questions as they arise, randomly. I like to use a large poster and a bunch of colored markers to write down whatever comes to mind. Then gradually move to a mind-map, before finally creating an action plan on a digital tool.

Casually writing down thoughts, questions and ideas allows something interesting to emerge: Clarity!

While just before you’d started your mind was processing everything simultaneously, and rapidly, now it can observe patterns and priorities, reasons and results. It’s much easier now to find answers and chart a new course, or adjust an existing one.

During the last review, which concluded around mid October, I realized that we need to have more focus on our brand, which means redefining or resharpening the concept behind that brand.

While the message has been to ‘Be, Love, Create and Live’, the products didn’t clearly trace back to it. The four dimensions sit on the titles of four product collections. However, when reviewing individual products, it wasn’t very obvious how each one would serve that message.

We finally came to an interesting conclusion: Let’s not try to find ‘Love’, or ‘Create’ products per say, but rather look a bit deeper and ask: Can a ring, for example, help the customer promote love in her or his life? How about a wallet or a bag? does any have a link to ‘Live’ or ‘Create’? And isn’t ‘Be’ a common thread underlying all others?

Of course, another concern is: What is the market pulse for any product we offer? On the one hand, we definitely want to provide true, authentic value. Yet on the other, the business must meet its financial objectives in order to continue serving that value and progressing to even higher levels of success.

From that understanding, and to bring more focus to the product offering, we decided to keep the main theme, but rename the collections: Rings, Bags, Wallets and Digital.

With few specs about what products to choose for every collection, including high-quality, trendiness, and usefulness, we did an extensive research and decided to have only nine products under each collection. This is a major shift from 30 or so products, some didn’t clearly reflect the theme. Now when a customer clicks ‘Rings’, she or he will only see rings under that collection. The same applies to Wallets, Bags, and Digital.

It’s logical and natural after feeling that comfortable with the content of your store to turn to marketing with a renewed will and a fresh determination.

On that, StoreFour now has its Twitter and Pinterest storefronts up and running, with new content and interaction on a daily basis. Facebook already showcases StoreFour, and all are ready from another round of ad campaigns.

We are very pleased to share these exciting developments with our readers, and as always, happy to hear your questions and comments.

Till the next post, be open to new, enriching ideas!

The Wealth Maker

© Image Credit: StoreFour, https://storefour.ca All Rights Reserved

A new Venture


The world of e-commerce is an exciting, and potentially rewarding one.

Recently I decided to delve in, and went through the process of building an online store.

The result was a decent place for visitors to Be, Love, Create and Live. That is the theme, with products that promote a vibrant, balanced lifestyle; pertaining to the soul, the heart, the mind and the body.

My objective is to grow StoreFour to at least 20K Canadian dollars of net profit every month; ambitious yet achievable.

Here is something you can view and get from StoreFour right now:

 So far, I’ve found that bringing interested customers to the storefront and convincing them to actually buy something is the real challenge of succeeding at e-commerce. Building the store, finding the right products, designing, putting and tweaking the processes, all of that was in my turf, and did enjoy it a lot.

That said, as I’m gaining more understanding of e-commerce marketing and sales secrets through learning and doing, I’m getting the hang of it, and gradually enjoying it as well 🙂

A key element of “customer conversion,” which refers to convincing a visitor to buy, is first to drive the right traffic to your website, then offer something that interests the visitors in terms of quality, usability, and price.

It takes consistent monitoring of analytics and learning how to spot the insights and apply their wisdom in action. It also requires getting busy with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), advertisement, and building a good customer list.

Will keep my readers posted on the progress and would appreciate your feedback on any aspect of this new venture…

Keep learning and growing!

Yaman, The Wealth Maker