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How COVID Affected the World Economy and What that Means for Business Owners

business

How COVID Affected the World Economy and What that Means for Business Owners

The COVID virus was one of the most recent viruses to sweep through the world. It has had a significant impact on both individuals and businesses, but not in ways that are all negative. In this blog post, we will discuss how the COVID virus affected the global economy and what it means for business owners.

Unemployment

Many business owners have decided not to add any new employees until they see what impact COVID will have on their bottom line profit margins – this can be seen through “hiring intentions” and the “average monthly increase in employment”.

Employment growth is slowing but this can be seen as an opportunity for job seekers to find a great new position before others do. There are currently more open jobs than unemployed people looking to take advantage of that.

Stocks

Stock prices fell at first, with business executives unsure how the new tax plan would affect them, but those concerns vanished quickly as consumer confidence rose and company profits skyrocketed. The stock market and interest rates suffered as a result of the impact of stagflation. This impacted businesses negatively because it made investments less profitable by decreasing their net worth. It also caused inflation to rise, which increased costs for business owners who had no control over how much they could charge customers for products or services. Because people were spending more money on food and other necessities due to inflation, this led them to spend less money on luxury items such as expensive cars or homes, so sales went down at car dealerships and real estate companies alike.

Tourism Industry Crumbling

The tourism industry might be feeling some pain as it will now cost more to travel outside of one’s country due to COVID and other new tariffs that have been imposed on certain goods. This may impact those who enjoy traveling abroad, but with unemployment rates decreasing at such a rapid rate, the demand for labor will also increase. Many businesses that rely on tourism as a large source of customers and revenue might take a hit but it may be short-lived if they can adapt quickly enough.

The travel industry is feeling some pain from COVID already, especially with tariffs placed on goods like electronics and other items that are commonly exported and imported. Tourism is a vital part of many economies, but it will take time to see the true impact COVID has on international travel and tourism.

Online Shopping

Online shopping has impacted stores in a big way. Many consumers prefer the convenience of buying from home rather than going out into crowded retail centers to shop for items they need or want. Online retailers have been able to adapt quickly by increasing their marketing spend on Google Adwords so that they can be more visible when people search for products online. This might be a good time to consider an online marketing strategy if you own or operate a retail store.

The rise of e-commerce has allowed many consumers – especially Millennials and younger generations – to buy things from the comfort of their homes without ever leaving. Many brick-and-mortar retailers have been able to adapt quickly by increasing their digital marketing presence so that they can compete against online retailers.

Loans

Loans are getting harder to come by as banks begin to tighten their lending standards due to fears of rising defaults rates. They have not yet raised interest rates but many experts believe it is only a matter of time before they do! Businesses that need funding for various projects might look into alternative financing options or increase spending to boost revenue and profits so that they can generate enough cash flow to cover their debt obligations.

The difficulty of obtaining loans has increased as a result of COVID and other new tariffs placed on various goods from different countries. This is especially true for those who are deemed “high risk” borrowers by lenders, but it might be time to find alternative financing options if you need them.

World Trade

The world is slightly less connected as a result of COVID and other new tariffs that have been placed on goods from certain countries. This means it will be more difficult for those who rely on international sales to sell their products, but there are still plenty of opportunities out there. Business owners should keep an eye on how this plays out over time and consider new marketing strategies if they rely on international sales.

There are still plenty of opportunities out there for those who rely on international sales. If you haven’t considered it already, now might be the time to invest in some marketing strategies that will help you reach a larger audience.

Working Abroad

The ease of working abroad may decline as the world continues to become less connected. This could impact those who enjoy traveling and want to work while they are on holiday, but it might also make sense for some people if they can save money by living in another country. It will take time before we know how COVID affects the ability of individuals or business owners to work outside their home countries long-term.

It has become slightly more difficult (and costly) to travel overseas and work there due to tariffs placed on goods like electronics that many workers bring with them when they go freelancing or contract jobs globally. However, this is still an option open for businesses that want cheap labor; something which should be considered sooner rather than later if you are looking to expand your business overseas.

With all this information at hand now comes the time when you can use it to your advantage. Remember that while COVID was a major international event, many other factors are affecting the world economy which you should also consider when making decisions about your business or investments. Understanding how they interact and affect one another will help you make better-informed decisions for yourself in this fast-moving globalized society of ours.

outsourcing

More Companies Choose To Outsource – Here’s Why You Should Too

When it comes to outsourcing, businesses take different approaches based on their goals. Some focus on increasing efficiency, some on lowering the cost of their products or services. whatever the reason may be, outsourcing is becoming more popular than ever due to its many benefits. In this post, you will learn what outsourcing is and why many businesses outsource certain operations, especially on the logistics side of operations.

What Is Outsourcing?

In business, outsourcing is the practice of contracting an external company or organization to provide a product or service that the firm itself would otherwise produce. It has been associated with job moves overseas in recent years, though this is not always the case. Outsourcing can be done in other companies within the same country and isn’t always for fiscal reasons. For example, one of the most famous forms of outsourcing can be seen with Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon program. In essence, online retailers will outsource their logistical needs to Amazon to focus on their core business rather than handling packaging, deliveries, and refunds. This is just one form of outsourcing.

Many businesses are finding that they need to use sophisticated technology to scale their business to new heights. However, this is often easier said than done. For instance, if a company is looking for a fully equipped remote IT support service, they might outsource this to a company that understands this topic deeply instead of setting up new technical departments and hiring a raft of new staff. In this instance, choosing a company experienced in this sector makes financial sense and makes practical sense in that they want it done by a business that understands the task. In light of the above, what are some of the biggest benefits of outsourcing certain aspects of a company?

Businesses Can Focus On Your Core Business

One of the primary reasons many businesses outsource is to focus on the things that make them money. By looking at the earlier example of Amazon, you can see the benefits an online retailer has when outsourcing their logistical needs to another company (especially one as far-reaching as Amazon). Logistical operations are hugely complex, time-consuming, and costly if incorrectly handled. Therefore, this leaves only two options for most businesses:

1. Hire and train new staff

2. Outsource

Although hiring new staff may be cost-effective for large multinationals, many SMEs simply cannot afford to invest the time and money in such a task.

Technology Is Accessible Without The Investment

Operations like supply chain management and logistics often require significant investments in specialist technologies to facilitate smooth and accurate operations. Similar to why you choose not to hire and train new staff, many SMEs do not have the resources to invest in the technology needed to perform these complex tasks. Furthermore, logistics is often only a certain percentage of business operations, so directing resources in technology that you will only use a certain amount of the time is unfeasible. Outsourcing this part of your business to a business devoted to it entails paying a fair amount for them to manage this part of your business and invest in the technology required for successful completion.

It Can Improve Customer Satisfaction

Continuing the e-commerce example, it is clear that outsourcing the delivery of goods facilitates a higher level of customer satisfaction. For example, no matter how much you strive to make customers happy, it is inevitable that some items will be faulty (especially if you have a high revenue). In these cases, it is good practice to simply ask your customer to return the product and provide them with a replacement or a refund. Even though this sounds straightforward, it is fundamentally a loss-making activity you’d rather avoid and instead focus on the profitable side of the business. If said e-commerce business had outsourced this task to a logistics company, they would be responsible for returns and replacements, thus allowing the business to focus on its core activities while maintaining a happy customer base.

Reduced Liabilities

While this point is aimed explicitly at the logistical side of things, it also applies to other industries. By not having to deliver products, a company will immediately cut out the myriad of liabilities that comes with transposition, from accidents to lost packages, etc. However, this also holds for other industries. For example, a company might need a bespoke piece of software to perform specific tasks. By outsourcing to another company, they don’t have to worry about an intellectual property infringement as this will be covered by the outsourced software provider.

Outsourcing can be a massive benefit to businesses. Businesses can save money by outsourcing manufacturing, marketing, logistics, and even accounting. It allows companies to focus on their core competencies and plow all of their efforts into the profitable parts of their business.

ICO

Crucial Things You Need to Know About ICO in Crypto

ICO is an acronym that needs to be known by anyone who wants to venture into the crypto world. This stands for Initial Coin Offering, and it is the most common way in which cryptocurrencies are created. Most of the cryptocurrencies that are making rounds and being traded today started as ICOs. The inception of an ICO for any cryptocurrency begins with just an idea by an individual or group of people who intend to build a token or coin. A token or coin could represent a lot of things. This could range from an asset, unit of value, or even utility that goes onto a blockchain. The brains behind this token or coin can then proceed to create an ICO. It is important that every ICO owner properly outlines the coin’s purpose and offers precise information to convince their target market that it will succeed and has prospects of being very useful.


 

In a situation where this goes as planned and works out as it should, that is the point where the general public can decide if they think the project has potential and is worth investing in. In this case, anyone may purchase the project’s first utility token. By purchasing these tokens, they participate in the project at hand and acquire a piece of ownership. An ICO must have a fundraising target to begin the project, and once that target has been reached, the project may begin. People who purchase these tokens have hopes that the coin will experience growth and eventually be worth more in the future when the project actually begins.

What Do I Need To Know About ICOs?

Considering what is stated above, you can understand the meaning of ICOs and their vital role in cryptocurrencies. The information helps answer the very common question, what is an ICO in crypto? We could say beyond reasonable doubt that creating ICOs seems like a great system to raise capital for certain upcoming projects. However, many ICOs have grown to have a bad reputation due to previous scams and technical issues. Furthermore, it is undeniable that some ICOs have been enormously successful, but it is also important to recognize the signs of a risky project. A couple of things that should be considered and properly looked into include:

White Paper

This is the first step that anyone researching an ICO is to carry out. A vague or poorly written and improperly planned white paper may be the clearest sign that the project is not fully looked into, lacks proper planning, and has the potentials of crashing. Therefore, it is extremely important to investigate the team and any business partnerships.

An experienced team will have a stronger chance of navigating the challenges of a competitive business environment. It is essential to thoroughly read and analyze and assimilate the white paper of a prospective investment because this document outlines the aims and strategies of that project and all it entails in detail. Some projects might have stratospheric ideas but are void of a practical approach for achieving those goals. Others may lack crucial details that leave you wondering whether the project is truly feasible or it is the sham that it looks like.

Although a good white paper is not a guarantee that the ICO will be a success, an incomplete, hastily written, problematic, and improperly planned one can be a sign of trouble to come. Glaring issues with spelling, formatting, or grammar can also be considered red flags. Conversely, if you’re preparing a white paper for your own ICO, it is important to expect investors to pore over every detail.

Evaluate The Quality Of The Code

It is a major red flag if a project has no working code before an ICO, or even if they do, it isn’t open source. If you are privileged to have even a little bit of programming experience and have the ability to read a code, you should do so when evaluating an ICO. You can understand a lot about a project and its developers by properly studying and analyzing their code.

Learn From VC-investors

Many venture capital investors make their living on investments, which gives them the right to be the pickiest contributors. They are very careful about examining everything about the project with just one very particular thing in mind: how much profit will this investment result in? Aside from everything involved, there is behavioral science involved here: a consensus in the VC world is that it’s never good for a startup to receive too much money very quickly, as they will be compelled to spend the funds just because they’re available.

Everyone has the right to launch an ICO due to its ease and lack of regulation in most countries. This means that as long as you can get the tech set up, you are totally free to try and get your currency funded by people who are interested in your plan because they dim it feasible. Since there is no proper regulation, it simply means there is nothing stopping anyone from doing all the work to make you believe they have a great idea and then end up absconding with the money without actually implementing the plan.

Before investing your money, you should ensure that you do proper research and take your homework seriously because ICOs are barely regulated. Therefore, you need to be way more careful than you would be when investing in an IPO. Read the white paper properly,  research the team members, and make sure they have a history in cryptocurrency.

construction

How To Protect Yourself From Any Potential Dangers In The Construction Zone

Construction projects are quite important for maintaining and reforming our infrastructure and roadways. However, construction site workers are exposed to a high risk of accidents due to perilous working conditions. They are required to use heavy tools and machinery, work at dangerous heights, and in radioactive or hazardous environments. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, workplace fatalities increased by 11% between 2018 and 2019, and most of these accidents involved vehicle crashes in construction zones. If you work at a construction site and want to take the right measures to protect yourself, follow these essential steps.

Causes Of Construction Zone Accidents

Work zone accidents may be a result of drivers speeding or making sudden lane shifts while passing by the construction zone. When there are unexpected lane shifts, vehicles often swerve to avoid collisions, and this leads to more accidents near construction sites.  Large trucks are less stable which can cause them to lose balance and sway away from the road, causing cargo spills. Cargo spills and road accidents expose workers to dangerous hazards at work. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, there were approximately 18,000 truck accidents in construction areas, and 228 fatalities in 2018 as a result of these construction site crashes. Construction site accidents may also involve:

-Falling from heights

-Lifting heavy objects and straining the spine in the process

-Slipping when working on uneven or slippery surfaces

-Tripping over objects or cables

-Being distracted by loud noise and losing focus

-Electric shocks when handling live wires

Report As Soon As Possible

You need to report the accident to the employer as soon as it occurs. Take photos of your injury and the damage caused and show them to your employer. This can aid you in court and can help document the accident scene before the evidence is lost.

Seek Legal Assistance

Contacting a professional attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve and protect your rights. A lawyer will provide support and guide you through the legal process after a workplace accident occurs. If you’ve been injured in a work zone accident, you deserve proper compensation for your losses and injuries. For instance, in a highway construction zone accident, the driver or trucking company should be held liable. A lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and make claims against the other party’s insurance company.

Make Sure Your Employer Is Following Health and Safety Law

Your employer should also be held responsible for the safety of their workers during construction projects. They have to take protective measures that include:

-Putting up a warning sign with bright flaggers to alarm drivers that this is a designated work zone

-Alerting drivers when there’s a lane shift near the work zone

-Placing barriers between the road and construction area

-Using lights to divert vehicles and trucks away from the work zone

-Safe-proofing the work area

-Providing safety gear

-Training employees to follow all safety procedures

If they fail to foster adequate health and safety conditions on construction sites, they should also be questioned and held liable. Work accident attorneys assist workers in recovering maximum compensation for their losses including lost wages, medical bills, physiotherapy, etc.

Wear Your Protective Gear At All Times

Workers should wear their protective gear at all times when they’re working in construction zones. Make sure your safety boots are high enough and provide the perfect grip to guard your feet. Never forget to wear a hard hat to protect your skull, as well as vests that are made of non-conducting materials. Eye and face protection should be worn all day to avoid harmful chemicals, poisonous gases, vapors, debris, loose particles, and metal from entering your eyes and causing serious injuries and infections when you’re chipping or welding materials.

Avoid Unfamiliar Tools

To reduce the chances of accidents, don’t work with equipment that you haven’t used before. If a machine isn’t working, don’t try to fix it or tamper with it. Only use the tools that you were trained to use because a single mistake can cost you a lot. If you choose to handle unfamiliar tools and something goes wrong, your employer may claim that you are the one responsible for the accident, and can refuse to offer any compensation.

Working in construction zones can be dangerous and stressful. It is of utmost importance that you avoid all potential hazards and learn how to prevent them. You also need to know your rights at work, and that you should be protected. If you keep these steps in mind and follow all safety precautions, you will be at a much lower risk of accidents and injuries.

forex trading

How Forex Trading Is Largely Expanding Globally

Forex trading is growing rapidly around the world. For traders, this can be a welcome sign. For forex brokers and banks, there are many reasons for forex to expand globally. Forex trading is expanding so quickly because of its convenience and accessibility. In this article, you’ll see some of these reasons why forex is expanding in popularity around the globe.

Definition of Forex trading

Forex trading is the term given to the exchange of one currency for another, in order to profit from fluctuations in relative values. The forex market is a global marketplace and has become larger than stock markets with trillions of dollars per day traded between international currencies. This business includes buying one currency on speculation that it will increase in value against other currencies, or selling one currency on speculation that it will decrease in value against other currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

It should be noted there are risks involved when forex trading; however forex traders can still make profits over time periods due to these prices changing relatively quickly compared to stocks where changes take place much slower.

Forex trading is an international market

The forex market is truly an international one. Day traders and forex brokers are not limited to the forex markets in their own nation but can operate anywhere around the globe.

The forex industry has been growing steadily for years now and will continue to do so as more people see it as a good investment vehicle or currency converter package. If you want some investors who already invest in foreign currencies, then this could be your main source of potential clients. It’s really just like any other form of business as long as you have a sound forex trading strategy, you can be successful.

What are forex traders doing?

The forex market is one of the most exciting markets to trade in and there are several things that forex traders do on a daily basis. A trader will need to analyze the currency data for each pair they want to trade before taking any positions. This includes overall sentiment combined with technical analysis such as chart patterns or momentum indicators. When it comes time to execute trades, your forex broker may take care of this for you but some people prefer executing their own orders manually using a platform like MetaTrader (MT). There could also be other tasks involved if you’re working as part of an international team: coordinating updates between forex traders and forex brokers in different time zones, fielding requests from forex clients for assistance with strategy or execution of trades.

As of now, this market has spread across the whole world and it’s not planning on slowing down. The latest expansion came in the form of Fsca forex brokers in South Africa and will continue to grow every year. Getting into this game has become more profitable than ever because of this.

The forex market has grown exponentially in the last decade

If you look back into the last 10 years, forex trading has grown exponentially. Looking at the forex market in 2008, there were about $US$48 trillion traded, and today that number is closer to $US$80 trillion which shows a growth of over 50%.

Forecasting for the forex industry’s future looks very bright with estimates from analysts predicting it has grown by another 33% before 2020. The forex industry as a whole employs more than 400 thousand people across its various sectors (such as retail sales, IT, finance) so this kind of expansion could create up to 250 thousand new jobs during those five years if history is any indication. These numbers are also expected to increase overseas due to heightened globalization efforts seen throughout Europe especially since Brexit along with other forex markets such as India, China, and Russia.

It will continue to grow at a steady rate, with forex trading making up 40% of the world’s total market.

It’s a global industry that has seen over $5 trillion in daily turnover

The forex market has seen a global revolution over the past few years. In forex trading, people all around the world participate in buying and selling currencies with one another on a daily basis to make money off of fluctuations in exchange rates.

Forex traders are typically active investment professionals who trade forex as their primary occupation. It’s estimated that up to 80% of forex volume is traded electronically by computers (automated forex trading).

Forecasting currency rate movements can be challenging but it also carries substantial risk for failure. However, successful forex traders may earn more than $300 per hour or even more depending on how much they’re willing to invest into this type of venture.

The markets are open 24 hours a day from Sunday night through Friday afternoon. Forex trading is a global forex investment opportunity for individuals, funds and organizations of all types and sizes who want to invest and hedge their currency risk in the international markets.

How does forex trading work

Now it’s time to learn the process of forex trading.

-forex traders have a specific currency pair which they monitor on their computer screens

-they offer these currencies to the trader and charge for them

-The individual then decides whether or not he wants to buy those pairs of currencies from the broker, with his own money. If so, he will make an order that tells him how much forex he is willing to spend. The broker can either accept this request (in which case it’s called “taking” the trade) or reject it (it’s called “nixing”). When accepted by a broker, it becomes what is known as “a live deal”. Forex trades are completed in real-time, so when your order goes through you’ll know it.

-forex traders can also trade on a forex exchange

-in this case, they are trading currency pairs with other people (usually from the same country) that go through the forex market at about the same time as them

As you can see, forex trading is here to stay and it’s expanding all the time. It has become a very profitable market that sees newcomers almost every day. People who educate themselves in this business have a huge chance of success and, since it’s a global market, that will result in enormous wealth. If you’re keen to learn a new trade, this is perhaps perfect for you.

automated

8 Reasons Why The Packaging Process Should Be Automated

The packaging process is an important part of the supply chain. It ensures that products are packaged for shipping to customers and stores. The problem is that it’s time-consuming, costly, and difficult to do right. Automating the process can help solve all three of those problems and more. This article will discuss 8 compelling reasons why you should automate your packaging process.

Automation Saves Money

Automation saves money. Automated packaging means that a company does not need to hire people to do the work, and this can save thousands of dollars in wages each year.

It also avoids hiring mistakes or costly labor turnover costs, which can be expensive for any business. Take case erector manufacturers, for example, they can potentially save up to a million dollars every year by automating the packaging process. So just imagine: with automated packaging, there’s no need to worry about hiring extra personnel; plus all of these savings help lower your overhead expenses and cost you less money!

Automation Reduces Human Error

Any human worker is bound to make errors no matter their resume. One of the key benefits of automation is that it reduces human error. Machines do not have a mind, so they cannot make any mistakes on their own and complete tasks more accurately than humans can.  The time, effort, and money that would be wasted on human error can instead be invested in other parts of the company. Human error is a huge problem in the business world, and it is imperative to eliminate this type of issue.

Packaging machines will always complete their tasks with accuracy because they cannot make any mistakes. This means there are no human errors occurring which speeds up production times drastically.

Since everything has been automated, nothing can go wrong anymore – unless you’re talking about hardware but that’s another conversation entirely.

Automation Is Time Efficient

Machines can take care of things at a faster rate than humans so it takes much less time for them to complete a process that would take hours or even days with human hands alone.

When employees don’t have to do tasks manually, they can focus on more important things- like the next step in the production process.

Automated systems provide a smoother workflow and reduce bottlenecks that could otherwise slow down productivity or cause quality control issues later on.

For example, the right software will reduce errors by simplifying processes through automation and data collection from across your supply chain – saving time, money, and hassle for everyone involved in the packaging process.

Automated Machines Are Easier To Maintain

Automated machinery doesn’t require much maintenance due to its design. Machines are created with a specific purpose in mind, and they don’t have many moving parts or components that break down easily.

Thus, the equipment for automated machines is less likely to break down than the machinery used by humans. Humans need time off and they can’t work 24/hours a day, this is not an issue with robots since their workloads don’t depend on human intervention. Robots also don’t need to take breaks or sleep.

Apart from this, automated machines are less likely to injure themselves since they have the ability to sense what’s around them and stop before any accidents happen. Human errors can lead to injuries when packaging products such as heavy boxes that could cause a personal injury if dropped on their foot for example. Automated machinery doesn’t make mistakes like these which means “packaging-related” accidents will be greatly reduced with automation; you don’t have to pay for hospital bills.

Automation Is Predictable

A human can’t be expected to do the same job consistently. Consistency is an important part of any process, and it isn’t possible for humans to perform tasks in exactly the same way every time. This difference makes your product more varied, which may not always be a good thing. Automation removes variation from your manufacturing process, giving you consistent results each time.

The automation process will produce a consistent quality of work that humans cannot achieve, such as making sure each box is sealed tightly before moving onto the next one so there are no leaks or spills in transit.

Automation Means Less Product Damage

Less product damage is one of the most important reasons why packaging should be automated. Product damages happen even before the products are shipped to customers due to improper handling or rough transportation. The only way to prevent this from happening in a manual setting would be double-checking and triple-checking every step which takes more time away from production line efficiency but automation would prevent this by doing the checking automatically once and for all.

Automation Means Better Customer Satisfaction

The automated packaging process will dramatically increase customer service and satisfaction. By eliminating the need for human error, the number of times customers have to wait can be drastically reduced. This means that you’ll be able to offer better communication with your prospects since they won’t feel like their needs are being ignored because there is no one available to answer them.

Customers also like their products coming from an automated system because they know that there will be no human error involved in packing them up correctly; this builds trust between customer and company. For manufacturers who want to sell globally, customers outside North America are wary about packaged goods being tampered with if people pack them manually.

Automation Means Lower Environmental Impact

One of the best reasons to consider automating packaging is that it will lead to less environmental impact. This means there are fewer emissions being pushed into the air or water because the machine is using less energy to operate. With an automated system, the operator doesn’t have to do as much physically and thus will be able to use a smaller footprint of space in their facility when they’re not operating it.

Another reason why automating packaging can lead to lower environmental impact is that there are fewer emissions being released into the atmosphere over time because machines don’t need any maintenance or replacement parts like humans would if they were doing this task themselves on a daily basis.

The automation process is predictable, which means you can be sure that your machines will work as intended. This also saves time and money in the long run because automated machinery requires less maintenance than human-driven equipment. Plus, when it comes to customers, they appreciate not having to wait on hold for hours or talk with someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about! By implementing a degree of automation into your production line, you’ll have happier customers and more efficient operations without sacrificing quality.

franchise

What Is It Like Owning a Franchise?

Are you hoping to be a business owner one day? Do you want to take charge of your financial future by becoming an entrepreneur, working for yourself and not for others?

There are many ways of making your entrepreneurial dreams come true. In the 21st century, starting a business is more accessible than at any other point in history.

But not all business paths are created equal. Many require long, difficult journeys to get from idea to startup to the first dollar in the bank. Owning a franchise, on the other hand, offers a very clear path forward. With a franchise, you are leveraging the assets of an existing business to take a lot of the guesswork out.

It’s the fast track to entrepreneurial success and should be a top consideration when you begin your own journey. Keep reading to learn what running a franchise is actually like.

Franchise Business Definition

A franchise is another branch of an existing business. It’s when you buy the right to use a particular business’s name, trademarks, branding, knowledge, and products.

Rather than having to build your own brand, developing your own product or service, you can use someone else’s. For example, you can become one of the 38,000 people who own a Mcdonald’s franchise worldwide.

When you do this, you pay for the right to sell McDonald’s products, using their systems and processes, their equipment, and their brand. This may be a much better option than starting a brand new burger joint with no reputation.

When you do this, you have zero customers. You have to build a brand reputation and a following from scratch. While it can work, it takes a long time.

With a franchise, on the other hand, you are leveraging the brand built by others, often over decades. When you start a franchise, you have customers from day one.

Owning a Franchise

Starting a franchise is a great option for first-time business owners. As a franchisee, you are going to get a ton of help. The franchisor won’t leave you on your own.

In fact, they’ve built out an entire program that will guide you to success as a franchise owner. The company wants you to be successful. The more successful you are, the more successful the franchisor is, too.

You get to use systems and processes developed by the original company. That means processes for hiring and managing staff. It also means processes and procedures for everything serving customers to cleaning, opening the shop to accounting, and pretty much anything else.

As a franchise owner, you have the freedom to manage the business as you see fit. However, you are in effect operating someone else’s business. You own it, but you have to play by their rules. You serve their products, wearing their uniforms.

A portion of your revenue goes back to the parent company. But it’s a small price to pay for the priceless education you receive and the quick profits you can expect to make.

Starting a Franchise

To start a franchise, you’re going to need some capital. Starting a new location can be quite expensive, though you may only need a portion of that yourself.

The parent company may cover half or more of the startup costs on your behalf. Generally, you can expect to need between 25% and 40% of the total startup cost as a down payment.

On top of that, you may need to take a franchisee course before you are approved to own and operate a franchise. This can take some time but is always worth the effort.

Is a Franchise Right for You?

Many people have dreams of owning their own company, under their own brand, serving customers in their own way. It’s an extremely rewarding path to take, but it’s one that is long and difficult.

Starting a business from scratch is much easier when you already have experience managing a business. As a result, it’s often best to start your entrepreneurial career by starting a franchise.

It’s kind of like business school, but instead of walking away with a degree at the end of it, you have a fully functional, cash-flowing business that you can keep or sell.

It’s an education that actually pays you, rather than the other way around. Plus, after successfully owning and operating a franchise, you will be in a much better position to start your own company one day.

You may have the cash needed to start your business without a loan. Or, since you have experience running a business, you’ll be more qualified to get a loan or investment in your new endeavors.

So whether you eventually sell your franchise to another aspiring entrepreneur, or keep it and pay a manager to handle the operations for you, owning a franchise is a good idea for most would-be business owners.

Best Franchises to Consider

The best thing about owning a franchise is that there are so many options available. When people hear about franchising, most people think about a restaurant franchise.

That’s just one example. If you like the idea of working in the restaurant business, franchises are a solid option. But there is so much more opportunity available.

There are retail stores like 7-11 or Ace Hardware. There are hotel franchise organizations like Marriott. There are real estate offices, accounting services, fitness centers, salons, carpet cleaning services, and many other franchise examples.

Many franchises will require a large number of startup funds, as you’ll need to buy or rent a building and outfit it with all of the equipment necessary to run a brick-and-mortar location. However, there are service-based franchises you could start for far less upfront.

With a service-based franchise, you would only need a vehicle and some basic equipment. That means you have a much lower loan and can start meaning a profit much sooner than with brick and mortar franchises.

Check out this article for more information on affordable franchises to consider. After all, the lower your startup costs, the sooner you can actually get started and start building the life you dream of.

Leverage the Success of Others

Owning a franchise is a smart move. It makes business ownership much more attainable, and it makes success much more likely. It allows you to leverage the success of others while you build an asset that you own.

Looking for other articles like this? Visit our blog today to keep reading.

e-commerce

5 Practical Ways to Increase E-commerce Profitability

E-commerce businesses continue to be an indispensable part of the retail industry. As more and more people continue to shop online, setting up an e-commerce store is relatively easy, especially when you have platforms like Amazon or Shopify. However, growing your e-commerce business, expanding your operations, and generating more revenue proves to be a challenge in a cutthroat industry.

It becomes harder to foster customer loyalty when there are hundreds of thousands of e-commerce stores, and it doesn’t help that customers are pickier than ever.

According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales will continue to grow in the United States by a whopping 20% between 2018 and 2022 and it’s expected to reach 380 million by 2022. This is exciting news for e-commerce businesses but knowing which e-commerce stores will generate the maximum revenue during this period is unpredictable.

We’ve listed five practical ways to increase e-commerce profitability to increase your chances of generating maximum income and revenue.

1. Design a Great Website

It only takes less than a second for visitors to decide if they want to continue browsing your website or not. So, if your website does not have a clear value proposition that can hold your visitor’s attention longer, your bounce rate will be sky-high.

Effective visual communication is crucial to the performance of your e-commerce store. 80% of your visitors remember what they see on your website, while 10% never forget what they read. Pay attention to how your visitors navigate your website and use this information to improve your site navigation.

Another important factor you want to remember is the presentation of your products and services. You want to present them in a way that catches their attention and piques their interest. This could be in the form of images, videos, and website design.

Your About Us page should also catch your audience’s attention. According to Marketing Sherpa, around 7% of visitors on the Home Page click on the About Us next. And among those who click on the About Us, 33% are more likely to convert into potential customers.

2. Establish Customer Loyalty

Did you know that your existing customers are more receptive to your marketing efforts? Aside from that, they are likely to spend more money, order more frequently, and recommend your store to friends and family.

Customer churn – or losing your old customers to competitors – is a major problem among e-commerce businesses, so it’s crucial to prioritize customer loyalty when creating strategies for your marketing plan.

Focus on keeping your existing customers happy by offering discounts, loyalty cards, provide exceptional customer service, ask for feedback, and strive to continually improve. Before you may significant changes to your e-commerce website, be sure to consider your existing customers first. These strategies can help establish customer loyalty and ultimately improve your bottom line.

3. Consider Offering Subscription Products

The subscription business model has gained a lot of traction over the years. We’ve seen companies like Dollar Shave Club (razors), Blue Apron (meal kits), and Birchbox (beauty) connect with influencers to market their products.

If you’re not familiar with subscription products, here’s how it works: You offer a product or a curated set of products each month and encourage people to subscribe for a fee and receive the items.

Many people love subscription products because they love being surprised by deliveries, curating “random” or “assorted” boxes allows you to offload unsold items in your inventory, and the monthly revenue stream makes it easier for you to improve your e-commerce business.

4. Stay on Top of Your Finances

Regardless of the size of your e-commerce store, it’s important to adopt proper bookkeeping strategies. Keep records of all financial transactions and receipts and keep them organized. You can also use the best debt payoff app and bookkeeping software like QuickBooks to keep your finances in order.

5. Enhance Your Website Security Measures

Keeping your website secure should be one of your priorities. A complicated checkout process can likely expose your customers’ financial information. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your customers’ information safe. Plus, a security breach scandal is something a small business cannot afford.

Invest in professional security for your website and servers. This might cost you a significant amount upfront, but consider this purchase as a long-term investment that can help you and your customers in the long run.

Professional security services are effective in preventing data losses and hacks. A security company can also help your site in case of a malfunction.

What’s Next?

The key to running a profitable e-commerce store is to keep your customers top of mind. Structure your website in a way that’s easy to navigate. If your customers need to click 300 times to purchase something, they will likely shop with your competitor.

supply chain trends

Top 7 Supply Chain Trends to Optimize in 2021

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, there have been several trends changing in the market across the world. Supply chains have become a crucial part of businesses today as there are exciting strategies put in place that enhance a business’s performance. Due to COVID-19, supply chain practitioners face a post-pandemic recovery armed with a set of new systems and practices. Supply chain management ensures that consumer demands are met and the different components of your business run smoothly. The pandemic made it even more important for businesses to stay on top of the latest trends and development especially in supply change management.

Being up-to-date with the latest changes will ensure that you stay resilient with the ever-changing market. Supply chain management (SCM) consists of a wide range of components and activities that require attention to every single detail. SCM is all about being able to make sound business decisions and quick to source out alternatives to stay on top of business trends. Digitization of the supply chain has been crucial in the post-pandemic era. Having an excellent web hosting provider can improve your online marketing performance. If you are looking for a hosting service with the best feature, read the reviews on Hosting Foundry.

In this article, you will learn about different supply chain trends you must optimize in 2021 to improve your company’s productivity and performance.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain technology has been incredibly essential for businesses to minimize disruption of the supply chain and improve customer service. The worldwide spending on blockchain is expected to rise upt0 11 billion before 2022. Over the last few years, this trend has integrated different streams of your business such as shipping lines, carriers, logistic providers all into a single platform. It also allows businesses with logistic operations to efficiently process data by cutting out waste. The transparency offered by blockchain technology helps supply chain managers to identify issues even before they occur.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Businesses have understood how to leverage the power of IoT, extensively in warehouse automation. By implementing IoT devices, businesses can improve supply chain visibility that can provide businesses to optimize their assets and ROI. It is considered one of the most vital supply chain trends as it allows logistic companies to connect digitally and transfer data efficiently. IoT technology in warehouses and retail outlets can also improve visibility in production, inventory management, and predictive maintenance.

Elastic Logistics

Market fluctuations can make or break a business during a crisis. Having supply chains that are responsive, effective, and stable will ensure that businesses can still thrive during this tough time. This is where elastic logistic trends come into play and enhance the ability to expand or shrink according to current market demands. This technology helps companies manage and adjust potential issues with minimal disruptions. The flexibility of elastic logistics can improve your business performance and optimize it to greater heights.

Robotic Automation

Even though robotics automation is still in its infancy when it comes to supply chain operations, it has shown its effectiveness for many businesses. It can play a huge role in upgrading your process leaving little to no room for errors. Many companies have already integrated robotic automation to streamline logistics by using drones and driverless vehicles for various purposes. The technology is focused on speeding tasks through machines and empowering your human workers to focus on strategies that enhance customer experience and improve your business productivity.

E-commerce Logistics

Ever since the pandemic, e-commerce sales have skyrocketed as people have been quarantined at home. E-commerce logistics is expected to expand to €557 billion by 2025 as consumers are constantly looking for companies providing value-added services. Great e-commerce logistics will optimize your transportation and distribution hubs to specific retail partners who can provide picking, packing, shipping, and even real-time updates. Digital fulfillment is one of the important components of e-commerce logistics as it ensures consumers that their product reaches its destination.

Gamification

Gamification is one exciting supply chain trend in 2021 that boosts productivity amongst warehouse workers. Gamification offers employees to have healthy competition using digital tools that can be integrated into real warehouse processes. This technological trend can track your employee’s accuracy, speed, and progress time all contributing towards improving skills and work performance. It also enables companies to reward workers with bragging rights through their fun and interactive tasks. This trend is highly effective that can encourage employees to work smarter and harder.

Green Logistics

In the past few years, we have seen eco-friendly communities and consumers searching for environmentally conscious companies that responsibly push the supply chain. The main objective of optimizing green logistics for a company is to make the warehouse eco-friendly which reduces their carbon footprint on the earth. Due to the rise in demand, more and more companies are opting to switch their supply chain management into going green that can benefit the environment. Some of the essential factors of this trend would include consuming less energy such as gas, water, electricity, etc which can directly benefit the environment. Electric vehicles or solar-powered vehicles is another factor that companies can take into consideration. Companies that use climate-smart supply chains can benefit more through these resources which can help the company gain profit and customer loyalty through these practices.

Supply chain trends are constantly evolving as they are interconnected with the growth of the market. Any sort of disruption can cause havoc in the management which can affect workflow and productivity. Focusing on these 7 supply chain trends you can improve your overall performance at work.

supply chain management

What is Supply Chain Management – The Basics and the Process

Supply chain management (SCM) is the system that manages supplies and processes through all of the steps of a project, product, or business deliverable. Getting over these various stages efficiently demands control—that’s where supply chain management comes in.

Every phase of business is directed to make the most of the resources associated and be as productive as possible. People are managed as well as trained and supplies also require management. Whether those supplies are goods or services, they must be valued for and carried through from start to finish with prudent control.

Supply chain management is used to represent several different ways that are used to combine the flow of materials, finances, and information efficiently. These items are normally outsourced from any number of places. These sources include suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, sellers, and retailers. Items can pass through many hands until they reach the customer.

SCM regulates and integrates this back and forth, inside and outside the organization. Its purpose is to improve service for the customer but not at the account of the organization, which is trying at the same time to reduce its supply chain costs.

There are many stops along this way, but the first thing that comes in is the design and plan, which when administered must be monitored as would any other project to map its progress and control any concerns that arise before they become obstacles that impact the cost of the operation.

The Process of Supply Chain Management

To get the most out of supply chain management entails looking at the big picture in the context of an organization’s management. No longer is managing an individual company satisfactorily. The mixture of all activities involved in the supply chain is essential: that means integration between various departments, such as purchasing and marketing.

To evaluate the performance till now, excel spreadsheets are being used. Despite all the advancements they are still error-prone. Excel solutions are designed to manage the supply chain of business including inventory flows in which operations, scheduling and monitoring can be done to reduce the ongoing process cost but all this needs to be done manually as supply chain spreadsheets have limited accuracy and user error is the most common issue. A cloud-based supply chain provides better performance, accuracy and data analytics.

Supply chain management also needs alliance and collaboration between buyers and suppliers, joint product development, common systems, and shared information. While ideally there should be a constant back and forth of information, it is more practical to think of this flow as a process. That process involves the following:

Customer-Relations Management: There must be a regulated approach to communicating with the company’s current and potential customers to know what they want and expect.

Customer-Service Management: This varies from customer-relationship management in that it concentrates on the interactions between the customer and the company rather than a more strategic management process. It helps expedite a commonly satisfying goal for customer and the company, as well as evoking customer feedback and managing communications between the two parties, so there are empathic feelings from both parties.

Demand-Management Style: A methodology to calculate, plan for and maintain the demand for products and services. This can speak both macro-levels, as in global economics, but also micro-levels inside the company.

Order Fulfillment: The method that includes everything from point-of-sale interest to delivery of that product or service to the client. It is the way a company acknowledges customer orders.

Manufacturing-Flow Management: Manufacturing is a method, and supplies feed that process based on important data surrounding how it has been performed and what was needed historically. But that method needs flexibility as numbers change. Therefore, one must control all activities related to planning, scheduling, and maintaining the manufacturing process.

Supplier-Relationship Management: Supplies likely are evolving from a third party, and those communications must be strategically planned for. This enhances the value and decreases risk.

Product Development and Commercialization: To decrease time to market, customers and suppliers are linked to the product vision and the product advancement process. Reducing the product life cycle keeps the firm competitive. This process involves coordinating with customer relationship management to identify customer needs, choosing materials and suppliers with the acquisition, and receiving a production technology in the course of manufacturing to integrate the most reliable supply chain flow for the market and product. When prosperous, this has a positive impression on cost, quality, delivery, and market share.

Returns Management: There will eternally be returns and the better they’re executed, the more fruitful and rival the SCM process. Management of this perspective of the SCM means fast and secure returns management, self-regulation, and choosing how to process returned materials. Make sure data is visible to capture early in the method. Then check the flow of products, including receipts and settlement, noting if there are any quality issues.

Process Management: The most important method of managing the business that plays a vital role in any organization is process management. Process management highlights the role of intra- and inter-organizational practices and clearly demonstrates the joint role and impact. It involves strategic planning that leads to successful workflow in a business.

To commence the way into a transformative future, the need to connect technical and business knowledge with collaboration and intelligence skills is what few organizations like Owl Solutions, 3PL Links, FMi Logistics do. The capability to control department leaders that partner with the supply chain is code, as well as the skills to communicate intelligently with leaders over the organization, is necessary because supply chain actions often reach across business units. And a strong business vision is a must-have—you’ll be more productive working with your equivalents in finance, sales, and marketing if you can speak their dialect. The efficient supply chain leader of tomorrow is tech-savvy and happy working beside the world of “machines.”