Our previous article outlined the basics of importing and exporting goods for businesses. We talked about why these businesses work so well, as well as why people should look into importing from China/Asia rather than looking locally. Long term it is cheaper for them, and it also allows you to use this saved capital on other business ventures such as marketing, storage or whatever you might need. Today we...
Posted by Vernon Haskins on Aug 11, 2016 in Finance | Comments Off on Different Types of Investing | Finance 101
Today I’m going to talk about a topic that I’m personally very interested in. Investing! I’m a keen investor and I know a lot of my business associates and friends are too. Generally its the people who understand money the most will invest and the individuals who work for someone else, won’t invest much at all (all relative of course.) The issue here is the people who need to invest their money more than anyone is, is in fact the people who have salaried jobs, this is the easiest way to compound your earnings using the slight edge effects. Below I talk about why you should be investing your earnings.
Why You Should Invest Your Money
In school and University for that matter we are always told 1 thing! Don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back. And any left over money you do have you should put into a secure savings account that might make you 1-2% a year. What a pile of rubbish!
I know the education system is messed up (and that’s a discussion for another article) but to say that you should only save your excess money in the most secure accounts in the world and take 1% and be happy with that interest is utterly crazy. Considering the financial crash of 2008 and how “secure” these banks and networks really are, this pretty much shows how bad an idea this is.
So now that we have established banks are not secure and at an interest rate of 1-2% a year, also have a terrible impact for your money. So what can you do instead? Well below I’ve outlined a number of different types of investing. Depending on the risk you want to have for your money, as well as the amount of time you have to learn the discipline of investing you choose, will determine what you select. But to give you some idea about the monetary impact you can have if you are a smart investor I’ve done some calculations for you below.
If you start with £10,000 to invest in year 1 and you invest in safe stocks and shares that you aim to make 20-50% a year on for as long as you are able to do so. This is what the total profit and earnings looks like. This is if we take the low estimate of 20% a year every year. And a re-investment of £10,000 into your account per year.
Year 1: £10,000 invested. – £2,000 profit made = £12,000 total.
Year 2: £12,000 + £10,000 added – £4,400 profit made = £26,400 total.
Year 3: £26,400 + £10,000 added – £7,280 profit made = £43,680 total.
Year 4: £43,680 + £10,000 added – £10,720 profit made = £63,320 total.
Year 5: £63, 320 + £10,000 added – £14,664 profit made = £88,000 total.
Year 6: £88,000 + £10,000 added – £19,600 profit made = £117,600 total.
Year 7: £117,600 + £10,000 added – £25,520 profit made = £153,000 total.
Year 8: £153,000 + £10,000 added – £32,600 profit made = £195,600 total.
Year 9: £195,600 + £10,000 added – £41,120 profit made = £246,000 total.
Year 10: £246,000 + £10,000 added – £51,200 profit made = £307,200 total.
So by year 8 you can live off the 20% per year with only investing £10,000 a year. Remember this is better than any retirement fund. Any interest you will ever receive from a bank and is a lot safer than most of these too! Plus as you become more adept in the markets there is no reason why you can’t make 40-50% in some years!
The Types of Investing
The numbers above show the potential of re-investment mixed with compound interest. Don’t take 1-2% when its as easy to get 20% a year! Seriously you aren’t saving money when you put “money in the bank” you are essentially wasting money! Below are the types of investments that can help you reach these 20% per year figures. I’ve stuck with 3 today as I don’t want to over complicate this article as its already pretty long.
Foreign Exchange – Currency Trading
Foreign exchange or “forex” for short, is the currency trading network. This is where individuals and huge corporations trade more than 5 trillion dollars a day in the currency markets. It works by essentially purchasing large portions of certain currencies, and then selling them back for a profit (or a loss.) The process itself is quite complex, a site I recommend for getting started in forex is: Elite forex for beginners – They have some great guides on how to make your first trade as well as some good information on what not to do when you first open up an account!
Stocks and Shares
This is what is generally thought of when you say “investing” – These are the companies on the financial markets. And the things you see with the funky graphs all over the world, such as the one below. This is the easiest way to get started and there are 2 books I would recommend. The first is the Naked Trader by Robbie Burns, the second is “come into my trading room” by Elder. These 2 will get you on the right path when it comes to shares and avoid going for the “next shiny object” syndrome!
This is one of the more risky strategies as you are investing in longer term properties. For example you will be investing in start-up businesses who are looking to create millions from their idea. But in the early days they need small loans and are willing to give away small percentages of their business. For example if you invested early in snapchat, your 10% share would now be worth millions.
I hope you enjoyed this article, it was a bit different to the usual stuff but still pretty interesting if you ask me!
Recently we have been talking a lot about import / export businesses and how to get these started. But today we are looking at branding and how to management your corporate brand the best way possible. All this information is pulled from a study that a brand management company in London ran in 2015. The results were quite interesting and as a result I wanted to post them on my blog. So let’s get to it.
1.) Don’t Do Something for the Sake of It
You see this even with the biggest brands in the world, they will run TV ads that aren’t very good, just to make sure they are in-front of their target audience at least once or twice a month. If something isn’t ready or doesn’t need to be done, don’t waste valuable capital investing in this medium. Instead wait for the time and/or product to be right and then launch harder through these channels.
2.) TV is Dead
Even the largest brands on the globe need to see this reason. TV is dead, or at least dying. People are immune to the ads and now most people either switch channels, leave the room or just mute the TV. This means you aren’t even getting in front of the lazy target audience you thought you were! Instead invest in online marketing mediums. Content marketing, SEO and paid marketing are a way to drastically reduce your overall marketing cost and improve your conversions all at once. It’s a win win situation.
3.) Get Creative
With the introduction of social media, creative advertising and branding campaigns now go viral. This means that you not only get in front of the initial audience you paid to get in front of (TV, Youtube ect) but people will actually share your ad! That means your brand is getting in front of millions of people, for free! But more than that, it is being done by people who know the person sharing the advert, and the trust this creates cannot be brought.
4.) Invest in Events
Events are the place to be when it comes to your brand. Whatever industry you are in, you should be attending as many corporate and private events and conferences as possible. There are hundreds in London and the UK alone through 2016, and if you have to budget to go global there are thousands to choose from! This is the easiest way to get your brand in front of smart business people in seconds.
5.) Speaking Gigs
One that I’ve personally used with some great success. Get up on stage and talk about something related to your business. Sell through education. This is how sales is going in the next 20 years. People want to know how and what you are doing for them. But in such detail that they could do it themselves. Trust me, people are too lazy to implement the information you give them and do it themselves, so instead they will either buy your product or use your service to help them!
Our previous article outlined the basics of importing and exporting goods for businesses. We talked about why these businesses work so well, as well as why people should look into importing from China/Asia rather than looking locally. Long term it is cheaper for them, and it also allows you to use this saved capital on other business ventures such as marketing, storage or whatever you might need.
Today we are going to be talking about Amazon and more specifically how you can build a profitable business using just the amazon FBA platform. If you didn’t know Amazon offers what is called FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon to their sellers. This is when a merchant sends their stock directly to an Amazon warehouse and they fulfil the order including picking, packing and sending the item – This all comes under a semi-fixed fee that varies based on the size of the item and the price it is selling for on Amazon itself. Most people who want to start businesses think they shouldn’t do FBA as the fees kill the business, whereas in fact we looked at the data and you should actually be saving money if you do this! Even without the obvious time saving benefits.
So if you didn’t know Amazon is the future of shopping and distribution. They have made billions in direct to consumer marketing and shopping and its just a matter of time before they expand into other markets by making their own products. You can see this with the recent Amazon groceries section in the UK as well as Amazon building some of their own products in the US version. Essentially what I’m saying here is from a business point of view Amazon is going nowhere! You want to build a sustainable business without the hassle of building from the very ground up – Then this is probably your answer. There are multiple guides to teach you exactly how you can do this – Which are extremely long so I won’t go into that now, but just know that if you put the effort in there is no reason why you can’t have a profitable business in as little as a year.
The Most Important Elements
Getting started quick. Make sales as soon as your product touches down in the Amazon warehouse itself and then get going on the promotions. The search engine of amazon is based on how many sales a product makes at a certain price AKA how much Amazon makes from the fees associated with a product. The more sales the higher you rank and hence the more sales you will make. And vis versa too. This is why Amazon optimization for your product listings are so important too, as you want this to appear for multiple keywords, similar to how you include keywords in your title and text for Google to rank you.
Posted by Vernon Haskins on Jun 29, 2016 in Business | Comments Off on The Basics of Importing and Exporting Goods
For business owners who are just beginning to export their products outside their country of origin, the trade can be shady and difficult to interpret. Here are some items that you need to get right in order for you to successfully trade and export your products internationally.
Ensure High Quality of Products
When your business has grown big enough that it is now capable of reaching markets outside of your own country, then you need to ensure that you get all the elements right to sustain the growth. The biggest companies in the world became what they are today because of their ability to extend their reach internationally. To be successful in exporting you need to ensure that your product is of good quality and that it meets certain standards.
Pricing determines how much you can earn out of a single unit of sale and it also dictates how much the price of your product once it hits the stores or when it reaches your target market abroad. If you price it too low you may not be able to recover the cost of transporting the goods and the taxes you paid for the export. If you price it too high, the international market may not respond to it. It is important to get this figure to be just right.
Observe legislation Guidelines
Many businesses who had aspirations of becoming international distributors had their dreams crushed even before their products left the local shores or landed on foreign ports and markets. The primary reason for failure in exporting is the failure to follow regulatory laws and guidelines in your local country of origin and the destination country where your products will supposedly be distributed. Review the legislation in both the originating and receiving countries regarding exporting to avoid violations, fees and fines.
Get Legal advice in Drawing international Contracts
When you are planning to export you need to outline your business relationship as the supplier to your distributor in the destination country where you are exporting your products to. To put everything in black and white you need to have a legally binding contract. Because your business partner is in another country and they may be covered by different contract laws, you need to hire a legal expert to get this aspect right for you.
Obtain Insurance Protection
When you travel your products out of your own shores you are exposing yourself to financial risk. Consult a business insurance provider on your options on how to get insured from the risks of financial loss should your contracted business partner fail to do their duties and responsibilities as originally stipulated in your contract with them. This tip was from my good friend Dan from garage-shelving.co.uk.
Exporting is the dawn of a new stage in business growth. The fact that you are opening your market to a wider consumer pool could mean that your business or your company is headed to greatness. There are however important things to consider in ensuring that nothing blocks your way in exporting to success.
Branding a business is not easy, from personal experience i know the difference when I got this right (the business took off) and when I got this wrong, the business just sort of stood still. The issue itself isn’t in how you brand the business from day 1, because obviously small start-ups don’t have the budget to pretend to be a huge corporation. But its how your company looks and feels from day 1. I think most people refer to this as the company culture. In this article I’m going to run through a few things I think are important when you are branding your business or creating a company culture.
I used to work in London’s branding division, so I know a little bit about the importance of branding and how when it is done correctly can make your business image sell your products for you!
Tip 1 – New is not better.
Despite what Barney said in the hit show How I met your mother New is not better. Now sure tech advances means that new is sometimes a lot more efficient. But from a pure marketing and branding perspective, new is not better. New is in fact “A lot more difficult to promote as no one has the trust for your business or even believe you or your company” – That’s what new really is, but I guess that is less catchy than Better!
The remedy is to simply grind through the first 2 years. 50% of start-ups go out of business in 2 years. Of the 50% remaining around 10% go on to create million dollar businesses. So the odds aren’t really in your favour, but they sure as hell are a lot better if you survive your first 2 years!
Tip 2 – More is not More.
Working in London I dealt with clients that had £100,000 to spend on a campaign as well as individuals who only had £2,500. The campaign scales themselves were very different but the process behind them, not so much. Essentially you don’t have to have a huge budget to have a huge impact. Think about it this way. If I did something that got myself and my business newsworthy or viral, that would generate a lot more business than £50,000 in advertising. And that is the truth nowadays. New marketing revolves around smart social advertising, not corporate TV ads. It’s the truth. Less is not less but more is not more.
Tip 3 – Brand Yourself
Personal branding is probably the single most effective branding technique of the 21st century. With Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter. Everyone is connected all of the time. This means if someone likes you as a business or sporting or any sort of personality, you can create this audience into a successful channel for your branding and marketing by simple investing into building your own personal brand. This is something people like Gary Vee and Mark Cuban have started doing more and more and its becoming more and more successful. As people don’t buy from companies, people buy from people.
If you’re anything like me then you want to be as efficient as possible, especially when it comes to your business. Recently technological advancements have enabled us to have hugely optimised businesses and speed up production, manufacturing, delivery and all kinds of business processes. The interesting thing is, the industries that haven’t caught up yet are beginning to die off or get revolutionised.
If we look at 2 of the biggest industries in the world and 2 of the oldest industries ever – We see hotels (staying somewhere) and taxi service (Getting lifts.) – These industries have been around since the dawn of time it seems. In the olden days instead of taxi’s we would have got a horse (or a camel or donkey) to travel large distances. And when we reached out destinations, we would do what? Stay in an Inn. I mean this story literally is as old as the bible so we know these are old business types for sure!
But over the past 5 years (yes just 5 years) these industries have been completely pulled apart.
Just to put this into perspective. That’s an industry that is 2000+ years old being re-created in 5 years. If you haven’t already guessed what I’m talking about then (where have you been) but also it is of course Uber and Airbnb.
Airbnb is now valued at $24 billion… That’s all generated in less than 5 years… Because they focused on 2 key things. 1.) Allowing your customers to market and scale for you. And more importantly 2.) Technology – Do you think Airbnb would be anything like it is today if we still didn’t have phones? But its more than that. Think about a small element, if digital cameras weren’t invented (or at least mainstream) – Then the images the people use on these websites (such as their house listings) would be so difficult to generate and the whole process would break down.
Airbnb is the closest thing you can get to an automated billion dollar business. Think about it this way.
Users list their properties – Users take photos of their properties, add all the essentials to a listing and then simply write a description about what they are offering.
Verified – The verification process is semi-automated, but also costs the individual to process, this removes bots and spam from the site. The listing and location is then verified by the Airbnb team to ensure the images actually show what the room or house looks like (otherwise they would get a lot of spam and that would waste everyone’s time) – But this is the only un-automated process to the entire strategy.
Users “promote” their properties – There are hundreds of ways to do this, but generally to get the initial reviews you will ask family and friends to stay in the property for a day. Again to reduce spam Airbnb doesn’t allow free trips and they still charge fees based on the price per night. Another way to get people to stay in your house early (before you have positive reviews) is to reduce the price greatly and simply state
Reviews are generated by consumers – You can only write a review if you have actually stayed at the property itself, this reduces spam greatly and these reviews are usually honest. The more positive reviews the higher you will rank in the general Airbnb search (similar to the Amazon search engine)
Scaled & Repeated – This process is then scaled and repeated, but everytime an individual books Airbnb will get their fee per night. For example I paid approximately £800 to spend a month in a nice apartment in Budapest, Hungary. The fee to Airbnb was £80. Which is about 10%. That’s 10% of all sales going through Airbnb. This is one of the reasons why they will break $1 billion dollars in 2016.
If you have 20 minutes to spare I would highly recommend watching the below video. it talks about Joe Gebbia and the story behind the start-up of Airbnb. The name was created when he and his roommate put an airbed on their floor so a friend could come and stay over. Initially this was in San Francisco during the busy conference season. As San Fran is such a business and start-up Hub nowadays, most of the people that come stay in expensive hotels and when 2-3 conference all run at the same time the hotels raise their prices to ridisoucous levels, and even then all the hotels sell out.
So the option for these event attendees was to a.) Either avoid the event, which in most cases was seen as the only option. b.) Stay 1+ hours away from the event location itself, for example stay on the outskirts of the city and then commute in the morning (rush hour) or c.) Find someone’s house to stay at. Now Joe’s idea was simple, he wanted to have people that could make money by renting their rooms or homes during these extremely busy periods. They could charge a good rate as the season was there, but the individual would also get a good rate as they wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel at the extremely over-priced rates in which most companies raised their prices to, during the conference season.
You can watch the whole video below, its a good start on how grinding and entrepenurs really make their “overnight success” businesses. Love the Airbnb Guys. Next up we will talk about Uber!
Uber – The Biggest Taxi Company in the World
Uber is another company that was founded in San Fran about 7 years ago, but has only become mainstream in the last 2 years. Uber has just actually come to my personal location, which means they literally are internationally global now. With an estimated value of 51 billion dollars…. For a company that was only officially funded in 2009! That is some crazy serious money! That I personally can’t really comprehend. If you don’t know what Uber is or how it works, you can check the 5 min video below it will explain all.
So why am I writing this post? – Talking about 2 Billion dollar start-ups that came from San Fran… What relevance does that have to you or me?
Well the reason I set-up Caabi was to provide business support and advice to people on how to scale and build their business. I love marketing, I even own a marketing company in Cardiff UK. And I know the main problem we had was building our business from £100,000 a year to £1,000,000 a year. Initially we did this in a terrible inefficient way. But nowadays my partner and I work 5 hours a day and make this amount because we utilised TECHNOLOGY (and good staff) – Tech is there to make your life easier, so make use of it! Please!
Posted by Vernon Haskins on May 26, 2016 in Business | Comments Off on 5 Tips For Starting A Successful Technology Business
Lots of people are wondering how to reach success in starting technology business. First of all, you should somewhere and I suggest starting from yourself. Do you know a lot about technology or marketing? Do you know what latest technology fabs are? How is technology different today from the past and what strategies would you use in marketing to advertise your business?
The point is that you have to learn a lot about marketing and technology before you even start. In fact, it is really important for you to learn very much before starting something. These five tips might help you out though.
Getting The Customers’ Attention
Attention – that is one thing you want to elicit from your potential customers. They need to crave what you have to offer, or want to buy it or desire it. Certainly, you cannot bully someone into buying something, but instead you can use subtle manipulation techniques to get these people in a state of mind where they will actually want to buy your product, or get your services.
The Mutual Respect
People need to relate, but in addition to that they also have an innate desire to be accepted and respected. If you manage to show people respect in your business then your marketing and business will be successful. Remember that behind every computer, and every tablet, and every smart phone, there is a human being and try to reach them. Reaching out that human being and being sincere is what creating a great business is all about.
Digital Marketing And New Opportunities
When it comes to digital marketing activities and Internet marketing, it can be said that Internet marketing is usually done through search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, social media marketing, as well as many other ways in which social media is used for marketing purposes, such as sending emails and reaching out to people on their social media. Still the term is yet unfamiliar to many, so you will get numerous advantages of using it before others.
Honesty As Your Policy
Saying that your company, or your product or business for that matter, do not have drawbacks, is a mistake. Remain focused on what is good and emphasise that the things which are good, but make sure that you genuinely believe in it. On the contrast, if you start telling half-truths or using unethical methods when it comes to Internet marketing, you will soon be able to close your business, because people will see right through you.
Know Your Stuff
Make sure you are not getting yourself into a business you know nothing about. It is always the best idea to do something you love, but also something you know really well. If you do not know nothing about technology, but are still very passionate about it, I would definitely recommend learning more about it first.