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Give them written permission to make inexpensive decisions without consulting you. Phase I: 0 — 50 units shipped Do it all yourself. Take all calls and emails yourself.
Write down FAQs. Make pay per click advertisements and website more specific. Investigate merchant account options with a bank esp. Add the FAQ to your website and continue to develop it.
Ask for three customer references and ask those for examples of specific past issues. Ask for net terms payment for services 30 days after rendered. Have manufacturer ship directly to your fulfilment house.
Research bigger fulfilment houses that also handle refunds and returns. Ask for referrals to call centres and credit card centres they already work with. Set up with credit card processor first important for returns and refunds.
Review online vs. Call toll free numbers of some of their other clients. Should be answered within 3 — 4 rings. Ask difficult questions and gauge sales ability. Minimise decisions and avoid complexity. Offer one or two download options.
Offer one, fast shipping option and charge a premium. Eliminate phone orders completely online only. Do not odder international shipments customs are a pain.
See customers as equal trading partners. Do not accept payment via Western Union, checks or money order. Raise wholesale minimums to 12 — units and require a tax ID. Refer resellers to an online order form and never negotiate price on higher volumes.
Offer low prices products instead of free products to capture information. Do not accept orders from common mail fraud countries e. Look bigger than you are when approaching large resellers or partners. Makes the company look bigger than it is.
Avoids making you the obvious decision maker in negotiations. Put multiple emails for different departments on your website even if they forward to just 1. Do not provide a home address use partner addresses or a PO box. Employees often struggle here because they fear taking control.
Escape the office. Be smart about how and when you try to liberate yourself from the office. Put yourself in your bosses shoes: adjust slowly and demonstrate benefits to them personally. Time your requests for a period when it would be difficult to lose you. Suggest a company funded training course. Mention the benefits to your boss and the company. Step 2: Prove increased output offsite. Request to work remotely: compromise on salary during that period if necessary.
Collaborate with your boss on how this will work to get them invested. Work from home and double your output on those days in a traceable way. Keep records of productivity for reference during later negotiations. Step 3: Prepare the quantifiable business benefit. Communicate ongoing remote working as business sense, not a personal perk.
Write bullets of quantifiable out of office results achieved e. Identify causes e. Step 4: Propose a revocable trial period.
Approach boss one week after absence. Propose e. Use the evidence identified in step 3 to demonstrate value to business. Make it clear the trial can be cancelled by your boss at any time.
Step 5: Expand remote time. Repeat steps 2 and 3 on remote days no need to call in sick. Universal Currency Converter — Before you get caught up in the excitement and forget that five British pounds does not equal five U. Universal Plug Adapter — Carrying bulky cables and connectors is irritating— get a Travel Smart all-in-one adapter with surge protection. Note that it is an adapter helps you plug things in , but it is not a transformer.
If the foreign wall outlet has twice as much voltage as in the U. Yet another reason to download necessities abroad instead of taking them all with you. World Electric Guide — Figure out outlets, voltage, mobile phones, international dialing codes, and all sorts of things related to electric mismatching worldwide.
Orbitz is my starting point for pricing comparisons, after which I check both Kayak and Sidestep. Sidestep has proven most effective when searching for flights that start and end outside of the U. These last-minute weekly travel specials might be the push you need to pull the trigger. CFares — Consolidator fares with free and low-cost memberships.
The Couchsurfing Project — Similar to the above but tends to attract a younger, more party-hearty crowd. See tons of options and choose your specific dates. Otalo is like a Kayak. The site scours a variety of other rental search sites and aggregates the results in one easy-to-use search tool. Think location and reviews see HotelChatter next instead of amenities. Four-star hotels are for binge travelers; this site can offer a real local flavor before you find an apartment or other longer-term housing.
HotelChatter — Get the real scoop on this daily web journal with detailed and honest reviews of housing worldwide. Updated several times daily, this site offers the stories of frustrated guests and those who have found hidden gems.
Online booking is available. Craigslist — Besides local weekly magazines with housing listings, such as Bild or Zitty no joke in Berlin, I have found Craigslist to be the single best starting point for long-term overseas furnished apartments. As of this writing, there are more than 50 countries represented. It can be used from any web browser or wireless device and works in real time.
This gives me the freedom to leave all computers at home. Start small — test a minimum viable product early and cheaply. Think big — design and develop the business to scale.
Step 1: Aim at a specific and affordable niche. Creating demand is hard. Filling demand is much easier. Look for repeat, direct advertisers in these — the more frequent their ads, the more profitable the niche. Step 2: Brainstorm do not invest in products. Encapsulate the main benefit in one sentence — What is it? For who? How is it different? Price high then justify: aim for a 50 — USD retail price point.
Less competition than the mid-range. Fewer, better customers. Create a margin of safety: aim for 8 — 10 x markup. Creation: New product or private labelling. Create them yourself see generating credibility. Repurpose public domain content check local copyright laws. There is a simple formula to generate credibility when creating information products. Read the three top-selling books. Give one free, two hour seminar. At a nearby major university. At the local branches of a big company.
Write for trade magazines. Either: Use credibility generated above. Or: Offer to interview an expert. Join e. Step 3: Micro-test.
Micro testing uses inexpensive adverts to test consumer response prior to manufacturing. Intuition and experience are poor predictors of profitability. A good micro testing strategy has three stages: i Best, ii Test, iii Divest or invest. Best: Create a 1 — 3 page website with a more compelling offer than the competition 1 — 3h set up.
Test: Test the offer using a 5 day Google Adwords campaign 3h set up. Look out for and collect adverts that catch your attention in print or online. Write a more compelling proposition use the collected adverts as models.
More credibility indicators media, academia, associations. Better guarantees, selection, shipping, testimonials. download a domain and set up a simple 1 — 3 page website to captur conversions. Capture contact details via an online form or calls to your phone. Keep terms as specific as possible. Aim for second through fourth positioning. Focus ad copy on the differentiators.
Test variations headlines, guarantees, product and domain names etc…. Disable serving of only best performing Ad. Alternative options include setting up an site auction and then cancelling last minute. Review data from testing phase. What was the click through rate?
Which adverts performed best? How many conversions on site? Estimate potential demand and profitability from conversion data. Consider improving the offering e. Decide to invest in the product or move on to another idea. Step 4: Rollout and automate. This is where most entrepreneurs get stuck. They fail to move on from bootstrapping and replace themselves.
The reward is a scalable business that can shift from 10 to 10k orders per week. Start with the end product in mind.