Avoid this if you want to sell children’s products online

Have you ever thought of selling children’s products online? No doubt about it, there’s lots of competition, both from other online stores and the big guys, Amazon. But on the other hand, parents do love to spend money on their children, so the demand is huge.

One important pitfall to avoid is offering a product that is like those already sold by huge retailers. As a small business you simply can’t compete with these retailers on price because they have the advantages of scale, including cheap distribution and the ability to buy in bulk. Instead, you need to find a niche you can serve or do something better than the big companies. ‘Better’ could mean a product that isn’t available anywhere else or more personal customer service, for example.

Read on for some ideas of how to not compete with the big retailers…

Invent and sell an innovative product

If you ever found yourself bathing your baby or trying to get her to sleep and thinking ‘there has to be a better way!’ then you’re in good company. Some mums have gone one step further and created products to make other parents’ lives easier, including Cara Sayer of SnoozeShade and Helen Wooldridge and Polly Marsh of Cuddledry.  An advantage with inventing your own product is that you’ll intimately understand your audience and their needs – after all you’ve been there, done that – so you’ll be able to tailor your product, branding and marketing very precisely.

Sell a top-quality product

We all want the best for our children, so how about buying them the same socks as worn by a prince? Prince George was pictured wearing Condor UK online shop’s classic navy baby knee length socks in official pictures released by the palace. This is a great example of a company not only selling a top-quality product, but also being able to demonstrate this to their customers. Most parents can only dream of having a budget like Prince George’s parents, but they would be happy to buy knitted cardigans for babies from the same store.

Sell an ethical product

Over the past few years customers have been demanding more ethical products. This can be a challenge for large businesses because they must keep their prices at around the same level as before to avoid losing customers and they have complex supply chains that are difficult to change quickly. Also, not all parents can afford the price increase that is often unavoidable with organic or fair-trade products, which makes those that are willing to pay a niche worth exploring. Little Green Radicals and Frugi are two such online stores.

That said, ethical doesn’t have to mean more expensive. There are many opportunities for small businesses with products that are both ethical and could save people money, for example vintage and upcycled clothing or cloth nappies.

It may not look like it at first, but there are many untapped opportunities for selling children’s products out there. With a little creativity and some careful research, you could find a niche with parents who would love to buy from you.

 

Client Friendly Gifts to Make Your Business Memorable

With Christmas around the corner, you might be thinking of the clients or customers that have served you well over the year and what gesture you might like to make in order to thank them for their business throughout the months. Here are some top tips on the types of gifts or gestures you can give to boost you to the front of your favourite client’s minds and encourage them to return to you at the start of the new year;

Self-Sustaining Terrarium

A self-sustaining terrarium is often a desktop-sized glass bottle or enclosed vase that is hand-made with moss, lichen, pretty stones and some plant life, given a few drops of water and then sealed. The lifecycle regulates itself to recycle and provide moisture for the living organisms in the terrarium, making it very easy to keep and beautiful looking gift. Make it yourself for that personal touch or have one commissioned with your client or customer name along the top of the bottom (so it doesn’t block any of the gorgeous internal detail).

Business Resource

With the world becoming more digital and online every day, resources are increasingly moving towards subscription basis to ensure businesses are not missing out from improved software and necessary updates. A kind gesture is to pay for a year’s subscription to a resource used by your client or customer. Maybe they require stock images, videos and graphics, making Shutterstock an ideal choice or they might require video editing and photo manipulation software, which an Adobe subscription would be perfect for.

Charity Donation

Donations are always a welcome gesture and contribute to positive press for both you and your client, consider carefully the amount you could donate to a charity on behalf of your customer, and be sure to choose a cause that you both fully support. Some businesses are already partnered with certain charities which makes it easier to make a donation, especially one you want to keep a surprise. Alternatively, you could choose a charity that is actively campaigning for a recent natural disaster or ongoing internal conflicts, such as donating to the Syria appeal or the Pittsburgh survivors.

Make It Personal

Although it’s not always possible, making a gift extra personal to the business or individual you intend to receive your gift is an excellent way to make a gratefully received gesture and put you at the forefront of their mind in the new year. If you are gifting solely to a director or manager, consider their personal interests, maybe they enjoy golf or are a lover of gourmet foods. If there is a small team, consider their collective interests, do they like meeting together outside the office or hold team bonding exercises in the office, gift them something that can contribute towards this. An office activity, for example, table quizzes, video games or on the larger scale, a pool table or air hockey table (where room allows), out of the office could include a 3-course meal to an upscale restaurant or an excursion to a local attraction like a theme park or zoo.

Say It with Food

It’s hard not to enjoy a tasty gift that can be enjoyed by a number of people. If your customer or client has a small or medium team, consider giving a gift basket, it can be handmade with personally selected delicious treats or pre-made with plenty of online and brick-and-mortar shops offering festive gift basket options. Gift baskets can be customised depending on the number of people you are buying for or you can multiple to satisfy larger teams or teams spread across a few different locations.

There’re still a few months to go until Christmas so while it’s certainly not the time to panic, you want to ensure you have your festive client gifts planned or all bought and ready to go before we get too far into the season. While giving gifts is a great way to be remembered, you also don’t want your gifts to be a hollow gesture so spend some time finding out what your favourite customers enjoy and treat them to something useful or gratefully received this holiday season.

Online Cash Advances and You: What You Should Know

Everyone blows their budget at some time or another in their lives and needs a little bit of cash to tide them over to the next payday rolls around, or the car goes on the fritz and your emergency fund doesn’t have the money you need to cover the expense. Luckily, in today’s modern world, one that is full of the internet and technology, it is possible to get the quick cash you need online. While this is an easy way to get the money, you need to tide you over or pay that auto repair bill, you need to responsible and careful with the loans you get. With that in mind read on below for a little about online cash advances and what you should know before you apply for one.

What Are They?

Before you use a cash advance online, it’s a good idea to know what it is. A cash advance, called by a few different names is getting a loan online that you can pay back in instalments or in some cases on your next payday.

Are They Easy to Get?

In most cases, online cash advances are pretty easy to get. You will need your social security number, a checking account, a form of identification, and proof of income before you apply. Filling out the application is easy, and, in many cases, the money will be deposited in your account the same day or at least within 24 hours. While these loans may be super simple to get, you need to be responsible with the cash advance you are applying for.

Don’t Borrow More than You Need

While it may be tempting to borrow the maximum amount you qualify for, you need to remember, you have to pay this loan back. You will be set up on a payment plan where the payment will be pulled out of your checking account on a set day of each month, automatically. Ask yourself, is this something you can afford? Can you pay back the money each and every month without fail? This is why it’s best to only borrow what you need. You will have less to pay back when you do.

Always Make Payments on Time

Remember, even though your payment is set up to come out on a certain day of the month, things happen. If you draw the money out or don’t have it in your account, then you are going to incur late fees, interest, and possibly a hefty fee from your bank, when they have to decline payment. Make sure that you are keeping the amount for your payment in the bank, so you don’t run into this problem.

These are just a few of the things you need to know about cash advances online and how to use them responsibly. They are a good thing to get when you need emergency money, but if you don’t act responsibly with them, they can get you into trouble.

Image: QuinceMedia

Making Time for Self-Improvement as a Business Person With a Hectic Schedule

When you run a small business and have commitments at home at the same time, you may find that you are constantly just about keeping yourself, your business, and your home life afloat. When self-improvement is mentioned, you’re likely to stop paying attention immediately. After all, how can you fit anything else in to your already hectic schedule? But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of ways to boost your qualifications and skills without having to make sacrifices in any other area of your life. Here are just a couple to consider.

Engage With Flexible Learning Options

Many small business owners could significantly benefit from pursuing education in the field that their business specialises in. This can help you to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of what you’re working with or who you’re working with. If you have set up a business that recruits and assigns electricians to people experiencing electrical problems in their domestic or commercial properties, you could study an electrical engineering technology degree yourself. This will give you a leg up in determining which electricians know what they’re talking about and which don’t – and consequently who you should hire. If you plan to expand your business to a foreign country, you could pick up the country’s primary language to be able to engage with people without the impersonality of a translator. Now, you may be wondering how you could possibly fit education around current professional and personal commitments. But not to worry. Many institutions now offer more flexible learning options, including online courses, part time courses, and evening classes. This makes higher education a lot more accessible to even the busiest of individuals.

Organise Your Time

You’d be surprised just how much time you can save by simply organising your schedule. Many of us live by routines that are not optimised to our way of life. Just because other people do things a certain way, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily what’s best for you! Just because most people will sleep in until the moment they have to get up doesn’t mean that you should. Instead, you could set an alarm earlier, wake up, and have a little you time before you have to start getting the kids ready or before you have to attend a business meeting. This extra time could be put to good use, giving you an opportunity to read a book, catch up on the news, or play some brain training games. Sit down and work out exactly how you are going to spend each moment of each day. This will allow you to allocate time that would be spent procrastinating to more productive ventures.

Hopefully, the above two steps can help you to incorporate time for self-improvement into your schedule, no matter how full it may already appear to be. If you don’t always stick to the plan, it’s not the end of the world. But as long as you stick to it more than you don’t, you should begin to see noticeable results!

Image: Moose photos

Business travel — 6 top tips for high-flying moms


Traveling for work is an essential business activity for busy moms whose enterprises are expanding.

It’s a bit of a pain in the butt for those who like to stay close to their families and don’t appreciate life on the road.

But for others, it provides welcome respite to focus solely on entrepreneurial activities and maybe even squeeze in a little ‘me time’.

Whatever your view, you’ll probably want to make these trips as calm, cheap and convenient as possible — so here are six top business travel tips for high-flying moms.

1. Cellphone

When you’re in a different city or country, a high-spec cellphone is a lifeline to family, colleagues and business contacts.

And since features like stylus pens and slimline designs prime phones for business purposes, a quality android might be a good choice — check out financing deals on the Galaxy Note9 at samsung.com right now.

2. Laptop

A laptop’s the next essential piece of tech that allows corporate road warriors to do business battle.

There are many to choose from, but with its ultralight design, powerful processing, optional Global LTE-A connectivity and 15 hours battery life, the Lenovo Think Pad X1 Carbon is amongst the best.

3. Airport parking

You can ride public transport to reach the airport, but sometimes traveling in your own vehicle helps you switch between parent and business modes as smoothly as possible — private space and personal music can enhance the ambience.

But book airport parking online early with Looking4.com to bag an early bird bargain and save yourself scrambling for a space on arrival

4. Airside massage

Nailing down childcare arrangements, saying fond farewells and arriving at the airport in time for your flight can leave your nerves frayed and frazzled.

To unwind in luxurious style, make time for a terrific tension relief massage at XpresSpa — these relaxation gurus have great outlets at airports from San Francisco to Salt Lake City.

5. Airport lounge

Reserving a semi-private space at an airport to check emails, chill out and prep business pitches isn’t as expensive as you might think.

In fact, you can access an airport business lounge from $30 at loungebuddy.com — it’ll facilitate a quiet time for focused pre-flight work.

6. Family app

If you’re worried that your nearest and dearest aren’t safe and secure while you’re away, there’s no way you’ll have a laser-like focus on expanding your company.

So check in with your partner and kids, arrange catch up calls and synchronize plans with the Life360 app — it also shows you the real time geolocations of your family circle 24 hours a day.

These six business travel tips for high-flying moms won’t make your work trip pass any quicker, but they might make the entire experience more stimulating, stress-free and effective.

Do you have any travel tips to add to our list? Share them in the comments section.

Photo credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi