Archive for Business Structure

How to Start a Home-Based Online Retail Business – Jeremy Shepherd

How to Start a Home-Based Online Retail Business
Jeremy Shepherd

You would think that it would be difficult to find up-to-date information about online businesses at a public library, but I struck gold with this one…or maybe it was pearls. Once again proving that if you use your resources such as the public library, you can continue to better yourself and use your knowledge to your advantage.

How to Start a Home-Based Online Retail Business is the perfect book to help you do just that. The book is well-written, easy to read, and provides you with the essential information to begin to do business online.

Jeremy Shepherd got started early in the online world. In 1996 he opened PearlParadise.com, and has become the leading online pearl wholesaler and retailer. His business, which started with the purchase of one pearl necklace during a trip to Beijing, has grown to be a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Shepherd’s book details how to save money while starting your online business, how to design and create your website, how to market your business, and how to use a merchant account to allow customers to pay you by credit card. He doesn’t even forget to give tips on shipping, which is oh so important to an online purchase, or to tips on avoiding fraud, which is oh so important to you and your business.

How to Start a Home-Based Online Retail Business gets right to the point, doesn’t talk down to you, doesn’t require a degree in Computer Science to understand, and covers all the necessary details of becoming an online entrepreneur. I love this book. Once I get an online business going, I think the library will have to ban me from checking out this book. I’ll either have to memorize it or splurge and buy myself a copy. (Amazon’s got it for just over $10 at the moment, so I imagine it would be worth the investment.)

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Create Your Own Employment: Part 3

Click here to read part 1 of this post.
Click here to read part 2 of this post.

Of course, setting up your company to serve as your employment only can limit your potential. After interviewing Jim Wilkie about his company At The Docks Marine Electrical, I was convinced that he could expand either the number and types of services he offers to his boat-loving customers or expand to regions outside his local area. His service of repairing electrical problems on boats while they remain stationed at the marina is phenomenal and very marketable. However, he is currently content to remain his sole employee, do what he enjoys, and as I’ve said, make a nice salary off it. In addition to limited growth potential, other disadvantages of remaining small are that you do everything (bookkeeping, marketing, budgeting, the actual labor, etc.) and that when you stop working for your business, your business stops working for you and your income from it dries up.

In the end, it depends on what you want to get out of your business. Will you be more happy just doing what you love or would you rather put in the effort required to create a larger and (potentially) more profitable business?

Both Quantum Tutoring and Quincy Massachusetts Voice Lessons were created to give Sara and me something to do and earn a little money in the mean time. Additionally, they are giving us a platform to learn the basics of business, marketing, finances, etc. Both of us could expand, and may do so in the future. However, for now the benefits of owning our own businesses are great and we’ve enjoyed creating our own employment opportunities.

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Create Your Own Employment: Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post.

Creating your own business allows you better hours, greater earning potential and control over job security. Entrepreneurs often work much more than 40 hours a week at their businesses, because they have a passion to see it succeed, but this is not a necessity. Your own business allows you to use your time as efficiently as possible, set your own work hours and work as many or as few as you want. On the other hand, if you were to work for an employer, there are not very many job options in which you can work as little as 10 or even 5 hours per week and make more than minimum wage. Nor can you often work more than 40 hours, because employers would rather not pay you overtime. Additionally, because your job security depends entirely on the success of your business, it is completely under your control. You control your time, you (and the market) control your earning and you control your job security.

Keeping your business small allows you to avoid the difficulties of a complicated business structure and the hassles involved with employing others. My husband’s family owns and runs Cromar Painting, a contracting company. They have tried expanding in the past, but have found it more profitable to employ very few contractors and keep their operation simple. You can remain a sole proprietorship, never dealing with partners, incorporation and the taxes, finances, insurance, lawyers, and headache that go with all that. Less time spent on such things, means more time spent doing what you enjoy and getting paid to do so.

Click here to read Part 3 of this post.

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Create Your Own Employment: Part 1

I have recently begun to think of running a business in a new way. There are many benefits to creating a business for the sole purpose of creating employment for yourself. You create the job you want to be doing, and your business doesn’t have to be large and complicated. You may be limited in the growth that your business can achieve, even if your idea is the world’s greatest. However, many people simply create a business, so they can work for themselves and not for other people.

After reading and reviewing The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work & What to Do About It, I was convinced that the only smart thing to do in running a business is set it up so that it can run without you. This means systematizing everything in your business, so others can be trained to take your place in every position you occupy in the company. This way, you can expand, allow your business to grow, open more locations, sell a higher volume of merchandise, etc. But, what if you just want a job, that you enjoy, that pays well, in which you don’t have to answer to others? What if you don’t want to be able to run your business on a national or international scale? What if you just want to earn a few more dollars a month? At least for now.

Click here to read Part 2 of this post.

Click here to read Part 3 of this post.

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The E-Myth Revisited – Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work & What to Do About It
by Michael E. Gerber

This book is great for making you think properly about starting a business. Think about all the people you know who have started a business. Most continue to this day to work more hours and have more stress, because they keep working in their business and they’ve begun to hate it. Michael Gerber teaches how to “work on your business, instead of in it.”

Most people try starting businesses in things they are good at. Perhaps they do their job every day and think, “I could run this business on my own, do a better job at it than my manager and have all the profit for myself.” So they start a business doing the work they always did, but they now also have the responsibilities of managing, marketing, hiring and procuring supplies. They go nuts, and they start to hate what they used to love.

Sometimes they try hiring someone to do some of their work. That person is good at it, so the owner keeps piling more stuff on that person and not handling the responsibility of it. That person ends up getting tired of their job and the fruitless, unorganized way you run the company they work for. They quit, and the business grows small again. Then the owner really goes nuts.

Gerber gives the formula of the franchise prototype. By thinking about each position your business needs in it to operate, whether it is sales clerk, waitress, cook, or accountant, and by setting up and writing down a system by which that person does their job, you free yourself from doing the work. You can hire anyone to do it and teach them how. You don’t need to hire professionals that will run things their way. Hire amateurs and train them.

The best strategy is to start from the bottom, writing up a system for the easiest jobs and getting someone to do those, then move on to the more complex ones. Once your system is working smoothly, you can replicate your entire business by hiring a whole new team of people to run it. Thus you are like a franchise.

This is most applicable to any business with a physical storefront. Web-based businesses might not profit from trying to replicate themselves, but the way of thinking is correct. Work on making your business run without you. Then you can really grow and you are not stuck doing all the work. Sound crazy?! It worked for Steve Jobs. He even got kicked out of his own company for a while.

Too busy to read the entire book? Read my notes for a summary of the most useful points.

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