Sunday, February 25, 2007
After looking back on the week, I realized that it's going to be difficult to sell the number of items I thought I could originally sell per day. Instead of listing items as SINGLE items, I am going to list most of auctions at LOTS of 10 or more of the same item, targeting retailers and distributors. If this method of selling works better than single item selling (which I hope it will), I may continue to be the middle-man for the retailers.
Additionally, I feel that personal selling is going to help me a lot. I made a sale on Saturday night to my friend, selling him a case and car charger for 10 dollars at a cost of less than 3 dollars. It seems like my friends and family are more than willing to support my business and help me get started, so I will encourage them to spread the word for me also.
In my Internet Application Development class, I have been working on a survey to determine the best accessories to invest in based on the demand of those people who complete the survey. I'm looking to have the survey released in about two weeks and gather the data for about two weeks thereafter. The survey will help me launch my business into the summer and help me determine whether or not I want to pursue the venture or not.
I will be posting the LOTS of items starting tonight and continuing throughout the week. Another idea I have is drop shipping. If I take orders for LOTS, I can have my wholesaler directly ship to the buyer's location, eliminating the need for me to do any shipping at all. First I need to get rid of the items that have been sitting around and then drop shipping is something that I definitely want to look into.
Promotional materials are also becoming necessary. I will be having a logo designed this week and using it on my letterheads and eBay store. I plan on making a flyer with some of the items I currently offer on it. The flyer will be handed out to friends and put on bulletin boards with my web address on it. Remember it's http://www.more2cell.com/
Lastly and probably most importantly, I have integrated my business into the QUickBooks Pro 2006 software, which I will use to manage my "inventory", vendors, customers, and sales. The reporting on the software will automate my financial reporting needs and make things run very smoothly. I will be importing my expenses YTD into the software and I have already entered my first sale.
This week can be summed up real simply: failure brings change to BETTER tactics and strategies. Let's hope for the best.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Well I have now signed contracts with the Bakersfield (CA) Blaze, a Single A minor league baseball affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and the Wilmington (DE) Blue Rocks, a Single A minor league baseball affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, to sponsor contests at their games this upcoming 2007 season.
I will be sponsoring an on-field Trivia contest at Bakersfield and a 'Lucky Logo' contest at Wilmington. So for those of you live around the PA, NJ and DE area, you should check out the Wilmington Blue Rocks games this season to see the SportsFanBase.com contest.
In addition, I have also reached an agreement with a new advertiser, Kool Pitcher, Inc. Check out their website at www.koolpitcher.com - Their product is pretty cool (literally - go the website to see what I mean).
I have also started to use Google AdWords, which has helped my traffic a bit so far and it should continue to help as the SportsFanBase.com ad is passed around along websites associated with the Google programs.
Lastly, I have added a new feature to SportsFanBase.com. There is now a live sports ticker courtesy of ESPN.com at the top of every page on the website. This gives you updates news, scores, stats, etc. on every sports ESPN covers.
The one down side I have to update is that traffic has gone down just slightly over the last week. But I expect that traffic to increase with the Google AdWords, the new promotions at the 2 baseball stadiums, and a new word of mouth promotion push I plan on starting this week and/or next.
But overall, everything seems to be going fairly well and I seem to be on pace to hit my traffic and revenue targets for the 1st quarter of 2007.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Things are finally moving along for More2Cell LLC. The first order has been placed with our wholesaler of choice, and the shipment is coming in from Texas later this week. I should have the order of 500+ items by Thursday and begin selling by Sunday. Based on my research, Sunday is the best day to begin listing auction items since many users of eBay are online and browsing for products.
Last week, I decided to obtain a membership at Sam's Club for More2Cell LLC in order to purchase my office supplies at the best price. I purchased a paper shredder, 10 reams of paper, and some notepads for the business. The shredder will be used to destroy any confidential data, the paper for printing out labels, and notepads for jotting down my ideas for the business. As for the labels, I plan on using PayPal's built-in label printer, which ties right into eBay's system. This makes it very easy for the seller to print multiple labels at one sitting. The only item I still need to purchase would be clear mailing tape, which I will pick up when I make my next visit to Sam's club this week.
The link for my store is http://www.more2cell.com/
The link will take the user to my actual eBay store, which currently exists in a "beta" stage. By the end of this week, I hope to have invested some time into adding the soon-to-arrive products to my eBay store and making the page a big more appealing to the eye. Stay tuned for more updates on the store.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, as for the financial outlook on how the business will be doing, I'm a bit worried but still confident. My forecasted average cost per item was $0.90. For my first order, the average cost ended up being $1.30. This was largely due the fact that my wholesaler is charging a huge shipping fee of about $140 for a 29 lb box of products. I will be contacting the wholesaler at my earliest convenience and talking with someone about possibly trying to get a better rate for future purchases. It's worth a shot even if nothing changes for future purchases.
Also, I no longer plan on making a transfer from my business credit card to my business checking as I originally planned. I have been able to invest some of my own money into the business and have also made a few sales on half.com, depositing the money into my business checking account. I’m on track to already have investing about $500 into the business with NO sales made yet, so I don’t need to borrow anymore money before I make some first.
In my opinion, this is the best way to get the word out since you grab the target market's attention. At this time, other methods of advertising, such as radio, TV, newspaper, magazines, billboards, etc., will not be cost efficient at this time. Promoting at sporting events is probably the best way to go.
I plan on having people at the game representing SportsFanBase.com and telling the fans what the website is all about. In addition, I am considering making a small flyer/brochure to give out at the games to have some actual tangible information about the website.
So I will keep you posted on the development with this new promotion push.
In addition, I am looking to have an article published in The Rider News talking about SVE, SportsFanBase.com and More 2 Cell. So I will keep you posted on that as well.
In the mean time - If anyone wants to check out my site, here is the link:
February 1, 2007 4:44 PM
Ari Blue said...
Well, it's been my first 2 weeks participating in the SVE and a lot of developments have occurred. January 2007 turned out to be the best month for SportsFanBase.com in terms of traffic, with over 110,000 hits and 1,100 unique visitors. Also, we got one new advertisers and are currently working on getting 2 more advertisers. In addition, I currently have a deal in the works that could potentially be a partnership with a licensed wholesaler of Nike apparel.I will put up another post as some of these awesome deals occur!
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
In order to manage my business finances, I have installed Quicken 2006 on my computer. This software will automatically update all my business and personal financial data, allowing me to click one button to see the status of my accounts.
I have also applied and been approved for a business credit card account. I plan on using a convenience check in the amount of $1500 to match the loan of $1500 that I will be receiving from Rider. The money that I will be borrowing from Chase, the bank of the credit card, is 0% APR for the first 6 billing cycles, so I will be sure to pay that money back before the summertime.
As for my eBay account, I have officially setup a store under my More2Cell username. Since I originally had a 0 feedback score, I needed to pay $5 to IDVerify in order to verify my identity. Once that was complete, I was able to open a store for a charge of $15.95 per month. I posted a “test” listing in my store inventory for 1000 Palm Treo 700 Leather Cases just to see what the listing looked like online. Although I do not currently have 1000 cases on hand and never plan on having even 20 on hand, I will use this technique to make listing items in my inventory easier; buyers may also believe that my store is that much bigger and this may even create some more credibility in my store. Additionally, the benefits of the store inventory listing is that it lists indefinitely and costs me only $0.02 to post with no final value fee of selling the items.
I purchased two e-Books and a cell phone case for my girlfriend in order to gain some feedback score. My score is now a whopping 2, but I plan on buying some more eBooks at least until I reach a score of 10, at which point I earn a blue star which notes to buyers that I am a trustworthy seller.
Lastly and most importantly, I learned a technique from one of the $0.99 e-Books that I purchased that will pay big time. The technique is a trade secret and will surely save me hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the long haul.
On that note, I want to possibly use foreign wholesalers/manufacturers but I want to get some inventory to work with in the interim. Although the prices seem to be cheaper for the products coming from China and Hong Kong, the shipping time is upwards of 3-4 weeks. I can't wait this long for my first order because I need to begin selling as soon as possible to start turning the profits that I was hoping to bring in when planning for this business.
I will post my success with purchasing from the wholesaler that I plan on using. By Monday I will hopefully have some money deposited into my business account and I will be purchasing about 400 pieces of cell phone accessories once that money is available. I hope to sell at least 200 of those by the end of the first month, putting me a little behind schedule for my sales but still bringing in a good amount for just starting the business.
Let's hope for the best. Ari, I hope your website is doing well. I actually was curious, did you design the site yourself or did you have someone else design it? Also, what technologies do you use for maintaining the site? I'm interested in web design so I'd appreciate your feedback.
Like SportsFanBase.com, my business is solely online, but it is a bit different than Ari's. The primary focus of my business is selling cell phone accessories at a competitive price via eBay. I will be purchasing the accessories at a wholesale price and then reselling at an "eBay retail price" (eBay tends to sell cheaper than in stores).
My status right now can be summed up in one word: development. I have been exploring the market and trying to find the best products to invest in at this time, as the most marketable products are always changing with time. So far, I have contacted over a dozen wholesalers and plan on doing business with a handful of them. Some are domestic and some are foreign, but I will rely on my domestic wholesalers to get me started because the shipping time for the foreign wholesalers is very long.
As you can tell by my username, my business is called More2Cell LLC. I obtained my LLC online by searching on Google and being directed to the NJ State Small Business registration site. I also completed all my IRS registrations online and paid for everything with an e-check. It's truly amazing what the Internet now allows us to do!
Once I successfully registered my business, I setup a business account at Commerce Bank, which will be the account to which the loan that Rider is giving me will be deposited. With the money that Rider is loaning me, I hope to purchase products that will turn a large profit for me.
One of my biggest challenges is determining what phones are coming out soon and what phones are popular. Additionally, I need to research and determine what phones have the highest demand for accessories and invest in those accessories specifically. If anyone who reads this has any ideas on what some of the newest phones are or anything of that nature, I would greatly appreciate your input.
The next step would be to begin creating the templates that will be used for the listings that I will be posting on eBay. I have some experience with posting effective auctions on eBay, so this shouldn't be a problem.
I look forward to working with all those who read this post to maximize our success as young entrepreneurs!