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How Do I Price My Products/Services?

Many people have incredible business ideas – perhaps even world-changing. And a lot of work goes into turning those ideas into a reality, driving buzz around the product, and storming towards a successful launch. But as soon as that launch date arrives, no one buys. You might be perplexed, confused, and unsure as to why this has happened. But then it will hit you – your pricing is all wrong.

Many first-time entrepreneurs fail to realise the critical importance of pricing. Get it right, and you could be on your way to great success. But achieving the right balance is a lot more complicated than you might think. It’s a tough job, and it is easy to get wrong – which, ultimately, can result in abject failure. With this in mind, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about pricing your products or services.

The basics

First of all, it’s important to understand that products and services pricing has a few ground rules. First of all, you need to cover yourself regarding costs – the amount you spend to create a product or service – and you also need to make a profit. Furthermore, there’s a need to fit your business pricing into the wider market. Who else is selling similar products, and for how much? Is there a significant demand for your product, but little in the way of supply? Ultimately, however, getting the right price point is all about one thing – driving sales.

The knowledge

So, if you want to price your product or service correctly, you need an in-depth awareness and understanding of your audience. Market research will tell you lots about how much people will be interested in your product, and demographics could reveal the amount they are capable of paying. Ultimately, you will be pitching your product to one of three basic groups: people who don’t have much money; people who want convenience, and individuals who demand luxury or the very best service. You must understand which of these groups is your target before you even start sourcing raw materials.

The costs

The next step is to work out your costs per sale. And there are many expenses to consider. Raw materials, utility bills, rents for offices and factory space are obvious starting points. There’s the cost of manufacturing to think about, too, not to mention your employee’s wages. Shipping, inventory management, equipment and software programs – everything you use to get your idea from your head to the market needs to be accounted for and added to your cost of sale. Then it’s a case of working out how much you need to sell to break even, and how much you need to sell to turn a profit. However, we aren’t quite done yet on costs…

The bottom line

Another vital concept to grasp is that the best way to make more profit isn’t to make more sales – it’s to cut your costs. So, before you go ahead with production or introducing your service, think about if you can cut back on your expenses. Is your electricity bill too high, and could you reduce it by enforcing a more eco-friendly – and cost-efficient – policy? Is the expensive office you want as a base for operations really necessary, or could you find a cheaper place elsewhere? There are a thousand and one things you can do to stop wasting money, all of which will boost your bottom line and either a) increase your profits, too, or b) allow you to price more aggressively. Once you have a good grasp of your costs, we can move onto estimating a revenue target.

Estimating sales targets

When you have cut all the costs back to protect your bottom line, you will have a better idea of how much you could make. But, ultimately, it’s all about accurate estimation. You will need to look ahead over the next year or so and have a realistic – and informed – guess of how many products or service offerings you will sell. Once you have established this figure, you can start deciding on a price – but there is still a significant chunk of work to do.

Establishing your prices

You can decide on one of the several methods of establishing the perfect price point. Cost-plus pricing is typical in the manufacturing industry and is one of the easiest to work out. You figure out your costs as above, factor in your profit margin, and price your products accordingly. Bear in mind that this method requires pinpoint accuracy, as any missing costs could end up seeing your product losing money.

Demand price is also popular – especially among retailers and wholesalers. Demand pricing uses a primary method of buying and selling in bulk and lowering prices in accordance with sales volume. It is a tricky strategy to master, however, as it relies on a lot of liquidity in calculation and pricing.

The final two common strategies are markup and competitive pricing. Markup pricing is when you add a specific amount – usually a percentage of cost, not gross margin – to each sale. And competitive pricing involves looking at what everyone else in your market is charging and pricing your products and services accordingly.

Conclusion

Ultimately, pricing your products and services needs to be a fluid and flexible process. Your ideas of pricing on day one are likely to be a lot different by the time you come to launch. And the simple truth is that in the vast majority of markets, prices go up and down all the time, and you have to take those changes into consideration. The key to success is to keep on top of your pricing analytics, to ensure that you are making the correct decisions and avoiding losing money. The end goal is to do more of what works, and stop what isn’t – and always keep reevaluating those costs. Sometimes you will need to lower your price, but you may also benefit from raising it. If you are in the service industry, for example, it makes sense that as your knowledge and skills grow, so should your prices. Good luck!

Additional resources

9 Strategies for Profitably Pricing Your Retail Products
How to price your startup’s product right — the first time
Revenue is Not Your Friend – Pricing For Profit

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Finance

Why Entrepreneurs Often Fail

entrepreneur

Entrepreneur is an interesting word. It conjures up thoughts of bravery and superior business wisdom. It’s a person who sees in something what most of us fail to see.

Take that idea, develop it and in turn found a business on it. When it works, it’s pure genius, and we’re in awe of their aptitude. However most businesses fail so most Entrepreneurs are less skilled than we give them credit for.

Bravery in launching a new business is really just a higher level of risk taking and with good debt it’s more acceptable. Good debt is a loan that used to create a revenue, i.e. it’s an investment used to generate and grow an income. Here’s a more extensive definition of good debt.

So the Entrepreneur or business will increase its borrowings via a line of credit, or even a home loan to invest in its products or people with the objective of earning more revenue.

The risky part of borrowing is the end goal is speculative i.e. its usually a well thought out plan but it’s not actually happened and numbers have to work out, i.e. the increase in revenue due to the loan, far exceeds the costs of the loan and other additional expenses, like more staff or systems.

Entrepreneurs have an appetite for risk and as mentioned it sometimes works out but mostly it doesn’t so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of business loans.

Once the good debt options run out, then the only way to go is bad debt loans and this is when it can all spiral downwards for businesses. Bad debt loans are essentially non income producing so they’re a liability. The loans can not be leveraged to make money. They can be written off against taxes and there is also bad debt recovery which is another subject altogether.

Startups fail for many of the same reasons including:

  • Lack of working capital – affecting operations
  • Liquidity issues with cash flow – struggling to pay staff, suppliers
  • Business growing too quickly – not enough resources to deliver on orders
  • Ego – too big to fail

Often it’s not just one thing either but a combo of challenges that just become too much to handle alone. The smart operators don’t go it alone though they have mentors.

Entrepreneurs Need Mentors Too

Behind every good Entrepreneur is a mentor. Yes this is not the adage you were expecting but it works.

Mentors keep us in check. They’re our sounding boards, listening to our rants and raves. Offering an objective viewpoint and advice on the direction we should take.

Of course no one person can be trusted to do the lot so more than one mentor is recommended. The experience and trusted authority from mentorship is recognised in just about all great leaders. Think of the big names in business today and they’ll say they have amazing mentors.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs, and Bill Gate had Warren Buffett.

Maybe this is where some Entrepreneurs go wrong? They either don’t have mentors or they don’t use them enough.

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Finance

Neo or Ethereum – where is your investment safer

crypto currencies

The advent of cryptocurrencies and its stellar rise, despite relative infancy and new technology, have arguably impacted the marketing world significantly. Booming in the previous year, 2017 saw a rush of millions of money poured into the cryptocurrency market. And considering its continuously growing network, there is no sign that 2018 will be any different.

Over the last few years, cryptocurrencies and other blockchain projects were able to gain very impressive returns that helped investors to be ridiculously successful. However, inevitably, many had experienced its dramatic declines as well. But despite the risk, more and more people are looking for the next big thing in the market which has the highest potential to multiply ones’ investment. And while there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies, that although represent opportunities to achieve sustainable growth, are also highly risky; and from which it is quite hard to predict which one gives the best result, this article will focus on the two of the most popular alternate coins (altcoins) of today – Ethereum and NEO.

Ethereum and NEO are both high-profile altcoins with massive community support and which many investors swear by one or the other. However, as “the competition for the coin is expected to become tougher in 2018 as new players enter the domain”, the question of whether which of the two will be left holding the scepter becomes less important – but rather, where will investments be safer.

To attempt to answer this question, let’s take a closer look at the two altcoins.

Ethereum versus NEO: Philosophical Differences

Ethereum, according to its website, is “a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.”

NEO, on the other hand, is defined as a “non-profit community-based blockchain project that utilizes blockchain technology and digital identity to digitize assets, to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts, and to realize a ‘smart economy’ with a distributed network.”

These respective definitions might sound remarkably similar – because, in many ways, they are. That is, both of them “run on a custom built block-chain that can move value around and represent the ownership of the property.”

Moreover, at first glance, these respective definitions might also imply that the two altcoins share the same objectives as both are aiming to dominate the cryptocurrency market by playing the similar roles of being the blockchain platforms for the new internet (or platforms that offer decentralized functionalities) such as Decentralized Applications (DApps), Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and smart contracts. However, they aren’t, as there are subtle differences:

Ethereum’s goal is to develop its platform in response to new demands – that is, consolidating its role as the go-to platform for ICO’s. Whilst, NEO’s goal is mostly focused on developing its platform for future demands by realizing a so-called “smart economy” that will feature digitized physical assets which can be sold, traded, and leveraged through smart contracts.

Ethereum versus NEO: Backing and Partnership Differences

Because Ethereum is a certified government-agnostic, it is supported by some of the biggest global corporate names such as Enterprise Ethereum Alliance – making it enjoy popularity tointernational audience and thus, much larger support from the tech community.

All the same with NEO – the Chinese government might have gone far as to ban the ICO’s, but NEO remains to be China-based and Chinese-focused. Despite the country being seemingly unfriendly to the industry, NEO manages to receive backing from national banks and states – which allows it to capitalize on the huge Chinese market. Furthermore, it is also supported by Alibaba and Microsoft.

Ethereum versus NEO: Target Market Differences

There can be no doubt that Ethereum and NEO have the huge potential to become the next Bitcoin. Due to the impressive capabilities of their pluses to outweigh the minuses, both of which are continuously gaining popularity especially in comparison to other cryptocurrencies in the market.

Ethereum, which although has already been adopted by blockchain startups worldwide, is proportionally concentrated in the Western countries. Meanwhile, NEO is largely capitalizing in China.

Looking closely, Ethereum seems to benefit from a certain fallacy of thought that “West is the best” – which is quite true in terms of Western products catering to Western markets. But many fail to understand that Chinese investors are less likely to adopt Western technologies as they (like many East Asians) are far readier to support home-grown technology taking pride in and loyalty to national products.

NEO, however, might be having the advantage of a technologically-driven population that is nearly 1.4 billion people strong; not to mention that Chinese investors make up a very large percentage of the world’s cryptocurrency investors. But one should not fail to consider that the involvement of the Chinese government, which might have made NEO a state-mandated currency, plays a significant role in building a loyal following from Chinese investors.

Ethereum versus NEO: Where is your investment safer?

With the capabilities (i.e., both projects are open source and has massive community support) and differences (i.e., serving different markets and the opposite directions their visions are taking) that these altcoins have, should there really be a question of which among Ethereum and NEO is better, or should you invest in both?

While NEO appears and is turning out to be more investment-worthy – focusing on creating a “smart economy”, it should not be forgotten that Ethereum still holds the position of being the second most popular cryptocurrency in the world with a total market cap of $105 billion as compared to NEO’s $9 billion (as of January 25, 2018).

Thus, given that we are dealing with two very robust technologies, it might be better to conclude that there is certainly space aplenty for both altcoins to coexist.

And as to where your investment will be safer, perhaps the most suitable answer is in the altcoin where you can best tolerate the risk and that you understand well. There are more and more investors getting on board who often have a very limited understanding of the technicalities of the cryptocurrency they support, ending up investing based on brand loyalty and hearsays and even merely along the lines “Ethereum of China” NEO vs Ethereum.

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Finance

Top Six Ways Cash Advance Can Help A Business Grow

cash advance

A cash advance or merchant cash advance is a form of short-term loan given to a small business. Cash advance are payable with interest rates usually around 25% of the principal. The loan is paid by deducting a percentage of sales made periodically (usually weekly) from credit cards.

Cash advance are useful because the lenders do not ask for credit scores, collateral and other things that other banks and other lenders will ask for. Cash advance are also fast and are useful when loans are needed urgently.

If used the right way, cash advance loans are one of the best ways to grow a business. Here are the top six ways by which cash advance can help a business grow:

1. Payment of staff salaries:

There are moments when business is bad, but you need to pay your employees. A cash advance will help you to pay your employees and keep them motivated. If you are a small business looking to hire employees to handle more jobs, but you don’t have the means to pay them yet, you can get a cash advance to help you pay their salaries at first before you find yourself on your feet.

2. Purchase of equipment:

Imagine that you are a contractor, handyman or you are involved in any other kind of business, and you need to get a job. But the requirements of the contract or job involve having some equipment. You can collect a cash advance and use it to buy the equipment so that you can get the job or win the contract. Then, you pay back the cash advance gradually.

3. Stocking of inventory:

A lot of businesses use cash advance to buy inventory and stock them. You need to have goods in stock to satisfy your customers and retain them. When you’re just starting, it may be difficult to buy all the inventory items that you need yourself. A cash advance will help you do that. If you deal in seasonal goods, you can buy a lot of goods offseason with a cash advance.

4. Advertisement:

Without advertisement, no one will know about your goods and services. With advertisement, you can ensure that a lot of people know about your products and patronize you. But advertisement could be costly. Branding, building a website, radio and TV ads are expensive. A cash advance could pay for all these, and you pay back as the profits start to roll in.

5. Business expansion:

If you are a small business, expansion of the business could be difficult and expensive especially if you are opening a new branch in another location. You’ll need to replicate most of your assets, hire new staff, spend on advertisement and other things. A cash advance can help you with all these, and you then use the proceeds from the cash advance to pay for everything.

6. Increase working capital:

Working capital is the money that you use to manage the day-to-day affairs of your business. As a small business, you might need a cash advance to help you increase your working capital, so that you can increase your business operations. You will earn more profits which will help you repay the cash advance faster.

Conclusion

If used the right way, a cash advance could be what will take your business to the next level. Before taking the loan, decide how much you need. Plan out how you will spend it before receiving it. Meet your lenders and explain why you need cash advance to them. And once you receive the loan, use it for the exact thing you collected it for. Do not divert the loan for other purposes.

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