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Home Inspection Franchises: A Route to Lucrative Self-Employment?

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People hire the services of home inspectors for a number of reasons. Often, before purchasing a new house, these professionals are called in to survey the dwelling, looking for structural damage and performing interior and exterior checks. It’s a process that is repeated across the country day in and day out. But few people think of these home inspectors as employees of a multi-million dollar industry. Fewer still would equate home inspection to businesses such as McDonalds, Supercuts and Jiffy Lube. But just like these aforementioned organizations, home inspection offers franchise investment opportunities. [Read more...]

11 Essential Tips to Establishing a Startup

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What do the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Groupon and Instagram have in common? All are highly successful startups built from scratch that have grown to become formidable  companies and global household names, but also game changers that revolutionized their respective industries, and even created new ones.

These businesses started out as crazy ideas that were percolating in their respective founders’ heads. No doubt you may have that kernel of an idea about a business that you think will become a success and you want to get it off the ground.  But you are probably wondering how you should begin, or maybe you are wondering how you can find investors for your business. [Read more...]

How International Shipping Opens Up ECommerce Markets

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History highlights how trade has shaped the world. Across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, it has been commerce that fueled exploration, introduced new products to different lands, and (on a less savory note) played a crucial part in spreading disease and wiping out major populations. It is thanks to international trade that the world has become more accessible despite significant distances.

eCommerce is the continuation of this trend. The worldwide web connects us faster than ever, allows for electronic monetary exchanges with a couple of clicks, and has created the opportunity for many more companies to reach an international customer base. In fact, according to a recent Forrester Report, “US online retailers can use cross-border shipping to reach global customers [...] it is not uncommon today for businesses of all sizes to use international shipping to reach new customers.”

For companies looking to test the waters of new markets, international shipping is invaluable. With a variety of models, businesses have the flexibility to explore new possibilities while mitigating risk.

Here are three tips and tricks to keep in mind to make the most of an international commercial endeavor. [Read more...]

5 Tips on Setting Up Your Own Business Franchise

A business franchise is not everybody’s cup of tea. Anyone who wishes to enter this world will do well to understand what he or she is going into. Here are 5 tips to set up a business franchise with more probability of success:

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1. Understand the Business Franchise Concept

Operating a business franchise is a lot different from operating a business from one’s own concept. It has to be noted that a business franchise will require franchisees to follow a specific business model that will not leave much room to innovate. There will be conditions that need to be fulfilled that are specified in a written contract. If this set-up proves acceptable, then a business franchise can be a viable option for a start-up business for an aspiring business person.

2. Choose from Possible Options

There are business franchise options available that will suit personal preference. Newbie franchisees should not be merely contented with going for the most popular or the most profitable. A business which holds the interest of the franchisee stands more chance of succeeding since there is more reason to pursue it without being forced. It is not necessary for the franchisee to be an expert in the specific nature of the chosen franchise but it is highly advisable to choose one that holds genuine attraction so that learning becomes easier.

3. Know the Franchisor’s Record of Performance

An excellent franchise choice is supposed to have a proven track record of success. It is really quite difficult to invest on something which has no visible proof of success. The predictions and forecasts of the franchisor can be one-sided so franchisees need to be presented with more than just his words.

4. Understand the Risks

There is not one business proposition that is without risks. This is true even with proven formulas of business franchises. Knowing this, potential franchisees should try to minimize if not eliminate the possible weak points by making a through study in terms of location, market, and the potential of the product or service to be offered.

5. Attend to All Legal and Business Requirements

A business franchise should encounter less problems if all the necessary requirements have been attended to prior to start of operation. The number one killer of business momentum  is being sidetracked with legal and business requirements. Those considering a business franchise should actually look into finding relevant information before entering into any agreement.

About the Author:

Isaac Morris is a professional blogger who provides tips and information on franchise opportunities and investments. He writes for FranchiseExpo.com, the place to find franchise opportunities online.

How to Optimize Your Website for Conversions

When building or overhauling your website, it’s easy to get caught up in your overall objective – converting prospects into customers. However, that approach alone can easily get you off track. From your brand and core messaging to the site layout, it’s important to keep all your efforts focused on solving your targeted audience’s problems. That means strategically developing content, creating a user-friendly site and designing a brand around the goal of addressing those problems – and solving them. That strategy also requires that you develop an SEO plan that enables people to find your site … and eventually convert.

So how do you design your website to solve problems first and convert prospects later? There are two big factors: the content you provide and the way that content is organized.

Content that converts

Your content should clearly convey your brand’s mission. The essence of a brand is that it exists to solve problems. A website should be designed to communicate the ways your brand can solve those problems – and why your brand solves those problems better than your competitors. Likewise, your brand needs to stand out and fit your business. Make your brand engaging and interesting for the customers you want to target. Your brand will not appeal to everyone – and that’s OK. If your brand tries to target everyone, chances are, no one will listen. If a customer agrees with your brand message, he will convert. Congratulations, you have a successful message.

Displaying and organizing your content

While having great content is important, how that content is displayed is just as important. One of the biggest components to having a website that will convert customers is to make sure the basic design is successful. If your design isn’t successful, your customers may not even be interested in reading your content. Then they’ll never know why your brand is special. Ideally, your site should be easy to navigate. A key factor in achieving this is making sure that your content is well categorized and easy for users to find. It doesn’t matter how great your content is if your customers are frustrated in their efforts to find it on your site. Have numerous users test your site before launching it. Gather feedback on how well they are able to navigate it and implement any adjustments, if necessary.

Creating a successful website isn’t difficult to figure out. You can select from among various templates offered by web hosting services. You also can browse your favorite sites to see how they compare to your business website. One of the biggest pitfalls of websites is failing to take a simple approach. Some designs can be so complex that it may be difficult for users to read it. For example, cursive font can be attractive but difficult to read. Don’t trust your instincts since you may have a biased opinion in that you already know what it should say. Try to avoid brightly colored fonts for the same reason.

Another key to developing a user-friendly design is avoiding dated images, color schemes and designs. These days, simple color schemes, designs and images dominate the web design landscape. Have a professional web designer look over your plans or help you create a design that not only fits your brand but highlights your business as one that is forward thinking. If your site looks old, potential customers might not trust it to provide the latest information and solutions.

Added factors

Your site should also have a responsive web design. This means that the page can be easily viewed on multiple platforms including cell phones and tablets. Making sure cell phone users can access your site is important because of the increasing use of mobile search for services and products.

Search engines also should be able to easily “read” your website. Keep important text – such as your address and phone number – out of pictures. Search engines can’t read text in a picture form. This will help your web page’s search engine page ranking.

Many factors play into the success of conversion for your website. By thoroughly answering users’ questions with your content, creating a site that is accessible on multiple platforms, following basic SEO rules and creating an attractive website can put you on the road to your goal of converting visitors into loyal customers.

Photo credit: stockimages on freedigitalphotos.net

 

Why Businesses Are Suffering From the Boomer Retirement

As millions of workers in the Baby Boomer generation prepare to retire, many businesses are feeling the effects in a negative way. Unlike today’s younger generations who are more comfortable switching from job to job, the Baby Boomers were brought up with the idea that the American dream included a steady job with one company for multiple decades (if not their entire career).

While this loyalty has served both the Boomers and their employers well, it could be a major challenge for businesses in the coming years. Boomers have held the keys to many businesses’ success for years. With their long tenure at one job, many of these employees have become well-versed in company knowledge. When they leave their positions to retire, they take that expertise with them, along with long-standing client relationships, product insights and other vital information.

With the older Baby Boomers now reaching the retirement age, what can employers do to make the transition easier? [Read more...]

All About Currency Cross Pairs

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A currency cross pair (also known as a cross-currency pair, or simply a ‘cross’) is a currency pair that does not include the US dollar.

There was a time when you cannot change currencies without having to convert it first to dollars. For example, if you have GBP and you want to convert it to the Japanese Yen, you couldn’t make an outright conversion between the two currencies. You needed to convert your GBP to the US dollar first, which is then converted into the yen.

But because of the implementation of cross-currencies, that extra step of converting a currency to the US dollar first has been eliminated. You can now convert GBP to the yen directly. [Read more...]

The Different Types of Forex Orders

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The instructions you make in order to enter and exit a trade are called orders. There are different types of orders you can enter and it while some are basic, other orders depend on the kind of forex trading strategy you have formulated.

Following are the basic order types you can place in the forex market: [Read more...]

The Basics of the Forex Market

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Currencies exchange, which is also known by many names that include the foreign exchange market, forex market or simply the FX market, is one of the busiest and most active financial markets on the planet.

The Forex market is where the global commercial and investment flows meet and intersect. The very origins of the market can be traced back to when different countries began to interact economically and have to contend with different currencies of different values relative to each other.  [Read more...]