Tag Archives | entrepreneurship

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Congratulations – all of your hard work over the couple of years has paid off and you’ve finally graduated with that coveted degree! After years of studying and spending hours in the library, it’s time to sit back, put your feet up and wait for all those job offers to start rolling in. Right?

While we wish we could say that it’s that simple, as you may have already realised, the job market is a pretty tough place for graduates to be right now. Increased competition means that it’s more important than ever for graduates to stand out when applying for jobs  – and as you may discover, it’s a lot harder for you to get your hands on that dream job than you initially thought it would be.

However, don’t despair – not all hope is lost! While it may feel hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there are plenty of other options out there for bright young graduates like you.

Have you ever considered going it alone and starting your own ecommerce business? No? Well, read on.

With a growth rate of 23% year-over-year in the USA, and a total value of $322.17bn sales in 2016, it’s not hard to see why unemployed graduates might consider ecommerce for their big break. But what else is in it for you?

If you are looking for an alternative way to start earning some money and put your degree to good use, here’s why ecommerce could be the answer to your unemployment woes.

Work from home

Thanks to order fulfilment options such as dropshipping, where an external company manages stock control and deliveries for you, there’s no need to have your own storage warehouse. Therefore, depending on what products you’re selling, one of the perks of running an ecommerce business is that it’s pretty easy for you to work from home.

Yes, you heard that right. No need to put on that business wear and leave the house at 6am to start your daily commute. You can roll right out of bed and work in your PJs if you like!

Earn while you sleep

Since ecommerce allows customers to purchase goods via an online store, there are no barriers in terms of distance or time (depending on where you ship to). Therefore, you have a wider audience for your products or services than if you decided to open a physical store in a shopping mall, for example. Your business is always open – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Low operating costs

Running a physical store costs a lot of money. Just think of all the overheads you’d have to pay for rent, electricity and staff. By running your own solo ecommerce operation from home, one of the main benefits is that the overheads are much lower.

For example, an online store requires fewer personnel to manage it thanks to automation and inventory management. You can also benefit from cheap online marketing channels such as social media to spread the word about your business.

But wait – there are downsides too

It’s important that you’re not fooled into thinking that setting up an ecommerce business is going to be an easy ride – because it certainly isn’t. In order to be a business owner, you need to be prepared to work hard, especially in the early days when you are trying to get your ecommerce store off the ground.

You need to spend lots of time researching your business idea and creating a plan to help you establish whether your idea is commercially viable or not. While working yourself certainly isn’t for the fainthearted, if you found it easy to motivate yourself to study hard at college, then you might just have the dedication needed to run your own ecommerce business.

How to start an ecommerce business

If you think that setting up an ecommerce business could a good option for you, then here are a few handy tips to get you started:

  • Find the product or service that you want to sell: Yep that’s right, it’s time to do some research! Once you have an idea in mind, go online and see what your competition is doing, then ensure that you offer your customers something better
  • Choose the name of your business: Once you’ve decided on your product or service, it’s time to pick a memorable name for your business that will help you to stand out in the crowd. To make sure that the one you want isn’t already in use, conduct a corporate name search
  • Register your domain: When you’ve settled on a name, you’ll need to buy the domain – ideally one that is the same as your business name, with a strong extension like .com. Find out more about how to do this here
  • Build your store: Next up you need to work out whether you want to host your own online store or use a third party marketplace such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. When you’re just starting out, using established marketing channels can help you grow your sales – but you won’t build up much brand equity that way

With the benefits and downsides considered, if you’re a graduate who is currently unemployed and is interested in finding out more about getting into the world of ecommerce, then there’s never been a better time to get started. 

This article was contributed by guest author Victoria Greene.

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For many college graduates, the first step on the employment ladder is either unappealing or non-forthcoming. Those with a burning business idea are tempted to go it alone and put their entrepreneurial spirit to the test.

However, a common stumbling block in getting a new business off the ground is the lack of funds available to a recently graduated student. You haven’t had decades of lucrative work topping up your bank balance. Instead, you’re pretty much broke after years of expensive accommodation and tuition fees with only low paid, part time jobs to see you through.

But don’t despair. Your brilliant business idea needn’t founder. Here are seven ways you can find the funds to make your dreams a reality and get that start-up off the ground.

Work on Your Business Part Time
Many recently graduated entrepreneurs don’t put all of their eggs in one basket. They work at temporary or freelance jobs on a part time basis and spend the rest of their time working on their business. With a little money coming in, you can afford to live modestly and, hopefully, invest in your enterprise without your finances running into the red.

Rent Out Your Space
Make use of any spare space you have at home before and after you finish college. This could mean offering a room to host tourists visiting your city or renting out disused space for storage using a site like Spacer. Maximising your resources in this way is a great opportunity to stump up a little extra cash.

Buy and Sell Second Hand
Textbooks can be expensive. Buy them second hand from past students or through online stores like Amazon. And don’t forget to sell them once your own course has ended. Buying second hand items and selling items you no longer use can save you lots of money – and it doesn’t have to end at your textbooks. Clothes, furniture, kitchen appliances and business equipment can all be found much cheaper second hand.

Make Use of the Sharing Economy
In these days of interconnectivity, it’s easy to find people with whom to share or exchange resources. A new business owner no longer needs to rent out an expensive office from the get go. Co-working spaces are a sociable and low-cost place to start. Some companies are also keen to maximise the return from their own resources and will be prepared to rent out equipment on an hourly basis, which saves you from spending lots of money in initial outlay.

Get A Bank Loan
With the right idea, a strong business plan and a receptive bank, you could loan the money you need to start your business. You’ll need to conduct thorough research into the market potential of your product or service idea and put together a comprehensive financial plan for projected loan repayments.

Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way to source funding for a new business and bypass the banks completely. You pitch your idea to hundreds of potential investors. They can then invest a lot or a little, giving you the financial support you need to get your idea up and running.

Get A Federal Grant
Small businesses within specified industries can sometimes be eligible for a federal grant. Government funds are allocated each year to support important causes, like medicine, education and social care, as well as new technologies. Grants.gov provides a directory of federal grant programs and details on how to apply for them.

Finding the funds for a new business can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle. There’s certainly a lot of hard work to do to find initial financial input for your company. The good news is there are plenty of avenues to explore. With the right idea, you’re sure to find the funds and make a success of your new business enterprise.

This article was contributed by guest author Emma Lewis.