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Here at Cunningham Covers, heavy duty tarpaulins are what we do. We also do lighter duty covers, but here we’re going to take a quick look at the more industrial tarpaulins and what they can be used for.

Here’s eight of the most popular uses for industrial tarps.

In transportation

They can be used in transportation to secure loads and protect them from wind, rain and sun. Many haulage and transportation companies need customised tarps for their vehicles, made to specific measurements and with their company logo and advertising on. We’re particularly proud of the tarps that we’ve sent out to haulage fleets.

In construction

During construction works, or after severe storms, homeowners can be left living with huge holes in their roofs. It can take several weeks or even months for repair or building work to start and finish, so heavy-duty tarpaulin comes in handy to replace the roof for a while, keeping everyone inside dry.

In humanitarian aid

As it’s relatively light, stocks of tarpaulins can be delivered to disaster areas or refugee camps, where they can be used to create temporary shelters until families find more permanent homes. Their easy portability also makes them handy for tourists and campers – they can be folded up and put in a car or van boot and moved from one place to another,

In agriculture

Tarps are especially handy here, both for smaller scale farmers and larger farms. They’re used to cover machinery to protect it from the elements, as well as covering newly-harvested crops and less-than waterproof buildings.

Tarpaulins are also important when it comes to livestock, as they can be used to create temporary shelters for animals to protect them from extremes of heat and cold, as well as rain and snow. Just look over any working farm and you’ll see at least a few tarps that have been pressed into service.

On sports grounds

Many people don’t associate tarpaulins with sports, but many sports grounds – cricket and bowls in particular – rely upon them to protect the pitches and greens. These types of very large covers are known as field tarps and they’re custom-made for the different grounds they cover. They can be different shapes and made from different materials depending on the conditions of the grounds.

For insect nets

Some tarpaulin makers make specialist insect nets for use in farming to prevent harmful pest insects – or maybe birds – from reaching valuable crops.

In and around the house

If they’re not being used to replace a roof, they can be used to cover stored furniture, or vehicles so that water, dust and other potentially harmful substances don’t get to the items.

In light and heavy industries

Some industries have processes that create fine mists – of liquids or solid particles that can escape into the air and cause pollution or breathing problems. Specialised tarps can be put up around the area in which these processes happen to stop the vapours or mists spreading to workers or nearby residents. It’s important that these covers are well-maintained so that they work well and comply with safety regulations.



 
  


Many people have a small amount of water in their oil tank and it often goes undetected until it makes itself noticed by causing a problem. As it’s summer now, it’s a good time to check your tank over and one thing you should look for is the presence of water. If it’s left there, it can build up to the point where it can get into the delicate pipework around the tank and when winter rolls around, one thing you don’t want is frozen or even cracked pipes. You don’t want the savings you made by ordering from Super Saver Oil to be wiped out by expensive repairs, right?

How does the water get in?

Most often, the water in your tank will have come from condensation or rainwater. Condensation can occur when the oil temperature is significantly warmer than the outside temperature; rainwater can get in if the filling cap isn’t on properly or it’s been left off and it’s, errr, rained. Then there’s dodgy cap seals, damaged or loose vents and, worst of all, cracks in the body of the tank.

Of course, you’ll never leave the filling cap off, will you? No? Good. Unfortunately, if you think any of the other causes are going on, you’ll need to get your technician in.

How do you know if water’s got in?

Water is denser than the oil so it sinks to the bottom, which is pretty hard to get to! Fortunately, there’s water-detecting paste to help you out. You need to apply the paste to a stick or rod – garden bamboo comes in handy here – and put it into the tank so it touches the bottom. Leave it there as per instructions, then pull it out and look for changes in the colour of the paste.

I found water. What now?

You need to remove the water before it gets into the internal mechanisms of your boiler. If you have a metal tank you may well also have a sludge valve so you can release this and drain the water out – it sinks to the bottom, which works well for you here! If your tank is plastic, you may not have a sludge valve, in which case you’ll need an engineer with a hand pump.

Important – the water is contaminated!

The water you’ve removed will be contaminated with oil so it must be disposed of in accordance with your local laws. Contact your council to find out how to do this. Do NOT tip it down the drain.

Once the water is gone, flush out your feed pipe and clean or change your fuel filters as they may have some water in them.

Can I prevent this happening again?

You can use oil tank water soakers. These are specialised sponges that go into the bottom of your tank and absorb water (not oil). They’re easy to put in, but you do need to check them and change them a few times a year. The water in them should be regarded as contaminated as well, so dispose of the soakers properly.


Article by Hannah Whittenly

You’ve got a great idea for a new business and a solid plan, but you may find coming up with the funds is the real challenge. Total up a list of your expenses, including materials, labor, office equipment, licenses, permits, insurance, and a little operating capital. Here are some ways to raise that seed money.

Find Lenders

Banks can be very fussy about new business loans, knowing that many new businesses fail. You may have to go to great lengths to get the money. You could consider applying for a personal loan instead. Credit unions and small local banks can also be easier to deal with than large commercial banks. There are also small business loans from online lenders. Be sure to look into government loans for small businesses.

Use Personal Assets

If you have good credit, your credit balance or a new credit card can provide funds. You may have equity in your home you could borrow against, or stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts that could be cashed in. Vehicles, jewelry, antiques, or anything else you feel is valuable can be sold or used as collateral. Look for ways to cut expenses. For example, you could buy recycle pallets, like those from Smart Pallets, for your warehouse so that you don’t have to buy brand new ones.

Locate Investors

Wealthy “angel” investors may have deep pockets, but usually want a share of your company and its profits. Venture capital firms invest in small companies as a business, but expect some level of control. In return, they may also provide advice and guidance. You could also try crowdfunding sites. Numerous individuals may be willing to donate small sums either in exchange for public shares, or as simple donations to a great idea. Decide which kind of investor relationship you can work with, and focus on finding and winning them over.

Scale Back

About $39,000 AUD is the typical startup cost, but micro-companies can get started for under $3,900. Consider going into operation with whatever you can afford, even if it’s a bare-bones home business. If you can get established with some good revenue and faithful customers, other funding will come easier. You may even find that the best financing option is to reinvest your profits into your company.

Borrowing money or courting investors is often not a realistic option for entrepreneurs who have a good idea but little else. If you can’t seem to make an impression, carefully weigh your options, minimize your costs, and try every other means of obtaining whatever funds you can.


Social media has become a very powerful tool for promoting ideas, marketing concepts, and actualizing product branding. Companies who want to take advantage of social media to develop and grow their brands need to take into considering the opportunities that lie in social chain. A powerful social chain essentially utilizes creative methods, strategy, influencers, and events to engage people on social media. To succeed, you must understand the language of your audience, offer them something unique and be ready to communicate your brand in the most creative way you can ever imagine.

Come Up With Something Creative

Being creative is not easy. You have to be some mind reader of a sort in one hand and a genius in another. Your social chain campaign has to stand out, engage people and be very entertaining. You can begin your creative desire by searching for viral and award winning campaigns to see what other people are doing. Take your time to work and build a big idea. You may think that the bigger and more creative your idea is the more people it will attract, however most social campaign ideas are actually very simple and straightforward.

Have a Strategy

The success of your strategy will depend on the kind of people on your team. If you don’t already have one you need to set up a group of intelligent, creative, hardworking and passionate people. Identify your business goals and build your strategy in a way that will satisfy it. Not every marketing campaign can work for you, come up with something that specifically deals with your marketing objectives and targeted towards your specific consumer base.

Take Advantage of Influencers

Influencers are celebrities, content creators and social media stars that have a large following and are committed to a particular style of publishing. Whatever you do, there are social media influencers out there that can help spread the news about your campaign and get millions of people to like your page within a very short time. Making use of influencers generates high-quality leads, improve search ranking, engage new target audiences, drive conversion and build trust between the senegence distributor and the audience. Also, influencer marketing is native, so it performs better than traditional ads, increase your ROI and offer immense opportunity to do something differently.

Understand your Audience

Knowing your audience is key to your social media campaign. Do a little research about the kind of people following you and try to come up with the ideas they will find more interesting and fun. Remember, everyone is looking for something that will give them excitement and make them feel they belong, something they can share with family and friends. Conducting a market or online consumer behavior survey might be necessary. Check comments, likes, and shares and conduct interviews if and when possible.

Make Use of All Avenues

One good thing about social media is the various platforms available. When carrying out your social chain, make use of all the social media platforms that are relevant to your campaign strategy, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, LinkedIn, etc. Take advantage of tools that allow you to attach timing to your postings so you can deliver it to your audience exactly when most of them are available online.

Your social chain has to be well thought out before you get it out there. You don’t want to send it out only for people to point out errors. Know your audience, come up with a creative plan and put up a strategy that is unique and unbeatable. Make use of social media platforms relevant to your business and deliver a message people will be talking about for a long time.


Article Contributed by Robin Behrstock

It’s true! You can build an ecommerce business that can be run from anywhere, at anytime. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Determine your product or product line

You may already have an idea for a terrific product. If so, great! However, most successful businesses have a full line of products, so think about how you might expand and offer a variety of product options. If you need help finding a product to sell, you can sign up for programs like JungleScout.com. This service shows you which products are selling quickly on Amazon. If that product has little competition, it’s likely a good option. Thoroughly research the competition… Are there many other sellers or ecommerce websites with the same products? Do you have a unique selling proposition that offers a higher value?

Arrange manufacturing process

Will you create the products yourself? Your sales capacity is limited if your production capacity is limited, so I encourage you to find a manufacturing solution that allows for growth. You can find a factory that makes similar products and hire them to make yours. Or import products from another country by working with a factory or trading company. You can get in touch with many factories around the world at Alibaba.com. If importing, you’ll need to hire a shipping company and customs broker who will help you get the products across borders and determine the import duties you’ll be required to pay.

Warehousing and Fulfillment

If you’re making the products yourself or just getting started, your sales volume is likely low, so you can warehouse the products yourself and ship each order. However, if you’re dealing with larger quantities, you should look into a 3PL (Third Party Logistics) warehouse. Stick to what you’re good at, and let the experts handle the warehousing and fulfillment logistics. Before sending your products to a warehouse, you’ll need to assign some identifiers to each product.  Each item should have a product name and SKU (stock keeping unit – a product identification code).  If you plan to sell your products via distributors or resellers, you’ll also need a UPC code. UPC codes may be purchased from GS1, or from a UPC reseller like upccode.net or simplybarcodes.net. If you want to sell your products on Amazon, Amazon will assign an ASIN number and barcodes that need to be applied to each item. Amazon has its own network of warehouses and can handle your warehousing and fulfillment at a low cost. If you use Amazon’s warehouses, your products will be eligible for “Prime” shipping and will have better sales results versus products that are fulfilled by you, the seller.

Build your sales channels

Now that you have products, warehousing and fulfillment set up, it’s time to sell! You can sell on an existing platform, like Amazon, Etsy, Jet, etc, or you can create your own ecommerce website. I recommend selling on several different platforms. Some people think building an ecommerce website is something only tech people can do, but nowadays it’s easy. If you are able to create a PowerPoint presentation, you can build a website. Companies like www.Shopify.com make it easy with templates and step-by-step instructions to get your products displayed, accept credit card payments, and even integrate with shipping software. You can also diversify your business with offline sales channels like selling to a distributor, selling via a rep group, and building a network of wholesale customers who will resell your products in brick-and-mortar stores. You’ll need to price your products with the appropriate margins if selling to distributors and resellers.

Accounting

Don’t underestimate the importance of accounting and taxes. Unless you have an accounting background, I recommend hiring an accountant to help with this. Tax rules are always changing, and it’s best to get your books organized sooner rather than later, before things get complicated. Keep your accounting books in the cloud using programs like xero.com or Quickbooks Online. This way, you and your accountant can access the same files without being in the same place.

Customer Service

Customer service is extremely important. Since there’s no face-to-face interaction like there is at your local gift shop, emails are everything. You need to answer customer emails quickly and effectively. Set up standard procedures for returns. Products can be returned to your 3PL warehouse, or to a different location where they can be evaluated and possibly resold as an “imperfect” item. Start doing customer service yourself, but eventually you should outsource this job to a virtual employee and focus on bigger picture aspects of your business. You can keep customer service requests well organized with programs like Zendesk.com.

Marketing

After your products are available for sale online, you need to help people find them. First, determine your target keywords for each product and incorporate those words as many times possible in the product name, description and metatags. If you’re selling on a platform like Amazon or Etsy, that company will introduce you to marketing opportunities. If you’re marketing your own ecommerce store, you should get started with Google Adwords and retargeting ads. You can try to set it up yourself and learn from online tutorials, or hire an independent Search Engine Marketing Consultant to help. Incoming links are often free and help improve search engine visibility, so get your website’s link published on as many other websites as possible. You can sign up for different directories, or write blog posts for other publications that direct readers to your website. Social media is also a great way to get incoming links, and more importantly, to engage with customers. Create a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram account and build your audience by posting useful and entertaining content. Follow users who follow similar companies and they will likely be interested in your products as well. Use popular and relevant hashtags to help increase the reach of your posts. Lastly, collect email addresses and build an email marketing list. Sign up for an email marketing program like Mailchimp and send out emails to your database with exciting news like new products and sales.

Expand and Improve

For any successful product and business, competition is inevitable. Continue improving and growing your business by expanding the product line, sales channels and marketing efforts. Listen to your customers and create new products based on what you hear from them. Work on improving your operating procedures so business runs smoothly and you can outsource as much as possible.

 

Embrace the Freedom

All of these aspects of building and growing an ecommerce business can be done anywhere! So feel free to hit the road and work from coffee shops or wherever you find reliable wifi. Work hard, be nice, and enjoy life!

About Author

Robin Behrstock, author of ADVENTURES OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS: Stories That Inspire, started Alchemade, a copper mug business, just as they became a popular trend. In less than three years, she grew the business to annual sales of $3 million. Behrstock is currently a partner in Radius Partnership, a consulting firm focused on working with small businesses.

For more information please visit www.AWEbook.com.



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