What Skills Do I Need to Run an Online Clothing Store?

If you have read one of my articles before, then you already know how fond I am of mentioning the financial situation of Bluefly, one of the most trafficked and seemingly successful online retailers on the internet. This is an online retailer who has hit net revenues of $80,000,000 to $95,000,000. Nonetheless, this is also a company who has never made a single year of profit since its inception in 1997. As of December 31, 2009, Bluefly has an accumulated deficit of $147,468,000. Furthermore, this is a company that states in their annual financial report that they still need to further establish brand name recognition. If you ask all the women who shop at Forever 21, Urbanoutfitters, and ModCloth if they have heard of Bluefly, then most would have no idea who they are. This is obviously not a scientific observation, but if you compare Bluefly’s approximately 30K Facebook fans to ModCloths 100K fans then there is most likely a huge issue in terms of Bluefly branding and connecting with their $80,000,000 worth of customers. Putting down Bluefly is not going to help you or me as small business owners. What will help is understanding the skills and knowledge to help you stay out of the deep end.

Please note that I am coming from a real do-it-yourself background. When my girlfriend and I first started our online clothing boutique, we did not have any funds to outsource any of the different project or jobs that the business needed. Quite honestly, if you have money to outsource every piece of work for your business, then my only suggestion is that you learn how to negotiate and manage people well. Otherwise, I am going to cover the general skills you should work on and knowledge you should acquire if you decide to pursue this venture yourself or with a partner. Of course, having knowledge about finance, marketing, accounting, organization behavior, negotiations, and pretty much everything a fashion merchandising course would teach would be ideal, but we will just focus on what I believe are the most fundamental.

1. Marketing
As I just mentioned, the ideal situation is if you had the business knowledge of a Harvard MBA or Parson’s Fashion Merchandising major. So, if I had to choose just one topic from business school, then it would be marketing. One of the key topics within marketing is the idea of the four P’s, Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. With the four P’s, you will learn how to position and differentiate your online clothing store in this highly competitive market. With a decent understanding of marketing, you will understand how to use the four P’s to either position yourself as a high-end luxury boutique or the young and hip store with a reasonable price point for the mass audience.

2. Accounting
If I was allowed one more topic within the MBA curriculum, then it would have to be accounting. Quite simply, if you do not know anything about accounting, then you will not know if you are going broke until the day you close down. Calculating net sales or revenue is the simplest task, but it is calculating your expenses that will help you in the end. Without accounting, you will never know what expenses are out of control and therefore never able to correct it. Additionally, accounting knowledge does not stop at financial statements, there is a whole branch of accounting that focuses on managerial decisions. In the case of a fashion retail business, you will use your managerial accounting skills to budget your inventory purchases for the season, determine a product mix using historical data, examine how to improve conversion, and just about any other decision that can be made using numerical data.

3. Web Design, Programming, and Database
I think I can easily say that I have saved over $10,000 because I was able to learn how to design my own website, install open-source contributions, and understand how a database interacts with a dynamic website. When we first started our website, about a month after launching, I realized we needed some design and functionality changes to our website. I contacted a San Francisco web design firm, told them exactly what work I needed done, and they quoted me about $3,000. I ended up doing the work myself, with just the help of the internet, within two days. A month later, I decided I wanted to do a complete landing page redesign that I felt was outside of my abilities. I hired someone through a freelancing website. Nothing was done on schedule, in the end the job had to be cancelled, and I had to go through an arbitrator to finally get my money back. At that point, I pretty much decided that I would never hire anyone to do my web design.

Now, I have built four full scale websites and can install or write just about any contribution needed for my website. I have no doubt that I have saved over $10,000 doing the work myself. Of course, if you are using a paid shopping cart, then most of this is irrelevant, but I think it is an invaluable skill for those who need to save money.

4. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, SEO, can partly be classified as part of web design and programming, but there is a lot more off-page SEO that can be done. If I had to do it again, then I would have focused much more on SEO than Google AdWords or Yahoo! Search Marketing when starting my business. There is a huge chance that I would not have gotten an order for three to six months, but it is a better investment in the long-run. I have to admit that when we first started AdWords, we covered the cost of advertising through our sales, so it worked out. Later, when I moved to the USA, AdWords just was not working. I think I was spending nearly $100 to just get one conversion. For a low-mid price point, that just does not work. I suspended ALL paid marketing campaigns and focused on SEO. I have not only increased my conversion, traffic, and sales, but also lowered a huge expense, increasing my profitability.

5. Do not sweat the small things
Certainly easier said than done, but necessary if you do not want to go crazy. I just lost $30 because I decided to send an order to a customer before capturing their funds through my payment gateway. A few days went by and it turned out that I could not capture those funds anymore and I sent a nice email to the customer asking them to reauthorize the transaction. Personally, if I was in the customer’s shoe, then I would do so because I received the product, but not everybody thinks that way. You will come across hundreds of situations like this. Sometimes you are right and sometimes you may be wrong. The point is that you have to let it go and just realize it is business.

You Can Do It – 10 Power Quotes On Why You Are The Best Candidate For Success

Some of us are not many generations away from living in a hut and cattle herding and subsistence farming. That may have been two or three generations or at most four for some in my country and continent, but it has not stopped any of us from discovering our potential and pursuing our life purpose. You may not know what the inside of a hut looks like but I believe we all start somewhere. I hear tremendous stories about people who had no shoes, had only one set of clothes and walked ten kilometers to school. That has not stopped any of these determined, phenomenal people who refused to be put down by their background and rose to become entrepreneurs, executives of multi – million dollar firms, elegant business people and planet – shakers. I may hear your story someday but let me tell you in the next ten power quotes why you are the next candidate for success

1. You are not the result of a poor upbringing, you are the result of the potential you discover and unleash.

2. You do not need just resources, when you discover that God is your source it changes your expectation and experience. You will no longer be at the mercy of others. You will tap into infinite divine resources

3. You are part of a grand plan of God to bring you into his purpose, pick you up from the dust and turn you into a shining star.

4. What your grandparents, parents, community, nation failed to do; you will do because you are endowed with uncommon greatness from above.

5. I can tell that you are hungry because you are reading this information that will take you forward and accelerate your progress. You are going to make it.

6. Without a high school education, a bachelors degree, or a master’s you are still valid for your assignment. You will discover it and carry it out because for that reason you were born. When Pilate threatened Jesus with death on the cross, He responded by saying,” for this reason I was born”. Such a man cannot be compromised or bought with money.

7. You are a bestseller waiting to be written, a double platinum album yet to be released.

8. God is not worried about you because He is making all things work out together for your good.

9. What you failed to do in a lifetime can happen suddenly because you have entered into your season of the manifestation of your uncommon gift.

10. Yes there are many people who do what you do but no one can do it the way you do it. Step out and dare to make a difference because it is your time.

You can do it; you are made in the image of God!

Make Inspirational Quotes Part of Your Personal Development

Whether it is working to gain a stronger command of the world around you, build self-confidence, or simply a better understanding of ones self, there are many factors that go into ones’ personal development and inspirational quotes can be a major part of that. Starting from a young age, we all find something that inspires us in order to guide our dreams and aspirations. Whether its trying to be like a parent, idolizing a superhero, or looking up to a sibling, we all seek inspiration to guide the path that we will take. In the many forms that inspiration is presented to us, the shortest, most concise phrases are what sticks with us the most. It is for this reason that taking a little bit of time each day to focus on a small gem of inspiration can be the difference between growing strong as a confident individual, and being stunted by the weight of society. There are a few things to look at when understanding the importance that a few inspirational words can have you your life.

You cannot grow mentally if you don’t feed your mind

If you fail to feed a growing child the proper nutritional values they need, they wont grow physically. The same is true when it comes to mental development. If you do not feed your mind with the proper fuel, it will not grow. Inspiration is that fuel. An inspired mind can achieve great things, but left to starve will achieve nothing.

Inspiration cannot be forced

If you force a piece of meat to cook fast most likely its going to turn out hard on the outside and raw on the inside, or hard and tough all the way through. The same goes for inspiration. Inspiration comes at the exact right time and cannot be forced. The more that you force yourself to be inspired, the higher chance there is that you will end up feeding your mind a raw, unfinished idea that isn’t inspirational at all. Be patient and the best inspiration will come to you when it is most nutritious for your mind to feed on.

In order to grow you must outgrow

Just as a teenager grows drastically and outgrows clothes, shoes, and hairstyles, same is true within personal mental development. When you seek out inspiration you must first be willing to put away the old mental state that has led you to a need for change. One of the most essential parts of personal growth is outgrowing of ideas that will lead you no where in your pursuit of success, happiness, and inner peace.

Carrying with you inspirational words, quotes, or personal experiences will help serve as a guiding light through your journey of personal discovery and development. Take each day and inspire yourself through the inspirational words from those that have effectively navigated their way through the winding road to personal achievement.

Motorcycling Clothing

“I want your boots, your clothes, and your motorcycle” to quote Arnie as the Terminator. He was right to steal the clothes from the biker, because motorcycle clothing is an essential consideration.

The absolutely critical thing to consider of motorcycle clothing is its safety. It is no good to be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, or thin jacket while on a motorbike. The harsh truth is that if, although hopefully not, you have an accident, these clothes will not protect you well at all.

Your head is the most important part of you to protect, in case of an accident, therefore a helmet is the most important piece of your equipment. Go to a local equipment shop and try one on, try ten on, try them all on until you find one that fits properly. It should not slip around when your head moves, even when it is unbuckled and should also be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. You can use a spoon to press down the foam a fraction if a helmet is otherwise a perfect fit, but it is important not to compromise in this area. Consider also visors – tinted visors can reduce visibility but will also help reduce glare from the sun. Consider carrying spares in a saddlebag so you can always be wearing the optimum type.

Once this is done, you can consider proper clothing. Looking good is obviously important but seeing as you’re on a motorbike, you’re going to be moving fast and hard to see clearly. Special motorbike leather jackets are tanned for strength and are much thicker than ‘normal’ leather jackets. Riding leathers should also be reasonably snug, because loose clothing can cause rashes or chafing. If the best quality leathers you can find aren’t your favourite colour, never mind – your safety is crucial!

Textile gear is also available but my personal preference is for leather due to the increased levels of protection that it offers.

Boots are quite simple to get fitted properly – after all, I am sure you have bought shoes before and the process is essentially the same. One thing to consider is the weather of the environment you will ride in. Do you need your boots to be warm or breathable or waterproof, etc.?

It is always worth splashing out a little extra on more expensive equipment, to get an extra safety feature because you only have one life and motorcycles are an inherently dangerous mode of transport, as I am sure you know. Safe riding!

Cheap Auto Indemnity – Online Car Insurance Quotes Can Save You Hundreds of Dollars

Because many of us believe shopping in person gives us a chance to haggle or make the best deals we often are unaware that we could be saving money on auto indemnity by getting online quotes. Although you may feel comfortable shopping for what you need in person, those days are over my friend. Shopping for things over the internet has become as commonplace as going to the corner store for a carton of milk used to be.

Whether it is beauty aids, groceries, the latest styles in clothing, or shoes from Italy… there are those who believe they can get better deals if they deal with the shop keepers in person. Well, I’m sorry to say it is time to keep up with your kids and the younger generation folks; the internet is here to stay. The truth about saving money on auto indemnity by getting online quotes is this: today’s market has drawn most of us to the internet to do our shopping. Finding the best deals for insuring our cars is no different than shopping online to research the best price on the latest fashions.

The only benefit to shopping in person these days is to make sure an item fits properly or to make sure the color is truly what you’ve been searching for. But to find the best deals on auto insurance these days you’ll want multiple offers in the blink of an eye. If you truly want to save time and gas money by getting a quote from many different agencies at once, then your best bet is saving money on auto indemnity by getting online quotes.

Searching online will give you the flexibility to see rates from many different insurance companies and not just one. Think about it; the last time you bought car insurance, your broker probably offered you one or two policies with similar rates because that’s all the choices he had to offer you. You chose the lowest rate he had available and regardless of which company or policy you chose from his small list; he would have made a profit from the sale. But did you truly find the lowest rate available in your area for your particular car?

Having the ability to compare prices and types of coverage for your car can only be accomplished by saving money on auto indemnity by getting online quotes from qualified services who offer multiple agencies and multiple policies for you to choose from. Comparing policies offered by rival competitors is the only true way to find the lowest rates available in your area. I’m sorry to say this, but you may have to say good-bye to your local broker and catch up with the times by shopping online with the rest of us in order to find the best deal for your family’s budget.