Home Shopping Can Open Purses for Entrepreneurs

One marketing strategy is to consider introducing your product on a television-shopping channel, which gives entrepreneurs like you an opportunity to sell to a nationwide audience. About 80% of these shoppers are female-a primary target for your kitchen product. The Direct Marketing Association reports that shopping channels generated $5 billion in sales in 1996 and projects a growth rate of 10% per year.

Live shopping shows are a sales outlet that never closes, allowing customers to shop at any hour and purchase via telephone or computer. Shopping networks accept new products that have never sold before-if you can prove that your product will sell. It is critical to research your market carefully to determine that potential customers nationwide want your product and will buy it at a specified price. You must be able to convince the network that your product will sell, as they take a risk by purchasing your product and investing time and money producing your sales spot.


Remember to check out the competition. You may find that someone else tried unsuccessfully to sell a product similar to yours via electronic retailing/home shopping malls.


The trick is getting your product accepted by a live shopping show. Highly demonstrable products, which make one’s life easier and have mass appeal, are more likely to be selected, especially if you can show a dramatic before-and-after affect.


Television shopping malls select products based on quality, uniqueness, appeal, currency, and demonstration capabilities. Most have in-house quality-assurance programs that inspect each product and representative samples from each shipment. Since they provide a 30-day unconditional return policy, these malls must be certain that you manufacture only top-quality products.


If they are interested in your product, you will begin to negotiate sales terms on each order, including quantities, shipping or pickup dates, payment and credit terms, return policies, and so forth. The level of risk associated with your business and product along with your operating history, size, and other factors all come into play in how terms are negotiated.


Once your product is accepted, you must be ready to do business and have large quantities available for the network’s warehouse. Most complete orders ship within 24 hours of purchase, so the merchandise must be in the retailer’s warehouse and ready to ship immediately. Also, you must have enough capital to sell to the television network channel and wait for payment. There may be a significant delay after the time you sell your product until you are paid.


Networks bear the expense of preparing the spot for your product. Designers create attractive and eye-catching sets from which merchandise is displayed on the air. Program hosts give demonstrations. Spots typically run from 6 to 10 minutes.


One of the largest leading round the-clock television shopping channels is QVC. Call 888-NEW-ITEM and ask for a vendor kit to learn how to submit your product for consideration.


Another leading television shopping channel is Home Shopping Network. Its vendor kits contain prequalifying questions regarding what your product does, unique features and benefits, price, market-penetrating strategies, and why the network should purchase your product. For information and to receive a vendor kit, call 800-436-1010.


Television shopping networks are constantly looking for new and innovative products to sell. Product categories generally include electronics, cookware, jewelry, sports and exercise equipment, apparel, health and beauty products, books, videos, and music. Ask each about its vendor fairs and trade shows.


According to Leisure Trends Group Gallup Direct Television Study, 35% of viewers of live shopping shows purchase a product using a toll-free number, while 30% purchase a product seen on a live shopping show later at retail or through a catalog. These buyers are the most price sensitive of electronic retailing, with 17% saying they purchased because of a good price or a good deal, or because they liked the product.


Television shopping channels provide entrepreneurs who’d like to market their new products-immediately and on a limited budget- with an excellent opportunity to sell nationally. For a cohesive marketing strategy, it is important to use direct retailing in conjunction with other marketing efforts.

Secrets Business Owners Don’t Tell Starry Eyed Entrepreneurs

With the “4 Hour Work Week” as a major seller and infomercials telling people they can go on vacation almost monthly and eat bon bons while they make money, it might give starry eyed wannabees the wrong idea about business. Let’s get real. It’s not true. Start-ups looking to these items as doctrine are in for a rude awakening.

Starting a business is tough and challenging. At the same time it can be rewarding and potentially the path to the financial freedom most people seek. However, on the road to starting a profitable business there are some things which some business owners might have left out of their discussions.


Prepare for long hours. That might be an understatement. According to a variety of sources, the average entrepreneur works at least 16 hour a day. Weekends off are almost a fantasy for the full-timer who needs to be able to cover bills.


– Planning is key, but also have a plan B. All the books and seminars tell of the importance of a business plan. Start ups often handle their plan in one of two ways. People stick to it like a Bible almost to their detriment, like in the case of Blockbuster. Or, they keep changing the plan with every new idea they hear, again to their detriment. Perhaps there is another option. Have a plan, but be flexible enough with it to change it if the market dictates the need to do so.


– Online marketing is not the only way to get customers. Some people like the idea of “free” marketing online. They think if they throw up a website, a Facebook fan page, and send some tweets the masses will come. This is highly unlikely. A good marketing plan knows where their audience is and how to get to them. Chet Holmes, a business strategist and best selling author of “The Ultimate Sales Machine”, believes direct marketing is still alive and well. He also thinks cold calling is not a dirty word. With his business clients, of which over 60 are Fortune 500 companies, he might know what he is talking about.


– Do what needs to be done. The illusion that the work will get done by itself as you tweet what you ate for lunch is unrealistic. Businesses are built one brick at a time whether it is on or offline. Having the idea that working for yourself means doing what you want when you want is the fast track to ruin. Working for yourself in some ways requires more discipline than working for someone else. There is no one hanging over your head to make sure the work gets done, so it is up to you. Your income is dependent upon you getting work done, products out the door, and obtaining new customers.


– Lone rangers die quickly. No one becomes successful alone. It is imperative entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who have built a business and are willing to help you build yours. This may take the form or giving advice, serving as a sounding board, or partnering with you. Mentors are available and should be utilized. The U.S. Government has two programs available to help entrepreneur. SCORE which has seasoned retired business owners who will assist in everything from the concept to the execution for free. The Small Business Administration has training courses in everything from writing a business plan to growing a business. There is nothing wrong with having a dream, but it must be peppered with some reality. Business take time to launch then maybe the 4 hour work week might not be a fantasy.

Home-Based Etsy Business Ideas for Creative Entrepreneurs

Etsy is an excellent marketplace for creative entrepreneurs who are skilled at creating their own unique products. If you’ve been considering starting a home-based business that would do well on Etsy, but are struggling for ideas, consider the following fun business ideas.

The following bouquet business ideas are focused on providing unique gift ideas for individuals and businesses. All three are home-based and perfect for Etsy. They could also eventually lead to you owning a physical storefront, if desired.


Ety Business Idea: Candy Bouquets


Candy bouquets make sweet treats for weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, graduations, birthdays, and promotions. They’re relatively easy to make and typically consist of a decorative basket comprised of candy bars or candy, faux or tissue flowers, ribbon, and bows. Supplies include basic craft supplies, ribbon, bows, decorations, baskets, tins, candy, cocoa, stuffed animals, and seasonal decorations. Ideas for your bouquets run the gamut: from using retro candy from the 1950s to 1980s, British candies, and commonly found or color coordinated candies. You can also make wooden roses and duct tape flowers or other creations using less traditional craft materials to set your candy bouquets apart.


Etsy Business Idea: Balloon Bouquets


Balloon bouquets combine various balloons and other materials to create impressive bouquets that business owners could use outside of their establishments to draw in clients at open houses, grand openings and car dealerships. Individuals might purchase a balloon bouquet to give as a gift to someone recovering from a hospital stay. Supplies include a helium tank, hot glue gun, air pumps, ribbon, confetti, stuffed animals, and balloons. Search the Internet and visit gift shops to get ideas.


Etsy Business Idea: Cookie Bouquets


Cookie bouquets are a delicious treat that combines tasty cookies with eye-catching wrapping and designs to create bouquets that could be used as fun party centerpieces or as gifts. Supplies include colored cellophane, pre-packaged cookies, tissue paper, ribbon, confetti, bows, cocoa, baskets, mugs, and tins. While you can sell homemade goods on Etsy, any cookies you make yourself will need to be made in a licensed kitchen. You will also need to have a food handler’s permit. To avoid these regulations, use pre-packaged cookies. Just be sure to taste test them first. You can visit local caterers and bakers to supply you with original, pre-packaged, cookies.


Tips for a Home-Based Etsy Business


Any business owner that collects sales tax will need to have a sales tax permit, which you can get from your county clerk. You should also ensure that your home-based business is properly organized. You will need room for a table to design your creations, shelves to store your products and supplies, a filing cabinet to keep receipts and tax paperwork, and good enough lighting to take pictures for your Etsy store. Familiarize yourself with the self-employment tax, as you will likely need to submit your tax liability each quarter.


Don’t just stick to selling on Etsy. You can sell your bouquets at flea markets and fairs. Set up a booth at local events to show your work and get your name out there. Be sure to create a name that customers won’t forget.