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Trying to get back into the game!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Nancy, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Entrepreneur

    After supporting my family by running a small contract embroidery company for 20 years, I retired and took a break for a few years. I am now at a point in my life where I need to produce an income again. Working for someone else is not in my blood!!

    Things have changed a lot since I started my last business! I rode on the wave of the internet and was able to build my business by staying on top of things online. The internet is a much different place now. I am not sure what I want to do and the best way to do it.

    I am hoping to share and learn from everyone here in my journey to a new income. I look forward to meeting others and see what is working and not working for you.
    T J Tutor and setupdisc like this.

  2. William Clements

    William Clements Moderator Business Owner Entrepreneur

    @Nancy, Welcome to EntrepreneurFix!!!
    setupdisc and Nancy like this.
  3. Vinaya.Ghimire

    Vinaya.Ghimire Entrepreneur

    You say you had a contract embroidery company. Did you hire people to create embroidery and then sell it to the customers? When you had this company, how did you find customers, offline or online. What advertising mechanism did you use?

    I can see the chances of relaunching your business.
    setupdisc likes this.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Entrepreneur

    I specialized in sports jersey lettering. I actually did work for other embroidery companies and stores. I got business by talking to local screen printers and embroiderers, companies I met online through my website and forums, and mostly word of mouth by satisfied customers.

    I don't know that I want to go into that business again. It took me years to build up profits and get the equipment I needed and it is so hard to find good help. The equipment and software is very expensive and I do not want to go into debt to get it. I think I would like to do something different this time. I just have to figure out what!
    setupdisc likes this.
  5. setupdisc

    setupdisc Moderator Entrepreneur

    Things have changed drastically since 1996 online, and that's an understatement. Credit card processing now has thousands of competitors whereas it used to only have 3 or 4 back then. HTML sites are now PHP-based with interactive javascript, and people expect to see multimedia, flash, blogs, online reviews, and a ton of other things that were never as involved as before. You can still make it, but you're going to have to change gears rapidly from that time to today.

    Even though the competition is much more fierce than it was back then online, there are fortunately a lot of new advantages to help you overcome the new rivalry. Formerly, web sites were just there to help people get the sales to your brick and mortar or home-based business. Now, they exist to actually make the sale more than anything else when it comes to doing it all online.

    SEO and getting on search engines is still a must, but it is done much differently than before. Many of the SEO techniques which used to work really well with Yahoo and other search engines (now replaced by Google mostly) actually penalize the rankings rather than boosting them up on page results.

    There's a lot of other changes (too many to mention with one sitting), but what I would recommend is that you start out by looking at everything your strongest competition has: their web sites, their FAQ section, their products and services section, if they have an online store, and if they do...who is powering it if it's done outside of their company and not in-house. Even their about section is worth it to look at, just to see how they're approaching people now with what was your domain before (and can be yours again if you plan it out as smart as you did the first time).

    Another thing you may see is online support or chat support. Some do this themselves, while others outsource it. They don't have to manage the outsourced chat themselves; there is usually another company between that hires them and provides that for you through people who are able to give it either during business hours (cheaper) or 24/7 (a little more costly, but ensured 24 hour sales without hesitation by the customer when their answers and needs are met).

    Back in the day it was rare to do online orders as opposed to phone orders, and you had to get an SSL certificate and a bunch of other things to integrate it. That's become very easy to do, and there are now in existence many different third-party solutions that let you accept payment (without having to use an SSL certificate) just by passing it to the merchant or company that has their own to do this for you with only a link from your web site to and back. Paypal is also MUCH more developed to where you can use them as both an email payment gateway and to accept debit and credit cards with automatically as an alternative. You even have bitcoin that can be accepted now.

    Since you were doing logos and artwork, I'd suggest looking at some of the stores like Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, and others to where people have decided to place their entire storefront onto sites like those which have all of the traffic they'd ever need to be successful and provide other benefits and incentives to where they can still run it themselves (just as before), but have a lot more support and opportunities to reach people while investing less for the long run. Some decided to move their sites into those places (kind of like moving a business out of a big building in a remote location into a business mall to rent out space, but by doing so you find yourself in a really big and popular location to get more sales and meet more customers)

    I'm not sure if you'd want to do the embroidery in-house again or not, since a lot of your competition is already going to be outsourcing it to other places (especially for larger quantity orders) to make sure their time-frame is met, their profit margins are met, and are able to offer lower prices than their competition.

    If you are going for more of a quality over quantity provider arrangement, then you may be able to still do it in-house, even if it is going to cost more and you charge more, because thankfully people do not want everything to come from China and are still willing to pay more for great quality items.

    You may have competition even from the quality sites doing things in certain ways too, so it's ideal to find out which of those areas you want to springboard from, and then research and scout out everything new that they're doing. You might even want to have a friend or two call in a ghost order or do customer inquiries to see what they can learn on how they go about online orders, return policies, and turnaround times now.

    There are many things that will stay the same that you're already a master at, but it's all those new areas, policies, and features that people expect to see or to have that you'll want to know, make a battle plan for, and release for your own business again yourself whenever you are ready to relaunch.

    Although a lot of businesses have converted to ebay-specific, or etsy-specific storefronts, others have opted to maintain both which can be smart, especially if there is ever an issue with an online storefront. If anything ever happens, you still have your main store and merchant account with it to fall back on that you can direct or redirect customers to at any time, even if there is a hiccup with one of the compartmentalized stores available from larger online malls.

    Also, you'll find that it's no longer necessary to pay for a merchant account, sweep and processing fees, or any of that monthly anymore unless you're doing a high volume of sales to where it can save money. For the most part, just like with paypal, there are merchants who only charge a 1 or 2% fee of a total order per transaction, which if you're just getting back into things or are starting with small orders can be really great to help you do things quickly and send payments straight to your bank account to work with via ACH. The requirements aren't quite as strict either, so you can often get things going more quickly by just sending in the basic information that they need to help you get your bank account verified and started up. You can choose from anything like Paypal to SparkPay (CapitalOne), SquareUp (Twitter), Chase Paymentech (JP-Morgan/Chase), all the way to the monthly and established original players like Charge.com. You can even use your cell phone now to swipe cards or key them in. You can even do bitcoin and alternative currencies through some of them, or offer that yourself for free in many cases. :) Sky is the limit now!

    Whatever you decide on, try to start out as flexibly as you can without investing too much up front, but make sure you are able to scale it and upgrade to features, services, or advantages as you go to build and restore or implement new things as you need to.

    In this day and age, going about it from a cook-book fashion seems to be the smartest and most profitable way to get started (or started again!).
    T J Tutor and Nancy like this.
  6. T J Tutor

    T J Tutor Administrator Entrepreneur

    Welcome to EntrepreneurFix @Nancy ! It's great to have you join us.

    So much has changed as others above have posted. As you can see, we have an abundance of members ready to contribute ideas and actionable information.

    I'm sure you'll forge many great new relationships here. We have representatives in business from all corners of the world.

    Be sure to ask some questions of our Expert of the Week, Ian Fernando.

    If you think that building an online business through marketing may of interest to you, then also check out our sister forum AffiliateFix!

    Looking forward to your posts and threads.

    See you around the forums.

    T J
    Nancy and setupdisc like this.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Entrepreneur

    Thank you for the kind welcome! I can feel the energy here!! There is so much good info available it will take me a while to get through it all. I love the idea of a forum to share ideas!! I hope I can be a tiny help to someone and am sure I will learn a lot from others.
    setupdisc likes this.

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