By DBL | May 12, 2013
Welcome to the eBayAnorak’s guest poster Camilla Gilbro. Camilla is the community manager at iwoca. Since graduating from Copenhagen Business School, with a degree in business communication, Camilla has been working to make life easier for small and medium enterprise businesses by offering advice and sharing experiences via entrepreneur magazines and websites. She loves a good chat about anything, from business plans to social media. Today she talks about the who’s who in small business lending …
Small business loans, business funding, working capital and quick cash loans? The terms are many and they may not always be easy to understand. So which is which and more importantly, how do you know which is right for you?
I’m going to start out by giving you the worst answer ever. It depends. As always it depends on the situation and even within the same business it may vary. So let’s take them one at a time… While there are many more than this article covers, the terms covered below should be the most relevant for you.
When you’re considering what type of loan to take out there are two things to consider. Where can I find capital and what do I need it for?
Bank loan: taking a bank loan is probably the first thing many businesses think of when they’re in need of capital. While many small businesses are finding it extremely difficult getting capital from their banks in terms of loans, an overdraft facility can turn out to be a good idea. To some having an overdraft facility equals bad finances, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, having access to the overdraft can remove some cash flow restraints from your business. Remember, the overdraft is not there for you to use it all the time, but can become extremely valuable in some situations.
Quick cash loan: Also known as pay day loans. Pay day loans are known for their extremely high interest rates and not necessarily very favourable terms. Taking a quick cash loan for your business is something you need to consider a lot before going into. Have you checked that all other options are ruled out? Are you sure that you can pay it back and that the cash will actually benefit your business?
Small business loan: a small business loan can vary a bit, but usually refers to small loans for small businesses, i.e. no more than £15,000-£20,000. Some banks offer small business loans for start-ups, provided you have a decent business plan and a proper budget in place. This is a good idea to have in any case, to make sure your business will be sustainable if it works out the way you hope.
For online sellers there are now other opportunities. Several companies are starting to specialize in niche sectors of the market, providing business loans tailor made for that specific industry. Benefits can be easier access to cash and a better understanding of your business. However, be aware that most of these loans will be short term, i.e. for no more than six months. Therefore, it’s important that you make a plan for the use of the money before taking them out, considering how you can maximize your profit within that period of time.
Business funding: Business funding often refers to outside funding, either in terms of investment or just plain financial help. To gain outside funding can be quite difficult in the sense that it takes a lot of work and some luck as well. You should have a very creative approach, or it will be practically impossible. Here you should consider whether the work is really worth the capital, obviously depending on the amount of money you’re after.
Government funding: Governments around the world have set up schemes to support start-ups in order to boost the economy. Depending on your country of residence you will probably be able to get access to a small loan to help you start your business. However, most of these loans are for start-ups only and not created to help established businesses grow.
Before you make a decision, do research
Companies will happily talk to you and tell you about their product. It’s important that you take your time to figure out which is the right way for you and the way to do that is by looking around, talking to different companies and consider the different benefits in accordance with your business needs.
By DBL | April 8, 2013
Welcome to the eBayAnorak’s first guest poster Camilla Gilbro. Camilla is the community manager at iwoca. Since graduating from Copenhagen Business School, with a degree in business communication, Camilla has been working to make life easier for small and medium enterprise businesses by offering advice and sharing experiences via entrepreneur magazines and websites. She loves a good chat about anything, from business plans to social media. Today she talks about the more solitary side of online selling …
There are many advantages of being an online retailer. You build your own job, you can watch your business grow and well, you’re an entrepreneur. Which is pretty cool. The only downside there can be is that most online sellers are one their own. And sometimes that can get a bit lonely.
Luckily, there are plenty of places to look to for company, especially online. Here you can find lots of advice, share concerns (and sometimes anger), success stories and just be friendly. There are specific groups and forums for eBay sellers and broader forums for the wider e-commerce community. For that reason it’s a good idea to look around and maybe be a member of more than one forum.
LinkedIn has several groups. I am personally a member of eBay Sellers and eBay Sellers UK. I do enjoy the UK site more, because there are many country specific rules and you therefore feel more ‘at home’ in the UK group. While there aren’t a lot of posts in there all the time, LinkedIn has this great function where they send you an e-mail once in a while and inform you of what has been going on. You can also receive an e-mail whenever someone comments on a post you’re active in.
The Wholesale Forums
An obvious one is The Wholesale Forums. Here you have more than 100,000 retailers or wholesalers sharing information and questions. Lace, who works for TWF, is always very helpful and will do her best to make sure you get the right answers. And then of course there are all the very active members who are very helpful. The members discuss everything from design to finance and social media. Are you a member?
We recently started a Facebook group for Online Sellers in the UK. The group is only a few weeks old, but already has 150 members. The activity is mind-blowing, and this type of group works well if you need quick replies. There are a lot of experienced sellers and they tone is very informal and it’s an easy way to take part in a community without too much effort (since most people are on Facebook anyway).
If you’re sick of being online, and simply just want to get out of the house, the UK online seller meetups have been happening since May 2012. At every meetup more people are showing up and enjoying a few talks from industry experts and some free drinks. It’s a great excuse to get out of the office and meet some fellow online sellers.
These are only a few of the groups and forums you can join and there is no longer any excuse not to interact a bit. Well, if you want to.
By DBL | March 24, 2013
As noted in previous posts I share lots of free advice when I’m out and about, purely due to me being a total Anorak when it comes to eBay, my chosen obsession and career path. My short presentation on Understanding eBay’s Best Match search and how to get the best from it at the iwoca sponsored Manchester UK Online Sellers Meetup went down very well with some really encouraging comments.
I enjoy sharing tips during conversation I talk a lot but if I am sharing some of this stuff for free, why would someone want to pay me for it? Why have a consultancy day? As I’ve said many times while the basic principles of eBay selling is the same when it comes to eBay businesses one size does not fit all, different products, categories, back end processes, feedback all are different and there’s more to it than ‘how to list on eBay’ etc.
I had a conversation with John Pemberton from DesignerClothing2U he said I should show a little of what I do for eBay for business sellers so I’ve chosen to share this picture with you all as an example. This is the traffic to a client’s eBay shop, a suggested change was made among others and the result is plain to see ‘click to embiggen’ should you require.
The increase in eBay shop traffic was immediate, this is one example of the many changes I may suggest. My goal is to increase traffic yes, but also save you some fire fighting time in the everyday process of eBay selling, time is money but also better spent in growth of your business rather than fighting day to day processes.
All advice will go toward increasing your sales, that is the part that takes some extra time and hard work on your part but on a more enlightened targeted path. If you are looking for someone to come in do a few clicks and make you millions it’s not me, if you want a get rich quick scheme, that’s not me either and anyone who tells you they can do this is lying.
Do I know everything about eBay? No, but does any one person really know everything about this global online marketplace? One thing I can say is that I live and breathe the site twelve hours a day seven days a week I’m not called the eBayAnorak for nothing. I love to learn whatever I can about the site, learn the nuances of eBay.
No one knows your business like you do, I know the ins and outs of eBay so I work with you to bring the two together to meet somewhere in the middle to make the best of both.
On a day’s consultancy you won’t see any PowerPoint presentations as again your business is different form any other, all work is bespoke in a discussion like format and although my preparation work, set things to discuss and previously written notes etc are used during the day, all is bespoke and organic to you, your business and processes. I may tell you things you don’t want to hear, I’m not a yes woman, you pay me to give you advice, I’m going to do that but whatever I recommend there are hard and fast, tried and tested evidence behind it. I will show you how to use Best Match search to your advantage rather than the typical things I find where sellers actually scupper their search standing through their usual day to day selling processes.
I love my job, it’s not like real work as I like it too much and meet the most wonderful of people, give me a shout if you want to chat re a day’s consultancy. Anorak must get back to listing this blogging lark is hellish I need another eBay fix yo :-p
By DBL | March 18, 2013
I’ll be at the Internet Retailing Expo at the NEC this week (20 & 21 March) so if you spot me please come and say Hello, dressed in the usual black & corporate polo shirt or @eBayAnorak t shirt but gone are the black boots since I broke my ankle I can’t wear them so this obsessional eBay purchase item has been replaced by buying black bags with skulls on them.
If you’ve not attended a UK Online Seller Meetup before it is free to attend. On arrival some networking, drinks and nibbles, lots of conversation, experts on hand for free advice and chat.
This week presentations start at 6pm with a short 15 minute presentation on fulfilment from Ian Walker CEO of 3PL, Chris Dawson from TameBay will be then moderate the all star panel and open for your questions will be: Brightpearl (James Scott, Senior VP Customer Success & Alliances), Esellerpro (Mark Craig, Business Development Manager), Linnworks (Fedor Dzjuba, CEO and founder), Visualsoft (Rich Himsworth, Business Development Manager) this is planned to finish at 6-45 then more drinks, nibbles and networking until late.
I’ve attended all but one of the meetups, the guys from iWoCa always look after you well, there’s no hard sell from anyone, it’s purely a place to chat with like minded sellers sharing tips and tricks in a very relaxed atmosphere, lots of talk and lughter just what’s needed at the end of the first day of IRX.
eBay Anorak always enjoys chatting with people and answering eBay queries so don’t be shy, come say hello
By DBL | February 10, 2013
I had the very great pleasure to present at the iWoCa sponsored Online Seller Meetup in Manchester on Tuesday night alongside Chris Dawson from Tamebay and Ian from 3P Logistics, I have to say this was one of the best I’ve attended for many reasons.
Wanting to go first due to nerves was the best idea although I don’t remember a lot from the slides due to the adrenaline rush it seemed that my Understanding Best Match Search presentation had some great feedback from those in attendance, Tamebay article is here.
I usually use a white board, this mainly to my loathing of death by Powerpoint presentations but the slides seemed to do the job. Best Match Search is my most favourite Anorak subject and I’m now losing sleep time studying the future advancements of this subject (watch this space).
Chris Dawson followed with the insights of the changes coming to eBay & Amazon over the next twelve months, the new way eBay is combining visual search to update your feed in real time. Ian from 3PLogistics introduced us to the advantages of outsourced fulfilment, letting someone else take the strain of your despatch process.
The venue, The Red Lion was very relaxed, food and drink in abundance and iWoCa picked up the tab. In the absence of the eBay University in the UK the last being nearly six years ago, eBay and Online Sellers have been short of a networking group to share time served tips. tricks and real insider knowledge on how these platforms and the associated processes work. Christoph Rieche and the iWoCa team have revived what was once a great get together into a powerful meeting of some of the biggest sellers, solution providers and experts in the business to share their knowledge for free over drinks and food in a relaxed atmosphere.
So, who are iWoCa and what do they do? So, you get the chance of a great deal from a supplier or an on the spot Trade show deal too good to miss but you haven’t got the ready spondoolics to close the deal. iWoCa can basically give you finance in a matter of minutes. They help online sellers in the UK sell more by financing their growth based on annual sales and customer feedback scores, factors that a traditional lender won’t consider. And, I have to add, they genuinely are nice guys too.
If you are wondering whether to attend a Meetup I recommend you do, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. All info on the various venues in London, Birmingham & Manchester are on the Meetup Page here and if you sign up you’ll get to know when and where the next ones are as people are requesting more venues across the UK.
Looking forward to the London Meetup, sadly I’m not presenting but will be there for a chat just the same, if you come along please come over for a chat it would be good to meet you
By DBL | December 30, 2012
That’s right, I’m out and about talking eBay in January 2013, the first will be at the iWoCa sponsored Manchester Online Sellers Meetup on 23rd (Rescheduled due to snow so now 5th February) where I’ll be sharing some eBayAnorak musings on Best Match Search and will have the honour of presenting alongside Chris Dawson from Tamebay who will be giving an exciting insight to the new eBay and how the new changes will affect Sellers in 2013.
The UK eBay & Online Seller Meetups are monthly and held in Manchester, Birmingham and London and are a social gatherings with some interesting short presentations and valuable networking with some of the most knowledgeable people in the business, so much knowledge in one room with a relaxed atmosphere. Besides that, a place for Anorak to talk eBay for a few hours. If you sign up to the meetup page for free you’ll get a reminder of when & where all the Meetups for this group are held.
Next up, on 30th I’ll be presenting at an eBay session for a local Company Web-B2B in Burton on Trent on how to Advance your eBay Sales, these are especially for those already using eBay for business or have good selling experience and want to advance their sales further, some early bird places in this small, discussion type format are available before January 11th so be quick … definitely no ‘Death by PowerPoint’ presentation is assured.
I have neglected the blog again this year but hopefully a little more time and organisation may see this change to a more respectable level of meanderings.
I would like to wish all readers, friends and colleagues a Happy and Prosperous 2013 and hope it’s brings all you wish and work for, until 2013 …
By DBL | September 18, 2012
Any Burton , Stafffs, South Derbyshire & surrounding area businesses who want to increase their eBay operations, you just found a way to increase your sales in time for Christmas and probably save you some money as well.
I am delivering a Powerpoint free 3 hour session on eBay for business for a local company in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire UK next Monday September 24th. This is for Burton & surrounding area businesses only to start with so if you are based nearby please do come along. If not, please contact the guys at WebB2B and I’m sure they will let you know what else is on offer.
This is a unique opportunity to learn the insides of eBay trading without the Death by Powerpoint’ presentation and to allow everyone to ask as many questions as they like within a small group rather than a large room full of people.
As an Education Specialist trained by eBay, eBay addicted geek and eBay Specialist Consultant with 10 years trading experience and many clients of different sizes and in different categories I have a lot of experience to share, an opportunity not to be missed.
I look forward to meeting some of you
By DBL | July 16, 2012
The eBayAnorak is rather chuffed to the point of ‘wellin’ up’ to have her own URL on Tamebay.com. Thanks to Chris and Dan for the honour and also a very big thank you and tribute to my friend Sue Bailey, my @Blogmum who got me blogging in the first place and who I miss dearly.
Welcome to the naughty corner of tamebay http://tamebay.com/author/jane and my opinionated rantings!
By DBL | June 26, 2012
Interesting reading this week on eCommerceBytes regarding the eBay.com announcement titled ‘We’re Making Communication with Fellow eBay Members Even Easier!‘ sounds fine but it get’s really scary when you read on to find that eBay is planning to sync your registered eBay email address with the ‘My Messages’ section.
‘Starting next week, your email account associated with your eBay user ID will be automatically synched with your eBay My Messages folder. This means if you prefer to reply to an email through your email account, there’s no need to navigate to My Messages to mark the item as ‘Read’—it will be done automatically. Those sent messages from your email address will also be routed automatically to your ‘Sent’ folder in My Messages.
We hope this enhancement makes communicating with other eBay members even easier.’
The idea is that you can reply via your own email account and instead of having to go to My Messages and mark it as read eBay will do this automatically for you. How nice of them? This smacks of something more sinister, call me suspicious but apart from the legality of it (and I’m not sure what US law says) it is pretty scary stuff.
I’ll leave you with that one … :-s
By DBL | June 24, 2012
Anorak was on UK tour yet again last week. I decided to take a relaxing trip to the capital and attend the The (revived) London eBay Seller Meetup. Held in an upstairs room with open balcony doors with river views at the very picturesque Blue Anchor Pub on the bank of the Thames in Hammersmith. The sponsors IWOCA who will provide finance for your eBay business had everything very well organised with plenty of beer, wine and nibbles for the packed room.
After an introduction from Christoph Reich from IWOCA, Chris Dawson from Tamebay talked about true multi channel selling using a mix of eBay, Amazon, Play and website and his frustration in trying to buy a freezer online in an emergency and not being able to use local ‘click & collect’ type service, multi channel should also include the facility to collect as well as be delivered from the usual online platforms. He also spoke about the range of multi-channel tools to speed up the process and that there wasn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach as different solutions were suitable for different businesses so research of a few different solutions is imperative beforehand.
Next up was Artem Verovenko from Linnworks also highlighting some of the problems with selling on multi eCommerce platforms and how Linnworks can help streamline the order management service and will also provide that all important training during the integration period to guide new users smoothly onto the platform. Linnworks was also recommended in the room by John Pemberton of GMDC Global who found the transfer over to the solution both painless and fast. The integration of any solution is important to factor into your choice. Some extra pictures from Linnworks blog here too.
Lots of networking followed and a hope that the eBay Seller Meetup will go national to other cities in the UK. Thank you to the IWOCA team for their hospitality and organisation and here’s to the next Meetup on September 5th 2012 when London reverts back to normality after the Olympic Games. So WATCH THIS SPACE for details.