Meals on wheels or food trucks continue to grow in the US especially in the San Francisco Area where food truck parks or pods can be found. For the past several years, food trucks have been making rounds in cities across the United States and making profits out of satisfying food cravings. This tasty business trend has grown in popularity that it got featured in various TV shows, not to mention its own series. Running a food truck business seems easy when one is watching successful truck owners at work, but just like any other business, joining the food truck industry requires preparation and hard work.
The first consideration in any type of business is the budget. One can not start a business without any sort of capitalization and cash flow to sustain the business during the start-up period. The food truck business is a good venture for those who have limited cash for capitalization and overhead. There’s no need to build a restaurant or rent a commercial space for the business because all that is needed is a van or a truck. One can also enjoy a flexibility of moving into more profitable locations if an area doesn’t generate enough business during the day. Aside from the finances, one should honestly assess their skills and ability in running the business. A potential owner who has great taste in food but terrible skills in the kitchen will need a chef or a cook for the business. If he can’t afford to hire extra personnel then he has to learn the skill. Otherwise, he’ll just end up with a good menu with no food to serve.
Once the budget and the skills set are ironed out, its time to start planning and preparing for the food truck business. Get the paper work done, purchase the equipment and inventory, organize the staff and roll out the trucks for a tasty profit.
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Drop shippers are the life blood of many online businesses and forging a successful relationship with them can make or break your company. Rather than holding your own stock, drop shippers allow you to take orders which are then passed on to them, and they in turn fulfill the order. There are some drawbacks- most noticeably smaller margins and lack of control offer fulfillment- however, there are also many benefits. Drop shippers eliminate the need to have suitable storage facilities, which can often be extremely expensive; they also mean that you don’t need to worry about postage and packing. Here are five tips to ensure you get the most out of your relationship with them.
Don’t fall for scams
The main reason people are reluctant to use drop shippers is because of the large number of scams which exist. Spotting them is not an exact science- but it can be done. Avoid any companies which require you to pay a fee before you are able to see what products they sell. This might seem obvious but it catches out hundreds of people each month. Always research a drop shipper before you use them. If they are a scam then there is likely to be a lot of buzz about them on the various e-commerce forums that are out there.
Ask if a distributor will drop ship for you
Many of the companies which drop ship for me specifically claim on their websites that they do not offer this service. By making contact with them personally, explaining my business and why their products would be a great fit and by providing some projected figures, I have managed to convince them that drop shipping can be beneficial for them. Thanks to this personal approach I am now the only small independent trader able to offer a certain range of deluxe dog harnesses and several other product lines. Always ask- no matter what their website might say!
Make your first orders to yourself
When first using a new drop shipper I always send at least three orders to myself and people I know. This allows me to see how quickly the items are delivered and how well packaged they are. This is really important. Your customers have no way of knowing that you are not in charge of fulfillment- so any problems here will be a black mark against your name, not your drop shipper.
Visit your drop shipper
Try to organize a day when you are able to go and visit your drop shipper. I believe that being able to really get to know the products you are selling is essential- although I know a lot of internet entrepreneurs would disagree. What a visit to a drop shipper does allow, is for you to take some bespoke pictures of their products. Other companies will be using the same stock images which they have supplied you with- if you can go and get your own pictures, or even better video, then you will immediately stand out from the crowd. This is a tactic which I have used to great effect on my site Dogscorner.co.uk.
Always pay them on time
Many drop shippers require payment before each order is processed and although this might sound like a lot of hassle it is actually my preferred means of operating, as it ensures all payments are up-to-date. Forgetting to pay your invoice will quickly lead to a deterioration in any relationship. I know several entrepreneurs than have made an honest mistake only to find a huge back log of unfulfilled orders and telephone lines jammed with angry customers.
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Having an online business does not mean that you have to do any less in terms of advertising and marketing. The success of your online venture will depend on how good you are in directing the right kind of consumer traffic to your website. Search engine optimization is an important component of your business success. SEO is not a one-size fits all way of increasing your potential customer base. It has to be customized to your own business enterprise. You have to find ways to make SEO work for you. It starts with understanding your business and your customers.
Your first step to making SEO work for you is to do keyword research. You have to know what your customers are entering in the search boxes. With the right keywords, you can optimize your site to put your website right on top of their search results pages. There are plenty of these keyword research tools online. You can even find out what the customers of your competitors are searching for so you can take your share of the consumer pie.
Another SEO tool is link building. Links are ways for your prospective customers to find you through related websites of interest to them. This is a less intrusive way of directing traffic to your website. But, you have to find the right sites where you can put your links. You can choose to do PPC or pay-per-click advertising or you can opt to put links in articles and other content in websites with products and services related to yours. You also have to be careful about link building and other SEO techniques that are not considered to be acceptable by the search engine companies.
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