The Case for Bootstrapping Your Business

Boostrapping-LadderThese days, it’s very fashionable to have a business “funded” by an investor or venture capital firm.  While this kind of funding is most prevalent in the tech sector, it’s still tempting for ambitious new store owners to bring on investors or get a business loan to “accelerate” their progress.

But that’s almost always a bad idea. Here’s why bootstrapping your business is usually the better alternative.

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How I Nearly Botched My Business Sale

Despair-Small“Are you still interested in buying the business?”

The potential buyer had been grappling over the weekend with a few troubling issues he’d discovered in due diligence for TrollingMotors.net.  It was now Monday morning, and we were on a stressful, high-stakes call to see if we could keep the deal moving forward.

On the line: losing a month of progress with a qualified buyer, and all the momentum I’d built with my public $185,000 auction process.

How did things get to this point? [Continue reading]

How People Judge You Based on the Emails You Write

JudgeLookSmallForget about spinning articles and directory listings.  If you want to effectively market your business online, you need to become an expert at networking with others in your niche.

But there’s a problem: Inboxes have turned into out-of-control monsters. People are increasingly being ambushed with unwanted messages, and they’re getting less timid about hitting the delete key when faced with unsolicited emails.  Often, you have only a few seconds to make a good impression.

So how can you rise above the din?  The recipient of your email will ask (perhaps subconsciously) three questions about you when deciding how to respond.   [Continue reading]

TrollingMotors.net Auction Follow-Up

TrollingMotorD63aR03aP01ZLA month ago I announced I was selling my eCommerce site, TrollingMotors.net.  In rather unorthodox form, I shared all of the financials, offered a 5% bribe/referral commission to get people to spread the word and structured the sale as a reverse auction.

It’s been a pretty exciting few weeks since the initial post, and I wanted to provide an update on the sale and how the process was received. [Continue reading]

The Open-Book Sale of My $600K Store (With Complete Financials)

OpenBookI’m selling one of my stores, TrollingMotors.net, and will be using a radically different approach.

Instead of keeping the details private, I’ll be sharing all the key data, including financials and traffic stats. And forget business brokers or Flippa; I’ll be selling the site exclusively via the blog.

Even the auction will be turned upside down. The price will start high – at $185,000 – and will drop every few days by $10,000 until someone buys it.

I’m also offering a 5% friendly bribe referral commission – possibly totaling more than $9,000 – to anyone who connects me to a buyer, even if it’s through a Tweet or Facebook share.

So definitely not your run-of-the-mill store sale. [Continue reading]

Email Marketing Challenge, My Book & Great Recent Content

smallTypeI don’t normally write update posts, but I had a number of news items I wanted to share.  Specifically, I wanted to update you on how the email marketing challenge is going, let you know about my new drop shipping book and highlight some killer content I’ve enjoyed in October.

I’m also giving away 25 copies of my new book to people who comment on the post!  More on that in just a minute. [Continue reading]

How to Read a Balance Sheet (The Non-Boring Version)

Slack-LiningToday I’ll be (hopefully) demystifying how to read a balance sheet, a potentially confusing beast for those unfamiliar with it.

At it’s simplest, a balance sheet shows what assets your company controls and who owns them. And if you’re concerned with not bankrupting your new store (“I TOLD you selling piranhas online would never work!”), it’s a pretty important statement to understand.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to grasp if you’re willing to learn a few key concepts. So let’s dive in! [Continue reading]

Mastering the Income Statement (Even If You Hate Accounting)

parachutesThe income statement seems straightforward enough: revenue at the top, expenses in the middle and profit at the bottom, right? Sadly, the good old profit-and-loss gets botched more than just about any other financial statement.

If you’re running your own business, it’s important to know what goes where. And if you’d ever like to buy or sell a store, it’s even more important to understand how the statement should be structured so you can spot financial shenanigans and not overpay for a business.

Fortunately, there are just a few important things you need to know, all of which can be learned quickly, even if you cringe at the word “accounting.”

Today I’ll be walking you through the right way to format an income statement using Phil’s Parachute Palace (not real), where my friend Phil drop ships skydiving parachutes (not recommended). Let’s see how Phil’s done over the last few years:

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The New Google Keyword Planner: What You Need to Know

google-logo 2Sadly, Google’s infamous Keyword Tool is no more.  It was recently replaced by the new (although not necessarily improved) Google Keyword Planner.  Why the switch, and what does it mean for you?

Here’s what you need to know about the new functionality, as well as what to make of some concerning unusual changes to the data being reported.
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Becoming a Niche Expert When Drop Shipping Products

DetectiveI know the products and the market I sell in extremely well, yet I’ve only laid hands on a small percentage of the items I offer because I’m drop shipping all my products.

Sound impossible?  If you’re willing to get creative and put in a bit of work, you can become a bonafide niche expert while enjoying all the conveniences of drop shipping.  Here’s how: [Continue reading]