Online sales in the run up to Christmas this year are expected to grow by 19.5% over 2013, with UK shoppers expected to spend £17.4 billion online.
Total Christmas sales are predicted to reach £74.3bn according to research conducted by the Centre of Retail Research for RetailMeNot, with the average UK household spending £775 on all of their Christmas shopping.
Are you trading online? do you have a website? do you have an App?
For project based businesses you need to understand the sales pipeline inorder to produce a forecast, a typical sales pipeline looks like this:
Prospects and Leads
In many cases larger contracts require a Prequalification Questionnaire (PQQ) and Tender.
If you want to forecast Sales you have to start by recording the volume of activity at each stage of the pipeline and your success rate at each stage.
Sales is all about activity, the more Prospects you can find the more Sales will be achieved.
Finding propects will be different for every organisation but Social Media and Linked In are increasing being used to find Prospects.
To prepare a Weighted Average forecast you simply use you success ratios and apply them to each stage of the process, so for example if you win 1 in 3 proposals that means you need 3 proposals to get one sale.
You can use this approach to set targets for your sales team.
On submitted proposals you can also apply a probability of success assessed by your sales team.
Its the UK Trade and Investment’s 6th annual Export Week (10 to 14 November).
Previous Export Weeks have seen over 17,000 companies in the UK attend exporting focussed events. This week we will again have over 70 events across the UK; there will be at least one event per day in every part of the UK.
According to a recent survey by Barclays Corporate Banking, in new emerging markets 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product which displays the Union Jack.
The survey of 453 SME leaders found that 54% of SMEs now sell products or services abroad. It found that exporting is the biggest growth area for 19% of the UK’s SMEs, and 68% of those who currently export saw export sales increase in 2013 over the previous year. For 18%, exports now account for over half their sales.
HMRC have a helpsheet TH/FS15 which has some helpful advice on importing and exporting.
The PayPal Working Capital fund will be trialled in the UK this autumn, with a more extensive rollout scheduled for 2015. Merchants (including eBay sellers) will be able to repay their advance with a share of their PayPal sales via card payments.
PayPal Working Capital is a loan of a fixed amount, with a single fixed fee. There are no due dates, minimum monthly payments, periodic interest charges, late fees, pre-payment fees, penalty fees, or any other fees. When you apply, simply select the amount you want — up to the maximum you qualify for. You choose the percentage of your sales that will be deducted from your PayPal account. (Deductions are made the day following each day of sales.) You’ll pay this percentage of your sales until your balance is repaid in full. You only make payments when you get paid.
PayPal Working Capital state that Working Capital offers major advantages compared with traditional ways of funding a business:
• Funding in minutes – PayPal’s strong relationship with its business customers means we can approve an advance based on their PayPal sales history. This means the customer completes a quick online application – there’s no need to spend hours gathering information about their business. And PayPal can make a decision and provide the funds in minutes.
• Pay when you get paid – Unlike traditional bank loans, PayPal Working Capital allows a business to repay the advance with a share of their PayPal sales. If they have a day without any PayPal sales that’s fine – they don’t repay anything that day.
• No credit check – PayPal Working Capital is a merchant cash advance against future sales – it’s not a loan – so no credit checks are needed and the advance does not impact on the customer’s business or personal credit record. There is a single, fixed fee that is displayed to the customer before they sign up. There are no interest charges or late payment fees.
Is this something your business will be able to use? or want to use?
Finding ways to fund your business can be a challenge so hear are some business models where your customers provide the funding.
This can apply to many situations ranging from Networking and Memberships to Sky TV or Microsoft Office 365, get your clients hooked on paying a monthly or periodic payments and it should work wonders for your cash flow.
Any product in short supply creates a situation where clients are prepared to pay now in order not to miss out, here is an example:
Microsoft unveils its new Xbox One console Friday, one week after the release of the rival PlayStation 4.
Microsoft says the supply of the new $499 consoles is its biggest ever. But with record pre-orders — more than double those of the Xbox 360 back in November 2005 — the consoles may be hard to find.
Pay In Advance
Often used in the home improvement market for example conservatories, kitchens, bathrooms, getting customers to pay a deposit or in some cases all the money upfront (or on finance) puts you in the best possible position especially if you can set up accounts to pay your suppliers on 30 or 60 days.
Getting paid to bring people together is a great business model think of ebay, dating sites, or any on line market place where the owner gets paid when a deal is done.