Tech

Money illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Entrepreneur Skills You Need To Know

­ 5 Skills Every New Entrepreneur Needs (and How to Get Them)

Entrepreneurs of Success offers tips to help entrepreneurs be more successful

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the country. Many of them are started by entrepreneurs who have an idea or a dream but may not necessarily know what it takes to start or keep a business going. The good news is that the skills needed to do just that can be learned along the way. Taking the time to learn what they are and adopt them will help entrepreneurs to be more successful with their business ventures.

“Nobody knows everything right from the start, but if you are willing to learn along the way, then you will have no problem gaining the skills you need to be successful,” explains Sara Khoudary, founder of Entrepreneurs of Success and the Mentor Momentum Community. “Entrepreneurs are a special group of people who are usually willing to do what it takes to see their business through.”

Having the skills it takes to be successful can make running a business easier and keep it less stressful. It can also make it easier to find your way around challenges that arise, such as those we have had to deal with over the last year with the pandemic. Not having important skills can leave entrepreneurs feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and stuck where they are.

Here are 5 skills every new entrepreneur needs, as well as tips on how to get them:

  • Communication skills. Being able to effectively communicate is essential in every business, whether you are selling to the public or other businesses. Improve upon your business communication skills by reading books on the topic, taking an online class, or even joining a group such as your local Toastmasters.
  • Patience. Not everything is going to happen overnight. Even the most successful businesses take time to grow. Overnight successes usually have years under their foundation before they suddenly take off. Learn patience by being mindful and celebrating the small milestones. It’s important to realize that things take time, and to focus more on the progress being made along the way.
  • Stress management. Being an entrepreneur can be stressful. If you don’t do something to manage the stress, then you may quickly become burned out or it can lead to health issues. Do something regularly that helps you reduce stress, such as meditation, hiking, exercising, journaling, etc.
  • Networking abilities. When you have a solid network, you will be able to get advice from others. A mentor or group of people that you can turn to with questions, to vent to, or to hear advice from can be golden. Find a mentor or join at least one group, such as Entrepreneurs of Success, that will put you in touch with others who are successful. 
  • Hiring abilities. Many entrepreneurs need to hire people, but they are not familiar with such a task. Hiring the right people will make a huge difference in your business and can be the difference between thriving and diving. Learn hiring skills by reading books, discussing it with mentors, and attending conferences on the topic.

“Our mission is to help entrepreneurs be more successful,” added Khoudary. “When you have a support group that you can turn to, such as with our mentoring program, you will find that you get the answers you need to move forward, overcome challenges, and continue to grow.”

Entrepreneurs of Success offers a close-knit community for entrepreneurs. Members of the group are able to tap into unlimited support by a group of successful mentors, access special tools, collaborate, book club, network, and more. Memberships start at just $15 per month. The group also has a “Leaders of Impact” program that awards top mentors each year who are nominated by the community. To get more information or become a member, visit the Entrepreneurs of Success website.

Eminem illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Eminem × Shady Con

EMINEM TO DROP FIRST NFT COLLECTION AT “SHADY CON”

WITH NIFTY GATEWAY THIS SUNDAY APRIL 26TH

Rap Icon’s Initial Foray Into NFT Marketplace, Featuring Variety Of Collectibles

And Specially Crafted Beats, Launches At 6:30/7PM ET

Eminem announced that he will be dropping his first NFT (Non-Fungible Token) release this Sunday, April 26 at 6:30/7 pm ET on NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.  The drop, dubbed “Shady Con,” will feature a variety of Eminem-approved NFT collectibles. 

In addition, the collection features original instrumental beats produced by Slim Shady himself specifically for this release. The tracks will be made available only as part of the limited-edition and one-of-a-kind NFTs. There will be a sneak peek at one of the offerings – a set of NFT action figures – coming soon!  But this only scratches the surface of what’s coming this weekend!

Eminem first teased the announcement on Tuesday, retweeting the recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch featuring Pete Davidson in character as Eminem from the “Without Me” video, which parodied the song in an attempt to explain what an NFT is.

“I’ve been collecting since I was a kid, everything from comic books to baseball cards to toys, as well as every rap album on cassette I could get my hands on,” said Eminem.  “Not much has changed for me as an adult…I’ve attempted to re-create some of those collections from that time in my life, and I know I’m not alone.  I wanted to give this drop the same vibe of, ‘Oh, man I gotta get just that one or maybe even the whole set!’  It’s been a lot of fun coming up with ideas from my own collecting passion.”

“Shady Con” provides Stans, fans, NFT enthusiasts and collectors ONE OPPORTUNITY to own a piece from this premier drop. Born from the convergence of blockchain technology, creative enthusiasm, and pandemic doldrums, this drop was inspired by Eminem’s passion as a vintage toy, comic book and trading card collector that traces back to his childhood days as just “plain old Marshall.”  Make no mistake, this is a digital festival…but it’s modeled after the traditional “Con” gatherings where fans come together and trade their wares. You may not be able to get together with thousands of Stans in a poorly ventilated convention center somewhere on the outskirts of 8 Mile Rd., but this weekend you can rub elbows with each other on Nifty Gateway and own a piece of the collectible, non-fungible action!

Commented Ashley Ramos, Senior Producer at Nifty Gateway: “We’re thrilled to welcome Eminem to our platform.  Demand for NFTs continues to grow and we’re excited to bring this collaboration to our community and give them access to new artwork and music on Nifty Gateway’s marketplace.”

Nifty Gateway was created with the goal of opening the world to digital art and enabling both artists and brands to participate in this defining moment.  Through the creation of unique, identifiable, and secure digital art on the blockchain, nifties have given authenticity to digital art — and with that provenance comes value. The company’s Nifty Marketplace is an all-in-one platform where you can buy, sell, and store NFT collectibles.

For more information on Eminem:

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Briefcase illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Highest-Valued Startups

Three Highest-Valued US Startups Now Worth $208 Billion Following Stripe’s $95 Billion Valuation

Following its most recent funding round, Stripe became the most valuable private company in Silicon Valley. According to the research data analyzed and published by ComprarAcciones, the digital payments giant raised $600 million at a $95 billion valuation. That was close to triple the $36 billion valuation it had in April 2020.

Based on rankings published by Pitchbook, it is now the most valuable private company in the US. It sits ahead of Space X ($74 billion) and Instacart ($39 billion).

Worldwide Unicorns Total 603 with Cumulative Valuation of Over $2 Trillion

The top three US-based private companies are now worth a cumulative $208 billion, up from $149 billion prior to the Stripe funding.

On a global scale, Stripe is now the second most valuable unicorn. It is second only to ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, whose valuation was $180 billion during a December 2020 funding round. Space X is third, while Chinese ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing is fourth at $69 billion. Instacart sits in fifth place.

Among US fintech companies, Stripe is the most valuable. It is almost 10 times the value of second-placed Robinhood, which is worth $11.7 billion.

Stripe is also more valuable than all euro zone banks with the exception of HSBC. HSBC, which is currently the largest European bank, has a market capitalization of $118 billion according to Marketwatch.

Additionally, Stripe’s valuation is higher than Facebook’s $80 billion valuation prior to its 2012 IPO. It is also ahead of Uber’s $72 billion valuation in 2018, prior to the 2019 public listing.

According to CB Insights, there were a total of 603 unicorns worldwide as of March 2021 valued at a collective $2.005 trillion.

In the public market, Saudi Aramco still holds the record for largest IPO of all time, which raised $29.4 billion. Snowflake holds the 2020 title after its $3.9 billion raise at a $33.2 billion valuation.

The full story, statistics and information can be found here.

Fortnite illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Fortnite Most Streamed Game on Twitch

Fortnite Most Streamed Game on Twitch for March 2021 – 7M Hours Streamed

According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites US, Fortnite was the most streamed game on Twitch for March 2021 – a total of 6.99 million hours streamed for the month.

Fortnite Leads Several of Twitch’s Key Metrics

Fortnite continues to dominate charts in 2021 and was the most streamed game on Twitch for the month of March. The popular online Battle Royale game logged a total of 6.99M hours streamed on the platform. The second most streamed game on Twitch was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with a total of 5.03M hours streamed for the month of March.

Fortnite also led the charts in the number of streamers for the month of March 2021. A total of 669,749 streamers streamed Fortnite for the month. Minecraft had the second largest number of streamers with 468,017. Overall, the top 10 leading games in terms of the number of streamers for the month of March, were streamed by an estimated 3.2M streamers on Twitch.

The top 10 games on twitch with the most channels accounted for over 50K channels. Twitch had an almost 20% share of this total with 9,707 channels in March 2021. The second most was COD: Modern Warfare with just under 7K channels.

League of Legends had the largest recorded peak viewers on Twitch in March 2021 with 704,375 peak viewers. The second-largest belonged to Minecraft which recorded 663, 533 peak viewers in March 2021. Fortnite had the fifth largest peak viewers with 641, 227.

Rex Pascual, Esports Editor at Safe Betting Sites US commented: “Despite the rise of many other titles within the same game mode such as PUBG and Warzone, Fortnite continues to attract large audiences on video game streaming platforms. Fortnite’s status as the pioneer of the increasingly popular Battle Royale game mode gives it a loyal and avid fanbase that will keep it near the top of Twitch’s charts for years to come.”

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information here.

Virtual Meeting illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Zoom Hits A Record High

Zoom Hit a Record High Quarterly Revenue of $882.5 Million, Almost a 370% Increase YoY

Zoom’s revenues skyrocketed last year as global demand for online meeting solutions soared amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Although the popular video conferencing platform generated impressive revenue through its fiscal year 2021, the year’s final quarter set a new record.

According to data presented by BuyShares, Zoom hit a record high quarterly revenue of $882.5 million in Q4 FY 2021, almost a 370% increase year-over-year.

Annual Revenue Soared by 700% in Two Years

Unlike many other sectors, the video conferencing platforms witnessed explosive growth amid the COVID-19 crisis, as millions of people started working from home. However, Zoom emerged as the most preferred platform for holding virtual meetings. As countries across the globe-imposed lockdowns, family members also turned to Zoom as a way of keeping in touch with each other. Museums, theatres, and schools chose the platform to maintain normal operations.

With the ban on social gatherings, Zoom also became a cultural phenomenon through hosting parties, concerts, church services, and art shows. The surge in the number of users led to a 700% revenue growth in two years.

In the fiscal year 2019, Zoom generated $330.5 million in revenue, revealed the company’s earnings report. Over the next twelve months, this figure jumped by more than 88% to $626.6 million. The two-digit increase was driven by a strong Q4 FY 2020, matching the period between January and March 2020, when the pandemic already struck. Zoom’s quarterly revenue jumped by 78% YoY in this three-month period and hit $188 million.

The strong increasing trend continued in the following months, with revenue rising to $328.1 million in the second quarter of the calendar year 2020. Statistics show this figure more than doubled in the next three-month period and hit $663.5 million.

However, the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2021, matching the period between January and March 2021, delivered the highest quarterly revenue in Zoom`s history, causing annual revenues to rise above the expectations to $2.65bn.

Almost 70% of that value, or $1.83bn, was generated in the Americas as the largest Zoom market. Users from the EMEA region, as the second-largest market, generated $486 million in revenue. Asia followed with $332.8 million, respectively.

Market Cap Soared by 357% Year-Over-Year

While the Zoom stock price has increased steadily throughout 2020, a positive announcement regarding the efficiency of a COVID-19 vaccine in November last year resulted in the price falling by more than 30% by the end of the year.

Since then, the share price has been fluctuating and in recent months saw even more of a downturn, reaching $328.95 last week.

In December 2020, the combined value of Zoom shares stood at $115.5bn, revealed the MacroTrends data. Over the last four months, this figure dropped to $96.6bn, still a 357% increase year-over-year.

The full story can be read here

Kygo Releases New Track

KYGO RELEASES NEW TRACK “GONE ARE THE DAYS” FT. JAMES GILLESPIE

Global superstar, producer and DJ, Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll – a.k.a Kygo releases his new song “Gone Are The Days” ft. James Gillespie. “Gone Are The Days,” out now via RCA Records, is Kygo’s first new track release in 2021 and comes alongside a beautiful piano version.

Listen HERE.

Earlier this year Kygo performed a breathtaking set which was livestreamed on Moment House. Filmed on a snow-capped mountain top in the Sunnmore Alps in his home country of Norway, the one-of-a-kind virtual experience allowed audiences around the world to watch the global superstar deliver a career-spanning set amidst a breathtaking environment unlike anywhere they’ve seen him perform before.

2020 was a massive year for Kygo. He released a remix of Donna Summer’s Grammy Award winning, platinum, #1 song Hot Stuff as well as a remix of Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” to rave reviews. He also released his critically acclaimed third full-length album Golden Hour which features his hit single “Lose Somebody” with OneRepublic as well as “Higher Love” with Whitney Houston, the latter of which has garnered over 1.1 billion streams worldwide and charted at Top 40 radio.

BUY/STREAM GOLDEN HOUR HERE

With over 100 MILLION streams worldwide, James Gillespie emerges as one of the most quietly explosive artists in the UK. After performing with P!NK he went on to sell out his European tour and is set to tour the U.S this fall.

ABOUT KYGO

Whether behind the piano in his studio or headlining a sold-out festival, Kygo quietly reaffirms his status as a prodigious talent, forward-thinking producer, dynamic DJ, and influential global superstar. The Norwegian musician born Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll first introduced himself in 2013 and quietly became one of the most ubiquitous hitmakers in the world. Amassing 15 billion cumulative global audio and video streams by 2021, he has broken numerous streaming records. Kygo earned one of his biggest hits with the multiplatinum “It Ain’t Me” [feat. Selena Gomez], going Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and clocking over 2.5 billion streams worldwide. In 2019, Kygo unleashed “Higher Love” with Whitney Houston and generated another 1.1 billion combined streams/views worldwide and peaked at #1 on Dance Radio in addition to leaving his imprint on a classic. He heralded his 2020 critically acclaimed third full-length album Golden Hour [Sony Music International/Ultra Records/RCA Records] with the anthems “Like It Is” [with Zara Larsson & Tyga], “Lose Somebody” [with OneRepublic] and “I’ll Wait” [with Sasha Sloan]. The album has garnered over 1.7 billion streams worldwide. Following Golden Hour, Kygo most recently released his remix of Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” to rave reviews.

FOLLOW KYGO:

Website |Facebook |Twitter |Instagram

Trippie Red illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Trippie Redd × Neon Shark Live

Trippie Redd Announces NEON SHARK LIVE, A Virtual Concert Experience with an Exclusive Merch Line

Multi-platinum selling hitmaker Trippie Redd announces NEON SHARK LIVE – a virtual concert experience scheduled for Thursday, April 22nd at 6PM PT / 9PM ET. The concert will see Trippie perform songs from his latest album, NEON SHARK vs. Pegasus [Presented by Travis Barker] as well as hits ranging across his entire discography.

The concert will take place at Trippie Red Live, and will provide concert-goers with exclusive access to 8 brand new merch pieces. Access to this merch will become available to ticket holders once logged in to the website starting Friday April 16th at 10 AM PST / 1 PM ET. This event is powered by Maestro, the interactive streaming platform.

“I’m so excited to partner with Maestro for my first ever live performance of my favorite songs from NEON SHARK,” says Trippie Redd. “I can’t wait for my fans to check out the crazy stuff we’ve got in store for them.”

Trippie’s latest album, NEON SHARK vs. Pegasus, combines his love for hip-hop and rock, and includes features from Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Barker, Deftones’ Chino Moreno, blackbear and more. Globally recognized for his striking visuals and creative energy, Trippie’s fans can expect a wild ride through the digital world of NEON SHARK where he will perform an eclectic, career-spanning set, from his greatest hits to tracks off the just-released album. The virtual concert will feature cutting-edge audio, visuals and special effects to create immersive experiences and surprise moments for fans around the world.

Early ticket buyers will have exclusive access to Trippie Redd merchandise including a limited-edition hoodie ticket bundle. Additional exclusive merchandise will become available within the experience in the weeks leading up to the show.

FOLLOW TRIPPIE REDD:
INSTAGRAM / YOUTUBE / TWITTER / FACEBOOK

About Trippie Redd:

Since delivering his debut mixtape A Love Letter to You in 2017, multi-platinum-selling, chart-topping rapper/singer/songwriter Trippie Redd has continually defied genre boundaries, embedding his melodic take on rap with frenetic elements of rock-and-roll and heavy metal. A self-professed workaholic, Trippie has now debuted five consecutive projects in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 chart.

Born Michael Lamar White IV and raised in Canton, Ohio, he grew up on hip-hop icons like Tupac Shakur, Nas, and Jay-Z, but later became fascinated with the shock-rock of Slipknot and Rob Zombie. As he recalls, the urge to create his own music arose soon after his older brother (an aspiring rapper who went by the name Dirty Redd) died in a car accident when Trippie was 10. “I took his dream and did it myself,” Trippie says now. Drawing much of his inspiration from the free-flowing style and inventive lyricism of Lil Wayne, Trippie began recording in his cousin’s basement and later relocated to Atlanta to further hone his skills, quickly landing a record deal with 10K Projects.

Though 2020 brought its fair share of adjustments for the rapper with the arrival of COVID-19, Trippie used his time in quarantine to make some of his boldest career moves yet. He made his Hollywood acting debut in a cameo during an episode of Lil Dicky’s critically acclaimed DAVE. He also dropped his highly anticipated album, Pegasus, on Halloween. The mythical LP, which debuted at #2, included the intoxicating “Excitement” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR and showed Trippie bridging the generational gap with the legendary Busta Rhymes on “I Got You.” The deluxe version of Pegasus comes in the form of NEON SHARK, a collaboration album with production from Travis Barker.

About Maestro

Maestro is a live streaming platform that has hosted critically acclaimed concerts by Billie Eilish, Tim McGraw, Katy Perry, Erykah Badu, Melissa Etheridge, and others. Founded in 2015, the start-up recently expanded streaming offerings for musicians and brands and has quickly positioned itself as a leader in the field.

Boutique illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Boutique Customer Service Tips

Customer Service Tips Every Boutique Retailer Should Try

By: Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!

Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.

Do you remember the last time you had a truly fantastic customer service experience?

Maybe a cashier complimented your earrings, or maybe the person at the drive-thru unexpectedly threw an extra taco in for free. Or maybe you were just really vibin’ with the enthusiasm you could hear at the other end of the customer support line. Whatever it was, chances are it made you more excited to return and support that company with your business in the future.

Now… think back to the last time you had an awful customer service experience.

Was someone being unnecessarily difficult while you were trying to return a sweater, you’d bought a week ago? Or did someone leave you on hold for hours and hours? Or maybe someone just would NOT honor your coupon, even though you received it in an email yesterday?

Whatever that bad experience was… I’d be willing to bet it made you a whole lot less likely to go back anytime soon.

As Vince Lombardi famously said, “It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” One poor customer service experience could cause you to lose all of a valuable customer’s future business.

Offering better customer service skills often doesn’t cost a dime, but it can make a world of a difference for your profits. Studies show that acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Plus, the success rate of marketing to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while it’s only 5-20% when marketing to a new customer. 

If you haven’t been making great customer service a major priority in your boutique lately, now is the time to change that. 

Read on to learn 25 powerful (but easy!) customer service tips every retailer should try implementing in their business.

(If you’ve hired someone else as the main customer service rep for your boutique business, send this article along to them as a reminder!)

Top 25 Customer Service Tips

Focus on the customer in front of you

As a boutique owner, you’ve constantly got about a zillion and one thing that need your time and attention. But when it’s a customer you’re dealing with, zero in on them and their needs. Nobody likes feeling unimportant – make sure you give them your undivided attention while they’re talking to you, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or in your site’s live chat.

Be empathetic

Chances are, you’ve been in the exact same situation your customer’s in right now – whether they’re trying to figure out what size shoe to purchase or they’re trying to initiate a return for something that didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Do your best to see the situation from their perspective. You’ll be able to provide a better customer experience if you’re in touch with their needs and emotions.

Make an extra effort

Work tirelessly to solve your customer’s problems. If a customer wants a certain size that’s out of stock, double-check your inventory, let them know when they can expect that item to come back, offer them alternatives, or give them a discount code for their trouble. Your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile for them.

Improve systems

Customer service isn’t just about making your customer feel valued while you’re speaking to them – it’s also about providing a great all-around customer experience. Do a quick audit of your website and make sure it’s user-friendly. Is it easy to check out? Browse new arrivals? Search for specific items? Purchase using the payment method they prefer? If not, set aside some time to make some adjustments.

Identify their needs

There might be all sorts of things you could be doing to provide a better customer experience that you don’t even realize yet. Put together a short survey to send out to your customers about the checkout process and their past customer service experiences. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you could improve.

Use their name

Simple, but effective. Whenever a customer reaches out to you, take note of their name and use it. It’ll give your communications a more personal touch. (Don’t forget to introduce yourself by name, too!) Bonus points if you remember other personal details about them for next time.

Smile

Yes, even if you’re not talking to the customer in person! Make an effort to be friendly and positive, even if you’re just sitting at your desk at home – you can totally hear a smile through the phone, and it makes a difference.

Be generous

If you could spend $5 to secure a customer who’s loyal to you for life… would you do it? Sometimes, that’s all it takes. When a customer reaches out to you, your priority is to make them happy – offering free shipping or accepting a late return can do just the trick. And that’s not just common sense – research shows that accepting someone’s generosity makes you feel indebted to them, which can translate to return business.

Don’t say “I don’t know”

Sure, you’re not gonna immediately have the answers to every single one of your customers’ questions… but it’s kinda your job to know. So, when you tell a customer “I don’t know,” what they hear is “I don’t care.” Not exactly the message you’d like to get across when you’re on the phone with a customer! Practice saying “Let me check on that for you” instead.

Celebrate birthdays

Acknowledging your customer’s birthdays is a surefire way to make them feel valued and appreciated. Ask your customers for your birthday as they sign up for your mailing list, then send them an email with a promo code for a free gift or a discount right before their special day.

Be clear about your policies

Your customers aren’t mind-readers – if you don’t let them know, they have no idea about how long shipping should take, where you ship to, or under what circumstances you accept returns. Be sure your shipping and returns policies are clearly stated on your website to avoid confusion. It’ll answer some questions before they’re ever even asked!

Honor your promises

Your customers need to know that they can trust your boutique to deliver the value it promises. Stick to the shipping and return policies you have listed on your website (unless you choose to go above and beyond them, of course!) Honor coupons and discount codes for as long as you said you would. Post any giveaway winners publicly in your stories. Trust is key!

Acknowledge frequent customers…

Let your return customers know how much you appreciate them! Whether you throw a quick handwritten thank-you note into their next order or you offer a discount code that’s good for their next purchase, it’ll definitely make them want to keep coming back.

But make sure new customers feel the love, too!

It’s a big leap to order from a company you’ve never purchased anything from before – make sure new customers feel super welcome. Acknowledge new customers by offering free shipping on their first order, sending a promo code when they sign up for your mailing list, or even sending a quick thank-you email for taking a chance on your shop.

Be transparent

Running a business is tough, and sometimes extenuating circumstances make it even tougher. Be open with your customers about the hurdles you’re currently going through, especially if it will affect shipping times or restock dates.

Sincerely apologize

We all make mistakes – especially when we’re doing huge, crazy difficult things like running a business. If you’ve made a mistake on a customer’s order, own your error, sincerely apologize, and do whatever it takes to make things right. It’s much more professional than shrugging off responsibility or blaming someone else. (Bonus points if you reach out and own up to it before the customer even notices!)

Make it easy to get in touch

Have you ever sent an email to a company’s customer service team… and then never heard anything back? Yeah, that’s the worst. Don’t be that company. Let your customers know the best way to reach you, whether it’s through Instagram DMs, email, or over the phone. If you want to go the extra mile, include a live chat feature on your website that’s available 24/7. (Also, word of advice: if you have a contact form on your website, make sure to check it every so often!)

Offer self-help customer service

If your customers can find their own answers to their questions, it makes their lives easier AND your life easier. Include a comprehensive FAQ page on your website that answers common questions about shipping, sales, returns, and more. For more complicated questions, you might want to write up an entire blog post to give your customers more information. Just be sure your customers still know that they can reach out to you with any questions they can’t find the answers to.

Plan for the holidays

Here’s a hot tip: over the holidays, things get BUSY. Even if you usually don’t have very many people blowing up your inbox about shipping questions, there’s a very good chance you will during the holidays. Make sure you’re prepared with multiple customer service reps helping respond to questions (if need be) and detailed holiday shipping info displayed on your website and social media pages.

Respond quickly

Make it a goal to respond to all customer emails within 48 hours whenever possible. No matter how busy you are, customers want to feel like their concerns and questions are a top priority. As for Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and comments, try and get in a habit of responding to those right when you see them. (Your customers will like that and so will the algorithm!)

Hire the right people

If you’ve only recently opened your boutique business, you might be the only person your customers ever interact with. But as you grow and add more people to your team, make sure they’re people who are kind, friendly, and pleasant to interact with. Nobody’s perfect, but a positive attitude can make all the difference.

Be polite

Pretend you’re at the dinner table with your strict aunt – say lots of pleases and thank yous. Not only is it common courtesy, but it’s also good business. It’ll also help you still sound friendly and polite even when you’re communicating via messenger or text.

Set clear expectations

Sorry, but you’re not superwoman. When your customers approach you asking when they can buy an item you aren’t planning on restocking, or when they ask if you can make sure the package, they just ordered gets to them by tomorrow, sometimes you just can’t give them the answer they were hoping for. Be realistic in your responses and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Setting clear expectations is also helpful in responding to emails – sending an automated email letting a customer know when they can expect a response is also helpful, even if they were initially hoping for a reply right away.

Be human

There isn’t a robot at the other end of all of those incoming customer emails – it’s bright, bubbly, sparkly you! Don’t be afraid to infuse your communications with your genuine personality. Strike up a conversation with a customer on the phone, ask about their day, say “top of the morning to ya” instead of “hello” when you feel like it. It’ll help forge a relationship with your customers!

Offer suggestions

Have you ever asked a waiter what you should order, only for them to respond, “I love everything on the menu equally!” Yeah, that’s not helpful – don’t be like that guy. When your customers ask for your opinion, politely give it. You’re the real expert on the products you carry – use your insider knowledge to guide your customers to the right decision for them.

Create Your Free Wholesale Account Today

Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!
F-wheel A5 Electric Bike illustrated by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

F-wheel A5 Electric Bike

By: Heather Skovlund x Vaughn Lowery

The F-wheel A5 electric bike has all the perks to an e-bike that you could dream of having while headed to your destination. It sports 14-inch wheels, an ergonomically designed frame, seating for adults and kids, and is easy to maneuver and store tight spaces with its folding capabilities. While you’re likely to see tons of these types of e-bikes zipping around just about any city in China, it’s a fairly extraordinary e-bike in the US. 

Curb Appeal

Affiliates of 360 Magazine had the opportunity to test the capability of the F-wheel A5 e-bike. The A5 is sleek and holds a trendy appearance with its 14-inch wheels and minimalist aluminum alloy frame. The A5 is designed for dense urban living with its durability, upgraded seat, and back seat perfect for transporting cargo (with bungee cords) or even a second person/child. The F-wheel is available in three colors: black, red, and white. This sleek e-bike is available in F-wheel A5 Standard as well as F-wheel A5 Deluxe. To customize the look of your new ride, look no further than Gabe Majalca, mastermind of Good Vibe Gliders for an enhanced flare.

Performance

With the amazing durability of the F-wheel A5, you will be able to sightsee in style and go shopping on a whim. The powerful 350W 48V motor will get you to your destination with ease with a max speed of 25KM/H. The F-wheel runs on a 7.5AH battery that is portable and removable, which is fantastic for charging. The added suspensions work nicely for a smoother ride with a noticeable difference in the seat post suspension. The acceleration is powerful, it has been reviewed at around 500W continuous and up to 750W peak for speeds. There are three different riding modes with the A5: Pure Electric Mode, Boost Mode, and Manpower Mode. The F-wheel A5 Deluxe is equipped with a LG lithium battery with a capacity of up to 21AH, with a BMS battery management system to help battery life up to 180KM.

Technology

As previously mentioned, the A5 has three different riding modes. The first, Pure Electric Mode, allows you to ride with no cycling of the pedals. The second, Boost Mode, allows you to pedal with an assist from the power source. Lastly, Manpower Mode, enables you to ride like a human-powered bicycle – no need to power on. There is a power display and real-time speed display in addition to the different modes offered: eco, medium and high. The A5 comes with two keys as well as two fobs to easily start the e-bike up. There is also an extra removable battery. The front and rear brakes work well as well as the front lights and taillights. There is a light on the back of the bike that lights up “EBIKE” which adds a subtle touch of flare to the bike. This e-bike is low maintenance without a derailleur or gears. The 14-inch tires are in a mag wheel – there are no spokes that need to be tuned or that will break. The F-wheel A5 weighs 22.5KG and easily folds up for easier transportation such as when you’re heading into an elevator, riding the Amtrack, climbing stairs or simply placing the e-bike in your apartment. Just simply fold the handlebars down, fold the frame in the front, fold the pedals down, remove the seat and you’re set. There are also sensors on the A5 to notify you if someone or something is too close the bike along with a lock on the battery.

Competition

Competition is very limited with the sleek improvements of the F-wheel A5 electric bike (formally DYU Smart Electric Bike D3). Priced at $700 and worth every cent. The closest competitor is the EB7 Elite Commuter from Swagtron. The next competitor would be the Flido D25 Folding Electric Commuter Bike. The electric bike trend has been on the rise due to communities embracing the go “green” activity. A review left on DYU’s website from Clayton Kent states that the A5 is the “perfect commuter bike enduring at least 70 NYC blocks a day” as well as “it has saved me a lot of money not having to use the train”. With the new improvements to the design and overall functionality to the F-wheel A5 electric bike, it is sure to be the front runner for delivery workers, professionals, and kids at heart.

Photo by Armon Hayes
Photo credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes
Photo Credit: Armon Hayes