Thursday, July 9, 2020

Low-investment business ideas you can start on the side

Partner with a dropshipper

Buy stock, store it, pick it, pack it, ship it. Managing inventory can be a big commitment when you’re running a business.

Dropshipping is a fulfillment model where a third party supplier stores and ships inventory to customers on your behalf. You just need to make the sales and pass orders on to your supplier; you don’t need to handle the products yourself.

You can curate products from one or more suppliers into your own online store under a theme that focuses on a specific niche, like gear for yoga enthusiasts or water bowls for dog owners. When a customer buys a product from you, the order is sent to your supplier who fulfills it on your behalf. However, you are still responsible for your own marketing and customer service.

There are both local and overseas suppliers you can work with, as long as you can establish a relationship with them built on trust—an unreliable supplier will reflect poorly on your brand.

Dropshipping is a low-investment way to test product-market fit and launch a business before you invest in your own original products. Just be sure to always order a sample for yourself to make sure that your supplier is reliable and that the quality of the products is fit for selling to your customers.

Design and sell print-on-demand t-shirts

Another dropshipping model, print-on-demand puts inventory, shipping, and fulfillment in the hands of a third-party supplier. But unlike the dropshipping idea above, the focus here is on customizing these products with your own designs to create something original.

T-shirts, hats, phone cases, hoodies, skirts, tote bags, and more become canvases for your creativity. You can think up witty slogans for developers or references that resonate with cat owners—if there’s passion and pride within a community, there’s a potential t-shirt business you can start.

Even if you’re not a designer, you can find a designer to work with using freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Dribble, or 99Designs.

With many print-on-demand services, you’re paying per-product, so the base price per unit will be more expensive than if you were to order in bulk. But the advantage is that if a certain t-shirt design doesn’t sell, you haven’t actually paid for the item yet (only the design if you outsourced it).

You can even use t-shirt mockup templates so you don’t actually need to spend money on a full photoshoot for every new design.

There are a variety of print-on-demand platforms you can work with, many of which can be integrated with your Shopify store for seamless order fulfillment. However, be sure to always order a sample of your product (often offered at a discount) to make sure your custom products look good.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


As Indian economy has gradually started to function again after three months of extended lockdown; foreign institutional investors are also back in the economy; bringing back 40 percent investment what they had withdrawn during the lockdown.

FIIs returning to India is a good news. It shows the faith investors have in the economy and will help India move quickly in the path of normalcy after three months of lockdown. In March and April, FIIs were on a selling spree as investors were trying to secure their investment when India’s economy came to a standstill. A total of Rs 62,700‬ crore was withdrawn by the foreign investors from the equity market during these two months. 

The situation was same worldwide, and India was no exception. As COVID-19 cases were on the rise in most countries, foreign institutional investors were aggressively selling across all the markets, especially in emerging markets amid fear. Countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan have also experienced a steady outflow of funds as FIIs exited the market. However, it seems like the trend is reversing. Since April, India received more FII inflow than the other countries mentioned. 

Investors are floking bac to global investment arenas, and FIIs return to India falls in line with the recovery trend. As COVID-19 cases are reducing in many countries and curves are flattening fast in others, it helped elevate the confidence of foreign investors. After a sharp decline in March, FII outflow was tepid at the beginning of the new quarter, showing signs of recovery. 

A global trend of recovery

Overall, FII is showing signs of recovery – assisted by Federal Bank, European Central Bank, and other central banks for easing liquidity constrains and offering fiscal stimuli to revive businesses after lockdown. 

Government stimulus plan and moratorium also helped to boost the confidence of the investors. In the first week of June Rs 23,000 crore, which is close to 40 percent of the withdrawn funds has returned into the system. 

In a recent interview, veteran investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala also mentioned that he hopes that the government will increase expenditure after the lockdown lifts to help the economy bounce back. It will mark the beginning of a bullish phase in the market. Returning of FIIs is indicative of that. Easy global monetary policy is further paving the way with availibility of more funds in the hands of investors. 

Some experts, however, think it is a temporary phenomenon and might ebb as it has come. FII investors are investing because stocks are strong, but funds polarisation is likely to continue. Only a few strong stocks are expected to get the best from the increasing FPI volume while the rest of the economy might have to rely on domestic investors to pour in with funds. 

“Bulk of the FPI buying is concentrated in a few stocks. It will be fair to say that the buying is a bottom-up stock call rather than top-down macro buying. FPI capital is available in plenty for good companies, and this polarisation of flows is likely to continue,” – commented Nilesh Shah, MD, Kotak Mahindra AMC.

Amid rising volume of FIIs, Bajaj Finance, SBI, Tata Steel, ONGC and Titan were some of the top gainers in SENSEX. These stock prices have seen a good rise in value, gaining between 10 and 23 percent and helped NIFTY climb 9 percent in the last seven sessions. 

  • A snapshot of the noteworthy factors that have triggered the reversal
  • Increased global liquidity flow that has increased inflow of capital in the domestic market
  • Government stimulus package has a positive impact on global investor confidence 
  • Reduced CRR rate made funds cheaper and readily available for investment 
  • An expected boost in loan recovery after RBI lifts the moratorium will also help the economy to bounce back
  • Demand is likely to spike as economy and businesses open up 
  • Huge capital inflow in forms of block deals by marquee investors are also responsible for pushing the bars higher for FPI (foreign portfolio investment)

FIIs back in India, but will they last

India is among the top gainers in FIIs; however, concerns remain over demand recovery, which will determine the fate of FII investment in the future. Some experts believe it might be only a temporary phase, caused by overselling by domestic investors. Overselling has made some of the premium stocks cheaper, which have attracted foreign investors to invest. They believe these shares will rally with the first signs of economic recovery. 

What to infer from this? How you, an investor, should react to the current situation? According to experts, this is the time to wait and watch. They advised investors to exercise caution and look at the risk-reward scenario carefully before making major investment decisions

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

5 ways to boost your English vocabulary while at home during Covid-19 lockdown

1. Utilise the power of online/digital platforms and gadgets

At present, there are several digital and interactive platforms that can help students & learners of all age groups to build their language skills at home.

One such example is the recent Pearson MyPedia skill on Amazon Alexa which offers a collection of engaging stories, fun facts, trivia and quizzes that help improve English vocabulary, listening, speaking, comprehension and storytelling. One just has to say "Alexa, open MyPedia" or simply, "Alexa, I want to learn English" to get started.

2. Start reading books

Reading books or novels is one of the best ways to improve one's vocabulary. While reading, one comes across new words and gains the curiosity to find its correct meaning which expands and improves his/her knowledge. It is recommended to keep a dictionary with self while reading so that as and when you read and come across new words, it becomes easier to refer to the dictionary, find its correct meaning and pronunciation.

Additionally, you can also take up specific vocabulary building books such as Norman Lewis' book 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary for a better understanding.

3. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks

Active and attentive listening also helps in building a strong vocabulary as listening is a skill which requires attention and picking out new words, noting them down and uncovering their meaning gives a great exposure.

Many good websites and apps now host podcasts where they hold interviews or talk about various things happening around the world. Listening to these will not only help you know what all is going on around the world but also improve your English skills, while at home.

4. Watch English classics or dramas

At a time when online streaming platforms have become the new reality for people to pass their time at home, one can opt to watch classic English movies, dramas or shows which will lead you to encounter new words and look for their meanings.

For a better understanding and knowledge, it is also suggested to maintain a journal and note down the new words and their meanings every time you learn them which will help you to memorise and use them in your daily vocabulary.

5. Play board games

Board games such as scrabble, word jumble, puzzles, crosswords etc. help reveal new words and guide you to develop good English vocabulary. Daily practice and using these new words in conversations can improve your memory, focus, vocabulary and also, cognitive skills. At present, one can play these games with their family or play them online with friends.

It has led to an explosion of new words and phrases that have suddenly become a part of our everyday lives. It then makes sense for us to also keep up with the rapidly changing language and do something productive while we are confined to our homes.

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