eCom Conn

Join us today at 1:30PM EST for a short show with a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

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Bring your questions and bring it on – you know we love a challenge!

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eCom Connections, Monday, June 11, 2012 Norb & Marie Novacin & Sandy Salz-Johnson

Join us tomorrow at 1:00PM EST to talk with Sandy Salz-Johnson about the various Multi-Channel Selling options out there and hear from Norb & Marie Novocin, Authors of ‘Getting Sold On eBay.’

You can connect with Shawna on Facebook and LinkedIn

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Bring your questions and bring it on – you know we love a challenge!

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Free eBay Seller Webinar – Branding Your eBay Business

Learn What a Brand Is and How to Develop Yours

REDWOOD CITY, CA, June 12, 2012 — Page Mage Inc. along with eBay Radio, Outright, and Terapeak will be hosting a free webinar for eBay® sellers to learn the basics of branding your eBay business and walk away with steps they can take immediately to improve their own brand. The webinar will be presented by Chris Taylor, Vice President of Marketing for Page Mage, and Kat Simpson, eBay Education Specialist with That Kat Consulting.
The e-commerce competition is fiercer than ever. You are competing against millions of other sellers not just in the eBay Marketplace but across the Internet. Building their brand, standing out, and looking credible is more important than ever to succeed. Shoppers don’t just see you as a product provider, they see you as a service provider. This means you need to sell your business along with your products. In this packed webinar, you will learn:

  • What is a brand?
  • Why is it important?
  • How do you evaluate your brand?
  • How do you improve your business’ brand?

Registrants will receive a checklist to help them take action and start improving their brand immediately
Presented by Chris Taylor, VP Marketing for Page Mage and Kat Simpson, a noted e-commerce speaker, educator and entrepreneur. Chris won the 2011 Ecosystem Champion Award from eBay and has been in sales and marketing for over 20 years. He is also a former board member of the Silicon Valley Branch of the American Marketing Association. Kat is an Education Specialist trained by eBay. She’s been an e-commerce merchant for over 10 years, maintaining stores on eBay, Addoway, Bonanza, and iOffer. Kat is hostess of the popular e-commerce podcast, FBA Radio.
Participants will be able to ask questions throughout the presentation. The webinar is for eBay sellers of all sizes and levels. Everyone who registers will receive a link to the webinar recording after it’s completed. Please sign up whether you can participate live or not.
What:   Free webinar, “Branding Your eBay Business”
When:  Thursday, June 28 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET (Registrants will receive a link to the webinar recording afterwards.)
Where:  Register at (You do NOT have to be a Top-rated seller to participate.)

About Page Mage
Page Mage was founded in 2008. We are transforming the way sellers market their products on eBay. Page Mage provides easy to use eBay Tools for creating better listings and bigger profits. Our new Billboards eBay App Center application leta you create breakthrough eBay listing designs to stand out from your competition, look more credible and professional, improve selling performance, and increase confidence among buyers. It’s Top 10 “Most Popular” in the eBay Apps Center and it’s completely free.

About Outright
Outright has one goal: to make bookkeeping as simple as possible so the self-employed can spend as little time as possible on the least enjoyable part of running a business. Outright’s easy-to-use online accounting solution automatically brings together all of your sales & expenses in one place so you always know what’s going on with your business and are ready come tax time. No math, no manual entry, no paper work. Outright integrates with eBay & PayPal, e-commerce accounts, and, of course, your Bank and Credit Card Accounts so you can stay up to date effortlessly and instead focus on doing what you love.

About eBay Radio
The host of eBay Radio is Jim “Griff” Griffith, .eBay’s Dean of Education and author of the Official eBay Bible. eBay Radio broadcasts (eBay Radio; eBay Radio’s Ask Griff & Lee; and eBay Town Hall) feature helpful guidance, advice, and information from eBay team leaders and guest experts along with hot eBay topics, news direct from eBay, and your calls!

About (Nasdaq:STMP) is a leading provider of Internet-based postage services.’s service enables small businesses, high-volume shippers, enterprise shippers, and consumers to print U.S. Postal Service-approved postage with just a PC, printer and Internet connection, right from their home or office. The Company targets its services to small businesses and home offices, and currently has PC Postage partnerships with Avery Dennison, Microsoft, HP, USPS and others.
About Terapeak
Terapeak is a leader in ecommerce market research and payment analytics, and is the sole authorized re-licensor of eBay data globally. The company provides custom insights and SaaS technology-enabled solutions to e-commerce merchants around the world.
Currently aggregating over 20% of all online commerce sales data, Terapeak helps merchants make faster, more-profitable business decisions based on real-time market trends, pricing, and transaction data.

No Show Tomorrow

No Show Tomorrow!  We will miss you – please use the time to move your business forward.

Unexpected doctor’s appointment that can’t be moved, very sorry for the late notice.


See you next week with a DOUBLE episode!  We’ll have Norb & Marie Novocin, authors of ‘Getting Sold on EBay – The Treasure Hunters’ Guide to Making Money’


Sandy Salz-Johnson joins us to share with us all the research she has put into exploring the various Programs & Solutions for Multi-Channel Selling


Cliff Ennico

“Three years ago, I started a business with two other guys.  We set up a limited liability company (LLC), and split the ownership 40%, 40% and 20%.

The business grew for about a year but then really tapered off when the recession hit.  All three of us had to take ‘day jobs’ just to make ends meet, but we kept the business going on life support in the hopes things would get better when the economy improved.

Two years ago our 20% partner (let’s call him “Joe”) got a full-time job and decided he didn’t want to be partners with us anymore.  The trouble was he had put $25,000 into the business and didn’t want to write it off.

So, in exchange for his withdrawal from our company we agreed to pay him $25,000, plus interest, in two years.

Three months ago the two years was up.  We still owe the $25,000, plus another $250 in interest.  Our business has some sales but isn’t showing a profit and there’s no way we can make the payment.  We tried to contact Joe and offer to extend the loan for another two years in the hopes things would improve.  He hasn’t returned our phone calls, and a certified letter we sent to his home was returned to us as “unforwardable”.

So now we have a problem.  We’re pretty sure Joe doesn’t have the money to sue us to collect the debt, and even if he did, our company has no money to make the payment (fortunately, the remaining partner and I didn’t personally guarantee Joe’s loan so our houses are not on the line).

How should we deal with Joe at this point?  Can we just blow him off?”

I agree that it is highly unlikely Joe will sue you to enforce his debt, at least right now when your company has no assets.  But there are three reasons you should not “blow Joe off” in this situation:

O  in most states, the statute of limitations for “breach of contract” (such as a loan default) is quite long – sometimes as long as three to five years – so Joe has plenty of time to wait until your company is growing and making serious money before he “lowers the boom” and brings a lawsuit against you;

O  in such a lawsuit, Joe is likely to argue that the two of you didn’t run the business seriously enough, in an effort to persuade the court to “pierce the corporate veil” and allow him to go after your personal assets, even though you did not personally guarantee his loan;

O  if anyone expresses an interest in investing in your company, you will have to disclose your default on Joe’s loan and your outstanding debt to Joe as a “contingent liability” of your company – a sure “turn off” for any potential investor.

You should make every effort to find Joe and get him to the bargaining table.  His full-time employer should be able to give you a forwarding address, even if Joe no longer works there.  Hire a private investigator if necessary.

Once you track down Joe, you should definitely offer to extend the loan but will need to include some “bells and whistles,” both to make the deal more attractive to Joe and make sure you don’t find yourself in exactly the same situation two years from now.

Here are some ideas you should run by your attorney:

  • a “call” provision allowing the LLC to convert the debt back into a 20% equity stake in the company if the debt isn’t paid on time;
  • a “preemptive right” provision allowing the LLC to convert the debt back into an equity stake in the company if someone invests $250,000 or more into the company (the conversion price would be the same paid by the new investor);
  • a “net proceeds of sale” provision giving Joe 20% of the “net proceeds” (basically gross proceeds less brokers’ commission, legal and accounting fees, and other transaction expenses) of any sale of the company during the two-year period; and
  • an “equity kicker” provision giving Joe options or warrants to acquire shares in the company, in addition to the interest on his loan.

It might be that Joe is in a better position than he was two years ago and is willing to write off his $25,000 investment in your company.  If he does, though, be careful of unintended tax consequences.  The federal tax laws treat the “forgiveness of debt” as income to your company.  Since your company is an LLC, that $25,000 in “phantom income” would pass through to you and your remaining partner and you would each have to pay taxes on your share.

In fact, if Joe really hated you guys and wanted to get back at you, the best way for him to do that would be to send you notice forgiving the loan.  Hopefully he’s not reading this right now.

Cliff Ennico (, a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.

ECC Radio, Monday, May 21 – Shawna Siegel and the Recent Google Updates

Join us today at 1:00PM EST to talk with Shawna Seigel, CEO of One Choice 4 Your Store, to discuss the recent Google Updates!

You can connect with Shawna on Facebook and LinkedIn

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Bring your questions and bring it on – you know we love a challenge!

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What Would YOUR Favorite Celeb Do To Facebook?

Hat Tip to Outright for this great Infographic!

celebrity changes to Facebook Infographic
Brought To By

When You’ve Bought a Franchise, But the Numbers Don’t Add Up – Cliff Ennico

Cliff Ennico “A partner and I invested in a franchise last year.  The franchise offers a variety of healthy foods, but focuses primarily on soups and salads.

We were offered a number of territories, but chose a large downtown area in an upscale Midwestern city.

The problem has been finding the right location for the first restaurant.  We have found a potential site, but the rent is extremely high and the landlord won’t budge.  We have ‘run the numbers’ and the bottom line is that we will have to sell about 250 soups and salads every day just to cover the rent.  My partner and I are not comfortable we will be able to achieve that sales volume anytime soon, especially in the current down economy.

The franchise really likes this location and is pushing us to start building our territory since we’ve had it for a year now.  But we do not want to ‘throw good money after bad’ building a location that won’t ever be profitable.  How can we handle this situation in a ‘win win’ way?”

Generally, the time to figure out whether a franchise is going to work is BEFORE you buy the franchise, not after.  One of the key issues you want to raise with any franchise, before you buy, is their “average breakeven”:  how long does it take the typical franchisee to generate enough operating revenue to cover its monthly operating expenses and start paying back their initial investment?  If the franchise won’t disclose this information, you should call lots of their franchisees and ask them point-blank how long it took them to “break even”.

Another key issue is “geographic distribution.”   The perfect franchise is one that has franchisees in all 50 states and in every conceivable demographic area:  high income, low income, urban (high population density), rural (low population density), and so forth.  A franchise that is very successful in rural America may experience difficulty when it opens outlets in large cities where real estate, labor and, well, everything else is a whole lot more expensive.  Item 20 of the franchise’s Franchise Disclosure Statement (FDD) will provide this information.

Since you have already bought the franchise and selected your territory, it is too late to do this type of homework.  Here are some ways you might – might – be able to move forward with this franchise.

Show Them the Numbers.  It won’t be enough to call the franchise and say that you and your partner are getting “cold feet.”  The franchise won’t like that, and may be tempted to terminate your franchise agreement (the default section of the agreement usually allows them to do that).

You will need to make a detailed presentation – in spreadsheet format – showing them clearly that the numbers at this location aren’t likely to work.  Show them exactly how many daily, weekly and monthly sales you will need to generate at the franchise’s current price level to meet your monthly expenses at this location, and ask bluntly if any of their other franchisees has succeeded in achieving that sales level within a reasonable time after opening.

Spell Out Your Breakeven Expectations.  Now it’s time for some hardball.  You will need to state clearly that you and your partner do not want to build a location “unless there’s a better than average chance we will break even within X to Y months; if it takes much longer than that we will be looking for the exits and cut our losses.”  Ask to see the “average breakeven” figures for other franchisees, especially those in high-rent areas similar to your territory.

Renegotiate Royalties.  If the franchise is really eager for you to build a location at this site, they may be willing to temporarily waive or reduce their royalty rates and other regular monthly fees.

Renegotiate Prices.  Many franchises base their product and service prices on nationwide average price data, disregarding the fact that it costs more to operate in certain areas of the country than others.  If you are the first franchisee to operate in a high-rent urban area, you may be able to persuade the franchise to raise their price levels just in your territory.

Keep in mind, though, that you may be raising your prices so high that you discourage business.  Nobody I know, even in New York City, will pay $50 or more for a basic soup-and-salad combination (unless it’s being offered by a celebrity chef at a four-star restaurant).

Renegotiate the Territory.  If some of the franchise’s other franchisees are “breaking even” quickly in territories that don’t look like yours, you may be able to exchange your territory for another one where you will be likelier to succeed.

Exit the Franchise.  If push comes to shove, you may have to “throw in the towel” and exit the franchise empty-handed.  It will be painful, but at least you will know you have “cut your losses”.  Better luck with the next franchise.

Cliff Ennico (, a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.

eCom Connections Radio – Monday May 14, 2012 – Holiday Sourcing with Lisa Suttora

Join us tomorrow at 1:00PM EST to talk about Holiday Sourcing with Lisa

Tomorrow we are  honored to have Lisa Suttora of with us to discuss Holiday Sourcing!

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Bring your questions and bring it on – you know we love a challenge!

Find us on iTUNES !



eCom Connections Radio – Monday May 7, 2012 – Online Photography with Ron Davison

Join us tomorrow at 1:00 PM EST to learn about Online Photography from Ron Davison

We are blessed tomorrow to have a professional photographer join us, Mr. Ron Davison, who will be sharing tips and tricks from the basics to semi-advanced on how to take great product shots for your eCommerce business.


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Bring your questions and bring it on – you know we love a challenge!

Find us on iTUNES !



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