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How To Successfully Start An Online Business

One of the most common questions that I get asked by people is that I want to work from home and make money but I don’t know what to do. This is an excellent and extremely important question to answer before one even invests a dime in internet marketing.

Why? Because if you don’t know what you want to do or how to achieve your goal you will fail like thousands of other aspiring entrepreneurs out there trying to make money online. In some cases, you will be broke before you have even launched your online business.

The first thing to determine before you spend a penny is what am I knowledgeable and passionate about. Is it books, food, sports, computers, animals, traveling etc. This is extremely important since you want to have a business that you love working on. If you love working on it and have the expertise, you will begin to make money over time.

Once you have narrowed down your interests, you want to focus on a niche market. So if you are passionate about food then you can start an online business to do with food. What areas of food interests you: diet and nutrition, recipes, organic food, healthy snacks, cooking, etc.

Now that you get the picture, the next step is how do you go about launching this business and what are you going to sell: my expertise or other people’s products? You could do one or the other.

If you choose to sell your expertise then you can have an affiliate marketing website promoting anything to do with your niche market by promoting other people’s products and services. You get paid every time someone visits your website and clicks on an ad to buy those products and services or just visits an advertisers site.

Drop shipping is another excellent option, and also a very solid business model once you go with the right drop shipping company. What’s nice about drop shipping is that you will have your own website and company selling other people’s products and they handle all of the shipping for you. There is no overhead or inventory involved. You only need to set up a merchant account to take credit cards and they handle the rest. You only pay for something (wholesale prices) once someone buys from your site, and you pocket the profit.

There are many reputable companies out there that will build you an affiliate niche, turnkey or drop shipping website for a reasonable price. with no hidden costs. You only need to pay for a domain name and monthly hosting fee for your site. If you choose to be a drop shipper you will have a minimum monthly merchant account fee.

How to Organize for Growth and New Business

Organizations that structure themselves around new business development with proposal creation, knowledge management, and communication within one department receive a high rate of return on their investment.

New products, services, programs, and business can be systematically created within one department where the responsibility for knowledge and communication is managed and produced, specifically:

  • current capacity,
  • past experience,
  • future vision, and
  • the benefits people can realize with the organization’s solution.

New business arises from proposals (knowledge products), and those organizations with efficient systems of converting their experience, processes, quality control, and financial systems into articulate documents that address marketplace needs will win new business and provide superior service in comparison to the competition.

The idea is to have the capacity to strategically plan to grow revenue even though growth often means bumping against the organization’s time and capacity.

In complement to the development of proposals, the efficient collection, summarization, and storage of information is required. Organizations require current information to understand and respond to the needs of stakeholders. Data collection tools for the gathering of this type of information include:

  • interview surveys and questionnaires,
  • expert reports and white papers, and
  • intelligence about clients from other various sources.

Summaries can then be communicated verbally or in short memos to decision-makers.

Since organizations prosper or die from the delivery of messages to internal and external stakeholders, it is vital to maintain a consistency about who you are, where you were, what you represent, and where you will go in the near future. Communication staff therefore maintain the responsibility for:

  • program descriptions,
  • models,
  • visualizations,
  • videos,
  • web pages,
  • trainings, and
  • presentations.

Organizations that develop a structure for new business will ultimately succeed better than those organizations that operate as if growth happens by luck and personal connections.

7 Tips for Marketing Your Small Business

Marketing your small business is an essential responsibility along with the day-to-day operation of your enterprise. You must plan your marketing initiatives just as you plan your daily work activity. Effective marketing is a tool to help drive traffic to your business consistently.

The following are 7 tips for marketing your small business for increased sales and profit:

1. Promote your website

Include an invitation to your website on all your other marketing materials. This includes invoices, order forms, promotional signs, brochures, and press releases. You can also include your web address in your email signature. Additionally, include it in your letterhead, envelopes, business postcards, and facsimile (fax) cover sheets.

2. Utilize social media effectively

21st Century marketing certainly means being social online. However, you must properly introduce your business and its products and services via social pathways. Your introduction to your business must show that you have solutions for your target markets concerns.

Make your introduction short and clear. In a few words describe what you do, who you do it for, and what benefits you provide. It’s that simple – sum up what your business is concisely and precisely.

3. Engage in offline marketing

There’s still something positive about traditional offline marketing. It’s served businesses well for centuries and continues to so. This runs the scale from face-to-face discourse, to direct mail, to newspaper and radio ads, to flyers to homes and other businesses, and business cards.

If a nice review of your business was included in your local newspaper, use this article as part of other offline marketing initiatives. For example, you can put an excerpt of this review in your hard-copy newsletter if you have one.

4. Market via trade shows

Use trade shows to introduce potential customers and suppliers to your business. Quality shows that attract huge audiences can garner you significant exposure. Trade shows are all about informing, displaying, promoting, demonstrating products and services, and of course, selling.

Make sure to investigate the cost of a particular trade show you’re interested in. Some can be expensive. Consequently, you must budget suitably for one and do a cost-benefit analysis to ensure you reap a proper return on investment (ROI) from the event.

5. Send out press releases

Press releases are a useful way to market your business. You can put them on your website and then to media channels. Furthermore, include these releases on your social media portals.

A press release is a way to inform about developments at your enterprise that are beneficial to your clientele. A good one contains accurate facts and information. They are simply and clearly written. They can highlight new products and services from your business. They can highlight quality employees – their achievements and job promotions as they affect your customer base and their needs.

6. Perform personal networking

Good old face-to-face networking still ‘works.’ Be ready to promote your business anytime as is appropriate. This can be at conferences and at community, cultural, sports and business events, among others. Just check to make sure it’s fitting to engage in business discussions at certain events. Sometimes promotional activities are frowned upon depending on the purpose and atmosphere of a particular event.

7. Consider direct response advertising

With this type of advertising you encourage customers to reply directly to your enterprise. For example, you may put a small ad in your local newspaper. This ad asks customers to call your business directly and place an order. It may ask customers to access the order page of your website to view products and directly place an order. Fundamentally, direct response advertising highlights an offer and includes a call to action to start the sales process.

Devote the time, energy, and finances as is feasible to market your small business properly. A concerted effort in this area will pay short and long-term dividends for your enterprise. The marketing of products and/or services is a skill you can develop the more you commit to actually doing it on a regular basis.