First Steps Towards Your Own Web Entrepreneurship



First steps: Choosing the business

When starting an Web-based business there are a few things you should consider must-have requirements.

  1. Business Name – Domain
  2. Web Hosting
  3. Advertising (Marketing) Budget
  4. Web Marketing Tools

Among the most important requirements when starting your Web-based business is the business name. Since you will also need a domain name to make it possible for Web users to find your business, it will serve you well if you can get a domain name that is the same as, or very similar to your business name. Reason being, in the case of a Web-based business, your website IS your business; so having a domain name and business name that is the same will improve your marketing and optimization efforts.

Web Hosting is to your Web-based business as commercial space is to your offline (brick and mortar) business. You need a space in which to operate, where your customers can come and visit your store, look around, browse and perhaps make a purchase. Web Hosting provides that space for your web-based business. The Web Hosting company may be viewed as similar to your offline – retail space – landlord. They both provide the space from which you operate your business, making it a must-have requirement.

Exposure for your business

Now that you have your business/domain name and your Web hosting, you’re going to need exposure for your business. This aspect of your Web-based business can also be compared to an offline – brick and mortar – business in that advertising is essential to the success or failure of the brick and mortar and is even a more crucial element to your Web-based business because you would not have the benefit of “walk-in” traffic with a Web-based entity. So you must have an advertising and marketing budget.

The Easy Cash Phenomenon

In order to be as proficient in marketing your Web-based business – as you must assume your competitor is – you will need a Web marketing toolkit consisting of the kind of Web marketing tools you’re most comfortable with to facilitate your marketing campaigns. This is an area in which you will find several options. Web marketing tools you will be able to choose from include (it’s assumed that you’ll have a computer and internet connection):

  • Website/Blog
  • Lead Capture Software
  • Autoresponder
  • Video Producer
  • Web Conferencing
  • WYSIWYG or Other HTML Editor

You will also have at your disposal a number of Web marketing methods, techniques and resources that are proven to get results based on prior use by many successful and well established Web business owners who came before you. Types of marketing I refer to are:

  • Content Creation (Article Marketing)
  • Social Media Marketing (Social Networking)
  • Copywriting (Salesletter Composition)
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Campaigns
  • Traffic Exchange Surfing
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Profitability: The ultimate goal

Some of these methods you may not be familiar with in the early days of your Web-based business. However, you will always have the option of hiring someone who is an expert in one of these areas to do a professional job for you, which is why an “advertising and marketing” budget is among your must-have requirements.

After you’ve put together the best combination of your must-haves, Web marketing tools and types of marketing you intend to utilize, you can then decide whether or not you want to do most of the work, hire professionals to do the work or automate – as much as possible – your Web-based business so as to reduce your workload.

Let’s not forget what may be the most important element of your Web-based business. It must be Profitable! You may requireme that the business have the potential to generate at least $1,000 per month in profit, so as to replace the income from your job, thus making your Web-based business your full time job.

Only you will know the amount of revenue you want your Web-based business to generate. Once you’ve set a monetary goal and your other must-have requirements are in place, you can be off to the best start expected of any Web-based entity. Good Luck!

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Why Promoting Products Seems Easier Than Services



The products line

In this post we’ll take a look at the difference between promoting products as compared to promoting your services. In order to better understand each other during the discussion we should first agree on the most basic (if not obvious) differences between a product and a service. For the purposes of this discussion: A product is tangible! A service is not tangible!

Products often have cool features that show results quickly. You can talk about the benefits of a feature and how it will make your customer’s life easier and you will probably get a sale based on one product feature or another which is displayed clearly for your prospect to see.

About services

Services on the other hand, are intangible. There are no buttons to push or “before and after” pictures to see. Services often get categorized as “luxury items” we can usually survive without. They are more challenging to sell because the “results” of a service can be difficult to quantify, measure or prove.

Many “hard sell” sales trainers shy away from working with service providers. It is easier to train someone to sell products with features you can see and results you can prove than it is to sell a service which is devoid of such features or results proof.

Say, for example, that you spent a few years in the corporate world selling products like electronic telephone systems, and then went into selling yellow pages advertising. Many of the techniques used to sell telephones wouldn’t work in selling advertising! You’d probably have found out that you needed new sales techniques in order to promote the intangible results of advertising.

Value, essentially!

Authors, Coaches, Consultants, and other such professionals produce results that improve the human side of life and business and “Alternative Healers” deal with subtle energies that may take longer to produce quantifiable results. To the average consumer, these are luxuries that, although desirable and beneficial, can be crossed off the shopping list if money is tight.

You would also have found that most of your advertising clients hadn’t a clue about how to tell people about the benefits and results of their excellent services due to a sense of frustration they felt, and wondered why clients were so hard to get. Even today many are good at explaining how they work and what tools they use.

The problem is that most consumers couldn’t care less about how you work. They care more about the benefits they will experience after hiring you. They want to be clear on what results you can deliver in exchange for their hard-earned money.

“What’s in it for me?” your customers are asking. It is time to stop feature-dumping! Features only imply that a “process” is beneficial, or a “technique” is going to help…. As a service provider you must be able to describe clear results to potential clients.

A success story scenario

Service provider is in despair. She has a great service as a professional organizer and sadly, few customers to show for it.

She is asked to list the top 10 benefits of her excellent service. However, she – like so many others responding to this request – provides a list of features instead.

She lists “features” that describes how she gets to a result. Features like:

  • Customized quotes
  • Office flow organization tweaking
  • Creation of new filing systems
  • Ergonomic layouts for offices, etc.

They sound pretty good, don’t they? Sure, and the service provider’s customers seemed interested and keen, BUT they were not following through and hiring her.

Then she got some help in articulating a more effective sales list displaying a number of benefits and results relating to her excellent work. Results like:

  1. Added value of charging only her client’s specific needs
  2. Improved and streamlined office procedures
  3. Saving time and reducing frustrations
  4. Ability to provide better customer service
  5. Increased efficiency with an improved filing structure
  6. Less time wasted due to poor office layout

Resulting in increased productivity all around. She was also successful in creating a list of 6 good questions she can ask to uncover if a client needs organizational help. The reason being, why waste time telling clients all about her services if they don’t need them. Seems to make sense, right?

Service promotion proof is in the results

Now, this service provider will always ask questions to find out first if someone seriously needs her service. If they do, she tells them with confidence about the results she can provide and is more secure in asking for their business. By following these guidelines you too can get hired faster with more confidence practically every time!

If you are a service provider with very little sales background and you struggle to close the deal with potential clients, you can enlist the help of one or more business / life coach classes to learn the format, confidence, clarity and momentum needed to get out there and get more clients! A quick search on Google for business / life coach will get you a lot more information on this subject. – Good luck!

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Fact-Based Perspective On Web Entrepreneurship



Stats-based web success

Who doesn’t want to run a business from their home and wear a bathrobe to virtual business meetings? Since those heady days of the dotcom boom circa 1995, the ideal of starting an online business has drawn many to try their business legs in the challenges of online commerce. And indeed, the statistics were attractive back in 2009 during which time, over fifty-five percent of American households are wired for the Web, and over a third, or 32 percent have made a purchase online, according to the US Census Bureau. Today that number has increased to approximately seventy-five percent.

Also, according to InternetRetailer.com, “U.S. e-commerce sales totaled $165.4 billion in 2010, up 14.8% from $144.1 billion in 2009, according to non-adjusted estimates released today by the U.S. Commerce Department. The numbers also show that e-commerce is taking a bigger slice of the overall retail sales pie and is growing at a much faster pace than retail sales. 4.2% of total retail spending took place online during 2010, up from 3.9% in 2009, according to Commerce Department estimates.

When excluding sales in categories not commonly bought online — automobiles, fuel, grocery and food service sales — Internet Retailer calculates that e-commerce accounted for 7.6% of total retail sales during the year, up from 7.0% in 2009. Total retail sales, which includes e-commerce sales, increased 7.0% in 2010 and totaled $3.92 trillion.”

The Web: A blender of success?

So yes, there are buckets of money being made online, but who’s making it and who’s not? When some folks think of “making money online,” or Web Entrepreneurship, they create an image of simply turning on a computer and getting money out of it, as if it were an ATM machine. In fact, the Web, and all the commercial features of it, are merely tools in the entrepreneur’s toolbox that should be used alongside other, more traditional tools.

When you’re building a house, for example, sometimes that high-tech, laser pointing thingamabob is great; but sometimes you just need a nail and hammer. And so it is with online business, and supplementing all the high-tech with old-fashioned business, or in many cases, supplementing old-fashioned business with some high-tech, is what it takes to be successful. Success online comes not in replacing the old with the new, but blending them together.

Remember the old Yahoo!?

With a few high-profile exceptions, most businesses that “make money online” successfully aren’t exclusive virtual sales companies, but instead, they use the Web as just one of several sales channels. While people are buying things online, they enjoy having the Web as an option, but don’t want it to be their only option. More often than not, the Web is used as a vehicle for researching products that will actually be bought in an actual brick-and-mortar store.

Creating a virtual business doesn’t mean that it should be exclusively virtual. The most successful online businesses are those that have promoted themselves offline as well as on, through traditional media such as television and newspapers plus “click-throughs” and email advertising. Yahoo!, in its early days, was an excellent example of a fabulously successful online company, but what do many of us remember most when we think of Yahoo! these days? The silly yodel from their olod television commercials.

The online-offline strategy

Perhaps one of the most important things to remember when starting an online business, is not to get lost in the online mystique. The Web revolution has brought, and continues to bring, us all manner of useful tools and techniques for commerce, but if you want to get customers to visit your new online boutique, it’s a good idea to actually change out of your bathrobe, get out of your den, and actually talk to some people face-to-face, or at least, send out a few traditional newsletters that includes your online store information.