Individual skilled in a specific field or area working independent of established “salaried job” setting. Best described by the term “spirit of the entrepreneur”, this type of person is known to carve out his/her own niche, call his/her own shots and work according to his/her own schedule.

Web Presence Vis-a-Vis Web Marketing

Business

Will you join me in a little exercise? Take a moment and consider how you would answer this question: Are you already marketing on the Web? If you really think about it, just about any business owner who utilizes the Web for any purpose will likely find that, whether or not s/he intentionally organized a Web marketing campaign, s/he may already be marketing products and services on the Web. This article will examine some subtle ways business owners may already be marketing their businesses on the Web even if they did not set out to.

Let’s begin with your website as it is most probable that if you own and operate a business in today’s world you probably have a website for your business; and if so you are, therefore, already marketing your products or services online just by virtue of the fact that you have a website online.

This is true because the mere fact of having a live website means there is the potential for curious Web surfers to access that site. And although you may not be actively engaged in promotional activities, you may still find that it creates interest in your products despite the lack of sustained marketing efforts on your part. Such activity without effort is known as passive marketing.

SEO

Another area of participation without promotional intent is commonly known as message boards, and if you participate in such an online venue and put a link in your signature that leads back to your website, you would be considered by most to be marketing that website online. Savvy business owners realize the importance of participation in industry-related message boards to create an interest in their products and services, thereby establishing themselves as knowledgeable about, or expert in, their industry by offering a link to their own website, even if it is in the signature line of information they provide in their posts.

In fact, even business owners who do not realize it, may already be inadvertently enjoying the benefits of Web marketing as a result of message board participation simply just by doing something they enjoy as a form of leisurely activity.

You’ve heard of, and probably are knowledgeable in, the use of keywords in the sense that when you include keywords in the content of your website that are relevant to your business you will likely answer yes to the question, do you use keywords? And in view of that answer you also are, therefore, already marketing on the Web by optimizing your website for such keywords. Search engine optimization (SEO) have an affect on websites whether or not website owners are even cognizant about the concept of keyword density and how it can help to optimize a site for the benefit of search engines.

Business owners will likely use certain words – often depending on the type of products and services they offer – simply because it is natural and logical to do so. This tendency, however, can result in search engines boosting their website rankings for the particular keywords used. The concept of SEO is much more involved and complex than employing the frequent use of keywords, though; but business owners can gain some benefit just by naturally applying relevant keywords to their website.

Feedback

Do you solicit feedback from your customers online? This is yet another example of how business owners may accidentally be marketing their business on the Web. Most business owners realize the importance of soliciting feedback from customers for business purposes, and business owners who offer products online might solicit feedback in the form of online surveys. Although the business owners may be doing this simply for business purposes, the fact that it is done online, puts it into the category of Web marketing.

We have discussed several ways in which business owners may already be marketing online but, what about business owners who do want to have an increased online presence? If you are a business owner who may already be marketing online accidentally and wish to launch full scale Web marketing campaigns, you can do so by hiring a consultant with experience in Web marketing to assist you in creating an effective and worthwhile campaign which is optimized for your target audience. Best of luck!

The Home-based Business Phenomenon

Present-day American dreams

Present-day American families have the same dreams shared by families a few decades ago; buy a home, provide for the health and welfare of their children, and send those children to college. But the price tag for fulfilling these dreams climbs higher and higher every day, making it much more difficult to achieve the same standard of living that families enjoyed in past decades.

It used to be that a husband went off to work in the morning and the wife stayed home doing household chores and taking care of the kids; but the days of one-income households are long gone and both parents must now go out to work – when they can find it.

However, as the old familiar adage suggests, “necessity is the mother of invention” and accordingly, many enterprising single moms & dads, and even husband & wife teams are finding ways to stay home, and still earn a living via opportunities that are springing up all over the country as a result of the tremendous growth of an industry that makes work at home possible.

The Home-Based Business (HBB) industry has made it possible for anyone with some basic skills, a computer and Internet access to start a business at home. For example, an individual with a background in word processing can create his/her own in-home word processing business.

Getting started

Before you begin your Home-Based Business however, it is important to do your research. Find out what kind of software program will be most suitable for the type of business you intend on doing. You will also want your computer system to be compatible with your clients and customers.

Next, look at the make-up of your industrial area. An arts community, or a thriving business area? By checking out the demographics of your area, you can make a decision regarding the type of advertising you want to use.

In the beginning, you will want to try all sorts of advertising. Neighborhood newspapers are an inexpensive way to advertise, but they usually only published on a weekly basis and that may not be enough to keep the clients rolling in. You can put your name on the bulletin board at your local supermarket and pass out flyers door-to-door in large office buildings or other business complexes.

Although it may be more expensive than neighborhood newspapers, you may want to run an ad in your local daily newspaper (in the business services section). Church bulletins and university newspapers that sell advertising may also be a relatively inexpensive way to go. You should also get your business cards printed up right away; and don’t let a client walk out the door without one or two business cards. Repeat business and word-of-mouth may well be your best advertising tool.

Click Here to Learn More!

Whatever methods you choose to employ in your advertising, do yourself a favor and track the responses. Put a check list next to your telephone and whenever a call comes in (whether you get hired or not) ask the prospective client where s/he found out about you. It won’t take long for you to discover where your most cost-effective advertising comes from and when you know that, you can punch it up and drop the ones that aren’t doing anything for you.

Do your homework!

One telephone call will be the only opportunity you have to sell your service. If you hesitate when asked a price for a particular project, you will probably lose the job so do your homework. Call the competition and ask what they are charging. If the competition is out of your immediate geographic area (and you are therefore not a threat to their livelihood), you may want to be straight with them and tell them you are starting a home-based business in their field and ask for their input. You may be surprised to find them willing to help out with important information.

Keep in mind that there are myriad of tasks that need to be undertaken in order to establish the fundamental operations of your new home-based business. Whether you expect to get clients from the Internet or not, it is necessary to set up your business in a manner that will accommodate local clients/customers. So business letter heads, envelopes, forms, business cards, invoices and other paraphernalia will be necessary.

It will also become necessary to establish your pricing policies and have them available upon inquiry. Depending on your business, you could set a basic rate which can be a flat rate or a percentage.

For example…

…Using the business of word processing for a pricing example, a prospective client may call asking what you charge for 4 single-spaced pages. Your answer might be $45.00 per page straight text and then when the client comes, you discover that what s/he has is 4 pages of extremely complicated tables – definitely NOT STRAIGHT TEXT.

By not making firm pricing commitments over the phone, you will have the flexibility to charge a more accurate price when a client brings you something other than what you were expecting.

Elaborating further on the word processing example, to some clients a resume may be a single spaced page, but it takes a lot longer to type than a business letter and you will want to charge more for resumes. You will want to establish an hourly rate for tables, transcription and other more time-consuming jobs.

Always keep in mind that your pricing will change as you become more familiar with what your clients demand, and you may find yourself doing a lot of list maintenance and merge letters, or you may be doing work primarily for doctors, or attorneys; so you need to have a good basis for your pricing… but be flexible.

There are several home-based business models you can choose from, each one giving you the same flexibility to create your own USP (Unique Selling Proposition), as well as your own operational balance sheet. After all, the income & expense aspect of any business is usually an excellent indicator of that business’ prospects for success or failure; and truth be told, no business – new or old – start out with failure as an aspirational milestone. Therefore, it is success to which they aspire and choosing the type of home-based business to launch could make all the difference.

Choice of business types

The two business types that came to mind – based on my own – experiences are: Promotion and Distribution. You can choose to be a promoter or a distributor in addition to all the other choices that are available; but I have provided a glimpse of each vocation with the help of two other publishers whose knowledge of the topics is unquestioned.

According to a What is Promotion? article published to the Slide Player website, “Promotion is any form of communication a business or organization uses to inform, persuade, or remind people about its products and improve its public image. Product Promotion: 1) Explains the major features and benefits of its products (especially in relation to competitors), 2) tells where the products are sold, 3) advertises sales on those products, 4) answers customer questions, and 5) introduces new products…”

…And Distribution is described in the following manner: After a product is fully developed and offered at a competitive price, it must be delivered to an identified target audience. The place element of the marketing mix is where product production and distribution channels are decided and planned. The decisions made in this step directly affect the types of communication that are used to tell the target audience about a product.” This description is provided in the article, What Is the Difference Between Place & Promotion in the Marketing Mix? Written by Tim Burris for the Chron website. And there are so many more!