With so many niches and other gaps in the market all but sewn up how does one in the world of cyberspace go about finding something to market and then to make it work? Here are your 10 steps to starting an online business:
1. Write these Things Down.
Everybody needs a starting point and where better to start than actually working out what your own talents and fields of expertise are. We all have something we can offer, by virtue of past hobbies, jobs, sports and other aspects of our lives. If you take a writing tablet and write down all the things that you like doing as well as those that you don’t; coupled with your experience in the third column you will indeed be able to establish a starting point as to where you are today. I want you to brainstorm a bit here. Everything that sounds remotely pertinent write it down.
In the duration of a half hour period you will develop a list which should be reflective of who and what you are. It is more or less impossible to move forward in creating your own Internet Business when you don’t really know what it is that you in fact can offer.
The point to this is to understand your own assets and use them to your advantage. Although we are sometimes not aware of it we have several talents that we under-utilize. The time is ripe to develop these and turn them into a potential profit making situation for you.
2. Utilize Your Strengths.
Your strengths are those which you have either experience in and/or indeed enjoy doing very much. If you have in the past been working in a job that you don’t like then for heavens sake don’t make the same mistake again! Although you may have experience here it is indeed far better to take your experience and apply it into something else that you will enjoy substantially more as opposed to “The Devil You Know”.
Maybe you’ve been playing around with a paintbrush or a camera on and off over the years. Up until now it has only been a hobby. Well, for starters we only ever start hobbies because we enjoy them. Maybe you could use the Internet as a medium to further your exploits in this field!
On the same token it is important that you develop your weaknesses rather than accepting them simply as a weakness that you can do nothing about. If you have always been a good photographer but developing your photos has always let you down, confront the problem and develop it accordingly so it will indeed assist you in the future. In this example maybe you could go to the local photo lab and ask to sit in when they develop their next set of prints.
3. Make a Plan.
Developing a business online is no different in the sense that it needs to be well structured in order to develop, survive and naturally, thrive. I have made available today for readers of this article my précis entitled, “Ten Brilliant Steps To Attaining Your Own Goals. It outlines the basic steps required to put the “P” into your “LAN” and we all know how important that is!!!
4. Set Up Your Business from the Start.
Now that you’ve got a business direction you want to set something up online that will be in demand and have a readily identifiable market.
You will also want to implement procedures to set your business on to auto-pilot. This means setting everything up to self-automate your business from the start. This is imperative as when you strike the right chord you will want to be marketing and serving your clientele as opposed to being bogged down with administrative work.
Remember you are here to enjoy your life. Organizing your business from the beginning to self-automate will be one of your first steps in this pursuit.
5. Tap into Quality Online Marketing Resources.
Your job will be made so much easier when you have quality publications such as the ezine you are reading now to assist you in your pursuits. There are many different types of information websites, ezines and online networking communities that will assist you here such as: online promotions, web design (using our above example), technical know-how, marketing methods, associate programs, self-development and an endless array of other possibilities that will provide you with a wealth of information.
It is a “must do” that you subscribe to quality publications as you will keep abreast of techniques, methods, etiquette etc. Online ezines are the online media; but with a major difference. The difference is the personalization that comes with most quality publications. The publisher is quite often a one man band probably working from home. This may or may not be similar to your situation but as a result of this you will receive an impartial non-bureaucratic perspective on your topic of interest.
6. Ganz Oder Gat Nicht.
This is the German phrase for “All or Nothing”. The internet can present your wares to the world, but will amount to absolutely nothing if you don’t do all you can within your power to make it work. People will not walk into your shop and out again as if it was on the street. Your shop (in this case, web design) will be one of a myriad of others potentially offering the same service. You will need to give your business a special kick. It will need a careful combination of your product knowledge and marketing ability to bring people to your door.
Maybe with your web design business you could add an abundance of value to your product by offering a life time guarantee. I can say from experience that the longer the period of guarantee, the less likely the chance that people will ask for a refund. If you were to guarantee your design packages 100% how hard would it be to make necessary adjustments based on customer feedback for the entire first year? Not very difficult I would imagine. Add value to your product and service. People prefer value as opposed to simply the cheapest option.
Give your business a touch of difference. Make it work. Keep to your goals and targets. Don’t ever give up. Put the throttle to full. Market well…and reap your rewards.
7. Quality Customer Service.
Your clients may never ever meet you, see you or even talk to you. You will need to provide everything your literature has promised to deliver. You will get many questions from people asking you certain things before they commit to buying your product. It is imperative that you are always there for your clients.
Your client service enquiries can be somewhat reduced by providing FAQ’s both online and by autoresponder. To take this even a step further you could in fact arrange it so that your support email address triggers an autoresponder giving them answers to questions or where to find answers to their questions. This will indeed reduce the amount of personal service you will need to give. In addition to this your potential clients will be impressed at the speed you answered their query (although you in fact did not even lift a finger in this case). To see how I do this simply send a blank email to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and you will see the message they automatically receive just by sharing their query with me. This method saves me hours of answering emails each month.
When you go away on holiday; or when questions become backlogged alter your autoresponder message to indicate this. If I have to wait 3 or more days for an answer to an email there is very little chance that I will purchase from this company. If their customer service is not sufficiently organized before you purchase, what are the chances that you’ll receive the after sales service you require??? Not much!!!
When you look after clients the true value is realized by their continual re-purchasing. Take a long term look at your clients and choose to win.
8. Look at What Your Competition is Doing.
One of the best ways to develop new ideas for your own business is to take a good hard look at what your competition is doing. Using our web designer example it’s always good to look at what sort of design they have, how often they change it, how many options they offer, payment options and an array of other things that you can in fact analyze and learn from. I am not saying that you should copy someone else’s work. This can be the first step to self-destruction if you continually copy the work of others in order to attract clients. How will you serve them adequately when you under utilize your own initiative? Not very well! Use their tools to assist you in developing your own ideas. Create your niche! Make your marketing position your own!
It is important to look at how your competition has in fact developed over time as you will get a general idea of where they’re heading, what they are doing and then you can react accordingly.
9. Always Be Alert for New Ideas.
Like an offline business, in order to stay in for the long haul it will be necessary to be on the lookout for additional marketing possibilities for your own product. In addition to this you may consider marketing other products that are in demand. As a compliment to your web design business you may opt to go one step further and get into CGI Programming to provide a personalized tracking service to your clients. This would be a brilliant complimentary product to what you are doing as there is an immediate connection between this and what you are currently doing.
The best point about your new venture here is that you already have a string of faithful and trustworthy clients who would be more than happy to let you assist them at improving their income earning potential.
This is just an example. Another could be if you are a consultant you could actually get into associate programs to sell the programs that have assisted you in the past. Believe me it’s a whole lot easier to sell things when you are a firm believer in what it is you are trying to sell.
10. The Time is Now !!!
If you want to get into making your presence on the Net known, do it now!!! Don’t do it later or tomorrow as procrastination is one of the biggest enemies to mankind. It slows us down and reduces our creativity. The Net is a plethora of opportunity and an abundance of potential. Learn all you can about your field of expertise and please, for your own sake, put it into practice today.
About the Author:
marketing consultant at the helm of Topliving Consultancy. Visit his web site at http://topliving.com . Subscribe to Darren’s popular “Success and Self-Motivation” Weekly publication, “AAvenues 2 Your Success”. It’s packed with this sort of material each week.