Make a Business Plan for Working from Home

One of the biggest mistakes those who work from home make is neglect creating a business plan. Oftentimes they are thinking that because they work at home, a business plan does not apply to them as it would for other types of business startups where financing is needed. Of course there are home businesses that need financing to start up but oftentimes the reason why people choose a home business is because little startup capital is needed (i.e., financing). But you still need a business plan. Lets look at a few reasons why.

A business plan defines your product or service. First, you need to decide what products or services you are going to offer when you work from home. You need to take your business idea and write it down. This will be the basis of further market research to test your idea. For example, lets say you make a great blue widget and decide you want to go into business and sell it. So, you declare that you will sell blue widgets. However as you do market research you find out that everyone is now buying yellow widgets and blue widgets are no longer in demand. This means in order to work at home and sell widgets, you will have to adapt to make and sell yellow ones. Our example uses imaginary widgets but you can replace widget with your idea and see if there is a market for it. Deciding what it is you want to sell or the service you want to offer now will save you expense later on.

A business plan identifies your target market. If you have no idea who your target market is for selling your product or service then you do not know where to focus advertising for your home business. Using our widget example, it could be that younger people like yellow widgets with green stripes while senior people like plain yellow widgets. With the business plan, you can write this research down so that you can refer to it as you build the marketing strategy for your home business.

A business plan identifies your competition. You have to identify your competitors and as much as possible pinpoint what they do right and how you can do it better. Remember that in order to increase the chances for success of your home business, you must have characteristics that set you apart from your competition. A business plan lets you identify what it is that will set you apart and by writing it down you can refer to it and stay on track.

A business plan defines the daily operation of your business. Your home business [http://www.beasuccesfulconsultant.com] might be a one-person shop but you still need an operational plan. For example, what are your terms of service? What are your payment policies with your clients? What are your delivery procedures? Who are your suppliers if you have them? These are just a few of the questions you will answer in a business plan for your home business.

A business plan identifies any loan requirements. As mentioned before, one of the big reasons why people set up home businesses is that the capital investment requirements are lower. However there are certain types of businesses where you might need people to invest money or you have to get a loan from a bank. These people wont even meet with if you have no business plan.

Get yourself a self-help book and read how to make a business plan [http://www.beasuccesfulconsultant.com] for your home business. It might seem labor-intensive but it will help your business be more profitable and run smoother in the long run.

What is a Widget?

A widget (also known as a gadget) is a small program that runs on your desktop all the time, which replaces the need to constantly visit a website in order to get common information. A Gmail widget on someone’s desktop that shows “10 unread messages” will make that user click and go back to the Gmail website. Microsoft (Charts), AOL (Charts), Yahoo (Charts), and even Nokia (Charts) also are some famous brands that offer widgets.

If we look back the age of Widgets, they actually began with an application called Konfabulator. Designed for Mac users, it would pull information from across the Web – weather, stock quotes, headlines – and place them on the desktop as tiny floating windows. The idea was so successful that Apple decided to build widget support right into its operating system. Yahoo bought Konfabulator’s creator, Pixoria, in July 2005 for an undisclosed amount that was rumored to be decent – big enough, anyway, to get a lot of developer attention. And suddenly everyone was going mad for widgets.

Of course, the main reason widgets are hot is that users love them. The reason for the same is because it makes the Web user-programmable. If My Yahoo spread it all over, Netvibes took this idea even further by offering the users more than 250 widgets to build a wholly personalized homepage.

I don’t see it ending either. As companies like Salesforce.com (Charts) and Google (Charts) are pushing the use of widgets inside businesses. We can see the opportunities and business models around widgets are emerging and will go a long way.

How can Widgets help expand your Online Business?

Today’s Internet web space is extremely competitive, as vendors and users demand efficient use of desktop. With websites being more proactive in nature, they want to drive more targeted traffic and develop more incoming links. Widgets seem to be the answer to assist in doing this. These Internet “widgets or gadgets” are an excellent way to market your product or service and make it easily stand out. If you place a widget on your blog or webpage, visitors will instantly be able to download your specialized widget onto their desktop or add them on their blog via small html codes. One of the biggest advantages of using widgets is that they are viral in nature. They allow anyone who has your widget on their website to to share and download your widget directly through their site.

FaceBook, the gigantic social networking site for example, revolutionized their interactivity and popularity by recently introducing and adding the Facebook Platform in May/07. Now Facebook widgets are the rage. You will find everything from entertainment and sporting campaigns to different political groups based all on widgets. Because of the popularization of widgets, Facebook has managed to exponentially attract millions of new members and a lot more advertisers. Other sites that have used widgets to promote and viralize themselves include: MySpace, Revver, PhotoBucket and Blogrush. Savvy internet marketer are increasingly jumping on the widget bandwagon and using it for their benefit.

After a lot of buzz about OpenSocial, Netvibes decided to include all their existing Social APIs as plugins for UWA, their Universal Widget API. They intend to share 2 cool videos demonstrating some of the social features in their next release called “Ginger”. The videos provide examples of how Netvibes allows users to follow content and widgets that their friends want to share with them. One can also see some examples of social widgets created using the Social APIs.

Honda’s Acura RDX uses the Yahoo! Widgets application to deliver real-time traffic updates directly to drivers’ desktops in more than 30 cities. Honda promoted the feature to users who checked traffic on Yahoo! Maps and Yahoo! Widgets (where users can download existing widgets or create their own.) A key benefit was the traffic widget tying into RDX’s navigation system, which includes traffic data. The widget has been downloaded more than 30,000 times in three months.

These mini Web application downloaded onto a desktop or transported into personal Web pages, blogs or social-network profiles are a source of constantly updated information, from weather and sports scores to personal photos, which can eliminate the need to visit multiple Web sites.

So as long as you keep your widget informative, useful and simple to understand, they will virally drive traffic to your sites and work as a secret ninja to promote your products or services. Widgets are inexpensive and are an extremely effective way to promote your site through direct response marketing and social networking sites.

Widgets are certainly making a rise from desktop to webpages, blogs and social networks giving them a platform. They are now much, much more, and it seems every company has one. The hope is to embed their widget on the millions of blogs, MySpace and Facebook pages, and thus create cheap marketing while giving the users some value.

It’s a great strategy, at least when the widget is cool and people adopt it. The only question is, is your marketing firm aware of it. Do they know how to add value to the users and build an army of brand evangelists in promoting your product? Do they make effective use of Widgets?

Dreaming of Owning an Online Business

Everyone dreams of having his or her own business from the very small to the multimillion versions. Dreams are of course free to anyone. When a dream becomes a reality, there are lessons to be learnt that will help expand or destroy the business.

Depending on a sole supplier for your business widgets could be a fatal mistake if they go out of business and you have not acquired other contacts. The question that you need to ask is whether you would be able to continue with your business if the supplier collapses and how you would tackle the situation.

Businesses grow from interacting with other businesses. Today it is called networking, whether it is done on line or physically over a coffee it is an essential part of the business world. Take time to get to know others and note how they run their business.

If your business is not showing the increase you had planned on, step back, and have the courage to change the current model you have. It is often said that succeeding requires a certain amount of risk, and that risk takers are the ones that succeed.

Your business website may not be all that it should be if the URL you are using is part of the problem. Does it suit your business and have the keyword essential to attracting the customer. A business with no customers will never be a business. The saying ‘fails to plan, and you plan to fail’ is actually a good one. A real business requires a business plan and by default a marketing plan. This puts processes in place to maintain and improve your business, be it an online one or a bricks and mortar establishment.

The much used Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats analysis is a good place to start. When you have a business today marketing becomes extremely important and time needs to be spent everyday nurturing your network, your website, or your customers. There will come a time that the business is on the bones of its backside and all of a sudden, there is no money coming in. It is too late at that point to start realizing the lost opportunities of marketing.

Staying in touch with people on a regular basis creates trust and a well run website can do just that for a firm that takes its customers seriously. We cannot assume that people will stay with a company because the owner thinks they should. ‘Assume ‘makes an ass-of -u-and -me. Trusting people is not without its own risks and others whose perspective is different from our own will have hurt us all. Take the chance, grab your own website and start planning to make your dream a reality.