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?

Focus! Your Business Depends On It

As an entrepreneur you have to wear multiple hats. Some days the positions can range from Researcher, Webmaster, Accountant, Inventory Manager, Distribution Manager, Customer Services Representative, Sales Manager, and on and on. All these hats can make it hard to complete tasks and focus.

One way I try to stay on track is creating a daily list of goals. For some strange reason some days I spend more time on one task and less (or none) on others.

One particular day I was asked “How long do you spend on a task like research?”

Well, that’s a good question but I followed it up with a bad answer, “until I am done”.

This was a bad answer because there was no time frame attached. Though I had many tasks on my list that day, I spent the better part of the day researching (basically surfing the net from one site to another) neglecting the other tasks on my list.

I had to find a way to focus. To make sure I was only spending a set amount of time on each activity. To complete all the tasks on my list otherwise my business would suffer.

After all what was the point of setting my daily goals if I could not stay focused?

To aid in my quest to focus my attention I needed to automate my daily list of goals then limit and track how long I was spending on each task.

For this I turned to Yahoo! Widgets. Yahoo! Widgets is a free application platform for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. These Widgets help you save time with an at-a-glance view of your favorite Internet services right to your desktop. Be careful you can loose focus just searching through the Yahoo! Widget Gallery because they offer over 4,000 desktop Widgets that do almost anything from displaying a weather forecast to playing a game.

Widgets generally sit on your desktop and don’t look like applications as we’re use to seeing them in a standard window. Instead, Widgets tend to look like small pictures or animations.

Here are four Yahoo! Widgets I used to boost my focus:

1. JC Sticky Deluxe

This Widget is just like any sticky note / post-it note / memo taker. It has a ton of cool and powerful features like; multiple stickies, customizable fonts, colors, background themes and the ability to print stickies.

2. Job Timer

This Widget counts up instead of down. It is useful for timing how long a job, presentation, or any other task takes. You can name your task so you can actually time 5 simultaneous tasks at once.

3. Generic Countdown Timer

This Widget is a simple countdown timer. You can set the time in hours, minutes, seconds and an alarm will ring once the counter reaches zero. You can choose to initialize the counter with a default time when the Widget starts, which is convenient when you always need a countdown for the same amount of time.

4. DailyBilling

This Widget is a time tracker for sorting and accumulating time spent on projects. Multiple projects and multiple hours may be tracked each day. Data is written to a file each day that can be referred to at the end of the week when you compile your time and can’t remember what projects you worked on last Tuesday.

By using technology more effectively, you will get more done and stay focused. Your business depends on it!

MLM Home Business Tips – Should You Approach Your Warm Market?

To approach your warm market, or not to approach your warm market – THAT is the MLM home business question!

Before we get to answering the question, let’s look at it from a different perspective…

Suppose you have a full-time, 9-5 job that you’ve been working for the last 5-20 years. It pays the bills (most of them) and gives you somewhat of a sense of security and you’re used to the routine of it all – you’re comfortable… but still you want more…

Then, one day out of nowhere, it comes to you – this INCREDIBLE idea for a new “widget” that will change people’s lives! More importantly, it will change YOUR life with all the money you could make as thousands and thousands of them are purchased every month. Finally you’ll be able to buy your dream home, your dream car, go on exotic vacations, travel, live life according to your desires, not your bosses… This is your shot at success, your ship is about to come in, it’s your turn to cash in!

…So where do you start? You start doing research on the internet, making contacts and networking during your lunch breaks and after work trying to figure out all the details of how you’re going to create and manufacture the actual widget, where you’re going to store them once they’re produced and how you’re going to ship them…

You’ve got it all figured out and now you have the prototype of this incredible new widget that no one has ever come up with before. You’re totally psyched about it and how it’s going to change your life. You’ve spent your life savings and maxed out all your credit cards to design, produce and setup all the systems necessary to get this new widget out to the market because you believe in it, you know what it can do for people and you know the potential is there…

But here’s the only problem. No one knows about your widget yet, you don’t necessarily have any prior experience with widgets, your funds are real low and no one really knows you (you’re not a celebrity, or rich and famous – that part hasn’t become reality yet). Unfortunately you realize, the widget – as incredible and wonderful as it is – will not sell itself. How are you now going to market it and get it out there?

Keeping it secret and not telling anyone about it is surely not going to work. You have to get the word out. So what should you do? You’ve got to think like a business. First of all, take inventory of your resources – make a resources list. What resources do you have at your disposal that you can utilize to get the word out about your widget so people can start buying them?

Well, you spent all the money you had (and didn’t have) to get INTO business for yourself. You might be able to go further into debt and put everything on the line and really live on the edge… But maybe there’s a better idea – what other resources do you have at your disposal?

Then it hits you… The most effective form of advertising is word of mouth. You can start talking to people about your business and share your enthusiasm, belief and vision. You remember how many times your friends have told you about a good movie or good restaurant and you went and checked it out, spending the money simply because of their recommendation – and most of the time that was without even doing any other research. You trusted them at least enough to follow their recommendation.

You then come to realize that you have a whole network of people who already know you, and to some degree like and trust you – at least enough to listen to what you have to say about this incredible, new widget and opportunity you have.

If nothing else, it’s a free form of advertising to help you begin spreading the word while accumulating testimonials from people who try out your widget to help increase your 3rd party “social proof” which you will need when you start talking to people who don’t know you at all. This will help you create a reputation, establish a foundation for you to build from so others can see that hey, this widget IS great! People will see that if this widget worked for Bob and Sue and Phil and Tom as it was supposed to… why shouldn’t they receive similar benefits?

You utilize your resource list (also known as YOUR WARM MARKET) to help you get your business started.

Is that all you should do?

Should you rely SOLELY on your warm market to make your goals and dreams for your MLM home business (or any business) come true?

Well I don’t know how many “widgets” your warm market can purchase but my suggestion is to never rely on only one method for building a business, you need to diversify and implement between 3 and 5 marketing methods at all times in case the market changes (as it does) and for other fluctuations and changes that occur. But by all means it is a valuable resource that every business owner and networker should access for the reasons above and because you never know where your market may lead you, you never know who them know, and so on.

What you definitely do NOT want to do though is hassle and hound your warm market. It’s not necessary, that is the wrong way to approach your warm market in building your MLM home business. Treat your business with the same seriousness as the widget business described above. Don’t portray your MLM home business as some inexpensive, fly-by-night get-rich-quick scheme that you got into yesterday that you’re hoping to get lucky with.

Treat your MLM home business as if you had paid millions of dollars to get it setup and running like the founder of your company had to do before you ever would have an opportunity to make any money. Treat this business like a million dollar McDonald’s franchise because the MLM home business model (like McDonald’s) is already proven.

The only thing unproven is YOU and your ability to be coachable and follow the proven system that has created hundreds and thousands of millionaires in this industry already.

Do you have what it takes to be successful? Are you committed to making it, to becoming successful, no matter what? Or are you just testing the waters with only one foot in? You choose. Choose either that you’re going to make it or you might as well quit and find something else that you can believe in (being in business for yourself is not cut out for everyone, nor is it easy – but it’s definitely worth it).

So, should you approach your warm market to build your MLM home business? Only you can answer that question…