Why Widgets Work Wonders for Your Website

Widgets are the Internet’s answer to “knowledge on demand”. They are icons that give you easy access to information and areas of interest. Widgets are versatile tools that can be placed on websites, desktops, blogs, profiles and even mobile devices. Users can access and interact with the information they need for news, entertainment, weather, blogs, the stock market or any other area of interest.

Today’s Internet users expect more from a website. They want it to be proactive, drive traffic and develop more incoming links. Widgets help do this and more. These Internet “gadgets” are a great way to market your site and make it come alive. If you place widgets on your blog or homepage, visitors will be able to download your widgets to their desktop or add them to their personal sites. Another great thing about widgets is that they are viral and allow users to share and download them through their friends’ sites. With widgets, you now have a website that is more interactive with a tool that contains valuable information, is viral and creates more inbound links.

FaceBook, for example, revolutionized their site by recently adding the Facebook Platform in May 2007. Now booming, Facebook widgets range from political campaigns to zombie bites (a community widget that allows friends to bite and turn each other into members or “zombies”). Because of widgets like these, Facebook has attracted more people and more advertisers. Other sites that have used widgets to their benefit include PhotoBucket and MySpace. Like the big boys, savvy webmasters are jumping on the widget bandwagon and using it for their customers benefit.

As long as you keep your widget useful and simple, they will drive traffic to your sites and work to promote your products and services. Widgets are cheap and effective ways to promote your business through direct response web marketing and through social networking.

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.

The Guppy Tank – Assessment of the Real Small Business

I must admit that I proudly proclaim that I don’t watch reality shows. However, that’s not really true. I am an avid follower of ABC’s “Shark Tank” series. The question is why, and what do I learn from that show that can be applied to my business?

While we all strive for the multi-million dollar or even billion dollar business, the truth is that most of us would be happy to have a small business that satisfies our needs – both in terms of income and satisfaction. We will likely not develop a business in which Mark Cuban would want to invest. So let’s take a look at our business interests as they might be evaluated by smaller investors in the “Guppy Tank”.

A small business, by my definition, is a business that often starts from scratch, employs the owners, perhaps some family members, and a few others. Initially, at least, the business struggles with sales and is faced with at least some periods of negative cash flow. This, of course, differs from the definition of a small business that might include 50 workers and have five million dollars in sales. With this definition in mind, let’s follow a hypothetical business into the “Guppy Tank”.

Our show opens with the introduction of three possible investors. Each has had some level of small business success of his/her own. They represent hard work, good planning, and the recognition that not all small business owners will get to this point.

Next, in comes the owner of business “X” which designs, manufactures, markets, and sells widgets. The widgets could be a consumer product or service. It really doesn’t matter. The owner of business “X” introduces his or her widgets with some fanfare. He or she explains why business “X’s” widget is so much better than any other widget out there and why it occupies a unique niche in the developing market. Everyone is properly impressed at this point.

Our guppies, however, know nothing about the widget or business “X” or the person or persons behind it. The questions begin.

Guppy 1 asks how business “X’s” founder and owner, whom we’ll call Sandy, got into this business. The question, of course, is intended to find out more about Sandy. What is Sandy’s background? Does Sandy have prior business experience? Is Sandy committed to this business? Where did the idea for the widget come from?

Guppy 2 asks questions about the widget and its current acceptance in the market. Is the item selling now? What is the market? What do we really know about the market? How did Sandy form her projections?

Guppy 3’s inquiry is focused on the financial needs of business “X”. What is needed now? What will those dollars accomplish? What will future needs be? And, of course, what’s in it for the guppy that invests.

In our show, the guppies get their answers, are impressed with the widget, with Sandy, and with the future prospects. They fight over investing in business “X” and Sandy. Sandy has succeeded. But how?

Sandy demonstrated by her answers to Guppy 1 that she is passionate about her small business. She has always been willing to work long and sometimes stressful hours because she enjoys the enterprise. She sacrifices for her business. Her widget came about from a combination of prior experience and a love for the product or service. The business provides Sandy with more than a job. It is her vocation and hobby rolled into one. Hard work – yes. Time consuming – yes. She says “Bring it on!!”

To Guppy 2 Sandy presents some data about the product and market. The guppies and Sandy know that the data was less than stellar since there was no practical way to do a full-blown analysis. But it was clear that Sandy had thought this through. She had tested the market as best she could. The results were more than encouraging. Sandy is the expert when it comes to her widget and it shows.

And as for Guppy 3’s focus, Sandy presented a picture in sufficient detail as to how the funds would be used, how they would increase sales, and how profits would benefit. Sandy had done her homework.

As the show comes to an end, we are very happy for Sandy’s success and can’t help but wonder “how would I have done” in the Guppy Tank.

The lessons from the tank are simple. In order to achieve success, we have to be passionate about our business. We must understand our market. The ultimate bases for decision making in any business, cash flow and profit, must be no strangers to our thinking. Planning is essential. And we have to understand and keep within our available resources.

But we knew all of that, didn’t we?