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.

How do I Use a Website to Promote my Business?

Do you need a website?. Well that depends entirely on how you wish to market your business and whether your competitors have an online presence, it also depends on the type of clients you hope to attract. Let me ask you a straight question – Do you want to increase business for a minimum outlay?.

Most people now have some form of access to the internet, whether at home, at work or through their school or university. For many, searching for a service or product using Google is now much the preferred alternative to opening a phone directory, or scanning the Yellow Pages. With the increase in Broadband technology and the rapid fall in prices then this trend is very likely to continue and grow, with more and more people of all ages having some form of regular internet use. Do you want to miss out on this potential and growth?

Many small business owners and CEOs think nothing of spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on conventional advertising such as that in Yellow Pages and similar directories, and yet are still missing out on the earning potential of having a website presence. For some this is simply through not having the relevant skills or feeling that they have no webdesign capabilities to even begin to build their own site. However with many webhosts now offering WYSIWYG web creation tools and web builder packages, anybody who is capable of booting a computer now has the possibility of creating a basic website to promote their business.

After word of mouth, my website accounts for nearly all of the new business which my own business gets. Given a price versus revenue comparison, it is the most competitive form of advertising which I have ever used, and the one which yields the most success when it comes to new business leads!.

Remember that the more professional your website looks, the greater chance of impressing potential clients, and of getting an enquiry. For this reason, employing the services of a webdesigner may be a preferred alternative. But for now, let’s talk about how you can build your website with only limited knowledge. Your options are popular software such as Microsoft FrontPage, or other software such as x-site pro. Many internet users have found great success in designing their own websites. Some webhosts now include free website building tools in their hosting packages. Whichever option you decide to choose, when building your website and promoting its existence, there are a few points to consider, and we will discuss those below.

Always avoid free hosting. These are webhosts who allow you to upload your own site for free onto their server. However in return they often add Advertising banners and pop ups onto your website, and these can prove very annoying to internet users, look cheap and tacky and do not portray a professional, business image. You may have a very professional looking website, however if you use free hosting then you do so at your peril and when masses of pop ups great your visitors, then they’ll often close their browsers or surf away without bothering to read any further. Professional webhosting without any form of banners is available for as little as the price of a coffee per month! – far cheaper than any form of newspaper advertising, so don’t skimp when it comes to reliable hosting.

Buy a domain name. This promotes your unique company identity, and it is also a good idea to use your company name, as your domain name. Domains ending in .co.uk are often cheaper than .com and will also boost your search engine rankings in geographical area based searches such as Google UK. This may be useful to businesses only serving clients in their country, or those with overseas offices.

Remember to try and incorporate a relevant keyword describing your business service or product(s) within the domain page name. So for example, if you had a business called Acme Widgets and you had a product called Mighty Widget – then you could name the page name extension as mighty-widget.html so the url to that page would look like [http://www.your-domain-name.com/mighty-widget.html]

We will get to other keyword use later.

The most effective websites are the ones which load fast and offer a clean, smooth appearance free of useless information and which are largely uncluttered. Make sure that your name and description of your business appears on each page, and that if your site has more than one page that they are all linked together using an HTML Menu. Do not be tempted to use flash or other fancy image type menus, because search engines will not be able to index the site easily. If you do decide to use a flash based website then make sure that there is an HTML alternative, complete with HTML menus.

Keep the site simple. Remember that you have to make the site appealing to search engine spiders as well as human visitors in order to get your website onto the search engines. After all, it is pointless having a good, professional looking site, if nobody can find it!. Avoid the use of fancy flash based websites and splash pages, although they may add an initial wow factor to the first impression, they are often difficult for some search engines to spider and index, plus they may take forever to load on a slow connection. Very few visitors will wait 30 seconds or more for pages to load, or install special viewers so avoid going over the top with these types of presentation!

Keywords are the words that people use to enter into search engines in order to find a site. Consider which keywords people will be using to find your website. Don’t just concentrate on the obvious and most popular words which describe your business, since these will be difficult to rank highly for, due to the competition!.

Instead, look for other niche search terms and phrases too. Your website should contain as many keywords as possible on each page. Don’t be tempted to just add loads of raw keywords in meaningless strings onto your page, since search engines are wise to this practice of cheating and will penalise your site, plus it looks messy to your human visitors too!. It is far more effective to incorporate these keywords into text paragraphs and try and vary their frequency, so for example if you were a company suppling widgets in London, you could try the following:-

Widget and Sons, a family company suppling widgets in London, we are retailers of the popular Mighty widget range

And then later in the page…

For the best price on mail order widgets and sole distribution of the mighty widget contact our sales department

By doing this, and varying the phrases whilst keeping them keyword rich, you are effectively giving Google something to work with. Hopefully, by adding as many keyword strings as possible your site will (hopefully) appear for several different search terms such as ‘Widgets’ or ‘Mail order widgets + london’ or ‘Mighty Widget’

A Picture paints a thousand words, so don’t forget to add pictures to your website!. But keep the, fairly small so that the site loads quickly. Often 640 x 480 resolution is ideal, or use thumbnail software to load a gallery of clickable smaller images neatly onto a webpage. Remember if you use images that clients like to see happy smiling staff! and a structured, well organised company, so make sure that you don’t accidentally capture your warehouse man reading the paper, or that rubbish in the corner of the office!.

Unless your business is technical or technology based then avoid long descriptions about specifications of products and what machinery you use!. Comparing equipment is only of interest to others in the same industry as you and rarely of concern or top priority clients just looking to buy and end product or obtain service. Besides they can see just how good and how neat and tidy your business looks from your pictures!.

Always display clearly your contact information, and this should include a telephone number. Avoid Hotmail and other free web email addresses such as MSN or Yahoo because this doesn’t look professional and can also be blocked by your recipients spam filter. If you have registered a domain name for your site you will be able to set up email based on this, and cutomise it to your own requirements, for example:- [email protected] or [email protected] . Offering an enquiry form on your website is also a good idea, since it will prevent your email address being copied from your site to be used for Spam (Unsolicited Emails), and ensure that you have all of the relevant information from the client to be able to quote accurately.

Getting your site onto the search engines is the hardest part of the exercise, and this may take between 3 and 12 months to get a decent rank. The more you promote your site the easier it is, and the more successful the results. Simply submitting your site URL to Google’s Submit a Site page is not the most effective way of listing your site and neither is it the quickest. The most effective way of getting your site visited by Search Engines is to add your link to Existing websites of a similar theme and subject and the many online directories which already have a search engine presence.

Another very effective way of boosting search engine presence and getting your website onto search engines quicker is to swap links with other sites. Why not build a simple links page or invest in a topsites script on your website and use this to return links?. Remember that it is only polite internet etiquette to link back to websites which link to you, so it is often expected that you will have a link already in place on your own website, when you contact another webmaster and ask to add your link to his /her site!.

There are many other features which you can build into your website, such as e-commerce features including shopping carts and credit card processing facilities, if your company offers products by mail order. However adding these usually requires some detailed knowledge of website building and other skills in website code and is therefore outside of the scope of this article.

Hopefully, this website article, has given you some information on getting your business a web presence on a budget!.

Are You an Online Business Opportunity Junkie?

Imagine for a minute that you have some expertise with certain widgets. You have already decided that there is a market for your widgets based on your research. So you go into business by opening up a small manufacturing enterprise to make and sell these widgets. Good so far.

You go out and buy all the necessary equipment to make your widgets. You store them in your warehouse. Some you unpack and have set up, some you just have lying around unpacked and waiting for you to take a look at the contents to make sure you bought the right stuff. But without even doing this, you feel you need some more equipment.

So you do not stop there and get along with the business of manufacturing your widgets. Instead you develop this urge to get into other widgets. You invite all kind of widget guys to come in and give you their best pitch every day, whether or not you have the machinery and systems in place to capitalize on what they are telling you. It does not matter that you have unopened machinery sitting in your warehouse to manufacture the widgets you have already decided on. You want to know about every hot widget before it gets cold. So you fall in love with some other widget and buy some more widget machinery.

It matters not that you have no idea how much you will have to spend to get your fist widget into profit. You just have to have more widget machinery. And more. Very soon you have moved from a widget guy to a widget machinery guy. You have acquired a bunch of different widget machinery with little or no prospect of getting your first widget to market.

Sounds crazy? Of course it is. It is mind-bending crazy. Worse, you have become a widget machinery guy pretending to be a widget guy. Now your whole focus has changed. You want to be successful making and selling widgets, when your whole mindset is about acquiring widget machinery. There is a huge disconnect, and it is at the root of many failings online. Before you know it, you have become a business opportunity junkie.

This scenario repeats itself across the Internet in the millions every day. People with the best of intentions at some enterprise allowing themselves to get thrown off track by the next hottest money-making idea, acquiring tools after tools – e-books, scripts, reports, software. Most of these ending up sitting on their computer hard drive without ever being put to use correctly. This is how too many online ventures get run. And sadly, this is how too many dreams get run in. This is part of what the Internet has spawned – millions of widget machinery junkies who just cannot wait to get their hands on the next hot widget machine. In short, business opportunity junkies who believe they are otherwise.

So are you a business opportunity junkie or are you an online entrepreneur? It is not hard to tell which you are. If you constantly chase after the next great money making opportunity, if you buy e-book after e-book, software programs after software programs, special reports after special reports, and you still do not have a viable online venture, you are a business opportunity junkie. And you need to find a way to pull yourself out of this mindset.

Your first step is in understanding the damage you are doing to your mindset. Every time you fail to execute completely only because you believe that there is some other better opportunity out there, you undermine your own confidence. Over time your focus gets damaged, and without focus your chances of succeeding in the online environment are extremely slim.

Once you begin to understand at a core level that this approach is self-destructive, you will change your approach. And it is not difficult to do if you follow three easy steps. First put some value on your time relative to your dreams and objectives. The bigger your dreams, the more valuable your time. Every minute wasted on chasing the next great opportunity diminishes your dreams two-fold. In your mind, see your dreams being diminished for every minute you waste chasing another opportunity.

Second, realize that if you change focus only at the behest of some marketing whiz you are telling yourself what you are supposed to be focusing on is not worth the effort. Once you do that, you not only change focus, you diminish the energy needed to stay with your current project. In your mind, see the energy being depleted as a result of you changing focus unnecessarily.

Third develop a system to evaluate online business opportunities. By doing this, you are forced to become systematic in your approach, slowing down the urge to jump to the next hot opportunity. By adopting these three approaches, over a short time you will notice your urge to chase that other opportunity becoming less and less, and you will maintain focus enabling you to execute more effectively.

Do not destroy your dreams or undermine your efforts and skills by chasing the next hot online business opportunity. The most likely outcome of this approach is you becoming an online business opportunity junkie with the urge to acquire and acquire, and we know how you will end up satisfying those urges – most likely the acquisition of another e-book, another special report, another script, another piece of software, only for each to end up useless on your computer hard drive.