Starting a Home Based Business - Is That Your Dream?
Many people dream of starting a home based business - today, there is nothing stopping you but you. Anyone with a web connection, a plan, and the drive and talent to follow it through can be a successful entrepreneur.
One of the most difficult portions of getting started is that there are a few basic things you need to accomplish prior to commencement.
1. Write a business plan. Every business needs a plan, but because internet businesses are often not anchored by real-life objects like stores, it's especially important when starting online home based businesses. Your business plan needs to include market research, an assessment of other businesses that do things similar to what you're offering, an outline of who your anticipated customers are, and your financial goals.
It is essential that your business plan includes a clear set of actions to generate steady traffic. This is a special, yet essential part of online business success.
Every business needs a store to visit and online is no different. In order to sell your wares, you'll need a storefront in the form of a website. a. your business home page is all about you, your business and the services offered. It is a portal or doorway to what you are selling and it's like decorating a window with all of your sales and products. b. You'll need something to keep customers on your site: a squeeze page, survey, or fun poll, maybe, free downloads, good pictures, reviews, an online community - you get the idea. Offers of goodies will make your webpage memorable and act as an incentive to return. c. a way to find out who your customers are: a forum to sign them up, the offer of a newsletter with freebies, or just a coupon or free offer in exchange for their signing up with your site. Don't be greedy; make it easy for your customers to give you basic information, and then follow up later to get more information from them if you need it with surveys, more free offers, or just extracting data from an order form.
3. Write a sales plan. This can be as simple (or complex, depending on how you look at it) as an online sales letter, or as complex as an ad-driven marketing push involving multiple medias. Most go with the sales letter. It's critical that you get this piece right, so make sure you know what you're doing before you build it.
4. Test you system. Ask for feedback about what's good and what's not on your sales page. Look at it critically yourself. The biggest sales stopper for new online businesses is sales copy with problem. It could be as simple as the copy is boring. It doesn't grab the reader or give them an incentive to read past the headline. Have your friends and relatives read and test the sales copy, then tweak it and have them do it again. After you think it's the best it can be and you have a stable system, test it from time to time and every time you make a change just to make sure it continues to work.
5. Build profits. Now that your business is online, up and running, build your product line. Focus on back-end products which are the ones that are not on the front page. Sell your current customers more stuff once they trust you. This is a warm market and really where your profits come from. New customers are cold; they hesitate, wonder if you will deliver a quality product for their money. Give them free stuff with their initial purchase so that they get to know you and your credibility grows.
6. Revisit all these steps periodically. The Internet is changing so rapidly, it's hard to keep up with it. More than traditional businesses, you need to keep checking progress and revisiting goals to ensure your business is doing what it should be doing.
If all of this sounds like hard work, look at it this way: you won't need to buy suits, commute to work or go to lunch with people you dislike. No more boring business meetings. Forget the voicemail! And, best of all, no more answering to the boss who knows less than you. In the end, you are growing your dream and not someone else's dream. And that makes it all worth it!
Published March 25th, 2008