Posted on April 28, 2000
By Todd W. Winslow
of 'TADD Marketing Group'
All too often, people tend to run before they learn to crawl. No, I'm not going to start talking about how to potty train your toddler. My point is simply this, without good planning and research prior to launching your business, the likelihood of your business failing within the first year is exceedingly high. (Don't despair if you've already jumped the gun, there's time to formulate a good business plan now - better late than never!)
Start by making a detailed business plan. You can get free templates and assistance from a multitude of online sources. A good business plan will help give your business focus, and may well bring to light issues and potential problems that you hadn't previously thought of. This will also help you to form a plan of action. This step is critical in fully developing your business idea, and will make launching your business much easier. If you've foreseen and corrected mistakes before they could actually occur, you'll save time, money and reduce your stress considerably. Once your business is up and running, don't forget to revisit your business plan from time to time. This will help keep you focused along the way and is a good measure of your success.
Marketing and Promotion:
A good marketing and promotion strategy should be made part of your initial planning phase. However, this will be changed and fine tuned many times over the life of your business. If you're new to marketing online, and even if you're not, I can't emphasize strongly enough the importance of education. Think of it like this, you wouldn't wake up one day and decide to start preforming brain surgery, now would you? I'm not saying online marketing is comparable to brain surgery, but I think you get my point. Purchasing a good Internet marketing course will pay big dividends in the future. The old "learn as you go," mentality, just doesn't make good business sense. Without at least a cursory education in Internet marketing, you will, without question, fall victim to at least a few scams and worthless programs. These set-backs will cost you time, money and much frustration. I would encourage anyone attempting to do business on the web to invest a little money very early on in a little education.
Keeping The Ball Rolling:
If you think you can put up a web site, place a few free classified ads, and submit your URL to a bunch of search engines, and suddenly be deluged by people rushing to place orders or join your programs, think again! It is possible to make a significant income from a simple web site working part time. However, let me emphasize the word, "working." Many people start an online business on the side, while keeping their regular jobs. That's fine, but this takes commitment, organization, and some hard work.
It's a good idea to make a work schedule, setting aside time to work on your business. Then, divide this time up into segments - marketing and promotion, web site development, search engine ranking and placement, customer service, products and programs, etc. It's okay to be flexible, but mapping out how you spend your time and then keeping that commitment, will make you much more productive, and in turn, much more profitable.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to overcome is ourselves. We all read about the huge profits being made online today, and it's easy to get caught up in the mind-set that if you're not making millions, your not successful. A good dose of reality often works best at times like these. We need to remember, for most of us, we don't have some venture capitalist putting up three million dollars to help launch our online businesses. Take pride and satisfaction in your accomplishments as you make them. These may be things as simple as getting ranked in the top ten listings on a few search engines, or some other positive reflection of your hard work.
It's important to set goals, both long term and short term.
Don't go nuts, set reasonable goals. Once you reach one, cross
it off the list and make a new one. Taking this, "small steps
to success," approach, will give you a sense of accomplishment
and pride. Let's not forget one very important thing, most
people only sit on the sidelines and dream of having their own
business. You, however, are in the game! Even if right now
you're not experiencing the level of success you had first
hoped, you're still doing something most only dream about. Give
yourself a pat on the back!
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