Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Stay Motivated

The last two weekends have been awesome for me, I was at an internet bootcamp with some of the best brains in the business of internet marketing, hosted by Frank Garon, I even picked a few autographs. Here is the line up at the event:

Derek Gehl,
Brian Ellis,
Neil strafford and Neil Traverse,
Ted Ciuba,
Willie Crawford,
Carl Gilletti,
Randy Charach,
Stephen pierce,
Len Thurman,
Mike Filsame,
Mark Anastasis

Get their products if you can, here are few tips

Amazing Ways To Jump Start Your Sales:

1.Find a strategic business partner. Look for ones that have the same objective. You can trade leads, share marketing info, sell package deals, etc.

2. Brand your name and business. You can easily do this by just writing articles and submitting them to e-zines or web sites for republishing.

3. Start an auction on your web site. The type of auction could be related to the theme of your site. You'll draw traffic from auctioneers and bidders.

4. Remember to take a little time out of your day or week to brainstorm. New ideas are usually the difference between success and failure.

5. Model other successful business or people. I'm not saying out right copy them, but practice some of the same habits that have made them succeed.

6. Take risks to improve your business. Sometimes businesses don't want to advertise unless it's free, sometimes you have to spend money to get results.

7. Include emotional words in your advertisements. Use ones like love, security, relief, freedom, happy, satisfaction, fun, etc.

8. Ask people online to review your web site. You can use the comments you get to improve your web site or you may turn the reviewer into a customer.

9. Out source part of your workload. You'll save on most employee costs. You could out source your secretarial work, accounting, marketing, etc.

10. Combine a product and service together in a package deal. It could increase your sales. If you're selling a book, offer an hour of consulting with it

Emmanuel Sodipo


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Write A Business Plan To Fast-Track Your Profits!(Homebusiness Ideas)

If you're serious about the success of your online business, then you need to find ways to give yourself every advantage you can over your competition. One strategy that I can almost GUARANTEE your competitors haven't tried is building customized blueprints that outline exactly how their businesses will succeed. The process of writing a business plan for your company can be a crucial step in getting your profits to where you want them to be.
If you're thinking, "But I'm just a one-person business working part-time out of my home... I don't need a business plan," think again! Unless you want your business to stay small and to keep your day job, you desperately need a business plan. It's one of the best ways to motivate yourself to drive your business to the next level.
And if your business is still just an idea in your head, and you've been wondering for months how to get started, here's your answer: Start planning! Clear your schedule this weekend, print off this article, and get down to business!
What's Your Purpose?
A business plan can serve a couple of main purposes: In the world of banking and venture capital, business plans play a huge role for people who are trying to secure start-up funding from banks or investors. The better the business plan, the better the chances of landing that big initial investment.
For smaller companies, who (luckily) do not need to rely on outside funding to get started, a business plan serves more as a company blueprint. It identifies the company's purpose, products, market, and goals, as well as the steps the company plans to take to reach those goals.
So before you start writing, you'll need to decide what purpose your business plan is going to serve. If you're writing a formal business plan to secure financing, you'll need to be far more concerned about detail and format than if you're just preparing one for your own personal use. No matter which approach you're taking, though, you need to know that there are 7 main sections that should be included in just about every business plan.
Section 1: The Executive Summary
The executive summary is basically your entire business plan condensed down into a page or two (at the most). If and when you show your business plan to others, this is the only part that 75% of them will actually read. For this reason, you need to make this section as clear, concise, and exciting as possible.
Your executive summary should contain a few key items. You'll want to start out with a brief description of exactly what your business does, who your market is, and what opportunity you've identified as the inspiration for your business. Explain what sets your company apart from others in the same field.
You'll also need to discuss financial information such as projected revenues and, if you'll be using this business plan to secure financing, how much money you need and what you will be using it for. Don't go into too much financial detail in this section. You'll just want to include the most important figures.
Also, be sure to mention your company's achievements, including all of the milestones reached to date. Even if all you've done so far is register a domain name, put together a web site, or file a patent application, be sure to include this information in this section of your business plan.
Section 2: Description of Business
This section will contain an in-depth description of your company, including what products or services you sell, who your customers are, what your operating structure is (Are you a wholesaler? A reseller? A manufacturer?), the legal details of your company (Is it a corporation? A partnership? A sole proprietorship?), and your distribution methods.
This is the section of your business plan where you will identify what makes your company unique and where you'll address the following questions:
What are you offering that others aren't?
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Why will people choose to do business with you instead of other players in the same marketplace?
If you've already been in business for awhile, you will also want to use this section to talk about the history of the company. Talk about what inspired you to start the company and how fast it is growing. Address the more concrete details as well, such as how much equipment you own or lease and where your office is located.
Section 3: Market Strategies
Think of this section as your marketing plan. This is where you'll want to go into detail regarding who your target market is and how you intend to sell to them. This section will contain information about how big your audience is, how fast it is growing, and how large you expect your market share to be.
Some great sites where you can start this research are:
CyberAtlas -- http://cyberatlas.internet.com/
Nua Internet Surveys -- http://www.nua.ie/surveys/
MarketResearch.com -- http://www.marketresearch.com/
In this section, you will also talk about how you intend to market your product or service to your target audience. Will you focus on pay-per-click search engine traffic? Banner advertising? E-zine sponsorships? How much do you expect to spend on advertising, and what sort of return do you expect from those advertising dollars?
Be sure to think carefully about which marketing strategies to include here. Don't just list off every single advertising technique you can think of. You need to realistically evaluate all the possibilities, and then focus on the two or three marketing techniques that will produce the biggest return on investment.
If you think this sounds like a lot of work just for a business plan, think again! This is the kind of legwork and research you should be doing anyway! And once you've figured out how much your marketing and advertising is going to cost, you can put together a schedule of how much you can afford to spend on various campaigns each month.
Section 4: Competitive Analysis
The competitive analysis section of your business plan is where you explain, in detail, the strengths and weaknesses of your main competitors. This will allow you to realistically determine where you can position your business in the market in relation to your competition.
Make sure to do an honest appraisal of who your competition is. If your site is selling board games, your main competition is NOT Toys 'R' Us. Instead, your biggest competitors are other niche sites that focus on selling board games. These are the sites that you can realistically expect to compete with for customers interested in buying your products online.
Nevertheless, you should still pay attention to the "major players" in your competitive analysis. Take a look at how they are marketing to board game buyers, and what areas they are lacking in. Based on your research, you should be able to capitalize on the weaknesses of others in your market space and snatch customers away from them by positioning your offer to meet a need that everyone else is neglecting.
A great tool for doing competitive analysis is http://www.alexa.com/, which allows you to discover how much traffic your competitors are getting in relation to your site and see who they are linking to. Compare your own traffic ranking to your competitors' traffic rankings in Alexa every month or so. This way, you'll be able to gauge your progress against your competition. Spend some time getting familiar with this site -- it will become an invaluable resource tool for you!
Section 5: Development Plan and/or Operational Strategy
If your company is still in the developmental stage (with no product and/or no revenues), this is the section where you will explain how you are going to bring your company into the marketplace. The best way to do this is to write out a development timeline with the projected completion dates for various milestones your company will need to reach before it can start making sales.
This is the section where you must plan to profit! Failing to do so is one of the most common mistakes made by businesses. All too often, people just set up shop without ever really planning exactly HOW they are going to become profitable!
If your business is already up and running, but is not currently generating a profit (if your revenues are not enough to cover your operating expenses), then this is where you will need to identify how you will make up the shortfall until you become profitable. For many home-based businesses, the difference is drawn from the owner's savings or income from another job.
Regardless of what stage you're at, you should still include a table of projected milestones for your business in this section. Estimate the month and year of the important milestones that you plan to achieve over the next 1 to 2 years. This not only looks great, it also reminds you of your goals every time you refer back to your plan.
Section 6: Management
This section is especially important if you are going to be using your business plan to secure funding. I can guarantee that after a prospective investor reads through your Executive Summary, they will flip directly to your Management section before reading anything else. They'll want to get a clear idea of "who" your company is -- after all, a business idea is only as good as the people behind it!
So this is where you introduce your management team or, if you are the only person involved in your business, explain why you are qualified to be running the company. Focus on your strengths and achievements from your previous ventures or jobs, and explain in detail how those qualities transfer to your business.
Make sure to go into detail about what makes you uniquely qualified to operate this sort of business. What special skills do you bring to the company? How do your areas of expertise give you a distinct advantage over people operating similar companies?
If you have accountants, lawyers, or consultants advising you in an official (paid) capacity, you can mention their names, duties, and qualifications here as well. However, you need to be sure to get their permission before putting their names in your business plan.
Section 7: Financials
If you've had a chance to look through a few business plans before, you'll have noticed that the last half of these documents are filled with balance sheets, earnings projections, capital requirements, depreciation estimates, and dozens of other highly detailed financial statements.
Don't let all these numbers put you off! If you aren't going to be using your business plan to solicit capital from outside sources, you won't need 90% of this stuff. Instead, focus on your monthly income and monthly expenses. The best way to do this is to put together a simple 12-month cash flow forecast.
Here's how to do it:
First, estimate how much your business will earn on a monthly basis. Include all your sales, cash you'll be drawing from your savings, or money your business has been loaned. This is your "Total Cash In."
Next, determine what your monthly expenses will be. This should include things like advertising costs, office expenses like phone bills and stationary, the cost of your inventory, equipment purchases, loan repayments, as well as whatever cash you'll be drawing out of the business for your personal living expenses. This will be your "Total Cash Out."
Now, simply subtract your "Total Cash Out" from your "Total Cash In" to get your monthly "Net Cash Flow." If you see that your Net Cash Flow is a negative number, you're losing money! If that number stays negative for the entire 12 months, you're going to need to re-evaluate your business plan... and figure out a way to increase sales or decrease expenses!
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can see why it is so important to be honest with yourself when writing your business plan! If you exaggerate the sales you think you'll bring in, your whole business model will be damaged when those sales don't materialize. So much for that hefty advertising budget you planned, as well as the generous salary you hoped to pay yourself!
Do-It-Yourself vs. Hiring Out
If you are going to be using your business plan as a tool to attract capital from banks or investors, then your business plan will need to be MUCH more detailed than if you are preparing it for personal use. If you need some extra help preparing a highly detailed plan, you have a few choices. You can:
Hire a professional business plan consultant to work with you,
Hire an accountant to help you prepare the "Financials" section of your business plan, or
Purchase a full-featured business plan software program.
If you do decide to have a professional write your business plan for you, be aware that the costs vary tremendously! A basic 15-page business plan could cost you anywhere between $500 and $5,000, depending on who you hire. (And a detailed business plan, which can often exceed 100 pages, can easily cost as much as $25,000 -- but these are for companies looking for millions of dollars of start-up capital.)
To locate someone to write your business plan for you, just type "business plans" into any search engine -- you'll find tons of companies that specialize in this sort of thing. You can also have professional writers bid on your business plan project at http://www.elance.com/. The going rate for a business plan here seems to be between $750 and $1,500.
There are quite a few business plan software programs out there. One of the best seems to be Business Plan Pro 2003, available at http://www.bplans.com/ for $99.95. Other options are PlanWrite, located at http://www.brs-inc.com/pwrite.html for $129.95 and BizPlan Builder, priced at $99.99, at http://www.jian.com/.
If you are running a one- or two-person company out of your home or small office, you probably won't need to hire a professional to work on your business plan. This option is really more for people who will be using their business plans to attract investors or secure bank loans. Most small business owners should be able to write their business plans themselves.
And unless you are going to be trying to land big investors, I really don't recommend hiring a professional to write your business plan for you. You'll learn so much about your business and your competitors doing it yourself that it would be a shame to let someone else go through the process for you!
Business Plan Resources:
I've hand-picked a few of my favorite online business plan resources to share with those readers who might be looking for a little more information:
The United States Small Business Administration has an excellent resource online at http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexbusplans.html. They provide an online tutorial to help you write your business plan, and their site also contains all the information you'll need if you plan on trying to get a Small Business Administration loan or grant.
The Yahoo! Small Business Center has a good section about business plans at http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/resources/business_plans.html
The Annual Moot Corp Competition challenges top MBAs from around the world to submit their business plans to be evaluated by a panel of investors. The winning entries from the past few years are online at http://www.businessplans.org/MootCorp.html
Palo Alto Software has developed a program called Business Plan Pro 2003 (priced at $99.95) that will walk you through the creation of your own business plan. But even if you aren't interested in their software, check out their site at http://www.bplans.com/ for a huge archive of sample business plans that you can read for no charge.
You can also find a wealth of information about business plans at your local library or bookstore. The Business section will have tons of books explaining how to write business plans, as well as books with hundreds of sample business plans for you to look at.
Final Thoughts:
Once you've written your business plan, you'll be amazed at how often you refer to it. It will become your "battle plan," as well as the tool you'll use to measure how close you are to meeting your goals -- or by how much you're surpassing them! You can even show your business plan to prospective joint venture partners, potential employees, or advertisers. Believe me, a professional-looking business plan will give you a TON of credibility simply because most businesses never take the time to prepare one.
If you're thinking about starting a business, but you're not quite sure how, writing out a business plan can be a great way to get things moving. It's also a great way to evaluate how good that idea of yours really is. For many people, the process of writing a business plan shows them that their business can make even more money than they originally thought! Now that's motivation!
If you're already running an online business, the process of writing a business plan can help you decide exactly what aspects of your business are succeeding and which areas could be improved upon. When you do an in-depth analysis of your marketplace, your customers, and your competitors, you'll be amazed by how much you can learn!
And be sure to make your business plan a perpetual "work in progress." Go back and review it every three months, and make changes where necessary. If your sales are twice what you expected, go back and update the figures in your business plan. This ensures that your map to profitability is always right up to date.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Holiday Season (Homebusiness Ideas)
It is time to cash in on the most active online season by applying these seven adjustment
AN OPT-IN OFFER :Make an offer that speaks to the needs of holiday shoppers. For example, you could put together a "Holiday Buying Guide" that tells people more about your products and explains why they'd make great gifts.

HOLIDAY SPECIALS AND DISCOUNTS: Make sure you offer some special deals on your products to entice your visitors to buy! How about an early-bird deal if your customers make a purchase before a certain date? Or a special discount for those panicky last-minute shoppers? You could offer a two-for-one deal, or even a "holiday gift set" that combines two or more of your products in a gift-ready package!

YOUR SHIPPING INFORMATION: If you're able to offer free or discounted shipping, be sure to include some mention of it in the top fold of your site.

PROVIDE SHIPPING GUARANTEE: Customers should know their gifts will arrive in time. You'll want to put it where your customers can see it right away, at the top of your right- or left-hand sidebar.

YOUR RETURN POLICY: Be sure to let your customers know you offer a no-questions-asked return policy for a certain period after the holidays. It'll give them the extra boost of confidence they need to make a purchase.

FREE GIFT-WRAPPING SERVICE: It's another great way to give your customers an extra perk without much additional cost to you. For the cost of some paper and ribbon, you can make any humble package look like a fabulous holiday gift!

URGENCY BUILDERS: Another thing you could include in your first fold is a little "countdown" box that tells your visitors exactly how many days are left to Christmas, or to the shipping deadline for gifts to arrive in time. It might give them the extra "kick in the butt" they need to make a buying decision. Alternatively, you could install a Hover Ad with an urgent holiday timing message that lets them know exactly how long they've got to make a gift purchase



Monday, October 16, 2006

Time Management Skills (Homebusiness Ideas)
The ability to gain 1-3 hours a day in productive time can translate into 7-21 hours a week, 30-90 hours a month, 360-1180 hours a year. That's 9 to 27 forty-hour work weeks in productivity that can be gained by implementing and consistently using effective time management techniques--I said 9-27 forty-hour weeks by gaining 1-3 hours a day!

Add 1-2 hours a day through delegating, skill improvement, multi-tasking and improved focus. These are things that anyone can do to add more time to their day.
Yes, there are only 24 hours in each day, but we can maximize those hours by working "smarter" rather than longer, and employing other skills along with our time management

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ways To Anchor Down More Sales (Homebusiness Ideas)

1. Multiply your marketing and advertising efforts
on the Internet. You can accomplish this by starting
an affiliate program or using viral marketing.

2. Increase your ratio of visitors that purchase your
product(s). You could change your headline, offer a
stronger guarantee, add testimonials, etc.

3. Find out who are your strongest leads for buying
your product by offering a free ezine. The visitors
that are very interested will subscribe to it.

4. Team up with your competition by starting an
association for your specific industry. It could lead
to a profitable partnership with them.

5. Publish an e-zine for your employees. This could
motivate them to do a better job or fill them in on
were your business is headed

6. Search for your business' name in newsgroups
and discussion boards. Some of the comments you
find could help you improve your business

7. Attract people to link to your web site. You could
offer them a discount on the products you sell or
give them free stuff for linking.

8. Develop your own opt in email list by giving your
visitors a reason to give you their e-mail address.
Allow them sign up to free stuff and contests.

9. Create a "PR" web page for your business. List
information that could be considered newsworthy
for e-zines, newspapers, magazines, etc.

10. Give your business and products credibility by
linking to web sites that have written positive stories
about your business.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Be a Better Blogger (Homebusiness Ideas)

1: Define your purpose
The first step in creating a better blog is to ask yourself why you're blogging. What's the purpose of your blog? If you want to write about your field of expertise sometimes and your favorite political party at other times, it might be beneficial to maintain two separate blogs. Speaking of readers, an important element in defining your purpose is to know your audience. That will help you determine the voice and writing style that's appropriate for those you're addressing.
In keeping with your blog's purpose, you should have a defined theme. For example, if the purpose of your blog is to express political opinions, the theme might be to promote a low-tax, nonintrusive government.

#2: Create visual appeal
Your blog site should also be visually appealing, or at least visually neutral. You don't want to scare away prospective readers or have them leave in frustration because the page is distracting or unreadable.
You can use color, font styles, and graphics to set the mood and tone--just make sure the tone matches the content. Whatever your theme, it's best to avoid dark letters on a dark background, tiny or overly fancy typefaces, and other elements that make your blog hard to read.
If your blog is hosted on a public blog site, you may be limited in how much you can change the design, but there will usually be a number of preconfigured visual themes you can choose from. Keep audience appeal and readability in mind when selecting one.

#3: Use the proper tools
You can create a blog using any WYSIWYG HTML editor, such as FrontPage (soon to be replaced by Microsoft Expression Web Designer), Macromedia Dreamweaver, or the Amaya open source editor endorsed by W3C. You can even use a text editor like Notepad to compose the HTML code.
However, blogging is made much easier, faster, and more convenient if you use a dedicated blogging program or the features of a blogging Web site that lets you compose posts in the Web browser or via e-mail.
If your blog is hosted on a free public blog site, such as Blogger or Windows Live Spaces, you can write your posts in your e-mail client and send them to a special address you're given when you create your account. For many, this is the easiest way to post, although it doesn't show you the formatting.
Another alternative is to use a blog program such as WordPress, Movable Type, Post2Blog, or Windows Live Writer, which offer various useful features. lets you put a button on the toolbar in IE so that if you want your blog to reference a Web site you're visiting, you can highlight the text you want to quote and click Blog It. This opens Live Writer and inserts the link and the quoted text in your blog. You can publish to your blog on Live Spaces or other popular blogs with a single click.

#4: Make it easy to navigate
If you're designing your blog site from scratch, it's important to make it easy for readers to get around and do what they want to do. For instance, if you're using comments and RSS feeds, make sure it's clear to readers how to post a comment or subscribe to the feed.
You should also make it easy for readers to find past posts. Make sure archives are organized logically--not just in chronological order but in categories to make it easier to find particular posts.
If your blog is hosted on a public blog site, you can usually change the arrangement of page elements, add or eliminate elements (often called modules), and otherwise influence the navigability of the page. Keep clutter to a minimum but be sure to include the elements that readers need.
Make your site searchable, if possible, so users can find posts using keywords. You can put a free Google search box on your site (for more information, see http://www.google.com/searchcode.html#both).

#5: Stay in one place
Many bloggers experiment with different blog hosting sites and/or with hosting their own sites, especially early on in their blogging experience. It may take you awhile to find the best setup, but try to do so as soon as possible and then stay in one place so your readers can find you. Moving around to different URLs too often is sure to lose you some readers.
If you have an established blog and it's necessary to move it to a different address, try to publish a last post on the old blog that points readers to the new blog and leave it up as long as possible.

#6: Engage your readers
Perhaps the most important factor in attracting and keep readers is establishing a relationship with them. Even interesting content is rendered less interesting if we don't know who's talking (writing) to us. Tell your readers who you are and something about yourself.
You need not go into a lot of personal details if your blog is political or professional, and in some cases you may not even want to reveal your real name (especially, for example, if you're posting derogatory information about your employer or the police chief in your small town). But don't just remain nameless; give readers a pseudonym by which to identify you and tell them generalities about yourself that will lend you credibility without blowing your cover. For instance, you might say that you're a middle-age male who lives in Texas and has worked in the telecommunications industry.
If you don't have a reason to keep your identity confidential, you may be able to benefit (attract the attention of headhunters in your field, become recognized as an expert in a particular area, etc.) by using your real name and providing contact information.
Regardless of whether you reveal your true identity, you can engage readers by interacting with them through the comments feature or by providing an e-mail address and responding to their input. You can, of course, use a free Webmail address or other alternative to your primary address if you want to protect your identity and/or avoid spam.
Engaging readers involves winning their trust and thinking of the reader first. If you make claims, back them up with cites and links. If possible, don't link to sites that require a subscription or even free registration (or if you must, warn readers).

#7: Establish a blogging schedule
Blog readers are a fickle bunch. Once you've drawn an audience, they expect to find new content when they visit your blog. That doesn't mean you have to post every day, but you should establish a minimum blogging schedule and stick to it. Let readers know, preferably in a static text box at the top of your blog page, that you will update the blog daily, weekly, on Mondays and Fridays, or whatever. Then do it--even if some of your posts aren't particular profound or long. Readers will abandon your blog if they think you've abandoned them.
If you need to deviate from your schedule (for example, you're going on vacation for two weeks or you'll be in the hospital or you have a family or job emergency), let readers know that you won't be posting at the regular time and give them an idea of when you'll be back.

#8: Keep it concise
Speaking of posts that aren't particularly profound or long, don't think you have to wait until you have something brilliant to say before you post or put off posting because you don't have time to write War and Peace today. In truth, most readers have short attention spans and/or crowded schedules themselves and would prefer to read a short, pithy post rather than a long, complex one.
If you do post lengthy pieces, break them up into short paragraphs to make them more readable. There's nothing more daunting to a reader than a huge mass of unbroken text, no matter how skillful your turn of phrase.
You'll also attract more readers with common words than with obscure ones, so unless you're writing for a particularly scholarly audience, follow the old KISS advice: Keep it simple, sweetheart.

#9: Proofread before publishing
Even if you're an English professor, it's easy to end up with typographical errors, misspellings, and grammatical flaws in your posts if you don't proofread before you hit the Publish button. Especially if you're writing in the heat of passion or inspiration, your typing fingers can get ahead of your thoughts and cause words to be omitted or transposed, commas to appear in the wrong places, or sentences to become garbled.
Maybe you pride yourself on not adhering strictly to the rules, but presumably, you still want your readers to understand what you're saying. That complex sentence that seemed so brilliant in composition may read a little awkwardly once you see it on the screen.
It's difficult to catch mistakes in your own writing, because you tend to fill in what you thought you typed, rather than see what's really there. This is particularly true immediately after writing. If possible, have someone else proofread your post before you publish it. Otherwise, let it "cool off" for an hour or a day so you can approach it with a more objective proofreader's eye.
And although it's best to catch mistakes before they're published, one huge advantage of Web content is that, unlike print copy, it's easy to change if you discover a problem after publication.

#10: Go syndicate yourself
You don't have to wait for readers to come to your blog every day or every week. Instead, you can take your blog to them. Use RSS to feed your new blog posts to readers who sign up. This makes it easier for your readers, who don't have to remember to visit your blog Web site to check for new posts--and whatever makes it easier for readers is good for authors. You can syndicate just your post titles, short summaries, or entire posts.
Most public blog hosting sites give you the option to syndicate your blog, and it's usually as easy as clicking a button or two in the configuration interface.