So you are ready to bring out the entrepreneur inside you. Or you could be already an established entrepreneur and would like to push the bar even higher. Whatever your situation is, this article will help you to start a profitable Internet business.
The first step is to decide on the commodity or service that you would like to trade in the Internet. If you are still not decided, here are some tips on how to choose:
Make a list of things that youíd like to do. Make each activity the heading of a clean sheet of paper.
On each activity sheet, list all types of business that can be related to such an activity. This is where you should be imaginative on new products that can be offered that is not yet in the market.
Encircle the businesses that can last even during crisis. Basic human needs such as food, shelter and clothing, for example, will have demand at any point in time, so these maybe businesses that will last. One of those encircled items maybe your business of choice.
Once you have a shortlist of businesses in mind, ask your self the following questions to narrow your choice further:
Will I enjoy doing this? Most successful businesses thrive because the owner is passionately dedicated to it. Thriving in a business requires endurance, especially during the start-up phase, so you must love what youíre doing in order to continue doing it for a long time.
Can I be an expert in this field? When you have a toothache, you donít go to the Family doctor and expect to be relieved of it. You naturally go to the dentist, because he specializes in tooth care and repair. Your intended internet business will be preferred by consumers if you are specialized in the field that you intend to do business in.
Will this succeed in an internet-based set-up? Traditional business schools will teach you that the location of your business is a key factor to its success. The Internet is, as any address, a good location for your business. In fact, since 2001, internet-based transactions have been growing exponentially from 14% to 44% per year. This alone can inspire every businessman out there to carve his own niche in the world of e-commerce!
If, after careful consideration, you are still not decided on what product or service to sell, there are other options into establishing an Internet Business, described below:
Resell Products You Bought in Bulk. If you are at a loss for your own product, why not sell those of others that already established their name? Wholesalers often sell at a lower price for those buying in big volumes regularly. This mode of Internet business is ideal for products that have not reached rural areas due to limited distribution capabilities.
Internet Business with Direct Sales. There are companies who choose direct sales as a mode of distribution for their product, that is, they do not go through retail stores or donít have their own retail chain. They partner with individuals or small companies to sell their products. The advantage of partnering with these Direct Sales companies is that they have established a structure for sales, marketing and after-sales support. All you have to do is apply those and you earn commission.
Affiliate Programs: This last type of Internet Business deals with marketing someone else's products by being their affiliate. By taking on an affiliate program, you are paid based on the percentage of sales made through your referral.
By now, you would have picked one specific business among the four types above. Now itís time to begin your e-venture.
Create a Business Plan. This step is important in the success of your Internet business. A well-written plan is specific narration of your businessí objective, strategies, financials and success measures. This will be the entrepreneur's guide in breathing life to his Internet business. Also, he can use this document as he invites investors, business partners or suppliers. The plan can be further developed into the business proposal, which he will use to entice his buyers.
Carve out your E-Niche. The best way to take a place in the Internet is to have your own website. Before learning how to crate one, you need to understand the following terms:
Web Host - the company that provides the network of computers to stores the files of web sites.
Domain is a group of networked computers that share a common communications address. Examples would be .com, .org, .ws. In order to obtain a place in this network of computers (e.g. www.yourbusinessname.com), one must register with the company owning (or more aptly hosting) the network and pay the corresponding fee.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. This is the standard way of specifying the location of oneís website. In the example, http://www.yourbusinessname.com, is the URL, and .com is the domain, where the URL is located.
Server - a computer hardware that that provides the file hosting services to other computers (like yours and mine) that access the websites it stores. Some web hosts can offer dedicated servers for websites, while other have multiple websites in a shared server. Depending on the reliability that your Internet Business requires and also the speed that your clients need in accessing and operating your website, you may choose between a dedicated and shared server. Consequently, prices for web hosting will vary.
Now that you understand those terms, you can think of a name for your Internet business in order to carve out your e-niche in the World Wide Web. Things to remember about naming your website:
It is best to purchase your own domain name instead of using a sub-domain for free. For example, a free name would be www.internetserviceprovider.com/yourbusinessname. A purchased domain name is www.yourbusinessname.com. To customers, having your own domain is more professional than being just a part of another business.
Pick a name that is easy to remember and immediately identifies your Internet business. If you are trading books over the Internet, for example, naming your website www.bookstore.com will ensure that all those looking for books will visit your website.
If your capital can afford it, buy all domain names that maybe closely related to your Internet business. By the above example, you may choose to buy also www.bookstore.us, www.book-store.com, etc. You may channel all those addresses into a single webpage (called domain forwarding), which ensures you have a monopoly of the trade.
Upon registration of your domain name, you will also sign-up with a Web hosting company. Make sure to research the best deals and offers of each company before signing up. Aside from file size (amount of data you can store in their server) and band width (speed of data transfer from your website to the users), ask about website designing, e-mail hosting, historical uptime (amount the server is up and running, you want this 100%), back-up schedule and 24/7 support. The last thing you want is for your business to suffer just because your clients cannot access your website whenever they need to.
Lastly, promote your Internet Business. The first step is to make sure that your website ends up in the top 10 listed sites of search engines like Yahoo, Google, etc, called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a beginner, you may opt to sign up with companies that do this professionally for a fee. However, you can also do it on your own by reading up on tips on how to do SEO.
Another way of promoting your Internet Business is to use your e-mail signature to inform your friends about your new website. You can easily program your e-mail to have an auto signature to include your website name and a catchy phrase to lure your readers into clicking it.
You can also have an affiliate program. Above, this was discussed as another Internet Business in itself, but it can also be a means of promoting your website. Affiliate program means asking other people to promote your website through their website or e-mail programs. Sale made from referrals by your affiliate will be tracked and will be the basis of their payment, as a percentage of the sale. This is a very effective tool in getting wider coverage for your Internet Business.
With the Internet Business still rocketing, there are endless possibilities !
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