Starting An Online Business – What To Do

When starting an online business, the following important facts can be a difference between success or failure:

A. You need to choose the business model that is based on your expertise, skills and time or money you have to invest into the business. You can choose from the following 3 business models:

1. E-commerce,
2. Affiliate marketing or
3. Lead generation.

In the case of e-commerce, you are going to sell either physical products or digital products. In case of affiliate marketing, you will be sending traffic to another products or services provider and get paid for it. If it’s lead generation it will require skills such as email marketing.

B. Be honest with yourself. Do you have any business experience offline or any other business experience. Do you know what running a business involves and do you have the skills needed.In the beginning you can not outsource everything because you need to build a system first and later have people following and working the system. In order to do that you need many skills and being a strategic thinker is not enough.

C. One thing is starting an online business, which in itself takes skills and market research etc but you need to have a short term and a long term plan. That will depend on your own circumstances because one shoe does not fit all when it comes to your personal abilities, skills and circumstances.

D. Choose your market niche carefully. Before starting an online business it’s crucial that you do your market research on your niche. First, is there enough buyers out there who are searching for those money keywords that you have to find in the first place. If the market in that niche is big, is there too much competition and how long are you prepared to climb the SEO ladder, competing with these established businesses and so on. Or maybe there is not enough buyers in that niche, so the fact that there is little competition out there could mean that you should not pursue that market niche because there simply is not much money spent out there.

E. Do you have a unique approach, product or service or one that will distinguish yourself from all the others out there competing against each other.

F. Are you prepared to work many times harder and longer, at least initially, when starting an online business, than you would working for someone else, because it can get discouraging and lonely out there on your own. You make all the decisions about every aspect of your business and have to live and take responsibility for everything including results, be it success or failure.

G. Do you know the difference between starting an online business and having a business as a result or starting an online business and ending up being a slave to it and working harder and longer hours than before. So you need to think ahead about being able to have the business basically run itself on autopilot by leveraging what you are good at and concentrating on it while having others do all the rest of the work. There is simply not enough time and it doesn’t make business sense to try to do most of the things your self. I have found that out the hard way.

When starting an online business initially you don’t realize how many different things have to work properly and how things change fast online. Google keeps changing it’s rules, what worked few months ago let alone years ago, doesn’t work at all anymore and the online tools and technology keeps running ahead of you.

After saying all that, starting an online business and making money from it, is many times easier, less costly and less riskier than most offline businesses. Even so there are countless number of beginners out there who try making money online and a great majority of them fail miserably and loose money in the process.

However, I think that most of these people, even the ones with a good mindset, probably didn’t even succeed in starting an online business, let alone having a business to make money with. Rather, most people look for push button, business in a box models that are going to make them thousands overnight with very little or no effort. Instead they should focus on building a business, getting skills and providing top products and/or services to buyers who are searching for those types of products or services, and they should be thinking more long term.

Insourcing for Success – An Integral Part of Your Business Strategy

Insourcing is now a “real” option for any business with a distributed workforce.

Thanks to the advances in technology that have seen the migration to “cloud working”, you now have a new option available in your company toolkit and need to determine how it best fits within your business. When considering insourcing as part of your strategy, it can be viewed as an excellent standalone option but equally it can complement other options that you have in place today e.g. outsourcing.

The trick to insourcing effectively is identifying how you can build it in to your corporate strategy, alongside any other options, and then refining your initial solution as the situation dictates. The initial step is to understand the benefits of insourcing and the advantages it can bring to your organization.

So let’s be clear, when I talk about insourcing I mean: “using the available expertise from within other departments / offices across your organization to complete the work i.e. “identifying and using the spare capacity within your existing business (no matter where they are) to get work completed”.

Some of the key advantages of insourcing are:

• Cost Control – make use of the people you are already paying for instead of spending your hard-earned dollars outside of your business on someone else’s resource.

Reduce staff churn – Insourcing is about identifying your available resource (which will change constantly) and spreading the workload. This can provide new opportunities for staff and can provide much needed assistance to the ones that are already over worked. Spreading the load and having staff that feel as if they are contributing without being burnt out provides for a much happier and productive workplace.

No additional HR / Recruitment costs – By identifying the resource that you have available at any given time you are finding spare capacity and capability that you have within your business. By sharing the work across this pool, it means you don’t need to hire in additional temporary staff or contractors to complete the work. This will provide significant savings dependent on the level of advertising and recruitment fees you normally pay for.

• Less downtime – by using staff that are already within your organization you will prevent costly delays that occur when new people are brought on as they learn your systems / tools and processes.

Retain your Intellectual Property (I.P.) – you have worked hard to develop your I.P. so use insourcing to keep this valuable knowledge within your organization rather than outsourcing it and risking possible security breaches.

(There are many more advantages when using insourcing and you can find additional information by Googling the “Benefits of Insourcing”) Identifying the advantages / benefits that pertain to your specific situation will determine how you can best build this into your business strategy.

The second key step is identifying your available resource and any hidden skills / talents that they may have (People take specific jobs for a variety of reasons but that does not mean that they are not fully competent in other disciplines or have other skills that you are unaware of). You can use several methods to accomplish this i.e. conducting a staff survey, some sort of tracking sheet that your resource managers control or an off the shelf application that is affordable and can easily be integrated within your business.

The third key step is to take account of this resourcing / talent pool and build it into your business strategy. Look at the talent you now have available and the existing strengths within your organization to determine the key activities that can and should be kept within your business to protect your I.P. You should also determine which activities (if any) could or should be outsourced.

The final step is to implement a method of managing the work across your available resource pool (remember the availability of staff within this pool will be constantly changing). When implementing a solution you need to keep the following points in mind;

Cloud working – sharing work electronically has never been easier or faster and makes for a good option in many situations

• Simplicity – a simple, intuitive solution will be easier to implement with better uptake amongst your staff

Low administration overhead – the quickest way to kill a new idea is to make it a burden to use so make sure you implement something that is effective without being a burden.

At times, it will be important to have people together in the one location, which may involve short term secondments but there will be many situations where work can be undertaken remotely using readily available technology that you already have in place (or can implement easily).

Insourcing is now a viable option that allows you to enhance your existing business strategies and leverage the talent you already have to increase your overall business effectiveness.

Laundry Business – How To Do Self Assessment

Self-assessment on whether to do laundry business or not is quite a challenging task. But it must be done. Nobody fully understands your limitations and capabilities but yourself. Laundry business can start small and later on grow to unimaginable heights if done right. However, just like any other businesses that you’d want to venture in, you must answer these basic questions for yourself – “Why”, “What”, “Where”, “How” and “Who”.

1. Why

This is the first important question you have to answer before going to the rest of the questions. Why would you want to get involved in a laundry business considering there are and there will always be a handful of fierce competitors? Is this because of passion? Is it because of what you’ve heard from friends that it’s a profitable business? Do you have a readily available game plan? Or is it because it’s easy to set up? Research fervently, think repeatedly and solicit opinions from your family, neighbors, office mates and friends. All opinions matter. Your answer to this will lead you to your next action plans.

2. What

What do you think are the things that can make a laundry business profitable? Do you have an existing market, an idle space, lots of time, an extra manpower who can man your station or an unused delivery truck or pick up? These are some of the things that you can already take advantage of if you indeed go to laundry business. Otherwise, revisit some other stuffs that you have easy access to that might still push you for that particular business rather than a salon, spa, carwash or food cart businesses. One of these could be an ally who distributes quality and affordable detergent powder, fabric conditioner, finishing spray and the like. If you have friends or relatives who are suppliers to your probable consumables, then that’s a good starting point.

3. Where

Is your idle space near an existing market? Are you targeting college students, busy professionals, condo unit owners, subdivision residents as your viable market? Can your idle location handle about 2-4 washing machines, 1-2 driers, some cabinets and tables? Your location is very important. Without the market near you, you will have lesser walk-in clients and that you might spend too much on fuel for your deliveries. Thus, location is a big factor in considering a laundry business.

4. How

Ask yourself if you can do this – first, you need to research your targeted area’s surroundings online and offline. How many are there in the industry? Who are their target markets? Secondly, do you think they’re earning? Try to be a customer and observe how are they doing. How do they operate? Try to gather as much information as possible about your top 3-5 competitors. Study what they can and cannot do. Build your strategies from those facts. Surely, you’ll have a unique proposition that you can offer to certain markets. If you think you have a new game plan to attack a certain market, by all means proceed.

5. Who

Finally, check out who in your circle of influences should you connect to in laundry business? You should have a good connection to your vendors supplying your hardwares (esp. washing machines and driers). As much as possible, look for good buys. Brand new branded equipment may be a bit high but they would normally last longer than the used ones. Remember, there are EULs in these equipment. The longer the End of Useful Life is, the better. Check the warranty and servicing conditions as well. Business may stop if these machines fail to function. Thus, brand new or not, they should be in good condition. Aside from the hardware, see to it that you’ll have good credit terms for your consumables (detergent powder, liquid detergent, fabric conditioner, finishing spray or even the plastics that you’ll use in delivering your goods). If you can maintain suppliers of high quality products of reasonable pricing, then you have a great chance of sustaining your loyal patrons.

Now that you’ve assessed the pros and cons, are you ready to put your feet forward?

You should…