How to Start Your Own Online Business Empire

Forbes Magazine approximates that 40 million people will want to start their own business online. The reason is because more and more people are realizing that entrepreneurship may be the only way to their heart’s desire. That being said, more and more people are wondering how they would go about starting a business online.

Starting a business online is actually easier than what most people think. It’s actually easier than starting a business offline (brick-and-mortar). The reason is because starting a business online doesn’t have the big headaches that come with starting a business offline. Starting offline, you have to get A LOT of money, find a commercial zoned space for your business (the zoning has to relate to what type of business you’re running), and sometimes, finding employees which just brings in more headaches. On the other hand, starting a business online is almost completely opposite. You don’t need too much capital (money to start a business), you could work at home (or anywhere you can get internet), and you can do most of the work yourself. Though all that may be true, still, starting a business (online or offline) first requires research.

Research is probably one of the biggest hurdles future millionaires have gone through. Even if you were to join a home based business, like an MLM (Multi Level Marketing) for example, you would still need to do some research. What I mean is that there are things you still must consider when joining any business (especially with all the HYPE going around on the internet). If you would like more information on how to find the right business opportunity to join, then read my article:

You see, when business owner does thorough research in the beginning, he/she is able to plan their business much more effectively. Trust me, planning the business is very important. Without a solid plan, there will be no solid business. In fact, lots of people get so excited in starting a business, especially the ones that join already formed businesses (MLM, Network Marketing, Business Opportunities), that they inevitably forget to plan right. Here’s a saying in the business that may get you in the right mindset of entrepreneurship: “If you FAIL to PLAN, you PLAN to FAIL.” Simple as that.

So now, you’re probably wondering what should you research. Well, before we get into that, you must understand that a business is, in all it’s purity, a solution to a problem. Think about it, McDonalds has the solution to the “I’m hungy. What should we eat?” problem. Home Depot has the solution to improve your home. Any business you see out there, is a solution to a problem. So, what you need to research is what solution are you going to provide? Are you going to provide great advice on how to get more healthy and fit? Are you going to provide a solution to those who need money? Are you going to provide a solution to those that are having problems with their spouses?

There are a lot of problems out there. However, one person can’t solve them all. But then again, one person can solve one problem. What abilities do you posses that might be a solution to a problem? What passions do you have that may constitute as a solution to a problem? These type of questions are the questions you ask when you are starting a business. What you are essentially doing is trying to find the right market. For example: Maybe you love the idea of weddings. Well, then your market is, yes you guessed, The Wedding Market. Simple right?

Yes, it is simple finding a market. However, that’s just the first step. The next thing to do is break it down. You need to find what we call a “niche” in the market. The reason being is because just wedding is too general. Lets put it this way: McDonald’s is in the fast food industry (Wedding). However, they don’t serve all kinds of fast food. Their specialty are hamburgers (Niche). So, their Market is fast food, and their niche is hamburgers. So with the wedding market, the niche can be wedding dresses. Another niche of wedding would be wedding planning. There are a ton of niches in each market. The simplest way to find the one you’re going to be successful at is one where you will have passion about. After all, you got to be enthusiastic about your product right?

After the initial research stage, your next step would be to open up shop. You’re probably wondering how to do that. It’s simple really. First, you have to think a name of your shop. This may become a little difficult. I say so because, as stated in the beginning of the article, about 40 million people want to start an online business. That means, the name you want for your shop can already be taken. Just get a little creative, and you could end up owning a BRAND name.

Do You Have What it Takes to Start an Online Business

The recession is here and it hit you bad. You got laid off. Now, you’re worried about how you’re going to provide food on the table. So, you ask people, or the internet (google), and find that the best way to make money is start a business. Wait a second, you have no idea what it takes to start a business. Are you even sure you have the skill, aptitude, and right temperament to own a business? Are you truly an entrepreneur?

Now just because you have the desire, and maybe the money, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success. There’s going to be a lot of time, money, and energy spent on building a business. When you have a business, in means you have to take risks, face fears, and handle A LOT of trial and error. That is what business is all about. The good thing about owning a business is that you get to be your own boss, you control when you wake up, when you have lunch, and if you have to work. There are many things good and bad about owning a business, but it is the business owner that makes it or breaks it. Do you have what it takes to run a business? Well here are traits that you must have, or at least develop, before getting into your business venture.

1.) You Must Be A Self Starter: I believe being a self starter is one of the biggest and most important qualities an entrepreneur has. The reason is because owning a business is absolutely different from being an employee. As a business owner, you would have to make decisions on your own. No one is going to tell you what to do. Owning a business means that you have to sometimes start things yourself. Also, when you first start a business, no one is going to start it for you. The entrepreneur starts everything.

2.) Are you good with people: Yes, you are most likely going to start by yourself, and during the course of owning a business you may not have to answer to bosses or work with your peers, but you still have to have good people skills. The reason is because you’re going to have to develop relationships with people that will advance you in your business. You would have to talk to investors, financial planners, accountants, lawyers, employees, etc. You see there are important relationships that need to be built in order to succeed in business. Having people skills is imperative to that building.

3.) Ability to Make Hard Decisions: When it comes to business, you are basically taking a risk. You have to be able to make those business decisions. You see, when it comes to choices in your business, you have to have the cohunes to take a risk. You may have to face a decision that could potentially destroy your business, or can plummet your business past the sky. If you can’t make those decisions, then you can’t be an entrepreneur. No, not every decision will be the right one, but an entrepreneur won’t let that wrong decision affect him. Rather, he will learn from his mistakes. So make that tough decision.

4.) You Have To Make A Commitment To Hard Work: Yes, it does look like business owners don’t do anything except delegate what to do to their employees. It’s true. However, it’s only true for an already successful business. There is not one successful entrepreneur out there who DID NOT put in their share of work. In fact, when you first start a business, you have to work hard at it. You must stay committed to working hard each day until you can reap the benefits of owning a successful business. This is what I say when people look at this the wrong way (a quote from the wife of my company’s CEO): “The biggest things that you give up in the beginning of a business – time and money – are the biggest things you get back TEN-FOLD!” and it’s true!

5.) Last, and most important, is the ability to Set Goals: If you’re an entrepreneur, that means you have goals. If you don’t have goals, I suggest you go out and find information about goal setting because it is absolutely important to set goals within a business. Why do you think business plans have a “mission statement?” The mission statement is their ultimate goal. Without a goal, you will not know where you are going. Think about it, if you don’t have a goal and don’t see yourself achieving that goal, how are you gonna get there? It’s like trying to get somewhere with no exact destination…

Of course, there is more to an entrepreneur than just these characteristics. For example, entrepreneurs need to patient and persistent as well. However, these five traits are the most common traits in an entrepreneur. Now don’t go jumping into any business just because you have the traits mentioned above. Do your due diligence and find the right opportunity for you. It’s out there. If you want to know more on how to find the right business, read my article titled “7 Of The Most Important Things To Know When Joining A Business.”

Laws Involved Around Small Businesses

Many people think because they have a small business they can’t benefit from the counsel and advice of an experienced business attorney. An experienced lawyer can easily help a small business owner avoid unnecessary litigation and if necessary have the best outcome for the case.

A business should always do things to protect themselves from lawsuits and its personal from business and personal liability. To avoid those kinds of situations the business should have a complete business liability policy available in place, and as well a company procedures and policies, like an employee book. Most lawyers should be able to provide assistance with developing procedures, policies, and handbooks.

A small Business Attorney Can Help Resolve Your Dispute

A small business is an enterprise generally with less than 100 employees. It is usually a closely held corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship acting under small business law regulated by the government. In terms of ownership, only a few stockholders own or hold the shares of a closely held corporation. In contrast, partnerships involve two or more persons who agree to go into business together as co-owners. And a sole proprietorship is a business operated by a single owner with no separate legal entity for holding or operating the business, including the liability of the owner for the debts.

Most business law firms has the type of strategic, aggressive, and experienced business lawyers you need to best represent your business law matter. The entrepreneurial spirit translates into willingness and ability to craft attorney-client relationships that better suit the clients’ needs and make economic sense.

If you have a small business don’t hesitate in hiring an experienced law firm to protect you and your business. There are people out there ready to file a lawsuit against you or your business for the minimum issue they can find. For example, in the year 1994 the famous chain food restaurant McDonald’s lost a lawsuit against a 79 years-old that claimed had spilled hot coffee on her lap. McDonald’s ended up paying a ridiculous sum of $2.86 million regarding this lawsuit.

Mobile Coupons and Google Local Business Listings Change Coupon Industry

Local business listings have become a significant local marketing tool that is showing the demise of the traditional yellow pages and equally the traditional coupons. The famous Stars Wars quote comes to mind “This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Kenobi, and will soon see the end of the Rebellion. – Darth Vader”

With the onset of mobile devices and mobile applications becoming a more useful tool to the local consumers, we have to wonder how this will affect the traditional coupons that are printed and cut using scissors. The impact we are discussing comes in three forms and we’re not talking about the convenience to the local consumer.

The first is the cost reduction for the local business from having to pay for their coupons to be printed and distributed. The cost reduction goes down to $0 (zero)!
The second is the impact upon companies whose business is reliant on printing and distributing these coupons. This would include large corporations like Valassis and Val-Pak all the way down to the small local coupon company.
The third impact is one we have discussed before related to the traditional yellow pages. Local business listings are already having an impact upon the usage of the traditional yellow pages and its effectiveness for the local business has been dwindling for years.

The reason the cost to the local business is going to go down to zero is because the local business can post their coupons to their local business listing for free. Particularly with Google, although, electronic coupons through local business listings will all reduce the costs for the local business. Not only will they be able to reduce their costs, but they will see their coupons have a larger reach geographically without any additional costs.

Local business listings and business directories have been on the web for quite some time. This part is nothing new and neither is the ability for the local business to post their coupons electronically. The primary difference comes in the local consumers having the ability to obtain these coupons electronically to their mobile devices while they are about town. No longer do we need to print the coupons before we leave the house, we will have them at our finger tips when we arrive at a store. We don’t’ even need to plan ahead. When you arrive at a store you will be able to bring up their local business listing to see if there is a coupon available.

While this process has a significant impact upon the coupon companies (especially if they are not planning for this existing change to their business), for the local business this is good news and in order to take advantage of this cost reduction they will need to engage in their local business listing at multiple local listing websites.

Local listings are a local business marketing tool for the local business to reach the local consumer through web searches and mobile searches. As a local business or small business dependent upon the local consumer for your revenue you can tap into a free marketing tool with search engines, social communities, 411 websites and GPS websites.

Tapping into local listings as a business marketing tool starts by setting up accounts and claiming your listing at multiple local listing websites. Please do not be fooled by companies that provide a “get listed” service, because most businesses are already listed. Of course, the majority of local listings are not claimed by the business and they have incomplete or incorrect information. Your competitors therefore become the next best choice for the local consumer.

Aside from the benefits of mobile coupons, the other good news about local listings is that they show up on the first page of a search engine result based on the search term and the locality. For this reason, optimizing a website is not as necessary as having your local listing claimed and up-to-date. You can no longer need to understand the intricacies of search engine optimization (seo) of their business website.

If you’re wondering why you need to manage your business listing at all these locations the answer has two parts.

The first is the local consumer who will decide which website they will use to submit their reviews and comments about a business, product or service. Equally where they will go to get your coupons. This one is probably the most important.
The second is the mobile marketing industry. Google may be the 800 lb. gorilla “on” the web, but in the mobile industry, the mobile application developer will decide whose database of they will use to display on mobile devices and this includes the mobile coupons.

Certainly this local business marketing tool is going to evolve and mature over the next few years. Planning and preparing for success lies with getting started now. This may be the first time we can see into the future and not wait to be behind the eight ball.

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SmartFinds Internet Marketing is a Internet marketing agency providing strategic solutions to businesses to use all aspects of the Internet for the marketing objectives. The creativity and imagination from SmartFinds helps to apply the technological aspects of the digital marketplace to the marketing objectives of a particular business. Initial research provides SmartFinds the ability to develop a digital strategy that can be measured every step of the way to insure business growth and revenue generation. Some of SmartFinds’ clients have included Delphi, Flagstar Bank, Guardian Industries, Soave Enterprises, Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, McCann Erickson, Wendy’s and others.

Can A Professional Also Think About Passive Income Businesses Online?

Nowadays, the professionals working full time for companies around the world are also considering the passive income opportunities online! It seems everyone has started thinking about personal finance in a whole new way. The reason behind this is perhaps the booming of commerce on the internet. Every big business company has a strong online presence these days. Even the small and medium sized business companies have also started thinking about their venture on the World Wide Web. This spread is actually creating endless opportunities for anyone who’s interested to try their luck on making money online. Let’s discover why and how a professional can also think about establishing money making businesses online.

Is it possible for an employee to continue his job and run passive income businesses online?

The answer to this question is clearly a big – YES! Anyone can start his own venture on the World Wide Web anytime he wants! The only thing he’ll need is dedication and interest towards the concept. Let’s discover the top 5 reasons why it’s a great idea for an employee to try out the passive income generators online!

#1 You Can Work Anytime, Anywhere

A passive income business online won’t need you to attend or open an office. You can literally work anytime, anywhere you prefer. Nothing can be better for a professional than this flexibility. You can actually think about professional freedom; you don’t have to hamper your personal or corporate life, but you can still be a successful entrepreneur with a passive income business online.

#2 You Can Work At Your Own Pace

Well, this is another benefit of having an established passive income business online. You can work at your own pace. If you’re running short of time, you always have the opportunity to extend the deadline. You can set your own target and achieve your own goals. None will ask you if you fail to achieve, and there’s no-one who will take the major portion away from your profit!

#3 You Can Think About Experimenting And Testing Your Skills

Well, for any professional, testing and experimenting his own skills is extremely important. He should always stay updated about the current incidences around the world. This helps his skills and expertise grow continuously. Without this, a professional cannot even achieve in his professional life. A passive income business lets him get and stay on the track and helps him improve consistently.

#4 You Can Quit The Job And Be Your Own Boss With This!

Finally, you can think about the ultimate freedom! Yes, you got it right; having an established passive income will allow you to quit the job and be your own boss. Every employee on this planet has the same dream to be his own boss. A passive income business online will simply open the door of opportunities for you. You can think about developing your business in different directions and become an entrepreneur instead of an employee for someone else!

Some Impressing Facts About Buying Business Online

Have you heard that you can now buy business online? Yes, while it is already impressive knowing just that, here are some more facts about buying business online that will make you nod in awe.

Buying Business Online is at its Peak: On the 1st Quarter of 2014, business brokers reported a 1, 726 closed transactions. The huge number is the fifth straight quarter which breaks the benchmark of 1,600 transactions per quarter. The business industry has begun coping last year since the recession, and according to the expert, they are seeing the trends to continually grow this year.

The Price is Good: As the volume of business-for-sale remain strong, so as the price of the businesses. Sellers are getting the most value of their businesses this year since many business buyers are willing to pay for the asking price. This is because there are a lot of financing options for them as the economic growth continuously improves. Most of the business sellers last year are baby boomers who are either seeking to retire or would like to enter a new business venture, giving way to the younger generation to be entrepreneurs. With the transition, we are seeing a new and more exciting industry in the future.

New York Has the Most Number of Closed Business Transactions: The most populous city in the US has the highest number of closed business deals. Of course, this wouldn’t come as surprise since the city is expected to have the highest demand given its high population. And as always, entrepreneurs are running to the place with the biggest market.

Retail and Restaurants are the Most Bought Businesses Online: Most would-be entrepreneurs prefer to buy both retailers and restaurants last year. Meaning the growth on both business sectors are ideal. And although there are already a lot of retail stores and restaurant in the country, you wouldn’t run out of customers for as long as you offer something that would make potential customers go to you. Why? Because customers are willing to pay. Did you know that restaurant industry sales for this year have hit $683.4 Billion? Imagine if you can get a share from this whopping amount. That would be wonderful.

That’s it. Aren’t these facts good to know? The business industry keeps growing and the numbers are making it more obvious. Now, really is the good time to jump in the bandwagon of buying business online and being your own boss. I might miss something else about the business industry that you would like to share to us. Share it in the comments section below.

Starting My Own Business Online – Are Free Websites Ever OK?

Would you say “I am interested in starting my own business online”? Maybe you already have an offline business of some sort but have yet to take it online. On the other hand, you might be at least thinking over the notion of starting your own business online. Either way, you want to avoid free websites and be sure to invest in your very own website.

Why free websites are bad:

  • you often cannot put your own ads there or conduct any ecommerce
  • most of the time, you are required to have a subdomain in your URL (such as yourwebsite.WordPress.com instead of yourwebsite.com) – this does not make you look professional
  • you may have to deal with someone else putting ads on your website – where you often don’t get any share of revenue

Why investing in your own website really pays off:

  • this gives you a more professional appearance – your customers will see that you mean business
  • you have full control over what you put on your website
  • this is essential if you plan on conducting any ecommerce or online business
  • your website could act as your “24/7 salesperson” that never takes a break, never calls in sick, and never asks for a raise – questions regarding what you do, where you are located, etc., could easily be answered by your website
  • overall it’s like owning your own piece of online real estate where you can do just about anything you want with your online space without the restrictions of a free website service

After saying “I’m starting my own business online,” you could possibly get away with using a Facebook Fan Page or a Twitter page to make yourself known online. However, just keep in mind that if you really want to impress your customers and see success over the long haul, then you’ll want to invest in your own website.

How much does it cost to set up your own website?

  • registering your domain – nameofyourwebsite.com – typically costs $10 – $20 per year
  • establishing your own hosting account – the company that “hosts” online space for your domain – typically costs $120 – $360 per year (or $10 – $30 per month depending on what features you need)
  • if you hire a designer, it can cost somewhere between $100 – $800
  • if you prefer to build it yourself, most experts recommend using the WordPress platform because you don’t need to know any special coding or computer languages – most hosting companies can help you with setting your website with WordPress

Whether you decide to hire a designer or do it yourself, the key point is to get your business online. A business without a website is just as bad as a business without a phone.

3 Essential Ingredients To Grow Your Business Online

It does not matter if you’re are an experienced pro or new to the online business world, there are 3 crucial factors that you need to grow your business online. These 3 factors are relevant to all products and services sold on the internet.

1. Targeted Website Traffic.

The first element you need to grow your online business is a steady flow of targeted customers visiting your website and online sales pages. Remember that online business success comes from targeted traffic, that is, people who are genuinely interested in your products or services. Generating traffic is one of the most important online business strategies to master.

Traffic always has some cost associated to it, whether it is paid for with money or paid for with time. Paid traffic comes in many forms including pay per click, banner advertisements, solo ads or ezine adverting. Paid traffic usually provides immediate results but will stop as soon as you stop paying for it. Free traffic, like article marketing,search engine optimization, video marketing and blogging takes more time to generate results but can deliver a steady stream of traffic once the momentum starts.

2. Something For Sale.

To grow your online business you need to have something to sell. You can sell actual physical products that are shipped to somebody’s home or you can sell digital products where the buyer can instantaneously download it to their computer.

You don’t have to produce the product or service yourself. You can sell other people’s products and when you make a sale, the product owner will pay you a commission. Many people have achieved online business success with this tactic alone. When it comes to creating your own product, digital products are easier to produce, as you can produce it once and then sell it time and time again.

3. A Marketing Funnel.

A marketing funnel, or follow up strategy, is the process where you guide a prospective customer through to becoming a buying customer to becoming a customer who buys from you again and again. The first time that somebody visits your website, as explained in point 1, may not be the right time for them to buy. They may like your product or service, as described in point 2, but they don’t know anything about you.

Your marketing funnel helps you build their trust and see you as an authority within your market. This is done via such methods as email marketing, online webinars, direct mail and retargeting (where your paid advertisement ‘follows’ the user around the internet). It is essential to have a proven marketing funnel to grow your online business.

Marketing Your Business Online – Paid Or Free Advertising

Whether you own an offline business or online business there so many ways you can market online. We understand that we can use paid or free methods. Without any doubt, paying for advertising will result in faster results. But it does not guarantee better results compared to free methods as it depends on the type of objective that you are trying to achieve.

There are various objectives that can be achieved from marketing your business online:

a) Brand Building

b) Lead Acquisition

c) Sales Conversion

d) Providing customer support and interaction

e) Providing business information

Brand Building

One of the top objectives for marketing your business is to promote your brand, products and services. You want to let the online market know about your brand name. Let them be familiar with your brand and products offering. Hence, you want to increase brand exposure and brand recognition. If this is your main objective, paid advertising will yield you faster and better results.

Lead Acquisition

Another objective when you market online is to acquire leads so that you can continue to promote to your prospects. In this scenario, both free traffic and paid traffic can be equally effective. For free traffic, you can use popular social media or guest blogging to advertise your business. You can also use paid advertising to directly advertise your business.

Sales Conversion

Whenever you do a business, you want to have revenue and sales so that you remain profitable. Paid advertising will be very effective if the advertising is targeted at a group who is familiar with you and looking at the possibility of how your service or product can help them to solve their problem. Having said that, it does not mean that free traffic method does not work, it can work too if you manage it well and send targeted traffic.

Providing Customer Support And Interaction

As you now have an online presence, it is also essential to provide online support to your customers and potential customers. Some free ways to do this when you are marketing online include having your own help desk and forums. The more popular way nowadays is to use Facebook to interact with prospect and customers. So when you are marketing online paid traffic may not be able to help you achieve this objective.

Providing Business Information

The last objective is to provide information to the online visitors and this can be done via both paid and free marketing methods.

So, you need to decide what marketing objective are you trying to achieve and also if you have budget for the advertising. As long as you are willing to test and do something about it, you will be able to achieve some result.

How to Avoid Fraud When Buying Business Online

Everything is available online nowadays. From clothing, to house furniture, and even car equipment, you name it, the internet has it. It’s no wonder that even companies are joining in online listings in hope to find business buyers. That makes it easy for those who are interested to buy business online. But how sure are you that the business that you’re interested to buy is legit, and how do you protect yourself from online fraud.
Read on to find out how you can protect yourself from fraud business listing sites.

Check the reputation of the website-Once you land on a business listing page, check the legitimacy of the site. How do you do that? Navigate the page; go through the different pages of the site. If an ad keeps on appearing, to the point that it hinders your browsing, or if there are too many links (some of them are not related to the business), most likely it is a farm site. If you notice such entities, hit the back button immediately and look for a more reliable listing site.

Check the business listings-Now, if the website doesn’t have link farms and from the looks of it, it’s a legitimate online site where business for sale is available, then you may now proceed to looking into the business listing on the site. And you’re asking how would you know if the businesses on the site are legit? Take a look on the company profile. See if it includes all the vital information that as a buyer, you need to know. If there are some inconsistencies or if you notice that the company is not credible, you might as well go over to the ones that you think would not cause you any trouble once you click the buy button.

See if the site is secured-If you show interest on buying the specific company on the list, the site would prompt into a contact form where you’d need to input your personal information so that the site can further assist you. However, it should not ask for more than your name, email address, phone number, your location’s zip code or your city. It shouldn’t ask for your credit card number or other information that would lead to your finances. If it did, don’t fill it up and leave the site.

Buy and sell business online sites make the business-buying transaction in a breeze. Although, however enticing it may be, you should remember to protect yourself. The online world is a tricky one. So always be wary.