Web Business Development – The Rewards and Pitfalls of Going Online

Introduction

If you have never considered a web site for your business, ask yourself how much business you would have without your telephone. For centuries, businesses worked just fine without them, but now it’s hard to imagine operating a business without one. At some point, every organization had to make a choice to install a phone line or risk going belly-up. A similar make-or-break point is quickly approaching for businesses without a web site. What debatably is a luxury now will soon become a necessity. But as scary as this scenario may seem, there are steps you can take to make sure your business enterprise makes the transition successfully and, in the process, capitalize on the new avenues to the customer that a web site creates.

So, What is It and What Can It Do? To get us started by using the simplest of terms, the internet can be considered a network of computers around the world sharing information. An individual personal computer that requests the information is called a “client” and the numerous computers that store and dish out the information are called “servers.” A web site is simply a collection of related web pages served from a single server. Pages can be “static” (displaying predetermined pictures and text, also known as “content”) or “dynamic” (interactive pages that can be changed by the visitor). Most web sites for small businesses are stored and operated by a server maintained by an internet service provider, or “host.” Before a web site can be exposed to the world, a host must be chosen. Common considerations in choosing a host are cost, storage space, reliability, security, programming languages supported, and speed (if you’ve ever wondered why some web pages take so long to download to your browser, the speed of the host server is one limiting factor).

The name of the web site (www.getsolidblue.com for example) is called the “domain name.” A master list of domain names is maintained that tells a client which server to contact when a page from a given domain is requested by a browser. Before a web site can be opened, a domain name must be purchased (these can be cheap — mine was $5 per year — or expensive, if the domain name has already been purchased by a “broker,” who holds the domain name hostage until it is sold to the highest bidder). A fancy, expensive domain name is not necessary for most small businesses (all of the common variations on solidblue.com were already taken, for example, so I simply named my site getsolidblue.com instead).

Things to Consider Before Staking Your E-Claim The most important consideration before you jump into the online business world is what your site will be used to do and how complex you want it to be, as this will greatly influence your ultimate cost. If you simply want to tell people what products or services you sell, a small static site will do. If you want potential customers to take an action on your site, like purchase your products (“e-commerce”) or request a catalog, you will need a developer to write the instructions for your application (also known as “code”). Brainstorming possible things to put on a site is one of the real joys of owning one. A distinction must be made at this point between “design” and “development.” While the terms are often used interchangeably, they can in fact require very different skills. For the purpose of this conversation, “design” refers to the attractive placement of graphics and text on a page and “development” refers to the creation of a full application which could include forms for the user to fill out, buttons for ordering and paying for products, and so forth. The complexity of the site is usually determined by its purpose. Advertising by itself requires the sound use of design elements, while e-commerce or another functional purpose also requires proper development, including efficient access to product information, secure order processing, and an intelligent storage scheme for customer account information.

Keep in mind that advertising online is completely different than advertising in a newspaper or on television. The latter are passive media, requiring nothing of the consumer other than looking at the message. The web is an interactive medium, requiring the consumer to actively seek you out. A good way to attract potential customers to your site is by offering them something just for visiting. For example, a carpet retailer might offer a tutorial on the best way to install carpet, which might in turn cause the customer to choose that particular carpet retailer when he or she is ready to purchase.

Another major consideration is whether your site will require a “database.” A database is a storage place for information, organized to store information (or “data”) in a logical and efficient manner. The many uses and inherent power of databases can make a dynamic web site a critical business tool. They can be used to store product information (including pictures), customer purchases and preferences, and even the text and graphics that will appear on your web pages.

That last item is called “content management” and is quickly becoming an expected feature of a well-designed web site. It allows the web site owner to make changes to his or her site by simply changing the data in the database, without requiring a call to the web site developer or designer. It can be used to change the price or description of a product, or to promote weekly or monthly specials or promotions.

Jumping In: What to Look For and what to Avoid Finding the right designer is key to the success of your web project. Do a quick search online and count the number of web designers offering “Three pages for $999!” or similarly vague promises. Purchasing a web site for your business should not be treated like a trip to the local strip mall to buy sneakers. It will be the face of your business for every potential customer that visits it, and the first impression it gives will stick in the visitor’s mind, for better or worse. As such a flexible opportunity to express the merits and values of your business, it makes little sense to adopt a generic, one-size-fits-all strategy.

Designers operating such budget shops depend on high volume to turn a profit. You are unlikely to get any kind of individualized attention, and if you want the technical aspects explained to you in even general terms, you’ll probably be directed to a vanilla “frequently asked questions” list. In addition, changes to your initial design may be prohibitively expensive (this is where budget operations make the bulk of their money), the code may well be insecure and shoddy, and proprietary language in the contract may even prohibit you from allowing a third-party to alter the code.

Likewise, designers that charge flat hourly rates for work performed may be a poor bet as well. You may be charged for things that you could easily do yourself, like registering a domain name, or regularly changing content (provided a robust content management feature is not included in the original design). The open-ended nature of the hourly pricing model leaves you open to cost overruns, as well, and you can bet the designer will try to take as long as possible to get the most money out of you.

A much better option is using a local, flat-fee consultant to create your web site. Your project will be given individual attention, and you will actually be able to meet the person to whom you are entrusting the online aspect of your business. A flat-fee model also ensures that you will know exactly what you are getting and exactly what it will cost. Think about it: don’t you feel better taking your car in to a trusted mechanic and securing an estimate before the work is actually performed? Why would your business deserve any less?

Other things to be wary of are promises to submit your site to 10,000 search engines or something similar. In fact, there are only a handful of search engine providers (like Yahoo!, Google, Ask.com, and MSN) and the others use these mega-indexes to return their results. Also, submitting your URL to search engines is often free and very easy to do; don’t pay someone to do it for you unless you just don’t have a few minutes to do it yourself. If you think search engine positioning is critical to the success of your business, find an advertising agency that specializes in it. Similarly, if you expect the content of your site to change periodically, insist on (and be prepared to pay for) a good conent management system.

Conclusion There is no business that can’t benefit from a well-conceived and well-designed web site. From providing a convenient contact point and advertising space to delivering an easy and secure way to order your products to granting others a way to view internal information that might otherwise be delivered by paper, a proper web site can make or break a business in the 21st century. Key to success is knowing exactly what you want your web site to be and finding the right designer to create it. That would be someone who truly is a “consultant” and not simply someone who will throw things together for the lowest price.

With intelligent planning and a little creative thinking, you will find owning and running a web site to be an incredibly rewarding aspect of doing business.

Internet Home Based Business – Developing a Business Plan Before Starting

Creating your Internet home based business plan is crucial before you start building the business. The plan should be a long range plan of a minimum of 3 years and stick to the plan. It is the main component in your goal to work for yourself and not work to make someone else rich. Your plan for independence and financial freedom must be in place before jumping in unprepared.

Everyday thousands of entrepreneurs are searching for information on business ideas and opportunities. Over the past few years, many companies have gone belly up, 401k accounts disappear and increasing energy costs that continue to hold the economy hostage. Every year tens of thousands of individuals from all levels of employment are discovering they have been living based on another individuals or company plan. They understand that a positive change is required for their survival during this ever worsening economy. They also realize that a home business opportunity is the only viable alternative.

The right time to start your home business is now

o It is the right time if you are sick and tired of working long hours every week, for 50 weeks a year, with little to show for it.

o It is the right time if you have been laid off recently or indications are that you will be next.

o If you have been unemployed for more than 9 months and your extension will soon end, it is the right time for you to start building a home business on the Internet

o Since more jobs are still being outsourced and the small number of jobs remaining that pay a livable wage are limited, it is the right time for you to start your Internet business

A few questions you need to find answers for:

o Is there a good compensation plan in place?

o What are your monthly income expectations?

o What resources will you need to accomplish your goals?

o Does the company have a support mechanism in place?

The importance of a business plan cannot be emphasized enough when you consider starting a home business opportunity. If you have problems drafting your business plan, I encourage you to get help from a professional or from others who have a home business. You can even get help from searching the Internet for articles on writing business plans. All of this and more you can do with your computer using a search engine.

In conclusion, with a business plan as your guide or map to building your Internet home based business and if you stick with the plan, your reward will be financial freedom.

MLM Business Development – Amateurs vs Professionals

Network Marketers are notorious for selling, convincing and begging people to join their business opportunity. That is the amateur approach which leads to the over 90% industry failure rate. Professionals in MLM use the same strategies as the most successful corporations in history. Read on to discover that standards you need to uphold to earn a professional level of income in Network Marketing.

While the amateur networkers continue to try to solve the mystery of how to get more people “involved” in their business opportunity, professionals are scouring the market for talent much like IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Fed-Ex and every other major corporation. These companies are constantly filling positions from entry level up to executive and their standards are very high.

Rather than telling our representatives how to get out there and “sell” lotions, potions and services, we are teaching them how to interview to find individuals who possess the qualities of the kind of people we are looking for. We raise up reps with the mindset that they are talent scouts competing with all of those big companies looking for success minded independent thinkers, team players who are not satisfied with mediocre jobs and average results. The individuals that qualify to be on our team want to have more control over their time and finances for the long-term future.

This changes the equation altogether. Would the hiring manager for any one of those big companies beg, convince or sell someone to fill a critical position? No way! They sort through applicants to find people with the skills, attitude, desire who are hungry and teachable. These qualities are absolutely essential for the long-term success of ANY organization.

As soon as you posture yourself as a talent scout interviewing prospects to see if they possess the qualities listed above, you will get much more results in less time with fewer people. You will now have a team that grows and duplicates with or without you. Congratulations, you have officially moved from amateur to professional.

Business Development Articles

Since the day is fast progressing and there are so many people who are engaging in business. And business now is one way to be progressive at a faster time if you are in the right line or if you know how to deal with the business. If you are planning for a business, there should also be enough ideas on what you are into. If you also want to be a part of such industry, you should be also analyzing and do some research on what you should do. And if you have already established, you should be also take some assessment on how you did for the previous years or months so that you will know where to start or where to fix.

You can also try reading some articles that is related to your field. You can have something that will be helping you build and develop your business. There will be many things that you will learn from these development articles that may help you to become progressive in your field. Through these development articles, you can also be updated on what is happening in the business world and that you can also be aware on some opportunities that are available and you might as well grab it if it will become helpful to you. You can also try some tips that will be presented from these development articles for they might be a big help to you. With the help of these articles, you may be aware and be updated on how to make your businesses grow and be more profitable. With these articles you can also become knowledgeable on how to deal with the situation or on how to deal with the changes in the circumstances. You can have your ideas grow with what you are reading.

If you don’t have much time to read on the newspapers for these latest issues that are happening in the business world, you can also have these articles read through the use of the internet. There will also be many articles that are uploaded which will be helpful for your business. They will be relating facts and issues that may warn you on what to do. With these articles, you can have the ideas with what is happening with your competitors as well as to those small businesses that may become your future competitors or business partners.