- Written by Skip McNutt
- Big Picture. (End Result)
Every worthwhile journey starts with a destination in mind. If for, example, you are planning a trip to New York City and you are traveling by car, typically, you would start with a reason for making the trip and a mental picture of that destination.
It goes without saying that you will need to consider a budget for all the travel expenses including gas, meals, and lodging. If you are smart you will include an emergency fund to handle the unexpected. If there is anything you count on it will be the unexpected.
You will need to have a plan for where you will stay, how long you will stay and some idea of what you will do during your stay.
The application of this metaphor is to simply say that the beginning of any trip, project, or venture, is best served by a clear understanding of what you are getting into.
- Is business the solution?
Is it possible that the project or endeavor you are considering is best served as a hobby? My first choice as a career path was as a chef. I went to culinary school in the Navy, served in submarines, and later involved in restaurant ownership and management.
While I learned a lot and made a living, it was a great deal of work and far less enjoyable than the simple act of preparing special meals. If I had stayed with my original plan I may never have experienced a side of the business world that I truly enjoy and I can be passionate about.
Helping others in marketing and business development is incredibly rewarding and something I am passionate about.
Take a close look at your ideas and ambitions to determine if this is something you can pursue for all the right reasons.
- Cost Analysis.
There is no such thing as starting a business without an investment of some kind. If time is money it makes sense that the time you spend working on an idea has value. If you have an idea about a business concept it is worth spending the time needed to consider all the requirements of the challenge.
Once you have determined the viability of your idea you need to break out the calculator and run some numbers.
The beauty of businesses online is that you not required to invest in a high visibility location. You do have basic expenses to consider.
- Business license. (Not Always Required)
- Web development. (Can be free for basic site if you have the time and knowledge required to build your own site).
- Inventory when required.
- Autoresponders (Like Aweber) to capture and manage your lists.
- Optional Software to support your marketing campaigns.
- 20% marketing/advertising budget.
These are basics for any online business. In reality, you will experience additional costs for educational and system support programs. Start with a pre-determined budget with latitude for unforeseen expenses.
- Willing to start small.
Your budget is a major factor in the footprint of your business launch. However, having a large budget does not always dictate the need for massive launch. One of the advantages of online marketing is the ability to test for affective marketing ideas in the interest of avoiding major investment mistakes.
You might start out with a manageable size and scale to the ultimate business platform that you envisioned in the beginning. Taking this approach could potentially save a great deal of money. Wisdom in the early stages can go a long way in establishing your brand. It is worthwhile, in the beginning, to gain knowledge and experience to avoid unnecessary time and expense.
- Can you monetize your passion?
Can you monetize your passion? Absolutely!
It is one thing to be passionate about an idea and another thing to turn it into a prophet making business. In all likelihood, there is someone doing what you are doing and making good money in the process.
Your homework should include the investigation of similar businesses to get a better idea of viability. The more you know the safer it is to proceed with your plans. You may lose your passion if the challenges turn into the need to make more money and less satisfaction from the process.
- Product / Niche Selection.
This is a subject that justifies a book all by itself. There is a difference between a hobby and a profitable business. Hobbies can come and go. A profitable business is something you can commit to and persevere even when the going gets tough. It is important to be a product of the product and become passionate about it.
Many of those who jump into a business are simply looking for more money. Money is a legitimate motivator; however, it is not the most important consideration. The best path to success is through a product, and related business, that gives you purpose. If you don’t see the real benefit for your prospective customers and you don’t get excited about it, you are most likely on the wrong path.
A market niche is a general term that can encompass any number of products. This is where things can get a little more complicated. There are those who have become wealthy because they discovered a single niche product that has very little competition. There is nothing wrong with this approach. There is also another idea that has some very clear advantages. Offer a “Core Product” that has natural, added-value products than can produce multiple streams of income.
EXAMPLE: You may have an educational product that teaches users to become professional bass fishermen. Once they buy the course they will need bate, poles, camping gear, boat, trailer, and a special vehicle to transport everything. The point is that you don’t need to focus on the added product once they have invested in the course. It is all in the same niche and if you have done a good job with the initial purchase you simply need to make the other products available.
Cameras are another good example. Buy the camera and you will need, a carrying case, special lenses, tripod, lighting and any number of other items. When done correctly you only need to sell the camera to generate additional sales and extra revenue.
You get the idea here.
Million Dollar Tip:
When your customers trust you as a knowledgeable source relative to the core product, that trust extends to the added value products that are available on your site. The added value products will generate more income than the initial offering of the core product.
Branding is or should be the foundation for building multiple streams of income. Those who succeed in reaching the top 4% of the online income earners have accumulated multiple streams of income.
- The “Biggest Mistake” in the sales process.
Leading with the sales message is a critical error in the effort to be recognized in the marketplace. As crazy as it may sound, the practice of trying to dominate the market with your sales message will do more harm than good. The overwhelming majority of marketers focus exclusively on their sales presentation. Sustainable success in building an online business relies on branding. Branding is the process of building trust and credibility with your prospective customers. Those who do a good job of branding can sell virtually anything.
The way to establish trust and credibility is to provide useful content and educational information. Your website should be 80% productive content and 20% sales information. Your customers want to think of you as an expert. As a result, it is absolutely to your advantage to be a product of the product, passionate on the subject, and capable of educating your customer base.
You will have challenges! Challenges can come in the form of computer problems, complicated ideas, and a variety of distractions. The one thing that can be guaranteed is the reality that you will face frustration and speed bumps along the way.
Frustration is a good thing. You wouldn’t be frustrated if you weren’t making progress. Your commitment to your goals and dreams will see you through your frustrations. If you hold onto a compelling reason for why you are pursuing your business, you will not fail. 96% of those who enter the business community will never reach their objectives. Lack of commitment is the principal reason for this real, but unfortunate statistic.
Yes, it will require work! The fact is that we all work for a living. The question is “are you making progress with your dreams or just treading water?”
Don’t quit and don’t let the Dream Steelers rob you of your dreams and goals. There will always be those who have never done what you are doing and yet they become the experts on why you shouldn’t take a chance.
The Dream Steelers my think they are helping but they have become one of the challenges you need to overcome.
One of the best business quotes is from Dr. Stephen Covey in the book Seven Highly Effective People. “Begin with the end in mind.” It is hard, if not impossible, to arrive at a specific destination if you fail to identify a specific destination.
Your vision needs to be something you can see in your mind’s eye. Vision is not about all the material possessions you will acquire. Vision equals your status in life. A true vision is found in a sense of accomplishment and the ability to make choices. Quality of life is extremely important. It isn’t always about money. Money is a great unit of measure, but money doesn’t mean much if you are miserable.
Vision includes the experiences encountered in rout to your destination. Embrace the process. Zig Ziggler (A famous motivational speaker) said that “We can have anything we want if we help enough other people get what they want.” If you are the only person to benefit from your efforts, there is a good chance that you will never know what it feels like to have made a difference for others.
Post your vision and refer to it daily. Posting your vision is the equivalent of keeping your eyes on the road at all times.
GPS in your journey stands for Goals Pursued Successfully.
It is safe to say that the vast majority of those who jump into online businesses are beginners. There is nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, the vast majority fail to seek real-world training. There are tens of thousands of YouTube training sources available for beginners. There is a lot of very good information contained in these online resources. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is more outdated information than information that is current and relevant to existing algorithms. The other problem is that these trainings generally address one piece of the puzzle and lack the integration required to form one consistent marketing system.
Those who are just starting this process have no way of knowing how to create a marketing system, much less the reality that they may need one.
An effective marketing system will require the following:
- Email autoresponder.
- Landing page.
- Sales page.
- Website (Hub).
- Custom URL creation tool.
- Domaine name.
- Keyword Tool.
- Marketing resources.
The eight items listed above represent the simple basics required for an online marketing system. The missing elements include the operational setup and marketing strategies that will fuel and guide the effort as you move forward. You wouldn’t expect to make any progress in a car without a steering wheel or fuel in the gas tank. One of the chief reasons for beginner’s lack of progress is the absence of proven systems and associated strategies.
You would expect to be trained when entering a new job and starting a new business is no different. College students pay tens of thousands of dollars to learn the skills needed in the business world. Be prepared to invest in your education if you are serious about making real money with a real future. Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to go into the kind of “Student Debt” that takes a life time to pay off. You are also well advised to avoid the temptation to jump from one opportunity to the next in search of fame and fortune.
It is always a good idea to seek a mentor who has succeeded in the space you are in, or hope to be, so they can guide you to the best sources of information and training.
I hope you find this information to be useful. My personal objective with this information is to assist you along the way and help you succeed. You will find a link below for in-depth, step by step training courses where you can learn everything you need to be successful.