- The Steps to Starting an Internet Business
Instead of merely working harder, you need to work smart. The smartest thing you can do in an Internet or any other business is to leverage other people's resources to make money. It's the same weather you're in business online or you have a traditional bricks and mortar (nice old phrase from the '90's) business.
With that in mind, here are the steps you'll need to take in order to start your Internet business and make it a success.
Step 1 to Starting an Internet Business - Set specific, quantifiable goals. It's not enough to say “I want to make alot of money” or “I want to make enough to quit my current job” Although you may, in fact, want to do both of those things, you'll need to be far more specific when taking this step. Something on the order of “I want to make $12,000 a month in gross, monthly, revenue by the end of 2008” is more appropriate. The next thing you'll have to do as part of this step is actually write your goals down. It works well for many people to post them in a prominent place, so you'll have a constant reminder of where you're going in your business.
Step 2 to Starting an Internet Business- Resolve to take action. This is important, but in many cases it never gets done. You have to make a resolution to yourself that you will achieve the goals you've set for yourself and your business.
Step 3 to Starting an Internet Business- Determine what action you're going to take - This is actually an action in an of itself. You will have to actually show some initiative and take action just to determine what action you'll be taking as you begin to move your business forward. Set a time limit on this, lest you suffer from "analysis paralysis". This is a very common problem, as many people get overwhelmed and never actually do anything.
To combat this tendency, break up your requirements into a series of small tasks you'll have little trouble completing. Focus on only one of these at a time. Make sure it is complete before moving on the next. When this step is complete, you'll have a plan of attack that you can follow. Again, make sure you write this down. This plan will actually become the marketing plan component of your overall business plan.
Step 4 to Starting an Internet Business – Take action. This is the most important step. The vast majority of people out there watching game Wheel of Fortune and playing the Lottery, while letting thoughts of wealth run through their minds will be doomed to eternal failure for the single reason that they never actually took any action. They just plain never showed initiative and actually did anything, besides wish for success. Unfortunately for these people wishing won't drive people to your website, yank the credit card from their pocket and fill your Pay Pal account with cash. You actually need to market a product or service to make that happen.
If you just decide what action you're going to take and actually take it, you'll be ahead of 95% of the population that sits on the sidelines thinking rich people are lucky. Well, to a great extent you make your own luck. A moron that does everything wrong, but actually does something stands a far greater chance of becoming a success in their Internet business, than a genius that does nothing.
Step 4a to Starting an Internet Business - Research a niche. In fact you'll probably research many niches before you find the one that you'll start with. How do you research a niche? That's been the subject of more than a few reports books, and special bonus offers, but you use the tools at your disposal on line. For example, there's a little website you may have been to on occasion called Google that's worth it's weight in Gold when you're doing research. They have a tools section with many resources for just such an occasion. In time you'll begin to use more advanced tools for niche and keyword research, such as Wordtracker and Keywordspy to determine exactly which keywords are profitable, but for now you won't need to go to this level of sophistication. That's for a later step in the process.
When researching niches you'll want to look at a number of things. Does the niche receive traffic? If people aren't looking for a solution or showing interest in the niche, your chances of making money in it are severely limited. The key is to find people that are looking for a solution and are willing to pay for it. If you market correctly, they'll pay you for it, or you'll be paid for it by those actually selling the product, but more on that later.
How do you determine how much traffic a prospective niche gets? You can use Google's webmaster tools, such as Google trends and "Top Search Queries" reports, to determine the relative amount of traffic the niche receives. Trends is great because it tells you weather no not the traffic is trending up or down. Other great tools to use for help in this area include eBay Pulse and Technorati.
The next question that you'll answer is weather or not the traffic in this niche is looking for a solution you can provide or help to provide. If people are looking for solutions that include products that can be sold over the Internet or information that you can provide to them over the Internet, than the niche has possibilities.
The next step is to determine weather you can profitably provide the products or services from the Internet. If the people are looking for information, but are unwilling to pay for it, then the niche is probably not worth your time, unless you can find a new angle that people are willing to pay for. The same holds true for products. While many products are successfully sold over the Internet there are some that are not as successful. Niches that concentrate on products with successful track records of Internet sales are the ones you want to concentrate on.
Again, Google can be a help here. Use Adwords tools to find out how much people are bidding for keywords within a niche. Chances are if other business owners are willing to pay a large amount of money to bid on particular keywords, there's a reason for it. They are either completely misguided, or the keywords are making them money. The expensive keywords can point the way to profitable niches, but don't rely on them exclusively because they can't find all the good, profitable niches, they're just one tool to use for help in this area.
There are two schools of thought on finding a marketing niche for your business. School number one on niches says that you want to find a small, under served niche that you can dominate. The theory here is that if you narrow your focus enough there will be a group of hungry customers that just aren't getting what they need. Since there is little competition for this small, but hungry group of buyers, you can swoop in and fill their needs, while making a healthy profit at the same time.
School two, on the other hand takes the opposite tack. The followers of this school of thought opine that you'll find more success by targeting a huge, proven niche with millions of customers, and just grab a small, yet profitable piece of the pie. Who's right? Well they both are. There are many successful marketers following each strategy. In fact many marketers follow both strategies and market to different niches. Basically, you'll choose between being a big fish in a small pond and a small fish in a large huge lake.
In my next post I'll look at the next series of steps to starting an Internet business. Stay Tuned.