|A successful online business isn't built overnight; but is the result
of many late nights. If anyone says that they can teach you to make a
substantial amount of money without hard work, realize they are
talking through "a hole in the head and are out of their trees".
|After three and a bit years doing it, here are my TEN COMMANDMENTS
setting out how to conduct business online:
|1. Understand that technology should help you achieve your business
and personal goals. It is merely a tool to move you forward with
your vision: a "means to an end" to HELP and enable you, rather than
being an end in itself, (or perhaps even be a disabler to "untechnos"
like me). So make modern technology work to it's highest potential
for you and your business. Spend time learning about various computer
programmes and applications (hard though it may be for the
'technically challenged'). Then "use it repeatedly , so you don't
lose it!" Accept that the vast majority of www. users are not
"technofreaks" (like my associate, Bill) and have great difficulty
learning new computer procedures. Well, I certainly do (just ask
Bill)!. However, by making a conscious effort and with discipline
and effort the habit ingrained makes it easier and easier, as your
confidence grows in leaps and bounds.
|2. Don't take the competition for granted...and don't "knock" them.
Never ever! Yes, even you "slick" Americans and we "little country
colonial hicks on the other side of the world". Accept that no
business can be the best in every facet. The convergence of computer,
media, entertainment and communications means the underlying
structures of the computer world will change rapidly and soon...
or so my "technogeek" associate, Bill (not Gates) says. The
TV/computer/music center is not far away, I hear.
|The net is a world wide market-place, so don't be too zenophobic (now
that's a really big word, that I tried very hard to bring in).
I think many Americans (and New Zealanders too) think that theirs is
the only country on earth in which to trade and the centre of the
world...and we're nearly falling off the bottom near Antarctica!
However, we can all compete fairly ("fairly") against the
competition by transcending international boundaries on a "global
level playing field" - whereby even the "little guys" can take on
the big corporations around the world (except for their massive
marketing budgets, of course!) . It may mean adjusting your
marketing efforts to take into account some cultural differences
(like my rather weird sense of humour or different spelling -
although it's the same English language). Here in "Sleepy
Hollow" (with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country)
in little New Zealand near the bottom of the world, we sell our
various products around the globe in response to customer needs.
|3. Consolidate your business by focusing on what you do best. Don't
try to be "all things" to your customer, nor try to offer too many
products. Concentrate on perfecting and marketing your "best sellers"
in your CORE business activities. That is the area which
produces the most profitable results for your organization.
(remember the "80-20 rule" - 20% of your activities produces 80% of
your results/profit and vice versa!). For us it's creative writing
|Now for one rather more philosophical...
|4. Honour your parents, your teachers and your communities and
especially your family. Family is most precious of all and strong
and stable family units make for a strong and stable country.
Parenting, I believe is the most noble occupation of all - and
parents want their children to be safe on line, so supervise them
closely. Teach them responsibility in internet usage... so they
don't push your telephone bill sky high (as my dear boys do - but
then that's the price of having and educating children - a tax on
sex!). Teach your children well (as Simon and Garfunkel used to
sing so melodiously) and wisely. Let them learn that the net is a
great EDUCATION tool for the present and the future and they could
be learning "practical skills on the job" and preparing for a
future technological career.
|5. Do not send spam (sending masses of unsolicited e-mail) - under
any circumstances. You are likely to be cut off by your server. I
find it rather irritating receiving spam and simply delete all
unsolicited e-mail selling products and services... and wouldn't
you do likewise, because it just clutters up your mailbox?
|6. Do not launch your product before the market is ready for it.
Test the market first by doing a survey. Ask yourself: Is there
a NEED for your particular product? In what way is it distinctive
(and superior) to the competition (world-wide, remember!)? Have all
your systems in place to market it... then always remember, all
products have a definite life cycle...and some are relatively short.
|7. Take the business of internet marketing seriously. The world
online population is exploding daily and exponentially (big word,
eh...but what does it mean?). I'm not sure how many people are
online world-wide, but think it may be in the order of 150-200
million at present and increasing daily. In addition, I "guess"
there are a similar number of web sites (and many more pages)
"up there in cyberspace". So the competition is "pretty stiff"!
As the "cyber-revolution" gathers momentum, imagine if everyone
is online one day? Impossible perhaps, but who knows! What will
that do for your business and you? An unlimited target market
for your PRODUCTS , if you are still going strong by then. VERY
|8. Have an effective web presence. Your site should explain
immediately what the visitor will get for their time online. If it
is not clear WHY they should stay, they'll leave before they try
to find out. Therefore make your site as interesting and
informative as you can. I've seen many sites, where I don't know
the webmaster's objective, their purpose. Are they purely for
information, or trying to sell something? Make sure your site
loads quickly, because people soon get tired of waiting in
today's fast/instant (coffee) world.
|9. Always remember MARKETING YOUR PRODUCT EFFECTIVELY is the key to
the success of your business. If you don't get adequate results,
you'll soon be out of business... as recurring bills in the
post-box without income to pay them soon take all the fun out of
your venture into "cyber" self-employment.
|Don't forget to use traditional methods of marketing to promote your
business, as in advertising (radio, news-papers, brochures, and the
most effective of all, word of mouth in your local community). The
two strategies (both on-line and off-line), I believe, work best
together in your marketing plan. I plan to do more off-line
advertising, by allocating a portion of revenue to marketing as
it comes in.
|Even if you have the greatest product in the world, you will never
sell anything if you don't tell people about it. It's like having
a billboard in the middle of a forest or a desert. An example: Just
because you have a phone number in the phone book doesn't mean that
a stranger will call you. So it is absolutely vital that you
advertise effectively to bring people to your site; because without
advertising, there will be no TRAFFIC... and without prospects there
will be NO SALES. And without sales there will soon be no business!
|....and finally and most importantly,.
|10. Use the Internet to build a better world. We are at the
forefront of one of the most innovative and far-reaching inventions
in human history. The net is the most cost-efficient,
INSTANTANEOUS, EXCITING and effective way of marketing products and
services around the globe through modern telecommunications. We live
in one of the most exciting times in human history; so exploit the
AMAZING POWER of the internet to reach hundreds of thousands of
people and perhaps even millions around the world. Use your
creative energies and imagination to the fullest, by thinking of
new ideas of how to market your particular products. I keep a
notebook by my bedside and leave to my creative subconscious mind
just before I go to sleep.
|I believe INTERNET MARKETING is the KEY to internet success,
especially if you have a limited marketing budget, like us. I
allocate at least two hours a day purely to internet marketing,
through submitting my articles on numerous subjects to various ezines
and publishing resources. I find it by far the most effective way
of free advertising to get traffic (= SALES) . Always remember to
have a resource box at the end of each article, together with your
web site address.
|Carefully monitor what's working for you and what's not on a regular
basis. REVIEW YOUR STRATEGIES REGULARLY.
|FOCUS ON WHAT ACTIONS GET THE BEST RESULTS.
|Remember Bill Gates's wise words: "There'll be two types of business
in the year 2000 : those online... and those out of business.
|A few final words to summarize...
There are no 'magic secrets', and there is nothing mystical about
making money online. Other than the advertising budget, it's a
level playing field around the world and anyone, like the
self-employed entrepreneur working from home , like you and I, can
compete with the "big guys". And we have ONE BIG ADVANTAGE: These
corporations are too unwieldy to react swiftly to changing
circumstances and markets. So we "one and two man bands have
got the jump on them".
|With heaps of hard work, dedication, discipline and a little
perseverance, I believe absolutely anyone can achieve success, even
taking on the big corporations. At Eagle Productions working in
association with Bill Rosoman of the New Zealand Enterprise Centre
and Erich Licht of Elk Publications in the US, I've done it all
on an absolutely "shoestring" budget, lots of hard graft and heaps
of pure faith. We have been reasonably successful to date (the past
three years), but have great hopes of far greater success in the
future. No matter, we are enjoying the journey in a totally new
field and are having great fun learning and extending ourselves
each day . I hope you too take
pleasure and have great success as you travel along your very
individual journey in "cyberspace".