The Shocking Truth About How To Start An Internet Business......Part 1Do you have a hot new idea or must-have product? Are you ready to take the dive and start your own e-business? While not overnight, thousands of e-business start-ups have become massive success stories in the past few years. The Internet is a prime entrepreneurial environment, fostering creativity. But even Google, Amazon, MySpace, Flickr and NetFlix had to start somewhere, and that somewhere is probably just where you are right now.
Most entrepreneurs find that starting a web business can be daunting. Where do you start? How do you get the word out? Where can you acquire funding? "The first three years are the most trying," states one entrepreneur. "Not only are you faced with planning along with heavy sales and marketing efforts just to get your name out, but you often lack a sustainable budget to do so." Patience and planning are the key to surviving your first three years - and beyond.
Vasrue's five part article series on starting your own e-business (of which this is part one) will explore the basics of launching an online business, show you the key steps to take and challenges to consider.
This informative series includes:
1. Determining Your Brand and Niche. Brainstorm a unique business trait to form the foundation for your company's brand.
2. Defining Your Audience: Get in your customer's shoes, so you're better able to advertise to them.
3. Setting Your Business Structure: Understand the benefits of corporations, partnerships and sole-proprietorships, and ensure proactive tax compliance.
4. Developing a Sales, Marketing and Business Plan: Understand the importance of planning, and critical plans you should set into action.
5. Creating a Realistic Budget: Don't spend $1,000 on a new desk. Allocate money where you see the strongest ROI.
6. Finding Funding: Start-ups have many avenues to take for capital - from mom and dad to venture capital partners.
7. Finding People: Determine your values as a company first, then hire staff based on these core beliefs.
8. Planning and Building Your Online Storefront: Organize your website before you hire a designer to ensure everything fits and navigation is smooth.
9. Launching Your Plan and Building Momentum: Revisit your business and marketing plans annually, fine-tuning and updating for your changing business landscape.
Whether you've dreamed of working from home, being your own boss, setting your own hours, becoming one of the many eBay entrepreneurial success stories or simply promoting a remarkable idea, the next few weeks are certain to bring valuable insight. Stay tuned and leave your inhibitions at the door.
Determining Your Brand and Niche
It doesn't matter how many clothing stores, gadget distributors or gizmo providers are in your market, you can still differentiate your product or service from the next and create a powerful brand that people are drawn to time and time again. Develop a winning strategy. Branding is just as important online as it is off.
A brand says who you are, what you stand for, what your core values are and where you're going. It infiltrates into everything you do from this point forward. Your brand includes your logo, mascot, corporate colors, uniforms, sales tactics, marketing visuals, copy and advertising methods. It's a unique business differentiator which sets the tone for your image, your name and your corporate culture. It's a conscious and subconscious message companies give off.
For instance, if you compare two major computer companies - IBM and Apple - you'll notice that not all computers are created equally. While Big Blue's image is corporate and conservative, Apple radiates a more progressive and edgy appeal. But how do companies differentiate themselves - and how can you?
In the start-up phase of ebusiness development, it's important to brainstorm a brand, set this plan on paper and into action. Companies like Ben & Jerry's focus on the environment, and they've developed not only a product mission, but an economic and social mission as well. McDonald's brand is youth-oriented, from its hip "I'm Lovin' It" commercials to dear old Ronald the clown. Geico, yet another online insurance solution, promises to save you money - a ton of money.
Once established, everything your company does should reinforce this single point - your brand message. Customers hear it, remember it and go to you over and over again to acquire it.
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