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The EBiz Developer - June 2000

The Home Business Developer
   now the eBiz Developer

JUNE 2000 ISSUE


THIS ISSUE:
1. Ed speak - 12 point e-commerce checklist - Avoid at your peril.
2. Knowing what you have to offer - Essential Business Tool by Vic Carrara.
3. More Resources and links.
4. Have You Made Your "Strategy Theme Sheet" ? by Wild Bill Montgomery
5. Newsletter from scratch. Is there a Market? Is there anything better?
6. Next Issue


1. ED Speak

You're probably more familiar with the name Boo.com than KPMG. Boo.com were a much hyped clothing website which went down spectacularly a short while ago. KPMG are the liquidators (good business to be in at the moment - unfortuately for some!) In a bizarre move of generosity, they've issued a 12 point check list to help other companies going the same way (surely doing themselves out of work here?)

1.Have a good original idea. Make sure that you are not simply recreating another distribution channel or generic 'shop'. E-businesses based on innovative patent technology or "clicks and mortar" businesses such as retailer "Next" can both work well. Break the rules!

2.Focus on building sustainable income, not just a number of hits or customer registrations.

3.Develop and use key performance indicators that provide early warning signals - such as fluctuations in income per hit rates.

4.Make your site easy to buy from and find a way to measure and monitor customer satisfaction levels - this is your lifeblood.

5.Understand and monitor the actual and forecast cash flows of the business or hire someone who can do this for you - your idea must be commercially viable. Good financial advice is necessary to ensure you build reality and cash flow into your business plan. Have solid fiancial projections that can be robustly scrutinised for the future of the business.

6.Do not give your investors or bankers surprises: keep them informed and ask for their input - you will need them to trust you if things become difficult. You must build transparent relationships with potential investors and be prepared to accept their feedback as to what is fundable or not.

7.Ensure that you have a quality management team for the business. These people should have management and industry expertise in the relevant sector, be committed to the project, be strategic, and commercial thinkers and have excellent project management skills.

8.Continually re-assess and test the current validity of your original business model and do not be scared to change tack or stop.

9.Keep looking outside of your business - barriers to entry for competition will be low and new competition will emerge quickly.

10.Consider commercial alliances - there will be many opportunities to join forces with similar businesses.

11.Develop a contingency plan so that you can react quickly and positively if your marketplace changes overnight.

12.Do not stick your e-head in the e-sand if things start to go off plan - proactively seek advice.

Phew! Ok, many of you may think that none of this is relevant.
"Hey, I'm just one person, not a big company."
It is relevant, and you should be taking note. No matter your size (and I'm not talking waistlines), many of these points matter MORE, precisely because you are a one man (woman) band. Less resources to back on, less time, less room for error. The more that you can get used to making the most of what you do have, not wasting resources, and taking advice when you can - the more chances of achieving those goals - Your own Home Business.

Best of everything,
Vic Carrara


2. Knowing what you have to offer - Essential Business Tool
by Vic Carrara.


Several years after graduation, some students from Harvard university were surveyed. Surveyed to see whether they were on the way to achieving their ambitions. 3% were. They were also the highest earners of the group.
What had this 3% done to give themselves the potential of achieving their ambitions?
1. At graduation they took stock of where they were and what they had tooffer.
2. They made a decision as to where they wanted to be in 5, 10, 20 year's time.
3. They took the steps necessary to achieve their goals.

The bottom line is that they planned. For them, chance had little to do with their futures. You would have given them great odds in achieving their goals. Dreams and ambitions are great things. Expecting those dreams to happen without planning - well that is just dreaming.

"People don't plan to fail. They fail to plan". Mark McCormack

Let's assume that you know your destination. As you're reading this magazine it's fair to assume that you want to start your own business. So where do you go from here? Don't discount anything. Don't assume anything.

We're all familiar with the PostIt by 3M. But did you know that it was a failure? Well at least in terms of the original purpose. 3M originally set their scientists the goal of developing a strong glue. They conducted thousands of tests, producing thousands of samples. One of these was this light tack glue which remained sticky. Useless! Not at all what was wanted. Ten years later while going through the old notes, this formula was rediscovered. "Aha" thought some bright spark and the rest, as we say, is history.

If the moral isn't clear, here it is in plain speak. Don't dismiss any skill, ability, interest, desire, knowledge, or passion that you have. They all come together to make you - a unique package that is special and marketable. More importantly, some of these skills acquire different importance at different times - Value them all. Let's take stock of where you are today. You'll need plenty of paper and your favourite pen.
Choose twelve words that you believe sum up your skills and interests. Draw a circle and mark off twelve points. By each mark write one of the skills.
Now start pairing them off. Don't be choosy. You want to look at all the combinations.
Now explore connections between these two skills. Don't discount any as being too strange.
Take notes as ideas come up.
You can also try substituting some words with alternatives.
What happens when you use those? Write all these pairings on pieces of paper. Allow yourself several hours over a period of days to do this.
Next get all those pieces of paper and throw them on the floor. Pick pairs up at random and see what combinations come up. Get your partner, children, friends involved. Laugh at some of the random choices, but still keep note of them.

"If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it" Albert Einstein.

You now have a fuller picture of your potentials. Many more options open to you (even more confusion!) You're also hopefully more excited, laughed-out, and positive.

The next step is connecting today realities with your tomorrow dreams .
Ah, but that's another article, another time. Enough now for you to start your inventory list ready for session two.
Best of everything,
Vic Carrara


If you have a penny and I have a penny and we exhange pennies, you still have one penny and I still have one penny. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange ideas, you have two ideas and I now have two ideas.


3. Resources and Links

UK Search Engine Directory: UK Search Engine Directory
Entrpreneur Success Links: Success Resources
Get the best advice from the best in the business - Top Discussion groups to join: Discussion Groups


4. Have You Made Your "Strategy Theme Sheet" ? by Wild Bill Montgomery

A "Strategy Theme Sheet" is a self made work-sheet document which helps you identify the basis and theme of your advertising upon which you expect consumers to purchase your product in preference to your competition. The "Strategy Theme Sheet" deals directly with your advertising copy. The majority of the content of a Strategy Theme Sheet comes from the product and the consumer demand for which the product was designed. The Strategy Sheet is made up of eight subjects: 1) Objective - Your advertising objective will start out with "My advertising will.....".Of course your advertising will perform some kind of function, so you need an actionverb next. Some common verbs used are "convince, persuade, and communicate". "Remind" could be another verb used. For example "Have you had you Wheaties today?" would be a Reminder objective. I prefer using the "convince objective". It demonstrates confidence and the use of persuasion, something that occurs inside the consumer's mind.
2) Target Consumer - This is more than a simple statement of demographics. Women, 18 to 45 may be correct, but "Working Mothers, 18 to 45" or "Homemakers 18-45, may be an even better description. Focus your efforts and advertising copy on that specific group. Write out several different phrases describing your target consumer in fine detail. Remember, your talking about a real person here.
3) Product Benefit(s) - Simply put this spotlights the features and benefits of the product itself. Cost and Quality are your major players when describing your product benefits. Note: Price + Quality = Value!
4) Consumer Benefit(s) - These benefits are the reflection of how the product affects the consumer's life. Making the consumer's life or task at hand easier, faster or more desirable. It's how you "make the consumer believe" your product's unique advantages for them and their life. Note: Use Product Benefits or Consumer Benefits, not both.
5) Support - One major part of your support statement is how you show, prove, vindicate or corroborate evidence to support your claims about your product. Support is also the reason you provide the product and consumer benefit(s) you your claiming. Many advertising strategies fail because the they failed to support the claims of the product and consumer benefits.
6) Product Wishes - Product Wishes should describe an "almost instant" gratification, effect or good feeling that your product will offer. It's short, direct and to the point. Product Opportunity is the stereotype of advertising. An example would be "Get our product and be the King of Your Castle". Now we know there are few monarchs in the home and more often than not it would be the "Queen", but it portray a feeling no matter how ridiculous that this guy will be the King of his Castle if he would only buy this product.
7) Product History - I would have to say that the best way to describe the meaning of "Product History" is "heritage" of the product. Maybe your product has been around forever, then you would say why your product has been around that long. Your product may be brand new, then you would describe the descendents of your product and how and why it progressed to your product. Note: Use either "Product History" or "Product Wishes", but not both, and do not confuse "Product Wishes" with "Product Benefit(s)". Product Wishes and Product History are a style of advertising not a list of benefits.
8) Miscellaneous - This part is simple. If it doesn't fit into a subject above put it here! Ideas, thoughts, or just about anything else! Ok, now make you self a list of these headings. Then start by focusing on one subject. Give each subject lots of thought. This is not something you sit down and do in ten minutes. You may have thoughts about a subject at any time for days. Give yourself a week with the Theme Sheet and every time you have a thought about your product list it on your theme sheet. A week later sit down take the best from your list and start writing your advertising campaign. Save the list, this way you can refer back to it, add to it and use it again. "Take yourself to the top baby!" Wild Bill Montgomery

We've Featured Over 110 Articles in only one issue of our newsletter. How many do you get in yours? Why Play With Puppies, When The Big Dog Rules! The Best In Online Marketing & Business Information! Subscribe Now! http://www.MakingProfit.com/newsletters


5. Newsletter from Scratch - erm, perhaps not..."Business from Scratch"

I had an idea for a Newsletter.
Simple idea based on my last 16 years experience of working in Theatre.
Step One: Is there a market out there? I've been busy. I very quickly identified 11 Groups of businesses that would be interested in my Newsletter.
And even better, these groups cover thousands upon thousands of potential clients. Now having looked at the market, putting myself in their position (what do they want), I've found that the original newsletter idea needs developing. Looking at the target prospects, many would be more interested in information on where to get props, not how to make props.
What do I do? What's my focus. To make money providing a great service. Sooooooo...the research so far indicates a slight change of direction.
A web database with online news and help on making props?
That's my task for next month.
Can I achieve this with my current resources?
More next month,
Vic


6. Next Month

Progress on my 'Business from Scratch', can I do it?
More resources to make your Home Business life easier.
A new Guest writer sharing their secrets of making a success.
More Business Development techniques....

 

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