Through using a few of the following Internet business strategies, your business will become what you want it to be. Some people want to create an online company that will allow them the financial freedom to never work again, while other people want to create the type of company they want to work in. Regardless of what kind of Internet business you want to start, there are some fundamental points that are time-tested, both online and off.
Why Start an Internet Business?
Most Internet business opportunities come highly recommended by the folks who have made them work well. The lifestyle benefits are great for some people, but you need to be wary. Many Internet business professionals will try to lure you in with the promise of near-instant riches. While it’s illegal to promise outright that you’ll be a work from home millionaire, live in a mansion and drive any kind of sports car you want by this time next year, they do suggest that this is highly probable once you’ve bought what they’re selling. Keep in mind that they tend to run their ads in the middle of the night, when most people aren’t in their most lucid frame of mind.
Another popular line the gurus like to use is the phrase “fully automated,” which implies that once you toss together your Internet business it’ll just pour out cash like a magical oil well. Unfortunately, no business works this way, and every business requires that you do a great deal of work. In fact, the more profitable your business ends up being, the more work you have to put in. Also, there will never be a time when your business needs absolutely no work.
One of the greatest travesties of the modern world is that so many people are frustrated because their standards are unrealistically high. Even the most gifted businesspeople can’t grow a successful company in only a few months. Even the best-constructed business requires no human intervention to work properly. Unfortunately, the late night gurus continue to preach this horrible gospel, and many people who could be successful if they used better strategies give up before they achieve any tangible success.
Your Business is Your Subsistence Garden
The first step in taking your Internet business to a successful place is seeing it as more than just a hobby. You need to see it as a subsistence garden. Subsistence gardens aren’t full of garnishes and flowers, but food you need to store up if you intend to survive the winter. If you treat your business like a subsistence garden, you will automatically hone in on what’s most important.
If you go into your business looking at it as a hobby, you won’t do as well as if you view the hours you can spend growing and nurturing your business as the start of something important. Naturally, you can start your Internet business while you still have a day job, but many people fail because they never take their business seriously enough. If you think of your business as your lifeline, the entire game changes.
To really grow and be prosperous with your business, you need to consider a lot of sections, including but not limited to:
- Ad Tracking
- Cash flow management
- Customer service
- Product testing
- Website design and functionality
- Information storage
- Website maintenance and accessibility
You need to decide at the very beginning whether this is going to be akin to growing some daisies and watermelons in the back yard, or whether you’re willing to uproot your entire lawn and start the farm that will keep food on your table permanently. This is an either-or proposition, and is not a decision to make flippantly.
You and Your Business Must Flow
Just like in any other business, the way time and money flows through your business is a series of constant, extremely important decisions. Every moment you spend working needs to be on something useful, and you need to decide where you can most effectively use the money you take in to further grow your business. Some obvious uses of money include setting aside a portion for rough patches in the business cycle, keeping an account for taxes and reinvesting a portion of your revenue into scaling your operation.
You must also carefully guard your time. Decide how to deal with time-wasting activities, such as endlessly messing with color schemes and trying to chase down uninterested leads. Every moment you spend on something needless is a moment you will never get back. Some of the most effective uses of time involve finding ways to automate repetitive processes and designing operations you can have employees carry out. While your business will always need someone to do certain tasks, this someone doesn’t have to be you.
Also, some of the worst ways some business owners try to fight their own flow involve trying to sell valueless things and using marketing strategies that don’t attract the right kinds of customers. You must endlessly test your marketing, until you know your intended customers better than they know themselves. You also need to be certain your product or service fulfills a need in your target customer’s life. Offering something no one wants is a great way to go hungry.
Another important part of flow is to be available and professional in your Internet business. Your potential customers must have at least two methods of contacting you, and they should be able to find these methods on your social networking profiles and your business’s website. When you receive a query, answer it as soon as possible. While you might not always be able to answer a question immediately, the least you can do is promise to find out and follow-up soon.
Keep Excellent Records
There are a lot of components to your Internet marketing efforts. Where do you get the most leads, and is this the same place you get your best leads from? What percentage of your leads convert into paying customers? Even details such as the words you use in your advertising copy are important. Put out slightly different versions of the same ad, and see which one draws in more customers. You might be amazed at what tiny changes in your approach result in massively different results.
E-mail marketing is a slightly different animal to quantify. Test a lot of different e-mails, and you’ll come to see different response patterns. Keep detailed records of your opt-ins, your opt-outs, and do your best to deduce why they happened.
Every detail of your business needs to be carefully recorded. This is partially for your reference, but it will also help tremendously when you start hiring employees to do more and more of the work. One day you may even write a detailed manual of how things are done in your company, and more data means more solid systems.
Summing it Up
- Market and test constantly
- Add value to other people’s lives
- Take your business and your professional presence seriously
- Ensure your systems work as well as possible
If you follow these time-honored principles, your Internet business has a higher-than-average chance of being a long-term success.