Top 10 Tips for Internet Entrepreneurs
You’re thinking about taking that leap of faith and building a web-based business, joining the other 125 million entrepreneurs that populate today’s web. So you talk to some friends, you do a little research on site designers and maybe you even call one. Be sensible and take it slow. No need to jump in head first, right? But what do you sell? Products? Services? It might be products or it might be services – the web is all about selling. However, with 125 million web sites already live and 6,000 new launches daily, you might be a bit behind the curve.
Why are college grads choosing entrepreneurship?
In this economy it is no surprise that recent college graduates are working odd-jobs to support themselves, but what is surprising is that many new graduates are choosing entrepreneurship over a traditional career path. They live nomadic lives, and many graduates are re-thinking the corporate path in order to start their own Internet company, many times, over the objections of their parents and friends. Entrepreneurship is about risk taking ...right? So many college grads are rejecting the corporate career path to form their own start up. Entrepreneurship is about perusing a bigger dream ....being an Internet entrepreneur which means you can work whenever you want, wherever you want, and be your own boss. The kind of risk that many college graduates are taking leads to them having a different lifestyle than a traditional employee: no office, no desk, and just laptops and lots of energy. Now that companies are shaking off the recession and aggressively recruiting vendors to partner with, there are more options for people looking to start a new business and leverage their skills in order to build their own dream.
Top 10 tips for entrepreneurs starting a new business:
1. Start with a business plan.
If you wrote out your business plan on the back of a cocktail napkin, you’re almost certainly not yet ready for tip #2. What are your company's goals and objectives? How fast do you think your company will grow? Who will be your primary customers and how many do you need in order to break even? Without a business plan, your dream of starting a new Internet business is still in the fantasy stages.
2. Niche marketing or mass marketing?
Competition on the Internet is brutal and you can't be all things to all people, so many Internet entrepreneurs are choosing the niche path in order to differentiate themselves from the competition. Niche companies must offer a limited product line because the size of the market is much narrower and the needs are much more homogeneous. Mass marketing, on the other hand, is wider in its scope. Mass markets sell products to larger consumer groups. Web based, mass marketing makes use of general keyword and meta titles in order to capture a larger audience. To reduce the risk of mass marketing, plenty of mass marketers instead make use of niche marketing. Niche marketers make use of specific keywords in order to faster gain valuable traffic.
3. Determine the market potential of your product or service.
Do your research and determine whether or not the service or product you plan to offer is marketable. How does your product or service differ from everything else on the market? If the answer is "not much" then you need to re-think your product or service. Remember that you've got to convince lenders, employees and others that the market you're after is relatively large and growing. You will need to be a sales person in order to be an effective entrepreneur.
4. Determine your demographic.
Did you know that older users – especially technophobe's – don’t use the browser’s back button. Heck, a lot of these oldie but goodies don’t even know they have a back button on their browser. They don’t even know they have a browser. On the other hand, if your sweet spot is the 16-30-year-old male buyer, you can get away with using cool graphics to pull in these savvy web surfers to look around your web site. If you’re selling to older buyers, keep it simple. Younger buyers, keep it smoking’.
5. Put your most popular or enticing offerings on the home page.
Remember.... when you have enticed a new Internet user to browse your page, you have exactly 10 seconds to grab that visitors' attention. So, take extra care in designing your home page, but don’t assume that all visitors will land at your front door. Depending on the query words entered by the search engine user, that visitor may end up on a landing page deep within the site so every page should have a little something special to keep visitors on site long enough to buy something.
6. Social media is a valuable source of traffic to your web site.
Create an attractive introduction to your business including:
- services or product offerings
- daily specials
- professional affiliations, i.e. the Better Business Bureau
- referrals and linkage (ask happy customers to provide testimonials to the quality of whatever it is you do or sell)
- directions to your location
- your business telephone and email address
7. Search engine optimization–SEO–is crucial to the long-term growth of your web site business.
With the evolution of social media marketing, it is easy for new Internet entrepreneurs to overlook this crucial source of traffic. And the most important thing to remember is... in order to generate traffic to your web site, you need to provide valuable content to your visitors. Valuable content on the Internet comes in many forms such as videos, articles, and images. But for search engine optimization, original, quality content is an absolute necessity. If you are not a writer, hire someone that is. Or better yet, brush up on your own writing skills. Remember, being the CEO of a web-based start up means you will need to wear many hats and writing is something that is a good use of your time. Write each week and post to your web site or blog. Proof read and spell check before posting online.
8. Email marketing is not dead—it's gone mobile!
Start early on and develop and maintain a quality email list of people who are interested in receiving weekly mail outs of your content. Do not buy email lists and if someone opts out of your list, immediately remove their address from your database. Remember, quality is key. It is better to have a list of ten readers who are genuinely interested in your content, rather than one thousand email addresses of people who could not care less about looking at your email. Put a well designed "sign up form" on your web site. Draw attention to your "sign up form" by hovering it over your web site or adding an attractive icon to it and catch visitors' attention. Make it enticing to join your list by offering a coupon, giveaway, or valuable information.
9. Client relationships are everything!
Provide warranties and guarantees for the products and services you are selling and back them up with quick, absolute attention to detail. This is the least expensive trust-builder the small business owner offers. Few buyers ever return products so provide an iron-clad guarantee of satisfaction and post that guarantee all over your web site.
10. Never give up and mange your time wisely.
Never give up... that goes without saying. But remember this in your daily routine. And as an Internet entrepreneur, your time is one of the most valuable resources that you have so mange it wisely. When you’re the company CEO and custodian, time is money and you don’t want to waste either so, as you grow, you’re going to need outside help to keep up with an increasingly large list of new customers that you build over time.
The economy is improving; providing opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Yes, the economy is improving. This opens up a wealth of opportunities for business coaches, distributor agents (those who want to get people on their team to distribute products and services), as well as virtual assistants and the like. The downturn has also meant that many new business start-ups are looking for ways to build their business on a minimum budget. This could simply mean getting special deals from companies to buy products or services for their business as well as joining with others to collaborate in projects so they can share leads, and both parties can build their business.
All the work and energy that you put into your business adds up to value – goodwill value for your new clients or customers. And when you stop to think about why you are busting your butt to build this business…
…well, it's because you are an entrepreneur.