Many folks dream of starting (their) own small business. It can give them independence and it has the ability to generate increased income. In recent years, many have lost their good paying jobs and some are working several part-time jobs to try to make ends meet. It’s a deep rut which is difficult to climb out of. It’s no wonder that many are looking to start a new business. Are you one of them?
Starting Own Small Business Requirements:c
There are a few requirements to start your own business:
1. You need to learn something about business.
2. You need to have a business plan.
3. You will need some help.
Free Course Offerings:
Over the years, I have attended a number of courses on how to start a business. These are sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, universities and colleges, and even banks. There is no cost for these types of courses and they are taught by those who have retired from business or are still working a business. In other words you are getting your information from the horses mouth.
A great source for learning how to start a business is SBA.gov. There you can set up your business plan online so that you will have a complete idea of where to begin and as to where you are heading. Without a business plan, you’re just whistling Dixie.
General Business Practices:
You’ll need to know a little bit about accounting so that you can keep your books. When you can afford it, maybe you will be able to hire a consulting accountant to do things for you. But in the beginning, you will need to do this chore yourself or perhaps with the aid of a family member or friend. Basic accounting is easy and there are plenty of books and software programs that will show you how to do it. You will need to record income coming in and expenses going out.
Evaluating the Competition:
If you are starting a local business, then you will need to evaluate competing businesses in your area. Have you ever noticed that the fast food restaurants like to be located close to each other. By doing this, they generate more traffic which means more income.
Finding a Niche Market:
Your new business must supply what your market is looking for. I remember a Saturday night live presentation where Dan Ackroyd decides to start a new business. He rents a business site in a mall, stocks it thoroughly, lights his pipe and waits for the customers to come strolling in. Yes, he has sat up his business and thinks he can smugly sits back and smokes his pipe. Nobody comes strolling in except for one man who buys a small role of cellophane tape.
Celophane tape is certainly needed by everyone, but they can buy it anywhere. You can pick up a roll of 3M Scotch tape® at the supermarket, at the drugstore, at the hardware store and at business supply stores. But that was all that Dan Ackroyd had in his store. Just roll after roll of cellophane tape. During the skit, he sold only one role of scotch tape which pleased him greatly and he continued to sit back and puff on his pipe. It had not dawned on him that he did not have a business.
I placed “scotch tape®” in my search engine address bar. The number of sites that came up was 2,280,000. Most of the sites sold many other products besides scotch tape®, perhaps all of them. I really didn’t take the time to make a study of it. If there are 2,280,000 sites selling scotch tape®, you do not have a niche market.
What Is a Niche Market?
A niche market is part of a large market, a small segment that you can reach and make a profit. For example, I placed “stanps for collectors” in my browser address bar.749,000 websites came up. The same comes up for other stamp categories. Not exactly a niche market even when you narrow it down to French or Mogollon stamps.
I placed “clean old stamps” in my browser search bar and got only four (4) sites, three (3) were not relevant. There were no paid ads. There is no market.
Becoming Part of Your Niche Market:
To determine the wants and needs of a niche market, you must become part of that market. You need to know what the people who are in that niche are looking for. You need to join forums and take part in their activities. You will be building up a reputation in the niche as a person who has knowledge and who can be trusted.
Best Niche Market Areas for New Internet Marketers:
The best markets for new markers on the Internet are:
You must be very carful here. The gurus love this area of marketing and there is much competition. I suggest that new marketers do not choose this area. Stay away from the gurus. They will grab you by the heals and shake the money out of your pockets, leaving you with nothing that you can’t get for free on the Internet.
You need to dig down to find a nice in this area that is specific to say black christian women looking for a mate.
Again, be very specific. I have learned over the years that broad sites don’t work very well. Golf clubs for left-handed women might work.
Health and Beauty:
This is very broad so get down to skin blemishes or such that you are interested in.
Places to Help Find a Niche:
Use the Google keyword tool to start. Use JAAXY if you are an affiliate marketer.
Use the kewords suggested by Amazon as you make a search (the drop down list).
Use the ABC method to find key words through Google Suggest.
Dig down into the DMOZ (open directory project) categories.
Here you will find many keywords to think about. Always use a keyword tool to see what the traffic and competition is.
You should be taking magazines that serve your niche market. That way you will be able to see what folks are thinking about. You will also be able to see the advertising in such publications which will guide you to the products that are needed.
The Internet Market Place:
The Internet has made it possible to reach people worldwide. If only a small percentage of the worldwide population are interested in a niche market, it will still be a very large number of people. In other words, you can be more effective selling on the Internet than from a storefront in your hometown.
Taking Your Existing Business to the Internet:
If you already own a storefront business, it’s a natural transition to go on to the Internet. I have had several friends and family members who have done this very successfully. Some of these businesses doubled and quadrupled their sales in a very short time.
Selling Your Own Products:
The Internet is a great place to sell homemade products and antiques and such. You can have a great business is selling on Etsy, eBay and Amazon. For many years, I sold books on the Internet. I also sold flagpoles, having them drop shipped to my customers by my supplier.
My granddaughters sell hats for babies. They sell so many hats that they have to have others in their neighborhoods make hats for them. Right now, in June, they are making hats for Halloween.
My son use to sell Irish flutes and whistles on the Internet. He sold that business and is now selling herbs and courses on how to grow herbs and use them as well as his books and the books of others. He gives lectures on some weekends, which are very profitable.
What Do You Already Know?
Sometimes you can dig down into your own talents and skills and education to start a niche market. But there are plenty of niche markets to go around and you can sponsor any niche that you have a strong interest in. If you don’t have a strong interest in your niche, you will not be very successful because you will not be able to stick with it. After all, marketing is hard work.
1. You can work in your underwear at a time of the day or night.
2. You will not have to pay for child care because the kids can stay home with you, nagging you while you’re trying to work. So you put on a kid’s movie and give them a treat to get them out of your hair for a while.
3. You don’t need any fancy work clothes, nor do you need to spend money on transportation to your job. There are no union dues. All you really need is a computer if you are selling other people’s products. You’re making your own products, you’ll need to clean a place in the garage and that spare bedroom where you can work. My granddaughters usually make hats in front of the television. That is their workplace.
4. Your income depends on you. It can be very little or very high depending on how successful you are in your endeavors. At first you might have to work some fairly long hours to get things going your way. Then you can taper off a bit.
5. You’ll have to provide for your retirement and for health insurance, but you can be compensated enough from your hard work to afford such expenses.
6. You can take vacations when you want to take them and as often as you can afford them. You will be able to pay off your house and buy a new car if you can earn enough income to go so.
Learning the Ropes:
If you’re going to start an Internet business, you will need to know how to function in that environment. I suggest that you spend a few months at Wealthy Affiliate University. It is the premier teaching site on the Internet for Internet marketers. Its focus is on affiliate marketing, promoting the products of others, but it will show you how to set up your website and how to draw traffic to it. You will learn all of the aspects of Internet marketing that will be very important to you.
My Tenure at Wealthy Affiliate:
I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate University for over eight years. I’m 83 years old so I’m not sure how much longer I will be there. They have an affiliate program that I belong to that pays for my annual tuition. They also have a second program that helps me earn money called JAAXY, a special keyword tool for affiliate marketers. Some of always been enough to pay my annual tuition.
Start Free at Wealthy Affiliate:
But I’m not telling you to stay there forever. I suggest that you join Wealthy Affiliate University as a free startup member. You can use that free membership as long as you like and then you can decide if you want to advance or not. If you’re really committed to Internet marketing, then I would pay for an annual membership because it will save you about half of the tuition cost.
But you can stay for as long as you need to on the free membership and then pay for three or four months for the premium membership which you gives you many advantages. It will cost you much less than a three hour course at a local junior college. (Such college courses are usually worthless because the instuctors are not Internet marketers.) It’s well worth the money. If you are successful in their affiliate programs, it won’t cost you anything.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
An affiliate marketer promotes other people’s products. You find these products on affiliate networks or by dealing directly with companies. You can also sell products that are drop shipped or your own products. You can have products made and have Amazon stock them for you and take care of the selling, order handling, shipping and customer service. Several of my friends are making tons of money doing this. What is selling yoga mats and making big money doing so.
Starting a Local Storefront Business:
If you are starting a local business, a storefront business, then make sure you talk with your Chamber of Commerce and other business owners. You don’t want to compete with the supermarkets, hardware stores and drugstores. You want to stay away from commodity and find specific products to sell which meet the needs of the people in your area.
How Big is Your Market?
I live in a small town. I watch people start new businesses all the time. Almost all of them fail immediately because the town is not large enough to support them. You have to look at the local situation to make sure there is really a market and not just one that you imagine.
Don’t start up a single product cellophane tape store.
Things To Do Now!
1. Go to SBA.gov, read about how to start up a new business, and prepare your business plan as you go along in the startup process. Don’t think that you have to complete the business plan all at once because you don’t. It’s a living document that you start and then revive to meet your needs.
2. Go to your local Chamber of Commerce and asked them where you can attend a class on how to start a new business. They will have literature on how to start a business so make sure you that you take some literature and read it.
3. Go to Wealthy Affiliate and start your free membership.
4. Make free keyword searches on JAXXY to see what keywords are driving traffic to websites, how much competition there is, and to see what domain names are available. (Go to my website to my Tool Box to learn the definitions and practices for Internet marketing.)
5. Find the main keyword or keyword phases that relates to your business. Buy a domain name from NameCheap.com and host it at HostGator.com.
6. Build a website using WordPress as taught at Wealthy Affiliate.
7. Place relevant information on your website often and submit each article as you publish to the social networks like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. (You can see who I submit to by looking at the bottom of this article.) Use images and videos on your website.
8. Consider paid advertising methods as you move along.
My sites that will give you some help:
If you have a question, just leave a comment. Oh, leave a comment anyway.
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