Great Advice on How to Choose the Best Business Entity for Your New Business

Learning how one can start your own business is the first step towards private freedom and economic security. But with a view to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible, you want to make certain you’re going about it the right way.

One of the first things you’ll have to think about when deciding how you can start your own business is what sort of business entity is right for you. There are numerous issues to consider: the character of your specific business endeavor, whether you need to protect your personal assets, whether or not you will be looking for a loan, etc. There are a number of choices out there, every one with its unique benefits and disadvantages.

Sole proprietor

Being a sole proprietor is the easiest business entity option available when deciding how you can start your own business. Basically, it implies that you and your business are the same – you ARE your business. You have no associates (thus the term “sole”), and the companies cease to exist when your involvement ends, whether by choice or your death.

The advantages of a sole proprietor business is its simplicity. You usually want solely to begin doing business. In some localities you may have to file your business with the city or county, and, depending on the kind of business and your local legal stipulations, chances are you’ll need a permit. But other than that, you are typically good to go. You don’t even need a separate checking account, since you and your business are the same (although it probably is sensible to open one, so that you can easily differentiate your enterprise and private funds).

After all, a sole proprietorship comes with a few disadvantages, too. Before everything, since you and your business are the same, so are your assets. Due to this fact, should anyone take legal action in opposition to your organization, your private assets will be at risk, in addition to your business assets. Because of this alone, when you have relatively substantial private assets, another business entity probably makes more sense for you when deciding the best way to start your own business.

Corporation

Most likely essentially the most well-known business entity is the corporation; it’s what you in all probability think of first once you resolve to start your own business. Unlike a sole proprietorship, a corporation is separate and distinct from its proprietor(s). Think of it as a different “person,” if you will. It has its own assets and liabilities, can survive the involvement of its owners, has its own name, checking account, etc.

The most important advantage of choosing to start your own business as a corporation is to defend you and your assets from liability. For the reason that the corporation is a separate entity it’s answerable for its own activities and financial duties – AS LONG AS the owners (shareholders) follow the rules of the state wherein they’re incorporated and keep their private and corporate actions, property, etc. separate from one another. If the shareholders do something on behalf of the corporation that is considered unlawful or irresponsible, they can be held personally responsible.

Different advantages include some tax benefits (talk to an accountant to understand more), plus the enhanced business image of being a “corporation.” Customers, buyers, banks, etc. are often more inclined to do business with a corporation than a sole proprietor.

Along with the benefits of establishing yourself as a corporation come some added complications. Again, you will need to abide by the corporate rules and guidelines of your state of incorporation. There could also be further charges or taxes concerned, maintain records of annual shareholder meetings, and in some circumstances, potentially high tax liability. Corporations are also more complicated and costly to set up. Whereas you can do it yourself, it is sensible to enlist the help from a lawyer or accountant.

Detailing all the pros and cons of a corporation is a giant subject, and can differ from state to state, as well as the type of corporation you form (S- or C-Corp). So seek the advice of a neighborhood legal professional to totally understand the benefits and disadvantages.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Thought of by some to be the very best of both worlds when deciding the way to start your own business, the LLC is a relatively new business entity. LLCs offer you protection from personal liability in business matters, but are simpler to establish and maintain than a corporation.

Like a corporation, there are specific rules and guidelines one must comply with in an LLC – however again, typically fewer than in a corporation. The other major advantage is tax-related. Profits in an LLC can move through to the owners. In other words, the LLC doesn’t pay tax itself; rather, the owners pay personal income tax on their share of company profits.

When it comes to disadvantages, there are few (when compared to a corporation). Whereas an LLC is actually more sophisticated to arrange and preserve than a sole proprietorship, it’s typically much less so than a corporation, while offering many of the same advantages.

This article ought to only serve as an introduction to which business entity to choose when deciding how to start your own business. This is a vital decision. Whereas it’s possible to change your business type down the road, it is always less complicated (and less expensive) to choose the best option right from the start. What kind of business is the right one for you? Please check out my website for more information before you speak with your lawyer to turn your dream of having your own business into a successful reality!

How to Turn Your Business Idea Into a Career

Many home based business start with nothing else but an idea and somebody’s will to make that idea into a reality. While it’s true that financing can help you start up quicker and make your new business into your only job sooner, a home based business can become a full time career quickly if you use your resources wisely. It’s important however to take a good look at your business idea before abandoning it all to chase after your dream, since some business ideas won’t be profitable and you may need to adapt it and correct any potential issues before starting up.

Viability analysis of a business idea

You should go to great lengths to decide about the potential of a business idea, because your vision may be clouded by the fact that you’d love to make your business idea into your full time job. Do not leave a stone unturned, and quantify things. Do not buy a full warehouse before knowing for sure that there is enough people willing to buy those goods, even if you think it’s a great idea. Risk should be taken based on hard data and numbers, not just a feeling that things will work out well. It’s also worth asking trusted friends or family to give you their opinion on your business plan, specially if you tend to be overly optimistic, but don’t let naysayers stop you. Most business ideas have potential if they are approached correctly. Maybe your product is not unique, but you can make the way you sell and promote it unique and better than your competition.

Recruit help or train yourself

Take a look at your strengths and weaknesses and how they affect your business, and consider enrolling some friends or family to help you with the things you are less good at doing. For example, if you are really bad at paperwork, and you know it, you may be better off getting somebody to help you with that from day 0 instead of having to pay an accountant a lot of money for a rush job the day before your tax deadline expires. If you know what skills you need you may also consider getting training for them, in preparation to starting up. You can get lots of free training online in subjects such as marketing, sales and general business management and etiquette. This is specially important if your core skills are technical. No matter how good your product is, you’ll need to be able to sell it and manage the cash flow as well, even if you are the best engineer in the entire world.

Get registered as soon as possible

In most countries starting a business is easy and doesn’t cost a lot of money, so you should do that as soon as possible. This will free your hands to start trading without having to worry about such things as the bank taking longer to approve your business bank account than you’d have expected. This also prevents somebody else registering your business name before you get around it. The same goes for domain names, registering your favourite domain name often costs less than a night out, and saves you the frustrating situation of somebody else beating you to it. And once you are registered, make a plan to get started and work for it. Set a final date when you will hand in your notice and become officially an entrepreneur, and do your ground work and research before that so when the day comes you are ready to start trading.

Do you really need financing?

While having your business office sharing the guest bedroom on your house and using an old computer may be a bit inconvenient, it may be a better alternative than trying to raise finance or getting a loan from banks who, in times of economic downturn, may not be very friendly to upcoming small businesses. Many small home business ideas can start with minimal to no capital, and once you have a running, functioning business is considerably easier to access finance to allow for growth. Do not be tempted to get a loan just to finance an expensive office in the best area of town and overpriced equipment that you don’t really need, or you may be forfeiting your future as an entrepreneur. Banks and potential suppliers will look at your past credit history as a business owner before dealing with you, and if you seem risky they may give you more expensive terms.

Promote early, promote often

Even if you are generally not a sales person, make a point of telling everybody you know about your business or they won’t know that you are offering the services or products they, or their friends and families, need. The same goes about having a website and implementing some sort of marketing strategy to create buzz for your new product or service, so you can have clients as soon as you start trading.

There are many ways to advertise your small business for free or at minimum cost, so every home based small business should be able to promote themselves using social media, SEO and even PPC advertising. Create a strategic business marketing plan to promote your business, and plan it so you can do a bit every day along with your core business development tasks.

Many easy business ideas can easily become a full time career if you are willing to stick with it even if it takes a bit of time and quite a lot of effort to become profitable. Despite the fact that being a small business owner is a challenging path, it is also a rewarding a potentially very profitable one. Even if you later on decide to join the workforce again and work for others the experience of being a home business owner will enrich you and make you more desirable as an employee. However, keep in mind that entrepreneurship seems to be addictive, and many business owners start several successful businesses over their lifetime.

Home Based Business Marketing – The Truth About Duplication

Recent conversations regarding the theory of replication and home based business marketing strategies sparked this article. I need to start by genuinely asking the argument of whether or not we should be chasing duplication at all. Moreover, what will we be duplicating?

For years in my business the idea of a duplicable home based business marketing strategy was shoved down my throat and infused within my thinking. I didn’t just accept this idea of using one system that anyone pursued, but I taught the notion to everyone I worked with. Then things changed for me that literally transformed how I understand home based business marketing.

Do not misunderstand, I definitely acknowledge that individuals and businesses crave systems. Succeeding is more challenging if you do not have a process to follow. Let’s face it, individuals need specific direction. New home business owners need a 1,2,3 kind of system. You have to ask yourself what your home based business marketing system is in fact yielding or replicating. Additionally, is your system really duplicating at all?

In order to answer this question, we initially have to describe duplication within the conditions of the home based business marketing field. The average home business owner views replication as the primary goal. Expressly, when we have enough individuals duplicating our business system, we may sit back, enjoy, and observe as the checks keep rolling in. This type of belief is actually buying into the myth of duplication. Allow me to demonstrate.

We start with the hope that one by one or two by two we will add others to our sales force who will follow and copy our home based business marketing strategy. We think that the majority of people will get comparable results to our own, before long momentum is achieved and we will be duplicating in masses. In due season though, real life slaps us in the face as the accomplishment of true replication isn’t as easy as we anticipated. This is where the light bulb was turned on for me and altered my rationale concerning duplication.

After 8 years of working my business persistently, I recognized that even though we had assembled a healthy business, we were still stuck in the same situation as when we began. Yes, I was making a lot more money than when I first started my business and had some pretty awesome perks; yet, I hadn’t secured the degree of viral duplication that everyone talks about. Hence I started studying home based business marketing programs.

I found that replication is a myth in the home business world. This might rattle your chain a bit; yet, I wish to rouse your beliefs. Fairly ask and assess what the statistics are in your business regarding overall duplication and real people seeing real results? For a fair assessment you need to examine more than the handful of individuals who may be having direct or singular results. The question is how many individuals are able to realize true reproduction in depth in your business?

Earnestly assess your business and ask:

Has your team grown apart from your personal contact? Fundamentally this indicates that you regularly have team members that you have never met who are generating ample numbers without you.

Would you be able to completely remove yourself and your personal resources (your closing calls, webinars, training, etc.) from the arrangement and have your team persist to multiply?
Is your team creating multiple legacy type businesses to the point where they could not be swayed to move to another company?

Could you walk away from your business and travel the world for an entire year without affecting your income?

Most people are answering these questions with a negative response. If you are answering yes to all of the above, either you are out of touch with reality OR you hold a superior home based business marketing formula that understands that true replication can’t be achieved with one limited home based business marketing system.

The reason so many people struggle to duplicate their home based business marketing lies in this answer. A simple system designed to be mass replicated does not exist. Why? Let’s get back to my light bulb moment.

After eight years of employing a duplicable home based business marketing plan, I was still doing the same things I was doing whenever I began working my career. Until I reprogrammed my beliefs and reprogrammed my strategies, I would continue doing the same things always. We are simply human. Each of us are different and bring to the table a different skill, talent, gift, personality, and perspective. Buying into an idea where a single home based business marketing plan will essentially clone your results is insanity.

I was executing the identical tasks repeatedly because I wasn’t offering options, strategies, and home based business marketing methods that would function for different individuals. I was wrongfully believing that anyone could be altered and adapted to fit the plan, rather than tailoring the system for dissimilarity. An eye opening lesson it was.

Duplication is a myth considering nobody may duplicate you. Nobody will do exactly what you do and get the exact same results. Until you discount the idea of mass duplication and adjust your home based business marketing system, you will make the same mistakes I made and continually reconstruct your team searching for team members just like you!

Business Must Advertise Where New Clients Search

Today, people are “on the move”, searching on their phones while walking, while in conversation – watching TV. They are looking up, where to go for what is something which has become second nature.

Now it is up to a business to advertise where people are searching or they will loose out on new business. Can they exist off just word of mouth, or existing business? Perhaps – at least for a little while. There is however a strong doubt.

Small businesses which are advertising where people are searching will establish relationship with their new clients, who in turn will go to the business on line pages and leave recommendations and comments, which other searchers will see.

Business which is not advertising online will loose out altogether. It is difficult for some business owners to understand the changes in the market and the special urgency to change, and how important these changes are to their business. The new way of marketing, deriving from continually new electronic gadgets, are as powerful and fast as an oncoming freight train.

Here are some of the easy to understand rules for small business: Starting with the business domain name, especially for their online advertising and on their service vehicles.

When people use their names in a dot com address they must first assume that their name is not known. It also may be important to them, but not to a prospective client who searches..not for Michael Brown, but a painter, or a dentist. If small business wants to be found by NEW clients, they have to learn very quickly, that they need to buy a new keyword domain for a few dollars so they are found by Google’s, Bing’s or Yahoo’s search engines.

A prospective client goes online, to find a business, they will search (as in my example) for a dentist (and so they won’t find dentist from all across the country or world, they most likely look for dentists in their home town).

The best domain name for advertising might even be:.Dentist John Smith dot com, as a simple example. What their business is or does should come first, because it is what people use as a search term. Their name is secondary and can be somewhere else on the business page. People who do not know the name certainly won’t be able to enter it in the search, neither will people who know the name already – go online and look for them, they have no need..

In addition, advertisements such as: “I am the number one dentist in hometown USA” also no longer impresses. Searchers finding a business see previous clients who used the business before, often will leave feedback. These feedback can be devastating to any business, if they are negative. For a business, especially a ‘service’ business, such as a Physician, Dentist, Cosmetic Surgeon etc…to ignore the power of a feedback, may it be positive or negative..is extremely important.

Astonishingly enough, I have rarely found serious abuse of feedback by a consumer. As anything, one has to take feedbacks, both the positive and negative lightly, and speak to the business owner, if you have any questions.

When someone moves from one State to another, they immediately go online, looking up resources in their new home via Google and the feedbacks of people who have used a particular business. If they find a negative comment, they continue searching for others, not wasting time. So – you see how incredibly important your online visibility is for your business.

Another difficulty for businesses seems to be the choosing of domain names. Most take the word “name” to mean – their personal name – not a name that someone not knowing them personally – would connect with their business.

It is utmost important to get a domain name which describes the kind of business they have. A domain name which helps searchers find their business.

Let’s say you really are the best dentist in hometown USA, wouldn’t you want to be recommended online – Google places or yelp (and many other sites) for all the world to see?

Of most importance, right this moment, NOW – is to thoroughly understand the unprecedented pace at which technology is moving forward – cloud computing will help make all searches and everything else online even faster – more instant, businesses who are ignoring the changes or are not taking them dead serious, will undoubtedly be left behind in the dust their business competition who heeded the warning, is leaving behind..

Businesses have to make changes and they have to make changes now, if the business is to survive. As a business owner you must understand the principles of online searches, also called SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)

AGAIN – Your name is not of great importance to a new client, but what your business does- is of utmost importance. It is “sink or swim” for the survival of your business.

How to Value a Business – The Free Business Valuation Calculator

Every business owner should have a good idea of what their business is currently worth even if they don’t intend on selling the business soon or at all. But you may also need to know what a business is worth in the following non-exhaustive list of circumstances. How many reasons do you have to find out what a business is worth?

  • Buying a business or division externally or internally
  • Selling a business or division externally or internally
  • Shareholder/partner agreements and buy/sells
  • Estate and superannuation planning
  • Family law – separation and prenuptial
  • Business insurance policy structuring
  • Personal insurance policy structuring
  • Actual death or disability of the owner/(s)
  • Litigation as plaintiff or defendant

The problem is that business valuations are a complex mixture of science and art that are further confused by ‘listing prices’ displayed by business brokers and their often flawed ‘rule of thumb’ methods that make no commercial sense. The steps to value a business are fairly straightforward but need to be followed diligently.

The valuation method

The transfer price of any business (or any asset for that matter) will almost always come down to the agreed price between a knowledgeable and willing but not anxious seller and a knowledgeable and willing but not anxious buyer. The purpose of a valuation therefore is to indicate to the seller and/or the buyer what price would represent a favourable financial outcome to them based on their required rates of return. The purest method of valuation is the discounted cashflow (or net present value) approach however this method requires precise knowledge of all cash inflows and outflows between now and infinity for the business. Whilst this method is great for some financial assets with guaranteed cashflows it is impossible to apply to a business with variable cashflows.

The next best alternative used by most business valuers is a modification of the above method called the capitalisation of future maintainable earnings method. This method requires the valuer to forecast the most likely annual earnings figure (earnings before interest and tax) that will then be used as an annual recurring amount in the calculation. The valuer then applies a capitalisation rate to those earnings based on a required rate of return to give the business a value.

Future maintainable earnings (profits)

The earnings will usually be calculated based on the past performance of the business as well taking into account estimated projections. The net profit from the financial statements is adjusted to take into account various factors that are artificial or non-commercial amounts in the financial statements.

The adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for each historical and projected year are then weighted based on some assumptions to formulate a weighted average EBIT or future maintainable earnings, which is considered to be the likely annually recurring earnings amount going forward based on the methods and assumptions used.

Capitalisation rate

The capitalisation rate is inversely proportional to the required rate of return on the investment in the business. The higher the required rate of return, the lower the capitalisation rate and hence the lower the business value. Conversely, if there was no risk investing in a business the required rate of return may be as low as 5% and the business would be valued at 20 times the future maintainable earnings. This is almost never the case though as there are many inherent risks associated with running businesses. It is more likely that the required rate of return would be between 15% and 100% with corresponding capitalisation rates between 7 and 1 times respectively. The more risk, the higher return an investor would need compared to the investment outlay to make the investment.

As the future maintainable earnings has already been calculated the only way to change the value of the business is to change the required rate of return. The higher the required rate of return, the less that the business is valued for the same level of future maintainable earnings.

In the free business valuation calculator that I created on my website there are only 7 factors that influence the required rate of return. Bear in mind this is an oversimplified example as in practice the factors could total over 100. The responses to these factors have a significant impact on the indicative value of the business and are all related to business risks.

Assumptions relied upon

Valuing a business is a complex science that requires an enormous amount of information gathering, due diligence and industry knowledge to give an accurate opinion of value. Due to the limited scope of any basic business valuation calculator the following assumptions or similar are usually made. These assumptions may or may not be accurate and will depend on the specifics of each business.

  1. The information provided by the business is materially correct;
  2. The past is a good indicator of future performance of the business;
  3. The economic, industry and geographic factors are stable;
  4. Key customers, suppliers and employees are supportive of the transaction;
  5. All related party transactions are at fair value except for those specifically identified in the adjustments;
  6. All inventory, plant, equipment, fittings and fixtures necessary for the operation of the business are included;
  7. All depreciation amounts are book entries only and no significant upgrades of assets are required in the near future; and
  8. All necessary intangibles and regulatory permits are transferable.

How to calculate goodwill

Goodwill is simply the difference between the value of the business and the values of the identifiable net tangible assets (excluding bank loans and other loans). Should the indicative value be greater than the net tangible assets you have that much goodwill but alternatively, should the indicative value be less than the net tangible assets of the business, then the business would have negative goodwill and the assets would hold the only salable value.

Get a complete 7-page valuation report in less than 15 minutes from the Free Business Valuation Calculator. A short instructional video on business valuations is included.

What Is Home Business Marketing and Why Is It Important?

Some people say if you are not doing home business marketing, then you do not really have an online home business.

If you own or want to own an online business, you understand the importance of home business marketing.

When I started marketing online, it was so hard to know what to do or who to trust for information. I bought courses from several “gurus”. Sometimes, it seems like gurus are more interested in selling you “stuff”, than really showing you how to market online. I wanted to know exactly what I had to do–step by step, but it seemed like some information was being left out, making it difficult to get the full story.

I learned the hard way that online marketing is not easy, but it can be simple.

Do you want to increase your revenues by using effective, online marketing strategies?

Let’s start by clarifying…

What is Home Business Marketing?

For most people, marketing simply means putting up a website. However, in today’s ever-changing marketplace, it is not enough to have a website. A business must engage in effective marketing online to get new customers and attain online marketing success over the Internet.

Just as a successful offline business has a marketing plan, a successful home based business has online marketing strategies that give them a step-by-step plan to accomplish specific goals.

Online business marketing strategies give you the “how” in achieving online home based business success.

First, online home business marketing is not:

–Mindlessly placing banner ads all over the Internet.
–Randomly buying cheap leads.
–Solely relying on free classified ads.

Effective internet marketing means having a marketing plan that employs proven and effective marketing techniques to yield real results for your online business. It requires establishing a budget and mastering specific online marketing skills to achieve your goals.

An online marketing strategy offers customized, step-by-step marketing solutions to attract targeted customers both globally and locally. Strategic, online marketing is as unique as each business is distinctive.

Home business marketing is like a game in that every game involves a “mindset” and a “skill set”. It is crucial that you have both for success.

“In marketing, as in sports, it is the mindset that separates you from your competition.” ~ Unknown

One key to home business marketing success is maintaining a positive mindset.

What is mindset?

Mindset is defined as a complex mental state involving feelings, beliefs, and values that makes us react in certain ways.

Yes, maintaining a positive mindset is easier said than done. Here are 4 ways to help you sustain a positive mindset for home business marketing success:

1. Surround yourself with positive, successful people. Having people around you who believe in you, inspire you, and want you to succeed, helps you keep self doubts under control. Getting encouragement from supportive friends and family can eliminate the doubts that can come up daily.

2. When you find yourself having negative emotions or thinking negative thoughts, do something to improve your mood, like listening to a favorite song or taking a walk. In this way, you can catch those negative thoughts and neutralize them.

3. Set your goals and then have faith in yourself. Don’t ever become desperate for your goals to come true. Desperation typically has an undesired effect. Have faith in yourself and your ability to attract your goals.

4. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down all of the wonderful things and people in your life that you are grateful for. That way the challenges you face will seem significantly less important and easier to handle. Also, a grateful mind has little room for skepticism and negativity. Remember…

“Success begins with you from the inside out.”

On your way to becoming a hugely successful marketer, you will encounter numerous disappointments, distractions and delays. You will question your motives and decisions, doubt yourself and want to quit many times. Like any endeavor, to become good at home business marketing, you have to commit to your success. To do this, you need to work on your mindset perhaps harder than you work on your business.

Then, of course, skill set is crucial to your success. It is important to develop your skill set to market your business effectively on the Internet.

With the right mindset, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one.

With the right mindset and the right skill set, you can be extremely successful at home business marketing!

Your success is within your reach and with the right attitude and skills you can accomplish anything.

Do you want to maintain the right mindset and develop your skill set for home business marketing success?
How would you like to learn internet marketing from experts, enabling you to stay current on the dynamic world of home business marketing.

Understanding the Essentials to Successful Marketing

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is traditional marketing. It uses radio, television, magazines, flyers, newspapers, and true random phone book style cold calling. The goal of outbound marketing is to blast your message to thousands of customers and hope that your message sticks. You currently see conversion rates with this type of marketing that are less than 1% and often are far lower. This type of marketing has become more and more difficult the more saturated the field gets. To be honest people simply have too many messages and are finding ways to block out most outbound marketing. When was the last time you bought something from a flyer on your door? How often do you stop your car to write down the 1-800 number? Your customers are the same. They to use the DVR to avoid watching commercials, tune out during commercials on the radio, and throw the flyers in the trash. People want value, and they don’t want to be shouted at.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is marketing that focuses on drawing customers to you. Inbound marketing uses marketing tools such as Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Optimization (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), Email Marketing, Article Marketing, and Pay Per Click to draw in your customers. It is marketing that focuses on not shouting at everyone, but rather finding customers that are seeking your product or service and delivering value through content. The other extremely large advantage of inbound marketing is analytics. There are a host of services, many free, that will allow you to track almost any piece of data that you might want to know. You can see click through rates, conversion rates, how long your customers are looking at your material, even where on the page of your advertisements your customers look first.

Which one Should I Use?

Statistics have shown that this is the dawn of inbound marketing. Outbound marketing still has a very large market share but one that has been shrinking. Newspapers are going out of business, and traditional outbound marketing services are finding it more difficult to compete with good inbound marketing strategies.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that outbound marketing can’t work. I am simply saying that for most applications inbound marketing will allow for better tracking, better customization, and better performance if done properly. I have spoken with a lot of business owners. Usually the ones that are using outbound marketing are not tracking how many people that see the ad actually buy the product at all. Many don’t even know how many people are seeing the advertisement. How can you possibly be successful?

Where does Inbound Marketing Usually Fail?

Obviously there could be a whole host of reasons that marketing can fail. Usually when inbound marketing fails it is due to one of three reasons.

The first is an unrealistic budget. Many businesses have the expectation that you can spend $200 per month and within three months you will be raking in thousands per month. This is just plain unrealistic.

The second reason is time and commitment. Inbound marketing can take 2 or 3 months to get off the ground. It takes time because you are not using a shotgun approach. You are building awareness, good content, and a customer base. The tradeoff is that if done properly as you build this customer base you are building a longer lasting and repeat customer.

The third reason is poor marketing. Inbound marketing is a bit of an art form. An inbound marketer must have a good understanding of your business, competition, and customer. They must also put in a lot of time to be successful. As inbound marketing is still not understood by most businesses it is easy to be swayed by the snake oil salesman. These phone operators often don’t understand anything about real marketing but are happy to use their buzz words to promise first page results on Google, guaranteed sales, and a whole host of promises they likely won’t be able to keep, or will keep but won’t produce you any real return on investment.

The Ultimate Newbie Internet Marketing Checklist

New internet marketers will certainly find the many bumps in the road. There are ways however, to avoid the many mistakes and you can take a lesson from those of us that have already been in your shoes. We all started at the beginning and you can use the following checklist to be sure you don’t make the same mistakes we made.

Three Must-Haves You Can’t Avoid

1. The Domain Name

So many new internet marketers try to avoid spending the small amount of money it takes to get their own domain name. Even if your first domain name never makes you a dime or you sell it a few months after starting it, you have to start with your own domain name. If you don’t own the domain name you are working with, you simply don’t own your business.

Sure, you can start with a free blog or website, but what happens when it starts making money? You can’t just transfer everything to your own domain name because the traffic is not pointing there. The total cost for your own domain name ranges from $2 a year to around $20 a year (assuming you purchase a new domain with no age to it yet). This is a very small price to pay for the full ownership of your website or blog.

2. Real Hosting

Another thing new internet marketers skip over because it cost money, is real hosting. Again, you can start with free hosting, but you simply cannot take it to the next level when your site starts making you money. This is one of the biggest mistakes the new internet marketer will make and it is not a good way to start your online business.

Free hosting gives you only a limited amount of space, usually requires you to work from a sub-domain name of their main domains, and most free companies display annoying ads on your site. If you want to see the true potential of your website idea it is important to get at least shared hosting when you start online.

3. A Plan

The final of the must-haves is a plan. Those new to internet marketing often forget to plan their marketing, budget, time, tasks, and most importantly, their goals. Without a plan, you will most likely fail. Start by doing the necessary research and put together a plan for at least the next few months before you start your online journey.

Three Road Blocks New Internet Marketers Stumble With

1. Taking Action

If you are new to internet marketing, you have probably already heard that you have to take action to be successful. This is a common sense mistake and many new internet marketers make this mistake more than any other does. If you don’t take action, you will never develop the online income you desire.

Even writing one article, building one backlinks, buying a domain name, or getting a hosting account is taking action. Start with the first small thing and work your way through all the small steps. Don’t believe those that say “don’t sweat the small stuff”. The small stuff is exactly what will help you achieve your larger goals.

2. Program Hopping

Many new internet marketers buy at least a couple different programs. These can range from guides meant to teach you a specific marketing method to what we all know as the get rich quick scheme. Some programs are very good for making money online, while others are simply garbage.

The roadblock however, is not choosing the wrong program or guide, but hopping from one to the next before you give even one a chance to worry for you. It is important to set up your plan with the right marketing methods and stick to it. If you don’t stick to your plan, you will never find out if it works or not.

3. Expecting too Much too Soon

Probably the one roadblock that is caused by other internet marketers for the new marketer more often than any other one is the fact that all new marketers have higher expectations than what is possible. Expecting to quit your job or make thousands, your first month is a roadblock that claims many new internet marketers every month.

Your expectations need be backed by patience. Most online marketers will not make much money at all until they have been at it for at least a few months. It takes time to build up traffic to a website or blog and you have to work with your plan for longer than just a week or two before you can expect to make money online.

Planning Properly for Patient Success

If you are trying to make money online with internet marketing, then you need to plan for success. The plan you put together has to be well researched and you have to take the “baby steps” to achieve success. There is an old question that has been asked by many, how do you eat an Elephant? The answer, one bite at a time.

This question is very powerful and shows us that if we take one small step at a time we can achieve our goals. If your goals include creating a full time income online, you must first build your website or blog, and then you have to create traffic to it. Only after you have a website and traffic can you possibly make money online.

Your first dollar is the hardest and having your first $100 day is not going to be easy either. However, the struggles you experience to learn the necessary lessons for internet marketing success will lead you to exactly what you are after, a full time online income.

All You Would Want To Know About Service Marketing

1.1 What is marketing?

According to the Chartered Institution of Marketing, “Marketing is the process that identifies, anticipates, and satisfies customer requirements profitably”. Broadly categorizing, a firm either markets goods or services. Services are intangible, perishable, variable, and inseparable. As the primary feature of a service is its intangibility, it should be marketed with proper planning. The growth of service sector industry has been increasing year by year. The government sector, hospitals, insurance and banking companies, law firms and the innumerable consultancies are all examples of service sector industry.

1.2 Classification of Offerings

A firm may offer any one or more of the following offerings in the market:

Pure Tangible Good – These are the core tangible products like books, furniture, soap, or toothpaste. No services are provided along with it.

Tangible Good along with services – These consists of tangible good and one or more services attached to it. There are many examples to this kind, like gadgets, laptops, cars, which also offer their intangible services like customer care, delivery, and repairs.

Hybrid – This kind of offering are characterized by equal proportion of goods and services. One such example are the restaurants where the food is the product and the hospitality and customer service forms the service and both are equally proportionate and important and are bundled together to form the overall product.

Service accompanying minor goods and services – The major portion of this kind of offering is the service and it is combined with small portions of the tangible product. A classic example of this is when a person buys the air ticket. The transportation is the service for which he paid the amount, but the flight transportation also includes food and other services which make the customer experience more enjoyable.

Pure Service – This entails only the service part and no goods are attached along with it. Such kind of offering is the spa or massage which is a pure service and no tangible offering is attached to it.

Having to market a product is an extremely different concept when compared to services marketing. The marketing strategies that are involved in marketing goods and services also vary to a considerable extent. Becoming a part of the market and having to popularize a business involves several different marketing strategies. These strategies should be carefully planned, effectively implemented, monitored, and then revisited to ensure that it fetches the desired outcome. Thereafter it can be decided whether the same strategies should be continued or does it need any amendment. A calculated risk is always better than an unorganized plan, which is why ‘planning’ is a vital step to marketing success.

2. Defining the Offering

There should be clear and distinct picture of what is being offered to the customers. It is thus important that the following questions needs to be atomically answered before beginning to roll the dice.

2.1 What to Offer

Before even trying to decide what service to offer to the customer it is imperative that the firm understands the customer needs and their behavior and for this, a market research definitely helps. The market research should be conducted not only in the prospective customer base but also in the competitor base.

Conducting research in the prospective customer base gives the firm an idea about the following:

• Customer needs and expectation – Questions which fall under this section is: What are the customer needs and what are his expectations? Are his needs being met? If there is a gap between the customer needs and his expectation, it has to be taken into consideration and the service that the firm will offer should fill that gap. If there is no gap still the service should be designed in way that it exceeds the customer expectations.

• Way to bundle the service – It helps in forming a complete service offering, helps in understanding how to project that service in the market and how to sell it.

After the market research has been conducted, the firm then decides what ‘ingredients’ should it put in the offering basket so that it only has a competitive edge over other similar offerings in the market but it also lures the prospects and engages the customers.

2.2 Whom to Offer

Markets are not homogenous and a firm cannot connect with all the customer segments at once. It is important to divide the population into discreet groups so as to acquire results. This also ensures that the required message reaches those that require the service. Hence it becomes vital to decide those segments in the market which can be served effectively by the firm. Deciding on the exact target segments solves many implications which are later raised due to improper plan. Depending on the segments thus decided, marketing, sales, and promotional plans are laid out. If the firm goes wrong in this phase, then all the efforts and resources which are thus involved in marketing and sales are wasted. There are certain questions which need to be answered at this stage:

• Who are the firm’s latent customers?

• How should the customer be divided?

• How many sub-groups do you divide them into?

• What makes these sub-groups differ?

To obtain information so as to differentiate the different sub-groups can be acquired in a number of different ways namely:

• Questionnaires

• Media advertising (Blog, Discussion forums etc)

• Sales analysis

• Face to face marketing

• Counter research

3. Promotional strategies for marketing services

3.1 Push and Pull Strategies

The strategies broadly fall under either push or pull category. Push marketing strategy is the process of taking the product to the customers, where as pull marketing strategy is the process of bringing the customers to the product.

Push Strategy: In this strategy, the firm which is offering the service requires to put the effort, so as to get customers. It can involve handing out pamphlet, brochures. Also, face to face introductions prove to be far more effective than any other form of marketing. In this form of marketing, most of the techniques are directed towards reaching out to the prospects and customers. After we apply the push strategy, the generation of profit is most definitely expected, provided sufficient effort has been pooled in.

Pull Strategy: This strategy basically involves the customers or clients actively seeking for the services. It can be made possible in a number of ways such as advertising. With the help of advertising, more people are likely to come across what the firm has to offer. Apart from that word of mouth also proves to be quite effective. Once people are aware of the services provided by the firm, the word tends to get out and further more people begin to talk about it. Providing discounts to the customer also encourages them to purchase the services that you are offering.

PUSH MARKETING

I. Increase the number of trade shows so as to encourage the customer demand.

II. Door-to-door consulting as well as face to face interactions to promote service.

III. Negotiations with other firms for tie ups

IV. Circulating the sales collaterals to prospects.

PULL MARKETING

I. Advertisements and other media support

II. Word of mouth publicity

III. Promoting customer relations

IV. Promotions of sales and discounts

Some of the promotional strategies which a service oriented firm can use are:

3.2 Customer Relationship: This is a very crucial element for firms in both the service and the good industry but it counts most importantly in the service firms. This has gained importance in the recent years. When we talk about providing service, the customer relation and experience plays a major role. Having a detailed customer acquisition and retention plan helps a lot to acquire new customers and to retain the existing. Customer loyalty programs are one such element under this domain which helps in the repeat business or retaining a loyal base of customers.

3.3 Branding: This is another most important element when it comes to services marketing. The first question that we must ask ourselves is what is our USP? (Unique selling preposition) In general, every business is one of a kind, but tends to differ in the many ways. It is worth examining everything that the firm has to offer and conclude what it is that is unique and different about the firm that other firms do not provide. The USP factor of any firm is their largest weapon and the more unique as well as productive it is the better will it market. It can play a major role in making your business a success, and it proves to be the central portion of your business as well.

Benefits of Branding:

• The USP adds value to your firm

• It persuades customers to opt for your firm rather than others

• Customer relation is improved and they are engaged to the firm

• It builds trust in the market and encourages other firm or vendors to collaborate

• The perception of quality is induced in other minds

3.3 Advertising: There are various forms of advertising and it is important that can be applied. The different forms of advertising are:

• Television

• Radio

• Newspapers

• Bulletin boards

• Business directory

• Magazines

3.4 Public Relations: Targeting a certain audience and sending out a message to the audience to influence them positively regarding the firm is what we call public relations. The audience with primarily consist of the potential customers of the firm as well as the shareholders. Also, it may involve communicating the message to masses ranging from government employees to consultancy agencies. This method of promotional marketing proves to be very effective if the method is applied in the right manner.

3.5 Direct Marketing: From the term ‘direct’ it is very clear that it involves direct contact with customer. The techniques that are involved may range from emailing, messaging to online ads. This form of promotional marketing is practices by business at various stages of success. Some of the different tools by which direct marketing is carried out are as follows.

Utilizing Smart Phones For Business Marketing

Ever experienced going back home just because you left your mobile phone?

Life has never been easier since the advent of mobile phones. This is not only true for handling personal matters but also for business transactions. Executives can receive calls even though they are not at their office; marketing professionals can contact prospects; and procurement can conveniently communicate with suppliers. These were just some of the convenience brought by mobile phones.

As time goes by, technology advances. This just means more and more features that can be utilized to boost marketing efforts for your UK business.

As of Q1 2011, 48% of mobile phones in the UK are smartphones and sales are increasing too at an insane pace. It is not long before the smartphones will not only dominate traditional mobile phones but even make them obsolete.

What does this trend mean to businesses in UK?

It is very clear that marketing directed towards smartphones would definitely reach and penetrate our target market. The next question would be, “How can this be done?”

Here are some of current features of mobile phones and corresponding advantages for business marketing.

Traditional Call and Text

Since almost everyone if not all brings their mobile phones wherever they go, then the best way to reach someone is through his / her mobile phone. Telemarketing and SMS marketing would definitely be useful to reach mobile phones.

You can pro-actively market your business by either cold calling prospects or calling sales leads from marketing companies specializing in lead generation. If you opt for cold calling, you would need a marketing list or marketing database for your target market. There are marketing companies which also offer these databases at low prices.

On the other hand, you might prefer calling leads that are already pre-qualified, interested to know more about your product or service, or interested to avail your products right away. Lead generation companies can help you with sales leads that would suit your ideal target market.

SMS marketing is one cost effective option that can be utilized even by small businesses. At a very minimal cost you can let your market know about the existence of your business, promotional offers that you have, and have continued trade from existing customers. You can either do this in-house or have it outsourced to a marketing company. Doing this in-house would still require you to have marketing lists, SMS marketing system, and a set of personnels that would pull everything together. Another option is to have it outsourced and just sit back while the hot leads roll in from the SMS marketing campaign.

Internet Connectivity

This is one significant revolution in mobile phones. Your target market can now access your site anywhere they are. Features that used to be confined on computers are now literally available at the fingertip. It’s just a click away from any smartphone. This just means that investing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Email blast would now yield higher return of investment for the business.

In the a generation where almost everything could be found through search engines like Google, it is very important to have your business listed online and see to it that your website appears on top of your competitors’. This is where SEO comes in. With SEO, you could increase traffic to your website and therefore, making your presence known to those who are looking for your products or services.

On the other hand, why just wait for customers to look for you if you can initiate customer relation by regularly sending something through their email? With features nowadays which integrate email to smartphones, your emails would reach your target market faster and more effectively.

Generally speaking, one of the marketing strategies mentioned above can make a lot of difference for the growth and prosperity of your business but implementing them side-by-side would yield better results because their results reinforce each other.

There’s also two (2) ways on how you can implement them. You may choose to gather all necessary resources and implement them on your own or have them done by businesses specializing in marketing. There is no clear answer to which would be a better choice. This would depend on the expertise of your personnel (both on marketing and management), financial limitations, and available resources.