Internet Marketing and Home Business - Your Business Plan by:Dick Bendtzen
Business Plan for your Home Business on the Internet? "What are you talking about you can't borrow money to start a Home Business. Why do I need a Business Plan?"
Here's why - it will increase your chance of success about 100 percent! And, without one, chances are you will fail, and lose - not make - money on your new home based business.
In the "good old days" of traditional marketing we used to preach that having a Business Plan was an essential part of a new business start-up. And it was - and still is - even for a home based business. There are many reasons to write a Business Plan, but here are the main three:
1. A Financing Proposal - OK, we've already decided that banks don't give money to people looking to start a business from their home on the internet. "So I can forget that reason, right?" Well maybe - banks don't lend money for this kind of business - but friends and family sometimes do.
2. An Objective Evaluation For Success - It's funny how a dream or an idea can seem so good in your head, but when you try to get it down on paper problems and questions seem to jump out at you; "Do I really want to spend my time doing this?" - "Do I have enough money to do it right?" - Who are my customers going to be?" - "Where will I find those customers?" - "Why will those customers buy my product or service?" - "How much competition is there in this market? The questions seem endless.
Don't let these problems and questions stop you. If starting a business of your own (and, that's what you're doing - starting a business) was easy, everyone would be doing it and everyone would be successful (most are not). It is far better to address these problems up front before you've spent a lot of time and money on a project that may fail.
3. An Operating Guide - In my mind this may be the most important reason for creating a Business Plan. Your plan should become an operating document that guides you in decision making, helps you measure success, and serves as a starting point to evaluate new directions you may want to take your business for future growth. Your Business Plan should be a working document that guides you and helps you grow. Don't let it get buried and forgotten in a drawer of your desk.
"But Jim Smith, the famous Internet Guru, is selling me a can't fail system, with built in website and everything. That's my plan - all I have to do is follow his instructions".
Don't kid yourself - Jim Smith, "the famous Internet Guru", is selling that same "can't fail system" to hundreds, maybe thousands, of other people, many of whom have experience, and an understanding of internet marketing. They will eat your lunch! Their site will be high in the search engine rankings - yours will be buried so deep no one will ever see it. Their site will get lots of traffic - you won't see much. Their conversion rate will be high - yours ---- Well, you get my point. Even with a "can't fail system" you have to know what you are doing and have some plan to get it done.
Let's review how internet marketing works - you have a product or service of your own you want to sell, or find a product or service of someone else's that you can sell and make a decent commission on - you establish a platform from which you can sell that product or service (usually a website or a blog) - you attract potential customers to your site from the millions of people who browse the internet - you establish a capture page on your site to get the prospects address for follow up in case they don't buy on the first visit (most won't) - you establish a way to make the sale (usually a shopping cart or referral to an affiliate site) - and you (or your affiliate) convert prospects to buyers, deliver the goods, and you collect your money.
Sounds simple - It's not! The concept is simple, but understanding the techniques and strategies to do it is something else again.
Here are a few Questions. When you answer them you will be on your way to your plan:
Do you have your own product or service? If so; are you - a manufacturer? a distributor? an author? a consultant? Each of these has sub-questions (for instance if an author, hard copy, digital or both?) which will determine what approach you take to selling your product or service on the internet.
Are you going to sell someone else's product or service? If so: as a distributor (buying and reselling)?, in a Affiliate Program? in a MLM (Multilevel Marketing Program)?
Do you have a website? If not; are you going to build your own site?, have one built for you?, use one provided by an affiliate program or your MLM company?, use a blog instead?
How big is your market?
What keywords are you going to use to help raise your site and page rankings?
How are you going to attract traffic to your site? Will you use free sources (like blogging, Twitter or Facebook, newsletters, Ezine articles, etc.) or paid sources (like Google Ad Words, paid lists, hard copy advertising, etc.)
Do you have - or will you build - an effective capture (or "opt-in") page to capture prospect names for legitimate no spam follow-up?
How will you follow up (regular Email, Autoresponders, snail mail, telephone, etc.)? And, do you have an "honest bribe" (something offered for free) to entice prospects to return to your site)?
Do you have a way to track - and analyze - traffic to your site?
Do you - or your affiliate - have an effective conversion (prospect to buyer) process including a sales offer that makes it easy for the prospect to "yes", and integrated shopping cart that is easy to use.? If the affiliate (or MLM company) makes the sale, is there something you will do on your site to smooth the way?
If you can answer these questions, writing down your plan should be easy. If you can't answer any of these questions please stay tuned for the next articles, or get some help before you jump in and spend a lot of time and money on a Home Based Internet Business.
About the author
Dick Bendtzen is a Small Business Consultant, and author of "Yes You Can Start And Run A Small Business". Dick is a retired corporate executive, and has started and run three successful small businesses of his own, and has served as a volunteer Small Business Counselor for SCORE, an affiliate of the Small Business Administration. Dick offers free business consultation on the forum of his website http://www.smallbusinessyesyoucan.com