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Once You Get In Business, Here's How To Stay In It

Jan 30, 2008
If your business is to be successful, don't sell yourself short. No matter your background or education, you can succeed. Banish any doubts right now if you have any. Instead of spending your time doubting yourself, spend time figuring out what you have to do. Many successful people have started businesses with less than you have, but they still succeeded. You can, too. You don't have to be especially "smart" or educated, and it doesn't matter what obstacles you face either. In fact, those with the greatest obstacles who didn't listen to the "realists" who said they couldn't do it are often the ones who succeeded. If the word "failure" doesn't enter your vocabulary, it can't enter your life.

If you're an independent thinker, it's likely that you can do much better in your own business than you can if you work for someone else. Number one, you need to be frugal, and number two, you need to be self-determined if you're going to go out on your own. Home businesses are a good way to start, because in general, they have very low overhead. You already pay a lot of your home expenses, so if you can convert a part of your living space to a home office or other working space, it's not going to cost you much if anything more than you already pay, but it just might save you money on your taxes, too. This is because if you work at home, you can often take a home office deduction. This, in turn, lowers the tax rate you'll ultimately pay. Do some research and find out what the advantages are to being self-employed. If you are responsible and you pay attention to details, your dreams can be possible.

Today, you can sell just about anything online to anybody anywhere in the world, as long as delivery exists. First, though, you need to know what you're doing. Therefore, the first step to this is to gather knowledge, experience and skill. When you first begin your home business, begin doing it part-time so that you can keep getting a paycheck from your present job. This will ensure that you don't have any financial difficulty while you are just starting out.

As your home business begins to create more and more income and takes more and more time away from your regular job, you can decide when the time is right to quit your regular job and devote yourself full-time to your business at home. However, if you're a spouse that does not work outside the home, this can be a way to supplement your spouse's income and slowly begin to pay off debt, save for retirement and other needs, and in general keep ahead of bills. For your business to really be successful, you have to also reinvest a lot of what you earn in your business, at least at first.

Now, think for a moment what you want to do in your business. It needs to be something you're good at, and something that will keep you motivated. If it appeals to a lot of other people, that will give you better profits, but it doesn't have to appeal to everyone. Your customers will be most loyal to you if you focus on a niche, or a distinct specialization in services or products that specifically addresses needs and wants of a particular group of people. For example, let's say you want to sell clothing. Now, some people sell clothing to the "general" public, or regular-sized people. This type of clothing fits most people, or a larger audience.

However, you can specialize and decide that you want to make and sell clothing specifically meant for people who are big and tall. These people can't find what they want at a regular store, so they can become very loyal to you if they find what they want with you. You as their clothing retailer can develop a very special relationship with them by specifically trying to address their needs individually. You can do this with structured surveys, or even individual questions. Once you find out what they want, you can provide it. And once you do that, you've got a loyal customer who can give you more business through word-of-mouth, in addition to the other ways you'll draw in new customers.

Once you've decided what you want to do, promote it by going after what is called your target market. For example, you can put the words "big and tall" in your advertisements for clothing, and then put them where your target audience will likely find them, such as in a magazine ad specifically geared for tall people, basketball players, football players, et cetera. When you advertise by direct mail, you might also get a mailing list of people who have been consumers in the oversized clothing market before. In the online venue, you can advertise on search engines by using the keywords "big and tall clothing" or some other specific keyword description that fits your product and that people are likely to type in when they're looking for their particular clothing size.

If you experiment with different ways of advertising and with using different words in your ads, you'll find what combinations work best after a bit of trial and error. You should also study the ads of others who are in your industry. If you can track ads and keywords you've put out in terms of what's effective and what's not, you'll further hone your advertising skills. This is a very important part of your business, because not only do you need to be responsive to customers when they do find you, but you actually need to find those customers in the first place. Oftentimes, businesses fail simply because they don't have effective advertising campaigns and keyword usage.

Now, determine what features your product or service offers. Describe how these features benefit your customer, and how your service or product will benefit your customer's life. Once you've got a few satisfied customers under your belt, put their testimonials on your web site so that people can read them and see that you provide a good, quality product or service. This is not only an inexpensive way to further advertise for you, but it is much more personal than any other type of ad campaign you can do, since people are actually talking about your service or product and how it benefited them.

This means that others are much more likely to give you a try, once other people have had a good experience with you. You need to make people believe in your product or service, and this is true even before you actually have had satisfied customers. Therefore, a good thing to offer is a 100% moneyback guarantee. This and the testimonials can help negate skepticism from customers who have not tried your service or product yet.

Once or businesses up and running, remember that you can't just sit back and rest on your laurels. You can, however, fine-tune your advertising and decide what expenditures aren't needed and what are. Here, you can begin to do press releases and maybe even get into joint-venture partnerships. Cut costs wherever you can within your business, because if your expenses are few, you're much more likely to have the financial wherewithal to stay in business. You can buy your supplies at auction, from wholesalers, or directly from factories. In addition, you can share resources, or rent what you need. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to save money at every moment, such as opportunities to barter, buy at auction or utilize cut rate discount places, et cetera. Whenever you can pay the lowest price and still get a good deal, do it.

If you don't have money for payroll but you need extra help, enlist the help of family and friends, or do some bartering in that area, too. For example, you can trade babysitting or other chores to have someone come and help you for an hour or two filling orders. If you must, borrow goods, but don't borrow money unless there's absolutely nothing else you can do and you know you'll be able to pay it back. Debt is the fastest way to sink your business. Buy used, shop garage sales, and haggle for the lowest price at all times. As an entrepreneur, it's up to you keep your expenses in check and promote your business every day. If you do this, you can't help but be successful.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of Be Successful News , a site that provides information and articles on how to succeed in your own home or small business.
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