Category Archives: Business

Do You Have A Mobile Strategy?

Is your business dependent on the internet for its customers? Then maybe you should devote some serious thought and time towards creating a mobile strategy. Here’s why.

In a previous article, How To Develop A Mobile Mindset, we pointed out that the world-wide population of smartphone users is expected to exceed 2 billion by this year.  Smartphone users can do business and leisure from their phones — having your website optimized for mobile platforms lets you keep connected to your customers and your target market wherever they are.

The internet is not limited to personal computers — when you design your website to be mobile-friendly, you get to meet your customers where they are, whether they use tablets, phablets, or smartphones

Now, optimizing your website for mobile platforms is different from creating other initiatives for smartphones. The first deals with website design and content presentation, the second goes deeper into things like mobile apps, related security issues, and the like. The goals in this second area should relate to your business needs and goals as well. Continue reading Do You Have A Mobile Strategy?

10 Timeless Rules For Business Survival

17 May 2013, by A. Cedilla

 1. Manage your costs.
Financial management skills are necessary to a business’s continued operation and survival. You burn through capital without anything to show for it, you might as well have set your money on fire. A business can’t survive without money — that defeats its purpose.

  • First you have to have money to start a business in the first place : a bankroll, start up funds, inventory purchasing, tools and equipment, or web-hosting costs, site design, advertising, etc.
  • Then to keep it running (operational, labor and overhead costs) until it starts making money, and until it reaches the point of sustainability
  • Then there are things to consider like market research costs like trend analysis and forecasting, and the work needed to gather and act on customer feedback in order to be competitive.

Luxury brands can keep their margins high because their exclusivity and craftsmanship practically guarantee that the people who can afford their products are those in their target market. Other brands make their money through sheer volume (think Forever 21). And that’s just for physical goods. Digital goods are another kettle of fish entirely…with the speed of their transmission, generating buzz, viral marketing, and social media marketing are just the tip of the iceberg. And doing all that takes time and money.

Market savvy in relation to sourcing, costing and pricing (material goods and their production), value and pricing again (e-commerce) is a very real edge in business. You need to find the sweet spot to profit, and to produce the things your market buys from you..

2. Constantly check yourself.
Without intervention and direction people plateau, and so do businesses. Can you imagine peaking in high school? Or hearing that you made it on the list of a “Where Are They Now?” gossip session? Time passes for everything, and in order to be relevant today and tomorrow, you must be able to still connect to the times and with the times.

One way is to watch the market you occupy and adapt before you’re flattened by change. Kodak, once the world leader in photography and film equipment, wasn’t able to adjust to the digital revolution, and is still struggling to get to its feet in the aftermath. For a business to last, it must find ways to stay relevant to the times, and that means numerous adjustments to stay on course.

For instance, who would have thought you could still make a living making seals and signet rings? You’d imagine a tiny, crotchety old guy crafting shiny silver thingies in a small store somewhere, but no, these craftsmen advertise on the internet and are quite active in their respective fields.

Continue reading 10 Timeless Rules For Business Survival

Knocking On Wood: What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

When you do a cost-benefits analysis, it doesn’t take that much more effort to think up worst-case scenarios, right? You’re planning for success, you might as well plan for failure — in the sense that you try your best to keep it from happening, that is. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” after all.

It’s A Mind Game
When you think of the worst that can happen, you also have to remember that the worst-case scenarios are all in your head. It’s your knowledge and your imagination that comes up with all these awful, oh-hell-no mini-commercials playing in your mental movie-theater-for-one.

  • Your experience – This is the stuff that: you know, you have done, you have learned and you have absorbed.
  • Your inexperience – This is the stuff you know you don’t know, etc.
  • Your ignorance – This is the stuff you don’t know you don’t know but you can find out. Whether you find it out the hard way or the easy way, it depends on you.

A quick solution is to exploit the first, address the second and counter the third with your ability and willingness to ask for help.

 

Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto , and John Wayne’s solitary heroism is the stuff of movie reality, which isn’t real life at all. To go even deeper,the hidden fear of failure or fear of success acts as fuel for even darker imaginings, which can then paralyze you into inaction. What follows are a few ways to deal with that. Continue reading Knocking On Wood: What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

Fast, Good, Cheap: On Making Your Cost-Benefit Analysis

Fast, Good, Cheap. You’ve heard of the entrepreneurial trifecta, right? There are also other, prettier variations of this sign, like the ones here (for web developers) and here (for freelancers). Wikipedia’s explanation of the project triangle also has a colorful diagram (but not as funny). When you make plans and draw up time-line for your projects, what factors do you consider in your risk mathematics?

  • When the emphasis is on COST, the aim may be to max it out where you feel that you have to get more than what you’re paying for, if you get what I’m saying. A bargain. A steal, as it were. If you’re serious about success and building a network, for example, and want to establish relationships you intend to be long-term, starting with a steal may not be the best thing.
  • If the emphasis in on SPEED, how is your time-line? Congested? Open? Tangled?
  • With an emphasis on QUALITY, you enter into craftsmanship, painstaking attention to detail, precision engineering, no fudging, no cutting corners…you want the expected results.

What are you looking at, priority-wise? You want to save money, so you draw up a budget. You want to get the most out of the money you have earmarked and spend on quality. You want to get it done on time. What you want to happen decides what needs to be done. And how it’s done is affected by your priorities. Continue reading Fast, Good, Cheap: On Making Your Cost-Benefit Analysis

Measuring Your Website’s Success

When you’re truly intent on making your site successful, you need to define your terms for success. There’s nothing crazier than running after something when you’re not sure you want it — but since it’s there anyway, why the heck not?– and getting it, then not knowing what you want it for.

What can be crazier is getting it and not knowing what you want to do with it, or where you want to go with it. Action for action’s sake gets you nowhere. You want to be successful, fine. What is success to you?

 

To flesh out the big picture, first we need the broad strokes to outline the issues.

“Why do you have a website?”
The answer to this determines the intent. A website is a place on the internet, one that establishes your presence on the world-wide web. There are no geographical boundaries, and you are only limited by the language you use. In any case, English being a global medium, even that is a weak barrier to communication.

So, presence. Presence means communication. Presence says, “I AM HERE.” Thus, a burning second question:

“Now that you’re here, what do you have to say?”

To communicate means passing a message on. What’s your message? You want to talk, what do you mostly talk about? What drives you to plunk down on a spot by the information highway and hold up a placard saying, “Hey, will talk for free!”? Continue reading Measuring Your Website’s Success

The Top 5 Most Basic Marketing Goals

People who are most likely to express interest in your product or service make up your target market. The challenge of marketing lies in finding the people who are most likely to want what you’re selling, and then getting them to buy.

Correctly targeting your market saves time, money and effort in your advertising. Using a common scenario, rather than spattering buckshot everywhere in the hopes of hitting your target, targeted marketing is like using a rifle: with repetition and focused adjustment, the odds of you hitting what you aim for are much higher.

What follows are 5 ways you can refine your targets. Continue reading The Top 5 Most Basic Marketing Goals

The Top 3 Pitfalls In Internet Marketing

If you’ve done your research you probably already came up against the scary statistics about the very high failure rate among new marketers. Newcomers to the game fall for the glitzy, hard-selling offers promising BIG MONEY and OUTRAGEOUS RETURNS in just MONTHS if you sign up RIGHT NOW while the OFFER is OPEN because time is RUNNING OUT!

Behind the scenes however, you don’t often get to see all the effort, tools, hours and resources that the Big Names expended to get to be the Big Names. A membership list of thousands isn’t one that gets built up overnight, or even over weeks, despite what the hype says. Affiliate products, marketing courses, eBooks and marketing plans (with joint ventures, educational packages–again with ebooks, audio-visual material, etc.), everything needed to attract more people to sign up and opt-in, still need to be created and put together in enticing packages.

If you’re truly determined to make it online, here are the 3 most important issues in internet marketing you need to be aware of so you can reduce your chances of failing: Continue reading The Top 3 Pitfalls In Internet Marketing

How to Plan for Multiple Revenue Sources 2

Continuing from Part 1, you may also want to take a look on our four-part series about goals and planning :

The Four Quarters 1 – Personal Time Management
The Four Quarters 2 – Visions and Goals
The Four Quarters 3 – Breaking Down The Pieces
The Four Quarters 4 – 5 Ways of Putting Things Together

The greater burden in win this situation is psychological and emotional. You have responsibilities: keeping a roof over your head, feeding and clothing yourself and your family. Then you have obligations: loans and bills that need to be paid. The pressure from all sides can be overwhelming.

The counter-intuitive thing to do here, aside from collapsing into a frazzled heap, is to be, well, cold-blooded about it. Reason should lead over emotion. You want less stress over money, you want more money coming in, you need to be cool and calculating (literally) going about things.

Another recommendation at this point is the 2 part series, Building Buffers 1 and 2. Continue reading How to Plan for Multiple Revenue Sources 2

How to Plan for Multiple Revenue Sources 1

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t worry about money nowadays. Everyone’s feeling the pressure, and working twice as hard just to keep their heads above water. What can you do to ease off the stress and lose the incessant fear of losing what you have now?

You need to step back, calm down, and think of what solid actions you can take to improve your situation.

Okay, your financial situation may be more precarious or unstable than you want. You need to arrange it so it’s more steady, and you’re less stressed. What do you do to fulfill those needs?

First, you build more than one source of income. Only as many as you can honestly handle with your current responsibilities, as many as you can incorporate into your lifestyle, for as long as you can sustain them. Having only one source of income sets you up for some scary times, because without something to fall back on, what happens if you lose that one source?

To prepare,you need to detach from your familiar places. Sometimes people get stressed even at the very thought of the stuff they need to do at home: pay the bills, do the chores, drive the kids to soccer practice, etc. Don’t do this at work, it’ll just split your attention. Make the time, and find a place where you can sit and think uninterrupted. {more}

Eliminate the distractions of popular spots, “Ooh, free WiFi, and the coffee smells so good, guess it won’t hurt to get a cup…and one of those crullers, come to think of it. I’ll just check my email and then I’ll get to it.” Continue reading How to Plan for Multiple Revenue Sources 1

How To Find Your Niche Market

Every e-marketer knows the importance of discovering good and profitable niches. It’s like mining for gold — only the mine in this case is the world-wide web and the ‘gold’ trickles in through e-transfers for products sold or services rendered. A lot of the people who make their living educating other people to ‘mine’ the internet have a very simplistic way of teaching niche discovery — finding the richest ‘veins’ in the gold mine, so to speak. The gist of their advice on finding your niche often boils down to the following:

  • Pick a subject or topic that you’re passionate about, one in which you have experience or are interested in.
  • Use the main keywords from this topic and plug it into a keyword research tool.
  • Look at the search count results. If it’s about 30,000 per month, it’s a good bet. Below 30,000 searches, it’s a very tiny market, so no money there. If it’s way above 30,000 searches, you’ll have too much competition, so your risk of failure is higher, and therefore unacceptable.

That’s it. Based on those three steps, you are supposed to find yourself a profitable niche.

What’s missing from this picture?

One: you aren’t told to scope out the competition that is actually there. Instead, it’s assumed that a) there’s too much competition (thereby implying you your services or product is not capable of standing out, b) the competition that IS present is too strong for you to even attempt to jockey with, or c) the market is too small to make money in.

Two: there’s no research conducted on long-tail keywords.

Most people conduct their searches using simple words or phrases. Topside Media defines long tail keywords (and their importance) as “keyword phrases composed of three or more words that collectively are more specific than a single keyword.

Long tail keywords are more likely to convert to sales than shorter, more generic keywords because there is less competition for them. Generally, the more specific the search, the closer the searcher is to the act of purchasing a product or service.” So, long-tail keywords can lead you to lucrative sub-niches. Continue reading How To Find Your Niche Market