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better prepared and know whether or not your business idea is feasible. Try the following article for a short-cut. However, I caution you on following a short-cut unless you have substantial experience or knowledge about your area. Proceed with caution without a business plan! How is your business unique, and why will your goods or services appeal to customers? What are the primary differences between your company and your competitors? What are the driving factors to choose your business over another? In other words, what is the underlying reason a customer would do business with your company? 1) Define Your Business and Vision Defining your vision is important. It will become the driving force of your business. Here are questions that will help you clarify your vision: Who is the customer? What business are you in? What do you sell (product/service)? What is your plan for growth? What is your primary competitive advantage? 2) Write Down Your Goals Create a list of goals with a brief description of action items. If your business is a start up, you will want to put more effort into your short-term goals. Often a new business concept must go through a period of research and development before the outcome can be accurately predicted for longer time frames. Create two sets of goals: Short term: range from six to 12 months. Long term: can be two to five years. Explain, as specifically as possible, what you want to achieve. Start with your personal goals. Then list your business goals. Answer these questions: As the owner of this business, what do you want to achieve? How large or small do you want this business to be? Do you want to include family in your business? Staff: do you desire to provide employment, or perhaps, you have a strong opinion on not wanting to manage people. Is there some cause that you want the business to address? Describe the quality, quantity and/or service and customer satisfaction levels. How would you describe your primary competitive advantage? How do you see the business making a difference in the lives of your customers? 3) Understand Your Customer It is not realistic to expect you can meet the needs of everyone, no business can. Choose your target market carefully. Overlook this area, and I guarantee you will be disappointed with the performance of your business. Get this right and you will be more than pleased with the results. Needs: what unmet needs do your prospective customers have? How does your business meet those needs? It is usually something the customer does not have or a need that is not currently being met. Identify those unmet needs. Wants: think of this as your customer’s desire or wish. It can also be a deficiency. Problems: remember people buy things to solve a specific problem. What problems does your product or service solve? Perceptions: what are the negative and positive perceptions that customers have about you, your
profession and its products or services? Identify both the negative and positive consequences. You will be able to use what you learn when you start marketing and promoting your business. 4) Learn From Your Competition You can learn a lot about your business and customers by looking at how your competitors do business. Here are some questions to help you learn from your competition and focus on your customer: What do you know about your target market? What competitors do you have? How are competitors approaching the market? What are the competitor’s weaknesses and strengths? How can you improve upon the competition’s approach? What are the lifestyles, demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer? 5) Financial Matters How will you make money? What is your break-even point? How much profit potential does your business have? Take the time to invest in preparing financial projections. These projections should take into account the collection period for your accounts receivables (outstanding customer accounts) as well as the payment terms for your suppliers. For example, you may pay your bills in 30 days, but have to wait 45-60 days to get paid from your customers. A cash flow projection will show you how much working capital you will need during those “gaps” in your cash position. I recommend thinking about these six key areas: Start up Investment Assumptions Running Monthly Overhead Streamlined Cumulative Cash Break-even
Create an idea or product that you believe can be successful. This is easier said than done. Coming up with a viable product or idea is sometimes harder than constructing a business plan. Having a good business plan is important for every entrepreneur, but what if you do not have an idea upon which to build a plan? There are many different ways to accomplish this task. Play a game, read a book, paint a picture, play a sport, etc. The point is, do something that gets you thinking and then focus that energy into creating an idea/concept/product. Expose yourself to many different environments that are outside of your comfortable zone. Get more engaged with your hobbies. Expertise will help get closer to a viable business idea. Do not try to force an idea to occur because this will usually result in bad ideas! Take your time, focus y Know your limits. Determining these factors will help you focus your thought process. For example, if you are interested in computers, but have no education or experience with computers outside of internet surfing or word processing, it will be difficult to create a marketable idea for computer software components. Keep your thought process reasonable. In other words, do not let your imagination run wild. When you become good at creating ideas, then you can let your imagination do some work, but not at first. our thought, and create the right product for you. Seize upon any inspiration. Sometimes, ideas will pop up at the oddest times. Get a small notebook to carry around with you and write ideas in. This way you can look at your notebook and later begin to develop your idea. Ask yourself, what types of businesses would you use? What are some common issues that your associated complain about that could be solved through a business. Identify a problem. Think about how you can make the world a better place with your invention or business idea. Your business should revolutionize the way we live life, even if it's just a small way. For example, if you are interested in cooking, maybe you have a problem with the way an oven can dry out a chicken when cooking. Now that you have identified a problem, brainstorm and think of as many solutions as possible. It does not matter how crazy the solution is, just think about them and write them down. After you have written down every possible solution, no matter how crazy, go through the list and find the solution that you feel you can best accomplish. Surprise! You have probably come up with an original idea. This does not mean that you should pitch this idea tomorrow. All this means is that you should develop your idea, mold your idea, and perfect your idea into something you think people would buy if in the market. Also, this way of thinking will get your creative juices flowing. You may find yourself traveling a different path from your original field of interest. If this occurs, follow the thought until completion. You may be surprised where it leads! Study demographics to see which type of customers will appreciate your business idea the most. Businesses generally person appeal to a specific set of demographics before they viral. Decide if your idea has the potential to be viral among a small group of people. Think about your potential competition for the same demographics and how you can set yourself apart from them.
Understanding the competition is a crucial business activity for any entrepreneur or business executive. Some companies hire professionals to track competitors and assess the competitive landscape on a regular basis. But it doesn't always have to be a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive process -- particularly given the new wealth of data that can be assembled using the Internet. By investing even a small amount of time, businesses of any size can develop a framework for making competitive assessments, gather intelligence on business rivals, and understand how to position their own brand, products, and company in the marketplace. Not only can you learn best practices from competitors, but you can also learn to avoid the mistakes they make. "Keeping track of who your competitors are, what people are saying about them, and what they are saying themselves can help you differentiate your business and stay ahead of trends that could impact your business," says Michele Levy, an independent brand strategy consultant. "Staying smart on the competitive landscape helps you make very practical decisions around product development, pricing, promotions, messaging, as well as where you fit in the brand landscape." This guide will help you understand how your business can benefit from competitive research, how to conduct competitive research, and which sources you will find most productive. Dig Deeper: The Changing Face of the Competition
Conducting Competitive Research: Understanding the Benefits
Conducting a competitive assessment should be an ongoing process, one in which you continue to deepen your understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Every business should gather information about the competition and most already do -- even if they don't formalize it into a competitive research process. "Everyone really needs to do competitive research. The difference is scale," Levy says. "You really need to keep your eyes open regardless of how large you are or what you are selling." There are a series of business benefits you can gain by having insight into the competitive landscape, particularly if you track products, prices, staffing, research and development, and other aspects of the competition on an ongoing basis. "This is so a business can understand the external and internal environments they're operating in," says Ken Garrison, chief executive officer of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). The following are potential business benefits from conducting competitive research: Understanding the market. Better targeting customers. Forecasting the potential for the market. Figuring out how the economic climate impacts the market. Understanding what competitors are offering. Keeping tabs on competitors' prices. Determining offerings in ancillary markets. Finding new customers. The promise is that by gathering competitive research over time and in a systematic way you will be able to track trends and/or scenarios and be about to act on the research. "You want to take this research and do it in an organized and systematic way so that you can create an actionable strategy
or actionable intelligence from it," Garrison says. "Most every company gathers competitive intelligence, even though they may not define it as such. We're all aware of the business environment we're selling into, how our operations are functioning, where we can sell in the future, our profitable areas." Dig Deeper: How to Profit from Market Research
Conducting Competitive Research: Getting Started
The first decision you need to make about competitive research is whether to gather it in-house or go outside and hire a professional firm or consultant. The benefits of hiring a consultant include that they may have more expertise in intelligence gathering that you do. "They will do things that wouldn't occur to you," Garrison says. "They have probably done hundreds if not thousands of these analyses. They know how to do them in a systematic way. And they're probably also pretty good at getting senior management to tell them what it is they want to know and what is the scope." Conversely, the challenge of hiring an outside consultant is that sometimes it's difficult getting senior managers to clearly enunciate what they want to know and then listen to the results of the research. The benefits of conducting the research in-house include that you would understand the business and what competitive factors you want to track, Garrison says. You would also have a constant stream of data in the firm, and managers may listen more to an insider than an outsider. The challenge is that gathering competitive intelligence is a skill and you would either have to develop the talent on your own staff or hire it from somewhere else, he says. A compromise might be to hire a professional to provide an initial competitive analysis and update it every six or 12 months, while you keep track of competitors on a day-to-day basis in-house, Levy says. "As a business owner your best bet is to do it yourself on an on-going basis by seeing what your competitors are doing, looking at their website, and getting in the habit of keeping those folks on your radar screen," Levy says. "Ideally, this will become an organized thing where you're on their mailing list, you're following them on Twitter, and you mystery shop them every six to 12 months."
Conducting Competitive Research: Creating a Framework
In general, the way to start gathering competitive research is to first set a framework for your competitive assessment. Levy suggests the best way to begin if you're doing this on your own is to start by opening up a new Excel worksheet and creating the following columns outlining your competitors: Name (and location if relevant) URL Elevator pitch (Brief answer to the question "Who is this company?") Mission (If it exists.) Products/services offered (with pricing) Strengths (What is the competitor good at?) Weaknesses (Where does the competitor fall short?) Key brand differentiators (What are the messaging, product/service offerings, etc., that set the competitor apart from their competition?) As you work through the competitive assessment, Levy says, you may find other aspects of your
competition useful to track, but this is a good starting point. Garrison suggests that you may want to review the economic environment at a macro level. You may also want to look at the economy on a micro level, particularly if your firm competes in a certain geographic area that has a unique set of factors.
Conducting Competitive Research: Selecting Targets
It's helpful to think of your competition in terms of options that your customers have -- where else they can go to purchase the products and services you hope to sell them, Levy says. That can include direct competitors (those who sell the same thing you do) and indirect competitors (those who sell other products and services that meet the same need). "For example, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts are direct competitors, while the prepared foods section of the local supermarket could be an indirect competitor to them both -- especially if its coffee is good," Levy says. Often entrepreneurs claim that they have no competition, but everyone has competition. If your list of competitors seems long (and the prospect of tracking all of your competitors daunting), consider prioritizing your list into a couple of different categories. Levy recommends, for instance, "key competitors to watch closely" versus "emerging competitors to keep an eye on."
What’s a winning business name? A business name that draws business in itself. Creating a winning business name takes some thought but is one of the most important things you’ll do during the process of starting a business. Starting out with a weak business name is like trying to golf with only one club in your bag. You may sink some shots but it will be a whole lot harder. So how do you create a winning business name? Get your family, friends and/or colleagues together for a business name brainstorming session and work through these five rules for choosing a business name:
1) A winning business name has to be memorable – but easy to spell.
Obviously, your potential customers and clients need to be able to remember your business name. But they also need to be able to find it easily if they’re looking for it in a phone book, directory or online. So choosing a business name such as “Crychalwellyn” is a bad idea. Unique is good but difficult spellings are a bad idea.
2) A winning business name needs a visual element.
What popped into your head when you read “Crychalwellyn”? Anything? Most people don’t visualize anything when they read this business name that I invented. But generally we are hardwired to “see” images when we read or hear language, and incorporating a visual element into your business name can be a powerful aid to customers’ memory (and a powerful advertising tool). So you want your business name to have a strong visual element to it. The catch is that...
3) A winning business name has to have positive connotation.
Many words have both denotation (literal meaning) and connotation (emotional meaning). A word’s connotation can be positive, neutral or negative, depending on the emotional associations that people generally make. The classic example is the difference between “Mom” (which has a very positive connotation) and “Mother” (which has a neutral connotation). Now you know why they called them “Dad’s” cookies, rather than “Father’s”! What it means to you is that when you create a business name, you need to choose words that have the positive connotations that you want people to associate with your business – and make sure these connotations are suitable for your business. If you are starting a trucking business, for instance, you don’t want it to have a weak sounding or negative name, such as “Willow Twig Trucking” or “Kitten Transport”. You want a business name that conveys strength and reliability. A choice such as “Stone Creek Trucking” would be much better. Notice how all these names have a strong visual element.
4) A winning business name needs to include information about what your business does.
Chances are good that your new business is not going to become an international brand. It certainly isn’t instantly going to become as well known as Nike. So you need to be sure that your new business name at least gives your potential customers or clients some clues about what you actually do. That’s why you see so many landscaping businesses that have the word “landscaping” in their name, and hair styling businesses that include words such as “salon” or even “hair designs” in their names. Including information about what your business does in your business name also makes it easier for potential customers and/or clients to find your business in phone books and directories (both off and online).
5) A winning business name has to be fairly short.
Once again this is vital because you want customers and clients to be able to remember your business’s name (and be able to tell other people what it is)! But it’s also important for promotional purposes. You want a business name, for example, that will fit well on a business card, look good displayed on a sign or in an ad, and perhaps even a business name that will serve well as a domain name and show up well in search if you have an online business. So keep it as short as possible.
And a last tip: think about colours when you’re choosing a business name. Colours will be an important component of your business logo and other business promotion materials and your business web site, and colours have strong emotional associations, too. Red, for instance, is an aggressive colour; its fiery elements are associated with speed, excitement and passion while green is a calming colour associated with growth, renewal and nature. For more information on colours and their meanings see Color Meanings and Colors That Go Together by Jacci Howard Bear. You’ll want to create at least two winning business names, and three is even better, because once you’ve chosen a business name, the next step is to register it and your first choice may already be taken.
Do you now have a winning business name that meets the requirements of all of the above five rules? Good! Hopefully you’ll be living with the name for your new business for a long time – and it will continue to attract new business.
Few things are more important to a company’s online success than a good domain name. Otherwise known as a web address, a company’s domain name is the Internet equivalent of its phone number. It is how prospects and customers find, learn about and interact with businesses on the web. But unlike phone numbers (which follow a standard 7-digit format), domain names are far less standardized. A company web address can be catchy, descriptive and memorable, or clumsy, vague and forgettable – based solely on how you select it.
Shorter is Better
There is no standard rule or requirement for how long a domain name must be. That said, the most memorable domains tend to be shorter than longer. There are several reasons for this. First, a shorter domain has fewer possible spellings or interpretations (more on that below.) Second, shorter strings of letters or numbers are naturally easier for the human brain to process and remember. College students, for instance, are often challenged by their psychology professors to memorize long strings of numbers. Keep in mind, however, that a domain name is limited to only letters, numbers and hyphens. As Braingle.com reveals, the average person’s memory tops out at 7 numbers. For this reason, keeping domain names short and sweet, like hulu.com or apple.com, goes a long way toward ensuring that they are remembered when it counts. Another huge factor in how memorable your company’s domain name is involves whether it has more than one possible spelling. Remember that domain names are often passed around by friends or co-workers in verbal conversation. Can someone who overhears your domain name in passing easily type it in correctly the first try? WilsonWeb.com offers an all too common example of how important this is: “Recently, Art-U-Frame.com was able to acquire the art.com name for $450,000. Can you blame them? If you were stuck with Art-U-Frame.com, even your mother couldn’t remember your URL.” Using hyphens, possessive nouns before words that begin with the letter “S” (such as “victoriassecret.com”) or slang phrases all create confusion over the correct spelling of your domain name. If people cannot easily recall and spell it, they might get frustrated and visit a competitor’s website instead.
Despite your best efforts, even a short and memorable domain name will usually have look-alikes and alternate extensions. The “.com” extension was originally used for business sites, “.org” was used for non-profits and “.net” was used for technology-focused sites. Furthermore, with the expansion of ccTLDs (country code top level domains), companies have the option to utilize country-specific extensions like “.co.uk” or “.eu” to target the geographical location in which they
do business. Today, however the lines are somewhat blurred and these extensions are used by sites of all interests. Continuing the Art.com example – you might buy that domain, (or your company’s equivalent of it) but what about Art.net or Art.org? Unless you snap up these domains, a clever competitor could buy them first. Worse yet, a domain squatter could buy them knowing full well that some of your customers will type the wrong extension in by mistake — and charge you big bucks to buy the additional domains. Don’t let this happen. Domains are so cheap that there is no reason to leave any variations of the name out in the open for others to buy. Your domain name should also clearly express what the company does. Having a short and memorable web address is a good start, but if it is also vague, it does your company no favors. Instead of simply looking for something catchy, strive to pick a domain that fits into and complements your overall branding. Think about the image that your company projects in its marketing materials, product packaging, slogans and other activities. Then, pick a domain name that is both memorable and relevant to that same image. This way, each time a prospect or customer types the name, your brand and message will simultaneously be reinforced.
Where to buy a domian name
GoDaddy is the biggest domain name registrar company. Literally a daddy of the domain name industry! They currently have almost 35,654,055 domain names under them, which makes them the most trusted place to buy domain names. Most successful pro-bloggers also register their domain names under GoDaddy. GoDaddy is founded by internet entrepreneur Bob Parsons. You can buy domain names at GoDaddy here. Number of Domain Names Handled: 36,512,397 Market Share: 31.089%
Enom has been listed among the fastest growing domain name registrars. They have the second largest number of domain names registered under them after GoDaddy. Enom Inc. sells domains name via Namecheap. Total Number of Domain Names Handled: 10,013,214 Market Share: 8.526%
Tucows is a wholesaler of domain names and other Internet services to ISPs and web hosting companies worldwide. They do not sell domain names directly to consumers. Tucows sells domains through their affiliate sites such asDomainDirect. Total Number of Domain Names Handled: 7,799,780 Market Share: 6.641%
Network Solutions is the fourth largest ICANN accredited domain name registrar. They offer complete domain name related solutions. Total Number of Domain Names Under Them: 6,337,441 Market Share: 5.396%
Schlund + Partner registers domain names for 1&1 Internet. They are a German internet company. Schlund + Partner is the
leading registrar in Europe with over 5 million registered domain names. Schlund + Partner is part of United Internet AG. Total Number of Domain Names Under Them: 5,055,664 Market Share: 4.305%
Melbourne IT can register domain names in many different name spaces including .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .mobi, .us, .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .id.au, .eu, .co.uk, .asia, .nz and many other spaces. Total Number of Domain Names Under Them: 4,221,455 Market Share: 3.594%
Wild West Domains:
Wild West Domains was named Best Domain Reseller Opportunity by Hosting World Magazine. They also offer a great package for interested resellers. Total Number of Domain Names Handled: 3,288,666 Market Share: 2.800%
Moniker is the eighth largest domain name registrar at the moment. Moniker can help you find the right domain name – even if it’s already registered. It is exremely trusted.They also provide a domain auctioning and domain brokerage feature, which is a novelty. Total Number of Domain Names Handled: 2,829,052 Market Share: 2.409%
This is an Indian domain name registrar. They are very popular for their super-competitive pricing. This also allows re-sellers to rake in higher profits. Total Number of Domain Names Handled: 2,567,849 Market Share: 2.186%
This domain name registrar stands in the 10th position of the top 10 domain name registrar list. They have a strong 24/7 support system, although, the prices may not be very competitive. Total Number of Domain Names Handled: 2,389,775 Market Share: 2.035%
Having a great website gives you an unfair advantage over your competitors. Here are the seven reasons why every service professional should have a website.
1) Publish information effortlessly
Publishing information on your website is effortless. Given that you have a simple system to manage your webpages, all you have to do is type up the information and put it on your website. You can also update existing information with ease. Furthermore, unlike traditional publishing, you don't have space limits on the web. You can say as much or as little as you want. The choice is yours.
2) Establish yourself as an expert
People will perceive you as an expert in your field if you publish exclusive information that they can read and benefit from. There were days when you could only achieve expert status by becoming a published author. Not anymore. If you have a website, you can publish information effortlessly. Remember what is common knowledge for you is not common knowledge for your prospects. Share your knowledge by publishing articles, short reports, and reviews on your website. Your prospects will start to see you as an expert in your field. This can do wonders for your business.
3) Use new and effective marketing techniques
There are new and effective marketing techniques that require you to have a website to use them. These techniques include: • Search marketing • Email marketing Ezine (electronic magazine) advertising
The marketing techniques mentioned above are cost-effective, targeted, and measurable. By learning and using these techniques, you can drive targeted visitors to your website, and increase your sales. Online marketing coupled with traditional offline marketing is a surefire way to outperform your competitors.
4) Add impact to traditional marketing tools
Business cards and brochures are proven traditional marketing tools. However, you can add more impact to them with your website. The simplest method is to add your website address to your business cards and brochures so your prospects can find more information about your services quickly by visiting your website. But you can be more creative than that. For example, you can write a free report that gives valuable information to your prospects. Your prospects can get this report by visiting your website. In your business cards and brochures, promote this free report as an incentive for your prospects to visit your website. This will prompt more prospects to visit your website. If your website is designed to sell, then you make more sales.
5) Reduce communication costs
First of all, if you have the right information on your website, you will reduce the number of inquiries for more information about your services. In addition, you can have a webpage, where you answer questions that are asked frequently by your prospects and clients. Furthermore, you can invite your prospects to contact you through a contact form on your website as opposed to phone or fax. In all cases mentioned above, you will reduce your communication and support costs dramatically.
6) Boost your image
You will appear credible in the eyes of your prospects if you have a professional website. In other words, it boosts the overall image of your business. More people will likely to do business with you if you have a good image. Remember that having a bad or unprofessional website will damage your image. Having no website is better than having a bad one.
7) Make it easy for others to send you referrals
Let's say you have a satisfied client, and that client wants to refer someone to you. He needs to tell the referral about your service, and its benefits. It takes him some time and effort. If you have a website, then your client can simply ask the referral to visit your website for more information. You make it easy for your client to send referrals. Thus, you will be getting more referrals than you would normally get.
Where to get your professional website build
high-tecdesigns is one of the biggest webdesigning service company's. High-TECDesigns has made more than 1000 website's for their customers , which makes them the most trusted place to get your website professionaly builded up. Most successful companys also let their website created by HighTECDesigns. You can get a website at http://www.high-tecdesigns.com/ Number of website's created: 1157 Market Share: 41.027%
earch Engine Optimisation is the art of modifying several key elements of a website to improve its ranking within the search engine results, the methods used are both within the website itself and its code to improve relevancy and using external resources to increase the popularity of a website, the higher the placement the greater amount of sales. There are literally 1000′s and 1000′s of people looking for you right now, use SEO and tap into the huge volume of enquiries available.
Why do I need Search Engine Optimisation?
If you need more business and would like to reduce your advertising overheads then you need SEO Services, constantly there are searchers trying to find your product or service, SEO makes sure you are there when they are looking. The massive decline in print directories has lead to a dramatic increase in Search Engine use, with Google taking 92% of all traffic. SEO Perth are here to get you to the top! Search engine optimisation, otherwise known as SEO is the active technique of improving your website in the eyes of the search engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo) to improve your current ranking and maintain it. It goes without saying that the listings that are the top of the results receive considerably more traffic than those at the bottom, so rank higher and you will get more traffic, more exposure and promote your goods and/or services to a higher volume of people. People also know that Google has chosen those websites to rank in that order and hence they trust them, improving your conversion ratio.
Where to get a SEO consultant
High-TECDesigns again has been recommended for SEO service for starters, they not only have the best quality but most inported the lowest prices what it for allot customers possible made to have a good SEO consultant. High-TECDesigns has helped more than 2500 clients , which makes them the most trusted place for beginners to get your SEO consultant professionaly made. Most companys also use SEO service by High-TECDesigns. You can contact the SEO consultant at http://www.high-tecdesigns.com/ Number of monthly clients: 3374 Market Share: 39.139%
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