How To Start And Run An Online Business
Article: 06. Crunch Time, Self Evaluation, Should You?
You have finally decided to take the inevitable plunge and go in for an online business to begin a new career. It is great to take this step by applying your life's experiences and your passion for doing what you always wanted to do. Frankly, your subconscious mind and aptitude considered all pros and cons on this topic and is now asking that proverbial 64 million dollar question, "Should I venture into this or not"? In fact it is clearly the Shakespearean 'to be or not to be' dilemma - or we can assume the modern day arrival of the "crunch time"! This calls for a great deal of self evaluation and analysis as the decision is a major step into your future - remembering that this is one frontier you have not yet dared to step into. It is also true that dreams are not mere fantasy and every person can convert his or her dreams into some form of reality. Therefore let us join hands and traverse the logical path towards initiating an online business on the Internet.
The 4 Pillars of a ProjectEvery project you contemplate can be defined with the logical steps of the 4 P's. Let us evaluate these pillars of online ventures into lucrative businesses. The 4 P's are:
Persistence or Perseverance
One must have a very clear purpose in beginning any project - online or offline. This purpose must be based on a viable proposition of commercial activity. If what you contemplate or have a passion about does not have a targeted audience or what we term as "market demand", the end result will not be to your satisfaction. In such cases it is advisable to analyze and evaluate other purposes or businesses.
Passion needs to be developed into business viability however one must again apply the principle given in the previous paragraph. What is required or what a large group of people crave for will sell and not what is not of prime importance at a given time for the potential customer.
Do you remember the phrase "try - try again" that we learnt in our childhood? We are sure you do and understand that the perseverance or persistence step always helps you in ensuring a satisfactory conclusion to any venture. This pillar does not imply that we keep attempting projects that are not of interest to our clients. It is not easy to influence the buyer to purchase goods or services that do not benefit them in the short term. As a corollary, it is also true that some passions can be so evolved and developed that a new market is created! Take the instance of manufacturing and selling mineral water in an environment of tourism to areas where the potable water quality was suspect. People were literally 'dying of thirst' and those mineral water bottles sold like hot cakes!
The final P aims at advocating a sense of patience since no business - however much in demand - can begin with the flick of a switch or the 'click of a mouse'. Extreme patience is required to achieve success. This is the most important pillar on which you can build your online venture.
Following this self appraisal let us consider why and how we should start a profitable online business.
The GenesisListing the types of online businesses with your expertise, passion, hobbies, or life's experience should be the first step in your quest for a profitable venture. Begin with the famous 4 P's of Marketing:
Place (or distribution)
The product or service you choose must be current as far as the demand goes. Also it should not be something that is so unique or new that no one really apprehends its use. Limited competition is always healthy and in your case this could be a boon in evaluation of your unique selling proposition. By stating this we do not necessarily mean that your product or service should not be unique at all! It must have an edge over other competition lest you may have to only complete on basis of costing and that can be a bit tiresome since lower price implies lower profit margins. This certainly is not the basic concept of a good business.
Pricing a product or your service under competitive environment is quite an art. It is also a science derived from basic economics and you must pay adequate attention to the market trend and demand scenario. Do not use the common "witch's cauldron" to magically arrive at a sales price. There is no magic in this pricing art! Consider the best model for pricing your product/service that will ensure a satisfactory and reasonable return on your investment and efforts. If you can earn enough to live the life you so desire, the pricing must be right.
Place or distribution of your business has a great bearing on the profitability and thereby the viability of any project. If distribution takes a long route or a difficult path the venture may not fully succeed. Working from home and online requires products or services that are easy to monitor and distribute to your customers. Tie up with reliable online stores who franchise their marketing efforts could be quite useful. Information products like e-books, article writing and marketing and similar writing activities are suggested if you happen to have the "gift of the gab". Remember your passions and life's experiences are the clue to successful online marketing efforts.
Finally the fourth P of marketing called promotion needs careful planning and design. Promotion involves several disciplines from sales to advertising and on to customer relations or service. Be honest and practical about your marketing promotion efforts since this is what will put you in good steed with your potential clients and existing customers.
Should You or Should You Not?After considering and evaluating the foregoing steps you would be in a fair position to decide on the possibility of attempting a reasonable business on the Internet. Some more analysis is necessary to complete this exercise and reach a just conclusion. The following list can be kept in mind and the best possible answer recorded to make your decision to start or not to start an online business from home:
The plus points of your product or service within the competition you expect to encounter.
Your product mix or service mix must have a reasonable gestation period and a fair longevity. This aspect gives you and idea of the investment required and the returns expected. It also indicates the period your anticipated market demand will continue to ensure steady business.
The path your online business will take depends also on your own life style and personal commitments. It is important to specify how much time you can spend on the job, your online business, and duties at home or elsewhere to calculate the time table of workable schedule. An online venture that requires frequent traveling or movement may affect your other chores and it may become a bit frantic to cope up with all assignments.
The financial aspects are one of the most important and significant parameters that govern the success or failure of any project. To begin an online business depends on the amount you can set aside or put up for initial investment. If this is a problem the business should be so chosen that needs hardly any investment other than a computer, internet connection, and relevant software. From thereon you can evolve easy methods of working your way up to a sizable investment through earnings. The finances are the single most significant factors that govern your success or failure.
One important concept of beginning an online individual venture is the distribution of time between your normal work and the online business. If you decide to continue your normal work for earnings and daily living, your online job may take a bit more time in its gestation stage and you would only become independent once the home-based job earns enough for you to fully devote your efforts in that. It is not easy to concentrate on two jobs and expect both to follow a rosy path! Extreme caution and perseverance is required to cope up with many things at the same time - though several people are able to do that and still make a success of all ventures.
ConclusionStarting a self-employed business needs preempting of the consequences and working out of the financial as well as schedules concepts. Careful analysis and guidance must be included from experts and consulting professionals to bring this ambition to reality. The entire contents of this article therefore can be summed up in just three simple words "Now Should You?" or should you not! Consider this question in all its significance and list out the answers to make a real evaluation of the pros and cons. This will enable you to take the right decision at the right time.
06. Crunch Time, Self Evaluation, Should You?.
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