Creating a Profitable Internet Niche Business

Contrary to popular belief, many successful internet businesses have been started inexpensively and have become very lucrative businesses. You read everyday how so and so started an internet business from scratch with no money in his or her pocket and are now making thousands of dollars on the internet. It is possible.

What they do not tell you in the story it does take time and some money. The key to starting a successful and profitable internet business is finding a particular niche within a market that is willing to pay for products or services. How do you do that? With a little research, most people can find that market and create a niche business selling to their paying market.

Some people recommend keyword research to find a niche market. What is keyword research? Finding a keyword or keywords that people use to search for information on the internet. This is a good way to find a market but not the only way. Finding a niche market for a niche business requires a little more work than that.

Great ways to finding a niche is to check out forums, blogs, bookstores, eBay, and other websites that pertain to your business idea or ideas. This will give you an idea if your idea is popular enough to become a profitable business. Do not skimp on researching your market. This could be the make or break of your business. Failure to research your market could cost money and kill your internet business.

Researching your market should be your top priority prior to a business name or website design. Your target market will determine your website design and business name. They key to creating a profitable niche business is to target a segment of a broad market. It is not to compete against all the big players but to carve out a segment for your business with less competition. Your internet business cannot compete against the Wal-Mart’s all over the world but you can compete against the Wal-Mart’s in a targeted market if you have a product or service that has less competition with average to above average paying customers.

After you have completed your research for your business idea, then putting the other pieces into place will follow. The eBook Niche Business Secrets Revealed takes the new internet entrepreneur through the process of creating an internet niche business from start to finish and pieces in between. You will need to decide on a domain name, web hosting account, website design and more, which is all covered in this eBook. Most of the tools and resources needed a free and can be found by searching the internet or following the links to websites provided in this eBook.

In addition to finding, your niche and creating your internet business remember this is a business and there are legal issues you must follow so make sure you read a little on the legality of your business. There are copyright laws, trademark laws, plagiarism, and other items you must know about so you can create your business within the guidelines that are already established. Make sure you know the do’s and don’ts on the internet. This will ensure your business will be considered a reputable entity.

There is no such thing as “get rich quick” on the internet but there are such things as profitable, professional, reputable, and sustaining internet niche businesses. Maybe yours can be that one too with a little work.

8 Reasons to Start an Online Business in 2009

The economy is down, we’re in probably the worst financial crisis since the great depression, and unemployment is shooting through the roof. Sounds like the worst time to start an online business right? Wrong! 2009 could be the perfect time to start a business if you are smart about it. Here’s the reasons why:

1. It’s Easy to do

Starting an online business is simple to do. It’s not like starting a normal business. It doesn’t take as much money or time to create an online business. There are many different ways to make money online including retail stores, affiliate advertising, creating a successful blog, article writing, or website/graphic design etc. All those ideas are legitimate online businesses that have made a ton of money for a ton of people who are doing what they love. You can even create a successful online business in your spare time. You don’t have to quit your day job to be a success.

2. It’s Cheap

Creating a website is extremely cheap compared to starting up a store or office. Even if you don’t design your website yourself you can pay someone else to do it and you can get it done cheap by free lancers through sites like Guru.com. After you get your site designed you will need to pick a domain name. You’re going to want to pick a domain name that relates to what you are selling. After that you will need to pick a web host. Web hosting is a service that takes all the files that make up your website and stores them on a server that is connected up to the internet 24/7/365. From their users will be able to access your website all the time. You can find reliable web hosting for $10-$20 a month. After initial start up costs, the cost of maintaining a website are very small which allows you to be very profitable. All the choices you have to make here are extremely important ones for your site, but they can all be very cheap.

3. Creating a Website is Easy Now!

You don’t have to know HTML to create a good looking website now. Using programs like Adobe Dreamweaver allows you to create the design of your website and it creates the HTML that goes along with the design. There are simple tutorials all over the internet that tell you how to create a website. You can use sites like Yahoo’s Site Builder to drag and drop pictures to design your website. If you wanted to create a blog you can use free blog hosting sites like Google’s Blogger and create a blog in minutes.

4. E-commerce is Succeeding even in a Down Economy

While regular brick & mortar stores are struggling to even stay in business, e-commerce business is growing. According to the Department of Commerce U.S. Retail E-commerce sales numbers are up all around. The 2nd Quarter of 2008 saw $34.6 billion in sales which was a 2.9% increase from the 1st quarter and a 9.5% increase from the second quarter of 2007. Just recently on “Cyber Monday” (the online world’s “black Friday”) the online world saw another positive sign, consumers spent $846 billion on cyber Monday which was an increase of 15% over 2007′s cyber Monday.

5. Marketing is better/faster/more measurable online

Marketing online is all around better online. There’s an estimated 1.5 billion people who use the internet worldwide. That’s 21.9% of the world’s population. It has grown 305% from 2000-2008 and that number will only continue to grow as the populations in emerging markets like China, the Middle East, and Africa continue to get modernized. The Internet is a force that you cannot ignore. There’s a lot of people that use the internet and the great news is they are easy to reach and easy to target. A survey by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Group of business to business marketers showed that the “migration of communications budgets from traditional media to online has accelerated to the point where nearly half of all spending, 47 percent, is spent on online marketing techniques today.” The businesses are doing that for a reason, they can track their marketing methods online a lot easier so they can understand what their ROI is and decide where to put the money. Also it is easier to target people online than it is in the real world so it takes less money to make more sales. Some of the ways to advertise online include search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click ads, article marketing, blogging. All but the pay per click ads can be free. SEO is the technical term for optimizing your site and link building with the goal of getting to the top spot in search engines for a certain keyword. This is important for the success of your online business because the majority of online users use search engines like Google to find what they are looking for. Being at the top spot in Google gets you the most traffic for the cheapest amount….free! There are tons of easy and cheap ways to market your website online.

6. Tracking…Online Analytics

I touched on this in the previous paragraph but this deserves more attention. Tracking how your business is doing in all aspects is important, no matter what type of business you have. When I say tracking your business I mean figuring out if you are putting your dollars in the right place. If users are leaving your site right away (a term called “bouncing”) maybe it’s because your site is not user friendly so you must re-design your website, if users are reading the content of your site but then leaving during the check out process maybe it’s time for a new shopping cart, it’s also important to know where your users are coming from and where they are going. You can tell all of this by using analytics software that you can get online. Google Analytics is perhaps the best program that you can use to track your website and the best part is it’s completely free. All it involves is placing code that Google provides you on every page that you want the program to track. On a daily basis you can check to see how many people visited your site, what they looked at, how they came to your site, how long they stayed, where they exited from, and most importantly if they were a conversion and how they got there. That type of measurability is critical to any business and that and so much more is possible online.

7. Starting in a Bad Economy is a Good Thing!

Starting up a business in a bad economy can be a good thing if you are passionate about what you are doing. As Paul Graham pointed out in his essay the economy does not necessarily affect a startup it is the founders that make or break the company. Just ask Bill Gates of Microsoft or Steve Jobs of Apple both of which were started in the terrible economy of the 1970′s. A down economy is an opportunity if looked at in the right light, by opportunistic entrepreneurs. A down economy means less competition, more companies/people looking to make deals, people looking for ways to save. It has become a well known fact that online is the place to get deals on just about anything you need. Retailers offering aggressive online discounts this year were able to increase sales from last year because they were able to adjust to a down economy because of the flexibility of online business. Online businesses are cheap to start up and cheap to maintain, those saving get passed onto the customer in the form of great discounts. At the same time do not ignore the economy creating a website that shows people creative ways to save money would be a great site in a down economy, or a debt consolidation website, or shop and compare sites, or a community forum that lets people share the best deals. There are countless opportunities waiting to be filled in the online world.

8. It’s About Time You Start Doing What You Want to Do!

Who doesn’t want to own their own business? You get to be your own boss, make your own hours, and feel the joy of successfully having your own company. If you’re tired of your job or even just want to turn your hobby into a profitable venture an online business is the way to go. The best part is it does not have to take over your entire life. With an online business you can do a lot of the work in a short amount of time which means you do not necessarily have to quit your day job. Do you like writing? Become a blogger, blogging is the hot thing in the online world right now and it takes all of 5 minutes to create a blog on blogger and not too much more time to create your own site with a wordpress themed blog. You can write what you feel like writing about and make money doing it. Do you like a certain topic and you know a bunch of other people do? Why not start an online forum about it, that’s a great way to do what you want and profit off of it. There are plenty of businesses out there and an online business is the easiest way to get started.

As you can see there are great reasons to start an online business in 2009. It’s the easiest, cheapest, fastest way to start your own business and it’s a growing market that basically anyone can be successful in, if your passionate about what you are doing. Make 2009 your year to start an online business, Get out there and Get Started.

Business Owners – Business Failure (or Success) During a Recession is Not Due to the Economy

Are you a business owner struggling with your business and blaming it on the economy? It’s not the fault of the economy.

Business success or failure is due to the owner’s decision making process, not the economy. Why?

As a business coach I get to see what’s happening in a lot of businesses, and I see that, frequently business owners, who have been making poor decisions during a good economy, just make worse decisions during a bad economy. In fact, the outcome, good or bad, just gets multiplied.

The belief that the economy will cause pain usually results in the fact that it does, not because of the economy but because of the decisions that were made because of the expectation that things are going to get tough. The already bad decision making, is just amplified by the owner himself as he “expects” worse things to happen.

Here are just a few of the poor decisions.

Most people believe that they have to live within a budget, and the way to do that is to cut costs to the bone.

Business decisions based on “cutting costs” usually cut critically needed things instead of looking on the RIGHT things to spend on that would increase the income and profits at this critical time.

For instance, I ask my coaching clients a series of questions that almost always get answered wrong.

What would you do the first time that your sales doesn’t pay your overhead expenses?

For a small business the usual way of dealing with this means that you “pay the overhead” and take the difference out of your pocket, or you just “don’t pay the overhead” and fear that the landlord will be knocking. The next steps that are usually taken are to reduce spending on things like marketing (while justifying that action with a statement, “it didn’t really work that well anyway.”)

However, the RIGHT answer was to identify what was the biggest return for which type of marketing, and how to increase the results of that marketing. Of course that question should have been asked before you were in this situation, but now that you are it MUST be answered NOW, and not where can you cut. Cutting typically takes out just a few dollars, while finding what marketing and other items to invest in usually can make 10′s, or 100′s of times increase. Get the point?

Actually, doing this before you are in this economy would have meant that you wouldn’t be struggling now, but, since you are, we stil must deal with it right now.

Always consider that your business is a MULTIPLIER and not an EXPENSE that needs to be fed.

I’m not saying that there aren’t businesses that are sponges, absorbing money out of your pocket, there are. But, as I’ve worked with lots of businesses, I usually see business owners with businesses that have a nice multiplying effect make the same false assumptions that they have to cut back and stop spending on the multipliers, causing a loss of 10 times what they saved.

Let’s take a look at a decision that most business owners make about the economy.

One of my clients is a small manufacturing company, does about $200K in sales a year, but rarely had a significant profit at the end of the year even in a good economy. But, as the economy started sliding they went from just barely able to pay the bills to not being able to pay the bills.

The next steps they took were to

  1. Reduce marketing efforts
  2. Lay off employees

The two worst WRONG things to do.

Frequently business owners make decisions based on THE BOTTOM line, not realizing where the multipliers are in the business. So instead of doing what would increase the income, they start cutting out things, thinking that they will remove enough to at least break even.

So, when the bottom line is zero or negative, they started looking for places to cut instead of places to increase the bottom line. When I started talking about profit margins and got blank stares I could tell they didn’t get it. After a little reviewing, we finally came to the conclusion that they made 60% on every dollar sold, which is a more than respectable profit margin. So they were baffled as to why they were losing money.

They sold $200K a year, and made $120K (60%) in profit. When we dug even deeper, it was obvious. They had an overhead of $120K, which ate up their whole yearly profit. Now when the economy started sliding their sales dropped below $200K to about $190K which wasn’t really that bad of a drop, but now there isn’t enough to pay the overhead.

So, their next decision was not only cutting out expenses, it was literally cutting the throat of he business.

I’ve discovered, with all of the businesses I’ve worked with, that this seems to be a normal thought process among most businesses. “Where do I cut?” is one of those “shoot yourself in the foot” decisions that is rampant among small business owners. It’s something we were taught to do as kids. Living within a budget meant that we had to stop spending, not finding ways to generate more.

As we went looked at this business, it was obvious that they made 20 times what they invested in marketing as sales. They are a very profitable business when you look at it this way. So, cutting $1 out of marketing would remove $20 from the bottom line. Not a good decision, but a very typical one.

Of course, another decision usually made shortly after this one is, “Who do we let go?” Just keep in mind that employees are the ones who deliver the product that’s sold for 20 times what you invest in marketing. Employees also have a multiplying effect on your business, or they should be anyway. So, cutting them could have a similar impact.

With a 20 times multiplier from marketing to sales, what do you THINK you should have done?

Increase marketing of course? Put money where your results are.

If you looked into who survived the Great Depression in the 30′s, who do you think survived? Those cutting back, or those spending more on marketing?

Of course, you MUST know what marketing is working and what the multipliers are so that you can invest in the right ones.