Monthly Archives: October 2012

6 The Six Phases of Business Development

There is a normal progression of six stages that businesses go through while under development.  Understanding these six stages will allow you to be okay with where you are at any given moment.  It can also help you move through potential meltdowns because you’ll know where you are and where you have come from and what is normal in the phase where you are.  Further, it can help you develop the patience required to achieve success.

The six stages are:

Phase 1:  Strategizing.  This is the planning stage.  In this phase you begin to develop a clear vision of what you want your business to be, what your goals are and what you are committed to.  You are creating your business plan and a schedule; you are identifying the actions that you will need to take and creating routines to follow.   This is the phase in which you want to find your mentors and have help that you trust.

Phase 2:  Implementation.  Phase 2 is a busy time.  It’s the phase where you roll up your sleeves, put your head down, shut out the diversions and get to work.  Your focus needs to be on putting your plan into action and working on your goals by following your schedule.

Implementation is where you put it all into action – creating and launching your products, building your list of leads, improving your website and putting your systems and technology into place, mastering social media, networking, joint venture partnerships and so on.

This phase takes an enormous amount of commitment.  It is the phase where you are doing the most work and not earning much, if any income.  This is where you demonstrate how consistent you can be and how committed you are to your dream.  It requires faith in yourself and your business plan and also accountability.  Use those mentors to help you stay on track.

Phase 3:  Momentum.  Momentum is where you are moving forward as a direct result of all your hard work in the previous two phases.  This is a great stage because you start seeing a surge of results with less effort.  By this phase you have customers who are buying your products and services.  You may be getting noticed by your competition and have an opportunity to turn them into allies by joint venturing with them.  Your audience or customer base is growing and you are finally seeing money come into your business.

Phase 4:  Stabilization.  The key to your long-term success is your ability to stabilize your momentum.  In order to hand the pace of your business without breaking down you need the following:

•  Systems

•  Automation

•  Delegation

•  Accountability

In this phase you have effective systems (autoresponder, shopping cart, affiliate program, sales page, etc.) in place for every facet of your business.  You now have paid help to maintain your systems and you can take a breath and review all your plans – business, action, marketing, product creation, etc.

It is not a good idea to try to make major changes during this phase of your business.  This is the time to just let your systems work and make money for you.  You can hurt yourself in this phase if you get bored and try to make changes that aren’t needed.

Reaching this phase can take a year and a half to two years.  Don’t try to rush it to happen faster and you don’t want to push it once you’ve reached it.

Phase 5:  Breakthrough.   This is a very exciting phase to be in.  This is where your business has really taken off and you see the quality and number of your customers increase and they are spending more money with you and buying your high ticket products and services.  This is a busy time and you need to master time management.   You must be very careful when you reach this stage that you maintain your integrity, it’s essential and helped you get here.

It is important to note that you will probably move back to phase 4, stabilization, after you reach breakthrough because it will be necessary to stabilize this new level.  That doesn’t mean you have slipped backwards, it means you have to repeat phase 4 at this new level.  This cycle will continually repeat itself for the life of your business.

Phase 6:  Mastery.  What started out as simply “your passion” can lead to a successful business that has a life of its own and is no longer dependent on you to be around all the time.   The majority of your business is being handled by others.  You have learned to delegate and be a good manager, empowering others to run things for you.   You become the visionary who oversees the operation, offering guidance when necessary, free to create the next thing, to just work those parts of the business you love most, or simply have more time for the lifestyle you want to lead.

It’s important to understand these six phases of business development so that you can know where you are during the progression of your business.

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8 Create Your Product Funnel: Building Relationships with Your Clients/Customers

A product funnel is essential for monetizing your clients and customers.  It’s a process whereby you attract people to your webpage and build relationships.  If they like and trust you, they will come back and pay for your more expensive products.

It works like this:

You create something they can get at your webpage for free, also known as a “freemium.”  You promote whatever that is on social media, on other people’s blogs, and anywhere else you can find to mention it.  People who want to get that free product come to your site, enter their name and email in your registration box and receive the free product via the autoresponder you set up as one of your business systems (we’ll get to this in a future article).

Your freemium can be a report, a checklist, a survey, a video, an audio, an ebook, you can even give away someone else’s work that you have rights to or ask them to participate in a poll.  Be creative and make it relative to your business because you are trying to create a buzz about yourself and capture people’s names and email addresses.

You may want to create a second free product as an introduction to a new product or low priced program you are preparing to release.  That could be a report, a PDF tool that relates to your new product, a teleseminar or webinar.

When you have prospects in your funnel, you need to find ways to give them more valuable content at increasingly higher prices as they go through the funnel.

Once you’ve sent them some really great content they’ll trust that you do in fact know what you’re talking about, and if you have related products that you are selling, you can make an offer to them.  If they buy… great!  Send them onto another list that is for buyers and start promoting more products that will further enhance their lives.  If they are not buyers, simply continue to offer free information and improve their lives regardless.  The ultimate goal is simply to ensure that you are enriching the lives of those people who have trusted you with their name and email address.

The first product you ask people to pay for should be a low priced item such as an ebook, an audio book, a teleseminar or webinar.  The price range should be between $10 – $50.

The second product or program you create should be within the $50 – $200 price range.  Again, it can be a webinar, teleseminar, telesummit, home study program or anything else that fits your business and addresses your customers’/clients’ issues and needs.

By this time, your community has come to trust you or they wouldn’t still be around.  The fourth level price range should be $200 – $500.  You might offer a boot camp for $347, and the fifth level might offer your one-on-one services for $500.

Get the picture?  By the way, when you offer your products and services at different price points, you are lowering the financial and emotional risk for your prospects. You are essentially making it impossible for them not to buy from you!

What’s in your  product funnel?

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2 There’s a Traffic Jam on the Internet Super Highway!

Now that you have researched your competition, you are probably feeling like everyone and their brother has jumped on the online highway and there is no room left for you.  Well, the truth is that everyone and their brother has jumped on this highway and you need to find a way to be the lead heading on down that road.

My personal business coach, Rich German of Epic Coach Academy, has an answer for getting around this traffic jam – “create, don’t compete.”

Depending on your niche, you may have a lot of competition and the way to stay ahead of the crowd is to create new and useful products.  Rich tells his clients that the facts, at least the way he sees them are:

•   Most people will quit before the payoff (meaning they’ll quit too soon).

•   Most people lack the patience and consistency required to succeed.

•   You have a unique gift and it is your duty to put it out there, and

•   No one can do it as good as you are going to do it.

He also says this, “Even though we’ve been programmed for mediocrity, we clearly have the option to rise above it.  When you establish yourself a true expert in your passion—through time, patience, consistency, dedication, and devotion—you will rise to the top.  You will monetize, you will make a serious impact, you will be happy, and it will be fun.”

The fact of the matter is Rich is right!

In our next article, we’ll talk about a sales funnel and the various levels of products you can create to put you at the head of crowd in your field.

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6 Develop Your Business Plan

A business plan is a necessary basic strategy to run and grow your business.  This plan can be a simple strategy or be very detailed, depending on how your mind works and you how detailed you need to be for yourself.

There are many different styles of business plans including all the way from a one page outline style plan to a very long plan with several pages for each section.  You can include simple steps in outline form, or all the way to including charts and graphs for growth projections.

Whatever style or level of complexity you choose, your plan should include the following elements (in section 1)

•   your mission: why does your business exist?

•   your vision: where is your business going?  What impact will it make on the world?

•   your values: what do you stand for?

•   a business profile: what are your products and services?

In section 2 you want to create one-year goals and three-year goals.   Your goals should include strategies for each of the following areas:

Management and Administration.  Will you need to hire any employees or team members?  An assistant or business manager?  Include a job description and goals for each team member.

Outsourcing.  Will you do everything yourself or will you “outsource” the work?  The more work you outsource, the more time you have to be creative and do the work you love and started your business to do.  Outsourcing projects include web design, social media expert, copywriting, bookkeeping and others.

Customer Service.  What kind of service are you committed to?  How will you achieve it?

Business Planning.  How often will you review your plan (monthly, quarterly, twice a year)?  How will you reassess your goals if necessary?

Bookkeeping and Accounting.  How will you keep track of your income, expenses, profit and losses, payroll?

Other Professional Services.  Will you need a lawyer to help you incorporate or draw up nonprofit documents?  Will you need a human resources manager to set up an employment program?

Technology.  Who will manage your database?  How will you ensure your technology always remains cutting edge?

Products and Services.  This is where you create a detailed plan for the products and services you have decided will be in your product funnel.  What will you create and in what order will they be created?  What is your pricing plan for each produce?  Will you repurpose the product (use an original product for something else?

Marketing.  What is your plan to market and sell your products?  This section is critical.  Without a strategy for marketing your products you won’t sell them.

Website/Blog.  Will you have a website that you use as a storefront?  How many pages will it have and what is the purpose and content for each page?  Will it be just a blog where you write about a particular topic and monetize it by using paid advertising?  Will you review other people’s products and get paid a commission (affiliate marketing)?

Joint Ventures.  What is your plan to create marketing partnerships with other people in your area of business?  Who do you want to partner with and how many partnerships do you wish to have?

Affiliate Marketing.  Affiliate marketing is where you sell other people’s products and services.  What kind of products do you want to sell?  Who’s products will you promote?  How many?  How will you find them?

Social Media.  What is your plan to create visibility on the internet?  Will you have a Facebook page, post videos on YouTube, be on Twitter and Pinterest?  Who will manage these sites for you?  How often will you post on these sites?

The financial section of your plan should include:

Income Projections.  This part can be scary, however, it can be fun too.  Set your desired monthly income then break it down by product sales.  Once you decide on what you want your income to be, you can figure out how many products you need to sell to meet the goal.  Hopefully you will have priced your products before you get to this section so this will be easier to accomplish.

Expenses.  Last but not least by any means are your expenses.  How much will it cost to run your business?  Will your website cost you money?  Will you have an autoresponder, use a shopping cart or other service that has monthly charges?  Remember that many services are free to use and you need to do your homework.  It’s is possible to run an internet business for under $30 a month.

Now that you have a good idea of what needs to be included in your business plan, you should decide on what style of plan will suit your business best.  If you are going to use your business plan to find investors and otherwise raise money, you will need a fairly detailed plan with a lot of information.

If you are going to have a simple, straightforward internet business that does not require investors, then a simple plan meant to keep you on track will work just fine.

What is in your business plan that I might have missed?

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4 Build a Business – The Basics

By now you should understand that building a business is not an easy task. There are many things you need to consider, many questions you need to answer, many things you need to do and know to organize and maintain a successful business.

While money matters to some degree when starting a business (depending on the type of business), the rule of law is important in our society as well.  You will need to be legally prepared to start your business.  That means knowing what business licenses are required by your city, county and state.  It includes deciding on whether your business will be a solo enterprise, a joint venture, a limited partnership, or other structure.  If you are hiring employees or contractors, you will need to have an employer identification number from the IRS and register your business in your state.

Just when you think you have all the information you can handle, there’s always more.

Do you think that because your business is small you are at a disadvantage? Actually, it’s an advantage!  Because you’re small, you are flexible, and you can quickly adapt to market changes.  Here are some startup elements you need to consider before you can launch a successful small business.

Organize it.

    • How will your business get things done?
    • Who does what?
    • What is the structure of your business?
    • How are tasks divided?

Manage your money.

    • Where will your money come from?
    • How will it come in and out of your business?
    • Will you invest back into your business?
    • How much cash do you need to operate and pay expenses?
    • What profit do you expect?

Create your image.

    • Marketing: How will your customers locate you and your business?
    • Do you know where your customers are? Have you designed a plant to find and maintain customers?
    • How will you keep track of your competitors?
    • Do you have a good strategy?

Legalize it!

    • How will the legal system affect your business?
    • How can you protect yourself and your business ideas?

Do you know your federal, state, and local tax laws?

 

 

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8 Who is My Competition?

Question #6 on the Junior Achievement List of 20 Questions to ask before deciding on starting a business is Who is My Competition?

To figure this out, there are other questions you need to ask including:

• How many are there?

• Where are they located?

• What products/services do they offer that you do not?

• What products/services don’t they offer that you can?

• What is their advertising strategy?  Where are social media do they advertise?

There are several great things you can learn by researching your competitors.

• You can potentially avoid the same mistakes they’ve made.

• You can gain information that will help you with the decisions you’ll need to make about where to locate your business, what to charge for your products/services and what advertising strategy might work for you.

How do I find out about my competitors?

You need to do research about the industry your business is positioned in.  You want to find out how many other businesses like yours are operating within your city or county, or on the web if you are a computer based business.

According to Johnston Community College in North Carolina, “Customer research will guide you to where your potential customers are shopping and why.  As part of your competitor research, you may want to ask potential customers survey questions geared to discover information about the competition. If they currently use products or services like yours, where are they buying them? What are they paying for them? What do they like and dislike about your competition?”

Once you have identified who your competitors are, be sure to visit their web site if they have one and their social media sites.  Follow them on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and other sites.  You can learn a lot from  their web sites and social media sites. For example, they may have information about prices, services, locations and contact information. The look and features of the web site itself will give you an idea of your competitor’s professionalism and quite possibly about their resources.

You might consider calling your competitors directly asking the kinds of questions a customer/client would.  Those questions could be about the prices they charge, the types of products and services they sell, turnaround time for service and anything else you need to know.  If your competitor has a storefront, visit it for ideas about products and advertising.

Another way to find out about your competitors is to talk to others who have had dealings with them including their customers, other businesses who had dealings with them and their suppliers if know who they are.   You can find out what kind-of service they provide, how well they work with their suppliers.

The Johnston Community College has the Competitors Worksheet available to help you identify and document your competitors.  Take great notes and refer back to them when trying to create your business plan and marketing strategy.

This lesson is meant as an overview.  You will have to do some research on how to do the research.  Try asking Ehow.com how to research competitors, how to do market research and how to do industry research.  You will have to use google and other search engines to decide on the key words you’ll need to use to find your competition.

At this point, you’ll need to ask yourself again, “Are you committed to your dream and to doing whatever it takes to make it happen?”

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4 What is My Target Market?

This is the fifth question on the Junior Achievement’s list of 20 questions to ask yourself before starting your business.  Why is this  an important question?  It is important because you need to know who you are going to market your products and/or services to.  I would even say that Who is my target market is more to the point.

 

Who is Your Target Market?

Define the people whom you are looking for and those looking for what you have to offer.  How old are they, where do they live, what do they do, and where do they hang out on the web?  What are their desires and their pain points?  What do they love?  Your little corner of the business world, your business, also known as your niche, should cater to the needs of your audience while also being true to yourself and what your passions and interests are.

Where Does Your Target Market Hang Out?

Do a Google search for forums within your niche as well as key word searches within Facebook and Twitter.  Build up your networks on social media so when you are ready to start monetizing your business, you can bring your ideal customer/client to your website.  Remember you are targeting an audience that is interested in what you have to say or what you are selling.

Let’s say make awesome jewelry and decide to sell your creations online.  What age group will love your jewelry?  Will you sell to the person who will wear it or to the person who buys it for them?  Where can you find these people?

Another good question to ask yourself is who do you want to hang out and establish relationships with?  Will they relate to your business idea?  If not, can you offer them something that will interest them so that they become a part of your audience, tribe, posse, family, fans, or whatever you choose to call it?

If you have a business that will have you relating one-on-one with your client or customer, ask yourself who that perfect person will be.  What do they like to do?  What do they spend their money on?  How do they use your product or service?

Don’t skip this step when making decisions about how to your business will look.  It is essential to have clarity on who your target market is in order  to create a successful marketing plan.  In this day and age on the internet, marketing is king.  Without a well thought-out marketing plan with clear goals and clear targets, you are at risk for failure.

Who is your perfect client/customer?

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14 Six Secrets For Success!

Guest Blogger:

Dr. Linette Montae

What are the secrets for success? What makes somebody more successful than you? How come others appear to work much less but achieve greater results? What do they know that you don’t? You will be pleased to hear that success is not as secret as you may think- you can learn and apply these steps if you are willing to change your thinking and put forth a little effort.

Here are six secrets for success you can act on today:

Your attitude is everything. To become successful you must first change your thoughts. Most people have a ‘failure’ mindset.  If you are using language like ‘I can’t’, guess what- you won’t!  Delete ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary and believe in your ability to succeed.  The only thing stopping you from achieving your dreams is you.  Try a simple affirmation technique- say ‘I am successful’ out loud several times each day.  You may feel silly but your subconscious mind will pick up on the message and work towards making it a reality.

Stay away from negative people. Look at the people you spend time with- do they spend their time moaning and complaining about life and how unfair everything is?  If so, limit the time you spend in their company or you will be affected by their attitude.  Look to spend time with people who are positive, encouraging and full of optimistic plans for their future. You will find yourself being influenced by them and your own thoughts and behavior should change as a result.

Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. You may find it easier to stay in the same patterns of behavior, the same job and the same habits, but you will risk getting stuck in a rut. It’s a well known fact that if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got.  To achieve anything different you need to push yourself and make changes in your life.

Try doing this one step at a time on a small scale, for example trying new foods, buying an outfit you wouldn’t normally go for, or taking up a hobby that challenges you. Once you start making small changes you will find it easier to take on bigger challenges.

Write down your goals and formulate a plan. Goals are just dreams unless they are written down.  If you don’t know what you want, you are not likely to achieve it. It is a bit like trying to drive without a destination. Working towards your goals one step at a time will focus your mind and allow you to measure your progress. It is a fact that most successful people regularly plan and write goals.

Take action. You won’t become successful just thinking about it, and written plans are nothing without action. Decide that you will do one thing each day, no matter how small, to move towards your goals. Set yourself daily or weekly tasks and check them off as you complete them.

Be persistent and never give up. There will be times when you feel like you are getting nowhere and at times you will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. You will even fail sometimes, but this is a natural process you will have to go through to achieve success. Learn from obstacles and failures, and decide how you will do things differently next time.

I have given you six secrets; as long as you apply them and are prepared to put in the work, there is no reason you should not expect success.

_____________

About Dr. Montae:

Dr. Linette Montae and Danette Nixon, aka “The Youth Success Duo” and authors of Success Is A Decision- Leaders Create The Life They Want To Live travel the world sharing their empowering message with teens because they believe “that given the right space, tools and training; ALL youth can succeed”. And now they invite you to take the Youth Success Challenge at http://empoweringyouthforsuccess.com/youth/

 Dr. Linette Montae is a nationally acclaimed speaker, author and award winning business results strategist who, for the past 20 years, has coached business owners in a variety of service industries. Dr. Montae is passionate about helping overworked women entrepreneurs “make money, make a difference and have more time to enjoy life”. And now you are invited to receive a free video series from Dr. Montae just for visiting www.BigBusinessResults.com

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2 Why am I starting a business?

Question #3 on the Junior Achievement’s list of 20 questions to consider before starting your business is “Why am I starting a business?”  This is an essential question that you must be able to answer.  Your why is the motivating force behind your business and should guide all the other decisions you make.

Matt Hunckler, who blogs about business startups, said, “A good business is simply a tool to help you lead the life you want to live. And, done right, your business can be a way to leverage the change you want to see in the world.”

What’s your “why”?

Starting a business and making a go of it is hard work and requires that you sacrifice some other things in your life.  If you’re willing to make those sacrifices and you are committed to your dream, then you need to make sure you are building a business for the right reasons.

Paraphrasing Matt Hunckler again — To define why you’re starting a business is one of the most empowering things you can do.  Your why is what inspires you and the people on your dream team, it sparks action, and breathes purpose into everything you do.

You can find your why by asking yourself these four questions:

  • How and why do I want to change the world?
  • How does starting a business mesh with my personal values and beliefs?
  • How will that business help me live a more fulfilled and purposeful life?
  • Why do I want to run a business?

Does your business “why” align with your personal “why”?

Build your business in such a way that it empowers and inspires yourself and others.  Make sure that your business is authentic and in integrity with your beliefs and personal values.  Build it with systems and routines that motivate and sustain the effort needed to overcome all obstacles and to persevere.

So I ask you: Why does your business do what it does? What value do you provide? How do you (or will you) do that thing better than anyone else in the world? And why is that important—to you and to the world?

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12 What Products/Services Will My Business Provide? Part 2

I would like to remind my readers that this blog is geared toward teens and young adults (so please don’t be offended by my admonition to look up a word in the dictionary – that’s meant for my young readers).  The information here is just a summary, intended to guide them toward thinking about what they want their online business to look like/be about.  I invite you to post any ideas or suggestions you have that would add to the topic and be a good addition in the upcoming book I’m writing using these blog posts.

 

In part 1 of this topic we looked at service oriented businesses.  In part 2 of this topic we will consider just a few examples of internet businesses and the products or services you can offer online.

 

 

Online Training.  I heard about one man who taught piano and wanted to move to an island in the Caribbean.  He decided to take his business to the internet in order to make the move.  He purchased a video camera for his computer and worked with students via Skype (a free online video conferencing tool).  He was able to demonstrate and to observe the student playing the keys.  He eventually added pre-made video lessons which he turned into DVDs and MP3s and built a million dollar business.

Get any ideas from this story?  Many classrooms use video conferencing and online videos as an adjunct training (if you don’t know this word look it up in the dictionary as my father used to tell me).

Online videos are easy to make and are a great training tool.  You can do live demonstrations, embed video on your website, post them on your own YouTube account or create DVDs for sale.  Most computers come with built in cameras now.  If you have an older computer, there are very inexpensive cameras you can buy.  I got a Microsoft camera for my desktop for only $12.

As you become experienced, you may want to write a book about your topic which then becomes one of your products.  You may develop a training program that you can teach using webinars or have teleseminars or telesummits and teach classes over the phone.  The tools to do these things are free.

Be a Rock Star or a Comic.  Using YouTube you can create videos of your performances, post them on YouTube then give everyone the link to your video and ask them to share it.  If you’re good, or what you do is interesting, you might hit it big.  Just look at Justin Bieber and Gangnam Style.  These people posted on YouTube, their performances caught some eyes and they went viral and became overnight successes.  Both have ended up on Dancing With The Stars and Gangnam style is being danced all over the world.  It’s possible with a little talent, some creativity and a lot of luck.

Be a Talking Head or a DJ.  You too can have your own radio program on blogtalkradio.com.  You just download the software and start talking.  You can invite other people who are in the same niche as you to interview, interview customers, just talk about whatever interests you for an hour, review movies and books, play music.  You can record it and use it as a demo video, send it out to stations you might want to have a radio show for, or use it as a demo tape to get DJ gigs.

Online Retail Store.  You can open a storefront online using a website.  You can either develop your own or buy into an already existing business where they provide the website and all the tools you need; you only need to do the marketing and bring people to your site.  This is known as a turnkey business (everything is done for you, you just need to market your site).  Post photos and information about the product you are selling, set up a paypal account, use a WordPress plugin that is very inexpensive to purchase that becomes your Estore and tracks your orders, sends out invoices, notifies you via email about sales and keeps track of the money.

I use the WordPress  estore and their affiliate plugin.  You can get more information about that here.  In the interest of transparency, I am an affiliate for this product (that means I am part of their sales force and earn a commission if you purchase this product using my link).

There are many other options for services or products you can provide at your website or other online business.  Can you think of any?

Do you have a business model that isn’t mentioned here?  Please let us know if you provide a service that hasn’t been mentioned and you think we can benefit from knowing about it.  Thank you.

 

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