Building a Better Business Plan to Franchise Your Business

In building a solid franchise strategy, I first recommend “packaging” the business, maybe first in your mind, then of course on paper, with technology, processes and documentation, but first, decide what is this model that the franchisee will be replicating? Many times an entrepreneur handles more aspects in the corporate business than what a franchisee will be tasked to do upon opening which can be a good thing – keeping things simple in franchising has never been proven to be a bad thing. Franchisees like, appreciate and typically thrive in simple, structured environments with fewer variables left open. Maybe you decide to shorten the menu… possibly decrease the amount of services offered or it could be that the franchisee won’t be operating a production facility, only the retail portion of your business. Regardless, the franchise business plan should define this model clearly and accurately in order to understand the product being sold as the franchise program takes shape.

The next stages of franchise strategic planning should revolve around research. This research should be strategic in nature and focus on the franchise market, not the consumer market. We aren’t interested in the product or service provided to your customer as much as we are the franchise comparison to similar franchise brands. Who offers a similar franchise model based in your industry? What success stories have their been in your industry throughout the franchise market? In most cases, there are examples of good, bad and ugly ways to approach the franchise market, we typically suggest replicating the good and avoiding the other two options. By coordinating FDD’s from competing brands, interviewing people in the industry, even visiting some competing franchise brand locations if possible, you will be able to formulate your strategic mission and understand the best path to success. Every franchise has a value proposition, it is important that you understand what your brand brings to the market and how you will effectively attract, sign and retain franchisees for your system.

As your franchise concept takes shape, you now should begin to lay the framework for the financials, fees and other relevant numbers to the expansion plan. Franchise fees should be determined by reviewing the costs associated with training, support, sales and marketing related to franchise management. A validated franchise fee should be able to be explained to a buyer and easily understood. You will fail if the impression is given that you picked numbers because you thought they sounded good, you approached the market with confidence and an understanding for what each franchisee gets out of the relationship and why the numbers add up to a strong value proposition. Royalties, the primary profit center for most franchise systems are absolutely critical to the success or failure of any franchise system, understand what the ongoing percentages mean to both the franchisee and franchisor in your model and confirm that the fee structure lends itself to a profitable and meaningful relationship between both entities. Advertising requirements should encompass national, regional, local and cooperative strategies and each need to be managed delicately in order to provide franchisees with a meaningful benchmark to spend on building the brand in their market. Because franchising is a business of scale, the magnitude of every decision you make related to your business, your model and your brand is increased significantly, one wrong move up front replicated many times through franchisees could be disastrous for your brand and business.

Then it’s time to begin to understand markets. The franchise business plan should delineate which markets make the most sense for your company. Understand your consumer demographics. Know your territory analytics and have a good plan in place for how to position your franchised units. Territory disputes lead the list in categories for disgruntled franchise relations. Spend the time and make the investment necessary to fully grasp how and where to place your franchisees in order to avoid cannibalization and under utilization of markets.

A Franchise business plan should lead the way for a franchise expansion model. The vision, mission, competitive landscape and clear directives related to how to accomplish your growth goals should be explained, documented and most importantly validated as to why they are attainable and how you have come to these conclusions.

99% Of Business Owners Get This Wrong – And It’s Destroying Their Bottom Line – Here’s What It Is

All businesses need customers. Duh, right? But how does your business go about acquiring customers, and what type of customers are you focusing on? This is where most businesses flat-out fail, and it’s the main cause of slim margins and unnecessary owner stress.

The ‘Standard’ Way

First, let’s talk about how most businesses get customers, and where they choose to focus their efforts. Whatever it is you sell, you need to find someone in the market for that item, or convince them of its value so they are inclined to buy. This is how most businesses function: by seeking our current buyers and offering something of value – a discount, great customer service, free delivery, etc.

Why the ‘Standard’ Way is Short-Sighted

The problem with this approach is that the vast majority of your potential market is not ready to ‘buy now’ – in the short-term. Most are happy in their current state and need to be convinced of the value of purchasing your product. This is especially true if your product or service is 4-figures or more. People need to think about it, do their research, and then decide to buy. Don’t tailor your message to impulse buyers of you’ll miss out on a lot of business.

Since most people are not thinking about buying, ‘standard’ marketing messages fall on deaf ears for the majority of your market. Think about it: if you sell furniture, offering zero interest financing does not appeal to the portion of your market that is not thinking about purchasing a new sofa.

A Better Way to Market – Target Future Buyers

A better approach is to speak to those that are not yet ready to buy, and convince them that they should. This can be thought of as education-based marketing.

Almost everyone does research online before buying anything, and everyone travels the path from ‘first contact’ to ‘buyer’ at different speeds. If you could facilitate the research of people in your market, and provide them with the info they need, what kind of impact would that have on your business?

Think about how this shift in positioning can fundamentally change the nature of your business. You go from a simple product or service provider, to an expert in your field, providing answers to questions and helping people make a decision on whether or not to buy. When you do this, and you do it in a way that shows the true value of what you’re offering, who is the prospect most likely to purchase from? You!

Plugging Holes in your Funnel

When people visit your website, what do they see? If you’re like most businesses, you have links to your services, a contact form, offer a free quote, etc. This, once again, only speaks to current buyers.

What is needed is a way to plug the holes in your funnel so that you can capture leads, tell them about the value of your service, and then convert them to customers. This can be done with a lead-capture form, offering something of value in exchange for a prospect’s name and email address. This ‘something of value’ has to speak to the needs of the larger market, beyond current buyers.

I hope you see the power of altering your approach to customer acquisition: when you focus on the needs of future buyers, you are able to capture these buyers, educate them on the value of what you offer, then sell them on your service. This creates expert positioning for your business, which then allows to target more sophisticated buyers and increase your prices.

This approach can be used in literally any business, whether you’re business-to-consumer, B2B, service-oriented, or physical products only, it doesn’t matter. Take the time to develop a marketing system that educates prospects and you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.

Promoting Your Business Through Gift Bags: It’s About Giving

There is no doubt that everyone enjoys gift bags. From children to adults, the idea of receiving a gift bag and opening it to see what is inside is a real treat. Company events, birthday parties, charity events, and sponsored parties are examples of the best times to give and receive gift bags.

Giveaways make any man, woman or child happy which is why a great way to represent and spread the word about any company or business is through custom printed gift bags. It is one great way of making a mark on people’s memories because of how the receiver will associate the company name with gifts, giving, and generosity. Getting invited to the event is one thing that brings satisfaction to the receiver and if a simple gift bag is given before he leaves, it adds more of an impact and will make them want to attend more events sponsored by that company. What’s more is that they will share their experience with their friends, colleagues or relatives.

While it is practical and cost-efficient to give away gift bags made out of plastic or paper, it is more ideal to go with recyclable and reusable ones. When people realize that the gift bags are not disposable, they will find a way to use them again – for grocery shopping or as a shoe bag – and that increases exposure for the brand or company logo. Also, since the green revolution is taking place, it will create an impact for people to see that the company values the environment.

Tote bags would make an excellent choice since they are relatively cheap. Nowadays, there are tote bags that are made of recyclable materials. The company’s logo may be printed on them accompanied with a short phrase or a catchy tagline.

The gifts inside may be as simple as a notepad, pen, mouse pad, calendar, or even a mug. They can each have the company’s logo, too. For companies that are into promotions, gift cards and coupons make lasting impressions. No matter how simple the gift may be, what is important is that they are useful because it ensures visibility. Whoever receives the gift can use them on a regular basis.

Gift bags are also great for company events as the employees who receive them will feel like they have been repaid for the work they’ve put in. It is a great idea to make them feel good and give them a sense of value. During team building events or company parties, giving employees gift bags are a great way to show them that they are appreciated and make them feel secured.

Social Media Solutions for Expanding Your Business

For a business looking to expand itself and reach out to a fresh audience, building an attractive and engaging online profile is a necessity. Customer friendly social media solutions for a business would benefit its overall sales, customer engagement, as well as your overall reach as an enterprise. Most businesses realizing the importance have started to expand their budget for accommodating social media marketing experts.

However, investing in expert opinion for SMM would require the business to go through days of recruitment and training, which could be cumbersome, especially for small businesses. On the other hand, a business that adopts social media software that assists in maintaining the integrity of the company profile online can help the business run smoother, deliver better to its customers, and save time and money.

Before looking for the ideal software for your business, list out your requirements, consider these benefits of social media software for businesses, and make the decision on the investment.

Inexpensive

Your business will definitely benefit more in value when compared to the initial investment required for the software, as it is cost-effective. The tools help you take strategic decisions based on statistical data, restricting your company’s miscalculated risks that involve significant losses.

You can manage your own social profile as well as other social networking profiles of your customers by interacting with them through customer care. It can also represent the incoming company mentions on the social media and the internet, which makes it easy for a business to interact with their audience.

Customer Support

One of the most important attributes of a software package is the support that accompanies the package. With the extensive customer support team that is available at your disposal to assist you regardless of the size of the issue, will help you set-up and use of the software to the optimum.

The support is also quick with their assistance. It would be extremely beneficial for the business executives to stay in touch with the customer representative executives of the software for any small issues that might appear. They are also accessible on live chat if you are not able to connect through to their support team. The live chat has a dedicated customer support that will guide you the process of solving trivial issues with the software. There are also conventional options to contact the support team like e-mail, and SMS assistance.

Features

With feature-packed software that can help a business manage their business’s online persona, your business can expand its brand on a large scale and generate awareness among a new and better audience. To do so, you will have to know which features to use and optimize them, keeping your business’s best interests in mind. The software does not compromise the wealth of features and you can use each one for your social media profile optimization and for enhancing productivity.

Competitive Edge

While most companies would hire social media experts and look to develop their profile over a specific period, your business can do it faster with continuous optimization of your profile, a capability seen only in business software.

10 Reasons Businesses Should Be Using the Cloud

Heat impact points are costs that are continuous and never stop unless you consider the cloud as a way of avoiding them altogether. Costs such as constant upgrades to systems, resources to manage and not to mention the costs of security and licensing. Cloud Computing and avoiding these costs go hand in hand, and it’s just a right decision to turn to the cloud.

Cloud computing refers to one of three architectures: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

• Software-as-a-Service – In this design, the CSP provides the software and tasks of upgrading and load balancing to ensure the software or application is up and running.

• Platform-as-a-Service – in this model, the CSP supplies the platform, additional development tools, such as the development platform, and execution environment.

• Infrastructure-as-a-Service – In this model the CSP provides the hardware and the environment.

Cloud Computing provides an organization to offload small or significant parts of purchasing, managing and mitigating risk. Teams can scale up or scale back depending on the need.

Organizational IT teams must sit down and define what the primary goal is and the actual Delta/versus Benefit of the approach. Below are 10 tips to consider when considering a move to a cloud Infrastructure.

1. The Business and the need – It is important to identify the requirements of employees and determine in detail the business reason and purpose for the move to cloud computing. The analysis and due diligence are essential to the success of the cloud implementation. Set a process and metrics to determine the success of the migration.

2. Define what is you want to move to the cloud (Hardware or Software) – Not all applications such as custom are good candidates to move to the cloud. May I suggest before taking advantage of new applications built and developed for the cloud, it would be wise to start with a low-risk, back office (non-strategic) application before setting your sights on more ambitious targets.

3. Evaluate cloud service providers carefully – Evaluate multiple cloud vendors and look for a test trial, AWS offers free services. Spend the additional time and effort to find a provider that best suits your needs. If it means setting up test labs, spending more money and taking a longer time to implement it’s worth the time to investigate.

4. Identify “real” costs – Cloud is not free, and it’s not less expensive, and CSPs usually require configuration fees, subscription fees, Internet access, end-user support usage fees and training fees. When you’re in the middle of your analysis as mentioned in point number 1., make sure you identify other costs that may not be obvious, such as storage fees, incremental user fees, termination, and cancellation fees.

5. Establish a Committee – It makes good sense to form a committee that includes individuals from all critical functions within your company; accounting, human resources, sales, etc. This approach ensuring senior leadership buy-in and that you’re approaching it from a business perspective and that all critical needs are addressed and met.

6. Study the Fine Print i.e. SLA – The service level agreement (SLA) is meant to identify the capabilities the service provider will offer. The SLA may also influence existing agreements your company has with software licensing, and hardware vendors. The key focus areas are availability, up-time, system performance, security, data ownership and support responsibilities and issue resolution.

7. Get Deep with Security – Paying particular attention to security when evaluating vendors. Focus on what types of security they have in place, how is the data stored, accessibility, what are the layers of security are in place and how are the remote connections protected. Note and point some Vendors require you to be responsible for the security so be careful.

8. DR and Business Continuity – One of the best benefits of Cloud Computing Architecture is the ability to continue to work in a time of disaster. Be sure to ask about Disaster Recovery -Accessibility times, and Business Continuity. Remember this benefit is only as good as the CSP offering the service. Ask, how they are storing the data and what forms of redundancy they deploy and what kind of disaster recovery do they have in place. These are all very pertinent questions.

9. Network and Redundancy Checks – It’s a good idea to have two fully redundant internet connections from two different providers in place to avoid risk, downtime and data loss. Remember to factor the cost of these extra connections in your analysis.

10. Legal Representation – Signing a contract with a CSP you are entrusting them with our organizational information and security. Data is the most critical asset today. It’s a good idea to ensure your legal representation has the experience in negotiating these types of contracts.

In summary there are many reasons to migrate to the cloud, but non more important than the cost saving of the cloud. Be careful, choose your CSP wisely and happy cloud computing.

Five Characteristics of Great Business Names and Five Popular Trends to Avoid

Deciding on a name is one of the most exciting parts of starting up a business.

The only problem with choosing the name of your business is that so much rides on your business name. It’s a little like choosing a name for your baby. A little like? Make that a lot like! It’s no easier choosing a name for your business than it is choosing a name for your baby.

What’s in a business name? You want it to be everything. Sadly, many business names are nothing. Deciding on a great business name takes time. It takes thought. Moreover, getting it wrong could spell disaster for your business. Getting it right, however, will give customers a reason to hire you, connect you to your niche market, and save you thousands of marketing dollars.

You want your business name to have a big impact on people. This, in turn, will have a big effect on your market. A name that’s too far out may make it difficult to brand. A name that’s too generic and common is easily ignored. Naming your business “Sarah’s Cookies” may make all the sense in the world to you. In most cases, however, your own name means very little to your customers because it says nothing memorable or of distinction.

The key to picking a great name for your business is to make it memorable. Make it distinctive. Don’t make it silly or cute. Your name should reflect your market niche and identity and be able to reach your customer base easily. So don’t mess it up!

Top Five Characteristics of a Great Business Name

1. It’s short.

2. It’s specific and reflects a specialized business: Jiffy Lube, Home Depot.

3. It’s unique. Consider using words that are not in the dictionary: Alkamae, Google, Squidoo.

4. It’s creative. Don’t copy, borrow, or modify existing famous brand names. Got Milk? has its own branding. Leave Victoria’s Secret to Victoria.

5. It’s an easy name to say, spell, and remember. Use proper English construction so that when put in a sentence, it will work: “I just purchased a book from Amazon.”

Five Popular Business Naming Trends to Avoid

1. Don’t abbreviate your business name. Though it may make communication and correspondence easier, acronyms are sterile.

2. Avoid anything that ends in “global”, enterprise”, or “Inc.” They’re passé.

3. Avoid using your own name. Build your brand on your company, not on your name. That way, if you decide to sell your company one day, it will be easier to sell.

4. Don’t hyphenate your business name. It makes remembering and writing it difficult. Plus, a hyphenated web name is hard to read.

5. Avoid geographical names unless you’re trying to create a strong local affinity. The name “Willow Oak Center for Arts and Learning at Robertson County” works because this is a business targeted specifically for Robertson County in Tennessee.

Once you’ve found your name, consider trademarking it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and registering it through the Secretary of State offices. If your business operates on the Internet, be aware that domain names are not registered through state or local government, so just registering them at domain registration sites is not enough to protect your great business name.

There is more to naming your business than just coming up with something that sounds good, is clever, or you just happen to like. Naming your business is a serious matter. Your business name reflects your image, your brand, and your position in the marketplace. Because your business name is crucial to your overall branding success and marketing efforts, make your business name count.

How to Start a Home Photography Business in North Carolina

After years of pursuing photography as an avid amateur photographer, I decided to finally take the plunge and become a professional. I already owned all the necessary camera bodies, lenses, flashes and other assorted equipment, and having my own business meant future photography purchases would be tax-deductible. A smart decision, right?

The short answer, for me at least, was “yes.” The long answer, however, was, “It depends on how much time you want to spend running around and researching the requirements.”

Fortunately for you, I’ve done it already in North Carolina and am willing to share the results (for this state, at least!).

For the purposes of this article, I’m assuming the following things are true:

1. You will be operating this business in the state of North Carolina.
2. You already have the photography expertise to qualify as a professional photographer (that’s another article all by itself).
3. You’ve done the necessary research to determine whether you have the time, energy, potential customer base, and business plan to ensure your new venture succeeds (again, this topic is another article on its own).

The first step was determining what kind of business entity to be. After doing much research online, I was a bit confused, until a CPA explained it to me: there is a difference between your LEGAL status and your TAX status. She recommended that my photography business be an LLC (limited liability company), but file taxes as a sole proprietor.

As with all the different options, there are positives and negatives to each option. LLC status would protect me from personal liability in the event of a lawsuit, which was important to me. The paperwork is very easy to prepare and submit, which is also good because I wanted to take care of everything myself.

Filing taxes as a sole proprietor would be very simple: just attach a Schedule C to my personal tax return each year. Although this filing status is easy enough, sole proprietors pay a slightly higher tax rate than S-Corporations.

Filing as an S-Corp, however, means more paperwork and filing quarterly taxes instead of a Schedule C with my annual return. I wasn’t interested in that much paperwork, so sole proprietor status is fine with me. If and when my business starts making so much money that I’m interested in a lower tax rate, I can always change my status to an S-Corp.

Now that I’ve determined my legal status and tax status, I had to file for my LLC with the state of North Carolina. This involves sending a check for $125 to the Secretary of State, along with Articles of Organization, which can be downloaded and filled out from their web page.

It takes about 7-10 days for your status to come back confirmed, although if you include a note and your e-mail address, they will e-mail it to you which will save a few days.

The state of North Carolina considers photographers to be one of those lucky professions that require a State Privilege License. This is an annual license granted to the person, not the business, so if you end up working for a different photography business in the future, you don’t need to get a second license that year. A privilege license is $200, from the North Carolina Revenue Office. This must be done in person, but the Revenue Department has offices all over the state, so there’s probably one in a city near you.

While I was there, I also received a State Tax ID. This is (fortunately) free, and it will come in handy because armed with this important number, I will no longer need to pay sales tax when purchasing items for my business (assuming I’m purchasing from a North Carolina vendor; obviously you don’t pay sales tax at all when purchasing from an out-of-state vendor, such as when I buy lenses online).

The friendly and helpful NC revenue employee explained to me that two forms will need to be mailed into the NC Revenue Office each quarter. One is a form explaining what your revenues for the quarter were and how much tax you charged your clients. You will need to include a check for the tax amount. The other form shows what equipment you purchased for your business that quarter and didn’t pay tax on. You will need to include a check for 1% of the total (hey, at least it’s lower than paying the full retail tax on your purchases). This includes everything from cameras and lenses to printers, computers, paper, ink cartridges, etc.

Charging my clients sales tax is a bit confusing in North Carolina. The law is not clear, and lawsuits that have been argued in state court have conflicting results. It appears that you do not need to charge sales tax on services such as session fees, UNLESS the client ends up purchasing prints from the session. Of course you always hope and assume the client will purchase prints, but you never know for sure. To be safe, you should go ahead and charge them sales tax on the session fees up front, assuming they will buy prints.

You always need to charge sales tax for tangible goods sold. So any prints, albums, or other products that you sell to your clients must always include sales tax.

The tax rate that applies depends on where the client took possession of the goods. If the client lives in Gaston County and asks me to mail her the prints, the Gaston County rate applies. If the bride decides to swing by my house in Charlotte to pick them up personally, the Mecklenburg County rate applies.

Tax was by far the most complicated part of the business-formation process. Fortunately the employees at the NC revenue office were very helpful, and gave me several “cheat sheets,” sample forms, and (best of all) their phone numbers for me to call with questions.

If you want your NC State Tax ID to be in your business’ name, instead of your own name, you will need a Employer Identification Number from the IRS. I was initially confused by this, because I wasn’t planning on employing anyone other than myself, but as it turns out, the Employer Identification Number has nothing to do with employing anyone. Luckily it was free and handled easily over the phone while I waited in the lobby of the state revenue office.

Now there’s the matter of where you live. I’m a resident of Charlotte, so I’m in Mecklenburg County. Fortunately, Mecklenburg County recognizes the State Privilege License, so I wasn’t required to get an additional County business license.

I was, however, required to get a Customary Home Occupation Permit from the Zoning Office. This is a one-time permit that allows me to work from home. This is a lifetime permit; however, it only applies to this particular address. If I decided to move to a different house in a few years, I will have to get a new permit. It cost $125.

Next, I needed a business checking account. I went straight to Wachovia, since they already handle our personal bank accounts and I wanted everything in one place for convenience. Wachovia needed copies of my privilege license, my EIN, and my state tax ID, as well as the normal documents for a new account like my driver’s license. In about a week, I had received my check card and checks for the account. This is highly recommended by the CPA I visited, in order to keep business and personal expenses separate.

The final thing I needed was business insurance. This is recommended in addition to any homeowner or umbrella liability coverage you may already have. It’s not too expensive (less than $200 per year) so go ahead and get it. Any insurance agent will be able to go over the options with you. Business insurance will not only cover your equipment in the event any of those expensive lenses or cameras get damaged, but will also help in case a guest trips over one of your lightstands at a wedding, for example.

A few side notes: if your business is an LLC, you are legally required to have the initials “LLC” or the words “Limited Liability Company” in your business name. This makes it clear to all customers and potential customers that you are an LLC. Also, if you do not keep your business and personal expenses separate, you lose the protection of an LLC (meaning your personal assets are vulnerable in the event of a lawsuit). DO NOT RISK THIS — keep everything well documented and separate!

Best of luck with your new business venture! I recommend visiting the North Carolina State business development website and calling their hotline; they gave me a lot of tips the CPA didn’t mention, and it was free to boot! Fortunately there is a lot of support out there for people starting their own businesses. It’s free, and these people know what they’re talking about — please take advantage of it!

The Role of Internet in Business

The internet plays a major role in every aspect of our modern life. Internet technologies play a major role in business. As a business owner, knowing the role of internet in business will help you take advantage of the powerful opportunities it offers to grow you business and make operations more effective.

Here are different ways in which the internet has contributed to the success and growth of businesses.

Communication: The internet makes communication fast and cost efficient. Businesses use internet technologies such as Skype internet and video calls, email and video conferencing to make communication virtually instant.

Growth: The internet plays a big role in the growth of businesses. It gives businesses an opportunity to reach a wider global audience. Promoting through the internet is also a way to increase sales and reach the desired growth level. Business can also expand by having an online division.

Marketing: One of the role of internet in business involves marketing and advertising. Most businesses are taking advantage of the internet to market their products and services to a global audience. The most notable internet technologies here include search engines such as Google.

Networking and Recruiting: Social networking websites play a role in business networking by connecting like-minded professionals. Through the internet, people have found business partners and great employees.

Outsourcing services:The internet has helped cut costs by outsourcing services to countries where it is cheaper to provide these services. Apart from the cost reduction through the outsourcing role of internet in business, outsourcing enables businesses to concentrate on their core services and become more efficient.

Online Shopping Role: One role of internet in business is the birth of ecommerce websites and online payment solutions that allow people to shop online from the comfort of their own homes.

New Opportunities: The internet has opened up new business opportunities and giving rise to a group of successful online business owners. This is a powerful role as anyone can now start an online business.

The role of internet in business cannot be overstated. New businesses are taking advantage of the powerful role the internet plays in business to grow and succeed at a faster rate than was previously possible. Traditional businesses are also not being left behind as they are creating online divisions. A business owner can only ignore the role the internet plays in business at the peril of his or her business.

If you are seriously looking to legitimately make money online, I strongly urge you to click here and discover what happens when education meets opportunity.

Lead Generation Ideas Businesses Might Want To Consider

It is indeed tough to fill the top of your sales funnels with leads. This becomes harder if you are just relying on traditional methods. Experts emphasized though that there are tried-and-tested techniques for reaching your leads quota with methods that can add value to your prospect’s day.

Modern Lead Generation Methods

Gather success secrets from experts and share them – If you want to provide unique value in your content, consider reaching out a though leader within your industry. Try uncovering his or her secrets as this proves that you are committed to providing the best advice to your potential customers.

Create Help videos – These kind of videos can actually help in solving real problems for possible customers in a format which is both entertaining and more understandable. There are actually experts who shared a series of videos on how business owners like you can start shooting your own videos. In fact, they have compiled these videos in a very useful learning center.

Offer the best practices for a challenging technique – If you are exploring a new marketing strategy, you would certainly want to know what others are doing so they can be successful with such same method. If you compile those best practices in a list, you will be able to help marketers searching for tips on how to get started in a certain arena.

Show what is working for your business – Potential leads will certainly be interested in a transparent post pulling back the curtain on something that you have seen success with. So start writing such kind of content. Companies undertaking such stage of growth will definitely gain lots of inspiration from posts like this. They may also avoid making similar mistakes.

Provide a worksheet simplifying a complicated process – There are certain business tasks that can be simplified using a worksheet. A software company may utilize a worksheet to create a marketing strategy. You can definitely create an optimistic relationship with your prospects by just providing a simple worksheet that they can fill out, and trading it for an opt-in.

Have a list of significant tools – It is very easy for you to brag about the different tools you are offering. However, taking the initiative and exploring other useful tools your prospects can use will prove that you are prioritizing their success over promoting your products and services. This, in turn, can attract the kind of audience searching for solutions like yours. And this will certainly drive leads.

Why a Blog Is Important to Your Online Business

Online marketing, including affiliate marketing works best when supported by a blog.

This is because a blog is the foundation of your online business. It is the vehicle you use to establish your name, your authority, your reputation.

If you’ve already heard this before, I apologize for the repetition, but it bears mentioning again because so many beginners miss this important point. You have to have a blog!

People buy from those they “know, like and trust.” It’s a proven fact that buyers need to see your name and your offer at least 7 times before they will even think about buying from you.

That’s what a blog does for you. It let’s people get to know you and your business. They get to learn from the content you publish.

Furthermore, you will likely waste your money with paid advertising if you don’t yet have a website which includes a blog with lots of content.

Do you know how super affiliates operate?

They have a website, and a blog where they publish helpful content to teach their audience about the niche they are in, and the products they promote. They provide quality, helpful content.

And along with all the helpful content, they also have ads for related products in their blogs. Yet these guys are the top super affiliates promoting someone else’s products!

You have to produce and post original content to your blog on a scheduled basis, daily if possible.

You’ve no doubt seen claims that, with the right system or software, which they of course provide, you can make money online fast.

Can everybody do this?

Not likely. What the creators of these products fail to tell you is that the sales they’ve made promoting their fabulous new “systems or software” were made to their email list. Therefore, if you don’t already have a large list it’s very unlikely you can duplicate their success.

I should also mention that many people unsubscribe from these lists as they get hammered with constant hyped up promotions. So the list owner must constantly and aggressively promote to get new subscribers to their lists. This is not the way to build a long-term, sustainable business.

Online business is a long-term proposition, and unfortunately, there is no “Easy Button.”

If you make a daily post to your blog, at the end of 90 days you will have a blog loaded with quality content.

Expert bloggers claim that it takes 90 to 100 quality posts for a blog to gain traction, to become effective in supporting your business.

It takes effort to get online sales results. But you can do it. Just focus on your long-term vision. Success will follow.

My obsession is helping beginners get results online. That’s because after years of frustration trying to make a steady income online, I’ve discovered a few basic, time-tested “secrets” the gurus have used for a long time, that practically guarantee success.