Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Some Random Ideas About Web-Based Businesses:

1. Do what you love, love what you do

I see so many people that think they can pick up on someone else’s business idea and run with it, with no personal investment in it. They’re not interested in that business, and because of that they’re not knowledgeable. Yet they want to jump in and succeed by sheer will.

Make your passion into your business, and you’ll do much better in the long run.

2. Build a mailing list.

When a visitor to your site leaves an email address, it’s like they’re giving you a seed to plant in your customer garden. If you plant it in your list, water it with gentle reminders, it will take root and grow into a repeat paying customer. Leaving an address is truly the second-best thing a visitor can do at a site, just barely under buying something.

3. Never turn down a breath mint

This is one of life’s great rules. Either it’s being offered just to be nice, or you need it. Either way, it’s a good idea to accept it. This also applies to other offers of help.

4. If someone offers you money, take it

I told you that last one to set you up for this one. If someone were to hand you money, wouldn’t your first reaction be to take it? So, if someone presents you with an opportunity, and you can carry it through, take advantage of it.

5. Focus, focus, focus

What is your site and your business really about? Can you sum up what your site is for and who your audience is in less than 12 words? If not, then your site may be too scattered. It’s tough to generate interest on the net if you’re selling Everything to Everyone. Your search terms get diluted, your efforts spread too thin.

Choose your audience and go after it!

6. 90% of life is in showing up

I had a jazz band director that drilled this into our heads. “I’d rather work with 20 mediocre players that are here ready to work every rehearsal than 10 virtuosos that I can’t count on.” How does that apply to business? As long as you keep showing up, day after day, promoting your site, posting your blog, sending out your newsletters, editing your site, shipping your products, you will be a success in the long run.

7. Don’t need to be excited, just get it done

I see lots of people that get very psyched and anxious at the start of their business to dive in and get it working. They’re driven, they’re focused, they’re committed, and within a few months, they’re burned out. Pace yourself, stay on task, get it done, and it will all work.

8. Don’t need to be discouraged, just get it done

When it gets slow, or even when it simply plateaus, and you have a hard time finding the motivation to push forward and progress, don’t let discouragement set in. You don’t have to push yourself hard, or guilt yourself into submission. Just show up daily and get it done, and you’ll be surprised at the end of the week how suddenly you’re further along that you were the week before. Somehow, things moved forward.

9. Do or do not. There is no try

Remember in Star Wars, when Yoda was teaching Luke? He told Luke to lift the X-Wing out of the bog. Luke says, “I’ll try”. Yoda says, “Do not try. Do, or do not. There is no try”

10. Keep turnaround times low

When someone trusts you with his or her money, respond quickly. Give them their products as soon as possible. Let them know the progress, if it’s going to be delayed. Fast turnaround times keep customers happy.

11. Build a rapport with your customers

They’re not credit card numbers, they’re people, and the more you can interact with them on a personal level, the better the relationship. Respond to their questions. Set up a message board on your site, and be an active participant. Blog. There are lots of ways to become a person to them, too.

12. A hub and spokes

My music site has lots of satellite sites. I’ve gotten signed up with lots of music hosting sites, that have artist pages. There are songs to download and a little bit of information, and a link back to my main page. My blogs all point back to my main site. There are a lot of ways that people can get back to my main site. Having all those linkbacks boosts my search engine ranking, too.

13. Keep books

Knowledge is power, and the more you know about how your business is going, the better you can plan ahead. Also, it keeps the tax guys happy.

14. Celebrate every gain

I see a lot of people minimize their own success. “You got your first sale!” “Yeah, but it was only one…” “10,000 hits to your website!”, “But it wasn’t 20,000…” You get the picture. Let yourself celebrate everytime you accomplish something. Don’t minimize, and it’ll keep you appreciative of the success you’re having.

15. Set a mission statement

If you’re going to get somewhere, you’ve got to know where somewhere is. Alice asked the Cheshire Cat which path to take. “Well I rather suppose that depends on where you want to go, doesn’t it?”

“But I don’t know where I want to go…”

“Then it doesn’t really matter which path you take, does it?”

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