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Online Goldmines

[ 0 ] Feb. 11, 2013 | SBO Editor

50 surefire online service & product moneymakers help you click on a fortune.

You don’t need an elaborate outside facility to launch your small business. You can make a fortune starting at home. There are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world running businesses from their kitchen tables, their spare rooms, their cars/vans and sheds working part-time or full-time thanks to the Internet. The wonderful web has created millions of moneymaking websites and opportunities. Shouldn’t you get in on this gold mine? You can start a business today.

Wouldn’t you like to make $1000 a day with your computer? This feature will help you learn how to set up and run your own online gold mine. You can also start a great service business from home. This feature will show you how to do both! Let’s start with online opportunities. You can create a plan to make hundreds, even thousands, a day using a variety of techniques and tools on your computer. You can:

Sell wholesale merchandise on your website. You can start by tying with companies who offer wholesale products for sale. Do a Google search and develop some possibilities; specialize or generalize. Find something you love.

Start a website with help from companies such as 1and1.com and you will soon be selling your products online and making tons of money even while you sleep. Your site will do all the work!

Blog your way to $$$: You can make money selling ads and products on your blog. Check out blogspot.com or go to yahoo hosting opportunities and start your own blog today.

Host auctions on eBay and set a goal of $100 per day to start. What will you sell? Carve a niche on products of interest or just start emptying the attic, basement and garage. You might be amazed at what your “trash” and castoffs will bring at auction. Accelerate your eBay listings and try and pull in about $250 a day. Before you know it, your combined efforts will add up to $1000 a day.

Start an Online Business. Establishing a business presence on the Internet can be a lucrative way to sell, market, and advertise your business’s goods and services. The following tips provide information on how to start and manage an online business.

Start a Business. Regardless of where you choose to operate your business, certain general requirements always apply. Before you can begin completing specific online business steps you must follow the basic rules for starting a business. This means do your homework. Research the business and the name. Get a tax ID number if you need one. Call your state’s tax office

Register a Domain Name. A domain name is the web address of your online business. Choosing and registering a domain name is the first step to starting an online business.

Although registering a domain name is a relatively simple process, do not underestimate the importance of selecting an appropriate name. Your domain name represents the Internet identity of your online business and should take into account several factors. Review the following tips to help you choose the best name:

Keep it Relatively Short. Short domain names are easier to remember or type into a browser, fit into logos.

Make it Unique. Unique names are easy to remember. Names that are too similar to already registered names could end up sending viewers to the wrong domain.

Include Keywords. Including keywords will help produce the most hits for your business in search engines.

Dot Com. Although there are many different domain extensions, the majority of Internet users either don’t know that or instinctively type .com. Other extensions such as .org, .net, and .info may cause your site to lose potential traffic.

After you’ve chosen the name you’d like to register, the process is simple and cost-friendly. Where to register your name is up to the discretion of individual businesses.

Visit http://www.internic.net/regist.html to get a list of places to register your name. The Internet is a great tool.

Be careful to avoid possible security risks by becoming aware of potential scams. The Federal Trade Commission issued a consumer alert about Domain Name Registration Scams. A new scam is targeting would-be website owners by offering the opportunity to pre-register new top-level domain names. Domain names, such as “ftc.gov,” are the unique terms that enable Internet users to locate a specific website. The top-level domain is the final extension, such as “.com” or “.org.” Let the buyer beware.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, scam artists are taking advantage of the news that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has made new top-level domains available to the public. The new top-level domains are .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro. Choose carefully,

The FTC says consumers are getting fax and email solicitations that offer a chance at a new top-level domain name, for a fee, as soon as it becomes available. Some registration services are guaranteeing new top-level domain names or promising preferential treatment in the registration process. But, the agency cautions, these offers may be misleading. Investigate all options

The FTC advises consumers to protect themselves by:

Avoiding any domain name pre-registration service that guarantees particular top-level domain names or preferential treatment in the assignment of new top-level domain names.

Avoiding doing business with people who send unsolicited faxes—regardless of the offer. Unsolicited faxes are illegal.

Staying on top of the news about top-level domain names at the ICANN website, www.icann.org.

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a new video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Select a Web Host . A web host provides you with the space and support to create your website. Choosing the host that best suits a business is up to the discretion of that business. Costs and abilities, such as site maintenance, search registration, and site development, vary from host to host, but it is important for it to be both reliable and secure.

Design Your Website. The website of your online business is extremely important to its success. Because you don’t have a physical location, this is considered your “store front.” Websites can be designed personally, by hiring someone to work as your site designer, or by using an independent design firm.

Be sure to comply with U.S. trademark and intellectual property laws. The same laws and regulations apply to online businesses as regular businesses. Search for trademarks currently in use to avoid infringing on another company’s rights on your website.

Similar to the traditional market place, online businesses cannot be successful without customers. For online businesses, these customers come in the form of site visitors or viewers. Generating the highest amount of traffic possible on your website will create the highest chance that those visitors will become customers. Register with search engines and use keywords that will drive the most traffic to your site.

Advertising and marketing on the Internet is regulated very similarly to the real world, and many of the same rules apply. The Federal Trade Commission has created several guides to help online businesses comply with these regulations. Visit their website to learn more about online advertising.

Operating internationally requires many additional considerations from finding overseas markets and suppliers to shipping and tax regulations. Follow international trade laws for online business to be sure you are in compliance with all regulations.

Additional Startup Resources

Visit business.gov and the website of the U.S. Small Business Administration for basic startup information on launching your first small business (www.sba.gov/).

Starting a business involves making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. This guide provides information to help you plan, prepare, and manage your business. Here are 9 basic steps:

Get business assistance and training free from SCORE.org, for example.

Choose a business location: home or outside facility, but make sure you understand and comply with local zoning laws.

Finance your business: find government-backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.

Determine the legal structure of your business: Decide whether you are going to form a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

Register a business name: “Doing Business As”: Register your business name with your state government.

Get a Tax Identification Number: Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

Register for State and Local Taxes: Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Obtain Business Licenses and Permits: Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.

Employer Responsibilities: Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

We’ve rounded up 50 service business suggestions for your online gold mine:

NANNY FINDER: You develop a list of quality kiddie caregivers in your area and take a portion of their fee every time you book them for a babysitting or day-care type situation. You will need to check references, as your reputation will be on the line.

AGENT FOR LOCAL TRADESMEN: It is frustrating for homeowners to find good landscapers, handymen, carpenters, electricians and plumbers. You start a service that pre-screens the workers and posts them on your website. The workers pay you a fee to get listed after they provide you with great references that you check out. You also establish that they are licensed and have insurance if your community demands that.

HOST YOUR OWN TALK SHOW: Thanks to tools like blogcast.com you can develop your own radio show online and sell ads to generate revenue—or, get a sponsor to host your show. You can also try video, but get your feet wet with a blogcast program first and see if you enjoy hosting discussions, creating lively banter and even taking phone calls from your listeners. Visit blogcast.com to learn how to get started.

CRUISE SHIP TRAVEL AGENT: Cruises are booming! You can work from home planning and booking cruises for your clients. Travel experience is recommended. You can also train with the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents to learn more about launching this type of online service business. There are various franchises you can find to help you get started, too. Marketing is likely to take you right to the top. Consider specializing in a niche—teens, seniors, adventure travelers, singles-only, etc.

GIFT BASKET BIZ: Start and run a gift basket service from home. First develop your attractive website with options. Purchase materials from wholesalers. Create your baskets and ship them out. You can have fun building basket themes for sports lovers around the Super Bowl, Gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day, Graduation Baskets, Vacation Send-Off baskets, Back To College, and many more. The sky is the limit.

COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER: Write on topics of interest to your community—local sports, theater productions, civic events, parades, etc.—and sell ads to local businesses. The weekly paper can be dropped off to restaurants, pubs, diners, coffee shops, fitness centers and more.

TRANSLATOR: If you have a gift for another language, you can start a business working at home as a translator. As you build your business, you can add on other individuals on a freelance basis who speak and write other languages that are needed.

MUSIC SONG CDs FOR KIDS: The CDs for kids are personalized and family and friends love to give them as gifts. See the Resource Sidebar for information on companies that offer a business opportunity package to start this business. You don’t need any musical talent to run this business.

GREETING CARD SERVICE: Customer service mavens know that regular contact is a key to keeping buyers coming back for more. You can start and run this type of service right from home. Clients give you their customer lists and you follow up on every detailed holiday: birthday, biz anniversary, holidays, etc., with a greeting card from the business owner.

BOTTLE YOUR RECIPE: Start a food business from home bottling and selling your favorite recipe: salsa, pasta sauce, pickles. Make sure you call your local county clerk’s office to find out if you need to get a food handler’s license. The requirements vary state by state, so check it out. You will also have to investigate getting a food label for your business. If friends and family members have told you that you have a great recipe waiting to be discovered, consider launching this business.

MEDICAL CLAIMS BILLING: Just about everyone agrees that the healthcare system is confusing and demanding to many. Even doctors and dentists have a hard time keeping all of the records and procedures straight and up to date in their practices. You can start a Medical Billing Service processing the claims. You will need to get diagnostic and procedure codes to indicate the type of service being billed.

EMBROIDERY EMPIRE: If you love to personalize products, why not start an embroidery business? You develop a website that reels in the buyers and then you create their custom items at home on your embroidery machine. You can find sources for these units online or at embroidery trade shows. We know of one company in San Diego that started a business catering to sailboat and powerboat owners. They make embroidered napkins, canvas bags, towels and more for the upscale harbor community.

BUILD AN ONLINE STORE: Have a passion? Love pets? Love to make hats and scarves? Whatever your passion, consider building a website that will sell your items directly to your customers.

ELECTRONIC PET PHOTO ALBUMS: People love their pets and will pay you to create a fun, digital photo album. They send you the photos and you compile a DVD. Combine great graphics and titles and you will likely get more business via word-of-mouth. Post some of your samples on your website to generate business.

FROM BRICK AND MORTAR TO WEB WONDER: If you currently have a business that could generate more revenue by adding computers, consider putting in a few terminals and then rent them to your customers. Ideal locations are car fix-it shops, coffee bars, dentist offices and bookstores.

CAR BUYER: Buying and selling cars online is a hobby for many—why not turn it into a lucrative business? Get a Blue Book and start visiting sites and dealers and scanning local papers for your clients who need to buy a used or new car. You earn your fee by providing your clients with three perfect cars to buy and earn more if you negotiate the deal and deliver the car.

MEDICAL TRANSCRIPTIONIST: This service transforms a physician’s notes or tape recordings into hard copy or onto a CD. You’ll need to become familiar with medical technology and terms. There are companies that will help you start this business. Do a Google search and remember to check them out before you invest.

SELL YOUR CRAFTS: Thanks to websites like Etsy.com, anyone can have a professional-looking store for their crafts. It doesn’t cost any money to set up a presence at Etsy and your work will be viewed by hundreds of thousands of shoppers a day. Consider taking out ads on Facebook to promote your new Etsy page.

CYBER SCHOOL FOR SENIORS: You can start a class for senior citizens who want to learn how to get online, set up an email or Skype account and start connecting with their distantly located family members and friends. Contact the directors of assisted-living communities in your region and call the presidents of local senior clubs and organizations to talk about your classes.

DIRECT SELLING: If you are involved in any type of multi-marketing or direct-selling business such as Herbal Life or Avon, you should start a website.

ONLINE MUSEUM: Are you passionate about baseball, vintage cars, a celebrity, or a particular period in history? Start an online museum. Have fun while you teach visitors about your passion.

MAINTAIN SITES FOR OTHERS: You become the web guru for local small businesses, clubs, community groups, etc., and maintain/update their sites with press releases, photos, news, etc.

DIGITIZE VIDEO TAPES, CASSETTES & LPs: There are plenty of tools to help computer owners digitize their old tapes and records. You can start a business doing this right from home. Offer to pick up and return items to customers in your area, for a fee, of course. For those clients who are out of your region, have them mail or FedEx the package and you’ll return all items with the DVD and/or CD within a week.

BIRTHDAY IN A BOX: Busy parents always need to host parties for their kids and increasingly don’t have the time. Many party stores have closed during the recession because the rents skyrocketed. However, the need is still there. Start this service with no overhead from a rental of an expensive outside facility. Run it from your home with a website that lists all your services and themes. You provide everything the harried parent needs and it comes in one convenient box. Buy your products online at a discount.

CONTENT PROVIDER: There are plenty of websites and blogs out there that need constant updating to satisfy readers and advertisers who rely on the sites. You can start a business providing daily or weekly updates to a wide variety of websites.

WEBSITE DESIGN: A lot of great, talented web designers are out of work right now, as they have been let go from their firms during the economic downturn. You can start business creating websites for small business owners who don’t have the expertise to do it on their own. You can also create websites for organizations such as local theater groups and clubs in your region.

VIRTUAL CEMETARY & MEMORIAL SITE FOR PETS: You set up a website where pet owners post photos and write-ups to honor their deceased pets. You charge a fee per year for the virtual tomb. You can also make money by writing the pet obituary for the client. Clients email you the material and you post it. You can sell ads on the site, too.

SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS: There are companies that will provide you with everything you need to launch your own online sporting goods store. They will even ship the goods directly to your customers so that you don’t have to take up a room in your home or apartment stocking inventory. You can even offer personalized jackets, hats and more to sports teams.

VIDEO STUDIO: If you enjoy making videos, consider starting a video studio right at home. There are companies that will assist you in establishing this business and give you pointers and leads on how to generate clients. Some of your potential customers include: Brides, Party Planners, Caterers, Bands, Realtors and local clubs.

E-COMMERCE SPECIALIST: You assist small business owners in maintaining their online presence. You help build and grow their online business venture. Your client could be a local hardware store, spa or hair salon that is now looking to branch out to buyers by having an online presence listing their service and product options, hours, etc. A local doctor’s office might want to feature their specialties. You can help businesses add on shopping carts, blogs, mailing lists, increase search engine rankings, develop effective ad and pay-per-click programs and more to reach more potential buyers.

ENERGY MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT: Businesses of all sizes are looking to cut costs and waste. They are spending a fortune to heat, light air-condition and power their homes and businesses. You come in and conduct audits and help your clients reduce their energy use.

RESEARCHER: Have a knack for finding information? You could start a business doing research for organizations, non-profits, legal firms, private investigation services, small business owners and foundations. Get paid for the time you spend online. Collect data and facts and package it in a DVD, a CD Rom or a written report. Charge by the hour, about $25-$90, depending on what your market will bear.

PERSONAL ASSISTANT: Everyone is busy today and many harried workers and parents could benefit from the help of a personal assistant, but no one wants or needs to hire someone on a full-time basis. You come in and work as a part-time personal assistant handling everything from grocery shopping, paying bills, mailing packages and booking restaurant reservations and party planning.

LAUNCH A MONEYMAKING BLOG: Blogging is here to stay. You can start one for free at blogger.com and even sell ads. Sign up with an email address and a password. That’s all you need to get started. You can then develop an advertising program by starting with Google’s AdSense program.

BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICE: You handle all of the chores, errands, mailings and phone calls that your clients don’t have time or staff to take care of. You are a super assistant, but you can work in the privacy of your own home in your PJs and flip-flops. Start by contacting local businesses and send them a reference or two.

PERSONALIZED BOOKS FOR KIDS: Every kid—and grandparent—loves personalized books for kids. You can make them right at home and sell them online with your computer. You can do it all from your kitchen table.

BOOKKEEPER: You become the freelance bookkeeper for businesses, clubs and organizations in your region. You work from home performing such tasks as paying bills, filing and remitting tax forms, balancing books, etc. You should be a master at QuickBooks, a trade tool of every accountant.

REUNION CONSULTANT: Love to plan parties and other get-togethers? Start a reunion planning service online. You create a website that brings the customers to you. Families, schools, clubs and more will be your potential clients. Develop a list of resources in the communities you will service: caterers, limousines, bands and DJs, florists, hotels and chartered yacht services to offer to your clients.

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST: A lot of small business owners want to master social media but have no idea how to get started and keep the tweets going. You approach businesses with a menu of options and help them get going on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other forums that are appropriate to their particular business. You can develop this into a regular assignment once they are launched—they need someone to provide them with fodder for Facebook posts and Twitter updates. Devise a monthy retainer that works for you and your clients and start helping them build their business through Google, Ping and more!

WRITE & SELL YOUR BOOK: The Internet has created a wonderful opportunity for writers to sell their books without having an agent or a publishing company. You can write away and then sell them as an eBook or have them printed one at a time on demand, every time you take an order. Visit amazon.com and cafepress.com to learn more about their programs.

LOGO DESIGN: If you are great at various software programs used to create logos, consider launching such a design service. Check out cooltext.com if you are a novice. You can turn this business into a virtual printing firm, too. You can expand to take your logo to letterhead, business cards and more.

VACATION PROPERTY RENTAL AGENT: Live in a busy tourist area? That’s prime for you to contact homeowners and launch a vacation property rental service. Rental work is time-consuming and many condo owners, apartment owners and homeowners don’t want to face the hassle of renting out their homes while they are away even though they would love to have the extra cash. Some of these condo owners are thousands of miles away from their properties. You rent the properties to individuals and you take a cut of the rental income. You will have to engage a person to clean and maintain the properties in between renters if you don’t want to do it yourself. Develop a sales letter and send it to potential renters offering your services.

START A B2B BUSINESS: Launch a website selling services and products to other small businesses. Sound simple? It is. Come up with a name, go to a domain registering site, such as godaddy.com, lock in the name, build a website, get it hosted and you are good to go!

BECOME A SUPER AFFILIATE: There are sites ranging from amazon.com and MusiciansFriend.com to BikeBandit.com that will pay you to place their ads/information on your website. Every time one of your visitors clicks on their site, you make some money. And, if they buy a book, say, at amazon.com, you can even make a percentage of the sale. Do a Google search on companies that offer affiliate programs and put them on your website. Sit back and make thousands of dollars a day while you sleep!

START A PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS BIZ: Every small business, doctor, tradesman, etc., likes to provide some type of personalized product to their customers: a pen, a calendar, a mug. You can be the middleman who takes the orders and supplies these clients with the goods. Visit our website at sbomag.com and check out the Business Opportunity chart under Personalized Products.  We also list a few in the resource sidebar within this feature.

HOME INVENTORY SERVICE: Everyone needs to compile a list of items in their home, apartment, vacation home or business for insurance purposes. You can do this with your laptop and a Flip Video Camera. Make hundreds of dollars a day helping clients protect their assets.

EBAY SELLER: Powersellers on eBay—and they are growing in numbers every day—sell more than $150,000 on the site each month. You can do this for yourself with your own goods, or you can find a product to specialize in, develop an online eBay store, or sell goods for other people. There are a lot of people who have an attic to empty or a garage to clean out and don’t know where to begin. You can sell their goods online and take a commission for your efforts.

LOCAL SPORTS SITES: If sports are big in your region, consider launching a website that focuses on local sports teams—high school and college. You can sell ads on the sites, and even post personal messages from fans for a modest fee. You don’t have to be a web wizard to build a website, either.

SMALL BIZ ASSISTANT: There are many entrepreneurs in your area that can never take a vacation or get away for a day because there is no one to man the phones, watch the email, take orders, and run the business in their absence. You can start a small business “filling in” for your clients when they need to attend a funeral, visit a family member or attend a function.

KEEPSAKE ALBUMS & SCRAPBOOKS: You can gather treasured items from your clients, scan them and create wonderful digital scrapbooks. No one wants to keep a ton of photos, matchbook covers and metro tickets collecting dust. Digitizing memories is a lucrative business and easy to run from home. You can also gather the goods and put together books the old-fashioned way if your clients want to hang on to their memorbilia.

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: $100 Million Fortune For Young Entrepreneur

George Zoitas, the CEO of Westside Market NYC, has been involved in the supermarket business since he was a young child. His father John started Westside Market NYC in 1965 and George grew up listening to stories about the store including customer behavior and produce displays sitting around the dinner table. George’s first job at Westside Market was packing customer’s bags at the age of 7 and eventually started making deliveries around the neighbor at the age of 13. George attended Hofstra University and graduated in 2005 with a degree in Entrepreneurship and a degree in Marketing. During his senior year of college, George went to school and worked over 90 hours a week managing the 110th street store (that was being readied to temporarily close) while the rest of the family and employees concentrated on the opening of the new downtown location. In 2007, at the age of 25, George oversaw the reopening of the 110th street location, and after seeing that he was able to manage this large task, John officially handed over the reins to his son. Since then George has opened the new 97th street location, launched his record company 3 for 5 Entertainment and opened a restaurant, Vareli. The combined revenue for all 5 locations is $100 million.

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: 11 Step Guide To Leasing A Commericial Property

By Dominic Higgins

Leasing a commercial property is one of the biggest steps for a small business to take. Here is a guide to the process:

Lease agreements and typical clauses

Ploughing your way through a lengthy lease agreement can be a challenge. But needless to say, it’s important to do so. Some of the things to look out for are:

• The parties (ie. you and the landlord) and the property itself are identified correctly and the full legal name of your business is stated;

• The method to determine rent increases is specified and whether there are any potential expenses in addition to the rent (eg. if some of the landlord’s operating costs are passed to you; and

• Whether the use and exclusion clauses determining what you can do in the premises could restrict your business activities.

Lessee responsibilities

These depend on the lease agreement and the law of the state in question. Some basic duties that nearly always apply are:

• Paying rent, except in the case of some extreme breaches by the landlord of their responsibilities.

• Keeping the premises in good repair.

• Granting access to the landlord where reasonable (normally subject to a notice period except in emergencies).

Lessor Responsibilities

Again, these vary depending on the lease agreement and state law. Two key responsibilities include:

• Deliver physical possession of the property to you. They cannot come and go to the property as they please but can for specific reasons (e.g. to do repairs) and normally have to give notice.

• Maintain and repair the property according to the terms of the lease. As a minimum, the landlord normally has responsibly for large scale maintenance issues and things like ensuring a safe and reliable water and electricity supply.

Potential pitfalls: Sadly, there is a lot of potential for disputes or things to go wrong with a commercial lease. Some examples are:

• When the property is in a bad state when you move in. Depending on the state and your lease agreement, you may be able to end the lease without notice or withhold rent to cover your repair or cleaning costs.

• You want to move out before the lease term ends. It’s much better to plan in advance for this and include a term in the contract allowing you to end the lease early in certain circumstances. Otherwise, you may be liable for the rent for the full term of the lease or until the landlord finds a new tenant.

• You disagree with your landlord about a deduction from the deposit. Again, it’s preferable to take pre-emptive action to avoid having to negotiate with or sue your landlord. Make sure your lease agreement clearly states the terms for returning the deposit and includes a comprehensive inventory.

No doubt, there are a lot of legal issues to take into account when leasing commercial premises. An attorney specialising in commercial property in the relevant state could help you negotiate a favourable lease agreement and resolve disputes.

Dominic Higgins graduated from University College London in 2005 with a degree in Law. Dominic previously worked as a legal adviser in the South Africa and the UK and has a particular expertise in property and international/EU law. At Contact law you can learn more on how commercial property solicitors can help you lease your property. For more info: http://www.contactlaw.co.uk/commercial-property-solicitors.html

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: 7 Steps To Promote Your Biz On Facebook

Start a Facebook Page for your small business. Personal Facebook pages number in the millions and an increasing number of small business owners are establishing what Facebook calls “Fan Pages.” You should start one for your small business because more than four million Facebook users a day becomes fans of various pages.

Here is how to do it:

Create your personal page first. To create a “business” (or “fan”) page, log into your personal account—only logged in users can create a fan page—and then go to the following URL: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

Determine what category your business falls into. Brand? Product? Organization? Artist? Band? Public Figure? Pick the one that best fits your company.

Create your business page. Post photos, contact information, services, products, etc.

Promote your business page. Post a link to it from your personal page. Buy social ads on Facebook directing users to your business page.

Promote your Facebook business page using Twitter, LinkedIn, your email newsletter to customers, your website and your blog.

Create a sub-domain of your Facebook business page (facebook.yourcompany.com) on your main domain that sends users to your Facebook business page.

Study Facebook ads and the specific demographics that will get buyers to your business page. For example, you can target various economic groups and geographic locations.

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: Business At The Speed Of Now

By John Bernard

(Wiley, $24.95)

The book’s subtitle sums it up: how to fire up your people, thrill your customers and crush your competitors. That, dear reader, is what “business at the speed of now” is all about in our culture.

“In the new world of mass customization, businesses must act more quickly than ever—or run the risk of getting crushed by more nimble competitors. To achieve this, every employee—no matter what level or role—must be empowered to seize every opportunity, every time,” argues John Bernard, Chairman and Founder of Mass Ingenuity.

According to Bernard, at the crux of so many business struggles is the fact that current management methods have not kept pace with the tectonic economic shift from mass production to mass customization. In all too many companies there is a major disconnect between what employees are expected to deliver and the behaviors that management encourages, by unconsciously relying on practices dating from the days of Henry Ford. These practices stifle creativity and discourage employee autonomy.

Throughout the book, Bernard underlines the importance of leveraging three game changing forces: social media, cloud computing, and the millennial mindset.

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: From Military Veteran To Successful Entrepreneur

By Kelly Meeneghan, Manager

1&1 Internet Inc.

The idea of launching your own business can be very intimidating. There are many things to consider, such as what kind of service are you going to provide, how you are going to market yourself, and how to manage your online presence? However these questions illustrate the freedoms that we as citizens of the US can take advantage of. These freedoms are protected thanks to the men and women in our US Armed Forces. When soldiers leave behind their uniform to enter into civilian life, launching their own business is becoming a common next step. This was true for United States Army Veteran Santiago Valdizan when he combined his learned military skills with his dream, turning a once risky time in his life into a successful IT consulting business, Joint Technology Solutions, Inc (www.jtsi.com).

“The skills that I learned in the service and the mentoring/leadership training I received allowed me to transition smoothly after retirement and motivated me to open my own business, continuing to service the soldier with clients such as the National Guard and Active Duty Army,” Valdizan said.

When deciding what kind of business to begin it is important to think back to skills you have already mastered. Applying your past experiences to your future career will help guarantee that it is something you enjoy doing every day.  Before joining the military Valdizan always wanted to help and support the soldier in any way he could, the choice came natural to him.

Opening Joint Technology Solution, Inc, was the perfect answer for the veteran who was able to take his technical background and utilize it as a business owner. While active in the Army, Valdizan was responsible for maintenance on all military equipment, everything from transportation units to radios. Sticking to his expertise, Valdizan was able to build a successful company and set an example for other business owners.

For all businesses, once the concept is finalized, it is crucial to develop an online presence. This creates another avenue for customers to see your company’s products and services in a way that is most convenient for them. Valdizan understood this necessity and made sure that he maintained full control over his website by selecting a do-it-yourself (DIY) site design option to help leverage his business online.

“As a small business, a professional website has provided me the opportunity to interact with potential and existing clients on a level that my competitors cannot. The website gives my customers clear insight into who Joint Technology Solution, Inc. is and advertise our most recent work contracts. Having the constant support of a Web host allows me to rest easy knowing that they have my back,” continued Valdizan.

While some veteran’s struggle with the transition back to “normal life” it is crucial to have a strong support system built around them. By maintaining control over your own website, you can experience timely and cost efficient solutions when changes to your site are needed. Time and money were two things that most business owners, including Valdizan, cannot afford to waste. Thankfully he relied on a solid support team to help him through the website building process.

“The technical support team helped me make changes quickly and easily without dealing with long downtimes. I don’t have to worry about losing customers because we are making updates to the website. Within minutes updates are made and the website is up and running for customers to view online,” said Valdizan.

This season we have a lot to be thankful for. Our safety, piece of mind and freedom are all protected by the brave men and women in uniform risking their lives for us every day. To show appreciation for these individuals and their dreams, 1&1 Internet, Inc. is doing their part to give back. The company has introduced their Veteran Appreciation Campaign offering six months free of their 1&1 MyWebsite design tool product. Now, entrepreneurial vets, with all levels of technical knowledge, are able to rely on a professional online presence as a solid foundation for their business without risk.

To take advantage of 1&1’s offer veterans can simply visit veteran.mywebsite.com and provide accepted forms of military identification.

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: Living The Dream: $16 Million From Super eBay Sales!

Linda Lightman: “Life’s too short to not do what you love.”

When Linda Lightman’s husband told her he was ready to quit his job so the pair could focus on Linda’s online consignment business that had blossomed on eBay in recent years, she thought he was crazy.  “I was almost embarrassed to tell people about the decision,” said Linda, now CEO of Linda’s Stuff, who would soon find herself too busy to care about what other people thought.  Today, she is at the helm of one of the largest fashion consignment operations in the country and expects her business to see $16 million in sales this year. The former attorney shares her passion for fashion with customers around the world and now employs a team of more than 60.

When asked why her business has seen such success, Linda points to three things:

• Her business model is based on the common everyday need for people to make space in their closets.

• Easy-to-use tools offered by eBay have transformed the retail landscape and broken down barriers for little guys to compete globally.  eBay introduced the “Fixed Price Best Offer” option several years ago, and this allowed Linda and thousands of other sellers to evolve their businesses from an auction-style outlet to an online retail destination.  According to Linda, “It helped the buyer feel good about the transaction, that they were getting a bargain.  And, it helped the seller not only make a sale that might have slipped away, but also provided valuable insight into what people were willing to pay for a particular item.”  Free shipping options soon followed, and Linda found herself learning new ways of marketing and merchandising.

• “Baby steps” has and always will be Linda’s mantra.  Organic growth at a natural pace sets you up for the long term, according to Linda.  New eBay sellers should take the time to make each item in every photo shine and make a commitment to get that item off to the customer as soon as it is sold.

Jackie Greene: “You can have it all and have fun doing it”

Jackie Greene, a former vice president at a mortgage company, had enjoyed the hobby of selling on eBay since the early days of the site, but when the needs of her second child required her to be at home full-time, Jackie dove head-first into the growing online market for used baby items through her business on eBay, The Steinsburg Store. Jackie expects to sell around $80,000 worth of merchandise.  “eBay has given so many people such an opportunity to go from rags to riches,” notes Jackie, a Philadelphia-area “mom-preneur” who prides herself on doing right by the customer, even if it means taking a loss every now and then.

At the recent eBay: On Location conference in Philadelphia, Jackie shared these tips with rookie sellers and experts alike:

• Start selling what you know about and items you don’t have to spend a lot of money on, such as things around your house.  You need to start with items that you are familiar with so you can market them effectively.

• Make sure the titles of your listings are descriptive as possible, even if you think they are too lengthy.

• There are many tools to help you – explore them and use them. Shopping for new items is the fun part, but to grow your business you need to list as much as you buy and conduct research on the markets for your items.

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: Do You HaveA Free QR Code?

A QR Code (Quick Response Code) is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones.

The QR Code (was invented in Japan by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, and was originally designed to allow components to be scanned at high speed. It has since become one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.

You can go to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ to create your own free QR code for your small business.

SBOMAG ROUNDUP: Crisis Communication Plan: 4 Keys to Survival When Crisis Hits

Every company needs a clear, concise Crisis Communication Plan to guide its communication in the event of crisis. If not handled properly, a crisis can undo much of the public good will a company may have generated over its lifetime, cost untold dollars, and potentially put it out of business.

The ability of a crisis to wreak havoc on company reputations is seen in a number of examples. The Institute for Crisis Management reports companies bedeviled by crises, such as WorldCom and Tyco International, were continuing to generate negative headlines five years after their troubles first became public.

Every company should have a clear and well-conceived Crisis Communication Plan. Such a plan provides guidelines for how the company will respond to a crisis, helping minimize negative media attention.

By contrast, the skilled Johnson & Johnson response to cyanide poisoning of Tylenol capsules remains a classic example of crisis communication at its best.

Thirty years after CEO James Burke calmly reassured the public of company response to the crisis, Tylenol remains a favored household name.

In public relations terms, a “crisis” is any event that results in exceptionally negative media coverage of a company, and prevents normal business activity within that company from occurring.

It might be an outbreak of food-borne illness at a restaurant, a chemical leak by a manufacturer, or a case of an executive behaving unethically.

A Crisis Communication Plan governs the flow of information from a company during a crisis, and can reduce its potentially severe damage. Like any other “insurance,” however, it must be in place before negative events occur.

Use these guidelines to establish a Crisis Communication Plan that will help ensure you’re prepared to quickly address a crisis and minimize its damage.

1. Assemble a Crisis Communications Team. First, identify the go-to people in your company in the event of a crisis. At minimum, this team should be made up of the CEO, his or her public relations chief and legal counsel, and heads of company departments impacted by the crisis. These are the team players who will make decisions at evey step in the unfolding of the crisis.

2. Position, prepare spokespeople. A spokesperson or persons should be identified and authorized to speak for the company during the crisis. The person or persons chosen should be very effective at in-person communication, and cool under pressure. These individuals should be prepared to communicate on camera, at company meetings and at public hearings.

3. Rehearse for possible scenarios. Make a list of possible crisis situations that could confront your company. Then rehearse and role play your team’s response to make sure poor communication doesn’t exacerbate a crisis event.

4. Identify main messages. There are likely a small handful of prime messages you want disseminated in a crisis. Identify and hone those messages to ensure they provide needed reassurance to internal and external stakeholders.

Developing a Crisis Communication Plan will take time, effort and money, but it’s an investment certain to pay off.

For more information on Crisis Communication Plans, contact Walt Denny Inc. at 630-323-0555, email walt@waltdenny.com or visit www.waltdenny.com.

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Category: Magazine, Small Business Opportunities, Small Business Opportunities May 2013