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Do you have the right business model?

I myself have struggled with the thought of coming up with an innovative product in which I can build a business around.  However, after reading the article 7 Steps for Establishing the Right Business Model by Martin Zwilling, I discovered that creating a business is not all about the discovery of an innovative product.  Instead it is equally important to develop a proper business model that focuses on pricing, messaging, and target audiences.  In some cases, new businesses focus so much on the product that when it comes time to follow through with the selling of the product, the company ends up failing.

In order to prevent your start-up from failing, realize it too takes time to establish a business plan for your product.  There are in fact seven steps which can be taken to formulate a proper business model.

  1. Determine your product’s value. It is important to strike a balance of price so that you are compensated for your work, but at a price in which is standard with your competition and demographic.  Part of this price includes estimating your costs.  Generally a 50% gross margin is a standard for the lower bound.
  2. Make sure your product solves a problem.  The best way to determine if your product solves a problem is to have people use the product first hand.  This in itself is risky, so it is recommended issuing the product in a test market.
  3. Build a channel and support system.  Most entrepreneurs are familiar with the concept of a pitch, but building your channel involves a little more depth.  Full in-depth knowledge of not only your product, but your marketing, pricing, maintenance, and distribution is required to successfully engage your focus group.
  4. Inquire from industry experts.  Going into a business can be intimidating and there can be many times where you are unsure of what to do.  The best thing to do in this situation is to ask an expert in you industry.  Some industries even offer advisory boards to help and even provide new opportunities.
  5. Have a soft launch or pilot.  Launching your product in a test environment limits the costs and allows for maximum recovery.  This gives you the opportunity to test out the product’s costs, quality, and pricing.
  6. Collect customer references.  One of the best ways of marketing is through word of mouth and customer references fall in this line.  Customer references are a great way of achieving new clients.
  7. Attends national trade shows.  National trade shows provide you as opportunity to market your product as well as catch up on ideas.  It also conveys a sense of credibility towards your business.

Starting a business is not all about the product, and at some points can be the main focus.  When thinking of a start-up, it is important to always keep in mind the overall plan or business model.  This model should be well thought out or even your beautifully designed product will fail.

 

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Promote your local business online

If you have a small/local business, you know how hard it may be to create a viable presence online.  However, there are a number of tools available to you which can be used to boost the online performance of your business.  This article on entrepreneur.com outlines their top fifteen sites to promote such a business.  Refer to these tips and you will quickly build a respectable online presence.

Remember that to grow a presence takes more than just being there.  You must also act on various SEO tactics on each one of these sites.

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Business Need to Start Stumbling.

profits

Stumble Upon is great.  Most Stumblers log in and use the site’s services to:

  1. Kill time
  2. Find new, interesting websites
  3. Explore the vast annals of the Internet
  4. Increase their online business presence

Wait.  Most Stumble Upon users will admit to they “stumble” for first three reasons, but the fourth one – probably not why most people joined the growing number of discover-ers.  Katie mentioned that marketers should use Stumble Upon to reach potential customers, and they definitely should.  But so should internet entrepreneurs.  The self-made business men and women on the internet know that when you have an online business, web presence is HUGE.  The more your site’s out there, being viewed by people, the better chance you have of making a sale.

To generate business exposure and increase their sales, business owners should create an account on Stumble Upon and start submitting their sites to categories people might find interesting.  Whether you link your sales page or an informative blog that you’ve created to compliment your business, you need to start stumbling.  It takes seconds to create an account and minutes to recommend a new page.  What entrepreneur – internet or otherwise – wouldn’t want increased exposure in reaching people that have said, “Yes -I’m interested in your type of business.  Show me what you’ve got.”  Businesses thrive on professionalism, but sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to stumble.

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Obnoxious but Profitable: Facebook applications

Unless you’re a young teenage girl new to Facebook, like my sisters, I’ll bet you hate all the Facebook application requests you get.  I know that I do; I usually delete them without even reading what they are.

Facebook allows programmers to use Facebook’s platform for free, which does two things.  First encourages programmers to come up an endless stream of programs.  Second, this low barrier to entry allows almost all of the advertising revenue for these applications to be profit.  (Some applications make between $2,148-$22,499 a day).

Everybody loves Facebook, but hates applications; however applications are the black and Facebook is in the red…ironic.

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AntHillz : LinkedIn To Your Trusted Colleagues

AntHillz.com is a Philadelphia startup looking to fulfill the desire of many business professional by providing a  network of trusted contacts.  The Key to achieving this goal lies in necessity of all professionals to “write recommendations of each other’s work before they can connect.”  AntHillz.com hopes to reinstill the necessity of reliable connections, by accentuating the futility of random ones.  Furthermore, the peers recommendation aspect of the site should further their aggressive entry into the business networking market.

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