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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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Big Demands for Brands

Well into the age of the internet, the demands that people place on brands are now more apparent than ever. People have instant access to information all over the world, all the time, and now in their pocket. For the entrepreneur, this creates a huge obstacle, but also creates an opportunity. On one hand, web presence is something that must be constantly attended to. Companies have to stay up-to-date and connect with their customers and be consistent through multiple mediums over the web. If a company fails to do this, the results could be incredibly destructive, especially for young companies. Here are a few stats to back this up:

–          46% of people say that a website’s design is the number one criterion discerning the credibility of a company

–          More than 90% of buying decisions are influenced by visual factors

–          B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms

These stats are just a few from an info graphic posted on mashable.com. The constant access to your brand may seem like a lot of pressure, and it is. But, it creates an opportunity to show customers more about your company and why they should choose you over the sea of competitors. In fact, the emotional gratification that customers feel when choosing certain brands is among the top reasons for brand loyalty. Social media paired with a friendly and helpful customer experience can help a brand to connect with the customers quickly and easily.

To boil it down, I think you have to simply ask yourself, “How does this brand’s internet presence improve my life?” Does it provide an aesthetic, easy-to-understand layout? Is there content that I find relevant and interesting? Is there some way where I can give my feedback and feel like I’ve been heard? These are critical questions that any internet entrepreneur should be asking themselves, because the brands that will be gaining loyalty and advocacy are the ones that are serving their customer’s constant needs and beyond.

Don’t believe me? Check out some of the info graphic for yourself here.

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Challenges of Starting a new website Part 2 (solution)

In my previous Post Challenges of Starting a new website Part 1.  I talked about my new website My Weekend Trip Planner and how difficult it is to get your website discovered.  It is very difficult to get that initial traffic to the sight especially because SEO is really hurt by the fact that the site is so new. It is important to build the traffic to your site at least initially through other sources then just search engine.  These ways can be things like word or mouth or paid advertisements.  One of the ways I have found that works the best is social media.  Social media is extremely important especially for discovering a website.  You need to use social media to create a buzz for example on My Weekend Trip Planner when I launched the site I changed my status on Facebook to announce the launch of my new site.  I also tweeted it.  I received 30 visits from that in 4 hours.  This is perfect example of you can use social media to tell people about your site hopefully they will then tell their friends and the result can be viral.  This will then increase the likely hood people liking to you and before you know have a powerful website.

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Wikipedia – the way of Social Entrepreneurship

When you have some word that you do not understand, what do you do? Do you verify what it is by quickly typing wikipedia.org and search for that word?

Wikipedia is a non-profit organization that brings knowledge of thousands together to make itself into a central station for anyone using the Internet.

Some things are regulated and limited to be done, such as editing too many times with a frequent manner.

It gives fairly good information and most of the college and high school students start researching materials on this info base.

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New Carbon Offset Website Empowers Social Entrepreneurs

Have you ever wondered how big a carbon footprint you leave when you throw away a Snickers wrapper?  Well I definitely haven’t and I honestly don’t care, but if you do there’s a tool out there for social entrepreneurs to take advantage of and make an impact.

Carbon Advice Group is a web community that allows individuals to create micro-sites and share new ways of reducing carbon foot-printing.

This site makes it easy for environmental activists to share information with friends, family, and coworkers while at the same time opening doors for them to further their knowledge by taking advantage of the micro-sites of other carbon footprint enthusiasts.

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