Managing an Internet Business for Working Parents
by: Elizabeth Percel
Starting an Internet Business for Working Parents
Eventually, we all want to have a successful profession as well as spend time with our family. For the working parents, this is a captivating task that has become challenging to tackle, however, owning our own business seems to be a more sensible way of keeping both of our passions.
Starting a business is a decision that enables us to put our expertise to work, as well as make our own rules, our own hours and run our own show! Enjoying precious time with our loved ones is really the sole benefit of why I wanted to start my own business. Owning a business is not as complicated as keeping one. We can easily come up with a product or service, buy a computer, a desk , get an office space and start selling our product. However, keeping a fruitful business involves a lot of planning, determination, persistence, and coordination. The following is an introduction of important facts you should consider when starting and marketing your business.
Determine a product or service for your business.
Satisfying the needs of the consumer is considered to be the best way to have a lucrative business. It’s important to keep in mind these factors when choosing a product or service:
Determine who is your market.
Does your product or service cater to individuals, or businesses?
Is it a trend or is it a product or service that will remain in existence for a long time?
Is the item a necessity or a desirable product or service?
Will it satisfy the financial state of your business
Who would be interested in your product or service
Create a Support Section
Local business owners can show their customers what items they have on sale, and the customer can examine the product and determine if they want to buy it. They know who they are doing business with and can right away tell what type of personality the business owner has. However, a different approach needs be taken when running an Internet business. Through the Internet, they can’t feel, smell or touch your product or even speak to you. Therefore, a support section is necessary to thoroughly describe to the consumer the product or service and in the process gain their complete trust and let them know that you are a business that is here to stay.
Enabling your customers to visualize the product
Create a presentable website that reflects your product as well as your character.
Write a mission statement explaining the quality of your product or service and assure them that you operate a legitimate trustworthy business.
List your company policies.
Offer ordering flexibility, such as fax, toll-free number (if possible), secure website ordering system.
Provide them with customer service support and contact information
Tell them a little about yourself, how you started and your objectives:
What influenced you to start your own business
When did you open for business and how you got started
The type of business you run and what kinds of product or services you offer.
Unique items are usually the most successful items to sell, because people like something different for a change on the Internet. Seeing something new and refreshing will greatly peak their interest. When offering these products to your customers it’s important to:
list the product’s features
Explain their benefits
Can the item be personalized
List all special occasions the item can cater to.
Insert a picture as well as any variations you can offer the product (such as color, size, style )
List the variety of ways to use this product
Tell them who may like the product as a gift.
When similar products are being sold over the Internet, convince your visitors that they will mostly benefit from you than your competitors..
The most popular belief is that price equals quality. The more you pay for
a product the better the product is. However, try not to adjust your prices just to gain your competitors’ customers, instead, you can offer them:
Offer special discounts
Give them great deals when purchase more than one item
Put links and details on your site on interesting articles and updates on your products.
Business to Business referrals
Specials on related items
Free newsletters or e-zines
Expedited or personalized service
Product on demand
Most of the time the hottest, or most asked for products are the ones that bring more revenue. A demand on a product is like chain reaction. If one person has it or usually a group or friends everyone else wants the same. So if you have Is your product on demand? If so, by who?
Determine who is your market (children, mothers, parents, etc..)
Does your product cater to individuals or an organization?
Which cultural or social atmosphere will it sell best?
Do you have a flexible price on the product, so as to offer a request discount?
How is this product mainly used so as to know where to find your market and which variety of ways it can be used.
Does it satisfy the needs of your customers
Is it a quality product?
Can you offer express service
Promoting Your Site
Promoting is all about creating an image for your product and distributing that message. It’s essential you use your advertising time constructively so you won’t spend too much time advertising in places your items won’t be seen.
Advertising is becoming very competitive only because you need to find unique ways of making your advertisement stand out. Nowadays, everyone is using same ways of promoting their product or service or using similar sites. Then when the visitor makes a search they will get a query of numerous items of the same kind. There are several ways of advertising your web page and product, but keep in mind that it’s important you have in order to keep your customers visiting your site you be direct, to the point should not:
Mislead your visitors/consumer
Place any false advertisements.
Do not exaggerate or say features on items that on not true
Create offensive advertisement either socially or culturally.
Send out the wrong message of what’s important to them.
DO not give false hope about the product.
Credibility to your Advertisement
A genuine advertisement can peak the interest of the visitors.
When sending out an advertisement to your customers via email, make sure you personalize them.
If it’s a global advertisement, makes sure not to just translate your messages ,but customize it so for that it fits their cultural interest or current trend into heir
Avoiding controversial advertisement.
When promoting or advertising your site on the Internet, it’s important to make sure your advertisement does not clash with any social or cultural group they may take offense to the advertisement. Offer diversity in your advertisement many misunderstood advertisement has caused an inconvenience for some well known business owners:
Calvin Klein was once boycotted for showing off ads of Calvin Klein apparel featuring the model, Kate Moss, were attacked by a group called Boycott Anorexia Marketing , which objects to ads that glamorize excessive thinness in women.
A commercial for Black Flag insecticide was modified after a veteran group protested the playing of taps over dead bugs.
Nike ads starring cartoon Porky Pig drew attention to the National Stuttering project, which argues that advertiser who make fun of stuttering make it difficult for stutters to get respect.
As innocent as these advertisements may sound they can seem offense to some folks, therefore, accommodation it’s necessary to let them know that no harm was intended.
Choice of Words
Choosing the right words to describe your product is also important. For example, if you were to sell gardening tools, your advertising reads
“Cheap gardening tools for your home garden”, this statement implicates that they are of poor quality. “cheap” can be replaced by “inexpensive”, “reasonable priced” or any other similar words. Write down a good catchy classified that will give them a thorough visual description of the product.
Become a member of community boards and newsgroups or forums with similar interest
Insert you website in your e-mail signature, and business cards, letters or flyers.
Advertise on websites that are exposed to the people that would be interested in your products ( gardening, crafting, children’s items, big & tall, plus sizes, etc..)
Search engine submission
Business to Business support groups
Advertise on related classifieds and local newspapers that are now offered on the Internet
Offer your knowledge on the products – write an article.
Network with other business owners.
Exchange ideas with other business owners.
Partner with another site that offer related products
Don’t only try to please them, but yourself, will you get an attractive income from selling to this specific target, is this a market you can keep a good relationship with.
Ideas to enhance your site
Seasonal Items on Sale such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc..
Mail order inserts
Related affiliate programs for your site
Simplify your site for searchable purposes
Segment your items in related categories
Periodically change or update the context of your web page
Create a forum where people can share their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions or comments
Offer discounts for answering your survey
Answering the email within 24 hours would also be acceptable
Learn how to take constructive criticism
Technology has come a long way from years ago, nowadays, there are too many illegal tricks and scams, where people are able to retrieve personal information, directly from your site or computer. Always try to keep a step ahead from them. It’s imperative that you secure your customers information so that no such activities is going on in your site.
Obtain a service that can offer secure credit card transactions.
Keeping it coming!
Now that you have your business up and running, and have a few pointers on how to maintain it, don’t stop here!
Create a new market of needs for your service,
or expand your business and offer business opportunities
Work the other way around – instead of coming up with a market that will buy your product, you can develop a product or service that will assist your market such as for children, develop a program, a toy, or a service for kids.
Sponsor special program in exchange for free advertisement.
Change your advertising strategy if the one you are doing is not producing any visitors to your site
Most importantly be patient. Don’t expect to start getting customers right away. Running an Internet business takes time to grow because you need to develop that relationship with your customers, and make your existence well known.
Stay on top of any changes and new trends, new approaches, and possibly a new market, to sell your goods. Schedule your days so that you have a productive day ahead of you as well as spending some time with your family. Always have a work schedule so you can balance your business and your family. If possible get a nanny to help with your children, or hire someone to help with your projects. Maintain a separate room so your kids can eventually understand that you are working now,
Keep in mind that when writing any articles or newsletter on online it’s important it’s important you know your customers, If they are working parents, then you would have to write shorter newsletter articles that are straight to the point and precise, they may not have all the time in the world to read the whole article so you have to accommodate their lifestyle.
If the majority of your customers are homemakers/housewives, or have a more flexible lifestyle, then you can write a more descriptive newsletter
At the end, satisfaction is all we are basically looking for. Not to be filthy rich or have the biggest Internet business in the country, but just to have a comfortable life where we are able to bring in a descent income for your family.
The outcome? To have a wonderful successful business that offers flexibility, new friendships, and a waterfall of opportunities to look forward too.
A well-conceived business plan will bring you a prosperous life and business!.
About The Author
Elizabeth Percel is a mother of 3 boys who runs a scrapbooking/stationery business from home. Loves Art, Reading marketing articles and traveling.
This article was posted on January 14, 2005