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Small Business Resource Guide

Ten Keys to Making Money On The Internet

There is no real secret to making money on the Internet. There are just well-known key factors that must be met in order for you to achieve online success. If your business doesn't meet these key factors then it is bound to fail. Without further ado, here are the Top Ten Keys to Online Success...

Internet Business Key #1: Provide Value

Let's look at two of the most successful online ventures: Yahoo and Amazon.com. Why are they so successful? They provide tremendous value to the Web. That's what they've been doing all along. Your website must provide free resources, foster a sense of community and show real value to your visitors. Without useful information and real content, your website will just be background noise. Provide real value and the revenues will follow.

Internet Business Key #2: Quality Presentation

Providing content, community, and utility is not enough. It must be presented well. Quality means fast, clear web design that looks good and is easy to understand. It should be easy on the eyes, as well as the brain. Your users will make quick determinations about the quality of your site. High quality will result in repeat visitors and more traffic. The word about your awesome site will spread!

Internet Business Key #3: Be Unique

Your site must be unique. You should own something no one else has. In most Internet business opportunities you're nothing but pitching something you don't even know anything about with a web site that looks exactly like thousands of others. It's depressing to see people waste their money promoting some "get rich quick scheme" or advertising the same programs as everyone else. Not to mention those ripoff cybermalls. So, if you don't have your own unique website which fosters the Five C's (content, community, consistency, capability and commerce) then you're nothing but a cyber-static salespitch.

Internet Business Key #4: Build Your Brand

Why is Yahoo! valued at 10 times more than Infoseek? It's their brand name. Yahoo! is now virtually synonymous with the Internet. Amazon.com has also attained great name recognition. Both companies have formed a name that people can easily remember and with a comfortable ring to it. Today the key success factor is not about gaining market share, but rather gaining "mind share." This means brand recognition. Your name needs to be catchy and meaningful. Your name needs to express a feeling or image in the mind of the consumer. For example, the name Yahoo! is exciting and makes me feel like I've struck gold. The name Amazon.com paints a picture in my head of a vast and great jungle where anything is possible.

Internet Business Key #5: E-commerce

Let's face it. E-Commerce is here to stay. According to Forrester Research, Online retail sales will hit $108 billion by 2003. Your site must have a fully-functional E-commerce system built into it. It's expected if you want to actually make sales through the web. Visitors need to be able to purchase your product or service at any time with just a click of a button. Your site needs to make shopping a fast, fun and easy experience. Cater to the impulse buyer and provide a simple yet effective shopping cart system. How else do you expect to make any money on the Net?

Internet Business Key #6: Form Affiliations

One of Amazon's biggest success factors is their affiliate program. Wherever we go there's an Amazon book being sold on a website. It is so important to form solid partnerships and affiliations. Set up your own affiliate program and you might just see your profits soar. Develop joint venture partnerships with those web sites that fit with the "theme" of your business. Remember, you won't survive very long if you're trying to do it all by yourself.

Internet Business Key #7: Technological Knowledge

No one accomplishes all of the above key factors without substantial technical know-how -- or at least ready access to it. It goes without saying Yahoo! and Amazon.com have many very technically savvy people on staff. Surely you wouldn't expect to build a substantial online business without doing the same. Of course, you don't have to be a programmer, but you must have access to those people who can support you technically.

Internet Business Key #8: Promote

Advertise! Promote! Tell the world about your site! And I don't mean spam. I'm talking about a constant, strategic and aggressive promotion by using opt-in lists, ezine advertising, classified advertising, search engines, targeted email marketing and other online promotional tools. Advertise on the radio, newspapers, and television. You have to let everyone know that you exist and that you mean business. A web site is, in reality, infinitesimal bits of data buried in a computer. It only means anything if people come see your site.

Internet Business Key #9: Patience

You have to be patient and think long-term. It takes a lot of hard work to be successful and it won't happen overnight. Plan ahead. Focus on your strategy and develop the right moves for the right time. Take your business step by step and you'll be greatly rewarded. I see too many people trying to make that fast, quick buck without putting much work into it. It's just not going to happen that way.

Internet Business Key #10: Investment

In order to reach your goals and dreams, you have to invest time and money. If you're short on finances, then try to gather friends, family or investors to fund your project. If you think you have a really great idea then you should approach angel investors and venture capital firms. According to the Small Business Administration, angel investors pour as much as $20 billion a year into some 30,000 small companies.

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