Good Online Business Ideas Start With Education

When the economy is bad, more and more people look for ways to supplement their incomes with good online business ideas. Does this sound like you? Are you looking for ways to make money online to help augment your income in these difficult times? Whether you have lost your job, or your employer has cut back on your hours, or the overtime you relied on has been slashed, you are in the same boat as millions of others.

Today we have the Internet, and this is where most people will turn looking for help. They will begin looking for good online business ideas. Why not? After all, most of us have heard of people making money online. So why not us as well?

The basic problem for most people is that when they start looking for good online business ideas, they have just about zero real knowledge to help guide them. We all see advertisements online with supposedly ”successful” folks telling us that they are making thousands of dollars per month in just a few hours a week. But are they scams? The fact is, if you spend some time working online you’ll come to realize something very simple: most of them are! How do you know if what you are looking at is a good online business idea or a scam? Without at least some knowledge up front, it can be very difficult to tell… until it’s too late and your bank account has suffered for your lack of knowledge.

Before you start looking for good online business ideas, give yourself permission to get a little education first. The biggest mistake most people make is they dive right in, head first and willy-nilly, and never check to make sure there is any water in the pool! Why is it that people realize that if they want to open a “brick and mortar” business they need a certain amount of preparation and education before they begin, but they think that business on the Internet is somehow different? It’s not!

Even if you’ve spent a lot of time online, or you’ve run your own business offline, you need to know how business online works. The Internet is very complex and a good online business idea alone will not be enough. Would you open a store on a busy street without checking out the location or products you are going to sell first? No of course you wouldn’t. You’d do your market research, and you’d also spend the time to find those allies and partners you’d need to help you in areas that are not your forte!

You need to make the same kind of preparation if you’re seriously going to create any income online.

Do you want to make money blogging? Do you want to be an affiliate marketer and promote one time sales to your mailing list? Do you want to promote a network marketing company online? Do you know all about how to do what it is you want to do online? If not… you need to learn how!

Business online is the same as business anywhere else: it can be a nightmare, especially if you stumble into it blindly with no education. It can end up being very costly and time consuming as well, when really, it needn’t be either of those.

The first requirement of any good online business is education. Take the time to learn all you can. Find some mentors… people who have “been there and done that”. Listen to their recommendation about which educational and business programs out there are garbage, and which are actually good online business ideas.

You’ll be glad you did.

Avoiding Communication Breakdown For a Small Business Owner

As the owner of any small business knows, excellent communication is crucial to your success. There are no corporate handbooks to rely on (unless you create them) and no one to pass the buck to. As your small business grows, the need for good communication increases. In fact, the small business owner’s lack of communication skills may even arrest his company’s growth.

The owner of a company I once worked for had an interesting way of communicating. Well respected in the industry for inventing an important piece of equipment, this older gentleman had grown his 20-year-old company to over 200 employees; the company had gone public, and its tools were the industry standard in its niche. The company was profitable and very successful.

But I constantly marveled at this man’s personal communication style. My office was close to his, and his voice carried; I would hear things like “You aren’t listening to a word I’m saying.” and “You don’t understand anything.”

No coincidence then that many of us employees did not have a clear job description. Looking back, it occurs to me that many of us were self-starters and adaptable to ongoing new conditions and shifting projects; in fact, you didn’t last long unless you had those qualities. And I’m sure it helped to be agreeable with the owner, especially in the company’s formative stages!

But during the years I was with the company there existed a palpable frustration among the executives and the board that the company was not growing and competing as well as it could have. You didn’t need to sit on the board to know this; the feeling permeated the mood of daily business from the top down.

Every small business has a unique culture, which begins with communication from the owner. Do you ever consider how effective your communication style is and how it molds your business?

When you find that you have miscommunicated some information to your customer or your team, the result is usually a scramble to make things right again. I would guess that it takes more time and effort to patch up the fallout of miscommunication than it would have taken to prepare effective communication in the first place.

“I don’t remember you telling me that.”

“Where is that written down?”

“I did not know that was important to you.”

If you’ve heard these words from others, then your message wasn’t clear. Unfortunately small business owners must accept that fact and take responsibility for the communication breakdown. The good news is that once we figure out where people get stuck, communication breakdown is easy to fix.

You may relate to these common reasons for lines getting crossed in small business communication:

• We simply don’t know what we don’t know. The problem at hand is new and we lack the process or tools to deal with it.

• We are not precise when relaying information. The basic guidelines are there, but the details are missing.

• We are not clear in our intentions or motives. The “how, when, and what” are important, but sometimes to be clear you must communicate the “why.” The reasons behind directions or descriptions are often the meat of the matter. “The Reason Why” fills in the spaces between the cold hard facts and places the recipient of information at the foundation of the problem. It also shows that you have a sound basis for your recommendations because you’ve been there before.

• We omit important chunks of information because we assume our customer or team already knows what we know.

• We simply forget, or…

• We’re in too big a hurry to explain everything or document it.

• Sometimes we even withhold information, possibly stemming from some trepidation about ruffling someone’s feathers. We bite our tongues, thinking that a one-time occurrence will not be repeated. We may even downplay new information because we are covering for a previous failure to communicate something essential! Swallowing pertinent information to avoid confrontation is a downward spiral that will only come back to haunt you.

Even subtle messages can be misconstrued. Almost all business relationships have a built-in personal element; the connections we make with people make work enjoyable. But if you are the small business owner, pay attention to the messages you are sending. Miscommunication caused by “too-casual” business connections throws a wrench into your company’s operations and standards.

Developing a Business Model

One of the things that most people have trouble doing is developing an appropriate business model for their new enterprise. This is usually do to the fact that most people do not know how to properly estimate the revenues and profits that can be generated from a business venture in any specific market. Immediately, if you are thinking of starting a new business, then you should focus on hiring an economist, certified public accountant, or business planning firm that can assist you substantially in developing the necessary models and studies that are required in order to make a determination regarding economic viability.

It should be noted that it is expensive to have an economic viability study commissioned. These studies can often cost $5,000 or more depending on the complexity of your newly planned venture. However, while this may seem extremely expensive, these studies may actually save you a substantial amount of money in the long run. It is better to find out early on that your business will not work in your specific market rather than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions of dollars in regards to launching a new business entity. Usually, most local certified public accountants are able to effectively produce an economic viability study underwritten by their experience as a CPA on your behalf for this cost.

If you are developing a business model on your own then you will need to make a number of appropriate determinations including how many other competitors are based in your market., the number of people interested in your business services or products, median household income, median family income, and population statistics. If you are operating a business online then you are going to need to heavily invest in determining the tremendous amount of competition that you will face as you progress through your business operations. This is something that we are going to focus on heavily as we discuss the developing of business models for your specific enterprise. As always, the most important determination that you are going to need to make as it relates to your business is to make sure that your business can become profitable within one year’s time. If you are unable to generate a positive cash flow within a maximum timeframe of twelve months then your small business may not work out as planned. There are number of financial modeling software products that you can purchase in regards to making the appropriate determination as to the economic viability of your business.