"How To Put A Good Online Venture Together"

by Helen Raymond

The internet is probably the best opportunity ever for anyone to get into a rewarding venture of their own, at amazingly low cost. We're in financially troubling times, why not start now?

Just think about this... a local store can easily cost thousands of dollars before you can open it's doors. This involves property lease or rent, insurance, display shelves, office furnishings and supplies, equipment, advertising, stock, more. When you finally do get it open, money left for working capital may be very low. This makes it difficult to meet the on going expenses until the business can survive on it's own. The market is limited to just your area. So in comparison to that...

As a 'Netpreneur, the world is your market; expenses are less.

That is true, everyone knows it. But too many people believe the empty promises and schemes that are rampant on this new frontier; just like the old gold rush days you read about. "There are no free lunches" still holds true. Advising you what business to get into on the net is not intended here, so that is another subject we can get to later on. Let's assume for now that you have some venture ideas in mind.

Actual profit is rarely immediate, but that is always possible.

While not impossible, usually those over night results we hear about took a very long time (maybe years) preparing for that particular night. This is certainly not meant to discourage any one. It is just meant as a help in making decisions about how much faith, risk and will power you'll invest in your ventures.

This simply means, if you can't have that much faith and will power for a business idea, or if you aren't ready to learn and take a little risk to test waters, you had better look for some thing you can feel more confident about. When our money is involved, no matter if it is only a small investment, those are decisions that do become much easier. In fact, I have found that it is better to have some money invested because it will keep us motivated and focused when there is some risk & our "eye is steadily on the prize".

There's a valid point to holding off expense as long as you can.
Even when you are ready to "go live", it's usually quite a while before we see enough money made. Costs add up during that time, usually monthly, for websites, hosting & promotions. So that expense as well as any product investment needs to be recouped as a first goal. Set your goals like steps on a ladder to your ultimate goal at the top. It's easier to go step by step in a systematic way. It is very exciting and keeps you going to reach each "next step" on that ladder.

To make money, you MUST make it easy for people to buy.

This means good clean website design and navigation. People want to see quickly what you're offering, if it will benefit them, how it will be delivered, how much it costs, and how you are going to back it up. Be sure your site loads fast. Never use any applets, cutesy decorations or script that does not relate to one of those five factors. Every headline and sentence needs to make them want to know what is next. It must hold their attention until the buying decision is made.

You MUST accept "Plastic Money" on the internet.

I don't know if your product is tangible (shipped), an intangible (downloadable) or subscription (recurring billing). But whatever it is, buying needs to be easy, fast and securely done. Having a merchant account of your own is the best way if you have a great deal of buyers. It can be very expensive to set up, even if some companies offer full service, including a shopping cart.

But you have to pay monthly fees and usually have a volume requirement to meet to earn the lowest prices. Also you need to have a business checking account... more monthly costs. The advantage is the low bank commission percentage you will have to pay on your sales. You need ($?) sales to break even.

You don't have to pay that much if you do this:

I prefer to go with a third party provider. They'll handle all the bank card transactions for you. There is little or no set up cost and no monthly costs. It is true that a commission percentage you pay them is higher than your own arrangements would be. Third party providers will usually ask around fifteen percent of the sale price. But you only pay if you are actually selling your products or services. You can quickly see how much less you have to sell to break even, or just "catch up". Even when the business does get going, you may want to stay with the third party provider, because...

You can start your own affiliate program at no cost too.

Think how fast your business can grow with others selling for you. A two tier afiliate program is another benefit given to you and managed for you by some third party providers. They will update the stats for both you and your affiliates and pay them out of the proceeds that they'll generate for you. If you think about how much time and money, plus the expertise, it would take for you to implement all this, you realize: Not only can a good third party provider do all this for you at a low cost, it frees you up to promote your business and affiliate programs.

Who are they? My favorite third party providers are:
(But you'll find many more with a Yahoo search.)

For tangibles, www.ccnow.com is my choice, which does have a monthly fee of about nine dollars. Their commission is lower, only about nine percent, which compensates. They give a full shopping cart and handle auction sales as well. There is not an affiliate program provided for their merchants yet. There are no set up fees.

For intangibles, there is a third party provider that has a set up fee of about fifty dollars, but no monthly fee. You can have up to fifty products, or more by special arrangement. Commission is about fifteen percent. They'll handle an affiliate program too. Check out Clickbank.

For intangibles, like downloadable ebooks and recurring billing (subscriptions), like Right Stuff Co PrivateSite for webmaster information, we use GloBill. There is no set up and no monthly fee. The Commission is about fifteen percent. They do provide an excellent two tier affiliate program. Support is good & their service is great. They have no minimum payout for affiliates; if they earn it, they get paid, twice per month. It is motivating for affiliates to get money into their hands quickly. This is true, even if it is only a small amount in the beginning.

I'm not suggesting you do this forever, just until your business is stable; can pay for your own merchant account and affiliate arrangements and show a nice profit over the costs. There will be more profit then, since your commission percentage outlay will be lower. You should be able to get where you want to be much faster without worrying about having to recoup the huge getting started expenses.

Plus (heaven forbid) if the business does not work out in the long run, you have not lost much more than time & advertising. Other capital investment money you have is still available for promotion or additional ventures. Maybe, down the road you will want to have several businesses up and running when you take the leap into managing your own customer payment and affiliate programs. Accepting credit cards is one success key.


Helen Raymond has an entrepreneural background, both offline & online. Marketing promotions include Wholesale eBook Sales. She and Fred Renoudet founded RightStuff Hosting. Another successful venture is their Net Marketers Club PrivateSite.

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