"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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Raymond has an entrepreneural background, both offline
& online. Marketing promotions include
Sales. She and Fred Renoudet founded
Another successful venture is their
Net Marketers Club PrivateSite.
You may use this article in newsletters or on websites as long as
the author's resource box is included.