10 Simple Steps to Online Business Success

So your online business sucks and you’re feeling like a failure… Bet you thought running an online business was easy didn’t you. I bet you said to yourself:”I have this fantastic idea to start an online business and sell what I love and am passionate about and thousands of people are going to come running to buy my products now that I’ve got a website.”That’s it, you’re done and there’s no looking back now! You’ve got your online business and you’re going to make tons of money now aren’t you?! Or, are you?The reality of the situation is, many people start a business online everyday, yet almost all of them fail to execute a few simple steps that would inevitably lead them to success. Nearly all of us at one point in our entrepreneurial career has thought that we had a great idea that everyone wants or needs and they were just as excited about it as you are. The fact of the matter is you are an expert within your particular niche and that is what you are passionate about. But how are you going to share that passion, let alone your products and services with your target audience? Here are a few simple steps you can follow to ensure you succeed with your internet business.Step 1 – Know Your Target AudienceThe idea of knowing your audience goes deeper than identifying who they are, where they hang out and what they want however. Take the time to get to know your target audience. Ask them questions and learn what it is they seek from you. Online surveys are a great way to hear directly from your target audience. Use the free service from SurveyMonkey to create an online survey and ask your target audience as well as your email list subscribers to answer the questions. Their free plan allows you to create 10 question surveys and is very useful.Step 2 – Plan Your BusinessThis is a topic I cover in greater detail in my free 15 day training course. No online business can succeed without a plan. You must create a plan of action to implement for your online business before you can ever hope to succeed. This applies whether your a brick and mortar real world business or strictly operating online, having a plan of action greatly increases your chances of success!Step 3 – Follow the LeaderIdentify who the industry leaders are within your target market or niche and follow them closely. Learn from them to identify what led to their success. Take from them what works best for you and apply the lessons you’ve learned to create a more specific and personalized method to success for your online business.Step 4 – Devise a Marketing StrategyThis is an area where many online business owners fail. If you want your online business to succeed, you need to learn how to market your business. Having a well thought out marketing plan is a major key to your online business success.Step 5 – Pay Attention to OpportunityOpportunity exists everywhere, you just need to learn how to identify it. This is done through practice, practice, practice. The best way to learn how to identify opportunity is to learn how to be a better conversationalist. Opportunities present themselves in the most unlikely of situations usually. Learning to simply have conversations with others almost always leads to some form of opportunity presenting itself to you. Learn this art and your online business will go far!Step 6 – Create Actionable GoalsGoal setting is a key requirement for you to succeed at anything you do. Set actionable goals you need to achieve in order to attain success within your online business. Each goal is a small step toward the success you seek. Make sure to include dates for when you intend to achieve your goals. Including dates gives you something more to shoot for. Also, be specific about what you intend to achieve. For example, to have a goal of “make more money” is not an actionable goal. Instead, apply an amount and date to make the goal more realistic and achievable such as “I intend to make $10,000 a month by December 31st, 2010″.Step 7 – Work Your Business EverydayThis one is a little tricky. When I say to “work your business everyday” I mean within reason. You need to find a balance, especially if you are just starting out. You must work your online business everyday, even if it is for only 30 minutes a day. Each small step you take toward your goals is a part of a larger effort to achieve success.Step 8 – Don’t be a Pencil PusherMan if I had a penny for every time I’ve seen this one! Don’t get stuck in the preparation phase of your online business. To many times I’ve seen aspiring online business owners continue to prepare or organize their online business. You’ll never be 100% prepared so quit straightening your pencils and organizing your desk. You know what your action items are, so take action and just do the things that are going to make you money!Step 9 – Create Content that MattersMake sure to provide your target audience with quality content that meets their expectations and provides value. Your target audience is looking for value and will follow you fiercely if you provide it. Answer their questions and provide for their needs and you’ll find they will help you succeed.Step 10 – Build a Relationship ListNo, no, I don’t mean you create an online dating service… You should be actively building an email subscriber list and communicating with them on a regular basis. Doing so allows you to build a relationship with your subscribers which leads to customer loyalty as well as repeat buyers. An email list is by far the single most important requirement necessary for any online business to succeed.Well I’ve certainly given you a lot to think about, so stop sucking and get’er done!!!To Your Success!
Sean Smith

Business Loans In Canada: Financing Solutions Via Alternative Finance & Traditional Funding

Business loans and finance for a business just may have gotten good again? The pursuit of credit and funding of cash flow solutions for your business often seems like an eternal challenge, even in the best of times, let alone any industry or economic crisis. Let’s dig in.

Since the 2008 financial crisis there’s been a lot of change in finance options from lenders for corporate loans. Canadian business owners and financial managers have excess from everything from peer-to-peer company loans, varied alternative finance solutions, as well of course as the traditional financing offered by Canadian chartered banks.

Those online business loans referenced above are popular and arose out of the merchant cash advance programs in the United States. Loans are based on a percentage of your annual sales, typically in the 15-20% range. The loans are certainly expensive but are viewed as easy to obtain by many small businesses, including retailers who sell on a cash or credit card basis.

Depending on your firm’s circumstances and your ability to truly understand the different choices available to firms searching for SME COMMERCIAL FINANCE options. Those small to medium sized companies ( the definition of ‘ small business ‘ certainly varies as to what is small – often defined as businesses with less than 500 employees! )

How then do we create our road map for external financing techniques and solutions? A simpler way to look at it is to categorize these different financing options under:

Debt / Loans

Asset Based Financing

Alternative Hybrid type solutions

Many top experts maintain that the alternative financing solutions currently available to your firm, in fact are on par with Canadian chartered bank financing when it comes to a full spectrum of funding. The alternative lender is typically a private commercial finance company with a niche in one of the various asset finance areas

If there is one significant trend that’s ‘ sticking ‘it’s Asset Based Finance. The ability of firms to obtain funding via assets such as accounts receivable, inventory and fixed assets with no major emphasis on balance sheet structure and profits and cash flow ( those three elements drive bank financing approval in no small measure ) is the key to success in ABL ( Asset Based Lending ).

Factoring, aka ‘ Receivable Finance ‘ is the other huge driver in trade finance in Canada. In some cases, it’s the only way for firms to be able to sell and finance clients in other geographies/countries.

The rise of ‘ online finance ‘ also can’t be diminished. Whether it’s accessing ‘ crowdfunding’ or sourcing working capital term loans, the technological pace continues at what seems a feverish pace. One only has to read a business daily such as the Globe & Mail or Financial Post to understand the challenge of small business accessing business capital.

Business owners/financial mgrs often find their company at a ‘ turning point ‘ in their history – that time when financing is needed or opportunities and risks can’t be taken. While putting or getting new equity in the business is often impossible, the reality is that the majority of businesses with SME commercial finance needs aren’t, shall we say, ‘ suited’ to this type of funding and capital raising. Business loan interest rates vary with non-traditional financing but offer more flexibility and ease of access to capital.

We’re also the first to remind clients that they should not forget govt solutions in business capital. Two of the best programs are the GovernmentSmall Business Loan Canada (maximum availability = $ 1,000,000.00) as well as the SR&ED program which allows business owners to recapture R&D capital costs. Sred credits can also be financed once they are filed.

Those latter two finance alternatives are often very well suited to business start up loans. We should not forget that asset finance, often called ‘ ABL ‘ by those Bay Street guys, can even be used as a loan to buy a business.

If you’re looking to get the right balance of liquidity and risk coupled with the flexibility to grow your business seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor with a track record of business finance success who can assist you with your funding needs.

What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.