Wednesday, July 02, 2008
'Systematizing' the online business process is an area I've been struggling with for a little while now. While novices to IM(Internet Marketing) tend to feel swamped by the range of tactics and techniques available, more experienced IMers are merely buried in the ideas and knowledge they've gained (which in my case just swirls around in my head all the time!). Neither feels especially 'free' of worry or stress! Whatever stage you're at, finding ways to simplify the process is a major step in creating personal freedom. It would make a good subject for the group to discuss and develop.
Many guru's split the process into four stages - IDENTIFY YOUR MARKET, DEVELOP YOUR PRODUCT, BUILD YOUR LIST, PROMOTE YOUR OFFER and although there are clearly alternative stages, and sub-stages within this model, it pretty much covers every types of business. Even a $100-a-day cashcow that's runs on autopilot requires each of these stages to some degree. If these stages could be broken down into a simple checklist along the lines 'go here, do this, check that, click this - and so on' it would help both novices and experienced entrepreneurs. People like Ed Dale have been making attempts to do this and there are countless WSOs and short reports that try to do so but I haven't found any programme yet that has got the process completely right.
I agree that a 'proper' business is the natural goal for most entrepreneurs, but people starting out should consider carefully what they define as 'proper'. I've started, built and run several businesses. I've also been involved or advised countless others. Believe me, if you're fed up with doing a 9-5 job for someone else with limited remuneration, lack of enjoyment and buckets of stress, then running a 10/20/30-person company won't be any different! In fact, it'll be worse.
There are only three reasons for doing it:
1. You 'might' make a shitload of money (but don't bet on it - 95% of all startups fail in the first three years)
2. You 'might' be able to sell the business for a shitload of money (after 5/10/20/50 years of bloody hard work building it up)
3. You 'might' be able to take a back seat, hand the company to employees to run, and live comfortably off the profits
Most people starting in business have options 1 (and maybe 2) in mind. But it's option 3 that is most appealing. Creating a business which produces hands-free 'residual' income year after year with little or no effort is, in my opinion, the key to success, and something that could be achieved in a matter of months rather than taking years.
A $100-a-day cashcow isn't always the best starting point. It's surprising how much time you can spend tinkering with your cashcow - before you know it, months or years have slipped by, and you're still only earning $100 a day! So I would be wary of focussing too much on that.
Having said that, it's doesn't take a huge amount of effort to get a small ebay business going, or setting up an ezine, or creating a short report, or building a simple affiliate site. It's not rocket science - you just have to get on with it.