Five Steps to a Rock Solid Business Foundation for Solo Entrepreneurs

“An accurate plan poorly implemented is more successful and effective than a vague or generic plan implemented with brilliant precision.” – Author unknown.

Just about everyone in the business world agrees that planning is important and has some value. Before you can decide on an approach to planning, however, it’s important to think about who is asking you for your plan and what purpose it will serve.

For example:

If a loan officer at the bank asks to see your plan, he is primarily interested in reviewing your financial projections to make sure you can repay your debt.

If a venture capitalist asks to see your plan, she is primarily interested in discerning the return on her investment in your business idea.

If an employee asks you about your plan, he is seeking clear direction so he can successfully contribute on the job and earn his salary.

As a solo entrepreneur, you are looking to focus your efforts on ensuring the success of your business and optimizing the use of your time. We want to focus on doing the 20% that makes 80% of the difference.

A common mistake people make in business is that they take action without getting clear and accurate direction on a few key things before they start. To solve this problem, I suggest that people start with a written Situation Analysis.

The Situation Analysis is simple to do if you break it down into sequential steps. Writing clarifies the logic. If you try to do it all in your head, think about it all at once, or attack the steps in the wrong sequence, the clarity and accuracy you seek with the exercise is much more difficult to achieve.

5 Steps to a Clear and Accurate Business Foundation

Clarity is determining who your customers really are and if they really need your services.

Accuracy is not misleading yourself with opinions and interpretations, but rather dealing with the facts related to the opportunity.

There are multiple aspects of your situation to consider, but the five primary considerations are your customer, your offer, your business development strategy, pricing and industry trends.

1. Your Customer

Have you clearly identified your customer?

What are the customer’s needs, wants, and desires?

Are you clear about the problems you can help them solve?

How many people have these problems (i.e., what’s the size of the market)?

What things does the customer want to accomplish?

Who is the decision maker within the customer’s organization?

Who are the key decision influencers?

What is the decision-making process the customer will use to say “yes” or “no” to your offer?

Use data and facts throughout your analysis whenever possible, not speculation or hope-fors. The information you need can often be obtained with conversations with potential customers and market surveys. You will want to ask: “How often do you have this problem? How important is it to you to solve this problem? How would you personally benefit if the problem were solved?” Some of the core benefits to the customer may include achieving their goals, increasing revenue, increasing productivity, saving time, and increasing security.

2. Your Offer

After you have clarity about the customer, the next step is to be clear about the programs, services, and products you will offer. If you are clear about the customer’s problems, it will be easier to get clear about what you will need to offer to satisfy those problems. Put your offers in ranked order of opportunity and focus your efforts in the highest leverage areas.

3. Your Business Development Strategy

My experience is that solo entrepreneurs tend to waste a lot of time working on their marketing materials prematurely. An effective business development strategy is best developed after you’re clear about your customers and the problems you will solve. What are the materials and tactics needed to effectively communicate your offering to potential customers? Possibilities include an executive summary, sales sheet, business cards, face-to-face networking, public speaking, and perhaps an active blog and social media presence.

4. Pricing

What value are you bringing to solving the problem for your customer? What does the competition charge for a similar offering? An effective pricing strategy will take both of these factors into consideration.

5. Industry trends

My observation is that the trends in the industry, if not monitored correctly, can act like a brick through the front window. What are the trends in your industry and that of your customer? Are you able to step into a trend that is going to create an opportunity or are you stepping into a trend of a diminishing market? Examples of industry trends include innovation, government intervention, and the economic climate.

Learn more about performing your own Situation Analysis on my sister website, Stepping Through the Gate by downloading my 4 step planning process.

Now it’s your turn.

Are you being crystal clear about a specific customer you are targeting and the set of problems you are trying to solve or are you trying to be all things to all people?

Are you clear about the problems you solve or the conditions you eliminate with your services, programs, and products?

When you can answer “yes” to these 2 questions, your life will be easier and your efforts to develop your new business will be more productive.

The Best Online Business Opportunity On The Planet

Finding the right online business opportunity is an exciting for many of us. There’s dreams of making an extra $10,000 which is usually the magic number for most people that would allow them to quit their day jobs, get rid of that lousy commute to and from work, and live the dream of having more free time to live life on our terms.

The best thing about the internet is it brings infinite opportunities for those looking for a chance to build a business. And most of the online business opportunities have very little start up costs associated with them. You can get an online business started for the price of buying a domain name, getting an account to host that domain, and installing a free website template that looks beautiful right out of the box.

In my opinion the best online business opportunity if one that will pay you residual income. This means you will get paid for over and over for work you performed one time. Imagine yourself spending 2 hours a day building your online business, and getting paid for those two hours when you’re sleeping, on vacation, or taking the kids to the amusement park.

Life doesn’t get much better than that does it?

Over the rest of this post I’m going to cover with you how you can build this dream lifestyle from the comfort of your own home. So get that mental picture of yourself trading in the suit and tie, so you can work in your pajamas or underwear.

But first, if you’re looking you need be able to navigate the treacherous waters on the internet.

Look out for those calling online business opportunities scams…
As you start building your online business, the number one thing you are going to want to avoid is getting associated with people who are unsuccessful in their lives and are willing to do anything in their power to try to make sure everyone else is as well. You’ll notice with every single online business opportunity out there, that there are people who are absolutely killing it. But there are also those that never put the time and effort in so they want to justify their lack of activity and blame everyone but themselves. But ultimately success in any business opportunity is going to be dependent on your activities.

When finding a good business opportunity you’ll want to find one with a strong history and financial backing. One that there are already people making the kind of money you want to make. One in which there is a community which is willing to share their “secret sauce” with you in order to help you achieve your goals.

So what’s the BEST online business opportunity?

So now that we have that out of the way lets talk about how you can make money with the best online business opportunity I have ever seen.

Network Marketing! No I’m not talking about the kind of network marketing where you pitch all your friends and family and get everyone to delete you from Facebook. I’m talking about professional network marketing. The kind that top performers earn in the 7 figures every single year. The kind that allows you to build a residual income and make a difference in other peoples lives.

When starting out with searching for a business opportunity people will usually tell me the reasons. These mainly start with things they don’t want which include:

  • No boss
  • No commute
  • No alarm clock
  • No employees
  • No politics
  • No compromises
  • No discrimination
  • No educational requirements

These are all really good reasons to start looking, but when they start to imagine the things they DO want they’ll say things like:

  • Unlimited income
  • More free time
  • Buying a nice house
  • Getting that car they always wanted
  • Residual income
  • Enjoy the people they work with
  • To do something important and meaningful
  • Personal growth
  • Paid vacations
  • and even tax benefits…

The only real business opportunity out there that provides all those things is Network marketing. You don’t have any of the start up costs a traditional business has. You don’t need to be everything to all people like a traditional business owner. You get to set your own hours. Make friends with tons of like minded people. Get to go on amazing trips for performing. And make a substantial income if you put the time and effort into becoming a professional.

Some of my team members are making up to $80,000 per month through network marketing. This is the opportunity for you if you’re an action taker and willing to do whatever it takes to develop the skills to get there. I’m not saying that these types of results happen over night, but it certainly is possible. You really won’t find many opportunities that are better than becoming a professional in the network marketing business.

Secret Methods of Home Work Business Opportunities Scams

Home work business opportunities scams have become the order of the day on
the internet. And the menace continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Each day you
come across newer and newer scams and scammers. In fact, if you happen to be a
bit net savvy and have ever scoured the net looking for ‘Get Rich Quick’ home
work business opportunities or a proven income opportunity, you already know
what I am talking about.

Reportedly, more than 90% of these so called home work business opportunities
are outright scams. What they actually do is capitalize on peoples hopes, take
advantage of human weaknesses and finally succeed in emptying the wallets of the
common man. Most internet marketers (scamsters included) are well aware that its
not just making money with home work business opportunities but making easy
money that is one of the single biggest motivational factors for anybody. It’s
therefore not surprising that its the number 1 searched topic by millions of net
surfers each and every day. What people look for in the real world applies
equally well in the online world too. It is common knowledge that given good
home work business opportunities that work, most people would be far happier
working for themselves than under a boss who is breathing down their back. No
one really enjoys work pressure or work politics, right. And above all we would like to work to our own schedules, not someone else’s. Perhaps, these are some
of the principal reasons why the most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings!

In case you haven’t noticed it yet, internet marketers and clever scammers alike
draw heavily on this knowledge while drafting their sales letters especially
those relating to home work business opportunities. Just recall how many times
you have come across a sales letter for home work business opportunities or a
proven income opportunity that harps on themes such as-‘Work in your pajamas’,
‘Fire you Boss’, ‘spend more time with your wife and kids’, ‘work whenever you
like to’ or ‘work from your vacation home’ or island or whatever it is that
really pleases you. Sounds familiar ? Savvy marketers understand that the act of
buying a product is driven by human emotion and is therefore impulsive in
nature. It becomes logical only afterwards in order to justify the wisdom of the
purchase decision. That’s why you will invariably find these themes built into
sales letters for home work business opportunities because they are meant to
appeal to exactly that – your emotions.

Close scrutiny of effective sales letters for home work business opportunities
will almost always reveal a distinctive pattern. So much so that, you can safely
conclude that the more effective they are, the more likely it is that they have
stuck to the pattern. It is well researched human psychology that people respond
positively if you can instill hope or fear or cause a sense of urgency or appear
as an authority or appear to be unbiased or even unusual. Taking the cue,
today’s cyber sales letters are deftly crafted, cutting edge works of art that
have all these concepts and more woven into them for best effect. Some examples
of this in action are- ‘Learn how I made a million dollars in 15 minutes’
(kindles hope), ‘Don’t be spied on’ or ‘you don’t want any legal trouble’
(evokes fear), ‘prices to go up in 2 days’ or ‘the discount ends today’ (creates
a sense of urgency), ‘I made $300000 from Google last year’ or ‘I am a member of
the International Home Business Entrepreneur’s Association'(appear as an
authority), a 3rd party or reviewer like style to the letter (to appear
unbiased), ‘Stop reading and leave if you can’t invest in your future’ or ‘Don’t
buy this unless you are convinced the others are bad’ (appear unusual to earn
your loyalty).

Even a savvy surfer who is proficient in these techniques can occasionally fall
prey to one of these cunningly crafted devices blinded by the lure of easy
internet riches. But the vast majority of those that do so are enterprising
young men and women from all walks of life who are often unaware of the powerful
sales conversion techniques in operation here and mistake it to be a proven
income opportunity. Its a matter of much regret and concern that the internet in
the short span of time since its advent into the larger public sphere has
already transformed itself into a safe haven for spammers, scammers,
pornographers and fraudsters touting home work business opportunities.

If at all there is something that we can console ourselves about, it is the fact
that there are still a few really good and legitimate home work business
opportunities out there that truly work. However, like the proverbial pin in the
haystack, it takes more than mere foresight to identify genuine home work
business opportunities from the vast and ever increasing population of internet
fraudsters. You will always do well to conduct a fairly in depth review of
prospective home work business opportunities by doing a Google search on it or
by visiting popular or eclectic forums on home work business opportunities where
you will have the chance to enquire with present users of the program as to how
they are doing with it. This will go a long way in helping you make an educated
decision for yourself as to whether it indeed is a proven income opportunity. If
anybody tells you that he’s got a secret to share with you on how to make a
million dollars in 15 minutes flat or that there are residual income home work
business opportunities out there that require little or no investment of your
time, money or effort, you better watch out. Unfortunately, there are no home
work business opportunities that give you returns for no investment of your
time, money or effort. Its against the Common Law of Business or for that matter
home work business opportunities to not invest anything at all in a venture and
yet earn an income from it. There are simply no home work business opportunities
or even an already proven income opportunity on the surface of this earth that
will succeed for you without good old hard work, patience, dedication,
investment and enterprise.

Do you have what it takes to devote 1 or 2 hours of your time every day and I
stress the words- ‘every day’ ? What if I show you one of the genuine and most
popular home work business opportunities that will work for you provided you
work it? A proven income opportunity. Its called the Plugin Profit site. Its one
of those few home work business opportunities on the net that has stood the test
of time and is still going incredibly strong. You will have to join 5 affiliate
programs. Relax, all of them are free except for one. And the only investment
for you on that one program is just twenty dollars per month apart from a
monthly fee of about twenty five dollars which goes to your web hosting account
with Host4profit that they recommend. Once you join these 5 programs you get a
dynamic, profit pulling, home work business opportunities affiliate web site for
free created specifically for you with tutorials, great bonuses, user forums and
24 hour customer support. The 30 Days to Success guide that comes free with the
program literally holds you by your hand (explaining every silly detail) and
walks you through the process of getting everything up and running in a very
short while. One of the many bonuses that comw with the program is a free
membership to the webs most respected forum -The Warrior Forum, where you will
get to rub shoulders with some of the giants in the field of internet marketing
on an everyday basis for free! You can also seek the help and advice of other
members through the exclusive Plugin Profit site members forum hosted within the
Warrior forum. You will find links to this proven income opportunity as well as
to my main web site at the bottom of this page.

It is worth re-iterating that none of these home work business opportunities
will work, not even a genuine and proven income opportunity if you are new to
the concept of hard work. Its becoming increasingly difficult to identify good
home work business opportunities that work thanks to the continuing
proliferation of fraudsters who constitute the vast majority. Good home work
business opportunities like the one mentioned above which is a proven income
opportunity can only provide you with the system and the tools, its up to you to
make the best use of them. You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make
it drink it.

Business Opportunities – 9 Things to Watch Out For

If you are considering striking out and starting a new business, you have probably been investigating what are known as “business opportunities”. A business opportunity is usually a complete package that contains a product or line of products, and a marketing strategy for selling that product.

Any business opportunity worth considering will either have a track record that you can investigate and evaluate, or it will have a clear statement of the plan, the potential, and the up-front costs. Before investing any time or money in a specific business opportunity there are some things you should consider. Here are some of the more important ones:

  • How long has the business opportunity been in business? – Before investing time and money in marketing a business opportunity it is important to determine how long that business opportunity has been operating. If it is a new concept that has not been proven in the marketplace, you have no assurance that it will even work.
  • Does the company have a fixed address and phone number? – This may seem obvious to you, but the fact is, thousands of “companies” operate with nothing more than a website and an email address. Many of them are here today and gone tomorrow. Make sure the business you intend to deal with has a fixed address, physical location, and established phone number.
  • Does the business opportunity have some successful members you can talk to? – Most business opportunities will show you “testimonials”, but these are often untrustworthy. They could even be completely fabricated. Ask the owner of the business opportunity for names of real people you can talk to. Call them on the telephone and ask them to share their experiences with the program. This will not only provide you with valuable first-hand information about the program, but it will give you a list of advisors who many be happy to help you along the way.
  • How much initial investment is required? – In many cases a proven business opportunity with a successful track record will involve some kind of initial investment. This could involve an initial amount of product inventory, a program subscription fee, or possibly a piece of equipment required to produce or finish the product. You should not assume that a business opportunity that is free to join is a better investment. Usually a free-to-join business opportunity will involve other costs such as marketing and advertising fees. Nobody gives away “opportunities” for free. What you have to determine is whether a specific business opportunity has a successful track record, is managed by honest people, and offers you a realistic chance of actually making some money. These are the things you must weigh against the entry costs.
  • What is the realistic income potential of the business? – Have a careful look at the numbers and projections provided by the business opportunity. Then talk with actual members who are using the program to determine if they have been able to turn those numbers into reality.
  • Are there extra fees such as yearly or monthly subscription fees, shipping costs, or minimum purchase requirements? – Make sure to get a detailed list of all the fees involved in operating the new business. These things may not seem significant now, but they can easily eat into your profits later.
  • Who controls the money? – When you generate sales for the business opportunity what assurance do you have that you will get your share of the profits? This is the primary reason not to deal with “fly by night” outfits that have no track record. Again, the best way to get an accurate reading on this is to talk with people already using the program.
  • Does the business opportunity supply marketing materials and person-to-person mentoring? – One of the most difficult parts of starting a new business is “learning the ropes”. It can be extremely helpful to have advisors who have first hand experience in making the program work. The same goes for marketing materials. You will have enough to do without having to create brochures, ads, and newsletters for your new business.
  • How much control of your new business will you have? – Be clear on who owns the business, and who controls the way it is developed and marketed. You may want to diversify your product offerings in order to avoid being at the mercy of “head office”. Remember that you are trying to create a business that has long term value. This will involve considerable investment of time and energy on your part. You don’t want your business to be completely dependent on the stability and integrity of a single supplier.

The ideal business opportunity is one that is offered by a stable company with a proven track record. The business opportunity should require low initial investment and have high profit potential both in the short term and in the long term. It should allow you to build a profitable business of your own that will be a source of income far into the future.