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How to Successfully Launch a New Business

(Or revive a floundering business)

Every week I talk with business owners who tell me how excited they are about their new product, service or business opportunity. Usually, their comments include something like, "Everybody needs it. I know I'm going to make a lot of money with this."

They sincerely believe it will be easy to generate hordes of customers standing in line to spend money. I really hate bursting their bubble. But, it's not going to happen that way.

Building a successful business is hard work. Most of that work will be devoted to finding customers. Finding customers will be your toughest job. You need a detailed strategy to attract the number of paying customers required to meet your financial goals.

By trial and error over many years, I've developed a 6 step marketing strategy that enables me to launch a new product or service profitably every time. You can copy this system to launch your own new enterprise or to revive a floundering business.

Step 1: Identify your Target Market

The first step in developing your strategy is to isolate the best target market for your product or service. Your sales efforts will be most effective if you focus on a group of prospects with common characteristics and similar problems.

Start by defining on paper your ideal customer or client. List all of the characteristics you expect to find in good customers or clients. Be sure to include characteristics that make your product or service valuable to them. Then, use this list to identify a target market. Define your target market in writing.

Step 2: Find your Most Appealing Customer Benefit

Exactly what is the most compelling problem you can solve for prospects in your target market? Why is your product or service the best solution to their problem? Your answers to these 2 questions reveal the customer benefit(s) to stress in your sales approach.

Step 3: Develop a few Motivating Offers

Develop 2 or 3 offers that motivate prospects to take buying action immediately. For example, can you use a special discounted price offer with a deadline? Are there bonuses you can add if prospects order or sign up before the deadline? Can you combine both into a "special price plus bonus" offer?

Decide which offer on your list is the most powerful and use it in your sales material and/or your selling presentation.

IMPORTANT: A special offer providing obvious value always increases your sales volume. It's a proven way to overcome buyer resistance and procrastination. A special offer also provides a logical reason in the buyer's mind to justify what may actually be an impulsive decision to buy now.

Step 4: Decide how to Publicize your Business

How will you introduce yourself to prospects in this market? Will you use classified or display ads in print publications or on the Internet? Will you use direct mail? Is broadcast media such as radio or TV appropriate and cost-effective? What networking can you participate in locally or on the Internet to draw attention to your business? What other methods of promotion can you use?

Prioritize each method on your list and develop an action plan with deadlines for implementing them.

Step 5: Establish a Plan to Promote Customer Loyalty

Decide what you will do to cultivate customers so they continue to do business with you and give you referrals. For example, write or call your customers or clients immediately after a transaction and thank them for their business. Ask them if they're pleased with what they received. Most will express their satisfaction. That's the ideal time for you to follow up with a request for referrals.

Don't be afraid to uncover an unhappy customer. When you do, take whatever action you must to leave them feeling good about you, even if your only recourse is issuing a prompt refund. Most dissatisfied customers won't take the trouble to contact you about their problem. They'll just take their business elsewhere and tell other people about their negative experience with you. That will cost you a lot of future business.

Step 6: Backend! Backend! Backend!

What is a backend? A backend is basically something that you sell to your customer after they make their first purchase from you. This is really where you make your money because the cost of acquiring this customer is now zero. You have already got them to your site, gained their trust, and persuaded them to buy!

If you sold them a good quality product and provided excellent service, you will find it extremely easy to sell to them again. Did you know that some people even lose money on their first product, with the intention of making it back through the sale of their "backend" products? Many marketers believe that this is really where the BIG money is to be made!

Let me give you an example.

I recommended one of my client to offer a tiny book “Hypnotism Tips & Tricks” to new customers for only $5 - he was actually not making profit with this sale. However, of the 5,000 people who bought this book for $5, nearly 1,000 came to get the basic training of hypnotism for $200 or more. But it gets even better. Three months later, he emailed the 1,000 people who got training, and convinced nearly 200 of them to get advance training of hypnotism for $400!

If you are selling a product, you MUST develop a backend! If you cannot think of anything related to your product, then you might consider splitting up your current product somehow. Your other option is to start your own associate program. Associate programs are a great way to backend your product. I’ll discuss them later.

I've used this 6 step process successfully many times. It reduces risk by replacing guesswork with a proven strategy that gets results. You can follow this system to successfully launch a new enterprise or to revive an existing business that isn't growing.

Reasons of DOTCOM Business failure
(Mistakes to avoid & Success Rules)

Did you know that between 1999 and 2001, online shopping grew a staggering 500%? It's true. Forrester Research reported growth from $8 billion US in 1998 to $42 billion US in 2000.

So what's going on? While online spending is growing at fantastic speeds all we're hearing about right now is failed dotcoms. If online shopping has increased by a enormous 500% in the past 2 years, obviously the whole story is not being told.

That's not as hard to figure out as you might think. First, let's take a critical look at the failures of DOT COM. You can learn a LOT by analyzing the common mistakes that were made...

TOP THREE MISTAKES MADE BY DOTCOM FAILURES

MISTAKE #1: Tried to be everything to everyone

Consider Pets.com, for a moment. Their target market of pet owners was HUGE! But so were the problem they needed to overcome to turn a profit -- "pets" is a very general market.

Marketing to and meeting the needs of all these groups of people, with all these different products and services, is no small undertaking. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just pointing out that it costs money... a lot of money.

And this leads us to the next mistake...

MISTAKE #2: Threw millions of dollars of venture capital at an unproven business plan that takes years to reach profitability.

Creating a nationally recognized brand requires deep pockets and a whole lot of patience, and that means you need investors with really strong stomachs. Many of them became frustrated as the dotcoms continued to vacuum up millions of dollars of investment capital without any sign of turning profitable.

Could these companies have succeeded with a continued infusion of capital? For many, definitely. But when investors withdrew their support, they never got their chance.

So finally, we arrive at...

MISTAKE #3: Invested lots of cash in unprofitable advertising.

The simple truth is, banner advertising just isn't as profitable as it once was. Ads that once pulled 5 to 10 percent click-throughs are now lucky to pull 0.5% to 0.8%.

Unfortunately, many dotcoms just continued to blindly throw millions at unproven, often untargeted, advertising, which pulled extremely low returns. Sadly, they might as well have been lighting piles of cash on fire.

LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES AND BUILD LASTING, PROFITABLE SUCCESS WITH THE FOLLOWING RULES:

RULE #1: Focus on a well-defined niche market.

Rather than trying to dominate a huge, general market like pet owners or car owners, narrow your focus to a targeted "niche," like parrot owners and people interested in saving fuel consumption for their cars.

The truth is, running two or three web sites that each target a specific niche market is the EASIEST WAY TO MAKE MONEY on the Internet. Everyone is looking for the "big money" makers so, all too often, niche markets are ignored.

Find a niche market. Figure out what they want. Develop the product. Offer it to them. Automate the business. Then start another and diversify. There is a LOT of money to be made this way.

RULE #2: Develop a strong Unique Selling Proposition

If you have a lot of competitors in your specific industry, then you need to develop a unique selling proposition (USP). You need to emphasize what makes you better than competitors.

Explain to your customers exactly how and why they'll benefit from doing business with you as opposed to someone else. What do YOU bring to the table that no one else does? For example:

      - Your product/service might cost less than others.

      - You may have a higher quality product or service.

      - You offer a better guarantee than anyone else.

      - You target a specific age group, industry, or person.

      - You provide special knowledge not available anywhere!

      - You offer special incentives that no one else does.

      - Your customer service is better than your competition's.

Whatever your angle, the key when promoting your product or service is to EMPHASIZE WHAT MAKES YOU SPECIAL OR UNIQUE. Adjust your company or product to meet a specific need. Then specialize!

RULE #3: Spend your advertising budget wisely

Once you have defined your market and developed your unique selling proposition, figuring out who you're advertising to and where they hang out online suddenly becomes way easier. And this means that you can strategically place your ads where they'll pull the most targeted potential customers.

As e-business owners get tired of spending their limited advertising dollars on high priced CPM (cost per thousand ad impressions) that pull pitiful results, the demand for more performance-based advertising continues to increase. Pay for customers - not overpriced, unproven advertising.

RULE #4: Model success

Obviously, there are a lot of steps involved in building a profitable e-business. You need:

q       a strategically designed web site

q       a quality product or service

q       killer sales copy

q       a perfect sales process

q       a cutting-edge marketing campaign designed to compete your competitors

Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from someone who has been there, spent the cash, researched the techniques, and made the mistakes for you?

RULE #5: Have a well-developed business plan that includes a clear definition of how you plan to profit

An idea is NOT a business plan. It's just that... an idea. It becomes a plan when you've researched it, defined your market, figured out exactly how you're going to market yourself, and planned to profit within a set period of time.

SO WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE?

Is there still money to be made on the Internet? Definitely!

With online shopping having increased by an incredible 500% over the past two years, now is an excellent time to be starting or promoting your e-business. Think about it... Now's the time to get online and literally make a fortune.



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