The Birth of a
Successful Internet Business
Part four of ten -- Developing Your Business Plan
By Shelley Lowery
Developing a strategic
business plan is an essential part of your success. Not only will it
assist you in visualizing your business strategy, but it will also give
you an organized approach to achieving your goals.
Your plan will be used as a step by step guide to assist you in
accomplishing your goals. Without a solid plan of action, you won't have
any direction. You'll travel in circles and ultimately never reach your
Your Internet business plan should include all of the following:
Your business summary will completely summarize your entire business
strategy from start to finish.
Your business objectives will consist of a description of your products
and services, and exactly what you want to accomplish.
Your marketing plan should consist of all of the following:
=> Identify your target market
If your product or service doesn't have a market, you definitely won't
be successful. You must identify who your customers will be to determine
whether or not there will be an interest in what you're offering.
Your product should not only fill a void, but should also be unique. The
less competition you have, the better. If you enter a market in which
you're competing against hundreds of other products similar to yours,
your chance of success will be minimal. Develop a high-quality product
that fills a void and provides people with exactly what they want.
=> Identify your competition
You must know who your competition is in order to compete. What are they
offering? How are their products priced? How is their website designed?
How are their products delivered?
In order to compete with your competition, you must continuously keep an
eye on them. Do a search at the Search Engines to locate your
competition and evaluate their business.
=> How do you plan to advertise?
Although setting up a website is an essential part of your advertising
plan, it is only the first step. You must develop an advertising plan
that will drive a continuous stream of targeted traffic to you website.
Your first step will be to submit your site to the Search Engines.
Although there are many Internet marketers that are constantly trying to
maintain a top listing in the Search Engines, in my humble opinion, it's
simply a waste of time.
Each Search Engine is different and has different guidelines in regard
to how they rank a web page. In addition, their guidelines change very
frequently and it is literally impossible to keep up with them. Your
best option will be to optimize your website to the best of your
ability, submit your pages to the Search Engines and forget it.
(Resubmit your main pages any time you make any significant changes.)
Your time can be better spent using other marketing techniques other
than fighting the Search Engine wars.
If you really want to build your business online, you must be willing to
invest a portion of your profits back into your business. There are many
advertising opportunities available on the Internet that will enable you
to purchase targeted advertising very reasonably.
Pay-per-click Search Engines
Pay-per-lead / Pay-per-sales
=> How will your product or services be priced?
Although pricing your product or service may seem like a simple task, it
is a little more difficult than you may realize. If you price your
product too low, it may be perceived as a poor quality product. Remember
the old saying, "You get what you pay for?" A higher price is naturally
perceived as a better quality product. However, if you price it too
high, your product may not measure up.
Make sure you take your time and select your selling price very
carefully. Visit your competitor sites and see how they're pricing their
products. Test different prices to determine the best price for your
=> How will your product or services be delivered?
If you're selling a tangible or physical product, what shipping options
will you offer? What shipping prices will you charge? Will you charge
higher shipping rates for orders outside your country?
If you're selling an intangible or electronic product, will you have
security measures in place? Will your product be password protected? How
will your customers retrieve your product? Will your product delivery be
automated or manual?
=> How will you accept payment?
How many payment options will you offer your customers? Will you have a
merchant account to process credit card orders? If you don't want to get
a merchant account, will you be using a third party credit card
processing company? Which companies will you use? Will you accept checks
If you decide to get your own merchant account, you will also need
access to a secure server and a shopping cart system. A secure server
will protect your customers' information. A shopping cart system will
provide your customer with a running total of what they've ordered and
the total cost.
The following website can provide you with a merchant account:
Total Merchant Services (TMS)
If you'd rather not have your own merchant account, third party credit
card processors will process your credit card orders for you. There are
usually no monthly fees. They charge a "per transaction" fee and send
you payment for all your orders processed, minus their fee and a reserve
If you're just starting out, you may want to use one of the third party
credit card processors, as this is the easiest route. Each company
provides you with step by step instructions to assist you in getting
your website set up to accept credit cards. The great thing about third
party credit card processors is that they handle everything for you. You
don't have to hassle with processing your credit card payments or charge
backs, as everything is taken care of for you.
Developing an Internet business plan will provide you with a road map to
achieving your dreams. Plan each step very carefully and fully research
your options. Plan your work then work your plan and you'll be well on
your way to achieving your goals.
Copyright © Shelley Lowery
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web
http://www.webdesignmastery.com And, Ebook Starter - Give Your
Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book.
http://www.ebookstarter.com Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a
complimentary subscription to Etips and receive a copy of the acclaimed
ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies."
You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print,
in your ebook or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author
bylines are included.
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