Overview of The Business Opportunity of Selling Products Online.

The opportunity of selling products online is a realistic business opportunity IF it is done correctly.  There is a lot of skills and experience that can be attained by launching a successful online business that distributes products.  There are dozens of online platforms to sell on, or products can be sold on a personal website.

Who will I serve in the marketplace? The group of customers (age, gender, and interest) really depends on the niche of products the business sells.  For my own business, I have not yet determined my product niche.  These customers can be next-door neighbors, or people in other countries.  The customers could be a consumer business, for instance, I could sell business equipment.  However, to start, I will be targeting consumer individuals, or small business owners.

 How will I help them?  I will help my customer by providing quality products and a unique customer experience.  I will ensure that the customer gets their return on their investment, and that they can genuinely enjoy doing business with me.

What are the barriers to entry for this service? One of the main barriers to entry for this business opportunity is the stiff competition.  There are a lot of aspiring businesses who are attempting to sell their products online, some of them succeed at this.  To overcome this barrier, an individual must research and learn how to market the product.  Lack of persistence is another barrier to entry, the business owner must relentlessly find new ways to create a better product and experience for their customer, otherwise they will get lost in the shuffle.

How will I make money doing this service?  The way to make money selling products, is to simply sell products.  There are not many other ways to make money in this field of business, however, business owners can later branch off and create demonstration videos of how the product can be used, Go-pro for example.

Why is this a long-term opportunity for me?  If I start a business distributing products online and can achieve success in doing so, this is a long term business opportunity.  People will always need solutions to their problems, so if an individual can solve, or help to solve problems a consumer may face, with an innovative product, there will always be a demand.  This is a business that I could use to support myself through college.

The Business Opportunity of Audio Production.

The opportunity of audio production provides a lot of learning opportunity and can later develop into a successful business.

What are some of the opportunities here?  First, there are podcasts, as you may already know, podcasts are changing a lot of daily routines.  Rather than listening to the radio on the way to work, many people are substituting radio with a podcast on a topic of their choice.  When getting ready in the morning, it is easy to play a podcast, and in even some simple jobs, employees are able to listen to a podcast while they work.  These people are always looking for new content, however, they want professional content relevant to their interest.

To be successful at creating podcasts, you must have either have a niche, or talk about something very generally applicable.  When you have good content, you still need skills and tools to produce this content (that is where the learning opportunity comes in).  Then, in order to make money doing this, you must advertise in your podcasts, and/or sell your own products.  Podcasts are generally free (unless you choose to charge, and face the competition of all the free podcasts) and therefore you must advertise in the podcast, in order to make money.

Another way to make money in podcasts is by managing and producing podcasts for individuals that would like to have a podcast, but do not have time or skill to edit, produce and advertise.  It is a great industry, and it’s only going to expand.

Another business opportunity is the production of audio-books.  A lot of people who don’t have time to read, listen to books rather than read.  Audio-books are becoming more and more popular and that demand is only going to grow.  There are a lot of published authors who have printed books but they do not have an audio version of their book, this is a waste or the book’s potential.  In today’s world, it is almost more important to have an audio version than to have a printed version of a book.

This poses a business opportunity, some authors don’t have the time or resources to convert their book into audio format, and need someone to assist them in this.  The book needs to be recorded (with good equipment) and then edited and produced, and if the author is not well known, it will also need advertising.  This is an industry that will only expand in the coming years.

The Business Opportunity of Social Media Management.

A majority of individuals spend a vast amount of their time on various social media platforms, this poses opportunity for businesses to get in front of their customer.  All business professionals and other individuals need to keep a clean, updated online social profile.  People visit social media websites everyday, it is a waste for celebrities or businesses to not engage on this huge social hub.

No business or individual spends their entire advertising budget to be on a billboard in an extremely rural area, rather, they spend their money advertising on billboards in the city; where the majority of people are.  Facebook has approximately 1.49 billion active users, that is a lot of people, and the number is constantly growing.  These are people of all ages and interests, and they go on Facebook daily to find things of interest to them.  The potential customer is there and can be targeted easily.

Celebrities and small businesses need to be out there, but they do not always have the time and the “know-how” to reach their audience through social media platforms.  This creates a business opportunity for individuals who have a professional knowledge of social media management and marketing.  There is a broad customer base.  Businesses need a professional to create social buzz for them, they need to create a social experience for their customers.  This is not always easy.  To be successful, the individual needs to know how to attract people and keep them engaged.  This profits the celebrity or business because they need people on social media platforms to be following them and engaging in their content, they just need someone to professionally produce and manage that content.

The online business opportunity of selling products online.

Over the past week of lessons (L41-L44), in the business II course of the Ron Paul curriculum, I was presented with 4 online business ideas.  The opportunities were: 1. Blogging.  2. Photography.  3. Website security.  4. Selling products online.  I have interest in both photography and blogging, but they are, at this point in my life, just a passionate hobby used in building a personal portfolio.  Of these four endeavors, I am intrigued most by the opportunity of selling products online.

Selling products online is essentially creating a worldwide storefront.  There are several online platforms that can be used to sell products on (e.g. Amazon, Ebay, Etsy etc.), or one can create their own storefront website.  To build a successful online store, whether it is built on another platform or on a personal website, there must be a professional setup that provides a good customer experience.  It takes an investment to build a secure and successful online store.

The target customer depends on what is sold and in what niche.  To be set apart from competitors, the store should be stocked with a unique brand that consumers cannot find elsewhere.  Products can be handmade, made or produced by a local source, or they can be ordered wholesale by a manufacturer.  Personally, I am still unsure of what I want to sell online, however, I think the best way to develop a niche is to ask people about their problems and develop a product or series of products that solve a common problem.

This could be transformed into a career, or it could just be a business to get me started.  Regardless, if I follow a formula of success, this is an experience that is invaluable.

The Business Opportunity of SEO.

Over the past week of lessons (L36-L40) in the business 2 course of the Ron Paul curriculum, 4 different online business opportunities were presented.  Search engine optimization, Graphic design, website theme development, copy-writing.  Of these 4 options, I was intrigued most by the business opportunity of search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization is getting a website to the top of search engine results using natural techniques.  There are companies with websites that could vastly increase their revenue, with the help of someone who has experience in SEO.  The common person searching for a business does not go all the way to the 10th page of Google to find their results, it is rare for people to even make it to the 2nd page.  When  you make a Google search, the top few results are paid ads, then from there, the results are placed based on how the website is keyed and optimized.  It is crucial to apply SEO techniques to a website, and a specific article.  For a website to be successful, it must be visited, to ensure that a website is visited, SEO techniques must be applied.

SEO is getting ranked as high as possible through NATURAL tactics.  If you use “black hat” techniques rather than natural methods, you can be removed from Google, and lose time and money that you have invested. Essentially, avoid lying to people to get website views. It is crucial to only use natural techniques.

To become an SEO specialist, it is crucial to understand how to key and optimize a website.  it is important to know how to create a good SEO title, and how to insert the right, and effective keywords.  Good writing ability is basic to SEO, as it is basic to almost every field.  Luckily, SEO is based largely on logic, there is no confusing formulas, it is all very logical.  To attain the skills needed, you simply need good work ethic, and as much experience as you can get.

A Potential Web-based Business Idea.

There is a lot of online business opportunity in today’s world that is laying there for any person who is willing to take that opportunity.  There are several web-based businesses that only require basic education and some experience in that field.

One of these opportunities that I find to be appealing is website production.  Knowing how to create, design, and develop a good website is a valuable skill that there is a constant demand for.  This is a skill that may take some time to learn, but with practice and experience, an individual can develop a unique talent.

A large percentage of businesses either have a website or need a website.  Of the small businesses who have websites, a significant amount of them need to improve their website.  A website needs to be functional, and be responsive on any platform.  A website is the storefront displayed on the internet, and in order to represent the business well, it must be well maintained.

There are several ways for an individual, such as myself, to go about website production.  Services can be offered locally, or world-wide.  Personally, I find it ideal to work world wide rather than local.  Marketing yourself world wide, and making your services available to businesses around the world, will obviously broaden your customer base tremendously.

Whether you improve websites, write the copy for websites, maintain websites, or produce and sell websites, this is a growing business possibility.  Attain the skill set to help other businesses find and connect with more potential customers.

Cash Accounting vs. Accrual Accounting.

Good accounting is basic to every successful business.  It is the job of the business owner to ensure that the best method of accounting is being applied.  Here is the definition of accounting from Wikipedia: “Accounting or accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations.”  This provides the basic idea.  Without accounting, a business is sloppy, and it is impossible to run it successful.  Accounting is a structural aspect of every business that should not and cannot be overlooked, there are two basic methods of accounting that are given in the paragraphs below.

Cash accounting method.  In using the cash method of accounting, sales are recorded when cash is received, and the expenses are recorded when cash is sent out.  This may seem like a very basic method, and it is.  However, there are issues.  When using the cash method, the economic reality is distorted.  Some expenses have to be paid months or years in advance, this throws off the financial statements and presents a lot of confusion.

Accrual accounting method.  In the accrual method of accounting, the revenue is recorded when the service or good is delivered no matter when the cash is paid or received.  This is the reverse of the cash method.  It is simple, and it is more productive.  “Accounts payable” is the term we use to record these unpaid expenses.  The accrual accounting method, unlike the cash method, clears up economic confusion and allows for more accuracy in financial records.

My favorite product-based company.

There are countless different types companies that provide a large array of products and services to individuals around the world.  All of these businesses can be categorized in one or both of two categories: product, or service.

A service-based company, such as Uber, a lawyer, or a plumber, offer a professional service.  Select services could be done without these companies but a majority of the population would rather hire the work to someone else.

A product-based company, such as Amazon, Walmart, or Barnes and noble, provide products.  Some select product-based companies, manufacture and distribute their products, while others have suppliers from which they get their products and then they distribute to buyers.

Determining my favorite product-based company is a hard decision, however, it would have to be Amazon.com.  It is really handy to have a reliable online platform that carries nearly every imaginable item sold on amazon.  Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, did a remarkable job in creating and developing an effective online shopping platform.  Amazon offers opportunity for other smaller businesses to distribute their products, and it also offers opportunity for individuals, such as bloggers, to earn money by promoting their products.

Amazon manufactures some of their products, but a majority of products are sold by businesses and individuals, through the Amazon platform.  Amazon is like an online mall, only, way bigger than any physical mall.  Amazon was an innovative idea, that has created a unique online community that has been a huge convenience to many people (including me) throughout their daily lives.

Harry Browne’s 5 point sales process.

Harry Browne, in his book The Secret of Selling Anything, Browne presents a 5-step formula that has given the advertising industry a new perspective.  Browne has created a method of selling as a service.  Find out what the customer wants, and help him get it.

  1. Discover the prospect’s motivation.  Ask questions.  Make time and effort to listen to the problems and demands of the prospect.  It is important to identify, or help him to identify, his motivation, this will lead to the next step of the process.
  2. Summarize the motivation. Repeat the motivation of the buyer back to him, and agree with it.  Define it to him or her and give them an opportunity to agree.  This builds a unique trust, the buyer now feels significant because the salesperson took the time to listen to and make an effort to understand his motivation.
  3. Present your product (or service) based on his wants.  At this point, the buyer wants to know if the product will fulfill their needs.  They do not care about ALL the revolutionary features this product or service includes.  Present the relevant benefits that will motivate the buyer first.  The salesperson needs to focus on the buyer’s motivation, and present it based on what the buyer needs to achieve.
  4. Answer his questions.  Most buyers will have objections and doubts, it is the job of the salesperson to help the buyer understand the offer.  Do not ever twist the truth, give them real facts.  It is crucial that the salesperson knows the product or service, and is willing to go out of the way to answer the prospect’s questions.
  5. Close the sale.  End the process with a call to action, and continue to answer any questions that might arise.  If the product or service fulfills the prospect’s needs, this final step should be easy.

This basic process has been proven to attain loyal customers.  The focus of the sale should be on the benefit that satisfies the needs of the buyer.

Franchise vs. Independent

Starting a business, though it involves risk, can be a very profitable venture.  There are two different ways for an individual to obtain a business.  There are franchise opportunities, and there is potential opportunity as an independent, both can be very profitable.

With a franchise, the aspiring business owner virtually buys a piece of operation from a bigger cooperate business and operates it in a location.  The cooperate business provides them with inventory plans and provide a detailed blue print.

The cooperate business wants the business to succeed, they suppy the businessman with everything they need and set them up for success.  Depending on the franchise, it can involve a major investment, but there is a high probability of success.  If one wants to avoid the risk of going out on their own, and use an already proven idea, a franchise is a great opportunity.

Independent, or “doing your own thing,” is substantially different.  The aspiring businessman must do everything on their own.  If no one has done it before, it is nearly impossible to know whether the business will survive or not.  While there is more risk, there is also a lot more potential reward for an independent business.  All proceeds go to the business owner.  As an independent, the owner gets to make major business decisions, where as with a franchise, the major decisions are made exclusively by the major brand cooperation.  For the innovative business mind, starting as an independent is the superior option.

Aspiring businessmen should look into both options, and invest time in establishing which kind of business they should start.