Below you’ll find four videos about the most important basic rules that even the most seasoned eBiz owners forget sometimes. They’re silly, they’re short, but they’re extremely important to understand.
So check each one out and make sure YOU haven’t forgotten these critical basics as you work to build your ECommerce business!
Here we go…
Video 1: Arrows are Sharper than Beach Balls
So assuming that you actually watched the video and you’re not trying to skip ahead just to get this overwith, let’s talk about how Arrows are sharper than Beach Balls.
When we build an online store, we put ourselves at the mercy of the search engines. If we want people to find us, we have to do what the search engines want us to do. Otherwise, we never get found.
(Or, we spend a ridiculous amount of money on paid advertising, and it never pays us back!)
So what do the search engines want? In a perfect world, they want to see a web site where everything on that site is all about the same thing. Every page, every description, every article is about the same subject.
When a search engine finds a site like that, they consider it to be much more of an authority on it’s subject. So, it ranks much higher in the search engines.
On the other hand, when a web site tries to talk about all kinds of different, unrelated things, search engines just can’t figure out what the overall point is. So they just sit in the corner and drool.
Imagine trying to read a 20 chapter book, where every chapter is about something totally different and unrelated to the other chapters. Are you imagining that? Confusing, isn’t it? Uh-huh. Now you feel the poor search engines’ pain.
An Arrow is a web site that sells only one type of product, like baseball bats, and all the words on that web site are related to that one product line. To the search engines, it’s sharp and focused. It sticks to the first page of the search engines, lots of people find it, and they spend lots of money on that site. If that’s your site, this’ll make you very happy.
A Beach Ball is a web site that tries to sell a whole lot of unrelated products on the same site, like baby shoes, bowling balls and JuJuBees. It’s big and bloated with too many unrelated words. It bounces off the first page of the search engines, and lands in the weeds somewhere. No customer will ever find it. If that’s your site, this’ll make you very sad.
If you keep your web site focused on only one product line, you’ll do much better in the search engines.
Video 2: Messy Web Sites Smell Bad
So now that you’ve watched the video, try doing some random pretend shopping online. Type a couple of keywords into Google and see what you can see on the sites that come back. How many of the web sites that you visit “smell bad” (make you wrinkle up your face and want to leave the area)?
Chances are, a LOT of them do. This is a very common problem.
This is one of the most overlooked problems in ECommerce. If you’re selling online, you’re in the retail business. Presentation is half the battle in retail. Over and over again, I see web sites that are just random plasterings of pictures and words alll over the page, that make no real sense.
The goal of a good web page is to lead your visitor by the eyes, very quickly and cleanly, to exactly the product they want to buy. Always keep in mind that if they’ve landed on your site to begin with, they got there because they SEARCHED for what you sell. They ALREADY want to buy it.
They don’t have to be re-convinced of the virtues of the product or why they should want to buy it. They don’t need to be confused by having to sort through 20 or 30 product names and prices plastered all over a home page. Nevermind smacking them in the face with security logos, free shipping, coupons and pop-overs. Don’t talk at your visitors endlessly with paragraphs full of text stuffed with keywords (As SEO goes, that’s very old-school anyway, and doesn’t work anymore).
Keep it simple. Again, your visitor already wants what you sell. All you have to do is give them a clear, uncluttered and un-confusing path to the product page, and you’ve won half the battle.
Lots of site owners buy “templates” for their web sites. Site design isn’t something that comes out of a box. The graphic designers who build those templates do know how to build pages that look pretty. The problem is that they’re graphic designers, not marketers.
Marketers know that you have to subliminally plant a series of ideas in a customer’s head very quickly and smoothly. Your customer needs to pick up on the professionalism of your company. The legitimacy of your business. Your page has to quickly build a selling proposition and a “what’s in it for me”, and the has to graphically lead your customer’s eyes to the right image to click to get where they need to go to buy from your site.
You don’t get that from pre-built sites or from templates. Graphic designers did’t go to school for marketing; they went for graphic design. And unless you went to school for marketing yourself, there are things you need to learn too, if you want to join that 5% of EBiz Owners who actually make a full time living online.
Clean and simple is the key to building a successful web site. Don’t let your web site smell bad!
Video 3: Don’t Poke People with a Stick!
Have you watched the video? The point here is to make it clear that Social Marketing is supposed to be 95% social, and only 5% marketing.
When people are in the social venues, they’re in their private, personal time. They’re sharing stories and pictures with friends and family members. They’re talk, laughing, catching up and relaxing with each other.
The last thing they want is somebody throwing sales pitches at them. People in social settings are NOT people who are shopping. It’s not appropriate to pitch in a social setting.
However, there ARE ways to get your message across and increase your sales without throwing blatant sales pitches at people.
Social Marketing is more an art form than it is a formula. This is retail sales. Communication is very important. Proper communication for the proper setting is critical.
In Social Marketing, we communicate our messages by creating interesting information related to what people are talking about, that subtly leads back to what we do.
For example, if you sell Breadmakers online, you hang out in social areas where people are talking about baking and cooking. You share recipes for fresh baked bread. Along the way, you mention that you get the best results with the particular type of breadmaker you use. Then you link that word (breadmaker) to a product page on your site.
That’s just the most basic first step in Social Marketing, but it helps to explain the most critical concept:
Don’t poke people with a stick!
Video 4: Don’t Build a Store in a Hole
So, most people know that SEO and Social Marketing is critical to getting your store found online. BUT…did you catch the word “PROPERLY” in the video?
That’s where most people run into a problem.
I hear people all the time telling me that they’ve “done the SEO”, but when I look at their sites I see that the SEO is done really poorly. Why? Because most SEO info that you get for free on the search engines is horribly outdated.
People also tell me that they’re “doing Social Marketing”, but they’re not. When I go look for them in the social venues and through non-commercial keywords (keywords that people search on when they’re looking for INFO and not shopping) these sites are nowhere to be found.
REALLY UNDERSTANDING how the search engines work is critical to a business owner who wants to be successful. 95% of the people out there who are trying to make money online don’t have that understanding. Either because they haven’t found the right place to learn it, or because they think they can pick it up for free online.
If your store can’t be found, nobody can buy anything from you.
PROPER SEO and Social Marketing is key to this business.
Don’t build a Store in a Hole!
There. Do you feel En-Smartened? Yes, I know it’s not really a word. (Or is it??)
I hope this short (and yes, silly) series of videos has helped you to understand four of the most critical points in online business!
If you want to learn the more serious details of how people actually make money in ECommerce, I’ve been making money at it for 20 years, and I’m here to teach you everything you need to know.
Register for my LIFETIME Online Workshop and Mentoring Program before Midnight October 1st and get a 50% + $100 DISCOUNT.
A phone number for your eBiz Store site: do you need one? Absolutely. I’m not even going to spend a lot of time here discussing that. It’s a requirement, pure and simple, because people need to know that you’re a real business they can contact. You need a phone number on that site, and you need it right up there in the site header on every single page of the site, nice and obvious.
The question here is whether that phone number should be a local number or a toll-free number.
I guess I’ve assumed for a long time that people know they should use a toll-free number on their eBiz sites. Lately, though, Ive talked with some people who use local numbers and didn’t understand why they should go toll-free.
First, let’s understand that this is not about the money. Retail customers who are going to call a business really don’t care by and large whether the call costs a buck or two or doesn’t. What they care about is whether the company they’re calling is LEGITIMATE.
A toll-free phone number goes a LONG way toward making your business look legitimate. A local number looks more like you’re somebody working out of your home. Yes, most ARE working out of their homes, but that’s not something you want to bring to your customers’ attention on every page of your site.
A local phone number displayed on your site also makes your business feel “far away”. Think about it for a minute. When you look at a web site and see a toll-free number, that site looks close-by and accessible. It looks like the lights are on, everybody’s home, it’s open 24 hours a day and it’s a large company that’s easy to reach. That toll-free number goes a very long way toward giving your customers that legitimacy factor that’s so important in online sales.
On the other hand, try to picture seeing a local phone number in the header of a web site. That local number, for most people, will have an area code that’s not THEIR area code. That makes your business feel like it’s “distant”…a long ways away. The business looks smaller, less like a larger company. It also, for some reason, makes you feel like you can only reach that company during certain hours of the day, while the toll-free number implies 24/7 service.
That feeling of “distance” in a local phone number is something that pushes people away from a web site. Not good.
So go with a toll-free number for your eBiz, and show it off on your site. You can do it for less than $20 a month, and the rate of return is tremendously more than that.
Keep in mind that while a toll-free number will give people the impression that you’re open 24 hours a day, you certainly don’t have to be. Your SITE is open 24 hours a day, and that’s what’s important, because even with a toll-free number, you won’t get very many calls.
People don’t want to call you. Internet shoppers in most cases are not interested in talking to anyone. They just want to hurry up and buy whatever they’re looking for. However, they’ll hurry up and buy a lot more often if you look like a legitimate company, and a toll-free number is one of the things that will do that for you.
If you want to make money online, you have to give your customers some way to pay you with their credit cards. Kind of goes without, saying, right?
That means you need some kind of payment acceptance method on your site. There are two major choices: a Merchant Account, or PayPal.
Sure, you can use both. In fact, lots of web sites do. However, Merchant Accounts have their Risk Management departments ratcheted up so tight these days (because of the recession) that it’s getting more difficult to get a Merchant Account from a reputable provider. If and when you DO get one, you constantly run the risk of either getting your cash frozen for up to 3 months because of fraud attempts against your site, or getting your account shut down for the same reasons. You can’t control people trying to use bad cards on your site, but you pay the penalty if enough of them do.
Notice I said “reputable provider”. Most people don’t realize that most Merchant Account processors are not the actual banks. There are second and even third-level sellers of Merchant Accounts who take a cut of your transaction fees all the way up the ladder to the actual processing bank. That can mean higher and higher transaction fees.
So, what about PayPal?
Well, I used to tell people that PayPal wasn’t a good idea. Why? Because way back in the day, PayPal wanted your customer to be a PayPal member in order to use the service. It wasn’t REQUIRED, but they sure tried to snag those people into opening PayPal accounts.
The bad thing was, they tried to snag them right in the middle of YOUR checkout process.
For example: A customer goes to your site and buys a widget. You use PayPal as your checkout/payment process. As the customer is trying to pay, PayPal asks them: “Do you have a PayPal Account?” Most customers would click “No”. Then, PayPal asks them “Do you want to sign up for a PayPal Account? It’s fast and easy, and your dog will like it and it’ll make your sex life better and you’ll never lose your hair!” (Well, not exactly, but you get the idea). The customer has to choose “No” again, and on and on it goes.
In other words, PayPal used to seriously disrupt the purchase process on your site, trying to get YOUR customers to become THEIR members right in the middle of the purchase!
That resulted in higher than usual shopping cart abandonment. Translation? No soup for you! Okay, no sales for you…but again, you get the idea. (Can’t resist a good Seinfeld quote when the chance comes up)!
HOWEVER…PayPal has, in recent years, begun to come to their senses. There’s still a little bit of schmoozing the customer during the checkout process in some cases, but it’s become much more transparent than it used to be.
There are 3 kinds of PayPal account now:
Standard (free) - Customers still have to leave your site and get semi-schmoozed by PayPal in order to buy from you.
Advanced ($5 a month) - Customers stay on your site and go through a much more transparent checkout process.
Pro ($30 a month) - Customers stay on your site, transparent checkout process, AND you get to customize the PayPal payment page so it looks like your site, AND you can accept orders via phone, fax and mail because you can get a Virtual Terminal.
The transaction fees are reasonable, there are no hassles like the endless contracts, credit checks and paperwork that the Merchant Account companies put you through, their Customer Service has become really excellent, and it’s much easier to resolve card fraud issues.
And of course, your customers can use MasterCard, Visa, Discover or Amex, just like a regular ole’ Merchant Account.
SO, I’ve definitely changed my tune about PayPal over the last couple of years. In fact, I’ve been using them for the last couple of years and have learned these things by experience.
Yes, you can get a Merchant Account if you still want to, and you can ALSO use PayPal on your site.
However, it’s become much less of a hassle to simply use PayPal if you’re looking to save time, hassle, money, and reduce risk at the same time.
Hope that helps!
Literally every day, I get phone calls from people asking me about different “Get Rich Quick” schemes they find online. They call to describe them to me and ask me if they work. I just got off the phone with yet another guy who wanted to buy a pre-loaded, pre-built web site from some thieving jackass marketer who knows perfectly well it will never work.
The answer is NO, every time. There is no quick and easy solution to building a real business, either on the Internet or anywhere else. Never. Period. End of Sentence.
Every time I say NO, though…these people want to argue with me. They want to know if I’m sure that this one isn’t different. They keep telling me all the wonderful easy details over and over again, hoping I’ll change my mind. They WANT to believe that junk is real, because it looks so EASY!
So if they want it, and it looks so easy, why did they call me to ask about it in the first place?
BECAUSE THEY ALREADY KNOW IT’S JUNK. THEY’RE JUST HOPING THEY CAN FIND SOMEONE REPUTABLE TO TELL THEM IT’S NOT.
Sorry, I won’t do it.
There are no shortcuts. There are no cheap or easy ways out. There are no successful “pre-built” or “pre-loaded” web sites or businesses. You won’t learn everything you need to know on the search engines for free. You can’t outsource people to do your work for you, because if you hire people who do it right, it’ll cost you a fortune.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is a thief and a liar, and you can tell them I said so.
Most of the people who call me for the truth, then go away not liking the truth, will never make it in eBiz. They’ll still go buy all that endless crap from the ever-present Internet Marketing Clown Car and spend thousands of dollars and years of wasted time figuring out that I was telling them the truth in the first place, and they should have listened.
If you don’t want to be one of those poeple, you have to learn this stuff and do it yourself. That’s the only way anybody ever makes any real money in eCommerce.
Again, sorry…but that’s just the way the world is. We have to actually work for our money.
SO…do you want to know WHAT you have to learn to do yourself if you want to succeed? Here’s a handy list that you can tape to the wall near your computer or put in your business notebook.
If you don’t have a legal business, you can’t work with real wholesalers, and you can’t collect money from your customers’ credit cards. There are lots of ways to get legal, and some are better than others.
You need to know how all the puzzle pieces of Ecommerce fit together. An overview of how it all works lets you see the big picture, and that’s where you need to start.
You need to learn how to choose a product market with high demand, low competition, profitable margins, and price points that allow you to make money at a lower volume of sales while staying within the average price ticket in the current economy. Sound like fun? It’s not so hard when once you learn it!
Keywords are how people find our businesses online. Understanding how people are searching for the things you’re selling is critical to your Ebiz.
From drop shipping to bulk buying, there’s a product sourcing progression your Ebiz needs to go through to become more and more profitable. Understanding that progression is the key to earning more and more money over time.
Understanding what site and store hosting is, how shopping carts integrate with stores, how sites are built and what kinds of site are the most effective makes a big difference in your business.
The most successful web sites lead their visitors through the pages visually, without too much text. There are visual patterns and subliminal messages that need to be sent to bring people from page to page, so they end up making the purchase.
This is one side of the coin when it comes to getting your site noticed in the most important place: The top of the natural search engine results in Google. There are several social marketing methods, and some of them are more important than others. No matter what, you need to know how to use them properly.
Search Engine Optimization:
Called SEO for short, this is the other side of the coin when it comes to getting to those top results in Google. Knowing exactly where and how to place keywords on your pages and in your Meta Tags makes all the difference when it comes to getting results.
Other Marketing Strategies:
From email marketing to viral marketing to paid advertising and more, there are other marketing strategies, some good and some bad, that you need to be aware of. You need to know which is which, and how to use the good ones.
Understanding how to tell what visitors are doing when they come to your site is as important as having a site in the first place. When you understand your visitors’ behaviors, you understand where change needs to be made to make your site more effective.
That’s just a basic overview of the major things you need to learn to run a real moneymaking business online.
If this is too much heat for you, please get out of the kitchen before you burn yourself to the tune of thousands of dollars and years of effort wasted on “quick and easy get rich quick schemes”.
On the other hand, if you can handle what it takes to be a REAL business owner, I’m always here to help you.
Call me at 888-8ChrisM with any question, but keep an open mind, and I’ll be glad to talk to you about how a real business is built and run.
In my long (18 years +) experience with making money online, and with well over a decade of experience in teaching others how to make money online, this is something I see most often when I look at someone’s online business. Almost everyone I’ve ever talked to who had problems making money online was “Point-Shooting” with that business.
Check out the Video…
During the Holidays, I sent out a series of 5 emails explaining the Top 5 Worst Mistakes that EBiz Owners make online.
Bad time to send emails…only 15% of the people on my lists opened them! To many festivities, I guess!
So I decided to put together a video describing the very worst mistake that most eBiz owners make, and put it out on my Blog. This mistake nearly ALWAYS kills a business before it even gets off the ground.
Check out the video below. If this describes YOUR web site, this is why you’re not showing up in the search engines, and you need to do something about it quick!
When you have a web site that sells products online, sometimes you come across Automatic Product Feeds from wholesalers. This means that your wholesaler can send an automatically loaded file to your web site that fills in all the products, descriptions, prices, quantity available and so forth. These feeds are updated on a regular basis so that you don’t have to manually add products, manage prices and descriptions, etc.
For lots of people, this looks like the Holy Grail of ease in product management.
BUT, there are a couple of mistakes people make when using a feed like this that lead to serious problems.
THE FIRST PROBLEM is that people tend to take the ENTIRE product feed and put it on their web site. That often means hundreds or even thousands of products on a singe site. It almost always means that lots of products on that site will be unrelated to each other. For example, a large wholesaler with a product feed might carry everything from sporting goods to jewelry to clocks to baby buggies.
That’s really bad. Why?
Because a web site that has more than one specific product line on it is next to impossible to get ranked in Google (the most important search engine) or any other search engine.
Search engines look for web sites that tell one story about one thing. If you’re going to sell baby buggies, you need to sell ONLY baby buggies on your site. If you’re going to sell sporting goods, pick ONE type of sporting goods product (hunting knives, for example) and sell only that. If you mix products that a search engine sees as unrelated to each other, you have far too wide a mix of keywords for a search engine to rank you well for any ONE set of keywords, and nobody will ever find your site. If nobody finds your site, no sales.
THE SECOND PROBLEM is that when you get a product feed, you get descriptions of the products along with the feed. That seems like a good thing, but for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) it’s actually a bad thing. Manufacturer and wholesalers’ descriptions of products are almost always short and factual. For good SEO, and for good sales conversion, your product descriptions need to be personalized. They need to be very descriptive, contain the right SEO Keywords for that product and page, and give people a warm fuzzy that matches the overall look and personality of your site.
When you simply take the descriptions directly from the wholesaler and don’t re-write them to do all those things, you lose a very important part of your SEO, and a very important part of your sales conversion (turning visitors into buyers).
If you use an automatic product feed and you DO re-write your descriptions to be both more SEO friendly and conversion friendly, you run the risk that the next time the feed updates your site, all your changes can be lost and those descriptions can be replaced with the original ones.
So, if you are going to use an automatic product feed, make sure you do two things:
1. Choose carefully from the product feed! Be sure that you can pick and choose which products the wholesaler feeds your site (which is available in almost all feeds). Choose only the products in one carefully argeted and researched niche, and build your business around that niche.
2. Always change your product descriptions as mentioned above. Always be sure you can control the product feed to the point where it doesn’t overwrite your changed descriptions when it updates. In some cases you can do this, in some cases you can’t. In EVERY case, you NEED to, so make sure that you talk to the wholesaler first and confirm that your descriptions don’t get overwritten when the feed updates.
An automatic product feed can be a great timesaver, but if used the wrong way it can kill your business.
Should you use a Live Chat on your web site?
Well, the people who sell those programs certainly think you should. They talk about how important it is to be right there on the spot to talk to your customers, answer their questions, invite them into a chat to help sell your products, and so on.
So should you do that? Yes? No?
The answer is a resounding “Maybe”.
Live Chat on your site can certainly be a useful tool, but it has it’s drawbacks. The biggest drawback is that it ties you to your site a lot more than you’d probably like to be there. We all go into ECommerce for a little more freedom, right? I can tell you from painful experience that sitting in front of your computer practically 24/7 is not freedom!
Okay, say the Live Chat guys, you don’t have to sit there 24/7! You can close your Live Chat and leave a message saying you’re not there right now, “please leave a message”. But how does that come across to your customer?
The internet is supposed to be a 24/7 operation. While people realize that most stores are not staffed by live people 24/7 in the physical world or online, it’s still something that you really don’t need to remind your customers of. The feeling when shopping online is that you can get pretty much anything anytime. It’s kind of a magical shopping experience where everything is always open for business.
That’s a psychological effect I don’t think we should be messing with. Showing a Closed Live Chat window gives people a feeling, no matter how subtle, that your store is empty; devoid of life, the lights are on but nobody’s home…that kind of thing. No matter how subtle that effect is on different people, it’s there, and it’s not good.
So overall, I don’t like Live Chat all that much because you simply can’t staff it all the time, and when you aren’t there, it could slow sales down considerably. Will that make up for the supposed increase in sales when you ARE there?
Well, let’s think about that too. The fact is that most well-designed sites should not need Live Chat. A well-designed site will move people quickly and efficiently to the product(s) they want and make the sale without human intervention. In fact, that’s the way shoppers want it. Online shoppers move quickly. They don’t like things that slow them down, like needing to talk to someone on the phone or in Live Chat because the site itself doesn’t explain it’s products properly or is hard to navigate to what the shopper wants.
So design your site well, and you won’t have to worry about having a Live Chat that you can’t (and really don’t want to!) staff all the time. You also won’t have to worry about disappointing your customers and giving them a negative vibe about your biz when your customers see a closed Live Chat.
Okay, let’s talk about the flip side of the coin now. There ARE some sites that could benefit from Live Chat. Thinking back on the times I’ve actully engaged in a Live Chat when shopping for something, the only times I can remember doing it was when I was buying something complicated that needed futher explanation, or I was buying some software program that I didn’t get the License Key to.
Wait…that could have been solved by better site design and operation on the part of the seller! So, we’re back to square one.
Look, I’m not saying that Live Chat is a horrifying mistake or something that should never be used. I’m just saying that I don’t believe it should be needed by most web sites, and I don’t believe most site owners want to staff it as much as they should, and I DO believe that when it’s NOT staffed, that’s a bad thing.
So in my opinion, worry less about Live Chat and more about increasing your sales by working on your site design and marketing. Let people shop in your store in the wee hours while you sleep, without letting them know you’re asleep! That’s kinda the point, isn’t it?
Can your eBiz be sued for Trademark violations?
Yes it can, if you violate a Trademark, whether you realize you’re in violation or not.
This issue has caught my attention for two reasons this week. (1) I just heard about a home-based business owner who’s being sued over a Trademark violation, and (2) One of my Private Forum Members was thinking about registering a domain name that could be considered in violation of a Trademark. Luckily, that person asked about it in the Private Forum, and it was pointed out before anything bad could happen.
Lots of home-based EBiz owners either don’t think that they’ll ever be caught up in something like this, or don’t understand what to be careful of. It’s something that’s important to keep in mind. It does happen. Like I said, I know of a case in court right now where a home-based eBiz Owner violated a company Trademark, and is likely spending a fortune right now trying to defend himself in court. Whether he did it on purpose or not, well, that’s for the jury to decide at this point.
The particulars of that case don’t really matter. The important thing is that you understand the basics of Trademarks and steer your business clear of violating them.
So, here are the things you’ll want to keep in mind. There are two very common ways to violate Trademarks. Inappropriate domain names, and counterfeit products.
1. Inappropriate domain names:
Registering a domain name for your web site is easy. Go to one of the countless hosting sites that register domains, pick one, pay a few bucks and you’re on your way.
If you pick the wrong one, though, you could be on your way to court.
Let’s say you’re going to sell Wilson tennis racquets online, and it seems like a really good idea to you to register the domain name WilsonTennisRacquetsOnline.com. That’s actually a very bad idea, because the company that makes Wilson tennis racquets undoubtedly has the name Wilson Trademarked in relation to their products. That domain name would be in violation of their Trademark.
Be sure you keep the names of other companies and their specific product names (for example, the word “iPod”) OUT of your domain names. Doing anything else is asking for trouble.
(Legal disclaimer: “Wilson” and “iPod” are the intellectual property of their respective Trademark holders and are used here simply as examples). See what I mean? You have to be careful!
If you want to find out if any of the major words in a domain name you’re thinking about registering is Trademarked, go to http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp and click the “Search Marks” button. That’ll tell you whether you need to steer clear of the word(s) you’re considering.
2. Counterfeit products:
There are a LOT of counterfeit products coming out of places like China these days. Products that look like name-brand merchandise, and even have the actual name brands ON them. If they are not made by the company that owns the trademark, they are counterfeit, and you should NOT sell them. I know that lots of people think that if they can get cheap knock-offs at a low price they can make a lot of money on them.
Well, maybe they will. I hope so, because they’ll need a lot of money for legal defense when the Trademark owners catch up to them.
Remember that it’s very difficult if not impossible for these Trademark owners in the US to sue the counterfeit manufacturers in China, so they do the next best thing; they go after the people they can get to in the US. That means you, and you don’t want to be in that situation.
(a) Please be careful when registering domain names to sell name brand products
(b) Never use another company’s name or Trademarked words in your domain name
(c) NEVER sell counterfeit goods.
You can make plenty of money online without having to worry about getting sued over Trademark violations!
Well, here it is…another New Year! This is the time of year when people get the most fired up about doing new things in their lives and making the changes they’ve always dreamed about for their futures.
So, with that in mind, here’s my list of 5 Do’s and Dont’s for your EBiz in 2011.
1. DON’T: Ask how much money you can make, and how quickly.
DO: Realize that a business, whether online or offline, is not a race to the cash. It’s a slow, steady progression to bigger and better things every day.
I get people asking me all the time how fast they can get to making a certain amount of money per week, month or year. They all have a money goal in mind, and most want it to happen yesterday. They all want to do everything all at once, make a pile of money right now, and then sit back and spend it. It doesn’t work that way, but nobody wants to hear that.
Think of business like breathing. If you breathe really, really fast for a while, can you then stop breathing for the rest of your life? Well, you could, but the rest of your life wouldn’t be very long. It isn’t about how fast you do things. It’s about doing the right things consistently over time and letting the reward come from that consistency. If you do that, the rewards last for a long, long time.
It’s okay to have a financial goal in mind. In fact, it helps you work toward that goal. But, the faster you try to race toward that goal, the more mistakes you’re going to make. The more mistakes you make, the further away that goal gets, and the longer it’s going to take to get there.
This is not a race. Don’t treat it like one. Virtually all of the people I’ve seen really succeed online take the time to move slowly and methodically toward their goals.
To paraphrase a truly great quote from JFK: “Ask not what your EBiz can do for you. Ask what you can do for your EBiz!”
2. DON’T: Expect to hire people to do your day to day EBiz work for you right from the start.
DO: Make sure you learn every job in your EBiz before you turn it over to someone else.
I come across people every day who want to know who they can hire to design their site, write their blog posts, pick their products, do their marketing, handle their customer service, and every other EBiz function under the sun.
These people will never own a successful online business, unless they put together a couple of million dollars and buy one that’s fully staffed with employees and already making serious revenue. That’s because one of the most critical parts of owning a business (and I can tell you this from 35 years of experience!) is learning and really understanding everything about that business. Without that knowledge and understanding, you have no experience to base critical everyday decisions on. If you can’t make the critical decisions properly, you lose. Period.
People who learn and understand are people who make money. People who whine about not wanting to learn and do the hard stuff themselves had better show up to work at the day job on time every day, because they’re going to need that day job.
3. DON’T: Make your EBiz more complicated just because you know how to.
DO: Build your EBiz on existing platforms that already work well.
When I was much younger, I spent years working for my father’s construction company. I can build a house literally from the ground up. Framing, walls, trim, drywall, electrical, plumbing, roofing…you name it, I know how to do it. So, when I’m looking for a new house, should I go buy all the materials and build it myself? Of course not. I’m either going to hire a construction company to build one, or buy an existing house that I like. Otherwise it’ll take me way too long to build the whole thing myself, and I won’t have time to do anything else.
In EBiz, I see this happening most often with people who know something about web programming. It seems like everyone who can write a few lines of code wants to create the entire web site, including the shopping cart, shipping and taxation functions, etc., from scratch.
This is a very bad idea. There are already some very good online store platforms out there that come complete and ready to go. (I’m talking about something like Yahoo Store, for example…not those ridiculous “biz in a box” pieces of junk). You have to learn a lot about a lot of different things when you run a business. If you spend all your time trying to program something that already exists, you won’t have time for all the other things you need to do.
4. DON’T: Ask which EBiz tools are the easiest and fastest to learn.
DO: Ask which EBiz tools are the most effective for your business, no matter what the learning curve.
Business isn’t simple or easy. It requires time, dedication and a committment to learning. I see people all the time who are looking to do things the fastest and easiest way possible. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just either misguided or lazy. Those people are fooling themselves and wasting their time. Looking for the fastest and easiest way, instead of the most effective way, is simply the fastest and easiest way to the point of failure.
5. DON’T: Try to re-invent the wheel. The existing design rolls downhill just fine.
DO: Learn, practice and master the basics of online business first.
Start where eveyone else starts, only dedicate yourself to really understanding every phase of your business as you build. If you feel the burning desire to get fancy and build some massive online concept site, wait until you understand how business really works before you roll your wheel off that particular cliff. Chances are that understanding will save you from a long fall.
Every once in a while I come across someone who wants my help to build something extremely complicated. Examples: (1) A web site that sells a different product every day, (2) A web site where the customers themselves can also list items for sale, and pay a commission to the site owner, (3) Web sites that sell everything to everybody, and (4) Dozens of other complicated schemes.
People who go off on these complex tangents seem to think that sites like eBay, Amazon, Shop.com and many other big concepts were started in somebody’s garage and went on to make fortunes. They weren’t. These complex ideas required years of combined businesss experience from many people and millions of dollars in capitalization for development, programming and marketing.
Stick to and learn the basics. The basics are complicated enough, and if you don’t get those figured out, you don’t have a chance at the complex!
SO, there are 5 Do’s and Dont’s for your EBiz for 2011. There’s a lot more to understand, but these 5 are important. Please keep them in mind!
Have a great and prosperous 2011!