Product Creation – Successful Entrepreneurs Develop Their Own Products

There is nothing like having your own product to sell. You can keep all the profits for yourself. If you are selling affiliate product, you have to worry whether the company will remain in business, or whether the rates of commission will reduce or that there is not enough market for those products. In fact, when you have your own product, you can affiliate it and offer commissions for its sale. But in this case also, you get to keep a good portion of the profits.

You can develop products to distribute freely or you can sell them to earn profits. When you distribute freely, you get to build a list which can then be useful in marketing your products. There are 2 requirements of products.

1. They must be wanted by your target audience. You cannot sell something which does not serve any purpose or does not solve any problem. If you find that your customers need information on how to lose weight, you must write an e-book on ways of losing weight. If your target audience wants to know what the great places to visit in Singapore are, you write about that. So where do you find what they want. For this, you must regularly visit internet forums related to your field of interest and watch what people are talking about.

2. The products must be in downloadable format. For instance, if you are writing an e-book, make it available in PDF format which is easy to share and print. If you are making an audio product, create it in MP3 format which is the most widely used format for audio files. On the internet, people want instant gratification. As soon as they sign up to your list, they would expect to get the freebie or the product.

There are many types of products you can create digitally. I will explain about 3 such products.

1. E-book: You can create an e-book which is nothing but your content, organized in chapters and presented with an attractive title. E-books are very popular information products and can be used in a variety of ways.

2. Audio Product: You can record a training session or an interview and develop and audio product. If the interview is long, break it up into small parts and run an email audio course. All you need to do is to give out the link in the email and students will access it from your servers.

3. Screen Capture Product: You can develop products to teach people how to use the internet or any other software product. Use tools like Camtasia to capture screens of the products and add a voice over to explain the navigation.

Developing your own product is the first step to take your entrepreneurship to the next level of success.

Marketing Tips – Small Business Pricing

Pricing is a key determinant in the decision making process customers use to purchase your product or service as well as a key element in determining the profitability of your business. Setting a price for your product or service that appeals to your target market and encourages them to buy is therefore an essential part of your business and marketing strategy.

Before determining your pricing strategy for your business it is important to consider the following:

Your Customer

An effective marketing strategy begins and ends with your customer. It is therefore important to establish how much your customers are willing to pay for your product or service, how sensitive your customers are to changes in price and how price discounting will affect the level of demand and profitability of your business.

Your Product or Service’s Features and Benefits

Unless you have a product or service that offers a unique or additional benefit, and you can communicate this benefit adequately to your target market, if your price is too high you may price yourself out of the market. Look at the features and benefits your product or service offers and how they compare to your competitors. Remember the benefits you provide can either be physical, emotional or both. For example, some customers may see a high price as equalling high quality and are therefore willing to pay a premium.

The Cost of Doing Business

Before setting your price you need to determine what your small business must charge for its product or service in order for you to make and sustain a profit. Look at what the cost and expenses are of doing business and what price you will need to sell at to ensure these expenses are covered. Unless you have a sustainable cost advantage, if your price is too low, your sales volume may not generate enough revenue to cover the costs associated with your business.

The Market and Your Competitors

Your competitors play an important role when setting your pricing strategy. For example, there may be competitors nearby where customers can compare prices so you may need to price match. If it is hard for your customers to compare prices you may be able to charge a premium.

Distribution Channels

Some customers may expect to pay a different price for a product or service depending on which distribution channel they use. For example, if a customer purchases a product over the internet or by mail they may expect to pay a lower price due to the elimination of the middle person i.e. the retailer.

Life Cycle of Your Product or Service

At different stages of your product or service life cycle you may change your pricing strategy to suite your business needs. For example, when you are launching a new product or service you may adopt a low price strategy to encourage trial and repurchase of your product/service on a regular basis. Alternatively if your product or service has a unique point of difference or high cost of production you may charge a premium over your competitors. As your product or service grows in customer awareness and credibility you may be able to sustain a price increase. Alternatively as sales increase, your production costs may be reduced and you may be able to pass on some of these savings in a price reduction or regular promotional offers.

(c) Marketing for Business Success Pty Ltd 2008

Top 6 Tips for Small Business Looking To Embrace Social Media Marketing

For small businesses, social media marketing is essential. It can be the difference between having a successful enterprise or a struggling trade. This is due to the large potential that social media marketing presents.

Unlike multinational organisations, small sized businesses do not have huge marketing budgets to conduct sufficient market research. As a result, social media offers the opportunity for small businesses to directly communicate with customers and discuss all aspects of the business. Businesses can gain vital information relating to their services, and in return, market products and see where improvements can be made.

However, using social media marketing is not as simple as logging into Facebook or Twitter and posting comments. Utilising these websites from a business prospective requires a careful balance of time and strategy. Here are six tips for small businesses looking to embrace social media marketing.

Plan an effective strategy– Before you create a website that bundles all social media websites that you’re planning to sign up to, outline key targets and the ways needed to employ them. Decide which social media websites to use, who within the company will carry it out and what method will be used to assess the progress of the campaign.

Locate your customers– Conduct market research to establish which social media websites your customers predominantly use. For potential customers, search keywords and topics relating to your business to find out relevant blogs and forums to join and communicate.

Time management – As social media marketing can be very time consuming, it is important to find enough time during the business day to communicate with customers and build effective relationships. Customers who see regular activity or have their queries and questions answered are more likely to follow the business and recommend their services. Remember though; don’t just market your business, listen to what your customers have to say.

Be the specialist– Pass on useful information and give solutions that will help customers. This will not only show you’re an expert in your industry, but it will also help build a rapport between you and your customers.

Integrate personality – The best way to maintain relationships is to write honestly and openly. Customers are more willing to communicate with people they like as opposed to business representatives. Another way of incorporating personality is to display a ‘human’ picture and not just the business logo. You should use the same personality when you create a website for your business, so people will recognise the brand.

Offer incentives– Make online customers feel as though they are valuable by offering exclusive discounts and promotions. This will help sustain interest and ensure customers feel integrated in the business.

By implementing these tips, small businesses can effectively promote and expand their online brand, and in the long run, gain more customer awareness. Well planned social media marketing will leave customers talking and consequently; they will be more likely to buy into the brand. Ultimately the key to success is hard work. Posting comments now and again, will only lead to customers disregarding the business, whereas, active weekly posts will result in an online presence that customers can trust and depend on.

Top Time Management Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs

I don’t think I’ve ever met a business owner who wasn’t busy. Managing your time is one of the hardest things you’ll need to do as an entrepreneur. There’s always too much to do, so you’ll need to manage your time well in order to get everything done. Here are my top time management tips:

1. Find out what you’re doing with your time.

One of the first things to do is to actually find out what you are doing with your time. Try monitoring your time for a week and see what’s going on. Use colour coding if it makes things easier i.e. yellow for administrative tasks; blue for marketing; green for client work and so on. At the end of the week, you’ll be able to see what you’re spending too much time on and adjust your time accordingly.

2. Get organised

The more organised you get yourself, the more you’ll be able to handle all the tasks you need to do. Tidy your desk; set up filing systems; and have procedures to deal with the work that comes in. I know it’s hard, but try to deal with each thing only once so that you get it out of the way.

3. Practise the “Do it now” philosophy

As soon as a new task comes in, try to “do it now”. You’ll be amazed at how many tasks you can get rid of. Things very rarely take as long as you think they will once you get cracking.

4. Do things in short bursts

If you’re really not looking forward to doing a task, make yourself do it for 5 minutes only. If you know you’re only going to be doing it for 5 minutes, it doesn’t look as daunting. And once you’ve got started on the task, you’ll probably find you’ll continue on it once the 5 minutes is up.

5. Ask yourself “what’s stopping you?”

Lack of time is often used as an excuse for not doing something. If you find yourself putting something off because you “don’t have the time”, ask yourself what’s going on. Questioning what’s stopping you completing tasks can often really help you decide whether or not to do them.

6. Don’t be afraid to drop a task

Look, if you haven’t completed a task; you’ve asked yourself “what’s stopping you”; and you’ve reached the conclusion that you really don’t want to do it, don’t be afraid to drop the task altogether. We often agree to things that don’t actually benefit us and if a task falls into this category, make the decision that you have the choice to drop the task.

7. You have a choice

As entrepreneurs, we start each day with a blank piece of paper and choose how to fill our time. You don’t have to agree to everything unless you want to do it or it helps you to achieve your goals.

8. Set goals

Setting goals will help keep you motivated and focused. Decide on three personal goals that you’d love to complete over the next year and three business ones. The goals must be things that you really want to do. Your time should then be spent on tasks and activities that help you complete these goals.

9. Accept that it’s impossible to get everything done

There’s only so much time in a day. Even if you’re the most efficient person ever, if you have too many tasks you won’t get them all completed. Accept this and don’t feel too guilty if you miss out on a few.

10. Have fun

Finally, remember as an entrepreneur to have some fun. Running a business isn’t all about working – take some time off too. If you develop a hobby or an interest that takes your mind off the business, you’ll be much more productive as a result.

There’s no one solution to managing your time. The trick is to find things that work for you, Try different things, have fun and do the things that help you to achieve your goals for what you want from your business.