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Great Ways to Succeed in Your Online Business!

You Can Succeed if You Follow these Ideas.

In my previous article “What Does It Take to Succeed Online (or in Life)”, I listed several positive characteristics to increase your chances for success: Desire, Planning, Faith, and Perseverance just to name a few. If you believe you have what it takes to succeed online, you’re ready to find an online business which is reasonably tailor-made to meet your personality, talents, investment (whether it’s financial, in time, in talent, or all the above).

WARNING: I said “reasonably tailor-made” above, as no business is 100% perfect for everyone. All online businesses, like those in the real, 9-to-5 world, require some planning and effort. If you’re not willing to invest the time needed to adequately support and promote YOUR business, running one is NOT for you. There is no free lunch!

HOWEVER…If you do have what it takes-Desire, Plans, and Perseverance, to name a few-then, by all means, find the online business of your dreams. How, pray tell, do you do this? Well, first off, it starts with:

RESEARCH. If you have no idea what type of online business you wish to offer and promote, research is the key to unlocking a wealth of information on a wide-variety of businesses. Without research, it’s like a first-timer making homemade cookies without a recipe. Do your homework! Grab a pen and notebook, and take some notes.

Start your journey to success online-that’s right: the internet. Read articles by home business professionals-no, not the folks trying to sell you business programs, kits, and pie-in-the-sky potions. I mean real, legitimate online business professionals, such as Scott Fox, Juliette Powell, and Ewen Chia, just to name a few.

NETWORK. Whether Online or in-person, talk to area business leaders to get their viewpoints and feedback on successful online businesses. No, I am not talking about classifieds who tout their online business opportunities, but networks of local business people from business organizations (such as BNI, Business Network International), forums (Ryze and LinkedIn are good ones), or your area chamber of commerce (ask for a business directory, often free).

PLAN. Put pen to paper and carefully, thoroughly develop an online business game plan. Brainstorm with your closest, trustworthy friends and professional acquaintances to come up with a steady stream of ideas.

Together, ask several important questions:

(1). Who is your customer base and/or niche audience? Be as specific as possible, and realize you can’t serve everyone in the universe. (For example: My audience is small to medium-sized business owners in the southeastern United States.

(2) What product(s), service(s), or program(s) do you plan to offer? Again, try to be as specific as possible. Don’t overwhelm your audience with a ton of unrelated products, services, or opportunities, as this will only confuse them. (My website primarily offers tools to promote businesses, thereby hopefully increasing my customer’s image and profits.)

(3) When do you plan to purchase a domain and website? The correct answer to this two-part question should either be Immediately or Right Away. There’s no better time than the present to project a professional image. Also, be creative when deciding on a domain name. Just make sure your website is lightening fast, as many search engines can ignore slow websites.

(4) How much can you safely invest in a business? Be brutally honest with yourself. If you don’t have two dimes to rub together, the last thing you want to do is get deeper in debt. Good news: The internet lists well-written articles on free and inexpensive ways to start a business.

(5) How much time do you have to invest in a business? Read that last question again, please. If you are not willing to put (invest) time in your online business-say two or three hours a day depending on the business, then don’t waste your time. Collect baseball cards, garden, or do anything else. After all, an online business requires some sweat equity.

(6) Who is your competition? What do you know about them? What sets you apart from them? You need solid, concrete answers to these three questions, so you can beat them at their game. The best place to learn more about the competition is online. Check out their websites and information to discover how you can become even more competitive.

(7) What type of content will you offer your visitors? Many websites simply promote products, services, or opportunities! Boring! Set yourself apart from the competition with a site rich in content. Let’s say you’re a pest control operator: Write an article or blog about what causes wasp, hornet, or rat infestations. Whatever you write, show them that you Are the expert in a particular field.

(8) Have you thought about a logo, motto, or slogan? If you have, make sure they look professional and set you apart from the others. Suggestion: If you have an artistic friend or sign maker in your area, see if they can offer input.

(9) Anything else? YES: Always make sure you use spell-check. Nothing looks less professional than a website full of spelling errors!

SEARCH. Make sure the product(s), service(s), and opportunities you plan to promote interest you, so the visitor senses your passion for the item(s). Also, make darn sure these items are scam-free (so you can be proud of what you do) and marketable to your audience (so you can make money online). Whether good, bad, or downright ugly, you can find items and their reviews on the internet.

If you already have a product, service, or opportunity that can be promoted online, I would start there first. After all, you are the expert. And, hopefully, your passion and interest for that item shows.

However, if you lack passion for your item(s) or need a product, service, or opportunity to promote online, realize they fall into several categories:

(1) Affiliate Programs: A company rewards you to promote their product or products. Great for the beginner, many marketers earn thousands monthly for their efforts-even more. Hint: Don’t join every affiliate program on the planet. Join something that intrigues you. For me, it is panic attacks and relationships.

(2) Free Online Businesses. Just like the name implies, these businesses cost nothing to join or promote. Many business “owners” can generate an excellent return on their investment ( by working smart).

(3) Networking or MLM programs. Here, you help others succeed, so you can earn several layers of income. While some are free, most are not.

(4) Paid Online Products and Services. The more the internet grows, the greater the need for related services. Among the greatest money-makers online are effective tools to increase your business. Warning: Some of these products are much more superior to others.

(5) Online Businesses. These require a fee to join, but may generate the income you desire. Word of advice: Check them out before you join. Like anything, most are good, reputable businesses, but a few are rotten to the core.

(6) Direct Selling. This one is iffy. I am a business consultant by day, yet find promoting some of my services does well online. However, results do vary.

(7) eBay. Though some products are overly saturated on the site, many make a decent living on this site. Overall, it has an excellent reputation.

(8) Blogging. If you enjoy writing, this may be down your alley. Bloggers often make money from ads surrounding their blog.

(9) Referral Sites. There are numerous sites promoting networking, advertising, and free sign-ups. The jury is still out on this, but some folks reportedly make money.

(10)Everything Else. A new opportunity, product, or service pops up almost every day. Some will work; others will fail. Do the research online and you may discover a goldmine-or fool’s gold.

SET-UP. Well, you’ve thoroughly planned, researched, and listened to the experts, both online and off. You’ve asked yourself thought-provoking questions, registered a domain name, and you or a professional is setting up your website. You’ve even selected products, services, and opportunities which, you hope, will generate a nice profit.

Congratulations! You are ready to begin. But, wait! Don’t forget to:

PROMOTE. This is such a lengthy and important subject; I will discuss this in full in another article. In the meantime, I suggest you start promoting your program, business, product, or service with free online classifieds.

One thing is for sure, however: You must promote, promote, and promote in order to succeed. Don’t simply rely on basic word-of-mouth to promote your product, service, or program.

PERSEVERE. Don’t let anything-and I do mean anything-stand in your way of online success. Study your product(s), service(s), or opportunities to the point you are the expert. Avoid negative people, as all they bring to your world is negative energy. (Constructive criticism, however, can be beneficial.) Invest more time in your online business, if needed.

Do whatever it takes to succeed online. Nurture your business and watch it grow! Reap the rewards of a job well done!

Know About Business Interruption Insurance in Hospitality Industry

Hospitality industry is one of the major service sectors and employer across many economies in the world. The hospitality industry consists of various fields such as lodging, restaurants, cruise line, and some fields within the tourism industry. It is more vulnerable to economic fluctuations when compared to other industries, as there are various risks involved in running a hospitality business. However, as with any other industry, the risk of losses from unforeseen events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, fire, etc., clearly remains.

So, it is very important for hospitality operations to take reasonable steps to protect their property, employees and financial circumstances. Many businesses in this industry are aware of such widespread losses and would never consider opening a business without buying property and liability insurance policies. But many of them, particularly small businesses, fail to think about how they would manage if any interruption occurs to their business for many days.

Importance of business interruption insurance

Let us consider this example to better understand the importance of business interruption insurance. Suppose an unforeseen event such as fire or floods makes your business place temporarily unusable, relocate your business or shut it down for a while. What would be the impact on the business? A regular commercial property insurance policy covers only the physical damage to your business. What about the profits which could have been earned during this period? How to pay rent, employees’ salaries and other important payments while your business is being rebuilt? This would definitely result in substantial financial loss.

Business interruption insurance (also known as business income coverage) helps businesses in situations like this. Many businesses without the business income coverage, shut down their business operations after their business is completely shuttered due to some unforeseen event. It covers the loss of income and helps a business return to the financial position as it was in prior to the disaster. Hence, a business in hospitality industry should understand the importance of business interruption insurance and should go for this insurance.

Critical aspects of business interruption insurance

Business owners from hospitality industry should be aware of some of the critical aspects of business interruption insurance. Here, we will take a look at some critical aspects of hotel business interruption coverage and understand why it is very useful for businesses in hospitality sector.

Business interruption period

The business interruption period is the length of period for which the benefits are payable under an insurance policy. This period is the most critical part of quantifying the business interruption loss. It covers a business from loss of income for a specified period till the damaged business property is repaired or reopened. Some hotels being aware of the losses that may persist even after repairs are done; opt for “extended period of indemnity”. As it may take some time for the hotel to regain bookings and rebuild market share.

Loss of rooms revenues

The business in the hospitality or the lodging industry may suffer financial performance as two of its main functions, occupancy percentage and average daily rate (ADR) may get affected. In simpler terms, a hotel damaged by a hurricane or fire or stuck in a deep local recession will not be able to generate any revenues because of closed rooms, especially in hotels and lodges. Business interruption insurance compensates you for lost income due to loss of rooms. It covers the profits you would have earned, based on your financial records.

Other lost revenues

Revenues from food and beverage, conferences, golf, spa, etc., can constitute a significant portion of a hotel’s income. When a business is interrupted, not only revenues through rooms are affected, some or all of these sources of income are typically interrupted. The business interruption insurance covers all the profits that would have been earned.

Ordinary payroll

Even if the business activities are temporarily stalled, operating expenses, and other costs such as rent, electricity bill, taxes, interest payable on bank loans, payroll costs etc., cannot be ignored. The business still needs to retain some employees such as accountants, front office executives etc. The business owner needs to pay salaries to them. In this kind of situations business interruption insurance is very helpful as ordinary payroll coverage is a common endorsement in many policies.

Extra expenses

Business interruption policies generally allow an Insured hotel to claim extra expenses incurred during the period of indemnity. It reimburses for reasonable expenses that allow the business to continue operation while the property is being rebuilt. Some policies also cover the extra costs required for moving the business to a different (temporary) location.

Business interruption insurance is one of the most important insurance policies that help in minimizing the adverse consequences of some unwanted events for the businesses in the hospitality industry. A well-thought out risk strategy by hotel owners or operators can make a significant difference at the most crucial times.

Facebook Business Pages Demystified for Business Owners

Facebook is so popular that business owners can simply no longer consider it a site only appropriate for socializing and game playing. In fact, in September 2010, Facebook surpassed Google in regards to the amount of time users spent on their site. Facebook states that users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook!

With 500 million active users, Facebook is the new behemoth on the Web. With its popularity across diverse age groups, integrated email application, and new Bing search integration, a Facebook user may simply no longer need to visit Google for Web searches or log off to use an email application. They may be able to experience the Web fully all from inside Facebook. With more than 50% of the active users logging into Facebook every day, according to Facebook, Facebook is now so important to your potential customers’ lives that it make sense for you as a business owner to have a presence where your prospects are hanging out on a daily basis.

Let’s clear up a few things that have confused business owners about Facebook. First, a Business Page is not to be confused with a personal profile. They are two separate entities and offer different options and ways to interact with friends and colleagues.

Are Facebook Busines Pages also called Fan Pages?

Many of you that have been using Facebook for a while will remember that Facebook used to call Business Pages – Fan Pages. Additionally, it used to be that someone “fanned you”. Now they “like you”. Don’t get confused in thinking that a Fan Page is a different product than a Business Page they are one in the same.

All Facebook Pages start with the set up of a personal Facebook profile. That’s right, a personal profile! You can’t just jump to Page set up. The email address and name you use for your personal profile must be one tied to a person and not a catchall email like info. Remember, that if you have an employee set up the personal profile portion for your Page, that you don’t want them to tie the new account to an email that you will not have access to if they leave the company. If they do so and leave your employ, you could lose access to your Facebook Page, all of your accumulated fans, and information without recourse.

For set up I typically recommend that one of company owners create a new email address specifically for Facebook set up. Once you have set up the personal Facebook profile, you are ready to get started. But, don’t take time to add information like education other details in this special account unless you plan on using it for your own personal use. You are just setting up this account to have a platform to launch and access your new Facebook Page. While logged in to your new personal account, visit the Facebook Business Page Link. It will take you to the Facebook Business Page creation tool to actually create your new page.

On the right side of the creation page select under the heading the “Official Page” and mark “Create a Page for a:” and then finally select “local business”. Enter your page name and then tick the box next to the statement that says you are a legal company representative and allowed to own the page. It is important to understand that the name you choose for the title of your Facebook Page will appear at the top of your finished page.

I recommend using proper spelling and no use of hyphens or underscores in your selected name. It used to be we had to enter hyphens or the spaces would show as non-HTML characters in the page name and URL, but Facebook has grown beyond that need now. For example, enter in “My Comapny Name” (note the proper use of spacing and capitalization), not “My-Company-Name”. This name will appear in your new Page URL as well. Once you click create, the next page you see will be your brand new Facebook Page. It is that simple. Later after you’ve had 25 people “Like” your page you will be able to select a vanity URL, but we’ll talk about that later.

Do my personal updates show on my Business Page?

After you have set up your Facebook Page, you can “lock down” your personal profile that was used to launch your Page. To do so, just you alter the privacy settings in the personal account to not show your personal information to others who are not “approved” friends.

When Facebook was first created many business owners including myself, started with a Facebook personal profile for their business. Now that Facebook has created Pages, you can easily change the privacy settings on your old personal profile to funnel your business traffic to your new Facebook Page keeping your old personal profile now just for family and close friends.

When you change the privacy settings on the personal profile attached to your Business Page, it does not impact who can view information about your Business Page. Just as equally, if you post pictures of your kids on your Facebook personal profile that is the launch pad for your Business Page, and you have your personal profile limited to “friends only”, your kids’ photos will not appear on the wall of your Business Page.

Why exactly would a business owner want a Business Page and not just use a personal profile?

Several reasons to have a Facebook Business Page are: the ability to contact all people who “Like” or who “Fan” you with newsletter type notes with one click, interact with discussion questions like a forum, set up events and invite fans to attend, and even create specialized welcome and shopping pages. Your Business Page can almost be a mini website!

Creating your Business Page vanity URL

Once you have 25 people that have clicked that they “Like” your Business Page, you can select a short easy to remember name to use to promote it on your website and business card. You can have vanity URLs for both your personal account and Business Page.

It is very important to understand that once you have selected your vanity URL you will not be able to change the name, so select carefully. Best practice tips for keeping your new Facebook Business Page updated.

No one wants to be spammed, but sometimes new Business Page owners get excited and post what seems like a constant flow of information on their wall. It is important to understand that what you post on your wall is posted on the wall of the people who have clicked “Like” on your page. We encourage our clients, when they are doing status updates themselves, to be courteous and post about twice a day. Facebook is not Twitter and so 5 to 10 status updates a day could get you blocked or hidden by fans when they feel you have inundated their wall with your daily or hourly updates.

Conclusion

I hope that this white paper has helped to introduce you to Facebook Business Pages in a way that helps you to feel that you can easily set on up and have fun doing it. If you haven’t set up your own Facebook Business Page, now’s the time to consider setting one up. Facebook is only getting more popular and is actively seeking to woo the business community into their portal with demographic based pay per click advertising and the new integrating search with Bing.com.

If you feel that you need professional help in setting up your page or maintaining your updates and to interact with Fans, we ask you to consider our Facebook service offerings. I know that you will find us responsive and affordably priced.