How to Start a Small Business Online Today

Although many are drawn to the idea of having their own small internet business, many budding entrepreneurs do not know how to start a small business online.Have a Solid Business ModelThe first rule of how to start a small business online is to have a solid business model. There is no secret ‘push-button’ model to generating income online. There are many hyped-up schemes on the internet that promise that you will make millions of dollars for doing very little work by just pushing a few buttons. But these are just not reality. Having a small online business is just like any other business.However, a small internet business is scalable and enjoys higher margins and lower set up costs than a traditional ‘offline’ business. A solid business model for an online business has the prefect mixture of recurring income, affiliate income and high ticket income.Take ActionYou have to be willing to actually get started. The internet is a great resource and there a many articles, forums and websites that all provide information on how start a small business online. It is important to do research on the best business that suits you, but you have to commit and get started building a list of potential customers. This list of potential customers will become a valuable asset as you start to build a relationship with them. You need to provide valuable and relevant information to them to build their trust so that they will be willing to buy from you.Provide ValueAs mentioned above, one of the keys of how to start a small business online is to provide value. In the business world of the internet, if you give, you will receive. If you provide valuable information to your potential customers for free, they will be grateful for it and want more and will be willing to buy it. If you provide rubbish, they will think that you product is rubbish too.Generate TrafficA business online without traffic is like a shop in the back street of a old run-down town with no passers-by and nobody knows that it is there. If you really want to know how to start a small business online, you need practical skills to generate traffic to your website pages. Website traffic can either be free or paid for and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. But, with a skilled combination of both, you can have a long term stream of potential customers coming to your online business.Invest In EducationAs with any business, if you want to know how to start a small business online the most important skill you can learn, is marketing. There are many online business entrepreneurs who have gone before you. If they have had success with a business model that interests you, you can learn from their efforts. It is vital to have access to a community and mentors because learning from someone who’s already successful online will make a big difference to your results.The internet and the new digital economy has made it possible for many people to discover how to start a small business online. An online business does not require a bricks and mortar premises, staff, stock or large financial investment in inventory to make it a success. If you have a computer and access to the internet you can start straight away. You do not have to buy stock or worry about how to supply it to your customers and your online business can work for you whilst you are sleeping!

New Home Based Business Idea

So, you have a new home based business idea rolling around in your head and you are bursting to get started. It is time to harness that energy and create the business you have been dreaming about. Starting a business is fairly simple as long as you know the basics. Once you know what you need to do to start a business for the long term, then you can create the business of your dreams?

The first thing you should consider when you get that new home based business idea is its marketability. Are you going to be able to sell what you have in mind? Are people going to buy your item or service? Take a close look at the market for your new home based business idea to see what competition is out there and if people are willing to buy what you have to offer. If you find that your new home based business idea is not all that new, you may need to narrow your idea to a certain niche. Find the area that needs what you have to offer the most and that is the right area for your new home based business idea.

Then check the laws in your state. Depending on your new home based business idea, you want to make sure you have the right licenses and certification to offer your product or service. For instance, if you are opening a day care center from your home, you may need the state to come out and do an inspection. You may need to fill out special paperwork. In many areas you are required to obtain a business license for your new home based business idea. Check with your municipality to see what is required. A business license is usually inexpensive.

Another good idea is to create a business plan for your new home based business idea. Why would you need to put it on paper? A business plan allows you to create goals and values for your new home based business idea. It sets down on paper the concepts that you may find useful in the future. It allows you to see how you want to run your business and how you are going to make it grow. It does not take long to write a business plan, but it is usually one of your most useful tools for making your new home based business idea a reality.

As you are creating your business plan for your new home based business idea, you will be taking some time to assess your financial needs. You need to determine your operating costs and if you will need to obtain a business loan to get your new home based business idea up and running. If you apply for loans or look for investors you will definitely need a business plan. Take a look in the long and short term to decide what your new home based business plan will require.

Advertising is also an important part of making your new home based business idea a reality. You may not think it is important, but how will anyone know you exist if you do not advertise your products or services? One of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to advertise your business is to create a website. The internet is quickly becoming the primary way people find out about services and products, so a website is no longer an option for your new home based business idea. If you are operating on a budget you can create a minimal website for very little money. If you want a top-notch website for your new home based business idea you can go so far as to hire designers for your site.

Advertising also means putting yourself out there and marketing your business all the time. Join networking groups and send out flyers. If it is affordable, you can place advertisements in newspapers and magazines. You do not need to do everything at once, as you need to stay within your budget, but always keep your eye on expanding your new home based business idea.

Take your time to build up your new home based business idea right. You are probably fairly excited over the prospect of this new business venture, and you need to take that excitement and turn it into productivity to create the business you have in mind.

How Important Is the Fundraising Auctioneer to the Success of Your Event?

I want you to think about the term “Fundraising Auction”.

A “Fundraising Auction” is an event where items of value are gathered, and then sold in a competitive bidding situation, either in a Silent Auction format, or in a Live Auction format by a Live Auctioneer. And since typically the best items are saved for the Live Auction, arguably it is the Live Auction that should generate a significant portion of the proceeds in any Fundraising Auction.

So why do so many non-profit groups consider the Fundraising Auctioneer to be the least valuable component in a Fundraising Auction?

The Hosting Facility gets paid.
The Printer gets paid.
The Caterer gets paid.
The Liquor Store gets paid.
The DJ gets paid.
The Florist gets paid.
But the Auctioneer … the individual who is expected to raise the lion’s share of the event’s proceeds… is expected to work for Free. And is usually under-appreciated for the professional services he/she provides.

I’m not trying to underscore the value of the invitations & programs, food, booze, music, and decorations. All are important in their own way. But each of these are “Expenses”. It is the Auctioneer who is going to bring “Revenue”… and thus, the “Profits”… into any event. Which is the ultimate objective of any Fundraising Auction.

Here is a real-life example of how under-appreciated the Auctioneer can be. In two comparable events we worked last year, during the dinner portion of the event one non-profit group sat the Auctioneer (me) at a table with the DJ, the Interns, the Volunteer Staff, and other event “Help”. The 2nd non-profit group sat the Auctioneer (me) directly next to the CEO of their organization, where we chatted about how important the pending revenue would be to their organization. Which group do you think valued the services of the Fundraising Auctioneer more?

Don’t ever under-estimate the value that a professional Fundraising Auctioneer can bring to your event. The Auctioneer adds value as a pre-event consultant. And the Auctioneer can change an event from a moderate to a huge success.

A Case Study Once I was scheduled to call an Auction for a major local non-profit group. They represented a very good cause and they had a strong and dedicated following. Their event was sold out, quality Live & Silent Auction items had been solicited, and the Special Pledge Appeal had been choreographed and was ready to go. The facility was first class, the appropriate caterer was booked, and the food was ready to cook.

But quite unexpectedly, some unseasonably inclement weather forced the event’s cancellation. Despite all of the committee’s hard work, cancelling the event was the proper decision considering the circumstances.

So the Event Committee scrambled to re-schedule the event for the following weekend.

They confirmed with the Hosting Facility.
They confirmed with the Caterer.
They confirmed with the Liquor Store.
They confirmed with the DJ.
They confirmed with the Florist.
Since they already had the Mailing List of those scheduled to attend, no new invitations had to be printed as all were contacted by email or telephone. So with everything in place, the group went ahead and re-scheduled the event for the following weekend.

But guess who they failed to confirm? You got it… the Professional Auctioneer. They thought so little of the Auctioneer’s contribution that they “assumed” that the Auctioneer would be available and at their beck and call.

But the Auctioneer already had another Fundraising Auction booked for that date with another non-profit group. It was only hour away from the re-scheduled event, and things could have been easily worked out. All Group #1 had to do was start their event one hour earlier, or one hour later, than the Group #2, and the Auctioneer could have helped both groups on the same day.

But because Group #1 failed to anticipate a possible Auctioneer conflict, because they failed to confirm with the Auctioneer before re-scheduling their event, their preferred Auctioneer had to bow out and they had to scramble to locate substitute “Volunteer” Auctioneer only days before their event.

And it cost them.

Learning Points

The Live Auction is usually where the profits are made at any Fundraising Auction.
A Professional Fundraising Auctioneer can be vital to the success of any Fundraising Auction.
The better Fundraising Auctioneers usually get booked quickly.
You need to recognize the important contributions that a good Auctioneer can make to your event.
Michael Ivankovich is a Bucks County Fundraising Auctioneer based in Doylestown PA, and serves the Great Philadelphia PA area. He has been a professionally licensed and bonded Auctioneer in Pennsylvania for nearly 20 years, has been named Pennsylvania’s Auctioneer of the Year, and has considerable experience in conducting Fundraising Auctions. Michael loves helping groups raise needed funds for good causes and one of his specialties is the “Special Pledge Appeal” or “Fund-A-Cause Appeal” which usually enables clients to double their revenue in a single evening.