10 Basic Steps to Starting a Business

Starting your own business can be exciting and very rewarding! Today more than ever it’s easy to start a home business, online or offline. Starting a business comes with a lot of responsibility and a new family member, and his name is Uncle Sam.  One thing about family, is we try to avoid any family disputes, to do this, you must follow the rules and regulations, which govern starting and running a business. There is no excuse for ignorance of the Law! There are 3 branches of Government you will have to answer to, local, State, and Federal.

1. DECIDE IF IT IS A HOBBY OR BUSINESS?

According to the IRS.. if you are selling goods including online or offering any type of service to the general public with the intention of making a profit, then you are in Business! 

2. BUSINESS PLANNING….

The first mistake many people make is they start a business without a plan! The very first step to starting a business begins with planning and vision! I can appreciate the scripture in Proverbs 29:18 which says where there is no vision, the people perish, the same rule applies to starting a business without a vision your business is destined for failure.

A Business Plan is a document that clearly describes your vision, including all the details of your business operations. If you are planning to seek financing for your business then a business plan is a must! And even if you are not planning on applying for a loan, the main purpose of a business plan is to guide the entrepreneur from where he should start and it should focus on the business goals.

3. REGISTER A FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME

If you plan to operate your business under a different name other than your own, you may be required to register your trade name with your state or local government. This form of registration is known as “doing business as” (dba) or fictitious name filing. Check with your state office for information on Business Name Registration.

4. DETERMINE IF YOU NEED A EMPLOYER ID?

Determine whether or not you need an Employer Identification Number (or EIN)- generally, if you are going into business for yourself and you are not starting a corporation or non-profit organization etc., and do not employ anyone, you do not need an EIN. Your social security number is your EIN. You will only need an EIN if you answer
“Yes” to any of the following questions.

5. CHOOSE A BUSINESS STRUCTURE

When beginning a business, you must decide what form of business entity to establish. Your form of business determines which income tax return form you have to file. The most common forms of business are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation.

A sole proprietor is not only one of the common forms of business structure, but it is also one of the easiest types of businesses to form. You are not required to do any kind of special incorporation filing. A sole proprietor is someone who owns an unincorporated business by himself or herself.

A limited liability company (LLC) or corporation helps protect your personal assets in case a lawsuit is brought against your business, for products sold or services rendered. But may require the help of a professional to start. Learn more about the different types of business structures.

6. CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL ZONING LAWS

Local zoning laws, also called ordinances, establish what business activities can be carried out in a particular municipality. You need to get approval, and any required permits from zoning, before setting up a business in a particular location including your home. Many cities county zoning and planning agencies require all home-based businesses to get a Home Occupation Permit.

7. BUSINESS LICENSE And PERMITS

General Business License

As a business owner, you are normally required to purchase a yearly general business license. Contact your county clerk’s office for more information and/ or any other licenses or certificates you may be required to carry based on the type of business you are starting. If you plan to run a home business from a property you are renting you may also be required to get permission from your landlord acknowledging he is aware of the fact that you are starting a home business on his premises.

Sales Tax Permit

If you intend to sell taxable goods or services online or offline, you may be required to collect state and local sales taxes from your customers. It is your responsibility to apply for a sales tax permit if the state where your business will be located charges a sales tax or levies a gross receipt or excise tax on businesses. Check with your State Revenue office for more information

Health and Safety Permits

If you plan to sell food to the general public or to other businesses, a Health Department permit is needed. Permits are normally issued by your county government, an inspection of the business premises may be required. Additional permits you may need are a food handlers permit or certification for food service or food preparation businesses depending on your state.  You may also be required to apply for a permit and inspection from the local fire department.

Construction Permit

If you plan to make any construction changes to accommodate your new business venture, check your local government’s building and planning department, to see if you need to apply for a construction permit.

Sign Permits

Some Local community ordinances restrict the type, size, or location of signs placed on your property. Check with local city or town zoning board or other local authority.

8. STATE BUSINESS REGISTRATION

Most States if not all, require you to register your business with your State Revenue Agency. State Revenue offices issue a variety of business permits/ licenses depending on the type of business you are starting and the needs of the business.

9. BOOKKEEPING

Setting up a good Bookkeeping system it is a must! Keeping track of your business income and expenses will help you in the long run, to be prepared in case of an IRS audit and it will keep you comp[iant with the law.

10. FILE AND PAY TAXES

Last but not least as a business owner you are required to file and pay small business taxes.

How to Discover Your Money Making Niche Idea

The Internet is filled with millions of websites and almost any business idea you could think of. Some Internet business types are so common that the market is saturated and the competition is plentiful.

To be successful you have to come up with a unique idea or a better solution to an idea already available online! The key is finding your Niche Market! Targeting a niche market is an ideal way to build a profitable business on the Internet, which requires less overall investment.

Finding your Money Making Niche idea should be hypothetically speaking like finding the love of your life, you want to spend time with it, from time to time it enters your mind without warning, and into most of your conversations and sometimes seems to be the total sum of what you live for, and even takes on the appearance of an addiction! An undeniable passion!

There are two important ingredients that go into finding your million dollar money-making niche idea, it should be something you are passionate about and something you are knowledgeable about!

Research And Again I Say Research:

Follow along as Ms. Mary Flower-head (not a real person) researches the profit potential of her Niche business idea!.

Ms. Mary Flower-head is an ordinary person, just like you and I. She is a teacher by day and a hobbyist by night. Her hobby is making “handmade dolls” which she is passionate about!

One day an idea struck her so powerfully, it almost blew her brains out! She could make and sell handmade dolls on the Internet, she thought! Ms. Mary Flower-head is actually targeting a niche market.

What is a Niche Market?

A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines as the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs.

For example, there are all types of dolls and materials and methods used to make them, “dolls” is a small segment or niche of the toy manufacturing industry. Instead of focusing on the Toy industry as a whole you would build a profitable business on a small part of that industry, in this case, handmade dolls.

I think we all can agree that one of the biggest advantages in business is knowing what people want. Surveys are based around the idea of gathering information which would lead to the discovery of what people like and want.

What is Google Trends?

Simply put Google Trends- is a window into what people are searching for on the Internet using the Google search engine. Google trend is a free tool that can be used for Internet marketing research. It allows you to tap into Google’s database of searches.

Google Trends is a public web facility of Google Inc., based on Google Search, which shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.

Using Google Trends

To begin using Google Trends visit https://trends.google.com and enter into the search bar your desired niche business idea. Using the example of Ms. Mary-Flower-head I will enter handmade dolls. If there is enough interest in the search term handmade Dolls Google Trends generates a report.

The report answers the following questions based on the search term entered:

1. Is there any interest in Handmade Dolls?

2. When is interest highest?

3. Which regional areas have the largest amount of Internet users searching for handmade dolls?.

4. Scrolled down the page under the related queries section there was not enough data to produce a report.

5. The Related topics Section, gives you an upfront advantage of knowing what related topics people are searching for. In the example below I see Internet users are also searching for sewing and sewing patterns based on the search term handmade dolls.

Knowing what people are interested in can trigger solid business ideas.

Is it a Profitable Business Idea?

Let’s say you have an Internet business idea that Internet users are searching for, the next step is to research the competition. Internet competition is a key factor in determining if an Internet Business idea has the potential to be profitable. Million-dollar niche market ideas will be the ones with little to no competition.

We will turn to Google.com for the answer. Google.com is considered the top search engine used by millions to search the Internet.

Armed with all the information gathered on possible niche business ideas, enter your search term into the search engine. In my example, I will enter Handmade dolls.

Keep in mind that a potentially profitable business idea will be the niche market idea that people are searching for, based on your research, that has little or no competition on the Internet.

Continue to use this method, until you find your niche business idea that people are searching for that has low competition. Try experimenting with various search terms related to your niche idea. The lower the competition for your niche business idea the greater the success rate!

 

What You Need to Know About Internet Marketing

In short, Internet Marketing is the way that businesses develop relationships with customers over the Internet. Internet Marketing strategies, use advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive traffic to your website in addition to sales leads from Web sites or emails! The Internet offers a lot of opportunities for a person with only a small advertising budget to do the majority of Internet marketing themselves, working with little or no money!

If you’re thinking about advertising on the Internet, keep in mind that many of the same rules that apply to other forms of advertising apply to electronic marketing. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), their rules and guidelines protect businesses and consumers and help maintain the credibility of the Internet as an advertising medium. The following will give you an overview of some of the laws the FTC enforces.

Online Ads

The FTC Act prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising in any medium. When it comes to online ads, the basic principles of advertising law apply:

  • ADVERTISING MUST TELL THE TRUTH AND NOT MISLEAD CONSUMERS.
  • IN ADDITION, CLAIMS MUST BE SUBSTANTIATED.
  • ADVERTISEMENTS CANNOT BE UNFAIR

In interpreting Section 5 of the Act, the Commission has determined that a representation, omission or practice is deceptive if it is likely to:

  • mislead consumers and affect consumer’s behavior or decisions about the product or service.
  • In addition, an act or practice is unfair if the injury it causes or is likely to cause is: substantial not outweighed by other benefits and not reasonably avoidable.
  • A claim can be misleading if relevant information is left out or if the claim implies something that is not true.

For example, a lease advertisement for an automobile that promotes $0 Down may be misleading if significant and undisclosed charges are due at lease signing.

  • In addition, claims must be substantiated, especially when they concern health, safety, or performance.
  • The type of evidence may depend on the product, the claims, and what experts believe necessary.
  • If your ad specifies a certain level of support for a claim test show X you must have at least that level of support.

Sellers, Advertising Agencies or Website Designers and Catalog Marketers

  • Sellers are responsible for the claims they make about their products and services.
  • Third parties such as advertising agencies or website designers and catalog marketers also may be liable for making or disseminating deceptive representations, if they participate in the preparation or distribution of the advertising, or know about the deceptive claims.

Advertising Agencies

● Advertising agencies or website designers are responsible for reviewing the information used to substantiate ad claims. They may not simply rely on an advertiser’s assurance that the claims are substantiated.
In determining whether an ad agency should be held liable, the FTC looks at the extent of the agency’s participation in the preparation of the challenged ad, and whether the agency knew or should have known that the ad included false or deceptive claims

Selling Online

Catalog marketing is a sales technique used by businesses to group many items together in a printed piece or an online store.

● Most important, catalog marketers should trust their instincts when a product sounds too good to be true. To protect themselves, catalog marketers should ask for material to back up claims rather than repeat what the manufacturer says about the product. If the manufacturer doesn’t come forward with proof or turns over proof that looks questionable, the catalog marketer should see a yellow caution light and proceed appropriately, especially when it comes to extravagant performance claims, health or weight-loss promises, or earnings guarantees. When writing an ad copy, catalogers / online sellers or promoters should stick to claims that can be supported.

Online Disclaimers and Disclosures :

Although online commerce (including mobile and social media marketing) is booming, deception can dampen consumer confidence in the online marketplace. To ensure that products and services are described truthfully online and that consumers get what they pay for, the FTC continues to enforce its consumer protection laws. Most of the general principles of advertising law apply to online ads, but new issues arise almost as fast as technology develops.

Disclaimer

A disclaimer is a statement in which a person says that they did not know about something or that they are not responsible for something. The company asserts in a disclaimer that it won’t be held responsible for the accuracy of information

● Disclaimers and disclosures must be clear and conspicuous. That is, consumers must be able to notice, read or hear, and understand the information. Still, a disclaimer or disclosure alone usually is not enough to remedy a false or deceptive claim.

Disclosure 

The purpose of disclosure is to make available evidence which either supports or does not support claims about a particular product, service, or information.

  • A disclosure is more effective if it is placed near the claim it qualifies for or other relevant information. Proximity increases the likelihood that consumers will see the disclosure and relate it to the relevant claim or product.
  • For print ads, an advertiser might measure proximity in terms of whether the disclosure is placed adjacent to the claim, or whether it is separated from the claim by text or graphics. The same approach can be used for online ads.
  • When advertisers are putting disclosures in a place where consumers might have to scroll in order to view them, they should use text or visual cues to encourage consumers to scroll and avoid formats that discourage scrolling. Text prompts can indicate that more information is available.

● Demonstrations must show how the product will perform under normal use.

● Refunds must be made to dissatisfied consumers if you promised to make them.

Advertising directed to children

● Advertising directed to children raises special issues. That’s because children may have greater difficulty evaluating advertising claims and understanding the nature of the information you provide. Sellers should take special care not to misrepresent a product or its performance when advertising to children.

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has published specific guidelines for children’s advertising that you may find helpful.

Read the complete guide to Advertising and Marketing for small businesses.

Beginners Guide to Selling Online

Selling online is my success story! When my husband and I first started selling on the Internet, I looked at the fact that my husband was good at woodworking and he had a passion for it. I had extensive knowledge of how to use the Internet for business since in my spare time I would spend it learning everything I could about the Internet. My creative juices begin to go into overdrive as I thought about his skills and my knowledge of the Internet.

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Selling In Online Marketplaces What’s Hot?

Thinking about selling in an online marketplace or planning to open your own online store, but not sure what to sell? Well, you are in luck some popular online marketplaces give you a window into what type of products are selling like hotcakes! Having an idea of what type of products have the potential to make money online, can give you an upfront advantage, and is well worth the research! Not only will it give you an idea of what is selling but can generate new ideas on what you could offer that would be similar yet unique!

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Make Money With a Blog

Blogging is a trend on the Internet that has become extremely popular and can be very profitable! A regularly updated blog can produce a constant stream of good leads from all around the world and lead to a full-fledged profession.

What is a Blog?

The word blog is derived from the combination of the two words web and log. The subject of a blog can range from personal diaries to music personal hobbies to consumer product reviews to tips & tricks on everyday-life topics like saving money or parenting …where users post thoughts, comments.

People all over the world have begun writing on a variety of topics. Basically, anyone can easily share their knowledge on the Web. Updates are often frequent and done on a regular basis.

Benefits Of Blogging:

Every business owner should be Blogging, Blogging is an excellent way to establish yourself as a leader in your niche, increase brand awareness, gain new clients and strengthen relationships with existing ones. By writing on topics of interest, you establish yourself as an expert and your followers also know as subscribers keep on growing, you will build your Brand, and will ultimately be able to make money with your blog.

Getting Started:

If your goal is to start a blogging business with the intention of making a profit, then having a great idea for a blog is not enough because there are so many blogs on the Internet, it can be tough to distinguish your blog from all of the others. In the long run, a great idea just isn’t enough to propel your blogging business to success. Every great blogger started with a great idea, you can’t build a successful site that will last without one.

If you can fill a unique need in a way that no other website does, you’ll be able to build a lasting readership among web surfers. There are many great blogging sites and competition for the attention of this growing demographic is fierce.

Whether you are starting up a new blogging site or looking to make your existing blogging site more distinctive, the key to building and maintaining a site that will capture the interest and attention of the blogging community is finding your niche.

What Is A Niche Blog?

A Niche Website or blog is a site that focuses on specific information.  An often-used technique is to create an Internet-based niche segment of larger markets. For example, a website about handmade handbag making is a niche segment of the crafting or the sewing Industry. Niche websites can be developed and promoted quickly to uniquely serve a targeted customer base.

The Niche Blog Tips:

  1. The Niche based site you create should stand out from the crowd.
  2. It should be something you have extensive knowledge of and are passionate about.
  3. It should offer something that no other site is currently offering or the same thing that an already popular site does but in a more impressive or valuable way.
  4. One way to discover an ideal model for your blogging web site is to look at the sites that have successfully captured a blogging audience already,  to determine if you can appropriate some of their strategies to help realize your vision. Of course, you will also need to add a unique flair to your project in order to stand apart from your competition.  
  5. Many people agree that the web sites that do the best in today’s market are the sites that have the most personality. The fiercely individual surfers who are bloggers are a demographic that responds especially strongly to personality. Consider how you can give your site a unique and attractive feeling by lending your own voice and sensibility to your site’s design and content.

How To Monetize Your Blog

A popular way bloggers make money with a blog is with Affiliate Marketing, Affiliate Marketing is a partnership between you and a business owner with a product or service to sell! You don’t have to stock any products or actually sell anything in the traditional sense. The Internet is filled with ways to make money with a blog, none the less the idea is the same to make you and the affiliate money.

An affiliate pays you a commission for sending traffic:  potential customers to their website.  You as the Affiliate Marketer earn a commission, how much depends on your contract agreement with the Affiliate.

Establishing Credibility

The niche-based blog you create should be something you have extensive knowledge of, and /or are passionate about. The fact that you are knowledgeable and passionate about what you are writing about, gives you the upper hand on recommending certain products and giving input on the does and don’t s, based on experience, and therefore you establish credibility.

Think about this, you read a book and gain a lot of knowledge from it, the author recommends things to purchase to further your interest in the subject matter, you would be more likely to purchase those items knowing it came from a credible person because of the knowledge you have gained, through reading their book.

The idea is to pre-sell, recommend your affiliate companies as a place to purchase products in the course of educating your visitors on your theme topic.

For example: say your niche is bowling, you could recommend books, bowling equipment, and related products your affiliate offers. When the visitor clicks on your affiliate links and makes a purchase you make a profit. It is important that you believe in the products or services you refer to visitors, to maintain your credibility!

Common Mistakes New Affiliates Make.

# 1 Mistake

The number one mistake many Affiliates make, is, they put up a lot of banners and links expecting people to just click through and make a purchase, but that is not normally the case.

#2. Mistake

Putting up a lot of banner ads and links unrelated to your blog topic or subject matter is not a good idea. There are many Internet surfers who can go online line to purchase products if that is all they wanted to do.

If you plan to make money with your blog you need to establish a pool of potential customers. You need to give people a reason to visit your website or blog and a reason to want to purchase the items or services you are marketing.

Niche websites can be developed and promoted quickly to uniquely serve a targeted customer base, giving the affiliate a small but potentially continuous source of revenue. This technique can then be repeated across several other niche websites. Some niches may become saturated with marketers, increasing competition and thus reduce the slice of the pie available to each competitor.

Digital Products 

Another way to make money with a blog is by selling your own digital products. Blogging helps to establish you as an expert on particular topics and people love to learn and there is always someone around looking to learn what you are knowledgeable about. Once you establish credit-ability you can create and sell your own digital products through your blog such as:

  • Online courses 
  • E-books
  • Membership site
  • Host Webinars 

And when your blog becomes popular you can sell ad space directly to advertisers.

What makes a win, win situation in the blogging business, is good content, using the right affiliate programs specific to your niche site, updating your content regularly, and generating ongoing traffic to your site. Put it all together and you are bound to make a good income in affiliate marketing.

Publishing And Selling E-books Online Is A Great Way To Earn Exta Money

Indie authors are becoming overnight sensations in the New York Times and USA Today, on Amazon, and everywhere e-books are sold, proving there’s no longer a stigma to self-publishing. Publishing your own ebook has never been easier!

How would you like to have the title of ‘author’ added to your name without going through the difficulty of book publishing? With the technology of e-books, you could make money by writing your own books and selling them online.

Benefits of Creating E-books:

There are so many ebooks available on the market today, covering every imaginable topic and catering to a different audience. In some genres, self-published e-books even outsell those from traditional publishers, because readers are looking for fresh new authors and stories that aren’t written using a formula. If you’re in business, an e-book can be your new business card and play an important part in your content marketing plans.

Popular Ebook Genres

Nonfiction books with a well-defined topic and a nice hook to them can do well, especially if they have a target audience that you can focus on. Religious books are a perfect case in point. Some genres such as fiction do better than others. Indie romance/erotica novels, for instance, have thrived in the e-book arena.

How-to information offers important assistance on learning a new skill, enhance existing knowledge or provide an innovative approach to doing certain things. It can cover different topics such as cars, bookkeeping, playing the piano, cooking, learning a new language, attracting women and so much more.

What Makes a Good ebook Publisher?

If you can use a word processor, have a book written—or have an idea for one—and want to see your name in print, you just might have what it takes to succeed in self-publishing E-books. A flair for writing is desirable or you feel you can share expert advice and information on a specific field. But of course, not any ebook will do. You will want to come up with one that will best appeal to your target audience.

What Is An Ebook?

E-books, as the name implies, are simply electronic books that can be compiled with special software and read on a personal computer (PC) or an electronic device designed specifically for reading e-books (e-book reader). E-book readers are becoming more and more common.

Ebook Formats

 Two of the most popular today are the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader line. Unfortunately, the two different brands don’t read the same kinds of e-books. The first thing a person should do is figure out what formats an e-reader device supports. For more detailed information please the Mobile Read Ebook Formats wiki.

Popular e-book formats :

EUB = Nook, Sony PRS, Ipad, and etc…

MOBI/PRC = Amazon Kindle and the Cybook

An ePub is, essentially, a small self -contained, pre-packaged website. There are a few abbreviations associated with creating EPUBs. IDPF is the Trade and Standards Organization, for the digital publishing industry. The focus for this tutorial the abbreviations associated with EPUB and Kindle in general. EPUB is a combination of two words electronic and publication.

With the Kindle, we’ve got MOBI. Which is a shortening of Mobipocket. And that’s a format for the earlier Kindle devices, such as the E Ink and Paperwhite technology devices. It’s a subset of EPUB itself. It just has extra features built-in. As does the newer KF8 format, Kindle Fire 8. And that’s the newer, glossier, full-color devices.

You might also hear mention of AZW. That’s the very early device format which is DRM or Digital Rights Management free. And that’s essentially what Mobi and KF8 have built into them. They’ve got DRM technology built in to prevent unauthorized sharing and so on. KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing.

Ebook-formats For Kindle Devices

The following formats are applicable to publishing to Kindle devices, and why you’d use them. We’ve got two formats in practical terms. We have EPUB2, which is repackaged as the Mobi7 format on Kindle, and that’s supported by all Kindle devices.

And then we have the newer EPUB3, some people call it the fixed-layout format, which can be republished in the KF8 format. But that only works on the newer devices. If you’re writing a novel or a piece of text with supporting images or figures, then EPUB2 is for you, it’s also the easiest of the two to deal with, plus, of course, you have the potentially larger audience with both kinds of devices.

If you’re looking at a fixed layout publication, then your only choice is EPUB3. which is good for graphical in terms of layout like a book with a lot of pictures such as a children’s book.

 
 
 

 

How To Publish A Website

It takes only 3 simple steps to set up a website online!

..

1. Choose a Domain Name:

A Domain is a user-friendly string of characters that can be used to access a site on the internet. The domain name is the web address of your online business, for example, http://yourbusinessname.com, it is the way visitors enter your website, http://Google.com is a domain name. A domain name registration is a requirement of every website owner.

2. Purchase a Hosting Plan

A Web hosting service is a service that runs Internet servers, allowing organizations and individuals to serve content to the Internet. A hosting company provides the space you need on the Internet to publish your website or install your Website Building Application such as WordPress. When you purchase a hosting plan you are in complete control over your business on the Internet. How to choose a hosting company.

3. Publish Your Website

Once your website has been created and published it will be live on the Internet and reachable through your domain name. Anyone will be able to reach your new site by entering your domain name into a web browser.

Build Your Website for Free

Building your own website can give you complete freedom and control over your web business on the Internet. Using free Web Building Applications can save your thousands of dollars!

Set Up An Own Online Store With A Free Open-Source e-commerce Application

Building an eCommerce store from scratch is the most traditional option. It takes some work to get all of the pieces together. But it also gives you the most control and cuts out the middle man and added fees charged in online marketplaces. There are many different free open-source options you can use to build your own online store for free. There are two components needed to begin selling online:

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