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Use a Marketing Study to Evaluate Your Business Idea

Entrepreneurs tend to have dozens of business ideas rolling around in their heads at any given time. The trick, of course, is selecting the right idea to start up at the right time. To evaluate the viability of an idea, especially a new or innovative product or service, conduct a limited marketing study. A comprehensive marketing study should be completed before launching any business, but the basic steps can be modified for a basic analysis of the potential of a business idea.
 
The first step in evaluating a business idea is determining your market. Consider who is most likely to benefit from your business idea and why. Jot down ideas regarding the demographics (age, gender, income range, job, hobbies, etc.) of your target group. Then, conduct some basic research to estimate the approximate size of your market. Once you determine that your business idea is logically viable, you will need to conduct more in-depth research into who your target is and how to reach them, but for now you just need a clear picture of whether there are enough potential customers to support your venture.
 
Once you are clear on who your target is, look into the alternatives they have for filling the need your product fills. That is, what are they buying now to get the same benefit? Your direct competition are those businesses that sell pretty much exactly what you sell, your indirect competition sells products that provide the same benefit, but in a different manner. For example, an organizational consultant has direct competitors in other org consultants, and indirect competition in organizational books, training videos, websites, and retail stores that specialize in organization.
It is important to look closely at the existing competition for several reasons. Knowing your competition will provide greater insight into the tried and true methods for running your type of business. It is also critical to know how crowded the market is. If there are 50 Mexican restaurants in a 5-mile radius, the market is probably too crowded to support another. To gain market share for a new product, it is important to distinguish your version in some significant way from the other options. Whether your unique selling proposition is based on quality, price, features, or some other factor, you can’t promote that difference without a clear understanding of the competing products available.  
Knowing your industry is also important. Just about every industry has professional associations that keep their members up-to-date on the future and changes happening within the trade. A viable business idea should be in the early stages of the product life cycle — building a market base and increasing demand. These associations also generally compile averages for their industry, an excellent tool for developing reasonable estimates of profitability. Generally, new entrepreneurs grossly underestimate the cost of actually running the business and develop profitability estimates far beyond the realistic. Well-researched industry averages will generally help you develop a more accurate picture of the profit margins that can be expected in your specific industry.
Once the basic background information is gathered, test what you know. One of the best ways to determine whether a business idea is viable is to go to the source — your potential customers.  Develop a survey to evaluate your idea that addresses the actual data you need to know. The questions you include should be relevant to the product only, not the demographics of the people you ask (segmenting your target market is a critical step, but should be done in detail later in the planning process). Avoid leading questions like “Do you like pepperoni pizza better than anchovy?” Instead, construct questions that illicit the respondents’ actual opinions or habits. Follow up yes and no questions with whys, how often, and the like. Keep each question limited to a single point — that is, do not ask if they like pizza and salad, rather make that two questions. Be sure the questions are easy to understand. Provide clear answer options, when possible, and be sure to include a space for “other” answers.
 
Keep the survey relatively short and to the point. Be sure the overall responses will tell you what you need to know about whether your idea will fly. Once you are satisfied with the questionnaire, select people from your expected target market to survey. Running the survey by your family and friends is good for quality purposes, but your moral support staff is not going to give you a realistic understanding of the viability of your idea. Be sure you are asking the right people the right questions.
 
Don’t be offended or defensive about negative responses. Instead, probe for more information about why they think your idea won’t work. It is very common for successful business ideas to change dramatically during the planning stages, so be alert for legitimate criticisms and look for ways to improve on your idea.
 
Performing a simple market analysis like this isn’t the end of your marketing research, but it can be very effective in weeding out those ideas that are not likely to succeed.

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Business News Articles

Web Wonders And Opportunities

Isn’t it wonderful we have the internet, suddenly getting in contact with old friends is so easy. It used to take between 1 to 2 months for a letter to be received in America from a Third World Asian country. Even governments had to suffer inconveniences of postal services which are now appropriately termed “snail mail”. But please do not misjudge or undervalue postal service. It has its own uses.
A mid-19th Century man would have considered it supernatural to have his mails reach their destination and vice versa in seconds, in contrast to the modern person getting exasperated and frustrated not to be able to get his in 24 hours, a time span still “superfast” for the previous-century human being. It would have been stupefying and unfathomable for him to be able to send multiple “superfast mails” to a hundred different recipients all at the same time. He would have felt the same way or even more strangely than Rip Van Winkle did.
Aside from “superfast mails”, we get to enjoy online chatting or video conferencing, an unthinkable proposition that would have baffled even the likes of Alexander Graham Bell or Thomas Alva Edison. Social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ are ubiquitous conveniences and tools that are used by flirting teenage girls and business people alike. The utilitarian and trivial uses of the Web are so copious that opportunities and possibilities are dizzyingly vast for the modern man who has sufficient knowledge of the facility and enough mettle to venture into unchartered territory of innovative business enterprise. Even the average techie has equal access to cyber and internet opportunities. Even the ordinary business person who stumbles upon a novel business idea can make him and others in his employ rich and famous.
Cybernetics and the Internet penetrate even the deepest recesses of wealth of the filmmaking industry especially in areas that involve use of intensive graphics and animation. Steve Jobs proved that, after his downfall when he was kicked out of Apple, the company he co-founded and nurtured to greatness. His wizardry in graphics and animation made possible the rise to fame and fortune of his Pixar Animation Studios which debuted perfect animation full-length Academy-, Golden Globe- and Grammy-Award-winning movies such as the Toy Story series, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, the Cars series, Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up.
It may not be possible for us all to become like Steve Jobs but… who knows?

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Business News Articles

Internet Home Business Idea – Is Onsite SEO Important For Your Success?

Search engine optimization is one the most spoken about and sought after concepts in the world today. It is the power of the internet that has given rise to this concept. And today, every website in the world is looking towards SEO practices to gain visibility. There are websites for every aspect of life ranging from buying, selling and even gaining information. With over millions of websites making a home on the internet, the chances of your website representing your internet home business idea gaining visibility is pretty low if you choose to ignore the power of onsite SEO. And without visibility and web traffic, your website is as good as being non-existent!
The SEO is rightfully one of the most powerful concepts today and because every business looking to make money over internet is dependent on it to overpower its competitors. Are you still wondering why you need to opt for on-site SEO? Well, take a look at what it can do for you and your internet home business idea.
Benefit #1: Return on investment for your internet home business idea
If you are the owner of a business unit, then, you will surely know the importance of getting good returns on your investment. If you opt for on-site search engine optimization techniques for your online website, which is your computer home business, you can be rest assured of getting the best possible returns for the minimal investment you make in designing the website and optimizing it for the search engines. Also, consider the amount of money you will be saving on advertising and marketing costs. A well optimized website will be able to do all these and more for your computer home business. Don’t think twice about going in for onsite optimization to get more profits.
Benefit #2: Increased Sales for your internet home business idea
Finding a position in the result list of the first page of any search engine result can work wonders for your business. More than 75% of the people who look for information on the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing do not go beyond the first set of results. So, it is imperative that your website finds the place in this list, preferably among the first five or ten results if you want a larger number of people visiting your computer home business site. This is where onsite SEO plays a significant role. A well executed onsite SEO strategy can assure your website a place right at the top of the result list and help it retain that position. This increases the visibility and web traffic to your site, thus, assuring you of increased sales which in turn translate into high profits.
Benefits #3: Helps your site load faster for your internet home business idea
Just sit back and think if you would ever want to browse through a website where every page takes a long time to load on screen? Of course not! And many others also feel just the way you do. Hence, it is important that the pages of your site load fast without any errors. This is again possible when you opt for on-site SEO where the files on each page are optimized in such a way that they load on screen in a jiffy.
These are just 3 among the plethora of benefits that on-site SEO has in store for you. If you want to survive in the large world of online business, then, onsite SEO techniques are something you should look up to.

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How to Start Your Own Home-Based Business Today

Starting your own home-based business can seem daunting, but with hard work, self-belief and a sense of adventure the potential rewards are great. Every great business starts with a good idea, but once you have taken the plunge and decided to bring your idea to the market, the success of your business will depend on how you develop it. The methods you use to promote your product or service will play a big part in its success. Employing the services of brochure and booklet printing specialist could help give your business the edge.
The idea
A good business idea can be an elusive thing. It is very difficult to come up with one on demand. The key is to make sure that you are observant and receptive at all times. It may be that an idea comes from within the workplace. Employees have a great insight into the methods of a company and if they see practices that they disagree with, they might be prompted to develop a completely new way of doing things. They will also know if certain customer needs are not being met and may decide that they can fill the void. The consumers themselves, unable to find the product or service that they need, might see a gap in the market. If research indicates that other people share the same need then this could form the basis of a business idea.
The hard yards
An idea is just the beginning of a very long road. Before a business can get off the ground there is a lot of work to be done to establish whether the idea can be developed. Only then, once you are confident that your product or service is something that people will pay for, are you in a position to start your business. And that’s when the hard yards begin. Thomas Edison famously said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”. It is well worth remembering this point. Your good idea gives you the chance to create a home-based business, but unless you are prepared to work very hard to develop, improve and maintain the quality of your product or service, you cannot expect lasting success. Passion and drive are the keys, if you are to turn a good idea into a successful business.
The promotion
Developing a good product or service is only half the battle; you need to think about how you will let people know about your business and what you can do for them. Word of mouth is important, so use whatever contacts you have to spread the word, but this is not enough on its own. More formal methods of promotion, such as flyers, brochures and booklets are a good idea. Use them to tell the public what makes your product different or to explain what unique services you provide. Business cards are important too. Take every opportunity to hand them out to business contacts, particularly potential clients. It is no use having a great product or service that nobody knows about, so this part of your business is critically important. Make sure you use a company that specialises in brochure and business card printing to ensure your promotional material is of the highest quality. Do this and you will be well on your way to a successful home-based business.