How Can I Automate My Online Business And Still Appreciate Increased Profits?

The increasing popularity of online retail has led to newfound business opportunities for millions of entrepreneurs who are not scared of competition. While the Internet is a wonderful place to make money with over 4 billion websites in existence, today making a fortune on the Internet does require some effort and time.

Studies show that business owners must come into contact with prospects and interested parties nines times or more before an actual impression is made.

As you may know, consistent follow-up can become extremely time-consuming if you do not know how to automate your online business. Follow the tips below for online business and marketing automation and appreciate increased profits without the mundane work.

Building a Mailing List with Automation Tools

As you may know as a small business owner, you must have a marketing list consisting of names, email addresses and contact information. One of the easiest ways to build a mailing list from scratch is to offer an incentive for visitors to provide their contact information.

The incentive you offer should be informative and valuable to the visitor. Once you have collected the visitor’s contact information, include an opt-in box as a required field to receive the special offer. With an opt-in in box, you can automate lead generation and come into contact with hundreds of new prospects.

Use Auto Responder Services

Once you have built a sizable mailing list you will need to send regular content to make sure you are constantly reminding prospects of the products and services you offer.

Auto responder services make sending content and offer emails even easier. With these services, you can create content that will motivate prospects to buy and set a schedule for when these emails are sent.

With programmable features, you can not only schedule content delivery; you can also track click-through and sales conversions to see how effective your content was.

No online business owner can succeed without a successful and consistent marketing campaign. While some entrepreneurs choose to physically type emails and build their own mailing lists, this is a waste of time and can be damaging your business profits.

Learn how to automate your online business and spend less time advertising and more time enjoying life. One of the main reasons you became an online entrepreneur was probably because you wanted freedom. Keep your freedom and do not compromise profits by automating marketing messages and lists.

28 Questions to Help You Critique Your Business and Boost Profits

I’m asked all the time, “what could I do that will help me grow faster?” And I”d love to have just one answer, but of course I Don’t. The “what” is different for each person who hires me, because they are running their business differently that someone else. What I can tell you is that when you’re not winning like you”d like to be winning, there are tried and true things that can help you and you’re not going to like the answer. So I’ll hold off on telling you the answer for a little bit longer.

Here is the main thing I see — and it doesn’t matter how long someone has been in business or how much they’re making. The business owner forgets that (s)he has to be both the boss and employee; but not at the same time, of course. Visualize this. A company without a boss. Or a solo company without an employee. Yet, many people, yes, even you, are running their businesses like that!

Even if you love the work you’re doing – and I hope you are in a business you love — like accounting or selling mortgages or being a financial planner, it is imperative that you take at least 1 day a week and be the boss of you and at least one day a week to be the marketing director! Even if you’re an independent professional or agent working for a BIG company, you need to take time out to be the boss and marketer.

What do bosses do? Well in small companies, they manage the functions of the company so that everything is running smoothly. They review the performance of employees (even if they’re the only employee!) They do the hiring and firing — of consultants and clients, alike. They make sure that accounting, and purchasing, and HR functions are running without a hitch. They have a team of other business owners that they confide in, and at the very least they”ve hired a business coach to keep their ass in gear.

And now comes the part I know you won”t want to hear — they have a plan in place that they use daily as a guide and to monitor their performance. What I find, as I talk with experienced business owners, is that the day came when they realized that the only thing that they hadn’t yet done, that they “knew” they needed to do, was create a plan. They came to this realization when they became sick and tired of putting out fires all the time. OR they became sick and tired of knowing that they could be earning more or working less, but try as they did, something was always in the way of their continued growth.

50,000 organizations have benefited from bringing The One Page Business PlanĀ® System into their companies. And 30 universities use the system as part of their business curriculum. Business Planning doesn’t have to be as difficult as “we” (and I was included in that “we” years
ago) make it. So if you Can’t answer all of the 28 questions below confidently, it’s time to put the metal to the petal and create your business and marketing plan. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain!

1. Is the legal structure of your business protecting you personally? (like an LLC, S or C Corp)
2. What services and/or products do you offer?
3. What is your experience with this market?
4. What are the risks involved with this business?
5. What are the risks you have in regards to growing your business?
6. What are your business strengths?
7. *What business are you building? (VISION)
8. What problems does your company solve?
9. Who is struggling with the problem your company solves?
10. Who is your ideal client?
11. How large is the market share for that “ideal client”?
12. Where do you find more or your clients?
13. What is the best way for them to learn about the services or products your company offers?
14. Who is your competition?
15. How do the problems your company solves differ from existing or competing businesses?
16. How does your company differ from your competition?
17. *How will your product/service help your prospects have better lives/businesses? (MISSION)
18. How are you going to make money?
19. What amount of money do you think you need to have an enjoyable life?
20. What are the core values of your company?
21. *What 10 BIG ways are you planning to market or build your company? (STRATEGIES)
22. *How will you monitor the results of your marketing efforts? (OBJECTIVES)
23. How are you pricing your services or products?
24. What does your marketing funnel look like?
25. Who is on your management team and what is their experience?
26. Who is on your board of advisors and what is their experience?
27. *What are the BIG steps that you must take to achieve your dreams? (ACTION STEPS)
28. Do you have a website that is capturing prospects?

* These 5 concepts are from The One Page Business PlanĀ® program

8 Pitfalls of Managing Your Own Business and How to Overcome Them

What an exciting venture – to start, run, and manage your own business!

Maybe you have a talent that you are offering as a service to clients such as massage, consulting, or financial planning. Or maybe your business is selling a product like clothing, wines, or information products. Whatever your plan involves–services or products–managing your own business takes certain skills beyond the specialized knowledge that makes you good at what you do.

If you don’t learn the skills of running and managing your business, you may find yourself experiencing some of these common pitfalls. If you do experience them, acknowledge where you are, then take measures to overcome them.

Common Pitfalls of Managing Your Own Business:

1. Not having a business plan and a marketing plan.
A business plan is a roadmap for success and a marketing plan is a schematic for everyday marketing activities. Many entrepreneurs believe they can get away without a business plan if they’re not seeking outside funding, but business plans are not just for investors. They guide you to where you want to go in your business. If you don’t have a plan, find a business consultant or SCORE counselor to help you write one. You can work with a marketing consultant or SCORE counselor to develop quarterly marketing plans to track what marketing activities give you the greatest results.

2. Not doing financial projections and monthly reports.
Most business owners are only concerned with how much money is coming in. But that’s only gross profit, and your business success is based on net profit-how much is left after expenses. A major pitfall of business owners is not doing financial projections. You need to chart out for one year what income you expect and your estimated expenses, both fixed and variable. Use an Excel spreadsheet or have your accountant do it in QuickBooks. When they run your monthly profit and loss statement, make sure they explain what the numbers mean. You must know your bottom line each month to manage your business successfully.

3. Not having enough capital or reserves.
Some businesses need an infusion of capital when they start out. You may need to borrow funds for renting your location, purchasing inventory, or outfitting your office. If you were unable to borrow, you might have gotten personal loans or you started on a shoestring. With little capital, you probably don’t have much in reserve. Business advisors suggest having at least six month’s to a year’s worth of expenses in the bank. This pitfall causes the demise of many businesses. Build up your reserves whenever you have any surplus.

4. Not being knowledgeable in your field or about business.
Do you have formal training in your industry? Have you studied how to run a business? Not having enough knowledge, skill, or training in your specialty or in business is a major pitfall. How will you compete against more skilled practitioners? How will you know the best quality products to buy and the best prices? You can open a business and then get more training and education as you go along, because ongoing training will keep your skills sharp and current. And you’ll want to get educated in all the nuances of managing a business from financials, to customer service, to employee relations, and more.

5. Not checking the competition or staying current with industry trends.
You can’t ignore the competition or pretend you don’t have any. It’s not spying, but you must know who your competition is and what they are up to. Can you provide better, faster, or a different service? Can you offer deeper discounts, better quality, or follow-up support? Find out what your competition is doing and offer something more. Read industry journals and stay current with what is going on in your industry. You have to be the best to stay on top, and it only takes a little time each week to do your homework.

6. Not tracking, measuring, following up, or following through.
How can you know how successful you are if you don’t track your results? Did this marketing campaign attract more visitors to my website? If not, what can I do to improve my results? Learn how to track and measure your business and marketing activities. Also, make sure you follow up and follow through. If you send out postcards and offer a free 30-minute consultation, make sure you provide it to those who respond. If you advertise an open house for client appreciation day, follow through and hold the event. Clients and prospects will lose faith in you if you don’t keep your word.

7. Poor customer service.
Have you heard the expression, the customer is always right? I have some coaching clients who run retail operations and they say that they train their staff to give 110% when it comes to customer service. Satisfied customers provide additional revenue in the form of return business and referrals. However, dissatisfied customers can do a lot of damage by spreading the word about your poor service. See the long-term value of happy customers and do everything in your power to make this a top priority. Without customers, you have no revenue!

8. Burnout from overworking and doing everything yourself.
Enthusiastic entrepreneurs wear a big “S” on their chests thinking they are Super Business Owner! I can do everything myself. If I want it done right, I have to do it. That works fine until you find yourself getting about five hours of sleep a night and making errors during the work day. Start looking at what you can delegate and find top quality, affordable contractors or employees to take some of the load off. After all, all work and no play makes for a very unhappy business owner. If you’re so stressed out, how can you enjoy the fruits of your labor?