How To Start An Online Business

Entrepreneurial Failure – Get Used To It

To be a successful entrepreneur you are going to have to learn to deal with failure. There is no way around it. Thomas Edison tried over ten thousand different experiments before he finally demonstrated the first incandescent light bulb on October 21, 1879. Bill Gates’ first company, Traf-O-Data, was a failure. Michael Jordan was once quoted as saying: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot; And missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

In my short stint as an entrepreneur I’ve failed more times than I can count. I have also had my share of success, but it’s not even close to equal. The failures far outweigh the successes, and I’m sure I have a lot more failure ahead of me. I’m OK with that because I know that as soon as I stop failing, I have stopped trying to innovate. It’s the nature of the business of being an entrepreneur, and of success in general.

If it were easy, everyone would do it. It is naive to think that every good idea that you have will result in a successful business venture. I have yet to hear an entrepreneur say “every single idea I come up with seems to work.” More likely, you hear something like “I failed at my first five businesses before this one took off.”

Think about that for a second. Five businesses. Sometimes the number is three, sometimes it’s 20, but the important point is that most entrepreneurs don’t hit a home-run with their first company. It really does amaze me – how many people have the stones to fail five times and still start a sixth business? You have to be supremely confident and treat those previous five times as a learning experience for the sixth. And if number six fails, you have to do the same and move on to number seven.

In my opinion, the most important thing is how you deal with failure. Once you accept that it’s inevitable, you are able to learn from your mistakes and move on. It’s easy to let the failure consume you – not so much because you are pessimistic, but more so because it is hard to see something that you poured your heart and soul into be ignored or rejected. As soon as possible you need to come to the realization that your business is what they are ignoring or rejecting, NOT you. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can objectively analyze why you failed and learn the things necessary for improvement in the future.

Failure isn’t easy and is extremely frustrating, but it’s a necessary part of success. Don’t believe me? Ask Thomas Edison, Bill Gates or Michael Jordan! Ok, asking Thomas Edison might be a little tough, but you get the idea.

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A Simple Strategy to Increase Profits

In today’s competitive business environment it is essential to find ways to reduce costs and increase profits while keeping productivity and quality high. One of the best ways to achieve this is through hiring and retention of outstanding employees.

Far too often hiring managers rush through the hiring process due to being reactive rather than proactive when filling positions. With some preplanning in the hiring process and implementation of sound strategies once people join your organization, you will lower the cost of doing business by considerable amounts.

As you prepare to hire consider the following:

• What type of person are you looking for?
• What are the values that drive your company?
• How difficult is the job you are filling?
• Do you have anyone internally who can do the job?
• How long will it take to find the right person for the position?
• What are you willing to negotiate with the potential candidate?

In looking for potential candidates you may want to try more than the traditional employee search. Tap into your network of professional connections. Some of your best candidates may be working for your competitors. Be careful about hiring someone just because they are a friend or family member. Not that friends and family members don’t make good employees – often they can be fantastic. And yet, if you are hiring them only because they are a friend or family member, you are setting yourself up for some big problems. With the wrong choice morale with other employees can go down. With the right choice it is just as likely to go up.

Think through the compensation package. Are the wages fair for the job, industry and market? Make sure your benefit package is competitive for your industry. Find out what other companies are offering as far as compensation and consider matching or beating their offerings.

There are occasions when someone may take a position without thinking through income, benefits or fit. Once they have gotten settled in and are feeling comfortable with the position and the company, they may realize the compensation and the job is not all it could be. That can cause some discontent on their part. To avoid this, do your homework.

Another key to keeping good employees is to make sure they are treated with respect, dignity and appreciation. This may seem like common sense and yet, it often doesn’t happen. I consult with various types of organizations employee retention and how to gain more commitment from the staff. I often will meet individually, in private, with a cross section of the staff. I spend at least an hour with each employee in a confidential meeting to find out their view of the company. Inevitably, the areas that are most lacking for the employee to be fully satisfied are communication and appreciation.

Once the area of discontent has been identified I design programs for the company in which to address the problems. What is amazing is the problem is often on the way to being solved by virtue of the fact the organization has brought me in. A common comment is, “Finally, someone is listening to me.”

Often, a company’s problems can be lessened with some good coaching and training of management. It is amazing how many managers and supervisors were put into their position without any training in interpersonal skills, management and supervisory skills, and how to communicate effectively. Nine times out of ten the people who need the most training are the ones who think they need it the least. And, they are often the biggest obstacle to the success of a company.

In order to stay competitive on all fronts you must keep your entire team on the leading edge. By doing so you will be in business for years to come with a happy, dedicated and productive team. And that will equal profits.

 

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3 Tips For Choosing A Payment Gateway: Collecting Money Online

As a consumer, when you check out of your local convenience store, you may swipe your credit card through a point-of-sale device and your gas, coffee, and donut are paid. But what if you are the retailer and your business is online? It’s not like you have a card-swiping device at every customer’s PC! There must be a way for you to process that information. Essentially, that is the job that a payment gateway does for online retailers. Roy Banks, president of http://Authorize.net, a leader in the payment gateway industry, describes his company’s function as “the digital version of a hardware point of sale terminal.”

What is a Payment Gateway?

Payment gateways allow online merchants such as eStore owners or auction sellers to accept credit card payments over the internet. They authorize the cardholder’s credit—that is, they check to ensure that the customer has enough money on their credit card to cover the charges. They then place a hold on that amount so the buyer can’t turn around and spend that same money elsewhere before it gets transferred to the retailer’s merchant account. Banks describes this as “the technology…necessary to consummate a payment transaction.”

A Payment Gateway is NOT a Merchant Account

Many people confuse merchant accounts with payment gateways but they are not the same. Merchant account services act, for the most part, as a liaison between your business bank account and the payment gateway. When a customer orders a product from your online business their card is processed via the payment gateway. The money is then moved over to the merchant account service. The merchant account service then moves those newly captured funds to your business bank account.

3 Tips for choosing a Payment Gateway:

1.  Is it PCI-compliant?

That means that the company’s security has been audited by a third party and found to be up to industry standards. Since payment gateways store all your customers’ credit card information (sparing you the stress), it also means you can sleep better at night, knowing your customers’ valuable information is safe and sound.

2.  Good customer support

Enough said.

3.  Lastly, it is important that the payment gateway you choose be integrated to the third-party solutions you are planning to use

That means things like store front platforms and shopping carts—you want them to be compatible with your gateway.

Payment gateways will not only allow you to collect the monies from your sales, many also offer an array of security features, some of which will help you avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent orders! In the end, they will make your ecommerce business a less-stressful, more pleasant experience—for both you and your customers.

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5 Start-up Ideas For Your Home-Based Business

So you’ve decided to start a home-based business? That’s great, but where do you start? If you’re online quite a bit, then there’s no reason you can’t start a business right from your own home on the Web. There are so many resources available online today that you can benefit tremendously from the research of others while building your own business. And, there are many companies that will do lots of the work for you when you join with them.

Here are five easy start-up ideas for your home-based business to save you time and money.

Choose Your Hours

Decide how much time you will be able to invest in your home-based business. To be honest, there are many new business owners who never make it because they’re not willing to invest their time. If you work a full-time job and plan to keep it while your home-based business builds, then you should determine how many free hours you can spend working. Can you invest a few hours per day, or week perhaps?

Once you choose your hours, stick with them on a consistent basis. Treat the home business just as you would a store with operating hours. If you open a store from 9 to 5, then someone must be there during those hours. So, if you plan to work on your new business from 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. five nights per week, then let this be your “operating hours!”

Choose a Business

Even if you plan to start a business selling products of your own, you might find it useful to join with a company to sell their products to build extra income at first. You can even do both if you can invest enough time and effort into both businesses. Choose a product or service that you enjoy selling. No business is fun if you dislike it. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to be successful.

With the Internet, MLM businesses are building down lines like crazy. This is the perfect opportunity for you to earn some extra cash or even a substantial income. The reason MLM businesses are so profitable online is because it is so easy to contact people by email and through your own website. Some MLM companies even do most of the work and contacts for you to save you time and money. Communication is very easy online even if you’re not really a “salesperson.”

If you plan to join an MLM group, be sure to choose a reputable company that has been in business for at least several years. Ask to speak with others who have worked with the company a while. Check with the Better Business Bureau Online to be sure there have been no (or very few) complaints. There are many scams online today, so sign on with a well-established MLM company to be safe!

Prepare Your Home-Based Business Work Area

Before you start a home-based business, be sure your home office is up to par. Upgrade your computer to a fast one with a super-fast Internet connection so your work will not be hindered by outside factors. Also, get a very comfortable desk chair with plenty of back and arm support. Choose a keyboard and mouse that you’re comfortable with, and organize your desk. Working in a well-organized environment clears your thinking so you can work and promote without distraction.

Investing Your Money

Before you invest a dime, be certain it’s the right business for you. When selling products for others, you might be asked to invest money before getting started for inventory, membership, a website, and so forth. If so, study every aspect of the business before doing so. Any business start-up will require some monetary investment, but you need to think before you invest.

Once you’ve chosen a business to invest in, set up a budget solely for your business. Having a business account at your local bank will help. Also, set up an account with an online payment processor if possible. PayPal and StormPay are two of the most popular ones online right now. If signing on with an MLM company, find out how they issue their payments first.

Use Your Talents and Skills

Whether you sign on with an MLM company or start a business selling your own products and services, remember to use all your talents and skills. Maybe you’re a great typist or a very savvy Internet user. Perhaps you know how to design websites, printed flyers, or promote online. Use your talents to maximize your home-based business profits.

Don’t just sit at home and dream of owning your own business. Use these five start-up tips to get your home-based business moving today!

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