4 Key Marketing Strategies When Setting Up An Internet Business

The success of your online business will, in the end, be a result of your ability to get customers. You will not have a business if you do not have any customers and to get customers you need marketing. A business without any marketing is going struggle to survive. Marketing is not just about placing some advertising space when you set up a website business. Advertising is just one element of the marketing mix.

A Marketing Plan For Setting Up An Online Business.

Some people think that marketing and advertising is the same thing. As mentioned above, advertising is an element of marketing whether you’re setting up an online business or working on an established business. Advertising is a more passive activity and marketing is more active. When you place an ad it sits there and does its job, but marketing is about getting people to see those ads and everything else you do to promote your business.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

An important online marketing technique when setting up a web business is search engine optimization or SEO. This is the technique that search engines, such as Google, look for keywords within your website to deliver search results. Keywords are the words and phrases that somebody types into a search engine when they are looking for something on the internet. SEO takes time to set up, but it also needs to be kept up to date on a regular basis. Search engines like fresh and relevant content, and when you’re setting up an online business you’ll have lots of new ideas and content that you can add to your website. Just remember to keep adding new content to your website on a regular basis.

2. Building a List of Customers.

The process of building an opt-in mailing list is a vital element of your marketing strategy when setting up an online business. This means getting people to provide you with their email address so that you can market to them when ever you want. In exchange for an email address you need to give something of value. This includes things like like special offers, exclusive information, free reports or free online videos.

3. Email Marketing.

People need to see your message anything between 7 to 12 times before they will take action. Effective email marketing is very important when setting up an online business simply because it enables you to develop a relationship with the individuals on your list. Every message you send should have value. Irrespective of whether you are delivering information or selling one of your products or services, it has to be of benefit to the person reading it. his way they recognize the value that you are sending to them and be more inclined to purchase from you.

4. A Well Designed Website.

A well designed website allows you to compete on an even playing field as your website visitors do not know if they’re dealing with a multi-national company or a one-person operation. When you’re setting up an online business, your website does not have to be all flashy and high tech. As long as you clearly show the benefits of your products and services and the website is easy to use you are off to good start. Keep your website navigation simple and make sure that it can be viewed correctly in the popular internet browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

Getting Started in Business

In the website business, we regularly talk with people starting up a new business.

It dawned on me last week that, having a well-established business now, it is easy to forget some of the challenges that start up businesses have.

While it can be an exciting time, it can also be nerve wracking wondering where the next sale is going to come from.

And the worst thing that you can do is compare yourself to an already well-established business.

You are a start-up business, and comparing your results to an established business is counter-productive, to say the least.

So…

How Will I Ever Achieve That?

There are two ways to ask the question – “how will I ever achieve that?”

One way is with doubt and uncertainty, and the other is with an enquiring and curious mind.

The doubt is natural, so be careful not to fall prey to it.

Instead, use the experiences of the well established businesses to build your own success.

Mentoring

Look at what they are doing that is working for them and see how you can adapt that to your business.

You might even approach a business owner and ask if they would mentor you. If you have chosen well, they quite likely will say yes. So don’t be put off if you get a negative answer. Just look for a better candidate.

A mentor is someone who you can ask for advice. They are not necessarily a substitute for a business or personal coach, and they definitely are not somebody who is going to do the work for you.

Over the years, I have started, built and sold a number of businesses.

I have had mentors for whom I am very grateful.

The people who gave me little tips and pointers in the right direction.

They do not even need to be in the same line of business as you.

Sometimes you will find skills, ideas or strategies that will transfer to different industries with a little adaptation.

And sometimes you will just find the inspiration to keep moving forward.

So…

Keep your eyes and ears open for someone who might become a mentor for you.

It might be over just one cup of coffee, or it might be an ongoing relationship.

It is often someone who helps with no expectation of return, but you can also seek out someone who you pay for specific services that support you moving forward.

Well, that is quite simple really!

What should you do now?

  1. If you need help moving your business forward, find a mentor.
  2. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.

Buy-Sell Agreements: What Happens If an Owner of a Closely Held Business Dies or Is Disabled?

Business partners and shareholders of closely held businesses need to be concerned with the potential that one of the partners will die prematurely or is permanently disabled. If the estate of the deceased stipulates the business is passed on to that shareholder’s family, who may not be desired as partners, have no interest in the business, or are likely to interfere in the business without any experience in managing it, major difficulties can be created for the business and the surviving partners. In extreme cases, thriving businesses have failed or forced into a sale when this happens. Buy-sell agreements can solve this problem, by providing the business with the cash necessary to buy out the surviving family’s interests in the business.

There are typically two types of buy-sell agreements, which I discuss in this article. The first is a cross-purchase agreement, where each partner or shareholder buys a life insurance policy on the other partners or shareholders. For a small partnership, corporation, with only two shareholders or partners, a cross-purchase agreement can work well, since only two policies are necessary. However, in situations where there are more than two partners, a cross-purchase buy-sell agreement can become difficult to manage: for example, if there are three partners or shareholders, six policies are needed (three people each buying two policies for each partner); if there are five partners, twenty policies are needed (five partners each buying four policies on each of the other partners). As you can see, these numbers increase rapidly. To further complicate issues, buy-sell disability insurance (DI) policies that buy out a disabled partner’s share of the business, so the numbers double if DI policies are added to the mix. In addition, both life and DI policies are rated by age and health, so there can be wide disparities in the premiums each partner pays. Tax implications can also play a role: if the partners have a higher tax rate than the corporation, the cost of funding will be higher than the alternative to cross-purchase agreements.

The alternative variant of a cross-purchase agreement is a stock redemption agreement, where the corporation owns the insurance policies on each partner. If a partner dies or is disabled and can no longer contribute to the business, the insurance policy allows the corporation to buy out the partner’s business interest. Because the corporation owns the insurance policies, it is only necessary to have it buy a policy for each partner, making the administration much simpler than a cross purchase agreement. Further, underwriting differences that affect premium are borne by the business rather than creating disparities with each partner’s cost of insurance. The biggest problem with a stock redemption agreement is that the remaining shareholders do not get an increase in basis valuation, but retain the original basis cost of the shares. As a result, the partners will be liable for greater capital gains with the stock redemption structuring if shares are sold before death. However, if the stock redemption is accomplished, each owner now has a greater percentage of ownership. There can also be a hybridized approach, where combinations of cross-purchase and stock redemption are used to structure the agreement.

There are numerous other tax implications that are beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, the tax consequences of these insurance agreements must factor in tax implications vis-à-vis the amount of complexity the partners are willing to assume. It is necessary to have the partners work with their insurance agent, accountant, and attorney as a team to find the best solution, given the tradeoffs that have to be made.

What happens if a partner is uninsurable? If that partner already owns life insurance and DI policies, the ownership of the policies can be transferred to either the partners (cross-purchase) or business (stock redemption). If the life insurance policy is a cash value product, the partner will have to be compensated for the cash surrender value of the policy. Again, tax implications are important here, as well: the partners must engage their accountant and attorney to structure this arrangement appropriately.

The type of insurance used for the buy-sell agreement can be term or cash value. As with individual policies, both have advantages and disadvantages. Annual Renewable Term (ART) policies have the advantage of low up-front costs, but increase as the partners’ age. Level term policies will have a predictable cost structure, but expire at the end of some predetermined period, say ten or twenty years, depending on what’s purchased. Once the end of the term is reached, the policy holders must each go through underwriting once again to get new policies, but because they are older, these will be substantially more expensive, and there s a good risk that one or more partners may not be able to get any insurance due to age and/or health. In the latter case, the risk can be mitigated with the purchase of a guaranteed insurability rider, but this adds to the cost of the policy.

Cash value policies, typically Whole Life (WL) and Universal Life (UL) have the advantage of building cash value and remain in force as long as premiums are paid., The policies can self-fund after a period of time as generated dividends become sufficient to cover the premiums. Alternatively, the policies can continue to be funded and the cash value used to fund or supplement pension benefits or shareholder buyouts. Additionally, because the cash value is treated as a liquid asset, the funds can be used to secure advantageous loan terms for the company.

The partners can decide to forgo any buy-sell agreement if they determine the cost of the insurance exceeds the likelihood of higher capital appreciation of their interest in the business. Therefore, the partners may decide the risk of premature death or disability of a partner is sufficiently low that reinvesting the money into the business to realize a higher rate of return than the insurance policies can offer is a better bet for the owners.

The complexity of buy-sell agreements makes it necessary that an experienced insurance agent, along with a business’ accountant and attorney, be engaged to structure the agreement in a way that best serves the needs of the partners, the business, and surviving family members. Because decisions have to be made as to whether or not a buys sell agreement is appropriate, and if it is, how it should be structured from a cost and tax perspective, are difficult decisions for the partners, and the expert of advice of the right people will make this process far easier and less stressful for all involved.