Will You Be Able to Stay in the Game? Training in Your Internet Marketing Business

A serious professional understands the importance of on-going training. It is the water that nourishes the soil of an exploding business. Training stretches your understanding of certain areas of your business. It ignites the creativity needed to expand on an idea or a skill. At that point, because of training, you are able to fully maximize the idea or skill so that it gives you the highest return back into your business. All professionals understand how training empowers them to move beyond their limited capabilities. We all have areas both professionally and personally that need improvement.

Where do we get the training we need to improve and grow? Every industry is brimming to capacity with people who have become “experts” in their field of study. These people have dedicated themselves to helping others achieve greater levels of proficiency. They have decided to take on the mission of teaching others how to become the experts also. Many times these people have incredible information to share with others. Vital tidbits of knowledge,strategy and systems that they themselves used to get to the top of their game. Some of these leaders are teachers. Some of those teachers are great communicators. Some of those great communicators are individuals that have learned how to package materials in the format of seminars.

Seminars are a great source of training for your Internet marketing business. They are typically 2-5 days in length. They are packed with content and information designed to develop the attendees knowledge in their business. The benefit of attending a training seminar are many. One excellent benefit is that, for several days you are focused on one thing. Learning as much as possible while you are there so that you can go back to work and implement the system or skill that you learned. They are usually 8-10 hours days of quality focus. There are no distractions from learning. Everyone attending is there for the same purpose. They are there to train and learn more. Get more, be more.

Another important benefit of seminars are, you as the attendee, are able to meet with highly motivated, like minded Internet marketing business owners. This factor alone can bring an enormous amount to the bottom line of your business. Another idea, another way of doing something, another strategy. another customer for your business, all can be had by networking within the same business at a seminar. Many times people come from everywhere. Different parts of the city, country and sometimes from other parts of the world. Being able to have a contact for business in another state, city or country, is valuable to any business owner. Every operating business “networks”. If not there is no business. We are networking to get others to do business with us all the time in our businesses. So,whether you are an Internet marketing business owner or a business owner of any kind, an opportunity to get out there and meet others in the same business is priceless and time well spent.

Other places to train are places that offer classes or training in areas of business like specialized learning centers for specific businesses. An example might be a real estate school operated solely for the education in the real estate business. Local communities have businesses that offer specialized classes for different things involving business. There are local colleges that offer classes in different categories in business. There are local businesses that offer additional training sometimes used to recruit people into their companies. The Internet is a great source of training. There are thousands of sites that can offer training and assistance for the individual who is searching. Online classes with videos are another great source for training.

Finding training solutions is easy for anyone with the desire to learn or grow. The most important part of the equation is being able to see the need for training and development. One should never become such an expert that they no longer need the help of an expert. No one has “so arrived” that they cannot learn another thing. Even the experts learn from other experts. Internet Marketing businesses are no different that any other business. You have to become the one people seek out to get answers to their problems. The expertise you gain from training is what allows you to stand apart from your competition. Grabbing the attention of the buying public is the name of the game. You must have their attention before they will buy. Most of the time you must earn their trust also. Here is a great example of “standing apart from your competition” in the mind of the consumer.

When you go to the grocery store to buy an orange what kind of orange do you think people want to buy? Any guesses? How about Sunkist? Now, what do you think makes Sunkist any different from other oranges? Do they use a better grade soil or seed. Do they have larger orange trees. Do they have special orange tree growing equipment, the sun, than the other growers? The answer is NO! Sunkist has branded themselves as” the best tasting” orange in the country. They are thought to be the best orange growers in the country. Why? Because they said so and in the mind of the consumer they have branded themselves as the best. I do not even know the name of another orange because Sunkist is “the orange” to buy. This is because of effective advertising and because they have positioned themselves in the market as the authority or expert in oranges. Now you as an Internet Marketing business owner must do the same. Training is how you become the expert. Become the expert and be the “Sunkist” of the Internet Marketing Business world.

Financing a Small Business – What Alternatives Are There to Finance Your Business?

A lot of reasons exist why you should not only get into business, but also endure in business. You may want to take any of these decisions because of the love of a particular business, because of a need to do so, because you are bound to continue from where someone stopped or because you simply have a feeling to do so. In almost every country of the world, people are looking at the business sector as one of the bests. There are always statistics of these found in all countries. For example, the United States Department of Labor produces statistics which indicate that for almost the first three quarters of last year, unemployment was very high and a lot of people resorted to doing business.

There is no need to trouble yourself on the way your business is going to look like. All that is necessary for you to do is to develop a plan and seek for any of the so many options of securing finance for the business. The following lines are meant to encourage those coming into business and even those already in business to seek for means of financing their businesses:

Loans

This type of finance for a business is common all over the world and it can easily be gotten. In some cases, there is often a belief the loans can easily be gotten by everyone who applies for it. This may be true or false. It all depends on your business plan, the lending policy of the bank and the type and value of security you have. What makes this source of finance much considered is that interest rates on the loans are also reasonable. It should be warned that you should not get into taken of loans without seeking for proper recommendations from experts. Remember that it is always good to know the ins and outs of every type of loan ahead of getting into it.

Angel Financing

This is also another common source of finance that is common among new businesses and even those that are already in existence. What obtains here is that there are so many people who have the willingness and ability to pump finance into any business which have potentials to grow. Angel financing can be a family type. This will involve members of the same family pulling their resources together and investing it to develop a business plan. This is good but not preferable because of the close ties that the members may attach to each other, which may not be best for the health of a business. Angel financing can also be an affiliation angel. This will involve an association of friends willing to see a business plan from conception to completion. Another strand of angel financing is idea angel. These are financiers who are involved at the conception and actual progress of the business. Whatever the form of angel financing that you may opt for, you must get into the set of connections that these angels operate before you can benefit from financing.

Equity Financing

This involves raising money for the business by using what the business owns and can give out to the public. There are individuals willing to pay for equity in the business and even take part in the running of the business. Although this type of financing is common, it may not be available to every type of business. This is the more reason why every business owner must always carry out enough research in order to get the appropriate financing for his or her business.

Six Keys to Developing a Successful Business Plan

“To build a successful business, you have to begin at the end.”

Creating a clear business plan is an essential task for every leader who wants to operate a successful, smooth running, self-sustaining company. While it takes time and effort, having such a strategic roadmap will enable you to view your business from a higher plane and to quickly evaluate its strengths and inefficiencies. It will also empower your employees by freeing them to accomplish your company’s goals and to fulfill its mission and vision without your constant, hands-on involvement-which also frees you up from the day-to-day work, or, as we call it, “Doing the do.”

I have identified six key elements every successful business plan should include. The first three encompass what we call the organizational “Culture,” while the second three comprise its business “Systems.” Lacking these business elements almost inevitably leads to employee confusion, conflicts and other workplace problems that undermine product quality and business performance-and makes it almost impossible to remedy them. Since most businesses do not have a clearly defined culture or defined systems, by taking these steps you will gain an immediate advantage over your competition. Below is a brief description of our Six Keys:

CULTURE

1. Vision
A one-sentence statement that defines the ultimate impact your business is going to make on the community. It should state what you want to accomplish in terms of an almost unattainable goal or dream. A good vision statement makes the connection between your business’s passion and its purpose. My rule for Vision is: “People will work harder for a vision then they will for a paycheck.” Your vision statement should inspire, motivate and excite your employees, clients and the community where you do business. It should be short, concise and easy to remember.

Remember, a vision is not merely a large goal. It differs from a goal, in that you almost never quite achieve your vision-it is a virtually unattainable ideal that motivates your employees to meet and exceed your company’s practical objectives. In other words, goals are used to measure systems and processes, while vision is the fuel that ignites people to go beyond goals to excellence. A company’s top leadership has the responsibility to drive its vision. Without the support and encouragement of upper management, your vision will fail to have the impact the company needs to outperform your competition.

Example-”Estrada Strategies: “Creating an Opportunity for All Businesses to Succeed”

2. Values
Core Values are the rules of conduct in your business: a clearly defined set of standards that describes your organization’s approach to relationships. It is a written code of conduct defining how all stakeholders will treat people internally and externally, including other workers, clients, vendors and the community.

Without defined rules of conduct, people have little or no direction as to what constitutes acceptable behavior in your business. In the absence of such values, individuals will create their own rules. Experienced employees will default to values acquired outside the company in prior work environments. Some may have a positive impact, others may not. With no defined values, managers have a difficult time leading people, whether it means handing out accolades or taking disciplinary action.

Your business’s core values are non-negotiable within the company environment. When they are broken, swift disciplinary action or termination is usually in order. When management fails to uphold written values, employees soon figure out that they mean little or nothing-they become token values that everyone winks at and no one takes seriously. However, if core values are upheld, the company can use them to guide every aspect of the business.

Example-”We believe in frequent, open and honest communication.”

3. Mission
A short, concise declaration of the four essentials of every business:
1) What you do, 2) How you do it, 3) Whom you do it for, 4) Where you do it.

Your company’s mission statement is truly the roadmap for your employees; it is also a management tool to communicate how your company will operate in the community.

A mission statement is not a long dissertation, like those from corporations in the 1970′s and 80′s. Those lengthy proclamations were often viewed as unrealistic, empty rhetoric aimed at impressing bankers and the like. Today, they are used to guide the company’s overall direction, as well as its daily business activities. Beyond providing essential guidance to your employees, it empowers them to make swift, effective decisions by establishing critical boundaries. Without a clear mission, a company will often become paralyzed whenever it encounters a new situation as it attempts to figure out what to do.

Example-”Our Mission is to lead our small to medium-sized clients to greater success. Our
Method is to bring about behavior modification through business training, one-on-one
coaching and business monitoring. We Advance our Vision by being the business example
for our clients.”

SYSTEMS

4. Growth

A well-thought-out plan for growing your business that clearly defines these four elements:

1) Your target market;
2) How to market your product to the target;
3) An advertising strategy;
4) Brand creation that establishes a unique visual and emotional identity.

The rule for growth is, “You are either green and growing or you are ripe and rotting.” Without growth, a company will likely fail. A growth plan is the lifeblood of your organization. It includes your company’s sales process, marketing, advertising and branding systems.

1) Sales-the entire process that defines the demographics of your future clients (your target
market or “suspects”), as well as the foundational activities that drive new relationships and will
lead to future opportunities, sales, customers and referrals.

2) Marketing-the activities in your company that create visibility, credibility and demonstrated
ability in the marketplace. Low cost/high impact is a critical element of this process, which
communicates to your market who your company is, what it does, where it does it and how it
does it. Marketing supports sales, but must not be confused with sales. Remember, marketing
is about visibility, credibility and demonstrated ability. These elements build trust and branding
in the marketplace.

3) Advertising-Systems in place that bring potential clients through your doors, make the phone ring and create leads. Advertising is all about making sales. It is the promotional aspect of growth, and concerns how your company attracts its customers. It also tracks where and how
your customers discovered your company. Ultimately, advertising is all about return on
investment (ROI).

4) Branding involves the processes that create product or name recognition in the marketplace. It
comprises the visual and emotional impact people connect with your name, logo and tag
lines. Think of Nike’s “check mark,” or McDonald’s golden arches. Does the market know your
logo, name and tag? That’s the test.

5. Operations

Operations encompass the “nuts and bolts” of how a company satisfies customer needs, wants
and expectations-the blueprint that defines how a company produces its products or delivers its services. The focus here is on the five components of your company’s processes or way of doing things: systems, quality control, labor standards, material management and Internet technology.

1) What your systems/processes are. These define how your company executes, produces and
provides its products and services, including procedures, materials and process manuals.

2) How your company will control the quality of its products and services.

3) Productive labor standards that define the labor-cost relationships of providing your products and services. Think in terms of a piece worker who may be expected to produce X amount of product per X hours, a day, a week or a month. Also, think in terms of labor costs vs. overall revenue or net income. Such labor standards provide the needed benchmarks for your employees and for your managers to track and measure performance.

4) Material management or the cost of goods sold. How your company physically manages and
stores its raw material before and after products are produced. It also focuses on keeping material, shipping and storage costs to a minimum. The goal here is to minimize inventory without running short on needed materials.

5) Internet technology-how your company will use the Internet to advertise and sell your
products. The focus here is how your company effectively uses its website to promote and sell its products and services. Some companies have glorified brochures on the web, and that might be all they need. Most companies today are moving into the e-commerce where prospects can purchase items over the internet.

6. Finances

The financial aspect of your business involves how you manage budget planning, cash flows, capital and debt servicing, KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators-like pipeline and sales values, total revenue, gross margins, operating expenses and net profit to name a few. In the end, KPI’s serve as the monetary numbers that define the health of your company. The process, in short, means developing a budget that covers three years of monthly projections for your business in these three areas:

1) Income statements;
2) Cash flow statements; and
3) Balance sheets.

An experienced leader tracks his KPI’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. He knows exactly where the company stands financially at any given time. KPI’s make up the financial information a leader needs to make strategic decisions: to buy a building, increase inventories, or purchase new equipment. Running a business without KPI’s is like driving a semi-truck on a mountain road with blinders on. You are likely to drive the truck right off the cliff.

While having a successful business plan defined in terms of these six key components won’t absolutely guarantee that your company will be successful, not having one will almost inevitably lead to failure. Estrada Strategies exists to help businesses like yours succeed, in part by providing business training, executive coaching, and business monitoring you need to create a dynamic business plan.