Part 1: Questions for the entrepreneur to be
If you are an entrepreneur starting out, or have been around the block for some time but are yet to hit on the jackpot, you might be missing out some of the cornerstones of doing busingg through the new age media, the internet. Ask yourself the following questions and in seeking out answers to the, you may find the magic touch that could propel you to the success that drives you everyday.
What are you going to sell?
It is not true that anyone can sell anything. I for example could never operate a cookies business because i would end up munching them all up before they saw the light of day. On the other hand I have been selling my writing for years now and i will keep doing it for as long as there is paper and pen. The point I am trying to get across is that you need to know what you are best qualified to sell, and more importantly, to know why anyone would buy from you and not somewhere else. If you think you have the capability to sell it better than anyone alse doing it, then you have a seller. Working hardest may get you results but working smart rakes in the profits. Be smart about what you are going to sell and you shall be rewarded.
Who are the potential buyers?
One common mistake that could be the deathblow in your entrepreneurial endevour is the asumption that the presence of people means that there is an obvious market for your product. In the realistic business world you do not just sell to people, you sell to a target audience that is informed about your product and have the means and desire to purchase it. To identify this target audience, you will need to carry out a market survey and identify the demographics before launching your product to the identified market.
One potential but often ignored source of such data is the local offices. As required by law, they maintain these records and though they can not divulge personal information, they are helpful when it comes to raw statistics and this should save you some time and money, a plus if you are still in the initial level of entrepreneurship. Having this initial information is crucial but it is still up to you as the entrepreneur to analyze it and based on your analysis, determine the best approach to this particular market segment.
How are you going to market to potential customers?
Having decided on what to sell and who to sell it to removes two main obstacle in your march to success as an entrepreneur. The next key step for you is to reach the identified market with your product and get them interested in it. The form of advertising that you pick on heavily influences the market section that you reach. For more information on advertising have a look at the related articles on advertising. The resources at your disposal determine the advertising route that you take but I am writing on the assumption that you may not have a million bucks at your disposal for advertising. For advertising on the internet, with the right approach it should be possible to drive enough people to your site. again there are different options to choose from depending on your product and target market(visit our internet marketing section for more information on this).
How Will You Present Your Product?
The next step after you have captured the attention of the market is to present your product to them in an irresistible manner. Their visiting you is a good sign but it is not a sure bet that they will purchase from you or even establish any mutual contact beyond the initial visit and interest. You should fuel their interest into a passion and convince them of the merits of purchasing from you. Have information on what problem in their lives your product is going to solve, the advantages that your product provides over that of rival businesses and gain their trust by providing guarantees on each purchase they make from you.
If you can succeed in making your potential market segment to feel compelled to purchase from you, for as long as you have quality and superior products on offer, you will have buyers for your product.
How will you sell the product?
Automating the buying process saves your customers not only time but the frustration of having to fill in endless forms and type in their details in numerous forms. The best way to circumvent this process is to have an automated system incorporated into your system to provide the customer with a smooth and stress free buying process. It serves no point to have everything else working smoothly for you, only to lose your potential sale at the purchasing stage because of an archaic buying pprocess.
To achieve this, one of the best prospect today is having a merchant account with a verified brand (In my opinion, Paypal is the best) that allows the customers to buy from you in the easiest way possible through a third party billing house. You should also think of having a follow-up system that informs the customers of a confirmation of the purchase and if possible, have a tracking system that alllows them to check on the progress of their purchase.
Another key issue that you will need to address is delivery. Customers want to be able to get the delivery made in their spoecified time and location so you should recruit the services of a reliable carrier, FEDEX, DHL or whichever method you think will serve your customers best.
This involves not only the well known practices of post-purchase support for product that w ere purchased from you but also and maybe more importantly, a system that will act as a spur for the current customers to continue purchasing from you. Putting incentives is important if you are to have loyal and dedicated customers. Though having guarantees with a refund if the customer is not satisfied with the purchase is not absolutely neccesary, it is a powerful tool in conveying the trust you have in your product. You are literally sticking out your neck and this gives the customers one more reason to trust you.
Having a customer support contact (both mail and phone), customer opinion page etc gives you an edge over some of your competition that may be overlooking this simple but nevertheless effective way of creating a lasting rapport with your customers.
About The Author
Charlz Wachira, the Online Marketing Alchemyst, runs http://www.e-gnorance.com, an online venture aimed at marketing entrepreneurial endeavors online. He also writes on a variety of issues related to entrepreneurship, e-commerce and online marketing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org