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          A Home-Based Business Online


          
           
            

           November 19

          Editor: Elena Fawkner
          Publisher: AHBBO Publishing
           http://www.shelteredturtle.com
           Contact By Email



        1.  Welcome and Update from Elena
        2.  Home-Based Business Idea of the Week - Errand Service
        3.  Feature Article - Branding Your Business
        4.  Tips from the Newbie Club
        5.  This Week's Subscriber Web Site Pick
        8.  Subscription Management
        10. Contact Information



        1.  Welcome and Update from Elena


        Hello again and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers who
        have joined us since the last issue!


        This week's article looks at branding your business.  Many small
        business owners overlook this crucial start-up step of creating a
        corporate identity because they think it's something only the
        major corporations do.  Not so.  Even a small business needs to
        brand itself to differentiate itself from the competition.  In this
        week's article we look at how to go about doing exactly that.

        As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this week's
        issue.

        Remember, this ezine is for YOU! If you have comments
        or suggestions for topics you would like to see addressed,
        or would just like to share your experiences with other
        subscribers, I want to hear from you! Please send comments,
        questions and stories to Contact By Email .




        2.  Home-Based Business Idea of the Week - Errand Service


        People are busier than ever and the world around them hasn't
        changed. Groceries still need to be bought, deliveries still need
        to be made, gifts still need to be bought, etc. You can take
        advantage of the needs of these hyper-busy people by running
        an errand service.

        In essence, what you do is run errands for people and get paid
        for it. Think it sounds like a kid's business? Well, you won't
        make kid money! If you are in a good sized metropolitan area
        with steady clients, you can make $15 to $20 an hour.  You
        won't need much to start off with. You'll, of course, need a reliable
        car or, better yet, a van. The only real expenses at the start are:
        business cards and business stationery; a pager; and postage.

        Make a list of large businesses in your area, ones with large
        numbers of well-paid executives, such as banks, headquarters of
        large manufacturers, etc. You should then compose a letter
        detailing your services. List as many timesaving services as you
        can think of: grocery pickup, dry-cleaning delivery and pickup,
        post office errands, gift-shopping services, food pickup and
        delivery, etc.

        Note: Don't transport people unless you have the proper licenses.
        Also, if you deliver messages, there may be state utility regulations
        you'll need to check into. Emphasize to these people how they will
        BENEFIT from your service: more time, less worries, less stress.

        Be competitive with your pricing. Call other delivery services in the
        area and find out what they charge, whether hourly or by the job.
        Make your prices competitive and your services personal, and
        you'll get the edge.

        Four other good ideas for publicizing your services: advertise in
        charity event publications that are read by executives; get permission
        to post your business card at dry cleaners, grocery stores, bakeries,
        upscale food stores and delis, etc.; produce press releases about
        your services showcasing a unique aspect of your business, i.e.
        you specialize in delivering wedding cakes, for example, and get
        them to all the newspapers and local magazines in the area; and
        notify senior citizen organizations about the services you offer.

        Hints: Know your way around your area extremely well so you can
        plan the quickest route to efficiently accomplish all your errands.
        Be assertive, both with potential clients and with places you are
        visiting for a client. Be friendly, and you'll get more return business.
        Also, be confidential in respect of your clients.

        If you're willing to hustle, you can make it in the errand business.
        Once you get that first steady client, if you're good, you can count
        on word-of-mouth business. Then you'll really be rolling!

        ------

        There are many more ideas like this at the AHBBO Home
        Business Ideas page at free home based business ideas
        with more being added all the time.



        3.  Feature Article - Branding Your Business


        © 2017 Elena Fawkner

        If you think only big corporate names need to think about things
        like brand names, think again.  Your brand says a lot about you
        and your business, and that's as true for a one person home-
        based operation as it is for a multinational conglomerate.  In this
        article we look at how creating a strong brand for your business
        can help you set yourself apart from the pack and lay the right
        foundation for the future growth of your business.


        WHAT IS A BRAND?

        Your brand is more than just the logo on your letterhead and
        business cards or your business name.  It is your corporate
        identity.  An effective brand tells the world who you are, what
        you do and how you do it, while at the same time establishing
        your relevance to and credibility with your prospective customers. 

        Your brand is also something more ethereal.  It is how your
        business is perceived by its customers.  If your brand has a high
        perceived value, you enjoy many advantages over your
        competition, especially when it comes to pricing.  Why do you
        think people are prepared to pay stupid money for items of clothing
        with the initials "CK" on them?  Perceived value.  Perceived value
        as a result of very effective brand promotion resulting in very high
        brand awareness.

        Now, I'm not saying we all need to rush out and start creating
        brands that are going to be recognized the world over.  Most of us
        simply don't have the time or other resources necessary.  What I
        am suggesting, however, is that it is possible for your brand to
        dominate your niche.


        WHY DO I NEED TO CREATE MY OWN BRAND?

        => Differentiation

        We touched on this in the previous section when we looked at
        what a brand is and how it can be used to increase the perceived
        value of your products and services.  The main reason for creating
        your own brand is to differentiate yourself from your competition. 
        New websites are a dime a dozen.  So are home-based
        businesses.  You need to constantly be looking for ways to set
        yourself apart from your competition.  Your brand can do that for
        you.

        => More Effective, Efficient Marketing

        Another good reason for creating your own brand is to make your
        sales force (even if that's a sales force of one - you) more effective
        and efficient.

        Imagine if you didn't have to spend the first 50% of your time with
        a new prospect explaining who you are, what you do and how you
        do it.  What if your brand had already communicated that for you? 
        You can spend 100% of your time focusing on sales rather than
        educating your prospects about your business

        Another benefit of branding is that the efforts you expend increasing
        your brand awareness through promoting and marketing your brand
        to your target market automatically transfers to your products and
        services.  So, even when you're advertising your brand, you're
        indirectly also marketing your products and services.


        HOW DO I CREATE MY OWN BRAND?

        OK, so you're convinced you need to create your own brand. 
        Where on earth do you start?

        We saw earlier that your brand needs to say who you are, what
        you do and how you do it.  It needs to do all these things at the
        same time as establishing your relevance to and building credibilty
        with your prospective customers.  Needless to say, it is absolutely
        essential, if you are to build your own brand, that *you yourself*
        have a firm grasp of  who you are, what you do and how you do it.
        If not, you're going to have the devil's own time getting that
        message across to anyone else, let alone establishing your
        relevance and credibility.

        => Write A Mission Statement

        So, let's start by creating a mission statement.  What is the
        mission of your business?  Obviously you're in business to make
        a profit.  But making a profit is a byproduct of a successful
        business.  Focus instead on how you choose to achieve that profit. 
        What are your core values?

        A good place to begin thinking about your mission is to put
        yourself in the shoes of your customers.  Put yourself in their
        target market.  Let's say your business is web hosting.  If you're
        in the market for a web host, what things are important to you? 
        Different people will be looking for different benefits but you can
        bet that they want their website to be accessible to site visitors so
        reliability will be high on their list.  Price is also likely to be high
        on the list as is 24/7 technical support.  What about add-on features
        such as unlimited email aliases, cgi support and what-not? 
        These things will be highly important to some and less important
        to others.  So focus on the benefits that are likely to be highly
        relevant to the majority of your target market.  Let's settle for our
        purposes on reliability, price and technical support.

        Your mission statement might read something like this: "I strive
        to earn a fair return on my investment of time and money by
        providing affordable webhosting with guaranteed 99% uptime and
        24/7 telephone technical support".  That's a pretty general
        statement and if you decide to focus on a particular niche of the
        webhosting market, such as small business, you may want to
        more narrowly focus on that group in your mission statement.

        Now that you've written your mission statement, you can begin
        thinking about creating a brand that reinforces and supports your
        mission.  So, getting back to the fundamental questions of who
        you are, what you do and how you do it, you can now begin to
        think of your business in these terms.  You're a webhosting
        provider, you host websites of small businesses and you do that
        by offering cost-effective webhosting solutions, guaranteed 99%
        uptime and 24/7 telephone technical support.

        When you create your brand, you need to keep the who, what
        and how firmly in mind but also use the brand to establish your
        relevance to your target market and build credibility with that
        market.

        Let's turn now to the nuts and bolts of creating your brand.

        => Describe What You Are Branding

        List out your business's key features and characteristics, your
        competitive advantages and anything else that sets you apart
        from your competition.

        Using our webhosting example, you'll focus primarily on the
        objectives from your mission statement namely, reliable, cost-
        effective webhosting solutions supported by 24/7 technical
        support.

        => Identify and Describe Your Target Market

        Decide whether you want to target lthe entire webhosting
        community or only a segment of it such as small business
        websites.   Describe your market.

        => List Names that Suggest the Key Elements from Your
        Mission Statement

        The key elements from your mission statement were reliability,
        cost-effectiveness and customer service.  List names that are
        suggestive of these elements.  Let's use Reliable Webhosting
        for our example.  (I don't claim to be a creative genius.)

        Don't limit yourself to real words, though.  A coined name with no
        obvious meaning is a perfectly legitimate name provided it conveys
        something about your business.  You will find coined names easier
        to trademark and secure domain names for too - a definite plus!

        => List Tag Lines that Reinforce Your Mission Statement

        We'll use: "Outstanding reliability and technical support at a
        price your small business can afford".  I know, I know.  You can
        do much better, I'm sure.


        HOW SHOULD I USE MY BRAND?

        => Create a Logo for Your Brand

        Your logo is NOT your brand but your logo should allow your
        brand to be instantly recognized by those familiar with it.  To
        this extent, your logo helps create and reinforce brand
        awareness. 

        The logo you create should be able to be used consistently in a
        variety of different media.  It should be suitable for corporate
        letterhead and business cards, as well as for your website and
        corporate signage (if any).  You do NOT want a confusing
        mishmash of logos and banners and heaven knows what else. 
        Everything you produce needs to use the same, consistent
        style of logo so that, over time, your logo becomes synonymous
        with your brand.  Instant recognition is what you're going for here,
        so don't dilute it by using several different logos for different
        purposes.

        =>  Consistent Usage of Company Name, Logo and Tag Line

        Going back to our webhosting example, putting the brand name
        and tagline together, the physical manifestation of your brand
        will be:

          RELIABLE WEBHOSTING
          Outstanding reliability and technical support at a price
          your small business can afford.

        To establish brand awareness, this branding needs to be used
        consistently and frequently in everything your produce, whether
        that be letters to clients, business cards, brochures, quotations,
        invoices, advertising, promotion, on your website, on the front
        door of your principal place of business and on your products.
        And don't forget to be consistent in your use of color schemes.
        These can be powerful brand reinforcers.

        => Marketing and Promotion of Your Brand

        Once you've created your brand, you need to market and
        promote it, in addition to your products and services.  This is
        how you establish your credibility and relevance to your target
        market.  You can hopefully see why your brand needs to be
        suggestive of your mission statement.  If, at the same time as
        you're selling your products and services you also push your
        brand, your brand becomes synonymous with your products
        and services.  And vice versa.

        A properly descriptive brand and high brand awareness amongst
        your target market will allow you to more easily introduce a wider
        range of products and services when they're developed without
        having to start by again selling who you are, what you do and
        how you do it first.  Your brand has already presold YOU.  Your
        job then is to sell your products and services.


        ------




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        4.  Tips from the Newbie Club


        => Tip #1: How to view the properties for multiple hard drives all
             at once

        Open My Computer and select all your hard drives by holding
        down the Ctrl key and clicking on each drive. Next, right-click on
        any one of the drives and choose Properties from the Context
        menu that appears; Windows will create a single dialog with
        tabs for each drive. It also works for floppy, removable and
        mapped network drives. So you can knock off a lot with a little
        effort and be done with it!

        => Tip #2:  How to keep your desktop icons from jumping back
        to attention every time you move them

        By default, Microsoft made the Auto Arrange option the default. If
        you want free-flowing icons, you'll need to turn this option off.
        Right-click the desktop and select Arrange Icons. In the resulting
        menu, you'll see a check mark next to Auto Arrange. Select this
        option (or deselect it). Back on the desktop, try to relocate an
        icon. It should work much better.

        5.  This Week's Subscriber Web Site Pick - LifelineOffice.com




        "Hi Elena:

        "I've been wanting to do this for a while, but life can get very busy!!

        "I started Lifeline a couple of years ago when it looked like I was
        going to be out of work. After talking with some trusted friends, I
        decided to build on the strengths that had gained me success in
        business and strike out on my own. Now I'm working at home
        exclusively and able to devote more time to building Lifeline.
        With the power of the internet, the possibilities are endless.
        While my clients are generally local, I'm not limited by distance.

        "Getting traffic to my site and getting them back again and again
        is my challenge. I am really unclear how to submit to search
        engines. I also want to develop an e-zine and/or offer a new article
        regularly that will pull potential clients back to my site often.

        "I built my site using FrontPage. I found it generally user friendly.
        I'll look forward to your comments."

        Carol Gouveia
        Lifeline Office Services
        905-824-9365

        ------

        Carol's is an example of a really great home-business idea.
        Essentially, Carol's business involves helping businesses out
        when they have a temporary overflow of office work.  Great idea.

        Now, how to harness the power of the internet to generate
        business ...

        Carol's business is one that can and should be promoted both
        offline and online.  As far as online promotion is concerned,
        Carol understands that it will take repeat traffic in order to generate
        business from her site.  Carol's problem, however, is that her
        website, although setting out the basics of what her business
        offers, doesn't contain anything in the way of content that would
        attract an audience in the first place.  Someone would have to be
        specifically looking for her type of service in order to find her site.
        And even then Carol may not be found if all she's relying on is
        being listed with the search engines.

        My advice to anyone in this situation is to broaden the appeal of
        your website.  Add content and benefits that will attract visitors
        and keep them coming back.  Carol's business is ideal.  There
        are any number of subjects Carol could write articles about
        and post at her site or publish in a weekly ezine.  For example,
        how to organize a home office; how to keep proper track of
        business expenses and revenues; time management tips;
        productivity tips and so on.  The list is endless.  These content
        items should then be specifically submitted to the search
        engines and other online directories to increase the chances of
        visitors stumbling across the site. 

        A weekly ezine will allow Carol to keep in touch with website
        visitors and generate repeat traffic to her site by people wanting
        to check out her archives.

        As for Carol's comment that she's unclear how to submit to
        search engines, there's really no mystery.  All you do is go to
        the engine itself, say http://www.altavista.com for the Alta Vista
        engine, drill down until you find the category that is relevant to
        your site, and look for the "Add URL" link.  Just fill out the form
        and submit it.  It will take several weeks before you're listed.
        For a good, centralized listing of search engines and online
        directories, I recommend Virtual Promote at
        .

        Personally, I don't spend too much time on the search engines.
        In my experience, relatively little traffic comes from these
        listings with the best traffic generator being reciprocal links with
        complementary sites.  Seek out webmasters of complementary
        but not competitive sites and propose a reciprocal link.  Virtually
        all webmasters are looking for good reciprocal link partners so
        you shouldn't hestitate to put yourself out there and make the
        first move.

        Get going with that ezine, too, Carol, and submit your articles
        to all the article submission services you can find.  That is a great
        way to recruit new subscribers.

        ------

        If you want your site seen by thousands, write and tell me
        about it!  But make sure it's one you've created yourself
        or have had created especially for you.  No self-replicating affiliate
        sites please. 


        8. Subscription Management



         

        To SUBSCRIBE to this Newsletter:
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        If you find this newsletter valuable, please forward it
        in its entirety to your friends, family and associates!
         


        10. Contact Information


        Elena Fawkner, Editor
        A Home-Based Business Online
        Contact By Email
        http://www.shelteredturtle.com


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