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15 WAYS HOME BUSINESSES GET INTO TROUBLE, PART 1
by: Cary Christian


If you receive our Small Business Newsletter in addition to this one, you know that we are currently running a series titled "15 Ways Small Businesses Get Into Trouble." Tonight we're starting a similar series for home businesses.

Home businesses are a little simpler to run and they avoid quite a few of the problems larger businesses face because they usually do not have employees, bank loans, lines of credits, etc. that larger businesses must manage. But home businesses do have their own unique set of problems that can be no less difficult to deal with. We're going to take a look at 15 of them in the following categories:

o BUSINESS ISSUES
o AFFILIATE PROGRAM ISSUES
o MARKETING ISSUES
o OPT-IN LIST ISSUES

BUSINESS ISSUES

1. Failure to run the business in a businesslike manner.

One of the primary motivating factors in starting a home business is the allure of working from home in your pajamas. There's no commute, no boss to answer to, no problems with coworkers, and you set your own work hours. These are all good things.

But too much of a good thing can kill your business. To be effective, the home business must be run like any other business. A failure to set aside certain hours of the day for work often results in work not getting done. Familial distractions can have the same effect. Inquiries from customers, potential customers, vendors, business partners and others must take priority during the business hours you set.

In short, the home business owner rids themselves of many of the more restrictive aspects of working for someone else, but they must never allow themselves to become so lax that they lose effectiveness.

2. Failure to get their own domain name.

The first shred of credibility you will have from any of your prospects or potential business associates will be the fact that you own your own domain. This is a must have and it's way too inexpensive to let it become a problem. You can get your own at GoDaddy for $8.95 per year.

Your own domain name also helps you with your email communication. Which do you think is more professional?

a. An email from hotchick43@hotmail.com or
b. An email from nancy@xyz.com

Okay, that example is a little over the top, but does it change that dramatically if it's from nancy5325@hotmail.com? It's still unprofessional.

3. Failure to get their own PAID hosting service.

This is similar to item 2. The use of free hosting services will usually destroy the ability of the business to make any sales at all. If the business is not professional enough to get a decent hosting service, without ads and other baggage free hosts bring with them, people are not going to think the business is credible.

4. Failure to create a viable website.

Too many home business owners believe they don't need a website or that they require only a very simple website since their business is focused on affiliate program selling. This could not be further from the truth.

In the realm of Internet marketing, your website is your face to the world. It must have substance. The type of substance it exhibits will vary depending on the types of products and programs you sell.

Your website can be, and should be, a valuable asset. I'll tell you more about that later.


AFFILIATE PROGRAM ISSUES

1. Failure to coordinate affiliate programs.

It is important to present opportunities and products that somehow relate to one another. Home businesses that attempt to sell a large number of unrelated items run into problems focusing their efforts. If products and programs are related, it is possible to sell many similar products to the same customer, to upsell your customer base, and to make "backend" sales with every product sold.

For example, if you sell a hot new affiliate program, you can backend the sale of a terrific marketing program to help your customers sell. If you sell DVD players, you could also sell a hot selection of DVD's they can play on their new machine. On the other hand, if you sell garden tools and DVD's, your upsell and backend opportunities are considerably more limited, unless you sell DVD's on gardening.

2. Failure to choose quality affiliate programs.

Even with outstanding sales skills, it will be difficult to sell products and programs if they are of poor quality. Additionally, selling poor quality will damage your reputation and make it more difficult to sell anything.

It is vital that the home business owner represent only top quality products and programs.

3. Sending traffic to affiliate sites.

As an affiliate, you are likely one of thousands of people selling the same product or program, and you're all sending traffic to the same site. How can you differentiate yourself? By using your own website.

Always send your prospects to your website, presell the product or opportunity, get them to sign up to YOUR newsletter or other mailing list, and then send them to the affiliate site only when they are ready to buy. You worked to get that traffic, so make it work for you, not for the affiliate site owner. You want these people to be YOUR customer.

We're going to complete this series next week with a look at Marketing Issues and Opt-In List Issues.


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