Are you wanting to develop a new interactive Web site for your business, but trying to avoid paying high designer’s fees? The solution is: “DO IT YOURSELF.” If you have basic computer skills, a willingness to learn, and a little patience then you have the ability to produce and maintain your own site.
Yahoo Small Business, Microsoft Office Live, Homestead.com and Wix.com are just a few template-based programs that you can use to create a functional and professional looking Web site or e-commerce store for less than $20.00 USD a month. These programs provide the opportunity to create a Web site from scratch or you can choose from 1000’s of pre-designed Web sites that are completely customizable. You can also upload your own logo or insignia.
With the purchase of an inexpensive Web site these hosts also offer personalized e-mail addresses branded with your company’s domain name. Through sites like Homestead.com you are also able to track and collect visitor information thus giving you the ability to convert the information into promotional e-mails and newsletters. These template-based programs provide all the tools necessary to maintain and operate your Web site.
One of the most valuable benefits of building your own Web site is you can earn profits, even after normal business hours. Many templates are equipped with an option to build an online store, which allows customers to have access to photos and descriptions of your products and services at their leisure. They can browse your inventory and purchase multiple products and services 24 hours a day by adding a PayPal shopping cart to you site at no extra charge.
Before you can publish your site you will also need a suitable domain name and a good Web host. Most programs provide site registration and hosting with your service plan, and others require you to bring your own. But this is something you can also do yourself. If you have to purchase your own domain name companies like GoDaddy.com will help you to accomplish this for as low as $5.00 USD a month.
A Web site can help you expand your customer base, increase exposure, market to existing customers, sell additional products and services, offer discounts and promotions, and keep the public informed about what your business has to offer.
It is important to continue to educate yourself in order to ensure that your site is up-to-date, accessible and searchable to the millions of potential customers on the Web.
But, you don’t have to commit right away:
Many of these companies offer free trial periods in which you can learn more about the numerous design options available for your site. During this period you can explore the various features and functions and decide if this is the right fit for your business type.
Keep visiting Aspirational Performance for more from our do-it-yourself series.
Effectively marketing your business is essential to increasing your business’s profitability. Marketing enables you to attract new customers, regain the interest of existing ones and establish yourself as a competitor in the marketplace.
Although many businesses spend thousands of dollars hiring others to market their products or services, we’d like to explore alternative ways to market your business through our “do-it-yourself” marketing series. Doing things yourself is a cost-effective way to drive profits to your business, add a personal touch and make you a more well-rounded business owner.
One the first areas of do-it-yourself marketing that any business can take advantage of is creating, printing and distributing your own marketing materials.
There are many inexpensive desktop publishing products out there (some you already own) such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Systems, that will allow you to use template-based programs to design professional looking letters, flyers, business cards, brochures and newsletters. These marketing materials can be printed right from your desktop and help you attain additional exposure for your business.
Like Microsoft and Adobe, printer manufactures such as Hewlett Packard (HP), also provide do-it-yourself tutorials and tips on their Web sites or through software that can teach you to design and print your own marketing materials.
Several software and printer companies may provide you with a free in-house marketing starter kit on CD or via download with the purchase of their products. These CDs usually include 100’s of design templates, step-by-step instructions, sample items, stock photos, etc.
Desktop publishing is just one example of how you can market your business on your own. There are also many online methods that will allow you to get the word out about your business at a very minimal cost.
Submitting your business’s information to online directories, such as the Google Local Business Center, is one way to help potential clients find your business when in search for a specific product or service. Many of these directories are free and only require a few simple steps to advertise your business.
Squidoo.com reports that more than 640 local business searches are processed on the Internet every 60 seconds. Your business could be among those numbers. People will not or can not patronize your business if they don’t know you exist. Being listed is a simple way of letting consumers know “we are here,” and doesn’t take very much effort on your part.
The Internet also provides small-business owners with the opportunity to launch their own professional e-mail-based advertising campaigns. Through template-based sites such as www.icontact.com or www.constantcontact.com you can create and distribute your own e-mail advertisements (or e-blasts) for informational or promotional purposes. You can also use these sites to distribute electronic versions of the flyers, newsletters, brochures or marketing letters you create through desktop publishing.
Many of these sites offer tips and tutorials to guide you along the way and can also be beneficial by providing you with the option to purchase potential sales leads. Customer surveys, performance trackers and contact list management are a few other perks that come along with these services. Advertising through e-mail is an efficient and effective way to reach a specific target group or to even keep your existing customers up-to-date on your current products and promotions.
There are many small-business owners who have become quite profitable by using “do-it-yourself” methods. After a few years of using these techniques some businesses have become million dollar enterprises. By investing just a little time and a few dollars here and there you have the power to drive more clientele to your business without breaking the bank.
Watch this space for more on our series of profitable do-it-yourself solutions.
In today’s declining economy, the desire of business owners to become and remain more profitable hasn’t changed. During these tough times it’s not the attitudes of business owners that should change, it’s the methods in which they make and save money. No matter the type or structure of a business the goal is universal: to maximize profits. Aspirational Performance’s intent is to expose you to the different methods, resources, products and opportunities available to help you meet your businesses aspirations and also introduce you to new business survival techniques.
One of the easiest ways to begin saving money for your business is to “do- it-yourself” instead of hiring someone to do a service for you. Not only will this cut cost, but the experience you will gain from doing so will be a valuable asset to your business. Today, there is plenty of information available to you in the form of video tutorials, step-by-step manuals, and if you are really inexperienced in an area there are the For Dummies series. This will help you perform some of the services you might be already spending money on. With the guidance of these inexpensive materials you can learn anything from creating your own product barcodes to managing your finances. Keep following Aspirational Performance as we will strive to help you discover some creative ways to do- it-yourself and put some money back in your own pockets.
Cutting back on your expenses is merely half the battle. One of the most important things about growing your business and attaining the profits you want is finding resourceful ways to drive customers to your store, office or Web site; and more importantly keep them coming back. This is why our writing staff will seek out valuable innovations and information that will help you grow and maintain your client base and find ways to take advantage of their buying power. We will explore tactical ways to offer discount promotions and create sales events without jeopardizing your profits.
We also plan to evaluate how software programs and modern technology can give you the power to effectively manage your business and increase your financial outlook, while helping you to maintain in this stale economy. Take this for example: case studies abroad have shown that a restaurant that turns from traditional ordering methods for its servers to wireless or electronic ordering methods have not only increased productivity, but have earned more cash by serving more customers. Additionally, they have saved money by using less man power and minimizing human errors.
You can also expect to read about such items as how relationships can play a vital role in your business’s profitability and longevity. We will post content that will keep you abreast on the latest news, tools and methods for forming successful business partnerships, developing networking skills, establishing a presence in your local community and much more.
This is just an example of the type of content that is yet to come. There is so much more to be said about bringing more cash flow into your business, and even more to be said about how to make your business survive. So, follow us as we journey to help you reach your Aspirational Performance.