Lessons Learned from the Downfall of Dot-Coms

Written by Nach Maravilla

Continued from page 1

* What do customers want from your site? Remember, not all customers are profitable, so you need to identify your best customers and tailor your offer to them. Make sure to understand what your best customers really need and why they have defected. By learningrepparttar purpose of your visitors, you are in a much better situation to provide them with what they want. The better you serve their purposes,repparttar 117958 more they will appreciate your site.

* Why are they visiting your site and would they return after their first visit? Do everything to entice your customers to identify themselves to you, such as special discounts or other incentives. Despite privacy concerns, you would be surprised by how much information customers will willingly volunteer ­ if they think you are trustworthy! Study online competitors, off-line competitors, and any “comparable” dot-coms that are facing similar issues in a different market.

* What technology do they use, what features are they familiar with, and how long do they want to spend at our site? A lot of online businesses fail because either their designs are far too bandwidth intensive, or it did not do its homework and has zero knowledge ofrepparttar 117959 customer’s ability and usage ofrepparttar 117960 site.

2. Your company’s mission should be to provide great customer experience.

You must commit yourself to creatingrepparttar 117961 best possible customer experience for your site. Some brick-and-mortar organizations making a crossover to e-commerce have ingrained behaviors and attitudes that hinder delivering superior customer service. If other people are involved in your online business ­ from independent web designers, to programmers or marketing personnel ­ make sure that everyone shares your vision. If you have employees, it is best that you assign one of them to be your customer service champion whose main job is to oversee howrepparttar 117962 company is continuously improving its service. Linking rewards to service is also an effective way to promote better service. Your organization’s goal should be to provide a great customer experience that makes it quicker and easier for customers to buy your products or services.

Use objective data. Solicit customer feedback, run survey forms, or get a friend to evaluaterepparttar 117963 site. Gather and use information to improve your relationship with all of your customers. However, refrain from sending them with frequent direct mail or with unsolicited e-mail. As much as possible avoid selling your customer information to anyone: it will anger your customer for violating your promise of protecting his or her privacy.

Onrepparttar 117964 Internet, showing brochures and sales promotions alone is not going to cut it withrepparttar 117965 consumers. While competitive pricing isrepparttar 117966 first step,repparttar 117967 role of every online entrepreneur is to become relationship-focused if his or her business is to survive. In terms of technology, it is crucial that online companies invest in technology but there is no need to go overboard. Use available technology to improve customer service and manage costs.

3. Keep an eye on customer experience.

It is essential to continually monitor and improve customer experience. Watch (and respond to) customer e-mails, actively listen to feedback and comments, and occasionally involve outside experts to give objective guidance.

A great customer experience can result in strong word-of-mouth exposure, positive publicity, and increased revenues. However, customer experience is never perfect. Building a greater customer experience is not an event, but a continuous process towards online success.

Nach Maravilla is the Publisher of Power HomeBiz Guides at http://www.powerhomebiz.com, an online magazine designed to stimulate the entrepreneurial mind. Visit PowerHomeBiz.com today and learn from its many articles, tools and resources to help you start, manage and grow a small business, whether online or traditional.

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

Written by Elena Fawkner

Continued from page 1


As an employee,repparttar most you have worry about is paying your state and federal income tax and claiming whatever credits you're entitled to. When you're an employer you have to think about all of that as well as self-employment tax and a myriad of other business-related tax issues. An accountant becomes an absolute necessity. Also, as a self- employed person, no-one's withholding tax from your checks. Make sure you put enough aside to payrepparttar 117957 tax bill!


Security is relative. For some, security comes only from working for someone else. For others, this is merely an illusory form of "security" since none of us really knows what's aroundrepparttar 117958 corner. We could be next to be laid off. For some, real security can only come from being in control of their own destiny and that means working for oneself.


As a self-employed person you need a broad skill set. Not only must you be able to performrepparttar 117959 main skills inherent inrepparttar 117960 business you have chosen for yourself, you must also be able to handlerepparttar 117961 myriad other jobs aroundrepparttar 117962 office that your secretary would otherwise do for you if you were inrepparttar 117963 paid workforce. This forces you to be something of a generalist which in turn dissipates your focus fromrepparttar 117964 central core of your business. When you work for someone else, you are generally more able to specialize in a particular area and, over time, develop something of an expert status, increasing your marketability inrepparttar 117965 workforce.


Inrepparttar 117966 corporate work-world, you have a certain professional image to uphold. When you work for yourself, at least on days when you don't have to meet with clients, you can wear what you want, even your rattiest sweats, if that's what you feel most comfortable in.


Some people think that leavingrepparttar 117967 paid workforce to work for themselves from home means they will work less hard and fewer hours. The reality is usuallyrepparttar 117968 opposite. Inrepparttar 117969 early days of a home business you will probably find you need to work harder and longer, only to make less money than you did in your paid job. This will get easier over time but inrepparttar 117970 early days, expect to have your nose torepparttar 117971 grindstone.


Who's going to provide for your retirement when you work for yourself? You've got it, you! No more employer-funded pension plans for you.


When you work for someone else you get paid like clockwork, even if your employer hasn't yet been paid what he or she is owed from clients. When you work for yourself, whether your client pays often determines whether YOU get paid. So you need to be diligent in following up slow payers and take appropriate action in response to non-payers.


When you work for yourself you can kiss goodbyerepparttar 117972 endless office politics that used to drive you crazy. Onrepparttar 117973 other hand, you're also out ofrepparttar 117974 loop.


Along with being out ofrepparttar 117975 loop comesrepparttar 117976 isolation monster. Althoughrepparttar 117977 early days of your home business may be an absolute luxury compared torepparttar 117978 rigors of your corporate work- life, over time you may find you start missingrepparttar 117979 office politics and lunches with colleagues.


Once you leaverepparttar 117980 corporate life for home-business entrepreneurship you may find it hard to get back in, if that's what you decide to do. Many employers will label you as "not corporate enough" if you've been out ofrepparttar 117981 workforce for any length of time. They may also, however unfairly, figure that you couldn't make it inrepparttar 117982 corporate world which is why you left to start your own home business and now that's failed too.

These are just a few ofrepparttar 117983 issues you need to think about when deciding whether working for yourself or working for someone else is right for you. It's crucial to be brutally honest with yourself about your particular strengths and weaknesses, as well as your emotional and mental make-up. A good way to dip your toe in is to consider moonlighting - starting a home business onrepparttar 117984 side while you continue to work your full-time job.

Sure, this will mean some both-ends candle burning but better that than makingrepparttar 117985 break and then finding out you made a mistake. Another alternative that may work well for some is to telecommute. Work for someone else out ofrepparttar 117986 comfort of your own home. These types of positions are pretty rare and usually can only be negotiated by long-term employees in positions that lend themselves to individual, as opposed to team, projects. But don't let that discourage you. If you have particular expertise in a field that lends itself well to telecommuting and your boss won't go for it, start looking around for companies that will hire you on this basis.


This article touches on some ofrepparttar 117987 major areas that you need to think about when deciding whetherrepparttar 117988 self- employed or employed option is best for you. For a more detailed treatment of these and other issues, check out repparttar 117989 following articles at http://www.ahbbo.com/articles.html : => And Neverrepparttar 117990 Twain Should Meet => Checklist forrepparttar 117991 New Home-Based Business => Entrepreneurship: Do You Have What It Takes? => Flippingrepparttar 117992 Switch: How to Turn Off Your Business and and Turn On Your Life => Focus Your Light => Getting Paid ... Minimizing Bad Debts in Your Home Business => Howrepparttar 117993 9 to 5 Grind Could Be Costing You More Than You Earn => Look Before You Leap ... Is a Home-Based Business REALLY For You? => Moonlighting's Greatest Challenge ... How to Beatrepparttar 117994 Time Crunch => One Foot in Each Camp => Overcoming Isolation in Your Home Business => Overcoming Procrastination in Your Home Business => Putting Theory Into Practice ... A Personal Perspective => So You Want to Be a Freelancer => The 9 to 5 Home-Business Tug O'War => The Telecommuting Alternative.

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas, resources and strategies for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com

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