New Business Idea - im looking for some feedback please

Discussion in 'Business Ideas' started by tomdrg, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. tomdrg

    tomdrg
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    Hi Guys,

    Over the last few years I have set up a couple of business from scratch and each time I have been surprised at the number of questions I have from others interested in doing the same regarding the IT infrastructure and computer based systems that I use to cut costs, increase profile and give the impression of a fully-fledged company while still in start-up mode.

    I have noticed from previous research that there is an abundance of advice on how to start a business e.g. concept design, writing a business plan, securing funding etc but I found nothing that was geared toward someone who has a product/service and is ready to start operating that simply breaks down what systems they will need to set up and operate the business on a daily basis and how they can easily set these up themselves and save money and time in the process. I found that most people looking to start up their own small business dont have a strong IT background or any previous experience or knowledge of what software, tools and processes are required to operate in a correct and professional manner.

    After quite a lot of trawling through the internet along with my own trial and error I have managed to get this down to a fine art and have helped a few friends get set up to operate their small business too. This got me thinking and after a bit more online research I thought it would be great if there was a resource available that broke down the software, online systems and tools that make starting a business a simple step by step process that anyone can do themselves and at a very minimal cost - no paying expensive consultants!

    This is where you all come in as before looking into product creation I thought I would be useful to qualify the idea with other likeminded individuals, business owners and/or people otherwise looking or interest in starting their own business. In a nutshell these are the generally topics I am looking at covering off:

    Domain
    • Hosting and Setup
    • Email Hosting and Setup
    • Required Software
    • Data Storage and Back Up
    • Phone Services (VoIP or other)
    • Website Design, Building and Hosting (using an online builder)
    • Online Credit Card Merchants
    • SEO and Online Website Tools
    • Social Networking Sites
    • Customer Relationship Management
    • Cloud Accounting Software
    • Tips and Tricks I’ve Lear

    I would really appreciate some feedback on the topics and whether or not you would find a 'how to' guide on this information useful and a viable product/website to take to market? At this initial stage I am thinking of pricing this around the $40 - $50 range.

    Thanks in advance!

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  2. PS9

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    I could see some people purchasing a guide like that but I wouldn't do a guide. There's tons out there, you got to offer something proprietary. What are you giving me that I can't get anywhere else? If you give me something I can't get anywhere, you can charge a whole lot more money for it.

    I'd do something like setup, for example... I don't know if they exist. (edit: apparently they don't) You basically have the same information but this time your site tells them "Step 1." and then up loads GoDaddy.com or whatever in a window, they basically can go through the process as if one side of the screen is a powerpoint and the other is the website they are working with. Then you could charge something, as that's not a service that's available. They can go through, step by step, and in 24 hours every single thing you needed to do for starting a business is done. You got your domain name, you got a server, your SEO optimized, you're incorporated, you got the facebook account, you're signed up with quickbooks, if you needed it you got helpful information right there on how to lease a building, you got a shipping account setup and even ordered a backup drive for your data. (which if you wanted, could be ordered from you making more money)

    Basically... think TurboTax. That's my advice, you make a program like TurboTax for setting up a business you'll make money. Do you buy a guide to do your taxes? No, why buy a guide when programs like TurboTax take you step by step.
     
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    #2 PS9, Jan 19, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2015
  3. Fergal

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    First of all welcome to Business Advice Forum Tom, thanks for joining.

    I agree that many first time business owners don't know how to get their IT infrastructure and website set up and that this is something that is quite intimidating to them. If you can provide them with a convenient and low cost way to solve that problem you should be able to sell the solution profitably.

    I'd suggest that you try to find some way to add value to what you are selling. Perhaps you could offer some video how to content with the package or maybe even include a one hour one to one consultation via Skype or live chat. If you can do that you might be able to increase the price above the $49 price point and at the same time distinguish yourself from the products that are already on the market.
     
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  4. scifi

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    Dear Tom

    It takes a lot to start a business and even more than that to build it and a lot lot more to sustain it...

    But over the time since it becomes habbit so it don't feels heavy... Its just like that going to Gym and working out heavier weights each and every day over the period of time till you bacome comfortable with heavier weights...

    Now I advice you to work on working out the sale strategy and right target.. This is what you need at the moment....

    SEO and online website is though very technical tool have good potential..
     
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  5. tomdrg

    tomdrg
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    Thanks for the post PS9 and good point, I agree that something a little more interactive would be a more useful than a downloadable guide or online resource. I find that people like automation and simplicity and my target audience would not be computer savvy youths but the first timers with little technical background in business or IT so the ability to include extras like video content would be beneficial.

    Your suggestion would be to go down the interactive website route e.g. Turbo Tax as an example?
     
  6. tomdrg

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    Hi Fergal thanks for the post and the warm welcome. The ability to up sell further products has also been sitting in the back of my mind with this concept and is definitely something I will be looking at. The 1 hour consultation is a perfect example of this and I had also thought about paid referral schemes with other local professionals as another example.

    I like the idea of video as it provides a simple and effective way to walk someone through a process and can be a lot less confusing than a step 1, step 2, step 3 approach which can be very onerous. As you say the solution needs to be "convenient" which to me says simple, easy to use and effective in the minimal amount of time.

    What do you think about the use of an interactive website as a vehicle for this?
     
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  7. tomdrg

    tomdrg
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    Hi scifi thanks for the post. The need for a sales strategy and right target audience are both very important steps thst I will be looking into but at this stage im hoping to qualify the idea to determine if there would be a demand for such a product. Ive found that before putting in the hard work to quantify my thoughts around a sales strategies and specific target markets I like to get some feedback on the idea and I thought who better to ask than other business owners and people also interested in starting their own business.

    The next step will be exactly as you suggested :)
     
  8. PS9

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    Tom,

    Yeah I'd go the interactive website route initially. Reason being it's easier to setup from your point, you can update it easier, and people can basically come over, pay your fee, get a login and do the course.

    At some point I'd probably go the full software route, if you had a boxed piece of software that can be presented in say Best Buy or a place like Barnes and Noble books, I think you'd get more of the target audience which I do agree would be people that aren't computer savvy. At that point you'd get a person who wants to start a business standing there looking at a book and an interactive, step by step, easy option. Chances are they'll take the easier option. Boxed software you may also be able to strike a deal with a TV shopping channel.

    Interactive you would have to update probably on a yearly basis, just because the sites you refer to will change. This is both good and bad, it creates more work for you but you also make last years version obsolete and pretty worthless to most people. That's good for you if you're selling in bulk to retailers and if you sell it yourself you can justify the yearly price hike. -- The easier option for you would be a video system as that would take less work but I still think most people would prefer a system where you put the disk in, click a few buttons, and easily go through the process.
     
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  9. Fergal

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    Similar to what PS9 has said, I do like the idea of that. More and more software solutions are being delivered via the cloud and being charged for on a monthly or annual basis, as opposed to an upfront fee. Perhaps you could build a site like that, which would allow your clients to pay for and use your services online.
     
  10. tomdrg

    tomdrg
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    The website idea sounds like the one I will work towards. I dont really like a physical software for various reason e.g. development costs, updates etc and the website will give me much better control about the products and advice being given which will link largely to other internet based providers who also regularly update products and services. As we move into an age of cloud computing I think it would be wise to stick with the trend until a solid market has been established for the product.

    A question that it does raise for me is if my target market will be somewhat inexperienced and illiterate with technology what is the best medium to market the product as the internet may not be it? This may not be such a concern as the product will be aimed at people looking to start a new business who are looking for guidance on where to start, not just in experienced with technology and they may in fact be very good with computers but not when it comes to starting a small business... sorry I was just thinking out loud there :)
     
  11. scifi

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    I think that sales and demand are both the same things in practical sense...if there is demand there will be sale too..Ultimately it is the volume of sale that is going to motivate you for the next and bigger step...
    Good one..dig out the demand.. you will sure find it and locate it... :)
     
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  12. Fergal

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    Businesses and people in general are becoming more familiar with using cloud based services. Examples include Google Documents, Gmail, Live Help solutions, online banking and more complex software offers such as SalesForce. Hence, your potential clients may not find it such a big jump to start using your services online.

    If you have questions regarding the marketing and promotion of your business, you would be welcome to start a new thread in our Sales, Marketing, Online Promotion & SEO section.
     
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  13. tomdrg

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    One final question for now guys so not to drag on to much but what do you think about the topics that I am looking at covering off?

    Domain Hosting and Setup
    Email Hosting and Setup
    Required Software
    Data Storage and Back Up
    Phone Services (VoIP or other)
    Website Design, Building and Hosting (using an online builder)
    Online Credit Card Merchants
    SEO and Online Website Tools
    Social Networking Sites
    Customer Relationship Management
    Cloud Accounting Software
    Tips and Tricks I’ve Learnt

    Fergal, thanks I will have a look into the new thread.
     
  14. greymart

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    I have a Customer Relationship Management Software, Pipeliner, that I am an affiliate of, which is free of charge for the first 12 months for Startups. It's a decent product and easy and simple to adapt to changing processes in a business operation - vital for startups. "All startups are welcome to take advantage of this offer—up to FIVE user licenses of Pipeliner CRM for 12 months (a $2100 value) absolutely FREE of charge." pipelinersales.com/crm/free-trial/?referral=253
     
  15. Leo Hartas

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    I set up a business alongside my longstanding freelance illustration and thought I'd update all of my awful, little more than paper and pencil, systems to cope with two quite different business models. So for the last year I have been using a cloud accounts package called Kashflow. I was attracted to the fact that I could integrate it with a CRM called Capsule and Mailchimp. It all works brilliantly together even integrating with direct sales from my website, stock control, marketing, everything a small but complex business needs. The really useful power is that Kashflow allows you to tag or stream different parts of your business, or multiple businesses, so you can isolate stats. Altogether it's costing about £20 a month. Being cloud based you can get to it from any computer or mobile and they are constantly adding new features and improving without all that messing around with updating boxed software. I guess the fear is that if the service goes out of business you are left high and dry, (this happened to me with Safewallet!) but you can set it to send you backups in Excel format so I reckon it's pretty safe.

    There are several other cloud based solutions solutions such as Xero which a friend of mine uses.. but generally I would not hesitate to recommend going into the cloud.
     
  16. brickshazel

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    Going in knowing that your initial plan will fail, that things will go wrong, and that you will want to quit at some point, is a huge advantage. I’m fortunate that I was able to make it through those first few months and come out on the other side. Great resource!
     
  17. Remo

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    1. Consulting business: Pick whatever area you have expertise in. Personal finance, brand, marketing and get going.

    2. Dance/ music school: You have always been good at dance or music. Just get some practice with a local dance/music institute and start on your. Start with basic courses. Keep on learning and upgrading your offerings side by side.

    3. Online business: A blog can be turned into a business but you need to put a lot of work and it may take longer than any other business to establish. Upside is that you need not work at any specified time. You can learn to code and develop various apps or get into affiliate marketing.

    4. Real Estate Agency: It is simple. You go around in locality, check online and print listing for properties that are to be leased. With this info advertise in classified section of a local newspaper or craigslist. You will also need to contact the property owner and take their consent to represent them.

    5. Content writing: If you have some writing chops then you can start as a writer/ blogger for hire.
    6. Creative Agency: You can start a graphic design, web design or online marketing (offering services like social media marketing, search engine optimization, online advertising etc.). Start with one and add more services as you move ahead.

    7. Fitness/Yoga Trainer: If you love to work out and have trained professionally this is an option for you.

    8. Web Maintenance Business: A lots of small businesses get their website made for cheap and then wait for their designer to update it. You may become their angel by offering website maintenance services. Offer once a month contact and take up to 20 clients. Later as your business grows and you move on to bigger things – hire an employee to take care of this part of your business.

    9. Career guide: Millions of youngsters and their parents are confused about what to do next. You can research about relevant career options for youngsters and what it takes to succeed in each area. Do not the promise the world. free cell phone tracker
    10. Teacher: As boring as it may sound it is well paying. Check out this story to see how lucrative it can be.

    11. Professional speaker/ trainer: If you have been working for a while then this is one option you can give a shot. You can start with free and move on to fee which can go up to $50,000 for a day. But thinking about $1500 a day is more realistic and you can aim for it right away.

    12. Event Manager: You choose to be a corporate event manager or specialize in managing weddings.
     
  18. MahaKarthi

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    You can try a PLM solution if you wish to optimise your business. I think companies like Piterion can help with ERP solutions and identify process workflows that need tweaking and help you with your needs. Good Luck!
     
  19. sameera

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    This is quite good list of categories that you have sorted out. I would recommend you share your knowledge on these topics as most of the businesses keep on looking for these type of discussions.
    I would recommend you work more on queries based on these queries as most of the people are looking for queries related to the same.
     
  20. estardabill

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    After doing lots of research I have found that selling products online is easy way to make money online but for that you need some money for investment and also good planning and product which is demanded at your location. always go with the unique
     

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