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Starting an Online BusinessWith the growth of the internet over the last few decades more and more people are wanting to create an online presence via their own website. However most people don’t know where to start or how it all works and given all the technical terminology it isn’t surprising that people are often confused by it all.

Having run our own online business for some time and finding it more and more important for our company to “take ownership” of our website and its hosting we embarked on the process of trying to make sense of the whole process. So hopefully our experience as previously non-tech savvy business owners can provide an explanation in more understandable terms.

What type of website do you need?

Websites take many forms or variations but basically the most common websites are either:

A “blog” where you express your thoughts and ideas – much like an article in a newspaper or community forum.
An information based website – where you simply list the details of your business such as address, contact information and products or services provided.
An ecommerce site where you provide information about your business and its products and services as well as the ability for visitors to purchase your products or services while on your website.
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Online Business SuccessOnline businesses don’t succeed by accident or without effort. Out of the thousands of would-be entrepreneurs who start an online business every year, only a small percentage will succeed. A recent survey estimates that a stunning 90% of new internet business fail within the first year.

You can avoid being part of that unsettling statistic. I have put together the top 10 secret tips for online business success. These may not be what you’re expecting to hear, but if more entrepreneurs heeded them there will be a lot more success stories.

1. Have a Plan

Everything begins with a plan. In principle, online business is no different from a real world brick and mortar business. People who fail in online business are very often those who think making money online “sounds like a good idea” instead of seeing it as a real business. They jump in without any idea of what they want to do or how to run their business.
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Business PlanA well-conceived business plan does much more than merely describe what will become your business. Your business plan must first and foremost portray you as a competent and trustworthy professional and furthermore sell your entrepreneurial concept.

Along with a description of the products or services you’ll offer, your plan will also describe a promising business model, the marketplace in which you’ll compete, reasonable estimates of start-up and monthly operating expenses and when the business can be expected to turn a profit. If outside funding is required, then the plan must convince lenders or investors that you are prepared and qualified to build a significantly profitable enterprise. A good business plan will do the following:

Describe the products and services
Identify target customers
Identify and evaluate major competitors
Describe the business environment
Present a profitable business model
Detail the marketing plan
Detail the operations plan
Detail the financial projections
Present the qualifications of the management team
Provide an exit strategy
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Advertise On-LineThe reason for doing any kind of advertising is to get the message out to your community of actual and potential customers that they should take some kind of action which ultimately results in new customers and additional sales for you. This has always been the case for off-line advertising such as television and radio ads, newspaper ads and direct marketing. Experience has shown that the approaches to on-line advertising are no different to those traditionally used for off-line advertising. This article describes three such approaches.

Small business owners often start advertising online before they try any advertising offline but the reality is that a combination of both can be especially effective.

There are plenty of ways to advertise online and your main focus for all of them should be building your brand. Here are just three of the ways you can advertise online.

SEO Marketing: Having a website is an essential part of advertising online. It’s your hub. It’s where people can find you, and it’s where people can flock to give you money. One of the best ways for people to find your website is to have it ranking in search engines such as Google and Bing. Proper SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation), as the term suggests, will enable search engines to find you easily when someone types in a search phrase that matches very closely with what your website offers visitors. If done right, it can give you an endless amount of free traffic to your business website.
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There has been a lot of debate on the effectiveness of cycle helmets. Well, the facts speak for themselves. One study made available by the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted that helmets come with a risk reduction of 85 percent when it comes to head injuries. For brain injuries, the risk reduction is actually 88 percent. So what does all this mean? Yes, helmets can save your life. That said, the debate on helmets is not without merit and this is because not all helmets are actually protective. Ideally, bike helmets are meant to protect the cyclist from head injury in the event of a fall or accident. Although it’s obvious that helmets are protective gear, not a lot of people want to wear them. This is something that has led various countries to introduce helmet laws.

Cycling helmets became well-known in the 1970s, before then they were widely viewed as children’s toys. However as time went by, it became evident that these helmets were actually useful in preventing head injuries. Cyclist head injuries are more common than most people are aware of. It is said that about two thirds of the cyclists that are admitted in the US have head injuries. In Western Australia, only 30 percent of those admitted in hospitals have head injuries. This reduction in cyclist head injuries can be credited to the helmet law. These trends therefore show that the value of helmets cannot be ignored.

If you were to Google online bike apparel clothing & protection, most searches will lead to helmets. This goes to show that helmets are the most sought after protective gear. Although some people argue that helmet laws are dissuading the public from cycling, it is the public that stands to benefit, not the law makers. Be wise; use a helmet whenever you get on your bike.