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Starting An Online Business

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We all know that a huge raft of new business people have started online since the internet was invented. Fortunes have been made, and lost.  But still there has never been a better time to start working online. It is relatively cheap, cost effective and there are numerous places and tools that can help you on your way.

You don’t have to be the next Amazon, eBay or YouTube. Most people make comfortable livings starting small. You can start a basic shop with a free weodpress platform (this blog that you are reading runs wordpress) and a customised plugin to make it all work properly. The best bit is that anyone can do it. Young or old are equally at home. You can work from the privacy of your bedroom, no commute and little in the way of headaches that bricks-and-mortar business owners have.

For me, creating a business has been an up and down affair. I, personally, started the wrong way and thought I was in control. I wasn’t, and now that I know “the ropes” I have reached the stage where maintaining and creating sites and “real estate” online is child’s play. I own and run numerous web sites and receive an income from them all – largely on autopilot.

You can start off small and still fit it in with your existing family or job commitments. Indeed, many people work totally part time on the internet. Never before has such flexibility been available to all.

The biggest hurdle has to be coming to grips with the technology. None of it is hard really and most people these days are familiar with computers and the internet. However, I agree there are areas that require a bit of thought and contemplation. Luckily, there are places that will give you the help for free just for asking – forums, blogs, tutorial sites. And if you are stuck, do like I did, hire someone to sort out your problems.

The variety of what you can do on the net is phenomenal. I have many ecommerce-type sites as well as blogs, article directories and product sites. I also sell services. You can do all of this too. You just need to get started.

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Get Your Child’s Twitter Background on MY Twitter Page

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bg1Have you seen my Twitter background – http://www.twitter.com/markclayson? Cool eh? It was designed by the mind and freedom of a child.

Do you have a child with an artistic flair? Or a child that likes to draw? If so, then get him or her to produce a colorful or exciting picture and I may use it as my background for over 62,000 people to see and admire!

Creating a background is easy – all you need are the following 2 ingredients:

1. A painting program – Paint (free with Windows) will do. Or you can use programs such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP

2. A willing child

The picture needs to be created on the computer or scanned in to an image size of 1600px wide by 1200px tall. It must be less than 800K in size. The left hand area is the one where there will be most details seen (the central area will be covered by the Twitter stream). Concentrate on the left hand side but make the picture cover ALL areas and let your child just have fun!

The image should be sent to me (Mark Clayson) and mcc@doctors.net.uk

How will I choose the ones to show? I will decide on what is most interesting or attractive. Anyone can win!

How often will I change my background? Depending on the number of subnmissions I may do so every week! 

Summary:

  • 1600×1200 area and less than 800k in size
  • send as attachment to mcc@doctors.net.uk
  • dont’t forget the name and age of the child 

Have fun!

Increase Your Profits: Change Mindset

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Did you know that over 60% of all businesses fail in 6 years? It’s amazing, isn’t it? The worse thing is that this statistic has nothing to do with credit crunches, subprime lending or and other recent local, national or world event.

It is to do with mindset.
 
Yes, mindset.
 
You see, in any business there is one and only one person that you need to be concerned about. Only one.
 
That person is so important that to even make them FEEL they are not important is tantamount to business suicide. It’s not the section manager, it’s not the CEO, it’s not the company director.
 
That person is the customer.
 
Simple eh?
 
Or not …
 
Whatever business you are in, as long as you are trying to make a profit, you will always have a “customer.” That “person” may be buying goods or services – they may even be purchasing time or expertise. The “person” may be a man-in-the-street or another large company.
 
But they are very important.
 
The customer is the one and only individual that can tell you how well you are doing. Not by growth charts and sales figures. But by telling you exactly how it feels to be in the position of a buying customer.
 
That person may have a valuable insight into the sales process, barriers to further sales, after sales service and a whole host of other important parameters. They could tell you about the likelihood of them buying again in the future, what your competitors offer and whether they would be happy to recommend you to other people.
 
In short, a customer (or potential customer) can tell you things about you, your company and your services which you could never find out in any other way.
 
But you have to ask them. Not with a standard “satisfaction feedback card. But by being brave, being bold and being specific in your needs.
 
And by asking and offering incentives to do so, your business will grow and flourish.
 
… then you ask them again!
Sadly, most businesses do not consider the customer as an important part of the processes within their organisation. Their mindset is geared towards what the business wants to offer and not what the customer needs. Complaints and feedback are a distraction.

A change in mindset can only increase your customer base and therefore your profit line.

Business Intelligence

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What is it that makes one business successful and another not? Is it the business model, the niche in which it is trading or the characteristics of the person (or people) looking after the business health? Indeed, even with similar characteristics and models, one business will succeed and prosper more than a comparable one.

 

Many people believe that there is a certain characteristic or set of characteristics that determine whether someone will be a successful businessperson or not. All other things being equal, a person with the correct qualities and aptitude could and should be a success over all others around him or her. It almost seems obvious.

 

But as many business schools will attest to, even with the same opportunities and environment and the same facilities to achieve, one person will grasp an opportunity more than another. And this is even when extensive tests of personality and aptitude are carried out beforehand.

 

It is as if the ability to achieve is something that cannot be easily or reliably measured. Something innate and intrinsic – like the propensity for a cat to lick itself from birth or a dog to fetch a stick.

 

The core of this issue is that if you could measure and harness that innate ability then you could predict, or at least more reliably predict, the future of any business venture when it is taken outside of other constraining factors such and demand and economy.

 

Even when a business is failing or is troubled, one could be at an advantage if the correct business mind could be put into place to see that endeavour through its rough times.

 

This type of business mind is known as “business intelligence” and, just like other forms of intelligence, appears to be something that is not easily measure or nurtured but something that has strict and undeniable importance in the pathway through which a business treads.

Carrie, Declutter and Action

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Time and time again I come across people that fail. This happens in many walks of life from my professional field and my social experience to my private life. A task or a project that was started with the best of intentions, somehow develops into something destined to be consigned to the scrapheap only to be replaced by something else. And so the cycle continues.

It happens, still, to me too. However, only in my “real” world, not my online world (or, at least, rarely). I shall give you an example. My son has a shower in his bathroom. The door doesn’t close properly and keeps flicking open. I have promised for months to get it fixed for him – goodness knows it should be simple enough for someone to do.

I haven’t done it (although, in my defence, I did try for a while)

It’s a simple example but serves the point that I am trying to make – that we lose focus on those things around us that need doing. I lost the way with the shower cubicle door but have since put up shelves, dealt with electrical adaptations and installed other features in my home.

So what, you may ask.

Well, the shower cubicle door is still not fixed. But it matters little – apart from some damaged pride, a less fatherly impression for my son and the occasional splash of water on the bathroom floor, everything is still ok.

But what if it DID matter? What if you were trying to make a difference in your life and you just didn’t get anywhere? I find this scenario all-too-frequently.

I often speak to people that are trying to start an online business from home. They, quite rightly, are still in their day job and are using their spare time to work on their dream – to become financially independent. But somehow it just doesn’t happen. They often blame others (distractions, poor advice or misdirection) or the system (overinflated claims, valueless products, technical complexity and scam artists).

The problem is always the individual. Usually that person works alone at home. Apart from their dreams to keep them company, they beaver away at nothing, jinking from one thought to the next, answering incessant emails and messaging calls, working on forums, shopping online or spending too much time reading, preparing and procrastinating.

These people are blind to this element of their development. They have no time left in their world to achieve the success they desire. They have lost their focus and need re-energising and re-calibration.

Focus can often come with support. That support can come from the most unlikely of places – even from the very forums and messaging services that have been such a distraction to them all this time.

It happened to me just recently. I was beginning a decluttering campaign in my office. It needed a tidy up badly as one’s office, often, in my mind at least, reflects the clarity of one’s brain. I had procrastinated – it is easier to do nothing than it is to do undesirable or mundane tasks.

Then I spoke to an influential person – Carrie Wilkerson. I have known Carrie for a while but I have never met her. I know a lot about her, her life and her business – enough to respect her opinions and motives. She is one of the influences in my own world although she would not know this (one day I shall tell her). I spoke on Twitter of the decluttering campaign that I was planning. She immediately decided on the same path and I challenged her that she would not do it. Within 30 minutes, not only had she done the task but had also taken and uploaded photographic evidence of the fact.

Within a short time I had started on my own decluttering. Without Carrie, I would still be sitting in mess.

Bottom line – Carrie made me do something I may not have completed. Having someone to share with / report to / team up with makes you get things done and engenders responsibility in your undertakings.

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