Tag Archives: starting an online business

21 Mar

Need Help Creating a Website? Try Blooming Pixel Creatives!

blooming pixel creatives
This post is the continuing of my series about entrepreneurs. Not only are some of these people local business owners but they have the truest entrepreneurial spirits I’ve seen. Whether they work for themselves or for someone else, each offers at least one strong habit, thought or suggestion to help develop a successful business. Their passion is seen in their work and how they operate in the world.

I’ve had the great fortune to meet this next entrepreneur and what an entrepreneur she is! Not only does she live her work, but her work is integrated into her value system and her way of living seamlessly, not something I see every day. Perhaps it is her passion and creative flare, or her dedication, focus and commitment. In either case, Payge Kerman of Blooming Pixel Creatives is someone you should meet!

When I see an owner actively involved in their business, I take interest because that means they are invested – beyond just passion and money. Passion is great and money (of course is helpful) but we can all agree those factors alone won’t lead a business to success. They might help carry someone through a launch or the long nights that come while the business is growing, but one key trait of successful businesses is the owner’s ability to have a vision. This business is successful because Payge has a vision for her business. And she seeks to create it every day. From who her team is, to what they do, to each client goals and objectives, to how the business runs daily, this owner is not only hands-on but regularly strategizing to keep the flow and growth happening.

Her commitment is undeniable. And it pays off.

With a wide variety of packages available, they can help you design a website, create a logo, add to what you have or grow your business. They offer marketing strategy, website and graphics design and web development, a nice array for those looking to outsource these sometimes difficult and ongoing tasks.

The goals of this agency

“We create powerful branding, forward-thinking websites, and efficient tech solutions”
Don’t be fooled, this is not just another company that will put up a website for you and help you with SEO rankings. This is about “brand transformation”, as Payge calls it. “We care about all aspects of your business and of your marketing, and want to make sure we’re creating the best possible products and strategy to fit YOUR company”.

One of the most important aspects is branding, and that’s about identity – from the product to the owner.

“We are a creative agency committed to helping your business thrive. From start-ups to multi-million-dollar companies, we help our clients showcase their unique specialties and work with them to build cohesive, long-lasting brands”.

“Our creations are our own, and you won’t see them anywhere else. We pride ourselves on creating work unique to you”.

Payge Kerman Founder,
Blooming Pixel Creatives

OUR MISSION

THOUGHTFUL CREATIVITY TO GROW POWERFUL BRANDS

Who doesn’t need that? Two problems new business owners eventually come up against:  deciding what to outsource and how to really find someone good. One thing I educate clients on is the importance of outsourcing. It can not only save time and money but can also actually help build your business. Referrals are still the best way to find someone. That is one reason why it is reportedly 3x easier to sell additional products and services to a customer who has already purchased from you because they know and trust you.

90% of Blooming Pixel’s clients are repeat.

There’s the personal referral you need!

Three key areas of her focus: her people, products, and target niche.

Her people:

Payge attributes part of her success to the people that work with her. She has a small, strong dedicated team that are as invested in their work as she is in her business. She looked at who they were, what type of experience they had in their industry, if their values aligned with her company’s values and what they could offer clients, for the best possible client experience. One goal of Blooming Pixel Creatives is to be better, faster and stronger than the competition. And that’s only possible through the people she has hired.

People as clients:

They say in marketing that customers have to know, like and trust you before they’ll buy something from you. This business model is about building trust, offering quality service and creating a successful project in a way that aligns with the customer’s goals and values.

During our interview Payge said to me “I see my clients as an extension of my family”. How often do you hear that? Exactly, not very often. Relationship is a key value and one service point she offers customers. This is the best type of personalized service you can get. She is personally invested in the success of your business.

Beyond designing a unique site that reflects you and your brand, they also offer a variety of specialized products like branding, email marketing and blogging services, to provide you with continued service and support to enhance value for your brand.

They offer one-of-a-kind website development, graphics and copywriting, in their portfolio of products and services. This part of their business model she reports is based on testing. “We test, test, test things out to understand what works and what doesn’t”. They want your website to be unique and stand out, but they also want a business that works for the you.

Is this model successful? You bet!

Focus on Target Niche

Their ideal client: women 33-55, are ok to let professionals handle this aspect of their business, know the do-it-yourself ways of building a website and ecommerce site is not the way to go, understand their own uniqueness and specialness and will ask “why pick you?”

They need to have a vision and are willing to go for it. They have passion, purpose and are driven towards success.

Something to think about if you are thinking about creating a website or looking to bring your online business experience up to the next level.

To book a free discovery call click here.

Payge H. Kerman, CEO
Blooming Pixel Creatives
bloomingpixelcreatives.com
payge@bloomingpixelcreatives.com
(303) 906-1664
7025 N. Lombard St. #104, Portland OR 97203
Office hours: 9am-4:30pm M-F

Thanks for reading!

 

 

28 Nov

12 Questions To Ask Before Starting an E-commerce Business

List making/note taking on a desk with laptop in background

If you are thinking about starting an e-commerce business I’m going to guess you have a few questions. What product or service will you be offering? Will you be able to sell it and make a profit? Do you know how to create a business plan or how to get financing? Who is your competition? How will you get access to your customers?

You don’t have to have the answers right now. If you are new to this, how could you possibly know all the answers to those questions, right? The actual start of the business is in development and a big part of that is about asking the questions and then conducting the research to get the answers. For this part of the journey asking questions and doing research are your friends and valuable tools to get you started.

And you can do both from the comfort of your own home!

Doing the right research is a great place to start. Making a list of questions and getting them answered will help you decide if the idea you have is a viable option.

It will also help soothe some of your worries or concerns and empower you with information.

In the world of digital commerce, lack of market research is one of the top reasons online businesses fail (next to lack of profit). That means some people start a business, put time, money and energy into that online business and never think to see who the competition is, what their ideal customer is actually buying or focus on creating a working strategy to capture sales.

No sales means equates to no money coming in, which translates to lack of profit, which is the other top reason so many online businesses fail.

Those that success have a way that they do it. It’s not secret handshake or secret formulas (even though some advertise it as such), whatever strategies they are using are often actually created after collecting valuable information and utilizing the right resources available to them. For example, a young woman I met who sells product on Etsy.com has collected a big Instagram following because she found that is where most of her clients hang out. She finds out what kind of products they like, set up a marketing strategy through that social media platform to offer promotions, sales and special events for her customers. They love it!

This is a business, and the creation of it is actually a creative process. That means, thinking and developing ideas, finding resources, doing research and creating things are part of this process. It also means that things will always be changing.

Change, questions and idea generation are ok!

Things to ask:  

#1: Who are you offering your products/services to? And how can you test your product or service with them?

#2: What is their need? What is it they are looking for? Are they small business owners that have a high turnover? Dentists that need help with training staff? Stay-at-home moms that want to lose weight?

“In order for a small business to be successful, it must solve a problem, fulfill a need or offer something the market wants.”

TheBalance.com

 

The more specific you narrow your customer base, the easier it will be to target and tailor the right products for them.

#3: How can you get access to your idea customer? Some ways to do this include: networking, radio announcements, speaking engagements, mailings, or advertising on social media. If there are conferences, social groups or forums where prospects are likely to be found, those are other ways to introduce yourself.

#4: Do you need a website? Some professionals have a such a great network they don’t really need a website. For this type of business, it’s more of an after-thought.

Some life coaches, consultants and business coaches, they often have to create the opportunities for find prospective clients.

Industry experts recommend setting up multiple avenues to get referrals from. In other words, different opportunities for clients to find you. The Internet can be a valuable resource, offering you the chance to have your own website, advertise on other business sites, try affiliate marketing, run ads or join forums, to name a few opportunities.

In this way, a website can be a really valuable resource. I spend a lot of time on my website and it’s been totally worth it.

If you’re planning on doing speaking engagements and marketing it by sending out post cards through the US post office, your money might be better spent on those things rather than having a snazzy looking website or paying a 3rd party a monthly fee for some online advertisement that people probably won’t see. Then again, it might be a way to supplement your advertising and add another way for people to find you.

Most people need an online presence for their business, but not everybody does. You can create a website inexpensively just to get it up and running or you can set it up as a platform to advertise your services and other products you will be offering. Some people utilize landing pages instead of having a full website to manage and maintain.

Something to keep in mind:  once you create the website, you will have an opportunity to expand your business by offering other things, like books, trainings and programs. It can become a valuable resource for you.

#5. How many customers would you like to have? Weekly? How many sales dollars would you need to break even? Take a salary? How many hours would you like to work every day?

Visualizing what you would like your business to look like, how you will be running it and who will buying from and then setting goals in line with your vision will help you answer these questions and give you an overall picture of your dream business.

#6 Are you open to other sources of income? Even if it’s temporary until your business generates revenue? This could include a “day job” or other ways to make money online.

#7 How you will finance this? This is something to think about before you invest your hard-earned dollars and precious time. Will you be paying for the set-up out-of-pocket? Will you need funding?

To see more options and learn more about this aspect, visit the Small Business Administration website.

#8 How you will set up your business? From naming the business – creating a website name, setting up a Trademark or creating a “DBA”, the name you pick will directly impact which type of business licensing you register for.

For more information on this click here: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/pick-your-business-location

#9 What will your advertising campaign be? Online? Mailing? Radio ads, networking? What will your budget be for this?

There are some low-cost ways to start running campaigns, like starting a mailing list for email blasts or a newsletter, utilizing social media like Instagram or running low cost Facebook ads.

#10 How will you manage the financial aspect of your business? Can you create a business plan? How will you manage product inventory? Invoicing? Income? Expenses? Funding? Will you need a P&L statement? Or a forecast?

You don’t have to have all the answers right now, but especially if your intention is to eventually sell your business, setting up a system that is organized can set you up for business success.

#11 How will you connect with customers? By email online? By phone? And how will you handle the customer service aspect? Some type of referral system should be put into place, even if it takes a while to build.

#12 Do you understand the tax and licensing requirements for your business?

For any business, I always recommend having a financial expert, accounting professional and, legal counsel available to help you answer questions and manage these vital areas of business.

Note: Because I am not a legal, financial or marketing professional, even though some of the information within this post has been provided by experts within their field, what is offered in this post are solely suggestions. Please consult with an expert in any area (especially for legal, tax, licensing and financial) that come up.


Resources

Books:

The Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur’s Playbook: Create an Online Business You’ll Love in 7 Simple Steps

Blogs:

 Business Guide

To find local assistance

How to Start an Online Business in 8 steps 

How do I apply for an e-commerce business license? 

How to start a business online

 

09 Aug

12 Must-Reads for Starting an Online Business

12 great must-reads for starting online business

I can safely say I have read a lot of books since I started my online business. Most were not that useful, but there have been a few that stood out.  And they are not just good, they are great.

I’ll go ahead and plug Kindle too for all the readers like me, that read in bulk! Being able to download quantities of books with a simple click of a button, and at a reasonable price is just amazing!

1. Building a Website for Dummies
By David A. Crowder

cover for building a website for dummies

I love this first book because the “Dummies” books are so straightforward. Don’t be embarrassed to buy one! They are easy to read and full of foundational information, needed to start a business. Every time I read one, I think “oh of course, I need to remember that”. Like YouTube.com videos, they seem to have a “Dummies” book for everything now!

Here’s what I found out about author David Crowder in short bio on Barnes & Noble:

“David A. Crowder has authored or coauthored more than 20 books on subjects ranging from computers to historical mysteries, including popular bestsellers such as Building a Web Site For Dummies and CliffsNotes Getting on the Internet”.

                                                                        ~Barnes&Noble.com

2. Internet Marketing Made Easy
By Brian T. Edmondson/Internet Income Coach

cover of Brian Edmonton's book Internet Marketing Made Easy

Brian T Edmondson is one of my favorite authors and consultants. He is also one of my influencers. I’ve bought his trainings, listened to his interviews and have been personally coached by him. Not only is he a really nice guy, he offers great advice and support. His smarts and expertise really shine through. His books are always on my lists! In addition to offering books and coaching, he also offers programs that are clear, effective and strategic for marketing online businesses. For more information about Brian Edmondson check out his website InternetIncomeCoach.com.

 

 

3. Content Marketing Secrets: How to Create, Promote, and Optimize Your Content for Growth and Revenue
By Marc Guberti

cover of Content Marketing Secrets book by Guberti

I love books like this one that have a title that reflect exactly what the content is inside. Marc is another one of my favorites and one of my influencers. If you don’t know who he is, Marc is young and wrote 19 books in a very short time period and became very successful. Just the volume of work he turns out is amazing. I find his journey and work inspirational. His books are a big part of my collection and super easy to read. You can sometimes find him online in those summits they offer for online businesses. He’s also fun to follow on social media! You can find out more information about Marc Guberti by visiting his About Me page on his website.

 

 

4. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
By Daymond John

cover for power of broke by daymond john

My third favorite influencer in this list is Daymond John. I learned about him on the show “Shark Tank”. Then I found one of the Marie Forleo interviews he did on YouTube.

And started following him on Twitter. Now I read his books and seek out interviews where he is featured. A very wise man and super smart businessman!

 

 

 

5. Small Business Financial Management Kit for Dummies
By Tage C. Tracy

cover of small business management for dummies

I know another “Dummies” book is coming but can you blame me? These books are not only great, they are so needed when you are just getting started. And they are clearly written, often by experts that can really lay out important things. If you want to make sure you are covering all of your bases for building the foundation for your business, this is another good one. I can’t tell you how many people start online businesses and have never created a budget or a business plan. This is a great place to start!

This guy is super interesting because his expertise is way outside of my wheel house! And to prove my theory that “Dummies” books are actually written by experts:

“Tracy has operated a financial consulting service firm during the past twenty (20) years focused on providing executive level accounting, financial, & strategic business planning management support on a project or interim basis”.

~Amazon.com bio

 

6. How to Sell Anything to Anybody
By Joe Girard

cover of how to sell anything to anybody
I can’t offer a collection of readings without listing at least one classic favorite. Anyone in sales knows who Joe Girard is. You can also find YouTube.com videos and his other materials on Amazon.com. He offers the basic mindset needed for selling along with the psychology behind it. If you don’t know him, he made the Guinness Book of World Records for selling 13, 001 cars at a Chevy Dealership! For more info about Joe Girard check out his Biography page on his website.

 

 

7. Schedule Your Dream: 8 Steps to Maximizing Your Time and Mobilizing Your Vision
By Liane R. Grant

Cover of Schedule your Dreams
This next one is a fun discovery I found surfing books on Amazon.com. I think time and project management are under appreciated in the world of entrepreneurship. Books like this can help with identifying needs and help you prioritize.

From Amazon’s description Liane “has a knack for finding the most efficient way to accomplish a task with excellence. Her experience in fulfilling multiple roles has helped her hone her planning and productivity skills into a highly efficient personal time management system. Liane has always loved words, which led her to a B.A. and M.A. in Translation later in life, and she is now doing doctoral research in translation. Liane is an OTTIAQ-certified translator, founder and overseer of The King’s Translators, Secretary of the UPCI French Literature Cooperative, and Curriculum Administrator for Purpose Institute.”

 

8. The Productive Person: A how-to guide filled with productivity hacks & daily schedules for entrepreneurs, students or anyone struggling with work-life boundaries
By Chandler Bolt & James Roper

Cover of the Productive Person
You might recognize Chandler’s name from a series of YouTube commercials he has put out (he’s the good-looking guy standing on the balcony of a cool skyscraper in San Francisco). His words and advice are effective and strategic. He and his partner offer great advice and important tools for new business owners.

 

 

 

9. To-Do List Formula: A Stress-Free Guide to Creating To-Do Lists That Work!
By Damon Zahariades

to-do-list-formula-cover
Much to my surprise, this book has become one of my favorites. Maybe it’s because I am such a fan of “to-do” lists so it’s nice to see someone utilizing that concept from a project management perspective. Maybe someone will write a book on how successful Post-Its make people . . . To learn more about Damon Zahariades other books and how to improve your productivity, explore his Art of Productivity website.

 

 

10. Emotional Intelligence 2.0
By Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

cover of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book

Since I became certified as a Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach I’ve fallen in love with this subject (go to www.ISEI.com for more information about certification programs). This is a foundational “must-have” if you want to learn about this topic. Anyone can use the tools and skills sets outlined here. Here’s a great YouTube video of a TEDxUCIrvine talk with coauthor Dr Travis Bradberry about The Power of Emotional Intelligence where he shows you how to use this skill.

 

 

11. The $100 Startup
By Chris Guillebeau

Cover of the $100 start up
Chris Guillebeau was another surprising find for me. He is a non-fiction author, blogger and speaker and has traveled all over the world. I’ve read a couple of his books and his writing style is so free and relaxed I found myself reading his books more than once. It almost felt like I was on vacation! Great information for entrepreneurs and those new to starting a business.

 

 

 

12. The E Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it
By Michael E. Gerber

Cover of E Myth book

I fell in love with Michael Gerber’s work 15 years ago when I was working for a company that was trying to go from a small size to a mid-size organization but was actually going bankrupt. The book totally helped me understand what was happening. The model he uses to describe business growth is so easy to understand and helps make sense of the growth strategies that are needed for any business.

If you have a book or two that you would like to recommend, feel free to write in the comment section below or shoot me an email.Thanks for reading!

13 Jan

The Importance of Conducting Good Market Research When Starting a Business

desk with documents, a computer and an agenda- there are two hands pointing to a diagram on document in center of frame

What is market research?

“Market research (also in some contexts known as “industrial research”) is any organized effort to gather information about target markets or customers.”
From Wikipedia

“The purpose of market research is to examine the market associated with a particular good or service to determine how the audience will receive it”.
From Investopedia

How to conduct the research:

  1. Decide which market segment you need to collect data from.
  2. Figure out which way the data will be collected.
    • Common ways include: surveys, interviews, focus groups or questionnaires.
    • Other ways include case studies or oral history, records.
  3. Gather information. Figure out a way to collect data for analysis.
  4. Evaluate data.
  5. Decide if findings warrant creation of new product/services or changes to existing ones.

4 reasons online businesses fail:

  1. Poor planning – including not clear on how to get the product to market.
  2. Not understanding trends in the industry.
  3. Lack of product testing – is this something a customer will buy?
  4. Lack of market testing – is this something the market needs?

Things to look for:

  • • Demographics: Who is your target market?
    • o Where do they live?
    • o What social media platforms do they use? When?
    • o How old are they?
    • o What are specific traits or qualities of that population?
  • • Level of need for customer: low, medium or high?
    • o How do you know?
    • o What does this type of consumer usually buy?
  • • Market competition – who else is out there? Why are they successful?
    • o Look at their products and compare.
    • o Look at their online presence and online marketing strategies.
    • o Is it a strategy that you can duplicate or do you have another way to access potential customers?
  • • What is the customer’s perception of your product?
    • o Is your brand unique enough? Identifiable?
    • o Why should they buy your product or service?
  • • Is the concept feasible in a larger scale?
    • o Look at the details including production, cost, shipping, advertising and necessary expenses to expand.
  • • What product in this niche has the highest revenue potential?
    • o Talk to customers and find out why they like that product.
    • o What specifically about that product or service do they like? Why?
  • • What is your competitive advantage as a reseller?
    • o What do you have that your competition does not?
    • o How can you use that feature to enhance your brand?

A smart business owner will do the research first to evaluate the viability of the product before taking it to market. Start yourself on the right foot and see what customers are buying. This will also help you design the most attractive product that your customer is likely to buy.


References

Test Your Business Idea from Monster.com.

Market Research – Definition from Investopedia

3 Effective Methods of Data Collection for Market Research from BigData-MadeSimple.com

Data Collection Techniques on Cyfar.org.
https://cyfar.org/data-collection-techniques

When to Use Different Types of Market Research from SurveyGizmo.com.

Data Analysis in Market Research from djsresearch.co.uk.
http://www.djsresearch.co.uk/glossary/item/Data-Analysis-in-Market-Research

How is Market Research Used to Analyze Demand? from SmallBusiness.chron.com.
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/market-research-used-analyze-demand-1506.html

8 Cool Marketing Analysis Tools for Data Junkies from WordStream.com.

15 Dec

4 Tips for Starting a New Online Business

woman sitting at wooden counter with open computers

A lot of energy can go into starting a new business. It does take patience, hard work and determination. It’s good to start with thinking it through before you start throwing money at it.

Here are a few things to think about before starting your online business:

1. Get clear on your idea: What is it you want to offer people? Is it a product or service? How passionate are you about this idea? How do you visualize things playing out? Some say this is one of the most important and critical steps in the process of becoming an entrepreneur.  

Clarity of vision. How can you gain more clarity around this idea? Check this Tony Robbins video on The Magic Of Visualization (Law of Attraction)

2. Identify your client: Who are they? What product or service can they benefit from? Is there a need? Are you setting up your business around the needs of your client or your own desires? Which will work best in the market place?

Here’s one guide you can utilize: How to Identify Profitable Clients: A Step-by-Step Guide on TutsPlus.com.Talking to prospective clients is a great way to find out what they are looking for.

Surveymonkey.com is one great tool you can use to gather information about your prospective clients and their real needs.

3. Do adequate market research: Research shows that inadequate market research is one of the main reasons why 40-49% of all new online businesses fail within the first 4 years. Find out what is happening with customers and within the market place before you invest a lot of time, money and energy into a business idea. Find out who your competition is and take a look at what the competition is doing. How they are getting access to customers? Check out what customers are buying and develop a strategy is to get access to your ideal customer.

4. Support yourself in this process. Sometimes starting a business can be like running a marathon. Things don’t always go the way you plan. Funding or income changes, timelines change, life happens. Patience and resilience will go a long way. If you don’t have it, who will? If things aren’t going the way you thought, maybe updating your business plan or hiring an expert in one area might help you move a few steps forward. Allow time to foster creativity to strategize alternative solutions.And don’t give up!

Here’s an article from one of the experts on this topic, Dr. Wayne Dyer:
How to Create Life Balance Between Dreams and Habits.


Resources:

Articles and Blog Posts
The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One by Elizabeth Rider on HuffingtonPost.com.

Best Ways to Identify Your Ideal Clients by J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr. on EvanCarmichael.com.

10 Steps to Start Your Business on SBA.gov.

The Top 5 Mistakes People When Starting a Business by Robert Tuchman on Entrepreneur.com.

Copyright 2019 Etain Services.