What did you learn from 2014?

At the beginning of every year, the buzz is about setting goals. But what are goals and how do you set realistic one for your business?

Goals are targets you set yourself with the intention of achieving them. So if your target is to generate an income of X per month, you need to look at;

  • How many products or service do you need to sell?
  • How many did you sell in 2014?
  • Did you make target in 2014?
  • If not, why?
  • How do you improve on your 2014 sales?
  • Do you know who your competition is?
  • How much business did you lose to competition in 2014?
  • Why?
  • What are the Market needs for 2015?
  • What were the Market needs in 2014?

By looking carefully at your successes and failures of 2014, you can see what needs to done.You need to remember, you want improve on the past.

A Website Solution that will grow with your Business

The 5 Page Plus Content Management Solution

The main purpose of any Website is to help your Business Grow. The keyword here is Growth! But in order to grow, you need to start somewhere, often with limited funds.

Your first Website need not be expensive, but it has to have certain key elements;

  • A Page that tells your visitors who you are and what you do,
  • A Contact Page that tells your visitors where to find you,
  • A Legal Page that takes care of the fine print.1

These three pages are at the core of any Website, but you need to add your product or services portfolio and to start with 5 Pages should be fine.

As a Business grows, their Website needs to be updated and new pages added – more cost, right? Actually no!

The Solution is WordPress, a Content Management System that lives in the server. You can access this from anywhere you get a internet Connection.

This means you can edit, delete and add pages as needed. Through the use of Plug-in3 you can make the site into an eCommerce site or add a Mail Form or just about any enhancement to make your Website person better.

And my all time favourite, when your Website starts to look date, you can change the theme, quickly, by downloading a theme3 and changing it.

So, you pay once and you can keep updating your Website at no cost as long as you want – no that is a bargain!

  1. There are free examples available online, but one prepared especially for you by an attorney is best.
  2. At Solutions Web, we know how important this information is so we provide thes pages free and only charge you for the 5 Content Pages.
  3. There are both free and paid plugins/themes available

2015:- A Vision

2014 was a make or break year for me. I came very close to just walking away and abandoning my business. The difference between working for yourself and working for an employer, is very different.

Working for yourself is a constant challenge, finding clients, dealing with them and most importantly, chasing them for money. Then there is the constant having to justify your prices, not to mention the complaints when you are not ready on time, even though the client did not provide the necessary content at the last possible minute.

Everyone is normally positive (as am I) at the beginning of the New Year. Goals are set and Resolutions made. But sometimes, in the rush to set goals and make resolutions, the lessons of the past are forgotten.

I have set goals, rather ambitious ones that may need longer than one year to attain, but they are attainable. However, the lessons I learnt last year are going to be a very important part of how I operate.

I will not lower my price (unless you are prepared to lose part of the project).

My payments terms are set in stone, nothing gets done if I do not get your deposit.

You do not own the project until I received the final payment and the project will not go live until I do get it.

I will be looking for the client who appreciates and is prepared to pay for my services.

I will always add value to any project I undertake, just do not expect freebies over and above what I provide.

I rent space in a professional equipped Office, I have a private meeting room at my disposal as well as very fast bandwidth making client meetings easy. And when you visit, I will even provide the Coffee or Tea (and I usually have juice in the fridge, if you prefer).

I am a Professional, I expect my clients to be Professional.

 

Yahoo

Yahoo Search is a search engine owned by Yahoo Inc. It was started in January by two electrical engineering graduates, Jerry Yang and David Filo. The started a Website called, “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web,” which later became Yahoo.

According to Wikipedia;

The word “yahoo” is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.

The term “hierarchical” described how the Yahoo database was arranged in layers of subcategories. The term “oracle” was intended to mean “source of truth and wisdom”, and the term “officious”, rather than being related to the word’s normal meaning, described the many office workers who would use the Yahoo database while surfing from work.

Yet the founders reckon it has to with the fictitious tribe of Yahoos in Gulliver’s Travels

In the 90’s Yahoo grew into a Web Portal and Directory. At one time Google provided Search but more recently they have partners with BING (Microsoft).

Yahoo is the second largest Search Engine behind Google who currently handles 70 percent of all search. Yahoo comes in at about 5%

A One Page Internet Presence Solution

There are always two sides to an argument. Small Business Internet Presence is no different. In fact there is more than two schools of thought when it come to the Internet.

Some will tell you that their business is going along just fine without an Internet Presence, thank you very much.

 Some believe that Social Media is the key to promoting your Business online and that a Facebook Page or Twitter Stream is all you need.

Then you get those who tell you need a Website or you do not exist online.

 Three different schools of thought and which one is correct?

 The principles behind Business have not changed – a Business provides a service or products that the market needs. In that respect, nothing has changed. What has changed is that consumers are in a position to make informed decisions through research using the Internet.

They can do this by visiting the Websites of the businesses that supply what they need. By visiting several Websites they will make comparisons between suppliers and then they will visit consumer Websites to gauge consumer satisfaction.

But where does Social Media come in, these are the forums where you can see if there have been problems and you can see if they were ignored or if something was done to remedy the problem.

Back to the three schools of thought above. People will still visit shops in the real world, they will still make impulse purchases and  they will make a purchase after some research. But change is coming and it is coming fast.

Since Amazon and Kalahari.com as well as other online bookstores have opened, book shops in malls all around the world are closing their doors. You can buy anything using the Internet, from travel to shoes. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that more and more business will be conducted online.

It is obvious that even if you have an Internet Presence through a Facebook Page or Twitter Stream, you need a Website at the centre of it. But a Website is expensive, isn’t it?

 In reality it is not – you get a Presence on the Internet that can be seen Worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And to help you get started Solutions Web has a special offer on a Starter Website for only R999.00.

 Quickly go look before I come to my senses and change the price back to R1999.00.

Search

The Internet contains billions of documents in different languages so how can you possibly use it to find out what movie is showing in Pofadder ? Consider this, the Internet would be of no use to anyone, if you could not find what you are looking for.

This is where Search Engines come in. There are currently three main Search Engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo, as well as several minor search engines. Some like Baidu are language specific and some like Google Maps are specialist search engines.

What is Search and how does it work?
In order for a Search Engine to be be effective it has to catalogue data stored on the Internet. It does this by sending a Bot browse Websites and categorise them.

The Bot is simply a program that visits a Website and uses the clues that we leave when creating a Website. These clues are:
The Meta Tags Description and Keywords
Headers and Sub – headers
Bold and italicized text

Search Engines also take into account, if the Website has been shared on Social Media.

The Major Search Engines have another very important tool to help you find what your are searching for, Local Search. Google, for example has Google Business Pages, where you can register your business for free.

So when I type in Plumber in Cape Town City Bowl in Yahoo and Google I get a Plumber in the City Bowl and not one in New York.

Screenshot Google Results

Screen shot Google Results

Screenshot Google Reults

Screen shot Yahoo Reults

The Internet

A Website represents the core of any Internet or Web Presence. But what is the Internet? You cannot see it, you cannot feel it, you cannot smell it.

You may interrupt me here and say you can see the Internet, every time you connect using a mobile device or a computer. But, you would be wrong. Because you need two things to use the Internet, a mobile device or computer and a telephone line or 3G.

Google Defines it as:

a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.

But what does the Internet mean to you the businessman? It is a very powerful platform that allows you to reach a large audience. You can reach people all over the world at anytime.

Over time, the Internet has grown to contain Billions of pages of Information and since mobile phones have become smarter, more people are able to access the Internet.

The Internet is primarily a Communications Platform, you can use it to do face to face call using and Internet Application like SKYPE, you can send correspondence using eMail, you can transfer documents as attachments or you can upload them to an online storage facility such as Dropbox that allows you to share your documents and photos.

You can watch movies online or download them to watch later. You can buy a pair of shoes online, or book movie tickets – the Internet has grown to take over many of what we would previously have to get in our cars and drive to the mall to do.

From the above, you can conclude, the Internet is a very versatile platform that serves both you and your business.

The DIY Website – Conclusions

Every Business needs a Presence on the Internet in the form of a Domain Name. It may  not need more than just a Business with just contact details, but by registering a Domain, it has an eMail address customised to the business.

Internet Real Estate in the form of Domain Names is fast diminishing. DOT COM (Commercial) or difficult to find, as they are more universal that DOT COZA (Country South Africa) although if you are a sole trader and trade under your name, you could well find another sole trader with the same name.

Small Business Websites are not difficult to create, they need time and some technical knowledge. But creating a Website is only the beginning;

  • A Domain need to be registered.
  • Hosting needs to organised,
  • Websites need to be mobile ready,
  • Websites need to be Search Engine Ready,
  • Websites need to be monitored.

 You may use a service that gives you a free website and use a sub-domain name, but this really should be because you do not have the funds.

Doing it yourself or using a professional is your choice, I just recommend that you register a Domain and pay for the best hosting you can get – it is more professional that way.