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Posted: 2005-08-02 / Author: Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.,

7 Tips To Test Your Online Business Ideas

When people say, "My business isn't working," they often focus on tactics. Revise the website. Change colors. Get more speaking engagements. Run a new workshop.

But sometimes you have to go back to your first question: "Will this idea be effective in an online business?" Pushing a weak idea is like climbing a mountain in your flip-flops. Some people beat the odds. But in general, successful online businesses follow these seven guidelines.

(1) Offer a product or service that people can't buy elsewhere.

For example, it's nearly impossible to learn to write web copy from conventional "face-to-face" programs. Marketing an online business? Typically you'll want to learn from those who have experienced Internet success. And they're usually delivering products and services through the Internet.

(2) Offer products through instant digital download:an ebook in pdf format or music through mp3.

These options influence size and style of your offering. A few customers will want hard copy and be willing to pay a hefty premium to have your product delivered through the mail.

(3) Identify tangible advantages of buying through Internet rather than traditional channels.

Typically you can promise to save clients time and hassle. But clients also value confidentiality for everything from drugstore products to career coaching. And using your own computer and phone, in your own home, offers more confidentiality than driving to a store or office.

(4) Profits come from offering a product or service that's purchased regularly, not just in a crisis.

Business customers typically realize they need to continue to pay for products and services to remain competitive. But customers face international moves, house purchases and major vacations less regularly. If you do offer products for one-time purchase, you have to be able to command a high fee.

(5) Match your offering to your background and personality. It's hard to fake online: customers hear your voice in your web copy and articles.

Selling motivation calls for an upbeat style, regardless of content. Marketing to parents of children? They'll want to buy from other parents or from someone clearly identified as an expert.

(6) Package your offering in an upbeat sentence or two. Internet buyers like straightforward positive messages that can be understood in seconds. Complex ideas can best be delivered in hard copy books in brick-and-mortar bookstores.

(7) Choose an offering that's fueled by your passion. Website visitors quickly realize when the owner genuinely enjoys spreading a message. And you need energy to keep your ideas alive. Untended websites, like gardens, soon attract weeds. Keep yours fertilized, nourished and growing.

From my ebook

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant. Your Next Move Ezine: Read one each week and watch your choices grow!

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