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Personal Reflections on how to create and run a successful online business

April 28, 2012

I am creating this blog as a resource for myself and others who may have the desire to create an online business.  One of the first steps to creating a successful online business is to determine what product or service you are planning to sell.  You will also need to choose a business model.  There has been some debate on whether the product/service should be chosen first or the business model.  There is a great article on the web that gives a small summary of the different business model categories.  Right now I am leaning toward the merchant model which would include selling an actual product on the web.  I have always been passionate about self-reliance.  Over the years I have come across several products, including how-to books that have increased my ability to be self-reliant.  I want to clarify my meaning of self-reliance. I am not suggesting that we not rely on God, quite the contrary.  If I am able to meet many of my own needs, without relying on others I have more time and resources to serve God.  Getting back to the business idea. Having a background in transportation and logistics I am a little more comfortable with the whole shipping and receiving thing including drop shipping, which is usually part of the merchant model.  Brainstorming is the key to finding an idea that will result in a successful web business.  There are a couple of approaches to brainstorming that we studied about.  One is the Problem and Solution Method.  This involves examination of ones life and processes to find things that would improve or make some part of our lives better.  First you identify the problem and then a solution.  Another method is to investigate and choose the Market First.  Understanding a specific demographic or group will hopefully spark ideas on things they would be interested in.  The Pesonal Stengths Method is to look for talents, strengths, learned skills and experiences that are unique to you and build a business around one of them.  Other brainstorming methods include: The Importation Method, The Lateral Thinking Method, The Godin Method (or The Edgecraft Method), The Christensen Method (or the Distruptive Innovation Method) and finally the Borrowed Ideas Method.  For more information on these methods go this site.    One of our assignments this week has been to use Google’s Keyword Tool to determine the amount of search activity for different search words and thus determine how much competition and demand exists for a product or service.   Through our discussion blog this week I learned that some industries are difficult to break into due to large brand names controlling the market.  Our instructor shared with us the concept of finding niche products or services that can afford people just starting out a place in the market.  More information on these niche market concepts can be found at this link.

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