Twitter Acquires Posterous.com – What Does it Mean for Marketers?

Twitter has acquired the development team of a well known mobile blogging company Posterous.comTwitter Acquires Posterous Twitter expressed its interest towards Posterous and announced that it’s not about the acquisition of a blogging platform for Twitter, but is also an acquisition of the ‘dedicated people and web technology’ behind Posterous.

On the other hand, Posterous.com takes this acquisition as the most valuable deal because its qualified and dedicated team of engineers will now work with the Twitter team.

Twitter Benefits With Posterous:

Twitter believes that this deal will enhance its quality of services for its users and will help itself to make its service much better. With this acquisition, users will be able to backup their content, will be able to post micro blogs, tweet them and thus, it will positively enhance Twitter business.

Benefits For Posterous:

Posterous was looking for a big brand to connect with and it cannot be denied that Twitter is the top social networking website today. Posterous, on behalf of this deal, is profoundly happy with the acquisition; more so because Twitter will absorb Posterous employees in its existing team.

Both Twitter and Posterous have ensured that their individual services will not be disturbed due to this tie-up. If they introduce any changes in their services in the future, it will be first notified to its users well in advance so that the users can easily adopt the changes. MySpace users will continue to use their accounts as they are using now.

Also, its domain partner .eNom will handle its domain management. Users will be instructed via emails about the procedure of accessing their new domain accounts.

How Twitter Acquired Posterous?

Twitter is committed towards its services and believes in nurturing talent. Following this approach, Twitter expressed its interest towards Posterous as it excels in its talent-based product creation approach. It is this level of talent that Twitter wishes to inculcate following the acquisition to enhance its own products.

Benefits for Marketers from this Acquisition:

Posterous had integrated into various Twitters activities before the acquisition. The acquisition will help users to highlight and update their Posterous accounts from Twitter and vice versa; and the MySpace posts can be seamlessly tweeted. SimplyTweet is the best example as it updates Posterous posts on Twitter.

Twitter-Posterous will enhance marketers profit to almost double. Posting and tweeting at one time with Twitter-Posterous common domain, will help marketers to promote their business products very quickly.

Marketers, especially online product marketers are eagerly waiting for Twitter-Posterous to launch their post-acquisition services.  Following are some of the benefits that online marketers are expecting:

  • Posterous post might not be limited to 140 characters. If it is so, it will help marketers to promote their business products in a more descriptive form.
  • Product detail entered by marketers on Posterous will be tweeted on the combined domain.
  • Various mobile supporting applications will be introduced to tweet Posterous posts. Business promotion via mobile will then be better accessible.
  • The domain will support photo tagging on Posterous. Marketers will be able to place their product details along with the product image on website.

Twitter is not only acquiring Posterous, it is entering into the mobile blogging and micro blogging platforms. The inclusion of Posterous will extend the functional values of mobile blogging platform. Social media and social issue-based content will be on the advantage point because of the micro blogging opportunities this acquisition will bring.

Is this an Acquisition for Talent or the End of Innovation?

Talent acquisition has become a common activity in the last few years. No doubt, if the acquisition of the talented team behind Posterous is a new innovation for Twitter, it is also a hijack of Posterous’ concept of micro blogging.

Probable Outcome of Posterous Acquisition

Following are some probable outcomes:

  • Twitter’s Acquisition Trend:

    Twitter’s penchant for acquisition has increased in the last 2 years. In the year 2012, Twitter has already added Summify and Desient in its acquisition list. Earlier the list included Summize, Cloudhopper and Mixer Labs in it. Perhaps Twitter is competing with other social networking sites to reach the top.

  • Impact Of Acquisition On Posterous:

    According to Posterous owner Mr. Sachin Agarwal, “this is the real opportunity for Posterous to bring their talent to the world and Twitter is the best platform to innovate their talents”. However, it is possible that Posterous Spaces will be directly disturbed due to the acquisition of its developer team by Twitter. It can result in moving of Posterous Space services to Twitter and thus, Posterous Space will lose its individual identity.

No doubt, this acquisition will help marketers to promote their business online on a combined platform. But, if Posterous will not be able to balance between its own services and acquisition responsibilities, it can result in shut down of Posterous Space services.

It will be interesting to see whether the innovation will increase availability of technologies or will it be a failed acquisition for talent?

What is your opinion on posterous acquisition?

Top 10 Advertising Platforms to Make Money

Anyone who runs a blog wants to monetize it. While some write sponsored reviews, some sell products, yet another group of bloggers create blogs just for selling space for advertising.

Advertising Platforms to Make MoneyEarning through blog advertising is one of the preferred ways to make quick money. People have been known to create niche blogs, publish 50+ pages, get high PR and then create advertising slots for advertisers.

Advertisers easily pay $5 to $150+ per month for each advertising slots depending on the incoming traffic and the Page Ranking (PR) of the blog.

If you are one such blogger, here are the top 10 advertising platforms to make money.

Process:

Since there are no fixed numbers of advertisements you can run on your blog, you can register on each of the advertising platforms and wait for their approval.

List of 10 Advertising Platforms


1. Google AdSense – One of the biggest advertising networks and the first choice of every blogger. You can use the existing Gmail account to apply for an AdSense key. It’s better to apply for AdSense once the blog completes 90 days of activity and gets a decent amount of traffic. It increases the chances of approval.

However, the only drawback I find in this is the non-ability to choose ads. The AdSense publisher can create an advertisement unit depending on the kind of space available on the blog but the publisher cannot choose the ads to publish until the publisher becomes a premium publisher.

Only premium publishers are given the opportunity to choose. Most of the popular bloggers who run AdSense get to choose their ads. Nevertheless, do give AdSense a shot. It has an interactive report of advertisement clicks and provides a lot of help with site monetization.

Don’t forget to read the AdSense TOS. It has an exhaustive list of what to do and what not to do.

2. Adbrite – After AdSense, it is the second most popular PPC advertising platform, an independent ad exchange network where the publisher is given direct access to campaigns with full control over its features. The working rubric is similar to AdSense. You can choose various kinds of advertisements such as video-in banners, inline text ads, CPM banners, full page ads and others.

The only difference between Adbrite and AdSense is in the choice of ads. While AdSense displays ads on the blog/s based on the published content; Adbrite displays the blog within a well synchronized ad marketplace where advertisers can buy blogger’s ad space.

When a blog has high PR and high traffic, the blogger can create a business model for advertisement displays. For instance, the PR 5 blog blogager.com demands $150 per month for a small advertisement banner display.

3. Value Click Media – The 13-year old company, Value Click media is an advertisement platform that deals in CPM earning mostly. At the moment, they serve 28 billion ads every month to users in more than 280 countries.

They are very choosy about advertisers; hence, publishers get to choose only the best advertisers for their blog. Their services are very reliable and they have been known to make payments every time. Its CPM network offers money per 1000 page views / page impressions.

4. Buy Sell Ads – Buy Sell Ads is a mediator site which deals with selling and buying of ads. Both advertisers and publishers can register on this site. Its huge database of advertisers makes it possible for a publisher to bid on ads.

The main reason for this site’s success is its easy navigational feature which helps both the parties to locate mutually beneficial partners in the same niche and make money profitably.

However, it is not easy to get accepted by Buy Sell Ads. Most of the time applications are rejected because the blogs do not meet their acceptable criteria. Hence, before applying, make sure that the blog has PR2+, a good stream of steady traffic, a good Alexa rank and better on-page SEO.

Buy Sell Ads makes money from the commission

5. OIO Publisher – Like Adbrite, OIO Publishers is a well known alternative to Buy Sell Ads. It works with a different mechanism and revenue model.

Once the blog is registered with OIO Publishers, you have to install their plugin on the blog. This plugin is linked to the OIO blog account which seamlessly sends user data like the number of clicks and other stats.

The OIO plugin displays the ads randomly, depending on the blog’s published content. The payouts are monthly.

6. Ad Engage – Ad Engage follows the Buy Sell Ads model. Ad Engage is part of the Technorati media. This model displays ads on a weekly basis on publisher’s networks’ and charges 25 percent as its commission from both advertisers and publishers.

The Ad Engage customer support people guide you with advertisement code integration on the blog and help the publishers to sell advertisement spots on the blogs. The advertisers pay handsomely to the publishers.

7. Advertise Space – This publisher network is one of the popular competitors of Buy Sell Ads. In the last few years, it has grabbed a large market share and has made a reputation for itself for being the easiest self serving advertising platform.

Apart from displaying ads on the blog, the ads can be configured on iPhone apps too. Moreover, there is also an option to feature the blog for additional payment.

8. Adsella – Adsella is a new entrant in the advertisement network industry. As emerging players, they have done well in the last couple of years.

They take personal interest in the buy and sell of ads. They help the publishers in identifying the best advertisement deals; they equally help the advertisers to understand their needs and display their ads on the best of blogs.

The advertisement platform is good for those advertisers who have a restricted budget. Accordingly, they budget the advertisement campaigns on blogs.

9. Info Links – It is the next-gen text-based advertising platform where you don’t have to keep separate space for displaying advertisements. Rather, when the blog account is approved by Info Links, they sync the blog content with Info Links which then displays relevant advertisements with the content.

To avoid making the content full of ads, the Info Links ads are subtly underlined. The user can select the number of ads to display on every blog page. The payment threshold is $50, payable by check, PayPal and bank transfer done every month.

10. Chitika – This advertising platform is used by Squidoo.com. With 3 billion monthly impressions, Chitika is one of the best advertisement platforms of the online world.

Conclusion

Before signing up for the above sites, kindly go through their terms and conditions. Most of the advertising networks are compatible with Google AdSense. Moreover, keep the blog/s stats ready before signing up as you will need them. Fix a minimum acceptable advertisement price per empty slot.

However, ensure than you do not make the blog/s loaded with ads as it is a big turn off for the readers. Place few ads at relevant places. Keep changing the ads every week to compare which advertising networks are giving you the best output.

Come back and tell us your experience.

Project Internet Marketing – Video 2 – Where It Begins

Project Internet MarketingWelcome back Guys to Project Internet Marketing, Video #2…Where it begins.

Overview:

There is nothing better than being prepared before you venture out to start up an online business. It’s really different from just getting up and going to work for 8 hours. You need the correct mindset, the right attitude, the commitment and a place to go when things aren’t going the way you’d like them to…

In this video, I discuss how to find your strengths and weaknesses and your likes and dislikes related to the Internet and beyond for that matter.

We all have God given gifts and we need to use these gifts to truly be successful and make a difference in this big, sometimes not so pretty world, to change it for the better.

I also touch on how to catch the “entrepreneurial spirit” versus a regular job. When you finally start building your online business, you have to have the mindset of such. And it’s hard. Most of us have brains wired for the corporate world, not chasing a dream…

I talk about how you need the right attitude…not being desperate…always chasing the money. This will get you no where very quickly.

Making a commitment at the very beginning is also extremely important. There will be those days (like Mamma says) that will knock you completely off track. You just need to be prepared for those kinds of things but not to let that hold you back.

When things do go wrong, one thing I do all of the time is find something motivational – inspirational or funny to get me back on track. Some people might think that’s silly, but it’s worked for me on many occasions.

So these are the kinds of things that will be covered in this video.

Download PDF for the Where It Begins video:
Project Internet Marketing - Video 2 - Where It Begins

Note: Make sure to download all the goodies after you’ve watched this…

Leave a comment if you’d like me to cover a particular topic as well. All comments are welcomed!

What Are QR Codes and Should Marketers Use Them?

Introduced by Denso Wave in Japan and ISO standardized, Quick Response code (QR code) is a bi-dimensional bar code initially used for product identification. Today, this bar code is adopted for online marketing in various organizations. This highly used marketing tool is generated via various resources available on the Internet.

Traditional Bar codes v/s QR Codes

What Are QR CodesQuick Response code or QR code is an open standard information storage platform which allows embedding of massive information.  This information could be product information, website URL or links to vouchers embedded with the QR code.

Instead of traditional bar codes, people are now using QR codes for online marketing. This is because other bar codes are single dimensional codes capable to hold a maximum of 20 numerical digits. In contrast, bi-dimensional QR codes can store more than 7000 numeric digits and more than 4000 alpha numeric digits.

How to Create QR Codes?

Numerous websites allow generating QR codes for free.  These free tools create QR codes; allow the user to link web pages, contact details, messages or texts with codes. Additionally, some free tools also offer color customization and background format facilities to integrate in the product’s marketing strategy.

Microsoft tag is a well-known tool to generate QR codes. This tool has various symbols and shapes in multiple colors where the website URL can be added. Moreover, you can also Google for other free resources like Kerem Erkan’s tool and the TEC- IT QR codes generator.

Decrypting QR Codes:

Reading or decrypting QR codes is not really a tough job. Lots of QR codes readers and bar code scanners like SpyderLynk, SnapTag, JagTag and Red Laser help you in tracing the encrypted text or URL.

In most of the mobile devices like Smartphone, QR Codes can be easily scanned and decrypted. Whenever mobile Internet users scans a code in an ad on the webpage on mobile, the camera attached to the mobile device scans that code by using the installed bar code scanner. This takes them to the message associated with the code.

QR Codes for Internet Marketers:

QR codes can be an effective Internet marketing strategy. These codes, represented in black and white dots, can be easily seen on personal mails, posters, window storefronts, billboards and other channels.

These codes provide an indirect, but appropriate way to attract new customers without imposing on the privacy of the web user. QR codes are mostly popular as a means to deliver promotional codes, discount vouchers, free trial options and other marketing strategies.

Few examples of QR codes applications can be:

  • Business card with QR codes can be used to add content to the address list in electronic version.
  • QR codes containing SMS can be used in electronic message passing system.
  • Data encrypted facility in QR codes is highly used as a security tool for passing messages/emails amongst military departments and other defense services.
  • QR codes with configuration settings are now using by android/iPhone applications for automatic installation in devices.

Benefits of Using QR Codes:

  • Online marketers use QR codes to stay ahead of business competitors.
  • Online marketing via QR codes attracts people towards products or services without using any illegal marketing strategies like automatic page ‘likes’ through bots or creating fake Twitter followers.
  • Immediate gratification for customers in the form of instant information and product promotions.
  • It is the most suitable product campaign strategy targeting Smartphone customers with the help of QR codes scanner application in phones.

Disadvantages of Using QR Codes:

  • If the QR codes content is not flexible, it will turn into a bad marketing strategy.
  • QR codes are only effective as long as the encrypted page URL or page location remains the same.
  • Flexibility with updating webpage URL is not an effective one. Updating webpage after QR codes encryption requires the generation of new QR codes to feature the updated webpage. Hence, QR code marketing is a time consuming approach.

Using QR Codes for Business Promotion:

Product/service marketing with QR codes demands lesser effort as compared to other marketing resources. Following are the ways to use QR codes for business promotion.

  • Google has established a separate platform for QR Code. Online marketers can use it as an effective tool to promote business in accordance to SEM and SEO technologies.
  • You can use the product’s QR Code on the business website. When a visitor captures the QR code on Smartphone, the product information will be either emailed or sent in text mode.
  • If you want to start a social media campaign, encrypt the Facebook or Twitter page URL in the QR code. The QR code can then be displayed on the website along with other social media campaign avenues like forums.
  • Attaching QR Codes with flyers, business cards and brochures are also adoptive resources for online business promotion.

QR Codes are a new way to promote online businesses.  Many organizations are now promoting their business by placing video URLs, special offers, product launches and business logos by encrypting them with QR Codes.

For first time QR code marketing, you need to learn how to attract the reader’s / visitor’s attention towards the code. This can be done with some attractive lines like “Grab your discount” or “Scan code to get information”.

QR codes strategy is steadily capturing the online business promotion market than traditional marketing strategies. Beginner users of QR codes should make sure that the codes they are using should be mobile-friendly so that the targeted market can capture the codes easily and read them.

Summary

In short, the function of QR codes as a marketing strategy is a new domain. It needs more data and statistics to prove its usability. However, at the moment, online marketers have found this strategy a novel way to generate leads and business sales.

What do you think about it? Leave a comment below…

Project Internet Marketing – Video 1 – 4 Misconceptions

Project Internet MarketingOkay Guys, welcome back to Project Internet Marketing…where you’ll discover all the teeny-tiny pieces not many Guru’s talk about or…even care to talk about.

In Video #1, I talk about some of the “garbage” that clouds your way of thinking and what you’ve probably been “force fed” about starting an online business venture.

The Wrong Impression of Internet Marketing and Building an Online Business.

In this video, I discuss 4 major elements (I’m sure there are more) that I feel suck us into the online business world but…are somewhat jaded.

All marketers are trying to sell their products and services which is exactly what you want to do or you wouldn’t be reading my blog or watching this series.

However, by understanding these 4 major misconceptions right off the bat, you will serve your customers so much better later on because you’ll actually be grounded, not buying into all the hype from the start;

1) Internet marketing doesn’t cost much

2) There is no work involved

3) I’ll plaster up a website and my product will sell

4) I’ll be instantly rich

In addition, I touch on why building an online business can take so long…

Let’s take this stuff off the table so we all can move on to the good stuff!

So get started watching this 11 minute video and learn how not to be fooled…

Download PDF for the 4 misconceptions video:
Project Internet Marketing - Video 1 - 4 Misconceptions

Note: I’m doing this series pretty much off the cuff so please bare with me. I sometimes go off on other tangents when different thoughts cross my mind. 🙂

Please leave your comments below the video and let me know what you like or even dislike about this video.

Watch Video #2 – Where It Begins


Project Internet Marketing – Free Coaching – Intro Video

Project Internet MarketingWhen people swarm to the Internet thinking that making money online is so very easy, usually what happens is they either quit in a matter of days/weeks or…spend thousands of dollars on all sorts of training materials trying to make their first millions.

People don’t realize how many different pieces to Internet marketing there are, which only leaves them frustrated, disappointed and dead broke.

Many others invest in an Internet marketing mentor or coach, taking their advice and direction, learning the ropes so to speak…the ins and outs of getting an online business up and running.

Either way, it’s hard work and commitment while still, you’re basically figuring a lot of it out on your own anyway.

Being in five different mentoring programs myself, reading ebook after ebook, webinars, etc., one of the biggest road blocks I ran into was not being prepared before I started my business on the Internet;

  • Acquiring an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Crafting a business plan
  • The amount of discipline it takes
  • Creating a vision statement
  • Branding yourself
  • Juggling everyday interruptions…and so on.

This is where “Project Internet Marketing” comes in. A series of laid-back, short videos, used as a tool for those of you who are struggling online or are just thinking about getting started online.

Included will be tips on the things that people aren’t focusing on in many programs and training courses that will make all the difference in the world.

Being prepared before you venture out into the online marketing world, I feel will make your business experience a lot easier – a lot less frustrating and a whole lot more fun and productive.

Sit back and relax while I chat about some of the things you need to know that I will be discussing in this series…

Watch Video #1 – 4 Misconceptions


Sending the Wrong Email…Very Funny

Hey Guys, hope all is well.

Today I wanted to share a quick funny story with all of you that you probably can relate to…

wrong email addressHave you ever sent an email to the wrong person? I know I have…panic stricken, you send another email telling that person to disregard the first, back tracking and apologizing like never before, especially if it’s personal.

I know of people that have sent a personal message intended for one person and what they ended up doing is sending it to their entire address book!

Embarrassing…

What an awful feeling when you finally realize that you hit that “Send” button and now it’s too late! Oh shit! I didn’t want to do that!

Well in today’s funny story, this is a classic in my book.

The weird thing is this actual email went along with the “unintended” recipient’s rather unbearable loss of her husband.

Please click the link below and read the short story. It’s a must read to put a smile on your face and know that you’re not alone in doing something as stupid as this!

Let this be a lesson to all of us to pay more attention to what we’re saying and to whom we’re saying it too…and for heaven’s sakes, don’t hit that “Send” button to quickly!

Enjoy!

Wrong Email


Copywriting for Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing (IM) is a growing specialization. If you possess writing skills and want to make money online, you could use those writing skills to become a copywriter for Internet marketing. To become an IM copywriter, you need to understand the timeless differences between traditional and IM copywriting.

Traditional Copywriting vs. IM Copywriting

Copywriting for Internet MarketingTraditional copywriting is in direct connection with the print media. Most of the popular direct response copywriters you will come across belong to the league of traditional copywriting industry. Some of the greatest advertising minds in history belong to this field. Even if there is a huge possibility of learning a lot from traditional copywriting, its main drawback is that its a two dimensional medium.

In contrast, the IM copywriting field is multi-dimensional because words are not the only method to approach marketing. With the written words, you can add videos, images, interactive software and much more that makes the written words more effective and impact oriented. Furthermore, with new technologies coming on the market at regular intervals, the opportunities for an IM copywriter is immense, which is somewhat limited with print media copywriting.

IM Copywriting Guidelines

IM or non-IM copywriting is not about jotting down a 2000 word long sales letter. Every word written there should be meaningful, that is, call the readers to take action. Read the primary / basic IM copywriting guidelines below:

  • Copywriting should deliver value. You are not paid hundreds of dollars to sell junk products at inflated prices and neither you are indebted towards anyone to sell junk products. The secret success of any successful marketing copywriter is their ‘belief’ in the product/service. No matter what the remuneration is, if you do not believe in the product, the copywriting will fail surely.
  • When the sale of a product/service depends on copywriting, you must ensure that the perceived value of the product is equal or higher than the actual price of the product; otherwise, none of the potential buyers will become real buyers. For instance, in the mind of a buyer, the product price of the supposed product could be $39; however, the seller is asking $99. Will you buy it if you had been the buyer? NO, I am sure!
  • Copywriting is a semi-story because there you are using words to make the context interesting to the reader and also ensuring that the reader is convinced enough to ‘take action’ on the basis of the written text. If you can do this, you are a gem of a copywriter.
  • Should you persuade or manipulate? You will find copywriters divided on this topic – some marketers and copywriters believe it is right to manipulate the buyers with false information just to increase sales but ethically, it is wrong. Your copywriting should not manipulate the buyer with unethical means and selfish intentions. It should rather persuade the buyer with accurate information and honest feedback system so that the buyer knows they are buying a value-based product.

The trick to writing a killer piece of sales copy involves answering four essential questions:

1) Who you are?
2) What you have?
3) Why does someone need it?
4) How to get it?

Every sales letter you write should answer these four questions.

Should IM Copywriters use Greed?

You will agree that greed is a powerful motivator. Have you ever seen the way marketers are able to maximize their list building efforts by offering a product or two for free? – that’s greed working here; the greed to gain something without paying or paying a ridiculously low amount.

Many successful Internet marketers believe that greed, when delivered ethically, ups the conversion rate. Some say that this is an emotional hook which many con artists use but for many marketers, it has given them roaring success. In an industry where even 1% marketing conversion rate is considered good, there are several IM experts who get more than 10% success rate from this tactic…and they believe that using this method is good. The buyers purchase the goods ethically and after knowing all there is to know.

Whether you want to use the same tactic as an IM copywriter is entirely your choice altogether.

Five IM Copywriting Tips

1) Try not to use passive voice in writing. A sentence like “Dean taught me writing” is much better to understand than “Writing was taught to be by Dean.” Active voice works better in direct response copywriting.

2) Draw inspiration from popular writers like Stephen King and Seth Godin because their writing teaches you to talk to a wider audience…and as a writer, you definitely need that inspiration.

3) Word counts should not dictate IM copywriting. It is a myth that longer sales letter leads to better conversions; in fact, with shorter attention spans these days, no one wishes to read a mile long sales letter! Instead, the context and text should be relevant. Tell whatever the audience wishes to know and cut the hype!

4) Think thrice before using big words because a large percentage of the audience is comprised of layman. You are not dealing with hard-core professionals to use big and heavy words. It is better to use simple and easy to understand vocabulary so that the audiences can comprehend it in a better way.

5) Use native vernacular language. Vernacular language refers to the ‘native’ diction of any geographical place. For instance, the use of the word ‘pocketbook’ is the vernacular word in the US, which means purse, but in non-US countries, ‘pocketbook’ means a diary. This difference in meaning could create misunderstandings and a communication gap. Hence, it is prudent to use language native to that country.

Summary

To wrap up our discussion, copywriting for IM is a lucrative profession. Success does not come easy in this profession but when you learn the tricks of the trade, it becomes easier. Copywriting is all about selling products and services through your written words…make it relevant and convince the readers to ‘take action’…that is all you ever have to do!

10 Tips to Begin Your Start-Up Business Online

As promised, we are here with the follow-up blog story on 50 inspiring startups of 2012 with a handful of tips that will help you to start your online business. These tips could be a warning against mistakes people usually make or a guiding tip for online ventures.

10 Tips for Beginning Start-Up Business Online

Tip 1: You cannot copy businesses

Thinking of copying some ideas from the list of 50 inspiring startups? Yes? Because you think that doing so will give you the same proportion of success that the other person is enjoying. Right!

Start-Up Business Online You are very wrong. The reason that MLM businesses didn’t succeed after a certain level is because they were pulling the wool over people’s eyes saying you just have to copy the business model and wham, you are successful overnight.

It never happens that way. Whatever kind of business you want to do, it should be YOUR IDEA. Yes, you can take inspiration from others but the idea should be unique, something new.

If you want to do a start-up, you have to think from the mind of a consumer – the buyer. Would you buy product ‘XYZ’ if you were the buyer and not the owner? Think it yourself.

Tip 2: Don’t let go of employment

Start-up business is all about not being dependent on a boss to decide how much you want to earn. It is about becoming an entrepreneur. However, don’t let the excitement go in over-drive with wishful thinking.

You cannot make profits from Day 1. It takes usually about 3 years for a business to know whether it can survive of not. Year 1 is all hard work and struggle with little or no profits. Year 2 is break-even and Year 3 is when the business finally begins to make profits…generally.

So even if you keep 2 years margin to decide whether the start-up will work or not, how are you going to provide for yourself and your family? If you are employed, it’s best that you don’t leave it until you are stable enough in the business. I know that it means double hard work and leaving no stones unturned, but that’s the charm of being an entrepreneur. Isn’t it?

Tip 3: Find a support system

Your support system can be any of your family members or a mentor on a professional level. Start-up businesses cannot function alone. You need someone to guide you, motivate you in the lowest of low times, which you invariably will experience.

Whether you allow the mentor to take active interest in the business or just function as the creative / inspiring mind, is your call altogether. Moreover, if you are entering into a start-up with any family member, please ensure that the details of the partnership are clearly laid out to avoid problems in the future.

Tip 4: Research and expertise

There is no alternative to research and expertise which comes only through one’s personal experience and detailed knowledge of the chosen industry.

If your start-up is an eCommerce business, make sure that you are aware of your competition, prominent eCommerce brands, their investor relations, the product ranges and so on so forth.

You will see that a lot of your time is being spent on researching the business and it is good because the more knowledge you have, the better it is for your start-up business. To achieve this end, you can sign up with prominent business websites like CNN and Business Insider or buy niche market reports.

Do whatever you have to do for increasing your expertise over the select niche. It will definitely benefit you in the long run.

Tip 5: Convince the investors

If you had read the list of 50 inspiring stories, you would notice that I mentioned the name of many prominent investors backing those start-ups. How and why are they investing in these businesses?

First, the investors were shown a detailed business plan and/or a revenue model by the start-up founders. Second, they were impressed by the business, that is, its potential to make money.

If your start-up business plan can fulfill this criteria, you can avail a handsome seed capital to begin the business.

Can’t self funding work?

I remember mentioning the name of a gaming company who started with self funding and now it is a million dollar business but it doesn’t mean everyone can afford to. First, you need heavy savings for self funding. Second, if you have people dependent on you for sustenance, you cannot blow up all the savings.

Think hard before self funding. According to me, getting investors is a more viable option.

Tip 6: Sort out the taxes

A start-up should be a registered business; hence you have to take care of the taxes too. The tax system differs with each country but certain things are common such as employee welfare, taxes on goods / services delivered, and cost of registering a business and so on.

The kind of tax applied depends on the nature of the business. The taxes applying to LLC will be different from a Pvt. Ltd company.

You should never take chances with such matters. Get this sorted out while you are establishing the start up to avoid getting into problems later on. Consult a tax expert and draw up the mandatory tax payment so that you can include it in the start-up annual budget.

Don’t try to avoid dealing with taxes.

Tip 7: Get professionals on the team

A start-up business cannot be run alone – it is a fact. A business involves various aspects like marketing, accounting, sales, client relations, and administration and so on. Even if you are a multi-tasker, you will soon face burn out. In fact, when you add up the costs, you will see that you actually spent much more in trying to do all things yourself.

Hire a professional. At least, get a marketing, admin and product developer on the team at the earliest. It is believed that the first 10 people of any start-up business decide its fate in the long run. Therefore, be judicious in your choice.

We can tie this point to the self funding vs. finding investors issue. It will be extremely difficult to hire professionals and pay them salaries if you are self funding the business. On the other hand, if investors are involved, all the costs of running a company are shown to them when the business plan is presented; therefore, the employee salaries and other add-ons are well considered.

Tip 8: Begin networking ASAP

You cannot wait until the start-up business is up and functional to get clients and customers. In fact, setting up a pipeline of clients / buyers should be the primary agenda along with the business setting up process.

Marketing and networking are the backbone of any business. Try to get clients interested in the business from the start. Don’t waste precious time. It won’t come back again.

Tip 9: Concentrate on customer service

Some start-up businesses think that if someone is interested in their product or service, they will come back again and again. This is only partially true because if the customer service of the business is not good, there is no chance that it is going to get any first time buyers, least of all, second and third time buyers.

The way the support representative talks to the buyers, handles their queries, and sorts out their problem plays an important role in determining the image of the company. You have to agree that no matter what marketing strategy you use, the customers are the best marketing agents because they spread the word around.

Would you like to treat your customers – marketing agents badly? I surely hope not.

Tip 10: Be open to problems

A business plan gives a structure of the proposed business, it does not underline the problems you will face while actually running the business. Nobody can. Be ready to come across problems from Day 1. You have to maintain calm and patient to deal with them.

At the end of the day the problems might seem baseless but nonetheless, you have to deal with them. Be prepared, be open to problems – don’t be a complacent business owner. You will kill the business before it gets a chance to bloom.

Summary

I have tried to give you a lot of practical advice and tips. You have to have the psychology of a business owner before beginning a start-up. Business is a game and you have to become the master of it…

50 Startup Companies to get inspired in 2012 – Part 5

The rise in entrepreneurship in the last few years is overwhelming. The change from the popular mindset of becoming salaried individuals right after college to the mindset of becoming an entrepreneur, no matter what the education level is, is awesome.

Startup CompaniesThe guy behind kolakube.com confesses starting his first entrepreneurship when he was in grade 1. How? He sold Oreo cookies! Entrepreneurship is a vast world, which exists beyond your age, gender and race.

Anyways, after some different stories in the last few days, let’s come back to the last part of startup companies. Before that, you can peruse part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

Open up your mind and receive these new startup ideas.

41. eBuzzing.com

CEO: Pierre Chappaz

Business Idea: Advertising and social media channel

Estimated Value: $75 million

Our Take: Amid global advertising and social media platforms, you have eBuzzing.com that is on the forefront of the European social media scene.

An initiative like this is beneficial because it helps the business to grow locally. No matter how much we become globalized or high marketing techniques we acquire to understand the global market, the novelty to understand and utilize the ‘home’ market does not lose its charm.

The reason why eBuzzing.com has made this list is because of its unique advantage – they are not offering advertising and social media globally, they are targeting a particular continent –Europe.

Gemini, GIMV and Light Speed are some of the investors in eBuzzing.com.

42. Lifebooker.com

CEO:Arnold Reichman

Business Idea: Health and beauty based daily deals

Estimated Value: $75 million

Our Take: In an era where health awareness and beauty preservation is at its all time high, a daily deals site like lifebooker.com becomes a necessity.

The makers of lifebooker.com offers discounted health and beauty appointments at very affordable prices. In the current turbulent US economy, this kind of service is a boon for people.

Perhaps if the economy hadn’t been fragile, their success would have been hard to come by but the situation is very different for them. This shows that the success of startups depends much on external factors too.

Steve Messer and Edison Ventures are the investors in this company.

43. Stack Exchange

CEO: Joel Spolsky

Business Idea: Q & A

Estimated Value: $80 million

Our Take: When there is a horde of free discussions and forum sites, what is the use of Stack Exchange and more importantly, why does it feature in this list?

Stack Exchange is a network of Q & A sites and in the past one year, it has become known for its network of quality question-answer segments. It is a highly maintained and controlled network, which is why thousands of users visit this site daily.

In 2011 March, they raised about $12 million and Business Insider has valued it at $80 million for this year.

Index Ventures, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures are its investors.

44. Shazam.com

CEO: Andrew Fisher

Business Idea: Buy and share music

Estimated Value: $100 million

Our Take: In the mobile savvy generation, Shazam.com is the haven for music lovers. Its novelty lies in its capability to buy and share music while you are on the move.

Why is Shazam.com so special? For instance, you are traveling on the metro and someone near you is playing a beautiful song. You want that song too. You use Shazam.com on your phone – activate the Bluetooth, the Shazam.com app detects all the songs playing near you and downloads the same for you! Isn’t this amazing?

Evidently, it works with Bluetooth enabled devices and most of the mobile handsets these days come with Shazam app pre-installed.

It is rightly called the music sharing and discovery mobile application.

DN Capital and Institutional Venture Partners are some of its financers.

45. Plenty of Fish

CEO: Markus Frind

Business Idea: Online dating

Estimated Value: $100 million

Our Take: Don’t get fooled by the name. It’s not about fish! Plenty of Fish is an aptly named online dating website for singles.

This Vancouver based site is rumored to earn about $30 million per year through advertisements. Good achievement for a free online dating site.

46. Pontiflex.com

CEO: Zephrin Lasker

Business Idea: Prompting user signups

Estimated Value: $100 million

Our Take: Small, medium and large businesses pay heavily to get people on their database – generate leads and increase potential revenue. Thousands of sites claim to deliver business leads, how many of them actually deliver?

Pontiflex.com expertly uses digital media to spread targeted ads given by advertisers and prompts user sign ups. Last year, they launched their mobile advertising service and it has been steadily growing.

In other words, this is an entirely lead capture site that delivers real time sign ups to the advertiser’s site…and going by the 2012 estimates and 2011 revenues, they are doing really well.

If you notice, this business idea is not new, thousands of others are dabbling in the same but there is no substitute for hard work and strategic marketing, which Pontiflex.com staff indulges in; hence, they are climbing steadily to the top.

RRE Ventures, New Atlantic Ventures and Greenhill SAVP are its investors.

47. Miniclip.com

CEO: Robert Small

Business Idea: Gaming online

Estimated Value: $105 million

Our Take: I mentioned a more popular online gaming company in the previous lists but this is included too because it is a ‘self-funded’ startup. The CEO invested whatever seed money was necessary in the beginning.

Given the kind of competition the online gaming industry has, self funding a startup would seem suicidal but miniclip.com has successfully survived and doing well, I would say.

They engage about 65 million players per month. Their revenue source is a mixture of virtual goods sales and advertising.

In 2011, they earned about $35 million in revenues.

48. Manta.com

CEO: Pamela Springer

Business Idea: Small business networking

Estimated Value: $120 million

Our Take: With the concept of small business catching on fast, the business model of manta.com serves this growing band of small business owners, giving them a place to create and list their small business profiles and network with other small businesses.

The business idea is good because it is tapping into a growing demand by small business owners for a platform to gain exposure and generate revenues.

In 2011, manta.com had about $30 million in revenues. Reservoir Venture Partners LP and Athenian Venture Partners are its investors.

49. Warby Parker

CEO: Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal

Business Idea: Discounted prescription glasses

Estimated Value: $120 million

Our Take: In 2011, Warby Parker sold about 100,000 prescription glasses at discounted prices.

What does this prove?

The Warby Parker founders have tapped into a market where the revenue for online prescription glasses might be less but they have negated this fact through huge sales globally. Marketing reports show that the demand for prescription glasses doesn’t seem to lessen, which gave Warby Parker their idea behind discounted prescription glasses.

This business model ensures repeat customers annually.

SV Angel, Davis Smith, First Round Capital and Lerer Ventures are its investors.

50. Thought Equity

CEO: Kevin Schaff

Business Idea: Video and licensing

Estimated Value: $120 million

Our Take: The online world is vulnerable because anyone can scrape or infringe on the written and/or video content of others and pass them as their own. Right?

Thought Equity protects your videos from copyright infringement with their footage licensing service. On the other side, they also offer video development services. Hence, if you are running a business and want to run some video promotional campaigns, get them licensed first.

It is a good idea because there is a huge demand of protection from copyright infringement.

In 2011, they earned about $40 million in revenues. Shamrock Capital Advisors is its main investor.

Summary

Thus, we finally come to the end of the massive list of inspiring startups. I hope the list of companies were inspiring to you.

The purpose of this task was to brainstorm you with 45+ new online business ideas and inspire you to start your own.

We will follow up this list with some important tips to begin your start-up business online.