Easy Local Business Online Marketing Tips

The most important principle every person should follow when building a business is the shortest: location. You build your business where the money is. Today, this means building your business online. But what if you are already an established local business? How do you integrate the power of the internet with your brick and mortar business? Answer: local business online marketing.

Why is local business online marketing important? “83% of US households use the internet as a shopping source to shop locally.” “97% of consumers use the internet to research products and services in their locality.” These two statistics are enough reasons to persuade you to employ online marketing. The next question is how can you improve your business online? Below are local business online marketing tips you can do:

Local Business Search Listings

Google Places, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local are your business’s online directories. Following simple verification steps will help people find the location of your business and how they can contact you. This should be the very first thing you should do. Also, upload photos of yourself and your business because local business search listings want users to see actual pictures of your location. People who search for your business online also want to see the pictures of your establishment too. It doesn’t have to be professional photos, but good quality ones are a good representation of your business and your attention to detail.

Reviews Are Good

Reviews are good for your business as future customers will be able to know what to expect from you. Encourage your customers to write reviews on local listing sites. Do not worry about bad reviews though. No business is perfect and having excellent, 5-star reviews all the time may send a wrong signal that you are manipulating the reviews. Of course, you don’t want to attract bad reviews as well.

Make Your Phone and Address Known Online

It is good to have a website, but make sure that you include your phone number and physical address so that future customers will be able to contact or visit you right away. Avoid online forms. Spread your number and address on all your website pages to stress that your business does in fact exist.

Always Think Like a Searcher

It is not hard to know what people want; just think of what you want. For example, you are looking for a Mexican restaurant in Houston, Texas. You will certainly search for “Mexican restaurant in Houston.” That’s what your customers will do as well. Focus on specific keywords when optimizing your site so that you drive relevant traffic and targeted customers to your business.

Who Really Owns Your Business?

Is your “business” owned by a REAL business man?

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I love business and I think very highly of entrepreneurs. There is something that gets me pumped up when I meet someone who can recognize a good idea, take action and transform that idea into money! Believe it or not, I also have great respect for people who become successful in the network marketing industry.

That’s right… I’m a stone cold Network Marketing fan!

Although, these days, I spend the majority of my time building our nonprofit organization, I am personally involved in an awesome network marketing businesses. However, I don’t think network marketing is for everyone. In fact, I don’t think most people in the network marketing “business” are really legitimate business owners. Most importantly, I think that many of the people who are investing their hard earned money into network marketing businesses should quit!

I say that because, most (not all) people in the industry are, at best, glorified employees and, at worst, auto-ship customers who are losing lots of money every month because someone has bamboozled them into believing they are a business owner.

Now, I fully acknowledge that there are lots of exceptions to my sweeping generalizations, but by and large most network marketers fail before they finish their first bottle of super juice. It just takes a few months of boxes piling up in the living room before they realize it.

So why do most marketers fail?

99% of network marketers fail because they don’t know anything about business! In reality, the average network marketer, let’s call him Mr. Average, is a regular guy who may be tired of his day job or is experiencing some kind of financial hardship. Then one day Mr. Average is approached by a “cog” (better known as an employee) in a REAL business man’s system. With zeal, excitement and enthusiasm Mr. Glorified Employee successfully convinces Mr. Average to get involved with network marketing! Mr. Glorified Employee sells Mr. Average on a dream of easy money and easy living.

We have all heard the sales pitch, it goes something like this:

“Hello Mr. Average, my new business is doing great! In this 6 minute presentation I will show you how to earn 6 figures, working 6 hours per day, for 6 days a week for 60 days by telling 6 people about the opportunity. Mr. Average, trust me this businesses is simple, once you get your 6 and your 6 get their 6 and PRESTO…you’re a millionaire!”

Does that sound familiar?

Of course it does. Who among us, has not been pressured by a friend or family member to listen to a “brief presentation” about a magic lotion, potion or juice that will help you lose weight, look younger, live forever & make you rich all at the same time. That’s right, we all have listened and some of us have joined!

Truth-be-told, this “old-school” method of building a business using friends, family and co-workers is very profitable for the REAL business man. But here is the dirty little secret…if you are the guy asking your friends and family members for sales, you are probably not the REAL business man. You are most likely an employee in the REAL business mans system. The REAL business man is the person who convinced you and your “up-line” to push products and its “opportunity” to your friends and family.

You see, generally speaking, no legitimate business can be sustained with just friends and family…the “market” is just too small. The REAL business man knows if he can get you and the rest of his employees excited about the “opportunity” that you will generate leads for him via your friends and family and the duplication process will begin…but duplication only happens for the REAL business man.

The REAL business man knows that in order to be successful in ANY business, you must learn to generate leads and convert those leads into money. Most marketers fail because they never learn how to market, promote or convert.

But the company has a weekly training call!

Although it’s true that most companies offer training, it’s normally product training. No time is spent teaching marketers how to market because it takes months sometimes years to for a marketer to learn how to market effectively. And the REAL business man knows that if he teaches you how to use his system to sell to your friends & family, he can make money faster. The REAL business man also knows that you are his asset and once he recruits you, it’s most cost effective & profitable for him to do three things:

1.) Get you on auto-ship (this generates the REAL business man’s residual income)

2.) Get you plugged in to meetings so he can keep you on auto-ship

3.) Get you plugged in to meetings to keep you excited about the product, the opportunity and above all teach you how to market to your warm market (friends, family, co-workers, etc.)

The REAL business man knows that IT’S NOT cost effective to invest his time and money teaching you how to master complex marketing and business development skills that may take you a year or more to learn (if you learn it at all). The REAL business man knows that it just makes better business sense to turn you into a good auto-ship customer who generates referrals that are just like you.

But I thought you said you liked network marketing?

LOL…I do like network marketing! It’s an industry that’s made for leaders! Only leaders are successful in network marketing! Are you a leader? Do you want to help people become better people? If you’re not a leader do you want to become one? If you answered yes to either question, network marketing is the perfect business for you.

However, if you don’t want to be a leader and you are content being an employee in a business man’s system, network marketing is still perfect for you…just so as long as you recognize that you are not really a business owner. It’s absolutely OK to be a employee in someone else system, and you can make a ton of money doing it!

Just remember that anything that you don’t own or control is only temporary. Which means the money will only last as long as the REAL business man wants it to. When he decides to change the business, close the business or change the people that work in the business your income will be affected.

Yes, you can become a rich employee!

Now let me reiterate, there is nothing wrong with being an employee in some else’s system, just don’t fool yourself into believing that you own the business, because you don’t. Prime example; my friend and I both played professional football. He was a college football standout who was drafted in the NFL’s first round by the Miami Dolphins. He signed a multi-million dollar contract but he is an employee in someone’s system. He is an employee because he works at the pleasure of the teams owner. If he violates the NFL code of conduct or does not play well, he will find out very quickly who the REAL business man is. So yes, my friend is a very rich employee, but he is an employee just the same.

So, what’s your point?

My point is that knowledge is power. You can become very powerful when you learn WHO you are, know WHAT your strengths are and know HOW to best maximize the talents and gifts God has given you. When you cultivate that power, you WILL be successful in anything your heart desires.

So how can I be successful in network marketing?

I’m glad you asked…….

First and foremost become a student. Find out what it takes to succeed and immures yourself in all the books, cds, tapes, mentors, webinars, trainers, conferences etc. that you can get your hands on. Things like lead generation, marketing, sales and business management are universal to any business industry, so learn those first. Just remember you will never know everything so take action as soon as you know enough to get started…keep learning and correct mistakes along the way.

Second, learn to become what I call an HONEST business man. By honest, I mean, be honest with yourself and the laws of power (who you are, what your strengths are and how to maximize your talent). Above all, when you discover your calling, get focused and go for it! Don’t try to be something that you are not even if that means being an employee in some else’s system. Being HONEST means that if you recognize that you are most effective as an employee, be honest with yourself and be the best employee you can be. If on the other hand, leadership is your calling, be HONEST with yourself and learn how to be a good leader and builder of people and don’t overemphasize the money. Don’t get me wrong money is very important, but good leaders value building people over making money.

Last but not least, you must be intentional about creating a business that is pleasing to God. Although, I’m an unapologetic believer and follower of Jesus Christ, my advice is not just limited to Christians. This is a universal principle for anyone who strives to build a successful business, regardless of their religious beliefs. I have learned that if you build a business with a higher purpose you will make more money than you can ever spend in a lifetime.

In my personal business affairs, I have two tests that everything I do must pass. I ask myself the following question:

1.) Would God be pleased with what I’m doing?

2.) Will what I’m doing help people live better more fulfilling lives?

That’s all for today! Well folks, I hope today’s article was both informative and inspiring. As always, my goal is to give you at least one good nugget that makes the article worth the time it took you to read it. Prayerful you walked away with something valuable today.

Until next time,

Travoris “T.C.” Carnes

P.S…Here is a quick list of some of the best resources available to help you learn the important skills you will need to grow a healthy business in any industry:

“You Can’t Teach A Kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar” by David Sandler
“Permission Marketing” by Seth Goden
Business Management
“E-Myth” by Micheal Gerber
“21 Indispensable Laws of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell
“Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
“Before You Quit Your Job” by Robert Kiyosaki
“The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Calson
“The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn

How to Start a Foreclosure Cleanup Business While Still Working a Job

Housing industry experts are predicting well over two million foreclosed homes will saturate the market in 2010 and beyond. So many aspiring entrepreneurs want to dive head-first into opening a foreclosure cleanup business, especially after doing a little research on the industry and seeing the potential for a successful business. But many people desperately need to hold on to what have become their part-time jobs (as a result of cutbacks and downsizing), to just pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads.

Feeling Trapped in Your Job?

Feeling trapped in your job, but the anxious entrepreneur is dying to get out, at any cost? The entrepreneurial bug is like a drug. Entrepreneurs can’t help themselves. They’re up all night with business ideas, running numbers, mulling over scenarios, and planning the ultimate dive into one of the most rewarding ventures in life: being self supportive, not depending on anyone for a dime, calling the shots, knowing it’s all on them, sink or swim.

But they feel trapped and don’t know how they can get their foreclosure cleaning business off the ground because they truly need the income from the job they are grateful to have to simply stay afloat.

Deciding is Half the Battle

As the owner of a foreclosure cleanup business, I get it. Been there, done that. There is nothing like feeling there is no way out. But there is a way out.

You see, if you’ve truly decided you want to open a full-time foreclosure cleanup business, you’re half way there. Deciding to start a business, deciding to anything at all, is really half the battle.

Do you know how many talk about opening a business and never do a thing about it? You’re in the minority by having truly decided.

Realize if you’ve decided you’re going to start this business, you have guts that many people can only dream of. So slow down a moment, and pat yourself firmly on the back. You now KNOW you will open your business full-time, in due time, so roll with that thought, and smile quietly. Take comfort in that decisive feeling and reward yourself for making the choice to own a business one day soon.

Now, reach down and strap your boots on tightly, because in just a bit, it’ll be time to rock and roll!

Successfully Starting Part-time

If you have a job, plan to start your business part-time. That’s what I did when I started my foreclosure cleanup business. I used personal days from my job to give estimates; vacation time to meet with realtors and prowl for clients; and my lunch time every day to camp out in a conference room at my job to plan my business. My foot was out the door and I knew it — because I am an entrepreneur to the core, and I had decided it was time to get back out there in business ownership.

Realize that even if you have a “full-time” job, that’s only 9, 10, 11 hours out of the day (when you add in commuting). There are 24 hours in a day! That leaves so much time to get your business going.

Using Your Lunch Hour

Most people have at least one solid hour for lunch in the middle of the day, where they can read, learn the industry, research contacts, and plan. Use that time to work on a business plan. And that business plan doesn’t have to be for anyone’s eyes but your own. It can be your road map to entrepreneurship.

But don’t let the formality of a business plan bog you down. The main thing is to plan; rough drafting it for your personal use is just fine.

Visit the Small Business Administration’s website for more information on the components of a useful, effective business plan.

Evenings and Weekends

Use the evenings and weekends to do estimates. It’s your business, so you can set your estimate-giving hours the way you want them. A job doesn’t mean you have to miss out on clients. We’ll discuss how to handle scenarios where you can’t meet a potential client for an estimate because of your job in a bit.

Middle of the Night?

Middle of the night? Yes, middle of the night. Don’t write off the middle of the night to work! You need those hours, when the world is asleep, to really focus on your business’ future. You will come up with some of your best ideas when the world is quiet, the television is off, your spouse is conked out, and your children are sound asleep in their rooms.

A successful business owner once told me he only slept three hours a night. I’ll never forget when he said, “Sleep is the cousin of death.” He said it was an old African proverb.

That statement does not mean you should neglect your health, NOT take care of yourself. It simply means you have to give up something in the beginning to get where you want to be. And sleep is one of the easiest things from which to shave hours.

For example, if you know you will only sleep, say, four hours per night next week because you have to work on planning your business, prepare your marketing material, build your website, start a contacts list, read industry material, etc., you will really use your “awake” time strategically.

Ironically, you will likely get more “solid” rest because you will know when your head does hit that pillow you will have to really sleep before the alarm goes off at 3:30 or 4:00 AM.

Don’t Get “Stuck” in the Planning Phase

Careful you don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re working your business by simply planning. Take approximately two weeks and plan your foreclosure cleanup business. Then, start sending out postcards and emails, saturating your area with fliers, and making cold calls to get your phone ringing.

Your goal should be to have estimates lined up on your calendar. The more estimates you go out there and give, the more versed you will get in pricing and meeting with clients, the more foreclosure cleanup work you will get, and the sooner you can get out of your job.

Growing Too Fast?

Here’s a nice dilemma: you’re working a job and the calls are starting to come in because you are strategically marketing, pricing right, and growing your foreclosure cleanup business.

How do you handle that transition period from needing your job, to fielding the work coming in? Simple; you will need help. And that help can be in the form of other companies to which you can formally refer out work.

Those other similar businesses in the area are not your competition; they are your allies, your friends, especially in the part-time, start-up phase. Reach out to them in the beginning to introduce your foreclosure cleaning business. This will do two things:

1) it will get your business name out there; and
2) it will give you the opportunity to discuss a formal referral agreement whereby if you send them work, you will get a percentage of the earnings. (Always use a formal, written referral agreement.)

Over time, this reaching out to your assumed competition will become a mutually beneficial exchange because these companies will also know they can call on you, too, as your business grows into a full-time operation.

Plan Your Exit

Don’t let fear or anybody’s job keep you from entrepreneurship. Realize you may have to start part-time, but start you will. If you want this, be smart and simply plan your exit from your job strategically.

Use your lunch hours; use that crucial time after work when you really just want to go home and rest; and use those precious hours in the middle of the night, when the world is asleep, to set up shop.

The Road to Success

The road to success is often built when no one’s looking. Your audience will be your blood, sweat and tears. And when you “arrive,” your colleagues will wonder how you go there; what magic, luck, what secret weapon, did you have in your back pocket?

But success is no big secret; it’s just plain old hard work — the kind our parents and grandparents used to do; the kind that morphs into something beautiful in the form of control, control of your own destiny, after a little while. And it’s there for the taking for anyone who has the guts to grab it.

Rewards Outweigh the Toil

The rewards of entrepreneurship far outweigh the toil. So go for it; start planning your foreclosure cleanup business, part-time, knowing one day soon you will be running a successful, full-time enterprise.

Much success to you in your new business.