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A Home-Based Business Online
Editor: Elena Fawkner
Publisher: AHBBO Publishing
Contact By Email
Hello again and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers who
have joined us since the last issue!
This week's article looks at branding your business. Many small
business owners overlook this crucial start-up step of creating a
corporate identity because they think it's something only the
major corporations do. Not so. Even a small business needs to
brand itself to differentiate itself from the competition. In this
week's article we look at how to go about doing exactly that.
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this week's
Remember, this ezine is for YOU! If you have comments
or suggestions for topics you would like to see addressed,
or would just like to share your experiences with other
subscribers, I want to hear from you! Please send comments,
questions and stories to Contact By Email .
People are busier than ever and the world around them hasn't
changed. Groceries still need to be bought, deliveries still need
to be made, gifts still need to be bought, etc. You can take
advantage of the needs of these hyper-busy people by running
an errand service.
In essence, what you do is run errands for people and get paid
for it. Think it sounds like a kid's business? Well, you won't
make kid money! If you are in a good sized metropolitan area
with steady clients, you can make $15 to $20 an hour. You
won't need much to start off with. You'll, of course, need a reliable
car or, better yet, a van. The only real expenses at the start are:
business cards and business stationery; a pager; and postage.
Make a list of large businesses in your area, ones with large
numbers of well-paid executives, such as banks, headquarters of
large manufacturers, etc. You should then compose a letter
detailing your services. List as many timesaving services as you
can think of: grocery pickup, dry-cleaning delivery and pickup,
post office errands, gift-shopping services, food pickup and
Note: Don't transport people unless you have the proper licenses.
Also, if you deliver messages, there may be state utility regulations
you'll need to check into. Emphasize to these people how they will
BENEFIT from your service: more time, less worries, less stress.
Be competitive with your pricing. Call other delivery services in the
area and find out what they charge, whether hourly or by the job.
Make your prices competitive and your services personal, and
you'll get the edge.
Four other good ideas for publicizing your services: advertise in
charity event publications that are read by executives; get permission
to post your business card at dry cleaners, grocery stores, bakeries,
upscale food stores and delis, etc.; produce press releases about
your services showcasing a unique aspect of your business, i.e.
you specialize in delivering wedding cakes, for example, and get
them to all the newspapers and local magazines in the area; and
notify senior citizen organizations about the services you offer.
Hints: Know your way around your area extremely well so you can
plan the quickest route to efficiently accomplish all your errands.
Be assertive, both with potential clients and with places you are
visiting for a client. Be friendly, and you'll get more return business.
Also, be confidential in respect of your clients.
If you're willing to hustle, you can make it in the errand business.
Once you get that first steady client, if you're good, you can count
on word-of-mouth business. Then you'll really be rolling!
There are many more ideas like this at the AHBBO Home
Business Ideas page at free home based business ideas
with more being added all the time.
© 2017 Elena Fawkner
If you think only big corporate names need to think about things
like brand names, think again. Your brand says a lot about you
and your business, and that's as true for a one person home-
based operation as it is for a multinational conglomerate. In this
article we look at how creating a strong brand for your business
can help you set yourself apart from the pack and lay the right
foundation for the future growth of your business.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
Your brand is more than just the logo on your letterhead and
business cards or your business name. It is your corporate
identity. An effective brand tells the world who you are, what
you do and how you do it, while at the same time establishing
your relevance to and credibility with your prospective customers.
Your brand is also something more ethereal. It is how your
business is perceived by its customers. If your brand has a high
perceived value, you enjoy many advantages over your
competition, especially when it comes to pricing. Why do you
think people are prepared to pay stupid money for items of clothing
with the initials "CK" on them? Perceived value. Perceived value
as a result of very effective brand promotion resulting in very high
Now, I'm not saying we all need to rush out and start creating
brands that are going to be recognized the world over. Most of us
simply don't have the time or other resources necessary. What I
am suggesting, however, is that it is possible for your brand to
dominate your niche.
WHY DO I NEED TO CREATE MY OWN BRAND?
We touched on this in the previous section when we looked at
what a brand is and how it can be used to increase the perceived
value of your products and services. The main reason for creating
your own brand is to differentiate yourself from your competition.
New websites are a dime a dozen. So are home-based
businesses. You need to constantly be looking for ways to set
yourself apart from your competition. Your brand can do that for
=> More Effective, Efficient Marketing
Another good reason for creating your own brand is to make your
sales force (even if that's a sales force of one - you) more effective
Imagine if you didn't have to spend the first 50% of your time with
a new prospect explaining who you are, what you do and how you
do it. What if your brand had already communicated that for you?
You can spend 100% of your time focusing on sales rather than
educating your prospects about your business
Another benefit of branding is that the efforts you expend increasing
your brand awareness through promoting and marketing your brand
to your target market automatically transfers to your products and
services. So, even when you're advertising your brand, you're
indirectly also marketing your products and services.
HOW DO I CREATE MY OWN BRAND?
OK, so you're convinced you need to create your own brand.
Where on earth do you start?
We saw earlier that your brand needs to say who you are, what
you do and how you do it. It needs to do all these things at the
same time as establishing your relevance to and building credibilty
with your prospective customers. Needless to say, it is absolutely
essential, if you are to build your own brand, that *you yourself*
have a firm grasp of who you are, what you do and how you do it.
If not, you're going to have the devil's own time getting that
message across to anyone else, let alone establishing your
relevance and credibility.
=> Write A Mission Statement
So, let's start by creating a mission statement. What is the
mission of your business? Obviously you're in business to make
a profit. But making a profit is a byproduct of a successful
business. Focus instead on how you choose to achieve that profit.
What are your core values?
A good place to begin thinking about your mission is to put
yourself in the shoes of your customers. Put yourself in their
target market. Let's say your business is web hosting. If you're
in the market for a web host, what things are important to you?
Different people will be looking for different benefits but you can
bet that they want their website to be accessible to site visitors so
reliability will be high on their list. Price is also likely to be high
on the list as is 24/7 technical support. What about add-on features
such as unlimited email aliases, cgi support and what-not?
These things will be highly important to some and less important
to others. So focus on the benefits that are likely to be highly
relevant to the majority of your target market. Let's settle for our
purposes on reliability, price and technical support.
Your mission statement might read something like this: "I strive
to earn a fair return on my investment of time and money by
providing affordable webhosting with guaranteed 99% uptime and
24/7 telephone technical support". That's a pretty general
statement and if you decide to focus on a particular niche of the
webhosting market, such as small business, you may want to
more narrowly focus on that group in your mission statement.
Now that you've written your mission statement, you can begin
thinking about creating a brand that reinforces and supports your
mission. So, getting back to the fundamental questions of who
you are, what you do and how you do it, you can now begin to
think of your business in these terms. You're a webhosting
provider, you host websites of small businesses and you do that
by offering cost-effective webhosting solutions, guaranteed 99%
uptime and 24/7 telephone technical support.
When you create your brand, you need to keep the who, what
and how firmly in mind but also use the brand to establish your
relevance to your target market and build credibility with that
Let's turn now to the nuts and bolts of creating your brand.
=> Describe What You Are Branding
List out your business's key features and characteristics, your
competitive advantages and anything else that sets you apart
from your competition.
Using our webhosting example, you'll focus primarily on the
objectives from your mission statement namely, reliable, cost-
effective webhosting solutions supported by 24/7 technical
=> Identify and Describe Your Target Market
Decide whether you want to target lthe entire webhosting
community or only a segment of it such as small business
websites. Describe your market.
=> List Names that Suggest the Key Elements from Your
The key elements from your mission statement were reliability,
cost-effectiveness and customer service. List names that are
suggestive of these elements. Let's use Reliable Webhosting
for our example. (I don't claim to be a creative genius.)
Don't limit yourself to real words, though. A coined name with no
obvious meaning is a perfectly legitimate name provided it conveys
something about your business. You will find coined names easier
to trademark and secure domain names for too - a definite plus!
=> List Tag Lines that Reinforce Your Mission Statement
We'll use: "Outstanding reliability and technical support at a
price your small business can afford". I know, I know. You can
do much better, I'm sure.
HOW SHOULD I USE MY BRAND?
=> Create a Logo for Your Brand
Your logo is NOT your brand but your logo should allow your
brand to be instantly recognized by those familiar with it. To
this extent, your logo helps create and reinforce brand
The logo you create should be able to be used consistently in a
variety of different media. It should be suitable for corporate
letterhead and business cards, as well as for your website and
corporate signage (if any). You do NOT want a confusing
mishmash of logos and banners and heaven knows what else.
Everything you produce needs to use the same, consistent
style of logo so that, over time, your logo becomes synonymous
with your brand. Instant recognition is what you're going for here,
so don't dilute it by using several different logos for different
=> Consistent Usage of Company Name, Logo and Tag Line
Going back to our webhosting example, putting the brand name
and tagline together, the physical manifestation of your brand
To establish brand awareness, this branding needs to be used
consistently and frequently in everything your produce, whether
that be letters to clients, business cards, brochures, quotations,
invoices, advertising, promotion, on your website, on the front
door of your principal place of business and on your products.
And don't forget to be consistent in your use of color schemes.
These can be powerful brand reinforcers.
=> Marketing and Promotion of Your Brand
Once you've created your brand, you need to market and
promote it, in addition to your products and services. This is
how you establish your credibility and relevance to your target
market. You can hopefully see why your brand needs to be
suggestive of your mission statement. If, at the same time as
you're selling your products and services you also push your
brand, your brand becomes synonymous with your products
and services. And vice versa.
A properly descriptive brand and high brand awareness amongst
your target market will allow you to more easily introduce a wider
range of products and services when they're developed without
having to start by again selling who you are, what you do and
how you do it first. Your brand has already presold YOU. Your
job then is to sell your products and services.
use the autoresponder copy which contains a resource box;
and (2) you leave the resource box intact.
=> Tip #1: How to view the properties for multiple hard drives all
Open My Computer and select all your hard drives by holding
down the Ctrl key and clicking on each drive. Next, right-click on
any one of the drives and choose Properties from the Context
menu that appears; Windows will create a single dialog with
tabs for each drive. It also works for floppy, removable and
mapped network drives. So you can knock off a lot with a little
effort and be done with it!
=> Tip #2: How to keep your desktop icons from jumping back
to attention every time you move them
By default, Microsoft made the Auto Arrange option the default. If
you want free-flowing icons, you'll need to turn this option off.
Right-click the desktop and select Arrange Icons. In the resulting
menu, you'll see a check mark next to Auto Arrange. Select this
option (or deselect it). Back on the desktop, try to relocate an
icon. It should work much better.
"I've been wanting to do this for a while, but life can get very busy!!
"I started Lifeline a couple of years ago when it looked like I was
going to be out of work. After talking with some trusted friends, I
decided to build on the strengths that had gained me success in
business and strike out on my own. Now I'm working at home
exclusively and able to devote more time to building Lifeline.
With the power of the internet, the possibilities are endless.
While my clients are generally local, I'm not limited by distance.
"Getting traffic to my site and getting them back again and again
is my challenge. I am really unclear how to submit to search
engines. I also want to develop an e-zine and/or offer a new article
regularly that will pull potential clients back to my site often.
"I built my site using FrontPage. I found it generally user friendly.
I'll look forward to your comments."
Lifeline Office Services
Carol's is an example of a really great home-business idea.
Essentially, Carol's business involves helping businesses out
when they have a temporary overflow of office work. Great idea.
Now, how to harness the power of the internet to generate
Carol's business is one that can and should be promoted both
offline and online. As far as online promotion is concerned,
Carol understands that it will take repeat traffic in order to generate
business from her site. Carol's problem, however, is that her
website, although setting out the basics of what her business
offers, doesn't contain anything in the way of content that would
attract an audience in the first place. Someone would have to be
specifically looking for her type of service in order to find her site.
And even then Carol may not be found if all she's relying on is
being listed with the search engines.
My advice to anyone in this situation is to broaden the appeal of
your website. Add content and benefits that will attract visitors
and keep them coming back. Carol's business is ideal. There
are any number of subjects Carol could write articles about
and post at her site or publish in a weekly ezine. For example,
how to organize a home office; how to keep proper track of
business expenses and revenues; time management tips;
productivity tips and so on. The list is endless. These content
items should then be specifically submitted to the search
engines and other online directories to increase the chances of
visitors stumbling across the site.
A weekly ezine will allow Carol to keep in touch with website
visitors and generate repeat traffic to her site by people wanting
to check out her archives.
As for Carol's comment that she's unclear how to submit to
search engines, there's really no mystery. All you do is go to
the engine itself, say http://www.altavista.com for the Alta Vista
engine, drill down until you find the category that is relevant to
your site, and look for the "Add URL" link. Just fill out the form
and submit it. It will take several weeks before you're listed.
For a good, centralized listing of search engines and online
directories, I recommend Virtual Promote at
Personally, I don't spend too much time on the search engines.
In my experience, relatively little traffic comes from these
listings with the best traffic generator being reciprocal links with
complementary sites. Seek out webmasters of complementary
but not competitive sites and propose a reciprocal link. Virtually
all webmasters are looking for good reciprocal link partners so
you shouldn't hestitate to put yourself out there and make the
Get going with that ezine, too, Carol, and submit your articles
to all the article submission services you can find. That is a great
way to recruit new subscribers.
If you want your site seen by thousands, write and tell me
about it! But make sure it's one you've created yourself
or have had created especially for you. No self-replicating affiliate
8. Subscription Management
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Elena Fawkner, Editor
A Home-Based Business Online
Contact By Email
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