Managing Your Home Based Online Business - 4

Roy Thomsitt
 


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Working at home in a business on your own, and having responsibility for managing yourself and all the specialist functions of the business, has been my theme for the last 3 articles in this series.

One of the most important departments in any company is the marketing department. That particular “specialist" function is one that is critical to any business, small or large, online or offline. Now you are working alone in your own internet business, you are the one who has to know:

  • what internet marketing options are open to you;

  • how to select which ways to promote your business and website;

  • how you will budget for your advertising and other internet promotions;

  • how you will monitor the success of your different internet and advertising promotions once they get started.

  • how to manage the marketing of your business so that it is synchronized with the other key aspects of the business, especially finance.

    Internet marketing is a massive and ever changing subject, so I will make absolutely no attempt to cover it in detail here. There is a considerable amount of material available for free on the internet. All I can say is: absorb as much as you can and then try to take a down to earth view of it. That is what I have done in the past, and have not got my fingers burnt with the internet marketing ebooks I have paid for.

    You are very likely to find that marketing is a major expense in your online business, whether it be on information, advertising, or time saving products and services. If you spend a lot of time online researching internet marketing, you will be exposed to a cascade of options. Some of those options will be a magnet for your wallet, others will just be a waste of your valuable time; some will be both. This is why you will benefit from viewing things as a manager would, especially when wearing the finance hat.

    If you do not manage your new online business, it will mismanage you and your bank account. You cannot risk going with the flow, when you are totally unaware of where the flow is heading, and that is especially true of marketing. However, all marketing has an element of risk, as has starting your own business. Finding the right balance is not easy.

    How Do You Manage Your Marketing?

    Achieving the right balance requires a management skill, even though you may never before have seen it that way. Where do you apply that management skill and how? I suggest you at least bear the following in mind at all times:

  • Managing your business is an attitude of mind; an awareness. If you can elevate yourself to thinking as a manager, even though you have nobody other than yourself to manage, then you are setting yourself up to be a better and more successful business owner.

  • Critically examine all requirements, or temptations, to spend money on marketing. If the marketer in you is anxious to spend, you should stand back from that and take a balanced view. Examine your proposed spend again the next day. You may have a different and more circumspect view next time.

  • Having a marketing budget is important. Try to stick to it, but be prepared to increase it out of profits if something is going well.

  • Evaluate all marketing options in terms of your budget, time, risks and expectations.

  • Be very selective about the marketing options you choose to utilize, and then ensure you have a way of tracking their effectiveness. If you don’t, and you’re trying a number of options at once, you will not have much of a clue as to what is successful and worth continuing, and what should be dropped from your marketing mix.

  • Be prepared to stop any marketing campaign that is not getting results within a reasonable time scale, but also try to make a sound judgement on what is a reasonable timescale. It is as bad to prematurely stop a campaign that could have been successful the following month, as it is to carry on with a campaign you should have stopped.

  • Review the effectiveness of your marketing efforts regularly, at least monthly but preferably weekly. Keep your finger on the pulse of the business.

    This has just been a brief introduction to managing your online business marketing. In any business, getting the marketing right is crucial. Online marketing, with its thick veil of hype, is particularly hazardous. As you develop more of a management attitude, you will find it that much easier to see through the hype, and nurture your business through the many steps to success.

    Roy Thomsitt is the owner, webmaster and author of http://www.change-direction.com , a new website in late 2004, about working online in a home based business. He has a background in offline advertising, with practical experience of working from home in marketing since 1995, plus 2 years of experience with online marketing. Professionally, he was trained as a management accountant and has substantial background in financial and project management, implementing new office, accounting, computer and management systems.

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