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4 Steps to Turn Your Online Business Dream into Reality

4 Steps to Turn Your Online Business Dream into Reality

“I could have thought of that.”

I’m sure we’ve all had this thought at one time or another. It seems like “the next big thing” changes on a near monthly basis. Many of these ideas are based on pretty simple principles, and yet their popularity turns the minds behind them into billionaires seemingly overnight. Maybe you have an idea of your own. But how can you take this idea and turn it into a business?

You might think that the first step is to build your app or website, but there are a few key steps to take before you start work. You need to understand the market, and make sure that your idea is something that people actually need. If you follow these four simple steps, you’ll be able to kick start your entrepreneurial journey and turn your idea into a fully-fledged business.

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Step 1: Find Your Users

What do people do when they’re looking for something on the internet? They turn to google! Do you know that google actually tracks all of these searches, and you can tap into this data to find out what consumers are looking for online? Check out the google keyword tool. You can access it by logging into Google AdWords, clicking ‘tools and analysis,’ followed by ‘keyword planner.’ Google has prepared a helpful guide to help you get started.

Here, you can type in any search term and find out how many people are using that search every month. Let’s say, for example, you want to create an app that lets people keep track of their work schedule. You might find that a couple of thousand people are searching for “work schedule planner” every month. Then you might also discover that, hundreds of thousands of people are searching for “gym schedule planner.”

This is just an example, but doing your keyword research tells you what your users are looking for. This is an opportunity for you to pivot and make sure that your product lines up with customer needs. Keyword research is so important that many web development companies now start with it before they begin work on your website, which is something new we’re seeing in this space.

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Step 2: Design Your Product

Now that you know exactly what your future users are looking for, it’s time to plan out your product. How is it going to work? Remember to think about what problem people are trying to solve. If you want your online business to take off, you need to find the most effective way to solve that problem. Keep working on this step until you’re certain that your idea is the best solution out there. Don’t focus on things like trying to build the next Facebook. Your goal should be to build something that improves the way friends communicate with each other. Rushing this part of the process can lead to a product that is sub-par, and result in your business never getting off the ground.

Step 3: Build Your Product

Finally, you can start turning your concept into something tangible. Remember to focus on the core concepts you developed in step two. You know what consumers need, and you have a plan that will eventually meet those needs. Seeing your idea come to life can be inspiring.

It may seem easy to come up with, what appears to be, a few simple tweaks or features that will make your product even better. But these things can take the focus away from what you are trying to build, and cause development costs to spin out of control.

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Step 4: Promote Yourself

Finally, you’re ready to launch. It’s time to connect with users and get your idea out there. Make sure you take advantage of social media channels. Set up a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even a LinkedIn. Make a place where users can talk about the problems that you’ve solved with your product. For example, if you build the gym scheduling app, create a Facebook group where people can share their workout routines. Show them how easy it is to track their progress with your app. Remember, the goal is not just to reach as many people as possible. You want to reach the right people. Find avenues where you can start a dialog with people who might be interested in your product.

Social media can get you started, but once you are making money, you will also want to talk to an SEO firm. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. These companies can analyze consumer behavio, and modify your website so that people can find you on Google.

Enjoy The Ride

Marlon Wayans once said “Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on.

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If you start your business focused solely on the money, you’re unlikely to succeed. As long as you come to work every day feeling inspired, you’ll be able to make positive changes in the world. Being an entrepreneur is not just about the numbers, it’s about looking for ways to improve the lives of others.

If you can be the one to drive this change, consumers will rely on you to make their lives easier. And that’s exactly what makes online businesses go viral.

Featured photo credit: Maryland GovPics via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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