Small Business Resource Center

Overview Of Business
This type of business can be established to assist entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a business or to help existing businesses enhance their current business operation. You can provide entrepreneurs with information on how to register a business, different tax issues that need to be addressed when running a business, and other information that can help them set up and run their business. This information will be easy for you to provide to your visitors, as it will be accessible from your local government offices. These government offices will also be able to supply you with any forms, brochures, or pamphlets that you will want to make available to your visitors. This will help you cut down on high overhead costs.

You can also provide current business operators with resources that will help them run their businesses more efficiently. You could develop a directory of various consultants, accountants, financial advisors, office equipment suppliers, and so on, that would be accessible from your Web site. Current business operators could easily reference your site when trying to outsource activities to a specialized organization or purchase new materials for their business operation. This directory would be a great asset to all business operators.

To generate revenue for your business, you can set up a referral system with business service providers that target entrepreneurs and business operators. For example, you could receive a referral fee for every businessperson you send to a financial planner, an accountant, or a lawyer in a specific area. You could also develop an alliance between office equipment suppliers, print houses, and other businesses that would benefit from receiving business from your Web site’s visitors. After developing these alliances, you would be surprised how much money you could make from referrals. You can also sell banner advertising to business service-oriented companies. They would benefit from the targeted advertising exposure that could be generated from your Web site.

Skills Needed
Knowledge of how to operate a business, business rules and regulations, and online marketing skills would be an asset when operating this type of business.

Cost To Start This Business
Initially you will have to pay for the development, design, and hosting of your Web site, computer hardware, computer software, and a printer. If you currently have some of these items, your initial start-up costs will be considerably lower. You will also have to design some sort of tracking system to track your referrals to the businesses that you are promoting on your site. If you are planning to launch a mailing list, you will have to purchase mailing list software. This will help you maintain, manage, and distribute your mail list. Other costs that you will incur are related to the promotion of your Web site. Estimated cost is $10,000 to $30,000 to start.

Number Of Employees Needed To Start
Generally, one full-time employee will be needed to run the day-to-day operation of this business.

International Potential
Although people from other countries may use this service if they are moving to the country, city, or state that you represent, this business generally has national or regional appeal.

Important Business Issues To Be Addressed
Since the majority of the information on your site will remain the same (i.e., business forms, laws, and regulations), you should continuously update your site to encourage repeat traffic to your Web site. Ideas you may want to include on your site are a What’s New page or an Emerging Business page that entrepreneurs can read for inspiration. This would be a great way to encourage repeat traffic.

Since revenue will be based upon generating referrals to other business service providers, you are going to have to develop a system to track your referrals. To do this, you should assign a unique ID to each business that you have listed on your site. If visitors are interested in a particular business’s service, they can request that a representative from that business contact them by filling out a simple form that will integrate with their selection to include the unique ID number. Once you receive the request, it is your responsibility to contact the business to inform them about the potential client or customer. This will be an easy way to keep track of your referrals.

Businesses are going to want to purchase advertising on your site for one reason—the potential traffic that you will send to their sites. To ensure that this happens, you are going to have to do whatever you can to promote your business online and offline.

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Online Marketing Techniques

  • Develop as many links as possible from Web sites, directories, and metaindexes related to entrepreneurship, starting a business, or business services. There are hundreds of business services-related Web sites and meta-indexes online. You should attempt to receive links from as many of these as possible.
  • Participating in newsgroups and discussion forums related to business, entrepreneurship, starting a business, or the geographic area that you represent would be quite effective. Through providing valuable contributions, you will be able to exercise your professionalism and capture the attention of your target audience. Make sure you include a cleverly designed signature file in all of your postings. This will act as an advertisement for your services.
  • Participating in mailing lists related to your target market would be a great way to encourage people to visit your site. Make sure you provide a valuable contribution and include your signature file. This will encourage people to visit your Web site.
  • Develop a sponsored listings campaign to bid on appropriate keyword phrases with the popular search engines.
  • You could have a What’s New section on your site. You could ask people if they would like to be notified via e-mail whenever you update your What’s New page. This would be a great way to encourage visitors to return to your site.

Additional Income
In addition to generating revenue from business referrals, you could also promote upcoming business-related conferences and seminars on your Web site. You could promote the event, take online registrations, and earn a commission for every registration that you take. This would be a great way to earn additional income.

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