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Bill Platt of the Phantom Writers, invites you to reprint this article in your print publication, ezine, or on your website. This is a Free-Reprint article. The only requirements for publishing this article are:

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    Thank you for adhering to these four very simple rules.
    Separate the Wheat from the Chaff - 12 Lessons in Online Business
    Copyright 2004, Bill Platt

    As newcomers to the Internet, many people are hot to tap into 
    the internet riches that so many other people are enjoying. But, 
    there is a learning curve that must be negotiated to get from 
    desire to dollars.  
    Newbies often start their online endeavors using free promotional
    tools. Here is the first lesson in the learning curve. Freebies 
    will suck up all of your energy and provide little or no gain. 
    "Money cannot be earned by a business person who is unwilling 
    to spend money."
    The second lesson needs to be learned before the first dollar 
    is ever spent. "The secret to success with any business is to 
    earn more money than what you spend." Don't go rushing out with 
    a fool's plan and just start blowing money. Spending money does 
    not always equal making money.
    The things you definitely will need to spend money on is a 
    domain name, a webhost to support your site, and a method for 
    accepting online payments. 
    Merchant Accounts are the banking method of using credit cards 
    for secured payment processing. They expensive to set up and 
    An alternative to setting up a merchant account is to use Paypal 
    ( http://thephantomwriters.com/recommendpp ) as a payment 
    processor. To use Paypal as a payment processor you must either 
    register a bank account or register a credit card with Paypal. 
    Then you need to set up your actual payment page so that your 
    customers can make their purchase online from your website. 
    Merchant account users should also seriously consider using 
    Paypal as an secondary payment method. This enables the seller 
    to reach buyers who do not own credit cards.
    Having the ability to collect payment via credit card, through a 
    merchant account service or Paypal, is "absolutely essential" to 
    any person who desires to do business online. If your customers 
    cannot pay with their credit card, you can rest assured that you 
    will have few if any customers to service.
    Spend conservatively. "Don't spend money unless you know the 
    value of what you will receive in return."
    To be successful online, you must:
     - have a product or service to sell.
     - have a website designed to sell your product or service.
     - have a payment method in place.
     - develop successful advertising.
    "Choose a business model you will enjoy." You don't want to 
    invest several years into developing a business you cannot 
    stand to work. 
    If you are seeking products to sell, then check out the 
    Drop-Shippers Wholesale Directory ( 
    http://thePhantomWriters.com/dsd ). Drop Shippers enable you 
    to sell their products at whatever profit margin you desire, 
    and they handle the shipping to your customers.
    "Target your offerings to a specific niche." Do not make the 
    mistake of trying to be another Wal-Mart. Trust me, you cannot 
    beat their prices. And, online businesses who attempt to supply 
    everything to everyone usually fail.
    Define your business to a very targeted niche, then become the 
    top resource destination for that niche to gain repeat visitors. 
    "Most businesses survive and succeed based on repeat business 
    from repeat customers." Repeat customers are cheaper to acquire 
    and keep. And, if people really like your business, they will 
    refer their friends to you. 
    "Customers are more interested in receiving the best value than 
    getting the absolute lowest cost." The extra few dollars they 
    will pay you can deliver them more value than the value 
    delivered by the site offering the same products and services 
    for less money.
    "A good website designer cannot and should not be expected to 
    be a great copywriter, and vice versa."
    Website designers specialize in creating the visual presentation 
    of a program and how to put those visual elements into the HTML 
    coding. A good website designer will also make certain that the 
    site offers a very easy to navigate format. 
    Copywriters specialize in the written word. Your copywriter is 
    the person whose skill will actually sell your products and 
    Don't be afraid to spend money to have a professional designer 
    build your visual presentation. And more importantly, don't be 
    afraid to spend your money to hire a professional copywriter 
    with a solid track record to build your sales presentation for 
    For copywriting, I recommend Dan Lok at Quick Turn Marketing, 
    Inc. ( http://www.quickturnmarketing.com/help_me_out.html )
    "Find effective ways to advertise your business by running small 
    campaigns and tracking your results." When you find advertising 
    resources that continually produce profitable results, keep 
    going back to that well until the well goes dry.
    "Never underestimate the value of good customer service." 
    Fast service and quick fulfillment will go a long way to help 
    build a good reputation for you with your customers. Use your 
    post-payment page to educate your customers about all of the 
    aspects of their purchase they will be interested in knowing. 
    Tell your customers exactly when and how they can expect to 
    receive their product or service. 
    Additionally, create a special email account that only your 
    customers will use. Otherwise you run the risk of losing 
    important communications. When your customers contact you, 
    strive to reply to all messages within 24 hours. 
    "Keep learning, but beware of false prophets."
    Before spending a dime on any program, search of your favorite 
    search engine to see what others think of the program you are 
    considering. Discount the advice of people who are profiting 
    from their recommendations. Then measure the positive comments 
    against the negative comments on a program. This analysis is 
    important for determining the real value of any program.
    "Good information serves no real value to you if you never use 
    If you buy a program, make certain that you read the information 
    and use what you have purchased to your benefit. The ball is in 
    your court. We can provide you the most valuable information 
    available for you to use, but if you don't use it, then you 
    might as well have spent your time doing something else that 
    would have provided you with Real Value.
    By understanding and implementing these twelve lessons in your 
    online business model, your overall chances of business success 
    are greatly improved. There are a lot of us out here who have 
    turned our online businesses into real profit generators, and 
    you can do it too. Read this article again if you need to do 
    so. And remember our bonus lesson thirteen that can be summed 
    up in seven words, "Follow through in all that you do." 

    Bill Platt owns http://thePhantomWriters.com . Do you need free content for your website or ezine? Our archives deliver more than 550 free-reprint articles available for your use. http://content.thePhantomWriters.com . Do you write your own articles? Let us distribute them for you to our network of 6000+ publishers & webmasters http://thePhantomWriters.com/distribution

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