Why You Should Stick to One Business Idea

Something that’s really common amongst small business owners is running two or more businesses. I see people who own a massage therapy business also run a greeting card company or someone who owns a networking company who also own a florist and so on. Two or more businesses happen usually for one of two reasons:

1. Either the first business isn’t making as much money as the person would have liked and they believe another opportunity will be the one that will make it big, or

2. The first business is hard to get going and the business owner gets bored and frustrated with it. When the second idea comes along, it’s more exciting and interesting and the person’s motivation levels are rejuvenated again.

Or it could happen for a combination of these reasons. The problem occurs when the second business idea doesn’t meet expectations and then the business owner creates a third or even a fourth idea. I’ve met business owners who are running seven or eight business ideas and suddenly reach crisis point because they don’t know what they do anymore.

So, why then should you stick to one business idea? Perhaps, these people are right – maybe it does take two or three ideas before you make it big and isn’t it possible to be able to run several different businesses simultaneously?

Well, here’s the thing – and you may disagree here (all opinions welcome), but I’ve worked with hundreds if not thousands of business owners and I really, honestly can’t recall a time when I’ve seen two or more business ideas work simultaneously. The best and most successful businesses work when the business owner concentrates on one thing and one thing only.

But, I hear you cry – what about those people who are doing PR and training or coaching and management consultancy and are really successful? Well, I would argue that if you look closer at their businesses, you’ll find they are running one business in different ways. For instance, a PR professional that I know teaches PR, works on PR on a one to one basis with her clients and has e-books on her site about PR which she sells successfully. She’s even just branched out into offering workshops to teach PR professionals how to be successful. But, everything revolves around PR – if I was recommending this business owner, I’m very clear on what she does.

Also take the example of a successful coach who also does training. It’s not just any training though – it’s training involving coaching. She’s also involved in a coaching network and speaks on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) on coaching. Anyone who meets her knows she is a coach and knows how she can help them.

So, bearing that in mind – here’s my top 3 reasons why you should stick to one business:

1. Taking on a new business is the same as starting a new business.

Your new business will take time, effort, focus, motivation and possibly money to start up and get off the ground. You’ll need to give it at least 18 months of undivided attention and treat it like it’s your baby. OK, I’m absolutely sure you can do this…but, what happens to your first business while you’re doing this and what happens when you get bored of this new business idea or it doesn’t get off the ground as quickly as you want it to? Will you then start another business?

2. No-one will know what you do.

When people ask you the question of what do you do – what will you tell them? Will it be I do x and I also do y and sometimes I do z? Or will it be, I do x and here’s how it can help you? If you have two or more business ideas, believe me no-one will be quite sure what you do and how you can help them. If you don’t believe, try asking a few of your trusted contacts who will give you honest feedback…

3. Jack of all trades, master of none

One of the reasons that’s often given to me as a reason for not choosing just one business is the fear that they won’t be able to use all the skills they have. This is absolutely not true – just look at the PR and coaching examples above – they will use all their skills and much more. If you focus on one thing and take this one idea to the market in different ways, you’ll be amazed at the results and the difference.

OK then, if you already have two or more businesses what do you do? My first suggestion is to stop and decide which one of these businesses you’d really like to focus on – and then (brave step this), let go of all the other businesses and really throw your heart and soul into this one business. If you’re not sure which business you should focus on, get the help of a coach or a business mentor to help you.

And if you’re considering taking on another business – stop and really think about it. Are you sure that’s the best decision? Are you prepared to drop the other businesses you have and focus on this one 100%?

Think very carefully about taking on a new business – I know it’s exciting and improves your motivation, but it may only be a short time until you get bored with this one too and then are you going to be looking for that next big idea?

Affiliate Marketing: A Low Cost Internet Business

Over the past few decades, using the Internet for business has changed from the exception to the rule. There are two major reasons:

  1. An Internet presence gives a business instant exposure to a massive audience of potential customers.
  2. The start-up and ongoing costs of an Internet-based business is much lower than that of an old fashioned brick-and-mortar business.

Because of this paradigm shift many more people have an opportunity to start their own business. There are stories in the news every day of new ‘Internet millionaires’. The stories most followed are about people who had a great idea for media sharing or for establishing an online social gathering network. They invested time and money that may not be available to everyone to establish their business.

However, the Internet also allows average, but motivated, people the opportunity to create their own successful low cost business online without actually creating anything! An example of this is Affiliate Marketing.

Again, what is Affiliate Marketing?

I mentioned before that it is now the norm for businesses to have an Internet presence. I have no idea about the percentages right now, but a very large number of the businesses on the Internet have a product to sell: eBooks, TV’s, specialized services… you name it. But, they all rely on internet traffic to be successful. If people don’t visit their site, they don’t sell their products.

So, back to Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Marketing is the process of driving visitors, or traffic, to the product owner’s Internet page. Many, many companies will pay a commission to the owner of another Web site with a link to their business when a customer clicks the link and then buys a product from the business. An Affiliate is the owner of that secondary Web site, and the Marketing is whatever it takes for you to get them to click that link.

That’s it! You don’t need to have your own product, and you don’t need to sell someone else’s product; that’s the job of the business’s Web page once the user arrives.. All the Affiliate needs to do is get the person interested enough in the product to click the link to the business. Since they are already interested in the product, some percentage of them will purchase the product, and the Affiliate will get a percentage of the sale for each product that is purchased.

So, to become an Affiliate Marketer, you’ll be creating low-cost Web pages and adding just enough content to them so that a user will find your page, read it, and click the link to the end business.

Wait! I know what many of you are thinking: Create Web pages? Make them show up in Google? I don’t know how to do that.

Fortunately, there are many people and companies who have already spent time and money creating training and tools to make this easy for Affiliates. Many of these training products and tools are available at low cost or no cost.

They give step-by-step instructions on how to register a Web page, what information to put the page, what keywords to use so that searches will find your page, and how to create the link to the end business. I’ll mention one of the more popular low-cost training programs below, but, first, if you’re serious about starting an Affiliate Marketing business, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you start your business:

  • Be persistent. The training will teach you methods and tools, but some of your efforts may not work at first. Keep at it! Make yourself do at least one step every day. Once you figure out what works, you’ll be more successful as you go.
  • Promote as many products as possible, given the amount of time you want to invest. If one product makes you $25 per week, why not promote 8 products? Once you’ve done the work, your Web site will keep working while you expand your business!
  • Promote Quality Products: Pick products that are popular or useful today. You want products that people are searching for and want to buy. It would make no sense to promote flip-phones when everyone is buying smart phones.
  • Once you get started, you’ll want to commit some percentage of your time to keep learning more about the business. This is a business where the rules may change, so you may need to periodically update your online information.