Starting a Sunglass Business Online is Easy!

Is it easy to start a sunglass business online? You bet it is! There are many reasons why this type of business is ideal for beginning online. First, your audience can be worldwide, which not only gives you untold numbers of people to sell to, but it also overcomes any seasonal aspects of this product. Sunglasses are used in all seasons, and for a wide variety of protective needs.

Is it easy to start a sunglass business online? Yes, let’s look at the simple steps you will need to follow in order to begin your sunglass business online.

A. Decide how and where to sell this product.
B. Locate either manufacturers or wholesale distributors of your product.
C. Obtain photos and ad copy for each style.
D. Determine what your target audience will be.
E. Place ads/create website.
F. Advertise your product.

A. – selling product: use your own created website, a “turn-key” website from a manufacturer or wholesaler, or a selling venue such as eBay or Craigs List.

B. – locating your product: in your browser, enter either “sunglass manufacturer” or “wholesale sunglasses”. This will lead you to many possible sources from which to purchase your supply.

C. – ad copy and photos: take these yourself or use from manufacturer or wholesalers.

D. – Important! Narrow your focus! For example, on eBay, you can list under different categories such as “women”, “men”, “hunting”, “fishing”, etc., and any possible sunglass user can by a target.

E. – Make ads clear and concise. The photo truly is worth 1000 words! If you create your own website, you will need a little technical knowledge in order to help the website become visible in searches. Starting on a website like eBay gives you very broad reach with little knowledge needed.

F. – Advertise…it pays to advertise. If you have your own website, research different ways to get traffic to it. That can be an expense that you do not have if you use eBay or a similar selling venue.

Is it easy to start a sunglass business online? Definitely, and the above steps will help you get started today. BUT, there’s more!

Deliver the goods! You will need to research postage, shipping and handling, and materials BEFORE you place your ads. This is important because S&H costs can hurt your earnings if you do not know what they will be. You can purchase custom boxes from a website like Paper Mart. Packing materials can be as simple as newspaper, paper towel sheets, or bubble wrap. You will need mailing tape. Labels are nice looking, and help your business look professional. Postage seems to be constantly going up, so that is an area to watch. Don’t forget your own costs in time, skill, and gasoline/transportation. Communication with your customers is important, as is quick delivery. DO NOT ADVERTISE PRODUCTS YOU DO NOT HAVE IN STOCK….or that you do not know for a fact that you can get quickly.

Top Seven Strategies to Help You Market Your Local Business Online and Market Your Virtual Business

Roughly 75% of the business owners I speak with in any given town or city see little, if any, need for an online presence. They believe in doing business the way it’s always been done, with local advertising, foot traffic, telephone book listing or advertisement, special promotions, and word-of-mouth marketing, and assume that local residents will find out about their business in these same ways.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these promotional methods, but it does create a tunnel vision view of marketing in this day and age. In September 2004, a Kelsey Group-BizRate.com study found that more than 74% of respondents said they had conducted local searches and confirmed that 20% of all searches among respondents was local. Whether business owners acknowledge it or not, the Internet is here to stay, and using the Internet to find local businesses has now become mainstream, and will only continue to grow as today’s children and teens, who have been online almost all of their lives, become adults.

I know that when I do a search for local businesses, I am often taken to one of the local city directories, where I am given the address and phone number of the business, and if I’m lucky, the website URL, if they have a website. Most days, I search out the website of a local business to “check them out” before deciding to do business with them.

One of my most frustrating times comes when I want to place a takeout order at a local restaurant and don’t have a takeout menu handy. I’ll go online to find the menu of the restaurant, and unfortunately, unless it’s a local chain with multiple locations, I don’t typically find what I’m seeking. That restaurant usually ends up losing my business to one in which I can scope out the menu online and call in a takeout order.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, how much business are you losing because you don’t have an online presence, or your website doesn’t contain enough information to help someone decide to do business with you? Or, if you have a virtual company, what if no one can find you when they conduct a local search of businesses in your industry?

I do no marketing locally, as there is little demand for the type of services I provide in this area. However, I began to wonder if I were losing out on what little local business might exist for my virtual company, so I did some research to find what websites would help my company website show up in any local searches.

1. Local Portal Sites: Search Google, Yahoo, and MSN for your city name and see what comes up. Are there any sites on the list with which you can exchange links, buy advertising, purchase a membership, submit articles, etc.? If you live in a small city, as I do, you might also search for larger cities that are close to your location, or search for a regional name that your area might have. For example, I found more portal sites by using “Southeast Texas” as a search term, rather than an individual city name.

2. Search Engine Directories: Search Google Directory, http://directory.google.com for your city name and look for a category that ends with “Guides and Directories”. When you click on that, you’ll see the directories listed by importance, as determined by Google’s Page Rank feature (you’ll need to download Google’s toolbar to see this info. The toolbar can be found at http://toolbar.google.com. The higher the rank (10 is high), the more traffic the site has. Or, you can manually search Google as follows: Regional Directories (by continent/country): http://www.google.com/Top/Regional/ By state in the US: http://www.google.com/Top/Regional/North_America/United_States/

You can also search Yahoo Directories, http://dir.yahoo.com. To suggest your business for inclusion, see Yahoo’s guidelines here: http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/dir/suggest/index.html Yahoo’s regional directory listing can be found here: http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/ and listing for the US states is found here: http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S__States/

3. Yellow Pages Sites: There are a number of bigger city options here: YellowPages.com (SBC and BellSouth): http://www.yellowpages.com/guide/cityguides/ Super Pages (Verizon): http://www.superpages.com

4. Nationally-Based City Guides: The largest of these services, CitySearch, http://www.citysearch.com/, drives content to many other city guides. Other city guides include AOL CityGuide, http://www.digitalcity.com, Area Guides, http://www.areaguides.net, Online City Guide, http://www.onlinecityguide.com, and Associated Cities, http://www.associatedcities.com/

5. Newspaper-Based Local Sites: If you live in a larger urban area, your local newspaper may sponsor a site for your city, like Charlotte.com, sponsored by the Charlotte Observer) or Boston.com, sponsored by the Boston Globe.

6. Locally-Based City Guides: Again, in larger urban areas, your local chamber of commerce, convention and visitor’s bureau, or a private business may operate a local portal for your city. Here in Southeast Texas, our locally based site is SoutheastTexas.com, owned by a private business. Others, like FortWorth.org, is sponsored by the Ft. Worth Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

7. Association Guides: Your membership to your local chamber of commerce, convention and visitor’s bureau, professional association (by industry), general business groups (networking groups, men’s or women’s business associations, civic groups) may pay off if the association has an online membership directory where your listing might be found. Make sure that the listing includes both your contact info and a link to your website.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the local possibilities available for both virtual and brick-and-mortal companies. In doing the research for this article, I discovered there are thousands of businesses who aren’t listed in these directories. Don’t let yours be one of them. Get your business listed locally so you local customers can find you!

Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter

Beat the Credit Crunch – Get Your Business Online

It seems impossible to avoid the doom and gloom of the recession. Every industry, in one way or another appears to have been negatively affected by the downturn; with mass redundancies and house repossessions becoming an increasingly common occurrence.

But could E-commence be the silver lining on the UK’s current dark economic cloud? Well it just might. Competitive prices, easy product comparisons, fuel savings and other convenience factors make online shopping an appealing option for consumers.

IMRG and Capgemini’s statistics showed that a number of e-commerce categories saw significant month-on-month growth in March 2009, including the clothing, footwear and accessories market and the gifts segment.

Also, new figures have revealed that total UK e-commerce sales rose by 19 per cent year on year in March 2009.

The fact is, in order to compete in today’s ever-challenging economic climate businesses must look for every way possible to reach their target audience. And selling on line provides a whole host of sales and marketing opportunities which would have never been possible before the dawn of the internet.

Therefore it has never been a more important time for small and medium sized businesses, many of whom have managed to make a decent living and avoided the lure of the internet for years, to build a website and start trading online.

These include a radically reduced time to market, improved customer relationships, low cost market entry, easier access to a global market and a significantly wider audience. They are also able to compete with businesses much bigger than themselves, as in the online world, as long as your ‘shop front’ (website) looks the part, then who is to know that you are not a multi million pound organisation, employing 5,000 staff?

So what draws people to shop on the internet?

o As the internet presents a shopping experience of global proportions, there is unlimited choice.

o Consumers can get what you are looking for and quickly. There’s no need to trawl aimlessly round the high street as the perfect product is only a mouse click away.

o Internet shoppers will strive to get the best deals, as the retailers are forced to reduce prices in a bid to beat the competition and win custom.

o There’s nothing much more comfortable than armchair shopping, anytime, day or night. If you can provide choice, reduced prices and convenience shopping electronically, there is a substantial slice of the market to be won.

So even with all this negativity across the world, your business can still have the competitive advantage by being online. As long you have a good customer friendly website, email, the framework to get the goods to the customer and a strong web presence, there is no reason why your business can’t thrive in the recession.

For web hosting, I recommend Storm Internet http://www.storminternet.co.uk.