The Easiest Way to Go Into Successful Business – Buy A Web Property

gold bars

I am seeing the birth of an entire new industry … and an entire new investment vehicle.

Those of you who know me know that I know investment vehicles. (If you don’t know me, look at my G+ profile.)

Anyway, what would you say if I told you that I know of a solid stock that pays a 50% dividend? You would say I am either crazy or don’t know what I am talking about.

However, you can’t deny it would be a great investment if it existed.

Not so fast! Consider this …

If you buy an online store that does a reliable $15,000 a year in net income, it would require you to work a maximum of 2 hours a day, and it costs $30,000 to buy. And

  • it’s a good store that hasn’t done much SEO so there is opportunity to drive more traffic,
  • has a good size mailing list so you can promote specials,
  • happy returning customers and
  • hasn’t done any advertising and doesn’t sell ads on the site so it has undeveloped revenue sources …. well, that’s pretty much the same thing as a stock that pays a 50% dividend.

If you hired an SEO service, started an affiliate program, sold ad space and pushed it on Facebook, you would probably see an improvement in revenues and profits while spending very little money.

This is not an unusual opportunity.

And most websites sell with a small amount down and a buy-out from revenues over a certain number of years. 

That’s right.

There is a growing market in web properties and, while the market is still very young, great bargains can be had.

It won’t last forever.

Some sites are made to sell. There are lots of people out there who are creating game sites, driving traffic to them through SEO and social media at very little cost, and make fairly good money off selling ad space. Now, these aren’t much more than formula money makers but you might just be going to one of those sites to play Bejeweled for free amid ads that pay the site owner well. And the site might be for sale.

Lots of people find themselves in need of selling their websites. If you started a site that became popular, and you need money to buy a house or a car, or you have an idea for a different business or you are just sick and tired of your current blog or e-commerce site, you might just be interested in selling your site. It happens.

It happens all the time.

I can suggest a reputable place to start your self-education: Latona’s 

The reason I say “reputable” is you want to deal with people who are professional enough to turn away the websites that use Black Hat techniques to make it look like they have a lot of traffic, and I happen to know Latona’s does identify and refuse to broker those sites because Latona’s is a client of mine.  (Did you notice that was a disclaimer?)

There are some great opportunities to be found now  —  before investing in web properties is discovered by the masses.

And don’t kid yourself! There are a lot of savvy investors out there investing in multiple sites and hiring people to run them. They are making a lot of money doing this. In fact, there are private equity funds doing this right now.

I will continue to post about this subject because I believe the marketplace for websites will grow and prosper.


Why All Companies, Public and Private, Should Write Annual Reports

An annual report isn’t just for shareholders.  Writing an annual report forces you to look deeply into the activities of the past year and see what worked and what didn’t. Those insights are vital to planning your next 12 months.

An annual report also creates a history of your decisions and their outcomes that can be used for future planning and dealing with unexpected problems. Being able to find an answer to a current problem by looking back through your annual reports for that similar situation you remember from eight years ago is a big time-saver and can help you dig into other records that you used to create that annual report.

This article gives you an idea of how to write a good annual report:

Simplified Structure of an Annual Report

An annual report is necessary if your company is a corporation with shareholders or limited liability company with members. Even if you have a sole proprietorship or a one-person corporation, writing an annual report can be a beneficial exercise. If you apply for a loan or hire professional services, you may be asked for a copy of your annual report. A simple document of a few pages in length is adequate.  MORE

How to Write a Vision and Scope Document

You should be doing this whether you are just starting to plan your new business, working on your plans for the new year, or preparing a presentation for funding.

Sitting down to write a vision document and a scope document helps you see holes and inconsistencies in your business activities and can give you a great new idea …

Vision and scope documents define what your customer or company has in mind as well as describe the work process necessary to reach that vision. For example, entrepreneurs benefit from writing a vision and scope document to define their business ideas and list how to develop them into reality. Project managers use such a document to identify the expected result of the project and to set forth the methods and activities necessary to achieve that result.

Hedge Funds Liquidating but Retail is Buying

A solemn crowd gathers outside the Stock Excha...

A solemn crowd gathers outside the Stock Exchange after the crash. 1929. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is something that I have been talking about recently. It is a sign that:

[1] portfolio managers are taking their profits early so they can post good results at the end of the year

[2] the professionals are moderating their stock market positions because they see trouble ahead while the retail buyers are jumping in out of greedy desire to make a lot of money in what they think will be a continued rally — a ‘slam dunk‘ attitude — a legendary bad sign …

BofA Merrill Lynch equity strategists report data on what their clients are doing in the U.S. stock market on a weekly basis.

Last week, BAML’s hedge fund clients unloaded the most stock since 2008, while institutions and retail clients were net buyers.

Something strange is happening in the economy and the stock market. I remember the words of my first Wall Street boss, William K. Beckers — one of the big Wall Street names back in the 1920s and beyond. He was the floor broker on the NYSE for Spencer Trask & Co. and watched Morgan, Giannini and other leaders of banking and industry come on to the floor, buying to support their stock prices. In his office he had framed a fading piece of ticker tape that read the volume and “October 29, 1929 Good Night” 
He always said about the 1929 market crash: we all knew something was happening, we just didn’t know what it was going to be.
In the 40+ years that I have been watching the economy, the equities markets and the fixed-income markets, I have never seen anything that compares to what is happening now. I confess I don’t know what is going to happen, but things have reached a point where it is clear there is something on the horizon. We will find out what it is, and it doesn’t appear likely to make life any easier for anyone.
Again, as you plan for next year, consider some contingency planning.

The Jaws of Death – Entrepreneurs Beware!

The Jaws of Death - Entrepreneurs Beware!

This is an article from Kitco everyone should read!

It shows a likely stock market crash on the way, and that brings on very difficult times for everyone. In this case, on top of the most sluggish and prolonged recovery from recession I have ever witnessed, it could quite easily create a situation much worse than the Great Recession.

I know you get sick of hearing me warn about over-expanding before you know what is around the corner … well … this just might be the monster around the next corner.

I know you are also tired of me warning about taking on debt at this time, but if things look like like what this chart is showing, debt will strangle you!

And, although I no longer carry my mountains of securities industry licenses, and I can’t give investment advice, I can say that you might want to read up on the subject of “Protective Puts” if you have any investments in the stock market.

Funding is not the problem …

It’s the first day of the new business year and reality is overwhelming. Where to start?

If you are thinking about starting a business …

The first thing to do today is start writing down your ideas. I suggest getting a cheap composition book, sitting down with a cup of coffee, and just writing down things you can do that people will pay you for.

What are your areas of expertise?

You don’t have to know how to program software or build a dynamic website – I know outstanding people who can do that for you.

You don’t have to know how to figure costs and estimate earnings – I know outstanding people who can help you with that.

You don’t have to have a lot of money in your pocket – I know people who can show you how to bootstrap the development of your company.

Are you beginning to get the picture? The real truth is all you need is a good idea. 

There are always ways to make your business idea happen. You don’t have to be an expert on everything – there are plenty of people around who can give you true insight and information based on experience and knowing the marketplace.

One thing I have learned during my nearly 20 years of startup and small business consulting is that the most successful entrepreneurs realize they can’t do it all themselves so they develop an idea and find good people to help them start their enterprise.

Don’t let the mere fact that you don’t have million$ stop you from planning your business.

There are ways to get a business launched on its own earnings and then build it out as money comes in. It all starts with providing a product or service people will buy. It doesn’t have to be a unique or revolutionary offering. In fact, investors are looking to fund good basic companies that provide a better way to do ordinary things. So, if you have a good idea for how to improve something basic, write it down and start thinking about how you can put your idea into action.

A good example of an improvement on something basic is Papa Murphy’s Take n’ Bake Pizza. This company provides all the wonderful things that its luke-warm delivery competition provides, but Papa Murphy’s charges lower prices, which are important in this economy. Not only that, the company doesn’t have the cost of expensive pizza ovens and high electricity bills so its profit margin is probably higher. Its fresh ingredients and the ability to choose the toppings  certainly make it my choice over frozen pizza, and if I heat it up at home, it is hot on my table – not sort of warm.

Sometimes a business breakthrough is made by simply changing how the product or service is presented. Mike Diamond Plumbing became “the smell-good plumber” and is probably the first call I would make if I needed a plumber. Why? I remember the “smell-good” part. Not that I have ever had a dirty plumber answer my service call … but it sure sounds better to call a smell-good plumber.

Finding something to improve a basic business and marketing it properly is a great way to get started without the big investor money.

Another thing: Take advantage of expertise. If you have never started a business, call people who can give you good advice. It will save you lots of time, money and disappointment later.

First things first …..

Where do you want to be this time next year – both personally and in your business? The first thing to do is to figure out where you are now. That takes sitting down, taking out paper and pen and writing down detailed answers to some questions:

Who am I? One thing I notice about some entrepreneurs is that they form business ideas that are not synergistic with their own personalities. When this happens, calls don’t get answered, projects don’t get completed and customers go away. If there is a disconnect between what your business requires and what your personality delivers, consider either hiring someone (perhaps an intern) to take over the functions you drop. Your other option is to change your business direction and operations to more closely fit your personal habits.

What does your business actually do? When I ask this question of my clients, I like to relate the story of IBM. When computers were new, very few people understood what they could do and selling them was a real problem. Customers wondered why they would ever want a computer when they had typists, file clerks, ditto machines and messengers working for them. So IBM stopped selling computers and started selling solutions to business problems. They took up the slogan “We sell solutions.” So, what does your business REALLY do? Is it your product or service that keeps the customers returning, or is it your customer service? Perhaps your analysis of customer needs is your best product. Reliability and image are a big part of any business, too. So if there is something other than strictly your product or service, that might be your selling point. You may be missing the real function of your business. Describe in detail what your best customers say about your business. If you don’t already know, ask them why they continue to do their business with your company.

These two questions form a good base for planning your next year’s activities.