The Passing Lane: Passing the Competition Online by Marnie Perhson

Issue #6 Monday, October 19,1998

About the Author:

Marnie Perhson
Marnie Pehrson, founder of C.E.S. Business Consultants and the
International Association of Computer Professionals, develops products that help computer professionals market and manage their businesses.

She is author of
How to Run a Successful Computer Training Business,

How to Get & Keep Customers for Your Computer-based Business

Keeping Your Sanity in a Home Business.

Marnie also develops business plans, marketing strategies, financial projections, & proposals for Internet projects. Her plans and strategies have garnered clients an average of $100,000 each in seed capital.

Marnie lives on a Georgia farm with her husband and their six children.

C.E.S. Business Consultants
Ringgold, Georgia
TEL: 706-866-2295

It Takes Money to Make Money

How many times have you seen your idea "stolen" and merchandised before you had a chance to do something with it? Don't you just hate it when you see someone become a great success with an idea you had too? Or have you ever had a great idea for a Web site only to see someone else run with the concept before you could?

So What Happened?

You didn't or couldn't act fast enough to implement your idea before someone else did it. Or, you didn't have a strategy for implementing your plan. Or, most likely, you didn't have the money to make it a reality.

The biggest stumbling block for any major Internet endeavor is funding. Next to not having enough faith in your idea to take action, not having the proper funding debilitates more innovative thinkers than anything else. So how do you get funding? You need a plan. You need a strategy to convince an investor that your idea has merit.

Planning is Critical

Anyone can come up with an idea, but people flock toward someone who has a plan for actually making it happen. Before you can even think about approaching a venture capitalist or investor about your idea, you should have your plans down on paper. You'll need the following:

  • A marketing plan
  • A business plan
  • Financial projections. Most investors require a one-year projection broken down on a monthly basis. They also want to see a 5-year projection broken down by years.

Steps to Success

The following are the overall steps that you should take when developing an Internet project for presentation to investors.

Step 1: Formulate your idea.

Step 2: Evaluate your idea. Have a professional Internet marketer or business consultant review your idea for merit. Use their feedback to polish your idea and decide whether to continue with the remaining steps.

Step 3: Create a marketing plan.

Step 4: Create a business plan.

Step 5: Create letters and proposals for joint ventures, venture capitalists or lenders.

Step 6: Present your plans and obtain funding.

Step 7: Organize and layout the site on paper.

Step 8: Pull in the resources and people to create the site. You'll most likely need programmers, designers and graphic artists. You'll also need a savvy webmaster to coordinate their efforts.

Step 9: Launch the Site. This includes opening it to the public, sending out press releases, registering with search engines, etc.

Step 10: Continually advertise, market and promote the site.

Another variation on these steps is to go ahead and do what you can in planning and creating the site. Go ahead and pre-test the concept. Have it in working order - even if it is manual instead of automated. Then, once you've proven that there is a demand for what you are doing on a small scale, you can approach investors for expansion funding. Did you know that most of the big name Internet companies on the stock exchange aren't even making a profit? They just aren't losing as much this quarter as they did last. The key is to show steady improvement. A profit isn't even necessary to find investors!

More sites make it through this initial planning and funding phase than you might think. Where they fail next is in poor management. We'll discuss Strategies for Successful Site Management next week.

Text Copyright © 1998, Marnie Pehrson. Part of the original Sideroad.
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