Copyright © 2006 Gobala Krishnan
Probably the most exciting company to not only survive, but come out strong out of the dot-com crash of the late 90's is Google Inc (http://www.google.com). Having started out small as a company operated in the garage of a friend and employing a staff of three, Google's meteoric rise to a top name on the Internet is not really that perplexing when we analyze the core strengths and policies of this company.
I am a super-fan of Google. I am also a fan of studying success so that I can learn from it. Here are a few key points that you, as a home based business entrepreneur, can learn from Google:
1) Capital Isn't Everything
It may be hard for the newcomer to the home based business scene to swallow this fact. After all, more capital investment would mean more money to spend on advertising and building a home business. Its tempting to think how your business would be right now if you had, say $100,000 to start with, instead of the meager $1000 you scrambled to get from selling things around your home.
But here's one thing more important than capital - ingenuity. Ingenuity involves making the best of the resources available to you, making every advertising dollar count, and treating every customer or prospect invaluable to your business.
Capital in the wrong hands, in the hands of an inexperienced entrepreneur or marketer, is just a waste of money. Ingenuity, on the other hand, can turn a $1000 capital into a thriving business. And yes, when you get the ingenuity part right, then whatever extra capital you get would be worth so much more.
2) Differentiate and Win - Think Outside the Box
Innovation, ability to think outside the box and a willingness to test ideas and make mistakes is the trademark of any truly successful company, especially in Google's case. Recently when Google's Gmail (http://www.gmail.com) was launched, many ISPs and email providers were scrambling to offer more space to their free email accounts, simply because Google offered 1G of space. What they didn't get, however, was that Gmail was more that just about space.
So how did Google differentiate? They turned what would otherwise been just another email service into something much more. It is, as any user would be able to testify, the best way to store, organize and find information contained in emails. Keeping track of business responses and follow-ups is a breeze with Gmail. Try it yourself if you cannot believe that statement.
Many home based business entrepreneurs, especially the ones involved in network marketing, shiver at the word "saturated". In a network marketing environment it may dawn upon every person, at one point or another, that there are many others with products and opportunities that are similar to theirs, and the products that they are expected to sell may be in the highly competitive industries. I felt that way once too, but here's the real question - what can you offer?
Not too long ago a friend of mine, after completing her course on cosmetics, offered free facials and beauty consulting to promote cosmetic products sold by her network marketing company. By doing things most people were not doing at that time, she simple blew the competition away.
So what can you contribute to your home based business to make it different, to make it stand out from the crowd?
3) Give Your Customers Exactly What They Want
The success of Google's AdWords (http://adwords.google.com) and AdSense (http://adsense.google.com) is due to this simple fact - they gave advertisers exactly what they wanted. Marketers wanted a quick, results based, and dynamic advertising tool, and they got Adwords. Website owners wanted more advertising revenue, but did not want the hassle of maintaining it over the hundreds of pages that they have, and they got Adsense.
Its a pretty simple strategy - understand what your customers want and give it to them!
My ex-sponsor in my old network marketing company used to say that in order for me to move their nutritional supplements, I had to teach people that supplements can prevent many hazardous illnesses. Prevention is better than cure. But here's what I learned in a few years - the majority of people are looking for cures, not prevention. Most of the people I met in Malaysia are looking for a cure to sleeping disorders, a cure for fatigue, a cure for arthritis, and so on.
Sure, it may be a noble deed to educate people about prevention, but the world does not always work that way. The majority of people look for a home based business only when they get retrenched, when they run out of savings, or when they retire. So why not make your recruitment efforts match this need? Why not develop your niche market based on this category of people?
Instead of teaching them about residual income and the power of duplication which they are not interested in, wouldn't your message be more effective if you taught them how to earn a comfortable retirement income, or how to replace their current income instead?
The point is this - as a home based entrepreneur you must understand your target market's need, and serve them well. You should focus on being the best in providing the cure, not the best in preaching about the prevention. Focus on customer needs, and they will flock to you.
4) Are You Having Fun?
Everything about Google spells fun. But don't get me wrong. They are probably the most innovative company at the moment.
The fact that they can present their complicated technology in such a simple way to end-users is an act that every company can envy. Have you ever heard anyone complain about Google search being too complicated to use? Yet as an Internet marketer I can go crazy trying to understand the complexity behind the simple white page and squiggly logo.
Leave the complexity of a home based or network marketing business behind the scenes. Teach people how to have fun, while achieving goals and building their business. Show them that you are having fun yourself, and they will buy, they will join, or at least tell someone else about you, and your exciting business.
When you're having fun, it will not seem like work at all. Everyone could use a little fun in their lives, don't you think?
5) Focus on Your Core Competency
Yes, this is another phrase that is thrown around in the business world, but how many entrepreneurs actually practice it? As a home based entrepreneur, you may find the need to explore other sources of income. There's nothing wrong in that, but here's the catch - don't go where the money is, especially if it's not related to what you're doing.
Many people tend to find other sources of income that is totally unrelated to their main home business. As a result of that, they become an expert in nothing, and they become the best in nothing. If you make custom furniture at home, why take a job at a fast food chain to make ends meet, when you can explore other ways to make money out of your core competency? Having woodworking workshops, writing a 'how to' book on woodworking, or even a sales job at a furniture outlet can make good sources of additional revenue, while building your name and expertise on your core competency itself.
Starting out as a search engine, Google pretty much maintained their core competency until today. When they explore other sources of revenue or develop new products, you can be pretty sure it's related to search technology. And the undisputed result of that is that there is simply no other better alternative when it comes to search and information retrieval.
Therefore, we have much to learn from the success story of Google. Just as much as the age old story of entrepreneurs who drop out of school, and go on to develop multi-million dollar businesses armed with nothing more than guts and ingenuity, Google's success story is inspirational to say the least.
A tale of humble beginnings with extraordinary endings. Maybe that will someday be the story of your life, and your home based business...