Internet Business For Over 50s – 20 Tips For Finding Your Ideal Internet Business Service

There is a perception, created by unscrupulous Internet marketing “Gurus”, that anybody can make a fortune by starting an Internet business. It takes wisdom, experience, patience and persistence to create an income generating Internet business following a solid business plan, just like any other business in the real world. Well, at least for us ordinary folk!

The good news is that being over 50, you have all of these qualities and you can start and maintain a profitable Internet business by enlisting an Internet business service that suits your requirements. Here is how I learned the hard way to find an ideal Internet business service

1. Research

Undoubtedly the backbone of any venture. To become an expert in research read, learn and practice everything a good search engine provides. Stick with a market leader and use all they have to offer and you wont need anything more. Good search engines offers many excellent and easy to use research services that are not well known as they do not as a rule market their capabilities aggressively. Go to their home page and read everything they have carefully.

2. Stick to what you know

Good Internet marketers try to enlist you in business that “follow the money”. This sounds quite logical as the Internet provides the means to follow booming market niches. But you are over 50. You are an expert in your area, be it in business or a hobby. You can start all over again ( I have encountered several people over 50 that did), but it will take many years to get to your current level of expertise in a new field. Stick to what you know best and use what you have acquired over many years to dominate a market niche in your field.

3. Use Established, Credible and Accountable Companies

There was a time when I mastered searching to the point that I was totally overwhelmed with information. To cope I decided to work with established, credible companies that have a track record of accountability. Once you have become a good researcher using the research engine of your choice you will find companies that can provide you with services and products suited to your needs. Stick with the ones that meet your needs. Do not be tempted to switch to new companies no matter how good the deal sounds. A good company will adapt.

4. If it is too good to be true, it is

Not much more to say about this tip. Being over 50 has the great advantage that we can spot unrealistic claims a mile off. Beware of the “amazing easy way to…anything” marketing hype.

5. Beware of “silver tongue” marketing

I still fall into this trap. Some marketers are just so good. They know just how to hook you and reel you in. Its actually an amazing example of how you can get almost anybody to part with their money following proven marketing systems. If I follow my first tip above, research, I seldom buy unless it turns out to be of value. Resist the immediate temptation to buy and just do some research. Rather invest the money you would have spent in your future business.

6. Lots of free offerings? Beware!

Free offerings are always attractive. All you have to do is provide a name and e mail and you get some great free information. But then you have “opted in” to receive endless amounts of e mail, some tempting marketing and information overload. I must have about 100 000 free e books saved I never looked at. But to make sure I do not lose out, I…research, of course. And never miss out on the good stuff.

7. Unobtrusive marketing

A good Internet business service will respect your privacy and provide you with good but low intensity information dispersed over a period of time. They also leave the decision up to you without pressure and will eventually either check with you if you are still interested or stop the process. I like this approach and research usually shows that these companies are in a class of their own.

8. Two page web site test

Over the years I have correlated good Internet business offerings with sites that have just two pages I need to read. A good Internet business service provider will reveal all their offerings in detail on their home page including price. The second page is the purchase or buy page. (some sites give the price details here). With a good home page and research to confirm all the information and claims stated, its easy to make a decision to buy into the service or not.

9. Try then buy and short notice subscription cancellations

A company that has confidence in their product will offer a trial period, usually 3 months and an opt out option if the service does not work for you. Some even offer immediate cancellation if you do subscribe and once a company even refunded my advanced payment the same day. Money back guarantees are not as good as they sound as its a well known marketing tactic because people do not bother to claim back their money in the short time the guarantee is available.

10. Solid track record

It takes time to build a good service on the Internet and of all the tips, this is perhaps the best measure of a companies worth. The Internet service companies I deal with most of the time has been active in their market at least 8 to 10 years.

11. Good reviews

Good reviews are helpful, but be aware that a lot of companies write their own reviews and their customers also will write glowing reviews to promote their own business as they are coupled to these companies. I have found good and well known neutral sites that write balanced reviews very helpful.

12. Structured, in depth training courses

As an over 50 web entrepreneur I have a hard time keeping up in my area of my expertise, let alone trying to keep up with the ever changing world of Internet business marketing. My ideal service provider must have easy to use, well written courses I can follow and practical examples and exercises. Different levels and regular updating of content is also a must for me.

13. Good tools to do the complicated work

An Internet business is driven by statistics. Word counts in articles, use of key words, density of key words, what words or phrases people use to search and many more vital information. Service providers worth their salt have many tools that not only gives you the information you want but also makes recommendations as to what works and what does not.Displaying all relevant information regarding your marketing campaigns in an easy to read format is also essential.

14. Active and helpful forum

If a site has an extensive forum with a large amount of active members willing to share their experiences and willing to answer any questions you might have, then you are on to a winner. Lately I have discovered the very productive means of forum activity and my productivity has improved markedly.

15. Easy to contact

One would think that this is a basic requirement. To my dismay, I have found out the hard way that some companies deliberately make it very difficult to communicate with them, especially if you have account problems. A well known and prominent company I joined on a trial basis have been taking money off my account now for 4 months after cancellation and there is no way I can contact them. Lesson learned.

16. Low cost entry

Good service providers have lots of satisfied and loyal customers that ensures a good and steady revenue to the company. As result their prices are very reasonable. Paying out a huge amount of money upfront is always a risk and puts one under pressure to get up and running fast, not an option if you want a stable profitable company that will serve your needs for the long term.

17. Read the fine print

Everybody knows they should, but nobody does. As I have a good grounding in legal matters, I always read the fine print and a lot can be learned about a company in doing so. In any case I have found that the good companies have good, understandable and uncomplicated terms and agreements.

18. Ask Questions

I ask my questions on formal business social sites. The best ones to join do ask a small monthly fee but its an investment. I have also found sites that provides you with an expert who quotes you for answering your questions and it was not only reasonably priced, but the answers were just what I needed

19. Trust your instincts

If you have read this far, you must be over 50! Only those over 50 still value the fact that good information cannot be conveyed in a few sentences, right? And at 50 and over one does have the advantage of good instincts. Use them. Listen to them. You will be more often correct following your instincts than not.

20. Are you in control?

The final test. After you have done your homework the final test is to make sure that your service provides you with the means to be in control of everything you want to be. By using the above methods I have finally found the ideal service partners I need to start building a lasting and profitable Internet business. Its exciting and now I am confident that I will make it. I wish you the same.

I am currently starting my own affiliate marketing business with the help of very good internet business services companies as well as a local coach even though I have been keeping abreast with the internet business field since 1999. I will be writing a number of articles sharing my experience and will include my website URL as soon as I have completed my site.

The Evolution of Business Service Management (BSM)

Looking back, the emergence of business service management (BSM) seems inevitable. This new generation of tools helps IT organizations manage technology infrastructures within the context of the key services they provide for their customers. BSM tools are critical enablers for the increasingly popular process-focused IT Service Management (ITSM) approach.

What’s driving this evolution to BSM and its related IT management paradigms? Executive Consultant Troy DuMoulin of Pink Elephant, an ITIL events and consulting firm, explains, “The interest in ITIL, the evolution of legislation like SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002), and the interest in standards is symptomatic of something much more rudimentary. At the base of this growing focus on formalization and legislation is a growing awareness of exposure and dependency that the business has on IT. Before, IT was seen as an enabler, supportive but yet somehow separated from the business processes themselves. But now there is a realization that there is no true separation between the business process and the underlying IT services and systems.”

Information technology has become so vital to business today – so ubiquitous in every aspect – that most businesses literally cannot function without it anymore. Even simple manual tasks like filling a car with gas or cashing a check now require the support of an IT system.

This heightened reliance on IT has placed companies at a crossroads. They are compelled to address this new dependency by putting processes and technology in place to ensure IT does its job serving the business effectively. So the move to BSM can be seen as a natural reaction to the new way IT interacts with and enables business.

“BSM is a way for a company to agree on what the business expectations are, and manage the IT performance to those agreed upon expectations,” clarifies Brian Childers, a consultant who also serves on the Board of Directors for itSMF USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting best practices in IT services management. “Once we understand the expectations, we can build the processes to suit the expectations, and manage against them.”

Vendors are responding rapidly to these new service management imperatives. Leading software providers – like HP, BMC, Mercury and Managed Objects – are already introducing new BSM-versions of their popular tools to help revolutionize the way IT managers gauge technology performance and leverage that knowledge to meet business needs. And new kinds of automated, self-learning software from companies like Netuitive, are making it easier than ever for managers to cut across their technology silos and tie together their existing management tools.

“Over the years – especially during the frenetic IT build-out of the late 1990s – companies cobbled together a mishmash of systems within their IT organizations,” adds Tony Gilbert, vice president at Netuitive. “The result now is a heterogeneous set of components in the IT environment, and individual departmental silos for managing each one. The right set of BSM tools makes it possible to tie together all of these pieces of technology across an enterprise and to monitor IT from the perspective of the service it delivers.”

BSM tools help IT groups see technology in terms of how it impacts their business services, and zero-in on the cause of a particular performance issue that is affecting that service — a capability companies do not have when they manage IT solely through technology silos. The new BSM tools can also enable a company to prioritize resources based on the relative importance of multiple business services. For example, a brokerage firm could manage online trading or online banking services holistically instead of piecemeal within silos: the server group, the database group, the application group.

More Than Just Technology

But completely changing a management approach is not easy. “For the last 20 years our industry has been focused on managing technology. Management of IT has been by domains, such as mainframes, networks and databases. But those domains don’t truly live in isolation.” Pink Elephant’s DuMoulin continues, “A basic premise is that there is a business requirement for IT to understand how any given IT component relates to another and how these devices support or potentially disable a business process. When you understand IT from this perspective you see that you cannot manage by technology or device. You need to understand the relationship between those devices, and how they relate to IT services, and ultimately how IT services are consumed by business.”

The people factor remains an issue, too. For many organizations, BSM often requires a corporate culture change. IT personnel must learn that they don’t just manage boxes and applications, but actually provide services that the business consumes in order to survive and thrive. Most experts agree that the tools are out there, and are necessary, but they go hand in hand with changing processes and changing the way companies perceive the value of IT.

“Some people believe that it doesn’t matter what technology you use as long as you have the right processes in place,” comments Ken Wendle, the ITSM Solution Lead at HP. “But I have always said that IT service management is a combination of people and process, enabled by the right technology, all working in synergy with each other. It is about the intelligent blending of technology to enable and enforce the right processes, which then will allow an organization to execute around business priorities.”

“I have seen companies that put the right processes in place, and trained the right people, but then created process silos,” HP’s Wendle also notes. “But ITSM is about cutting across the technology silos, not just creating another set of process silos on top of them. ITSM is about taking a holistic approach.”

The BSM Evolution Continues

Where is BSM going from here? “One of the missing ingredients today is the enrollment of the business community,” itSMF’s Childers believes. “They need to understand what BSM is and why they would want to support it. I think the better job everyone does with bringing the business side onboard, the faster BSM will progress.”

“I don’t think companies have gained all the benefits of technology that they could,” HP’s Wendle agrees. “The business people need to understand and appreciate what IT can do to help the business side of the organization.”

Clearly there is work to be done, but the adoption of ITSM and the BSM tools that support it continues to gain momentum as more companies realize this is a prerequisite for success in a new world where business and IT have become one.

Starting a Home Business Service – Tips

With so many people having lost their jobs in recent months, home businesses in the service industry has become a rapidly growing trend. As regular 9 to 5 positions are becoming harder to find, having a home business service is increasing in popularity. It is becoming more and more attractive as the start up cost and overhead is very low when compared to a brick and mortar service business.

If you have been thinking about using your talent to start a home business service, and you feel that you are ready to commit to providing a home business service, then read these tips to help you get started.in the right direction.

First I would like to clarify what a home business service actually is.

A home business service is performing a service or task that will help other people with tasks they either don’t want to perform or are unable to perform on their own. A service business supplies the solution to a need and can include anything from walking a dog to figuring out a clients taxes. Virtual assistants have become a very popular service that is provided from home.

I’m not going to cover the benefits of having a home business as it is already common knowledge, I am sure that you already know what your reasons are for wanting to work from home and why.

Getting Started:

1. Set Up a Home Office

Getting a home office set up for your home business service is one of the first things that needs to be done. Getting a business phone is an important part of selling a service as you will need to be able to communicate with clients. If this is out of the question because of your budget, at the moment, get a business line added to your home phone as soon as you can.

You will need a separate office space from the rest of the house, especially if you are planning to have clients come to your home.

2. You Will Need a Website

You not only need a computer, which I assume you already have since you are reading this article, but you will also need a website. A website will be the gateway for your business in your local area. It is imperative to develop an online presence for your business. The Yellow Pages are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and the cost of running an ad in the Yellow Pages is often beyond many entrepreneurs financial means while in the start up process.

Having a website is much more effective than the Yellow Pages as you can get it up and listed in days, while you have to wait for the next publication of the Yellow Pages to be printed. Also, more and more people are going online to find local services and businesses than are looking in the Yellow Pages. Finding a listing on the web is faster and more current that the phone book.

3. Research Your County Laws

You will need to know the legalities for registering your home business service and for any zoning restrictions that may be applicable for a home business in your neighborhood.. Every county in every state has different laws and ordinances. The county clerk may be able to help you with this information or will at least be able to direct you to the right place to get it.

4. Get a Business License

You can usually pick one up at either the county court house or the county clerk’s office.. The license won’t cost you anything, but once your business is started it will be subjected to a different tax structure.

I am not a tax attorney and cannot offer any advice on the tax exemptions for your state or with the Federal government. What I can tell you, is that you will be allowed more exemptions that you are getting now for using your home for your business. You can get more information online at http://www.irs.org.

5. Set Up a Business Plan and Set Goals

Having a home business service can develop into a very lucrative business. Be sure to have a definite business plan strategy worked out that is measurable and that you can use as a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly guide. Remember to set goals that can be achieved. Set your beginning goals in small time frame increments. Cross them off your list when you have achieved them and then add bigger goals to strive for.

6. Advertise Offline and Online

Get some business cards made to hand out to everyone in your neighborhood that you come in contact with. You never know when the service you are providing will be needed in the community. You can get business cards free online at Vista Print.com. You only pay the shipping which is about $6.00

Print fliers with details of the service you are providing and remember to Include your website URL and your home phone number. Pay a high school kid in the neighborhood to pass them out for you.

Put fliers and business cards up on bulletin boards at grocery stores, liquor stores, apartment buildings, laundromats, the post office, and any other place you can think of that will allow advertising.

Offer a free gift with your home business service. Vista Print often has promotions for free advertising venues such as tote bags, post cards, refrigerator magnets, etc.

Place small ads in local newspaper and free press newspapers. Place ads on web sites such as Craig’s List, eBay, and USFreeAds. Be sure to list your home business service with Google Local Directory so that you will be placed on their Goggle business map for your area.

Use viral marketing, email marketing and article marketing online to get people to your website. Submit a press release about your new business both off line and online. There are several free sites you can submit to. Do a Google search to find them. Until you begin receiving clients, spend all of your scheduled work time marketing your home business service both online and offline.

Once you start receiving clients it can be very difficult to manage your work time, your marketing time and your family time. Plan accordingly. Schedule business tasks that need to be done daily between time spent with clients. Set a limit as to when the work day will end in order to spend time with the family. I hope these few tips will give you a place to start in getting your home business service off the ground and running.

Using Business Service Management to Succeed in a Tough Economy

Whether the economy is booming or facing a crunch, one factor plays a critical role in business: IT. In today’s business environment, almost all business activities are tied with the IT department. However, most of the departmental heads have no idea of the impact of complex technology on their respective business processes. Many a times, department heads have no means of identifying and preventing bottlenecks within applications so that end users are not affected. In today’s tough economy, Business Service Management can come to the rescue of many IT managers as well as departmental heads to ensure a smooth running of business processes.

The importance of knowing end to end performance is not only applicable for large enterprises, but smaller entities too. In fact, monitoring end to end performance of applications is more important for small businesses, considering that they function on a very tight margin. In order to stay on top of any performance issue and to effectively solve it, business owners need application monitoring tools through which they can monitor whether their business services are functioning properly. Such application monitoring would also inform them of any bottlenecks in advance and prevent any large scale impact on end users. Business Service Management enables both the teams to do just that.

Business Service Management solutions help bridge the gap between the departmental heads and the IT team. When a BSM solution is put to work, the business department can work in coordination with the IT department to ensure that all the services are available and any potential problems may be solved before they start affecting end users. BSM helps in detection of IT issues, tracing their root problem and solving them quickly.

With Business Service Management,

o Issues related to business-critical applications can be dealt with proactively
o Departmental heads can start prioritizing tasks according to their importance
o Information can be presented according to the role of the person concerned
o IT Service Management is easier to put into practice

Businesses hence need to consider Business Service Management as a necessary component in order to know the end to end performance of all their critical applications. However, businesses are sometimes forced to choose between two extreme BSM solutions: one which is inexpensive but lacks functionality, and another, which is expensive and needs a lot of manpower to support it.

An ideal Business Service Management would be one which is integrated, affordable and easy to use. A business should not have to make a compromise in quality due to the cost of the BSM solution. An ideal solution would allow end to end performance monitoring as well as management Service Level Agreement. It would also not require any manpower to manage it.

Until sometime ago, only larger APM vendors used to offer BSM solutions; even then, these solutions were expensive and complicated. But now, with the popularity of Business Service Management, other vendors have started offering affordable and easy to use solutions which can be applied in small businesses as well.

The increased dependency on IT for business critical functions has made Business Service Management as well as IT Service Management a must for any business. Both IT managers and departmental heads can work together to ensure that business services are available to end users without a problem.