(Microsoft, Viagra & Your Small Business Success)
It's been estimated that over 82% of all new businesses fail within the first 3 years! And the remaining businesses that are "making it" are only breaking even. If that isn't bad enough, only 3-4% of new businesses actually make a sizeable profit after 5 years! Why?
Why do so many
businesses fail and so little succeed? From all the years of consulting, from small home-businesses to Fortune 500 companies, I've learned that virtually every single failed business lacked one or more (usually all) of the essential key ingredients needed for total business success.
Whether you presently have a business or you're thinking of starting one soon, the main way you're going to
make money is by selling, distributing or producing a service or product. Regardless of whether your business is on the Internet or off, there are specific reasons why businesses fail and succeed.
Get out a pen and paper and start taking some notes because I'm about to reveal the four essential and key elements needed to have a successful business by selling, distributing or
producing a service or product. Use these elements as a checklist for all present and future products.
If you've ever had a product that's failed, I can guarantee that it lacked one or more of these key elements. Okay, let's get started with element number one:
1) Look for a market that already exists.
There is an old saying that says the first one through the door has all the arrows in his back. (I don't remember exactly how the saying goes, but that's close enough.) This means that the first one to "pave the road" does all the work and hence - spends all the money!
much easier to sell a product if it already has "public awareness". For example, a couple years ago everybody was selling some type of abdominal machine for toning the stomach muscles. Names like "The Ab Roller" or "The Ab Sculptor" dominated all the infomercials on TV.
I consulted on a couple of these infomercials and here's the real scoop; the first "ab machine" infomercial didn't do
too well (it sucked big time), but all the ones after that original infomercial did millions of dollars in pure profit! Why?...
Because you and I were now "aware" of abdominal machines, we had gained a certain familiarity and therefore we trusted the idea of "Losing 3 inches in 10 days!"
So, when choosing a successful product to market, make sure a successful market for it already exists and the road has already been "paved" for it or you'll end up spending (and wasting) much of your time and money trying to convince people of your product.
Okay, let's change subjects for a second and let me ask you a question. Do you use deodorant? Come on, be
honest. "Most of the time," you say. But definitely this morning right? Good, so did I (as I sneak a sniff of my armpits) and I bet most people do too.
So, it's safe to say that there is a fairly large market for it, right?....
Well, did you know it took over 25 years and
millions of dollars for deodorant companies to condition and create public awareness regarding the daily use of deodorants and anti-perspirants! I don't know about you, but I sure as heck don't have 25 years to "test" a marketing idea hoping it'll go well.
Don't waste your time or money creating a NEW market for your product. Okay, So how do you find existing and successful markets?
Go to the library and get 3-5 past issues of a particular magazine, newspaper or newsletter having to do with your market and look at all the ads. Look at the full-page and display ads, as well as the classifieds. (By the way, you can easily do this with the online newsletters and ezines as well.)
If you see the same ad for a particular product or market being advertised week after week, and month after month, you can be certain that the product is selling well (Most people will not place ads for long durations if they are not making money.)
Another fantastic place to look would be television and your
own cable channels. Watch the Home Shopping Channel or QVC and see what is being sold. See how fast the items are being sold. This is a dead give-away to see which products are doing well and which are bombing big time. (If the telephone lines light up like crazy, then it's a winning product!)
If your looking for software ideas, go to http://www.download.com and check out the "Top"
downloaded software programs (or their "most popular" downloads). Chances are, the more an item/software has been downloaded, the more "in-demand" it is and hence, the BIGGER the market!
Another place to go is http://www.pcmag.com. Check out their "Top 100 Web Sites". I'm sure you'll begin to see a trend for "winning" products and Web sites.
Okay, now you've got your product and you know there is a market for it, so now what do you do?
Don't reinvent the wheel, just make it better and faster. Let's go back to
the abdominal machine example. I'm sure many of you have seen the Tony Little infomercials (he's the guy who's got long blond hair and is jumping around all over the place with tons of fantastic energy).
Well, just when everybody thought the ab-machine infomercials were dying down and becoming too saturated, Tony blew everyone away and created a new record on QVC for selling the most
products in one day.
(By the way, he sold 58 semi-eighteen-wheeler truckloads of his ab machine in just ONE day. I want you to picture 18 semi's driving down a road filled to the gills with his product - that's an awesome site!)
Do you want to know the secret to Tony's success... how he sold so much in just one day?
It's actually real easy! While all the other infomercials were concentrating on the benefit of strengthening your abdominal muscles, Tony took it a step further and said (and showed) how his "new" ab-machine will ALSO strengthen your neck and back muscles and help relieve low back pain.
let me ask you a question - how many people do you know have some type of back pain? Chances are a WHOLE BUNCH! Tony opened up and expanded on a market that ALREADY existed. Not only did he get all the people with stomach problems to identify with his product, but he also got another huge portion of the population with back problems.
Summary: So, once you find the product with an
existing market, improve it and make it better. Offer a better guarantee or more bonuses. Brainstorm on the benefits and open the market up to more people who can identify with your product.
In fact, this is precisely the reason for the huge success of my Report Broker Software Package (http://www.cashflowmarketing.com/reportbroker/). We took a product idea that's been around for
hundreds of years (and has a proven and guaranteed track record for success!) and improved the content, as well as the delivery of it (perfect for the Internet!)
2) Know your margins, or go broke!
Okay, so what are margins? Basically, the difference/ratio between the cost of your product and the selling price of your product. For example, if your product costs you $10, and you sell it for $30, then your margin is 3-to-1 (3:1).
Now, listen carefully… The MINIMUM margin you must have for a successful product is 4:1. Anything below that and you're probably going to lose money.
Too many people come to me (after their business has failed) and ask why their product didn't work. "What were your margins," I ask. Usually
they don't even know their margins, but if they do, the answer is usually something like, "it cost me $50 and I sold it for $99,... that's a profit of almost $50 Sam… that's pretty good isn't it?"
NO it's not and let me show you why.
Let's say your product costs you $50. After you
factor in ad costs, order taking services, cost of getting your initial customers, returns, rent, employees and other miscellaneous expenses - your total cost for your product will be between $85-$95. After all is said and done, your net profit will be only $5. Not much, is it?
Now, if you had the minimum 4:1 margin as I recommend, your net profit will be over $100! That's a huge
difference! By s imply doubling your margins, you increased your NET profit by twenty! (For all of you who can't find your calculators, he increased his net profit 20 times by going from $5 to $100 profit - 5 times 20 equals 100.)
Have you ever wondered why some people know nothing about marketing, yet their business makes tons of cash? Well, wonder no more because it all has to do with
When your margins are high (like information books and software) you can screw up big time with your marketing and still make a decent profit. (Again, this is another BIG reason for my huge success... almost all of our products at my Web site are completely digital. Either via a download or a "private" site. So, our profit margins are almost 100%!!!)
So, what's a good margin? Well, the minimum is a 4:1 and the maximum is what pharmaceutical companies charge you and me for our prescriptions. (A bottle of growth hormone has a 1000:1 margin!... yes, that's one thousand.)
Another high margin product is sunglasses. Most sunglasses have such high margins that
they are bought by the POUND, rather than individually! Other fantastic products are information and information sold as software.
Take a look at Microsoft, all they sell is information. Whether they're selling books or CD-ROMs, their maximum cost is roughly $1.50 (including packaging, disk and book) and they sell their programs for $75-$400 each.
Just take a look at that markup, it's massive and it's all pure profit. (This doesn't even factor in all the upgrades sold year after year.) With those types of margins, they can waste money on poor advertising (which they already do) and still become filthy rich (which they already have done).
Now, there are
exceptions to this rule. The only time you can have low margins (and break even) is to have lots of back-end products and up-sells, or to have some type of a consumable/repeat product.
Actually, I like to tell my clients to combine the best of both worlds and have a high margin, "repeatable" product.
For example, are you going bald? If yes, chances are you've bought one of the many high margin "repeatable" products on the market.
Take a look at Rogaine. They used to charge $75 for a two-ounce bottle of water, rubbing alcohol and 0.02% Minoxidil solution. Their total cost was less than a buck! And here's the best part - it's a product that must be taken
every single month.
So you have repeat customers without any extra cost - pure profit!
This is also why vitamin supplements and herbal remedy companies do so well. Not only are the margins super high for vitamins and herbs, the repeat selling - week after week, month after
month - keeps bringing in the cash.
Also, another element of success for these supplement companies is that they...
3) Make the solution immediate and easy.
"Lose 7 pounds in 7 days simply by taking this new, patented weight loss pill once a day!" The solution to a very BIG problem happens in only 7 days as opposed to 3-4 months - so it's immediate. And all you do is take a "special"
pill once a day - it's super easy!
Do you play the Lottery? Chances are if you're like most people, you've bought a Lottery ticket at least once in your life. Guess what, the Lottery is another "solution" to people's financial problems that is both immediate and easy.
lose when playing the Lottery. The odds of winning are millions to one. Yet, most people play and the Lottery "people" make millions and billions of dollars in pure profit off you and me playing the Lottery hoping for a quick fix to our money dilemmas!
So, how can you take advantage of this? Simple, use headlines that convey a message of immediacy and ease. Headlines like, "Stop baldness
simply by taking one pill a day!" or "Clear credit card debts in 24 hours with a simple phone call!"
Solve common problems quickly and easily.
[NOTE: For more information on how to write proven and
effective ad/web copy, please visit my site at
This is also why software products sell so well (especially on the Internet). Besides the fact the
margins are extremely high, a quick download, a simple click here and there and "all your problems" are solved!
(Again, this is why myself as well as my dealers are having so much success on the Internet… our products are ALL digital. No shipping, no inventory, no costs... and all profit!)
Software really is great, but I'd like to reveal to you an even better product… one that has been around since the beginning of time and one that solves problems super fast and easy (yet, it also creates some of the greatest problems super fast and easy). Products that you and I have taken and probably take on a regular basis. Are you ready for the answer?... Well, here it is:
===>> DRUGS! <<===
Whether it's pharmaceutical or "street" drugs, these substances are well known for their ability to quickly and easily "fix" any ailment you may have (mental or physical). Now, please don't send me any hate mail because I'm not condoning the use of drugs. This is just an obvious observation I have made due to my medical background.
Whether you agree with me or not you can't deny the fact the pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars every single year in pure profit simply by following one of the fundamental rules in business: make solutions immediate and easy.
4) Solve a problem rather than prevent one.
It's easier to sell a book on HOW to erase credit card debt, than a book on how to PREVENT credit card debt. People are more interested in how to lose weight, rather than how to prevent it from coming on in the first place.
Our society and government easily spends billions
of dollars on trying to solve and find a cure for diseases, cancers and other ailments, but refuses to spend minimal amounts of money on preventing these problems.
It's much easier to sell someone a car or house alarm AFTER they have been robbed, rather than before. Why? Because by selling the alarm after the theft, you're solving an immediate problem. The person who has recently
been robbed, feels very vulnerable and wants you to solve his problem by selling him a "state-of-the-art" alarm system.
But the person who has never been robbed doesn't worry about these things. And why should he?... It's never happened to him and chances are, it never will. Trying to sell him an alarm system will be very difficult because he simply doesn't see any need for it.
Before I finish off this report, I'd like to reveal to you one product that is currently being sold, which contains all four elements needed for a successful product. A product that sells faster than it's being made and its projected rate of growth, world wide, for the next 12 months is over 500%! It's a drug and its name is...
===>> Viagra - the anti-impotence pill! <<===
Let's do a quick dissection of this "miracle" pill and see why it's such an incredible product to sell. First, there is already a huge market for people who want better sex or have sexual dysfunction problems. Second, the margins for this product are
massive - pennies to produce and sold for $10-$15 each pill (going for as high as $300 a pill in Japan!).
Third, the solution is immediate and super easy. Take one pill, wait 30 minutes and… instant gratification. To top it off, it's a consumable product - which means repeat sales! Lastly, it solves a problem rather than prevents one.
Do you think Viagra would do as well if it prevented impotency instead of solving it? Believe me, guys that don't have that problem... don't think it will happen to them! And here is the best part, not only are they expanding world wide, but they're expanding the market to women (that's another extra 50% of the population)! An amazing product, to say the least.
Now, you don't have to be a big pharmaceutical company to produce a product that contains all four essential elements. But just make sure that in your next project, product or service you try to solve common problems rather than prevent them. Make the solution immediate and easy, keep your margins high and make sure a market already exists before your blow your savings on it!
Follow this simple checklist for success and your product will sell almost a good as Viagra!
About The Author
Sam Robbins is a former consultant with infomercial giant Brad Richdale, Weider
Publications, Xerox Corporation, and State Farm Insurance. His Web site specializes in how to start, expand and promote any home-based business, product or service in 30-days or less.
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