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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Sticky Business Principle by Marc Charles

5:29 AM

Hello:

My column this week is about "sticky business".....I hope you enjoy it.

Marc Charles


The “Sticky Business” Factor
By Marc Charles

A business partner said my idea was too “sticky”.

He meant it in a bad way. But at least he said it with a smile on his face.

My partner was referring to a business with endless tentacles, paperwork, overhead costs, government red tape and a potential lawsuit magnet.

I’m sure you’ve heard about or been involved with a “sticky” business on some level.  I tend avoid them like the plague.

That’s why I was surprised when my partner suggested my idea was too “sticky”…..the nerve.
In my launching, reviewing and advising hundreds of business ideas and products over the last 29 years or so, only a fraction of them could be considered “non-stick”.

However, that doesn’t mean sticky businesses aren’t profitable.

The “stickiest” business I ever saw was also one of the most profitable….transporting hazardous (and nuclear) waste. 

The entrepreneurs who worked this venture could make $20,000 to $70,000 per load. The cost (and headaches) of running this business included retrofitted tractor trailers, maintenance (cleaning), drivers, government inspections, insurance, fuel, special licenses and certifications.
I wouldn’t recommend transporting hazardous waste for anyone without political connections, world class insurance, smart people and very deep pockets. 

On top of that, you’ll need nerves of steel. My friends were threatened, shot at and their transport vehicles were sabotaged. 

There is a boatload of businesses in the “non-stick” category. When I dissected the business idea I mentioned earlier for my partner he reluctantly agreed it wasn’t as “sticky” as he thought….the nerve.

Granted, nothing is “non-stick” or problem free all the time.

The bestselling “non-stick” frying pans rarely offer a money back guarantee should something stick.

A great “non-stick” business I found focuses on a hot rising trend called China. 

Actually, the business focuses on Chinese products, commerce and worldwide demand. I’ll tell you about it in a second. 

But first, I’d like to show you some new things developing in China right now. These things leverage the opportunity in a big way.

According the Financial Times China has opened the floodgate of cash reserves to get their “export machine” cranked up again. Apparently some Chinese (in powerful places) believe the financial crisis the last two years is receding. 

Money is flowing to entrepreneurs and businesses again like it did pre-2007.

Granted, Brazil is getting the lion’s share of attention (and money) lately because they’re surpassing the US as China’s largest trading partner.

But entrepreneurs in any country can leverage the China trend and a “non-stick” business I discovered by becoming a “finder”…..more on this in a second.

Another issue is China’s currency.

Import and export entrepreneurs are wondering if they’ll suffer a backlash over China’s currency policy. It’s a no-brainer Chinese wants to control the value of their currency (Yuan) against all other currencies.

But China’s currency has a couple of things going for it. First, China’s economy is relatively stable compared to the US and other countries, and second they have low government debt.

I’m not an economist…but a sound economy and limited government typically increases the relative value of a currency.

In real world currency trading China won’t be able to “control” much of anything, if they plan to do business with other countries.

But overall the Chinese currency should play a major role in international commerce in a good way.

China needs trading partners to survive. The country does not have the resources to be self sufficient. That’s a good thing for the “non-stick” business I found.

China needs to make and export products to the world, as well as import and consume them.

China is a living, breathing money monster which needs to be fed.

Lastly….China’s population is still growing like wildfire despite all the restrictions on having kids.

According to the World Bank China’s population was 1.3 billion in 2009 (1,356,359,928 as of January 2011).

And get this….

Chinese planners want to merge nine cities around the Pearl River Delta in the southern part of the country. This would create the largest “mega city” in the world with a population of 42 million people. This is greater than the entire population of California (39 million)!

China has unlocked the cash vault, the population is skyrocketing and they need trading partners to survive.

A “non-stick” business opportunity…..

The opportunity is about bringing buyers and sellers together and earning a percentage of each deal. This is also referred to as an import export “finder”.

I saw this opportunity in action the first time in Wausau Wisconsin.

The entrepreneur was making money as a “finder” connecting buyers in China with sellers in the US. His product was the herb ginseng. The buyers were Chinese distributors and retail stores.  

The herb ginseng is still wildly popular in China.

The import export “finder” opportunity is one of the hottest “non-stick” opportunities around.

By “non-stick” I ‘m referring to a business minus the tentacles, paperwork, inventory, buildings, employees (unless you want them), red tape, and massive overhead costs.
When you’re a “finder” you match buyers with sellers or visa versa and make money if and when a transaction is completed.

In most cases a “finder” simply facilitate deals or makes introductions to prospective partners.
And the best part is the lawsuit magnet aspect is almost eliminated.
Granted, one downside to this business is the learning curve…..and don’t kid yourself, it takes time. There are no exceptions if you want to learn this business.

But in my research I stumbled on a website which can accelerate the learning curve a hundred fold.

On top of that, I was so impressed with the impact the site, market and trend was having on entrepreneurs I developed what became known as the China Wholesale Trader.

The China Wholesale Trader is the most comprehensive resource library, how to course and interactive community in the world. See what entrepreneurs are saying about it here.

China is on the move again and there’s money to be made.

China was crippled by the financial turmoil over the past two years just like every else. But they’ve opened the cash spigot enabling companies to import and export products again!

In addition, there are more than 70,000 importers and exporters registered on AliExpress.com right now.

There are more than a million companies and entrepreneurs registered on Alibaba.com. Most of these companies and entrepreneurs are aggressively seeking business partners and deals as we speak.

People have compared AliExpress and Alibaba.com to eBay.

But the comparison is weak.

eBay focuses on the consuming masses. And eBay is a great place to sell imported products!

AliExpress and Alibaba.com focus on businesses and entrepreneurs.

This is one of the great “non-stick” business opportunities of the 21st century.

Is the opportunity a good fit for you? I’m not sure. But it’s worth a peak”.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rising Trend Business by Marc Charles

9:02 AM

Hi Gang:

I like the idea of starting a business in a rising trend.

I've enclosed a question from an entrepeneur in North Dakota that reflects what's on most people's minds.

Marc Charles


Question:  I own a fuel oil and natural gas delivery business. I’m wondering if this is the best business to be involved in given the current economic downturn. Do you think my business taps into a “rising trend”?                                                                                                                
T.B. Fargo North Dakota

Answer Marc Charles: Good question. My short answer is yes. You’re in an excellent niche business which should fare just fine in the current economy.

But, I need to ask, is your business profitable or is it losing money?

It’s important to remember, although some people are experiencing difficulties and some businesses have been affected more than others, the old fable in Acres of Diamonds still holds true.

The lesson of this fable is there are usually acres of diamonds in our own backyard.

In my experience, the best money making opportunities are usually in plain view.

I have to admit its fun traveling the world in search of opportunities. But even then opportunities are in plain view.

No matter how bad things get people will always need fuel.

The question to ask yourself is, “Will your customers prefer doing business with competitors because of better pricing, better service or better terms”?

Look for ways to offer better service and possibly a break on pricing, or financing.

Most fuel distribution companies offer boiler services. But you could go a step further and offer annual “Energy Audit”. An “Energy Audit” would be an unbiased evaluation of a homeowner and business owners building. This audit would include specific recommendations for reducing energy consumption.

Be on the look out for in-kind relationships with companies which offer the services you need, like snowplowing, accounting, direct marketing or dealing with the government.

Granted, most of the barter systems I’ve seen fall short on many levels.

However, in a depression, as in good times, legitimate in-kind relationships are crucial.

Here’s something else I’ll throw into the mix…

The companies saddled with debt, unpaid receivables and huge inventories of outdated products tend to be the first to go under when the economy turns south. We should prepare for this BEFORE it occurs. If you have problems in these areas make changes today.

And don’t forget….direct marketing (done right) usually separates the men from the boys when it comes to increasing sales.

I hope that helps.
 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Is the Goldrush for Domain Names Over? by Marc Charles

7:17 AM

Hi:

I've enclosed a question about domains and making money.

I thought you might enjoy it.

Marc Charles



Question: I’ve heard about people making money buying and selling domain names. I know this market was hot during the dot com boom. But does it still present a viable “side income” opportunity today?


Answer Marc Charles:

Yes. Buying and selling domain names can be a viable side business.


The domain market was extremely hot from 1999-2002, and my “domain portfolio” performed nicely during this period.


But the domain market is far from over.

Just to clarify…a domain name is the official name of a computer (host) which is connected to the Internet, like www.BlahBlahBlah.com



Domain names are alphabetic Internet addresses which end with a period and three or four letters like .com, .net, .biz, .edu, and .info, etc.


There are more than 80,000,000 “dot com” domains active on the Internet according to DomainTools.com.


In order to function on the Internet, a host needs an alphabetic domain name which has an associated numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address record.


For example, the IP address for BlahBlahBlah.com could be 208.77.188.16

Every business goes through cycles or waves; buying and selling domain names is no different.


But domain names are still a vital part of doing business on the Internet.


Therefore, the market for domain names is extremely active, which means millions of people (and companies) buy and sell domain names on a regular basis.


So, how do you make money with these things?


It’s easier than buying a book on Amazon.com!


Here are eight high-traffic domain marketplaces and auction sites on the Internet:


· Sedo.com

· Pool.com

· GoDaddy.com

· BuyDomains.com

· Afternic.com

· DomainAuctionsScript.com

· BuySellWebsites.com

· SitePointMarketplace


The objective is to buy a domain name at a relatively low cost and sell it at a higher price.


I say “relatively” lower cost because this doesn’t always mean buying domain names dirt cheap.


In some cases it might require buying a domain name for $500, and selling it for $1000 or more.


However, I purchased a domain name with the precious metal gold in it for $15 in 2001. I recently sold this domain (and a corresponding website) for $5000. This is more than a 30,000% return on my investment!


Granted, this domain name sale included website programming, image files, membership list and a database. But these elements cost me less than $1000 - so my actual return on investment was still pretty good.


Here’s an insider’s secret for buying profitable domain names.


Look to the future!


In other words, things, people and events that are popular today, may not be popular in 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years.


When I purchased the domain name with the precious metal gold in it I suspected precious metals might be a hot commodity in the future (after a stock market crash), and I was right.


So, when you’re purchasing domain names look for topics, events, people, music and technology which should be popular down the road.


For example, most of the domain names associated with “American Idol” (the popular TV show) have already been purchased and in some cases are overvalued.


But that doesn’t mean you can’t make money on domain names with the phrase “American Idol” or something related to the show.


The idea is to look to the future when purchasing domain names.


This might mean contestant names in Season 8 of American Idol, special reunion concert tickets like the Simon and Garfunkel Tour (SimonGarfunkelReunion09 is available as of this writing), or special events like the 2010 Olympics (2010-Olympic-Tickets.com is still available as of this writing)…your domain names should be profitable.


Think of domain names like real estate.


Four years ago property in South Beach Miami FL was hot and sold at a huge premium. The same property today is selling at a huge discount.


The same is true in the “domain portfolio” business.


Companies like GoDaddy.com have millions of domain names in their portfolio. GoDaddy.com is domain name registrar – meaning they are authorized by ICANN to sell and register domain names.


GoDaddy.com also buys domain names at a low cost and sells them for a profit. GoDaddy.com also aggressively purchases domain names when expire!


You can purchase domain names at relatively low costs at these four registrars:

DotEasy.com

GoDaddy.com

Sedo.com

Netfirms


More Profitable Domain Ideas


You can also grab domain names with “built in” popularity. These domain names were recently offered for sale in the SitePoint Marketplace:


SantaNews.com ($1,500)

LocalSwineFlu.com ($50)

RealPokerStars.com ($100)

SecretForexTrading.com ($30)


The combinations for domain names are almost endless.


Buying and selling domain names can be a viable side business and the start up costs are minimal.


I hope that helps!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Make Your Phone's Internet 1,000 Times Faster Than 4G by Marc Charles

Hey:

I've read most of the hype on P-Cell technology.

But it looks like Artemis might have what it takes:

http://tinyurl.com/mjbaveh

Let me know what you think.

Marc Charles

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Google Ad Sense Update

9:02 AM

Hi:

I've enclosed a question I received last week about Google AdSense.

Be sure to check out my book The Google Underground on Amazon.

Here's the question.....

Question: I’ve read making money with Google’s AdSense is pretty easy, and especially for the technically illiterate. What sayeth thou?                             
A.F. Telluride CO

Answer Marc Charles: It’s simple to set up Google AdSense on a website, blog or Internet directory. 

Making money with AdSense is pretty easy too.

But “easy” is a relative term. Let me explain…

For my 85 year-old father-in-law who has limited Internet, computer and “tech” experience “easy” is not so.

However, when I showed my father-in-law websites running Google AdSense he “got it” immediately, so it’s not difficult to understand.

On the other hand, my 14-year old daughter has a ton of Internet, computer and programming savvy so “in her case “easy” is an understatement! My daughter picked up the “concept” of Google AdSense in no time flat, and started making money within a week or two.

Google AdSense is a program whereby a website owner or publisher can run Google advertising on his or her site and get paid for doing it.

Google splits ad revenue with AdSense publishers.

The trick to Google AdSense is driving targeted traffic to a website, publication or blog. By “targeted” traffic I mean visitors who are “most likely” to be interested in the content on your website and in the advertising running on your site.

There are hundreds of ways to drive traffic to a website – some of them are free and other ways cost money.

My favorite ways to drive traffic to websites running Google AdSense are as follows:

   Targeted email newsletter advertising. Preferably deep discount or remnant ad campaigns.
2 Keyword advertising on discount ad networks like Advertising.com, 7Search.com, ExactSeek.com, Kanoodld.com and AdBrite. You can purchase keyword advertising “clicks” on these networks for as low as 5 cents. You can “resell” this traffic for 40-50 cents per click with Google AdSense
3Build your own search engine and redirect traffic to websites running Google AdSense. A search engine or directory is simply a website, with a database and a searching mechanism. They are easy for most programmers to build and have numerous benefits.

The best part of Google Adsense is the “auto pilot” feature. If you have a website running Google AdSense, and if you have targeted traffic coming to the site, the AdSense runs 24-hours a day, 7 days a week without maintaining or babysitting it – thus the “auto pilot” feature.


Marc Charles
 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Are Resturants a Good Idea in This Economy? by Marc Charles

7:22 AM

Hi Gang:

I receive hundreds of emails a month from entrepreneurs asking my advice on business ideas and companies.

I try to answer every one of them. 

I received the enclosed question the other day and I thought you guys would enjoy it.

Marc Charles



Question: We have a successful restaurant in a busy metropolitan area. However, we’ve seen a drop off in year-over-year sales. We’re nervous about the economy and have considered selling the business. But this is the only business we know. Would you sell the business and start over in a new business, in a new area, in THIS economy?                                          
A.B. Fort Collins CO

Answer Marc Charles: There are too many variables for me to comfortably recommend selling or keeping your business in this economy. You’ve seen a drop off in sales. I think the drop off will continue.

If we enter a full fledged depression the businesses with massive overhead, debt loads, and declining sales will be the first to go. I’m sorry to say but restaurants are always the hardest hit.

However, I took my kids and two of their friends to dinner last night at a fun family restaurant in Rockport Maine. The restaurant was packed to the gills! People were laughing (maybe quietly crying inside) and kids were playing video games in a small arcade, and running all over the place.

It seems restaurants with a passion for great service and reasonable prices always find a way to make money in difficult times.

Six restaurants in the same geographic area have gone out of business the past 18 months.

I know you said your restaurant was successful but is it profitable? Is the overhead manageable? Do you own the property outright? If not, you may be headed for trouble.

The bad news is there are probably hundreds of restaurants (maybe a thousand) for sale in your city.  Will you be able to sell your restaurant? That is the question.

The good news is you can always start a business on the side and get it going until your restaurant is sold.

Another thing to consider is starting a restaurant in an area with fewer encumbrances and expenses….like small town America, the exurbs or even outside of the US.