How to Build a Successful Online Business: The 5 Pillars of Success

So you want to learn how to build a successful online business. I don’t know your exact situation right now, but I can guess that you probably fall into one of 2 categories: either you are currently working the 9-5 and want to find an alternative or you are already in an online business and are looking to increase your income. So let’s have a look at the 5 pillars of how to build a successful online business.Success Pillar 1: Have a PlanIf you were going to setup a brick-and-mortar business and had to borrow money for the bank, they would certainly require to provide them a business plan. They want to know that you are organized enough and focused enough that the money they lend you will not be wasted.The same applies to an online business. Once you open the door to making money online, you will soon be bombarded by all sorts of offers and opportunities. Who knows, you may have already experienced this. Without a good plan of action, you may be tempted to listen to all those offers. If you don’t focus your energies towards one goal, you are wasting your time.”In order to succeed, your arrow of focus must be pointed in one direction”When creating your business plan you will want to focus on the following:1) “Why”: What is the reason for starting your online business? And don’t just write that you want to make money. Take a moment to reflect on the real reason you want to succeed online. Are you doing this to provide a steady income for your family, do you want to work from home and have time freedom, or do you want to share and teach your success to others? Don’t worry about making it perfect, write it down today and you can modify it as you go along.2) Goals: Set realistic goals within a time frame. For example, if you just got started, a good goal would be to make you first 500$ within a 1 month period. If you are already making 500$ a month, set your goal to double that within a month. As you start seeing success from your efforts, you can start stepping up your goals to be more challenging.3) Actions: What actions are necessary to achieve your goals (be specific). If you are just starting up, actions like setting up your domain and website would be a good one, then setting up your capture page and autoresponder. If your system is already set up, you could take action to increase traffic for your site or you could tweak your capture page to increase conversion.Success Pillar 2: Pick a good mentorA good mentor will make the difference between success and no success. A good mentor knows the way and can show you the ropes. When I got started, I didn’t have someone like me to show me what to do. I was here and there and nothing seemed to work. It wasn’t until I found a good mentor to show me what steps to take that I was able to achieve success in my business.Picking a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean to partner up with the Top Gun of your company. Oftentimes they are so busy doing what they need to do that they don’t have the time or energy to hand hold all the newbies. You are much better off finding a leader that has the time to help you along the way and guide you as you take the steps to success.Success Pillar 3: Self-BrandingThe most common mistake when starting an online business is to lead with your business/product/payplan. It is truly an important part of the business, but not the most important. The #1 key principle is to BRAND YOURSELF. Who knows, you may be with a particular company today, but what happens if you decide to change? If you spent your time branding yourself, the transition will be easy. If you branded your company, you will have to start all over from scratch.Look at all the top producers in the industry. Jonathan Budd, Brad Callen, Mike Dillard, just to name a few, have all branded themselves very strongly. When they create a new product, it is easy for them to sell it because their customers know, trust and like their brand (themselves) and will trust the new product being offered.The best way to brand yourself is not to hide behind a computer screen. Create a website with your name as the domain, have real life pictures of yourself, create videos in which you offer value to your viewers, use the social media platform and be visible. You don’t have to be the best in the world to be liked, just offer valuable content to the best of your abilities.Success Pillar 4: Systems and Follow-upThe main reason for creating an online business is to leverage the internet to free your time. By having systems do most of the work for you you achieve two things: 1) you build relationships without having to actually be there and 2) you can spend your time and efforts on other things that will increase your results.Disclaimer: I’m not talking about the “push this button and make money without lifting a finger” Just like building a real business, you need to put effort and time to create your online business system and then promote it.So what kind of systems am I talking about? The main components of your system will be: Your website/salespage and your autoresponder.Your website: This system is meant to allow visitor to get to know you and your opportunity. It should answer most of the frequently asked questions about your business and give a bit of your personality so that visitor and potential business partners get to know you as a person.Your autoresponder: This is a series of emails that will continue to touch base on autopilot with the people who have shown interest in your opportunity. It should be packed with valuable information and obviously lead back to your opportunity. There are 3 major players as far as autoresponders: aweber, iContact and get response. I choose one over the others.Success Pillar 5: Marketing and TrafficTraffic is the lifeblood of any business. When it comes to the topic of online traffic, you could search online for days and still find new products that will teach you the “new best way” to drive tons of traffic to your website. The truth of it is, if you bulk up the information, traffic can be grouped into 3 categories: Link Building, SEO and Advertising.1) Link Building: Link building not only increases your traffic, but has the added bonus of increasing your SEO. Link buiding, put simply, is the activity of producing and publishing content online in order to increase the number of links pointing back at your site. There are many many ways of doing this and I will share with you my favorite ones: Articles Marketing, Video Marketing, Hubpage/Squidoo marketing (if you don’t know what this means, don’t worry) and finally, Forum participation.2) SEO: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and means to optimize your web content for the search engines (like Google). Done properly, this will generate a large amount of free traffic from the different search engines.Just to give an example: I created a small website for my real estate business about 3 years back. I optimized the content for a particular keyword and published a few articles about the topic to build links. Ever since the website appears on the first page of Google, that website has been receiving 20-30 hits per day and generating 2-3 leads a day. And I only spent a few hours creating and optimizing that site. I’m not saying that it’s always that easy, but once you get there it’s a breath of fresh air.Link building for SEO: Links are like votes for your site. The more links you have, the more you have authority and search engines look for authority sites. So as you put effort in your link building for traffic, you are also building vote towards your site which will lead to better ranking in the search engines.3) Advertising: The are 2 ways to advertise: Free and Paid. Free advertising is like posting ads on Craigslist. A good example of paid advertising is the Google sponsored results or PPC (pay per click). This topic is very broad and surpass the scope of this article. I would definitely recommend focusing on link building at the beginning. PPC is quite complex and for someone that doesn’t know how to do it, it can be quite costly. I’ve personally burned a few hundred dollars in a few days on Google PPC without much to show for it.So there you have it, the 5 pillars of how to build a successful online business. If there are things in this article that you did not understand, please be assured that everything will come together soon.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

S&P 500 Biotech Giant Vertex Leads 5 Stocks Showing Strength

Your stocks to watch for the week ahead are Cheniere Energy (LNG), S&P 500 biotech giant Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), Cardinal Health (CAH), Steel Dynamics (STLD) and Genuine Parts (GPC).

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While the market remains in correction, with analysts and investors wary of an economic downturn, these five stocks are worth adding to watchlists. S&P 500 medical giants Vertex and Cardinal Health have been holding up, as health-care related plays tend to do well in down markets.

Steel Dynamics and Genuine Parts are both coming off strong earnings as both the steel and auto parts industries report optimistic outlooks. Meanwhile, Cheniere Energy saw sales boom in the second quarter as demand in Europe for natural gas continues to grow.

Major indexes have been making rally attempts with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 testing weekly support on Friday. With market uncertainty, investors should be ready for follow-through day breakouts and keep an eye on these stocks.

Cheniere Energy, Cardinal Health and VRTX stock are all on IBD Leaderboard.

Cheniere Energy Stock
LNG shares rose 1.1% to 175.79 during Friday’s market trading. On the week, the stock advanced 3.1%, not from highs, bouncing from its 21-day and 10-week lines earlier in the week.

Cheniere Energy has been consolidating since mid-September, but needs another week to forge a proper base, with a potential 182.72 buy point formed on Aug. 10.

Houston-based Cheniere Energy was IBD Stock Of The Day on Thursday, as the largest U.S. producer of liquefied natural gas eyes strong demand in Europe.

Even though natural gas prices are plunging in the U.S. and Europe, investors still see strong LNG demand for Cheniere and others.

The U.K. government confirmed last week that it is in talks for an LNG purchase agreement with a number of companies, including Cheniere.

In the first half of 2021, less than 40% of Cheniere’s cargoes of LNG landed in Europe. That jumped to more than 70% through this year’s second quarter, even as the company ramped up new export capacity. The urgency of Europe’s natural gas shortage only intensified last month. That is when an explosion disabled the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia that had once supplied 40% of the European Union’s natural gas.

In Q2, sales increased 165% to $8 billion and LNG earned $2.90 per share, up from a net loss of $1.30 per share in Q2 2021. The company will report Q3 earnings Nov. 3, with investors seeing booming profits for the next few quarters.

Cheniere Energy has a Composite Rating of 84. It has a 98 Relative Strength Rating, an exclusive IBD Stock Checkup gauge for share price movement with a 1 to 99 score. The rating shows how a stock’s performance over the last 52 weeks holds up against all the other stocks in IBD’s database. The EPS rating is 41.

Vertex Stock
VRTX stock jumped 3.4% to 300 on Friday, rebounding from a test of its 50-day moving average. Shares climbed 2.2% for the week. Vertex stock has formed a tight flat base with an official buy point of 306.05, according to MarketSmith analysis.

The stock has remained consistent over recent weeks, while the relative strength line has trended higher. The RS line tracks a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500 index.

Vertex Q3 earnings are on due Oct. 27. Analysts see EPS edging up 1% to $3.61 per share with sales increasing 16% to $2.2 billion, according to FactSet.

The Boston-based global biotech company dominates the cystic fibrosis treatment market. Vertex also has other products in late-stage clinical development that target sickle cell disease, Type 1 diabetes and certain genetically caused kidney diseases. That includes a gene-editing partnership with Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP).

In early August, Vertex reported better-than-expected second-quarter results and raised full-year sales targets.

S&P 500 stock Vertex ranks second in the Medical-Biomed/Biotech industry group. VRTX has a 99 Composite Rating. Its Relative Strength Rating is 94 and its EPS Rating is 99.

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Cardinal Health Stock
CAH stock advanced 3.2% to 73.03 Friday, clearing a 71.22 buy point from a shallow cup-with-handle base and hitting a record high. But volume was light on the breakout. CAH stock leapt 7.3% for the week.

Cardinal Health stock’s relative strength line has also been trending up for months.

The cup-with-handle base is part of a base-on-base pattern, forming just above a cup base cleared on Aug. 11.

Cardinal Health, based in Dublin, Ohio, offers a wide assortment of health care services and medical supplies to hospitals, labs, pharmacies and long-term care facilities. The company reports that it serves around 90% of hospitals and 60,000 pharmacies in the U.S.

S&P 500 stock Cardinal Health will report Q1 2023 earnings on Nov. 4. Analysts forecast earnings falling 26% to 96 cents per share. Sales are expected to increase 10% to $48.3 billion, according to FactSet.

Cardinal Health stock ranks first in the Medical-Wholesale Drug/Supplies industry group, ahead of McKesson (MCK), which is also showing positive action. CAH stock has a 94 Composite Rating out of 99. It has a 97 Relative Strength Rating and an EPS rating of 73.

Steel Dynamics Stock
STLD shares shot up 8.5% to 92.92 on Friday and soared 19% on the week, coming off a Steel Dynamics earnings beat Wednesday night.

Shares blasted above an 88.72 consolidation buy point Friday after clearing a trendline Thursday. STLD stock is 17% above its 50-day line, definitely extended from that key average.

Steel Dynamics’ latest consolidation could be seen as part of a larger base going back six months.

Steel Dynamics topped Q3 earnings views with EPS rising 10% to $5.46 while revenue grew 11% to $5.65 billion. The steel producer’s outlook is optimistic despite weaker flat rolled steel pricing. STLD reports its order activity and backlogs remain solid.

The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company is among the largest producers of carbon steel products in the U.S. It engages in metal recycling operations along with steel fabrication and produces myriad steel products.

How Millett Grew Steel Dynamics From A Three Employee Business

STLD stock ranks first in the Steel-Producers industry group. STLD stock has a 96 Composite Rating out of 99. It has a 90 Relative Strength Rating, an exclusive IBD Stock Checkup gauge for share-price movement that tops at 99. The rating shows how a stock’s performance over the last 52 weeks holds up against all the other stocks in IBD’s database. The EPS rating is 98.

Genuine Parts Stock
GPC stock gained 2.8% to 162.35 Friday after the company topped earnings views with its Q3 results on Thursday. For the week GPC advanced 5.1% as the stock held its 50-day line and is in a flat base.

GPC has an official 165.09 flat-base buy point after a three-week rally, according to MarketSmith analysis.

The relative strength line for Genuine Parts stock has rallied sharply to highs over the past several months.

On Thursday, the Atlanta-based auto parts company raised its full-year guidance on growth across its automotive and industrial sales.

Genuine Parts earnings per share advanced 19% to $2.23 and revenue grew 18% to $5.675 billion in Q3. GPC’s full-year guidance is now calling for EPS of $8.05-$8.15, up from $7.80-$7.95. The company now forecasts revenue growth of 15%-16%, up from the earlier 12%-14%.

During the Covid pandemic, supply chain constraints caused a major upheaval in the auto industry, sending prices for new and used cars to record levels. This has made consumers more likely to hang on to their existing vehicles for longer, driving mileage higher and boosting demand for auto replacement parts.

Fellow auto stocks O’Reilly Auto Parts (ORLY) and AutoZone (AZO) have also rallied near buy points amid the struggling market. O’Reilly reports on Oct. 26.

IBD ranks Genuine Parts first in the Retail/Wholesale-Auto Parts industry group. GPC stock has a 96 Composite Rating. Its Relative Strength Rating is 94 and it has an EPS Rating of 89.