No matter what size your online business is, whether part-time or full-time, it’s essential to operate it just like any other business (online or offline). You must ensure that certain systems and routines are in-place, otherwise it all becomes disorganized, hard work and possibly destined to fail.
When I first started out in my online venture, I joined up for a lot of different programs, subscriptions, memberships and products and before I knew it I had emails galore in my inbox, receipt numbers, passwords, usernames, and account numbers. I quickly become overwhelmed and in total disarray, so right then and there I decided to systematize everything.
The first thing I did was to create a simple database that I called “Account Manager”. Here I listed all the company names, dates joined, invoice numbers, usernames, passwords, website, email, whether a once-off or monthly fee, and any relevant comments. What a HUGE difference this made… freeing up much of my time and energy. It certainly made life a lot easier and more disciplined.
Second thing that I set up was a spreadsheet to track income and expenses. Obviously this is very important for tax purposes. But just as important I think, is to constantly monitor your profit and loss situation at any given time… to keep measuring your progress. If you don’t monitor the performance of your business, how will you know if it’s getting off-track? How will you know what is working and what needs changing? You need to see if you are getting a return on all the time and money you are investing in your business. The spreadsheet that I have set-up is pretty basic and straightforward but I might find later on as the business expands, that an accounting software program is more appropriate… such as Quicken, Quick Books or MYOB (Mind Your Own Business).
The last system that I put into place was a spreadsheet that summarized my entire ad tracking results for advertising campaigns. Now ad tracking, I believe, is extremely important to the overall success of your business. Without the ability to test and measure all of your advertising, you might as well just wear a blindfold. You absolutely MUST KNOW what is working and what is not working so that you can dump the useless ads and keep running the ones that bring you profits. Otherwise you are flushing your hard-earned cash down the drain.
This spreadsheet includes ad cost, number of subscribers (in an ezine), number of clicks, number of sales, cost per sale and ROI (return on investment). This is so simple and yet so effective (and so profitable). At a glance I can see which are my most effective ads and the most effective advertising medium as well. Well worth the effort I feel.
These things take a little bit of effort to set up initially and to get into the routine, but once done it’s easy to keep going. The benefits are certainly worth it. I just wish I had set all of this up BEFORE I started. Ah well, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Andrew Jones is the author. To find the best home based business ideas and opportunities so you can work at home, visit: