Mail Order

This is the point at which the two halves of our article stream begin to merge. From here on this section will focus on different business ideas and ways to maximise their chance of success.

Coming up with a viable business idea – especially one that meets the criteria specified in earlier articles, is not always easy. The best place to start is by examining your own interests. Choosing something you are passionate about means you are more likely to give it the time and focus it needs. Doing something you aren’t enthusiastic about, just for the money, is usually a recipe for failure.

Last week I promised to introduce you to the mail order business. This is one of the few areas where the small entrepreneur can still get in without huge capital outlay. It is also one that can be put on autopilot – if you know how. So how do we tie this in with finding your passion?

Well, if you have a passion for something, chances are other people have the same passion. Instead of spending your money buying things that fuel your interest – find the source of the products & do a deal that enables you to sell them to others, at a profit. Simply put, you find a source of supply – find a group of customers and put the two together. Since you already have the interest you probably also know most of the suppliers and quite a few potential customers. You will also know the kind of magazines those customers subscribe to.

If you are really passionate and knowledgeable about your subject, you may even be able to produce a product of your own. Often the best product for special interest groups is an information product. A “how to” book, or even a video, audio tape or CDROM packed with useful information and insights into the subject could be a great seller to the right audience. The beauty of your own product is that no-one else is selling it!

The other advantage of your own information product is that it can be very inexpensive to develop and produce, but at the same time be sufficiently valuable to your customers to command a good price. This is important in mail order as the cost of marketing can be high. Most mail order marketers look for a selling price of 5 to 10 times actual production cost in order to build in a large enough profit margin to cover all costs and make a good profit.

So, armed with this initial information why don’t you spend the next week thinking about what gets you really excited and enthusiastic. Think also about things you know or are skilled at that would be of interest to other people who are excited about the same things you are. You will also need to get some idea of how popular this area of interest is in order to establish the market potential.

Next time I shall tell you what to do with the results of your thinking.

Until then, have a fantastic week!