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5 Tips to Identify Genuine Work at Home Business Opportunities

We live in a day when people need to find solid work that will provide them with a steady and lucrative income. Unfortunately there are scammers who realize that people have great financial needs during these economic hard times and they are out to take advantage of them by baiting them with scams that look like too good to pass-up business opportunities. On the other hand there are genuine business opportunities designed to provide diligent entrepreneurs with the chance to earn a solid income. The question that you should be asking at this point is, how can you determine the difference between the scammers and the genuine business opportunities?

There is really no fool-proof way to determine a scam from a genuine business opportunity, but here are five things that will help you weed out the scams from the true business opportunities.

Does the Business Promote a Valid Product?

This is the best way to determine a genuine business opportunity from a scam. Something must be sold or the business is not a true business. Some opportunities present a concept of building networks and earning commissions. If there is not a product to buy and sell, stay away from that business opportunity. Not only is the concept on shaky ground with no product to sell, but this type of business is illegal.

Do They Require You to Make a Huge Investment?

There should be concern if you have to invest in the business in order to operate it. Most online businesses don’t need a down payment. There are some that do require a nominal fee for a subscription or a website. But there should not be a major unjustified or irrational investment upfront in order to start the business. If the company that you are looking at requires a major upfront investment, then I suggest that you look for another business opportunity. Many companies that require such down payments often disappear into nothingness. You do not want to face that after you have invested a large sum of money into your business.

Does the Business Have a Physical Presence?

Even if you will be operating your business entirely on the internet, it is still very important that the business that you are signing on with can provide you with a physical address. There should also be a phone number where you can reach someone connected with the business and communicate with then. If you don’t have access to the physical address and phone number, look for another business opportunity.

What Are Their Reviews on the Internet?

Can you Google the business and find legitimate reviews for it on the internet. What other people are saying about the business is a good way to determine what the company is all about. If other people have been happy with the business, then there is a good chance that it is legitimate. If there are many reviews that have complaints about the business and you cannot resolve the issues that they have mentioned, then do not get involved with this company.

Are They Secure?

This can be checked in various ways. You can check their website address. You will find that an https is always better than an http. This means that they are safer. You can check to see if they are VeriSign Assured with 128 bit SSL encryption. This will help you determine if they care about the safety of their members. Even if the people you want to join with in business are well-meaning, if they do not pay attention to these points, you become vulnerable to other internet intrusions.

If all of these points check out in your search for a true business opportunity, then there is a very good chance that you are about to connect with a genuine business opportunity. Again, these are simply guidelines to follow. They are not absolute guarantees that the business that you are looking at is genuine. Sometimes the only way to determine if the business you are looking at is genuine or not is to see how it develops over time.

Local Business Listing Optimization Becomes Important For All Businesses

You may have noticed that a Google search result now shows the local map on the right side and the local listings (aka as Google Places at Google) are part of the organic search results. If you follow the evolution of local listings on search engines since 2007 you will find that this local marketing tool is invaluable to any business.

The disappointing issue is that most businesses have not tapped into this local marketing tool. While the industry is 3 years ahead of businesses, the businesses that are dependent upon the local geography for their revenue are unclear that they can actively manage these listings instead of watching them passively.

All Businesses Can Take Advantage of Local Businesses
First of all, a local company is not a small business. While we will discuss this in more detail in the future, we have to keep in mind that national chains with local presence are also dependent upon the local economy for their revenue. So, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re as large as a Target store or as small as a local florist, local listings will benefit any size business.

Secondly, the recent change at Google is a telling sign that this is related to both Business-To-Business (B2) as well as Business-To-Consumer (B2C). If you think that B2B won’t have its customer posting reviews then you are in for a surprise. Also, a B2B business that requires revenue from the local marketing should equally be tapping into local listings like a B2C business.

Customers Decide To Business Based On Search Results
The recent search results change at Google not only displays the regular organic search results, but if there are local listings that are relevant to the requested search they are showing up above fold and tend show more results than the organic website results.

The local listings results are also interesting in that they show quite a bit of information to a local customer or consumer. Of course the basic information like business name, address, phone number, telephone number, website link and location on the map is pretty standard. However, the number of customer reviews and the average star rating is prominent to the person searching. Translated this means the local customer or consumer are very quickly see if they want to even click on your local business listing or call you.

Optimization Becomes Important
Businesses now have two marketing tools that need optimization: their website and their local business listing. Since the local business listing is effectively the interactive yellow pages of the 21st century, businesses need to stop passively watching and actively engaging with their local business listing.

The process requires that you first claim your local business listing, followed by your initial update, and then you have to consider monitoring and managing the local business listing just like your website.

You will find that the local business listing can actually be a website, but probably better to use it as a support tool to your primary website. In order for you to show up in the search results you have to be sure the local business listing has all the right information about your business, products and services.

That is then followed by adding photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, events and other information that will help the local customer decide to do business with you.

Managing your local business listing includes managing customer reviews and engaging with them not only to secure positive reviews from satisfied customers, but to insure positive public relations with any customers that are less than satisfied.

Finally, the optimization process includes watching the local business listing analytics (separate from your website) and making decisions about how to tweak your listing.

…and did we mention this goes well beyond Google? Variety of other websites are included such as Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Local.com, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and many others that include search engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites, and business directories.

Outsourcing Your Local Business Listing Management
There are generally two types of companies that provide local business listing management services. The first are those that provide “data” only services, which really doesn’t help you much since they don’t get involved in the claiming process. The second provides marketing services, but be careful here since some of them are not well staffed to do anything beyond Google.

This is no different than seeking professional help for your website’s search engine optimization. You will need to not only have professional help in the optimization of your local business listing, but someone has to monitor for duplicate listings, customer reviews, updating your marketing information, and analyzing the analytics.

How to Get More Foreclosure Cleanup Business Using Free Meetings

Chamber of Commerce meetings are fertile ground for foreclosure cleanup businesses. A foreclosure cleanup business is responsible for primarily the cleaning, clearing out and maintenance of properties that have been foreclosed upon. Services offered by these enterprises involve interior and exterior repair and maintenance ranging from debris removal, boarding of windows and doors, changing locks, inspections, painting and more.
 
Local and International Chambers
 
As new foreclosure cleanup businesses open their doors, they are looking for low-cost, effective ways to get the word out about their businesses. The Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) is a solid starting point for new foreclosure cleaning entrepreneurs. Most cities and towns across the United States and throughout the world have Chambers. It is a membership organization comprised of mostly local businesses whose goal is to network, promote and further the interests of enterprises within the community.
 
When most think of these entities, they think local; however, there are several national and international Chambers in existence. These bodies are governed in part by a Board of Directors whose primary task is to assist in establishing and governing the policies of the Chamber.
 
Membership Size
 
Some organizations have less than 50 members, while others have well over 300,000 members (i.e., the Paris Chamber of Commerce). The oldest English-speaking Chamber in the world is right here in the United States; the New York City Chamber of Commerce. It was founded in 1768. On a national scale, the United States Chamber of Commerce is, according to its website, “the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses… ” Wow, networking opportunities galore lie in Chambers of this size.

 
Membership Fees
 
Membership fees to join a Chamber can range from a low of less than $100 dollars annually, to upwards of well over a few thousand dollars. Fees often depend on the size of your organization, the number of employees, and other factors.
 
Free Meetings
 
While most organizations charge a membership fee to join, a great many have initial FREE meetings. At these free gatherings, new business owners can attend to learn about a particular group and ultimately meet other members and potential members.
 
Small business owners seeking to grow their businesses should plan to attend a free meeting in their town and in neighboring communities. When attending these free meetings, foreclosure cleanup business owners will often have a chance to introduce themselves and their business to the room.
 
During the introduction portion of the free meeting, it is imperative to voice your business’ unique selling proposition (“USP”). A USP is simply what makes your business different from other ones within your industry. If you haven’t devised your USP, now’s the time to think about setting your business apart from the masses.
 
One-on-One Networking
 
After the formal free meeting, there will often be a one-on-one networking opportunity. Bingo! This is what you want to grow your business. As a foreclosure cleanup business executive, plan to carry your business cards, company brochures, or postcards for the networking part of the meeting.
 
Meet as Many Business Owners as Possible
 
When networking in a Chamber environment, entrepreneurs should try to meet as many business owners as possible. While it’s imperative to be a good listener as others are explaining their businesses to you, it’s equally important NOT to get cornered by one business owner.
 
WARNING: It’s easy to tuck away in a comfortable corner of the room and shy away from making contact with new people, especially for those who don’t network often. But while you may feel most comfortable in a cozy nook, you will likely wind up leaving with only one or two business cards.
 
The goal is to “touch” as many people as possible and exchange banter about your respective businesses. The more business cards you leave with, the more successful the event will be from a marketing standpoint.

 
Your Elevator Speech
 
TIP: Prepare an elevator speech about your business. In one or two sentences, sum up who you are, the name of your business, what your business does, and how you’re different.
 
Following Up after a Chamber Meeting
After the meeting, plan to follow up with those you’ve met at the meeting within the next week. (Ideally, within the next few days.) This can be a phone call, a quick email, a formal mailer or an informal note.
 
The intent of the follow-up is to establish a rapport with the business owners you’ve met. Invite them to learn more about your business, and, remember, be equally open to learning more about their business as well. Even if you don’t need their particular business service, you may be able to refer someone to them who does. In turn, they can do the same for you. That’s the benefit of successful networking.
 
Gold Mine in Contacts
 
Any successful entrepreneur will tell you business is about contacts, contacts, contacts. Their database, contacts’ list, is their greatest asset. A proven way to grow your business and build your contacts list is to network at Chamber of Commerce meetings.
 
Many wishes of success networking and growing your foreclosure cleanup business through your local chamber.