Your Website - Your Virtual Business Card

Comments (20)


Your Website - Your Virtual Business Card

By: Inka-Maria Kunz

To make one thing clear way ahead, without a website you will not survive on this market. And while you are at it, make sure the website is user-friendly because you will need to make changes once in a while and if only to promote some new services. A website should list all the services you are about to offer as well as all your contact details. In the US pictures of yourself and your colleagues are seen as a sign of trustworthiness and reliability, in Europe this notion is not so widely spread, mainly because we are a little shy when it comes to posting pictures of ourselves on the net.

One important detail should never be omitted: your VAT number and the company's General Standard Terms and Conditions. Even though it is a global world and all, make sure to indicate that if anybody likes to take you to court, it will have to be a relevant court in your country.

It is also quite useful, or so I have been told, to have a quotation form on your site so that the client can get a price quotation for the potential job real fast. I have posted one on my site but honestly I don't really see any advantage in this. The clients have always contacted me via email or phone without using this form so the day is near when I will take this damned thing offline again.

Links and tools which can be useful for any translator or interpreter are always welcome. I see my site as a way to promote things I like seeing on the net, useful websites I have come across, useful shareware, interesting glossaries, dictionaries, events coming up, sites of friends and colleagues, practically anything that makes my daily routine easier and more fun. Again, it is up to you what to link to but it is advisable to check the links once in a while to see if they are still working - the internet is a fast-changing medium!

So now you have it all, a website with a clear message and some useful tools and links and on top of it a good provider to host it. Here I made the rather costly experience that it pays off to have a provider in your hemisphere, your country. My first provider was an enterprise in Arizona, US and one day got merged with the competition. I ended up paying more fees for less service and when I wanted to change providers they blocked my domain name and made things real complicated for a while.

Again, now you have it all, so how to promote this thing? You want people to find you not the other way around it, right? Well, if you have not forgotten to include some keywords so that search robots are going to find your site, go ahead and submit your site to the various search engines, i.e. Google, Alta Vista and all. There are services on the net which will post your website on any search engine available for free. Don't fall for any of those companies claiming they will submit your website on various search engines in exchange for a hefty fee. You can save that money! Just google "submit url free search engines" and the results will point you to various providers you can use for this. Also make yourself known on the various translators portals, write up an article about your profession once in a while for the various associations, post messages on the mailing lists (make sure your website is mentioned in the footer of the message), post a newsletter on your site etc. T!

he list is endless for promoting your services but keep in mind with fame comes notoriety. Keep in mind, the website is just meant to be your virtual business card, it is not meant for opening doors to your computer for anybody out there. If you're on the Internet you need to have good anti-virus software and a firewall, period. And you need to keep them updated. If you use Windows you need to use the Windows Update feature at least monthly to make sure that any discovered holes are patched. This goes triple if you use Internet software that integrates closely with Windows, like MS Outlook or Internet Explorer. This will cover you for the vast majority of security problems out there. I also review CNET news and Yahoo's most popular news items to see if there are any other security issues or rampant viruses I should be aware of.

This brings us to all the unsolicited mail you tend to get, once you are online with your website and email, the so-called SPAM. Some e-mail programs have built-in spam filters, while sometimes your ISP will offer a spam-filtering program. If you don't have either of these options you may wish to consider a spam-filtering program to keep your e-mail more about job offers and less about any number of a dozen scams. Do a search for "spam filtering" or "anti-spam software".

One word of advice: The Internet has over four billion pages. Everyone is going to approach it with different needs and interests. Not everybody will have your well-being in mind so please use your common sense and the resources available on the net to reduce any chances of getting burned.

About The Author

This article was written by Inka-Maria Kunz, CEO of a flourishing multilingual translations agency with offices in Germany and New Zealand. This article may be printed or used in its entirety with full author contacts and details. For more information, translations or purchases of a new website/e-business, contact the author thru the official website www.linguatransl.co.nz or the blog www.linguatransl.blogspot.com.

Comments

Cruzin4answers 24.10.2007. 15:56

How do I go about writing an effective business plan for a short film? Is there a website that will walk me through the process?

Cruzin4answers

Admin 24.10.2007. 15:56

According to the book ?The ABC's of Writing Winning Business Plans: How to Prepare a Business Plan That Others Will Want to Read -- and Invest In? http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446694150/powerhomebizguid by Garrett Sutton, below are some tips to make a winning business plan that can get funding:

- Money follows management. Investors look first at the people involved in the company. If you are just starting out and don?t have relevant experience, investors expect to see that you have an experienced team of advisors and employees helping you in the business.

- Make sure you ?sell? the one reason your business will become profitable.

- State clearly the strategies you will employ to get the word out about your business. Your business plan must show how you will leverage the Internet, public relations, viral marketing, and other strategies to attract customers.

- Present realistic estimates of the time, energy and costs of building a successful business. Do not underestimate or overestimate revenues. While investors know your numbers are simply guesses, they want to see that your numbers are within the ?range of reality.? Be careful of your financial statements: this is one area where you can easily lose credibility if presented poorly.

- Benchmark similar companies to show that you?ve done your homework and researched the market.

- Your Executive Summary is your calling card. If it is not a winner, investors may not even read your entire plan. Emphasize your own as well as your team?s track record in the Executive Summary.

- Before sending your business plan to lenders and investors, send it out first to a few in order to get feedback. You?d want to correct your plan if someone tells you that you?re way off mark, rather than have a potential investor tell it to you and lose the chance to get the funding you need.

Here are some resources that can help you write your business plan:

- SBA Business Plan Basics http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html
- PowerHomeBiz.com Creating a Business Plan section http://www.powerhomebiz.com/startup/businessplan.htm
- Entrepreneur.com Writing a Business Plan section http://www.entrepreneur.com/bizplan/0,7253,,00.html

You may also want to review some sample business plans to see how it actually looks like:

- Bplans.com http://www.bplans.com/sp/businessplans.cfm
- MOOT Corp Business Plan competition winners
http://www.businessplans.org/businessplans.html
- VFinance - View hundreds of real business plans in pdf format. http://www.vfinance.com/home.asp?bps=1&ToolPage=bps_main.asp
- Business Owners Toolkit Sample business plans and information on how to create a plan. http://www.toolkit.cch.com/tools/buspln_m.asp
- PlanWare Planning software and information. http://www.planware.org/
- Virtual Business Plan Walk through the design of a business plan. http://www.bizplanit.com/vplan.html
-SBA Business Planning Guide http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html
- Small Business Advancement Center http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/business_plan/businessPlan.pdf
- Sample Business Plan General planning guide created by the Canadian Business Service Center. http://www.cbsc.org/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=CBSC_FE/display&c=GuideFactSheet&cid
- Business Plans Index - A subject guide to sample business plans and profiles for specific business types from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. http://216.183.184.20/subject/business/bplansindex.html

Admin

Green1808 02.03.2007. 00:52

How do I become a Virtual Assistant? Does anyone know how I could get started as a Virtual Assistant? I'm interested in starting off slow, and am in no rush to do this, but I would love to get started in this career path so by the time I have children (in about 2-3 years) I can possible work from home and do what I'm great at.

I excel at almost all and any administrative tasks, and have been in the field for almost 7 years. I support a line of managers currently and do almost every type of project and admin task you could think of, so I have a lot of experience.

Basically, I would like to know if there is a way to get on board with this type of job and not have to pay $3K for some 'certificate' since I already have the experience to back it up.

Ideas/Feedback/advice? Thanks!

Green1808

Admin 02.03.2007. 00:52

I am also in the same field, just starting out also. I suggest just pick a couple of the administrative tasks you do really well and start with that., you can always add more services as your business grows. If your business does not have the necessary financial means at the moment, you can always get certified when it does at a later time. I did not get certified either since I do have 10 yrs. admin. experience myself.

Get yourself a website, even if it's just a simple one, get some business cards and NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!! Maybe send some information to some local offices or some non-profit organizations, churches or you can also join your local chamber of commerce. I also suggest you get this book, Virtual Assistant the Series, by Dianna Ennen and Kelly Poelker. This book has helped me a lot in putting this business together step by step, gives you great information on what you are going to need and ideas on what services Virtual Assistants are offering.

I hope this helps, good luck.

Admin

225921837 17.05.2011. 19:18

What websites could I sell my collection of sports cards on? I have a lot, so I don't want to have to pay fees to list each card. I also don't want to sell on eBay, amazon, checkoutmycards or any other places where they charge per card or take big commissions.

225921837

Admin 17.05.2011. 19:18

Any smaller sites you are looking for do not have nearly the membership or following as the 'BIG BOYS.' If such sites were popular and well known, you would not be asking this question.

As a seller, the most important thing you want to consider is the size of your potential market. A basic business tenet is, ?The greater the potential market, the greater the potential to maximum profits.? Then again, it all depends on what you want to buy and / or sell. Each fills a niche.

There isn?t another auction site on the web that can hold a candle to ebay and the close to 300 million of members it has. Many have tried and many have failed and yet, many are still trying. Ebay has a virtual lock on this business. This is where you want to sell as ebay has the largest potential market.

Your greatest potential market is eBay WORLDWIDE, not just the USA.

Yes, there are fees but you would not have access to this huge market had it not been for eBay. Reaching this market is part of what your fees are for. Try reaching 300 million people on your own and see what your costs will be. In short, there will ALWAYS be a cost of doing business, whether it be in money, time or both.

Admin

millylouise 21.07.2007. 23:00

How do you write a business plan for a startup? I wrote a business plan but I'm somewhat unsure whether it confirms to the accepted standards to go in front of a VC or a SBA-approved bank. Could you please show me how to write a business plan through a website, or give me some pointers from personal experience? Thank you in advance.

millylouise

Admin 21.07.2007. 23:00

According to the book ?The ABC's of Writing Winning Business Plans: How to Prepare a Business Plan That Others Will Want to Read -- and Invest In? http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446694150/powerhomebizguid by Garrett Sutton, below are some tips to make a winning business plan that can get funding:

- Money follows management. Investors look first at the people involved in the company. If you are just starting out and don?t have relevant experience, investors expect to see that you have an experienced team of advisors and employees helping you in the business.

- Make sure you ?sell? the one reason your business will become profitable.

- State clearly the strategies you will employ to get the word out about your business. Your business plan must show how you will leverage the Internet, public relations, viral marketing, and other strategies to attract customers.

- Present realistic estimates of the time, energy and costs of building a successful business. Do not underestimate or overestimate revenues. While investors know your numbers are simply guesses, they want to see that your numbers are within the ?range of reality.? Be careful of your financial statements: this is one area where you can easily lose credibility if presented poorly.

- Benchmark similar companies to show that you?ve done your homework and researched the market.

- Your Executive Summary is your calling card. If it is not a winner, investors may not even read your entire plan. Emphasize your own as well as your team?s track record in the Executive Summary.

- Before sending your business plan to lenders and investors, send it out first to a few in order to get feedback. You?d want to correct your plan if someone tells you that you?re way off mark, rather than have a potential investor tell it to you and lose the chance to get the funding you need.

Here are some resources that can help you write your business plan:

- SBA Business Plan Basics http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html
- PowerHomeBiz.com Creating a Business Plan section http://www.powerhomebiz.com/startup/businessplan.htm
- Entrepreneur.com Writing a Business Plan section http://www.entrepreneur.com/bizplan/0,7253,,00.html

You may also want to review some sample business plans to see how it actually looks like:

- Bplans.com http://www.bplans.com/sp/businessplans.cfm
- MOOT Corp Business Plan competition winners
http://www.businessplans.org/businessplans.html
- VFinance - View hundreds of real business plans in pdf format. http://www.vfinance.com/home.asp?bps=1&ToolPage=bps_main.asp
- Business Owners Toolkit Sample business plans and information on how to create a plan. http://www.toolkit.cch.com/tools/buspln_m.asp
- PlanWare Planning software and information. http://www.planware.org/
- Virtual Business Plan Walk through the design of a business plan. http://www.bizplanit.com/vplan.html
-SBA Business Planning Guide http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html
- Small Business Advancement Center http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/business_plan/businessPlan.pdf
- Sample Business Plan General planning guide created by the Canadian Business Service Center. http://www.cbsc.org/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=CBSC_FE/display&c=GuideFactSheet&cid
- Business Plans Index - A subject guide to sample business plans and profiles for specific business types from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. http://216.183.184.20/subject/business/bplansindex.html

Some recommended books are :

- Business Plans Kit for Dummies
- The Complete Book of Business Plans : Simple Steps to Writing a Powerful Business Plan
- Writing Business Plans That Get Results : A Step-By-Step Guide
- Business Plans For DummiesŪ
- Your First Business Plan : A Simple Question and Answer Format Designed to Help You Write Your Own Plan

Admin

dsafsdf S 17.10.2009. 16:46

will setting up UK virtual office affect my business taxes? My company is registered in Sweden but i am looking at adding UK business address without registering my business in UK just for image reasons (my company will look international and bigger this way).

Will this mean I need to pay some taxes in the UK? I would not use the UK address on any formal contracts or invoices, just on my website and business cards maybe.

dsafsdf S

Admin 17.10.2009. 16:46

No, if you do not conduct any business in the UK, there would be no UK tax bill.

Admin

dsafsdf S 17.10.2009. 16:47

Will setting up UK virtual office affect my business taxes? My company is registered in Sweden but i am looking at adding UK business address without registering my business in UK just for image reasons (my company will look international and bigger this way).

Will this mean I need to pay some taxes in the UK? I would not use the UK address on any formal contracts or invoices, just on my website and business cards maybe.

dsafsdf S

Admin 17.10.2009. 16:47

You need to address this to your Company Tax experts ...

HMRC (UK Tax office) is keen to stick Companies with Tax & VAT on all their UK business .. this could result in you being 'double taxed', however UK has a 'double taxation relief' agreement with Sweden ..

Admin

dsafsdf S 17.10.2009. 16:48

Will setting up UK virtual office affect my business taxes? My company is registered in Sweden but i am looking at adding UK business address without registering my business in UK just for image reasons (my company will look international and bigger this way).

Will this mean I need to pay some taxes in the UK? I would not use the UK address on any formal contracts or invoices, just on my website and business cards maybe.

dsafsdf S

Admin 17.10.2009. 16:48

You would be best advised to contact business link, a UK government organisation to help companies, they are very helpful.

It is not difficult to get a UK phone number via a service like vonage (a VOIP provider) or indeed a phone number in almost any country in the world.

An address might be another matter, will you be trading from this address?

I know of many places that house virtual offices, the facilities vary, but often include a mail drop and forward service.

Admin

Tom 29.01.2013. 11:29

How to receive payment through Merchant account without payment gateway? Hi guys, thanks for reading this thread!
I am trying to make my eBay selling account to accept credit cards payment.
I have upgraded my PayPal account to premier account and now it gives me a merchant ID, and there is a merchant account-credit card payment option on my ebay checkout, but without a payment gateway, eBay asks buyer to contact seller how to pay with a credit card.
And now I am confused, I don't want to pay for a payment gateway, because my sale volume is not that high, so the fees are expensive to me.
Bottom line, Now I have a merchant ID, how do I advice buyer to pay with a credit card?

Tom

Admin 29.01.2013. 11:29

A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments by payment cards, typically debit or credit cards. A merchant account is established under an agreement between an acceptor and a merchant acquiring bank for the settlement of payment card transactions. In some cases a payment processor, independent sales organization (ISO), or merchant service provider (MSP) is also a party to the merchant agreement. Whether a merchant enters into a merchant agreement directly with an acquiring bank or through an aggregator such as PayPal, the agreement contractually binds the merchant to obey the operating regulations established by the card associations.

A payment gateway is an e-commerce service that authorizes payments for e-businesses and online retailers. It is the equivalent of a physical POS (point-of-sale) terminal located in most retail outlets. A merchant account provider is typically a separate company from the payment gateway. Some merchant account providers have their own payment gateways but the majority of companies use 3rd party payment gateways. The gateway usually has 2 components: a) the virtual terminal that can allow for a merchant to securely login and key in credit card numbers or b) have the website's shopping-cart connect to the gateway via an API to allow for real time processing from the merchant's website.

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Admin

A$H 12.04.2006. 22:09

How I can put in my website options for my clients to pay from credit cards or other paying poptions? I want to put paying options in my website so my clients can buy on-line my products? I would apriciete if you would tell me where I can find a way to contact to the attorneys who offer this paying options. And if you know many ways of paying for my products I would apriciete if you would give me a complete list of paying options.

A$H

Admin 12.04.2006. 22:09

Well, I've looked into setting up a website before. It is more complicated than you may think. First off, there are alot of things that I can't answer for you because your statement is generic and I'm having to make some assumptions based on what you may or may not have.

If your selling products online, I assume your using some type of cart system. If you are, there may be specific payment gateways designed or setup for the system you allready have. You have to decide how much of the hassel you want in setting up a system. There are a multitude of e-commerce payment gateways in existence that are basically 3rd party groups that will handle everything. You just direct your customers to their payment site after they've picked the products or services that you are offering. One of the largest of these off the top of my head is Verisign. (Bought out by PayPal I belive). Go to the paypal site, I'm pretty sure they have a document you can get that explains how they operate. You have to remember that if you plan on hosting the site yourself ( and this is a feasible option ) that your the one responsible for all the hardware and software for the servers that you'll need, unless you plan on buying time from another server farm. It can be a large headache if your in charge of the portal and the software either crashes, isn't functioning properly or just isn't doing what you need. You'll be spending money on hardware and still have to know enough about software to correctely set it up and still maintian the necessary secure level of the server within the guidelines that most consumers have come to expect. As a personal choice I will never enter billing info into a site that is not a least compliant with SSL ( secure socket layer ) If your doing this yourself you have buy a certificate ( more money ) or hope the hosting site will let you use theirs. The drawback to using a third party company is they will want a larger share of your profits to offset the larger amount of work they will be doing for you. Also, when the client is getting billed they will see the 3rd part company as the payee instead of yourself which might increase chargebacks if they customer didn't realize who would be charging them. Check on ProPay as well for an additional 3rd party company if you decide to go this route.
A full merchant account is the opposite of this, it won't hit your bottom line as hard but you'll be doing more of the processing of the actual payments. Also, if your bottom line is stretched pretty thin or your online presence is still growing you might think about the 3rd party option, I think the merchant accounts are for larger e-commerce sites but that may have all changed. If you're on good relations with your local bank, you may want to check with them as well, as some banks offer this as a service. (They may less inclined depending on your status as a small business.) You can also just do a search for merchant accounts and get a long list of companies who provide this service. Unfortunately, I don't have any advice on who to choose for you there.
I'm not sure an attorney is your first choice, unless you get one who is familiar with all the ins and outs of e-commerce itself. I'd start by checking and comparing the merchant accounts with the 3rd party companies and decide which one fits your needs, your pocketbook and still leaves you time to try and sell whatever product you've got. Past the inital investment of getting your site setup to accept credit cards, you'll have to think about how to draw the average consumer into your virtual shop to buy.

Admin

himanshu g 04.10.2006. 18:13

How to make an Effective and short Business Plan? If you have to make a business plan for entering into a new market to sell your companies services and act as a profit center head of that particular office, what all points should be taken care of?

Is there any website available on the same?

himanshu g

Admin 04.10.2006. 18:13

According to the book ?The ABC's of Writing Winning Business Plans: How to Prepare a Business Plan That Others Will Want to Read -- and Invest In? http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446694150/powerhomebizguid by Garrett Sutton, below are some tips to make a winning business plan that can get funding:

- Money follows management. Investors look first at the people involved in the company. If you are just starting out and don?t have relevant experience, investors expect to see that you have an experienced team of advisors and employees helping you in the business.

- Make sure you ?sell? the one reason your business will become profitable.

- State clearly the strategies you will employ to get the word out about your business. Your business plan must show how you will leverage the Internet, public relations, viral marketing, and other strategies to attract customers.

- Present realistic estimates of the time, energy and costs of building a successful business. Do not underestimate or overestimate revenues. While investors know your numbers are simply guesses, they want to see that your numbers are within the ?range of reality.? Be careful of your financial statements: this is one area where you can easily lose credibility if presented poorly.

- Benchmark similar companies to show that you?ve done your homework and researched the market.

- Your Executive Summary is your calling card. If it is not a winner, investors may not even read your entire plan. Emphasize your own as well as your team?s track record in the Executive Summary.

- Before sending your business plan to lenders and investors, send it out first to a few in order to get feedback. You?d want to correct your plan if someone tells you that you?re way off mark, rather than have a potential investor tell it to you and lose the chance to get the funding you need.

Here are some resources that can help you write your business plan:

- SBA Business Plan Basics http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html
- PowerHomeBiz.com Creating a Business Plan section http://www.powerhomebiz.com/startup/businessplan.htm
- Entrepreneur.com Writing a Business Plan section http://www.entrepreneur.com/bizplan/0,7253,,00.html

You may also want to review some sample business plans to see how it actually looks like:

- Bplans.com http://www.bplans.com/sp/businessplans.cfm
- MOOT Corp Business Plan competition winners
http://www.businessplans.org/businessplans.html
- VFinance - View hundreds of real business plans in pdf format. http://www.vfinance.com/home.asp?bps=1&ToolPage=bps_main.asp
- Business Owners Toolkit Sample business plans and information on how to create a plan. http://www.toolkit.cch.com/tools/buspln_m.asp
- PlanWare Planning software and information. http://www.planware.org/
- Virtual Business Plan Walk through the design of a business plan. http://www.bizplanit.com/vplan.html
-SBA Business Planning Guide http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html
- Small Business Advancement Center http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/business_plan/businessPlan.pdf
- Sample Business Plan General planning guide created by the Canadian Business Service Center. http://www.cbsc.org/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=CBSC_FE/display&c=GuideFactSheet&cid
- Business Plans Index - A subject guide to sample business plans and profiles for specific business types from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. http://216.183.184.20/subject/business/bplansindex.html

Some recommended books are :

- Business Plans Kit for Dummies
- The Complete Book of Business Plans : Simple Steps to Writing a Powerful Business Plan
- Writing Business Plans That Get Results : A Step-By-Step Guide
- Business Plans For DummiesŪ
- Your First Business Plan : A Simple Question and Answer Format Designed to Help You Write Your Own Plan

Hope that the above resources help

Admin

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