Information and Resources for Solopreneurs

Five Fundamental Realities of Small Business Online

Written By: Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell) in Ken's Blog | December 30, 2007
Ken’s Blog

One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Robert Ringer, a mass-market libertarian of sorts, who affected much of my thinking as a young man. To this day, I often find myself not only using his ideas/philosophies, but remembering that the concepts came from him.

This particular Ringer dictum has stuck with me as a guiding light since I first read it…

Reality isn’t the way you wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are. Either you acknowledge reality and use it to your benefit, or it will automatically work against you.

Copyright (c) 2007 by Tortoise Press, Inc.
Reprinted by permission of Robert Ringer (

As we approach 2008, and take stock of the last 12 months, what better time to do a reality check and acknowledge what is happening with small business on the Net?

E-business is still immature and confusing, even though we are well into the 2nd decade of online business. Hucksters and false experts abound at every level.

You can chase the gurus for “the secret to success.” Or seek out the magical Search Engine Optimizer (“SEOer”) who can “get you to the top at the engines.” Or you can depend on your local Webmaster who talks so far over your head you have no way of knowing if he’s competent or not (but you may be wondering why your site gets so little free traffic from Google, Yahoo! and Live).

Or… you can take responsibility for your life and future, apply your own good common sense and make changes that empower you to finally use the Web in a logical, effective way. Simply put…

Recognize reality, act on that basis, and you will finally “get the Net.”

Let’s start by dispelling one common myth…

It is not hard to put up a Web site. Any monkey can put up a site and “be found” for the name of the company and products. You don’t need a Web site to enable customers who already know you, to find you (although it’s nice to have a special area for them).

Rather, you need a Web site to grow your business with people who’ve never heard of you before, whether your business is as local as a dentist’s or as global as a software company’s. So The First Fundamental Reality of Small Business Online is…

Most of the world does not know you. Use your Web site to grow your business.

Use the Web to infuse your customer list with high volumes of new blood, to find brand new audiences, to reach clients in corners of the world who would otherwise never know you.

And that brings us to The Second Fundamental Reality of Small Business Online. It’s about how and why people use the Web…

People search for “content.”

Lock that in fully. It changes everything.

“Content” is information, whether it’s being used for a university project by your daughter or in search of a cure for the type of cancer that your uncle has. It may be found during a quest for the perfect golf swing, research on the best planting mix for cacti, or while planning for a vacation. Whatever the purpose of the consumer of content…

Your site’s job is to deliver that content, not to sell (we will, though, get to that part later). You must meet your pre-customer at “the point of search.” Deliver the content s/he wants and your site will greet (at no cost to you) tens, then hundreds, then thousands of visitors every day, real people who will be interested in you and your business, but who likely had never heard of you before.

Yes, you could advertise on Google. And it’s a good adjunct if you have a high-profit product or service to sell (and if you have the resources to assign an in-house person to this or to hire expensive outside consultants). But, even if you can figure out how to buy Google ads profitably, here’s The Third Fundamental Reality of Small Business Online…

If you don’t generate your own, free, targeted traffic, you don’t own your business.

So folks who “do” eBay? All they really have is a job (working for eBay) because eBay owns the traffic. The e-auctioneers are subject to regularly increasing prices and restricting practices. Ditto if you depend on traffic through advertising. And the same goes for any company that is not generating its own targeted traffic…

You are missing the incredible diversity of new pre-customers whom you could be reaching by building high-value content that people want. And you are squandering the power of providing the “Web 2.0 means” for them to build content for you on your site and spread your brand and business virally to yet more people in your target market(s).

Why “high-value content”? That brings us to The Fourth Fundamental Reality of Small Business Online…

OVERdeliver what your visitors wants. PREsell, then monetize.

PREselling through high-value content warms up that “first good impression.” Remember, they found you, so they start off in a favorable frame of mind. Convert that into an interested and motivated sensation that wants to know more about you, this person/company who is such a special provider of top-notch information.

Whether you sell widgets or propagate rare tortoises, someone is looking for information related to your business. “Give, then take.” PREsell, then sell. Only after you PREsell can you monetize. And that brings us to the exchange of goods and services for dollars and The Fifth Fundamental Reality of Small Business Online…

Online, you are not what you sell. You are the content you provide.

Offline, we tend to define ourselves by how we monetize. We’re doctors or we sell widgets or we do MLM or we’re journalists. Online, that translates into creating content sites about your medical speciality, about your widgets, about part of the product line of the MLM you represent, or about writing and selling articles to the media. You monetize last. Let’s summarize this into…

Content Traffic PREsell Monetize

And the good news is… it’s simple to do. Not easy. Simple. Why not “easy?”

The Internet does not, contrary to popular belief, suspend long-standing basic realities. Apples still fall to ground. And it still takes effort to build a real business. So here’s why it’s simple-but-not-easy…

Once you recognize the reality of C T P M, you can act upon it.

Shed the lure of false gurus and magical SEOers and the Get Rich Quick artists (none of it is real and lasting). It’s not about getting a site up “cheap quick easy” (a message that the large Web hosts would have you believe). It’s about building a real and lasting business.

Focus on the realities of building an online business that grows long-term, evergrowing profits. Do that and you will indeed multiply the profits and equity value of your company in 2008!

All the best,

Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)
Ken Evoy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of SiteSell Inc. He is the creator of SBI!, SiteSell's comprehensive Web business-building system. Ken is also a successful inventor, author, and emergency physician. He feels strongly that solopreneurs can be empowered by leveraging their income building potential online.
Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)

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