Facebook Business Pages Demystified for Business Owners

Facebook is so popular that business owners can simply no longer consider it a site only appropriate for socializing and game playing. In fact, in September 2010, Facebook surpassed Google in regards to the amount of time users spent on their site. Facebook states that users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook!

With 500 million active users, Facebook is the new behemoth on the Web. With its popularity across diverse age groups, integrated email application, and new Bing search integration, a Facebook user may simply no longer need to visit Google for Web searches or log off to use an email application. They may be able to experience the Web fully all from inside Facebook. With more than 50% of the active users logging into Facebook every day, according to Facebook, Facebook is now so important to your potential customers’ lives that it make sense for you as a business owner to have a presence where your prospects are hanging out on a daily basis.

Let’s clear up a few things that have confused business owners about Facebook. First, a Business Page is not to be confused with a personal profile. They are two separate entities and offer different options and ways to interact with friends and colleagues.

Are Facebook Busines Pages also called Fan Pages?

Many of you that have been using Facebook for a while will remember that Facebook used to call Business Pages – Fan Pages. Additionally, it used to be that someone “fanned you”. Now they “like you”. Don’t get confused in thinking that a Fan Page is a different product than a Business Page they are one in the same.

All Facebook Pages start with the set up of a personal Facebook profile. That’s right, a personal profile! You can’t just jump to Page set up. The email address and name you use for your personal profile must be one tied to a person and not a catchall email like info. Remember, that if you have an employee set up the personal profile portion for your Page, that you don’t want them to tie the new account to an email that you will not have access to if they leave the company. If they do so and leave your employ, you could lose access to your Facebook Page, all of your accumulated fans, and information without recourse.

For set up I typically recommend that one of company owners create a new email address specifically for Facebook set up. Once you have set up the personal Facebook profile, you are ready to get started. But, don’t take time to add information like education other details in this special account unless you plan on using it for your own personal use. You are just setting up this account to have a platform to launch and access your new Facebook Page. While logged in to your new personal account, visit the Facebook Business Page Link. It will take you to the Facebook Business Page creation tool to actually create your new page.

On the right side of the creation page select under the heading the “Official Page” and mark “Create a Page for a:” and then finally select “local business”. Enter your page name and then tick the box next to the statement that says you are a legal company representative and allowed to own the page. It is important to understand that the name you choose for the title of your Facebook Page will appear at the top of your finished page.

I recommend using proper spelling and no use of hyphens or underscores in your selected name. It used to be we had to enter hyphens or the spaces would show as non-HTML characters in the page name and URL, but Facebook has grown beyond that need now. For example, enter in “My Comapny Name” (note the proper use of spacing and capitalization), not “My-Company-Name”. This name will appear in your new Page URL as well. Once you click create, the next page you see will be your brand new Facebook Page. It is that simple. Later after you’ve had 25 people “Like” your page you will be able to select a vanity URL, but we’ll talk about that later.

Do my personal updates show on my Business Page?

After you have set up your Facebook Page, you can “lock down” your personal profile that was used to launch your Page. To do so, just you alter the privacy settings in the personal account to not show your personal information to others who are not “approved” friends.

When Facebook was first created many business owners including myself, started with a Facebook personal profile for their business. Now that Facebook has created Pages, you can easily change the privacy settings on your old personal profile to funnel your business traffic to your new Facebook Page keeping your old personal profile now just for family and close friends.

When you change the privacy settings on the personal profile attached to your Business Page, it does not impact who can view information about your Business Page. Just as equally, if you post pictures of your kids on your Facebook personal profile that is the launch pad for your Business Page, and you have your personal profile limited to “friends only”, your kids’ photos will not appear on the wall of your Business Page.

Why exactly would a business owner want a Business Page and not just use a personal profile?

Several reasons to have a Facebook Business Page are: the ability to contact all people who “Like” or who “Fan” you with newsletter type notes with one click, interact with discussion questions like a forum, set up events and invite fans to attend, and even create specialized welcome and shopping pages. Your Business Page can almost be a mini website!

Creating your Business Page vanity URL

Once you have 25 people that have clicked that they “Like” your Business Page, you can select a short easy to remember name to use to promote it on your website and business card. You can have vanity URLs for both your personal account and Business Page.

It is very important to understand that once you have selected your vanity URL you will not be able to change the name, so select carefully. Best practice tips for keeping your new Facebook Business Page updated.

No one wants to be spammed, but sometimes new Business Page owners get excited and post what seems like a constant flow of information on their wall. It is important to understand that what you post on your wall is posted on the wall of the people who have clicked “Like” on your page. We encourage our clients, when they are doing status updates themselves, to be courteous and post about twice a day. Facebook is not Twitter and so 5 to 10 status updates a day could get you blocked or hidden by fans when they feel you have inundated their wall with your daily or hourly updates.

Conclusion

I hope that this white paper has helped to introduce you to Facebook Business Pages in a way that helps you to feel that you can easily set on up and have fun doing it. If you haven’t set up your own Facebook Business Page, now’s the time to consider setting one up. Facebook is only getting more popular and is actively seeking to woo the business community into their portal with demographic based pay per click advertising and the new integrating search with Bing.com.

Why Some of the Best Home Based Businesses Fail

Home business is a worthy pursuit if it is really a business and is really conducted from home. People may enter a home business for income, for satisfaction, as an exercise in inventor entrepreneurship, for relationships, or just because they have time on their hands. Many who launch a home business, are motivated by a single incentive, and may soon discover that costs (financial, time, emotional, or relationship), or the lack of inspiration or skill outweigh whatever advantages had been perceived at the outset and the business fails. Assuming there is a strong driving incentive to begin a home business, which in itself should be enough to ensure ongoing success, let’s discuss some of the fundamental reasons home businesses fail.

In their zeal to begin a home business, people often overlook very complex but fundamental interrelationships between several basic factors that contribute to business success. While a business has many factors that influence success, they can be lumped into three general categories Money, Skill and Satisfaction. There are zones of overlap among these elements as suggested by a Venn diagram. Where elements overlap, there is an area of convergence. The “Sweet Spot” is the zone where all three dimensions of a work environment, Money, Skill and Satisfaction, intersect and work together to produce something beneficial that none of the elements possesses individually. Like fire, which requires heat, fuel and air to burn, so a business Sweet Spot exists when its needs, the heat of qualification (skill), is applied to the fuel of compensation (financial reward), and is supplied with the air of gratification (inspiration and aspiration) to sustain its growth.

Thus, the Sweet Spot for a home business is the appropriate balanced supply of all the vital elements. One or even two is not enough.

• Compensation – (Fuel of business profitability) Will the thing you’re doing produce sufficient income for your business, you, and your dependents to prosper, or is it financial black hole that consumes resources?

• Qualification – (Heat of skill) Are you good at what you do? Does your skill distinguish you from others? Can you manage money, and utilize it to make more and do other valuable things?

• Gratification – (Air of inspiration) Are you motivated to keep at it, no matter what? How much do you like what you’re doing? Are you happy, contributing, satisfied and do you gain a sense of self-worth for your actions? Is all the effort worth it?

The larger the Sweet Spot, the higher the probability a business will flourish. Moreover, a large Sweet Spot, can transform a mundane working career into a blazing life of enrichment and commitment. It is vital to understand the economic makeup of your business, the skill set needed to be successful and how much love you need for the business to persevere to overcome the rough spots.

Each element is vital and must be present in sufficient quantities for the Sweet Spot to exist and expand. As any one of the primary elements increases, the balance is upset and other elements limit expansion of the Sweet Spot. And, because each of the three primary elements, Compensation, Qualification, and Gratification are essential factors, and cannot be substituted for one another. For example, a boatload of sincerity cannot overcome insufficient cash flow or skill deficiencies. Each must match the level of the others for growth to occur.

For a successful home business, ask yourself:

1. Am I going to be adequately Compensated? – Can I afford this business? Even If I can successfully start a business, do I have enough financial resource to keep going until the business is sustainable on its own sales? Without fuel, the fire will die.

2. Am I or can I become Qualified? – Do I know the business, its methods, its disciplines and requirements for success? Without the heat of skill to use the fuel, the fire will die.

3. Am I going to be sufficiently Gratified? – Do I love what I do in the business? Is it fun and energizing or is it an emotional drag? Does it reflect integrity or will I be embarrassed to be associated with it? Do I feel safe or am I anxious? Will my business cost me my family, my friends, my reputation or my fortune? If so, the price is too high and gratification will not be achievable. The fresh air of inspiration and commitment will leave and even though there are the other essential elements of heat and fuel available, the fire will die.

In summary, some of the best home based businesses fail because people don’t understand and respond to the complex interrelationships of basic business elements of Compensation, Qualification, and Compensation. Find a business that allows you to properly balance the three fundamentals that form the Sweet Spot for you. It takes work, heart, vision, and resources but it can prevent the failure of your home business.

There are other overlaps or points of convergence between fundamental elements that need to be acknowledged in their own right as important interrelationships. These can be mistaken for the Sweet Spot. What does it mean when you have two but not all three? We will discuss them more completely in subsequent articles.

A Guide to Writing a Business Plan

Aspects to Include in the Business Plan

Obviously, every business is a bit different, thus every business plan will be different. However, there are certain aspects that do not change with business plans – certain steps that remain the same no matter what “type” of business you’re starting. The first set-in-stone standard of a business plan is the “Executive Summary.” In this section, you will briefly illustrate what your plan entails in no more than two pages. This is the “jump of the page” part of the business plan that most investors find either the selling point of the turning away aspect of your plan. There are four essential sections in the executive summary that investors are looking for:

1. What makes your business idea unique and original and gives you a leg up over similar businesses.
2. What level of experience do you and your team/staff bring to the table? Also, what sort of dealings have you had with your target audience, and how do you expect to make your business succeed.
3. Have you illustrated how your business will do financially, and will or won’t your business be viable for investors involved.
4. When and how will investors receive repayment, and/or when can the investor exit with a nice return on their initial investment.

The executive summary should also include: Details of the business/owners names and addresses; Product and service details, as well as customer (niche) details; Target market and competition summary; Amount of money invested by you; and the amount of money sought after by you from investors.

After the executive summary, you need to formulate a “Table of Contents.” This will list the main sections and page numbers in your business plan. Basically, this makes it easier to find the details investors seek throughout the text. This may seem trivial, but an accurate and well-written TOC is important in a business plan.

After the TOC, a business plan needs an “Objectives, Aims, and Vision” section to illustrate your reason for starting the business and where you expect your business to go in the future. You also need to illustrate what your goals will be if and when the business is successful. It is important for investors to know whether you’re starting the business for an investment and then planning to flee with your earnings, or if you’re going to keep a business for a prolonged duration. Try to visualize where you want your business to go, and carefully implement your objectives, aims and vision into your business plan. Make it creative, exciting, and always as well-written as possible.

The next aspect your business plan needs to include is the “Business Description and Purpose” section. This will describe exactly what it is your business does. With this section, you need to be as descriptive as possible. Also, include how your products and/or services offered are better than what competitors are offering out there. Make sure you include reasons why customers would choose your business over another. Approach this section as if you’re writing a mission statement, and carefully summarize the entire purpose of your business. Investors want to know everything about your business, so never be shy in telling them.