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The SBC Small Business Newsletter

presented by the Peak Small Business Center



February 1, 2003

Table of Contents



Quote of the Week




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Quote of the Week

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

- Carl Bard



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Your computer is moving more slowly than molasses on a cold winter day and you wonder, is it your machine or is the Internet just slow right now? Well, now you can find out. Just hop on over to and see what's happening online on every continent. This is a really interesting site.

Staff Article

by: Cary Christian

If you've ever embarked on a major project for your company where achieving a decent return on investment quickly was important, you know the bone chilling fear such a situation can create.

If you're the owner of the company, miscalculation can ruin your business. If you're an employee, it can cost you your job and your reputation.

If only there were a way to be sure your return on investment would be good enough before you commit to the project.

Well, perhaps there is.

The good news is that the method I'm going to describe will be fairly accurate and does not require all the mind numbing analysis you normally think of when considering return on investment. Most analysis of this type is so heavily dependent on assumptions that it's useless anyway, so a shortcut that works is a real benefit.

The bad news is that there is no surefire method of guaranteeing ROI on a specific project. The method I'm going to give you, however, is an excellent predictor of success and involves just five simple factors. These concepts can be applied to almost any type of project, from software development to factory automation to new auditing methodologies. So here we go!

1. Pervasiveness - The more people using the new application or process being developed the greater the potential of realizing positive ROI quickly.

2. Automation of complex or expensive tasks - ROI is realized much more quickly if the project results in making it easier for employees to perform their most complex, and often most hated, tasks more easily. The same is true if the project produces measurable cost savings through automation of expensive tasks.

3. Importance of the subject matter of the project - The more critical the work is that is affected by the project, the easier it becomes to generate a solid ROI.

4. Collaboration - Projects that increase employee interaction with one another and facilitates their working more closely together generates greater value.

5. Reusability and cloning - If the product, knowledge or methodology created can be reused or used in other ways to better other processes, the project creates higher value, and thus, higher ROI.

If you find that these five factors apply to the subject matter of your project, it is highly likely that generating a decent return on investment is not going to be a problem. And you can make this determination very quickly and without making lots of assumptions and spending weeks crunching numbers to build a business case. Use it as a litmus test for every new project you consider. Then, if you must build a formal business case for the project, use these five factors to support it.

Time is money and simple evaluations like this one can save you tons of it!

Copyright (c) 2003

Guest Article


By Shelley Lowery

A network is a group of points or locations interlinked with specific paths. A network can be computers, people, web sites, or anything that is linked together to form a group.

Remember the old adage, "There is power in number?" You can utilize this power by developing a network of locations all promoting your products or services.

Web Sites

Networking your web sites in one of the best marketing strategies you can use. The concept is simple. Develop several web sites promoting similar products, and link them all together.

Let's say for example you have a web site that focuses on dogs and offers the following products:

Dog grooming course
Dog grooming supplies
Dog obedience training
Dog breeds guide
Dog show supplies

Rather than using one general site to market all these products, develop five separate targeted sites and create a network.

Your first step will be to register five separate domains, each targeting your products. Your domains might look something like this:

Selecting the right domain names is an essential part of developing your network. Your domain names should include your primary keyword phrase.

A keyword phrase is two or more words that best describe your web page. However, selecting the right keyword phrases can be a bit difficult. offers a free little software program that will assist you. Simply type in a keyword and the program will provide you with a list of additional keyword phrases.

Each site within your network should be strategically optimized for the Search Engines and solely focus on your primary keyword phrase.

For example, the dog grooming course site might provide visitors with free dog grooming tips, articles and advice. The dog grooming supplies site might provide visitors with tips on selecting a good grooming table, or tips on how to properly use clippers and scissors.

All of the content within each network site must be completely targeted to each site. This in-turn will drive highly targeted traffic to each site.

In addition, each site should also link to all the other sites. This can be accomplished by setting up a special link section within each site. Your link descriptions should be your primary keyword phrases:

Dog Grooming Course
Dog Grooming Supplies
Dog Obedience Training
Dog Breeds Guide
Dog Show Supplies

To get the most out of your network, consider publishing a generalized ezine that targets your main keyword. In this example, dogs. You can then set up a subscription form on each site and collect new subscribers from each.

Can you see how powerful a network can be? You're targeting several different keyword phrases, driving highly targeted traffic to each site, sharing the traffic with your other sites, and collecting email addresses from each.

Networking is not exclusive to web sites. You can use this same technique to network all of the following:


When marketing similar products, develop a network by promoting all of the products within each individual product. For example, within each of the above dog products, we would promote all of the other products.

Free Ebooks

Free ebooks offer a great way to promote your products. For example, each of the dog sites above could offer a different free ebook that provides tips, articles and advice that targets their specific audience. In addition, each of these ebooks should promote the sites and the other ebooks to create a network.

Autoresponder Courses

Autoresponder courses not only provide your visitors with great free content, but they also provide you with a great opportunity to promote your web sites and products. For example, the dog sites can each offer a different autoresponder course. Each of these courses should also promote the sites and the other courses.

Affiliate Sites

Just as you can network your own products and web sites, you can also network affiliate products that target your market. This technique involves registering a domain name for a handful of targeted affiliate programs, developing customized affiliate pages, and setting up your sites just as you would for your own products.

Although this article provides some basic networking techniques, it's far from complete. Networking is one of the most powerful marketing strategies used on the Internet. Use your imagination and develop a networking plan for your business. It will be well worth your time and effort.

Copyright Shelley Lowery 2003. All Rights Reserved


About the Author:

Shelley Lowery is the author of several successful ebooks including Web Design Mastery - An in-depth guide to professional web design. Ebook Starter - A Complete Ebook Design Kit, and eZines: A Complete Guide to Publishing for Profit. Subscribe to Etips and receive a free copy of her highly acclaimed ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies."

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