Many small business owners today don’t realize the opportunity they have to turn their knowledge into an online business.
Often there is untapped potential just waiting to be harnessed into a whole new business venture.
As the owner of a small business you likely have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips from years of experiencing working in your industry.
This knowledge gives you an advantage over others because you already understand:
- The unique contact and friction points within the business
- The people in your industry
- What your customers need
- What your vendors need
- The universal industry specific problems that are experienced
- Industry inefficiencies
- Ways to save time
- Ways to save money
- Ideas about how to do things better
Your specialized knowledge could be turned into a lucrative online business. Let’s explore 4 ways you could make this happen.
1. Bring Buyers and Sellers Together
An online marketplace brings buyers and sellers together so they can do business. It allows customers to easily locate vendors based on certain criteria, such as location, reviews, ratings, feedback, expertise, etc.
The most common way to make money in an online marketplace is to charge a fee to businesses to be included in your online service/directory. Another viable alternative is to charge businesses a small commission fee on every transaction.
Other ways to monetize the system would include the following:
- Premium Listings – you could allow all businesses into the system for free but offer an upgraded premium listing that features the business above all the other free listings.
- If your knowledge is rare or proprietary, you may even be able to charge the buyer a fee to gain access to the information in the system, like Angie’s List used to do.
- Once your traffic is built up, you can sell advertising to product manufacturers or others interested in reaching your online community, but this will be a secondary income source and only possible after your site has good traffic.
2. Develop a Lead Generation Platform
Most small businesses have difficulty generating enough leads to expand and grow their businesses. If you are particularly good at lead generation, you could create an online lead service that generates leads for a particular industry and then sells them to other small businesses. There have been many successful companies that utilize this model such as BuyerZone.com, LeadGeneration.com, HomeAdvisor.com and other similar services.
These kinds of businesses are always in demand since small businesses usually don’t have adequate time or experience to develop robust marketing programs. This kind of service allows them to outsource that aspect of their business. In some industries these services are so in demand that there are multi-year long waiting lists just to get into the program. The same leads can be sold to 1-5 vendors at the same time, for a fixed fee.
3. Offer Standardized & Specialty Training Programs
With all of your specialized knowledge you could assemble an online training program for those in your industry to help them improve their game. Ideas for this training could include the following:
- Providing standardized technical online training for vendors
- Teaching other vendors how to market, sell and grow their businesses
- Offering access to staff training materials such as workbooks, quizzes, and the like
- Teaching through live and pre-recorded webinars
- Offering practical tips, advice and mentoring to apply the information to their own business
- Upselling customers to special VIP one-on-one coaching sessions
- Creating a “business in a box” for those getting into your industry that includes all the basic information they would need to know to get started
4. Improve Your Industry Through Specialized Software
With your industry knowledge you can build software that makes the day to day life easier for others in your industry, whether they be vendors, customers, or both. Included in this software you could:
- Make business processes more streamlined
- Consolidate information that was previously inconvenient to access or difficult to find
- Improve communication between customers and vendors
- Improve customer interactions so it’s easier, faster, and more convenient for customers
- Make it easier for customers to find and connect with vendors
- Remove location constraints and allow customers and vendors to do business online
- Remove time constraints and allow customers to set appointment, purchase, etc., anytime and anywhere.
Let Us Help You Turn Your Knowledge Into an Online Business
As you can see there are many ways to utilize what you know about your industry to create a profitable online business. Would you like to explore the above mentioned ideas or do you have an idea of your own?
Since 2003 we’ve built thousand of web based projects for customers all across the US. We can discuss your industry knowledge and give you expert insights into how to approach things. We can also explain how to drastically reduce your risks and increase your chances of success.
At ClearTech Interactive we provide end to end solutions from design, development, launch and marketing advice.
To receive a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your idea Request a Call or contact us at 727-562-5161 to find out what we can do for you.