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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 21, 2006 / 21 Adar, 5766

Converting an idea to moneymaker

By Marty Nemko

Nemko
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | You've got an idea for a new business. Alas, ideas are a dime a dozen. Here's how to turn your concept into a moneymaker.

Let's say your idea is an online service that matches mentors with protégés. You figure that most people wish they had a mentor, but rarely find one. And other people enjoy being mentors, but nobody's asking. So why not create an online mentor/protégé matching service? After all, if match.com and eharmony.com make millions of dollars matching romantic partners, why not a service to match those seeking a mentor with those wanting to be one?

The first step in developing any new business is to research the competition. Start easy: Google. In this case, I googled phrases such as "mentoring organizations" and "mentoring services." And then "adult-to-adult mentoring" and "mentoring between adults" Not one led me to the kind of mentor/protégé matching service I had in mind.

Using my web browser, I typed in "mentormatch.com, "mentormatcher.com, and mentorfinder.com. None of them turned up anything similar to my idea.

That made me nervous. If my idea is so good, why is no one doing it? So, if I were seriously pursuing MentorMatch, my next step would be to phone the directors of some mentoring programs and ask why they hadn't developed an online matching program.

I probably wouldn't bother trying to get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Often, they won't sign, or doing so makes them more suspicious of me and therefore withholding of information. I believe the risk of their stealing an idea is small. Over the years, I've found that rarely will someone go through much effort to implement an idea that wasn't theirs. And worst case, if they steal it, I will have, with no effort, gotten one of my ideas for improving the world implemented without my having to do any work. There's no shortage of good ideas. I'll come up with others.

If my research uncovered other mentor/protégé matching services, my next step would be to incorporate their best features into MentorMatch. To that end, I'd dig around each competitor's site and at the most impressive ones, I'd enroll as a mentor or protégé so I can experience it first-hand. I'd ask fellow mentors and protégés on the site what they like and don't like about the service and for suggestions on how to improve it. I'd incorporate the best ideas into MentorMatch.

Assuming my inquiries didn't yield a fatal flaw in MentorMatch, I'd develop a low-risk prototype -nothing fancy, just enough to assess the concept's promise. I'd find a programmer who had worked on creating a dating website. I'd opt for the programmer of a simple site rather than one who worked on match.com, which probably was created by a team of high-priced programmers.

I'd try the prototype on two dozen friends and colleagues, perhaps using Zoomerang.com, a site that allows you to conduct online surveys. I'd beg my guinea pigs, "Tell me the truth. Do you really like MentorMatch? How would you improve it? How much would you really pay to use it? Better I should know now that you think it's worthless than after I've sunk a lot more money into it." If my friends were genuinely excited about the prototype, I'd develop an improved version and then, rather than try to drive traffic to the site, try to sell it to sites that already had career-related traffic, for example, monster.com, careerbuilder.com, or USNews/career.

But what if I wanted to start a business selling a product, for example, hand-made pottery? I wouldn't just sell my own pottery because that would probably require me to be producing pots nonstop leaving no time for the all-important sales and marketing. Besides, I wouldn't be able to offer a wide enough selection.

So, my first step would be to find a few other potters that produced good quantities of commercial work who would be willing to let me sell their pottery on consignment, and on which they'd get 50 percent of the sales price and I'd get 50 percent. Most artisans hate sales and marketing, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find willing potters.

With my stable of fine and compliant potters in tow, I'd pilot-test different vehicles for selling: Ebay, a website I'd create, and wholesaling to pottery stores and websites. I wouldn't invest much in any approach until I had empirical evidence they work.

To prepare to sell on EBay, I'd read Lissa McGrath's 20 Questions to Ask before Selling on EBay. To create and host my site, I'd use Yahoo Store (www.store.yahoo.com.) or an EBay Store (www.ebaystores.com.) For tips on how to get a site to appear high on Google and Yahoo! searches, see http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters. To drive additional traffic to my site, I'd buy pay-per-click ads from Google but be alert for click fraud (competitors constantly clicking on your ad so you owe Google a fortune and therefore go out of business.)

To identify bricks-and-mortar stores to sell to, I'd look up "pottery" in my local Yellow Pages. (Delivery costs are lower if I stay local. If I'm successful locally, I'll later expand to more distant stores. ) To identify websites that sell pottery, I'd google "pottery." In making deals with those pottery sites, I'd agree to drop ship; that is, the site would forward orders to me and I'd fulfill them.

I'd carefully monitor which sales channels and products were profitable, and starting two or three months later, drop the unproductive ones and increase my investment in the moneymakers.

Takeaways

1. Start by researching the competition. Googling, a few phone calls, and perhaps in-person visits, can yield plenty information fast and free.

2. Don't worry too much about others stealing your idea. Usually, the benefit of getting their reactions to your idea is worth the risk.

3. Don't be deterred just because you find similar businesses. Adopt the best features of your competitors, perhaps adding your own. That will make your business concept best-in-class. If you implement and market it well, you'll do fine.

4. Test your idea inexpensively.

5. You'll probably end up making more money by not opening a bricks-and-mortar store, and instead, selling on EBay and on your own search-engine-optimized site, and wholesale to other sites and brick-and-mortar stores.

6. In two to three months, start culling your least successful products, and sales and marketing approaches, and increase your investment in the winners.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

400+ of Dr. Nemko's published writings are on www.martynemko.com. Comment by clicking here.

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