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Advice on Starting a Business

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HI there!, I am in the process of starting my own business, and I am searching around for cheap commercial land

but also for some advice for a newbie when starting a business. I have some capital behind me,

but need some help with 1. how to advertise 2. how to attract traffic 3. Is it better to rent commercial land or buy outright?

I am also considering whether I should go into business with someone else (i.e hire or share)



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it mainly depends on what you are selling. if its a commodity, the best thing is to have a wider product range before opening a physical store in SL.  You can start on the marketplace. 

For advertising, you can post pics on flickr, get onto websites like plurk where you will find many people from the SL community.  You could also talk to a few bloggers or start your own blog and share your link around.

if you want a business partner, just make sure that he is reliable and trustworthy.  

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Probably a late reply from me, but here goes...

First off, Mylie already mentioned a few solid points to consider, and in more detail than I would have been able to do as I had no idea about Plurk for example.

Second, the question about land (rent or buy); flat-out buying basically still means you're renting, from Linden Labs, with real-cash payments.
The tier system for buying land this way isn't -too- bad, but if at any point your real-world monthly cashflow hits a hill (bank's computer throwing in the towel just when your income is supposed to hit the bank, something else in your RL suddenly needing more cash more urgently than your SL, stuff like that) then your SL premium account (you'll need premium to "own" land this way in SL) will be sort of put on hold by Linden Labs until payment is made.

Renting land from other residents can sometimes be cheaper, will often be priced at around the same value (except translated into L$), and in some cases someone is just out for profit which means it'll be more expensive in those cases.
There are quite a a few reputable, solid SL realtors about, just as there are others that put the mob's loansharks to shame, not to mention that there still are some who'll take your payment, but suddenly pack up and dissapear (have had this happen myself long ago on an old account of mine, so I know from experience that it can really kill off even the most solid business plans when almost litterally someone sweeps the ground from under you in that sense).

So... buy or rent, it's still something worth thinking about, "buying" directly from Linden Labs offers the security that you won't get swindled by some shady type, but renting from one of the better realtors out there pretty much does the same, and might even work out a bit cheaper than "buying".

Third, how to advertise/attract traffic...
Advertising can be done in many ways, you can hire people for "word-of-mouth"-advertising (or, given the nature of SL, maybe "text-of-fingers" would fit better).
You might have some friends or another group in SL that you're already involved with, who might be able to spread word of your business.
You could also look at advertising places/companies, two names that come to mind are SecondAds and Bletaverse, but there's many more of these companies in SL where you can buy advertising space on billboards/adboards for just a few cents' worth of L$, another.
And, depending on what type of business you start, you might be able to organize some events in your place of business, with some contest or something, and get some DJ's at clubs to put the word out about that event.
In fact, there was one DJ who played at a club I used to go to a while back who ended up advertising a small event that I used to run for a store that I was setting up back then (but which never really took off), out of the kindness of his heart... if you're visiting clubs in SL and actually get friendly with some of the staff (I'm talking sincere friendly, not "convenience-friendly") you might be surprised at just how willing some of those people are to help spread the name of your business.

As for pulling in traffic... well, advertising hopefully does its part in that, but a lot - especially early on in your business - will come from the crowds that you move around in yourself, or that any staffmembers move around in.
Also, another form of advertising is the type that Linden Labs itself provides right in the viewer; the "personals" section (or however it's called again... I'm thinking it's personals, but my memory is rusty on that point).
This is an often overlooked type of advertising, because (at least from how I remember it being when I last used it myself long ago) it's basically a free-for-all, you could start out cheap with an advertisement on there, but any others who paid more for their ads would push down the cheaper personals ads, so if you got lucky and got an ad on the first page with a cheap payment, two hours later you'd likely be on page 9 or further down... still, if some people were looking for what you're selling, and no competitors show up higher in the listings than your ad, page 9 still beats no page when you get found that way :P

Fourth... honesty is a good thing, and you're able to honestly state that you're a "newbie", but with some capital behind you...
However, despite there being plenty good people out here, it only takes one greedy shark to ruin your business adventure early on.
And those types love fresh meat with cash, bluntly said... so don't advertise that too much, and always keep an eye open for any fishy offers.
That's not really critisism towards you; as said, honesty is a good thing, as is trying to find out how to do stuff well enough rather than just plunging in blindly.
It's more a little piece of general advise, and a bit of a segway into the question of whether you should go into business with someone.

The right business partner can do wonders, the wrong one can rob you blind faster than a politician can twist his own words.
If you do go into business with someone, I'd say initially a setting where you hire them is best; this way, you determine mostly how much you're risking on them, and you can always change to sharing if they prove themselves enough for you to be comfortable with.
That said, others can and likely will bring up very valid points for the opposite situation, it's just how I see it.

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