Hi there. I just need some feedback from everyone regarding an idea I've had for awhile. I'm wanting to create custom templates for MS Excel. I would have a website where people can come and download basic templates for free. I would also offer to do custom templates for a very low fee. I know there are a ton of web sites on the net that do this. I would be targeting small businesses that can't afford the high prices that some web sites charge. I don't expect to become rich doing this. I'm just wanting to do it part-time to earn some extra cash. I have a friend who makes custom templates for MS FrontPage and he is doing very well for himself. He started in his basement doing it part-time. Now he's got an office with 5 employees and business is booming. What do you think? Is it worth even considering? Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.
#1. "RE: Creating custom excel templates" In response to Reply # 0
With a website business the focus isn't on how great your product or service is, but how well you can market the website. The biggest obstacle is generating the traffic to your site. You need to focus just as much on optimization and marketing as on the product itself. If customers can't find you then you end up sitting on a great product that no one is buying.
So, yes, there likely is a need for your excel templates, but can you develop a website that will be able to compete with the myriad of other sites out there? Pick your friend's brain to learn how he marketed his business. If he started in the early years of the www he likely had the advantage of jumping in early in the game. It is much more difficult now to break in and develop a meaningful presence. But it's still being done all the time, so go for it.
#2. "Find the niche markets" In response to Reply # 0
I think that it's a possibility. One suggestion... if you are going to market small businesses in general, make sure that the templates are grouped around niche businesses.
i.e. Catering business templates, florist templates, photographer's templates.
You might be able to go to a local small business in a niche market and ask them what you could do for them for free... any help that they want / need? With the understanding that what you develop free for them will be on your site either free or for sale. That way you can get information about a market without already being the expert in it.
#3. "RE: Creating custom excel templates" In response to Reply # 0
Doing it right it's well worth considering. But think about your business model. If you stick with the Web based model make sure to use anything to get recognized.
Create a theme blog to publish daily your tips, tricks, ideas, code samples and anything related. Make sure to link your blog to your Web site.
Participate actively in forums and the two related news groups. Show people what you can and tell them in an appropriate way who you are.
Summarize what you read in the news groups and forums and provide solutions for the hottest topics. Either provide a template that solves a problem or publish your solution for a specific problem in your blog.
However, I would not count too much on the Web based business model. Let the local businesses know that you are here and what you are doing. Visit them, spread flyers, place an ad in your local news paper and tell all your friends what you are doing. I'm sure you will soon get some work to do.
#4. "RE: Creating custom excel templates" In response to Reply # 0
If you are familiar with inventory and accounting, you could probably make a lot of money selling sets of templates on ebay. ALWAYS make sure you have a clear disclaimer that resell rights ARE NOT included.