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How to build a profitable long-term web business

A Singapore Chinese style roast meat food stall was sold for $4 million (about US$3.1 million) last week, about $500,000 than its initial asking price.

The stall, Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint, set up in the 1970s, by Ha Wai Kay, 64, and his wife Betty Kong, 68, is an instutition of sorts in the Paya Lebar area in Eastern Singapore.

They have sold the business, which includes a shophouse unit valued at $2.1 million, to a listed company, Aztech Holdings.

Kay Lee’s owners had set off talk in the food and beverage industry in 2012 when they first named their $3.5 million asking price because food stalls typically aren’t sold. They’re either handed to the owners’ children or closed when the owners retire.

Betty said she gave up her career as a clothes designer 40 years ago to help her husband with his Cantonese-style roast meat business which includes it’s signature dish char siew, as well as roast duck and roast pork.

The lesson is that building a business with a long-term focus can yield handsome dividends. With the $4 million selling price, the couple can expect to retire comfortably, assuming they don’t start another business venture.

In the online marketing world, with the near-instant nature of setting up a website and selling products within a couple of hours, there may be a tendency to build “pop up” type businesses that are trend-focused without a clear idea of its long-term prospects.

I think most marketers, including myself, start off with arbitrage businesses – running campaigns with a priority on generating sales, then profit. Thinking of how to grow the business comes later when you’re not showing losses as you pay your “school fees”.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve developed my Mindware Recode Foundations workshop which I’ll be launching later this week.

Planning and having in place a blueprint that you can follow means starting and growing an online business will be less haphazard and random than it would normally be.

With a focus on researching various verticals, designing and positioning your business so that you have a clear idea of where you want to be, it reduces some of the time and capital that would otherwise be wasted trying to figure out what you want to do and to find something that works.

Through a 10-week cycle, I’ll be going through the process of how I research new ideas, do due diligence on products and services in the space, then decide how I either promote the services as an affiliate or develop my own product. From there I’ll also be covering traffic generation (paid and free), campaign analytics and optimization.

I’ll be showing how I apply the techniques to launching and growing a new series of products and will also be helping participants roll out their own online businesses too.

The class will be held weekly for 10 weeks, starting this week and will be held over video conferencing and will also have a discussion forum.

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