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1. Conduct a personal evaluation

“Know yourself, and work in a job that caters to your strengths. This knowledge will make you happier.”

– Sabrina Parsons

Begin by taking stock of yourself and your situation:

  • Why do you want to start a business? Is it money, freedom and flexibility, to solve a problem, or some other reason?
  • What are your skills?
  • What industries do you know about?
  • Do you want to provide a service or a product?
  • What do you like to do?
  • How much capital do you have to risk?
  • Will it be a full-time or a part-time venture?

Your answers to these types of questions will help you narrow your focus.

This step is not supposed to dissuade you from starting your own business. Rather, it’s here to get you thinking and planning. In order to start a successful business, passion alone isn’t enough.

You need to plan, set goals, and above all, know yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How will these affect day-to-day operations? You could conduct a SWOT analysis on yourself to figure this out.

As you get started, your business will likely dominate your life so make sure that what you’re doing is stimulating and challenging, but not completely outside of your expertise. You’re going to be in it for the long-haul. Use what you learn from the SWOT analysis to think through what you want your life to be like, not just what you want from your business.

Some good questions to ask yourself include:

  • What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?
  • Is money really important? Or rather, is making a lot of it really important? If it is, you’re probably going to be cutting out a number of options.
  • What really matters to you?
  • Do you have the support of your family, especially your immediate family? They may have to make sacrifices at the beginning, so it’s important to have them behind you.
  • Who do you admire in business? Maybe there’s even someone in the industry you’d like to go into. Why do you admire them? What are their likable traits? What can you learn from them?

Answering these questions (and many more) about yourself and your abilities isn’t necessarily going to ensure you’re successful, but it will get you thinking about your goals and about what motivates and inspires you. Use this time to make sure that you are matching the business you want to start to your personal aspirations.

Be sure to take our quiz to find out if you’re entrepreneur material, too.

2. Analyze your industry

“The more you know about your industry, the more advantage and protection you will have.”

– Tim Berry

Once you decide on a business that fits your goals and lifestyle, evaluate your idea. Who will buy your product or service? Who will your competitors be? At this stage, you also need to figure out how much money you will need to get started.

Your “personal evaluation” was as much a reality check as a prompt to get you thinking. The same thing applies when it comes to researching your business and the industry you’d like to go into.

There are a number of ways you can do this, including performing general Google searches, speaking to people already working in your target industry, reading books by people from your industry, researching key people, reading relevant news sites and industry magazines and taking a class or two (if this is possible).

If you don’t have time to perform the research or would like a second opinion, there are people you can go to for help, like government departments and your local SBDC.

There are also a number of less traditional sources worth turning to:

  • Advertising representatives for statistics and data on your competition or the industry in general
  • List brokers sell mailing or email lists based on demographic attributes. Like, if you think your target market is people making above a certain income in south Texas, a list broker may be able to tell you how many people fit that criteria, to give you a sense of how big your target market actually is.
  • Industry suppliers (again to get a sense of demand and for market information)
  • Students who will likely be happy to perform research for you at an affordable fee.

3. Evaluate your target audience

Validate your business idea by creating a pitch page.

To determine how attractive your prospective market really is (your own desires aside for the moment), we suggest doing a market analysis.

It will guide your research as you think about:

  • How urgently do people need the thing you’re selling or offering right now?
  • What’s the market size? Are there already a lot of people paying for products or services similar to yours? Have you honed in on who exactly your target market is? Being specific will help you focus your marketing message and investment.
  • How easy is it (and how much will it cost you) to acquire a customer? If you’re selling enterprise software, this may require a significantly larger investment than a coffee shop.
  • How much money and effort will it cost to deliver the value you would like to be offering?
  • How long will it take to get to market? A month? A year? Three years?
  • How much up-front investment will you need before you can begin?
  • Will your business continue to be relevant as time passes? A business that repairs iPhone X screens will only remain relevant so long as the iPhone X sticks around. If your business is only relevant for a specific period of time, you will also want to consider your future plans.

If you like, you can even take things a step further and consider the consumer needs currently not being met by businesses in the industry. This is a good time to take a look at potential competitors. And remember, the presence of competitors is oftentimes a good sign! It means that the market for your product or service already exists, so you know that you have potential customers who are willing to spend money on your product or service.

While you’ve got the time, learn as much as you can about your competitors, about what they provide to their customers, how they attract attention, and whether or not their customers are happy. If you can figure out what’s missing before you even get started, your job will be made that much easier when you do finally set up shop.

4. Set up your business

Realistically, registering your business is the first step toward making it real. However, as with the personal evaluation step, take your time to get to know the pros and cons of different business entities.

If at all possible, work with an attorney to iron out the details. This is not an area you want to get wrong. You will also need to get the proper business licenses and permits. Depending upon the business, there may be city, county, or state regulations as well. This is also the time to check into insurance and to find a good accountant.

Types of business formations include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Spend some time getting to know the pros and cons of each business formation. If you need help, we’ve got a full guide on Legal Entities, Licenses, and Permits.

While incorporating can be expensive, it’s well worth the money. A corporation becomes a separate entity that is legally responsible for the business. If something goes wrong, you are less likely to be held personally liable.

Other things you will need to do include deciding on a business name and researching availability for that name.

5. Start the planning process

“Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” 

– Pablo Picasso

If you will be seeking outside financing, a business plan is a necessity. But, even if you are going to finance the venture yourself, a business plan will help you figure out how much money you will need to get started, what it will take to make your business profitable, what needs to get done when, and where you are headed.

In the simplest terms, a business plan is a roadmap—something you will use to help you chart your progress and that will outline the things you need to do in order to reach your goals. Rather than thinking of a business plan as a hefty document that you’ll only use once (perhaps to obtain a loan from a bank), think of it as tool to manage how your business grows and achieves its goals.

While you might use your business plan as part of your pitch to investors and banks, and to attract potential partners and board members, you will primarily use it to define your strategy, tactics, and specific activities for execution, including key milestones, deadlines and budgets, and cash flow.

In fact, the business plan does not have to be a formal document at all if you don’t need to present your plan to outsiders. Instead, your plan can follow a Lean Planning process that involves creating a pitch, forecasting your key business numbers, outlining key milestones you hope to achieve, and regular progress checks where you review and revise your plan.

If you aren’t presenting to investors, don’t think of this as a formal pitch presentation, but instead a high-level overview of who you are, the problem you are solving, your solution to the problem, your target market, and the key tactics you will use to achieve your goals.

Even if you do not think you need a formal business plan, you should go through the planning process anyway. The process will help to uncover any holes or areas you have not thought through well enough. If you do need to write a formal business plan document, you should follow the outline below.

The standard business plan includes nine parts:

  • The Executive Summary
  • Target Market
  • Products and Services
  • Marketing and Sales Plan
  • Milestones and Metrics
  • Company Overview
  • Management Team
  • Financial Plan
  • Appendix

If you would like detailed information on how to write a business plan to present to banks or funders, there are plenty of online resources, including our own comprehensive guide.

You will also find hundreds of sample plans for specific industries on this very website. Use them at your leisure but be prepared to adapt them to suit your precise needs. No two businesses are the same!

Types of business plans:

If you are simply creating a business plan in order to stimulate a discussion with potential partners and associates, you may want to consider opting for a “startup plan,” also known as a feasibility plan. As your business grows you can flesh out the sections as you see fit.

In contrast to the standard plan and the startup plan, is the operations or annual plan. This type of plan is used for internal purposes and primarily reflects the needs of the members of the company. This type of plan is not intended for banks and outside investors. You will use it either to plan your company’s growth or expansion or to set company-wide priorities.

If the latter is true and you are using the plan in order to direct your internal strategy, you are creating a strategic plan, a type of plan that will include a high-level strategy, tactical foundations of the strategy, specific responsibilities, activities, deadlines and budgets, and a financial plan.

6. Have a plan for funding

Depending on the size and goals of your venture, you may need to seek financing from an “angel” investor or from a venture capital firm. But, most small businesses begin with a loan, financing from credit cards, help from friends and family, and so on.

Investment and lending options include:

  • Venture capital
  • Angel investment (similar to venture capital)
  • Commercial (banks)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans
  • Accounts receivable specialists
  • Friends and family
  • Credit cards

For in-depth information on funding, see our complete guide on how to get your business funded, which includes detailed information on each of the above-mentioned options.

Note: A beautifully fleshed-out business plan does not guarantee you will get funded. In fact, according to Guy Kawasaki, the business plan is one of the least influential factors when it comes to raising money.

To stand a realistic chance of getting hold of the funds you need to get started, you’d be better off first focusing on your “pitch.” Not only will it be easier to fix because it contains less, but you’ll also get feedback on it—most investors don’t bother reading the full business plan, though they may still expect you to have it.

It’s also much easier to turn a pitch into a business plan than it is to pare back your plan.

7. Set up your space

Your business plan has been laid out, the money is in the bank, and you’re ready to go. If your business is online and you won’t need a storefront, you’re probably looking at building your website and choosing a shopping cart solution. Maybe you’ll be able to work out of a home office or a co-working space instead of renting or buying office space. But if your business needs a dedicated brick and mortar location, there are many considerations.  

Finding a location. Negotiating leases. Buying inventory. Getting the phones installed. Having stationery printed. Hiring staff. Setting your prices. Throwing a grand opening party.

Think through each of these steps carefully. Your business location will dictate the type of customer you attract, what types of promotions you can run, and how long it will take you to grow. While a great location won’t necessarily guarantee your success, a bad location can contribute to failure.

As you’re thinking about where you want to set up shop (including the city and state), consider the following:

  • Price: Can you realistically afford to be where you want to be? If not, or if you’re cutting it fine, keep looking.
  • Visibility: Will people easily be able to find you? Will they see your promotions and offers? Are you in the center of town or further out? How will this affect you?
  • Access to parking or public transportation: Can people easily find you from available parking options and transportation routes? If they have to look too hard, they may give up.
  • Distribution of competitors: Are there many competitors close to you? If so, this may be a sign that the location is premium for the clientele you wish to attract. It may also mean you do no business. Consider carefully how you wish to approach this type of situation.
  • Local, city, and state rules and regulations: Look into regulations, as areas may be more stringent than others. Ensure there are no restrictions that will limit your operations or that will act as barriers to your store.

Your marketing will set the stage for the future of your store. It will set expectations, generate hype (if done well), bring business in from day one and ensure that people know where you are and what they can expect from you.

Your store’s layout, design and placement of your products will decide not only the overall atmosphere of the store but what products people see and buy. Consider the areas you want well lit; how you will display products (if necessary); what various colors will make people feel, and how people will move through your store.

There are reams of literature on why we buy what we do, all of it fascinating and much of it informative. Begin thinking about how you shop—this will get you to think more critically about your own store.

Consider: placing products low on shelves will mean that people are unlikely to see them and therefore unlikely to buy them, whereas placing them at eye-level will mean they’re seen first and are therefore probably more likely to be purchased.

Your choice of products and how you decide to price them will create a reputation. Rather than stock everything of a similar price range from one or two catalogs, consider only choosing those items that will create the feel you want to become known for.

If you’re a service business, build your services in a similar manner, considering your different clientele and the value they will get from the different options you have on offer. If a very affordable package will cheapen your brand, consider excluding it. If a pricier option will limit your clientele too drastically, maybe cut back on some of the services included.

8. Prepare for trial and error

Whether you’re starting your first or your third business, expect to make mistakes. This is natural and so long as you learn from them, also beneficial.

If you do not make mistakes, you do not learn what to do less of and what to emphasize. Be open-minded and creative, adapt, look for opportunities, and above all, have fun!

The great thing about owning your own business is that you get to decide what you want to do and where you’ll grow.

Here is how you can set up Apache2 Virtual Hosts on Ubuntu. In particular on Vultr’s instance i.e. Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.10 and 18.04 LTS.

Apache2 Virtual Hosts can run more than one website on a single server machine. With Virtual Hosts, you can specify the multiple site document roots, define a separate security policy for each site, use different SSL certificates and much more.

Prerequisites
Have an Ubuntu 16.04 x64 / 18.01 x64 / 18.10 x64 instance.
Logged in as a root with sudo privileges.
You will also need to have Apache2 installed by following these instructions.
To get started with the set up of Apache2 Virtual Hosts, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Create the Directory Structure
The first step that we are going to take is to create a directory structure that will hold the website data and will be serving to visitors. The document root is the directory where the website data for a domain name is stored. You can define the document root to anywhere you want but in this article, we will use the default document root which is /var/www/html and our directory structure will be

/var/www/html/
|– yourdomain1.com
| |__ public
|– yourdomain2.com
| |__ public
|– yourdomain3.com
| |__ public
We will create a directory here for the virtual hosts we plan on making. Within each of these directories, we will create a public folder that will hold our actual website data. This gives us some flexibility in our hosting.

You can create directories by using the following command:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/yourdomain1.com/public
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/yourdomain2.com/public
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/yourdomain3.com/public
Step 2: Grant Permissions
As we are running the commands as a sudo user and the newly created files and directories are owned by the root user.

To avoid any permission issues we can change the ownership of the domain document root directory to the apache user (www-data):

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/yourdomain1.com/public
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/html/yourdomain1.com/public
Step 3: Create a Virtual Hosts
By default, Apache2 Virtual Hosts on Ubuntu configuration files are stored in /etc/apache2/sites-available directory and can be enabled by creating symbolic links to the /etc/apache2/sites-enabled directory.

Open your editor of choice and create the basic Virtual Host configuration file in /etc/apache2/sites-available/yourdomain1.com.conf with the following code.


Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None
Require all denied


Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All


ServerName yourdomain1.com
ServerAlias www.yourdomain1.com
ServerAdmin webmaster@yourdomain1.com
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/yourdomain1.com/public

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/yourdomain1.com-error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/yourdomain1.com-access.log combined

To enable the new virtual host file we need to create a symbolic link from the virtual host file to the sites-enabled directory, which is read by apache2 during startup. To enable the virtual host is by using the a2ensite helper i.e.

sudo a2ensite yourdomain1.com
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service
Once done, test the configuration for any syntax errors with:

sudo apachectl configtest
If there are no errors you will see the following output:

Syntax OK
Now that you have your virtual hosts configured, you can test your set up by opening any browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see that everything is working correctly.

Conclusion
You have learned how to set up an apache2 virtual host configuration to host multiple domains on Ubuntu server. You can repeat the steps we outlined above and create additional virtual hosts for all your domains.

Debian/Ubuntu Linux Specific Commands to Start/Stop/Restart Apache
You can either use service or /etc/init.d/ command as follows on Debian Linux version 7.x or Ubuntu Linux version Ubuntu 14.10 or older:

Restart Apache 2 web server, enter:
# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

OR
$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

OR
$ sudo service apache2 restart

To stop Apache 2 web server, enter:
# /etc/init.d/apache2 stop

OR
$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop

OR
$ sudo service apache2 stop

To start Apache 2 web server, enter:
# /etc/init.d/apache2 start

OR
$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start

OR
$ sudo service apache2 start

A note about Debian/Ubuntu Linux systemd users
Use the following systemctl command on Debian Linux version 8.x+ or Ubuntu Linux version Ubuntu 15.04+ or above:
## Start command ##
systemctl start apache2.service
## Stop command ##
systemctl stop apache2.service
## Restart command ##
systemctl restart apache2.service

CentOS/RHEL (Red Hat) Linux version 4.x/5.x/6.x or older specific commands
## Start ##
service httpd start
## Stop ##
service httpd stop
## Restart ##
service httpd restart

CentOS/RHEL (Red Hat) Linux version 7.x or newer specific commands
Most modern distro now using systemd, so you need to use the following command:
## Start command ##
systemctl start httpd.service
## Stop command ##
systemctl stop httpd.service
## Restart command ##
systemctl restart httpd.service

Generic method to start/stop/restart Apache on a Linux/Unix
The syntax is as follows (must be run as root user):
## stop it ##
apachectl -k stop
## restart it ##
apachectl -k restart
## graceful restart it ##
apachectl -k graceful
## Start it ##
apachectl -f /path/to/your/httpd.conf
apachectl -f /usr/local/apache2/conf/httpd.conf

1. Choose Your Team

A webinar usually has three prime players. The success of your session depends on them, and I recommend that you carefully consider your options when selecting the following:

  • The Organizer: The organizer or the facilitator is the key individual responsible for developing content for the webinar. They are also responsible for finding a suitable speaker and promoting the event. They are in charge of registrations and communicating with the participants at the beginning and end of the webinar.
  • The Presenter(s): The Presenters or the Subject Matter Experts should focus on developing and delivering the webinar presentation. They look after webinar programming and troubleshooting, event registration, and other details to help them deliver an engaging presentation.
  • Assistant(s): Assistants help in answering queries that the Presenter and the Facilitator don’t have much time for. They help by responding to technical queries. (For example, “The audio and video are not in sync!” or “There is no sound!”) Assistant(s) are often required for webinars with a large audience.

The next step is to decide on the format of your webinar. I suggest you choose a format that will best relay your message while engaging your audience. You can consider the following four webinar formats:

  • Single Speaker: As the name suggests, this involves a single speaker communicating with the attendees. The speaker will also demonstrate the contents of the webinar and answer all queries raised by the attendees. I recommend this type of webinar if you have a small audience.
  • Interview Format: This involves a speaker acting as an interviewer and asking a set of predetermined questions to the Subject Matter Expert(s). This type of webinar can be very engaging, with the attendees watching the SMEs answer questions. It also encourages them to ask questions, making it interesting.
  • Moderated Panel Discussion: Like a panel discussion, a panel webinar has several speakers who talk over a predetermined topic. A moderator will need to facilitate this type of webinar.
  • Q&A: Similar to the interview format, this type of webinar also allows the speaker to answer questions, but this time, the questions directly come from the audience. I recommend that you collect the questions beforehand. This will ensure that you stay on schedule and vet the questions coming from the audience. Q&A segments are usually added at the end of all webinar formats.

3. Plan Visuals for Your Webinar and Get Your Presenters Camera-Ready

Being a web-based seminar, webinars largely rely on audio and visual materials to demonstrate their contents. Slides filled with text will not do the trick.

In fact, the best webinars should feel more similar to the face-to-face experience, you should require presenters to use their web cam while presenting.

This allows audience to see the speaker during the presentation, which adds another layer of information such as non-verbal cues, etc.

However, this requires each presenter to not only have a decent camera (ideally, better than their on-board laptop cam) as well as suitable lighting.

This isn’t necessarily a huge challenge, but is another wrinkle that presenters don’t have to contend with in a face-to-face event (and is another reason you need run-throughs).

In terms of slides, Including  suggest you consider the following points when preparing visuals for your next webinar:

  • Have an introductory slide with information like the time of commencement and points to be discussed in the webinar. But make it fun!
  • After this, have a slide showcasing a synopsis of the topics that will be covered in the webinar.
  • Include a slide of tools and websites that will be used in the process. I recommend that you use the tools and websites in real time during the webinar so that you can have a better impact on the audience.

4. Select a Webinar Solution

Here at Meet My Craft we have just Created a Platform Just for you called Met My Craft Live.  we allow you to host private Meetings in groups and also give you an Option to copy the embedded code to you website.

(i) Visit our website Meet My Craft Live and create a free Account to host your webinar or Live Stream.

(ii) Click on the top right menu or header and click on the live Button

(iii) You can either use your webcam to broadcast your live stream, but first give it a name and description.

(iv)  Use your streamer key and broadcast link and paste it on your broadcasting software like OBS or vMix . Make sure to only Check public if you want everybody to see it or check a group if it’s private.

(V) This is how it will look like when it’s live and you will be able to see the number of viewers and engage with them using the live chat.

You can also use your webinar solution to conduct polls and surveys after the session. This will help you gain valuable insights to further improve your webinars.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when selecting a webinar tool to invest in:

What are the objectives of your webinar?

Before selecting a webinar service, you should think about objectives of the webinar. If it’s a product launch or promotion of your business, chances are that you are targeting a larger audience. In this case, you need a webinar service that will help you interact with a large number of attendees.

How user-friendly is the product?

As webinars come with a time limitation, it is essential that you choose the right service tool so that you can make the most of it within the time frame allocated for the webinar. If you are planning a webinar in the single speaker format, you will be looking for simplest possible software so that you can successfully demonstrate your business content to the attendees.

 

5. Set Up the Right Equipment and Space

You’ll need a quiet place to conduct your webinar. Consider a conference room or any other place which will be free from background noise and interruptions.

Selecting the right equipment is also crucial for your webinar. Consider landlines and headset microphones, as they are less likely to cut off while you engage with your audience.

Have a keep a backup laptop that’s fully charged, with all data copied and stored in it. This will ensure that everything goes smoothly even if you experience any technical difficulties with your primary computer system.

Choosing the right equipment and space will not only improve the webinar quality but also ensure a great experience for your audience.

6. Publicize and Promote Your Webinar

In order to make sure your webinar gets maximum participation, it’s crucial that you promote it as much as possible beforehand. Here’s how I suggest you promote it:

  • Start by creating a landing page which introduces the webinar topic, the speaker(s), features the date and time, and a call-to-action for people to sign up to attend the event.
  • Create a banner or display an advertisement on your website’s homepage to make visitors aware of the upcoming event.
  • Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. Create a dedicated and original hashtag to publicize the event. This hashtag will benefit you at the time of the event, as you will be using it to interact with the attendees.
  • Send multiple reminders emails showcasing the countdown to your event. 45 percent of marketers say that emails are the most effective at driving registrations (in my experience, this is true).
  • On the day of the event, make sure to send emails with the direct link to your webinar.
  • Tuesdays are generally the best days for promoting your webinar, as revealed in a GoToWebinar report.

Webinar attendance

7. Pick the Right Date and Time

You should keep in mind that not all your audience members will be from the same location. The webinar should be hosted on a specific date and time that will allow the maximum number of attendees to be present.

It is important that you select the right date and time for your webinar event. The best time to conduct your webinar depends on the target demographic, but a poll conducted by ON24 suggests that the best days to host your webinars are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. GMT.

You can use Google Analytics to locate the regions of the world where most of my online traffic comes from. You can also send surveys to your potential attendees asking them for the most convenient times for them to attend the webinar.

These are major factors that should not only be considered but prioritized. Significant research and planning should be done on them so that you can expect the most from your webinar and boost your business.

8. Choose a Topic of Interest

If your topic does not interest your potential audience, it is going to be really difficult for you to lure them into attending your webinar. Since webinars are usually an hour long, you can either choose to vaguely talk about many topics or speak about a single topic and dive deep into it.

That’s why I always recommend that you get very specific when selecting a topic for your webinar. For example, instead of simply talking about digital marketing in general, you could talk about digital marketing trends, or budgeting for digital marketing, etc.

While searching for an interesting topic, you should consider:

  • Previously produced content: While searching for an interesting topic, consider going through the content that you have already produced. It can be a blog post, social media post, or an article. Search through those posts and articles to find the one that received the most attention. This will help you understand which topics your audience is interested in. Now you can dive deep into the specific topic you have selected so that you can provide in-depth understanding to the audience and, in the process, keep them engaged.
  • Attending other webinars: Start attending various other webinars taking place in your field. This will not only help you in getting new ideas from your competitor’s topic but also help you understand trends in the kinds of topics being discussed. Through these insights, you can decide on a viable topic and perfect it through research.

Once you have selected your topic, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a particular question your clients and potential audience frequently ask that you could address in a webinar?
  • What are your strengths, and what would be really entertaining for you to teach?
  • What would be the most valuable thing you can offer within 40 or 60 minutes?

If you find the most suitable answers to these questions then, congratulations! You have just found your topic for your upcoming webinar. If it’s the other way around, keep searching until you find a better one.

9. Keep Practicing

I always make sure to practice for a webinar several days before I go live to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Start doing dry runs which will help everyone involved with the webinar get a picture of its entirety. Check all equipment to ensure they are working properly. A final dry run two to three days before the live webinar will ensure the following:

  • Confirm if everyone is well-versed with the webinar software technology and the contents of the webinar.
  • Finalize presentation slides to prevent last-minute changes.
  • Choose the communication methods that suits best with the team.
  • Assign individuals activities that need to be monitored during the webinar such as polls, Q&As, group chats, etc.
  • Reviewing the final registration based on details such as names of attendees, their respective industries, etc. The host should be fully aware of such information.

10. Follow Up with the Attendees

I’ve noticed that some marketers fail to follow up with attendees at their webinar. This can be a grave mistake, as you’re missing out on an opportunity to continue engaging your audience.

Send them an email thanking them along with a survey asking them to share their feedback and rate their experience, plus a call to action for future webinars. Make sure to send a follow-up email along with a recording of the webinar to the people who signed up for the webinar but were unable to attend it. Following up will go a long way in encouraging the audience to attend future webinar events and even be involved with your company.

Once you have successfully hosted your webinar, start evaluating your efforts.Use the feedback provided by your attendees in the follow-up emails. Consider these and make adjustments to ensure that your future webinars are even more successful.

Great webinars are well planned, organized and executed by a closely knit team. You should spend sufficient time to plan and test the program to remove any flaws.

How to Set Up An RTMP Server on Ubuntu Linux Using Nginx

The Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) was developed by Macromedia as a method for transferring data, audio, and video for their Flash technology. Macromedia was subsequently acquired by Adobe, since when the specification has been partially released enabling third parties to implement it within Adobe’s own server and client software. This has led to the technology being commonly used when streaming media for a variety of providers. In this article, we’ll be looking at setting up your own media server using Nginxp-RTMP on Ubuntu 14.04.

Nginx RTMP Protocol

Nginx-RTMP is an open-source extension module for the Nginx web server that can be used as a media streaming server for both live streams and video on demand using RTMP. This doesn’t come pre-packaged for the operating system, so we’ll need to build Nginx with this module from source code. The first thing we need to do is get some bits. To do so, enter the following:

sudo apt-get install build-essential libpcre3 libpcre3-dev libssl-dev unzip

This will take some time. Once these are installed we then need to grab the nginx source code. Version 1.8.1 is the latest stable version so we will use that one:

mkdir nginx

cd nginx

wget http://nginx.org/download/nginx-1.8.1.tar.gz

tar -zxvf nginx-1.8.1.tar.gz

The next thing we will need is the source for Nginx-RTMP:

wget https://github.com/arut/nginx-rtmp-module/archive/master.zip

unzip master.zip

At this point, we should have a directory named nginx-1.8.1 which contains the Nginx source code, and one named nginx-rtmp-module-master which contains the Nginx-RTMP source code. The next step is to reconfigure the Nginx source to compile with the Nginx-RTMP module:

cd nginx-1.8.1

./configure --with-http_ssl_module --add-module=../nginx-rtmp-module-master

You should see a scroll of text while it is configured,  after which you can make and install nginx:

make

sudo make install

At this point Nginx will be installed into the /usr/local/nginx directory. To test everything is working let’s fire Nginx up:

sudo /usr/local/nginx/sbin/nginx

If everything is working as expected, you should now get the Nginx test page if you navigate to your server’s IP address in a web browser. To stop Nginx you need to call the program again and give it the stop command:

sudo /usr/local/nginx/sbin/nginx -s stop

Now you will need to add the code to configure the RTMP module. This is done in the default config file which is stored with the other files. I’m going to use nano here, but other text editors are available:

sudo nano /usr/local/nginx/conf/nginx.conf

Go to the end of the file and paste in the following configuration:

rtmp {

    server {

        listen 1935;

        chunk_size 8192;

        application vod {

            play /usr/local/nginx/rtmp;

        }

    }

}

Save and exit the file. In this file, we’ve told Nginx to listen on port 1935 for RTMP, which is the default port.  We’ve also set it to use a chunk size in transfers of 8192 bits. Next, we’ve created an “application” called vod for video on demand. You can have as many of these as you wish, and name them anything you like. We’ve then told it that the vod application will play files from /usr/local/nginx/rtmp directory. This directory doesn’t actually exist yet, so you will need to create it and place some media into it. Note that Nginx-RTMP can only serve flash flv video and mp4 video.

sudo mkdir /usr/local/nginx/rtmp

The next thing to do is start Nginx again, at which point everything is configured and ready for use:

sudo /usr/local/nginx/sbin/nginx

To test you just need to open a stream from your server.  The easiest method is to use VLC media player. To open this, go to the “Media” menu and then select “Open Network Stream”. A window will open for you where you can enter the URL for your media.

The URL will start with rtmp:// to tell VLC the protocol to use, and then the domain name or IP address of your server. Next will be a slash, then your application name, in our case “vod”, another slash and finally the filename of the file. So as an example:

rtmp://your-domain.com/vod/test.mp4

rtmp://your-domain.com/vod/test.flv

So there you have it – a simple streaming server using RTMP based on open source components. Happy streaming!