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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SLE Business Scoop – Are you role playing Business in SL? Here are some very helpful hints on starting a business from scratch. Lanai Jarrico Reporting…

I’ve been in Second Life long enough to throw my two cents in when it comes to business. I’m no oracle that claims to know it all but some things are no brainers.  I have met many peeps in this virtual world that take business seriously and others well…let’s just say are still in the practice stages. Some of the problems that we face in virtual business today are the technical difficulties that can frazzle ones creativity or prolong the process of creating products and putting them in the virtual market. Let's view those issues as our virtual "natural disasters". There isn't really much we can do about those, except brave the bad  SLweather and carry on.

One of the first things any establishment here in Second Life needs is a strong foundation. You can’t build a sandcastle and expect it to withstand the winds of change that occur here on a regular basis.

Team building with like minded individuals is a must. Preferably those that have virtual world experience. One of the biggest mistakes I see is newcomers entering SL with money on their minds and don’t consider the unique culture and needs of those in a virtual world. Having a well rounded staff that can handle customer demands with great customer service, is a very important part of creating your presence and gaining a positive reputation.

The virtual world is a great tool for mass global market in a very affordable way, when used properly.  Once a team has been established, it’s time to have a roundtable discussion. Whether you use Skype or in-world text or voice. Having a meeting with your team helps keep everyone on the same page. One thing that can prove to be difficult and very common is time zones.  The best way to keep everyone on the same page would be to create a staff group in world. This is a very effective way to give your team newsletter and updates about business all at once. Team Leaders should have a list of each staff member’s e-mail as well.

A PR Agent will be a valuable asset to your business. Choose this person wisely.  They should be responsible for getting acquainted with SL’s top media personnel, be able to write and distribute press releases, as well as utilize the many social networks available such as,,, and others.  The more ways to get the word about your business out there, the faster viral advertising will spread.

Once your team and contacts are create, it is time to plan where you think your business will benefit the most. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

There are plenty of land owners claiming they have the best deals, but before you act on a large plot of land, be sure you have the prim allowance you will need. Explore the neighborhood; observe the lag, traffic and type of businesses you will have to compete with on that sim. Knowing these things will prevent you from having to constantly relocate. This is very bad for business.

Got your objective, your staff and your location, what’s next?

To many this is the fun part and a lot of people want to do this as the first step.  Decorating your shop.

If you have your product inventory already or your service information, group subscribers, traffic counters, donation kiosks and so forth, this is a good start.  You are ready to plan your store layout.

The first thing you want to do is designate an area with information that can easily be obtained by your visitors. Keep the note cards at a minimum and refrain from being too wordy. Most avies do not read all the material they receive. I personally do not like to be bombarded with note cards, landmarks and textures upon landing at a location. Giving avies the option to collect what they are interested in, is a good idea. A way to contact you by means of a mailbox, pager or suggestion box, are great tools to have.

Another thing to keep in mind is your budget.  This is the glue that will hold your business together.  How do you plan to pay your tiers and employees if you have no initial capital to invest and not making any money? 

To get the wheels turning, you will need to invest something. Perhaps, throw a launch party with an SL Musician; create a treasure hunt or even a contest. These types of entertainment draw crowds and potential customers.  Be sure to add them to a Customer group (separate from staff group), so you can send those sales updates and new product notices.

When your business starts to gain revenue, Commission is an option to begin with. This ensures that your staff actually works to earn their lindens and they get paid if you get paid.

20-25% commission is a very good start. It shows you appreciate your employees and they will be loyal. Surprise linden bonuses and commission % raises are also great incentives.

I hope I have provided you with some valuable information to help you get started with your virtual world business. If you are a successful business owner here in Second Life and wish to provide some tips or suggestions, please feel free to use the comment box below.

If you are a business owner struggling to find the right balance, contact me at  

Lanai Jarrico


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