How to successfully start an online business. The idea of starting an online business is appealing but how does one go from there? Is there truly a way to start a business with no money or credit? If so, what does one have to do?
We often have a desire to start a business, but we do not know how to start and how hard it is to start an online business. Do not worry. Things are not as complicated as they seem.
In this article we are going to discuss 8 steps to take in order to successfully start an online business.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s go then!
1. Decide the type of your online business
What is the first step on how to successfully start an online business? Simple. Decide what type of business you’re be starting
99designs offers a great explanation about it. Let’s take a closer look:
There are a huge variety of online business types—and before you take the steps to build an online business, you’re going to want to figure out what type of business is right for you.
Here are the 5 most common types of online businesses you might want to consider:
- Ecommerce. Ecommerce is the business of selling physical products online. If you’ve got products to sell, building an ecommerce shop can be a great business model.
- Digital products. Physical products aren’t the only products you can sell online! Digital products, like ebooks, educational courses, or design templates can be a great way to drive revenue online.
- Affiliate marketing. Don’t have any of your own products to sell? No worries! With affiliate marketing, you can sell other people’s products—and get paid a commission every time you make a sale.
- Freelancing or consulting. If you have an in-demand skill, building a freelance or consulting business—and then promoting that business and finding new leads online—might be the business model for you.
- Social media-based businesses. If you have a large social media following (eg. Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitch…), there’s also an opportunity to build a social media-based online business. You can monetize your social media following in a variety of ways, from brand partnerships to subscription groups to premium content.
- Once you’re clear on what type of business you want to create, it’s a lot easier to flesh out a strategy to bring that business to life.
2. Start a business that fills a need
The second step on how to successfully start an online business is finding a need and filling it. A lot of people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second.
To increase your chances of success, you should start with a market. The trick here is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results.
It’s a good thing we live in the digital age. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:
A great idea to do that is to visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they’re trying to solve.
You can also do some keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching for, but don’t have a lot of competition with other sites.
Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they’re doing to fill the demand. Then you can use what you’ve learned and create a product for a market that already exists — and do it better than the competition.
3. Grow your customer base
Let’s take a look at what Mailchimp has to say about it:
As a new online small business, you’ll want to attract the attention of new customers with lots of top-of-funnel content. That includes organic and paid social media campaigns tailored to your audience.
You can design these posts any way you feel will best show off your brand personality and products. It’s easy to add your campaign images directly from Mailchimp’s content studio. Make sure each post links back to your site, ideally to a page where they can buy products, sign up to receive emails from you, or both.
Once you start cultivating a list of customer emails, you can begin creating engaging email campaigns designed to target your customers’ interests. Start segmenting and personalizing these campaigns as early as possible.
What to avoid:
Avoid buying customer lists. People on those lists haven’t signed up to receive emails from you, so they’re likely to mark you as spam. If that happens, you could end up paying enormous fines not to mention dealing with a damaged reputation.
Instead, use tools like behavioral targeting to personalize messaging for your existing customers and lookalike audience finders to find new customers based on what they’ve bought before.
4. Build Your Website
The fourth step in successfully running an online business is website building. When you’re building an online business, your website is the most important element in your brand identity; it’s the place where customers will get to know your brand, explore your products and services, and ultimately decide whether you’re a brand they want to do business with.
Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Choose a plain font on a white background.
- Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
- Include an offer so you can collect email addresses.
- Make it easy to buy. There should be no more than two or three clicks between a potential customer and the checkout.
- Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
5. Choose your domain name
In order for your customers to find you, choosing a domain name could not be missing as a step on how to start an online business.
When you buy a domain name, you want it to be memorable for your customers. It should be as close to your company name as possible—an exact name if possible, or a logical approximation if your business name is already taken as a domain.
It’s also a good idea to get some of your keywords into your URL. Using a keyword in the domain name can help a site to rank, but it’s not strictly necessary, so don’t force it if it doesn’t fit naturally.
6. Use search engines to drive potential customers to your site.
What do search engines have to do with how to successfully start an online business?
Entrepreneur offers a great explanation about this one. Let’s take a closer look:
Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically.
First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches.
Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords.
Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
Sounds awesome right?
7. Set Up Your Preferred Payment Methods
Another very important step on how to successfully start an online business. When starting a business, you expect to get paid for your services. So setting up payment methods is something to look at.
There are several online payment options available to you. Some of them include accepting credit cards, using PayPal or services like Apple Pay and/or Google Pay.
If by any chance you are using Shopify to start your business, then you can simply activate the provider’s integrated payment solution called Shopify Payments. It sets you up to accept all major payment methods and comes with 0% extra transaction fees.
For a service-based web business like freelance writing, be sure to take a look at Wise (formerly known as Transferwise), Revolut or even Western Union.
Regardless of the payment method, you should be able to set your payout schedule. You can choose to receive your money daily, weekly or monthly — depending on your preferences.
8. Take care of the Legal Side of your business.
This is the final step to successfully start an online business.
Oberlo offers a great explanation about it. Let’s take a look:
Any business you start must be properly aligned with the laws and regulations in your region. So make sure to read up on online business legal requirements when starting a new internet business.
Just some of the legal aspects you’ll need to consider include:
- Business structure:
Register as an LLC or sole proprietor for online business? You can research and decide on your own, but it pays to get input from a tax specialist.
- Licenses and permits:
Depending on what type of business you start, you may need a license to operate it. This varies depending on where you live, so contact your local state department to find out more.
- Tax obligations:
Most online business owners are required to pay income tax. Additionally, you might have sales tax obligations if you sell products to consumers in certain countries. So before starting your business, consider speaking to an attorney to learn about the applicable taxes and the list of online business documents you’ll need to file them.
- Copyright, patent, and trademarks:
You’ll want to cover these legal elements to avoid trouble down the road. For example, registering your trademark will prevent others from using your brand name, saving you the hassle and cost of rebranding.
So we’ve talked about some ideas on how to successfully start an online business. In the end though, all it takes is for you to make the first step.
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If you’re a fan of videos then be sure to check out our YouTube video explaining all about it.
I am curious to hear your thoughts about it. Did you find this article helpful? Has any of these business ideas ever crossed your mind? And if so, what made the most sense to you and did you ever try to follow some of these steps in the past? If so, how did it work out?
Let me know in the comments below or you can always reach out to me directly here to get in touch, and I will be more than happy to help you out.