The Internet has leveled the playing field for all and makes it much easier for anyone to start their own online business. But where do you start?
Your Business Plan
If you have made the decision to start an online business, you probably already have a business idea but will need to do some research to access the viability of your idea. Some important areas of research are:
- Is there a need for your product or service?
- Who is your target market?
- Who are your competitors?
- What makes your business different than your competitors?
It is better to do your research before embarking on launching a business so that you don’t spend your time and money on a business idea that won’t be successful.
Your Business Structure
Depending on which type of business you choose, there are certain legal requirements you must follow. For instance, if you decide you want to start a Limited Liability Company (LLC), there are government required filings you will need to know about.
One of the benefits of starting an online business is that it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can create your business within your budgetary framework.
Depending on your industry, many online businesses can be successful with minimal investment.
Choose a Business Name and Domain
Make sure you select a business name that is relevant, catchy, and unique. You will then have to choose your online real estate which is known as your domain. This is the address of your online business.
Your business name should be unique to your business model. It will help you market your business.
A unique name will also minimize the chance that you will be accused of copyright or trademark infringement should you accidentally choose a name that belongs to someone else.
Selecting a unique business name will also increase your chances of being able to find a domain name that matches your business name.
You will need to register your domain name for your business. You can check to see if your desired domain name is available by typing it into a browser bar or you can go to a domain registry company.
There is a nominal annual fee for a domain.
One of the main benefits of an online business is that you don’t have to pay rent or have overhead expenses that are associated with a physical store. Your website is your store.
The cost of your website depends upon your own technical expertise and your budget. There are many website building platforms that are templated and easy for non-technical people to use.
If you need to hire a website designer, you can find one that fits within your budget and does a professional job. Check potential designer’s references and samples of their work before making a hiring decision.
You will want to make sure your website:
- Accurately reflects your business
- Is easy to navigate
- Is engaging to your target market
- Sets you apart from your competition
- Makes it easy for people to get in touch with you
To make your website live on the Internet, you will need to purchase website hosting. You can normally find website hosting with the same company where you purchased your domain.
Your Website Content
The Internet is huge and very competitive. It is for this reason that savvy content marketers will have an edge over overs.
You want to make sure your content stands out from your competitors. Make it engaging, compelling, relevant, and helpful.
You can also add a blog to your website. Adding a blog to your website has many benefits.
It helps keep your website dynamic that is music to search engines’ ears. It also enables you to get creative with your content and help attract the right people to your website.
You will have to choose how customers will pay for your products or services. You can use PayPal or other shopping cart software.
Be sure to make your purchasing experience easy and seamless for your customers.
Having an online business doesn’t mean you will be successful. Once your website is up and running, you have to let your target market know you are there and make it easy for them to find you.
You can use search engine optimization (SEO) to make your online business show up when potential customers are searching for what you are selling on the Internet.
You can also do some paid advertising like Google AdWords. You only have to pay when someone clicks through to your website.
Don’t forget about using social media to spread the word about your business. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin provide free platforms for you to market your business.