Apart from the traditional businesses that business people tend to start and the different shops they tend to open, there is now the technological form of businesses; the one which starts over the internet and stays there. After the Facebook appeared, people started forming different groups in order to tackle specific topics, and then the whole issue upgraded itself to include selling products or providing people with services by forming new groups as well. There are now millions of online businesses, those who managed to start their journey over the internet and decided to stay there and keep their success related to that part only, but in order to start an online business, there are some different rules to think about that differ from the ordinary one.
How to start an online business?
Starting an online business does not happen immediately or without any prior arrangements. People always think that online businesses are always easy to start because they will start focusing on the different social networking websites and then build their groups, profiles, and pages on them; but the process is much more greater than that, business people should start with a plan, both for the financial side as well as the marketing one, and they should be as prepared as if they are going to open an actual street business.
There are different types of online businesses that you could start, but even though you should treat it like a street store, there are still some perks for the online businesses. One of the good things about starting an online business is that you might succeed in reaching more people than what you might get if you opened a store; because even if people came across your advertisements – if you had made any – they might still not come to have a look, so you will just wait for the passerby; but the online world makes it easier for the users to enter any website and check the services or products right from where they are.
In order to start an online business, there are some steps to follow. These steps are:
- Searching for a need inside the market
Usually starting an online business – or any business in general – depends on two important things; first, either the owner is passionate about the thing which he/she is going to sell or the service that he/she is going to offer; second, because this owner might be searching for a source of income and he/she realized that this specific product will bring the best amount of money. But in other rare conditions, the reason behind starting the business is because this business person wants to serve the community, which makes looking inside the needs of the market a better plan than thinking about a product. In order to do that, try to think about the different problems that people are always trying to find solutions for; look for keywords or even look in the comments left for the competitors, and you will find yourself almost there.
- Planning for your business
Just like any normal store, opening an online business needs a plan and just like what we have mentioned above, the plan comes in different aspects. First of all, you will need to make a thorough plan about the market and know how you are going to fund the production of the products that you are going to sell. Second, SWOT analysis might be a helpful way to start this planning process, but not all the businesses use it, only the professional ones.
- Writing the business plan
Writing the business plan is an important step that should always come directly after the initial steps that you have already taken in planning for it. In some cases, the business owner might ask for funding the business by a bank, an investor, or any other source, so it is considered always better for those people to stick to a lean business plan; the lean business plan is considered quicker and easier to write since it goes directly to stating the essentials of this plan which they are trying to put.
- Making this online business legal
Before you start selling and attracting the customers by the copy you are going to write, you should first make this business a legal thing by registering your domain name to make sure that it does not already exist. Then, after you register your domain name, you are supposed to start working on making this thing legal by knowing more about the online regulations and learning more about the online tax obligations needed from you.
- Designing the website and writing copy that will attract
Most of the successful online businesses are those who are able to attract their customers to their websites and get them attached by the copy they use. One of the things that will make the customer more encouraged to buy a specific product is when he/she feels connected to it and to the way you are trying to sell it to him/her. When you are designing the website of your business, you are supposed to keep it as simple as possible in order to attract the person in the least amount of seconds, because otherwise you are going to lose him/her forever. And then comes the copy part of the website; the words usually play a great role in convincing the buyer to take action, so try always to arouse interest by the headline that you use, make the problem that you are going to solve with your product clear, mention the different benefits the product will carry for the customer, make an offer, and add testimonials from those who have already used the product.
- Establishing a reputation for your business
There are different ways to attract the customers to your website, it might be through search engines, and it might be through the way you provide your product to them, but in addition to any type you are using, you are supposed to work on building and establishing your reputation. Establishing the business reputation happen through different ways; you can write articles or provide useful content for free and distribute them on social media sites or through online article directories, by becoming an expert on the different websites that your target audience might be found using, and by adding a button in your website for people to share your content or to directly send it to a friend.
What you should avoid when starting an online business
There are different tips that would help you to start an online business, but on the other side, there are some mistakes which you should pay attention to in order not to fall into them. From these mistakes which every single business person who is about to start an online business should avoid:
- Solving a problem that is not important
When we mentioned above that one of the important things to do in order to start a new business is to look for a market and not an audience, we were referring to those problems that you are supposed to get away from, which people can solve on their own or which people do not care about. One of the things that would tell you whether you have made the right choice about your business idea or not is whether you are gaining or else losing; if you are losing then this means that you need to search for a better idea and a better problem to solve. Remember that good ideas do not need an audience because they already have one before they even started.
- Settling on a topic that you are not interested in
If you have decided to choose something according to the needs of the market and not according to something that you love and care about, then when you realize that there is a specific problem that needs to be solved, you have to be interested about it or at least tackle it from an angle that you find interesting. The reason behind being in love with the idea you have chosen is that when you love something, you will feel that you want to serve this thing more, and when you find yourself so much attached to it, you will become more creative in the ideas that you choose, and this will attract more customers at the end.
- Not listening to the customers and their complains
One of the important ways that give any business the chance to know more about the problems it is facing, tackle them, and try to solve them, is the way they listen to the complains of their customers and ask them about the problems they might be facing, because only then they will know their negative points and start working on them. The best online business is the one that asks those who are happy, but care more about those who are sad, and focus on their answers about why they might be dealing with problems related to the product; this is the first step they take in dealing with their negative side.
- Giving away too much
Another mistake some of the new online businesses do is that they tend to give their customers too much in order to attract them to the product and turn them into actual buyers without gaining anything in return. It is true that sometimes this technique really brings a lot of customers to the product, but at the end, it leads to some losses from your side as well. So try to think about ways to offer them some free services such as sending some tips or recipes to them via email, giving them some instructions to follow, or sharing some advice with them; just offer them something that is not related directly to what you are offering.
- Focusing too little on social media
In addition to the previous mistakes, one of the most important ones is not focusing on social media especially the websites that your target audiences are mostly found on. In order to keep in touch with your audience and keep attracting them to the product, you always have to appear in front of their faces on the different websites, and this will only happen by knowing where they are and going right after them.
Online Business Opportunities
Some people start asking whether every single idea they have or think about can be implemented on the online world or not; actually, there are some ideas which are considered best when they are started online, while there are those which might not turn into a big success unless they are in real stores. From the different online business ideas that you might think about, there are:
- Social media consultants
- Web designers
- Coaching services
- Virtual assistants
- Selling photos
The online business world is always growing and that is due to the way people started to divert their attention to the online world and search for any information they want on it. Online businesses are a success because people find it easier to go through the product online rather than to go and visit the store in real.