There are countless numbers of benefits to starting an online business. You can work from home or any other place where you want to work, set your own time, typically avoid huge startup costs, etc.
Starting a business online may be more accessible and efficient, if you want to grow and maintain your online business you must follow a similar process to starting a traditional business. To help and successfully launch your online business, here is five steps which are following:
Decision about business idea
If you want to grow and expand your online business you must have a firm idea. To make decision about the business idea following questions must ask yourself:
For what reason are you doing this?
This is a very simple question you must ask yourself and if your business will be successful its answer can very well determine. Every successful business must have a mission and a firm purpose behind it. You should pursue your startup with the intentions to keep it going. You must also have an exit strategy in your mind, but if you do not have the passion or intentions to push your business forward it would not get far.
What problems are solving?
If you have certain skills, hobbies you like and certain things you want to do, does not necessarily mean that there is a market for it. You have to solve some real world sort of problems and ensure that there are potential customers that are looking for a solution. If there is also a great competition in solving that problem then you have to go through a market analysis and confirm that there is a room for your business and ensure that you are not wasting a time in a crowded and nonexistent business concept.
Legitimize your business idea
If you have made the decision then the next step is to validate it. This process is as simple as you are chatting with the customer asking about his/her needs. But when starting an online business there are additional methods to test the market.
Go through customer reviews
One easy and simple method to determine the current customer interest is looking through the competitive reviews. Check what people like and what they dislike and also check the overall volume of feedback. It can guide you about the market size and if your business concepts avoid the pitfalls of current features some of the requested additions mentioned in reviews.
Survey potential customers
As I mentioned above one of the simplest and easy ways to validate your online business is talking with people. But if you can not interact with people in-person, then online surveys are also an option.
If you already have a landing page and started gathering email, you can also send the survey forms to the people who already show a level of interest.
Start with your business plan
Once you have determined the interests of people in your business, it is time to develop your business plan. When you have gone through the process of defining and validating your idea, you have actually done with initial pieces of your business plan. But now you have to place it in a format that you can use to pursue funding, forecast, etc.
You should start with a lean business plan means something you can do in 30 to 40 minutes rather than in many weeks. A lean plan is the one that is quicker and easier to write and distill it down to essential. Here are some free lean planning templates.
Conduction of market analysis
If you have followed the steps that are mentioned above then you have already done with some pieces of market analysis through exploration of business ideas. But for conducting thorough market analysis, a SWOT analysis is necessary to confirm the market of your product and also to find the competition.
Set up your website
If you have done with a business plan then it is time to set up your website and run. But this is not an easy process. There are a number of decisions you have to take regarding hosting, platform, and design to effectively represent your business. Your website is the great representation of your business especially for an online business.
Here is something you need to consider when you setting up your company website.An eCommerce site is the most direct form of online business you can start. You can compare it with third party platforms. But when you build and host your own eCommerce website design then you are able to sell your services directly to your customer without go-between.
Hosting your own site
The most important advantage of a direct eCommerce site is the level of control you have on your store. You will be able to customize virtually every aspect of your site and you also have the look and feel of your store. You should also focus on user experience. Your biggest consideration should be setting up your site to offer the best user experience.
Using a marketplace
There are more third party available like eBay, Fiverr etc. Building a business in these marketplaces is not much complicated. Because you will have to make fewer decisions.
If you want to start business on these marketplaces then you should keep in mind the pros and cons of that website. If you want to start business on Fiverr then you should know that for each order Fiverr will charge 20 percent of your total order price.
Make your business legal
Some steps you have to take in order to make your business legal. Some of which are discussed here:
Read carefully the online business regulations
The most important distinction in online business and in person business is online business regulations. These laws regarding the distribution of your customer’s personal information.
Don’t forget to register your online business
You have to decide how you want to set up your company’s legal structure. Visit the website of your local secretary of state’s office for more information.