How to start an online business? Many of us have probably had this question during the COVID-19 crisis. After all, if there’s any industry that has won from people staying home, it’s eCommerce. More than ever before, people order from online shops, play online slots, and sell their items on Internet marketplaces. So we can safely say that now is the best time to set up your own Internet business and capitalize on the trend. But starting a new business takes a lot of careful planning and groundwork. So before you get started, check out this article. We’ll go through all the essential steps you need to find success in the world of eCommerce. Let’s get started.
1. How Viable Is Your Online Business Idea?
It’s not too difficult to come up with an excellent idea these days. But not all online business ideas are viable in 2021. The first thing you need to assess is whether or not your idea has a market. There needs to be a substantial amount of people willing to spend money on the solution you’re offering. Also, your product or service needs to be an affordable answer to specific problems. You may provide a solution to an urgent issue, but if people are not willing to spend money on solving the problem, you can’t sell the product or service.
2. Put Together a Business Plan
After you’ve done thorough market research and found out your idea is feasible, it’s time to write a business plan. And look, even if you’re not going to try to find funding for your enterprise, you still need an effective business plan. It will help you spot upcoming problems and shortcomings and makes it easier to plan for profitability.
So how to devise a good business plan? First, go back to step one. It all begins with knowing your target audience and their specific needs. The core of any good business plan is explaining how your product solves a problem for a group of people. From there, you can devise a marketing strategy tailored for the group you’re targeting.
3. Pick a Name
Choose a name for your online business that’s available both in your state and on the Internet. That’s because, ideally, your domain name would be the same as your business name. And let’s not forget about social media. Every business that wants to survive online needs either a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. So check your preferred platform if they have your name still available before making the decision.
4. Choose a Structure for Your Business
Each business structure comes with its own tax and legal requirements. So before picking one, you should consult with an attorney and a tax preparer. They will help you understand which of the structures suits your fresh business best. Here are the most common choices for small business owners:
- Corporation. Setting up a corporation is pretty complex, but it’s a good option if you want to keep the owners’ liability limited.
- Partnership. This is a good option if you’re starting the business with a friend.
- Sole proprietorship. It’s easy to set this structure up, but you’ll be personally liable for any business depts.
5. Build a Website
Building an attractive website for your online business is super important. Unless you’re a web designer yourself, we’d recommend getting a professional to do it. A good website designer knows how to build pages for your products that lead to more conversions.
Next up, you should choose a reputable web host for your site. Pick a host that can provide a decent browsing site. Nothing makes people abandon their online shopping cart faster than a slow-loading webpage.
Once you’ve got the design and hosting covered, it’s time to decide how to deliver your products to clients. Keep in mind international shipment costs and overall delivery times when choosing a delivery service. Also, make sure you negotiate getting a discount once the volume of your shipments increases.
6. Prelaunch and Launch
Before launching the business, build up anticipation among your target audience. Social media channels provide excellent platforms to do that. Most online businesses start with a Facebook or Instagram campaign telling people what they’ve been working on. If, for example, you launch a company that provides business services online, then an exciting pre-launch campaign should get you plenty of clients already in the first days.
After you’ve launched your business, the work has only begun. But using the guidance from this article lays a solid foundation for future successes. Plus, getting these steps right allows you to spend more time on marketing and handling the day-to-day business. Now go and make it happen. It’s down to you.
Have you been able to start an online business from home? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
Thomas is a perpetual expat who eventually settled down in Miami after living in 6 other countries. When not surfing at the beach, he can be usually found in his home office, writing about the perks of working remotely and what remote work is all about.