If you are thinking of starting an online business from scratch or want to transform traditional business models into online business, then this is the article for you.
We’ll be going through the various steps involved and will answer your query of “how to start an online business”.
Online business refers to the selling of products and services over the internet. Statistics show that about 40% of customers now do shopping online.
Benefits of Online Business:
It is important to know some of the major benefits of online business:
- The primary focus that customers give nowadays to any business is their website. No one has time to go to the market and explore products. Instead, they prefer to visit websites and get updates about products in a glimpse.
- Non-stop business. You are available 24/7. Your customers can shop anytime.
- Online lead generation is efficient and cost effective.
- It gives you opportunity to inform your customers about your products and services by uploading videos, sales webinars.
- It also leads to more efficient, faster and better customer support.
- It reduces operational costs. You don’t need to have plenty of staff to oversee and run your business.
- Many tasks are automated. You’ll save additional cost of doing business.
- There is no limit in its reach. The world is in your hands. You promote your products, keeping in view the whole world as your customer.
- It is easy and inexpensive to set-up in terms of cost.
How to Start an Online Business:
When you have decided to set up an online business, the very first question that should come to your mind is “how to start an online business”.
Going online seems like an obvious choice for many businesses but implementation isn’t as easy as it seems.
Take every step slowly and with strategy in mind so that you don’t waste time and money.
The online business arena is very competitive. Improper planning can lead to expensive mistakes.
As with all businesses, it takes patience to earn market share but a blink of an eye to lose it if you don’t meet your customers’ demands.
There are various steps involved in starting an online business.
1. Market Research:
Market research is the crucial fundamental step in creating an online business.
You’ve come up with an idea of what you want to sell. Whether it is a product, a service, a subscription or download, your future business will depend on how much demand there is for it.
You need insight into the potential of the market that you are interested in. Some important steps to get industry insights:
- Competitor analysis is a great source of getting insight into the market. You can assess how saturated the market is before devising your strategy to get a piece of the pie.
- Define your target audience. Are you going to target a specific location, a specific gender, specific age-group or specific country?
- Conduct surveys. Hear from the horse’s mouth. It’s better to get feedback from your target audience about the idea that to make assumptions. It is best you understand any blind spots that may inadvertently harm your business once started.
- Use social listening tools and access industry reports to analyze data about consumer demand for your product.
- Use analytics to find what people are searching for. Hire research firms to see what the market is buying. Is the trend growing or falling?
2. Business Model:
The next step is choosing your business model. This depends on your idea and plan. If you want to sell products and services, then you need to choose the eCommerce business model where you offer products and services. Your customer buys them online and they are delivered to them at home.
There are other forms of online businesses including:
- Advertising: Where you place advertisements on your website and get commissions from the clients
- Subscriptions: Where companies pay you whenever someone subscribes to their services.
However, in this article, we shall focus on setting up an eCommerce business. Whichever model you choose, make sure you track your figures and know your numbers. Without this, you would be flying blind in a storm. This is business analytics 101.
3. Website Development:
This is another important step. A good and attractive eCommerce web site design will show your visitors how professional your business is.
A good eCommerce web site design gives your user a good experience and motivates them to stay longer and revisit your website over and over again.
Your website needs to have clear and complete information about the products and services that you offer. It also has to be easy to navigate.
You can either develop an eCommerce web site yourself or you can hire an agency to do this work for you.
4. Optimize Content:
Your website content decides your destiny. Well-written quality content will motivate users to buy something on your website. Similarly, your content should be optimized. This helps web search engines to index and rank your site highly; which in turn increases high demand traffic volume to your webstore.
5. Website Promotion:
It is very important for your eCommerce businesses to build your brand image in the eyes of current and potential customers.
Your brand building efforts will result in customers knowing what your brand is about and what it stands for. Your brand position in the market would be established and you’ll attract the appropriate customer.
There are many strategies that you can adopt to promote your products online. You can use social media marketing, SEO website services for search engines like Google and Bing, email marketing etc to reach your target audience quickly and promote your brand.
Search advertisements appear on search engine result pages (SERPs). They are helpful and beneficial in the sense that users are already interested in the product when they see your ad. After all, why would they be searching for it if they weren’t?
6. Legal Issues:
eCommerce is regulated by authorities. You should consider different regulations and rules prevailing internationally and locally.
Some of the regulations that need to be considered are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002, and The Consumer Protection Regulations 2000.
Also look into tax laws for goods traded locally and across borders.
Hiring an Agency to help set up your online Business:
Hiring a specialist business consultancy service gives you a lot of benefits; such as:
- You expand your horizon of ideas. With an in-house team, without fresh inputs, most ideas are repeated. The repetitive content can bore your audience and they will quickly switch to your competitors.
- You get access to the latest advanced tools and technologies that can help you scale your business; much faster than doing it yourself. You’ll also get the information about the latest trends and tastes about your customers.
- They have deeper knowledge about cutting edge marketing strategies. So without wasting time and money on experimenting by yourself, hire an agency and they will better market and promote your product for you.
- They are experts with technical knowledge on how to make your site visible to a large audience. They understand the technicalities involved in SEO and eCommerce web site structure.
- You save money by operational efficiency. You can save costs related to staff wages, marketing expenses, procuring the latest technological equipment etc as all is taken care of by the agency.
Contact Blazing Conversions. Our consultants can help you start your online business today.