If you’ve been thinking about starting an online business, you’re definitely not alone because of the uni tutor.
With massive worldwide closures of storefront businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic, more consumers than ever are now looking online to make their purchases. As a result, a lot of would-be marketers are now thinking about how they might tap into their entrepreneurial spirit to take advantage of that shift in consumer behavior.
That makes it a very competitive field for newbies. But where to start?
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and you don’t have to be a business whiz. But you do need to be realistic, and you need to be prepared to invest some serious sweat equity.
Take an inventory of your strengths, interests, and skills. Look carefully at what is trending in the online marketplace. Think about how you can bring something unique to your chosen business niche – and you’re on your way to setting up shop.
Seven Easy Ways to Start an Online Business
We have a few tips that will help get you and your brilliant business ideas up and running.
Know What You’re Selling, and Who You’re Selling To
It’s critical that you do your homework to ensure that there is a market for what you’re selling. Check out social media and business websites to see what people are talking about and buying.
Determine who your target audience is, and how your product or service can meet their needs. Don’t be put off if the market seems competitive: that just means that others have found this to be a profitable niche.
Register Your Domain Name
This will be an address that’s exclusive to you on the internet – like a personal trademark. There are a number of different companies where you’ll be able to purchase and register your domain name. Some even provide a free website domain, if you make an additional purchase such as a hosting package. Whatever the name you choose, it should be professional, easy to read, and memorable.
Choose a Web Host
This is the company to which you pay “rent” to give your website a home on the internet. Again, there are a number of different companies you can choose from. Things to look for in a web host:
- WordPress Compatible
- 24/7 service
- SSL certification
- Ability to host blogs
- Email and E-commerce capabilities
- Storage Capacity
Design Your Website
You can either build the website yourself, or pay a designer to do it for you. If you’re even moderately technically savvy, you have a few options.
- You can use the website creation tools that some hosting companies offer for free
- You can install a free platform like WordPress, which provides hundreds of templates allowing you to customize your website
- If you’re more technically adept, you can try using some more challenging software, like Dreamweaver by Adobe
If you’re not comfortable with the DIY approach, there are hundreds of professionals to choose from – at reasonable rates – from several freelancer websites like Upwork or Fiverr.
Make Online Payments Easy
Customers browsing online want to be able to get near-instant results when they decide on a purchase. Make it easy for them!
Ensure that your website is enabled to accept payments and process transactions directly. PayPal.com and Stripe.com are two of the most frequently used online payment options. These two offer the basics, but as your business grows you may want to consider other software options 1Shoppingcart.com, which incorporates more shopping features, like upselling.
Decide How You’ll Deliver
This depends on the type of product you offer. If you’re providing an online service or product, it’s pretty straightforward. For those, use a company that specializes in electronic fulfillment, such as E-junkie.com.
But if you’re selling physical products, you’ll need to consider using a courier or shipping fulfillment company. To avoid dealing with inventory backlog, consider an online drop shipping option.
There are plenty of other websites out there vying for a piece of the online business pie. The time and effort you put into setting up will be wasted if you don’t capture an audience.
- Get registered on search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing).
- Maintain a blog and register on some directories.
- Use SEO to check out what’s trending.
- Advertise online, for example using Facebook or Twitter.
- Install Google Analytics to help you determine exactly where your traffic is coming from. This will help you sharpen your target market focus.
- Create videos and podcasts. Consumers respond more favorably to a human face and voice than they do to straight text.
- Create email lists of site visitors so you can turn browsers into customers.
Whatever your business idea, remember that there’s no such thing as a “get rich quick” method.
Setting up an online business requires time, planning, and effort. But with the seven easy ways outlined above, you’ll be on your way to achieving your dream of becoming your own boss.