Starting An Online Business: Everything You Need to Know
Starting an online business can be a very rewarding and lucrative endeavor. The steps are fairly straightforward and easy to follow. 8 min read
2. 7 Steps to Start a Business Online
3. The Different Types of Online Businesses
4. Plan Your Online Business
5. Write Your Online Business Plan
6. Register Your Domain Name and Set Up Your Website
7. Steps You’ll Have to Take to Make Sure Your Online Business is Legal
Starting an Online Business
Starting an online business can be a very rewarding and lucrative endeavor. The steps are fairly straightforward and easy to follow. If you enjoy creating products and services that you want to sell to others, and online business maybe for you.
7 Steps to Start a Business Online
The first step in starting an online business is to find a need and fill it for people who want it. Those who are just beginning often mistake looking for a product first, an then a market.
To increase the chance of success, begin with a market. You need to find groups of people who are looking for solutions to problems without getting any results. Fortunately, the internet makes this simple. You can visit different forums online to find out what questions people are asking, and what problems they’re wanting to solve.
You can also do keyword research to find out what people are looking for in which there is little competition. You can also invetigate competitors of yours by visiting their website and noting what they are doing. Once you have learned what they are doing, you can create a product for that market and do it better than your competitor.
The second step is to write really great copy that will sell. There is a proven formula for writing sales copy that will take the visitors through the process from the moment they arrive until they decide to make a purchase. The formula needs to be:
- Include an attention-grabbing headline
- Describe the problem
- How your product can solve that problem
- Include a testimonial from those who have used your product
You will need to talk about your product and how it will benefit the consumer. Be sure to make a very strong guarantee and create a sense of urgency. Ask for the sale all throughout the copy. It is important to pay attention to how your product or service will better solve the given problem and make the life of the customer better.
The next step is to build your website. After you have researched your market and how your product can help the customer, and you have figured out how to sell your product, you are now ready for your website. Keep it very simple and easy to follow. There are less than five seconds available to grab someone’s attention.
As you are designing your website, make sure to keep it as simple as possible. Use a white background and choose up to two readable fonts. Make it easy to navigate and be consistent throughout the website.
You should use graphics, audio, and video only if they are re-iterating your message. Absolutely include an opt-in offer so that you can collect email addresses for your customer list. Make the process as easy as possible so that the customer will be more willing to buy your product. Your website will be your online storefront, so it has to be interesting yet easy to use.
The fourth step involves using a search engine to send buyers to your website. Pay per click advertising is the best way to garner traffic for your new website. There are two advantages of PPC advertising.
All PPC will show up on the search page immediately. They will allow you to test different keywords, headlines, and selling points. You will get immediate traffic, and you can use this to discover the best keywords. Then, you will be able to use those keywords in your site copy. This will ultimately result in higher search engine rankings, which is the goal.
Step five involves establishing yourself as an expert within your industry. Everyone will use the internet to look for information. You can provide that valuable information for free. This will increase your search engine rankings even further.
One thing that you can do is include a link to your website with small amounts of information. Provide giveaways for free and provide expert content that people would find useful. Distribute your content through online article directories and social media. This will further increase your reputation in your industry and show that you are an expert.
The next step will utilize email marketing to turn your visitors into buyers of your product. Building an opt-in list will be one of the most valuable assets for your business.
Subscribers to your site and your customers will give you permission to send them an email on a periodic basis. You are giving them something that they've asked for, so you will need to provide it. This is a very effective marketing strategy that is considerably less expensive than any print, television, or radio advertisement because you are targeting your market directly.
Those who visit your site and opt in to your list are considered a very good potential customer. This is one of the best ways to use email by following up with your leads.
The final step is to increase your sales with back end selling. This is one of the most valuable internet marketing strategies you can use to help you develop the value of a customer over a lifetime.
Approximately 36 percent of those who have bought from you once will buy from you a second time as long as you follow up. Closing the first sale is the most difficult part of the process. Back end selling, and up selling will get them to purchase again.
- You may offer complementary products that are related to their original purchase.
- You can influence this by sending out electronic coupons that they can use on their next visit.
- If you reward your customers for loyalty, they will be even more loyal and return to your website.
The Different Types of Online Businesses
An e-commerce site is one of the most direct forms of online business. It will include a self-hosted site that you will use to sell your goods directly to the customer. There is no go-between site like eBay.
The biggest benefit of e-commerce sites is the amount of control that you will have over your store. You are able to customize any options for your site. This includes how your site looks as well as the overall feel of your store. While there is a lot of freedom with an e-commerce store, they can also be somewhat complicated.
One of the most important things to think about with an e-commerce site is setting up the website to provide an easy user experience. You will need to use the best web design possible so that shoppers can easily navigate the website.
You will also need shopping cart software on your site. There are a variety of options to choose from including Shopify X Cart.
You can also opt to have an Etsy store. This type of business is easy to set up because it uses a similar layout that you are able to customize. Your customers will purchase through the Etsy interface and provide all maintenance for your store. This can be good or bad, depending on how much control you would like to have a beer business.
And Etsy store is a great option for anyone who enjoys being creative. This site focuses on items that are handmade and handcrafted. You may also sell vintage items, create and sell art, and provide pretty things to the masses.
Be cautious that if your product is mass-produced, you do not want to sell on Etsy. Etsy has made it very clear that while they do their sellers partner with other outside businesses to make products, mass produced items are not allowed.
Another option is an eBay store. Much like Etsy, eBay has some major advantages with regard to setting up a store. It is inexpensive and easy to do. You will not have to deal with setting up a shopping cart on your side or maintain any of the back end.
However, your customers must go through eBay to purchase items from you. You have no control of the layout of the store. This may or may not be a deal breaker for you, depending on your overall preference.
eBay does not stipulate that the goods sold have to be hand crafted for vintage resale. But, there are items that are not allowed to be sold on eBay. Be certain to check the details of selling on eBay before going that route.
You also have the option to have a business that does not sell physical items. You can sell consulting services and other types of services. If your business needs to accept payment, you will need to set up your own website for the best results. If you are not qualified to create a website, there are plenty of web designers that you can hire to create it for you.
Plan Your Online Business
Businesses will need a business plan, whether it is online or in a physical building. The plan must include things like market analysis, how you plan to fund your production, and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
Write Your Online Business Plan
After you have started planning for your business, the next step is to write a business plan. If you are not requesting any funding from a bank, an investor, or through other lending methods, a lean business plan is best. A lean plan is faster and simpler to write and let you reach your goals more easily.
Register Your Domain Name and Set Up Your Website
Do you plan to set up an e-commerce store that is not held within a platform like eBay, you will need to choose your domain name as soon as possible. Check to see if it is available and ready for use. Once you secure it, the process of setting up your website will start. You can outsource this to a professional or do it yourself.
Steps You’ll Have to Take to Make Sure Your Online Business is Legal
It is crucial that you are aware of all online business regulations. When it comes to doing business online instead of in person, you have to remember online business law. These laws will include information about the distribution of the personal information of your customers. Additional privacy and intellectual property regulations are also important.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a thorough rundown of online business law so that you can be fully prepared to start your business.
You should visit your Secretary of State website for any special requirements for your site. In some states, you will have to collect state sales tax from your customers.
You will also need to become familiar about all tax obligations when running an online business. If you run your business from your house, you may be eligible for different tax deductions on your property. You also have to pay income tax. It is best to talk to a lawyer and accountant to make sure you are fully covered.
An online business is very similar to starting a business with a storefront. Planning the legal aspects of the business is also similar. Although you do you not have to locate a physical retail location, it is still crucial that you have a good plan for your business. It is essential to make sure that you are fully covered when it comes to all your business details.
One of the biggest advantages of setting up an online business is the amount of flexibility that you will have in your business, as well as the low-cost of overhead. It will have some initial work to get your business set up, but it will overall become a great choice for you as an entrepreneur.
If you need help learning more about starting an online business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.