Online businesses are becoming more and more popular these days, especially now that a lot of us have to stay indoors to stay healthy. With increased technology and internet capabilities, people are starting to stay at home to make money, rather than going to the office. And, the great thing about online businesses is that, if you have a great idea, it’s actually pretty easy to get your online business up and running without too much cost to you!
So, whether you’re looking for your online job to replace your day-to-day work, or if you’re just adding a little bit of side hustle, make sure you remember these 10 things, and your business is sure to be successful!
1. Make sure you have a business plan
This may seem obvious, but a lot of internet entrepreneurs fail just because they didn’t take the time to make a business plan. And it’s actually pretty easy to do! Your business plan doesn’t need to be complicated, long, or completely exhaustive of what you want your online business to accomplish. Rather, it’s a good way to get yourself to think about what exactly you’re going to do for your potential clients, the type of industry you’re going to work in, and what you want your business (and you!) to achieve moving forward.
Essentially, your business plan is the roadmap for how your business will run and how you will achieve success. It’s what you use to pitch your ideas/work/product to potential clients, and a good starting point that will help you figure out how to encourage clients to want to work with you!
2. Know your market!
This is somewhat related to the thoughts that go into creating a business plan, but it’s important that you specifically figure out what market you’re going to be working in, and the clients you need to advertise to or seek out. Doing market research involves looking into the field or sector you’re thinking of entering, and making sure no one else is doing what you want to – or at least you think you can do it better!
The better you know your market and your potential clients, the better you’ll be able to direct your advertising and reach out to potential clients. Learning about your market space usually involves looking to competitors and seeing what makes them successful and what you think they’re lacking, so you can do what they do best and fix what they aren’t good at!
3. Register your domain name
The internet is a vast and amazing place, but you have to remember that there are a lot of other potential internet entrepreneurs out there. As a result, once you pick your product or services, it’s a good idea to register your domain name with a provider before someone else snaps it up!
Your domain name is what your clients will search for or see when they’re looking for your company or for your specific services. There are a few ways to register your domain name – both free, and sites that have a little bit of cost. Regardless, when choosing your domain name, it’s important that you try to keep it short and clear so that it’s easy for potential clients to find and use your website and services.
4. Seek out help from employees, freelancers or independent contractors
Running a business, even if it is an online store and completely remote, requires so much time and effort that chances are, you are not going to be able to do everything yourself. Luckily, with the boom of the gig economy, help is readily available whenever you need it. Whether you hire employees, remote contractors, or freelancers, keep in mind that they can be a fundamental part of your business and use them to rely upon them for repetitive, boring tasks or projects that require of knowledge or skills that are outside of your realm.
You are in the early stages of starting a business; chances are that it’s still too soon in the game for you to need to hire a payroll company or have an HR department. However, several legal documents, like a business contract, a non-disclosure agreement, and a non-compete agreement, are essential and should be ready before you enlist the help of your first employee or contractor.
5. Make sure your website is accessible and easy to use
Related to registering your domain name, it’s important that your internet presence is consumer/client-friendly. You want to make sure that your website clearly states what your product is or what services you are offering. Additionally, having an accessible website means that you should display your company name clearly on all pages (so they remember who you are and what you do!), making your website memorable and interactive, and making sure your web page is located on a good hosting provider. Make sure it’s also clear where potential or current clients can look for your contact information. Being accessible to your clients is a huge part of being a successful business owner!
Designing a website like this may sound terrifying, especially if you aren’t a coder or extremely tech-savvy. Well, fear not! There are several resources available for website creation, regardless of your skill level. If you need someone to set up the site for you completely, you can hire a web designer to create it for you. There are also site hosting companies, which have user-friendly website building tools.
6. Advertise your website and business
Once you have your business plan, know your market, have secured your domain name and ensured that your website is fun, memorable, and easy to use, it’s finally time to get some clients by advertising your business and making it easy for clients to find!
One tool, search engine optimization, or SEO, is important to finding your first clients, as well as continuing to attract more. SEO tools involve making sure the content of your website ensures that your business will come up in search engines when people are looking for certain services or products. Additionally, it can include making sure that your business is getting positive reviews from clients online, making others more likely to use your business.
You can also use things like social media to get word of your business out there into the public space. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have marketing/advertisement plans that you can purchase that will help link people to your website. You can even do this type of marketing for free by making your own blog, Facebook, or picture posts to reach out to potential consumers.
There’s no one right way to start an online business. What’s best for you depends on a variety of different things – what your product or services are, what your expertise in website design is, who your consumers are, etc. However, so long as you take these 5 things/steps into account, you’re sure to have your first clients (and all those thereafter!) in absolutely no time at all.