Dhianna Hirang, Negosentro | Many successful entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk and Mark Cuban, started their careers with online businesses. With the Internet and social media boom, this seems like a logical path for a majority of startups around the globe, especially because e-commerce is continuing to grow at a relentless pace, with more than 20% of annual growth. However, regardless of how simple starting an online business might seem, it is not an endeavor that should be taken lightly. It requires effort, patience, and a lot of learning. So, if you are ready, this article may be the perfect place to start.
Try to find the market before you launch a product
The internet is a limitless digital environment, and as such, it is overcrowded with tons of products and services. Even if you have a great product, it may end up lost among millions of similar businesses. So, before you get your “million-dollar idea”, try to do a market research (e.g. keyword research), and look for people’s needs that are not yet adequately addressed. Check out the competitors to see their offer and how they approach the potential clients. Find what’s lacking and try to solve it with your own offer.
Establish a business plan
Many online businesses start their undertaking without a business plan, because they think they can “click their way” through anything. That is far from being true, and you need to establish a quality business plan, which should include the responsibilities, market research, funding ideas, strategy, tactics, type of online business (e-commerce store, Etsy store, eBay store…) milestones, budget, sales forecast and cash-flow projections.
Build and optimize your website
Building a website is not something you should take for granted. It is an image of the business you are representing to your clients. So, try to make it as simple and understandable as possible. The navigation menu and the steps needed to make a purchase must be easy and quick. There are two types of optimization you need to think about when designing a website: mobile optimization (because a large chunk of online purchases is done via smartphone) and SEO (search engine optimization).
Cooperate with the best
The Internet is changing with each passing day; Google always has new demands for keeping a website highly-ranked; cloud storage is constantly upgrading security; audience demands a fresh approach. That’s why it is important to cooperate with people who keep track of all of those changes and even stay one step ahead. That’s exactly what companies offering it-cloud services can help you with; they can help you set up a custom solution for your business needs and outpace the competition by hooking you up with the latest cutting-edge technologies.
Build an audience
You may have a perfectly designed website and the best people behind you, but if you don’t have the audience (potential customers), you will make no money. There are several great ways to build your audience:
- Write quality content that has more than just a commercial value.
- Guest post on blogs that already have a solid audience base.
- Offer your expertise by participating in a podcast.
- Get media exposure from websites like Entrepreneur, Inc. and Huffington Post.
Have a killer social media strategy
Social media marketing is a necessity for all businesses, especially the ones that are online based. Here are some strategies you should implement in order to make your business a success:
- Use chatbots.
- Personalize the customer experience.
- Create high-quality SEO content.
- Use humor and emotions in your posts.
- Diversify your content.
- Have profiles on all relevant social media platforms.
- Have a budget only for social media.
- Tell engaging stories.
- Create memorable and shareable content.
Launch with a bang
Finally, starting your business is a big thing, so don’t let it happen quietly. And this goes for every new product or change you will later introduce. Make sure the launch happens at the very end of the promotional period, because it should produce significant revenue and a huge momentum for your company.
Starting an online business is difficult, and growing it is even more challenging, but if you make the right first steps and stay focused and active, you will be on the road to success.