8 Tips to Consider before you Start an Online Business
How to start an online business the right way!
To start an online business is a dream for many people. The freedom that it promises is extremely alluring and the process is quite thrilling, unlike anything else you might encounter. There are a number of factors that you need to consider in order to successfully start an online business. Below are 8 tips to consider before you start an online business. Keeping these tips in mind will help you to get started on the right path and avoid many common pitfalls.
1. Get in Touch with Your Passion
Find out motivates you. What wakes you up in the morning and gets you eager to start the day. There is no point in leaving a job, only to start a business doing something you really don’t love. Your just building another box. We have a saying around here that’s pretty simple… “don’t be a box builder!” Instead, really choose the type of life you want.
Write the answers to these questions down:
- What are your values?
- What are your interests?
- What is your ultimate lifestyle?
- What kind of business do you want to create that will allow you to live your passion and do all of this?
Answering these questions will better help you to get your focus before you start an online business. Without focus, you can be pulled in any number of directions. With focus you’ll have clear intentions and a deeper understanding about what motivates you. And in the end, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
2. Market Research — Do your Home Work
Now that you have some sense about what it is you want, now you have to figure out what the world wants. What is it that other people want and are willing to pay for. Take a look at some of the values and interests you wrote down above.
Brainstorm the following:
- What type of client or business is looking for these things as well?
- What could I provide in terms of a service or a product (or reselling someone else’s) that would enable me to get involved in this industry?
- Is there money to be made here?
Google some basic phrases related to these services and products you generated above. Do you see advertisers along the right had in the sponsored section. That’s a good sign. It means people are advertising, and that means people are likely buying otherwise advertisers wouldn’t be wasting their money
3. Design a Marketing Strategy — Start with the End in Mind
Before you start an online business, you need to determine if there is a market. If you believe their is a viable market for your product and services, then you must work to create a marketing strategy to operationalize and capitalize on it.
- What exactly will you sell?
- Where will you find your customers? Through which channels? How will you reach them?
- Are they a rapid market (i.e., do they have a strong enough need to buy this type of product or service?
- How much will you charge for your products and services?
- How much will your operations, inventory, labor cost?
- Can you make a profit?
If you don’t know where you are going, you will be sure to get there! You must have a plan. Without a good marketing strategy your business can’t exist. This is even more so with the Internet, where the customer cannot find about your business unless he sees and hears about it. Choose Internet marketing methods and incorporate these strategies into your business on a daily basis.
4. Market Testing — Test It Before You Buy It
Before you go off and start a full blown website with all the bells and whistles, you should try and market test your idea. Perhaps float the idea with some trusted business advisers you know. Put together some Google Pay Per Click (PPC ) ads and a quick landing page on a a hosted account like WordPress.com. Use PayPal as your back end payment processor. Create a simple offer and test whether you can drive any traffic to your ad and your offer. If you are more advanced you might try building a list to see if you can capture interested visitors. Just remember to keep your expenses low and test, test, test.
5. Build It — And They Won’t Come…. but You Can Still Drive Traffic and Win
Whether you start off with your own product or choose to market another companies offers, you need to take the next step and to create a foundation for your internet business that is scalable. To start, you will need to get your own site; which includes a domain name and web hosting.
The benefit of this, aside from scalability is that owning your own domain name adds credibility to your site, and having your own web hosting gives you the flexibility to do what you want including creating your own site, having your own preferred theme and plugins — if you are using WordPress.org. There is a never ending supply of inexpensive hosting out there, so you will want to take advantage of it as soon as you are up to the challenge.
6. Marketing Your Online Business
When you start an online business, you must know how to market in general. And you must know how to market online. Just because you are operating online and you might be indulging in some fun marketing tactics like social media, you must never forget that you are still running a business.
When you start an online business it is completely driven by the number and quality of the promotions you perform. The more marketing and the better your marketing is, the more traffic you will attract, the more business you will do, and the more profit you will make.
Some of the things you can do to ensure your marketing is focused are:
- Make sure you have solid SEO ratings. The visibility of your online marketing business is very much dependent on its ranking in the search engines. A well marketed site will have high SEO rankings. Don’t neglect the search engines. If you focus on SEO, it will be one of the best promotion tools for your business
- Use social media. Even if you are just getting started and still learning about Web 2.0 sites, widgets, social bookmarking and all the other buzz words — it is a must have in internet business. Not only is it popular now, but it will continue to be popular for as long as the internet exists. And if you ask me…. the internet is going to exist from now until infinity. So get started
- Market with Pay Per Click – One of the best ways to market your business is via paid cost per click techniques. There are many ways you can utilize this tactic — via search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN or via social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Whichever platform you choose, be sure to find qualified people who can assist you with getting started and constructing your PPC account properly. This is definitely something you want to get right from the start and not have to rebuild.
Spend your time putting the structure, systems and people in place in your business. Focus on building all of the interlocking pieces of the business together so that it all connects, it all makes sense, and it is a well thought out experience for your clients and customers. Keep your customers front and center and build the business around providing great service. Look for ways to reduce costs and add value.
You will want to budget your money wisely so you can be in business for the long haul. Set up your budget for the year and allocate your funds accordingly. Stick to your budget and get financing if you need to. You don’t need much to start an online business.
Be persistent. You must take positive action in your business every single day if you want to succeed. You should make building business systems, marketing and continual refinements a constant in your business.
8. Never Stop Learning — And Learn from the Pros
Learning is an absolute necessity when it comes to business, especially when you start an online business. You will never get it all right the first time. By continuing to make adjustments and learn from your successes you will always be in a position to improve. To speed up your learning it is always advisable to seek assistance from those who have gone before you. Finding qualified help can make all the difference between success and failure. And when you are just starting out, you can use all the help you can get to avoid life’s inevitable pitfalls. Assistance can take the form of tools and resources as well as coaching and training.
At AMP we understand your need to start an online business right, so we provide the industry’s leading internet marketing program to entrepreneurs who want real skills to launch their business successfully. Our flexible online training programs cover everything you need to know to start an online business from Marketing Basics to all areas of digital marketing, including Search Engine Optimization, Web Analytics, Sales Conversion, Social Media Marketing, and Pay Per Click Advertising and more.