“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we have stuck to for 18 years.
They’re the reason we’re successful.
Put the Customer First. Invent. Be Patient.
– Jeff Bezos,
Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon
Steps to Start an Online Business: A Brief Introduction
Starting any business is probably the single biggest decision you are ever going to take. It ranks right up there with marriage, kids, and other familial responsibilities. However, if you are reading an article about steps to start a business online, you have thought it through.
The power of the internet has made it possible for almost anyone to start an online business. Unlike traditional brick and mortar stores, you do not need a ton of investment, manpower, or other legal paperwork to start.
Whether you are looking to start an offline business or an online business, the fundamentals remain the same. In this article, we are going to look at some questions like-
- How to effectively use the digital domain to suit your online business
- The tools you can use to boost your online business presence
- What kind of digital agencies you should be looking to partner with for your online business
- Types of digital services that you have to take recourse to
- What are some successful business models that can be followed
- The importance of social media be used as a powerful tool to generate revenue and presence
- Varieties of perfect online business opportunities you can explore in 2019
These steps to starting a business online have been compiled by leading digital marketing experts in the field. They have grown and seen hundreds of successful online companies grow from scratch.
By effectively following the ’10 Steps to Start a Business Online’, you will be in the best position to start your new online business.
Benefits of starting a Business Online:
One of the first things that you need to decide on is about the scale of your online business. If you are a digital novice, you should start small. Think Amazon! Like a traditional business, your aim should always be to cut costs and find affordable solutions.
If you look at some of the biggest corporations in the world- Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, etc. Most of them were born on the internet. They exist as billion-dollar behemoths alongside companies like Aramco, Walmart, Texaco, Coca Cola, and others.
A small online business can be converted into a billion dollar online business if you have the idea and the product. The internet is famous for being the most democratic medium for entrepreneurs. If you are looking to start a small-scale enterprise and then scale up, you can do that on the web.
Starting an online business is not some swindle. It is one of the most effective ways to be your own boss, control your company and make a lot of revenue. Millions of people all over the world are leaving their traditional careers and starting their own online businesses.
Some of the biggest benefits of starting an online business are-
- You do not need to rent a workplace.
- You do not need to hire permanent workers for your online business.
- An online business does not require any skilled training or educational qualification to start.
- Your ideas for business can be novel, innovative and not traditional.
- You do not need a significant start-up capital to start your business.
- You can work according to your timetable and needs.
- Lastly, as Mark Zuckerberg had said in the movie Social Network- ‘I am CEO, Bitch!’
10 Steps to Start a Business Online:
After having looked at some of the benefits of doing business online, let us now look at the steps.
1. Find a Market Loophole and Create Your Product:
There are millions of people and companies selling millions of products and services online. The key is to find out the loophole between demand and supply. Look for ways and means through which you can understand what people are searching for.
It does not matter if someone else is already offering a similar product online. You just need to package it better. Think of innovation of the same product and offer it as a solution. This step can also be your ‘Research’ phase.
By being part of forums and hearing the chatter on social media communities and groups, you can come up with a viable idea.
2. Create a Website:
Your business needs an address. As a brick and mortar store has a physical address, a website is an online address for your brand or business. Creating a website is not as difficult as it was five or ten years ago.
You can create a website for ‘Free’ from a WordPress theme. For people who want to take up blogging, this is the best option. Even if you want to start an e-commerce store selling things, you can look at Shopify or WooCommerce.
The easy usability of these platforms ensures that you will be able to complete it without any formal educational training. For starting an online business, WordPress is the go-to-choice for millions of people all over the world.
3. Set up your Business Social Media Pages:
More than 3.5 billion or half the Earth’s population is on social media. Your target audience will definitely be on social media. The key is to identify platforms that your audience frequents. This is where you need to be smart and skillful.
Setting business pages for your brand can open it up to a host of possibilities. With regular postings, you can develop a substantial follower base. This will help get your word out and redirect traffic from your social media page to your brand website.
You need to maintain proper business social media profiles. The first step is to ensure that your page adheres to the ‘social media hygiene’. In other words, you need to fill out all the sections of your profile.
4. Set a Narrative for your Brand:
Always remember, this is the era of ‘Generation Z’. They want brands to have a voice, to have an identity. By aligning yourself with issues if gender rights, sexual identities, vegan diets, you can get an amazing number of consumers.
Think about how the organic food revolution has taken over the planet. Alternatively, for that matter, brands that only make vegan food. If you set a strong identity and narrative for your brand, Gen Z is going to be your most favored consumers.
The internet is a chaotic place. Setting the tone and mood of your brand needs to be done at the very outset. This narrative should be consistent across your website, your social media channels, and your product packaging.
5. Find the Right Partner: Digital Marketing Agency:
For many brands, the difference between success and failure boils down to their digital agency. With the right digital agency and their guidance, you will be able to maximize the potential of the web. With the wrong one, things are going to go downhill.
This becomes an important decision, given the fact that you will only be concentrating on your presence online. A good digital agency should help you with your:
- Website requirements
- Digital promotions and spends
- Social Media Strategy and Page Maintenance
- Other digital marketing strategies (for a later stage)
In view of this, it is essential that you select a digital agency after properly vetting them. The relationship should be based on trust, credibility, and affordability.
6. Start Your Blog:
No matter what your product or service, you need a BLOG. A blog is necessary for any online business. It becomes even more important when your business is new. A blog helps you perform digitally well in many spheres:
- As a source of Inbound Marketing
- Helps in SERPs, Keyword Rankings
- Establishes your credibility as an authoritative industry voice
- Gives your audience something else to consume other than just products
- Reduces your website’s bounce rate
Right from the very start, you need to pay a lot of attention to this section of your website. If it not possible for you to create regular content, please hire a good quality content writer. You will start seeing the results of publishing regular content after a year. It is crucial that you are patient in this exercise.
7. Set up the Company’s Legal Identity:
Once you have set the foundations of the online business, it is a good idea to get the paperwork done. Different countries have different laws pertaining to online businesses. It is always a good idea to seek help from professionals.
They will help you get the company registered; create the paperwork, the tax structure, and other legal obligations. At this stage, you might also want to create your PayPal Account and integrate a Payment Gateway if you are selling products or services on your website.
This is where your digital marketing agency can help you get your house in order. Setting up the payments is an important task, and should always be handled by experts.
8. Engage with your Audience Always:
For a new business, it is crucial that you engage with your audience at all times. If you want to build a loyal consumer base, you need to start active communications with your audience. This involves:
- Replying to comments and personal messages on social media
- Replying to comments on the website’s blog section
- Setting up a 24×7 chat-bot integration on your website and social media
- Email Marketing to your audience database
- Holding consumer meet-ups and product launches privately
- Giving every consumer a personalized touch
All of the above requires investment. This is not a monetary investment, but time, energy and effort from your end. However, the results of this over a period will be quite beneficial for your online business.
9. Look for Diverse Sources of Monetization:
As an online business, you can never ever have just one source of revenue. This is the beauty of doing business online. At one point in time, you can have multiple sources of revenue. Suppose you are selling a product or a service- that is your main source of revenue.
However, you can always explore other sources of revenue like-
- Google AdSense
- Guest Posting/Link Building
- Third Party Merchandise Selling
If you are not familiar with these, please ask your digital marketing agency on how to exploit these sources. You need to be safe, so as not to overdo link building, this might attract penalties from Google. Always ask an expert before progressing.
10. Have Patience and Follow the Steps to Start a Business Online:
Any business in order to be successful requires a stage of patience, investment, and effort. There is no magic formula, which can transform your website, into an overnight success. You need to keep following the steps to start a business online and the best practices.
If you were asking me about a period, I would say 10-12 months. However, during this period, you cannot slouch one bit. This means regular postings on social media, up-gradation of the website, engaging with consumers, holding offline events and so on.
Time is a friend, but it can also be an enemy. Knowing when to seize it correctly is critical to making your online business a success.
Steps to Start an Online Business: The Final Word
In my experience of working with first-time online business entrepreneurs, I have come across many success stories.
A kid out of Omaha who used to love designing t-shirts set up his own e-commerce store. He also has a brand page on Amazon and sells his products across numerous departmental stores in USA and Canada.
A homemaker with an affinity for cooking set up her own recipe website and YouTube channel. Today, manufacturers and ingredient companies seek her actively for promoting their products. She is a YouTube celebrity and a successful entrepreneur.
Like the above two, there are infinite success stories of people who have made it. However, there are also people who were not so successful. Therefore, the key is to understand what you are passionate about and blend it with the market’s requirements.
Once you have done that and arrived at your niche, you can always refer to the ‘steps to start a business online guide’ to become a success.
Do let us know in the comments section about some more success stories in the online business world. Comments on the article are welcome.
If you require any information on how to set up your business online, please reach out to me at [email protected]