Are you looking to start an online business? It makes sense to start selling goods online given that there are approximately 24 million e-commerce stores around the world and close to 2 billion digital buyers. As you can see, there is still a huge opportunity as more people are turning to online buying these days. The opportunity to start an internet business is promising, but you need to know how to approach the whole process the right way.
Many aspiring online entrepreneurs have given up along the way or even before they could start because they originally thought that the process was easy. They soon found out that there are many obstacles to overcome. Don’t fret though, because it’s possible to become highly successful online. Furthermore, you can do it with relatively little capital. There is nothing new when it comes to starting an e-commerce business because the process looks pretty similar to most businesses.
Nevertheless, it’s not as simple as you may think.
In this article, we are going to take a look at how the process of starting an online business goes.
Let’s get started.
1. Decide The Type of Online Business to Start
As mentioned above, there are millions of online businesses. So, you need to choose a niche. Ideally, you will find a vertical where there is a clear gap in the market. If you can solve a problem by providing a product or service that is in limited supply, then you’ve got a good shot at success. The good thing is that when it comes to deciding the type of online business to start, the opportunities are almost endless.
A few examples of types of online businesses include:
- Selling physical products on your website or other platforms like Amazon, eBay, etc.
- Selling digital products.
- Become an online consultant or coach.
- Offer online services (web design, freelance writing, etc).
- Create tools and sell them to individuals and companies on the internet.
- Create and sell or buy and sell websites (digital assets).
2. Identify a Need
Many online entrepreneurs fail because they start with the product first and forget about market research. Many don’t satisfy a need. If you want to start an online business that will generate revenue for many years to come, you need to start by researching the market. This involves finding out the pain points of your customers.
Spend some time getting to know the problems people are facing so you can find a lasting solution for them. The internet can help you identify a problem(s) customers are facing. Go to online forums, do keyword research, check the competition to see whether they are bridging the gap, etc. This will give you insights on where to start.
3. Take Your Business Online
Let’s assume that you have identified the type of online business to start. You have found a gap in the market, and it’s time to take your business to the world. In this case, we will use a website as the channel of availing your business to the public.
Start by thinking about a unique and memorable name for your company. The last thing you want to see is giving your business a name that’s already registered by someone else. So, first, decide on your business name and register your domain name. There are many domain name registrars out there.
Once done, get your domain name hosted.
For web hosting, you don’t have to spend a lot. For example, have a look at the HostGator starter plan. This web hosting plan is affordable (starting at $2.75 per month) and is very popular. One of the great things about this plan is that it offers continuous backups, a feature you can’t get on other basic plans with other web hosting companies. Keep in mind, you don’t need to choose this company. But, you can use its pricing and features as a baseline when you review other companies. The main point is that you can start small, and then move to higher plans later when your business grows.
Once all is set, set up your website. You can go the DIY route or hire a professional to do it for you.
4. Attract Buyers to Your Site
There are many ways and channels to drive customers to your website; social media is one of the well-known channels of attracting customers to your online business.
Moreover, you can use PPC ads, although you need to have a small budget for this. Try to find an affordable way of driving customers to your online business as much as you can.
5. Establish Yourself as an Authority in Your Industry
People are looking for useful information on the internet. They want to learn how to cook, how to do farming, how to get things done easily without spending too much, etc. If your business revolves around these areas, share your expertise and help people through videos, articles, etc. This way, people will start flocking to your online business.
6. Take Advantage of Email Marketing
Make sure you don’t lose touch with people who visit your website and go by building an email list. This involves adding an opt-in form to your website so people can receive your messages. You can use their emails to send them new offers or regular updates concerning your business.
7. Start Selling
Many things come in between the process of starting a business online, though. We have just covered the basics. In itself, the topic of starting an online business is broad that we can’t include everything in this short article. However, you’re halfway there once you have created your website. The next step is to start engaging with customers and selling your products to them.
Make sure you maintain a great sense of professionalism in everything you do to earn the trust of your customers. The opportunities to start an online business are endless. However, to increase the chances of success with your business, you need to do some research to know its profitability.