Factors To Consider When Starting An Online Business
Starting an online business is an exciting time for a new entrepreneur. You can sell products or services on your blog or website to customers from all over the world. You can either create the products yourself or sell ones that were created by others and earn commissions via affiliate marketing.
But you can’t just throw up a blog or website, sit back and think the orders will just start flooding in! When first starting out, the road can be filled with dangerous curves. Around every corner a new challenge crops up that was unexpected yet must be dealt with. Here are 5 important steps to starting an online business.
1. Have A Plan
Many people starting an online business for the first time jump into it without having a plan. Maybe their plan is just to do it part-time to earn some extra money, so they put little thought into what the what, why and how of their new venture. This is a mistake – a plan can help you see success a lot more quickly!
The plan doesn’t need to be a full-blown 20-page business plan like the ones needed when starting a brick and mortar business and applying for business loans. But it does need to lay out in detail, your goal for the business, what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. If you want it to be a business, you must run it as one. If you run it as a hobby, that’s all it will ever be – a hobby. And while it will make some money, it won’t anywhere near approach its full potential.
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A Good Plan Starts with Your Niche
Part of building that plan is researching the potential topic or niche of your blog or website. Your business won’t be as successful in a niche where the audience is more limited. It also might not be as profitable if you go into a niche that is too broad as the competition might be too great.
You’re better off going with a medium density niche where there’s more opportunity for success, but yet one that is not so large that you will have trouble competing. Remember that small fish in a big sea theory. While the potential may be there, it’s harder to get found. The niche is the foundation of your plan.
2. Know Your Audience
An understanding of your audience is another key aspect of starting an online business. You must know certain things about them, like:
- What is their age range?
- What is their income range?
- Are they primarily male or female or about equally split?
- What are their hobbies or interests?
- What problems do they have that you can solve?
Knowing this information, you can target products and services to your audience. So how do you find out this information? There are several ways, but what most do is either to ask them (using surveys and polls on your blog, website or social media pages) or hang out where your potential customers hang out. This means hanging out on the forums and groups in your niche. Read their audience comments and interactions. See if you can pick out an area where there are a lot of questions or if you can see a need for a product or service that isn’t being filled right now.
3. Build A List From Day One
If you’ve been online for any length of time at all, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase “The money is in the list.” Having a list of customers that like your products or services and routinely buy from you is the lifeblood of an online business.
Most online entrepreneurs start by offering a free gift that is related to their niche, like an ebook or video, in return for the reader’s name and email address. This exchange of information – their contact information in return for your free gift to them – puts them on your autoresponder list. When you have something to sell, you have a list started of people who have shown an interest in your niche.
4. Address Your Customers’ Questions and Comments
As you start to build your list of customers, some of them are going to contact you either through email, your website or social media. If you don’t address their questions, comments or concerns in a timely manner, they’ll go away and most likely unsubscribe from your list and never buy anything from you again.
Being an online entrepreneur is very much a social skills-based business. And the good news is that, when your business is small and still growing, you have the time to get really personal with everyone who leaves you a comment or sends you an email. This is not only rewarding for you as a business owner (and them as a customer!) but it can also lead to great relationships and loyal customers down the line.
And don’t forget that you can also use customer emails and questions as ideas for blog posts or products to create in future!
5. Be Patient
Don’t believe the hype that tells you that you can make a million dollars overnight. Of course, Another you should be how you want to grow or scale-up your business but don’t make the mistake of trying to build up too fast thinking that quantity is key. In other words, rushing to offer a lot of products or services thinking there are numbers in volume.
When you start out, it’s much better to put up a few quality products that address the needs of your audience, instead of taking the “shotgun” approach and put up a bunch of inferior ones that really don’t solve anything for them.
Starting out, you are a one-person show having to do everything yourself, so you’re going to have limited time to produce content with all the other things going on. Don’t burn yourself from the very beginning! Start with one good product and add more, or improve the existing products, when you have the time, energy and knowledge about your audience.
Proven Steps For Starting An Online Business
Most online entrepreneurs start out being one-person businesses and it’s up to you to sort everything out. Fortunately, many people before you have blazed the trail first, so through their knowledge, you can avoid making some of the same mistakes they made when they first started. This free webinar shows you the proven steps on how to start a website business regardless of your age, education, technical skills or qualifications.