Owning a business has never been as easy as it is in the 21st Century. Online businesses now crop up by the hundreds every week. Entrepreneurs in the digital age do not need a lot of capital to start a business that brings them good returns. This is in contrast to the days of brick and mortar stores when setting up a business meant putting in huge sums of money over a period of time after which your business could see some returns (if you were lucky).
The low barrier to enter eCommerce also means that the space is also cluttered with millions of entrepreneurs looking to make it as big as you are. The United States alone has more than 38 million home-based businesses with the numbers soaring with every new study. In a market as competitive as eCommerce, you might want to make sure that you start your business on the right foot. Keep reading to find out some of the steps you can take to start an Online Business that brings you returns:
1. All You Need to Begin Is A Good Idea
In a space with millions of online businesses trying to sell you something, you need an idea that can differentiate from the crowd. All great eCommerce businesses start with an idea. The idea that first analyses and then fills a need that is not being met in the market.
Remember, you need to think of an idea that not only fills a gap in the market, but also plays to your strength. Analyse your own skills and competencies and see what field you can work in to make it better with your product or service.
It is necessary for you to think out of the box, but you also need to be realistic. Having a cool business idea is not a one-time thing. This is a business that you are going to put a lot of your resources and time into, so a great deal of thought is not something you should shy away from before getting into the business.
2. Research Your Customers (and Competitors)
Most entrepreneurs these days figure out a good business idea (as mentioned in the point above) and run with it. They believe that their idea is so good that it will sell itself, failing to recognise the obstacles and competition that lies in their way ahead. To not make the same mistakes as them, you need to do your homework before entering eCommerce, even if your idea might be revolutionary.
One of the best ways to find out the validity of your idea is to simply talk to your potential customers. Engage with them on social media or even in person to know what they think about your idea. Be open and accepting of feedback and adapt your business according to the honest feedback that you may receive from your potential customers. Remember, the more you listen to your customers, the more they would prefer you over your competitors.
Speaking of competitors, you also need to research your competitors before entering the market. Analyse the things that work for them and adapt accordingly. See what did not work for them and make sure you do not repeat their mistakes. It’s only with research that you can build a business that is well liked and nearly “fail proof”.
3. Be Legally Compliant
This point must go without saying but you also need to look after the legalities behind starting an online business in your country. We’re sure starting a business idea that has constant run-ins with the law is not what you are looking for.
Obtain whatever is your country’s equivalent of a business license/permit and keep track of all the records and paperwork that you may be required to do along the way. Learn about the tax obligations that you and your newly launched business may have to make as you are in its infancy and abide by them.
4. Build An Easy-To-Use Website
We have already mentioned how essential it is for every Digital Business to have an easy-to-use website . Remember to keep your website simple, both from a design and utilitarian aspect. Being an online business you only get a few seconds to grab your potential customer’s attention. Don’t waste that precious time trying to impress them with the fancy tool that your designer came up with for your website that makes it take ages to load.
Make sure your website is SEO Friendly and is visible on Google.
Simple fonts, designs and logos are what you should choose for your easy to navigate website. You also need to optimize your landing page well to collect leads of your potential customers in case they choose to visit your website. Minimise the number of clicks the customer has to make to make a purchase on your website. The aim should be to make the customer’s experience on your website easy so that conversions are possible.
5. Social Media is Your Business’s Best Friend
Businesses have recently started making a name for themselves with the power of social media alone. Sometimes a strong social media game is all you need to market your product to your potential customers.
Building a community of your customers on your social media to engage with them regularly helps a great deal in keeping your brand in their good books. Over the years, there have been numerous examples of brands building up (and destroying) their perceived image with social media alone.
You can also use your social media handles as a research tool, asking for feedback on your products and services directly from the people that pay for them. Including your customers in your brand’s processes also makes them feel appreciated building great affinity for your brand in the process.
Starting an online business has been easier than ever in the last few years. Ease however, does not guarantee success especially when it comes to a platform as populated as the internet. It requires tremendous grit and research along with some smart decisions that are supposed to help as you scale up your business gradually. The above list would surely land on a good place to start with as you work towards making your dream of having an Online Business true.