How to start an online business
Entrepreneurship online has become one of the best alternatives for many people who like or get along with everything related to technology. In addition, you can combine it with your current job, you can do it from home and many times you do not need a big investment to start. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
One thing you need to be clear about before you start is that not all that glitters is gold. Going online and creating an ecommerce is not something you can do overnight. It will take you many hours and it will take you a lot of effort to come up with an idea that really works and that you can translate into an online business.
Before going online: analyze your business idea
Why do you think your idea is going to succeed? How do you differ from other websites that already exist on the Internet? What do you want to bring to your customers? For an idea to work, it is important that it meets some of these conditions:
- Your product has something different that can replace something already on the market. You have to be able to convince your target audience that yours is better, but are you clear on how to do it?
- It’s a business idea with a future. Automation, technology, user experience and globalization are changing the world. Is your business idea ready to adapt to the changes?
- It’s a scalable business. We say that a company is scalable when they have a very strong growth potential, being able to increase their profits by making a much smaller investment in their infrastructure.
- You know the buying cycle of the product. It is one of the points you should not forget when making predictions about how much you are going to enter. A product with a purchase cycle of 2 months is not the same as a product with a purchase cycle of 3 years.
How to Start an Online Business: 6 Steps to Consider
You are clear that your business idea can work and you are determined to go online, but are you clear how to do it?
Here are steps you have to follow to start an online business:
Investigate, observe and learn from your competition
You can’t start an online business without knowing which audience you have to convince and which competition you will face.
Conducting market research will help you to know how you want to position yourself (the best, the cheapest…), to know the purchase intention of consumers, the purchase life cycle, the growth of the market you want to enter or the business opportunities to make the best decisions.
Create a business plan
Having a good business plan will help you analyze and plan your activity in the short, medium and long term. It will include the presentation of the project, the market study (market situation, customers, potential customers, competition and distribution channels), your marketing strategy, available resources (human and financial) and an analysis of the economic viability of your company.
Very important! A business plan will serve as a letter of presentation of your business to third parties to whom you can ask for any type of collaboration or financial support. These external agents can be a financial entity, private investors, public institutions or a company with which you want to undertake a joint project.
Creates a minimum viable product
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product with sufficient characteristics to satisfy early adopters and obtain sufficient feedback to continue its development.
Creating a minimum viable product will help you create products that can run on a larger sample and not waste business hours on a product that no one wants.
Create your website
You almost got it! Your business idea, a market analysis, your business plan, you have tested your product… What more do you need? That is, a website to make it known.
Without a website it is very difficult (if not impossible) to start an online business. You need a space where you can place your products and services, which in turn will serve as a showcase for others to buy from you.
To start setting up your website you need:
- A web hosting plan: the space provided by a web server for a page to be visible and operational 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world.
- A domain: in other words, the URL address of your website. You need to choose a domain name that identifies your business idea and that your customers can easily remember.
- SSL Certificate: simply essential. The security of a website is very important, not only for your visitors, but also for Google.
Once you have your online business up and running, you can opt for an SEO tool to help you improve your visibility on Google or an Email marketing service to manage all your email communication campaigns.
Legally formalize your business
You’re about to start online, so first make sure you have everything in order. For example, when you set up a blog and hope to earn some money with it, many people choose to become self-employed and be able to declare VAT and the profits from the sales it generates. Also, if you have never been self-employed, you can benefit from significant tax reductions during the first 12 months.
If you are going to start online but it is a much bigger business with a considerable investment, you can opt for other types of legal form: Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada, Sociedad Limitada Nueva Empresa, Comunidad de Bienes, etc.
Create an online marketing strategy
Another thing that can not miss when you want to undertake online is to develop a digital marketing strategy that helps you capture leads and generate new customers for your business.
As you know, digital marketing or online marketing covers a lot of actions (SEO positioning, content marketing, social networks, email marketing, etc.) and really without a well-defined strategy do not know very well or where to start.
Whatever your company is, I recommend you start by defining your ideal buyer person or client and, from there establish what objectives and tools you need to achieve them. The next step will be to identify which strategies and actions you are going to carry out and how to combine them.
Don’t forget to make periodic analyses of the results of your website and your online business. They are keys to knowing what you are doing well and in what aspects you need to improve.