The digital world has opened up opportunities for so many of us to take the leap and pursue our passion for being our boss. Starting a business would mean capital and resource-intensive decisions and planning; starting a business online is slightly easy. With the rapid growth in supporting technologies, establishing and growing an online business is just a click away.
If you have decided to give this digital business world a whirl, here are five simple steps to help you start your business online.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Ideate
Building your idea is the first step to start an online business. Building a brand or a web platform even before you finalize on an idea can be chaotic. Having a firm idea in place is necessary to ensure you are directing resources to the right place. Further steps, such as registering your business as a private or limited liability company UK becomes simple once you have an idea in place.
Begin by deciding the sector or segment of your business. Your idea has to target a problem or improve an existing process in the area to appeal to customers. So, what are you going to sell or buy? What value can your brand bring to a customer? Next, how much knowledge or experience do you have in the segment? Use these questions to shortlist some ideas. Once you have a few paths in mind, go on and begin your market research.
Discuss a few shortlisted ideas with friends and family. Reach out to entrepreneurs or experts in this area and know more about the opportunities and challenges. In most cases, your conversations will expose the flaws and strengths of your business. They will also help you understand how relatable your brand is to a consumer. The answers can help you narrow down on one idea that you feel most confident. It will also give you a broader understanding of the target customer segment and a few tips to captivate them.
Step 2: Validate
The first step of a business plan is, of course, to locate the actual idea behind the business. Fortunately, you have already completed this step. The next step is to validate the idea. Although conversations with friends, family, and professionals from the segment helped narrow down the idea, validating your ideas through your target audience gives a better idea of the business’s potential for growth.
An elegant way to validate your business could be through a survey. Direct potential customers to a simple landing page on your website to take a survey. It will help you understand their interest and their willingness to know about your brand. Include a signup form to add their email information. It will be useful to reach out to them when your business launches.
You can also take some scoops from customer reviews of competitor sites to determine how you can differentiate your brand and make it more approachable.
Step 3: Build Your Website
A well-established website is an anchor to your business. It requires making lots of critical decisions starting from hosting service to the best UI design. Remember, your website represents your business and should therefore be bold, creative, but most importantly, approachable. It should reflect well on your products or services and your vision for the brand.
Start by deciding between a third-party marketplace or building your site. E-commerce sales offer several existing and established platforms like Amazon, eBay. While these are great places to sell your products, you can also create your site to sell directly to the customer. If you plan to create your site, decide on a name for your business and register the domain. Make sure to keep your domain name the same as your brand or product to make it easy for customers to look for you.
Design and build your website. Remember, customer interaction at your site needs to be seamless and flawless. The UI should be intuitive to make their experience comfortable. For this, you can use platforms that provide wonderful templates specifically tested for a good user experience. These platforms offer certain liberty for customizations, which you can use in your favor.
Alternatively, you can rope in consultants, design firms with good experience in web development to assist you. These companies can help you build an MVP or minimum viable product site. Don`t forget that your first design is never the final outlook. You might require changes to the design and functionalities based on feedback.
Keep only critical pointers in mind for the initial website. Ensure the image quality is up to the mark. Try and test the essential functionalities such as navigation, selection, addition to cart, payment. Also, optimize the design to be mobile-friendly for a positive user experience.
Step 4: Market Market Market
When your website is ready, it is time to reach out to your customers. Marketing plays a major role in infusing customers into your business. So, choose the right mediums that are closest to your target audience to captivate their interest.
Start by blogging. Content is a simple but strong medium to approach your audience. You can communicate the problem you are trying to solve and the value of your business very well through blogs. Regular blogging can improve brand interaction with your customer.
Indulge in social media marketing. Create a business page for your brand and load up on followers. You can share customer reviews, visual content, and your brand mission with your consumers here. It helps you stay continuously in touch with them. You can also share new features, introduce products or services in the platform, apart from listening to concerns and feedback of users.
Step 5: Register And Grow Your Business
There are certain business laws specific to online companies. You have to ensure your business complies with these regulations for smooth operations. Setting up a legal entity is the first step towards legal compliance. It is also an essential step to figure out your tax obligations.
LLC or limited liability company is a simple legal structure for your business. Alternatively, discuss with professionals to understand more about different legal structures before you choose what best suits your company.
Once your legalities are complete, you are ready to grow. Each step of the way observes your strengths and weaknesses to improve performance. Look for key resources such as experts in the area, advanced tools, or collaborations that can boost profitability.
Starting an online business can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Navigating through the many hurdles of starting an online business becomes easier with proper planning. Use these steps to establish your business plan. Don`t forget to create a captivating website to reach out to your customers effectively.