Starting an online business is a good idea, especially in our topsy-turvy economy. For the meantime, having an extra source of income is advisable. We are not saying that doing business online is a sign of impending doom. It is just that for the moment, it is an ideal way to expand your resources to survive the plagues of your expenses.
What do I need to start my online business? We keep on receiving this question from time to time. Even with the advent of digital age, such information is still a secret and mystery to many. Because of this phenomenon, many are having the misconception that doing business online is a hard thing to do. Well, that’s a big no.
Online Business vs. Physical Business
To be honest, doing a physical business is more arduous and expensive compared to online entrepreneurship. One of the reasons for this is the inadequacy of capital. We know a lot of people who wants to start a business but don’t have the money to pay for the franchises and other amenities. For me, this is the biggest limitation of physical or “real world” businesses. If you don’t have the capital, you are not going anywhere.
If you do an online business, these impediments will be gone. You don’t have to spend for the usual expenditures of starting a company. You will hire fewer people to operate your business. Moreover, you can avoid any monthly space rents!
However, you should always put in mind that you will need a solid marketing plan and preparation for your online business to succeed. The strategies that you will implement must also adapt to the line of investment of you are threading.
What Do I Need To Start My Online Business?
1. Defining Your Service and Product
There are a lot of perks when you start an online business. The chance of reaching on a global scale is not a far-fetched idea. But alongside with this, you will be facing a lot of competition–hundreds and thousands of them, to be exact. However, you should not feel any daunts. After all, this is a common predicament once you decide to become an online entrepreneur.
For your business to stand out, you should define the advantages of your services and products. In doing this, you have to find the niche that is right for you.
- First, you have to narrow your service line. If you are into health supplements, try to be more accurate of the things that you will offer (e.g. health supplements for kids, health supplements for women over 50)
- Be an expert in your niche. Try to study about all related topics that concern your products or service. You can attract more customers if you can establish authority.
- Assess the competition. Do not try to compete anymore on saturated niches. Instead, you should find what is new.
2. Getting a Domain Name
Aside from getting crafting serious marketing strategies, having a good domain name can actually fire up your business. You need to be catchy, original, and heartfelt. If you can craft an excellent name for your business, people will remember you easily. But in all of these, you have to make sure that your domain name is unique. Or else, you can’t register it to hosting sites.
3. Web Hosting Services
To be honest, there are a lot of free hosting sites that you can register your domain name. However, if you are really serious about your online business, you have to invest on it. A paid web hosting site has all the services you need so that you won’t encounter technical problems in the long run. These sites have efficient customer services that can aid you quickly anytime.
Aside from these perks, some web hosting sites give you freedom on how you will setup your website. They can give you different web templates. Moreover, these sites allow online business owners that have in-house programmers to have more flexibility in adjusting their websites.
4. Functional and Responsive Website
You cannot expect people to buy anything in your online store if it looks horrendous, disorganized, and sketchy. Moreover, if your site takes a long time to load, people will leave before they can even see your products or services. Having a professional-looking website can sometimes kill the competition. It has to be engaging and easy to access.
Also, you have to consider that many people today are using their mobile phones and tablets in online shopping. Make sure that your website’s template is responsive enough to adjust to different devices.
In creating a quality website for your online business, try to consider the following:
- Setting up an online portfolio. People can evaluate your style and past services and performance here
- Hiring a professional designer and programmer. You can have a website that you desire–with all the ergonomics and functions–if you will have a duo of designer or developer to tweak one.
- Take in mind that your website should be simple and straightforward. Having so many buttons will confuse your clients. Moreover, make the shopping and purchasing process easy and smooth. It should not take more than two clicks for a person to land on the purchasing page.
- Ecommerce software. If your online business is the commerce type, adding this component is necessary. It will allow your customers to see your products, input their details, and make the purchase.
5. Get a Merchant Account
Traditional businesses have to rely on cash or check so that they can get the payment from the people who availed their services or products. This is a very complicated method of securing payments. Thankfully, merchant services such as Paypal reduces the stress when it comes to this matter. It can accept any form of debit or credit card, which makes transactions a lot easier.
6. Getting a Good Content
Aside from selling services and products, you should also focus on creating good contents so that people will know more about your company. These materials should provide detailed and visual information about services and products. Moreover, they should show people the difference between your brand from the rest.
7. Social Media Accounts
In the past few years, having a social media account is optional for online business. Sometimes, they even consider it as an “unprofessional” act to set up a Facebook or Twitter fan page for their company. However, things had changed when search engines like Google included social media presence on the factors that affect the ranking of a website. The more present you are on these social networks, the more authority you can establish.
Social media marketing signifies the “old school” type or spreading the breadth of your business. If people talks about you, then there is good chance that they will keep looking for you.
In setting social media accounts, make sure that you will put the link to your main website in all of them. In return, all the contents you posted on your sites should appear to these platforms also.
Having an online business is truly profitable and exciting in the long run. It a sustainable source of income and a good way to harness your interests. But if you want to be successful with it, you should consider following the requirements that we gave you. In this way, you are getting one-step closer to your dreams!
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