No matter if you want to set up your own business to free yourself from the daily office commute or because you need to make some extra money, opening you own business online it’s not as complicated as some may make you think. You don’t need a degree, lots of money or a Master in Business, but you’ll need a good business idea and time to make it profitable. This quick guide to starting an internet business will show you where to get started.
Planning Your Online Business
Think of your online business as a business and not a hobby and you’ll increase the chances of success. If you don’t know what kind of business to start you can try taking a look at some easy business ideas or online home based business ideas for inspiration.
Think of your skills and how they can be useful to others, then do your research online to see if others are already offering a similar service. Don’t be discouraged by some competition, if there wasn’t none it could be because nobody thinks that service is worth paying for. At this stage is worth writing a simple business plan, stating your mid and long term plans, your key selling points, your audience and your competition. Writing it down will help you understand your online business better, and can help later on if your decide that you need to talk with a bank for extra business money.
Build Your Business Website
An online business needs a business website, but the question is whether you can build your own website or you should hire somebody else to do the work for you. First of all, make a list of requirements and decide what do you need and what are just nice things to have. If you have no web design or development skills you will need to estimate how long it will take you to learn how to create your own website to a professional standard, and whether you can afford the opportunity money that will cost you. Because the time you spend designing, developing and promoting your website will be time you won’t be able to spend selling or doing whatever is your primary income stream.
Learning how to start your own website is not a simple matter, but if you are a creative person it can be a nice challenge and fun. You can also look at using existing tools to make your job easier, such as WordPress with a premium business theme that only needs your business logo. You should however make sure that your time is spent on what is more profitable for you. For example, if you want to start an affiliate marketing business you can get affiliate marketing training with additional materials, such as ready to go website templates and even hosting.
Promote Your New Business
It’s never too early to start promoting your new online business, even if you haven’t launched yet. Start with telling your friends and relatives, and even your trusted business contacts. Who knows if they know somebody who could use your services? Word of mouth marketing doesn’t need an expensive website or a costly marketing campaign, you can get great results by just telling everybody you know that you are about to launch and having an awesome customer service.
Of course, you probably want to reach a wider audience and that’s where online marketing kicks in. Take a look at the myriad free tools and platforms available, such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, and try other marketing venues such as article marketing and SEO to make sure people find your website when searching on Google.
Revisit your Business Plan Often
Checking out your progress against your business plan can help you detect wasted opportunities, things you should change or areas that need improvement or training. Think of it as a map: Yes, you can find your way without one but if you plan the route a bit beforehand you won’t miss any beautiful landmark because you were too busy to look. If you analyse your results regularly you’ll be on a much better position to build your own business into a success.