How to Start an Online BusinessIf there’s ever been a time to enter the digital scene, it is now.
Constantly evolving, it gives unparalleled opportunities of making the market we buy in everyday more diverse but at the same time more targeted to specific needs. The past decade has seen the rise of brilliant online businesses that have changed the way we behave and set new standards of excellence.
For new business owners who are thinking about starting an online business, the key is getting in the market and remaining competitive, efficient and responsive.
At Kualo, we know about the challenges and rewards of owning an online business and we’re passionate about everything digital. For this reason, we have compiled a list of handy tips that will help you in starting your own online business.
Tip 1 – Look for the market to define your business planWhen looking to create their own business, people often try to think things up from scratch without really looking at the overall context. This can be extremely hard and time-consuming.
Instead, look for a gap in the market.
What do people want?
What are they searching for to make their lives easier?
Travis Kalanick, founder of Uber, saw the need to combine technology with a taxi service to deliver an easier solution to people.
So, start with a market. Find a group of people who have a need, and then give it to them!
You can start by:
- Speaking to friends and asking about things that they are either lacking or needing to be solved
- Check online to see if this problem affects others
- Do keyword research (Google offers its own keyword planning tool) to find out the volume of users searching around a subject and the terms associated with it
Check for potential competitors. How does their service compare to your idea for a service? Are there any areas that could be improved? What would you like to find as a user?
Remember, the now worldwide Airbnb came to fruition from the minds of two design students, who saw a marketplace for people to rent their homes, all over the world, to those seeking adventure and travel. Not bad!
Tip 2 – Define your service. How will it make money?You’ve got a general idea about what the business is, but now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty.
How will you start making money online?
What is your unique selling point?
- Outline the need the potential customer may have
- How do you solve this problem & benefit the potential customer?
- Write a business plan. (This doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds.)
Tip 3 – Finding a business and domain nameNow that the need has been found, it’s time to name your business and register it. Remember, it should be something that is catchy, short, but most importantly unique and memorable.
- As you’re focusing on an online business, make sure you check whether your domain name is available. Lots of suggestions will also be given if yours is taken
- Pick the one you are happy with
- Buy the domain name. This can cost as little as £1.99!
Tip 4 – Get your site hosted and build itYou’ve got the idea and a name people will remember, now it’s time to get the site up and running! After buying your domain name, you’ll also need to get some web hosting so you can start a web site.
- Find a secure hosting solution: you don’t want to put in all the effort just to see your site go down at the first moment
- Once the hosting is sorted, find the platform you’ll be building your site with. You might use WordPress, great for blogs or general purpose sites, or Magento if you're starting an online store. There are hundreds of applications you could use as the foundation for your site, saving you hours of time compared to developing from scratch. Alternatively, you could easily build your site yourself using an online web site builder.
- Make sure you have a clear plan of how you’ll structure the site
- Make the navigation clear and simple
- Don’t overload the potential customer with information; keep the content short and sharp by clearly explaining why they should choose you
- Add testimonials to establish your credibility and, once the site will be live, focus on your products or services review
- Above all, investigate the payment solutions to make the purchasing process easy. This is, after all, is how you’re making money
Tip 5 – Leverage digital marketingYour site is live and it’s beautiful. It’s functioning and you can start making money.
Now, how do you get found by potential customers? Well, there are many different ways to be seen and boost your online reputation. Utilise these different channels and you’ll be visible to all your eager potential customers:
- Using PPC – pay per click advertising – allows your site the potential to immediately be at the top of search engine results when people search for relevant terms. This is the best way for a new company to become visible straight away. With PPC you can also test different keywords and prices, depending on what is working for you.
- SEO – search engine optimisation – is more of a long-term project, but still just as important. This is making sure your site appears in the natural search results on Google, not just in the paid Ads section.
- Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Webmaster Tools are free and essential tools for measuring your business’ metrics online. For example, you’ll be able to check where your traffic mostly comes from, the average time customers spend on the page, your products’ conversion rate and much more.
- Social media is essential for engaging with audiences and showing there is life in the brand. Through this medium you can directly speak to people, listen to them, or simple observe people’s online behaviour.
- Remember to retarget visitors to your site, they’re more likely to buy from you.
Tip 6 – Listen to your customersThis final tip will make sure you remain on the market and stay ahead of competition. Users don’t necessarily opt for the lower price but for the best value service, and this includes an excellent customer service and continuous response to their changing needs.