Starting an online business can be daunting, from building your first website to navigating the different digital marketing channels. But even with all the layers of complexity that seemingly shroud the eCommerce world, it’s not impossible to build your first web-based business in a matter of days. In fact, there are a ton of stories circulating the web about dotcom entrepreneurs who started out without even the slightest clue of how to write code or how to use SaaS platforms. Without further ado, here are 5 tips on how to start an online business for the total beginner:
Find a Void and Fill It
By building a product or service before finding a market to sell to is one of the most common pitfalls that aspiring entrepreneurs make. To lower the risk of wasting time and your own hard-earned money, start by finding a market that is unsaturated and under-served. You don’t want to be entering a market that is full of competition. You also don’t want to enter one that has no audience to sell your product/service too. Peruse online forums to see what problems people are trying to solve and what solutions they are looking for. Google Trends is also a nifty tool for doing keyword research to find out what topics people are searching for.
Start Building Piece By Piece
Once you’ve found a market to serve, it’s time to dig into actually developing a product/service. Most people become obsessed with how the product should look like or what they need to make it. So much so that they never really get into the process of building it or developing it into something viable. No amount of planning and preparation and learning from books can really prepare you for building a business. While this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be planning ahead, it’s important to take concrete steps towards product design and development. For instance, you can allocate the first for drafting the interface/layout of your website or mobile application, followed by writing the code that runs in the back-end on day two.
Decide How You Make Money
There are different business models each with their own pros and cons. Identifying what works best for your online business is the key to maximizing profits. For instance, a Buy Now Pay Later model allows customers to defer payments for up to 12 months. When executed correctly, a BNPL payment model can boost your sales as it makes your products and services more accessible.
Market Your Brand
What’s great about online businesses is that you can market it 24/7 and it won’t even cost you a cent. Aside from time, it really doesn’t cost any money to market your brand on social media platforms, forums and message boards. Developing a website is perhaps the most important investment you can make for your business. You can use a CMS platform, like WordPress or Wix, to build the basic skeleton and layout of your site. Hiring a professional developer to do it for you, or learn how to write code yourself is another option. Once you have a codebase, you’ll want to migrate it to a web hosting service provider so that it will be searchable on search engines, like Google or Bing.
Brush Up on eCommerce Laws
Like traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, online businesses are expected to adhere to all governing laws and regulations on how it can conduct its operations. Read up on laws specifically targeted towards online businesses, such as shipping restrictions, zoning regulations, and trademark concerns. If left unchecked, you could run into expensive problems down the track such as getting sued for using a trademarked name or logo. If you have the budget, find a good business attorney to help you navigate the delicate legal waters.
Starting an online business takes patience, determination, passion, and guts to take the leap. It also helps if you know what you’re doing. Use the tips mentioned in this article to take yourself from beginner to entrepreneur in no time.