Setting Up Your New Online Business A Quick Overview
If you’re only just setting up your new online business, this post is going to outline a quick and efficient guide to make sure you do it right.
Online business is changing quickly. You know that isn’t slowing down and you also know that your business needs to be set up and well established online. Online is where people find resources, research brands and select products or services.
This represents a huge opportunity for any business to expand into the online realm and boost its current offerings. There’s a huge market online for all kinds of services and products, and we’re seeing now that it pays to have invested in your online presence.
We know you have questions…
Just follow these simple steps to setting up your new online business the right way.
1. Do the Research
What makes a business successful in the outside world generally translates into what makes a business successful in the online world, but there are differences between the two. If you jump into this without fully understanding how online business works, then you’re opening yourself up to great risks.
There’s always going to be a learning curve when you take on a new venture, but you can help cut that learning curve by doing as much research as possible. Learn as much as possible about e-commerce and providing services online, find out who your competitors are, what they do well, what you can do better, and use this knowledge to give your online business the best possible start.
2. Make a Plan
When you’ve done your research, you should have a pretty good idea about how you want to set up your online business, so sit down and turn it into a comprehensive plan.
You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, and your business should be no different. The online business world changes quickly, and you’re going to face lots of challenges along the way, but at least if you have your plan, you know what direction you need to be heading in.
Write out your goals and build a plan for how you’re going to reach those goals. You can always tweak these as you go, but you need somewhere to start.
3. Get Your Finances Together
It’s hard to build a business with no money coming in, so you’ve got to find ways of financing your new venture. This might be through existing funds, crowdfunding, low interest SBA loans, or whatever means you see fit, but you’ve got to have some money available.
The amount of cash you will need depends greatly on the scale of your business, so make sure this is factored into your plan. Doing business online is generally very cost effective, so you can do it without facing huge start-up costs, but you will need access to some cash to get the ball rolling.
4. Build Your Website
A website is a prime piece of real estate for any business, but even more so for an online business. Your website and how your business is perceived by customers and that determines whether on not they visit or not.
It’s your shop window, and as many people’s first point of contact with your business, it’s going to be a key factor in the first impression people have of your company. If your website is slow and out of date, then guess what people are going to expect from your company?
It’s easy to get carried away with making your website do all these amazing things, but it’s really important to make sure you’re focusing on customer experience. Your website can do lots of complicated things, but if it does, it’s got to do them well, and provide an easy to use, clean experience for your customers.
5. Market Your New Business
When you have a physical shop, at least people are going to walk by it and be tempted in. With an online business though, people aren’t going to find it unless you put the effort into bringing them to it.
This means your marketing strategy is vitally important. There are lots of options to choose from though, and they can be both traditional and digital.
It’s often best to use a blend of short-term and long-term marketing strategies, using PPC ads to bring traffic in in the short-term, whilst building your SEO to bring in organic traffic from the search engines.
When you’ve built your business to a certain size and you’re doing a great job, then you will also benefit from word of mouth advertising, but at the beginning you’ve got to work hard to get those first people to your website.
If you’re going to make your online business work, then it’s got to work for your customers. People want more than just good products and good services, they want a complete experience, and that means every part of the customer journey has to be high-quality.
You’ve worked extremely hard to bring each potential customer to your website, so make the most of them by showcasing how great your company is.
Many companies are great at this when it comes to selling their products, but less so when it comes to looking after their customers post sale. However, after-sale care is vitally important for an online business. Customers don’t have a physical location they can turn up at to get their problems solved, so they need to rely on your after-sale care to help them with any issues.
Just look at how much companies like Amazon and other online retailers invest in their returns policies and making it easy for customers to contact vendors. These companies know that when people trust their after-sale care, they’re far more likely to buy something in the first place.
Becoming a successful online business is about providing a complete customer experience, and that means helping customers at every step of their journey, including after-sale care.