In many ways, the internet has helped many people achieve their dreams of starting their businesses. Starting an online business is relatively easy as it does not require high startup costs like any other physical business. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed overnight success if you start an online business today.
There is a lot of work behind it. And in this article, we will look at the main steps to start an online business. From branding to planning to marketing, we’re here to give you some super helpful tips and tricks. So read on to find out more.
1. Check the feasibility
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of starting an online business – you still have to spend some money to do it. That’s why you must step back and evaluate the feasibility of your idea before investing. Just because it sounds good to you doesn’t necessarily mean it will make you money.
Remember that even the most brilliant business idea will fail if it doesn’t have a market. And even if you find a unique solution to a problem that bothers a lot of people, you’re just wasting money when you find that only a few people care about that problem.
With this in mind, you need to evaluate your great idea. So just ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your product or service offer a solution to a problem many potential customers are having?
- Is this solution worthwhile for your customers?
- Do people care enough about the problem to be willing to spend money to fix it?
- How much do you have to spend to reach your target audience?
2. The business plan
Once you’ve evaluated the feasibility of your idea, it’s time to create a business plan. This step is very important as it allows you to spot potential problems in the future that could impact growth and profitability.
It also tells you who the decision makers are or will be and assesses the potential outcomes of any business decisions you make. To do this, you can use an online decision tree to discover possible consequences, resource costs, or outcomes of random events.
This step allows you to build on the work done in the first step as it provides an excellent foundation for your business plan. It’s important to go into detail here, as a solid business plan will help you better identify your prospects, clarify your goals, and even lay out some steps in the marketing process.
3. Choose a name
Don’t skip this step and don’t think it’s not as important as the others. A good name can make or break your brand, especially since your business is primarily online. You need a short but memorable name that is easy to pronounce and easy to remember.
We recommend making a list of potential trade names and checking if they are available, such as:
- Company or brand names in your country or state;
- Domain names;
- Usernames for the social media platforms you want to use.
If the name you choose isn’t registered as a trademark but isn’t available as a domain name, try different variations of it. And remember that .com isn’t the only extension available. Finally, make sure your company name does not infringe any copyright laws or previously registered trademarks.
4. Structure your company
This is another very important step. Because? Because the structure of your company determines the legal and tax requirements that you have to comply with. The following are the most common business structures that homeowners typically use:
- Sole proprietorship Simple but a not limited liability.
- Camaraderie. Better if you start a business with a partner; liable without limitation.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC). Limited liability without incorporation.
- Group. Limited liability but more complex to set up and maintain.
It would help if you always had a lawyer by your side when making such decisions. Each structure has different tax requirements and different legal obligations.
This is where you have most in common with a brick-and-mortar store. You must submit the correct documentation to ensure your business is legal and accepted by your state. You need to:
- Register your company with the appropriate government agencies;
- Comply with all federal and state tax requirements;
- Obtain all required permits and licenses.
6. Create your website
Since your business is online, you need a website. This part should be carried out with the same care and consideration as the business plan. When creating your website, take a look at all available payment processors.
We recommend working with a professional when creating your website, as they will take care of everything related to it. They recommend a payment gateway and a good web host. Make sure your website is up and running and ready to handle all types of traffic, especially during the busiest times of the year like Black Friday or other holidays.
7. Implement marketing strategies
You’ll base your marketing strategy primarily on the business plan you created in Step 2. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to pay close attention to implementation. Build anticipation, use social media, and research which promotional methods work best for your type of business. It is well known that a good marketing strategy is crucial to the success of any business.
8. Start your business
Congratulations! You are now ready to start your business. You can make big announcements through social media platforms, email lists, online advertisements, or even traditional advertisements. At this stage, it’s time to take advantage of all the benefits that a good marketing strategy can bring.
Of course, your work has just begun. But if you follow these eight steps, you’re already off to a very solid start for your business. Remember, this is the foundation of your business and will determine your continued success, so don’t skip any steps.