A lot of people nowadays find online businesses appealing. A great reason for that is the affordability, smaller initial investments, smaller operational costs and a higher ROI. This is perfectly justifiable when we know that most of the new businesses fail within the first year. Here are some of the first steps to take to ensure that your business survives with the remaining few.
Start-ups are by definition meant to be unique and innovative. This notion should stick with you when you decide you want to set up your own business. Your vision is the key ingredient and the starting point. Have a clear image of the services you want to provide and the means of delivering it. Prepare a business plan and look at the budget you have. If you are short on capital, consider traditional loans or alternative financing.
Build a name for yourself
The first thing you want to do is think of a great name for your business which will match the vision. Since all of your efforts rely on your online existence, find a domain which contains your business name. Try to find something under the most popular domain extensions, but if there isn’t anything available, choose one of the more recent ones. Once you are certain of the name, set up social media accounts with your brand name wherever you get a chance. The faster you do this, the less likely it is that someone else will steal the name from under you. Unless you are one, hire a pro to help you create a logo and a color scheme you will use for your brand. Create a website.
Ecommerce and a merchant account
Customer satisfaction is what fuels your business, so select the best software possible for your ecommerce. A good software will improve user experience and make them feel safe when trusting you with their data. You can make an online store through the framework of a web service such as Volusion or Shopify. This may be less personalized but it is thus simpler. If you are selling services rather than goods, you need to set up a merchant account. With goods, the ecommerce software had the payment methods covered, while with services, you have to think of something more efficient than setting up a credit card processing system, accepting check or cash. PayPal, for example, is a great solution for making online payments and it keeps you worry-free as they are taking care of the safety issues.
Again, since your competition is online, you have to find ways of fighting it online. While you can pay for ads and engage in affiliate marketing, what you should definitely do is try to get a better position with search engines for your website. Hire a professional SEO service to help you build your online reputation and be one of the first choices and the ‘next door neighbor’ for all relevant online searches. The solution is long term and it can get you far.
You have a great idea and you have thought of a good name for your business. In order to invest continuous efforts in promoting your brand image, you need to be consistent with the quality of your service and be reliable. Regardless of how good your product or service may be, if you make mistakes with deliveries, deadlines, customer service etc. you will ruin your reputation. There is nothing easier than leaving a bad review, so you should do everything in your power not to give people reasons for bad reviews.
Finally, just because your business exists in a virtual world, it does not mean it is not a part of the real world. This is why you should look into the legal requirements for the type of business you are hoping to run and set it up accordingly. Since you are doing this for profit, you will need to get informed on the taxes. Ask other business owners or search online for locations of accountants and attorneys near you, possibly with experience in working with online businesses. The two professions will be able to answer all of your questions related to selecting the best type of business for your line of work. If you seek professional consult you are less likely to miss something and it will be less time consuming than if you were doing this on your own.
You need to start right, breakthrough the market, gain the trust of your customers and invest your best in trying to keep it. Contrary to what many believe, not every online business is a source of passive income and you need to invest yourself in it.