Starting an online business has many benefits. Online businesses allow you to work remotely, choose your hours and focus on the niche that interests you. You also avoid significant startup costs.
Although starting an online business may seem easier, it is still possible to build and sustain a business. Here’s our 5-step guide to starting an internet business.
1. Choose a business idea
This is a simple step that seems obvious. It’s surprising how many potential entrepreneurs rush to web development or branding before they have a solid idea. These are some things you should consider when deciding what your online business will look like.
Do you have the right skills?
This is a simple question you can ask and it will determine the success of your business. A mission and a purpose are essential for any business to succeed. You must also ensure that you are pursuing your startup with the intent to keep it running. You can plan an exit strategy, but it’s not enough if your passion and drive aren’t there to propel your business forward.
2. Validate your business plan
Once you have a clear idea and decided to start a business, validation is essential. It can be as easy as talking to potential customers and asking them questions about their needs. If they are open to your solution, you can validate it. To test the market, there are other methods that you can use when starting an online company.
Check out customer reviews
A simple way to gauge customer interest is to look at competitive reviews. You can see how people respond and what they like or dislike, and the volume of feedback. This can help you determine the market size of your business and whether it avoids the pitfalls of existing offerings.
3. Start your business plan
After you have determined the potential interest in your company, it is time to begin developing your business plan. After defining and validating the idea, you have now created the first pieces of your business plan. Now you have to put it in a format you can use to seek funding and forecast financials. You will also need to revisit the plan as your business grows.
You can start with a Lean Business Plan. This is something that you can complete in 30 minutes instead of six weeks. Lean Plans are quicker to create and can be simplified to the core. This free Lean Planning template will help you get started.
4. Create your website
Now that you have your business plan, it is time to set up your website. This will not be as easy as creating a preview landing site. Hosting, platform, and design are all important decisions that must be made to represent your business effectively. A website is the most important representation of your business. It should accurately reflect your products and services.
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Use a marketplace
There are increasing numbers of third-party eCommerce marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Amazon. These marketplaces can be used to sell your product or services. It’s easier to start a business using one of these eCommerce marketplaces. You’ll need to make fewer decisions and your website will be built automatically from an existing template.
5. Legalize it
To ensure your business is legal, there are several steps you need to follow. Although online businesses generally follow the same rules as brick-and mortar businesses, there are subtle differences.
Register your company
How you would like to structure your company’s legal entity. Many businesses choose to create an LLC. However, it is worth doing your research to find the best option for you. The requirements for each state will vary. For more information about compliance at the state level, visit your local secretary-of-state office.