How To Start an Online Business? (Step by Step)
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the businesses around the world very hard. Not to mention the effects on the jobs. Public health safety measures like social distancing and lockdowns have affected onsite business operations. Even more, it has forced companies to layoff workers. Many companies have curtailed their staff to a great extent as a plan for their cost-cutting policies.
Still, there are some businesses that have managed to restrain the effects of this crisis. And these businesses are internet businesses. If you are someone who is a victim of bad layoffs, then it is the best time to think beyond your 9 to 5 job and start your own online business. There is a multitude of online business opportunities and you can start them with bare minimum investment. Figuring out how to start? Don’t worry, in this article, I will share with you some steps on how to start your online business in this tough situation.
Without further ado, let’s start.
1. Find a Niche
Before you start your business, you need to know your expertise and your target niche. Decide on whether you want to sell retail products on your website or anything else. You could also start a blog on a specific topic. I.e if you are good at Sports, you can share your opinions and write articles about it. You could develop an app if you have any unique ideas or start a SaaS business like DropBox or Mailchimp. There are tons of business ideas out there. So, identify your niche.
2. Conduct Market Research
Let say you have started your business in your favorite niche but you come to know that there is no business opportunity. The business model you have chosen is not viable. And your products or services do not appeal to people. Hence. It is vital that you carry out research on the viability of your business idea. You can also ask a successful business person in your acquaintance. Otherwise, you could ask your opinions on Q & A sites like Quora and Reddit. The communities in these sites are very supportive.
3. Analyze Competitors
Now this one is of paramount importance if you want to go ahead from your competitors. You must know what your competitors are doing. What services and products they are providing to their customers. Knowing their branding and marketing strategy allows you to make a blueprint of your strategy. You must know what is working and what is not for your competitors.
4. Understand Your Target Users
Unless you know your target users you wouldn’t be able to get the traction your business needs. You must know your customers- their demographics, purchase habits, age, gender, and everything that matters to your business. See on which social media platforms they are more active, what they discuss, how frequently they purchase your type of products, and more. It will facilitate you to build a comprehensive business plan.
5. Build a Website
Having a functional website for your business is the prerequisite for your online business. Before you register your business name, you must buy a domain name for your website. Go through sites like GoDaddy, Bluehost, or NameCheap for that. Once you get the domain name you have to buy a space for hosting your website. Also these days, secure websites tend to perform better and it gains customers’ trust. So, you should purchase an SSL license for the security of your website.
Cost to Build a Website
1. Domain name: $10-$15 per year
2. Hosting Fees: $7.99 per month
3. SSL Certificate: Starts at $7.29 per year (Optional)
4. Website Development Cost: depending on your website and the company you select.
Now you can register your business name as your domain name. And start your online business.
6. Market your Business
What good is your online business if you are not witnessing any traffic on your website. For that, you have to implement proven marketing strategies. Start writing informative blogs about your services or products.
You must provide value to your customers through your articles. You can also market your business on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. The latter two, Instagram and Pinterest work well if you have an online retail business.
7. Keep Growing
A business that doesn’t keep up with the trend might tank within a few years. We all know what happened to Nokia and Yahoo. So it is imperative for you to grow by adopting the new trends coming in the market. In today’s times, you can’t only provide support to your customers with phone calls and emails. You have got to embrace a new way of it. That is to say, you can integrate live chat on your website. It allows your customers to know about your business on the go.
The current situation and Post COVID era will see more numbers of online businesses. People are going to change their purchasing habits and will prefer online businesses and cashless transactions for convenience. Go for it! There is no perfect time than this for starting an online business.