Something like a SAAS business or online learning business likely doesn’t require any sort of physical infrastructure to operate. But an e, Commerce business, on the other hand, requires physical shipping and distribution and has the potential for a physical location. This is just an element you’ll need to consider, especially if you’re operating from your home.
Validate your business idea After you’ve determined that you should start a business and have an idea in mind, you need to validate it. This process can be as simple as chatting with potential customers, asking questions about their needs, and if they’d consider your solution. But when starting an online business there are additional methods you can employ to test the market.
Consider funding and success metrics Take some time to identify your startup costs and think through how you plan to fund your business. Even if your online business will just be a side gig, for now, do yourself a favor and think through the business and sales metrics that you should be tracking so that you know if you’re heading in the right direction (How to start an online business for beginners).
There are a number of decisions to be made regarding hosting, platform and design to effectively represent your business. Your website, especially for an online business, is the greatest representation of our business and needs to accurately reflect your products, services, and mission. Here’s what you need to consider when setting up your company website. How to start an online business.
When you build and host your own e, Commerce site, you will be selling your goods and services directly to your customers, without a “go-between.” Hosting your own site You retain control. The best part about a direct e, Commerce site is the level of control you have over your store.
But this flexibility can make the process of getting started more complicated, too. Focus on user experience. Your biggest considerations with an e, Commerce site will be setting up your website to offer the best user experience. Choosing the right web design is crucial, as is making sure that your shopping cart software is well-suited for your business.
The fact that your customers will have to visit the third party to buy from you has benefits and drawbacks. If you are interested in renting out your vacation property, using Airbnb’s platform means that it will probably be easier for anyone to find you when they search for lodging in your area because of Airbnb’s growing popularity.
Also, keep in mind that there isn’t really one platform that works for every type of business. Take the time to research the best one for you. If you’re selling art or crafts, look for a platform that is used by other artists. If you’re selling used comic books, look for a platform that attracts lots of shoppers looking to buy used comic books.
Almost every platform has its own list of prohibited items. Decide on a name Deciding on your business name and registering your domain name should be done in tandem. The last thing you want is to find out that one or the other (the domain you bought or the name you chose) is registered to some other business.
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you when they search for you online. The same is true when you’re naming your storefront if you’re using an online platform like Etsy or e, Bay. Build your own site In some instances, it will definitely make sense to build your own site.
Either way, remember that it’s never a bad idea to build out a minimum viable product (MVP) site first. Meaning, you don’t have to build a 100 percent perfect site right out of the gate. Test your hypothesis that your product or service is marketable using a lower cost, simpler option at first.
You can pretty much broadly assume that it’s a bad idea (How to start an online business from home). However you decide to build your online presence, don’t skip making it mobile-friendly. If your site is not optimized for mobile, your users will have a less positive experience when they try to find you from their phones, but Google will also penalize you in search results, meaning you’ll be harder for new customers to find organically.
5. Make it legal There are a few steps you’ll have to take to make sure your business is legal. While generally speaking, the same rules apply to online businesses as brick-and-mortar businesses, there are a few subtle differences. Read up on online business regulations The most important distinction when it comes to doing business online versus in person is online business law.
One of the best things you can do is make sure that your shopping cart solution is configured properly so that it automatically collects the right amount of sales tax depending on your customers’ location. Maintaining your online business Ultimately, starting an online business is similar to starting a business with a physical storefront.
Just don’t underestimate the importance of putting together a functional website and getting it in front of your target market. If you need some inspiration when working on your own business plan, you may want to check out some of our online store sample plans. You can even download a free business plan template to fill out as you work through some of the business plan examples.