If you are reading this post then you have most probably already taken the decision to venture into the challenging and wonderful world of online commerce and feel determined to start your own online business or take your existing offline business and try to expand it online. As a first step, let us congratulate you on your decision and wish you the best of luck. However, bear in mind that the success or failure of your attempt will not be determined by luck but rather by the presence or absence of a well-thought out plan of action. Fear not!, the actual process of starting an online business is not as complicated or daunting as it may appear at first, especially if you are an entrepreneur who is not so much at ease with the peculiarities of trading and operating online, but can prove a real breeze into great things if the right steps are taken in the appropriate order.
Therefore, here at start-business-online.com we have broken the process into chunks to make it more manageable and easier to comprehend, thus ending up with a mini-guide of the vital steps summing up what needs to be done so that you can launch and run your online business and sell your products or services online with success:
Identifying a profitable niche
The profitability potential of the product or service you are planning to sell online is the first factor that you need to effectively address. Therefore, identifying a market niche that holds promising potential becomes of paramount importance. To reach the right decisions and conclusions on this you obviously need to either conduct research on a number of different niches which appear appealing, in order to uncover their true potential or even better come up with a solution to a real life problem in your own life or that of others, a solution that others will be willing to buy from you and pay for and then proceed to sell it online. Remember that sometimes opportunities for serious profitability may be hiding in the most unlikely of places or ideas. Leave no stone unturned until you nail the right product or service that can truly yield the best profit!
Is it truly viable?
Having what seems to be a good and solid business idea is one thing but being certain a business venture will surely be viable is quite another. Determining this requires delving deeper into the characteristics of the product or service you are to be selling and also into the market you will be called to operate in. While doing your research and thinking on market viability, remember to take into account all details, because the devil often hides in them! Poorly judging something that might seem like a detail, for example the number of stock keeping units and an effective inventory and invoicing system, might make all the difference for the eventual success or failure of the entire venture!
Know your product and your market
The validation of your product against the real conditions in your target market will give you an accurate picture of what to expect and how to proceed. You need to approach the conduct of such market research using a variety of the available tactics and methods such as comparing and contrasting your product with other currently trending products, performing relevant keyword searches and analyzing the obtained results. Relying on a variety of methods will enhance the credibility of the results and make them for effective and useful.
Check out the competition
Conducting a thorough competitive analysis is another crucial step on your way to online business success. Besides revealing to you both the strong points and the weaknesses of your competitors, you can also find out what has worked for them in terms of strategies followed and this can act as a beacon, helping you to better define, build and effectively execute your branding and market positioning methods
Be aware of the law
Contrary to what some might think the online business world is not a lawless jungle and online business laws are very much alive and kicking. They exist and need to be learnt, understood and followed unless you want your venture to go bust before it gets going! Considering issues such as trademark rights and shipping and tax restrictions are only the tip of the iceberg but learning what rules are in place and abiding by them helps you keep potential treats at bay and avoid pitfalls that could easily ruin you.
Know your target customers
Before you proceed to build your actual online business presence, e.g. building your e-store, it is imperative that you know very well who the people you wish to attract are. Analyzing your target segment and having a clear profile of your ideal shopper in your head will help you adjust and tailor not only your offering (be it a product or a service), to better meet their needs and wants, but also built your website or e-shop in a more oriented and focused manner, paying attention to things that matter the most to your potential customers.
Build a damn good online store.
Even if you manage to apply and execute all previous steps, it eventually makes no difference at all, unless you also manage to build the right e-store that will help your product or service sell better. Today’s online shoppers pay great attention to the overall shopping experience that you offer them and demand that your website is both appealing to the eye, but also intuitive, smart, clean, fast and easy to navigate. Remember that a first good impression and a successful first shopping experience are bound to create repeat customers and customer loyalty is that you are after the most.
If you need help with building an effective and appealing e-commerce store, or if you need expert advise and assistance with any of the steps overviewed above in order to lead you to online trading success, remember that the star team at start-business-online.com are always at your disposal. With our experience, expertise, passion and commitment, we can get you down to business fast and cost-effectively and maximize your potential for profits and success!
If you want to learn effectively then you should learn from the best, but seeking the help of the best is also a very solid plan of action. We are ready to make the trip beside you, so let us together turn your idea or small home based venture into an online giant!
Lead Generation & Business Growth Specialist
Natalie is a prolific part of the global SEO community worldwide and she regularly contributes to e-marketing and promotion publications on and offline as well as best practice guides and round tables.