While entrepreneurship appeals to many, figuring out how to start a business can be so overwhelming that it scares people. What can you sell? Who can you sell to? And how will you get customers? Unlike finding the best sportsbooks to join, starting your own business can be an overwhelming and exciting task at hand. As if that isn’t enough, a new business pops up every other week, and there’s always a new business trend that’s in vogue. There are chatbots, Instagram influencers, Facebook ads, and much more. But what should you pay attention to? What are the things that really matter?
If you are serious about starting an online business, you should stop overthinking and start working towards making it happen. Through this article, we will help you learn the 5 steps to starting a business online, step-by-step.
How to Start a Business?
Starting an online business is quite a hectic task that involves everything from planning to making a financial decision, performing market research, and gaining knowledge in areas you never thought you would learn about before.
Through this 5-step guide to starting a business online, we will help you put your best foot forward.
While there is no one size fits all process to starting a new business, these steps will help you organize your thoughts and lay down essential details so you can launch your business successfully.
1. Decide on a Business Idea
Now, this step might sound like a no-brainer. However, you will be surprised by how often wannabe entrepreneurs jump ahead to web development or branding even before having a firm business idea in place.
When figuring out what your new online business will be, consider asking yourself the following questions.
- Why are you doing this?
- Are you leveraging your strengths?
- What problem are you solving?
- Can your business be based solely online?
Though these are simple questions, the answers to these will determine whether your business will be successful. Every good business should have a mission and a purpose behind it. Additionally, you should ideally be building a business around a hobby, skill, or side hustle that gives you a specific level of expertise to leverage.
Furthermore, in order for your business to be successful, you should be solving a real-world problem that your potential customers are experiencing. If there are competitors already solving the problem, think about how you can differentiate your business to lead the race.
Lastly, also consider if your business can solely operate online. Things like SAAS business or online learning businesses can operate online without any physical infrastructure to operate. However, eCommerce businesses will require physical shipping and distribution.
2. Validate your Business Idea
After you decide to start an online business and have an idea in mind, you should validate it. Ask potential customers about their needs and what they would consider a solution. You could also look through customer reviews and see how people respond, what they like, and dislike.
Even if you don’t have a full website, you can set up a landing page to tease your business, product, or service. Give a brief overview of features, pricing, a release window, etc. Also, don’t forget to include an email subscription signup prompt to start building your mailing list.
3. Build your Business Plan
After determining the potential interest in your business, you should start working on a business plan. Luckily, you have laid out the initial pieces of your plan by defining and validating your idea. Nevertheless, now you need to arrange it all together in a format that you can use to gather funding, forecast financials, and regularly set goals for your growing business.
To start with, create a lean business plan in 30 minutes. As the name suggests, this plan will cover just the basics and help you get started. Going forward, conduct market analysis to confirm the market for your product and identify your competition. This will also help you figure out pricing models, distribution methods, and other potential competitive advantages you can leverage.
At this point, you should also start thinking about funding and success metrics.
4. Set Up your Website
With your business plan ready, you can start working on getting your website up and running. However, know that it won’t be as simple as setting up a preview landing page. There are a lot of decisions you should make regarding hosting, platform, and design to efficiently represent your business.
Your website, especially in the case of an online business, is the greatest representation of your business. Hence, it should accurately reflect your offerings and mission.
When it comes to getting the website built, you can create your own eCommerce site or leverage a third-party website. If you choose to go with the former, you can easily find plenty of freelance designers and developers who will get the job done at a cheaper rate. On the other hand, you can also design the website using online tools like WordPress.
5. Make it Legal
The last step to making your online business dream come true is making it legal. Though it is safe to say that the same rules apply to online businesses as brick-and-mortar businesses, there are slight differences.
First up, make yourself familiar with the online business laws. These laws pertain to the distribution of your customer’s personal information and other privacy and intellectual property regulations.
Next, decide the company’s legal structure you want to set up. While many businesses choose to form an LLC, it might not be the best option for you. So, choose carefully.
Also, learn about tax obligations for running an online business. You might want to consult with a lawyer and ensure you are all covered going forward.
Now that you know the five steps to start an online business, the exciting adventure of creating one awaits you. While the first step is often scary, once you get started, you will find that the process is pretty fun.
There will be challenges along the way, but as long as you are prepared and ready to learn from mistakes, nothing can stop you from success.