The eCommerce industry has grown massively of late, and according to SBA, the growth is projected to continue. If you don’t have an online business in this digital error, it is time you start one as soon as possible because you are missing something important.
Starting an online business is lucrative but requires a solid, workable plan. Some of the key steps you can’t assume when starting an online business include:
- Deciding the type of business to start
- Choosing your niche
- Conducting a product research
- Analyzing your competitors
- Defining your target audience
- Getting a business name
- Registering your online business
- Finding the right vendor
Decide the type of online business to start
The first thing is to decide on the online business you want to start. No single type of business works for everyone, and there is an overwhelming option to choose from.
You need to thoroughly evaluate various models and consider what you feel will work for you. The most common online businesses to start include but not limited to:
- eCommerce store
- Affiliate marketing
- Consulting / Coaching
- Websites selling digital products
- Selling Services
Choose Your Niche
After choosing the type of business you want to start, it is a great idea to narrow it to a specific niche. Find what you are genuinely passionate about and focus on it. It can be in your line of profession, your hobby or what you have the best experience in.
Your small online business cannot offer everything and compete with everyone. Besides, being niche-specific makes it easier to describe what you do or sell to potential customers.
Generally, you need a niche that has healthy competitors but is not dominated by big brands. Here are examples of some niches from the types of business we have mentioned above:
- NicheBlog (fashion, food, travel, etc.)
- Consulting / Coaching (fitness, personal development coach, etc.)
- Websites selling digital products (online courses, eBooks, etc.)
- Selling Services (software development, web design, digital marketing agencies, etc.)
Conduct Product Research
Now you have decided on what you specifically want to offer. The next step is to evaluate your idea. You will have to research various resources to find out if your idea is something you can really turn into an online business that will potentially generate profit.
You should conduct a Google search by keying in the keywords related to your idea and find out what is already available in terms of content, website, and product. Research on social media platforms, Pinterest, Amazon, or popular market places such as Udemy, Codecanyon, Flippa, etc.
Find out if consumers are willing to buy the product you are planning to sell. You do not want to launch something that is not on demand.
Analyze Your Potential Competitors
Analyzing your potential competitors helps determine the selected product/service’s profitability, demand and competitiveness. A potential competitor is a company that is already selling a product or offering services similar to what you want to offer.
You can figure out how much traffic your competitors get using different tools to learn if there is enough demand from users. You should also find out all the consumer complaints, challenges competitors face and all the gaps in the market.
Define your Target Audience
Understanding your target audience is crucial because it helps you determine what to offer. Even within the same niche, there are different needs and preferences in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, income, beliefs, interest, and opinions, among others.
You have to know your potential audience and how they view the product or service you plan to offer.
Get a Business Name
Naming your business is important but not an easy process. Remember, your brand name is the first element of your brand that your customer will encounter.
As a general rule of thumb, ensure you generate a distinctive, memorable, original, and enduring name that resonates with your target audience. The brand name should also be simple but defines what your brand is selling. If you need help creating a memorable name for your company, use a name creator to help you come up with something creative and memorable.
Register Your Online Business
Though there is nothing wrong with running an unregistered sole proprietorship, registering your business allows you to enjoy many legal protections and other benefits.
If you want to get serious with your online business, choosing a legal structure such as a limited liability company (LLC) is essential. By forming an LLC in California or any other state, you automatically register your business.
LLC formation companies such as NorthWest Registered Agent will help you register your business at an affordable price. You can take advantage of these services if you want peace of mind because business registration can sometimes involve a lot of paperwork.
Find the Right Vendor
There is stiff competition when it comes to selling products online. It is vital to find a reliable vendor who can offer quality products.
Ensure the vendor you decide on won’t compromise your delivery deadlines. Take your time, research, and evaluate various vendors until you get the right one you can work with.
Starting an online business may not be easy for beginners. But with our guide and tips on how to start an online business, everyone is now confident of starting and running a successful online business.