So you want to know how to start an online business 2021?
Building a business takes time. You need to build a strong foundation so you have a business that continues to grow and doesn’t run out of steam in a few months.
Listing the basics, then we will explore each one in more depth.
- What will it cost?
2. Decide what sort of business you want
3. A business plan
4. Do some Market Research
5. Product Planning
6. Website and Hosting
7. Filling your website
8. Marketing your business
Now that looks so easy doesn’t it? Most of it is.
What will it cost?
An online business can cost very little to set up. If you shop around for the hosting to get a good price, or even go with a platform that has everything ready to put in place to build a website. Some of those offer a free website, though they can be very limited. A good way to start building your site though, if you want to keep cost to a minimum.
Lets see…… you will also need a domain name for your site. Play around with the name until its right, then see if you can get the domain name. With so many businesses online it can be tricky getting the right domain. Again, they vary in price, so shop around. If you can get a .com in your chosen name, all the better.
What sort of business?
Are you selling goods? What sort? Are you making them, buying them or dropshipping them?
As you’re trying to decide what business to start, the main thing is, that it’s better to get started, even if you don’t choose the perfect idea. A few months from now, you will be a few months into the process of building your business.
Then you’ll be able to determine whether or not it is the right idea. At that point, you can always decide to stop building that business and pursue a different idea instead, or you might have found the perfect business idea and be well on your way to turning it into a success. Either way start quickly as it is too easy to get caught up in endless planning. Talking about it, checking out the different options etc.
But either way, by getting started sooner, you’ll start making a lot of more progress than if you wait until you maybe some day find the perfect idea. Once you’ve decided what type of business you want to start, then the next thing you need to do is create a business plan.
A Business Plan
Many people start businesses without any sort of plan whatsoever, but your business is much more likely to succeed if you start with a plan. Writing your plan doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time, but will have a big impact.
Not everyone does or wants a business plan although many people say you do. It’s a good idea in that it can help to keep you focused and moving in the right direction. Even just jotting down notes, the goals you want to reach and when by, that sort of thing. If you want a comprehensive plan there are free templates online if you look.
I didn’t have a business plan when I started over 10 years ago, mainly because I didn’t have a clue about any of it. I just started and learnt as I went along. Had I known even a little, the journey to actually making money, may have been faster.
You need to find out what people are buying and what the competition are selling. A quick quiz on social media could help as you need to ask prospective customers some questions. Such as would they buy this or that, give choices then ask if some will be prepared to answer more questions.
Customers are something you need to find, so better sooner than later. When you have a good idea of what people want, it will be easier and give you more confidence starting your business. The better prepared you are the more chance of success.
If you can’t find people that will buy your product, then your business isn’t going to make any money.
Your product planning
Depending on what type of product you’re creating, this process will look very different.
Because on the one hand, you might be creating a physical product. This means you need to design the product and then you’ll need to have a prototype created, and then probably a series of subsequent prototypes before you finally have the finished product and you have it produced in mass.
Or you may already have products you have made and decided to start a business to sell them.
On the other hand, if you’re creating a digital product, like an online course, then you would need to plan out the course and then film the lessons for the course, write materials, create worksheets, and so on.
And finally, if you are starting a service-based business where you’re going to be providing a service to your customers, then you need to plan how your service is going to work. You need to develop service packages and figure out how you’re actually going to provide this service to your customers.
Website and Hosting
Now, I’m not going to say a whole lot about the hosting, mainly because I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of website hosting adverts everywhere.
There are platforms where you can build your website very easily, like Weebly or Wix but you don’t have that same freedom you do with WordPress. Once you have created a WordPress site you won’t want the other sort. It does take longer, especially if you haven’t built a WordPress website before, but the finished product will be worth it. There are many free tutorials to help you and save time. It is a good experience to have as the chances are you will want more websites.
Filling Your Website
By now you will know what you are going to sell, whether it’s an actual product you have or a digital product. There is also dropshipping as an option. This is where you find products you like in a Wholesalers and join their Dropshipping side if they have one. You put pictures of the products and add all the information to your site. When a customer buys from you, the order has to be put into the Dropshipping Wholesaler who then packages and sends it to the customer directly. A good system and popular but you have to keep a close eye on what’s in stock and what is out of stock.
Whatever you sell, the pictures and the information is very important as that is all the customer gets to see. Bad photos/pictures will not encourage sales.
So it seems that everyone has a blog these days and are dreaming of making their fortune from it. Especially as we hear about so many doing just that. Whatever the niche or topic you chose for your site, that is what you need to blog about. People want to read about things that solve their problems, they want solutions.
A blog’s content, with the right SEO and keywords, will, in time, bring you traffic. You do need to build up trust with Google before you start getting traffic sent your way. If you enjoy writing you will happily fill your site with a variety of articles and the more you do, the better you get.
Some are not so keen and hire writers for content. This is okay further down the line but when you are starting out, I always feel, that it needs to have your voice. People have a particular way of writing about anything and everything, that becomes recognisable as theirs. It’s what brings people back. They feel a connection with you through your writing, it builds trust.
Now it’s marketing time
Once your website is up and running, it’s time to start marketing your product, because you are ready to start making sales.
Now marketing is an absolutely essential part of the process, you have to get out there and tell people about your business and about your product. If you don’t, they won’t know you are there and if they don’t know it exists, they can’t buy it.
So, how do you market your business? There is paid advertising, if you are in rush and have the money to spare. Do tell all your friends and family, encourage them to support you and pass the word on to others.
Content marketing is a free option, the blog as above, takes a lot longer to become established and you want sales now.
That’s where social media comes in
If you haven’t already done so, get yourself business pages on all the main sites to start with.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Learn about each one, so you know the rules, if you break them your page gets closed. Start slow and steady, post your blogs on there and your products. Not all at once of course. Perhaps a couple of times a day, then start interacting with others on the platforms to start gaining followers.
Once your marketing starts really working, then you’ll start making sales and you’ll have customers that may ask questions about products or ask for advice etc.
If you are selling a product you need to package it up and post it off to the customer. With dropshipping you make sure the product is ordered and the correct address is put in then advise the customer once it has been posted.
Digital products are simpler. The customer pays and downloads their products.
With affiliate marketing you do nothing after a sale, except collect your commission further down the line. I haven’t gone into Affiliate Marketing here as that is an entire subject on its own.
What do you think?
This is just a bare basics of course. I could write for days on all the different aspects of starting a business.
There are many free and paid plug ins and a variety of software, paid, that can help too. Sometimes when it takes a while to get going, impatience can rear its head. If you do buy anything, software, plugins, courses, books etc, just make sure you do the research before paying out. Not everyone will get along wth the same products.
One person may wax lyrical about a product that got them loads of sales and was so easy and quick to set up. Then someone else buys it on the recommendation of that person and struggles to get it working and gets nothing from it.
Have I covered everything you wanted to know? If you have any questions, ask away. Comments are also welcome.