How to Start a Business Online

Establishing an online business can be a wise step toward marketing and selling your great product or a service. As with any startup, online or offline, there are certain challenges to consider and pitfalls to avoid. Knowing some of these things prior to investing your time and money into your newly founded online business could make a distinction between success and failure. On the other hand, if you already have a plan, it could be a nice idea to go through this list to make sure you have all these things covered.

Your business needs to:
Solve the problem for your potential clients
Have a professional looking website
• Be slightly different from your competitors
• Drive traffic to your website
• Share your expert opinions and content with others
• Sell, sell and then sell some more

Solve the problem for your potential clients

Prior to starting a business, make sure that the product or service you intend to offer actually solves a problem your potential clients have. Take some time to read as many online blogs and forums as possible regarding the industry niche you are interested in and see if there is actually an interest in what you have to offer.

Do some research and see what kind of problems your targeted industry members actually experience and what kind of products or services they need to solve some of their problems. No matter if you intend to market for other businesses or clients, this procedure should be the same.

Have a professional looking website

Choosing the right domain name and designing a professional looking website should be your first step. This is your chance to shine in the same way like those multi-billion dollar companies. Nothing prevents you from having a better looking and more functional website than most of those large corporations, so take some time to think through this process and don’t scrimp in this area.

Another important thing when it comes to the website is to have a good and reliable web host. There is nothing worse than having a beautifully designed website with a great product or service, and at the same time that website being down for 20% of the time due to a poorly selected web hosting company. Therefore, take some time to find the right host, with the most reliable servers and the best uptime guarantee.

Be slightly different from your competitors

Having parts of your online business similar or the same as some of your competitors is alright. Even large industry giants sometimes copy what others do, as long as a personal touch is added. However, having everything the same like your competitors without any distinction is a risk. If such is the case, why should your potential clients choose you instead of them?

Having some competitive advantage over your competitors is a must. Invest some time and energy in creating distinctive points between you and competitors and make sure to highlight those distinctions clearly to all your website visitors.

Drive traffic to your website

Any website needs traffic, right? There’s no point in having a website without a decent number of visitors that could generate some income for your business. There is more than one way to get those visitors but, of course, nothing is stopping you to use all these ways to get more visitors. Usual ways to get visitors include social media activities, email opt-in marketing, search engine optimization and paid advertising (per click, per sale, per lead, or any other method). If you are eager to start selling, the easiest way to get new visitors instantly is to pay for ads through various websites or search engines. Instant visitors could mean an instant cash flow for your business as well, but be careful when investing too much money in such advertising and make sure you are targeting the right audience. Measure the results and performance of those paid ads as often as possible to stay on top of your costs.

Share your expert opinions and content with others

Another way to establish your presence at the market and drive more traffic or even more experts to your website is to share your knowledge with others. Writing content that could be shared through blogs or social media is one way to do this. Offering your free content to a third party blog or article websites is another way to establish your name among industry experts and get leads to your website by including links to your site in such content. When other websites link back to your site, search engines will recognize it as being valuable, which will result in your website being better ranked.

Sell, sell and then sell some more

By now, you have covered all important steps and basics and it is time to sell. Be sure to create a clear offer to your website visitors. Display all relevant information followed by pricing info, if your type of product or service allows that and make a direct offer to your website visitors. The hardest part, and probably the most expensive one, is to make your website visitors buy something from you for the first time. Once they interact with your business and become clients, use that opportunity to offer similar products or services to them and try to repeat the sale with your existing clients. There is a big chance that clients that already purchased something from you will buy again. Creating a loyal client base from your one-time purchases is an important step toward selling more and selling better.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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