How to Start an Online Business
Starting an online business might seem attractive to the naked eye but the truth is there are many details that go into getting yourself off the ground that you need to know about before you dive headfirst into a new business venture.
Starting an online business might seem attractive to the naked eye but the truth is there are many details that go into getting yourself off the ground that you need to know about before you dive headfirst into a new business venture. Same as you would have a checklist for a brick-and-mortar business you will have one for an online company. Regardless of if you are selling a good, or a service, or simply starting a blog, as always knowledge is power, and the more you have of it up front the better off you will be.
Assess Your Idea
Your idea is the first step in developing your business plan and often people just spark their idea and roll with it without first assessing its viability. Unfortunately, what you may think is a great idea may not translate to a successful business that can turn a profit. Or perhaps you are on the creative end and should consider seeking out counsel from an experienced business startup professional to help you flesh out your idea to be best geared towards success and profitability.
You will also need to think about startup costs, including what this means for your personal income. If you desire to dedicate yourself full time to this new venture, that might mean quitting your day job and you need to be satisfied that your existing savings can cover a potential lag in income. Before you look to personal loans and credit cards, assess your budget and see if you can create cash elsewhere. The sale of a life insurance policy is a common way to access a lump sum of cash with favorable terms and rates. You can sell a life insurance policy and get more than when you surrender to your insurer. The fact alone makes this an attractive option for supplementing income.
Develop a Business Plan
Get all your ideas down on paper and go over them with a fine-tooth comb. Your business plan should be thorough and well thought out. Yes, you may have to edit it as you get going with your online business, but the most successful new ventures begin with solid business plans. This will also help you spot the potential for any bumps in the road and sort out possible solutions for surviving through a prolonged period of hardship as well as one time hiccups.
A business plan also helps you identify the market better. With online businesses there is an added element of both the potential for a large outreach, but also being a small fish in a big sea and you must define how you plan to navigate that up front. There are many resources available online to help you draft and finalize your plan that makes it easy for even first timers to come up with a comprehensive plan with actionable steps forward.
Choose a Business Name
Your name is going to be a large piece of your marketing, profitability, and overall online presence. Since you plan to operate online as opposed to a physical location, people will need to know your name to happen upon your landing page, as opposed to physical businesses that have the benefit of location and foot traffic. Additionally, your name, at least in part, will likely be what you use as your handle for social media accounts which are essential in today’s world for every type of online business.
You will need to make sure that your chosen name is available before you go live with it. Here is where the details of a business plan come in handy because you will know right away that you need to check your states database to see if the name is available, the domain name you would want to use, as well as each social media platform you plan to enlist. It would be a huge setback to go live with a name and then find out that you cannot have a domain space that remotely resembles your businesses actual name. Keeping these presences all uniform and consistent is essential for visibility and building your brand.
One of the worst things that could happen with developing an online business is getting all your ducks in a row and launching your site only to find out you have violated some sort of legal standing and must either shut down and start over, or worse, face possible penalty or fees. There are also business formation documents that you will need to take care of to legitimize and start your company. The requirements you must follow are going to vary based on your location and consulting with an attorney is going to be worth your investment in their services. Allow yourself the freedom to be an expert at what you are an expert at and ask for help where you are a novice. Honing this skill will serve you in many other ways as a business owner as well.