This appears to be the age for entrepreneurs. The internet and the digital world have made it that much easier. An ideal opportunity for start-ups to come forward and establish themselves. With so many businesses popping up all over the internet, how can you make yourself seen and heard? It seems like a daunting task to get ahead of the crowd. It doesn’t have to be if you plan smart.
We have made it even simpler for you by rounding up the best tips for starting your online business online. Professional business leaders have weighed in with some great advice to help you set up your online business for long-term success.
“When you are starting a business online, you are going to want to see what other companies in your industry are doing in the digital space. Be aware of your competition and see what is working for them and see what areas you could tweak and improve to make your online business more profitable. Another tip for starting a business online is to slowly create brand loyalty with your first customers as they will be your first source of organic marketing. This could be things such as giving exclusive discounts or free gifts with their packages. Doing something like that will make your brand more personable & will improve your brand to customer relationship.”
“Now that I've launched my second website and have been at this for a while, my number one tip for starting a business is to do your research first. When I originally decided I wanted to start an online business, I jumped right in and learned as I went along. After making many mistakes during the first 6 months, I finally invested in a course. I had to go back and change so much of the work that I spent time thinking I was already doing correctly. It took me weeks to do what I now know how to do in just a few days. Take the time to learn things the right way from the beginning and take your business seriously enough to invest money in learning what you need to know.”
Alice Anderson is the founder and creator of How She Golfs
“1) Make sure to legally register your business and get a business bank account/credit card before making ANY purchases or ANY sales in your business. This helps ensure that you can prove all your business income and all your business deductions are actually attributed to your business come tax time. 2) Templatize and Automate anything and everything that you can. Emails, intake forms, contracts, etc can all be turned into templates that you can use over and over again for every client. You're going to be doing a lot of repetitive tasks in your business, so having quick templates for these things helps avoid wasting time. And when you automate these things as well, you can avoid having to bring on employees or contractors to help you for as long as possible, saving you money and allowing you to spend your time focusing on the real, demanding work in your business.”
“Starting a business online is no easy task. While brick-and-mortar startups can benefit greatly from foot traffic in the area, online businesses all start from scratch with no visibility. A new business starting online should focus on developing a digital marketing strategy. Build a responsive website and a Google my Business listing. Analyze your competitors to see what they do for online visibility. Do they run ads on Google? Do they post on Instagram every day? Follow those who are a few steps ahead of you. Chances are if they are spending time publishing certain ads or posts, it's because they have found value from it.”
Jamie Hejna, Owner Ollie Marketing, a Digital Marketing Agency
“First, an online business needs to fill a specific need in order to thrive. One shouldn’t start the business, just for the sake of starting something. For instance, we developed a web-based PDF editor because we saw the inherent need for such a tool in the market. One needs to identify specific gaps in the market, and work on filling such a market. A business website is central to any online business. A simple, friendly-looking website works better than a clunky and complicated website. If anything, one should consider the customer experience on this website, rather than how the website simply looks. While still on websites, choosing a good web host is crucial- you don’t want a host with slow site speeds, or a lot of downtimes. A fast site ranks better, and works better with your clients. SEO is a huge part of online businesses. The ranking of your business website depends on a variety of online factors. A higher ranking means more traffic for you. Just like a physical shop, a large traffic means the ability to make more sales. In order to hack the SEO world, one needs to build content, and quality at that. Quality content is dependent on the value it gives to the consumers. There is a higher chance of success in SEO if you focus your content on providing workable solutions to common problems in your niche. The bottom line is, SEO is better with value.”
Alina Clark, Co-Founder & Marketing Director of US-based software company CocoDoc
“One important tip for starting an online business is to choose a profitable niche. It may seem like you’re reducing the number of potential clients you can market to, but that’s not the case. With a niche, you can establish yourself as an authority and be the go-to person in your industry. For example, I’m a ghostwriter, and I write for the security industry. So, choose an industry or specialty to focus on, and you actually increase your chances of getting high-paying clients and making sales. If you market to everyone, you increase the number of competitors you have significantly. But with a niche, people will see you as an expert and are more likely to buy from you. Also, consider taking a course on the things you don’t know about managing an online business. As a business owner, you wear many hats. You deal with the administrative side of your business, and you’re the accountant. You’re also a graphic designer, products creator, website designer, in charge of marketing, and much more. The saying “you need to spend money to make money” is true. Invest in yourself and your business by purchasing courses that level up your business knowledge.”
Heather Ritchie, Certified Content Marketing Strategist and the freelance writer and blogger behind Writer's Life for You and Blogger's Life for You
“My tip for starting a business online is to provide excellent customer service from the start and set up multiple channels of communication with your customers. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you using different Toll-Free Numbers in different parts of your funnel and emails. Also, assigning dedicated customer support agents for specific departments which handle various aspects of customer service. For example, Shipping inquiries are assigned to a specific team of agents, Billing concerns to another team, and Refunds/Returns to another team to enhance efficiency and faster response times to customers. Additionally, enabling SMS customer
support to enhance better ways for customers to get in touch with your customer support teams.”
Ashwin Sokke, co-founder of WOW Skin Science, a vegan beauty brand
“See it as a journey and learning experience. Running a business is hard. The hardest part is keeping your expectations and reality aligned. The most heartbreaking part is working and sacrificing everything to only realize your business didn’t come out the way you expected to. Perhaps that’s why many entrepreneurs get depressed or have mental illness. Therefore, to keep
myself mentally positive and disciplined, I see everything as a learning experience and try my best not to keep expectations too high. Understand that your business has its own journey; don’t compare your journey to someone else’s highlight reel. Don’t be frustrated when things don’t happen in the way you expect them to be. It is not the end! I’ve had some contracts where I paid a lot of money to someone to accomplish something, but there was actually no difference and it even ended up being worse than I thought it was going to be. I was so frustrated and I noticed that it just drained my energy. Before, this was my mentality: I pay and spend an “X” amount of
money so I’m going to get the “Y” result back. Now I think of it as a learning experience to see whether that contract was worth it. Don’t be too hard on yourself for making mistakes; you will make mistakes. Learn from every experience. Instead of investing all your eggs in one basket- force it to work when it doesn’t and cannot work, dip your toes in different (basins) things and see which water fits your needs best.”
In the end, it all comes down to hard work, dedication, resilience, and smart planning. An online business, like any business, requires you to invest yourself in it. And whom better to learn from than the ones who have already made it in the business world? Following these simple steps to set up an online business, you can take your business up the ladder of success.