Do you want to learn how you can start a successful online business? In this article, I am going to be showing you step by step how you can start a successful online business.
The Internet, unlike any other technological innovation, has the fastest widespread than its other contemporary counterparts such as the television, radio and the printing media.
There was an estimated 4 billion Internet users worldwide. This accounts for more than half of the global population, this has caused so many people to start building an online business, but the painful truth is that not everyone knows how to build a successful online business.
The way we see things now in the information age has become entirely different from what we used to know. Among the amazing tools and innovations ushered in by the information age is the use of digital advertising.
Why you Should Start an Online Business.
Here are a few reasons out of many why you should take your business online.
1. Low Startup Cost
We all know how much it costs to rent and office space or build a physical shop.
Most times we realize that we do not meet up with earnings in business and it is very hard to raise the renewal rent for your physical shop. You don’t have buildings to construct, no vehicles to purchase and a few (if any) workers to rent.
The transition can be very smooth if you are previously selling offline. You proceed to sell the same products you know and have a good supply of them.
Bringing your company online just gives you a new stream of customers. Believe it or not, owning a website is more economical than renting an office space, equipping it, hiring staff, furnishing and all the other requirements that come with owning office space.
What would you need for a website? A one-time web design fee, renewable domain name and hosting will cost you as little as $90 yearly depending on the plan you choose.
What’s more, you can operate your multi-million dollar business from home and store your goods in a warehouse.
2. Show off your Success.
One way to influence a buyers decision is to show off success and pedigrees and this is limited with the use of a physical shop or no online presence at all.
Your business may have achieved a lot of milestones but if nobody knows about it, how will they know that you are a pro in your field? Your website gives you an avenue to show off your honours, client testimonials, achievements/milestones. This greatly influences the choices of potential clients.
3. Secure Solid Business Partnerships.
To be honest with you, any serious and profitable business you see in the world today have their success deeply rooted in their online presence.
A business that could be interested in partnering with you will most likely first search for you on the web. What will their opinion be when you don’t have a concrete online presence?
They will not believe or trust you and to get this sorted out as quickly and as possible you need a website.
4. Your Major competitors own a website.
Whether you like or not your competitors own one or two websites and are influencing with the aid of their online presence then why should you not ?.
You may be running your business from home but people who visit your site will have the perception that you are as big as your competitors.
If you have a working and aesthetically designed website with a solid plan behind it, you can smash the observed wall between you and your big rivals.
5. Reduce Operation Costs.
Just one single task can make a notable difference in cost savings. For example, receiving requests online reduces the need for customer service staff.
With large sales and product information online, you’ll simply receive purchase orders and payments via email or into your database.
6. Work from Anywhere.
Remote work was giving birth to by the internet, Are you tired of the constant heat and humidity where you live?
Taking your business online gives you the capability to have location independence so you can live and work from wherever you want; you’re not attached to a physical location. Just make sure you have a solid internet bandwidth and you are life.
How to start your own online business.
Starting an online business may seem quite flexible and easy but it requires a lot more planning and strategy for you to see it work perfectly, the competition rate on the internet is becoming so fierce that it is becoming more difficult to gain visibility without spending a lot and waiting.
One major uplifting thing about starting an online business is that your business gets to be recognized globally which makes it very easy to make money without any border restriction.
In this section, I am going to be helping you start a successful online business and scale it to the top to the level of making a very huge profit.
1. Decide on a Business Idea.
Before you decide to start an online business, you should know that there are various online business ideas and you have to choose one that works well with the problems you intend to solve, and if that online business is leveraging your strengths as an individual.
It is good to ask yourself if you’re equipped to handle your new business idea. Developing a business around a hobby, skill, or side hustle that you know inside and out gives you a certain level of expertise to leverage.
Finally, just because you have a certain skill set or hobby that you like, does not necessarily mean that there’s a market for it.
You need to be solving some sort of real-world problem and ensure that there are potential customers that are looking for a solution.
2. Find The Perfect Products To Sell.
There are so many products to sell on the internet, but I am going to start by categorizing online products into two, and they are.
1. Digital products.
Digital products are products that can be sold virtually on the internet, they usually come in the form of software that can be downloaded.
A perfect example of a digital product includes E-books, Softwares, Apps, Video courses, subscription-based startups and freelance services.
2. Physical products.
Physical products are products that are physically available for purchase, they involved perishable and non-perishable products such as clothing, electronics and gadgets
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how how to start a successful eCommerce business, I recommend you click the link below to get started.
2. Conduct Online Market Research.
Market research is the process of evaluating the usefulness of a new product or service, through research conducted directly with potential consumers.
This method allows organizations or businesses to discover their target market, collect and document opinions and make informed decisions.
Market research can be conducted directly by personally or to agencies that have expertise in this process.
The next step would be to conduct online market research, there are many ways to do this and some of them includes the use of keyword research tools and search engines.
Now that you have chosen your product the next step would be to determine your product viability, this involves checking if your product can produce the desired profit that is expected within a stipulated period.
One of the most important factors to put in place when doing market research for your desired profit is
1. Product size and weight.
2. Product fragility.
3. Product lifespan.
5. Consider the competition.
I wrote an article to help you get started with keyword research.
4. Understand Online Business laws.
The very important watchword to watch out for is laws, even if the internet seems to be a free and open place, it does not necessarily mean that no laws are guiding its affairs.
As an online business owner, there are very few laws to watch out for.
2. Payment gateways.
3. Trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
4. Shipping restrictions.
5. Inventory or Warehousing.
6. Licenses and permits.
7. PCI compliance.
5. Learn Online Marketing.
Digital advertising has been long recognized as an effective trend in promoting your business. Accessibility, speed and access to insight have made digital advertising a better alternative to promoting your business.
The major reason why you should take your business online is the ability to reach a wider range of within and outside your national borders with little or lesser efforts
One of the major steps to be discussed today, to effectively take your business is.
1 .Local /Search Engine Listing.
According to research carried out by search engine experts and webmasters, it has been discovered that most potential customers are searching for products online via the search engine.
Your customers are making Queries via the search engine, not looking for photos on Instagram.
This is a fact for those who prefer kick-starting their businesses on Instagram rather than listing their business.
We can’t blame them anyway, that’s why I am here to correct that.
I will prove my point with the example below.
Let’s say, we search for a popular brand, business, or celebrity online, maybe “Patricia”, which is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Lagos, Nigeria.
We get our results in the following hierarchy.
- Search engine Business Listing for Patricia Technologies by Google My Business is located on the Far-right.
- The Official website of Patricia Technologies.
- Website and media blogs posting about Patricia Technologies
- Social media.
Judging by this result, it is now effectively clear on steps to take towards taking your business online.
The million-dollar question now is, How do I list my business on a search engine ?. very easy I will show you.
Google launched a platform for this purpose called “GOOGLE MY BUSINESS”. It comes both in web platforms and mobile apps both For IOS and Android.
It helps you list your business on the search engine and in the long run, allows potential customers to find you. All you need is a google account to access this feature.
In conclusion, one of the first steps to take when taking your business is to list them via local search directories, however, Google, Inc has made that possible by launching the Google My Business Platform for the local business owner.
Local customers can now learn about our business without looking too far.
Here is an article on search engine optimization and getting your business listed via Google my business.
2. Building a Website.
Search engines are built to read web pages and full websites, they are built to read and understand HTML (hypertext markup languages) used in the development and production of web pages. You can own a website today for as low as $100
Most people own websites but are not Search engine optimized. Making your website Search Engine Optimized helps your website be visible and this can, however, increase possible chances of your business appearing in Search engine results directly in front of prospective customers.
Making sure your website is search engine optimized takes a whole lot and most times patience. There are a lot of Factors surrounding search engine optimization.
Here is an article I wrote to help you get started with owning your website today.
Do you also need help in choosing the perfect domain name for your website? then here is an article I recommend you read.
In this article, I would show you a few steps to take to ensure your website is search engine optimized.
Here is a link on how to build an in-depth guide on how to properly optimize your website for search engine visibility.
3. The Use Of Social Media.
One of the most effective innovations of the 21st century is Social media. It has become the major source to connect with people all over the world.
Thanks to innovators like Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and the likes of those who contributed to this innovation.
Taking your business to social media makes your business able to connect to its required audience.
The inbuilt feed and stream technology in social media enables you to create your own virtual audience/community.
A lot of social media platforms has been created since the inception of the internet, a lot did not survive the first ten years of operation, a lot has been merged, and the giants amongst them are still standing.
Most of the giant’s social media platform is what we readily use today and they are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Listing your business on these platforms makes it easy for you to attract your required audience both far and near.
Most of this social platform has embedded functionalities for business owners. Some of which includes
- The Facebook Business section of the Facebook platform allows you to manage your business on Facebook via a Facebook page created by you and also lets you connect to your Instagram business account also.
- A profile can be created separately for your business on Twitter.
The above-mentioned platform is highly recommended for businesses looking to attract a specific kind of audience.
Another important step to take note of in creating social media handles for your business is the fact that content must go in there from time to time.
The fuel that powers the use of social media is creating effective and useful content for your audience.
Here is an article that deals with the importance of using social media marketing for your business.
- How To Grow Your Business On Facebook
- How To Grow Your Business On Instagram
- How To Grow Your Business On Pinterest
- How To Grow Your Business On LinkedIn
4. Quick Communication Channel.
If you are following trends, you would discover that engagement on social media has dropped due to privacy and security reasons.
Long gone are the days when social media was seen and identified as a heart to heart communication channel.
The creation of Instant messaging tools like WhatsApp, Telegram has fostered communication among peers and therefore guarantee privacy.
The need for people to secure themselves and feel safe shifted effective communication from the use of Social media to Instant messaging platforms.
Your customers need to feel comfortable with your business and trust you in the end. One of the ways to implement the above-mentioned step is to have a quick messaging channel where your customers can reach you.
One of the software I recommend for this purpose is the WhatsApp Business App.
Facebook, inc developed this sister whats app platform not too long ago to foster communication amongst businesses and prospective clients.
WhatsApp Business allows you to use a different whats app account specifically for your business on the same phone, you can also use a different telephone number for your business
The WhatsApp Business app allows you to set up your business profile, like name, address and a display photo.
Coupled with the whats app Business App you can also add a chatbot functionality into your website.
The chatbot has a chat functionality that allows you to chat with potential website visitors whenever they land on your web page.
Here is an article I recommend you read to get started with the use of ChatBots
5. Email marketing.
Email marketing is another process that you should take to position yourself for success.
One of the factors that guarantee your success on the internet is list building. I have an in-depth article on email marketing and I recommend that you read it for a better understanding of how email marketing works.
6. Start Blogging.
Blogging is one marketing channel that is always ignored when building an online business, a blog is not necessarily an avenue to make money as it is usually portrayed.
One thing about the internet that you should take note of is the fact that there are so many other people trying or already doing this same thing that you want to do, they sell the same product, even offer the same service, even at cheaper rates.
SEO (Search engine optimization)/ Blogging is going to make your business stand out amongst these competitions, not your website design standard, your big advertising budget, or how great your social media profile looks. Potential customers are going to connect with you via the kind of content that you provide.
If you’re building your site from scratch or using an eCommerce template through Squarespace or someone else, make sure to build the site in such a way that adding a blog wouldn’t be a major reconstruction.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can start building a successful blog from the start.
7. Go On YouTube.
YouTube is a free video-sharing website that makes it easy to watch online videos. You can even create and upload your videos to share with others globally.
Created in 2005, YouTube was acquired by Google and have now become part of the Google ecosystem.
Youtube is one marketing platform that should not be downplayed by online business owners because it is the 2nd most-visited website in the world, over 2 billion people log in to YouTube every month and 68% of YouTube users state that videos help them make a “purchasing decision”.
Every online business should optimize their video marketing, via YouTube.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to start utilizing Youtube as a source for online marketing, you can check out the link below.
Now that you understand the basic rudiments required in taking any kind of business online, here is an article I recommend you read to help you get started, in this article I wrote about some very few money-making online businesses that can take you to the next level.
Back in the day, only the privileged few could start an online business because it required a huge Starting capital and lots of resources that needed to be put in place.
Today anyone can start and scale an online business, regardless of their professional background or past entrepreneurial experience, it all starts with getting your first website online which cost less than $99.
The internet seems to be saturated with various online businesses, this is why you still need to come up with a viable product idea, figure out your sourcing or manufacturing strategy and then your sales model. But all of the above should not discourage you from starting an online business!