How to start an online business in 12 steps

Wondering how to start an online business? Following a list of specific steps that can help you start your online business both efficiently and effectively.

If you’re wondering how to start an online business you are not alone. The current situation has motivated many people to think about starting their own online business.

Like other brick and mortar businesses, online businesses also took a hit during the crisis, but some of them have shown quite promising results. It has been observed that the trend of online business has increased considerably during these days.

One major misconception about starting an online business is that people think it is easy to start, manage, and maintain such businesses. This cannot be further from the truth. It is true that online businesses offer many unique advantages, but starting and maintaining one isn’t a piece of cake. 

Starting an online business can be tough. You have to consider a lot of different aspects before you dive into the ruthless and competitive arena of online business.

These days you can buy anything from online marketplaces, even expensive things like jewelry, cars, and houses. This shows that you can start an online business with basically anything.

Why starting an online business is a good idea

There are almost 8 billion people on this planet. Out of that 8 billion, over half are active internet users. This means that your business’s potential exposure is over 4 billion people if you start an online business.

With an online business, you can reach new heights of success that are not possible with the traditional brick and mortar way of doing business.

A large number of consumers state that they prefer to shop online instead of making in-store purchases. This number shows how important it is for you to have an online business.

As I have mentioned earlier, starting an online business can be challenging. In addition to considering different strategies and technologies, you have to avoid certain wrongdoings as well. 

Things you should always avoid when starting an online business

Let’s check out some misstakes you should avoid when thinking about starting an online business;

  • Online businesses have the potential to be more successful than traditional forms of business; however, that does not mean that you should expect to earn a large amount of profit right away. Patience is a virtue that leads to success.
  • Don’t get lazy. Laziness will only cause problems for your business. If you are passionate about starting an online business, you have to put your heart and soul into it. Set a deadline and stay on track to complete the launch before the deadline. 
  • Like traditional businesses, you need to have a business plan for starting your online business smoothly. A business plan will not only help you launch your business efficiently, but it will also help you keep an eye on all aspects of your business. It will ensure that you don’t miss anything out while you are working on your online business. 
  • One mistake new online business owners often make is that they ignore feedback from other people, especially if it is negative feedback. A seasoned business person knows how to convert negative feedback into a learning experience. Negative feedback can actually do wonders for your business. It can help you identify the bottlenecks in your business. When you are working on starting your own online business, then you have to keep an eye on the feedback you get from your peers and potential clients. This will help you improve your business and take it to new heights.
  • Not knowing your core customer base or target audience will be disastrous for your business. The online business arena will give you access to a pool of over 4 billion people; however, not all of them will be your customers. It will surely increase your pool of potential customers, but you still need to identify your core customer base (target group) to know their interests, status, age group, and demographics. You cannot attract your potential customers if you don’t know who they are.
  • Some aspects of starting an online business can be exhausting. You can get so focused on working on your business that you may forget about your competition. This is one thing that can get you kicked out of the industry very quickly. If you don’t observe what your competitors are doing, they will definitely analyze your business and eventually outplay you. So you will be out of business in no time. If you want your business to survive, you need to keep an eye on your competitors’ offers, campaigns, procedures, products or services, and of course policies.
  • If you are starting an online business and don’t know what SEO is, you have already failed. It is crucial for you to optimize your website and social media profile for the search engine. Search engine optimization provides free targeted traffic and can help you attract more potential customers to your online business. SEO delivers also the best conversion rate in comparison to any other marketing strategy or method.
  • Don’t pretend to be a jack of all trades. You may be able to find all the relevant information on the internet about starting an online business. However, there is no substitute for experience and skills. This is why you need to hire relevant and experienced staff to help you with different parts of your business. Whether it is developing your own SEO optimized website or choosing the right products and channels for your business, you have to consult people who have more skills and experience in the subject.
  • Knowledge is Power. This is why you need to give yourself some time to read business-related books and attend courses to boost your skills before starting your online business.

These are some of the serious mistakes that you need to avoid while starting an online business. Not being careful about these things can actually put the survival of your business in danger.

How to start an online business

Starting an online business shouldn’t be a random process. It requires you to follow specific steps that can help you start your online business both efficiently and effectively. Let’s take a look at some of these steps;

1. Have a great idea

The first step to starting an online business is to have a great idea. You need to have an idea that fulfills a certain need. Coming up with innovative products and services will help you do just that.

You can either invent something new or work on upgrading an already existing product. But whatever you come up with should fulfill a certain gap and need in the market.

This will ensure that more people buy your product or service. You won’t be able to sell your product or service that doesn’t fulfill or address your customer’s specific needs. 

2. Conduct market research

Once you have an idea, it’s time to perform market research to see how well your idea will work. This will also help you realize what your main customer base and demographics are.

Many businesses fail because they do not conduct proper market research before they become operational. If the research shows that your idea is good, you can move ahead with it; however, if it shows that you need to refine your idea, you’ll have to update it. Once you have improved your business concept, you can then conduct the research once again.

3. Have the right people around you

It is very important to hire the right people for your online business. You don’t have to hire each employee right away, just the people you feel can help you start and maintain your business.

You need people who can help you put proper procedures in place. Having certain people in management positions with you from the very start can help you in the long run.

4. Think about a business name

Your business name is very important. Data shows that a large number of people make their purchasing decision based on the brand name. So it is very important to come up with a unique name for your business that is creative and resonates with your business topic.

Try to avoid generic or descriptive names. Your business name is your identity, so it should be something that makes you stand out in the market. You can also hold specific brainstorming sessions to come up with the right name for your business. 

5. Write a business plan 

Once you have everything set, it’s now time to write a business plan. A business plan is very important before you go operational. It can give your business a clear direction and help you cover all the vital areas.

Whatever you do, never miss this step. Without a business plan, you will never be able to launch your business in an effective manner.

6. Develop a user-friendly and SEO optimized website

The most crucial element in an online business is the website. If you want people to visit your website and buy products from you, you need to have a better and more optimized website than your competitor’s.

In addition to being search engine optimized, your website should have a user-friendly interface. It should be easy to use and navigate. No one wants to get confused while searching for products to buy. People prefer to visit websites that can be easily navigated. 

7. Sign up for social media

Social media is the most powerful marketing tool in the world right now. If you want your online business to be successful, you need to have a strong presence on social media.

You should cover apps like LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and other popular apps. Many people make their purchases through social media, which means that you will get direct access to billions of potential customers.

It is important to have social media presence right from the beginning.

8. Register your business

While you are getting your website developed and social media profiles created, you should also submit papers with the relevant authorities to register your business.

All of this should be done as quickly as possible as there are always people who are looking to take advantage of such situations to earn money.

So if you register a business and don’t have a website, someone might book the domain and then use it as leverage to sell it to you at a higher price. So try to work on registering the domain and your business on the same day. 

9. Get the required licensing

There are certain legal aspects of every business. After registering your business, you need to get the required licensing for your products and service. Your lawyer will help you with this step. You need to get all the required patents and copyrights in order as soon as possible.

10. Get feedback from potential clients

Once you have registered your business and have all the licensing, it’s now time to ask your core audience about their feedback.

Give them a sample of your product or show them a demonstration and ask them for feedback. The feedback you get can be very constructive, based on how you react to it. 

11. Promote your business

Once everything is done, start promoting your business. You can create a combined marketing strategy, including both traditional and modern forms of marketing.

Promote your business with search engine marketing, social media, and influencer marketing. Influencer marketing can be an excellent way for new businesses to get that visibility boost needed to secure your first clients.

Data shows that advertisements are a very effective way of marketing, but they can be somewhat costly. So if you can, do invest in advertisements on some of the dominant journals, online magazines, or blogs related to your business as this could do your business wonders.

12. Launch the business

Once you have done all the above-mentioned steps, it’s now time for you to launch your business. Set a date for the launch and offer a promotional deal on the first day as this will help you get a large number of customers from day one.

Try to get feedback from the new customers as this will be the first time you will get proper feedback post-launch so try to focus on the feedback comming from the customer’s side.

For continuous success, it is very important that you maintain and improve the quality of your business as well as updating your products accordingly.

The world is going through an ever-changing time, so don’t forget to adapt to the changing environment. Ones who don’t adapt get left behind.

Final thoughts

These are some of the generals yet recommended steps to follow while starting an online business. Different businesses may require you to follow different steps.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.

Jim Rohn

Whatever online business you are thinking about starting, make sure to always follow the appropriate steps as success has nothing to do with luck. With the right approach, knowledge, perseverance, and of course patience, your business will do nothing more than succeed.

Default image
Dani Thifa
My name is Dani Thifa and I am a husband to a clumsy wife, dad to two cute spider babies, uncle to triplets, blogger, and digital lead at #CGI.

Let me answer your comment, questions or inquiries!