This pandemic has taught us a lot of things and one of them is we can start and run our business right in the comforts of our homes.
Starting an online business with minimal cash outlay is possible with these simple steps. We are putting this out there to help everyone during these trying times.
This is actually the most important step in the process because this will affect the future of your business. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who just jump ahead to creating one before having a viable idea in place. We suggest you assess the following before you really start out.
Find out your “why”
This should be the first question as this will affect your business’ success. Determining your “why” simply means taking the time to know the purpose of your brand or business. Having a passion for your business will really propel it forward.
List down skill set you are particularly good at
Having a list of your strengths will be a way to check if you are equipped to handle your new business idea. This will also help your greatly as it gives you familiarity on how to manage your business.
Is there a problem you’re trying to solve?
Having the idea and the skill will not necessarily ensure your business’ success — you also need to make sure there’s a demand for it. If there are, how many other businesses are trying to solve that same problem. The best thing to do here is to create a market analysis and look for ways to differentiate your business from the competitors. This way, you can see if have something viable or if you are just wasting your energy in an overcrowded space.
Will your business only operate online?
Since you are in the process of ideating, you also need to check if you would need offline resources for your business to run. For example, having an online website design and development business will mostly be done online. But having an e-commerce business, on the other hand will require you to have offline resources like a physical storage space for your products. So, it’s important to prepare these beforehand.
Once you have a business idea, it would help you greatly if you check the viability of your business. This way you can also look check what potential challenges may affect your operations.
Firstly, do your research and look through customer reviews of other businesses in the same industry and learn from their mistakes. You can also check what measures they put in place to address those problems.
Then, you would need to conduct a more in depth market analysis. Yes — you already have bits and pieces of this but this time, let’s add that SWOT analysis to further strengthen your understanding of yourself and your own business. This process will also help you understand your positioning better.
Lastly, you would need to have your Funnel KPIs in place. Make sure that you measure the important data like engagements, leads, etc. You also need to measure your business data like your cash flow, accounts payable, accounts receivable, sales, etc.
With your plan in place as your guide, it’s now time to develop your website — and this is where the fun really begins. There will be a number of factors you would need to consider and decide on like:
You website domain or web address will determine how your consumers access your website. This is also an important step because you would need to have a strong resounding name that your consumers won’t forget easily. If someone beat you to a name, pick a name that will still be relevant to your business name.
This online service will allow your business to post your website onto the internet. This is as important as having a memorable domain name. Your hosting provider will determine your website load speed and your traffic bandwidth because where all your website’s files will be stored and accessed.
Website Design and Programming:
You control consumer interaction. The design of your website should mainly be easy enough for the consumer to use then. You can do this yourself or even hire someone to do it for you. This would all depend on how creative you are. Don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly.
If you are running an e-commerce business, you would need to make sure your shopping cart solution is configured correctly so it automatically collects the right amount of tax depending on customer location. This will be very important when you get to step 4.
You would have to decide which legal structure you would like to set up. Most business opt for a Limited Liability Company but do your research to figure out which is best for you.
You need to register it. You would need to visit your Secretary of State office’s website for more information because requirements vary state by state.
Learn about tax obligations. Whether you operate it as an online business or a brick and mortar business, you will need to check which types of taxes you need to pay. However, if you do proper research, you will see that you are eligible for certain tax deductions especially if you run an online business.
We must admit that starting an online business is similar to starting a brick and mortar business — you’ll have to put in the work to make sure you have a sound marketing plan as well as a sound logistical strategy. But if you do this right, you’ll be sure to have a long term business that will withstand any challenge.
If you have an idea and would like to make a business out of it, just reach out to us so we can help you.