How to Start your Small Business Online
Setting up a business online is a big step. It also isn't something the common working individual who is comfortable with the 9-5 set-up would necessarily consider.
The internet has paved the way for you to easily start your online business. If you already have some great online business ideas, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:
1. Identify your target audiences
For a good headstart, you must first identify your target audience and start tailoring your business accordingly.
So, how do you identify your target audience?
- Research your competition well. Look at their target customers to help you identify the gaps. Pinpoint the customers that have likely been left out by your competitors.
- List the products/ services you intend to offer. Against each product/service, list its features and whom it will benefit.
- Pick specific demographics, considering factors like location, age, gender, education, income level, occupation, etc.
- Don’t forget to consider factors like the attitudes, personality, interests, hobbies, lifestyles, behaviours, etc., of your target audience. It’ll help you understand how your customers think and what strategies you can devise to attract them.
Identifying your target audience is important because it:
- Helps you generate the best brand message and identity. Your brand communication should emanate from the demands of your target audience.
- Allows you to strategize marketing effectively and determine where to invest.
2. Devise a business plan
For an online business to be successful, it should be carefully started and operated. It should have a vision, supported by enough capital to back you up. You have to create a roadmap before you move on to the next step. It should state the 'where', 'how', and 'what:
- Where are you in your business?
- How did you get there?
- What are the steps for the future?
3. Pick a business name and create a logo
This is going to be the most interesting part of setting up your online business. If you’re starting your business online with some mates, you can brainstorm a business name. Come up with something that will resonate with your target audience. And that’s just the beginning.
You'll need to check that your chosen business name is available in the digital space. This means that the name should be available for registration as a business name, domain name, and username on all social media platforms.
If your chosen name is not available on each of these platforms, you’ll probably need to come up with an alternative name.
4. Create a website or find a web developer to build one for you
If you have thought through the business you plan to start, it’s time to create a small business website.
Here are some key tips for creating a website:
- Create a domain name that is easy to spell and pronounce. The shorter the better.
- Try to get the .com extension for your domain name. Other extensions like .co.uk .net, .co, etc., are also good, but .com should be your first priority.
- Don’t include hyphens or numbers in your domain name.
- Ensure you are paying the right price for the website address.
- It's also helpful to choose an SEO-friendly name for your domain. For example, www.NewYorkGraphicDesigner.com is a good domain name that will rank your site better on the internet.
- Find a website host and make sure you get good tech support. You can find good hosting services for less than £100 per month, but it depends on the plan you select. It's a good idea to go for an annual plan if that’s more feasible.
- Implement the best content management system you can because, ultimately, 'content is king'. The right software will help you manage digital content and maintain your website. Just make sure you choose a CMS that suits your requirements and is user-friendly. WordPress is a great option.
Building your own site - is it feasible?
WordPress has a native editor, but it's not the most effective for a business website. However, with a plugin such as Elementor, Divi or Beaver Builder, you'll have access to the best website editors.
How do they help?
Well, you don't need to know how to code at all. Just drag and drop elements from a sidebar on the workspace. Moreover, any page you create can be replicated hundreds of times, making it as easy as pie to set up numerous identical product pages. In fact, these builders are so good that professional web developers use them to cut back on development time. Of course, they'll usually spice up the results with a few coding tweaks here and there.
Though there will be lots more to take care of, following the above steps will at least help you lay down a solid foundation from which to kickstart your online business.
So what are you waiting for?