Are you an entrepreneur who wants to start an online business, but doesn’t know where to start?
We understand you. Nowadays, the digital environment is broad and sometimes complicated, and it’s normal to be unsure where to begin.
Should you start with a website or a mobile app? Is YouTube a better way to reach out to customers than Instagram?
The questions are endless.
Starting an internet business needs a well-thought-out plan. You must be clear about the product or service you wish to market, understand your buyer personas, and so on.
This post will go through 5 steps to starting an online business.
Table of Contents
What Is An Online Business?
An online business is a company that provides products and/or services online, without investing in physical spaces. Sometimes, the online success allows also establishing offline.
Online classes, e-commerce, blogs, YouTube channels, and technology solutions all fall under the category of digital companies.
Online Business vs Offline Business
According to Thrive my way, the rise of internet businesses has soared in recent years, and it’s not going to stop.
- 82% of consumers use online media every day, compared to offline media (24%).
- Online sales grew by more than 50% between 2013 and 2018, during the same period, offline sales grew by just 10%.
- In 2020, total retail sales declined by 3.9% while online sales grew by 14.8%.
Digitalization For Small Businesses:
Digital transformation has a number of advantages, including:
- Becoming a customer-centric business
- Getting data-based insights
- Increases creativity and agility
- Updates in knowledge and abilities
- Encourages the digital culture, and
- Combines processes and operations
The challenges faced by small businesses include:
- Customer experience
- Market growth
- Marketing and sales
- Locating talent
A plan to automate processes, investing in digital skills, and improve online sales is key to succeed in the digital world.
5 Steps To Starting An Online Business
Once you’ve chosen your niche to run your online business, decided the products and/or services to sell, and your business model (drop-shipping, manufacturing, wholesaling…), you are ready to start an online business by following the next steps.
|How can I choose a niche?
Consider the blue ocean strategy.
A blue ocean approach involves redefining the boundaries of existing markets and creating brand-new, untapped markets. Businesses using a blue ocean approach provide their end users with far more value at a lower price.
In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms.
Step # 1 – Creating your Brand Identity
Your business plan should describe what your company does, who will run it, your goals and vision, and how you intend to get there.
What does your business hope to achieve in the long run?
What is the purpose of your company?
What are the most important SMART goals?
What are the guiding principles and conduct expectations for your company?
Step # 2 – Building your online business platform
By selecting an ecommerce platform that isn’t the best fit for your business model can lead you to make a huge mistake. The same as choosing your hosting provider. We recommend you Siteground as it’s the best for both uptime and speed.
Keeping that in mind, the best ecommerce platforms are:
For WordPress sites: Woocommerce
If you’ve got large inventories: BigCommerce
For small businesses: Shopify
When you need customizable products: Prestashop
Step # 3 – Elaborating a digital business strategy
It’s time to create your company’s brand story, understand your buyers’ needs, design your customer journey, and create a sales funnel.
The fundamental elements of a digital business strategy are:
- eProducts and/or services
Are you selling physical products? Thinking of launching an online course?
How are you going to promote your products and/or services online? Which online platforms do you plan to have a presence on? Are you going to automate processes?
Decide on your budget, and check if you’ll need any external help.
- Online communication
How are you going to communicate with your customers? Is your company customer-centric?
- Compliance with data privacy regulations
Are you protecting the privacy of consumers? Do you comply with all local and global data privacy regulations?
Step # 4 – Using The Right Digital Tools
To build a strong digital presence for your business, you will need to invest in the right tools.
The main tools are:
- Business website or ecommerce website
- Social media platforms
- E-mail marketing service
- Automation tools
- Content creation tools
Content Related: 30 Instagram Tools to Improve Your Marketing
Step # 5 – Measuring success and be agile
Your digital business strategy is not set in stone.
You must be constantly measuring if your strategy is working or not. Be agile, and ready to pivot, if an adaptation is required.
As we’ve seen, there are many benefits of starting an online business today.
Running a successful online business require much more than creating a business plan. You need to lead and surround yourself with skillful (and nice) people, follow methodologies and systems, and gaining traction to begin with.
In this article, we’ve covered the 5 Steps to starting an online business that will help you to have an overall approach of what it means to become a digital entrepreneur.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you need help. We will be happy to guide you.