An online business operates along the same principles as any other. It starts with understanding your target market, defining the solutions you can offer them, knowing your competitors, mapping out a clear plan and setting goals.
In addition, there are a few things that are particularly important for online-only businesses. Here are five of them.
- Get a secure internet connection – your business won’t run too well if your connection is super slow or prone to dropping out all the time! Unlike a bricks and mortar enterprise, no internet means no sales.
- Optimise your online presence. This includes setting up a website and social media accounts, and using SEO tools such as keywords. Without this, your brand could easily get buried under all the traffic out there in internet-land. If you don’t know how to do this well, get some expert help.
- Make it easy for customers to pay with apps. If you run an e-commerce business, a program like Shopify may be a good option as it handles everything for you, from marketing to the practicalities of setting up a store and payments.
- Create a solid online marketing plan. This might include twice-weekly postings on social media and regular content on your website that provides value to your audience. Experiment to see what brings in the best results and refine your plan accordingly.
- Make the most of free and low-cost tools and programs. There are loads of these available online. Examples include tools for social media management, for email marketing, and for calendar and password management. There are also plenty of cloud accounting programs available for small businesses.
Finally, there is no magic bullet, so be prepared to work long and hard! It’s one thing if you only want a hobby business that you tinker with after work, but quite another if you want your online business to sustain you for the long term.