If you’re just starting an internet business or you’re not quite sure exactly how or where to start, here are 10 top tips to get your online business started as you mean to go on.
1. Find a way to make a living from your passion.
If you can find a way to make a living from your passion, you’ll find the whole process easier and more enjoyable and, ultimately, more successful. You need a lot of time and energy to start and build a successful internet business and you’ll be much more inclined to fully immerse yourself in your work, if it involves doing what you love.
2. Research your market
This is absolutely necessary. Without adequate research, an expensive mistake is quite probable. Even if you are totally absorbed by your topic, others may not be. So, honest research is where you find out if there’s a market and people willing to buy from you.
3. Always write a business plan
Always have a plan. That’s the route to making a business from your passion. First of all you need to have a destination, a dream. Then, to start on the road to success, you need to thoroughly plan all the necessary steps to achieve your dream.
Having a plan for your online business will focus your aim. You’ll find that, when times are difficult, it will reaffirm what you set out to achieve and will keep you on track.
4. Plan your finances as well
You also need a sound financial plan. The attractiveness of an online business, is often the minimal expenditure required, which means that many online businesses are started without any outside funding. But you still need to produce your financial plan to demonstrate to yourself that the business will be viable and, to give you targets to measure against.
And, if you do need to seek external funding, a well thought out business plan will be essential.
5. Be professional from the start
Being business like and professional from the start will confirm to others, and yourself, that you are serious about doing business and being a success.
So as well as producing your business and financial plans, be prepared to organise business cards and stationery, a work phone, a business email address etc.
6. Don’t expect your business to generate income immediately
It may be some time before your new business can pay its way. So, be realistic in your planning and, if you are already employed don’t give up your job and think you’ll get by somehow. That’s always difficult. Find a way to keep your job and build your business in your spare time, because that way, you’ll feel better knowing that you can pay the bills.
7. Start finding customers and build a list before you start selling
With a normal retail business, you create a product, produce your stock and then try to sell it. With an online business, however, you can reverse the process by creating a blog and using name capture to start building a mailing list of potential customers, before you’ve finished creating your product.
8. Expect to include paid help in your plan
Although an online business can easily be run by one person, some things are easier done by a professional, like setting up a web site or tax and accounting. And if you’re planning on expanding, usually, you’ll need to free up your time by having someone author your articles. So, make sure to include these in your planning.
9. Seek upfront advice on how to set up your business
For a serious business proposition, one thing you’ll need at the beginning, is advice on the best business structure to suit you. Sole trader partnership, limited company, these all have benefits and limitations and, unless you’ve previous experience, it’s best to seek professional advice before launching your business. In the long run, it will prove money well spent.
10. Know your goals
Sometimes things seem to go wrong and it’s easy to get caught up in thinking “was this a such a good idea after all?” So, write down your goals, new house, car, holidays etc. and stick the list up in your office to remind you everyday, of why you’re doing this.
Be confident and assured of your goals. Plan your work and work your plan. Include spending time with like minded and encouraging people.
By following this process, even for a couple of days you’ll be amazed at how focused you become and the results that follow.