Online business is not restricted to large corporations or even small business with real-world storefronts. If you are comfortable using a computer and seek to start your own business, then the Internet is the perfect venue for you. Here we will how you how to build your own online business from scratch.
One of the best aspects of online business is that you do not need much money to get started. If you have been thinking about starting an online business, then you have come to the right place. Herein is a systematic guide on how you can build your own online business from scratch.
1. Identify a Need and Satisfy It
This is the first step in starting just about any business. E-commerce has been around for over a decade now. However, people are constantly coming up with new products and ways to market them. Your first task is to know your market (the people who will be buying your products/services) and determine how to best meet their needs.
You have to realize that the Internet is a personal market. Customers are active and not passive in the manner that they absorb information. Some of the best places to conduct market research for ideas include newsgroups, chat rooms, online forums, bulletin boards, and blogs’ comment sections.
2. Setting up a Shop
The greatest thing about setting up shop on the Internet is cost efficiency. All you need to get you started is buy a domain name, enlist with a hosting service and create some web pages. If you deal with physical products, you will have to find a space to conduct business. You do not have to rent a warehouse or large space. Many online entrepreneurs utilize a home office or extra room in their homes.
• Find a Host for Your Website
Doing business online means that you have to set up virtual space. You achieve this by creating a website and finding a company to host it. Today, there are numerous recommendable web hosting service. They include InMotion, 1&1, HostGator, GoDaddy, Bluehost, Tsohost, Wix and Weebly
• Select Online Business Software
There are varieties of tools that you will need to make your work manageable. They may include a web page editor, graphics software, storefront software, analytic software, and accounting programs.
• Seek Assistance
The online business involved relatively new technologies. However, they are not difficult to figure out. Many online entrepreneurs learn how to create their web pages through reading books, attending classes and online tutorials.
Nonetheless, you can opt to hire help to advice you in your weak areas. Investing in the services of professionals can help with the growing workload and is recommendable for an authoritative website.
3. Choose the Right E-commerce Platform
Today, you have too many options for hands-on systems that allow you to launch your store online. As such, selecting the perfect platform for you can seem like a daunting process. Below are some of the most recommendable options with the best features:
Shopify is a paid self-hosted e-commerce platform that hosts more than 100,000 stores. It is ideal for a small store or if you do not have development skills. It helps you get your online store operational fast and has a free 30-day trial. Notable online businesses including Karton and Chalkd use this platform.
Magento is the longtime host of successful sites like Olympus, Nordstrom and Harper’s Bazaar and over 200,000 others. This platform is free but requires significant developing skills. It features numerous free and paid extensions and is backed by an active community.
4. Set a Sales Processing System
It is vital to have a system in place for finalizing sales and tracking inventory and finances. A great way to plan for success is creating a secure purchasing environment for your customers. Being paid will be key to survival and profitability.
Online payment systems are not always straightforward. It is advisable to provide different payment options. The requirements for processing credit card transactions can seem intimidating. As a start, you can create a simple form that your customers print out and mail along with a check.
You can also have customers phone in orders. If you can accept credit cards, ensure that your customers feel safe by explaining the measures you put in place for data safety.
5. Develop an Effective Shipping Strategy
Of all these options, free shipping is the most recommendable. Do an analysis of your costs and if possible, offer free shipping. It works best for products that require small packages. Free shipping can significantly increase sales and encourage customer loyalty.
It is better to get your business online now and update your website regularly than waiting to unleash the perfect website. From there you can focus on marketing your website through strategies including content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and email marketing. The online domain is very competitive and will require you to evaluate your practices on a regular basis.