Starting and running an online business shares many of the problems, risks and issues inherent in any business. But like any business, you must first understand who your market is, why or how your business will attract them. Whether you decide to hire someone to build your website or online store, here are some tips to help you build a successful online business:
Have a Plan
Have a Plan. Many people plan and plan and plan and never get started. They are perfectionists and simply will not dive in until the water is at a perfect temperature, and they are wearing a life vest and there is a lifeguard standing ready. At some point you just have to dive in. Yes take the time to write a basic plan, but every online business that I know about takes some experience. It really is a question of learning as you go. Starting an online business is the ultimate in on-the-job training.
It’s always good for business owners to be social offline. But now its online , so it’s time to get social there as well! Find out where your customers are.
It’s safe to say they’re already on Facebook, which has more than 1 billion users. Take a look at YouTube too, since online video consumption is high, and increasing.
Design and build your website
Once you’ve got your market and product, and you’ve nailed down your selling process, now you’re ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention–otherwise they’re gone, never to be seen again. Some important tips to keep in mind:
- Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
- Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
- Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message.
- Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses.
- Make it easy to buy–no more than two clicks between potential customer and checkout.
- Your website is your online store front, so make it customer-friendly.
Use Tech Support
Not everyone is a computer programmer, and nor should you expect to be. Is your strength the creative, customer services and sales side of the business? No one expects you to do it all. Hire help in building your website and SEO where needed. These days you can do a lot by yourself, but when you are stumped, pay for piece work to get the more difficult challenges managed. I recently had a stubborn back end problem on a website fixed within a day for $5. My time (and sanity) is worth more than that, and so is yours!
Invest in Your Success – This is a common problem, especially if you’re not used to taking risks. Ask yourself where you want your business to be in three, six or twelve months. How big do you want your business to be and invest accordingly? If you are just looking for a part-time income then you don’t want to invest in expensive services and tools. However, if this is the way you hope to make a living, then you have to take some risks and invest in your success.