4 Steps To Building A Successful Online Business From Scratch
Today, starting an online business has never been easier, regardless of your professional background or previous entrepreneurial experience. With low start-up costs and instant access to a global audience, there is a lot to be gained and little to be lost.
To put it simply, an online business is a business that generates income by selling some type of product or service online, such as:
- Independent services
- Consulting and caching
- SaaS (software as a service)
- Memberships and subscriptions
The good news is that the digital world is growing year by year. In fact, NASDAQ predicts that by 2040, 95 percent of purchases will be done online, highlighting that now is a better time than ever to get involved and claim your right in the digital world.
Building a business from scratch
If you’re ready to get started, here are four steps to building a successful online business from scratch:
1. Choose a niche that matches your passions
Let’s face it, becoming an entrepreneur is difficult. Even if you don’t have to rent office space or deal with clients face to face, there are still many challenges in starting an online business. At some point, it’s very likely that you will have a hard time motivating yourself, especially once the period of novelty wears off and the daily grind is staring you in the face.
That is why it is strongly recommended that you come up with a business idea that matches your passions. One that matches your values and gives you a reason to get out of bed every day.
As Richard Branson said, “Starting a business just to make money is likely to end in failure. Passion is one of the most effective motivators when it comes to starting a business – and often one of the strongest predictors of an idea’s success.
Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, so if you’re still struggling with ideas, here are some questions to get you thinking:
- What do you like to do in your spare time? What turns you on?
- What do you like to read or research on your own?
- What subjects are you passionate about?
- What would you like to change in the world?
- What are the areas where you are most skilled?
- What do people come to you for advice on?
2. Do your research and educate yourself
Now, before you jump into business head-first with your new idea, it’s important to take a step back and analyze the situation to see if it has the potential to be successful. Here are some research techniques you should perform:
Conduct market research
What industry are you going to participate in? Is there a real need for your product or service, and if so, how is your offering different from what already exists on the market? What are the current trends, size, lifecycle and growth direction of the industry? The more you know about the industry in which your business operates, the better.
To properly assess market conditions, you must first understand your competition. Make a list of the main competitors in your industry (companies that will be of relative size to yours and the biggest players that dominate the market share). Then make a list of their strengths and weaknesses. After discovering them, you will be able to use this knowledge to map the benefits of your business and its position in the market.
Ask for feedback on your idea
Ask people in your target demographic what they think about your idea. You need honest (and sometimes blunt) feedback at this point, so be sure to take a survey of people other than your friends and family.
Choose your business model
How are you going to monetize your idea? While it’s still early days, you need to have a clear idea of how you will turn your traffic into dollars once your website is launched.
The road to success in business is difficult. If this is your first time stepping into the space, it’s a good idea to seek coaching or sign up for a class to help you achieve your goals.
Mike L. Murphy, Founder of The visionary planner, an online course for people who want to monetize their passions and build a successful online business out of their current expertise, says, “Just as you would be foolish trying to travel in the wilderness without a map (and preferably a tour guide), you’d be just as crazy to attempt something as risky as starting a business! That’s why you absolutely need to find a process and a mentor to save yourself time, money, and heartache by doing things the right way, right off the bat.
3. Configure your website
Many people find building their own websites difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. These days there are tons of tools and guides to help you do it on your own (which is the cheapest method). However, if you still don’t feel like taking the project upon you, you can hire a developer to create one for you. The rates will vary depending on the complexity of your site, but you’ll probably be surprised at how cheap you can create a good one, especially if you’re using freelancers.
That said, here are the steps you need to take to get your site up and running.
Go buy your domain name and create a hosting account. If possible, try to secure the domain that exactly matches your company / brand name.
You can either build it yourself, use a website builder, or hire a developer.
Your site will need a well-written copy that clearly states the purpose of your website and what the value proposition is for your customers. In other words, tell them what you are offering, why they need it, and how they can buy it.
A blog is a must for any business, regardless of its industry. Once you’ve established an audience, you can sell your own products or services, promote affiliate products, and run sponsored campaigns with other brands. It also gives you a platform to demonstrate your expertise and establish your authority in your niche.
4. Bring traffic
Last but not least, now that you’ve got everything set up and your infrastructure ready to go, it’s time to start attracting customers. With an online business, the only way to do this is to drive traffic to your website and convert it into sales. Here are some of the more popular ways to do it:
As we just mentioned, a blog is a fantastic way to build an audience and get people to your site. The great part of blog traffic is that it is 100% organic which means you don’t have to pay a dime for advertising costs (other than the cost of writing the article).
To get the most out of your efforts, you will need to become a competent writer and learn (at least) SEO basics. This will help your website rank for search times in the search engines, increase traffic to your site, and give you more opportunities to generate income.
It is estimated that there are approximately 3.8 billion active social media users today. That’s a lot of potential customers that you can access quite easily. Of course, you don’t have to launch on all available platforms. However, it’s worth experimenting with most of the popular platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to see which ones work best for you, and then spend more time on the ones that generate the most interest (like the ones that generate the most interest). subscribers, likes, comments, shares, etc.).
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing involves placing ads on social media and search results pages. It is one of the fastest ways to improve your brand awareness and drive traffic to your new website. However, you will need to budget for marketing.
Relying too much on one single source of traffic is a recipe for disaster. All it takes is an algorithm update or a Facebook moderator to close your page, and your ability to generate income will be gone overnight. This is why it is important to create a mailing list because it gives you direct access to your audience without the need to involve a third party. Once you’ve built up a large enough list, you can send regular marketing emails (such as email newsletters) to your customers and subscribers to keep them informed of new products and special offers.
Now that we’ve covered all the steps needed to build your own digital empire, it’s time to do it. While it can be overwhelming at first, just take one step at a time, and before you know it, you could be the owner of a thriving online business in an industry that you are truly passionate about.