You’ve been putting in the hours to lay the groundwork for your business, and you’re finally ready to go live and start trading online. But before you dive headfirst in, you need to do your final checks to make sure that you are fully prepared. Below are the three main aspects of setting up your online business that you need to have honed and perfected before you start handing out your business cards to everyone you meet.
As an online business, the first (and most important) part of your road to success is to make sure you have a website to base your operation from. Depending on the service or product you are offering, this could be a blog, an online shop, or even a community forum. Either way, you are going to need something easy to navigate, clear, eye-catching, and above all – search engine optimized. If this is your first venture into an online business, then it could be a little overwhelming trying to design a website that could make or break your business. Luckily, there is a whole host of companies like Slickplan who offer a service to help you create your own webpage. There are also many companies who will help to ensure that your web page comes out top in any search listings for your particular niche.
You may think that your business doesn’t need any security because you don’t have physical premises. However, when the businesses stepped into the virtual world, so did the criminals. It is important to invest in antivirus software for your business, as well as being vigilant of other ploys to invade your computer, such as marketing scams, phishing emails, and fraudulent links. Most of these low-level, blanket attacks are easy to avoid with a bit of common sense, and your antivirus program will keep you safe from most viruses should you be caught off-guard. The real threat is the more focused individual attack on your business, especially if your website or computer system is used to process your customer transactions. It is crucial that you do all that you can to protect both yours and your client’s financial details from being hijacked by internet bandits. Not only because nobody wants their money to be taken, but also because any issues with your web security will put potential customers off of using your services.
Marketing is one of the fundamental aspects of any business, especially an online one. You will not get passing traffic to sustain you like a small coffee shop on a busy high street does. In today’s saturated markets, you must reach out to your customers and make them aware of your presence. Utilize every tool at your disposal. Companies like Simba Sleep have managed to grow enormously by simply making the most of social media advertisement. Know your target market and make sure that your advertising methods are catered towards them. Your marketing is also something that should constantly be adapting and changing as the technologies evolve. Be sure to engage with every option available to you.
Hopefully, these important factors will have already been planned for and expertly executed before you launched your online business. And if not, it’s never too late to implement them and start reaping the rewards.
According to Entrepreneur magazine, there is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you’re starting a small business online.
- Find a need and fill it.
- Write copy that sells.
- Design and build an easy-to-use website.
- Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
- Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
- Follow up with your customers and subscribers with email.
- Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.
Before you do anything, it’s important to decide what types of goods you’ll sell online. Whatever you choose, it’s important to work with products that you’re passionate about. Chances are, you’ll be working with these products day in and day out, so make sure it’s something that won’t easily bore you in the future. If you don’t have products on hand, take a look at various drop-shipping providers—you can conveniently choose from their product list and sell them on your own site.
Start building your store. Now it’s time to start building your store. Depending on the type of solution you chose, you’ll want to learn its functionality and begin setting up your important pages, including your product and category pages, home page and content pages, and more. Keep in mind that you’ll want to consider branding and design every step of the way—these are important elements to the success of any e-commerce site.
Get paid. We’re all in business to make money, right? The next step before launching your store is to decide how you’ll receive payment from your customers. Many first-timers start off with PayPal or Google Checkout, but you also have the option to accept credit cards directly on your site, which is the preferred and more professional route. If this is the case, you’ll want to research credit card processing options, particularly merchant accounts to make sure that you’re clear on all of the rates and fine print.
Market your business. Once your website is ready for the world to see, you need to drive customers to your store with marketing. Whether you leverage email, social media, SEO or other forms of online marketing, it’s critical that you share your store with the masses. In other words, even if you have the most amazing site in the world, if no one can find your store, you’ll struggle to pay the bills.