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How to start an online business

April 7, 2021

Let’s hear from our guest writer, Stella Lincoln, about what your next steps should be.

Around 1.92 billion people use online services worldwide. The virtual business journey is complex and exciting, so check out the following timeline to get started!

First…just a little bit of history 📜

It all started from Paul Fegan’s idea of providing a secret place to an attorney for having a meeting. The organization used a computer to create a communication network among attorneys, and so it began. During the 1990s, the establishment of the World Web was a revolutionary step. Since then, the online business has become one of the greatest sources of earning.

How to start an online business? 🧑‍💻

Here are some practical steps that will help you in launching your own business!

1. Select your niche 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

The first step is to select the service you’re going to provide. There are several online services available, so choosing one may take some time and consideration. Asking the following questions should narrow things down:

  • Do you have expertise in this service?
  • What is the total number of audience availing that service?
  • What is the ROI of the service?
  • Is the ROI compatible with the time it consumes?

2. Draft the business structure 🧱

Creating a structure will be the first practical step in your business. Select the type of business structure first: sole proprietor, partnership or Limited Liability Company? For a small startup, it’s usually sole proprietor or partnership. Around 1.7 million sole proprietor organizations are working successfully today.

Alright, on to the next steps:

  • Create three core departments - usually Sales and Marketing, Finance and Admin, and Operations
  • Enlist more specific roles of each department as per the need of your business
  • Hire individuals that will head the department
  • Hire a limited number of employees for each department
  • Decide executive leadership style; creative thinker or organizational thinker?

3. Name your business 📝

Did you know that 72% of the brand names are words or acronyms?

Before selecting the word, make sure to cater to all the legalities required in registering a trademark. Consider the following points before naming your brand new online business:

  • Use simple but not general words
  • Mind your competitor’s name
  • Avoid any individual’s name
  • Make sure that you have a relatable domain

4. Fix your rates 💸

You are the owner of your business, so you have to decide your rates. To begin with, there are basic expenses that you have to cover, like taxes, business overhead or living costs. Taken these (and many more) into consideration, start deciding on what you’ll charge for your services. Of course, having a look at what your competition is doing is a pretty good idea!

5. Reach out to clients 🤙

Time to get going! As you’re just starting out, clients most likely won’t come to you. The first strategy is always to reach out to existing clients (if possible), and use their network to attract others.

Here are a couple of things that can help with your first reach-outs:

  • Using LinkedIn connections
  • Using different freelancing platforms to see what people are looking for and offering your services
  • Job postings to apply with your brand new business

6. Establish a marketing strategy 💌

While starting out with existing clients and recommendations is great, you’ll need to reach new audiences in order for your business to grow. This can either be done through advertising (pay per click, pay per mile - branding, etc) or organically, like increasing your website’s SEO ranking on search platforms.

It's a wrap! 🙌

Technological advancements have created convenience in establishing an online business, that’s for sure. Following the steps mentioned above can help you distinguish your business from competitors and make your virtual business the next best thing! The virtual market is getting more concentrated, so this is the time to start your own business.

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