I started my business very slowly and I definitely didn’t follow any steps. I made many mistakes and I had to learned things the hard and slow way.
However, hopefully with this post I can help others start an online business. Of course, reading blog posts will not mean that your business will be successful. Even if you have a plan, how you approach your business and the amount of time and effort you put into it is important.
Have a business plan.
If you want to start a new business, then you need some sort of business plan. You need to do research and think about everything that needs to be done in order to have a fully functioning business.
You need to know:
- What your product or service is. It’s nice to want a business, but what are you trying to sell?
- How you plan on gaining an edge over your competitors.
- Who you will sell your product or service to.
Is there a market for the product or service that you want to sell?
Before you change your whole life around and focus on your business, you should make sure that there is a market for your product or service.
If you can’t think of a single person who would want to pay you for your product or service, then it may not be the best idea. Yes, some people start non-profit businesses, but they still have someone out there who is interested in what they are offering.
Do you have a website?
I’m not sure how people start an online business without a website, but I have seen it done. I think that if you want to create a successful online business then you need a website.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just a simple website that details your services and tells a potential customer more about you. Usually simpler is better.
However, you don’t want to have such a bad-looking website that people close out of your website immediately.
The steps in my blog post How To Start a Blog can also apply to starting a commercial website as well. You will need a domain name, a hosting company, a website design, and more.
Have a way to accept payments.
I have seen this happen before. A person starts a business but didn’t think about how they will accept payments. Sometimes they don’t want to start a PayPal account because they don’t want to pay fees, or they try to deal with cash as much as they can.
I think if you want an online business, that 99% of the time you will have to deal with PayPal. About 99.9% of the transactions that I deal with are through PayPal, and I can count on one hand the amount of times that I have received a check in the mail instead.
Make your business legal.
Many people start their business without thinking about any legal or accounting aspects, but it can never hurt to start off on the right foot.
Talk to a lawyer and/or accountant about forming a company (LLC, Partnership, etc.), any licenses that you may need, tax help and so on.
Be polite to your customers.
I think you should always be polite to your customers, but you should really aim to be polite and careful with what you say when you are in the beginning stages of having a business.
For example, the other day I was on Instagram and I saw a company be rude to its customers. Multiple customers said that they hadn’t received the product. That’s when the owner of the company started calling the customers names and was yelling. I could not believe the things that I was reading from the owner. I immediately unfollowed the company on all social media accounts because I knew it wasn’t something that I ever wanted to deal with.
In the beginning, how you treat your customers will shape your reputation. If you are known for being rude, this can actually lead to your downfall very quickly.
What am I forgetting? What steps did you make sure to make?