Today’s technology advancements have made it possible for people to ditch their boring 9-to-5 jobs and become financially free by starting their own business online. This digital age has offered so much that anyone who has dreamt to gain freedom by working for himself can get started from scratch with even less than $100.
Big question though: how to start creating a business and how to turn it into a successful online venture that has credibility and sustainability? If you are looking for answers, you have come to the right place. This article curates a checklist of 12 provenly true tips that shows you where to get started and what needs to be done in order to build a thriving online business.
1- Find a market niche that you can win
If you think that all you need to start with is a brilliant idea, you might be wrong. Brilliant ideas that are not plausible are worth nothing and will not make you a successful entrepreneur. What you really need to search for is a viable business market niche that you can tap into with a unique offering that others cannot easily imitate. Is there an unmet need that your products or services can fill? Will people actually buy what you offer when you launch it to the market? Does the market niche fit your personal interests or passions? These are critical questions you need to address when evaluating market opportunities and deciding which niches you want to go for. One important thing to note: if the market niche goes against your personal value, ask yourself if you want to run a sustainable business you can be proud of. If you stay true to yourself, you will avoid it at all cost because it won’t last long.
2- Create a logo that represents your business
Online businesses, especially new ones, need a distinctive and identifiable symbol that helps them stand out from today’s crowded markets on the Internet. That is why its logo is so critical - it is the face of the company that gives customers the very first impression about what the company has to offer, both in the products or services and in the intrinsic values it embraces.
However, not every self-made entrepreneur has a generous budget to order logo design from professional design agencies or freelancers who can charge you thousands of dollar to turn your idea into several designs to choose from. But, we’re not saying it’s impossible. Definitely not, with 48hourslogo - a logo design contest platform that allows business owners to create a custom logo design contest and get multiple designers to compete on the project, which crowdsources creativity and selections.
3- Use attractive images
We’re living in an age of visual culture when visual content has become the true king. Articles with images get more total views and clicks. Consumers are more likely to contact a business when an image shows up in local search results. Online shoppers are more likely to make an online order if the product images are of high quality.
The recipe for a successful online business definitely includes producing and using high-quality attractive images on your website, social profiles, and anywhere else where your brand appears on the web. While many brands that have a big budget for producing professional images do so themselves, small business owners can use curated high-definition royalty free stock photos at low costs to fill their creative needs.
4- Build a website
For any kind of business, a website is the foundation for its digital marketing strategy. When people search for specific products or service online, they will land on business websites to find information, read reviews, and make online purchases. Your business website is where bloggers and advertisers link back to and drive traffic to. It is also where you showcase your products and build trust and credibility that convince people to buy from you. Without a professional website, your business wouldn’t be successful online.
If you don’t have resources to hire professional designers and developers to build your website, consider doing it yourself with one of these 10 best landing page builders. Specifically, if you’re starting an agency business, check out Bookmark’s Agency Reseller Program to build your own business website in less than 2 minutes.
5- Brand yourself
Those who want to establish themselves as credible experts to provide consultation services or learning courses online must develop a strong personal brand. It is important to define yourself, your business, and how you align with your targeted audience. When you fully understand who you are, what you have to offer, and how you want your audience to perceive your values, capitalize on who you naturally are and demonstrate your unique personality on the Internet. Personal branding doesn’t have to be complicated and tricky, just be sincere and clearly articulate your values.
6- Embrace digital marketing
The Internet has enabled online businesses to reach a much larger global audience at lower costs with digital marketing, compared to traditional marketing channels. In the old age, big brands like Walmart, Starbucks could roll in and wipe out all small local businesses in the blink of an eye. Today, digital marketing has leveled the playing fields for all players, allowing small and medium businesses to compete with and even outrank established ones on the Internet. If you want to compete in a crowded market with a small marketing budget, focus on digital marketing to build your brand online across channels and target exactly who you want to sell via search engines, email marketing, and social ads.
7- Save files online
Everything that belongs to your business is an asset, including images, songs, videos, and text documents. While external hard drives give you a cheap and portable way to save your files, it is highly recommended that you should now switch to cloud storage to save them online.
Not only does cloud storage minimize the risk for losses, but it also gives you instant access to your items anytime, anywhere, as long as you have access to the internet. Furthermore, you can easily send and share your digital files because they are already on the web. If you’re looking for the best cloud storage service provider, check out pCloud and sign up to get 10 GB for free.
8- Consider starting your business on WordPress?
If you’re thinking about building your business website on WordPress, the checklist is easy and straightforward. You will need to purchase a website domain, choose a hosting service, install the WordPress software on your server, then follow this simple tutorial to set up a WordPress website.
After the basic setup, you may find it challenging to give your website a beautiful and professional design theme, as the free WordPress themes don’t give you many customization options. Uncode - Creative WordPress Theme comes as the perfect alternative, with 200+ option-rich design modules to work with plus 28 powerful Page builder modules that enable you to achieve highly-customized details and performance in your website designs.
9- Want to start an eCommerce store? You’d love to build it on Shopify
According to ProfitIndustry’s statistics, eCommerce will facilitate as much as 95% of shopping worldwide by 2040. The online retail market has been growing faster than ever, presenting golden opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to share a slice of the cake.
If you find a perfect niche in eCommerce that you can make great profits, consider building your online store with Shopify - one of the major eCommerce platforms that captures the second largest market share of nearly 20%, just after WooCommerce.
If you want to win fast in eCommerce, you would think of building trust and credibility for your newly established Shopify store on the first day. One of the most efficient tactics to do so is growing product reviews. Opinew Shopify Product Reviews App and Importer will generate a lot of authentic product reviews from real purchasers and add them on your website’s product pages to help you scale up sales and profit automatically.
10- Build a community
One of the most powerful forces of growth for online businesses is a community of potential customers who use your products and advocate for your business’s credibility. When you can gather a critical mass of users who are genuinely interested in your offerings, they will be your loyal fans who give you insightful feedback and willing to refer you to their friends and families.
Huge communities of hundreds of thousands of people used to grow from a few tens at the beginning. Don’t hesitate to start a community and invite your friends and acquaintances as the first members. If your products and services are truly excellent, it will grow more enormously by word of mouth than you can imagine.
11- Focus on customer support
Once you bring customers in, it gets even harder to keep them stay loyal to your business. What really matters is the relationship you are able to build with your customers, through the customer experience you provide before and after they pay for your products or services. If you want to make every customer come back for repeat purchase, invest intensively resources to improve customer service and go beyond customers’ expectations. Treat your customers with priority and respect and they will become voluntary ambassadors for your brand.
12- Use social media
Nowadays, social media is where most people are - 45% of the total world population are using social networks and the number is growing fast year over year. Brands now embrace social marketing to increase brand awareness and grow sales tremendously. If you’re growing an online business today, you need to create a well-rounded social media marketing strategy that covers most social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even messaging platforms like Snapchat and Messenger. A critical tactic that can help you win big on social media is to use analytics to measure and optimize your efforts on social media.
Entrepreneurship is challenging and definitely full of risks. However, if you get it done well right in the beginning, you stand a much better chance to reach your career freedom and build something of your own that you can be proud of.