How to Start an Online Business Today? This has become one of the trending searches on Google. There are millions of people online, which makes doing business online a good business strategy. Due to this, a lot of people are seriously considering the idea of moving their businesses or brands online.
If you are one of them and you don’t know how to get started, this article is embedded with a step-by-step guide on how to begin an online business, for starters. So, I encourage you to read to the end.
How to Start an Online Business
Starting an online business is not something that should be overwhelming. Thus, you can take it one step at a time. Below are steps to start an online business in 2022 or 2023.
- Understand your niche and business concept.
- Conduct product research.
- Learn about online business laws.
- Perform market research.
- Define your target audience.
- Source products to sell online.
- Evaluate products’ viability.
- Define your brand and image.
- Open your online store.
- Focus on growing your business.
2022/2023 Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start an Online Business for Beginners
Here are the procedures to begin an online business now:
Step1: Know Your Business Niche and Business Idea
A business niche or focus area is a market segment and target audience you primarily cater to. However, it can be anyone, from sports enthusiasts (e.g., gymnasts) to hobbyists (e.g., postage stamp collectors) to professionals (e.g., software developers).
How to find a good focus area: Check that your target audience has
- An issue that no one else is solving well enough.
- Willingness to pay for a solution to that problem.
- Sufficient discretionary money to afford the solution.
Avoid niches that don’t meet all three criteria.
Step 2: Perform Product Research
You can sell three main types of e-commerce products online. Physical goods, digital products like (books, audio courses, online courses, etc. ), and services.
Step3: Learn About Online Business Laws
An online business requires fewer licenses and permits compared to a brick-and-mortar operation, but you still need to sort out several important legal details. Find answers to questions like:
- What kind of business license (if any) do you need to start operations?
- What legal structure makes the most sense (a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company, or a corporation)?
- Are there any permits that you need to obtain?
- Are there any inspections that you need to pass?
- Do you need a sales tax license?
- Are there any specific regulations applicable to online businesses only?
- What are the laws guiding the hiring of contractors and hiring of employees?
Take note: Each state and country has its own laws. Thus, don’t forget to verify information with local authorities.
Step 4: Conduct Market Research
By conducting online market research, you can find out what your target audience wants, needs, or lacks. Conducting market research is an essential step in starting your own online business. It helps in determining the depth, competitiveness, and profitability of the selected business vertical. Not only that, market research helps validate your product idea, pricing, and demand.
Step 5: Check the SERPs.
Check the variations of your product or service keywords and analyze the search engine result pages (SERPs) for them. You should know what type of content is currently ranking on the first page and the businesses that are paying to advertise on top of organic search results.
Doing this will help you pre-assess your competition. Plus, get information for a preliminary SEO and digital marketing strategy based on the content your target audience prefers.
Step 6: Research Competitors.
You need to also take a closer look at your main competitors (beyond SERPs). What are the biggest business ventures in your niche making? How much money are they making? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
However, by putting a microscope on other players you can figure out what might give you a competitive edge over them, by tracking high-performing keywords.
The good tools for that are:
- Google Trends (free)
- Google Keyword Planner (free)
- Ahrefs (paid)
- Semrush (paid)
Step 7: Define Your Target Audience
To solicit sales and then scale your business, you will need to perfectly understand your target audience. However, to learn about their needs and preferences, research both demographic and psychographic data.
Demographic data includes basic socioeconomic characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, income, job title, etc. While psychological data includes various psychological characteristics such as values, beliefs, interests, opinions, etc.,
When the two are combined, it helps develop a thorough understanding of your ideal buyer’s needs, preferences, and purchase triggers.
Step 8: Source Products to Sell Online
You need to spend extra time considering your product sourcing strategy.
Make your own products: This option is relatively easy if you plan to sell digital products. Though physical product manufacturing involves a lot of hard work in terms of design, interactions, material selection, etc., Not only that, the financial costs are higher too. However, manufacturing will always give you an advantage over the competition in quality, product range, and brand-wise.
Find a Dropshipper: You can locate a manufacturer that allows you to dropship their products. A lot of small business owners negotiate dropshipping deals with overseas manufacturers (mainly Asia-based) to offset business costs.
Work with a wholesaler: You can also find a wholesaler who will provide you with a variety of products to purchase and curate in your online store. However, you can also find a wholesaler to distribute your products for you too (if you plan to manufacture them).
Step 9: Evaluate Product Viability
You need to evaluate your product(s) viability before purchasing or manufacturing a large order. To do that, ask these questions like
Is there a successful online business selling products like that already?
Does the math behind this product make sense? Can you sell it at a profit? Is the demand for this product sustainable? Or is it temporary?
Step 10: Define Your Brand and Image
Defining a brand You want everything from your business name to your web design and copy to convey a consistent visual image and ideas. This also applies to your off-site presence—social media, email newsletters, and even packaging. However, as you work on your brand identity, pay attention to the following:
- Page layouts.
- Color scheme
- Graphics and photos.
Moreover, your brand image should be a result of all these elements working together.
Step 12: Open Your Online Store
This simply means setting up and configuring your e-commerce website.
Choose your e-commerce platform wisely. An e-commerce platform is a technical backbone for selling online. Here are a few popular options: BigCommerce is an open-SaaS platform, providing a wide range of native commerce features, yet posing no limits on extensions or customization. WooCommerce is an open-source platform that you can mold into any type of store you need. Shopify is a SaaS platform with a good range of native features and over 4,100 integrated apps (separate subscription fees apply).
Add your products and choose how you will do your shipping.
Step 3: Grow Your Business
Once everything is set up, it’s time to begin driving traffic to your e-commerce store. Prioritize the following channels:
- Paid ads
- Influencer marketing
- Social media marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing.
Reasons You Should Start an Online Business
Starting an online business has several advantages. Here are the three main ones:
- It is fairly inexpensive to start.
- For Major potential and growth.
- The online platform can run 24/7.
- Earn a living
5 Examples of Online Businesses to Test Out
- Start an e-commerce store.
- Get into dropshipping.
- Become an affiliate.
- Offer web design services.
- Create a note-worthy blog.
How do I start an Online Business?
To start an online business, do the following;
- Assess the Viability of Your New Business Idea.
- Develop a Business Plan.
- Decide on a business name.
- Choose your business structure.
- Take Care of All the Legal Tasks.
- Build Your Website and Choose Your Sourcing and Fulfillment Methods.
- Develop and implement your prelaunch marketing strategies.
- Launch your new business.
What business is best to do online?
The best online business ideas
- Social media influencer.
- Videographer or photographer
- Dropshipping e-commerce.
- Selling services online
- Affiliate marketing
- Writer & blogger
What are the four requirements for an online business?
Take these steps to build and run an online business:
- Establish Your Market
- Register A Domain Name
- Host Your Domain
- Create Your Website’s Design
- Set Up Online Payment Options
- Determine Product Delivery Options
- Create Website Traffic
- Create an Email List.