Borrowing successful business models and building on it ranks among the best ways to earn a sustainable income running an online business. In fact, most online business owners have copied models created by others, perfected them, and used them to satisfy the needs of their target niches. By so doing, they have managed to rise above the fray and go on to greater successes in the personal and professional lives.
Steps to Online Business Setup
To start any business online, however, it is imperative that you following a couple of steps. Skip any step and you will be setting yourself up for failure – maybe not in the present but at some point in the future.
Consider the steps below:
The first step to starting any sort of business is planning. The planning process you engage in, to this end, should include a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the market you intend to go into. It should also encompass plans on how you are going to fund the production of products/services as well as how you will brand yourself to differentiate your offering from that of the competition. Your plan should also have an honest SWOT analysis.
The second step to follow while setting up businesses online revolves around writing. You will need tons of documents. However, the first of these will be the business plan for the new enterprise.
After going through the preliminary planning stage, you will have to write down the business plan. With such a plan, you will be able to look for funding from investors and banks.
If you won’t need such funding, make sure the plan is lean – this way, it will be easier and quicker to write. It will also distill the plan down to the basic essentials.
- Go Online
Next up, you need to take your business online. The recommended way to do this is to register an appropriately branded domain name and setting up your business website.
In case you will be setting up your own unique ecommerce website outside of such platforms as Etsy and eBay, then you will need to ensure that the domain name you use is available and usable.
After securing a domain name, kick start your business website setup process. If you have a background in website design and development, take on the project and work through it until the site matches your requirements. Otherwise, outsource the project to a professional.
- Legalize It
You will need to perform a number of actions to ensure that your new online business is legal and is permitted to conduct transactions in the marketplace of your choice. Generally speaking, the rules applicable to brick and mortar businesses often apply to online businesses.
The primary different between doing business in person and online revolves around online business law. These legislations often revolve around the distribution of the personal information your visitors/customers provide, as well as other intellectual property and privacy regulations.
To ensure that you do not err on the wrong side of the law, consult with a trained and experienced attorney adept at the setup and operation of online enterprises. They will provide you with the legal guidance and advice you need to navigate your business and protect it.
If you will be operating the online business from home, then you are probably eligible for tax deductions. Similarly, you will be required to pay regular income tax. Therefore, before you actually set up the online company, ask your lawyer for advice so you are fully covered before proceeding.
Ultimately, setting up businesses online is similar to the process of starting a brick-and-mortar business. The legal and planning aspects remain similar. In the same way, although you won’t have to start looking for a hot retail location, you will still want to ensure that you have a solid plan for the new operation, a fantastic website, and are in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations applicable in your case.
Anyway, starting a business online will still involve legwork, particularly at the initial stages. However, the flexibility and the low overhead costs of such an operation means that having such a business is easy to effect, which is why it is increasingly the choice modus operandi for most entrepreneurs and startups today.
Types of Online Operations
As mentioned above, the starting of an online business will require planning, funding, production of products/services, and compliance with various laws and regulations. Added to the above, there are several unique aspects that come with running a business on the internet that you ought to consider.
Anyway, some of the types of popular online business models include:
a) eCommerce Websites
This is a direct form of an online company. It will require that you have a personally-hosted eCommerce website through which you will be selling your services and goods to the target customers. As such, eCommerce websites are popular because you won’t have to use a go-between such as Etsy or eBay.
b) Etsy Stores
Setting up a store on Etsy is relatively easy. The format will be similar to other stores on the platform. However, you will be able to customize the layout you chose to match your branding and product offering.
c) eBay Stores
eBay stores come with several advantages. You won’t need your own website, shopping cart software tools, or a customized online storefront. However, you’ll still get little control over the final layout of your store.
Irrespective of the route you choose to take, starting businesses online and running them well will prove successful. With more people looking for products and services to buy over the internet, your market base will always be on the upward scale. Tap into it through various marketing tactic until you get the greatest number of clients imaginable.