Online website builders, “Creating a website is possible within minutes.” SEOs and digital marketing gurus, “Generating hundreds and thousands of dollars from run your online business is possible.” Successful digital entrepreneurs, “Running a successful online business is possible.”
Now, with people making such bold and beautiful claims, it isn’t unlikely that you also want to jump the gun and start a small business online.
But beware, it is always easier said than done.
Here is a quick checklist to help you get started:
- A unique business idea – something that sets you apart.
- A well-built, fully functional, aesthetically pleasing website – your business’ digital home.
- A team of employees/vendors/partners/ – people who will help you spell success.
- A clearly identified target audience – people you wish to serve in return for money.
- A plan for future growth – your roadmap for tomorrow and beyond.
Once you have checked all these boxes, you will be ready to run your online small business.
But before you run your business, you’ll need a run-up.
Here is what Google tells us about the term –
Now your business is no less than a machine. It has several moving parts and it is the means to a goal.
And so you also need to run up your business like a machine to ensure it is successful.
How to do that?
Here is a detailed guide that will help you understand the run-ups you need at different stages of building a small business on the Web.
Step 1: Idea generation
When you stifle through the pool of business ideas to find one for your online business, it is obvious that you’ll be inclined towards something that you relate to. But does that mean it is viable? Often not.
Ensure that you find an idea that is financially viable.
Run the idea through multiple people. Investors, partners, focus groups, and industry veterans can help you assess the potential of your idea.
- If you want to start a blog on a topic, check if people want to hear about it. [Check if your core search term has good search volume]
- If you are selling a product/service online, check if people need the product/service. Find out how many of them are willing to buy it from a new provider. Assess the market competition, and outline what sets you apart from the rest.
Proceed ahead only when you are sure that your idea is going to make money for you.
Step 2: Website creation
Your website or online store is going to be your digital address and your most important business asset. You cannot afford to go wrong with your small business website.
When you create a website/online store, here are the key pointers to pay attention to:
- Choose a business website builder that is capable enough to meet your site’s needs. Also, you should be comfortable using the website builder in the long run.
- Create a neat and clear site architecture. This helps search engine crawlers and actual users easily move around from one page on your site to another.
- Keep the site navigation clean. Your audience should intuitively know where they’ll find what they are looking for.
- Place strong call-to-action buttons on the web pages.
- Use a suitable color scheme for your website, preferably something that goes with your brand logo and matches your brand identity.
- Add payment, email, social media, and other integrations to your website for feature addition.
- Optimize your site for mobile and other devices. Try to open your website on multiple devices and browsers to find out.
- Perform speed enhancements to make sure your website loads fast (preferably in less than 4 seconds.) Check load speed using Google PageSpeed Insights.
- Ensure technical search engine optimizations on your website.
- Find out the data and privacy norms that you have to comply with and make sure your website is compliant on all grounds.
Step 3: Finding the right team
A lot has been said about hiring the right people, and there is no need to reinstate the facts again. Small online business owners need to ensure this too.
But even if you are running a one-man show, you’d need people to support you. Your vendors, business service providers, and partners are critical to your success.
Start with monthly contracts with these people. After the business launch, if you are comfortable working with them, only then go for longer contracts.
Step 4: Targeting the right audience
I believe all those who own a sports bike should wear a custom-made helmet. All sports bike owners are a potential target audience for my online custom helmet store. However, a lot of sports bike owners don’t believe that. And many others who don’t own a sports bike also wish to get custom helmets.
Such discrepancies between perceived and actual target audiences can be a cause for business failure.
Make sure you actually talk to people (via focus groups or market research agencies) to find out who is actually likely to be interested in your offering.
Step 5: Planning for the future
When it comes to starting an online business, you do not cross the bridge when you get there.
In business, you keep building dummy bridges. You find ideal ways to cross them. You constantly test your ways. And you start moving towards the actual bridge only when you have crossed the dummy ones. Without glitches!
After you start a business, think about growth plans too. Even if you aren’t planning to expand today, have a rough idea of how you’d like to see that happen.
Always be on the lookout for expansion possibilities and keep planning for tomorrow.
Run up complete; You are ready to launch
Once you have successfully completed the five steps as mentioned, you will be ready to start getting returns on your investment.
Parting Note: Selling online is not simple as it seems in the success stories published in tabloids.
However, if you don’t shy away from run-ups aka planning, testing, and analysis, your dream of starting a small business will eventually bear fruit.