The process of starting a small web-based business is one that is challenging, yet one that is also enjoyable. You have to start by figuring out what sort of web-based business you will be getting into. Then you create a business plan. After that you create the online platform through which you would be conducting your business. Then you obtain the inventory for the business. Finally you market your small web-based business effectively, in order to start getting customers. In this article, we shall be exploring (at some length) each off those things that you need to do in the process of starting a small web-based business.
Figuring out what sort of web-based business to get into
There are numerous types of businesses that you can engage in online. The best one for you will be one that is aligned with your passions, one that you are competent to run and one that can be launched with the capital you have. Settling on one type of web-based business over the other can be admittedly difficult. You may find an online business opportunity within an area you have a passion for, but then face capital limitations. So that would be where you discover that the necessary capital to launch that line of business is too much, in spite of you having a real passion for it. Or you may find another line of business where the required capital is within the range you can manage, but unfortunately that line of business is one you have zero passion for. Or it could be a line of business where the required capital is within what you can afford, but where you then realize that you have zero competence to run an online small business within that niche…
You really need to undertake a lot of research, to understand what the pros and cons for the various online business ideas are. You also need to introspect deeply, to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what opportunities and threats are there within the online marketplace at that particular point in time. In the final analysis, given the numerous business opportunities that are available online, you should be in a position to ultimately settle on one.
Creating a web-based business plan
After figuring out what sort of business to start online, the next step will be that of creating a business plan around that opportunity. The business plan can include a pro forma budget, outlining how much money you need to start the business, and what exactly you would be spending the money on. The business plan can also include revenue projections – touching on how much money you intend to make through your small web-based business, and how exactly the money would be coming in. Further, the business plan can include an operational plan, where you outline how you would be performing the various functions in the business. At yet another level, you would need to have a marketing section in your business plan: where you outline how you intend to grow sales once the small web-based business is up and running.
Creating the online platform for your business
Once you have crafted a workable business plan, the next step is to start implementing it. And an important aspect there would be that of creating the online platform for the business. This may entail something as simple as setting up a Facebook page through which you would be selling your products or services. Or it may be something as complex as setting up a full-fledged e-commerce website through which you would be running the business. It may also be a question of setting up an account on an online auction site like eBay or on a freelancing website like Upwork. Whatever it is, just ensure that you do it in the right manner and with the seriousness it deserves. In all cases, the success of your web-based business will greatly depend on how well you set up the online platform.
It is also at this stage that you can register the online business and get whatever licences are necessary to operate it legally.
Obtain the inventory for your business
Once you have setup the online platform for your web-based small business, the next step is to obtain the inventory. This may be something as simple as connecting with other businesses whose products you would be selling on affiliate basis. Or it could be something as complex as setting up your own warehouse from which you would be shipping products to customers. It may be anything in between. Whatever it is, try to do it as well as possible, in line with the business plan you started out with.
Marketing your web-based business effectively
Once you have the online platform and the inventory for your web-based business, the next step is to market it effectively. You will realize that in almost all cases, creating the online platform and obtaining the inventory for your online business tends to be the easier bit. The more difficult bit is that of starting to make sales. Online businesses are not like traditional brick and mortar businesses, where you just fling your doors open and customers start pouring in. With web-based businesses, you have to be more proactive, if at all you are to get any customers. Being proactive here may entail making social media posts where you invite people to buy whatever you are selling in your web-based business. Or it may entail buying Google Adwords ad spots — which would then mean that people who conduct searches related to what you are dealing in are exposed to your ads. It may also entail something as complex as search engine optimization… The most important thing is to ensure that you are marketing your web-based business effectively.
You need to understand that you will probably be up in competition against other well-established online businesses, whose owners have tons of experience when it comes to marketing. But that shouldn’t make you despair – you can beat them at their own game, once you understand the rules of the game properly and once you make a commitment to use your mind consistently.
It is also important to ensure that you handle the customers you manage to get within your online business as well as possible, to ensure that the business keeps on growing. The idea is to keep on accumulating customers to a level where the business starts experiencing real, noticeable growth. Thus, you need to keep on increasing your customer numbers and avoid losing customers. If for whatever unavoidable reasons you have to lose some customers, you need to at least ensure that the rate at which you are gaining new customers is greater than the rate at which you are losing them. That is the only way you will experience long term growth in your web-based business.