Starting an online business is an excellent idea. It can…
- Boost your monthly income, giving you extra to put aside in savings for your retirement.
- Give you the freedom to work when you want and where you want, without the daily commute.
- Enable you to follow your passions, whether it’s selling your craft or blogging about your interests.
However, as with most things in life, you do need to commit to research if you want to make a success of things. In this article, we will list five areas that are worth looking into before finally going ‘live’ with your online business.
1 – Research the competition.
It’s unlikely your business will be completely unique, so you do need to get a handle on your business rivals. From seasoned entrepreneurs to newbies such as yourself, find out what they are doing, and resolve to better them. Competitive pricing, better customer service, and a high-quality website are just three of the things you should focus on, checking out what your rivals offer when making your decisions.
2 – Research legal requirements.
Starting a business requires some knowledge of the law. You need to file with the tax authorities, in the UK the HMRC or in the US the IRS for starters, as you will have to declare your income. There are regulations around your customer’s data protection, so do the necessary research, and consider Jumio, the global leader in identity verification, as a way to stay in line with regulatory compliance. And there are trading laws to consider, so you do need to be mindful of such things as the UK’s Trades Description Act and the US Consumer Protection Act. Do all the research necessary to keep you on the right side of the law.
3 – Research your potential customers.
It’s unlikely your business will appeal to everybody, so find out what people are likely to buy from you and focus your marketing efforts on these demographics. For more information, check out this guide, with information on how to define your target market. When you have an idea of who to market to, you can concentrate on the next point.
4 – Research marketing methods.
Your business won’t succeed if you don’t commit to marketing, so after deciding on your demographic, consider how you might spread the word. The buzzwords in today’s business world are digital marketing, pushing your business through social media, email, and online video. After all, considering nearly everybody in the world owns a smartphone now, this is the most relevant way to market your business. Still, if you are selling to an older demographic, there is still relevance in traditional methods, such as newspaper ads and leaflet drops.
5 – Research your finances.
If your online business is going to be your main source of income, you do need to invest time into researching your finances. You aren’t going to make a profit overnight (though let us know if you do), so cutbacks will have to be made. Find out where savings can be made, both in your personal life, and your business life when trying to cut costs on such things as shipping and buying the necessary equipment and software you need. With savvy marketing, you will make a profit eventually, but remember that you still need to eat and pay the bills in the interim.
After doing your homework, you will be in a better position to start your online business. Still, even after being in business for a while, it’s still important to commit to research, so continually look into better ways of running your business, be that marketing, security options, and customer trends, to ensure you stay relevant. Good luck, and thanks for reading!