although i use “how to start online business” as title of this post, it’s really a vague question, still often asked by visitors and clients.
it will be a 500-hundred-pages-book’s content to answer this question in detail (well not in very detail yet). and one single person can hardly have expertise in all aspects of online business. i’m confident to say i have hands-on experience starting and running small businesses online and make it profitable, however so far i have not much experience in, say, legal issues, formal copy writing, manage bigger team that all work for same web site, etc. there might be many things you have to go through along the way.
in this post i’m going to share a few of my thoughts that you must consider before starting.
1)always do careful research before doing any other thing. what products or services to sell? which market? local or worldwide? adults or teenagers? is the market saturated (it does not mean you have no chance, but you have to plan for it.)? what’s your selling points?
i’m not MBA, i’ve never taken any business related course. i’m telling from experience, market research is extremely important.
do NOT fall in love with your products. do people really want it and would buy it online?
2)be realistic when you start. somehow people tend to associate online business with “make money quick” stuffs. not at all. online business is like any other business, you have to work hard, if not harder.
do not expect to make good money on your very first web site. if you do, well done. if you don’t, it’s ordinary. that is, if you work hard.
you have to spend time and money in your business, same for online businesses. i’m amazed receiving emails asking if we can bring his site to number 1 in google for 200 dollars. be realistic, no such good thing. in the real world, few people would ask TV station to run their commercial for 10 years for 200 bucks, in cyberworld, don’t think it’s possible either.
3)solid marketing plan. you have to think of how to present your great product or service to visitors. how would they find your fantastic sales pitch in the first place. it would not happen automatically.
if your site is supporting channel for existing clients and you do not intend to use web site as marketing channge at all, that’s fine. it can be profitable as well since you can cut cost significantly sometimes by making use of web site.
if you would generate sales online, you have to drop the “build it then see how it goes” mindset. you have to have solid marketing plan that would work upfront.
4)you do not have to have a perfect system to start. it’s rather impossible to set up a perfect system. on our web sites there’re still many things that do not work the way they should, i have to admit. but we have to start from somewhere.
i would suggest you do it now, do it quick. of course always do market research and plan well first.