How to Start an Online Business

Unlike starting a business in the real world, starting an online business does not require a huge capital. In fact, if you have the right business idea and are willing to devote time and work hard, you can start an online business for free or with a very little investment.

But like any business venture, there should be clear plan of action of for starting your online business. I have listed below the steps that will help you convert your online business idea to a full-fledged success story:

1. Find a niche market:

how to start an online businessFor an online business it’s the market that counts instead of the product. The foremost requirement is to determine which products and services people are ready to buy through online sources. For this purpose, you will need to search the existing markets and activities of online users thoroughly. Take into account the things people discuss on forums, find out which keywords are people searching and finally check out the websites of your potential competitors. Finalize a product or service for which there is already a market.

2. Give your business a face- Create a website:

Once you have decided the product or service that you are going to market, you need a website. Now getting a website created may be very daunting for some people as the general perception is that you need to spend a lot of money for a decent website. But with so many options available nowadays, you can easily create a site for very little money or even for free (minus the domain and hosting costs). Creating a website involves 3 basic steps – Registering a domain, choosing a webhost, designing the website.

Register a Domain Name:

You can easily register a domain name from sites like Godaddy.com. Make sure that the domain name represents your business niche. Having an exact keyword match domain used to be great till recently but due to the recent algorithm changes it is no longer relevant. But still it is a good idea to include a keyword that represents your niche in the domain. Or you can use your brand name as a domain if you want. Make sure to register a .com domain if possible. You can get a .com domain for around $10 per year (INR 500).

Choose a web host:

Once you have selected the domain name, you need a web host for your website. I use Godaddy.com for all my websites and though it is not the most popular option for hosting, I have not got any reasons to complain till now. Hostgator is another popular option. On both these websites, you can get a hosting package for about $60-$80 (INR 3000-INR 4000) per year. Though there are even cheaper options, I won’t recommend going for them as the service may not be good.

Build a website:

Now comes the tough part- building the actual website. If you don’t have a lot of money to spare for your website design, you can go for free website builders or CMS. One of the most popular options these days is WordPress. Creating a WordPress website is really easy and anyone can do it without any HTML or coding knowledge. You can search YouTube for some helpful tutorials. I plan on posting a tutorial creating a WordPress website soon. So you may check that later.

If you are planning on setting up an online store, you can check DIY options like Ecwid. Ecwid has a free WordPress plugin and is really easy to set up. Also if you have a PayPal account, you can easily set up the payment feature too without the hassle of setting up a merchant account. Once your business is established, you can explore other payment options.

Please note that the free DIY shopping sites are ideal for small stores only. When you plan to extend your store and include more functionality, you may need to hire a professional web designer.

Whatever option you choose for creating a website, there are a few things you should take care of. The website should have clear navigation, informative content and should be very user-friendly.

Before you set out to create the website, I suggest you to first work on your website copy. Content is the king may be a cliché but it really is the king. You need an attractive copy to drive visitors to your website as well as for the search engines to rank your website. Also include an opt-in offer to collect email addresses. Add a Facebook “Like” or “share” option on your website as well.

3. Drive traffic to the website:

This is the most important step and is a defining factor for a successful online business. If there are plenty of visitors on your website, the chances of conversion are better. Moreover you can monetize your website through Google Adsense, paid ad slots as well as Affiliate Marketing if you have a decent traffic.

For driving traffic to your website, you must make your website relevant to search engines and that’s where content comes. Content is the king may be a cliché but it really is the king. You need an attractive copy to drive visitors to your website as well as for the search engines to rank your website. You can do a keyword research first and then use the targeted keywords in your content intelligently to make it more searchable. You must keep your website content fresh and up to date. Other ways to drive traffic is to use social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to target the niche market.

Apart from organic traffic, Pay-per-click advertising is an easy way to drive traffic to your new website. The ads show up on the search pages immediately and allow you to test various keywords. Also they have flexible prices, headlines and selling approaches to choose from. You can also find the best keywords through these ads and use them on your website copy and code to increase your ranking on search engines. You can also use Facebook ads to get the attention of users at a low cost.

As you begin to drive traffic on your website, make sales and try to win customer loyalty by providing an excellent service. Establish an expert reputation in your field and keep your customers up-to-date via newsletter as well as social networking websites. There is almost no end to business expansion after the first hard steps but it’s all worth in the long run.

How to Beat Your Competition in Business

Competition exists is every business. There is no escaping the mountainous task of meeting up the challenges posed by tough competitors in order to sustain a profitable business. Although competition is threatening to many entrepreneurs, healthy competition actually induces positive energy in business and pushes it towards betterment. As Herbert Hoover  puts it, “Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress”.

Ready to get ahead of your competitors? Below are some basic rules to outdo your competitors and get more market share and more customers.

1. Be a Specialist

how to beat competition Specialists are sought after people because they have a high value attached to their specialized work. People are more trusting when they know you are a specialist in a field. The best way to outdo your competitors is to pick a defined field of your business and be a specialist.
 

2. Do creative marketing:

Marketing is the only way to prove your presence in the market, so keep aside a handsome amount of money for some heavy marketing even when sales are down. Creativity and unconventional marketing methods are keys to successful projection of business. Also find out new marketing strategies overlooked by your competitors. For instance, lots of online businesses employ only online methods to promote themselves but using some offline marketing methods can also be helpful in driving traffic to the online business. Explore creative ways to convey your product and look for niche markets as well as unexplored marketing zones overlooked by your competitors.

3. Employ excellent customer service:

A good customer service can take you a long way down the road of success. Employ best customer service and go an extra mile to satisfy your customers. People should feel pleased and enjoy their experience with you to the fullest. Complaints should be taken patiently and fixed to the utmost satisfaction of the consumer. These happy customers will market your business much better than you can do yourself!

4. Make exclusive offers:

Offers and sales are magnets for customers. Use them better than your competitors. Evaluate your offers and make them as irresistible as you can. Always make better offers than your competitors as it will eventually be beneficial to you in the long run.

5. Use personalized marketing:

Twitter and Facebook have certainly opened up new avenues in the new age business world. Now you can personalize your marketing strategy by contacting your customers directly. Make your customers feel important, use different strategies for different target markets and keep their interest intact with regular interaction.

6. Lead in innovative elements:

Brainstorm for creative ideas to market and improve your products or service. Be the trendsetter rather than a follower. Keep aside some time to think of bringing new elements in your business and keep pushing for progress. Regularly add new elements to keep an edge over your competitors.

Compete with creativity and positive energy. Constantly analyze your competitors for a fair comparison in all fields of business. Employ defense mechanisms in case of negative competition but always take a lead in impressing customers with innovations and best customer value.

7 Golden Rules to Planinng a Successful Business Venture

There are many ways of earning money. Some try doing job, some business and so on. However opting for business needs few skills in earning profits. There are various ways to become  successful in your business , but being a successful person in a dream project is important.

7 GOLDEN RULES TO PLANNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS VENTUREDo you want your business to grow?  Are you aiming for profits? Want to plan a successful business venture? Then here you go with the best 7 golden rules to plan a business project

 

1.    Business structure: First and foremost to start a business the entrepreneur should begin with a good idea. A plan sheet should be created for all resources, revenues, income estimation, expenditures, profits and loss. All these are to be itemized and should be inventory.  The person should have the best business skills and right leadership qualities to run a business.

2.    Developing the business plan: Whatever ideas come up during a meeting can be written as a document so that it helps you to utilise the ideas. Take advice from a financial advisor who can help you out in all aspects. Build a plan so that you are ready to launch any kind of business. According to the firm, seek investors and financiers.

3.    Location and selection: The location of your firm should be able to grab opportunities and should also be accessible from home or any website. Choose a site where the rent is within the budget, flow of visitors and traffic is more. For example: if you have any cloth franchise, then you would get more business if it is in public display rather than in secluded area where not many would notice it. Consult an attorney before taking the place for lease or signing it.

4.    Must and should: Necessary licenses and permits should be taken. Permit should be taken from local municipalities and nearby residents. If starting any medical, small scale industry or any alcoholic businesses then make sure all the permits are taken as it can create a problem if ignored. The chosen business name should be registered by a corporate officer.

5.    Purchasing items: Depending upon the firm the equipment’s, goods, tools are purchased. This may include machinery, computers and necessary inventory and supplies. This may be a burden to the investor as the machinery is very expensive. A start-up investor may not have sufficient cash. He can opt for any business loan, personal loan or payday loans. Once he gets profits on his businesses he can repay the money taken.

6.    Advertising: This is another major part of the organization were the propaganda should be outlined in order to get profits and good fame. This can be done by paper work, online advertising or any internet marketing. Advertise your company in order to gain customers. Create a good website with related information and contact information. This can be useful for selling goods on internet, sending e-mails and receive feedback.

7.    Sharing: Not only investments and profits even the loss should be shared by the partners. The ideas, views and all stuff must be mutually shared. The person should be capable of taking the pitch of an idea.

So these are the 7 golden rules to plan a successful business venture.

This is a Guest post by Michelle, a tech writer from UK. She is into Finance.  Catch her @financeport