10 Things To Know Before Starting An Online Business

Starting an online business might seem simpler than going into debt for a brick-and-mortar location. While an online business offers many benefits, many of the basics of starting and building a business remain the same for both. The following are 10 things you need to know before starting an online business.

new-businessFirst thing: Idea
Hone your idea before going forward. Know what you wish to sell, whether products or services, and how you want to present yourself. Do market research to see if your idea is viable in the marketplace and whether your idea is unique or already over-sold online.

Second thing: Plan
Create a business plan. Write up a mission statement and write out your business goals, what your wish to accomplish and a time frame to accomplish the goals. A business plan helps clarify what you plan to do and puts in place practical steps for accomplishing the plan.

Third thing: Finances
Many online businesses have been started with very little money. But this depends upon the type of business you plan to launch. Those offering products often take more financing upfront. Before launching, figure out how much you’ll need for the first year of operation and make sure to have adequate financing in place before the launch.

Fourth thing: Legalities
Regardless of the physical location of the business, there are always legal hoops through which to jump. Talk to an attorney to make sure you follow all city, state and federal laws regarding your online business.

Fifth thing: Domain Name
A domain name is very important. This is the address where others will find your business online. Purchase a domain name that says something about the business. Make it easy to remember. It doesn’t hurt to purchase the domain name as a dot com and a dot org.

Sixth thing: Host
Not all website hosts are the same. Make sure to build a site using a web-host that is reliable and has a positive reputation in the business community. You don’t want your site to be inaccessible half the time. Price is a factor. Do not opt for a free site.

Seventh thing: Website
Unless you are trained in graphics and web design, leave the design of your website to professionals. Hire a web designer who is readily available, who will listen to to your vision and translate it into a customer-friendly website. Make sure you hire someone who will update the site as needed and not disappear once the site is published online.

Eighth thing: Promotion
Before starting your online business, plan for promotion. It doesn’t hurt to use both new and older forms of advertising. Send out press releases to print and online media news sources. Print up and pass out business cards. Tell family and friends and ask them to pass on the information. Use email and social networks.

Ninth thing: Customer Base
Provide forms for customers to fill out in order to build a customer base. Plan an ongoing promotion strategy that may include free products, services or downloads.

Tenth thing: Records and Taxes
Plan a method of good record keeping. Like any other business, taxes are a fact of life. Good accounting practices will make tax time less stressful.

Many online businesses thrive. But, like any other business, a successful business takes planning, preparation and lots of passion and effort.