So, you’re starting a new online business – that’s great news! But you may find that you are a bit unsure about where to start, how to proceed, or what is the best course of action. It will all become clear in due time, but for now, let’s look at some of the very basic tips for a successful fledgling online business, from great ideas to the importance of a stable internet connection.
Start with a unique idea, product, or service
Why is this important?It’s what’s going to make your business stand out
First thing’s first – if you want to get anywhere, you have to make sure you have a strong starting point, and that is your basic business idea. The service or the product you are offering must be unique, interesting, high-quality, and, most importantly, in demand.
If you are not yet sure what your idea is, that’s okay; the key to a successful business is to identify a need and a niche that has not yet been filled, catered to, or oversaturated. The mistake budding entrepreneurs usually make is that they think they can offer a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. They put out a product that doesn’t address a need and isn’t a solution to a problem and it usually fails.
You need to first look at what everyone else is doing, and then either do it much better than they are, more efficiently, or less expensive, or create something no one else is doing. That way, there is no competition; you are the only one like you on the market and people will seek you out specifically to buy what you are offering.
Come up with a clear business plan
Why is this important?It helps you focus and gives you a sense of direction
Okay, so let’s say you’ve got your grand idea and you’re sure it’s a winner. You won’t get anywhere with an idea if you don’t have a solid business plan to back it up. But what is a business plan, exactly? Think of it as a sort of roadmap to your business: what the business is all about, how you’re funding it, what your marketing strategy is, projected income, future development, etc.
You may think that this is sounding like a bit much for your small, at-home business, but don’t be fooled – you don’t have to be a super impressive tech start-up to need a business plan. Even if it’s just you in your bedroom selling handmade jewelry on Etsy, you’re still running a business and that requires a plan, if you want to grow and succeed.
If you have no idea how to create a business plan, you don’t have to worry about that. There are plenty of templates online and step by step tutorials on how to write one that is perfect for you. That’s the other thing – don’t assume this needs to be some mammoth document; it may even just be one page. If it includes all the important information and your direction as a business, that’s enough.
Have a separate office/work space
Why is this important?It helps you focus on your work when it really matters
Anyone who’s ever worked from home knows that while it’s comfortable, it also comes with some very typical setbacks. Most of them are related to the lack of convenience working in bed brings. Not only is it known to hinder your productivity (after all, the comfy bed is calling), but it can also steal your focus.
If you’re serious about this new business, you will ideally have a separate office space you can work in. If you can’t afford or can’t find something away from home, a separate room in your home will do, but it needs to act as an office and business space. That means that you can’t bring your domestic life in here, and the rest of the home is off-limits, when it comes to work.
This kind of clear delimitation helps you get into work mode, so to speak, so that when you’re in your work space, you’re there to do your job, and when you’re in your home space, you can relax. Mixing the two can lead to lack of productivity or burnout, and neither of those are outcomes that will help your developing business.
Have excellent internet speed
Why is this important?It allows you to carry out your daily operations efficiently
This may be an obvious point to make, but when you’re running an online business, your internet speed and quality need to be impeccable. You’re running all of your operations online, so you are relying completely on your internet connection. That’s why you need to take some measures to make sure you are covered from this point of view.
First of all, you need to check your internet speed and see if it’s up to par for your needs. You can do this on internet speed test sites– they will automatically check the speed of your connection and show you what you can improve. Remember to test it multiple times, and at different times in the day. Your speed may be just fine at 9 am, but what about lunchtime, or 6 pm, when there are more users online? Ideally, you should be the only one utilizing the internet connection, in order to ensure maximum speed and efficiency.
The other thing you should be doing is setting up a backup. More specifically, consider buying data to always have it available, just in case something happens, and your Wi-Fi isn’t working properly. You can’t afford to miss orders, an important email, conferencecall, or interrupt your work every time the connection is weak for whatever reason. Ensure your success by backing up your most important connection.
Work with people who share your vision
Why is this important?All the people who are involved in this project should work as one to minimize internal conflicts that can sabotage the business
Especially at the very beginning, the people you work with can make or break your fledgling business. When you’re trying to get a business off the ground, it’s essential that the people working on it are 100% dedicated and in sync. That means that you need to share a vision and the same ideas on where you want the company to go and the hard work it will require.
The hiring process is crucial now, more than ever. If you’re looking for a partner, make the selection very carefully, and vet the person thoroughly. Don’t just take someone on because they can afford their share of the money required, or an employee who just wants a job; make sure that you won’t be arguing over really basic, core aspects of the business, like marketing strategy or how you should fund it. They need to be someone who understands the project and the whole experience of working for a start-up.
Setting up a new online business is exciting, but there are a lot of aspects that you need to put in order before you can launch, even more than mentioned in this article. Thankfully, we can offer some practical tips for your fledgling enterprise, from business plans to the people you should be working with on your big project. Good luck!