Are you looking to become financially independent and attain a greater sense of professional self worth? Then one of the best ways to do so would be to start an online business. The internet has brought on a wider range of scopes for anyone looking to establish their business and provided that you follow the steps necessary to become successful, you will have no dearth of customers looking for the products that your company has to offer. In fact, the internet has certainly made it easier for companies to have ready access to a wider customer base than it was ever possible in the real world. This has already encouraged many young entrepreneurs in India to set up their own online businesses. This trend has been steadily growing for the last few years and we can surely expect a number of new enterprises seeing the light of day in 2017.
In many ways, getting started with an online business enterprise is quite similar to opening a traditional brick and mortar store. You will need to plan your business effectively, arrange your funding, develop your unique product and start working on the production and advertising processes. You will also need to hire the expertise of a SEO company India like Media Fx in order to promote your business to potential customers. However, there are certain unique elements of running a specifically online business and any entrepreneur looking to achieve success in this field needs to learn about them well enough before starting.
Various types and forms of online businesses
As a person looking to start up your own online business, you must learn everything you can about the different types of online businesses that you can try out. While there are a number of different types of online businesses, which one would be best for you will depend on the type of products that your business is dealing with.
E-commerce sites represent the most direct forms of online businesses that you can start for the products that you are looking to deal with. By having a self hosted e-commerce portal, you can sell your services and products to your customers directly without having any go-between channels. One of the best things about choosing to setup an e-commerce site is that it offers you a far greater extent of control than you will have when you choose indirect means of online business. You can customize practically all aspects of your own e-commerce business website, whether it is about deciding on the overall look of your store or the way all of your products are neatly arranged in the catalog. Nevertheless, you also need to remember that having greater number of options can also make the whole process of setting up your online e-commerce site much more complex.
While setting up your own e-commerce site, you should focus on presenting your customers with the ultimate user experience so that they visit your site regularly. Make sure that you choose the right kind of web design so that it allows your users to navigate through the site and its features easily. It is also important that you choose your website’s shopping cart software wisely so that it suits the nature of your business.
The eBay stores
Plenty of people choose to set up their own eBay stores which offer indirect methods to carry on an online business. While an eBay store comes with its own advantages, it still has a number of downsides. When you choose eBay, you do not have to develop your own website, choose a well suited shopping cart software program or customize your online business store. Simply by choosing to set up your business with eBay, you get to have all of those benefits as a package deal. However, it also means that your customers will need to interact with the eBay storefront when they are looking to buy products from you. You will also have much less control when it comes to deciding on the general visual layout and the features of your store. This can work out well or even worse for you, which may depend on the general nature of your business.
With eBay, you can offer both handcrafted as well as resale products to your customers. However, there are also a number of items that you cannot offer on eBay, and you need to learn about them beforehand prior to deciding whether eBay is the right choice for your business.
The Etsy stores
The Etsy store is a very popular choice when it comes to setting up an online business with fewer hassles. Setting up an Etsy store is quite easy and its format remains more or less similar from one store to the other. However, unlike eBay, Etsy offers its users the opportunity to customize their layout to a certain degree. Every customer looking to buy products will need to do so through the main Etsy interface which means that all businesses will have a common platform. Getting an online business website up and running through Etsy is practically minimal. Depending on the level of control that you wish to have over your site, this can either be a good or a bad thing.
Nevertheless, the most important thing that you need to remember while choosing Etsy for your business is that it is a site that is particularly meant for the creative business professionals. This means that the site mainly focuses on different types of handmade items. So if you intend to sell different types of handcrafted goods, develop and sell your unique art or resell vintage items, Etsy can be the best platform for your business. On the other hand, if you are looking to sell mass produced items, then Etsy is certainly not for you. Although recently Etsy has made it quite clear that even if they do allow their product sellers to partner with the outside business enterprises to develop their products, they certainly do not intend to allow mass-produced goods on their site.
Service oriented online businesses
If you are looking to set up an online business that mainly offers specific types of services instead of products, then you will still need to set up an online platform for your business enterprise. This is especially true if you are looking to accept payments from customers through your website. You can use a simple shopping cart software to create your own web portal that can perfectly fit the requirements of your specific business. Alternately, you can also choose websites that offer different types of service providers to showcase their own business.
Steps for starting your own online business:
Plan your business – Every business needs a basic plan and your online enterprise is no different. Before you launch your online business, you should carry out a comprehensive planning process that should include complete market analysis; things that you will need to do for funding production as well as a SWOT analysis for beginning your planning process.
Write down your business plan – After you have done some basic planning for your online business, you need to write down your business plan. It is better that you stick to a rather lean business plan, unless you are planning to ask a bank or an investor for funding your enterprise. A lean business plan is easier and quicker to write and can perfectly summarize your goals down to the basic essentials.
Get your own registered domain name and work to set up your online business – If you want to create your very own online business website, you will need to come up with a unique domain name that perfectly describes your business. You will also need to hire a secure server for launching your online business so that your customers can have a comfortable experience while browsing your site. After you have secured these basic requirements, it is time to set up your own business website. You can either hire an outsourcing professional to do it for you or even opt for a DIY project.
Make your online business legal – You will need to make your business website legal in order to carry on all transactions and dealings with customers and clients. Although some of the considerations applicable for traditional brick and mortar enterprises are also applicable for an online business, there are some things to consider that are particularly meant for online businesses only.
Get all updated information on the online business regulations – Online business enterprises and their actions are modulated and overseen by online business law. Such laws take into consideration the use and distribution of personal information of your customers and also involve a number of intellectual property regulations and privacy matters.
Learn about the online business rules associated with your country and state – Every country and state has their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to setting up an online business. Such rules also cover taxation of a business and other obligatory payments. You should be well aware of the rules that are applicable in the country and state that your business will be registered in.
Learn everything about tax regulations – When you set up an online business, you may need to pay different types of taxes such as income tax. Make sure that you learn everything you need to know about tax regulations in your country that would be applicable for your online business.
Once you are done with the basic legal and formal aspects of setting up your business, it is time for you to develop your online presence.
Pick Your Market
One of the first things that you will need to do when you set up your own online business is determine the kind of business it is going to be. This means that you will have to decide whether you want to sell products or offer specific types of services. If you want to deal in products, you will also have to consider whether you want to develop your own products or offer products that are made by other manufacturers. Based on such decisions, you will have to focus on your specific market niche.
Build Your Website
After you have decided on the products or services that you will be offering, you will need to set up your own business website. As there is a lot of tough competition in the online business scenario, you will need to come up with a website that is unique, well designed and provides you with an edge over your competitors. One of the most important steps that you need to take at this stage is decide on the ecommerce development software platform that you will be using for your business. Different software platforms come with their unique advantages and shortcomings, so you will have to do a thorough market research before you make this all-important decision. You will then need to hire a team of web designing and development professionals who can work on your online business site.
Get your target customers to visit your website
Setting up your online business is not enough; you will need to have customers visiting it regularly so that they can push your sales figures high and provide you with the financial returns that you are looking for. This is something that can only be attained by having effective online marketing strategies in place. An SEO services company can be of great help to bring your site the online traffic that it deserves. A professional SEO company India is well versed with different types of optimization techniques that can provide you with the desired results. They can also come up with innovative methods to promote your business in various search engines and the social media.
Develop a detailed and comprehensive customer list
More often than not, your website visitors are going to simply browse through your online business platform when they visit it for the first time. They are hardly going to make any purchasing decision when they browse through your products at the initial stages. In fact, they may even choose not to return to your website again in the near future. However, you can increase your sales conversions by effectively launching email marketing campaigns that cater to the needs of these customers. Make sure that you use an email capture form to get the contact details of your customers. You can then note the browsing habits of your customers and send them targeted emails based on their product preferences.
Furthermore, your emails can always keep them notified about the latest product launches as well as any new offers or discounts that are currently available. Such news will increase your sales figures over time.
You can also present your customers with free gifts and promotional products to encourage them to sign up with your website. This is going to help you in the future to promote your business further.
Provide great value
The content material that you put on your website as well as in your emails, blog posts and articles play a critical role in determining the success of your online business. Such content should have a strong selling potential. By always providing them with high quality content, you can capture the attention of your target audience and encourage them to spend their money in your products. As a business owner, you should always focus on providing customers with great value each and every time they visit your online site or make a purchase. Gradually, you can develop a strong fan following with your prospective customers and encourage them to spend more time in your site. They can also continue as your loyal customers and invest in your products for many years in future.
Provide your business website with a secure payment option
Since online payments will form a critical aspect of your business, you need to make sure that your online ecommerce site has a highly secure payment gateway that offers completely secure payment options to your customers. This is going to encourage your customers to invest in the products that you have to offer in your website.
Make sure that your online business website is user-friendly
One of the most critical aspects of designing a website for an online business is its user-friendliness. Your customers will hardly think twice before switching to a site of your competition if your site is not user-friendly. Therefore you need to make sure that your site loads easily in all devices, including laptops, desktops and smartphones. Moreover, since most people nowadays make use of their smartphones to browse through products and make purchasing decisions, you should focus on making use of responsive web designing practices as it ensures optimum browsing experience for your customers. Additionally, you should also focus on creating an official app for your online business that will allow your customers to interact directly with your business. Once you are done with the web and app platforms of your business, you can consult an SEO services provider like Media Fx on how to best optimize them for ensuring maximum traffic for your business.