Nine things to consider when starting an online business

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Date: 22 July 2020

An entrepreneur plans his new online business

So, you have an idea for an online business, how exciting! As more and more people make the move to work for themselves, you're perhaps wondering how you can get involved too and what you need to consider before you get started.

Read on to learn more about the nine key issues you need to think about before launching that online business and how to make it a success.

1. Do you know who you're selling to?

Before you start, are you sure of who your online business is for? Are you marketing to over 50s? In that case, you'll need a simple and easy to navigate website and you'll need to spread the word about your business in a more traditional way.

If you're targeting Gen Z or millennials, your site and product needs to be functional, ethical and value for money. It's important you do some research before you get started to understand who is most likely to buy your products or service and then tailor everything towards them. This will impact everything from your overall tone of voice, how you share your messages and how you grow in the future.

2. Is your name and concept original?

It's important you carefully check that there is no one else using your business name and that you're not entering a market that is already oversaturated. Plus, bear in mind that trends come and go. For example, puzzles are having a moment while people are in lockdown but once the restrictions are lifted will they be as popular? Don't go after quick wins, try to create a business that can adapt and change and offer something people will always need or want.

3. Do you have a good understanding of SEO?

SEO (search engine optimisation) is very important for any business but especially those who sell online. It means ensuring your website is recognised as the most relevant result, when people search for certain terms in Google.

Let's say, you sell roller-skates. You want to be on page one of Google for terms such as roller-skates, buy roller-skates etc. With the right content on your website, using keywords in all the right places you can ensure this happens. Take a look at this beginner's guide to SEO to start wrapping your head around the concept before you start building and filling that website.

4. Do you understand the financial aspects of business?

There's a lot to think about when it comes to finances and your own business. What was once done for you as an employee now becomes your job. Everything from filing those important tax returns to accounting for sick leave and quiet periods suddenly becomes your responsibility. You'll also need to look into the legalities of registering as a business and rules and regulations that are in place depending on the time of product or service you're offering.

5. Where will you store stock?

If you're selling a tangible product will you have room to store it safely in your home office? If not, it may be a good idea to look for alternatives. A storage unit is a great choice. These spaces are designed to be clean and dry and have 24 hour security to ensure your stock is protected. You'll find storage units up and down the country from units in Southampton from the likes of Cubic Storage to family-owned storage units north or the border.

6. Who is creating your website?

It's easier than ever to set up your own website via the likes of Squarespace or even Wordpress and then add an ecommerce section later but it may be worth investing in the services of a developer. Of course, you want to ensure your site remains as easy to use as possible and that you don't need to rely on the person creating it to make any updates or to add stock and pages. Look into the cost of having an expert design you a bespoke site rather than relying on basic templates.

7. Are you clued up on social media?

Social media offers a relatively cheap and easy way to market your business to potential customers. You can try to organically get in front of people or pay for advertising space on the likes of Facebook and Instagram. Social media allows you to share your content with the right people and you can build up a community and have customers share reviews of your products or services where others can see.

People look for reviews before spending money with new companies, so with great testimonials on your social channels you'll soon pique the interest of potential customers. Facebook is perhaps the best place to start - ensure you fill in all the details your customers may need such as your website and contact information.

Ensure you're reachable and that you respond to messages quickly. Instagram is a great choice if you're marketing to a younger demographic while if your business is more B2B than B2C, LinkedIn may be best.

8. Where will you manage the business day to day?

If you've opted for a storage unit for your stock, that's great but bear in mind if you're working from an office in your home, you'll need to visit it regularly to take out what you need to dispatch.

Some storage units allow businesses to run their enterprises from the unit itself, with Wi-Fi and working spaces available to manage orders and inventories. Look into one that offers this to make managing things a little easier - plus storage units are much cheaper than purpose made office spaces.

9. Do you have a strong support network?

We're not talking about your friends and family that believe in you - although that's great too! Instead, it's a good idea to seek out other businesses or successful entrepreneurs that you can bat ideas off and join forces with in the future.

If you sell roller-skates, seeking out the support of your local skate rink is a good call or another business that stocks cool graphic tees that can reproduce your logo. You'll enjoy a boost from their following and you'll find new friends to lean on for support and inspiration.

Copyright © 2020 Article was made possible by site supporter Rachael Matthews

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