Starting An Online Business. What Do You Need To Consider?
The internet has undoubtedly caused one of the biggest changes to the business world since the industrial revolution.
With global interconnectivity and almost-immediate access to an incomprehensible vault of information, successfully entering into the world of online business means creating something truly unique and engaging.
Since the Coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have had to adapt to the shift to online-only, for some this was a fairly straight forward manoeuvre requiring little or no adjustment to their current processes.
But for others this has meant adapting their whole business model and modes of communication with their customers – perhaps in ways they’re not necessarily comfortable with.
As a business who have had to make our own procedural changes in the past few months, Bizmosis know just how disruptive this adjustment can be, particularly if much of your business model requires networking and communication.
For us, moving online meant a few procedural and technical teething problems, but with our community’s support we managed to adapt our business to the pandemic restrictions and continue to support our community in a matter of weeks.
The pandemic has transformed the concept of successful business in todays’ society and as many of us have seen, fast-acting and adaptable businesses have thrived in the past few months.
One way to create a flexible business is to operate online, but starting an online business isn’t as simple as throwing up a Wix template and hoping for the best.
At Bizmosis, we’re all about sharing advice from our community to help each other, so, I asked the question:
What’s the most important thing to consider when starting an online business?
Our members are from a variety of different backgrounds and industries, but as small business owners, they shared these 10 things to consider when starting an online business…
1. Make sure you love what you do
First and most importantly, you need to make sure you love what you do.
Most people don’t go straight into owning a business, there’s a good chance you were once employed and at some point, you decided to leave – why? Because you wanted to do something you loved!
So, make sure you truly love what you’re doing, it’ll make all the tech issues worth it.
2. Explore other platforms
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool, not only for connecting to a wider audience but directing additional traffic to your website.
When starting an online business, it’s a good idea to make social media a decent part of your strategy. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok can be great tools for finding your ideal customers from a wider audience, while LinkedIn and Twitter are great for building a good network of other supportive business owners.
Tip: Start by figuring out where you’ll connect best with your target market and how to use that platform to engage your customers. Social media can also have a positive impact your SEO performance.
If you’ve thought about starting an online business, you will have undoubtedly heard the term SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.
This is a process of optimising your website to rank higher on organic related Google searches – i.e. if you work as a Beauty Therapist in Farnham, you want to be one of the first results people see when they search ‘Beauty Therapist in Farnham’.
Or, if you’ve optimised your site well, ‘Eyebrow waxing in Farnham’ or ‘Lash extensions in Farnham’.
The content on your site also ties into SEO. You need to ensure you’re using the right keywords and that your content positions yourself as the expert in your field. We recently spoke to SEO expert James Eaton about his top tips for SEO – check it out here.
4. Build a supportive network
A successful online business requires a variety of skills, some of which you might not have and some of which need years of training or expertise.
Surrounding yourself with skilled, supportive people will help you create a truly well-rounded website experience for your customers.
At Bizmosis, we always advocate for outsourcing, not only will you save time struggling through a task you’re not equipped to do, you’ll also receive a better end product!
5. Just get started
Starting an online business can be daunting and like most business decisions, involve plenty of planning – sometimes too much! ‘Progress over perfection’, says member, Vicky and we couldn’t agree more. Do your research, figure out what you want and get cracking!
6. Master your marketing
Aligning your business with problems or issues that your customer is facing is the key to creating any successful business – once you’ve done that, it’s all about communicating it to the right people!
Let your customers know that you understand what they need and you know how to deliver it – it might even be involve helping them realise what they need. Try to understand what drives them, how can you support them, why should they come to you?
7. Make your passion theirs
Creating a business will, or at least should, involve something that you’re passionate about – whether that’s delivering a service, selling a product or helping your customer.
The key to a successful online business is making your passion, theirs! Without the option of face-to-face interaction, how can you get your customers excited about what your business can offer them?
Sometimes, thinking back to the initial stages of your business development can reconnect you with the original reason you started this venture – use this to figure out what got you so excited about your offering and think about how you can help your customers feel the same.
8. Perfect the user experience
A good user experience is essential for online conversion; your website needs to be simple, branded and easy to use.
Navigation needs to be seamless and your customers need to be able to find all the information they need in the minimum number of clicks. It might be logical in your mind, but it needs to make sense to people at a first glance.
Consider how your content can impact the flow of your website from one section to the next. The easier your website is to use and the clearer your content is, the more likely you’ll have returning visitors converting into customers.
Tip: Always test your website with (honest) friends and family and watch how they interact with the site.
9. People buy from people
Don’t underestimate the power of showing the person behind the brand – particularly in an online space.
The past few months have encouraged us to shop more locally and there’s a real joy in knowing you’re supporting people, rather than big conglomerates.
Make sure to show your personality on your website – we recommend sticking to your branding and highlighting your personality in an ‘about me’ section.
If you want to keep your website as professional as possible opt for an ‘about us’ section to talk about the creation of the business, the motivations and the values and then have a ‘behind the brand’ section which talks about you personally.
Tip: Keep an eye on what competitors are doing – how are they addressing their customers? What do you think is working well for them?
How easy is their website to use? What’s their identity like? This could inform some of your decisions about showing the personal side of your brand.
10. Keep it simple
A clear, simple and easy-to-use website will get you so much further than one that is jam-packed with information.
Show your users only what they need to see and place the right information in logical places – use H1 and H2 headings to target your keywords to bolster your SEO performance and direct users to the right pages.
Always leave contact details in case people have questions, you’ll find that if you’ve created a great user experience you’ll spike people’s interests and they’ll reach out – that’s when you can work your magic and communicate with them.
Tip: Think about creating processes to make your life simpler too! If you can figure out the most common journey for your customers, it’s a good idea to come up with processes and automations to simplify your workload.
It’ll also give you the opportunity to continuously refine the processes and the journey to ensure visitors are getting a great user experience.
Starting an online business checklist
Here’s a quick summary of our Starting An Online Business checklist from some of the entrepreneurs within our Bizmosis community.
- Love what you do
- Explore other platforms
- Build your supportive network
- Just start!
- Master your marketing
- Make your passion theirs
- Perfect the user experience
- People buy from people
- Keep it simple
Looking to start an online business?
When it comes to starting a business there is no handbook, so it’s often a case of learning wherever and however you can.
But you can shortcut much of that learning by listening to other business owners and avoiding the common mistakes and pitfalls.
In essence, this is what Bizmosis is all about.
We provide an environment and community where you can openly share business experiences and get the skills, help and support you need to grow your business.
This article was written in collaboration with some of our incredibly insightful and valued Bizmosis members – if you’re interested in joining our amazing community you can find out more details here.
Many thanks to our contributors; Matthew Burch, Christina Tan, James Eaton, Vicky McDaid, Dominic Tantram, Julia Britten, Anna Hodges, Steve Till, and Tanya Edwards.