Tips for Starting an Online Business

If the current decade can be summarized in […]

Tips for Starting an Online Business

If the current decade can be summarized in two words, it’s “Entrepreneurial playground”. It has never been as easy as now to start and run a business. From registering a business, to executing sales in international markets, everything has been brought down to a few clicks.

Everything related to business, even building your product, can be outsourced. Though this is an ideal case scenario, most products and services are still homegrown and thus the need to find a process to start a business (online).

Here is the process:
1. Find a problem and a solution
2. Write a proposal/Copy
3. Find first 20 customers
4. Build a website
5. Drive traffic to the website
6. Build Reputation

Find a problem that you can solve?

A business problem is usually just a question that people want an answer for. Always start with your area of interest or whatever you are working on currently and then slowly move on to related topics looking for questions that need answers.

I suggest that you start a business in the category you have worked or mastered before hand.

For example:
If you like cooking, find out how many people would be ready to pay for home food.

If you are employed as a sales guy to sell TVs, find out if other companies would be interested in hiring you or your company to re-sell their products.

If you are a driver, go register with Uber.

The formula stands as below

What’s your current job —-> Who is ready to pay you for the same work(Market)——> How many of them are looking for it (Market Size)—–> What kind a money you are looking at(margins).
Do not waste your time looking for a unique product;Use your time to find the need/problem that people are ready to pay for!

Another way would be to go to community portals such as Quora or Reddit to understand what people are asking for and how can you solve them.

Sell to your first 20

You have the product or service ready to delivery. Now, where would your first customers come from?
To begin with, start sourcing from your phone/Facebook contact list. No i’m not kidding, companies like Amway have built empires around this.

Filter through your contacts and round up 50 people who might derive value from your product or service. Pitch your product and get them onboard as beta users and then ask for a review incase this works for them ; if not, go back to the drawing board.

Write a proposal

Now you know what you want to solve and what the solution might be. Time to sell this but nobody buys from a jittery salesman. You need a proposal, which you can show to a potential customer
1. What problem are you or your product is solving?
2. How are you solving it?
3. What are the benefits?
4. What’s the offer? ( 50% cheaper than the nearest competitor)
5. Why should someone trust you and your product?
6. Can someone vouch for you? ( read customer reviews)
7. What’s the price?

Write a business proposal. No, not the 50 page presentation that most people don’t need. Preferably one page setup that talks about and answers all that has been asked above.

Build a website

Once you know what you want to sell, whom you want to sell it to and the pitch,It’s now time to create a web site.Remember! You want an easy and a straightforward way to reach and sell to customers.
Think about it in a minimalistic and simple way.You can evolve the website as your products or services grow but to begin with, stick to something sweet and simple. For people visiting your website, you should aim for the minimum number of clicks possible to:

1. Understand your product or service
2. Understand the associated price
3. Understand how to avail the said services

Drive traffic

You have now zeroed in on the product, the pitch and the delivery methodology . It’s now time to get customers to find you. Easiest way would be to put up PPC ads on Google and Facebook , though an ideal long term strategy for an online business should be organic or content marketing.
What we did at WebyyButter was to use the PPC ads from Google to bid on keywords that made sense to us and the customer in terms of our product . Then, we used these results to discover search terms (keywords) that we spread in our blog articles and website for better organic traffic.
Use cold emails. You might have frequently heard the term “emails are dead”. However, I generated business worth more than $800,000 using cold emails, sending less than 10 cold emails a day for about 7 days a month.
For a new business, specifically for an online business, cold emails are a gold mine.They will not only drive a small amount of traffic, but also, if done right, they can be a major source of new customers.

Build Reputation

For a business , reputation matters. To do this, start by getting yourself listed on the all the listing platforms in your area. Some prominent ones include
1. Justdial (businesses)
2. Indiamart (Indian businesses)
3. Foursquare
4. Zomato (For Restaurants)
5. Yelp
6. Google My business

Ask your customers to review your service/product here. These add to your reputation and also helps with organic traffic.
Final step would be to keep your customers happy and engage with them for more future business.