The increasing number of online businesses has created a trend where every business owner wants an online outlet.
While it is truly exciting and highly profitable to have an online business, knowing how to start right and maintain consistency is what defines a successful online business.
Anyone with an entrepreneurial edge can run a business, but there are certain steps that must be taken to start an online business.
These steps are accomplished in three phases that can be highlighted as, ‘Ready-Set-Go’.
Phase One: Ready
Ready is the phase that defines the initial groundwork, research, and planning that goes into starting an online business. The steps here are;
Step One: Do your research
Developing the foundation for your business is rooted in the research that you do. A common mistake that most people make is researching the product before researching the clients.
The clients/customers are what will help you decide what, where and how your business will produce the best results in terms of usability, profit, and growth.
To begin your research, ask yourself ‘what do people need? what can my idea do for people?’
From there, you get the answer that helps with the next step.
Step Two: Design your product
Having decided on the right product for the right market, you now have to create your brand with the best features.
Your usability, reliability, quality, and efficiency are what determines the success of the business.
You want to make sure that the product or service you are putting out is unique in its way while delivering excellently.
Step Three: Select a platform
Now that you have a product and a targeted audience, you have to make sure that your business is placed on the right platform.
Online marketing is great for any business, but it can be the completion or undoing of your plans if it is not optimized in the right way.
While most online businesses are based on social media platforms, your business may be website-based.
Deciding this is an important part of the ‘Ready’ phase because you may end up using your resources to build on the wrong platform.
An easy way to decide this is by analyzing the type of business you want to start.
If it is a single product/service business, like clothing, wig selling, hair styling, then social media may be the right place to set it up.
If it is a multiple product business, like cleaning, personal shopping, and renovations, then a website is best.
The point is, your business platform and marketing strategy should be keyed into your business model, which brings us to the next step.
Step Four: Design a strategy
The last thing you have to do in completing the ‘Ready’ phase, is designing a strategy.
This strategy entails everything from how you want to buy, sell, and deliver, to how you want to boost sales through marketing. In most cases, the marketing strategy is determined by the platform (website/social media) where the business is based.
Phase Two: SET
When the groundwork is done, you can start building your online business. At this phase, you complete these steps;
Step Five: Test your theory
Most of the steps highlighted in the first phase focus on the planning aspect but, getting into the ‘SET’ phase of starting your online business involves testing out the plans.
Put your strategies and logistics organization into practice and see how well it all works in the actual running of your business -test out plans to find out the most functional features.
Marketing tricks, copies, and the content you put out are confirmed and polished for better use to keep your business running online.
Step Six: Optimize resources
Your marketing budget, initial staff and all the marketing tools at your disposal should be optimized to help you build your business.
At this stage, the business website/Social media account is up and following the testing process, it should be running.
Then you have to improve on the quality of ads, promotions and content in general. This can be achieved through optimization with tools that provide analysis and recommendations for your marketing strategies.
Step Seven: Build traffic and engagement
When you have your business up and running, your focus is on making sure that it isn’t non-functioning.
Hire social media managers, digital marketers, or educate yourself on the strategies to build traffic and get enough engagement to boost your online business.
Step Eight: Conduct surveys
You never truly know what’s working until you ask, so conduct surveys through your customer base to know what they enjoy most and least about your product/survey.
The response from the survey help you know the areas of your plan and business structure that need improvement.
Phase Three: GO
At this point, you have started completing orders and transactions, the focus is on maintaining consistency and growth. The last steps are;
Step Nine: Evaluate and Revise
While you continue to push out new unique products and product campaigns, you have to evaluate your plan and conduct necessary revisions to make sure you are still on the right path.
It is easy to get lost in the thrill of an initial success with your online business but, consistency is the only way to maintain success.
Keep up with your customers, update your strategies and make sure that the relevance of your business is undeterred.
Step Ten: Accelerate growth
Finally, make sure that your business is on the fastest, and most secured, lane to profitable growth. Most people mistake this as doing whatever it takes, including a reduction in quality, but the point is to increase the customer-reach by maintaining a standard that makes people want to patronize you. That is the only way to accelerate growth.