Is there any necessity to establish an online business for any business at this time? The online world is full of opportunities and untapped potential that many businesses are realizing. Some have already taken their business online while some are taking preparation for it. Many businesses wish to take their business online but do not know where to begin.
It is mostly because the online world is vast and there are many paths a business can take. Furthermore, every business is unique on its own so not all methods are the same for everyone. For example, a T-shirt business can easily be taken online through the print-on-demand service.
However, you cannot do that if you have a food business or an instrument business. These businesses have separate methods. I will mention all the major ways of how one can take their business online regardless of the type of business they own. There are two scenarios here
- You are new to the business and don’t have a physical store
- You have an existing business which you want to take online
How many people wonder if it’s worth the hassle to take your business online if it’s already existing in the physical form. While it is true that through there is a chance of instant brand recognition and instant sell in offline; However, there are endless opportunities in online starting from no upfront cost to wider audience reach to even taking your business global!
Before you begin your online business, some mandatory factors need to be established in your business plan –
- Have a clear business goal
- Determine the target audience
- Research the market (niche/mass, etc.)
- Social Media Presence
- Promotions and advertisement
Once you have established these factors, you are ready to take your business online. Now there are two scenarios involved. You either have an existing business which you plan to take online or you want to freshly start an online business. The biggest dilemma is where to start? There are so many ways to kick off your online venture. Let’s begin by starting a new business.
How to Start a New Online Business
1. Print on Demand (POD)
Print on demand is a way how you can sell printed products online with only designing and marketing and not having to own an inventory. This is a process where you work with a supplier who is in charge of the product packaging, delivery, etc.
These suppliers are online marketplaces that have created a platform for POD businesses. Some of the popular marketplaces are Printful, Printify, GearLaunch, etc. In order to sell, you first have to pick a platform, then set up an online store there. And then the rest depends on your design and marketing skills. You can create various designs and each order is printed as it comes in.
2. Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is a type of business where the store doesn’t keep a stock of the items it sells. They buy them from an outsider provider who at that point transports the items straightforwardly to the customers who bought the product.
The manner in which dropshipping works is that you have your online store, a client visits it and purchases something from you. At the point when you get the request, you at that point give it to your dropshipping merchant, basically purchasing the item from them for the customer. The drop shipper at that point takes the item, bundles, and ships it to the customer who bought it.
3. YouTube Marketing
Starting a YouTube channel is a great plan to begin a career in the creative visual sector. There are many ways how you can monetize your video and earn money from YouTube. The users are shifting their attention to content from text to videos. As a result, the video creation industry is booming.
You can also ride the hype train and start your career here as well. You can start as a vlogger, entertainer, reviewer, consultant, teacher and so much more! The opportunity here is endless with billions of YouTube views every month. You can monetize your videos by getting a good number of views.
In order to do that, you have to promote your channel very efficiently and build an audience base for your channel. You will start getting views once your videos get popular and the subscriber count increases.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a process where you receive a commission for selling others products. You can either directly sell from the owner company’s own site, you can sell it from your platform or through any third-party platform like Amazon or eBay.
An affiliate will get the commission for selling when the customers purchase the product or service through the designated given link called the referral link. The commission amount depends on the product sale’s clicks generated from your referral link. The commission can range from 3% to 8% depending on the company.
The hassle is very minimum if you already have an established platform through which you can promote and sell the products. And if you don’t, it is still less work as you are selling other company’s products. Thus, the zero cost of production.
5. Create an Ecommerce Store
Having an e-commerce store at this time is very common for online businesses. The profit generated through the e-commerce store is also very high. Therefore, making this method very effective for online business owners to pursue.
Global e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, AliExpress as well as local e-commerce platforms of respective countries are top picks for online business owners. Through these platforms, you can sell your own products as well as be an affiliate for someone else’s products.
Many of the e-commerce platforms provide delivery and warehousing for a cheaper cost. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about having an inventory. All your products will be warehoused in the respective warehouses. Once a customer places an order, the products will be packaged and delivered under the name of your brand.
Freelancing is an amazing way to become your own one-man army! If you have any particular skills such as designing, coding, marketing, writing, etc. that can be used to help a variety of clients worldwide; then you use your expert skills to get hired and do projects.
Once you have developed expertise in your skill, the clients will look for you and you won’t have to go looking for clients. You will have your own work portfolio. There are many popular freelancing platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, freelancer.com, etc.
7. Digital Marketing Agency
As more people are shifting their business online, digital marketing agencies are booming as well. Every business that exists online has to exercise digital marketing strategies to promote and reach their target market. The majority of the business don’t know how to do their marketing activities, especially when they are starting.
Therefore, they rely on digital marketing agencies. A digital marketing agency offers creative, strategic, and technical support to these businesses. If you are already someone with expertise in any digital marketing skills, you can set up a 360 ° digital marketing solutions agency. However, you need to have a team of passionate individuals. It’s difficult to take the projects alone.
The more people you can recruit, the more you can expand and grow your agency. You can offer varieties of services such as SEO, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Web Development, Graphic Designing, PPC advertisement, etc. This method also allows you to improve your existing skills as well as teamwork.
Blogging is a great way to express your skills and knowledge through your writing. You can launch your own blog site through WordPress. Its very simple and doesn’t require a lot of technical skills. However, you must have a clear idea of what you are writing about. It doesn’t have to be technical but your knowledge on certain subjects and topics will be clearly visible in your writing.
Once you start blogging, you will eventually develop your own readers who will trust your knowledge and expertise. If your blogs become a popular good number of readers, advertisers, or brands will come to you to promote their product/service/brand/business. You can even turn your daily adventures into lucrative business ventures, all you need to do is improve on your writing skills.
Existing Business to Online Business
If you already have an existing business the process of building an online presence becomes much easier. That’s because you already have brand recognition even if it’s just from the local community. You already have customers who are purchasing your products or acquiring your service.
The first step in building your online business is by getting enlisted in the local directories of the search engine. This will help the customers find your brand or business through the search engine even if you don’t have a website or social media page yet.
Useful information like your shop location, photos, and even direction through google map will be available through the local directories. It just means that you exist. The official first step can be building a website.
Building a Website
Before you build your website, you first have to get a good domain name. The address of your website is called the domain. It usually comes in the URL after the www. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a good domain name but try to keep it as relevant to the business as possible. If you have a cupcake business, don’t go for something like tricycle.com or something.
Then register the domain name for a certain period. You will have to renew the registration once the period of usage time ends. Afterward, get a good website developer or a website designer to build your website. Always remember that the website is the face of your brand on the internet. It is just like the physical shop you have in the street.
Organize your website in such a way that it is easier for the visitors to look at what they came for. Have a designated landing page so that you can generate sales much efficiently. Make sure to provide quality content on the website so that the visitors are disappointed.
Social Media Presence
Your customers spend most of their online time on social media and that is a fact. So it is crucial to building a social media presence so that you can easily engage with your customers and communicate with them.
Social media platforms are effective because you can learn everything relevant about your customers from their demographics to their buying behavior. This information is later used to craft social media marketing strategies.
Social media platforms are really great as you get to create your own community and get to know about your customers and get their valuable feedback on your product or services. This also builds loyalty towards the brand as customers get to learn about the brand through regular engagement.
Furthermore, you have to also integrate your social media profiles on your website and vice versa so that the customers can easily move from one platform to another. The promotions and advertisements are most effective in social media platforms.
For example, if a customer likes a post that contains a T-shirt, he/she can easily move to the website from Instagram and purchase the product from there. Don’t forget to run promotions and advertisement campaigns to boost and increase the reach of your brand.
The internet is a vast world full of opportunities and what not! The world of online business is growing and expanding. Just the e-commerce business is forecasted to grow at 265% from 2014 -2021 and even more beyond 2021. Even though many strategies come and go, the fundamentals of how to start and grow a successful online business remain the same. If you’re someone who is starting new, then make sure to go step by step. You can’t grow your business if the base is wrong.