Internet businesses are becoming increasingly pervasive in today’s competitive marketplace as UK shoppers increasingly turn to online shopping instead of going to the high street and out-of-town sites. Apart from this, internet businesses are easier to set up and usually involve less capital than conventional businesses. Today there are many types of internet businesses running, from good resellers to providing different types of services and even information. Whatever type of business you plan to establish online, make sure this is in line with your interests and that you are committed to the entire venture with all your heart.
The internet has definitely revolutionised our lifestyle, and offers a great marketplace where entrepreneurs can compete with their counterparts globally. Below, I outline the basic steps on how to make your dream internet business a reality…
1. Do Market Research
After you have chosen the type of online business you would like to start based on your interests, time and funding options, do market research to gain a picture of what kinds of new products and services may bring profit. Using Google Keyword search can help you discover a niche or a market that is not over-saturated with online businesses.
2. Develop Your Business Plan
The next step is to create a business plan which is needed at the beginning of any new venture. Your business plan will include an overview of your business, market analysis, a description of your company, your organisational structure, a management plan, as well as a description of your product or service and your funding plans.
At this stage, you have to finalise your funding options. There are several financial sources available to potential entrepreneurs. According to Jeffrey Macklin from FDUK, a loan from a bank or overdraft can be cheaper than selling shares or equity in your business. But he notes that equity investment is ideal for those entrepreneurs who do not want to increase their level of borrowing, or fail to provide the necessary security to obtain conventional lending.
For those internet startups with a healthy business proposition but without a substantial security or proven track record to be offered a normal commercial loan, the Enterprise Finance Guarantee is an extra option to fund your online startup.
4. Create Your Online Presence and Get Prepared to Sell
Once you’ve identified your market and you have decided on your selling process, you are now ready to release your small-business’ web presence. If creating the website on your own is not an option, then search for reliable web designers online or ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.
When it comes to web design, remember that you only have a couple of seconds to catch someone’s attention. So go for a simple design and a user-friendly interface which enables users to easily navigate. Besides this, make sure you let people get in touch with you by using interactive tools such as live chat.
It is also important to write a copy that sells. It is advisable to include an eye-catching headline that arouses interest. Make sure to outline the problem your product solves and how it does so. In this way you will establish credibility as a problem solver.
5. Help Your Site Become Visible
Without employing the right marketing tactics, sales will not come magically. Try different cost-efficient techniques to boost your site’s traffic. Google AdWords is among the most popular ways of advertising. This works on a pay-per-click basis, which means you only pay when someone clicks through to your website. In addition to this, try Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which enables you to drive targeted buyers to your site when they search for your type of product on search engines such as Yahoo! and Google. By using these promotional tools, you also discover your best, highest-converting keywords. You can finally distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, as this will boost your rankings in the search results.
6. Customer Transactions
What’s more, make your customers’ life easier when it comes to ordering and paying, as a site with complicated sales process is likely to lose customers. Your website should be user-friendly and easy to navigate so users don’t get frustrated and walk away without purchasing. Security is another point to consider as potential customers want to feel comfortable and safe when it comes to providing their credit card details, so your mission should be to assure them that they purchase from a safe online shop.
Setting up an internet business can be a real slog, but if you put all your time and energy as well as using the best digital tools to attract your target audience you can establish a promising and profitable online business.