You’ve decided to take the plunge and start that little homegrown business you’ve always dreamed of. Unfortunately, the cost of a rental space, insurance and all the other incidental overhead is beginning to turn your lovely dream into a sour nightmare. Instead of dealing with these unnecessary hassles, many are finding succeeds starting their own small business online. If you’re toying with this notion, and don’t know where to begin, here are a few suggestions to help you turn your little online venture into a big success.
Determine What You Want to Sell
It may seem simple, but many small business owners struggle with the exact product or service they will ultimately offer. For instance, you might be considering offering your services as a freelance masseuse, but this may not be enough to keep your business profitable. Massages for many are a luxury that is overlooked during periods of economic hardship, so you need to offer more than this single service. You could also sell massage oils, candles or organic products that appeal to a wide variety of people. Before ultimately determining what to sell or service to offer, you must make sure it’s in demand, and that you’re educated and skilled enough to follow through.
Get Your Know Your Buyers…and Your Competition
Many online business owners forget to ask themselves two simple questions: “Is there a market for my product/service?” and “Are the needs of my clientele already being met?” It’s critical to understand your client base before starting your online venture, and determine if your competition is already fulfilling the needs of these customers.
Make a Long List of Everything You’ll Need to Start the Businesses
Before you create a website or even solicit funds from your first customer, it’s critical to determine all the supplies you’ll need to start your online business venture. This also includes the space you’ll require to create the products or store excess inventory. If the business is small, your home will probably be all the space you’ll require, but this won’t always be the case. As the business expands, so will your need for storage, which will take a bite out of your profits. Once this is determined, it’s time to make an actual supply and equipment list to get your online venture off the ground. Don’t go overboard at first and instead stick to the basics to ensure you’re not straddled with extraneous inventory with no buyers to empty the shelves.
Create Your Website
When it comes times to design your website you have two choices, create the page yourself or enlist the assistance of an outside firm. A professional web designer will take a huge bite out of your start-up budget, but he or she will also possess the skills necessary to create a professional and eye-catching website. Conversely, there are several user-friendly programs available that allow you design the page yourself, but the pages overall quality might not meet your expectations.
Designing the page is also about attracting your preferred clientele. For instance, if you’re selling a line of homemade bath salts and other spa products, your core demographic are probably women. On the other hand, a sports memorabilia website might appeal to men instead. Keep your client base in mind when designing your page to ensure you attract people that will ultimately purchase the product or service.
Creative Marketing Techniques
Once your website is up and running, it’s critical to find creative, and inexpensive, ways to increase traffic. Social media marketing is in many cases a cost-effective way to steer a younger clientele to your website. Think outside the box of internet marketing and lure people to your website through other traditional means, including newspaper or phonebook ads and never overlook the cheapest, and in many cases most effective, marketing tool: positive word-of-mouth. Encourage your friend and satisfied customers, to spread the word about your website. You’ll be amazed at how much a positive reference will entice people to visit your website!
Serving online customers means you’ll inevitability require the services of a reputable merchant accounts service to complete credit and debit card transactions. While on the search, watch for the merchant service’s fees and look for positive customer reviews to ensure your transactions remain safe.
About the Author: Trent Donovan is an online business entrepreneur who is always looking to help other homegrown business owners succeed.