We are in the era where millions of business are dealt online. Gone are days where you are commuting to your stationed corporate office to work for a multinational company. With increasing prices on infrastructure, rentals, and maintaining a team; business has encroached the online business world. The perks of starting an online business are attractive and intimidating. Setting up a physical business can be cumbersome while setting up online shop and cutting costs on your retail space and overhead cost you can run your business at ease. This looks like a great bargain, right?
However online business is relatively new for economically developing nations when compared to the physical business which has been are running for several decades ever since barter system. Many of the entrepreneurs haven’t exactly learned the ways in which one can execute the online business. Online business such as E-commerce business have earned enormous scope in the global market and looks promising & beneficial. Having your business presence online means you are required to work all the time and not restrict to your conventional business model 9 to 5 working hours. One needs to extensively research, plan, dedicate time and energy, and most importantly invest a huge amount of resources.
Online business have different kinds of business models such as –
- SAAS – Software as a Service Ex: Zendesk
- Ecommerce Websites Ex: Amazon
- Vacation Rental Services Ex: Airbnb
- Consulting & Freelancing Websites Ex: Fiverr and Upwork
- Subscription Websites Ex: Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club
There are many more different online business models and but the above-listed models have been used in greater extent. In today’s world, anyone with the connection to the Internet and with a computer can set up an online business within few hours. The barriers do not arise when one tries to enter the online business but the barriers are significantly high to maintain the online business’s growth and success. The success of the best online business is not their ideas but their strategy of execution.
For example, Facebook was never the first social networking site. But Six Degrees was introduced in 1997 as the modern social networking site. Over the period of time, Facebook has undoubtedly surpassed all the other networking sites and today stand as undisputed leader among the other social networks. Today Facebook has over 2 billion active users monthly as of Jan 2018. Facebook has followed the footsteps of the big giants in the methodical execution of their idea.
Here are some statistics about the online business in the world. According to Internet Live Stats, there are over 1.5 billion websites and pages live in the online business. The milestone of 1 billion websites was first reached in September of 2014, as confirmed by NetCraft in its October 2014 Web Server Survey and first estimated and announced by Internet Live Stats. During 2016, the total number of sites has grown significantly, from 900 million in January 2016 to 1.7 billion in December 2016.”
The ecommerce websites are dominating the world with B2B and B2C transactions. So if you need to eat a piece of this big cake, you need to do some groundwork and preparation before you spend that few hours starting your online business. Here we have curated 4 simple ways in which you can start an online business.
#1 How will you make money?
Anytime before you start an online business, a vital question that you should ponder about is how will you be able to make revenue out of your business? One of the factors in scaling your business is money. Online business has a few options to experiment and decide how you can generate revenue out of your project.
1. Sale of Products
As I mentioned there are n number of online products that you can sell, which includes –
- E-commerce products where you need to make or purchase from a wholesaler and then sell on your website. This type of business especially needs to you to store and ship products to your customers.
- Affiliate products where you need not worry about storage and shipment of the products. Get the products to be sold on behalf of the other business to affiliate the products. Here the bonus is the merchant is responsible to carry out shipment and you simply can sit back and receive commission for helping in selling their product.
- Digital products and ebooks that you can sell on behalf of writers/producers or create by yourself. An advantage of using digital products is that you need to require time and resources in the physical delivery. So you can automate your process of sending the product once you have received the purchase payment.
- Online courses are just similar to digital products. You can either create by yourself or sell on behalf of the producers. Like the digital products, you can automate the delivery of these online courses as soon as your customers make a purchase.
2. Sale of Services
You can start an business of your own by selling consulting and freelancing services that can be completed online and/or over the phone call. Once you start selling your services online, you can find customers and make sales on your own. Or you can connect or merge with platforms which allows you to manage the process and gets you to connect to the various clients.
3. Sale of Memberships
How can you have membership sites? When the seller makes an offer of somewhere between a product and a service it is known as a membership site. A membership site is a private online group where users pay to access data of exclusive content, advice, or relationships. How can value from these membership sites? – It is the perks that each member receives.
4. Sale of Advertising and Paid Sponsorship
You can sell spaces on your webpage for advertisements and paid sponsors and make this your business. You can use mediums to get connected with sponsors and advertisers or can do an organic search to find one on your own.
#2 Decision over choosing the right platform
The next step in executing your idea is to choose or decide the best place to build your business online. Once you have chosen the one business model, this will help you to forecast your revenue and in turn serve you as a guide to choose the right platform you should build your business on. The decision of choosing where you could build your business is as important as learning how to start an online business. Again you have different options in platforms to choose from, which includes –
1. Your Website
Your website is the home base of your online business. Even if you plan to conduct your business using different platforms, you will still need a professional website which can establish your strong online presence. If you are looking for domains, DN Finder offers the best match according to your business requirements.
2. E-commerce Website
An e-commerce website allows you to sell products online. In order to make sales directly from your site, you can add an e-commerce software for your beneficiary. Another option could be to use third-party platforms such as eBay or Etsy.
3. Learning Management System
When you to want to sell online courses, you will need a platform to sell your content and classes. This is where the learning management systems will be put to use. You can deliver your content directly through your website or choose a learning management system such as Adobe Captivate Prime or Teachable.
4. Peer to Peer Service Exchange Platforms
Chances of you to collect your payment can be carried out when you provide services on your own through your online business. Another option you can choose to work through is peer to peer service exchange platforms that manage this process for you. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork act as a catalyst for freelancers and their clients.
5. Online Task Sites
To make money online, you can also use platforms that directly hire freelancers and contractors. Sites like Tutor.com and iPoll.com use online workers to provide services for their websites and businesses.
#3 Cover Your Legal and Finances Bases
Once you know how to make money through your online business, you need to look into legalizing aspects of your business. It is vital to follow these steps to legitimize your business by learning to convert money into your online business.
1. Registering Your Business
You can separate your business by setting up a C-Corp or LLC status which will limit your personal liability from the company. This protects you and makes you appear professional and reliable to your customers and clients.
2. File for an EIN number
After you have established your business as a separate entity, you can get tax ID number for the business. Once you get your tax ID you manage your taxes and open a business bank account.
3. Open Business Account
It is always recommended to separate your personal and professional finances. It gets our job easier allowing you to manage and file your taxes and keep an eye on your financial situation.
4. Learn About the Tax Requirements – Federal, State and Local
Talk and get advice from different small local business and attorneys to make sure you are legally providing services, selling products, and paying appropriate taxes.
Here is the checklist when you start a business online.
#4 Get to work
It is time when you get you the actual work. After you figured out product or service to sell, a place to sell it and operating legally and strategically, it’s the time to get to work to get some customers. Your next step is going to spread the word to family and friends, market yourself and seek out potential clients and customers.
The advantages of establishing an online business are that you can take your work anywhere you go. Another advantage is you have an opportunity to reach out to massive buyer audience. You can also connect with clients and customers all over the world in more convenient manner. So set up a shop, get to work with building it, market your business and watch it scaling in the marketplace while you improve your business.