5 Steps to Starting Your Own Online Business

Having your online business can be lucrative as it can be. However, getting there is like finding a needle in the haystack. 

You should know that there is no such thing as fast money, and anyone who claims to offer you such is either lying or insane. 

With that said, read on and start building your own business with determination, time, and money, together with these five steps to help you achieve your goal. 

Determine Your Niche

A niche is your business’ target audience and the market segment you cater to. These niches can be anything as long as it has the specific demand that needs to be supplied. 

In determining your niche, you need to check whether the market has any of the following: 

  • A problem that no one solves
  • The willingness of the people to pay for the specific service
  • Discretionary income to pay for the solution

Avoid niches with high competition as you would most likely lose against the giants in the market. 

As you start to plan your first start-up online business, it is ideal that you remain niche specific. In doing so, you can’t expect to sell all your products. However, this will save you from losing a mass of your capital as you can’t compete with other eCommerce pioneers like Amazon. 

In essence, you want to enter the market with a reasonable number of competitors and not those with no customers or with the niches governed by prominent brands. 

Create a Business Plan

Upon identifying the potential interests in your business niche, creating your business plan is the next thing to do. 

Create Your Brand Name

Creating the brand name for your online business doesn’t have to be similar to your website name – if you’re hosting your site. Remember to tailor your chosen name to the niche you have chosen to prevent confusion among your customers. 

Market Analysis

As you already have identified the potential of the niche you have chosen, you may further conduct a market exploration paired with a SWOT analysis to confirm your identified market and your competitors. This will also allow you to determine price models, distribution methods, and other competitive leverages as you enter the industry. 

Competitor’s Analysis

In your business plan, you want to include your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, products, and how much money they are making. 

In taking a closer look at your competitors, you allow yourself to be more knowledgeable about other players in your niche. From there, you will be able to strategize based on your current standing.  

Make a Product Listing

The battle begins when you create your product listings through a third-party platform or your own hosted site. You must choose the right product that goes with the niche you have chosen and be consistent with how you present the product as something that would stand out from the rest. 

Make Research on Online Trends

As you are building your business online, it is crucial to research certain online trends governing the market. By knowing these trends, you are setting yourself to sustain your chosen niche and take calculated risks for the benefit of your start-up company. 

Researching about online trends may include, and is not limited to, an understanding of how to sell on amazon prime, google trends, Amazon SEO, etc. 

Design Your Website and Create Social Media Accounts

Upon making your business plan and acquiring the knowledge of the online trends for your particular niche, you may now begin setting up your website and creating your social media accounts. 

As you continue your start-up business, decide whether you’ll be hosting your site or using eCommerce platforms like eBay, Etsy, or Amazon. These two options have their pros and cons, and it is your discretion to choose as the owner of your business.

Whether you choose a third-party platform or host your site, remember that you ensure a user-friendly environment for your customers to keep them coming back for more. 

In increasing inbound traffic for your products, informative and engaging social media accounts can be the ultimate key. Remember that these platforms are your allies if you seek to increase the profitability of your online shop. 

Register Your Business and Make It Legal

Like any other business – traditional and online -you must begin it with the right note. Note that when starting a legitimate business, you need to make it legal. Not only will it help the country, but it will also save you from future fines that may incur for not registering your business. 

Hence, here are the following steps that you need to take to make sure that your start-up business will be legalized. 

Remember that the rules that apply to online businesses may resemble rules that govern brick and mortar businesses. However, there is a thin line that separates these two. 

Read up regulations for online businesses

Educate yourself about all the regulations for online business as it would help you not to create any mistakes in the future. Ensure that you have a thorough rundown of the SBA’s online business law. 

Register your business

Do your research or talk with your lawyer to help you decide how you will set up your online business. Naturally, state-specific requirements vary from one place to another, so you have to visit the local secretary of state office for you to know. 

Know your tax obligations

Be reminded that even if you do not have your physical stores, you are still entitled to certain tax deductions. Before setting up your business, consult with a lawyer to ensure that you are covered, as you may be required to pay your income tax. Familiarize yourself with state sales tax requirements and make sure you have the right fix, like automatically collecting the right amount of tax that depends on your customers’ current locations. 

Final Thoughts: How You Can Maintain Your Online Business

Building yourself your online business may promise you a lucrative income stream without the hassles of having a brick-and-mortar business. However, getting there will cost you a lot of time, money, and effort. 

Do acknowledge that building your online store from scratch is not a one-night affair and requires your full dedication for it to be sustainable in the long run. With that said, allow these steps to give you the leverage you need and never let learning cease to exist, as this would greatly help you be more resilient whenever problems in your start-up business arise. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.