Being an entrepreneur takes a special breed of people. It’s one thing to dream about having your own business; actually starting and running a successful operation is a different prospect altogether. In the ideation phase, one can be creative, expansive, and just dream big. However, when actually starting a new online business, creativity must be blended with more practical concerns. Specific skills are needed to start an online business and make it a success. But with the help of technology, it can be made a lot easier. Barring that, some aspects of a business should be outsourced to qualified help. Running your own business can be both rewarding and challenging. It demands time, energy, and continued focus. While each entrepreneur will have their own particular style of business ownership, here are some basic steps for starting a new online business from scratch:
1. The Idea Phase
One way to come up with new online business ideas is to look for everyday problems people might be facing and consider how you might help solve them. Is there an unmet need out in the marketplace that you could fill? Especially given the fact that millions of online startups are being registered daily.
Finding a genuine niche where you can serve the public is a great start. You might also look for ways you can meet an already-existing business need even more effectively and efficiently than the competition.
2. Follow Your Bliss
This saying is almost a cliche these days, but it is crucial for long-term business success. Choose an online business idea that connects with your genuine, heartfelt interests, talents, and passions. What would you truly love to do every day? What sorts of ways do you enjoy helping people?
The answers to these questions can lead you to the perfect business idea(s) for you, and they will be ones for which you have the endless motivation and positive energy. A business begun in this spirit will hardly feel like work.
3. Evaluate Your Competitors
Do some research and see what your biggest or closest competitors are doing. This can help you determine your odds of success and help you decide if it’s wise to proceed with starting a new online business. Find out how and why the most successful businesses in your niche are successful.
While you will be bringing something new to the game, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel entirely; learn from what’s already working out in the field, and strive to take it to the next level.
4. Craft a Business Plan
Don’t let this step intimidate you; it doesn’t have to be hundreds of pages long. Research how much you’ll be able to charge for your service or how much revenue will you be able to make through advertisements, and the cost of hardware, web developers, and maintenance to fully deliver your product.
5. Consider Your Location
Will your business need a brick-and-mortar, physical location? Should you lease an already-existing space, buy an existing property, or build a new building? Investing in property can be a wise choice and contribute to financial success.
6. Determine Financing
Based on the information you’ve gathered, determine how you will finance your business. Secure a bank loan or investor(s) if necessary.
Remember no individual would like to invest all of his wealth in a single project because of obvious psychological reasons and the possibility of a loss which is always there. Therefore look for a partnership that could last for a long time.
These steps map out the beginning phase of starting a new online business. From there, you’ll have to create a marketing plan and the actual infrastructure of the business. This can vary quite a bit depending on the specific business you’re starting.
There’s definitely more work ahead, but these six steps can help you lay the foundation for success. Never forget that thousands of individuals have made fortune with their small online startups by focusing on these simple things.
Title Image Courtesy: Flickr/Ludovic Bertron