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Business Basics: 10 Rules to Starting an Online Business

Alley Team
Alley Team
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illustration of what it takes to start a business

The Basics of Starting an Online Business

With everything online nowadays, it may seem as easy as creating a simple website online and raking in the cash. However, starting an online business is much more complicated than click and upload.

To help you on your online journey with your startup company, planning is key. You have to be aware of the multitude of tasks ahead—especially if you’re going solo.

Although there are a variety of different types of businesses online, they all have a few things in common.

10 Rules for Business Success

1. Set up a plan for social media—and stick to it.

With the scroll-and-swipe society we live in today, you need to have a very detailed and dedicated plan with your online platform. These are crucial parts of your online business, helping you directly engage with your audience and hopefully bag a few new clients.

2. You need quality content.

No matter if your site is simply an online store, if you have a brand and voice to go with it, you’ll stand out. However, it’s not as easy as just posting a blog of what you’re doing that day. You need to actively put out content worth reading to create an online presence worth clicking on.

While creating content, you can take advantage of sales and ranking benefits like SEO and promotion. Optimize your site for each the product or service you’re selling.

3. Get your foundation right the first time.

From picking the right domain name—which will help identify your brand—to getting the design of your website to give out the vibe you want, what you put out in the world, your "first impression" will be the initial impression that will have people clicking or passing.

Although this can be quite tough, especially at the beginning of your online journey, you need to make sure that you really put a visual on your brand.

4. Pick a proper host.

Investing in your site and your domain name can help you not only establish an online presence but also help you avoid worrying about security and reliability.

5. Do your research and then do it better than the rest.

If your online business already has a market, do your homework and find out what other successful businesses in your field are doing. Identifying your market can help you with your business model in the long run—and investing in these sort of logistics can pay off (literally).

6. Make a realistic budget plan.

Although you may think of your online business as an opportunity to be creative, work from home or invest in something that you have control of, you should still approach it as an online business—with a detailed, structured business plan.

And at the core of this business plan? Your budget. Although quality web design and online marketing professionals are getting more and more expensive, make sure you’re spending or investing your money with someone who knows their stuff—so again, do your homework.

7. Get your advertisement going.

At the beginning of your business venture, you may not see the revenue roll in simply because you got yourself up and running. Focusing on selling advertisement space, putting it in your blog or running a competitive ad campaign with a specifically outlined target market can help you in the early stages of your online business.

8. Keep it as personal as possible.

Once you see the revenue start to come in, invest some of it back into the business. From an operational level, anyone can start a business online—but only a few of those businesses still stay true to their personal brand of service.

With everything going online, we (especially from a business standpoint) are starting to lose that connection—with other people (and your customers). Keep it as personal as you can with hiring real people, selling real products, and offering real services. Running an online business shouldn’t be that different than a regular business when it comes to service.

9. Promote using video.

Combining both the social media rule and the personal connection rule mentioned above, video is an attention-catching tactic that helps you and your business connect with the customer. Plus, you have the perfect platform to do it with—online!

So, whether you’re promoting a video online directly on social media or investing in a commercial spot for your local channels, your videos can and should reach your target audience—directing them to your site.

10. Specialize, specialize, specialize.

Chances are, whatever idea, service or product you have that you want to sell is already online. So the big question here is: what makes you so special? How does your business stand out from the rest?

Especially with the monopoly of large, corporate, eCommerce sites, you need to stand out against the background noise. Use your passion to specialize or diverge in only one category. This tactic not only helps you save money on inventory but also helps you stick out as an expert in your field.

Starting an online business may seem as easy as setting up your mom’s Facebook page. However, seeing profit come in from your brand is a whole different story.

We hope these rules can help guide you through the process and fill in any missing links (not literally) in your online business plan.

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