Starting and running an online business is rapidly becoming the 21st century version of the American Dream. Not only do internet companies give you the freedom and flexibility to combine work and life in a balanced way, but with the rapid growth of online retail, there’s lots of money to be made.
However, as with anything of value, there’s also lots of competition out there. Never forget that there are no “get rich quick” schemes. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
Launching and building an online business requires hard work and dedication, just like anything else.
But it’s also not as scary as it seems. Starting a business doesn’t need to involve high-pressure board rooms, like the one found on Shark Tank, or mountains of debt and risk. You can do it, so long as you have the right approach.
To get you headed in the right diction, then consider the following things you need to do to get your idea up and running.
Think About People’s Problems
The first thing you need to remember when considering launching a business is that it doesn’t really matter how “cool” or “fun” your idea or product is. Instead, what really matters is that your idea helps people solve their problems; it adds real value to their lives, meaning they want to spend money on it.
If you already have an idea for a product, then take some time asking yourself why people need it. What problem does it solve? How does it make their life better? The answers to these questions will be the foundation of your marketing strategy, meaning everything you say and do must somehow communicate this value.
For those who are still looking for the right idea, then start by examining your own life, as well as that of those around you. Look for pain points, and ask yourself what product or service could help to relieve this pain. An exercise like this will get you thinking about the right things, and hopefully from there you can build a winning business plan.
Commit to Authoritative Content
One of the keys to success in the online business world is content. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc., people are consuming content nearly constantly. However, as you likely know, a lot of the content out there is junk, which means that if you have great content, then you stand a chance at distinguishing yourself from the crowd.
Make sure, though, that your content is not just promotional. People understand that brands will try to sell them things, but they are going to want something more from you.
So, when you’re first starting out, try to think about what makes your point of view unique. Decide on a handful of things, and then strive to be the best at that one thing. Over time, audiences will flock to you because they will see you as a true authority on a topic they care about.
When possible, it’s best to create your own content, as this gives you more freedom and control (and it also saves you money). But if you don’t have experience in creating the type of content you think people want, then it’s perhaps best to find a professional to help you. The freelance community is large and growing, and if you are clear about what you want, then you can likely get great value for the work you need done.
Consider Time as Your Greatest Resource
When you first start out with your online business, you’ll quickly realize how much time everything takes. Whether it’s creating content, reaching out to influencers, or monitoring production, it’s common for entrepreneurs to get to the end of the day wishing there were a few more hours.
Unfortunately, though, we can’t add more time to the day, so we’ve got to adapt in other ways, and perhaps the best way to do this is to change our perspective to understand time as our most important resource.
This helps us prioritize things. You should be spending the most amount of time on what’s going to directly contribute to the growth of your business, and everything else should be automated, outsourced or deleted.
Prioritize and Delegate
To give you an example, let’s say that you’ve identified Facebook as a great way for reaching your customers, but you know nothing about advertising on Facebook. You could spend hours working on your content, but all this does is leave you without any time to learn about how you can make this content work for you.
As an alternative, you could hire a freelancer to help you create the content so that at the same time you can enroll in an online class about the basics of social media marketing. This way, when the content is done, you’ll have an idea as to what to do with it, and this will have taken half the time than if you tried to do both at once.
Make Use of What the Web Has to Offer
Another thing you can do to save time is to implement some automation. This could be as simple as setting up your social media posts to go live on their own—Hootsuite is great for this—or it could be as complex as using an automated marketing tool to manage your optimize sales.
There are countless ways to automate, so if you find yourself spending a lot of time on one particular task, especially ones that feel rote, then consider searching for some solutions that can do this work for you. It’s true these come with a cost, but when you consider how much time they will buy you, it’s easy to see why they’re worth it.
Be Patient and Don’t Give Up
Hopefully you can now see that starting an online business isn’t that complicated. However, don’t let this fool you into thinking it will happen overnight. There’s still a lot of work to do, and you also need to spend some time exploring and experimenting to find out what works and what doesn’t.
As a result, patience is probably the best skill you can learn. That and perseverance. Become an expert at both, and before you know it you’ll have a booming online business up and running.