Learn How to Start and Grow a Business Online; Laying the Foundation

Home » Learn How to Start and Grow a Business Online; Laying the Foundation

E-commerce platforms have made it possible for many people to start their businesses.  Many have found great success online, but they will tell you that it comes with its challenges.   Before you put your money into an online store, there are certain things you need to be clear about.  It requires that you lay a proper foundation if you hope to run your business successfully.

We will look at the factors to consider before launching an online business.

· What Is Your End Plan

Having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve is one of the critical considerations.  If you do not have a goal in mind, you will spend money, and probably not see any returns.  Your expectations should have timelines to them.

You should, for example, plan that in the first six months, you create awareness of the business.  In a year, you hope to see some return-on-investment.  Having a business plan will help you with this process.  It will outline the what, the how, the where, and the when. You may have a fantastic product and are raring to go, but it helps when you have something you are working towards.

· Do You Have Adequate Financing

Setting up a business on the online platform does not require as much money as what you need for a physical one.  The amount you spend will depend on whether you are stocking physical products or not.  You will, therefore, need to have some money set aside, or have a source of funding.

Just like starting any other business, you could do it from your savings.  You can borrow from close family and friends, but you need to pay them back, so as not to damage your relationships.  You can take a loan from a financial institution, but be careful about getting too deeply into debt in the initial stages.

The other option is to look for an investor or partner to give you financial support.  Crowdfunding is another option you can consider.  But, you need a convincing pitch to convince total strangers to provide you with money to build your dream.

· Do You Have the Right Service or Product

The online platform is a level playing field, and you will find many people offering different products and services.   If you do not have a unique product, you can get lost in the clutter that you will find in the online marketplace.  Having a niche product will significantly boost your chances of success.  You will need to do your research well, and you have the internet to help with your search.

Position yourself as someone who understands that there is a need, and you are the one who will provide the solution.  Customers are tired of advertising language, and anyone who offers a solution to an identified problem has a high chance of doing well, whether online or offline.

· Is the Online Platform Right for Your Business

You need to consider whether the product or service you are offering will do well on the online platform.  You may, for example, leave in a small town and will probably be the only one selling your product.  You will, however, find that on the online space, you have a lot of competition.  It is at this point you can decide to set up a physical store to tap into the local area business, as opposed to spending money on an online platform.

You also need to understand what each platform will offer you properly.    Some platforms work very well for B2B and B2C companies.   Have a proper understanding of your business and align it to the different platforms available.   Do your research well, and it also does not hurt to seek a professional opinion.

· What Functionality Does the Platform Give You?

Each platform comes with its advantages and disadvantages.  For someone who is starting a business, you need to look at a platform that can give you maximum benefit at minimum cost.  A platform like Shopify is excellent and has affordable subscription packages.  You also have the option of installing additional software, plugins, and add-ons to help in the seamless running of your online store.  You do, however, need to be aware of the fact that some of them may come at an additional cost.

· Do You Have The Time?

Running an online business is very involving, especially in the initial stages.  If you are planning to run it as a side business, you may want to consider inviting someone to help with the setup.  You will find it hard to juggle your nine-to-five job with launching the business.

Conclusion

Just like building a house, you need to lay a proper foundation for your business.  A  clear grasp of what you are getting into is one of the first steps.   If you have already taken into consideration the factors we have outlined above,  you are definitely on your way to becoming a successful online entrepreneur.

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