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We all desire a life where we don’t have to go to work from 9 to 5; yes, the entrepreneur’s life. Starting a business to be free from working 8 hours a day is almost everyone’s lifetime dream. However, what they don’t know is what it takes to be an entrepreneur that makes almost all of us not take the risk of becoming one. That’s why there is this saying “If you don’t build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.” Some of us work 8 hours a day to build our employer’s dream and some of us leave our employer’s dream to build ours – which one would you rather be? Well, whatever it is you choose yourself to be, this era has changed. Almost everything in this world is done online. You can even buy things straight from home, while still wearing your pyjamas without having to take a shower and get ready first. With the rise of technology nowadays, the number of online businesses has increased as well. Many entrepreneurs make use of technology and digital related stuff to build their business. So, are you one of those entrepreneurs looking to boost or start an online business? If so, then you are in the right place if you are reading this article right now because I’m going to share with you this complete guide to starting an online business. Keep reading to learn more!

As a person who works alongside Melbourne web designer team, I found some of my clients making hasty decisions based on what they want for their business, not what they actually need. So, if you are looking to start your own online business, make sure you follow these steps first.

Fix the mindset

No matter how big your budget is, if you don’t have the right mindset, your business will not last long because you should know that a person should have an unwavering mindset that will keep the business running. Why? That’s because the progress in building a business will not always be smooth; in fact, there will be rough patches as well during the journey that might trigger you to quit if you are not strong enough to deal with the obstacles. For that reason, a strong mindset is required before you start a business. Fix the way you think if it doesn’t lead you to success.

Find your niche

Okay, now you’ve got your mind fixed on your goals with your strong mindset, then what? Yes, when looking to start a business, the first important part of decisions you need to make is finding your niche. I know it sounds difficult but the fact that you have your heart set on starting a business means that you have a goal and a purpose in mind. For example, you have great passion in fashion; of course fashion would be the first to come into your mind, right? But that’s not my point. A business exists for a purpose; to provide solutions to solve problems. If you live in an area that has limited stocks of clothes since not many sell them in your area, that can also mean that the area has problems with clothing stocks and the people who are living there need to go far to the outside of the area to get other styles of clothes provided for them. If you build a fashion business there, chances are, you are solving your area’s problems – which means, your business is there to provide solutions to the problems. That being said, the problem with finding the right niche always comes with finding out if there are people who will be interested and if there are some competition you have to face, which will lead us to the next point.

Analyse targets and competitions

Making decisions on your niche is not enough. You have to know if there will be anyone who might be interested in what you offer. You need some solid data and for that, you have to analyse your target market and your competition. Okay so you have got ideas for your niche, then, what? First, use Google Keyword Tool and put your ideas into it to find out if there is anyone interested in it. Input your desired niche. If you are interested in opening eco-friendly, recycled fashion accessories made from used bottles, you can search “eco-friendly fashion accessories”. Google then will give you some data on the number of global searches done monthly. Then, for example, “eco-friendly fashion accessories” receives 11,000 monthly global searches, which is approximately 367 per day. I would advise to aim for results between 50,000 and 10,000 a month, so your eco-friendly fashion accessories will almost make it.

Now after analysing your targets, let’s move on to your competitions. You have to know the scale of the risks your soon-to-be business is going to cost you. One of the ways to do that is finding how big your competition is. Go to Google and type “eco-friendly fashion accessories” as your search term (including the quotation marks). After that, take note of the number of the search results. Right now, there are about 64,400,000 search results, which means, there are that many competitions you have got and it is a big number. I would advise to aim at numbers lower than 300,000. In the end, it seems it is “back to the drawing board” for you to re-plan it, but it is important.

Decide on the right name

So you’ve got your niche and you are certain about it, but why are we talking about names now? Shouldn’t we just say we’re an eco-friendly fashion accessories company? Yes, that might be true, but there are thousands of similar companies using the same name with the same purpose. Remember this; in order to keep ahead of competition, you need to stand out and differentiate your company from other companies in the same industry. Here are the steps you can do for that:

  • Be unique when finding a name but still relevant to your niche so you can increase its uniqueness
  • Do your research; you might not know if the names you have come up with are already taken
  • Avoid using names that have general meaning. For example, you have a salon business and you name it “Beautiful Hair Salon.” For your information, such phrase like “beautiful hair” has general meaning and when you say “beautiful hair salon”, the meaning might be ambiguous since you can mean “the hair salon is beautiful (in terms of place design, perhaps)” or “it’s the salon for beautiful hair” and no matter how you look at it, it is still too general for a business name. Also, when you look it up on Google, there will be over 201,000,000 search results which will confuse your target audience and of course, it is highly possible that you will be invisible on Google since there are a lot of relevant searches combined with irrelevant ones

Set up a website

I know I often say this to my clients, but I can’t stress this enough. Setting up a website is THAT important for business. Like I mentioned in the previous point, your visibility on Google matters because people nowadays don’t go around the town to look for products or services anymore. They just need to use their smartphone to look for whatever it is they are looking for online, mostly on Google. For example, they are looking for a restaurant that serves Vietnamese cuisine and you happen to own a Vietnamese restaurant in your town. The question is; will they just go to your restaurant because they know you naturally? No, it doesn’t work that way because they don’t know you exist and it is also possible that they are more familiar with other Vietnamese restaurants a.k.a. your competitors. This is where you realise how important online visibility is for your business and yes, you need to set up a website in order to increase your online visibility.

Plan, plan and plan

When there is a will, there is a way. When there is a business, there is a plan. You cannot run a business without a plan. If you don’t have a plan, when things become difficult, you will lose directions when running your business. Plan is made to direct (and redirect) you to the better ways you do your business. Therefore, make sure you always come up with many plans for your business before even making decisions.

Running an online business may be tough especially in this era where you’ve got many competitions that may offer what you offer. However, in the business world, it is either you start or you don’t because running a business requires a strong mindset that can be ready to take risks and tackle hassles. Therefore, gather up your courage and start your online business now.