Online Business channel is a force that no one can ignore. Especially post COVID19 consumers increasingly use digital channels to read, review and shop products or services.
If you have an existing business or want to start a new business then you should consider starting online business.
Online platforms are easy to establish but need dedication, skills, commitment, and effort to make it successful.
This is helpful for any existing brick & mortar small shop or starting a completely new business online with any physical presence.
In order to be successful in online business, you need to understand its know-how so that you can start well and succeed
Types of Online Busines
There are endless opportunities to start a business online or use the digital medium for your existing business, few common types are as below
- Affiliate Marketing
- Video Blogging
- Fulfillment by Amazon
To know more on different types of Online Business please read Making Money Working from Home using the online world
Digital platform or Online world has opened up new channels to sell products or services. This is called the E-Commerce of electronic commerce.
If you have an existing traditional business and selling using brick and mortar shop then selling your products using e-commerce will help you to grow business
Blogging started with writing on a specific area of interest or knowledge but turned into an effective medium for Digital Marketing .
Bloggers use their popularity of blogs and websites to sell products services and also earn via advertisements through Affiliate Marketing.
Affiliate Marketing is another effective way to earn money by selling products of other companies that run affiliate programs.
Bloggers, WebMasters, use their popular websites or blogs to sell products from Affiliate programs. One of the popular Affiliate programs is from Amazon itself.
Read more on Best Affiliate programs
Drop Shipping is becoming a very popular online business. Here you do not have to manufacture or fulfill the order by yourselves.
You need to market the products from Manufacturers’ behalf and fulfillment will be done by the Manufacturer.
Please read this for Top Drop-shipping platforms
This is similar to blogging but with video content. Nowadays more and more people are interested to see videos so Video Blogging is on the rise.
There is a sudden rise in the video content in the areas of coaching, how-tos, life skills, and Product Reviews and platforms like YouTube, Udemy is helping to make video blogging very popular.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Any business has various parts to fulfill any customer’s order.
At times it becomes difficult to handle all these activities such as storing products, shipping products to the customer, service the customer’s post purchase.
While big companies can afford to have their dedicate departments to do this, small businesses or sole traders who want to start a business online may not have the time, skills or know-how to do all these.
Amazon the biggest online market place has made this simple and for that anyone with proper product research, digital marketing can get into online selling and not worry about the fulfilment of orders.
This service from Amazon is called Fulfilment by Amazon of FBA.
Key aspects before starting any online business
- Goal Setting
- Identifying Type & Niche
- Market Research
- Going Online
- Digital Marketing
- Measure Performance using Analytics
- Other Important Factors
Why do I want to be online? There are a few questions you need to answer and set your goal and self assess what you want to achieve.
While Online business is lucrative but one has to understand this needs complete dedication and effort along with skills to succeed.
For any business to start we prepare a project plan along with the goal. It’s highly recommended to create your one-pager goal or charter with time-bound incremental progress to review regularly.
The goal has to be realistic, measurable and achievable, you can stretch your goal but you need to understand it needs more time from you.
if you are starting an online business as a second source of the income-you plan how much time you can spend per day or week and accordingly set your goal.
Identifying Type & Niche
After the goal is set next step is to identify the type of online business you want to start.
This will depend on various factors such as your expertise in any areas of business. Interest in the type like e-commerce of blog or video blogs etc.
Niche selection is not easy and you need to focus on your interest and skills of experience rather than jumping into a completely new area of business.
If you are a good tutor or having good skills or command over any subject then it’s better to start a blog or video tutorials in that area.
Read how to find a profitable niche to start an online business.
For any business its very important to understand what is the addressable market and how many potential users, customers are available and are they interested in your area of business or not.
For example, if you are planning for a video tutorial business and selecting a subject that is old and not in demand then that might not help you to attract more readers.
Or if you have selected a product from Affiliate Program which is not related to your blog content or not on-demand then you may not get success in your business.
The good thing is Market Study in the digital world can be done very accurately with the use of tools and analytics tools.
But one has to do all the hard work to get all the insights to come up with market demand for the product or service.
After all prerequisite activities now is the time to go online. Instead of a big bang approach, one can start a phased approach to increase online presence.
There are various ways one can go online, below are few for example
- Local directory listing
- Social Networking Pages
- Google Business
- Mobile Apps
If you are aiming at local customers then local directories are one of the first digital or online steps you should do in order to market your products or shop to online customers present locally
Every locality is having its specific directories which can be found by searching google.
Apart from that Google has its own Google My Business is a must for all business owners to register and list.
Social Networking Pages
Social Networks are becoming very essential in promoting business.
Depending upon the type of business you need to identify one or more social networking platforms to create your Business Page to promote to potential customers
Social Networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc are popular and can expose your business to a wide variety of people.
Google My Business
Google Business or My Business is an internet-based network that google provides to all businesses to populate information about their business.
This is a free service by google and does not need to have any website or blog as a prerequisite
This, in fact, will be a web page for you and served to searchers in maps and other search engine results page
Google can combine other related information along with the supplied information while showing the results.
There are 4 different post types, they are what’s new, event, product and offer
Business owners can add a description, photo or video, and link for each of these types of posts
Read How to register in Google My Business
According to Wikipedia
A blog or weblog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page
Blogs were initially used primarily for non-business or commercial purpose but in the last decade, that has changed completely.
Since content is the center point or all Online or Digital Marketing or Commerce or business Blogs have taken center stage in almost all aspects of Online world
For business, it’s very essential to venture into a blog if they have no online presence apart from Google My Business or Social Networking Pages.
Blogs can be well written with relevant content to provide useful and necessary information to potential customers.
Read How to write an effective and powerful Blog to start your own blog
Websites or Webpage is an online content where we collate all information related to the business.
Information such as About, Products, Services, Pricing, Blogs (if any), Customer Testimonials, Contact details and much more.
Websites can have an E-commerce facility where potential customers can buy over the internet or without E-commerce facility and only information sharing purpose and collecting customer details.
Please read How to create a beautiful website for your business or Contact us
To have one more channel and tight integration with customers Mobile Apps are a great way
Mobile Apps are becoming very popular and helpful to businesses to market, sell and service customers.
Business can plan out phase-wise what features they want to have in their Mobile Apps and gradually enhance the Mobile Apps channel for customers to use and buy products
Please read How to create Mobile Apps for your business or Contact us
Internet Marketing or Digital Marketing is key to any online business’s success. There are various ways how you can market your business using digital channels
Please read Why do you need Digital Marketing to Stay in Business for detail on Digital Marketing and Targeted Marketing
Measure Performance using Analytics
Measuring online business effectiveness and related digital marketing efforts are important to improve on the current state.
Metrics are collected over a period of time for analysis, few key metrics are as below
- Click-Through Rate
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
Various online tools such as Google Analytics are available for detail analysis of business parameters.
Other Important Factors
- Content Quality – Quality of Content in Online Business is key to success, care must be taken to create, update and manage all digital content regularly.
- Money Transaction – When money transactions are involved, use of trusted services like eway, PayPal and https is a must
- Localization – Selling in different countries with different languages must be managed well by doing localization of languages
- Legal, Regulatory & Tax requirements – This is important as every country will have its own rules and regulations, before starting any business its advisable to understand these and abide by.
Online or Digital world is vey exciting space to explore and made it possible for many people to work from home with proper planning and execution. If you stick to the bsics and perform proper research you can succed in this field.