Building an online business is never an easy task. Either if you
are a business veteran or a beginner pursuing a dream, there are
numerous challenges to overcome, trends to keep an eye on and
a need for tremendous preparation. To make it at least a tiny bit
easier, we decided to put together a 12-point checklist, covering
all the essential steps for starting an online business.
1. The idea
The most crucial part of becoming an entrepreneur in the online
business is to have at least a rough idea of what you could offer
for your audience or customers. Are you thinking about offering a
Would you like to generate revenue from an
interesting topic and an audience?
There are numerous business
models out there, which you can follow and which can help you to
visualizethefutureof youronlinebusiness. Brokerage,
advertising, infomediary or affiliate services are a few examples of
online business types.
With some research, you might find yourself coming up with an idea that fits one of these categories
and seems like a real profitable one. On the other hand, if you are
lucky enough to have at least a broad idea of what you would like
to do, you are ready to move on to the second point.
2. Make ideas great again!
You wouldn’t want to fall into the mistake of establishing a
business, which offers services that nobody cares about. I know
that you probably think that this isn’t so, however, sometimes we
can easily get carried away by our own “great” ideas. Your next
step is to make sure that there is an actual need for the services
that you would like to offer.
How is this possible?
Gather as much
data as you can, ask people on the street, send out a bunch of
emails to the ones who you think would be your target audience,
run polls in online communities, etc.
All in all, try everything you can to get as close as possible to
having a representative data. This will not only get you closer to
confirming the “greatness” of your idea but will also help you to
identify the real target audience.
For example, if you create an
online questionnaire and share it in a group chat, make sure to
have people share their age and gender with you. This can be
later used to narrow down your target audience.
Obviously, don’t share your whole plan while talking to people, as
you should be keeping your “great” idea to yourself. Share the
most important aspects and features of your future product or
service and have them rate your idea. It is even better if you ask
for their email addresses, which help you create your initial email
list. Not everyone will be interested or will be willing to share it
with you, but it’s a start!
3. Money, money, money
As mentioned earlier, there are numerous business models out
there which you can follow with your next online business.
However, picking one in the early phase is a must!
You need to be aware of how will your future business generate revenue – and
I’m not only talking about having a broad idea. No! You need to
know the exact steps before setting up your business and
throwing the whole idea out there.
This will help you to stay on the
top of your game, create your detailed business plan and most
importantly, give you better chances at not failing – especially
If you will not be selling products, this can be tricky, so
make sure to dedicate enough time to this topics. There are numerous solutions, so it’s the best time to get back to the lab
and start your research.
4. Take a look around
Okay. You have an idea, which seems to be interesting and also
figured out a business model, that would generate constant
revenue for your online business. Now it’s time to turn the focus
on the other players. Dig up everything on any other online
companies, or solo entrepreneurs who are offering the same
service as you will be.
The chances are high that you will bump
into a bunch of future competitors, where the best scenario is
ending up with a few big names who are doing something similar.
Because it proves that your idea is already working – only it’s making others successful at the moment and not you.
Don’t get nervous about discovering that your idea is already out
there. In these cases, you can either get back to the first point and
think of another one (not the easiest thing), or alter your present
idea, so that it can offer something better, faster, cheaper, easier
compared to your future competitors.
Also, if it seems like that
there are hundreds of others doing the same as you are planning
to, don’t simply just give up on your idea, but start thinking about
how you could make it unique.
Surely if there are hundreds like
you, they were able to do the same, so why give up? The next point might come in handy in this case.
5. Analyze and learn
It’s time to get back to the lab! Gather every detail that you can on
your future competitors. Know them and know them well. If you
are going to join the competition for online success, it is vital to
know the business model of the others.
How do they generate
Who is the most successful?
What are their strengths
What is their target audience?
It might take
considerable time but these insights are vital in the long run.
Because this can help you create value and transform your
idea into an actual piece of art, that offers better capabilities compared to others. Furthermore, it helps you to make your future
product or service: UNIQUE!
If you have done your homework, you should be aware of the
similar services out there. The information can help you to hone
your future product or service and make it more unique. All the
data that you have gathered in point five and two, will get you a
bunch of vital insights on your target audience, the best business
models out there, the various pricing possibilities, and on the
unique functions, services or extras which are needed to differentiate your own service from your competitors. This is your
way to uniqueness.
You have to look at your online business as a brand. The
previous points can help you identify your message, and with a
powerful message comes a strong brand. Think of the various
aspects of branding strategies, from the smallest ones (picking
the colors and fonts of your web page) to the more complex
challenges (creating a logo or slogan).
You might consider talking
to a professional who can help you to create your own brand
identity, which will make connecting easier. Once again, thorough
research is indispensable and don’t stop until at least you have a few sketches or names that seem to be catchy.
8. Online foundation
With all of these at hand, you should be ready to create the core
of your online business, which consists of a well designed and
attractive website, an email address, and social media profiles.
You can set these up basically without launching the whole
project, which gives you some buffer time to ensure that everything will go smoothly.
Designing your website should be
your top priority, as it will be your main tool to convert your
readers/users/visitors into potential customers/subscribers. Make
sure that your website has rockstar content, that helps you to
connect with your audience and turn them into rabid fans.
With every point you get closer to launching your online business,
however, it also means that more and more issues or questions
To avoid a sloppy launch, it is advisable to run a testing
phase, which can give you some extra time to deliver those final
touches that are still missing. Get friends, colleagues, ex-
colleagues together and a run a short test. This will give you
some initial insights on how could be your customer experience
In some cases, especially if you are planning to offer a
service for other businesses, it might be advisable to have a few of your potential future customers join your initial test phase – offer
them something in exchange, such as lower monthly fees for a
year -, which can easily get you your first customers together with
invaluable insights. On the other hand, you can also get your first
testimonials, social followers, and email subscribers, so in a way,
the initial testing can be your first milestone.
10. Analyze and implement
If your test phase seems to be 100% positive, the participants
weren’t honest probably. At least you should be receiving a few
remarks on the colors of the buttons on your homepage, or that
your background image is not “that” cool, or that your “About us”
page is glitchy.
These test phases get you valuable feedbacks
and even if you are 100% sure that everything is perfect, it is
Analyze the feedbacks you have received and
implement any additional functions, or changes that are
recommended by the bigger percentage. Obviously, you won’t be able to offer a product that fits everyone’s needs, but you should
be paying attention to the needs of your future audience.
upset if you run into a bunch of negative comments or weird
suggestions, remember, that there is a possibility that one of them
is a real game changer. Don’t get sloppy and spend time on
evaluating your new data.
11. It’s launch time!
You’ve got everything in place, so it’s time to hit the big red button
and go viral. Spread the word on social media, send out your first
newsletters and watch closely.
This is it, you are running an online business! Enjoy it for a few moments and after that, get
prepared for the new challenges. Focus on creating engaging
content on social media to draw more attention to your website,
start ad campaigns and advertise your service as much as
Your number one goal from now on is to build an
engaged audience, followers, who will tell everyone about your
business. Be an active part of the community that you are building
and be approachable.
Spend time on preparing and launching
marketing campaigns to get traffic to your brand-new site. Invest
in PPC advertising and look for other options of cooperation to get
12. It’s always lab time!
It is impossible to achieve success, without paying attention to the
details. With the constantly changing online environment, you
have to remember, that it is simply always lab time.
that you will have to closely analyze all the data that you have
about your new website. Who are your most frequent visitors?
you correctly identify your target audience? Is your service
receiving positive feedback?
How are my competitors reacting?
These are just a few of the questions which you should pay
attention to. Be prepared to changing your original plan or to re-scale your business.
You will have to react to the changing needs,
fresh feedbacks of your potential customers, which means a
never ending cycle of the following 4 things: Gathering insights –
Analyzing Data – Modifying/Implementing – Testing. If you keep
these 4 things on your daily schedule, you will surely be able to
react to the needs of your audience. This enables your online
business to become a successful one.
We hope that these 12 points will help you in building your own
These are only a few basic ideas that can get you
closer to achieve your goals and building your own online business. Obviously, everyone’s story is different, however, these
12 steps seem to be vital, when it comes to turning an idea into
Don’t be afraid to step out there and give yourself a
chance! We wish you the best and hope that your great idea,
successfully transforms into a great online business!