Having your own successful online business is a dream for any new entrepreneur. This is by no means a thing difficult to explain because of the many benefits that online business brings to its owners. If you do online research you will find lots of information about starting an online business and you will probably even get the impression that starting and running an online business is easy. If you are one of those that jumps right in with both feet before doing proper research then you will see that it is not an easy thing to do, although many that have been successful make it seem so.
How easy or how hard will it be for you depends on have you done proper research and have enough information about what are you getting yourself into and what to expect. If you’ve done proper research then you will be able to deal with the risks and dangers associated with your online business.
What are advantages of owning an online business
Starting and running an online business is a dream for many newbie entrepreneurs. They dream about making a living by running their business from home in their pajamas or from some sunny and sandy beach while on vacation. While this is possible once you become a successful online entrepreneur there is a very hard road getting here. The truth is there are many benefits to owning an online business but we must also talk about that it is not all fun and easy as a walk in the park on the way to a successful online business. The benefits are real but so is the hard work and time invested to get to the point when you can call yourself a successful online entrepreneur.
All newbie entrepreneurs must know in advance that online business has its advantages but also disadvantages so it’s wise to know about them beforehand.
Here are some of the advantages of owning and running an online business:
1. You set your own work hours. Your online business will not be your regular 9 to 5 job. You don’t need to get up early in the morning if you don’t want to. You can choose what time of day you will work. If you feel more comfortable working in the morning then you can work in the morning, or if you feel more energetic in the evenings then work in the evening. It’s all up to you. You have complete control over your schedule and can make time for your friends, family, and hobbies.
2. You are your own boss. This is also one great advantage of owning an online business. You don’t have someone to tell you what and when to do and watching all the time over your shoulder and make decisions for you. When being an online business owner you make all the decisions: the working hours, the marketing, promotion, the business strategy, and all other things related to running the business.
3. Low initial investment. Another great advantage of owning an online business is that it is a lot cheaper to start an online business than a traditional brick-and-mortar business. To get started all you need in the beginning is a website from which you can build on. It is not very expensive to have a professional website being built today and anyone can afford it.
4. You can run it from anywhere. An online business can be operated from home and it only requires a computer or laptop and an internet connection, things that today anybody already has. If for example, you were starting a traditional business you would need an office, a shop, and a warehouse which cost a lot of money so you would probably need to take a loan from the bank to come up with that kind of money.
What are the disadvantages of owning and running an online business
However, besides these advantages, there are some shortcomings of being an online business owner. Here are some of them:
1. Strong competition. Low startup cost and global reach of online business results in large numbers of online business startups from all over the world. This contributes to strong competition and low-profit margin to remain competitive.
2. Longer working hours. Online business just as any business requires lots of hard work to get the business off the ground. This is more true in the beginning when owners are required to work even on the weekends if necessary to keep their venture on track.
3. Being your own boss requires self-discipline. If you are employed then you have a boss watching over you making sure you finish your daily tasks. If you are your own boss you need to plan your workday and have the discipline to deal with all distractions. This is especially true if you are working from home where family members can be a huge distraction
The Internet offers many ways to make money and for newbie entrepreneurs, there are myriad options for starting an online business. You can start a business online with little upfront investment and grow it from there but how successful will it be and will it grow from a small business to a full-time income and above depends on many things. Here are some things that newbie online entrepreneurs should pay attention to before starting their online business venture:
1. You need an upfront investment to finance your startup. Generally speaking, online businesses require less investment than traditional brick and mortar businesses but still, you will need to invest your capital in the beginning. You have to keep in mind that some time will pass before you see money rolling and your business becomes profitable so you will need to plan realistically and have an adequate budget in place before you even begin.
2. Create a brand that your customers will trust. People usually want to know who they are buying from and that is why leaving a good impression on your customers is vital for the success of your business. The best way to do this is by meeting and exceeding their expectations. You will not be the only one selling products they want so always strive to offer more and better than your competition.
3. Choose something you actually enjoy doing. This is probably the surest path to success. If you love what you’re doing then your work will not be very hard for you and that is the best motivator to keep on going through all the difficulties and obstacles that may and will appear.
4. Make a plan. There is an old saying if you fail to plan you plan to fail. In the beginning, you must have some plan about how to start and grow your online business. You must have at least some basic outline of your business, what products and services will you promote, your target audience, and your competition.
Research and find out if your niche is profitable
Thanks to the internet today entrepreneurs are not limited by the location they live in and operate their business. Now becomes of the internet their business is global and the whole world is their market. This offers more opportunities but also the competition is very strong which will certainly not make things easier for online business owners. Because of this online entrepreneurs should do proper research and find out if their chosen niche is profitable.
See if there is a demand for the product or service you will promote. If your product is not in demand and there is no interest for then you should reconsider choosing another product you could focus on. If on the other hand there is a demand and the demand is rising then you are on the right track to having a very profitable online business. The next issue is to research is the supply. If your product is in demand but the market is saturated with supply then probably there is no room for your business to grow in the future. If your product is in demand and there is not much competition then that is a situation that could guarantee success for your business venture.
In a situation where there is a large number of competitors and some of them have already established on the market then making a breakthrough in the market and taking a share of their customers is a very difficult task for new startups. In this situation, newbie online entrepreneurs should focus on finding a segment within the niche that is not yet covered by other participants, or in other words find a niche within a niche.
When you find your target niche within a niche your efforts should be focused there to build your brand and customer base because there is little sense in going against established businesses who have their loyal customers. However, just finding a niche within a niche is not enough you must strive to provide value to your target market to turn them into regular buyers and loyal customers.
What to include in a business plan for your online business.
Every business startup needs a plan and online business is no different. Just like the old saying goes if you fail to plan you plan to fail. To be successful creating a plan is the first step to a successful online business. Creating a plan should not be too complicated and go into every single tiny detail. A good business plan should have:
1. Executive summary – give a summary of your business and provide details that will be interesting to your investors.
2. Company description – provide a profile of the company, employees, vision and mission and goals.
3. Products and services – explain what products and services you will be selling and what are your advantages or unique selling points compared to the competition.
4. Market analysis – provide details about your target market and explain that there are enough potential customers for the business venture o be profitable
5. Marketing and sales – this is going to detail how do you intend to promote your products, advertising strategies to reach potential customers, and how to convert them into regular clients.
6. Management and organization – in this section describe the structure of your business organization. Are you a single employee or there are others, their skills, experience, and education?
7. Funding request – online business requires low initial investment and probably many entrepreneurs will not need additional funding apart from their own money. If however funding is necessary this is the section of the business plan where to provide the amount you will need and how this money will be invested.
8. Financial projection – Explain how the revenues in the first five years of business will provide return on the investment.
9 Appendix – include some documents to supplement your business plan.