Business Startup Lab (PDF eBook)
– Uncover the secrets to starting your own profitable business without any experience whatsoever!
– Find out which steps you should take before you ever open your doors for customers or you will almost certainly fail miserably when you do!
– Discover which legal steps you need to take in order to ensure your company isn’t destroyed by these costly mistakes!
– Learn about the best payment processors for any type of business. Save HUGE money time and time again!
Starting An Online Business: Today is a Perfect Time
by Gerry Lacuarta
If you’re thinking of starting a new business online, or bringing your existing business to the web (internet), there is no better time than today.
Online sales are an all-time high; more and more people are doing their shopping online and even more people are paying for information and education online.
Just consider the things people are buying online:
- Food and groceries
- Appliances and electronics
- Clothing, shoes and accessories
- Medicine and supplements
- Beauty and grooming products
- Weight loss and dieting products
- eBooks, music, movies and other downloadables
- Online training, education and coaching
- Memberships and access to exclusive content
- Data, photos and even phone numbers and addresses
My point is: You can virtuall sell ANYTHING online.
If you sell digital goods or services, then you can instantly open shop without the need for an office or a physical store. There is no need to keep stocks and inventory.
Anybody can start a business online with very minimal start up costs. All you need is a domain name, web hosting account and a website.
In fact, you can start doing business for free, with TIME being your only investment. There are entrepreneurs who have started businesses on social media sites such as Facebook, taking advantage of the free pages and free traffic on those sites.
If you want to sell physical products, you can use free or premium shopping cart software. You may even sell physical products without keeping an inventory by using an business model known as “dropshipping” where a third party company — usually the wholesaler or manufacturer — will ship the items to your customer. All you need to do is market the product on your store and pay for the wholesale price. You mark up the product price and keep the profits.
We have just scratched the surface of what’s possible. There are literally thousands of types of businesses you can build online, but we will only focus on the main ones on this page, so as not to overwhelm you.
Here are the popular types of businesses online:
- Online Retail Store – you sell goods (digital or physical) in online store. Customers order and pay online
- Membership Site – you sell access to your exclusive content or community, protected by a login system
- Software – you sell your software either as a one-time payment of software as service requiring subscription payment
- Online Training/Course – you sell your training or course, usually delivered in videos but may also be text and audio, or a combination
- eBook or Information Product – you sell ebooks, reports, and other types of files as downloadables
- Affiliate Site – you don’t sell anything, but rather you receive a commission when you refer a lead or buyer to merchant site
- Lead Generation – you collect leads and sell these leads to businesses
- Services – you sell services through your website or other websites
How To Start A Business Online
All businesses start with an IDEA. Have you finally crafted the business idea in your mind and you are ready to finally launch a business.
While it’s exciting to launch and start selling, you may want to do some research first.
Some things you need to find out:
- Is there an existing market for my product, service or idea? If there is somebody else selling the same thing, that is a good sign that there is a market. Competition should not be avoided, but instead should be studied as part of your research
- Where and how are people buying these same products and services?
- How are the same products and services being delivered by existing competition?
- What are the keywords used in the search engines to find your product, service or idea? Is there enough search volume and what are the most competitive keywords?
- How large is the audience that’s interested in your product, service or topic in the social networks? Use Facebook’s Audience Insights to find out.
- How much is the competition paying for advertising for those keywords and audiences? You need to know the potential costs of advertising and which keywords and audiences are most sought after
Determine Your Unique Value Proposition
A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you. In a nutshell, value proposition is a clear statement that. explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy), delivers specific benefits (quantified value).
Create a unique value proposition that will set you apart from the competition. You may outdo the competition by offering more value or by offering something that is lacking in the competition.
Once you have created your UVP, you can then plan the marketing messages that you will be sending out in your marketing campaigns through social media, advertising, and content on your website.
Establishing Your Web Presence: Create Your Website and Start Selling
There are a number of steps to do this, depending on whether you want to do business on your own domain (brand) or piggyback on established markets/sites such as Facebook, Amazon, eBay, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social networks.
I highly recommend having your own website on your own domain, so you have have full ownership of your content and total control of your business. While it’s fine to have a business built entirely on third party sites mentioned above, placing all your eggs on one basket, so to speak, is not a viable long-term business arrangement. Your account can be suspended on any of these sites or they may change their policies and affect the way you do business.
Here are steps I recommend to establish your web presence:
- Register a domain name – I highly recommend Namecheap. If you are more interested in looking for good names that have expired you can also look at the Namecheap Marketplace or the GoDaddy Auctions
- Sign up for Web Hosting – I highly recommend GreenGeeks web hosting for shared hosting or Digital Ocean’s Cloud VPS if you need more control
- Build your site, store/members area and salespages – WordPress is the most popular website software (content management system or CMS), and unless you have special requirements, WordPress should be enough to power a basic website with blogging capabilities. Add an ecommerce store, salespages or memberships to WordPress to allow people to buy and consume your products or services,
After you have built your site, including the pages where you will sell and deliver your products and services, you are now ready to accept internet traffic! This is the time to promote!
Here are the steps:
- Build social profiles – It’s important that you build your brand on popular social networks, namely Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr. These are the most popular ones. Find the other social networks that are in your particular niche. As much as possible, register the same username on these sites that reflect your branding on your main site.
- Optimize for search engines – Using keyword research, optimize your pages for the search engines and start building quality and relevant links to your site
- Create useful and engaging content – Using articles, videos, graphics and blog posts, start engaging your audience and site visitors so they begin to trust you and recommend you and your site to their networks. Post content that will solve their problems, entertain them and generally provide a lot of value to them. In turn, they will keep coming back to your site and share your posts in social media
- Advertise – Use cheap advertising on YouTube and Facebook to drive targetted traffic to your site and offers
- Partner with others – seek other entrepreneurs and businesses that share common goals and interests and offer partnerships and cross promotions
- Recruit Affiliates
- Tap the Media and Press
- Speak and Write – start your own podcasts, Google Hangouts and write articles on industry blogs and publications to spread your brand and message
- Give you free stuff and hold contests
- Write a book
Capture and Nurture Leads
When people start visiting your site from your promotions, you should not expect them to buy from you the first time. For this reason, you should capture their names and email addresses as LEADS. You can do this by having a sign up form on your site that offers them your newsletter, special offers/discounts or a free download as a “lead magnet.”
You can present these “optin forms” on your site’s sidebar, header, footer, in a pop up or in its “own squeeze page.”
Retarget and Remarket!
Once you start receiving traffic, you will soon realize that not all visitors are staying on your site. This results in a bounce, and the percentage of people leaving your site after they land on a page is called the bounce rate. You can still market to these lost visitors by using the remarketing and retargeting tools of Facebook and Google’s advertising network