Starting an Online Business – 3 Tools & Practices to Get Going
If you want to know how to start an online business, you are not alone. Looking to get out of the rat race, thousands of new people yearn to start a business every day, and millions more seek help as they try to take off on the right ground. In our previous article about how to start a business, 5 essential steps before the launch, we laid out a set of knowledge and basic setups that need to be in place before starting with such an endeavor.
Starting a new business these days should be an easy task to do. Depending on your chosen scope, the information and tools to get creative are there, ready to go. Yet, the very act of choosing seems daunting. Fear no more! Next, three tools and practices for today’s “new normal” economy that will help you get going.
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1. Formulate your legal framework
Nobody wants to deal with lawyers. Unfortunately, like it or not, we live in a litigious society. Consider hiring or using the right legal tools to have your stuff tied up before rushing anything live out there! Write up your business Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policies, and any applicable Disclaimers.
Termsfeed is an excellent tool that will help you save tons of money and time on this purpose. For a reasonable fee, you’ll be able to generate the right policies and legal documents for your company. They will also send notifications regarding your created documents, automating any required updates following current government policies.
Your trademarks and patents are another critical legal aspect. No one wants to see their original idea stolen. Even though you are somehow protected by law in terms of copyright, always think the extra mile. Take additional precautions to secure the most critical asset: your business name. LegalZoom is a great tool to seek help on this matter.
2. Plan your marketing strategy
Although it is often misunderstood, marketing isn’t only the art of advertising itself, but also the study of the competition. So if you believe you’ll be the only one in town offering what you do, think twice. Competition is here to stay, and I pray to God it will. If not, either your company will be accused of monopoly practices (search what’s going on with Amazon, Google, and Facebook right now), or we won’t see more innovation in the years ahead.
If you haven’t, start building your digital footprint right away. Irrespective of your business type, launch your internet presence on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Not only because it will make your brand engage organically with your potential customers, but also because it’ll be a great source of backlinks to your future website. Having backlinks in today’s digital world means the all-mighty Google will see your website respectably and, therefore, help your business rank better in search results.
Be responsible in your marketing strategy, and always consider ethical practices. Any shortcut to this strategy and your business will be severely punished, if not sadly sued in court. Developing a long relationship with customers is a slow process that cannot be rushed. Instead, focus on building a great product. Then, naturally, great and loyal customers will follow.
3. Build your website (and everything around it)
Building your business around a website is the key ingredient to success in today’s economy. Look what has happened with Amazon, Walmart, and all of those big retailers who already had established a robust online presence up to date. Now think about those who ignored this?
At this point, you might be wondering, gosh, how much is this going to cost me! The answer is, with the proper guidance (which I know is hard to find these days), it shouldn’t be that expensive. For technology experts, building a business these days is super easy. Regrettably, not that much for non-technical professionals who are often ripped off by unethical behaviors.
The good news is, there are fantastic tools out there that require almost none to zero programming skills, and with excellent support staff to help you in successfully achieving this crucial step. So, depending on your technical skills and budget, I’d recommend choosing accordingly in this order:
- Novice: Wix. It will help you a ton, no matter what type of business you run. Several monthly packages and yearly to save even more. It will handle everything from managing a product gallery or service offerings, booking appointments, running a small online delivery business, and accepting online payments.
- Intermediate: Website Builder by Google my Business, Squarespace. These two are excellent choices, not only because they will allow people with some extent of programming knowledge to adapt things faster, but it’ll help you save time by not implementing from scratch!
- Expert: Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce. When it comes to implementing a whole internet business logic, reusing existing components, you’ll find out these two guys are top of their class in creating an online business right from the bottom. Both in terms of budget and functionalities will be a great addition to your corporate strategy.
The. NET-Azure and AWS frameworks are noteworthy as well! But, in my opinion, these are remarkable frameworks for developing highly-specific technical components. Unfortunately, at this point, I see them more geared towards implementing back-end processing than UX-tested web applications (SEO, etc.) And this will be their foreseeable future unless they decide to cut back on costs for the e-commerce sector.
Please consider the three tools and practices here explained in general. Always do your research. Study each subject further or seek professional help to expand your knowledge around these areas. Once you have a clear goal in mind, the rest should come with hard work. Just remember to have fun and keep learning!
Last update: February 8th, 2021. One of the most common questions aspiring entrepreneurs ask me is how to start a business. Unfortunately, many of them fail before launch, and with good reason. It is hard to know what to do when there is no experience, either too much or vague information, and virtually zero clear-pragmatic...
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