How to start a small business online should not be difficult in this day and age – but to do it with impact, you need to do it better and smarter than everyone else. OK, so how do you do that?
Building on learnings from nearly 25 years in marketing, let me share the following 4 tips to help you on your journey.
Your small online business starts with your brand!
Ok, but what if you don’t have a brand?
So I’m not talking about KitKat or Coca-Cola (one of which I used to work on btw); but your new brand. It’s not enough to have a business idea, you also need to consider building your brand. Branding is about consistency and creating a connection with your audience. Every time you interact with your target market, you should add value and consistently build your brand message. Your message is simply what you stand for, your values, and your position in the market. Ultimately the reason anyone would buy what you are offering.
So when you first came up with your business idea, you naturally believed what you were offering was good enough that you could use it to build an online business. What was the reason? This is the essence of your brand. Build from here. I am not going into how to build a brand strategy in this post, there is lots of information online, or please get in touch with me and I can share. But think about your brand and your connection with your audience, as that is the starting point for how to start a small business online – or indeed any business!
Data drives the world
Are we living in the information age, the knowledge age, the technological age? Whichever it is, data drives them all – and data should drive your decisions. You are running a business now, so you need to know your numbers (something I cover in this other post), but you also need to think about all your data in terms of:
- Your website eg bounce rates
- Customer data – which you can use to draw insights from
- Your processes
- Your marketing initiatives
It is about understanding what drives your business. How can you better understand your customers – and what they are doing online – to advance your marketing efforts further? If you are using paid ads, what is the return, and which ones are most efficient? Is your ideal customer actually who you initially thought it was? Who is buying your product – and do you need to change your targeting? Ultimately the data will decide, so use it to inform your business decisions.
If you want to use one of the most powerful sources of free traffic, YouTube, then check out this post which gives you the tools to do it!
Do what you are great at – outsource the rest!
This could be a whole post on its own! If you are thinking of how to start a small business online, it may seem daunting because of all the things you need to do! There are loads of them, you are a financial controller, product inventor, marketing specialist, social media manager, head of logistics, sales director, manager, and executive, and the list goes on!
Ultimately though you need to get recompensed appropriately for your time. Now let’s assume you are amazing at product invention, finances, and logistics. If you are, I bet you love working on those things. However, you probably are then not as good at other things, like marketing, sales, and social media. OR the opposite might be true. If you want to be successful you will need to find a way to be great at everything. So you could learn and spend months or years building up your skills in other areas, or simply outsource and get a virtual assistant! The benefits are huge. They are already an expert in their field, so there is no learning curve or time delay. Do not underestimate this. It could bring forward your income streams rapidly. Eg you are great at marketing and sales but have no product. If you outsource someone to create the product, you can then get on with what you do bestselling it!
The second benefit after time, is quality and satisfaction. Ok, that might be two benefits in one! If you concentrate on what you are great at – and this is the core of your brand – you will deliver it at a high quality and have immense job satisfaction. Outsourcing the other parts means they are also delivered to standard, and as you are not as good at them, you do not enjoy them as much either (and vice versa).
Do what you do best.
My final tip? How to start a small business online?
Grab a coach or mentor and follow their model.
This is probably the fast track to success!
If someone has already found out the success formula online, and they are willing to show you the way so you can apply it yourself, why wouldn’t you?
Think about your journey to work. Do you go the quickest easiest way? Do you go down the straight road, that is laid out for you? With obstacles and intersections marked out for you on the route? Does it take you to where the signs are pointed? Yes of course it does. But what was there before someone found that route? This is what it is like to have a coach or mentor – they not only know the route, but they have traveled it many times. Your coach will know what to watch out for when to turn this way or that, and what other resources you will need on your journey!