Published : 15 February 2017
There's no doubting the fact that online businesses are booming, and are filling a very real demand from an ever increasing range of customers.
eCommerce sales are projected to increase 21% by 2018 (PFS June 2016), with online sales exceeding $20 billion for the first time last year.
However, despite these positive statistics, there are some important factors to consider if you are planning to start your own online business.
Good Planning is Essential
And 'planning' is the keyword here. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Will I be running some, or all of my business online?
- Will my e-business be supported by a bricks-and-mortar store?
- Will you be starting an online business with your existing business for sale?
- Do I have the IT skills needed to make an e-business successful? Or at least access to a reliable source of IT support?
- Is my product or service suited to online sales? How will you process your online business sales?
Your answers to these questions will have a direct effect on how you set-up and run your e-business, and whether it will be successful.
Know Your Market
One of the main reasons online businesses fail is not lack of enthusiasm or ideas, but lack of research. Your product or service is not the key factor here - it's your potential market.
Whatever you're thinking of selling, first investigate the potential demand. Look online to see what people are searching for; do your keyword/SEO research, and check out your potential competitors.
Is your product filling a unique niche, and if so, is that market big enough to be profitable? If your product or service is also available elsewhere, what can you do to make yours the #1 choice?
Establish a Solid SEO Strategy
Success in business is all about meeting a demand, and doing it well. That means you must focus much of your energy on creating an e-commerce website that provides an incredible user experience. It needs to be easy to find, and simple to navigate.
E-commerce success is very dependent on achieving the best search engine ranking. And one of the best ways to achieve that, is through having a responsive, mobile-friendly website, filled with high quality, original content.
Be honest with yourself; if you are not an IT/SEO expert, get one onboard from Day 1. The success of your online business will rely heavily on a well researched SEO / online marketing strategy.
Reap the Rewards
Follow-up is key. Prompt your customers to take the next step with a clearly defined Call-to-Action, and respond to all comment and enquiries immediately.
An online business offers many advantages, such as cost savings in rent and staffing; 24/7 accessibility to customers worldwide; greater flexibility and, of course, the opportunity to work from anywhere.
Plan well, and heed good advice, and you could soon be on your way to enjoying the lifestyle business you always dreamed of.
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