Category Archives for Start an Online Business

Creating business goals

Setting and creating business goals when you start an online business

Setting and creating business goals when you start an online business helps to create focus for your online business. They also allow you to establish the critical strategies and actions needed to achieve your goals.

Having clear, well-defined online business goals can also:

  • help your business grow
  • clarify your sales and marketing objectives
  • clearly define the direction your business is heading in.

When you are just getting started, business goal setting is especially important. Once you have started your online business, checking back in on your business goals regularly allows you to:

  • consider whether you are on track to achieving them
  • look at what needs improving to meet your goals, and also
  • whether your goals need revising.

Creating SMART Goals for your online business

SMART goals are commonly used. They mean your business goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Targeted

You can learn more about setting SMART goals for your online business here.

A SMART Goal examples could be: Achieve a net profit of $2000 per month in the first year of business (by December 2020).

Instead of  simply ‘I want to grow my business to achieve a profit’.

By including a specific, measurable, achievable and relistic target you create a much ore focused goal that clearly states what you plan to achieve.

Creating a business plan to set your business goals

If you take the important step of writing a business plan, your business goals are created as part of that document.

Goal writing does not have to be overly complicated, neither does creating a business plan – however they can make a very big difference to the overall success of your online business. They help you to understand the actions needed to achieve your business goals and set out the strategies, tools and tactics you will use.

For example – we discuss in How to increase online sales in your business that one of the 3 ways to increase sales is to increase the number of sales made by existing customers. An important aspect of achieving repeat sales from customers is that hey have a positive experience the first time! So, improving or maintaining overall customer satisfaction may be one of your business goals, that ultimately helps you to achieve your profit goals.

One method of writing business plans that has been really popular in recent times is the Lean Business Plan which is a business plan on a page. You may want more detail than that, if so there are many great free resources available for creating a business plan.

An online business has many similarities with a traditional business and having a budget, sales and marketing plan and business plan are three things that are essential. Together these documents will give you your sales targets, marketing objectives and business goals – along with the budget that will help you to achieve them without going broke in the process!

Whether your end goal is to sell a business and start the next one, or to build a business and team that scales and grows over time and becomes your full time living, these strategic documents are important guides on your path to business success.

 

 

 

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Creating a business plan for online business

Creating a business plan for online business is as important as it is in any business.

Your business plan is your guide to success.

It defines:

  • What your business goals are.
  • Who your potential customers are, where you will find them and how you will reach them
  • Who your competitors are
  • What your sales targets are
  • Your budget

Its also your forward plan… detailing the strategies, tactics and actions you will focus on to meet your online business goals.

These are all crucial things to know and understand.

The clarity it will give you to take meaningful steps in the right direction is important. Too many steps down the wrong path can be expensive and time consuming. So, perhaps a better way to look at your business plan is that it is your map. It will help you navigate your online business journey.

Once you have a business plan you can set it in motion. It doesn’t need to be a 100 page masterpiece. It can be very simple.

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The online business creation process

I don’t know about you but for me, the online business creation process is one of the most fun parts of the entire business journey.

Creation happens at many parts of the business journey. Russell Brunson talks about “creating new offers” as the favourite part of his online journey. “Its one of the things that I enjoy most and keeps me excited to wake up each day” Russell says. Russel is the founder of Clickfunnels which is a an online sales and marketing platform so that makes sense. He has connected his passion for sales with a tech platform that is used by many entreprenerurs to setup their sales platform.

Personally, I love the moment where you have a flash of inspiration. You have spitted an opportunity, a potential niche or problem you can solve.

I then do a couple of things…

  1. Quick research: is anyone else doing it and are they doing it well? Is there a potential audience? If the idea still has merit…
  2. Sketch an outline of my idea on paper, fleshing out the details a little bit, the start of a plan.
  3. Start brainstorming names, some people say this is wayyyyy too early, but I like getting a business name and domain registered, an outline done and be ready to test the concept as quickly as possible!
  4. Branding. What can I say, I am a marketer and I know a coherent brand makes you much more memorable… it can also be evolved so I pull sonething together in Canva for the test.
  5. More research into my audience so I know how to connect with them.
  6. Get my social media accounts setup.
  7. Get my website setup ready to test.
  8. Get my email marketing platform setuo.
  9. Develop the products
  10. Create the content and finish off social media, initial email marketing campaigbs and website
  11. Start testing by getting traffic from different a sources to the site to test…

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Starting an online business in 2020

Starting an online business in 2020 is going to present new opportunities as technology delivers.

There will also be challenges as the Internet gets busier and busier everyday.

Tools such as AI will allow businesses to gain better insights and understanding of their customers and successfully using these to connect with your customers will be more important than ever.

Lead generation will stay a key focus for online business, as will optimising conversions and delivering customer satisfaction so that clients stay with them.

I challenge people to consider reducing the amount of copy and content they put out and focus on quality. Ever clicked on an article only to discover there is 2hrs of reading to get through to get the good stuff? Sigh. Its not that you are unwilling to make the effort… its that time is precious.

So, what do I encourage every business owner to do this year? Keep it powerful, keep it high quality and value their customers time and money.  Finally, ensure customer satisfaction stays high.

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Creating a website for your business

Creating a website for your business.

One of the first steps of starting an online business is creating a website for your business. There is a step before that though, because you will need to know what you plan to call the business.  So, it all starts with a business name. Then a website address. Then getting your website built.

If you are ready to plunge on in, then check out the links below to all the essentials you will need including:

  • Domain name (your website address)
  • Website hosting (if you are building a website on WordPress). We use Siteground and have for years because they have great performance, incredible tech support for when things go wrong and make it really simple to get WordPress setup ready to start building out your website.
  • Shopify (if you want a fully hosted, ecommerce solution)
  • Email hosting with Google Apps or Microsoft Office (so you can have an email address like me@mywebsite) or for a free option, just create a Gmail account.

DIY Creating a website for your business

If you plan to DIY creating website for your business then there will be learning involved. That learning can then help you manage your website later, or it can be time spent that you don’t get back.  The answer to DIY or not to DIY is often based in your budget (which we covered in How much does it cost to start an online business?). It can also be down to your technical ability or ability to learn and pick up new things.  There are certainly a range of platforms that make it simpler these days such as SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress and Shopify but sometimes the costs in different plaforms only become apparent later.  For instance, through apps that you need to purchase to get the functionality you want.

Getting Expert help creating a website for your business

Depending on where you are on the time versus money equation, and also your technical ability, skills and experience – getting expert help can be really sensible.  Especially for creating a website for your business. There is a lot moving parts with a website that really works and while we make it as simple for you as possible in our guides. There is a reality that it just isn’t for everyone and sometimes, strong foundations means getting your website setup by an expert.

 

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How much does it cost to start an online business?

Every online business owner needs to consider how much does it cost to start an online business.

Knowing how much it costs and setting your budget is important. Be realistic about whether you will have the money available to start an online business and launch it to your target market successfully.

Starting an online business can have much lower start up costs compared to a bricks and mortar retailer. But, it is not free and a plan and budget are essential for success.

Costs vary wildly depending on how deep your products are, how competitive the market, what type of online business you plan to start and also whether you plan to do most of the work yourself. If you plan to outsource to website developers, bookkeepers, digital marketing agencies and have virtual assistants keep everything running then your costs will increase significantly.

Cost to start an online business

  • Domain name (website address) – $20-50 / year. Depending on what you want (a .com and / or a .com.au). Also additional extras such as domain privacy so that you don’t get hit by spammers from day one. Some domain companies also charge you extra for setting up forwarding to your email hosting through Google Apps, Micorosft 365, etc. (see below).
  • Email address and hosting – $7 to 15/mth. This can be a free gmail account, or you can pay for Google Apps which allows you to use your domain in your email address, i.e. me@mywebsite.com. Microsoft 365 is also a good option as it also provides the Microsoft products such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel.
  • Website hosting (where your website is stored) –  $200/yr to $1000./yr.  This is a very big variable as it depends on whether you use a platform like WordPress which is free. WordPress is free but your site still needs to be store on webiste hosting and we use Siteground for this. Alternartively there are services like Shopify which is an ecommerce platform that takes care of the hosting and the tech for you but will potentially cost you more later as there are ongoing monthly costs and also paid apps, etc. you use.
  • Business registration – you will want to register your business at some point to ensure you are trading legally, in Australia that is through the Australian Business Registry.
  • Marketing and advertising – this where the budget starts to really vary, some people are happy to start spending $3000/mth on online advertising from day 1, others want to use the power of social media, their networks, email, etc.

Other Platforms and Tools

You will likely also need are email marketing platform, social media management tools, and accounting software (for example).  These can all greatly impact your budget. If you plan to start on a shoestring you may avoid a lot of these costs initially until you have proven your idea works.

Getting started with your online business

Our resources page has links to the tools and resoures we have used when helping businesses get started online and to manage our own online businesses.

You may also want to check out our article on How to Start An Online Business or check out our workbook on Six Ways to Start Your Online Business.

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How to Start An Online Business

First steps and ideas on how to start an online business

If you are starting your research into how to start an online business, you may be staring down one of these two options:

  1. Trying to get an existing business or product that’s working well offline into the online market. Or,
  2. Looking to setup an online business from scratch.

There are three essential things that any business needs to operate online:

  • A business name
  • A website address or domain name (unless you plan to only sell through a marketplace such as Ebay, Gumtree, Udemy, etc.)
  • Email address

Without these three things, its very hard to operate an online business.

There are other logical things such as:

  • A way to take payments
  • A way to obtain customers (i.e. advertising, through social media, email marketing)

We have created a resource page with links to tools that can help you get these sorted.

If you want to start an online business from scratch, its likely you either:

  1. Have an idea and want to turn it into a reality.
  2. Are exploring ideas for how to start an online business and types of businesses.

Online business models to consider when starting an online business:

Online business models to choose from when starting an online business:

  • Affiliate Marketing – where your online business centres around being paid to promote other people’s products and services.  If someone purchases a product or service they first heard about through you, you can receive a commission.
  • Print-On-Demand – this is where you produce products such as mugs, tshirst or other goods that are only produced when the customer orders them. The order goes to a Print On Demand supplier to produce the customer’s product and ships directly to them. Ogo is an example of an Australian company that offers Print on Demand Services.
  • Selling Digital Products or Marketing Services – whether it is a course, consulting, coaching or an actual digital product this online business model means that you aren’t selling physical goods.
  • Drop Shipping – This online business is where you list items for sale in an online store and when the customer orders it, you place an order with your supplier who ships it directly to the customer. No need to hold stock or manage the shipping / packaging element!
  • Fulfillment By Amazon – This online business model is where you purchase products and market them through the Amazon store, when a customer purchases the product, Amazon picks, packs and does the shipping (fulfilment) for you.
  • SAAS – Software As A Service – If you are a techie or developer this maybe an option for you as an online business. Types of SAAS include Xero (SAAS accounting software), Mobile Apps or a Plugin for WordPress.

Each of these different options for starting an online business suit different skill sets, experience and preferences.

 

 

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