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:
- Trying to get an existing business or product that’s working well offline into the online market. Or,
- 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.
We have created a couple of resources to help you with these. Check out our Business Name Brainstorm Workbook to help you choose a name and avoid common pitfalls and our Simple Steps Workbook to walk you through registering a website address and getting your website started.
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:
- Have an idea and want to turn it into a reality.
- Are exploring ideas for how to start an online business and types of businesses.
To help you create some focus for your ideas and consider how you might want to setup your business to best suit you, we have created our Business Focus Workbook
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.