The online business creation process.
The start of the journey can be the most creative, fun and energised parts of the online business journey.
It can also be a stumbling block as you discover how many decisions, how much research and the sheer quantity of information there is to wade through. What don’t I know that I should?
For me, the online business creation process is fun. But I have been through it, many times, both myself and helping others.
Creation happens at many parts of the business journey. If its not your strength, this might be an area you reach out for help with. Or you just keep the online business startup process really simple.
Russell Brunson talks about “creating new offers” as the favourite part of his online journey. “It’s one of the things that I enjoy most and keeps me excited to wake up each day,” he says. Russell is the founder of Clickfunnels an online sales and marketing platform. He has connected his passion for sales with a tech platform that is used by many entrepreneurs to set up their sales platform.
I love the moment where you have a flash of inspiration. You have spotted an opportunity, a potential niche, or a problem you can solve.
There’s so much energy.
You know you have something of value to offer and you think you have identified a market.
I then do a couple of things…
- Quick research: is anyone else doing it and are they doing it well? Is there a potential audience? If the idea still has merit…
- Sketch an outline on paper, fleshing out the details a little bit, the start of a plan. If want to go deeper I will work on my value proposition. This helps me create focus and also establish ways to test the idea. I use the Strategyzer platform to help map this out.
- Depending on the test I plan to do to validate the idea, I might start brainstorming business or product names, some people say this is wayyyyy too early, but I like getting a domain registered, an outline done and be ready to test the concept as quickly as possible.
- 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 something together in Canva for the test.
- More research into my audience so I know how to connect with them and do and effective test. This also feeds back into the value proposition to develop it further.
Depending on the type of test you are running and the extent to which you want to create an online presence for the test you may:
- Establish initial branding
- Get social media pages setup.
- Get an initial one-page website or funnel setup ready to test.
- Get an email marketing platform or sequence setup.
- Develop an initial product or lead magnet to test the interest.
- Start testing by getting traffic from different sources to gauge interest in whether your idea/hypothesis was correct.
The online business creation process can be done in many ways.
There is no ‘right’ way. The type and style of businesses are too varied to be that definitive. But getting from idea to test, and validation as quickly as possible, with a minimum of resources (time and energy) is important.
At the start of an online business, there are many opportunities and ideas.
Getting your online business creation from idea to market validation
Market validation is the process of determining whether your product is of interest to a given target market. Market validation involves a series of customer interviews with people in your target market, and it almost always takes place before you’ve made a significant investment in your product/concept… By simply engaging with real people and asking the right questions, you can confirm if your idea solves a problem, who your potential buyers are, and ultimately whether or not there’s a market for your product. – Jim Semak, Lean Product Planning.
Essentially, the question you want to answer is:
How many people want this product and will they spend enough on the product that I can start a meaningful business?
Customer interviews is one way to do this. Testing market interest through paid online ads is another, it can also help you determine the volume of people interested in a topic, thanks to the data that platforms like Google and Facebook hold on all their users. You will need an online presence fo the second option though, so an initial validation through customer interviews can be useful before investing time and resources.
To determine how many people want the product, you will need to do some market research.
There are many ways to do the market research. We won’t go into depth on this here, but here are some tools you can use:
Will they spend enough on the product so that I can start a meaningful business?
Test your idea / hypothesis.
Customer interviews, allow you to further validate your idea before you test it by setting up an online presence. It can also guide you in better understanding your customer. This understanding can be used to establish your initial brand and online presence.
Setup an initial online presence, and send traffic through paid adverts.
This is where you can test pricing and interest using A/B testing. You will need to have initial branding and copywriting to make sure your product / business has an appearance of legitimacy. This is important. If there is no trust, they will not engage and definitely won’t give you money!
From start to viable online business
At the start, your first idea might not be the right one. The good news will be that you have learned through it. Build on the experience for the next one.
If you are able to go from idea to validation quickly, then you won’t have expended an insurmountable amount of resources to achieve validation.
Initially, you may test, pivot, test, pivot, develop a new idea, test many times over. Each time learning more and getting more focused and defined in the right direction. Be prepared to walk away. Its best to fail early and be prepared to start afresh then slog for many months and years, investing time, energy and money in the wrong direction.
Check out this case study of someone that went from online business idea to validation in under a month.
Below is a diagram of what your early idea and validation process may look like, moving to your more defined and focused efforts over time. This was inspired by the folks at Strategyzer. The important take home is: be prepared to fail! Not every idea will succeed, but each idea gets you one step closer.