As of 2021, there’s an estimated 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide. That’s well over 27 percent of the global population. Even more impressively, the online business space is expanding exponentially. By 2040, an unprecedented 95 percent of all purchases will be made online. An increasing number of entrepreneurs are taking notice of the lucrative digital market space and launching online businesses every day. If you’ve been dreaming of doing the same but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a comprehensive starting an online business checklist to guide you through the process.
Table of Contents
Decide on a Suitable Business Name
One of the most important steps in managing an online business is to choose a befitting name for it. The name of your business name is one of the most powerful aspects of your brand. It’s the foundation of your trademark design, which is critical if you ever want to sell or franchise your online store.
It’s impossible for customers to find you, talk to others about you, or recommend you to their friends if you don’t have a name. Your name defines you and what you offer. It has the power to draw investors to you as well.
So, what makes a good business name? You need to make sure that your name is distinctive. That means coming up with a strong name that stands out from the competition and avoids confusion among your target audience.
You also want to make sure that your name is authentic in that it accurately represents what you stand for as a brand. That doesn’t necessarily mean describing everything you do. The idea is to have a name that captures the essence of who you are.
It’s also essential to come up with a name that’s memorable and enduring. Ensure that the name is defensible from a legal perspective and that you can obtain full legal rights to it.
Get a Business Domain
The next step in opening an online store is to register a business domain. Your business domain name is the address of your website. It’s the first impression customers get of your online brand.
Without a business domain, customers won’t be able to find your front door virtually. Choose a business domain name that engages, inspires, and adds credibility to your brand.
Ascertain that the domain name you choose is free before you begin to file the paperwork.
Set Up a Business Email Address
As an eCommerce store, email is going to be a central part of how you communicate with your clients. That’s why you need to open one as you start a business. Ideally, you want your business email to be the same as your name as a brand or to at least contain your business name.
Email is also at the center of many businesses’ digital marketing, and it’s easy to see why. With email marketing, you get returns of $42 for every $1 spent. There’s hardly a marketing strategy whose ROI is anywhere near these figures.
The conversion rates are also much higher with email marketing. While social media marketing has a conversion rate of 1 percent, email marketing has a 2.3 percent conversion rate.
Validate Your Business Idea
Now that you have a business name, domain, and email address, it’s time to find out whether your business idea is viable. Take some time to do market research. Meet up with some of your potential customers physically to find out what their pain points are before you plunge into the market.
Some of the things you want to find out include what problems they’re facing, as well as what they do and don’t need. Determine their expectations, including how much they’re willing to spend on a product or service like yours. Find out what would make them choose you over others, as well as what you can do to better their lives.
Define Your Buyer Persona
This step involves determining the demographic you want to target as a business. When you’re clear about your buyer persona, it becomes easier to market your products or services more accurately.
Try to be as specific as possible while defining your buyer persona. Ask such questions as:
- Who are they?
- What is their age?
- What is their occupation?
- Where do they live?
- What are their main pain points?
- How do they get information?
A clear understanding of your buyer persona helps you remain relevant in your efforts to engage them.
Choose a Suitable Business Model
Deciding on a business model for your eCommerce site is a critical affair. Your eCommerce business model will generally determine how you run things in your company.
Your business model will determine what tax laws you have to observe, among other things. So, what business models can you choose from? Here are four top options:
- Business to Business (B2B)
- Business to Consumer (B2C)
- Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C)
- Business to Government (B2G)
Decide which model fits your needs perfectly and identify the best delivery framework for it.
Create a Business Website
When planning to sell products online, you need to choose between using an already established marketing platform or creating your own business website. Each option has its strengths and drawbacks. However, any entrepreneur who’s truly serious about running an online business should own a business website.
Start by identifying a great web host. Look for such qualities as speed, reliability, vendor support, security, space, and fair pricing.
Next, talk to a reputable web designer to build a top-notch eCommerce site for you. Sure, there are many tools today that can help you put together a website quickly, but if you want a truly outstanding online business website, it’s best to hire a professional.
Make great user experience a top priority to avoid high bounce rates. In particular, aim for a business website that loads quickly and is mobile-responsive. The site also needs to be as easy to navigate as possible.
Create Great Content
An estimated 70 to 80 percent of all internet users regularly read blogs. That means when people come to your website, they’re interested in content that adds value to their lives, not just your products or services.
Take the time to develop and publish content that resonates with your target audience. Establish a suitable blog frequency to ensure that visitors will always find fresh, rich content on your website. Aim to publish one to five posts every week.
Making blogging the center of your content marketing can significantly boost your search rankings. It’s one of the best ways to attract more organic traffic and lower your overall advertising spend.
Set a Budget for Your Online Business
Starting any business involves certain expenses that you need to take care of. Some of these expenses have to do with domain and web host expenses, web development costs, legal fees, advertising expenses, inventory costs, salaries, and so on.
You need to create a budget that covers all the costs required to start your business. If you’re unsure about this step, consult with a professional to help come up with a realistic budget.
Set Up Your Business Account
A big part of successful online business management is knowing how to handle business finances. Keep your personal and business finances separate from the beginning. Doing so helps avoid unnecessary confusion and cash flow problems.
Visit a suitable bank and set up an account for your business. Doing so helps keep your business’s finances organized and helps avoid stress during tax time. Moreover, a business account conveys your professionalism to clients as they’ll be making checks out to your company, not to you.
Choose a Convenient Payment Gateway
How will you collect payments from your customers? This question is essential as you prepare to launch your online store.
Thankfully, the online payment landscape has grown tremendously in recent years. Today, you can find numerous efficient and seamless online payment options that will enable your customers to make payments to you conveniently.
Choose a payment gateway that’s easily accessible to your clients. The payment option should also have a solid reputation for being safe and secure. Consider the transaction fees as well to ensure you and your clients aren’t overcharged for using the gateway’s services.
Now You Have the Ultimate Starting an Online Business Checklist
With the future of the online marketplace seeming ever so brighter, there’s never been a better time to launch an eCommerce business than the present. And with this starting an online business checklist, you have all the information you need to take the next step.
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