Starting an online business can be a thrilling time. You have this amazing business idea, and you’re excited about bringing it to the online marketplace. How you start out will, to a large degree, determine the trajectory your business takes.
If you want to experience long-term success with your online business, you need to start out right. Here are 12 things you need to take into account when you’re starting your online business:
1. Success takes hard work
This is just as true in the online business world as it is in the offline business world. If you’re going to succeed, you’re going to have to work hard. Anyone who tells you that starting an online business is easy is probably selling you something.
2. Successful online businesses have a business plan
You need to approach your online business in a strategic fashion. Identify your target market. Develop specific marketing strategies. Set some metrics and goals whereby you can track your progress.
3. Ask for advice
This is true when you’re starting any business — talk to someone who’s been where you’re at. Ideally, you can establish a mentor relationship with someone who already has a successful business. Even if it’s not an online business, their advice can prove invaluable.
4. Get ready to pay taxes and do some bookkeeping
Online businesses are becoming the target of more and more tax legislation. For example, businesses that receive payments via an online payment processing service are now required to have a form 1099-k sent to them. Consider talking to an accountant, even if you’re not yet to the place where you can hire one on an ongoing basis.
5. Constantly measure your results
You need to have your finger on your business’ pulse at all time. That means making constant use of all of the website visitor metrics you can. For example, high bounce rates on a given page inside your site indicate that there’s a problem. It also, of course, means looking at sales.
6. Understand your competition
Very few online businesses are truly unique. The chances are pretty good that there’s another online business out there doing what you want to do. You need to figure out how they’re reaching their customers, and how you can offer something better. Identify what it is that makes you unique over the competition, and put that to use.
7. Work at building a community
One of the things that will really push your online business over the top is building solid relationships with your customers. Online businesses have a number of opportunities to do this that are more difficult with traditional businesses. Whether it’s through conversations on your site’s blog, interacting with customers via social media, or some other aspect, build an online community and you’ll find your business grows by leaps and bounds.
8. Search engine optimization takes more than just good content
While it’s important to have good content on your website, if you want your site to get found by the search engines you’re going to need to do more. Consider consulting with a SEO company if you want to get the highest possible amount of web search traffic.
9. Search engines constantly change their algorithms
What this means is that you might be at the top of Google search results one day and on page six of Google results just a week later. You need to be ready to adjust your strategies accordingly.
10. Be agile
Online business marketplaces can change rapidly. New technologies like social media can pop up overnight. If you want your online business to succeed, you need to be ready to roll with the changes.
11. Be ready for failure
The majority of online businesses fail. Yours may do so. What you need to be able to do is pick yourself back up after that failure and try again. Learn the lessons the failure taught you, and start over again.
12. Celebrate success
Get excited about the progress your business makes. Every step along the way — from your website launch to your first sale to the day you hit the $ 1 million mark — is worthy of reflection. Don’t get comfortable with your success, but celebrate it and build on it.
The success of your online business depends, to a large degree, on how closely you follow these principles. Understand the online business landscape, practice solid business principles, and work you tail off and you’ll eventually see the success you want to see.
Featured image licensed via Stock.Xchng.