With over 4 billion Internet users, it’s no wonder why online businesses have increased in popularity over the years. Thousands of individuals have chosen to start online businesses, many of which start as a hobby and bloom into a full-time career.
Unfortunately, many of the individuals who choose to start online businesses end up failing. Starting an online business isn’t easy, and trying to navigate the ever-changing world of social media can seem like an endless maze.
If you’re trying to figure out how to start an online business, just keep reading. We will cover the necessary tools and services that we believe every online business should take advantage of.
1. Making Your Business Plan
First, you have to start by making a great idea for your online business. Along with this, you have to make a convincing business plan. This is one of the best ways to get investors on board if you’re looking for monetary help.
If you weren’t a business major in college or don’t have any business experience, a business plan may seem like an impossible endeavor. However, some companies have created revolutionary ways to approach building a business plan. One of these companies is LivePlan.
LivePlan’s wide array of features allows its users to create a groundbreaking, effective business plan that can convince an entrepreneur to invest. In addition, beginners will enjoy their hundreds of business plan templates that they can base their personal business plans off of.
Taking shortcuts with your business plan is not an option. Investing in great software like LivePlan will help your dream dive into reality.
2. Accounting for Your Finances
Many people think that you don’t have to worry about the numbers until after you’ve already launched your business. However, this isn’t true.
Having an accountant for your business prior to getting started can actually make sure that your business is in better shape to face any hardships that may come with the first few months of operations. In other words, an accountant can help you better prepare for any financial hardships that may come with your new business.
A complete accounting service like Click And Mortar Accounting will be able to get your business started on the right foot while ensuring that they’re continuing to work for your future success.
Unless you’ve been an accountant for 20 years, you shouldn’t take on this kind of all by yourself. Depending on an outsourced accountant may save your business from going under in the future. Don’t risk poor financial judgments.
3. Outsourcing Unwanted Tasks
Whether you’re just getting started creating your online business or already have it up and running, you should consider outsourcing various tasks that you don’t think you can complete or simply don’t want to do. There are several websites out there that host different freelance workers that would be delighted to complete tasks that you don’t like doing or don’t have time to do.
Hiring freelancers at Upwork is one of the easiest options for online businesses. You can get into contact with your chosen freelancer who has your chosen skill and decide on a price that is agreeable with the both of you.
Outsourcing tasks doesn’t have to cost everything you’ve made. Having the option to negotiate with various freelancers may be what’s best for your business’ finances.
4. Creating Your Website
If you’re going to create an online business, you need to create a website. Several small, online businesses end up opting for free web hosting. While this is a financially-sound decision, it can lead to several issues for you and your users.
You need a website that can handle all that you and your customers need to do.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective website option, we recommend web hosting at Siteground. They offer small packages for small businesses that can’t afford or don’t need fancy websites.
If you’re just starting out, you may think that you don’t need to pay for web hosting, but even a few dollars a month can make a difference in the quality of your website. We should also note that the quality of your website does play a role in whether or not your business makes a sale to a visitor.
5. Choosing Your Content Management
A content management system is a separate website from your online store’s website. Your content management system is going to hold a bunch of information that can be plugged into your store’s website.
This separation is a way to make editing your website easier. Without having to deal with hundreds of widgets, you can focus on creating quality content.
If you’re a beginner, we recommend Squarespace as your content management system. Squarespace’s award-winning templates will have all of your visitors swooning.
Just as with your website, you don’t want to skimp on your content management system. Putting a few dollars a month into a content management system will make a difference in your online businesses’ success.
6. Managing Social Media
In order to get the word out there, you need to make sure that your business is featured on plenty of different social media sites. Managing and operating this many different social media streams can be difficult, especially if you do not have much social media experience or a passion for public relations.
Hootsuite’s social media management plans make this loads easier for new entrepreneurs who are starting an online business. Even the cheapest social media management plan can help you create a larger following and get more engagement from your followers. Every like, comment, follow, and share counts.
Having an easy social media management tool can make social media seem effortless for anyone. Especially with HootSuite’s easy-to-navigate homepage, anyone would know how to organize their social media pages.
7. Communicating With Your Customers
You’re probably no stranger to email lists or subscription chains. If you’re looking to have a successful online business, communicating with your customers is key. Email is one of the best ways to do this.
With their online marketing tools and an interface that even a beginner could use, Mailchimp is the email management system that we recommend. Emailing with Mailchimp is going to be one of the easiest parts of starting an online business once you see how easy it is to manage subscription lists and send out notices to those who are subscribed.
Plus, with customizable futures, you can make your email lists anything you want them to be. You can use the provided templates, but you are not held back by previously made emails. You can make every single newsletter, announcement, and launch your own.
8. Accepting Payments From Customers
If you’re going to start an online business, you’ll need to have a way for customers to pay online. With so many new websites and advancements for online payment, you have a long list of options.
If you’re just starting out, we recommend going with Shopify. Starting with Shopify is easy, even if you’re a beginner.
Shop if I can handle all of your payment processing and customer support issues. In fact, I can also help with your website’s development and your company’s social media management. You may be able to take care of multiple steps by investing in one plan with Shopify.
Investing in an online platform like Shopify may prevent any glitches that your website visitors may come into contact with on other websites. It’s more likely that you’ll lose a sale if your visitors do have to incur some kind of hardship while trying to buy your products.
9. Shipping Your Products
If you are selling physical products, you need to have a way to ship them to your customers. We highly recommend AfterShip.
With a wide range of easy-to-use features, Aftership is a great tool for beginners while still allowing for creativity for those who have experience under their belt.
Aftership can help you find the best rates for shipping while meeting shipping deadlines. Plus, they’ll send texts to your customers about the product(s) they ordered.
Having a reliable shipping company is the key to keeping customers happy.
10. Organizing Projects
As your business grows, you’re going to find that projects will get harder and harder to complete. Even if you have a large team by your side, you may find that communication gets lost in the noise.
Trello, an organizational platform, will be your saving grace as your business grows. With Trello’s tools for teams, your business will be able to handle anything that comes its way.
With a customizable interface, you can make Trello your own. Any project, any product, any shipment, or any other random steps that you may need to take can be tracked completely with Trello.
Starting an Online Business
After soaking up all of this information, we’re sure that you’re ready to get your online business up and running. Everything may not run smoothly at first, but the risk is worth the reward in the end.
Make sure to invest in your business so that you can give the best to your customers.
If you’re thinking of starting an online business, check out the rest of our blog for more information and tips.