How to Build an Online Business in 7 Steps

The COVID-19 outbreak triggered significant changes worldwide making entrepreneurs strive to build an online business. Analytics claims that, in 2020, economic collapse may trigger about 15,000 store closures in the U.S. alone with following unemployment growth. To avoid pitiful crisis consequences, more and more traditional companies work on creating an online presence, which now becomes a top priority.

How to Build an Online Business in 7 Steps

In this post, OpenGeeksLab has put together a list of actionable steps to effectively move your business online. If you have been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there is a step you may neglect.

Reasons You Should Build an Online Business

Benefits of building an Internet business.

1. Improved Brand Image

Creating an online presence stands among top priorities for modern businesses, as many customers prefer avoiding social interaction and go for online products or services. Having a convenient website/app and representation in social media does not only increase customer flow but states brand possessing strong market position.

2. Round-The-Clock Availability from Anywhere

No matter how productive your physical company is, it will never reach performance of its online analog. Undeniable benefit of doing business online is its 24/7 availability for both parties: consumers can access company’s website whenever they like, as there is no working hours limit. Workers, in turn, do not need to stay at office physically performing tasks from everywhere with stable Internet connection granted.

3. Up-Level Customer Support

Moving business online means higher customer support level as well. To get certified help in online regime, customers should not wait in a queue or ‘hang on line’ while managers serve another client. Q&A page usually covers most popular customer questions allowing them to find necessary info themselves. Managers, in turn, have more time per complicated cases.

4. Lower Startup Costs

Building an internet business startup from scratch requires far less funding than its traditional analog, let alone creating an online presence for an already existing company. Besides, you can delegate a significant part of work (e.g., website development, marketing) to professionals hiring a reliable development company. Online business startup will cost comparatively less as there is no need to rent an office, buy equipment, and hire many employees.

5. Operating Expenses Reduction

Operating expenses constitute a significant part of business budget, thus moving company into digital sphere can significantly reduce them with automatizing routine tasks like product ordering, customer support, or even marketing. Several workers needed earlier can be replaced with one person who will take hold of segment workflow and perform mainly administrative function.

6. Wider Market Coverage

Building an internet business, one expands trading possibilities and totally reduces customer limit. On top of that, with a properly developed adaptive app/website, company is not limited by location and can acquire customers worldwide (if delivery supported).

7. Company Performance Boost

Selling products online increases a company’s responsiveness and productivity. Many order processing procedures become automatized reducing waiting time and optimizing administrative workload.

And it is up to you to add more reasons to start building a successful online business today.

7 Steps of Building a Successful Online Business

Main steps to creating an online business.

Despite its obvious advantages, building an Internet business may turn overwhelming task for online business beginners, who just begin their way to success or for those who have returned to ‘online mode’ after a long break. There are few basic steps to creating an online business that will become relevant and competitive on the modern digital market.

1. Start In-Demand Business

To build a successful online business, apart from a bright product idea, one must possess industry knowledge extracted from analytics and research. As more and more spheres become digital, profound market analysis gives an understanding of what products or services are in demand now. It helps in choosing right niche and online business type (e-commerce, digital products, affiliate marketing, consulting or freelancing, business based on social media).

Pay attention to your industry competitors: consider their strengths and weaknesses to make your own business better. Additionally, survey your target audience collecting info about their needs to create a product that will perfectly suit them.

2. Design Your App/Website

Building an internet business, you must pay a lot of attention to ensure a proper online presence. Brand application or website form a first impression customers get of your business and determine whether they will deal with your brand or not. There are several guidelines to keep up with to create online business website that will attract and retain customers.

  • Develop Brand-Centric Design

Brand-centric design is crucial to brand and product awareness. Interacting with your website, customers should constantly meet brand reminders (either explicit or implicit). Find a proper place for your brand logo: keep it being in sight but do draw customers’ attention exclusively to brand logo – make your products playing main part. Develop implicit brand reminders in a website’s design: use the same color palette as in a brand logo, create representative website fonts that will copy those of your brand, etc. Brand hints combined with explicit logo showcasing will help in forming a holistic and memorable brand image in clients’ views, making them loyal to your products.

  • Bet on Responsiveness

Responsive design lays basis for positive user experience, as modern consumers use varied devices to access your website. Viewed on computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, your design should look equally good ensuring adaptive and comprehensive user-website interaction.

  • Develop User-Friendly Purchase Procedure

Designing proper purchase making is vital to create online business website that really works. Develop an intuitive design interface and purchasing system that will motivate customers to buy products on your website again: carefully organize diverse products or services into convenient categories, simplify shopping process so customers can easily add or delete products from cart, offer customization possibilities, etc.

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3. Build Your Brand

Proper brand design ensures your product awareness and attracts customer attention. Building your brand highlights unique peculiarities and brand identity that makes your digital company different from market competitors. Must-have brand design elements while building a successful online business include brand logo, original color palette, typography, mobile app and/or website, business cards, and supplementary branding elements like packaging or brochures if necessary.

4. Make It Visible

Building a successful online business, one must understand that product brand and app/website is not enough to be noticed. Modern market is filled with successful online businesses that you must compete with. To increase own chances in industry entrepreneur should have proper promotion strategy making own products visible. There exist several efficient marketing models, which may be applied separately or combined to reach higher productivity.

  • Advertising

Using advertising is a nice option to build an online business visibility and develop strong cliental base. Varied ad networks offer profound marketing opportunities to reach target audience engagement. Most popular product and brand advertising options include Google AdWords and Facebook ads. Besides, if entrepreneur possesses good analytical research, he or she can buy display advertising on those high-traffic platforms, which are widely used by his or her target audience. Online advertising is not free but properly developed marketing strategy will prove its efficiency.

  • Email Marketing

Emails stand among most common and cost-effective ways to promote online business. Unlike advertising, email marketing is free and has extremely precise targeting, as emails are usually sent to those customers who have already interacted with platform or product in either way (registration, purchases, inquiries). Email marketing usually performs informational (new products or services, bestsellers), relationship-building (introducing company, brief product overview), or call-to-action (personal discounts, special offers, customized product recommendations) function. However, one should not overuse promotion via emails, as it may become irritating, ignored, or even send to spam.

  • Social Media

Social media represent a strong marketing tool providing easy and quick target audience coverage. Modern consumers spend a lot of time on social media like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, thus brand representation in social media will increase product sales. Use tailored content for each social media platform to attract more users. Besides, developing brand/product page in social media one may count on loyal customers share info about it with their friends and subscribers.

  • Search Engines Optimization (SEO)

Having a strong presence in search medium stands among core strategies while building an internet business visibility. SEO promotes your products or services in search systems without engaging corresponding ad networks. The easiest way to optimize own website/app for search engines is using relevant keywords. Simply research most common keywords people use while looking for similar products/services and insert them throughout your website and into visual’s descriptions.

  • Influencers

Engaging influencers is another productive strategy that helps in attracting new customers. Influencers increase awareness around your brand or particular product presenting it to own subscribers. As a rule, partnering with smaller influencers prove being more effective than with big names, as they have created higher credibility level of influencer-subscriber relationships making their followers more loyal.

  • Content Marketing

Content marketing is an efficient strategy to establish credibility between business and customer. People buy products if they are assured about their high quality. Building an internet business, it becomes extremely important to substitute real-life experience with ‘online analog’. Content marketing appears as easy way out creating customer ‘presence effect’ through informative blog-like posts, customer reviews, and question & answer section. Content marketing strategy excludes aggressive product placement, though to maximize profit and encourage customers buy his/her products one must create catchy titles, highlight product’s unique effect onto user’s problem, emphasize product’s benefits, and imply vicarious call-to-action.

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5. Build an Expert Reputation for Your Brand

People tend to believe brands with proven industry reputation, so building brand’s expert reputation increases your competitive chances. To get an expert reputation, online agencies do not only sell high-quality products but also issue free expert content (articles, media, research) on forums that target audience may find useful.

6. Encourage Consumers Buy Again

Engaging new consumers is hard (especially under modern online business competition), though it remains far harder to retain them. Proper back-end selling and upselling model can solve the problem motivating more than third of customers to buy your products again. Design advanced product recommendation algorithm offering supplementary or similar products after they have built their cart. Create an efficient reward system providing coupons or personal discounts for the next purchases to enhance clients’ loyalty to your brand.

7. Settle Legal Affairs

Before creating a successful online business, one must take care of legal procedures that remain compulsory while building an Internet business. To ensure easy and smooth operating in future pay attention to licensing, taxes, and data security.

  • Business License

With online business company, one cannot avoid receiving regular license first. There is no specific standard for registering online brands, though they are subject to traditional licensing regulations. In case an entrepreneur has already got license for offline company and aims at creating an online presence now, the license will cover online department as well. Besides, to work from home one must get additional Home Occupation Permit. State business licenses and permissions are regulated by Small Business Administration (SBA). Before applying for business licensing or permission, one can check necessary items and preparations on SBA’s official list.

  • DBA License

Creating an online presence for already existing brand one can decide on changing company’s name. To operate under name different from original one, business runner must get a Doing Business As (DBA) license. The procedure of obtaining a DBA license varies depending on location and is regulated by local authorities.

  • Tax Obligations

Like with its offline analog, building an internet business is impossible without tax obligations. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulates charges taxes via Employee Identification Number (EIN), so before performing any transactions business runner must register for EIN to make deals legal and transparent to governmental services. Besides, there exist sales taxes paid by entrepreneurs selling any goods/services online.

  • Data Privacy

Building a successful online business highly depends on privacy standards compliance. If an app/website collects and processes any kind of user’s personal data it is subjected to one of data protection standards, which vary depending on company’s location and operation area. In the US user’s personal info usage is regulated by HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, while GDPR privacy standards they operate across Europe. These standards require all agencies providing their services to US/Europe store user’s data in anonymized or/and encrypted form to avoid exposure and following civic or criminal penalties

Start Your Online Business Today

Building a successful online business requires a lot of preparation to be done, though the results you will get are definitely worth trying. Modern market is wide-open for unique online business ideas, so do not hesitate to begin your undertaking right now or hit the industry with innovative redesign of already existing enterprise. Contact us to create efficient online business product that will take off.

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