Do a business assessment.
Do a business assessment.
The following are some steps to help you assess your idea and prepare to start your business:
- determine if you have the right mix of personal qualities, skills and experience (strengths and weaknesses) to succeed in the business environment.
- identify any skills training that might help you run your business.
- assess whether you have enough money (and/or access to enough money) to get started and be sustainable until the point where income is generated.
- identify any gaps between what you need for your online business model and what you currently have.
Set your goals.
Setting goals gives you direction and helps you to focus on what’s important. It also helps you to measure your achievements and stay motivated, because there’s nothing like checking off another item from your list of goals.
The following are all examples of possible business goals:
- Increase net profit by 10% over the next 12 months.
- Become the information authority in my industry by creating content that educates people about my topic/industry and connecting with them on a personal level.
- Build up a loyal email list of 2000 people who are interested in learning more about my niche (and growing it every month).
Find your niche.
The first step of starting any business, online or otherwise, is to define your niche. How will your online business be different from that of the hundred other competitors in your field? What are you bringing to the table that nobody else is? It may seem like a lot of work for little payoff at first, but you must do this to make yourself stand out from others.
You should also set goals before you start. They don’t need to be anything huge: make them realistic. For example, if you’re trying to get fit in the next three months, a reasonable goal would be to lose 10 pounds. It’s ambitious enough that it will motivate you, but not so ambitious that it’s impossible and almost sets you up for failure. Once you’ve set some goals and have an idea of where your niche will lie, then it’s time to start working on a solution!
Define your brand.
What is a brand?
A brand is the identity of a specific product, service or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. The purpose of branding is to create an image in the minds of consumers that differentiates your company from competitors and establishes your authority within an industry. Branding isn’t just essential to business owners—it’s also important to individuals who want to build their personal brands. Think of some brands you know—like Apple and Nike—and you’ll quickly see why the concept of branding is so important today. In this guide we’ll discuss how to define your brand, from identifying your personality and target audience to using social media and other marketing techniques
Choose a website builder.
As a small business owner, you should understand that the online world is very competitive. With a website builder, you can have an advantage over your competition by having an easy to use and wisely planned website.
If you have never had a business website before, finding the right web designer for your project might be too costly for your budget. Also, working with a web designer comes with its own set of challenges: time constraints and communication barriers can delay the process of getting your site up in running.
It is essential to find a website builder that has templates that are easy to customize. The best way to build trust with your customers is by having an attractive user interface (UI). You could also include photos of yourself or members of your team so customers can see who they are doing business with. There are many website builders on the market that allow you to create and customize beautiful websites at no cost whatsoever so take advantage of them!
Put your site together.
- Have a clear navigation that is easy to find and uses the same labels throughout.
- Have a clear headline that explains the benefit of your product or service.
- Have a clear call to action (buy now, contact us, etc.) that is visible above the fold.
- Design for mobile first. Mobile-first design is a process in which you build your website only starting with mobile devices and then scale up to larger sizes like tablets, laptops/desktops, TVs, and projection screens.
- Keep your site clean by using negative space effectively so that content stands out on its own. Unnecessary clutter will distract visitors from seeing important content on your site first. Minimalism is best!
Plan your content and create an editorial calendar.
After you’ve defined your audience, you should have a better idea of what kind of content will resonate with them. Now it’s time to start planning that content out so you can publish it consistently over time.
Write down all the content ideas that came to mind when thinking about your audience, no matter how good or bad. Brainstorm for as long as possible and narrow down your most interesting content ideas to a final list. If there are certain types of content (like videos) that require more time and resources to create, you might want to focus on writing a few blog posts first before creating those other types of content down the road.
Once you have a list of topics and keywords, the next step is to create an editorial calendar so you can plan out when each piece will be published over time. There are many tools available for this purpose — for example, Trello boards are popular amongst some marketers — but Google Calendar is free and already integrated with several other Google apps like Gmail and Drive, making it a great choice especially if you’re just getting started with planning your online marketing strategy.
Start a blog and get into content marketing.
Content marketing is the mantra of today’s business. Most successful businesses, especially the ones that are built online, use content marketing to promote their products and services. There are many benefits to creating a blog for your business:
- Blogging allows you to create an effective marketing tool that will help you promote your company’s products or services. A blog establishes your expertise and lets people know that they can trust you.
- Blogging helps you attract more visitors and potential customers to your website. Every time you publish a new blog post, it gives people another reason to visit your website or share it with others.
- Writing blog posts on a regular basis helps improve your SEO rankings because each blog post puts another keyword in front of search engines like Google. This means that when people search for those specific keywords, there is a higher chance that they will find you in the search results!
Drive traffic to your site with social media and advertising.
Nothing happens online without traffic. You can pour thousands of hours into a website and watch it gather dust while you wait for people to find you organically (not gonna happen). So how do you get traffic and build a brand? You need to tell the world about your site.
Whether it’s through social media, advertising, search engines, referral programs, blogging or email marketing, these are the methods that will drive traffic to your site. What follows is a primer on each of these methods, as well as tips for minimizing your costs with high-quality free alternatives where available.
Figure out how you’re going to make money.
There are many ways to monetize a website, but the most common involve:
- Advertising on your site. This is the most passive type of revenue stream. It usually means simply including a few ads on your website. The tradeoff is that you give up some screen real estate, and also that you’re giving up control over what types of ads will be presented to your website visitors. It’s usually an easy way to start making money online, though it doesn’t always pay very well if your traffic is low (i.e., it could earn you just $0.50 for every 1,000 page views). You can sign up for Google AdSense or Mediavine, which provide ad networks to help connect advertisers with publishers (i.e., bloggers and other site owners) like yourself who are looking for new ways to generate revenue from their websites.
- Offering products or services from your site directly: This can mean anything from selling hand-knitted scarves on Etsy or offering custom coaching services through a website platform such as Coach Me or Clarity FM (both of which offer free trials) and many other options within this category including consulting services (particularly IT consulting), software development, web design/development services and hosting those kinds of offerings on platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr (though there are many others).
- Offering affiliate products: Affiliate marketing involves promoting another company’s product or service in exchange for receiving a commission when someone makes a purchase based on your recommendation. There are two main types of affiliate programs: Those that allow you to promote any product offered by the affiliate network through banner advertisements or direct links within blog posts, etc., and those that require approval before you can promote certain products they sell as an affiliate partner. The easiest way to get started with affiliate marketing is by signing up with Amazon Associates program since their approval process is virtually automatic once your account has been set up.
It’s not easy, but it can be done.
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