Starting a business is considered an adventure. But in the past, it required a lot of hard work and capital. It used to be difficult for anyone to start a business without having prior experience or expertise in the business.
These days it is fairly easy starting an online business. There are endless tools, knowledge and resources to start your own online business.
You still need to develop a feasible product idea, develop a strategy, and then a sales model. But all of the above should not discourage you from starting an online business!
Cost of starting an online business vs a normal business.
Starting a normal business needs a vast amount of capital. An article by businesstech.co.za states to start a business in South Africa costs at least R750 000, and the article was written in 2014. The Cost in 2021’s uncertain market might be over 1 million Rand depending on the type of business.
To start an online business is far less. The basics to start is:
- a computer – R6 000 – R12 000 (if you don’t have one already)
- access to the internet – Starting at R250 per month (depending on you provider)
- Domain & Hosting: R1000 to R3000 per year
- Online Store Web Build and Design – R8000 – R30000
- Stock, if you have any? Will depend on what you are selling? If you sell digital products there is no need for storage or couriers.
- For marketing, start with social media marketing
You can start an online business for around R25000 or more depending on your stock purchases.
If you already have a successful business an online store can be a great addition to improve your sales.
Where to start?
Select a niche industry for your business.
Don’t try to sell everything to everyone all at once. Choose an industry you are passionate about. If you are a fitness instructor you can sell training courses or exercise supplements. A math teacher can sell math lessons via an e-learning. And a make-up artist can sell cosmetics. It is all up to you.
By selecting a niche you can focus on selling to that market instead of trying to sell to everyone. Your marketing efforts will be easier to fine-tune and it will have more tremendous success.
Check the Viability of Your New Business Idea
Even though starting an online business is easier than starting one in a physical location, it still requires some work and resources to get started. The most brilliant idea can go nowhere if it has no market. Even if you’ve identified a problem that most people can’t fix, then throwing money away is not an option.
You need to evaluate your idea. The following are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Does your product or service solve a problem that enough potential customers have?
- Does your product or service provide a cost-effective solution to that problem?
- Are people willing to spend money to solve the problem?
- How costly will it be to reach the people in need of the solution your product or service offers?
Create a Business Plan
Once you’ve decided that your idea is feasible, it’s time to draft a comprehensive business plan. Having a plan helps you identify potential obstacles and opportunities that may present themselves during the course of starting a new business.
Developing a business plan is an important step, and there are numerous resources to help you get started. A good plan will help you identify your goals and market needs, and it will help you formulate a strategy that will allow you to reach those goals.
Choose a Business Name
Your chosen name is an integral part of the startup process. It can be easily registered as a business name in any digital space.
Check the availability of your name online:
- Business name in your Country
- Domain name
- Username on each of the social media platforms you plan to use
Keep your name, or domain name short and simple, it is easier to market. Do not create a domain name: thisisbusinessandthisiswhatido.com. Keep it simple like joesshop.co.za.A Ragefire tip. If you need to check the availabilty of a domain name we can assit you.
If your chosen domain name isn’t available on the “.com” extension, consider other possible domain names that have the same or different permutations. Also, you can select another extension, such as “.africa”, “.store”, “.shop” or any other extension where your name might be available.
Take Care of All the Legal Aspects of Your Business.
Your business structure will dictate the type of tax and legal requirements that you need to meet. You can choose to run your business as a Sole proprietor, partnership, or as a registered company.
Like a bricks-and-mortar business, your business will need to file all the necessary documents to establish its legal foundation.
- Registering your business with the appropriate government authorities
- Obtaining all the required permits and licenses, if it applies to your business.
- Meeting your country’s tax requirements, such as applying for a tax ID number
- Get a bank account for your business, do not use your personal account, even if you are a sole proprietor.
Get Your Website Up and Choose Your Sourcing and Fulfillment Methods
A website is as important as a physical storefront for a startup as it is for a brick-and-mortar business. Remember your website is now your business storefront.
When it comes to creating a website, consider the look and feel, is your site user-friendly, the platform, and payment processors. Hiring a website developer to help build your site makes sound business sense.
A good host will give you the necessary tools and resources to build a successful website. However, it is also important to consider the speed at which your site is loading. Aside from checking out reviews online, ask other business contacts for help in finding a web host that’s reliable.
You’ll also need to evaluate and choose the appropriate sources of supply and inventory for your products or services. There are a number of options when it comes to sourcing these components. Having an inventory warehouse or a good on-demand provider can be critical factors that determine a successful operation. But since you are starting out find a dropshipping supplier or an on-demand supplier. This will keep your costs down.
Also, think of your product distribution. If you a digital product or service you will have it build into your website. With physical products, you will need to find a reliable cost-effective courier.
What is your Marketing Strategies?
It’s important that you market your business while you’re still working on the other steps. Having a plan will help you develop strategies that will help you reach your goals.
Through social media and various other advertising methods, you will be building anticipation for your upcoming launch.
Marketing is key for online business, ensure you have an active social media presence, SEO (Search engine optimization) in place on your website. Use email marketing, discount offers or coupons to promote your site.
You must keep marketing your website to be successful.
Launch Your New Business
You’ll be symbolically opening your business up when you launch your website. Promote your launch with:
- Social media platforms
- Your email list
- Online ads
- Traditional ads
- Offer discounts for the first 100 or 1000 people to buy from you.
The launch phase is where you will see the fruits of your work. By following these steps, you will be well-equipped to launch an online business successfully.
Laying the groundwork for your new business idea before you start can help minimize the stress and worry that comes with starting a new venture.
We wish you the best of luck with your endeavors if you need any assistance in setting up an online business website. Feel free to contact us.
For some marketing tips you can read: 5 Digital Marketing Strategies To Help Your Business.
Thank you for reading: How to start your own online business?