Going on your first online venture is an exciting proposition. Whether it’s a hobby escalating to a potential new career, or a last-ditch effort from a headstrong office jockey who just tendered their two weeks’ notice, there are few things as satisfying as a plan (or more commonly, dumb luck) coming together.
The internet has made it much, much easier to get started on a shoestring budget—a reality the market has enthusiastically taken to. In 2019, online sales reached 365.2 billion dollars in the United States alone, with entire communities growing around specific interests. Retro tech? Check. Odd literary fandoms? Check. People have made a living out of even stranger things than that, so at this point, anything goes!
When the entrepreneurial bug finally catches you, there’s this very real compulsion to just go out and make something happen. But as with all great things, your online business has to start somewhere! Here are five things you need to remember when you’re starting an online business.
Have something to offer
This may sound mildly patronizing, but you really need to think of what you have to offer before you put it out into the world. Going online has made business super convenient, but this turn towards digital commerce has also bred a noticeably more critical audience who don’t know when they’re getting a bad deal—they’ll tell other people about it too! Value attracts value, so make sure your product offerings are solid before you put anything up.
Prepare a variety of payment options
Convenience goes both ways. If online business makes things easier to set up and run from day to day, consumers also take to the platform for similar reasons. Some people prefer to transact via PayPal. Others strictly use burner cards for anything on the internet. Having either option available could mean the difference between an abandoned cart and a full conversion.
Get a good name
As stupid as it may sound, having a good, catchy name could save you the ache of a dismal bounce rate. Short, snappy names are easier to remember and generally translate well to various forms of branding. A long name or exotic word might be more unique, but the everyday person tends to just tune out altogether if you pick something that’s way too out there. But good luck naming that computer store after your first home’s IP address!
Make use of digital marketing
Platforms like WordPress take to digital marketing very well, and have integrations that run lockstep with social media, search engine, and native advertising campaigns. The best part about this is the amount of available resources out there for every possible use case. There’s no better time to be a small business.
Have a formal launch
Once you’re knee deep in regular operations, you may not have as many chances to make noise in the local business community. If you network early and establish good working partnerships with friends and other businesses, you could have eyes on you even before you open shop. Plan for this. Possibly ask for some help with a PR plan if necessary.
The look of online success
There’s no better time to start a business. Between the maturity of online infrastructure and the overall ubiquity of bespoke digital storefronts, it really seems as if the world’s ready for whatever you have to offer. All it takes is a little initial investment, and a lot of good old-fashioned drive.
Becoming a successful online store is no mean feat. It’s always awe-inspiring to see just how far a small business could go, and what they had to do to get there. Most learn along the way, turning to the internet and a bit of their own experience to tide them over to success.
Readily available tools like WordPress are a godsend for budding entrepreneurs– boasting a robust selection of modular integrations that, at least on paper, afford smaller players the same canvas major names like TechCrunch, Bloomberg, and The New York Times use.
Here are some inspiring businesses who made a name for themselves through their online stores!