Learn how to start an online business in one week, so that you can work from home and make money online in 2019. Find out the exact steps you need to take to start a profitable online business, so that you can quit your job and start a business doing what you love.
In this article, I guide you step by step on how to start a small business from home, and share my personal experiences so that you can avoid the mistakes I made to save time and money.
You will learn how to set your business goals, research your competitors, find your target audience, plan your business strategy and more.
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Starting a business might sound overwhelming and you might not know where to start, despite having some business ideas. I’ve made this video which you can follow step by step, so that you don’t feel lost in the process.
Step 1: Conduct Market Research
The first step that you should take before implementing your business idea, would be to do your research.
You will need to do market research, and I will emphasize that this is one of the most important aspects that will determine the success of your business.
During the research phase, I assume you already have an idea of your chosen niche.
However, my advice to you is to be open to other choices before you decide on a particular niche that you are interested in.
Not every niche is profitable and some niches will tend to do better than others because there is more demand and people are willing to pay for certain products and services, and that’s just how it is.
You may be insisting “Oh but Scarlet, I’m only interested in low-fat cookie recipes for cats”.
Okay, I’m pretty sure such a thing doesn’t exist, but the idea is, sometimes the niche that you choose might not have any demand, and that is why you need to do your research to see if there is proof of concept for your business idea.
Competition isn’t always a bad thing and just because other people are already doing it, doesn’t mean that you don’t stand a chance just because you are starting out.
A good example is Chinatown. You have all the Chinese stalls that congregate in the same area, and they are literally competitors. But people go there to look for Chinese food, so if there is a famous Chinese stall located within Chinatown, it’s going to attract all these people who are interested in Chinese food into the area.
That doesn’t mean that everyone is going to purchase from the one and only famous Chinese stall there, right? There will be people who compare the menu and prices of the various stalls, which in turn brings business for the other Chinese stalls too.
This is exactly the same concept of having competitors in the same niche, because there is already demand, and people will be comparing services.
That’s where you can have your unique value proposition to step in, and stand out in some way which will make people decide on choosing you instead of your competitors. For example, you have a unique recipe that is so delicious and cannot be found anywhere else.
When you conduct your market research, be sure to keep an open mind and not make decisions based on emotions.
You might be emotionally drawn to your “low-fat cookie recipes for cats” because you think it’s an extremely unique idea and you will tend to make unrealistic judgements based on what you want to do.
I am sure you have more than one single hobby and interest. The most logical thing to do is to write a list of everything you are interested in and pick the most profitable one that can be scaled into a business.
For example, my interests are playing the guitar, drawing, psychology, and marketing. I used to teach guitar, but I’ve shifted my focus and picked the most profitable interest which is digital marketing and turned it into a full scale business.
During the research phase, find out if the ideas that you have can be used as a business by looking out for the following:
- Are there blog posts about that topic or niche?
- Who are your competitors and how well are they doing?
- Are there courses or tutorials or YouTube videos in that niche?
This will help you come up with a clear idea of what is already working and whether there is potential to start.
If you find that the market is too competitive, it is always recommended to narrow down to a subniche where you serve a specific niche with a specific target audience.
Step 2: Plan Your Business Strategy
After you have done the FBI and CSI forensics during your market research, you will need to ensure that you have a business strategy in place. It is important that you have this sorted out before we get to the administrative side of your business.
The reason why we are not going to choose a business name and register your business or create a website is because you don’t know your business model yet, and branding is also not set in stone as you are still in the planning phase, such as finding out your target audience persona after creating your business model.
The best way to plan your business strategy is to have a business model using a business model canvas which is a template which helps you plan your start up.
This will help you be very clear on the infrastructure of your business and the resources that you need, in order to fulfill the needs of your target audience and potential customers.
When you use a business model canvas, you will be able to identify your unique value propositions such as your price, branding, accessibility, and performance, which will make you stand out from your competitors.
To build an effective business model, you will also need to identify your customer segments which is who your various customers are based on their needs and different attributes that they have.
When you create your target audience persona, you are not looking to cater to mass market because we need to target the right people who will be interested in your products or services.
For example, I am targeting mom entrepreneurs, so my target audience persona would be women who have children, and stay at home moms who want to work from home.
These are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What are my business goals?
- What makes my service or product stand out from competitors?
- What resources do I need to start this business?
- Who are my target audience and what are their interests/life events/demographics?
Step 3: Complete Administrative Tasks
Once you are clear about your business goals and direction, you can choose a business name, and register your business.
You can incorporate your company locally by yourself, or you can get an agent to do it for you as they will be able to advice you which type of business to register (whether it is a sole proprietorship or private limited), depending on the nature of your business.
I made a mistake of registering my business myself under the wrong type of business which actually put myself at risk of losing my personal assets because I registered as a sole proprietorship business.
There are certain laws tied to the different types of businesses that you register, so be sure to check it out in your country as you do not want to risk anything financially, and it is for the sake of protecting your assets.
The next step after registering your business would be to open a business bank account so that you can carry out transactions and receive payments.
Once again, decide on which type of bank account is the most suitable for your business needs because there are various accounts which varies according to the bank and country you are in.
When I made the mistake of registering my company as a sole proprietorship, I had to close my bank account because I needed to re-register my company as a private limited one and re-open another bank account, even though I am going to use the same business name.
These are some mistakes which you can avoid which can help you save time, money and unnecessary headaches!
Once you have registered your business and opened your bank account, you can go on to design your company logo, think of a tagline, as well as a mission and vision statement.
Step 4: Create Your Online Storefront
When you have almost everything in place, it’s time to put yourself out there by creating your website so that you can carry out your online marketing.
You will need to have a website because it is extremely important to have a storefront for your business.
As a small business owner, you may think that having social media accounts is enough but trust me, it only costs around $20 a year to have a registered domain and the benefits of having one are endless.
With a website, you will be able to display your products and services, invite people to subscribe to your email list, and retarget visitors using Facebook ads.
Inviting people to your email list is crucial for building the relationship with potential clients to follow up with them so that they will remember who you are even after they leave your website.
I made the mistake of not having one and I was not able to build the relationship with those who have visited my website, and that basically meant that I could not turn my cold audience into my warm audience with an email subscription.
I was having all these one-time visitors which did not help with customer loyalty at all. It is easier to sell to people who have bought from you before as compared to trying to sell to a completely new audience over and over again, which was what I was doing!
Retargeting is also very powerful because you will be able to target visitors who have visited your website before and retarget them, which also helps with turning your cold audience into a warm one.
Retargeting is usually where the conversion is the highest as compared to running an ad to a completely new audience because you are targeting people who are already interested in your products or services and have visited your website before.
For example, you have been browsing for an iPhone on Apple’s website, and all of a sudden, you see iPhones appearing everywhere all over Facebook ads.
This is the exact power of retargeting, because you are targeting someone who is already interested in your specific product and is more likely to convert.
Having a website is also a place where you can provide value by uploading blog posts, which in turn helps with your SEO for certain keywords that you are targeting which enables you to be discovered by people searching for the keywords that you use, which drives a highly targeted audience.
Step 5: Create Social Media Proof
The final step but not least, is to create social media accounts for your new online business. You will need to know where your target audience are hanging out mostly and create your social media accounts accordingly.
If your target market isn’t likely to be using Pinterest, you don’t need to create a Pinterest account. For example, 70% of Pinterest users are female, so if your target market are men, you know that creating a Pinterest account will not be that relevant to your business.
However, if your target market consists of mainly women who bake, because you are setting up an online baking recipe blog, then it makes sense to use Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy.
You can create content and share content that is already trending by using Google Trends or BuzzSumo, and you can re-share content that is already proven to be interesting and shareable.
Being consistent on social media is also very important because nobody likes to follow an inactive account and people usually associate active accounts as more trustworthy.
An inactive account will look like it is not well-managed and people will wonder if the business is still running and have doubts about whether someone will respond to their enquiries.
Creating content which sparks engagement also creates social proof for your brand, so people know that your business is legit, as your content is receiving engagement. People love numbers and it’s just something that’s psychological.
The more engagement you have, the more trustworthy you appear to them and it creates social proof for you. Once you have created your social media accounts, you can start marketing your business and use it to drive traffic to your website.
Alright, I have covered the most important steps of starting an online business which can be done within a week, and I hope you have found this helpful.
What other tips do you have for starting an online business from home? Do leave a comment below!
If this video has helped you, like, comment, share and don’t forget to join the Boss Babes Rocking – Women Entrepreneur Network community on Facebook if you want to join a community of like-minded boss babe entrepreneurs, freelancers and aspiring influencers, where I share up-to-date social media and Instagram marketing advice to help you and your business grow.
If you want to discover the most profitable niche markets to start your online business, do check out this video.
And if you want to find out how I quit my job and started my own business, as well on some tips if you are planning to do the same, do check out this video over here too!
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