Starting a new online business? Many people don’t realize that the steps to starting an online business are similar to the steps to starting any business.
Write up a business plan
One reason people start an online business is that you can do it inexpensively. But just because you won’t need to go to a bank for a loan doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be clear about how your business will function — and a business plan can help you with that. You can keep it simple. Include the following:
- Target market
- Problem that the target market has that you will solve/mission statement — in the image, you can see a template for a mission statement that you can use–it’s from a talk I gave recently.
- Your solution–products and services
- Why people in your target market should buy from you (Unique Selling Proposition or USP), including a discussion of the current market & competitors
- Projected income for the first 3 years (yes, it will be something of a guess–or hope)
- Timeline for creating services and products to that you can meet your projected income
- Plans for marketing
- Plans for human resources/outsourcing
Come up with a name
These days, your business name is often inextricably related to your website domain name. While some online entrepreneurs create multiple websites — even one for each product or event — you won’t start out that way. Try to think long term.
In my blog post, “How to choose a domain name,” I offer some ideas that will help you find your domain name.
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Consider legal and insurance issues
At the same time, you should think about whether you want to be a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation. Most people start out as sole proprietors. It’s pretty easy to register a trade name locally, at least in the United States. I registered my first trade name, Rainbow Resources, in 1991 and it was a thrilling experience! Although I don’t use that name anymore, I still have the document.
While most solo entrepreneurs don’t start out with insurance, you should definitely consider it as you grow. Especially if you provide a service, such as coaching, Errors and Omissions insurance can be important. Worker’s compensation is generally required–check out the law where you live.
Understand the 13 steps for online success
If you don’t understand how an online business functions and you haven’t already received my list, “13 Steps to Create a Successful Internet Business,” register for it — and my newsletter — here.
What steps did you take when you started your business? What steps did you wish you had taken? Share your experience with others who are just starting out by leaving a comment!
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