Online startups provide a great opportunity for anyone interested to start their own business. An online business generally offers a low barrier to entry without all the costs involved in starting a business with a brick and mortar physical location. By utilizing the drop-shipping business model, a business could even get started without maintaining any kind of inventory.
For anyone thinking about starting an online business, here are 5 tips to point you in the right direction.
1 – Keep it Simple
It’s exciting to have a fantastic concept. Putting it into action is even more so. If you are not careful, it is easy to get carried away in that excitement. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big.
However, it is often better to start small and make sure you do what you do well. Iron out the kinks. Figure out what works. Then expand from there.
Think about what you really need versus what you want to get your business off the ground. Do you need that office space? Should you really launch with 3,000 different SKUs or would it be better to launch with 100 that you and your team know inside and out?
Starting smaller makes it easier to stay on top of your spending and margins.
2 – Listen to Your Customers and Prospects
Be open to criticism. Sometimes getting a few bad reviews that identify a problem with your business can actually be good for the long-term success of it. Always respond to reviews and customer feedback with a positive attitude. It’s part of building your brand.
3- Be Prepared to Pivot
Don’t be married to your idea or products. Be ready to shift towards expanding markets or alter your product line if you see a demand for it.
Sometimes you can get too close to your own idea that you fail to see that there is a better opportunity smacking you in the face.
One of the most famous pivots in the business world is a company we all know, Netflix. Many people forget, or maybe even do not know, that when Netflix started it was a service that delivered DVDs to your mailbox.
Netflix leadership wisely saw the writing on the wall for DVD viewing and the amazing opportunity that streaming could offer. They embraced streaming and gradually shifted their business towards that expanding market.
That’s why Netflix is here today and Blockbuster is not.
There are plenty of examples like Netflix. Play-Doh originally launched in 1930 as a wall cleaner.
Western Union was originally a telegram service. When the telephone because popular, it adapted to a money wire service.
When Starbucks launched it was selling espresso makers and coffee beans.
Nintendo dabbled in hotels, vacuum cleaners, and even ramen noodles before making a play in the gaming industry in the 80s.
Be a Netflix.
4 – Pay Attention to Details
The little details are what can make you stand out from more established competitors. Pay attention to how people are interacting with your website. Track changes you make and their impact meticulously.
Provide memorable unboxings for your customers that will make them want to share the experience with friends and family.
In the 1990s, Gateway stormed into the computer industry. They did it by selling affordable, reliable, customizable home computers that famously shipped in boxes with a black and white cowhide color pattern.
5 – Consistency is Key
It has happened many times. Someone launches a new online business and is excited to actively promote it and build an audience on social media. They are posting every day. Then it’s every other day. Then once a week. Then once a month.
Same thing happens with the content production cycle on their website.
Things happen. You are likely going to get pulled in multiple directions getting your business off the ground.
Find a content production schedule you are comfortable with and stick to it. Don’t be over ambitious. It’s better that your audience hears from you twice a week but you are consistent with it, than to be posting every day and quickly drop off.
Remember, you can always ramp up if you find you have the time or can hire staff to do so.