How To Start An Online Business 

In this blog post, you will discover the key components you need to have in place or consider when starting an online business. These are things I have learned or done in my own business. I know this list will help you lay a solid foundation for your business.

As with any business, whether online or a brick and mortar storefront, it’s important to know what you should focus on or learn…and to implement what you learn as quickly as possible. And realize you may sometimes be working on multiple things at once. For example, while you are building your website, you may also be working on content for your blog or email sequence so it will be ready at the appropriate time. Or you may be doing keyword research while you are setting up your social media account.

The one trap I see people falling into over and over again is working on the wrong things and then spending too much time on the wrong things so the launch of their business is delayed. I have talked to beginning business owners who had spent weeks (and in a couple of cases months) working on their logo.  Believe me…your logo is not that important.

What is important is to start generating income as soon as possible by identifying your target market, clearly communicating the value you deliver to your target market, creating your killer offer, and finding the most cost effective way to reach them. This is a much better use of your time than working on your logo and business cards.

And if we are being honest with ourselves, we sometimes tend to work on things like logo and business card design to procrastinate and avoid what we know deep down we should be working on. Do everything to avoid these procrastination traps. Always be asking the question, “Is what I am working on now the best use of my time?”

The following list will help you answer that question and gain a better understanding of what you need to know or have in place to start an online business. These things do not have to be done in this exact sequence…but it’s close. As mentioned previously, you may be working on number three and number ten simultaneously. It’s better to do this than get stuck on one particular thing that wastes a lot of time.

If you find yourself spinning your wheels on something, set it aside for a while and work on something else to keep moving forward as quickly as possible. Money Likes Speed!

Here are 12 steps that will lay a solid foundation for starting an online business:

1. Get clear on who you serve:

  • Clearly define who are you targeting. Create an avatar.
  • Understand what they “want” versus what they “need”?
  • Conside the knowledge/experience/value do you bring to the marketplace?
  • What is your offer?

2. Set up an email service provider. One of the most important strategies you can have in your business is an email marketing strategy. This could be a monthly or weekly newsletter. It could be an automated email sequence set up in an autoresponder. (And if you don’t know what an autoresponder is or why you need one, I will be addressing this in a future blog post.)

3. Keyword research/SEO considerations. Learning how to do proper keyword research is crucial to getting found online. You will use keywords in your website content, blog posts, podcasts, video, and more.

4. Create a lead magnet. When someone visits your website and gives you their email address, the lead magnet is what you will give them in exchange for their email address. This could be as simple as a checklist, a case study, or an ebook. There are many options for lead magnets.

5. Build a website or landing page. You may be in a situation where you do not need a full-blown website. You may only need a landing page which is basically a one page website that tells them a little about your company, the value you offer, and collects visitors email addresses. Keep it simple in the beginning and only build what is necessary to start making money.

6. Set up Google Analytics to track your results. This will help you monitor visits to your website, where your traffic originates, and much more.

7. Set up Google Search Console to ensure your site is indexed, seen by Google, and working properly. This is also where you will submit your sitemap. Your sitemap makes it easier for Google to index your site in the search engines.

8. Create a blog. This provides you with a way to keep dynamic content on your website to help with your SEO strategy and provides great value to your target audience.

9. Create content using proven copywriting strategies. It’s important to understand direct response copywriting. This is basically where you send a very direct message to a very targeted audience to get a predetermined response.

10. Choose and set up one social media account. The good news here is you do not need to be on every social media platform. Find the platform your target market uses the most and get really good on that platform before adding additional social media accounts.

11. Drive traffic to your site. There are several ways to drive traffic to your site. Paid traffic, such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads, are one option if you have a budget for advertising. There is organic traffic where you are creating valuable content on a regular basis, researching keywords to make sure your content is SEO optimized, and using other organic strategies to get traffic to your site.

12. Create a direct mail piece. Yes, it takes more than just being online to build a solid online business and direct mail still works.  It has been proven to generate a higher quality client than anything else you can do. This is just one more tool you can add to your marketing arsenal.  I am a huge fan of taking an all of the above approach to marketing.

Now it’s your turn. It’s time to either get started in your new business; or to take a step back and evaluate where you are in your current business. Either way, the above list should help you in your journey.

I will be going doing a deep dive on everything included in the list (and more) in upcoming blog posts, emails, etc. I know a lot of people are struggling now and it is my hope that what I write will help you in some way.

In the meantime, email me with few of your challenges, so I can also address them in future blog posts or emails. More than likely, if you are facing a challenge in your business, there are many others facing the same challenge. You are not alone.

All the best,

Mike Coleman