HOW TO START AND LAUNCH AN ONLINE BUSINESS
If anyone predicted to me 10 years ago that I would own an online brand today, I would have told the person to go back to sleep. That is how hard it would have been for me to have believed that it was possible to own a profitable brand online. But today, my story is different and so is my perspective and that’s why I’m committed to sharing the gospel of possibilities with as many as are open to hearing them.
Building an online business is easy once you set aside every limiting belief and are ready to do what’s required of you to set the ball rolling.
As we are rounding up 2017, I know many new businesses will be springing up and I’ve decided to share based on my own personal experience and the experiences of many that I’ve worked with as well. As you read, I want you to know that I wrote this based on the premise that you already have an idea of the business you want to do online. If you are still struggling with which idea to pick from multiple ideas, then you should read this prior to proceeding.
If you already know the business you want to start online and are interested in knowing how to start, this is for you.
The first thing you should do before you float an online business is to determine the group of people in the marketplace that you want to sell to. This is the starting point and you should not gloss over it. I have worked with hundreds of women who do not like going through this process simply because they think it’s “stress” and they end up coming back to do it. It is better to get things right by laying the right foundation than to realize several years down the road that you are building on a faulty foundation. I have written several articles about how to decide on who and who not to sell to. You can check this out if you still need clarity on this aspect.
Once you decide who you want to sell to, you must determine if they really need what you plan on offering and also find out if they are willing to pay for it. You do this by conducting a market research. Your research can be informal or formal. Doing a market research before you hit the market with your offering can be a gamechanger and a life-saver.
Having been an entrepreneur for a long time, I can tell you that what we mostly think customers need doesn’t always turn out to be what customers need. The results of your research can help you greatly by providing you with valuable insights that will help you serve your audience better. In terms of being a life-saver, this can happen when results of the research show that what you intend to offer is not exactly what the customer wants. That alone can save you from wasting money.
Let’s assume that you are certain the marketplace is ready for your idea, what’s the next thing you should do?
The next thing is to identify which social media platforms you want to join. The three most popular platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Depending on your type of business, you may also consider creating accounts on Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ etc accounts. That being said, be careful so you don’t stretch yourself too thin.
I normally suggest to my clients to pick three platforms and select one of the three as a dominant platform. This selection should be based on where your target audience spends most of their time. Once you select your top three platforms, you should set up your accounts using the same username across all platforms. In picking a name, pick something most people will easily remember. Avoid underscore or a name that does not speak to the essence of the business you intend to do. The content of your platform should be straight to the point. Avoid ambiguous words that will make people confused about what it is exactly you are doing. I have seen some descriptions that required me to pick up a dictionary to look up the meaning. Do not let this happen to you.
Once you are done with setting up your account. The next thing is branding. Don’t let the name branding scare you and do not think it’s too early for branding especially when you are low on budget. There are tons of free resources you can use that will help you look like you mean real business. Branding is very essential and it starts with your logo, colors, designs, pictures, etc.
If you are low on budget, just head on to Canva and get your logo done for free. Go to Pixabay, Unsplash or Pexels to get nice pictures and bingo, you are ready. You can use Canva to create beautiful cover photos that you can use on all your social media platforms.
If you want to take things to the next level, start a blog as well. A blog is not as techy as it sounds and it’s something you should consider if you want to gain credibility and build authority as an expert. If you want to set up your blog or website, here’s a perfect tutorial I created just for you.
Lastly, craft your launch day message and create awareness among family and friends about your new business. Ask them to follow you, like your page and share the good news with their own family and friends as well. This will help you spread your message farther and help you expand your sphere of influence and if you want to learn how to attract quality customers and you live in Nigeria, click HERE. If you live outside of Nigeria and you want to learn how to attract customers, click HERE.
Are you a business owner? What steps did you take when you were about to start your business? If you are yet to start your business, what specific questions do you have about starting an online brand?
P.S. On December 9, 2017, at 4 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET, I will host a Facebook Live Session where I will teach you how to triple your sales in 2018. I will share strategies I used to triple my sales in 2017 compared to 2016. Join me here!