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Xanthi S

How to start an online business – 2023 guide, part 1

 

So you want to start an online business in 2023

You are ready to take the next step in your business career and you said “f*ck it with my 9-5 job, I will create my own online business.”

Great! Congratulations!

The reasons why you want to start an e-business (such a ’00s term I know) are two:

  1. You really want to do it, and you have a plan in your head on how to do it.
  2. You don’t have a clear idea what or how to do but you want to make money online.

If you are option 1 great.

If you are option 2 that’s also great but be prepared for some serious thinking or you will fail.

Starting an online business

When I was thinking about writing this article I figured it might not be relevant as gone are the days when people were making fast money online, or trying to and failing.

However, I don’t think many things have changed. People are attracted to technology, and for good reasons, but sometimes they forget that it takes good planning and hard work to have an online business or any business for that matter.

But don’t worry, I’m not here to nag you to death. I will help you understand and figure out what it takes to start your own business online.

Make a business plan

If you want to succeed you need to have a guideline so you need to have a business plan. A business plan is a plan where you get specific about what it is you want to sell, how you will do that, will it be a online product or a physical product, who is your target group, who is your competition, etc. That’s why I say it’s also a good guideline to have. It will help you understand all the details you need to sort out, in order to get your business up and running. If you don’t how to make one you can get for free my business plan template here.  (If you did let me know in the comments 🙂 )

Having a business plan will help you put your thoughts in order and will force you to think carefully about your idea and how to proceed.

Writing a business plan is not easy but if you are serious about it it’s a necessary step and one of the most important things to do for your business.

What type of online business do you want to have?

Most people when they want to do something online, they think of online shops. That’s great and that’s how it usually works and for the purposes of this post I will assume that this is what you want to build.

However there are some key points that need to be addressed so I created the following list with the most common things to consider.

Feel free to print and use it if you find it helpful.

What to ask before building an e-shop

teen doing homework and working on computer
  • What are you going to be selling?
  • Is it a physical product or a service?
  • If it’s a physical product, how will you be accepting payments?
  • Will you have a business account? Will you be using PayPal to accept payments or another service?
  • Which platform do you want to use? WordPress, Shopify, Magento or something else?
  • Do you have the technical skills to build something yourself or do you need to hire someone?
  • Are you going to be shipping products within your country or abroad?
  • Do you need to calculate shipping costs on your website for each product?
  • How about packaging? Is it enough with regular envelopes or do you need to consider something else?
  • Invoicing? Do you need to use a software to issue invoices?
  • Will you have a stock or make products on demand?
  • Bookkeeping? Will you be doing it yourself or will you be hiring someone?

The above list is a good start that will help make a preliminary cost estimation.

And then we have Branding and Marketing

  • What is your brand
  • How will you promote your brand
  • Will you have a logo? Who will make it? Cost?
  • What colour combination will you use on your brand/website?
  • Will you work with email marketing?
  • Online advertisements? Google, Facebook, Instagram ads?
  • Use social media? Which platforms?
  • Will you be updating your product details online?

Finding a brand name for your business

Before you even consider of building a website, you need to think about your branding and what name you want to associate yourself and your business with.

Once you figure out the name, then you can go ahead and buy a domain name.

Things at this point are starting to get a bit complicated so more on the actual website-building process in the follow-up post.

Have I given you a headache by now?

Good! And if you have been reading so far and you want to learn more then that’s great.

You might be wondering who am I to speak of running an online business.

With a master’s degree in E-commerce, working as a freelancer for 5 years as a consultant/web developer, by working in the family business for 7 years, having worked in sales but also currently working as a web developer, I have learned a thing or two about running a business and specifically building an online business/webshop.

I won’t pretend that I know everything and I’m still learning but the above are common sense issues that need to be thought of carefully from the beginning, to avoid living in an entrepreneurship bubble that will burst in the first 6 months.

Let’s consider the above your starting point, and the Business plan for your future company so stay tuned for more details.

Here you can read the 2nd part of this series with more explaining and tips to help you structure your site.

If you have a specific question let me know in the comments.

 

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[…] Welcome to the second part of how to start an online business or create a web-shop. If you haven’t read the first part you can do it by clicking here […]

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[…] are a few questions (similar to the ones on part 1 of this series) that by answering them, it will help you to get a better idea of how to set up everything on your […]