In many ways, the Internet has levelled the playing field for small business owners everywhere. Online businesses are relatively easy to start, without the kind of up-front costs a brick and mortar business demands. However, this relative ease doesn’t mean that you can jump in and hang out your shingle.
Today, the e-commerce sector is growing worldwide. It is facilitated by the wide spreading of the Internet, the availability of gadgets for every person, and international courier services’ continuous development. The e-commerce segment is gradually replacing traditional stores. This is especially noticeable in trade in electronics, furniture, clothing, and household goods. Unlike regular stores, an online store is much less expensive. At the same time, its audience is not geographically limited to a city, region, or country.
As with every market, you need to establish a strong base for your online business. Although the steps listed below do not actually have to be taken in sequence, their purpose is to provide you with a sturdy basis to withstand the weight of your potential business development and progress.
Table of Contents
Steps to Launching an Online Business
The guide below breaks down the method of launching an online company into achievable steps.
Decide on a Business Idea
This first step probably doesn’t sound like a no brainer at all. But you’d be amazed how many aspiring entrepreneurs leap forward towards branding or site creation before they have a solid concept in place. Here are a few points to remember when sorting out what your latest online business will be like. Every successful business must have a vision and an aim behind it. And you ought to be confident that you’re pursuing a startup to keep it running. Of course, you may have an exit plan in mind, but if you don’t have the ambition or desire to move the business ahead, it won’t go that far.
It’s also a smart idea to ask yourself if you’re genuinely prepared to undertake your latest business idea. Developing a company around a passion, talent, or side hustle that you know inside and outside allows you to leverage a certain amount of experience. Just because you’ve got a specific skill set or hobby that you enjoy, it doesn’t mean there’s a demand for it. You ought to address some real-world issue to make sure some potential buyers are searching for a remedy.
Choose Your Niche
If you’re planning to start an online business, it’s better to stay niche-specific. You can’t afford to sell everything and make a massive profit. Many online retailers sell hundreds of items and thousands of categories without any particular emphasis on being niche-specific. You can’t become the next Amazon immediately because you have a considerable investment at your side. Before then, it’s the easiest way to concentrate on your niche to operate a profitable online company.
The first significant move is to find other established online companies who also have a foothold in the field that you want to be part of. To start an online company, go to a niche that isn’t overcrowded. Therefore, you must guarantee that you have fair competition since the lack of rivals typically means little demand for your goods or service. More specifically, ignore something that’s dominated by big brands.
Develop a Business Plan
Once you decide that the idea is feasible, it’s time to draw up a detailed business strategy. Even if you’re not planning to get funding for your company, at least not initially, getting a business plan is useful because it helps you identify any possible bumps in the path and plan for future development and profitability. A successful business plan can allow you to define the market further, explain your goals, have a campaign roadmap, and help you make the kind of choices that will make a difference between success and failure.
Choose a Business Name
Choosing the name of your company is an essential aspect of the startup process. Since your company would mainly work digitally, your preferred name must be eligible for registration as a business name in your country and a digital space.
This means that you may need to search if the name you want is available as:
- Your country’s business name
- Name of domain
- Username for any of the social networking sites that you plan to use
If your preferred name is not available as a domain name or social network username, consider different name variations. Note that several domain name extensions outside the original “.com” domain name are available. It is also necessary to verify that the name and domain name does not violate any licensed trademarks.
Use Search Engines for Targeted Buyers
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are the fastest way to get visitors to an entirely new website. It has two benefits over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC advertising will appear automatically on the search results. Secondly, PPC ads will enable you to test different keywords and alerts, pricing and sales approaches. Not only can you get instant traffic, but you can still use PPC ads to find the latest, most selling keywords. You can then scatter the keywords in your copy and code around the website, which will help your ranking in the organic search results.
Decide on Your Business Structure
The business structure you select will determine the legal and tax criteria you’ll have to fulfil. Many small business owners prefer the following structures:
- Sole proprietorship: This is the simplest form of business structure, but its lack of limited liability offsets its simplicity.
- Partnership: While this form of the business structure might appeal to you if you are embarking on your venture with a partner, your liability is unlimited like a sole proprietorship.
- Limited liability company (LLC): An LLC offers limited liability without the additional complexity of incorporation, making it one of the most popular small business structures.
- Corporation: Like an LLC, a corporation provides limited liability. While it’s more complicated to both set up and maintain, it may be the right choice depending on your circumstances.
It’s definitely a smart idea to consult a company formation specialist to decide the proper business arrangement for your new business. Because each structure has various tax conditions, you might even want to contact a tax professional.
Take Care of All the Legal Tasks
Just like any physical company, you need to prepare the necessary business formation papers and other documentation to guarantee that your new business has a firm legal base. It includes the following:
- Registration of your company with relevant government authorities
- Obtaining all the necessary permits and licenses
- Meeting the tax criteria, such as filing and tax ID numbers.
Since these requirements differ on an emirate-by-emirate basis and your company’s nature, it is necessary to carry out your research to satisfy relevant conditions. Again, it’s always useful to contact a lawyer with company startup expertise in your specific field to ensure you’re on the right track.
Design and Build Your Website
When you’ve got your niche and product and laid your sales method down, you’re ready for your small business website development. Remember to keep it simple. You’ve got less than five seconds to attract someone’s attention—otherwise, they’re out, they’re never seen again. There are a few useful tips to take into consideration:
- Choose a single or two simple fonts on a plain background.
- Keep the navigation direct and quick, and the same thing on every page.
- Only use images, audio or video if they improve the message.
- Include an opt-in offer so that you can gather email addresses.
- Make it simple to buy—no more than two taps between a prospective buyer and a checkout.
Your website is your online shop, so keep it customer friendly.
Launch Your New Business
Although you’re not really going to be “cutting the ribbon” the way you do for a physical company, you’re going to do it figuratively. As you make the website live and inform the world that you’re open for business. This announcement may be made in a range of forms, such as:
- Social media platforms
- Your email list
- Online ads
- Traditional ads
During the launch phase, you will reap the benefits of your work during your prelaunch marketing.
Of course, your journey has only just started. Still, you would have created a reliable platform for your online company by going through these nine steps. To set the foundations in this way ensures that you will dedicate your attention to operating and selling your new company, rather than coping with the numerous fires that may emerge if you have ignored some of these crucial measures along the way. Our company set up experts at Riz and Mona Consultancy will complete the company creation procedure. However, issues such as marketing the consulting company and establishing a directory of prospective buyers would need to be considered by the business owner. Please feel free to contact us if you want to open an online business in the UAE and need guidance.