This question is challenging because there can be no guarantee that you can predict the most successful and profitable online business to start.
The critical elements to your success are researching the potential of your business idea.
The critical elements to your business success are:-
- A passion for the business you are creating.
- Work effectively on your business, (which does not mean putting hours of unproductive time)
- Do you have good problem-solving skills? ( if not take a short FREE course from Leeds University to develop these skills}
- Do not give up (80% of online businesses fail within the first six months)
I also understand the fears and potential difficulties the first-time business owner faces, from the potential technical challenges of setting up an online business to the genuine concerns of starting a new business venture.
The most significant problem the first-time entrepreneur faces are procrastination! The first real hurdle most of us face and one you can quickly resolve by just starting the action needed to progress your business dream.
Areas Covered: –
1. Identify a profitable Business Idea and turning it into a successful business.
2. Branding is essential to your online business.
3. Choosing a Domain Name and registering using Namecheap.com
4. Where do I Source Products for my e-commerce site?
5. Finding the most suitable Online Platform for your business
You may already have a successful idea many new companies start from a personal passion you have. It may be an activity such as a craft such as jewellery, ceramic pots being just two examples, or perhaps as fitness guru Joe Wicks the personal trainer, turned his passion into a multi-million-pound business. Most of us will not be that successful; however, you can build a successful business online.
What are the online business ideas: –
How much do you have to spend in your budget?
An online platform will cost around £500 per year.
Do you have experience in the niche you want to enter, or is it a hobby you want to develop?
What are your passions? Passion is an excellent driver in developing your business and usually means it is easier to handle with your expertise.
Unfortunately, over 80% of new online business fail in the first six months. Success is often down to sticking to your plan. You do not need to produce a detailed business plan; if you do not need a business loan for your online business, there is no need to create a detailed business plan, you need to have a lean plan to keep you on track.
Do you want to follow a FREE 5-day Video Course on starting an online business?
Do your research about your potential business.
- Look online search google for a business you could replicate but enhance the value to customers by giving additional benefits to meeting customers’ needs.
- Are there physical shops in your area that you can use as a template to turn into an online business?
- Look at the Franchise business, look in newspapers and magazines look at the potential of turning these into your own online?
Let’s start by putting your ideas down on paper, or on your computer screen, by using a Free mind mapping tool such as Gitmind, or a mind map template from Canva.
If you start from the beginning, this process can take some time, seek advice from friends family members about the viability of the business idea; consider their advice as part of your decision-making process. Remember the value of planning. The success of your new business depends on the time you put into your research. Let’s look at an example. One of my friends has a real passion for cycling; we can use a mind map to look at some possibilities within this marketing niche. I am sure I have not identified all the possible retail offering for a cycling business. Many of these areas identified in the mind map may require a physical store, such as cycle servicing.
Some suggestions I would look to have an affiliate link to suppliers. (Affiliate means you would receive a commission from the supplier for each sale they make from your business link). Cycle sales and holidays would provide an opportunity to link to affiliate suppliers; the other product areas can add to an online store.
Look at similar stores that sell the product(s) you are considering selling to gain an overview of your store’s potential.
Building Your Brand
• Have you decided on the type of business you will develop?
• You need to have a brand image.
• Your brand reflects your company to the outside world.
Have you thought about your brand, it should be more than just a logo and a business name?
“Your brand is how people recognise you wherever they have any interaction with your business.”
In the U.K. there are many stand out brands, e.g. John Lewis, Bentley cars, Harrods, Mini car are just a few standout brands —what are your feelings about these brands do you think it will be same as the organisation is trying project to the outside world?
How to Build a Brand: –
Complete research on your target audience and your main competitors You need to understand your target audience and a clear understanding of how your competitors are attracting and interacting with their customers.
• Use Google search engine to identify similar products and services.
• Talk to friends’ colleagues asking the type of products they buy in your proposed niche.
• Check the social media to see what is happening on their Facebook page, what comments customers are leaving
Your brand cannot be everything to all your customer audience; you need to decide which groups you will focus on in your marketing.
We offer [PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [TARGET MARKET] to [VALUE PROPOSITION].
We can offer[cycle equipment] [for the 30 to 50 years of age who commute or are/recreation cyclists][provide informative reviews and advice on new cycling equipment and additional services such as holidays]
What is your business name?
As a new business owner, it is probably crucial for you to decide on a business name. It will affect the domain you chose, your logo and your marketing activities. Over time, you will want your business name to be recognised within your brand as demonstrating quality as part of your reputation.
Choosing your brand colours
International companies will have a marketing team using psychologists and designers to develop the most appropriate colours and designs for their brand. I would suggest looking at other websites within your niche and do not clone them but use the ideas which you like to use as a template in designing your website.
Design your logo
Most people think creating a company logo early in forming their business is a good idea. You should make a logo which is unique, and suitable to be used for all your design needs from such things as business cards to advertising copy.
My favourite design website Canva provides free templates for logos, which you can develop to meet your individual needs. Perhaps try one of the free logo software to help design your logo Hatchful. You could ask a designer from the Fiverr Design site to create a logo for you.
A lot to consider from today email, take your time and discuss the options with your family and friends, but please do not procrastinate, the planning stage is crucial.
Domain Name: –
Choosing a Domain name is all part of your online business’s branding process. Look at all the possibilities that would be suitable business names and choose one that is not controversial but memorable to your customers.
You can register the domain name can be registered at several online sites. I usually use Namecheap.com because the price is extremely competitive, and you do not need to use their hosting package; it is easy to transfer the domain to another hosting site.
Choose Your Products to Sell
You are now able to think about the products you can sell on your e-commerce website.
Promoting your products or services, is straight forward you add these to your website.
There is no magic number, and how many you choose will depend partly on how you are delivering the products. For example, if you are shipping them out of your home, you will be limited on storage space and time to wrap and ship. You can easily manage this when you have 20 orders, but it will not be so simple to handle if you receive hundreds of orders.
Even if you are drop-shipping, it does not make sense to sell hundreds of different items until you have proven a viable market for them. Do not forget that all your products need to be related and should appeal to a specific customer. Small stores can be incredibly successful, and a range of 10 to 20 well-selected and well-priced products will give you a great start.
To do a final check on your product choices, ask yourself questions such as:
- Is this product unique and not sold in ordinary brick-and-mortar stores? If the customer can go out and get the item quickly at a store, they will be less likely to purchase it from yours.
- Is it in the impulse purchase price range? You’ll need to judge how much this price is for your customers within your marketing target niche. It’s easier to sell an impulse purchase when you’re starting your business as customers won’t have as much hesitation or engage in as much product research at this price point.
- Could it cause harm? Avoid selling products that could potentially cause damage your customers, such as make-up, skincare items, and toys for young children if you are not 100% sure that they are up to the hygiene and safety standards for your country.
- Remember in the U.K. and the E.U they should have a C.E. mark to show they are approved.
Do not let validation turn into procrastination. It’s impossible to predict how everything will play out perfectly. This delays you from opening your store, promoting it online, and selling your products. Get organised and dive in. If you want to take your validation one step further, open your store with a handful of select items as a test run. By making a few initial sales, you will prove that your idea is worth investing in entirely.
Find Your Products
Now that you’ve chosen the products you want to sell; you need to source them domestically or internationally.
There are numerous ways you can source these products depending on what you have chosen to sell
Ø Search in your neighbourhood if you want to support your local economy, for example, a collective of artists or craftspeople, or local producers of fresh produce
Ø Search on the Internet for sources of your products
Ø Attend trade shows and look in trade magazines for specific niches for suppliers.
Ø For affiliate products, search “affiliate program” plus your product’s name online and sign up for whatever program looks best. You’ll get a unique link that allows the merchant to track the people who clicked your link. You put their products on your site and receive a commission whenever someone makes a purchase.
Ø If you’re looking to import products from China where you’ll find the cheapest products, look at AliExpress, GlobalSources, or MadeinChina. These sites give you access to thousands of suppliers who produce almost every type of product. Many sellers offer drop shipping if you want to sell products online without having a warehouse.
Ø There are also sites that curate products to sell by drop-shipping, that isn’t often found in stores, e.g. Ecomhunt and Pexda.
Verify Your Supplier
It would help if you researched your wholesale supplier or manufacturer of choice. The company you choose to do business with domestically or internationally must be legitimately registered and have a verified physical address. That way, you have some form of assurance that the products you order are genuine.
Do your due diligence, especially if you are looking to source products from the other side of the world where you can’t turn up and knock on the door if you have problems. Genuine suppliers want repeat orders, so they’ll help you and not hinder you in the buying procedure.
Take these steps to find a trustworthy supplier from lists of hundreds online:
Follow these steps: –
Ø Look for products with high order counts that signals that a supplier is efficient in selling and shipping the product.
Ø Pay attention to product ratings and reviews. These reflect product quality, shipping speed, and supplier reliability.
Ø Check supplier ratings and how long the company has been in business
Ø Order a test product to see the quality, the packaging your customer will receive, and the delivery timeline. Be prepared to pay for this – you can use the sample to take photos and videos for your product page.
Ø Add a custom note to the supplier mentioning your buying intentions. Ask a specific question. The response you get to this note will point out what it’s like to work with this supplier. Have a list of potential back-up suppliers so that if your primary product sources cannot deliver what you need on time, you must have an alternative supplier, you cannot afford to disappoint your customers.
Set Your Pricing
Customers do not choose a product based only on price is not the only factor consumers consider when making a purchasing decision. However, most consumers do pay attention to the price.
It might be an excellent idea to sell products that you use and love, but, this is not a hobby; it is a business. You should only be selling something if it is also making you money.
Creating a pricing strategy for your e-commerce business is essential, but it certainly isn’t simple. It takes time to land on the “right” price for your products. Above all, you must ensure that you are not selling at a loss or you’ll be out of business soon.
The initial price for your products can be set up by combining your product’s cost plus any shipping costs, then multiply this figure by 3 to account for marketing, returns, payment gateway fees, ongoing business costs, and a profit. Later, when you have more experience, you can tweak your prices if needed.
The type of business you intend to start probably determines the template suitable for your online platform. If you are using the webpage to promote your business, a simple website will be appropriate, e.g. Fashion Designer, Jeweller, Writer, Consultant are just a few examples. These would be perfect for a simple Landing Page design.
If you are selling many products, then an e-commerce site would probably be the best solution for you.
We started this short course with the knowledge that you are new to an online business and did not want to be involved with the technicalities of building a website from the ground up.
Many providers provide templates for you to drag and drop to create your website.
Your website’s building can usually be completed within 2-3 hours ending with a professional-looking website. You can concentrate your time to building a successful business.
We can look at some website builders if you want to commission a Designer from Fiverr to customise your design that is an option. I would suggest initially using the drag and drop website builders. Once you have developed a profitable business, you might want to create a new website………….
Online Selling Platforms: –
It is no longer challenging to build a website with all the functionalities; you need as it was a few years ago because of the development of easy-to-use web building platforms. You still have to pay with the subscription model, like Sky T.V. and other models, they are either monthly or yearly.
There are many web building platform/programmes out there that you might struggle to choose which one is the best. The critical thing is what programme are you most comfortable to use and therefore you can update your website yourself.
I would suggest you look at the following: –
One of the easiest web builders to use. It allows you to build your website without paying until you want to connect it with your domain.
The builder is intuitive and provides you with numerous design options. If you are used to working on Word Document, you will find this web builder straightforward to use
An extremely popular website builder, the design options are excellent. They only allow you to use the platform for 14 days for free of use charge before you need to start paying, which is perfect for the decisive and appreciate clean design.
I have used WordPress for over ten years and have found it a very flexible and highly customisable open-source programme. I would not recommend this for your first project because of the learning cycle needed to use WordPress effectively. If you want to use this platform, I recommend using a designer from Fiverr, to create your website.
You could use several other website builders; the ones above will meet your initial and long-term business needs. The objective is to get you online quickly once you have completed the various planning stages.
Many small business use sites such as eBay, Facebook/Instagram shop, or if a crafter, you can use Etsy to sell your craft products. These sites offer an excellent location to promote your products. The negative side in only using these sites and not your website is that you are only leasing that space on these retail portals and it is not unknown that a retailer is banned from using the site because of some transgression in the terms and conditions of the site.
I would advise you to build your site, and yes, use these other sites as additional outlets for your business then you still have the security of owning your site