9 Steps to a Successful Online Business
1. Business Plan
Although customers may never see it, business plans are important for an entrepreneur.
Your business plan will help you to collect and organize your ideas to make the startup process less stressful.
A business plan will also help you to save money in the long run. Alejandro Cremandes, from Forbes, suggests keeping your business plan simple.
The simpler the business plan, the less likely you are to get stressed or constantly changing your ideas.
Your business plan is a crucial first step to creating your successful online business.
Without a proper business plan, you risk stressing yourself out and a failed business venture that could have been amazing for yourself and your clients.
2. Accounting and Finance Stragey
When starting an online business, you are investing in yourself and something you will love to be doing.
Some business can begin with just a few hundred dollars, while others require loans from banks or investors.
When you create your business plan you should always include an accounting and finance strategy.
This will keep you on track and make sure your revenue is not in the negatives before you launch your business.
Your strategy should include a realistic expectation of revenue for the first few months so that you are not under or over budgeting and ending some months in debt.
According to Osmond Vitez, “Expanding the business through profits usually relies on business owners forgoing large upfront salaries and reinvesting capital back into the business venture.”
It may seem stressful and like you are putting more and more money into your business and not receiving the profit you expected, but with a proper strategy you should see revenue from customers after several months.
3. Supply-Chain Management Strategy
A proper business will always keep supply-chain management in mind. Your supply-chain is what keeps you connected to clientele.
When building a business, your supply-chain management strategy is what will help you from over creating or over buying products.
Jeff Stiles suggests aligning your supply chain with your business goals, and you can do this by integrating sales with your business plan.
You can begin your business offering a multitude of products, but you should keep a close eye on what is in higher demand and offer more of those products and the other products you can cycle in and out.
This will save you time, energy, and money for production.
With a proper supply-chain management strategy you will never over produce products and will have a clear idea of what your clients do and do not like what you have to offer.
4. Clear Mission Statement
On your website, you should include a brief mission statement. This helps your customers know why you created your business.
You can give some insight into your life and what led you to wanting to create a business.
You should also give an idea of the products and services you offer.
You can also mention that everything is created in the country of origin and whether or not it is handcrafted.
This will help your clients feel a more personal connection to you and from there they are more likely to purchase your products.
If you make your products to order, you can mention in your mission statement that everything is made to order, and they could experience a delay in arrival of their purchase.
Overall, your mission statement should give insight to your business.
5. Clear Vision Statement
Your vision statement is almost similar to the mission statement; however, it is what you expect your business to be like in the future.
Although not necessary, it is nice to let your clients know you have plans to expand your business in the future and how you plan to achieve those goals.
You should mention that as you expand you plan to keep them updated through every step of the way, so they know they were a part of helping you expand.
Your vision statement should be in line with your mission statement and keep to the ideals you will uphold throughout your business.
If you stray from your ideals, clients may feel betrayed or question your values and ideals.
Your vision statement needs to be clear and emotionally connect to your clients on some level to help build your business.
Advertising is key for any successful business. In this era, there are so many ways to advertise yourself and your business.
You can start simple with Instagram and Facebook and build into other platforms like Google ads.
Another great way to advertise yourself is by word of mouth or handing out flyers in large groups of people.
Your advertisements should give insight to what you have to offer and be enticing.
You want people to click and scroll through your website, so you need to make it happy, inviting, and interesting.
You want people to be intrigued and wanting to know more about what you have to offer.
The more advertising, the more visits to your website, and the more clientele you will bring in.
After some time, your base clientele will do most of the advertising for you, but you should still keep your Instagram and Facebook platforms.
Advertising is essential to operating your business however it takes time and practice.
Branding yourself is important for any business. Your brand is what makes you, you in the eyes of consumers.
Without proper branding, clients may be left confused and not wanting to purchase from you.
John Williams says it perfectly, “… your brand is your promise to your customer.”
You never want to change your brand sporadically because customers may think you cannot commit to one product production and they may be less likely to purchase from you.
Your brand is important. It ties into everything you’ve created leading up to this.
If you change your brand your entire business venture changes with it.
You need to commit to your brand and hold steadfast with it, even when it feels like it is a failure.
A great way to commit to your brand is creating your logo. Your logo will be what people recognize as your brand, and every time a customer sees it, they will immediately recognize it and think about the great experience they had purchasing from you.
You must be consistent and stay true to yourself when it comes to branding.
Clientele will be the backbone of your successful business. You need to build a strong relationship with every new customer.
If it means writing a handwritten note thanking them for purchasing from you or even throwing a free gift, you want to build a close relationship with them.
You want your clientele to be a returning clientele and not a one-time purchase customer.
The more personal you get with your customers the more a part of your business they feel and the more likely they are to repurchase.
You can ask them to use their email to sign up for a monthly newsletter, and even give them sneak peaks into new products being released.
This will keep them intrigued and likely to be a recurring customer. Without this close relationship,
you could lose out on future business and this will put a damper on your business plans and vision statement.
Keep your clients in the loop and you will have a successful business.
9. User-Friendly Website
CLastly, but certainly not any less important, you need a user-friendly website.
You do not want to create a website that is hard to navigate or boring.
A boring website will deter potential clients from buying products, as will a hard to navigate website.
Keep the website simple and cute.
Also, make your website accessible for all platforms, meaning make it desktop and mobile phone friendly.
Some websites may reconfigure for a cellphone making them slightly harder to navigate.
You also do not want to overwhelm your customers with information on the website.
Your product menu should include the title of the product, the price, and a quick way to add it to the cart.
If customers would like more detail you can include a brief description of the product but only include the important information – such as the materials used and where it was produced.
A user-friendly website is key to having a successful business and returning clients.
Here at Tomkin Consulting, LLC we are a great resource to add when it comes to starting a successful online business, we can point you in the right direction and will be with you every step of the way.