Its quite normal to feel a bit anxious when thinking of delving into the world of online businesses but there’s really no magic to it. A lot of businesses these days have an internet side, at least the lock-downs opened the eyes of many to this.
Unless you’re building a Platform As A Service (PAAS) or Software As A Service (SAAS), all you’re really doing is pushing your offline business to more markets online; nothing strange about trying to get more customers is there?
Where do I begin?
I can assure you that its not going to be all green lights down the road of entrepreneurship so waiting for everything to be ‘right’ means you’ll never start. Your tools depend on the nature of business but ensure to setup your work space first. Let’s look at a few things to help get you started.
Acquire necessary skills
Unless you take out time to acquire a reasonable level of skill, all you’ll be doing is advertising your incompetence. You don’t have to be a guru to start, a solid foundation would do. Take an online course or serve as an intern / apprentice if you have to.
Consider doing a few free jobs to boost your confidence and skills because all the books and videos in the world are of little use without hands on experience.
Have a passion
I find the idea of ‘doing what you don’t like so that you can have the money to do what you like’ quite reasonable in the real world; I have my reservations though.
I think its important you like or enjoy what you do to a healthy extent. You’re bound to encounter obstacles, droughts and valleys on this journey, a passion is one of those resources that help you weather the storm.
I should however mention that all the passion in the world won’t help you unless you somehow convert it into skills; whether yours or someone you bring onboard. Skill and passion are
Get your work gadget(s) / tool(s)
While I agree that a bad workman blames his tools, I think you need good tools nonetheless. They don’t have to be top of the shelf , just good enough to get you going.
One blocker is the price tag of tools you’ll need to ‘begin’. A way around that is to start smaller than you always dreamed / imagined ; its way more practical. Start off with fewer products / services then scale with income.
Be wary of loans
Think carefully before taking a loan to start your business. Starting out is when you’re most prone to making rookie mistakes and its just better you do that with your savings than a loan; unless you’re cool with being embarrassed or hassled by your creditors.
I think you should also be wary of chasing investors early in your business. Chances are that you’ll be under immense pressure to deliver. You probably don’t want this.
Brand your business
Reputation and branding really help set your business apart. Get a good logo and color scheme; nothing fancy but very easy to remember and associate with your brand. You should also create a business profile on Google My Business then business accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube or LinkedIn.
Try to keep the profile handle and names consistent across platforms. Focus on a few platforms so you don’t spread your promotional efforts too thin. A website is another form of branding.
Get a website
You’ll come across business ideas that are touted as not needing a website of your own. Even platforms like Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Tiktok etc. give you the impression that you don’t need a website of your own to run your business.
Its an idea you should entertain with caution. You don’t really own or control these platforms; you’re just borrowing them. Your account can get banned or throttled any day. While I’m in support of your presence on these platforms, you should also have and introduce your customers to your website; which you own and control.
Your website is your real estate on the internet and should be your base which all other platforms you use, drive traffic to.
Distribute branded items
Branded items are an effective way to spread the word about your business. Think of them as a Trojan Horse. They not only advertise your business but also remind the receiver about you. Consider daily items which your target market tend to use frequently, nothing too expensive.
Its important you focus on quality over quantity. Since the idea is to give them a lasting reminder, the reminder itself needs to last.