Going professional and having the courage to start an online business is an admirable venture, indeed. Everyone is searching for ways to make some extra cash and a second or third job is not the answer. Other marketing methods like direct sales or multi-level marketing are of no interest either. But online businesses can be fun, rewarding, challenging, and can earn some significant money if the new webmaster has the drive to make it happen.
- find out what the market is like, (research your keywords),
- know who your competitors are, (need to get your site close to the top positions),
- determine whether there is a need for the services or product, (how many people search online for the product),
- research a name for the company, (register a domain name and company name),
- find an inventory source if needed, (sell your own product or service, join an affiliate program, or find a drop-shipper),
- rent a building or work out of your home (start with a free blog, an auction site, or your own website),
- and obtain any licenses, permits, insurance, and legal documentation to start conducting business.
One of the first things anyone going professional and starting an online business must do is write a business plan. Ironically, this is one step that most people avoid and never bother starting or completing. This is tantamount to driving in a foreign country with no map. Not having a clear and concise idea of where you are going, how your are going to get there, how much you have to spend, how you are going to find resources and freelancers, and how soon you will recoup your investment will lead to failure. Confusion will reign and you will never know what you should be doing next.
Your business plan will outline your business model with a defined path to realize your goals. Your plan will cover your broad mission and specific tasks to complete that mission. It will set out what you need to do and at what time a specific goal should be accomplished. It also covers legal issues and accounting concerns. Basically anything to do with your new business venture should be touched upon.
Remember that if you are requesting a loan from a bank to start this business or buy inventory, they will want to see the business plan along with verifiable Profit and Loss Statements (in other words, you must be able to defend your numbers). They also want to know that you are doing everything according to the letter of the law. And even if you do not have to borrow or do not need much money to begin, a plan is a good place to start in order to keep you on track and organized.
Also, if you are working out of your home, make sure to create a space that is “office-ready”. You need a private area to work and you need the proper tools or equipment to do the job. If you have small children, arrange for time where someone else in the home can handle their needs while you are working.
Treat your business like a job in the sense that you are accountable for your actions and you should work in a professional environment.
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- Business Insurance Policies needed for a Starting Internet Business
- Starting a Web Hosting Company
- Taxes: What You Can Expect to Change when Going Professional
- How to ensure safe e-Commerce by getting High End Web Hosting
- Payment Processing on the Internet
- Starting Your Own Web Design Company