Whether you are a new or existing online business owner, there is a way to start and grow your online business that guarantees success.
Starting is the most challenging step in the process. There are important decisions to make. What to sell? How to get customers? How to market your services? The list goes on.
Studies have shown that 90% of online businesses fail within their first four. You may be wondering why online businesses fail this much. What could be the issue and what can you do not to fall victim as you start your online business?
Sometimes, it is not like these businesses are not competent but due to poor strategy and ignorance of the use of online best practices, the unfortunate happens.
The truth is, it is normal for online businesses to face different challenges but if you can navigate your way around the online space, your online business is set to grow steadily.
You want this for your online business and that’s why you should pay attention to the following nuggets I will be sharing with you in this article. Let’s start with you providing answers to these questions.
Also Read: 7 Steps To Start a Small Online Business 
What is Your Online Business Idea?
There are 101 online business ideas anyone can do to earn profitably whether as a full-time job or a side hustle. While choosing an online business is not much of a challenge for young entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners, the issue is getting it right before launching the business.
If you consider starting an affiliate marketing business or a web development business, the trick about the idea is to understand specifically how the business runs. Don’t start half-baked launching the business online except you want to fail before you start at all.
A lot that includes your niche, concept, brand image, vision, and future growth needs clarification. Have it in mind your online business idea is nothing new anywhere, countless numbers of people are in the same category or related. So, you need to be able to break through the clutter to make your business succeed.
Who are Your Target Customers?
Another important aspect of how to start a profitable online business is to know your target market. Who are those in need of your product or services?
Even when everyone should need what you offer to sell online, some people cannot do without what you are offering to sell. Identify those people! Make a list of their demands, and match it with what your online idea seeks to provide.
How Relevant Is Your Online Business to Your Target Audience?
Until you are providing something substantial that is capable of pulling buyers and subscribers to what you are doing online, you don’t have a business.
This is where you access the viability of your business idea. You are in business to make money which means you constantly need to generate sales.
According to Neil Patel, to generate sales, you must listen to your potential customers to identify their needs, wants, likes, and dislikes. So, how relevant the idea is to your potential customers determines the extent to which you will sell your product or service.
What is Your Pricing Option for Your Online Business?
After getting a viable product or service to offer potential customers, you need a planned, sustained pricing option to build your business to a strong point. If you are just starting out, you need to carefully research what works, why it is working, and better ways to amplify the results.
Pricing is the mechanism for setting a price for your product or service while taking into account internal and external factors. In the end, the aim is to offer a price the customer can pay and you can make a profit.
While pricing is easy for businesses selling products, those giving out service sometimes find pricing difficult. For me, the best way to set prices for your service-based online business is to charge hourly, or per project rate.
Meanwhile, you can see here how Prospero figures out pricing factors for your online services.
9 Best Practices to Start And Grow Your Online Business In 2023
1. Don’t Start The Action Yet
It is ok to be burning with the desire to start. All the initial energy and adrenaline will want to push you to launch your online business right away. But hold on! Don’t start the action yet.
The best you can do at this point is to keep documenting the blueprint of the business. You don’t intend to struggle when you start, so, keep taking all the necessary notes, and tiny details and continue to experiment offline.
2. Choose an Online Business Module
Starting from scratch requires more time, skill, and money. So you should look to start your online business through any of the following business modules
1. Freelancing: Provide your services through available established platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, or Fiverr to other individuals and businesses. Anything skill you can offer which includes writing, virtual assisting, web designing, and other digital skills.
2. Affiliate Marketing: You can choose the affiliate marketing module whereby you promote other brands’ products and services, and receive a commission.
3. E-Commerce: You can use brands such as Shopify to set up a business website and sell your physical products and services.
4. Online courses: Creating professional online courses and promoting them through your various social media is another way to start your online business.
5. Information products: Create, package, and sell your idea, experience, passion, hobby, and expertise in formats like eBooks, templates, videos, etc.,
6. Consulting and Coaching: Become a consultant in your field or a coach where you sell your counsel, expertise, and advice.
3. Have Your Target Audience in Mind
As you choose any of the online business modules to systematically build your online business, have your target customers in mind.
Your experience as you daily meet customers, solve problems and discover trends and opportunities, will help you streamline who specifically needs your services or products.
Continue to leverage your online business platform including your personal social media channels to build an audience for your business.
4. Solve Real Problems for Your Target Customers
Thrive in building a business that solves specifically people’s problems. Identify your target customer’s pain points, fears, frustrations, hopes, and aspirations and endeavor to meet their needs.
5. Research Competitors to Identify Opportunities for Your Business
Who are your competitors in your niche? What do they do differently? Don’t try to imitate, learn what is relevant and stick to what works in your sphere.
Opportunities abound but some opportunities may not resonate well with your business. so, be smart to know when to draw the boundaries.
6. Meet the Business Legal Requirements
To properly invest in your online business, you need to meet the necessary legal requirements.
For an online business, the business registration, company structure, website domain name, and other legal documentation. Depending on your purse, you can start with the most important legal issues for your online business.
7. Set up Payment Methods
Setting your business payment methods is a crucial decision for your online business. How do you want to receive payments and you as the business owner make payouts?
There are several payment methods to choose from. The popular ones include PayPal and Google Pay. For service-based online businesses, you can check out Payoneer, Transferwise, and Stripe.
This is also when you should consider opening a separate bank account for your online business.
If you are yet to register the business as a company, register the name of the business at least for professionalism and a positive brand image.
8. Build Your Official Sales Platform
Number one of these 9 best practices on how to grow your online business, I said, ‘Don’t start the action yet’. At this point, you have got enough lifeline to build the official online sales platform.
Whatever platform you decide to meet and receive your customers, it is welcome. For instance, building a website most often comes to mind but you can maintain what is appropriate and keep the business moving.
According to American entrepreneur and CEO, of Lean Startup, Eric Ries, business owners should learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want. In essence, test your sales platform, and business tools before you invest.
9. Choose Your Marketing Methods
What will keep the success going for any business, especially online-based is promotion, direct, indirect, organic, and paid means.
As a smart business owner, you need to know some marketing methods are better than others, so choose the best for your online business to grow a profitable brand.
Some of the marketing methods you can start immediately are email marketing i.e. sending email newsletters, influencer marketing, social media marketing, paid advertising, direct sales outreach, content marketing, etc.
You have all it takes to start that online business idea and grow into a profitable brand. It begins with working with these strategies I share with you.
I need to inform you that failure is allowed. Even when it seems it not getting anywhere good, don’t quit.
Keep re-strategizing until you get what you want. Henry Ford said, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it”.
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