Ten years ago, selling on the Internet was a novelty that many people were skeptical of the emerging medium. But the ‘net has spread like wildfire, and today consumers and businesses use the Web to purchase anything from payroll services to shoes to furniture to music.
As the Internet attracted an increasing number of the world’s consumers and businesses, the Internet soon become a huge marketplace with its potential for big-time revenues. The Web has become an established part of the business environment, profoundly altering the way business is conducted.
As a result, multitudes of ordinary folks are attracted to the enormous promise of e-commerce. Many entrepreneurs have established, or are trying to create viable businesses on the digital frontier. There are many would-be Internet proprietors, all eager to start on the road to e-riches. Small businesses were doing as well as the big guys, both as retailers and information providers. Many quiet entrepreneurs are making money on the Internet, anywhere from six figure grosses to millions. In fact, a number of “home spun efforts” have grown to become bona fide businesses with anywhere from 1-100 employees. Many of the sites on the Inc. Technology list, which classifies the best small business Web sites, were started for less than $10,000 and some have revenues in excess of $2.0 million a year.
If you are one of those potential entrepreneurs looking to start a business on the Web, below are the important questions you need to consider:
Step 1: Decide what you will do
There are a number of ways that you can earn money from the Internet. Learn what business model would suit your business goals, objectives and lifestyle.
- What are the different ways of earning money on the Internet – and which of these methods do you like to do?
- What is involved in selling products or services on the Web? What do you need – from setting up an online shop, accepting payments, fulfilling and delivery, etc.?
- If you prefer to earn from online advertising, how can you generate advertising revenues? What sort of content will attract advertisers and earn you big bucks
- What are ways to generate supplemental income from your web site?
- What are the traps and myths on earning money on the Web that you need to avoid?
- What are the common elements of successful business web sites?
Step 2: Learn how to start a business in your state .
An online business is just like any other business: you need thorough planning to succeed. You need to learn the general steps of starting a business and the requirements of doing business in your state and in your county. Here are the questions that you need to ask:
- What are the steps to starting a business?
- How do you plan for your business?
- Where do you get the funds to start your business?
- How do you research your market?
- What are the permits and licenses that you need to operate an online business in your state?
- What are the tax requirements that you need to know about?
Step 3: Create Your Online Presence
Having a web site is a key element of doing business on the Internet. Know how to create an effective web site, and the tools that you can use to manage your online business.
- How do you set up your web site?
- What is the best way to design a web site?
- What are the elements of an e-commerce business?
- How do you accept payments online?
- What are the effective ways of managing your site?
Step 4: Market and Promote Your Web site
You cannot build a web site and expect customers to simply come: you need to market your web site. Know various cost-effective methods that you can use to build traffic and convert your visitors to sales.
- How do you effectively promote your site without losing your shirt?
- What marketing strategies works on the Web?
- What strategies must you avoid in promoting your web site?
- What offline promotion strategies work best?
- What are the successful marketing strategies commonly used by home-based entrepreneurs?
- What social media platforms and strategies will you use for your business?