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An online business is similar to opening a store. The same ideas and principles are needed. Analyzing what makes a regular business successful and applying those qualities to your online business will make you successful.
Like a store, you need to find a way to make money with your online business. A business model or business plan is needed to determine your plan for the year. This should include projected budget, where you plan to advertise, how much you plan to spend on advertising, and other business related items. A business plan determines what you will do in that year to make your business succeed. As you build your business from day one, you should be referring to this plan so you do not stray too far off the mark. Your business plan is what will or will not get you a business loan from a bank.
What type of business you do you plan on operating? There are several options. Do you plan on expanding your current business to something online, or are you starting from scratch? Are you going to sell products or services? Are you selling information? Will you sell advertising space on your website? Or do you plan on becoming a reseller?
Consider your competition when you set your prices. Too mainstream, and you might lose to the competition. Too high, and you will lose to the competition. Too low, you might not make any money. This should also be part of your business plan.
A huge part of creating your business is naming it. The name of your business should be short, memorable, and should reflect what your business is all about. This is true for the online world, also. The name of your URL should be what your business name is, and it should be exactly the same traits as a regular business. However, because your patrons need to type your URL, it should be easy to spell, as well.
Next, you need to build your store's website. This is where your online shoppers will browse your merchandise or services. Do you show pictures? Many experts will tell you to show what you are selling. A mental picture of an item generally does not do the actual product justice or it allows the browser to believe it looks better than it really is. Be honest in the descriptions of the products and services. If you are providing a service, tell the online shopper exactly what you will do for them.
The design of the website should also reflect the store. If you are selling professional clothing – suits, dress pants, skirts and blouses – you do not want to have a hip-hop look to the store. It will drive your customers away. Professional and elegant for professional and elegant clothing. However, that does not mean you cannot have different looks to certain pages. If you are selling all sorts of clothing, you can have a beach ball theme for the bathing suits and a hip-hop theme for the hip-hop style clothes. Bring your customers into the world of your business.
Find a host that is reliable for your website. Find out what they can and will do for you and your site. A reliable web host should be able to spell out everything they will do for you and how much per month it will cost. They also will provide packages for you to choose from.
One more huge item on your list of things to do is advertise. Advertise your site on the sites that target your audience. If you are a virtual assistant, advertise on sites for professionals who may require one. If your target audience is stay at home parents, find all the sites that focus on the stay at home parents.
As things progress, and your business begins to make money, you will want to pay yourself. Do not forget that you have business expenses first and foremost. Whether it is merchandise you sell or services, you still have to pay your web host and the site that keeps your domain name registered in your name. In addition, as time moves forward, and your business begins to make a profit, you will want to refine and modify your store and how you operate things. Perhaps some of the advertising is not working as well as you would have hoped. If so, revamp the advertising campaign.
Never forget to make your customers happy. Happy customers are repeat customers and repeat customers will also tell their friends about how great the service they got from your site was and how cool the merchandise is.
Best of luck!
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