Running an online business can be extremely rewarding if you can set yourself up for success right from the very beginning. However, the tricky part is defining ‘success’ in terms of what you find fulfilling as an individual.
Most people define a successful online business as a business that pays them well or an investment that turned out to be profitable. On the other hand, most people also define it in terms of the time value and see an online business as a means for escaping from their full-time job as well as for living life on their own terms.
Whatever the reason may be, you should set your north star clearly and should then only launch an online business. Lucky for you, this article will help you do just that.
Here are 5 steps to launching a successful online business:
1. Pick A Problem That You Care About
“I want to make money so I’m going to start an online business.”
This is the mindset that most first-time founders carry when they start their business.
This isn’t wrong in itself but if you ever want to see your online business flourish with a community of satisfied customers alongside you, a higher purpose needs to be set—a problem needs to be solved.
Dropshipping allows customers to get more products from an online retailer, an online blog helps readers learn something new with each new article, and so on. All of these are examples of problems that are solved by running an online business.
So, the first step is to pick a problem that you care about. You should also be prepared on working to solve that problem for a long time. Do not jump straight into things that look shiny at a first glance since new businesses lose their sparkle real quick once the layers are peeled. Do things that matter to you as an individual.
If the demand for your solution is there, you make money as a by-product of trying to solve a problem. So, to rephrase the above mindset, you should think of running an online business as:
“I want to solve a problem and get paid while doing it.”
2. Create Something That Sells
Great! You’ve found a problem to work on. Now, it’s time to create something that sells.
The key to creating something that sells is making sure you keep the problem in mind and offer the best solution at the price the customer is willing to pay. If you do that right, you have the right foothold to grow your online business.
Most often online businesses sell a product or a bundle of products rather than services since it is more scalable and time-efficient. However, you can still create an online service such as a 1-on-1 coaching class or a group coaching class for your customers.
But, make sure that you stay away from trading your own time for money since your online business can soon become your old 9-to-5 job (that you wanted to quit in the first place).
3. Test And Validate
Once you ‘believe’ that you have something that sells, the next thing to do is to test and validate your belief.
Most often founders have the ‘parent’ syndrome that makes them highly attached to the product or service they’ve created, even though it is freakishly ugly. This gets them stuck on the theoretical benefits of the solution rather than its practicality.
For example, if the customers of your online business are farmers who want to grow their business, giving a $10,000 business coaching class to them may not work since they aren’t able to make use of such lessons no matter how good the lessons are. On the contrary, a $10 pack of organic fertilizers may prove much more useful for them to help grow their crops and as a result, their business.
Therefore, you should always go out into the market and test your solution as step number tres. If the solution isn’t what your potential customers want, you might need to go back to the drawing board and create either a different version of your current solution or a completely different solution itself.
4. Build An Audience Of Early Adopters
You’ve created something and you’ve proved your belief that it actually sells. Now, what next?
The best way to market your solution to the larger public is to create a wave of early adopters. Early adopters are highly useful for generating word-of-mouth referrals to your online business which helps you gain even more customers in a cost-effective yet highly valuable manner.
Today, to build a community of early adopters, you can start off by creating informative videos on YouTube/TikTok or cater to a professional audience on LinkedIn and so on. The key here is to make informative content about your solution and use organic mediums to build an audience.
5. Launch With A Plan
After the tedious process of going from step 1 to 4, it’s time to launch. But wait, there are still some things you can do before the launch day.
Here’s a list of things you can plan out leading to your launch day:
- Notify your early adopters to share about the official launch
- Create generous offers and discounts for the launch
- Reach out to established media houses and online blogs to cover your launch
- Create paid marketing campaigns to generate hype for the launch
- and so much more.
Launch days typically show a spike in online traffic and the traffic slowly declines as time passes by. Make sure you collect emails so that you can reach out to your traffic in future days with emails that are deemed valuable to the customer. The goal is to serve and not to sell.
There you have it: the 5 steps to launching a successful online business!
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