Needless to say, the ongoing global health crisis has put a strain on the finances of many. While some were untimely laid off from their jobs, others were left with no choice but to let go of their businesses or witness them wither away due to monumental revenue losses caused by lockdown measures and social distancing protocols. According to the most recent estimation by the U.S. Department of Labor, there are over 20 to 40 millions US workers who lost their job due to the crisis. On the other hand, Small Business Trends noted how over 40% of the mom-and-pop companies in major US cities are in grave danger of permanently ceasing operations.
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In fact, a study cited by The Washington Post mentioned how there are over 100,000 small businesses that closed down as of May 2020.
The above points are a key reason why more and more people are taking interest in establishing an online business. After all, if there is one thing we can all learn from the pandemic, it the importance of having a diversified income. If you are one of those people who want to try their hand at launching an online business this year, here are some of the things you should take note of:
Find a niche
With how advanced technology is these days, in addition to the reality that more and more people are shifting into the digital space, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that almost everything in this world has an online equivalent. And that truth applies to products, services and even experiences. This is the reason why the first thing you have to do when establishing an online business is to find a niche you can take advantage of. Your niche will not only dictate the industry you will operate in, it will also determine the products or services you and your business will offer.
As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to build and work on what you love and at the same time make money out of it. Make full use of this opportunity and let your passion inspire you in finding a project. Think about all of the things that you enjoy researching about, have strong feelings for and would gladly dedicate much of your time to if money were not an issue. A good suggestion is to write down all the skills, hobbies and pastimes you have that could be turned into something profitable. Once your list is complete, take the time to evaluate your ideas and see if you can point out a gap in the marketplace.
Decide on a name
After determining your niche, now is the perfect time for you to zoom in on the fundamental requirements of starting an online business such as business name, logo, registration, licenses and permits. As you would expect, a catchy and interesting name is of utmost importance to businesses. However, this shouldn’t encourage you to follow trends that usually fade with time. Instead, this should be the reason why you have to be more particular with the name you want to use for your business. As business journalist Josh Spiro explained, as much as possible, your business’ name should embody both your values and your company’s distinguishing characteristics.
More importantly, ZenBusiness advises that you check your state’s naming regulations and business database before you attempt to register your business, especially if you’re planning on launching an LLC. Oftentimes, there are certain words that you need to have in your name, such as “LLC” or “limited liability company”, and a failure to adhere to these rules will result in your business permit being rejected.
Make full use of the digital space
Since you will be establishing an online business, it only makes sense for you to focus on making the digital space work for your business. Aside from making accounts on various social media platforms, it would also be a good idea to design and build a website. A website can bring in a lot of benefits for your budding business such as improved credibility, better branding, increased leads and organic traffic and better customer service delivery. When making a website, Format highly recommends sticking with minimal, intuitive designs that are easy on the eyes. Shy away from jargons and slangs, minimize tabs, embrace white space and remember to be smart about your links.
Once your website is all set-up, venture into digital marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO). Though it may seem pricey up front, it will be incredibly helpful for your business to invest in strategies that will drive organic traffic up. This is because organic traffic that has the ability to deliver over 40% of revenue according to Search Engine Journal‘s compilation of SEO statistics. It would also be in your best interest to digitize much of your process. As highlighted in one of our previous posts Going Digital in the Field Services Industry, this trick can help improve customer experience, increase efficiency and better forecasting.
A lot of experts say that starting and running a business is like having a baby, and it’s easy to see why. The dedication, hard work and passion that one needs to put into making any business a successful one is immense. This truth is amplified even more if you are trying to build an online business. Fortunately, there are tons of pieces of advice out there that you can heed and take inspiration from.