Many kinds of physical businesses are struggling left and right. From restaurants with difficulty adapting to the world of take-out and delivery to brick-and-mortar stores seeing falling revenue, starting a business right now might not seem like such a good idea.
However, online businesses are largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, with so many more people shopping online throughout the world, now might be the best time ever to start an online business.
In this article, we’ll look at ways to figure out if starting an online business in today’s world is the right decision for you. Plus, we’ll examine some of the most effective ways to start a business online.
Consider Your Own Finances and Schedule
Although the stock market has recovered since its crash in March, many people are still out of work. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately harmed certain groups of people, leaving them unemployed while others continue their lives relatively unaffected.
If you have maintained continual employment, gained lots of at-home free time, and aren’t saddled with kids or other big responsibilities, you might be in the perfect position to start an online business. On the other hand, if you’re struggling making ends meet or finding free time, you might be better off postponing your business aspirations until a later date.
Compared to brick-and-mortar businesses, online businesses are relatively inexpensive to set up and run. Instead of paying for a physical storefront, employees, and everything else that comes along with a real-world presence, you’ll need a much cheaper domain name and website. Of course, if your business involves shipping physical products, there will be more significant startup costs involved.
Digital design and marketing are also very important to every online business, although they are primarily time costs, not financial expenses.
Focus On Your Customer
Many people looking to start a business have a great idea, but fail to adequately think about product-market fit. They might have created a cool invention or the best-tasting ketchup in the world, but if they haven’t found a type of customer to go after, their business will probably be unsuccessful.
This is particularly important when starting an online business. In the real world, customers might stop by your storefront after walking by it a few times. Online, nobody is going to end up on your website without some kind of marketing drawing their attention. Effective marketing—especially social media marketing—requires a deep understanding of your target customer.
Many of the most spectacular failures in business are solutions in search of a problem. Take the Segway, for instance. While the underlying technology was extremely impressive, it did not solve any real-world problem to justify its existence. Despite huge investments and lots of technical R&D, the Segway never took off like it was supposed to.
Don’t Quit Your Job
When your business first starts to get traction, you might feel like quitting your job would increase your odds of success. Even though you’ll get more time to work on your startup, this approach has a number of major downsides.
Most importantly, when your livelihood rests on the success of your business, you will be less likely to take risks. Risk avoidance is good for a large, well-established business, but it can be detrimental to new companies. If your target market turns out to be less enthusiastic than you originally thought or a key supplier fails to deliver, you’ll be quicker to pivot—and as a result, more successful—if you are not relying on your business for critical income.
Take the famous example of Warby Parker: not only did the founders not drop out of school when they started their business, but they also spent six months deciding on a name. There are certainly benefits to launching early and iterating based on customer feedback, but many businesses are successful with a slow-and-steady approach. No matter what, don’t get ahead of yourself by quitting work or school before your business is clearly successful.
Work on Your Digital Skillset
Many of the concepts required for success in online business require a strong understanding of the technology involved. Ecommerce, social media marketing, and today’s increasingly powerful logistics provide entrepreneurs with better tools than ever before. Even so, they require expertise to become especially useful.
Before you launch your digital storefront, take the time to tailor it to your particular needs. Oftentimes, it can be helpful to have professional help—for example, the assistance of a Magento development company—at your disposal. While turnkey solutions are often the easiest option, many businesses would be better suited by a more customized choice.
Be Passionate, But Not Too Passionate
Your motivation for starting a business likely comes from a deep passion for something in your life. As important as it is to motivate yourself, don’t let it overtake your ability to make smart decisions. Just like how you don’t want to quit your job, don’t make other decisions that are unwise in the name of excitement and drive for your business.
Similarly, many new business owners burn themselves out by overworking and failing to balance their passion with smart work habits. Your excitement and enjoyment of your business shouldn’t let you work so hard that you suffer mental health issues down the road. Taking a step back and thinking about the long term can be good ways to avoid burnout.
Whether you’ve had a business idea rattling around in your head for months or starting an online business is a completely new thought, now is the time to go for it. Although many small businesses—particularly brick-and-mortar ones—are closing rapidly, online businesses are doing great. Consumers are purchasing products online more than ever before.
Now that you’ve learned a little more about how to make your new online business successful, it’s time to make it happen. Turn your passion into business success with the help of today’s powerful technology and the wealth of information available to every budding entrepreneur today.