If you’re looking to create a profitable online business, you’re in the right place. Here are 6 steps that’ll help you along the way.
1. Decide Which Type Of Business You Want To Create
There are several different types of businesses you can create yourself, but not all of them are made equal. You need to decide which one you want to pursue:
- A retail store
- A coaching or consulting business
- An affiliate marketing business (e.g. Amazon affiliate marketing)
- A digital marketing agency
- Something else
You don’t need to narrow it down to just these five options, but these will cover the most common types of businesses you might want to consider. If you had to choose one, though, I’d recommend an affiliate marketing business because it’s the simplest to set up.
2. Figure Out The Product You’ll Need To Sell
The product you’ll need to sell to make money online is actually very simple: digital goods that people can purchase and download. This could be software, e-books, courses, etc. Since this is the type of business you want to start online, you don’t need to worry about inventory, shipping and handling, etc. You just need to focus on creating compelling digital content that people want to purchase.
3. Find A Niche
What will make your content unique? The niche for your business is going to be the product or service you decide to sell. If your business is in marketing, for example, your niche could be marketing to women or parents of young children. Or if you’re an e-commerce store, maybe your niche is purchasing from small businesses.
Whatever it is, find a niche and develop content that’ll help people in your niche solve their problems. This will make your content more valuable to your target audience and increase the likelihood that they’ll be interested in what you have to say. It also makes it easier to understand and contextualize a concept or issue when you can relate it to something your target audience is experiencing.
4. Create An Inbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound Marketing focuses on attracting, engaging and delighting customers rather than marketing to them. One of the six steps inbound marketers follow is to create buyer personas and target marketing strategies. Yours should be no different.
To create customer personas, you need to sit down and think about what your ideal customers want. To get started, ask yourself:
- What are my targets audience’s needs and goals?
- What are my competitors doing that’s making them successful?
- What is my product or service offering that my competitors don’t have?
- What makes my product special (e.g. niche, quality, price)?
- How can I position my product or service to make it appeal to my audience?
You don’t need to start from scratch. If you’re starting a coaching or consulting business, you can use your existing name and brand to form the basis of your business. Or if you’re creating a marketing agency, you can use that to identify the products you’ll be using to attract clients. The important thing is that you choose a name that reflects your business and that you find appealing.
5. Identify The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The first step in building a profitable business is to set performance indicators you’ll use to determine whether you’re succeeding or failing as a business. The most common performance indicator used in online businesses is revenue.
Revenue is simply how much money you’ve made (or how much someone’s paid you) from the sale of your products or services. It’s a simple, but essential number. You won’t be able to tell how successful your business is without it.
Other KPIs you might want to look at are:
- Customer acquisition cost (how much you spent to acquire a single customer)
- Customer lifetime value (how much money you’ll make over the lifetime of a customer, assuming they stay forever)
- Average order value (how much someone’s spent on your products or services)
Once you’ve got a handle on KPIs, put in place a plan to track them regularly. Keeping track of these numbers isn’t difficult, but it can be very time-consuming if you don’t do it regularly. If you find yourself struggling to keep up, consider consulting with a professional.
6. Build A Supportive Team
Now that you’ve got a plan in place to build your digital marketing agency, it’s time to build the supporting team you need to make it happen. This includes your direct sales team (if you decide to go that route) and a management team (to help you navigate the process effectively).
Your direct sales team will be responsible for generating new leads and converting them into paying customers. They’ll need to be experienced marketers who understand the conversion process and can follow through on a plan to build and grow your business. You can also consider hiring people to handle the technical aspects of marketing, such as creating website content or figuring out how to attract potential customers to your site. These are all critical roles you need to fill to make your business a success.
Your management team will include an accountant who can help you track your revenue and expenses, a project manager who can organize your workload and a professional business advisor who can help you choose the right licensing and copyrighting options for your business.
You’ll need to work with an accountant to ensure your financials are in order and to set up the correct financial structures for your business. A business advisor can also help you choose the right legal structures for your business (such as an LLC or a company). Consulting with a lawyer or an accountant to do your taxes every year might be a bit much, though. As a new business owner, that’s a task you’ll have to delegate to someone else.
Your business will operate in a number of different countries, so you’ll need to consider how you want to structure your business to fit the rules and regulations in each country. For example, the way you choose to set up your business in Australia might be completely different from how you choose to set up your business in the UK. Your country of residence will also determine the type of documentation you need to have in place (e.g. proof of funds for an LLC)