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How to start or take your Business Online

Updated: Jun 27

With t3e28d9he business dynamics changing rapidly in today’s world, every business, be it small or big, needs to have an online presence and be a part of the global digitization. In order to survive in the cut-throat competitive business world, it is apparent that you look at new strategies & ideas on how you can use the power of the Online World.


Starting a new online business or taking your existing business online can be taxing in terms of answering the questions ‘What’, ‘How’, ‘Where’ among others. Here are a few tips to make your life easy and help you think systematically on the next steps.


Do not Rush...!

Build your STRATEGY – Many a times there is an idea which pops in our mind which seems to be THE right business model & immediately we start working on the brand name, logo and the website. We need to STOP right there and take a step back to first think on the STRATEGY. Even if you already have an existing business running in the brick & mortar format, just by building a website will not be sufficient to achieve the desired results. To be successful with your business online we need to first chalk down the entire strategy & then move step-by-step towards implementing the same. We need to answer a few questions including:

What is the business all about?

Be it your existing business being run offline or a new online business idea, it is important that a thorough analysis is done of what the business is all about. This analysis would help in answering questions like “Can I completely go Online”, “How will going online compliment my existing operations”, “Can I actually sell my products/services online or online will just be a channel for customer acquisition” ….!


Once you get answers to these questions, the next steps get easy in terms of structuring your online product, choosing the right marketing channels, forming the appropriate partnerships among other processes.


What problem is the business solving?

If we are not solving the customer’s problems the whole business model loses its importance. The answer to this question helps in understanding how big the problem is and subsequently how big is the market for the product/services being offered.


Who are the competitors?

Competition is always health, but researching on your competitors is of utmost importance as it helps you gain insights on what is already being offered relevant to your product/service, how big is the market (based on how many & where all your competitors are present), who are you up against, is there anything that can be done which is not being catered to by the competitors.


How can the offerings be bettered in comparison to the competition?

A thorough study on what your competitors are offering helps you compare what you are about to offer to your customers against what is already being offered by your competitors. Here is where in addition to bettering your product/service or improving your after sales service, many a times using the right technology stack acts as a game changer as its not just about what is being offered, but also about how it is being offered.


Who is the target audience & where can I find them?

It is very rare that a particular product/service would cater to all the customer segments irrespective of gender, age, income and other demographic & psychographic variables. Hence it is very important to identify your core customer target segment as it will enable you serve your customers properly and also help you save on marketing spends towards acquiring the right customer. In cases where the business fall under the B2B category, going online sometimes opens the door to start selling direct to the end Customer i.e Direct 2 Customer (D2C) thereby increasing the margins. Once your target audience is set, on the marketing front, it gets easier to choose the right marketing channel mix as we now know where we can find our customers, thereby reducing acquisition cost with higher ROI.


How should I structure my online product / website?

Your website is definitely your digital address, but it is important to have the right online product based on the product/service being offered. Should the website be static, dynamic, transactional or eCommerce enabled is the key towards conducting your business online. Website is not just about display of information for your customers, but a platform which enables them to engage with, connect with and transact with the brand. Hence it is necessary to provide proper user interface, user experience (UI/UX) making the user journey on the website a pleasurable one. Once the features of the online product/website have been finalised, the next important thing to consider is the right technology stack to be used for development. While building the structure of the website, one important thing to be considered is - can the website provide an extension to serve as a portal for your customers as well, especially in the B2B businesses. Lastly, the website needs to be mobile responsive & if there is a scope for building your own mobile app based on your business model, the same needs to be considered.


How should the product/service be delivered to the target audience?

Can you product/service be bought online, or your business requires the customer to visit your office/outlet to purchase or avail the same is the question which needs to be answered while deciding on how the product/service will be delivered to the customer. This directly Impacts the way your website/online product will be structured in terms of functionality & features. In case of eCommerce business the eCom platform will be a channel to browse & purchase the desired product being offered, whereas for SaaS based business the transaction can take online with the delivery of the service also done online instantly. Hence, based on the business model & processes involved, it is important to have the right delivery methods and processes for a better customer experience.


What are the legalities & taxations involved in running the business?

Taking any business online has its own share of legalities & taxations which needs to be complied with. It is very important that the business must be aligned with the laws and regulations of the region in which it is operating. Be it the business structure, tax obligations or the licenses & permits, the business needs to make sure to cover all aspects before starting the business.


What technology stack should be used to build the online product?

A technology stack encompasses combination of tools, frameworks, and programming languages that is used by the development team to create any web application. Any online business is built on technology and the stack on which the same is built makes all the difference. Be it a static website, mobile site, mobile app or an ecommerce platform, the technology adopted effects the features to be implemented, scalability & robustness of the product. It is important that you chose the right vendor/team with the required expertise to avoid delays in the product development process. It is not always necessary to build the team inhouse as there are 3rd party platforms & tools which can be used as a plug & play model without the need of technical expertise. The decision to have your own team or use readymade platforms depends on how feature rich the product is designed.


Which marketing channels would be most effective in reaching out to the audience?

You have your online business set up and ready to roll, but to start the inflow of customers you need to focus on customer acquisition. With more than 60% of world population using the internet, Online marketing provides you with various options to target the right audience globally. A lot of business owners are aware that digital marketing is very crucial for the growth, but many still don’t know where to start & delay the process. Some of the ways in which digital marketing can help businesses include:

  • Create brand awareness by creating your presence online & also making it easy for people to find you & trust you

  • Gain wider reach by building your brand not just locally, but also internationally

  • Be Cost effective in comparison to conventional advertising

  • Increase revenue & ROI by running campaign which are measurable

Having your business operations online along with marketing your business online is now the growth engine for all the companies across sectors. It is important that businesses approach online marketing in an integrated manner through a proper mix of Search Engine Marketing (SEO), Content Marketing, Social Media marketing, Video Marketing, Email Marketing, Paid Advertisement, Affiliate Marketing, Marketing Automation, Mobile Marketing & Online PR among other channels.


How do I analyse my business results?

Your business is online and online marketing is working great with customers visiting your website. That’s a good feeling, but it is important that the customers keep growing & become your repeat your customers, especially in the case of eCommerce business. The beauty about the online space is that not just the marketing is measurable, but there are Analytic tools that help you analyze the user behaviour on your website. These analytic tools help businesses in making their website /mobile app better by understanding the user behaviour while their journey on the online platform. In today’s online world analytics has become one of the most important aspects if the businesses want to grow as it is all about taking the decisions based on actual data. Google Analytics is one such free tool which helps you with complete analytics. There are other free as well as paid tools available in the market and should be chosen based on the product & business requirement.


 

I hope this article helps you towards taking your business online. For any guidance you can contact us & we will be happy to assist. With the business dynamics changing rapidly in today’s world, every business, be it small or big needs to have an online presence and be a part of the global digitization. A start-up, SME running a brick & mortar business or an entity with established footprints in the online domain, all need to survive in this cut-throat competitive business world. It is apparent that we look at new strategies & ideas on how we can use the power of the Online World. Ceresphere Consulting focuses on setting this stage for your online presence & more importantly on the growth of your business digitally. Contact us for assistance in the Digital space.