It’s easier than ever before to start your very own online business. There are hundreds of free tools and resources available to help you along the way. But with so many choices and the whole world your potential customer base, how do you know how to start? Setting up your online business can be intimidating. Most online start-ups close down within the first ten years, but those that make it past that milestone end up becoming established names in their industries.

If you want to create your own start-up online business, then today’s world is perfect for you. The web has made it workable for anybody to go into business with little to nothing in their spending plan. But the two resources you will need to heavily invest in if you want to achieve business success are time and energy.

A plethora of tools online allows you to set up your business, reach customers and grow your start-up, all from the comfort of your own home. The biggest benefit to starting an online business is that you get the freedom to decide everything from your schedule to how you market your products. You don’t need to pay for office space, and your overhead costs reduce drastically as well.

But like all businesses, the daily hustle remains unchanged. To grow your business, you’ll need to put in the hours even before you officially launch your online start-up.

#1 Find a Product

What will your start-up sell online? Even if you have a general idea of what you want to sell, you’ll still need to know the minute details of all your products before they hit the market. Are you selling clothes? Then what kind? What is your inventory? How are you planning to sell and ship your products? Is there a need for your product?

If you sell a product that is already available in abundance in the online marketplace, then you’re unlikely to find many buyers. If you sell a product that no one’s looking for, you won’t find any buyers. The balance here is to find a product that is not yet widely available in the market, and make it available.

You can find out what these products can be by visiting forums and discussion pages frequented by your target audience. Looking through your competitors’ social media pages and online catalogues can also help you determine what they have, and more importantly, what they don’t have. Look to find products that aren’t available or where the demand is greater than the supply. If you can procure and sell those products online, then you’ve found your golden goose.

#2 Create a Business Plan

This is the most crucial stage, and it comes right at the beginning of your start-up journey. A business plan is a corporate document that clearly details and explains the mission statement, products, finances, milestones, achievements, and all other facets of a company. Usually, the business plan is viewed regularly by a business owner and is seen as a guidebook that can help them on the way.

To make your business plan, you’ll first need to gather data. Your research should include everything from your product to what you hope to achieve with the company. Your finances and what you’ve already accomplished become key parts of the plan as well, as these will help you secure funding.

Even though you don’t need a lot of funding to set up a start-up online business, if you can secure funding, you’ll have an advantage. Instead of free tools, you can leverage better software. You can also launch paid social media campaigns and target your audience so that your brand gains traction online.

But an investor will always ask to see your business plan before they proceed. So your business plan plays the double role of being your guide book and also your access to funding.

#3 SEO and Social Media

Your primary way to achieve business success with your online start-up is by utilising social media and your website. When it comes to social media, use the data you gathered on your customers while making your business plan to gauge which social media platforms they frequent more often. Pick two and market your brand exclusively there early on.

Simultaneously, you need a site to begin selling your products. Here, you can either host your own website or make use of a hosting platform like Amazon or Etsy. If you host your own domain, you retain exclusive freedom over all aspects of running the site and can customise it freely. Third-party websites take a cut of your profits in exchange for you selling on their platforms. But if you don’t have a website, this is a great way to get your start-up online business rolling. Make sure your search engine optimises all your content, especially if you have a website. This helps your website appear higher in the Google search engine rankings.

#4 Connect With Your Customers

If you want your business to sustain for the long term, then you need to inculcate loyalty among your customers. Posting regularly on social media and becoming a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in your field allows you to build conversations with your customer base.

Talk to them online by frequenting the social media platforms they use. Start writing blogs, write guest blogs on affiliate pages, and create useful content that helps people understand your product. Ensure you clarify why your product is essential and what need it fills. Add testimonials to your website and social media pages and you’re almost set.

#5 Registration and Insurance

The first step to owning your business is registering yourself as a business owner. If you want to start an online start-up business, then find out what the laws in your State or Territory are regarding that. If there are any documents to fill or sign, get these done ahead of time. Find the right name for your brand and get it registered. Do the same with your domain name – you will eventually need a website and you don’t want someone else to run a website that matches your brand’s name. You should also consider what kind of tax you or your business might have to pay. If you are unsure professional help is always available, consider engaging with an accountant to help you sort out your business registration and finances. Once registered, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation. If you’re wondering what an incorporation certificate means, it’s a certificate that proves you’re a legal trading business.

You should also consider insurance, an online business capable of causing financial loss. Some of the more common insurances for an online business include Public Liability*, Cyber Liability* and Business Insurance* packs.  Another type of insurance that is designed for professionals is Professional Indemnity* insurance, which protects you against losses claimed by a third party due to alleged or actual negligence or errors in your professional services or advice.  Your Professional Indemnity insurance will meet the associated compensation payable to a third party together with your defence costs (which can include legal costs, investigator costs and expert fees).

Check out BizCover for more information about different insurance options for your start-up online business.

These five hints are all you require to set up a start-up that’s headed for success. Use these strategies to create a start-up that becomes an established, reputable and valuable part of your industry.

As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.

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