Day 7: Must-Haves to Set Up Online Business

I know this is where many of you get completely undone – setting up your online business seems too much for you to do own your own.  When I was starting out, I too found this stage very challenging.  But let me remind you “Rome wasn’t built in a day“!  Just one small step a day goes a long way in making your dream come alive.

Try not to over analyze and complicate the whole process.  Start with the basic minimum and improve as you grow.  Once you have identified a profitable niche and selected a target customer base, it is easy to set up your business.

Today, we will discuss the basics requirements or must-haves for setting up your own online business.  One thing you need to remember is that each business is different; so the requirements will vary accordingly.  Again, the internet is associated with technology and a business built around it will definitely have technical aspects to keep it running smoothly.  So keep your mind open and be ready to learn.

This article is an overview but we will be going into the details of each aspect discussed here in the coming days.

1. Address

Your online business is very similar to an offline business – just that it’s in the World Wide Web!  Just like a traditional business, the first thing you need is a name and an address.  In the online world, a domain (or sub-domain) represents your business’ address.

Let me explain.

www.google.com is a domain name and that is the web address of Google.

mail.google.com is a sub-domain and it is the web address of Gmail.

It’s very important to choose the right web address to represent your online business.  We will be discussing more about how to choose your domain name tomorrow.

2. Space

Once you have a name and an address, you need space to set it all up – that is where web hosting comes into the picture.  It defines where your website or blog will be hosted.  If you’re starting on a tight budget, you can opt for one of the free platforms but you will be faced with limitations.  Once the money starts coming in, you can go for a paid service.

Having your own hosting, gives you more freedom and control.  Free services can shut down your website at any point – if they get too many complaints or if they feel you’re using too much of their resources.  It is very clearly mentioned in their terms and conditions that you agree to when you sign up.  I am not against using free services, but to portray a professional look and have complete control, you have to go for paid hosting.

You can look out for more details and our recommendations later in this series.

3. Design

Many a time I have visited a shop just because it looks inviting and has a remarkable interior design.  I feel the same when I visit a website or a blog.  If the website looks cluttered or the content is too flashy, I leave… never to return!  I believe it is the same with all visitors online.

The design of your blog or website will speak volumes about your business and has the potential to attract people or turn them away.  Your website or blog design tells your visitors more about you than you intend.  Even if you’re using a free service, try to go with a look that your audience can connect with.

In the third week of this series, we will be discussing how to design a website that gets your visitors more connected to you, eventually leading them to buy from you.

4. Payment System

The purpose of starting an online business is of course to make some money!  To make that a reality, you have to be ready to accept payments from your customers.  This is applicable to any online business idea you choose.

There are several options available – you can make the choice depending upon your business and your country.  The easiest is PayPal which I have been using for the last 5 years.  While choosing a payment gateway, try to get one that can be connected with a bank in your country, so that the money can be transferred easily.  {Certain countries do face some restrictions  – we’ll be sharing more about this in the last week of the series.}

5. Investment

A business investment isn’t just limited to the financial aspect – it also includes your time and effort.  Setting up a solid business requires all these – your time, effort and some capital.  You can start out for free, but that will require more effort and time from your side.

As some money starts rolling in, invest a part of it back into the business – that is how all successful businesses build themselves up.  But don’t diversify into many projects as of now. Try to focus on just one until it gives you a solid income.

Two mistakes I made during the early years, when I was just starting out were:

1) I tried to invest in many avenues, only to fail.  Things began to fall in place only when I narrowed my focus to just one area (i.e. SEO, which is my core specialty).

2) I used all the money I received for myself – for my own needs.  I soon learned that it is much more satisfying to give some of my income back to the community and serve the needy.

Setting up an online business is so very similar to building up a traditional brick and mortar business.  You need a business name & address, space (or building) to set it up, office (or shop) design that displays your wares, a billing system, and of course money, time and effort to build it up.

 There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills

There are absolutely no shortcuts to establishing a successful business.  Yes, you can start with just a dream but it takes a whole lot more to get it going and keep it running smoothly in the long run.  Please don’t be discouraged, though – we are with you, to guide your every step of the way.

There are no action steps today as well.  I encourage you to take the weekend to catch up with the past week’s posts and gear yourself for the nitty-gritty of setting up your online business starting tomorrow.

Click here to catch up on all the posts in this series.