We consult with quite a few new business owners every month and while most of them are very intelligent, some of them still overlook obvious things because their business model is based on the web. Here are some things you should consider when starting a web based business:
A good portion of your operating expenses come after you have the website built. Having a website built is like buying a car, the minute you drive it off the lot no matter how pretty it is, it is going to need gas. There are billions of websites out there and just because you have one doesn’t mean instant success. As a matter of fact when you start a new bricks and mortar business you at least get some drive by traffic to help get you sales. Unfortunately, drive by traffic on the web costs money. Whether through pay per click, search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing or video marketing, there will be costs. Moral of the story, Don’t spend your budget on the website, save some to use towards traffic generating efforts.
Just because your business is online doesn’t mean people won’t try and break in and steal from you. There are actually more people trying to. Ask your hosting company about routine backups. They usually incur a small cost but nothing compared to the cost of having your online business down while trying to restore it from a outdated version of your website.
Treat your online business like a storefront. Show up to work! Plan to be at work a certain amount of time a day. Even though you can’t see you customers coming in (unless you use Woopra), you can spend time doing productive online activities while waiting on orders. Spend time using social media to engage with potential clients. Research what your competitors are doing. And even blog about your business. You will find that the time you spend every day will start to pay off.
Always use a domain name that ends in dot com, unless you absolutely have to use another domain extension for branding purposes. Meaning you have already invested a sum of money and only the dot net was available.
Really give your business some thought. Internet businesses require internet traffic to be successful. Try to avoid niches where your niche will just be grouped into a single search function of Google or Bing. For example, airline flights or hotel rates.
Remember, your online business will require things that normal businesses need: marketing, staff, custom service, and all the legal stuff as well, business license, tax ID, etc. Online businesses are real businesses, treat them that way and you will do fine.