Online businesses are growing by the day. They can be used to compliment an existing brand or run alongside a land based store. They might be offering services such as web & graphic design. They may also be a stand alone online store with no high street presence at all.
Running an online business brings its own unique set of problems and also its own advantages.
What are the advantages of running an online business?
There can be far less overheads running an ecommerce website than leasing an actual retail unit. If you are starting small you can operate from home with no need of an office. A store would need staff as well as yourself but in the beginning you may be able to do most things on your own if you work online. You can choose your own working hours also. You don’t need to have expensive marketing campaigns and social media can help small businesses.
What are the reasons you might want to run an online business?
People start online businesses for many reasons. It could be that you have an idea that you believe in but have had difficulty in getting any backing so you want to sell it yourself. Other reasons may include unemployment or frustration in your existing job and a desire to further yourself. You can be your own boss. You can work from home. Another reason may be that you simply want a hobby. Many online businesses can be side gigs that bring in a little money and let the owner indulge in something they enjoy part time around their other responsibilities.
What types of online business are there?
There are all sorts of online businesses from casinos, auction sites, trading platforms, people selling services, digital marketing, online stores of all types and many more. The business you decide to make is likely to depend on many factors.
You would need to do research into your local areas and in popular online businesses in India. You need to decide if you will ship overseas or just nationally. You may even want to only serve a local area depending on your business. Your budget will also determine what business you can set up. How much do you have to invest and risk losing? One other factor will be your skill set and knowledge. There is little point in setting up an online business selling something that you know nothing about. If you have a niche idea then you will stand out from the crowd.
How can you set up your online business?
To create an ecommerce website you will need to start out with planning it. Planning your site is absolutely vital. By sketching out the pages you will need and how they connect will let you construct your site far easier and quicker than going in blind. It will lead to less mistakes and less problems during the construction stages.
How your site looks will depend on what you will be conducting business in. If you are offering services then you will want to create an attractive, professional looking site that outlines your companies values and philosophies plus the services you offer. If however, you are selling digital or physical products then you will likely want to build a storefront with a checkout area and be able to process credit cards.
How do you build the website?
You could pay someone or an agency to do this part for you. By hiring a professional you take all the pressure off of yourself and leave it in capable hands. This option comes at a price however and may be out of your budget. Money that may be better spent on other areas such as stock and advertising.
You could code the site yourself if you have relevant skills but this will take a lot of time and energy and you probably want to get the site off the ground quickly.
The most common way for a small business to make their own site is possibly with a CMS.
What is a CMS?
A CMS or content management system is software that allows a person to build, manipulate, edit and manage content for a site. Professionally designed websites will have a CMS built into them so the owners can have staff upload new content and images without returning to the website designers.
Good examples of CMSs are Wix and WordPress. These platforms allow anyone with no coding skills to create their own website. Originally they were used more for blogging but now they are both capable of helping the user to create professional looking websites. There are some limitations and disadvantages for using them but for someone who wants to make an online presence quickly with no coding they are ideal.
One thing to watch with these platforms is hidden costs and monthly fees. Research the ways that you can add features for free as long as they don’t detract from the website. To build your site you can go to wordpress.org and download the free software. Then you can start to put your website together. If you require a store then look at options like WooCommerce that has a free version to build your shop. This lets you take payments by credit card for a small fee but is easier than try to code your own payment systems.
A word of warning, if you are thinking of using page builders to speed up the building process consider that you will need to pay a subscription and if you should decide to lose the page builder your website will stop working. Page builders can also slow down the loading time of your site which affects SEO and can lose customers.
Domain and hosting
Now you have your site and shop mapped out you will need a domain name and hosting. Hosting is the name for where your website is housed. You pay a monthly or yearly fee to rent space on a server to let people visit your site. Finding a good host is very important to your business. You can visit fortunelords for hosting prices and plans in India.
What to sell?
There are many options here but if you have limited storage space and budget then you could provide a dropshipping service or sell digital content such as ebooks. You could set up a proofreading agency or sell digital marketing skills. You can sell your own products or other peoples if you have the space and can source popular items. You could even do a food delivery service in your local area. The options are almost limitless.
With a CMS and some time you can easily put together an online business. What the nature of the business is will come down to you and other factors. Don’t forget to use social media for advertising and promoting. Listen to feedback from your customers and you could be on the way to a successful business. Remember though that many businesses fail so think carefully about how much you want to invest.