This article originally appeared on MiLLENNiAL.
We live in an information age. We are the founders of the future. We have so much information constantly at our fingertips, and the capability to reach an amazingly immense amount of people at any time, it is no wonder that people have discovered how to utilize this capability to create innovative career opportunities and be able to forge their dream job.
In 2015, 45% of U.S. employees were able to work from home, and that number continues to rise. It is an ideal situation for many, whether you are a young entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom. The flexibility is valued. From one business owner to another, here are some basic startup tips for anyone looking to begin an online business while striving to be able to work from home.
#1 The ‘Why’
This is the most important aspect of any business. If you do not go into creating this business idea with a firm, objective purpose then it does not matter how much time and effort is put into the company. It will dissolve. Your team and yourself will have no direction and the company will fall to the wayside. People don’t necessarily buy the product, they buy the ‘why.’ What does your company stand for; what makes your product or service fulfilling?
#2 Building & Design
Now that you have the why figured out a general business idea/plan it is time to start building. The tech industry has grown exponentially, especially in city centers like New York. Tech based startups are creating new jobs and opportunities at a rapid pace because the need is there. Everything is online now, so a business needs to be embracing things like social media, marketing, and analytics.
These are all necessary platforms for a business to succeed and acquire new clients/customers, as well as monitor what is working and what is not. Things as simple as the time of day that something is published or shared can make or break a sale. Creating a website that is easy to navigate, showcases the product or service, creates a platform for added interaction with the customer through social media and is grounded in the analytics that will help guide future decision making.
Some of us are not artistically gifted, so creating a website that looks professional and will attract the customer we have in mind may not be doable without help. If so this will be your first real purchase, and it is extremely worth the time and money. It does not matter how good you are at what you do or how amazing your product might be, if the platform you are showcasing this on does not portray just that, customers are not going be interested. A well designed website goes a very long way. You have 5 seconds to get a user’s attention or you’ve lost them so make it count.
Marketing is a process that takes time and can involve hours of research for a plan to be effective. There are so many different marketing avenues you can take, and each are more or less effective depending on the business using them. This is yet, another example of how analytics will help you navigate what works for your business. This is all trial and error. Just because the tech industry and online business is blossoming does not mean that it is easy. There will be failures, try, try again.
Your brand along with goods and/or services is a key feature that you will be marketing. Your online presence will work while you’re asleep, while you’re on holiday, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Maintaining a solid, persistent online presence is the key ingredient to a successful branding. Once a marketing strategy is in place, advertise.
Being timid when it comes to self-promotion will not get you far. Promoting yourself online requires some finesse. You can easily hit the wrong note or appear arrogant if all you’re talking about is yourself, so be sure to involve others in the conversation. Once your product/image is developed and your marketing strategy is in place, present your product or service to your audience. Social media is the most common and inexpensive route to take, but there are also so many others.
Communicating your brand with potential customers can be done through print, radio, internet ads and even television. The price varies and the reach varies as well. Like with everything else being, aware of who your audience is through analytics and marketing will help you make the most educated decisions as well as trial and error. Every step of the way test and measure everything. You can’t grow if you don’t change what isn’t working. If you are not faithfully testing, measuring and tracking your results then you will never know.
#5 Legal and Financial Considerations
If you plan to advertise online (which you most likely are and SHOULD be), whether you’re buying ads on search engines or direct marketing through email understanding some basic rules is important. Understanding the federal advertising laws to Internet advertising and marketing, complying with the law when developing online ads, things like CAN-SPAM that creates criminal prohibitions against those who knowingly transmit spam through others’ computers without authorization as well as help with navigating sales and e-commerce and utilizing those resources.
Do your research on what works and what doesn’t, what is legal and what is not and what you can afford to make happen right away considering both time and cost.
What it all comes down to is the drive and ambition of all of those involved, the ‘why’ has to be united. Startups lose money often before making any, so keep in mind that you won’t always be able to monetize all of your projects even though they were successful. It may seem backwards, but if you are going into building your business, your brand, in an avenue that you find fulfilling—looking at money as a resource instead of a goal may be the best way to approach your endeavors. This “goal” creates a space that keeps the drive behind the initial reason for starting the business. The fulfillment stays the focus.
There are no foolproof books on how to build a successful online business, especially with the pace of change. The best way to learn is by doing so take the necessary steps and do. The opportunities are endless.