Advertising
Advertising

6 Essentials You Need to Consider Before Starting an Online Business

6 Essentials You Need to Consider Before Starting an Online Business

We live in the Internet age so, sooner or later, you will need to make yourself present in the online world with a business or a store. To do this, you will need a domain name and a web-hosting service, as well as a website theme and a CMS to manage and publish content. There are many online strategies that entrepreneurs are using to take their business to a new level.

There are tools that will promise you a lot of wonderful things, but beyond all the technical stuff, there is still an informed decision you need to make. So, here are six essential tips you need to consider before launching an online business:

Advertising

Find profitable products or services to sell

This is the most important step. It is the key and the starting point of everything. What are you going to offer/sell? Whatever you choose (a product or a service), you must look for any competitors that are offering something similar to your idea so you will know how to improve the idea or learn about what your additional value is. Choose something that will help you earn money. You can know this by conducting market studies, surveys, and statistical proof.

Choose a segment

Find a necessity and fulfill it by choosing the right products to target and meet those market needs with. To have a better chance of success, start with a specific market. The trick is to look for a group of people that are looking for a solution to a specific problem. You can find a lot of information on the Web that will make your research easier, like your competitor’s strategies, statistics, etc.

Advertising

Register a web domain and create a website

One of the first things you will have to do is register a web domain and that will depend on many aspects of your site’s main goal or purpose. It can be a personal blog, or a business blog that acts as a resource for your intended audience, an online store or a market.

You must take your time while planning this step, but if you have already decided a name or have a good idea, don’t take too long on introducing it to the world.[1] You have probably heard about the most common websites for this task, like GoDaddy or WordPress, but there are many other alternatives that will help and guide you while creating and designing your new website easily.

Advertising

Choose the best hosting service

You will probably find numerous service providers offering hosting services at different prices and offering multiple benefits. Most people tend to choose a cheap but qualified web hosting plan from a reputable hosting company. Others, who demand the highest possible security and best server performance, opt for choosing an SSD cloud server. That’s why you should conduct some research first (read comments, reviews, ask experts forums, etc.) and find a trusted hosting provider that can deliver the quality of service you require. There are a bunch of scripts out there that will let you administrate your whole web page, its content, images, user registration, etc. Some of the most popular ones are WordPress, Joomla, and Drumla, among others.

Keep in touch with your clients and subscribers

Use the power of email marketing and convert your visitors into customers. When you build an opt-in list, you are making one of the most valuable business decisions on the internet. Your clients and subscribers are giving you permission to send them emails with information, updates, offers, etc. and this marketing strategy is cheaper and more useful than TV or radio ads because it is more specific. But don’t rush, you can get this service after your business is well established and has some months of operation.

Advertising

Another good and easy way to get in touch with your audience is through your social networks. It is recommended for your business’s organic traffic and visibility that you know the current social media trends. Remember that people (users) consume actual and relevant content, and they love getting it from their social media accounts every day.

Make use of search engines to bring traffic to your site

For this, you have two options: free organic traffic (which is more difficult to get) and advertisement alternatives that offer “Pay for Click” traffic (one of the easiest and fastest way to gain traffic for your new website). Organic traffic is free and can be sent to your site from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, in case they like the content of your site. On the other hand, Pay for Click is a method where you pay for each advertising banner where people can click. Here, advertisers have to target specific keywords so their publicity appears in first place.

So, now you have some important tips to help you begin your online business. If you follow these steps, you can be sure that it will be a success because you will have a connection with your clients and subscribers and that will make them want to come back and buy your product or service. Don’t think about it too much and start your online business now!

Reference

More by this author

Erick Clifford

Journalist

16 Young And Successful Entrepreneurs Who Prove That Age Is Nothing but a Number This Is The Secret Recipe For A Healthy Living 6 Essentials You Need to Consider Before Starting an Online Business 4 Things Every True Leader Wants You to Know Life Insurance: A Secure Way To Protect Your Future.

Trending in Entrepreneur

1 Advice for Entrepreneurs: How To Find A Mentor Worth Listening To 2 How to Be a Successful Businessman (The Complete Guide) 3 How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out 4 How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide) 5 15 Best Books for Entrepreneurs to Start Reading Right Now

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

Advertising

Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

Advertising

You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

Advertising

8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

Advertising

Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

Read Next